To the Stars and Back: Queen Latifah

To the Stars and Back: Queen Latifah

Dana Elaine Owens, aka Queen Latifah visited -Newark in 2015 to celebrate Mayor Ras Baraka’s birthday who she grew up with in Newark.

Owens is a Newark-born musician, actress and entrepreneur. Owens released her first studio album in 1989 titled All Hail to the Queen, which sold more than one million copies. In the 1990s she continued to make music while also making a transition into television, starring as Kadijah James on Fox network sitcom Living Single. Owens has appeared in over 60 films and television series’, hosted her own talk show, and founded Flavor Unit Entertainment.

Recently, she starred in the box office smash Girls Trip and is currently portraying Carlotta Brown on the Fox Network drama series Star.

Whitney! GRAMMY Museum Experience at the ­Prudential Center—Don’t Miss It!

Whitney! GRAMMY Museum Experience at the ­Prudential Center—Don’t Miss It!

The Whitney Houston exhibit opened at Prudential ­Center’s GRAMMY Museum Experience on October 19, 2018 and it’s a must-see! Destination Newark was given an exclusive look inside the exhibit and it was as amazing as we thought. Our editors and social media team, including EvanTheShow, took over the museum and had a blast!

Houston’s exhibit portrays the singer’s musical career up until her unfortunate passing on February 11, 2012. The Houston family and the Marion P. Foundation collaborated with the GRAMMY Museum to make the exhibit possible.

Fans and museum-goers can look forward to seeing magazine  ­covers and advertisements in which Houston modeled. Precious items like the singer’s diploma and childhood bible were provided by her family for the exhibit. In addition, some of Houston’s most memorable dresses and other outfits are on display. In 1997, the Newark native starred as the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella movie alongside Brandy Norwood. The movie’s scriptbook is included in the exhibit.

In addition to Whitney Houston memorabilia, exhibit visitors can sing along with Houston in a booth with lyrics to her hit “I Want to Dance With Somebody.” The singer’s most iconic speeches and moments, including her 1991 Super Bowl Performance of “The Star Spangled ­Banner,” are part of the exhibit.

Members of the Destination Newark staff

Members of the Destination Newark staff in the Grammy Museum Experience Roland Live.

The GRAMMY Museum Experience also includes the history of the GRAMMYs, as well as other artists like Wyclef, Nick Jonas, and Ray Charles & The Raelettes. During our Destination Newark takeover, we had the opportunity to perform as our own band (see image above).

The Whitney! exhibit will run until June 30, 2019. General ­admission tickets to the GRAMMY Museum Experience can be purchased online through Ticketmaster for $7-$10. Visit for more information.

To the Stars and Back: Whitney Houston

To the Stars and Back: Whitney Houston

Because of Whitney Houston’s generous donations to UMDNJ’s University Hospital (now the Rutgers University Medical School) in Newark, the school named its Pediatric Special Care Unit after her. And the singer’s elementary school in East Orange, New Jersey, was renamed the Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. She is most famous for Billboard hits like “Saving All My Love for You,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” and “I Will Always LoveYou.” Her most famous movie roles include Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard and Savannah Jackson in Waiting to Exhale.

During Houston’s early life, she was immersed in music. Her background in gospel helped lead her down the path to stardom. She sang in the choir of the New Hope Baptist Church, which was led by her mother, Cissy Houston, a renowned soul and gospel singer herself.

Newark—The New Hollywood

Newark—The New Hollywood

By Christmas 2019, millions of anticipated filmgoers will be viewing Broad and Market Streets in Newark, New Jersey, as the 1970s set of the fictional Gotham City, home of DC Comics characters Batman and The Joker.

Newark was also the host city of the movie set of the 2010 Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. In the fall of 2018, movie producers returned to Newark with a budget of about $55 million for the taping of the highly anticipated Joker movie, which follows the journey of the infamous DC Comics villain—played this time by Joaquin Phoenix—from a failed comedian to a life of crime.

For the movie, downtown Newark was made to look like it was the late 1970s with signs reading “Live Nude Girls,” “Strip Search Featuring the Finest Adult Stars,” and “Kenny’s Music Shop.” The set was designed to portray a grim, seedy part of Gotham City with piles of mock garbage; wet streets; smoke; and dark, muted colored wardrobe selections for the actors.

“When a set comes to the city, it brings dollars to businesses, jobs for residents, and notoriety to the city. It just gives the city a whole different color. It’s important to have a thriving film industry because there are a lot of benefits. Some of it can be measured materially, but some is immeasurable,” says Mayor Ras Baraka.

Another testament to the growing interest filmmakers are taking in Newark is the Newark International Film Festival, which recently celebrated three consecutive years of bringing over 100 independent films from over 50 countries. This year’s three-day festival was packed with film premieres, celebrity master classes, and celebrity Q&A panels. Lance Gross served as the event’s celebrity ambassador.

In 2018 New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy restored the New Jersey Film and TV Tax Credit, approving a program that credits production companies $75 million per fiscal year for film and television projects. In order to be eligible for the 30% tax credit, production companies must spend a minimum of one million dollars or 60% of the total production budget in New Jersey. This credit had previously been suspended by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Since the reinstatement of the Film and TV Tax Credit, shows like NBC’s The Enemy Within and the return of MTV’s Jersey Shore have filmed in Newark. “There are a lot more productions coming in but we just can’t talk about them yet,” shared David Schoner Jr., associate director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and TV Commission.

Over the past five years, Newark’s film industry has been on a steady rise, attracting other TV productions, including Spike TV’s Ink Master and BET’s Black Girls Rock awards show.

To the Stars and Back: Savion Glover

To the Stars and Back: Savion Glover

Savion Glover still resides in Newark and has contributed tremendously to the growth and support of the city’s art scene. In 2009, Savion Glover opened HooFerzClub School of Tap in Newark’s Central Ward.

Glover is a tap dancer, actor, choreographer and entrepreneur who has trained and performed with tap dance legends Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines. His exceptional skills can be seen in the box office smash Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2, performed by animated character Mumble. Glover has also choreographed and acted in movies such as Jelly’s Last Jam and Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk.

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