Tag Archives: LL Cool J

LL Cool J returns to Queens for Jump and Ball Tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It’s not just Ladies who Love Cool James.

The rapper and actor, whose real name is James Smith, was surrounded by hundreds of male and female fans and residents for pictures and hugs as he made his way through Daniel O’Connell Park to watch the games of his 9th annual Jump and Ball Tournament on Saturday.

LL Cool J, who stars in “NCIS: Los Angeles,” started the tournament along with State Senator Malcolm Smith to give back to his community.

“There are a lot of artist who come out of southeast Queens, but I can tell you this is the only one I know who has stepped up and said ‘I want to give something back,’ and has stuck with it for nine years,” the senator said.

The event, which features basketball games every weekend until September 1, is free to register and participate. In past weeks there was also live music, free food and a variety of other family fun activities, including golf, chess, tennis, a karate showcase and rope tricks by Cowboy Curly Hall.

“I think it’s wonderful that he does this for the community,” said St. Albans resident Leticia Moore-Jackson. “He never forgot where he came from. He’s a great rapper, entertainer and a great person.”

Coming back home was special for James as well, because he said his schedule forces him to be everywhere around the country and sometimes abroad. He delivered a message to the children at the park about believing in your dreams, despite what others may say.

“Anything you really truly believe deep down inside you, you can accomplish,” he said. “And I don’t want you to ever think that because you’re from this neighborhood, my neighborhood, that you’re somehow relegated to only having a certain amount of success or you’re only able to do certain things based on where you’re from or the color your skin or what someone else says about you. Don’t believe that because it’s not true.”

James said the basketball tournament has turned into an important part of the year for the community and it is a significant event for him as well.

“This is the hood and basketball is just a big part of how we came up and how we grew up and I wanted to make sure that they had an opportunity to play and have fun,” he said. “I think they love it and I love it.”

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Cowboys ride into annual Jump and Ball Tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

LL Cool J’s ninth annual Jump and Ball Tournament in St. Albans had a dark horse.

Cowboy Curly Hall and members of the Federation of Black Cowboys of Howard Beach mosied on to Daniel O’Connell Park on Saturday to meet young buckaroos and buckarettes, while the basketball games raged on.

The tournament, an effort by embattled State Senator Malcolm Smith and the world famous rapper and actor LL Cool J, gave kids a chance to learn about history and lifestyles of cowboys and to interact with horses, among other sports events and educational activities.

“In this century there are not many cowboys around that kids can recognize as being another source of living,” Hall said. “We actually live the cowboy life, we actually perform and try to enjoy what was once a real way of life. But saying all of that I  enjoy entertaining the kids and teaching them a little history.”

The event, which features free basketball tournaments, every Saturday and Sunday until Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, also had free food, giveaways and live music. Children could participate in golf as well or talk with representatives from the Queens Public Library.

“It’s a good thing for the children,” said Andrea Maddison, a Laurelton parent. “ It’s nice for them to get outside. And they don’t need to be inside running up people’s electric bill.”

The event is among more positive news for Smith, who will be facing charges of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud after investigators alleged that he conspired to rig the mayoral election with Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chair Vincent Tabone.

“I think what’s so important about giving back is we don’t know who the next star is in this entire group,” Smith said. “Anybody here could be the next president, could be the next LL Cool J. What this does is it shows them and gives them an example that even when you make it you can’t forget where you came from.”

 

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State Senator Malcolm Smith, LL Cool J to hold Queens Jump and Ball Tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Malcolm Smith

Despite his political troubles embattled State Senator Malcolm Smith will team up with rapper and actor LL Cool J again to present the 9th annual Jump and Ball Tournament.

The event, which features basketball games and double-dutch tournaments, will be free to register and participate in, and will take place at Daniel O’Connell Park in Saint Albans, every Saturday and Sunday starting August 3 to Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will also be music, free food and a variety of other family fun activities, including golf, chess, tennis and a karate showcase at this year’s event.

“This competition is a wonderful opportunity for the youth in the community to get some fresh air and exercise while they show off their talents,” Smith said. “I am looking forward to a huge turnout. I think this year will be our best Jump and Ball ever.”

“NCIS: Los Angles” star LL Cool J helped found the tournament in 2005 with Smith when he wanted to create a program to give back to the community. The celebrity will make an appearance at the event on one day, but that day has not been decided as yet.

Among the sports activities, children will have chances to learn from the Queens Zoo and watch rope trick performances by Cowboy Curly Hall of the Federation of Black Cowboys of Howard Beach on August 17.

The event is among more positive news for Smith, who will be facing charges of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud after investigators alleged that he conspired to rig the mayoral election with Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican party Vice Chair Vincent Tabone.

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. West wind 5 to 11 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. South wind 6 to 10 mph.

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Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance shocks


| brennison@queenscourier.com


No one from Queens walked away with a Grammy Award during Sunday night’s show — Queens rapper Nicki Minaj and St. John’s graduate and former Queens Courier employee J. Cole both lost — but Minaj may have turned in the night’s most discussed performance.

The awards were bookended by rappers from Queens.  The show opened with host LL Cool J, and closed with an exorcism/performance by the Jamaica-native Minaj.

Channeling her alter ego, Roman Zolanski, the religiously-tinged act opened with a pre-taped skit of a possessed Minaj before her live performance of “Roman Holiday” off her upcoming sophomore album.  Prior to the show, the Queens rapper arrived at the award show with someone dressed as the pope.  During the performance Minaj spoke in tongues and danced with monks before ending it by levitating high above a stage of shooting flames.

The reaction of blogs and social media following her performance was mostly negative and also confused.  Minaj is still trending nationally on Twitter 12 hours after the show.

What did you think of the performance?

 

J. Cole earns Best New Artist Grammy nod


| brennison@queenscourier.com

J

In a year that J. Cole released a debut album that reached the top of the Billboard charts, the St. John’s University graduate has been recognized for his meteoric rise with a Grammy nomination.

Cole, 26, was nominated for Best New Artist where he will go up against The Band Perry, Bon Iver, fellow Queens rapper Nicki Minaj and Skrillex.  Acts such as The Beatles, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys have taken home music’s version of Rookie of the Year.

The nominations were announced Wednesday in Los Angeles at a concert hosted by Queens’ own LL Cool J.

The rapper was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, but grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At 12, Cole began writing his own lyrics. After graduating from high school in 2003, Cole headed to the Big Apple determined to achieve his goals of breaking into the music business and earning his college degree.

In May 2007, Cole graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s and then got a part-time job selling classified ads for The Queens Courier.

The Roc Nation rapper’s debut album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” sold over 200,000 units in its first week.

Minaj also received nominations for Best Rap Album for “Pink Friday” and Best Rap Performance for “Moment 4 Life.”

The award show will be held Sunday, February 12.