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THE SCOOP WITH THE HIP-HOP SOCIALITE

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Pooch Hall with Gabrielle Dennis, My First Love
Pooch Hall with Gabrielle Dennis, My First Love

The Hip-Hop Socialite recaps the hottest celebrity news and gossip of the last week, and drops a few exclusives…

Pooch Hall Talks My First Love, Relationships In The Digital Age And Appearing On The Series Finale Of The Game

Pooch Hall‘s career has grown by leaps and bounds in the years since he began playing the lovable Derwin Davis on the football comedy-drama, The Game. The Massachusetts native is attracting a whole new set of fans with his role as Daryll Donovan on Showtime’s hit series, Ray Donovan, and is busy promoting My First Love, a romantic drama he stars in and co-produced.

As a fan of The Game, it wasn’t easy for me to see Pooch move on (I am one of those people who was way too emotionally invested in his and Tia Mowry-Hardrict‘s exit from the show), but he is amazing in Ray Donovan, and is well on his way to becoming a Hollywood leading man.

Before things get to that point and getting an interview with him becomes an impossibility, I was too hype to recently get Pooch on the phone to discuss his work on Ray Donovan and My First Love. Although he and Tia previously said they would not return to The Game, the duo made an appearance on the series finale last month, so I also asked him who (or what) made that happen. As a day one fan of The Game, this interview actually provided me with some closure (see, I told you I was way too emotionally invested, LOL!!). Check out highlights from our chat below.

ON HIS ROLE IN MY FIRST LOVE:

“My character Omar in My First Love is a businessman; he’s married to the beautiful Gabrielle Dennis, who I’ve been friends with a long time. She’s blessed and talented – she’s on the show Rosewood with Morris [Chestnut], so I’m really happy for her. But I’m [his character] a businessman who is really trying to get ahead, so he’s constantly just trying to make deals, trying to own his own business – he works for a firm – he’s trying to get this big deal made, so he’s constantly on his phone. And constantly just about his work, that he forgets the balance and how to incorporate his wife and recognize that he took her for granted. Not on purpose, you know, he’s human. And I think that as men, we want to be providers for our family, and he’s just trying to do what’s right. Unfortunately, it’s wrong to take your wife for granted and neglect her, so I think that’s what causes the problem. So Omar is just trying to get ahead, but I think he has to find a balance as to how to make it work to where she’s included.”

ON BALANCING RELATIONSHIPS, WORK AND LIVING IN THE DIGITAL AGE:

“I think as far as that advice that I would give is…I don’t want anyone to stop their hustle, you know what I mean? Because I don’t know what each person is going through or what they’re trying to accomplish, but when you form a partnership your girl, your dude, I think that it’s important to check on them, incorporate them and to listen. To really make it a point to say, ‘Hey, you know what? At least for an hour, I’m just going to be about you.’ Because sometimes we can’t put our phones down, and a lot of us work off our phones. Being an actor, and how social media and just the digital world is a huge part of my job, and you and your job as far as checking emails. We’ll be waiting for an important email or something, you can be in your car, in a restaurant, drugstore and you’ve got to check an email and respond or what have you, so it’s a big part of our lives now. And I think that with that being said, it’s finding that balance – it never used to be like that. Maybe you’d get a page and call somebody back, but we didn’t live on our phones, and you know, walk around with your laptop in your backpack. You have to make it a point to just put your phone down for an hour and make it about your significant other.”

PoochH33 (Ray Donovan)ON SEASON FOUR OF RAY DONOVAN GETTING GREEN-LIT:

“Not as of yet [began working on season four]. We’re still in season three, and we have two episodes left in season three, and we come on Sunday nights at 9 pm. And we’re very fortunate to get green-lit for season four and Liev Schreiber was nominated for an Emmy, which we’re all pulling for my guy. We won’t start until next year on season four – the fact that we got green-lit for season four after our fifth episode is a good sign. So shout out to all the fans that support myself and Ray Donovan. I’m having a blast over there. My character has definitely been developed to where people are like, ‘Hey, you’re one of my favorites. Daryll Donovan is one of my favorites.’ So I’m in a good place, I’m getting a lot of…people are starting to notice my work and who I am more than I was on The Game. I’m thankful to The Game and BET for what it’s done for my career, one hundred percent.”

PoochH11(w JonVoight)ON WORKING ON THE SET OF RAY DONOVAN:

“It’s like going to the playground ’cause number one for me, I’ve always wanted to do this business, and it was always of dream of mine to work with these heavy hitters. Even when I was on The Game, I worked really hard to make sure people noticed Pooch Hall because I saw myself working with Jon Voight, I saw myself working with Liev, I saw myself working with Katie Holmes and a lot of heavy hitters, and I’m not done. I’m trying to work Denzel, I’m trying to work with Robert Downey Jr., Bradley Cooper, and I want to scratch these people off my bucket list. But you have to work hard, and you have to continue to reinvent yourself – like on My First Love, I’m a producer. And continue to work and sharpen that tool, you know. The sky is the limit for me, so I’m just thankful. And also too man, shout out to the fans for really getting behind me because they helped me to get where I’m at and get noticed to do other work. Because me being a part of Ray Donovan, they recognized my fan base on The Game, and was like, ‘We’ve got to get this kid on here. This kid is one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming.’ So shout out to the fans, for real.”

ON LEAVING THE GAME:

PoochH66(TiaMowry)“I can’t really say what their [BET] situation was. I know that I was…you know when I booked Ray Donovan, Showtime said I could still be a part of The Game. I don’t what happened as far as me not being a part of The Game, but with that being said, I did what I did over there; I still wanted to be a part of it, and it was hurtful. But I had to tell myself, ‘Pooch, you’re moving on.’ Not just moving on, but you’re moving up and out because now I can say I’ve worked with an Oscar winner, and not only do I work with him, the guy plays my dad, Jon Voight. So I can’t really cry over spilled milk, it is what it is. I think the fans were really disappointed, and I think the fans never let it go. And they said you gotta bring Pooch and Tia back, and eventually, we came back to finally say goodbye. I kinda said goodbye, but it was without her. Not that I needed to be with Tia [on the series finale], but it was one of those things where I never wanted to leave in the first place. But I don’t know what BET’s reasons were because, you know, like I said, it’s hard to get someone to do two shows. One network has to be okay with it, and Showtime was. So with that being said, we tried to work it out with BET, it didn’t happen, so I had to continue to move forward.”

ON RETURNING FOR THE SERIES FINALE OF THE GAME:

PoochH55(StephenHill)“First of all, I gotta shout out my guy Stephen Hill, who’s now in charge over at BET, who’s actually a good friend of mine, who made it happen. So I think it was a changing of the hands, and Stephen Hill, who’s a friend of mine who’s a very talented brother…he hired me twice for Rip the Runway ’cause he’s in charge of like programming, original programming, not original programming. Ah, he does like, he puts on shows and concerts and stuff like that, but I’m the only one in Rip the Runway history that’s done it twice. He brought me back twice because he’s a fan, I carry myself as a professional – you won’t have any problems out of me – and I spoke to him…I said, ‘You know, I don’t know what happened in the beginning.’ He goes, ‘Well I’m here now.’ So with that being said, I really want to give Stephen Hill a huge shout out for always believing in me and for giving me the opportunity. So for me to come back, Stephen Hill was like, ‘We got to get them back.’ That’s almost like Martin and Gina leaving, and then you like trying to have the show with just Pam, Tommy and Cole. And then, it’s like, how can you not have Martin and Gina on there? And then like, he [Stephen Hill] made it happen. You had to have me and Tia come back out of respect for the fans ’cause they helped bring us back in the first place. That’s why I was confused. The fans helped bring us back, and then you go and do that to the fans? I was confused.”

PoochH22 (TheGamefinale)“Like I said, I don’t want to bash them because we all have to live and learn, and like I said, I was in a position to where I had to make a choice. And I said either I’m going to be upset that I’m not on The Game, or I’m going to be excited about working with Jon Voight or Liev Schreiber on what’s to be – what’s actually now happening – a critically acclaimed hit. You know, we sit at these tables and we gamble as entertainers and people being in the business – you have to be okay with your hand. And as much as I loved my experience over there, I had to step it up with the big boys, so that’s where I was at, that’s who was giving me the love, that’s who continues to give me the love – shouts out to Showtime – so that’s where I’m at. And because of that, my career has changed, you know. I have a big project that I’m about to work on with some heavy hitters, I’m not going to say as of now – but I’m sure you guys will get wind of it – but that’s what’s happening for me. And I’m okay, I’m okay. I said good bye to fans, and I think that’s what was most important. So yeah, salute, thank you BET for what you guys have done for me, but it’s time to move on.”

Before getting off our call, Pooch told me that if he’d had his way, he would have done both The Game and Ray Donovan and cross-promoted. “We all could’ve won even bigger than what we’re doing,” he told me. “That was my hope was that I’m able to cross-promote, be on two shows, two different markets and bring everyone together.”

My First Love is out now on DVD and VOD platforms, and the remaining episodes of the current season of Ray Donovan air Sunday nights at 9 pm on Showtime.

Be sure to follow Pooch on Twitter @iam_poochhall and Instagram @iampoochhall.

Fashion Week Diaries!!

NYFWLast week was Fashion Week here in NYC, and it was an absolute whirlwind!!

I kicked off my Fashion Week fun Thursday (September 10) at Harlem’s Fashion Row’s runway presentation and style awards. Harlem’s Fashion Row showcases emerging designers and recognizes trailblazing fashion influencers of color. This year, honorees included Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross, designer Azede Jean-Pierre, stylists Rachel Johnson, Misa Hylton and Groovey Lew, TV host Bevy Smith and InStyle editor Kahlana Barfield.NYFW33

Backstage was a madhouse prior to the show, and the Juicy TV camera and I were in the middle of the beautiful chaos catching all the action as makeup artists and hairstylists prepped the models. Meanwhile, bold-faced names such as actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mary J. Blige, singer Justine Skye and Beyonce’s stylist Ty Hunter showed their support from the front row.

PostalMadness1The following day, I forgoed fashion related events to take in a performance of the Off Broadway show, Postal Madness. In the play, the fictional Third Stone Post Office is the setting for eight very dynamic, culturally and ethnically different characters who take you behind the scenes of real life situations that take place in the post office.

Created by Michael Anthony, directed by Frances Lozada and written by Perry Crowe, Postal Madness is absolutely hilarious, and runs through October 4 at Teatro Latea in the East Village.

Although I am so not a sports person or a video gamer, I stepped out Saturday night to attend the private preview of “NBA Live ’16” by EA Sports!! Surprisingly, the event was more than just a bunch of men sitting around playing the game and talking loudly like they tend to do whenever they’re in competition mode. While attendees like Jim Jones, Maino and just married NBA star Russell Westbrook tried out the game on the huge TV screens that were set up, others, including Claudia Jordan and Demetria McKinney, mingled and enjoyed the flowing drinks at the open bar.

While I took Sunday off to catch on my rest (I was tied, no typo), I was back at it on Monday, attending the private screening at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem of FOX’s new show Rosewood, starring Morris Chestnut. Morris is even more handsome in person, so I had a little trouble interviewing him on the red carpet when it was my turn. Nevertheless, I got it done, so scroll down below to check out what he and I talked about in a “New York Minute.”

By the way, the audio was horrible during the screening, so half the time, I couldn’t hear what Morris and his cast mates were saying. That being the case, I’m going to hold off on telling you what I think about Rosewood until I’m able to watch the first episode again in the comfort of my own home without the horrible audio.

Tuesday evening, my team and I, made our way to the far west side of Midtown Manhattan to take in Angela Simmons’ latest design collaboration celebrating the 90th anniversary of The Harlem Globetrotters. The event featured a performance by Mack Wilds and Bridget Kelly, and models working the runway in sporty dresses and sequined jerseys in red, white and blue (the Globetrotters’ colors). From where I was sitting, I spotted several celebrities in the front row, including actor Hill Harper, Claudia Jordan and Demetria McKinney (the two of them were on EVERYBODY’S red carpet last week!!), Ty Hunter and Love & Hip-Hop star, Rich Dollaz, who I reminisced with about our days at Interscope Records.NYFW44

By Wednesday evening, I was DONE, but I forced myself off my couch so I could attend the Anna Sui show. I don’t remember much about the looks the models rocked on the runway because I kept nodding off, but the gift bag was amazing (LOL!!)!!

Now that another Fashion Week has come to an end, I can finally get some rest after a week of running around, but I’m not complaining. It was exhausting, but I’d rather it be that way than the alternative, which is never getting invited to events (I shudder at the thought). Anyway, until the next Fashion Week!!!

A New York Minute With Morris Chestnut!!

MorrisC22(Screening)If you follow me on Instagram, then you know my life was all the way made when I met Morris Chestnut during the private screening of his new show, Rosewood, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture last week in Harlem!! I mean this is the man who was one of my childhood celebrity crushes back when he played Ricky in Boyz n the Hood, and time has truly been good to him!!

When I caught up with Morris on the red carpet at the screening, there was just enough time for a “New York Minute”, but I was able to ask him about his role on Rosewood, the influx of shows with leading actors/actresses of color on television and the success of his latest movie, The Perfect Guy. After my brief chat with him and knowing he’s managed to maintain a scandal free marriage with his wife of twenty years despite the glare of the spotlight, I am convinced he is “the perfect guy.” Check out my “New York Minute” with Morris below.

CaptureON HIS ROLE ON ROSEWOOD:

“I play a private pathologist who basically links up with a Miami detective to solve crimes.”

ON POTENTIAL CONFUSION ABOUT ROSEWOOD AND THE 1997 MOVIE OF THE SAME NAME:

“It’s completely different – they’re completely unrelated. When the writer wrote this, it’s just the name of my title character. My character’s name is Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. That’s all it is – it’s just a name.”

ON THE INFLUX OF SHOWS WITH LEADING ACTORS/ACTRESSES OF COLOR:

“I think we’re definitely going in that direction – it’s not anything new at this point. There was a time when you had The Cosby Show and A Different World, there’s a time when you had Martin and Living Single, New York Undercover, In Living Color. But I think right now is what Empire has done, there’s been a reemergence of the audience to network television. Prior to that, you know, the networks in the industry didn’t think that people were still watching network television. Empire is a smash success, them making history and doing what they’re doing, it allowed us, and me, to be on the show.”

ON THE SUCCESS OF THE PERFECT GUY:

“It feels great! I just have to thank everybody that came to support; I’m just glad they supported it, and I’m glad to be a part of the movie.”

Rosewood premieres Wednesday, September 23 at 8 pm on FOX!!

To keep up with Mara The Hip-Hop Socialite, be sure to follow her on Twitter @hiphopsocialite and Instagram @thehiphopsocialite. And follow the official Instagram of “The SCOOP” @TheSCOOPIG!

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