WEEK AHEAD: Whitney Returns to the Stage
TUESDAY, JUNE 29: Brandy is out to prove she's Moesha no more with the release of her new album, Afrodisiac. The singer, now a 25-year-old single mom to daughter Sy'rai, 2, has already heated up MTV with her sultry single "Talk About Our Love" featuring hip-hopper Kanye West. The album, the follow-up to her platinum-selling 2002 CD Full Moon, is a look into her life now, including her breakup with music-producer husband Robert Smith, which she sings about on "Who I Am" ("I had to get rid of the weight on my fourth finger, left hand"). The little girl is all grown up.
Also on Tuesday, American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo hits the music scene with her double-A-side singles "Dreams" and "Don't Cry Out Loud," a week after Idol winner Fantasia Barrino released her single, "I Believe" (DeGarmo also recorded a version of "I Believe," which will be included in the single and which the 17-year-old Snellville, Ga., native performed on the finale of Idol). On the Fourth of July, DeGarmo will show her patriotism by singing the national anthem at the Atlanta Braves-Boston Red Sox game at Atlanta's Turner Field.
Meanwhile, Beyonce and Alicia Keys are leading the pack of nominees at the 2004 BET Awards, broadcast live on the cable network from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Comedienne Mo'Nique (The Parkers) hosts the event, which honors achievement in music, acting and sports. Denzel Washington and Bernie Mac will go head-to-head for best actor, Tiger Woods and Shaquille O'Neal are vying for male athlete of the year, while R&B veterans the Isley Brothers will receive a lifetime achievement award. Actor Danny Glover also will be honored for his humanitarian work.
FRIDAY, JULY 2: Whitney Houston has become more famous in recent years for her personal woes than for her music. But the six-time Grammy winner is hoping to change all that, teaming up with Natalie Cole and cousin Dionne Warwick for their Soul Divas tour in Germany. The four-date jaunt will include stops in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. (Houston, who underwent a 30-day stint in rehab in May, has already received some David Hasselhoff-style love from the Germans, picking up a lifetime achievement award at the Women's World Awards there.) On July 22, Houston will then hop over to China, making her debut in that country with a performance in Shanghai.