Mario Van Peebles Knocks on Wood; The Phillip Brandon Story Begins

Courtesy of syfy.com

Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City”) recently premiered his new series “Superstition” on the SyFy network.

The series focuses on the Hastings family, who owns a funeral home, as they deal with their many family secrets and a supernatural villain.

Van Peebles, who plays Isaac Hastings, also directs, scripts and executive-produces the series, which stars Brad James, Robinne Lee and Demetria McKinney.

The son of legendary actor/filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles (“Panther,” “Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”), Mario followed in his father’s footsteps as a filmmaker/actor.

“One thing terrific about life, one day you’re the child climbing the neighbors’ fence for apples, next day you’re a homeowner with kids climbing your fence for apples. One day you’re chasing someone’s daughter and next day you have a daughter being chased,” Mario said with a laugh. “I grew up seeing my dad do his work. I learned what not to do [on the set]. He had these Melvinisms — his way of talking — then he’d break it down so you can understand.”

Mario has his own way of talking. I guess you can say they are Marioisms — just like his dad.

The series is produced by XLrator Media (Barry Gordon) and MVPTV (Mario Van Peebles). Mario’s company production credits include “Roots,” “Empire” and “Lost.”

When this reporter reminded Van Peebles that our last encounter was at the “We the Party” movie premiere in 2012, he reminded me of his connection to Gordon.

“I did ‘We the Party’ with Barry Gordon, he is on this project also,” he said. “I’m a good boss, fun and I create a good working environment, but I take it serious.

“The Van Peebles make things happen,” Mario boasted. “If you build it they will come.”

“Superstition,” which debuted Oct. 20, airs Fridays at 10 p.m. EST.

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Versatile singer Phillip Brandon, who played BeBe Winans in the Charles Randolph-Wright-directed “Born for This: The Musical,” recently released his debut album “The Story Begins.”

Phillip sings rock, R&B, jazz, pop and gospel, and “The Story Begins” project offers 10 selections that combine those genres. The project has production assistance from songwriter Preston Glass (Natalie Cole, Kenny G) and DrFord.

Phillip Brandon
Phillip Brandon (Courtesy photo)

“I wanted to get all the crazy out,” Phillip said about touring with rock band Trans Siberian Orchestra. “I tour with the rock band even now … seasonal tours … holiday tours … Far East. We played in 50 cities in six weeks. Fast forward to this album…I wanted to see where I fit. I had a chance to come up with my own sound.”

Released Oct. 20, “The Story Begins” has uplifting selections, with the music as varied as his voice.

“I like to see the silver lining. That keeps us going,” he said about the content of his project. “The main thing for me is to make it a journey of hope navigated through love …so much is going on in the world.”

Brandon’s mother Brenda Davis, who was once one of Ray Charles’ Raelettes, gave vocal background support for the album. Others who assisted included Spanish drummer Victor A. Caracedo, Ukrainian guitarist Eugene Gorskiy, American keyboardist Stan Loken and Cuban bassist Carlitos Cuba.

“This is my first full album,” Brandon said. “I did one in 2013. I have been blessed to work full time in some form of entertainment for 10 years. I said, ‘I’m doing all these projects for other folks … what about my story?’ That’s where it started — in 2013.

Asked what genre is close to his heart, he admitted he is a bit of an old soul.

“My background in music covers old school — Whispers and O’Jays,” he said. “My mother brought me my first record, Ashford & Simpson’s ‘Solid.’ I approach everything from the foundation of the soul. The rock band opened me up to different sounds. It can still be soul but have a rock element.”

Learn more about Phillip Brandon by following him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ PhillipBrandon2.

Eunice Moseley’s The Pulse of Entertainment column (www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com) has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million. She is also a public relations strategist and business management consultant at Freelance Associates, and is promotions director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times.

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