Message from Montie

Dance Archives

Donell Jones talks about 'Lost Files,' relationships, fatherhood and upcoming CD

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

 

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Courtesy of Candyman Music Inc., Photographer: Derek Blanks

There's a plethora of talent in Chicago, but it's not a secret that Chicago artists tend to go on the East Coast or West Coast to further their careers. R&B singer Donell Jones, who is  most popular for songs like "Shorty Got Her Eyes on Me" and "U Know What's Up" featuring the late TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, has cut ties with La Face record label after four CDs and gone independent with his label, Candyman Music Inc.

On December 9, 2009, Donell Jones released "The Lost Files," which were unreleased tracks made during the making of his first four CDs--"My Heart" (1996), "Where I Wanna Be" (1999), "Life Goes On" (2002) and "Journey of a Gemini" (2006). Now he's back in the studio working on his untitled 2010 CD. Although in his beginning years he had to travel to Washington D.C. for a radio conference to get his career going because "if you wasn't making music like R. Kelly, nobody was really checking for you" and loves his current home in Atlanta, which he's nicknamed "The Baby New York," when asked if he's from Chicago, he proudly boasts "Oh, no doubt!"

From the tilted hat, crease in his pants on his Twitter page, laid-back and sultry performances to his friendly demeanor during the interview with Shamontiel, Donell Jones is so Chicago.

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Alpha Kappa Alphas and Alpha Phi Alphas win Chicago Sprite Step Off

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

The AKAs are on a "mission" to win!

3/20/2010 Update: Click here to read about the Atlanta finale.1/24/2010: When I heard about the Sprite Step Off from FoxBrownFox and Commonground, I was sold from the beginning. But when SpriteStepOff.com advertised that it would be the largest step show in history, I was wondering how true that'd be. However, on Saturday night (Jan. 23) when I drove up to the Regal Theater and saw cars backed down the block of 1645 E. 79th St., and the line to get into the Regal around the corner, I knew this was going to be something serious. And the Regal completely sold out of tickets. Largest step show in history? Looked like it. But would it be the livest step show I'd ever seen? That was the test. I've seen many throughout my college years (Lincoln University alumni!), plus the numerous step shows I've seen all over the world even after I graduated.

Well, this Sprite Step Off was not playing around. Hands down the Sprite Step Off is definitely my all-time favorite step show, and it was definitely the livest!

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Updated 1/25/2010

The original winners announced at the Sprite StepOff on Sat., Jan. 23, were the following:

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (second place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (third place)

Fraternities: $21,500 Alpha Phi Alpha (Central State University, first place);  $16,000 Phi Beta Sigma (second place); $11,000 Alpha Phi Alpha (St. Louis citywide chapter, third place)

 

However, 360i and FoxBrownFox PR were notified on Mon., Jan. 25, that there was a voting discrepancy for the sororities during Saturday night's event. According to the Sprite Facebook page, "In the spirit of sportsmanship, we also advised the other two teams who were originally announced as the second and third place winners (now third and fourth place winners), that we wanted them to keep the prize money they had been awarded." So here are the updated sorority winners with corrected prize amounts. 

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Sigma Gamma Rho (second place) and $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (third place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (fourth place)  

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But just telling you who the winners are doesn't do them any justice. You need proof, right? Check out some of the photos and a video of Greek strolling in the crowd that I took at the Sprite Step Off on Saturday, Jan. 23.

 

 

Gallery sneak peek (58 images):

View the gallery...
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The Sprite Step Off, Ludacris and Wale come to Chicago Jan. 23

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Promo flyer distributed courtesy of 360i

Update 3/20/2010: Click here to read about the Atlanta finals!

 

Have you seen the commercials about the Sprite Step Off, one of the self-proclaimed largest step show tournaments in history? I can't lie. I cheered when I received notice from Sprite that I got admission into this event. Watching step competitions was one of my favorite things to do after I transferred from Northern Michigan University to my alma mater Lincoln University.

 

Step shows were events that excited me since my elementary school days running home to see "A Different World," and it never wore off even through college--although I wasn't interested in pledging. But I sure do remember applauding for Freddie Brooks when she finally learned to step like Whitley Gilbert and watching Jaleesa Vinson represent for Gilbert Hall.

 

I first heard about the Sprite Step Off while interviewing marketing company Commonground's owners Ahmad Islam and Sherman Wright.

 

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Shane Sparks choreography best on 'SYTYCD,' Sparks arrested for child molestation charges

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Getty Images, courtesy of ChicagoTribune.com

Throughout this entire season of "So You Think You Can Dance," I've noticed that the judges have been very skeptical about the hip hop choreographers and the selections the choreographers are giving to the dancers. Dave Scott was accused of giving Ashleigh Di Lello and Legacy Perez a vampire hip hop routine that was not challenging enough for their stage in the competition. Choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon were told the routine they gave Ellenore Scott and Legacy Perez as hip hop aliens was a little too strange and the masks were distracting. I agreed with both judges and understood their discontent with some of the dance routines.

 

The reality is that nobody was creating harder and more challenging routines in hip hop choreography than Shane Sparks. I think the judges were spoiled by him, but when he stopped being a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" and left for "America's Best Dance Crew," they were left with a lull. He'd re-appeared and disappeared the past couple seasons but never as a regular judge. And even when he created a dance routine, it was unfortunately not performed by one of the original dancers--Ashleigh Di Lello because of a shoulder injury and Shane Sparks' assistant did a mediocre job of dancing with "So You Think You Can Dance?" winner, Russell Ferguson.

 

Lil' C spends too much time trying to use vocabulary I don't remotely believe he uses in his everyday conversation, so it always bugs me to see him on the panel although his krumping routines are okay. I actually do like most of Tabitha and Napoleon's routines, but none of them had the funk that Shane Sparks was bringing.

 

But judging from today's TMZ report, it looks like Shane Sparks may be unavailable for a pretty long time for both "America's Best Dance Crew" and "So You Think You Can Dance?"

 

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