Allison Samuels

Stories by Allison Samuels

  • A Whole New Racquet

    Will Venus Williams retire at 19? Last week when her outrageous dad said she might leave tennis to focus on her education and investments, people laughed. "I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously," said top player Lindsay Davenport. Even Serena Williams said she expects the sister act to continue. But a source close to Venus says, "She has very little desire to return and has made that clear to her family. She's never really had the passion for the game her father would have liked, and now that she's in fashion school, she's found her true passion." Teens are fickle. Fashion could go out of fashion.
  • Bopping Right To The Top

    Getting hurt may be a lucky break for artists. Just days after 'N Sync-er Lance Bass twisted his ankle during a "Saturday Night Live" performance, the group rocked the music industry by selling 1.1 million copies of "No Strings Attached" its first day in stores--and went on to sell a record 2.42 million for the week. That's more than double the Backstreet Boys' old record of 1.13 million. No doubt Britney Spears is hoping her "Oops!" will translate to big numbers, too. On March 18 the teen needed four stitches after a camera bopped her on the head during a video shoot for "Oops!... I Did It Again," the first single from her forthcoming album. Her mother posted a message on the singer's Web site saying that Spears was bleeding from the head and speculating that she'd suffered a concussion. "These are the times that I worry most!" wrote her mom. "I worry about those freak accidents that seem to occur when you work crazy hours." Britney was up and performing that night, but maybe she...
  • Rap's Ultimate Outsiders

    You'll see lots of big-name rappers on the Grammys this week, but the one who outstripped them all in 1999 didn't get a single nomination. So Wednesday night Juvenile, whose CD "400 Degreez" sold 4 million units, will work Rochester, N.Y.--taking the stage, as usual, by leaping out of a giant Plexiglas Rolex. Last month he got one nomination at the American Music Awards, but was passed over as a presenter. The New Orleans-based Cash Money Records click--including Juvenile and Lil Wayne--had to be in L.A. that weekend anyway (to do "Soul Train"), but they skipped the Dr. Dre and LL Cool J parties and chilled at their hotel in the Valley (read: Siberia) shooting craps. Not sulking; just staying out of trouble. They're rap's ultimate outsiders--and the biggest deal in the business.Cash Money's owners, Baby and Slim (Bryan and Ronald Williams), started peddling CDs out of a car in 1997. Last year, with 7 million albums, they outsold rap's premier labels, Bad Boy and Def Jam, thanks to...
  • Their Burning Love

    Looks like Lisa Marie Presley is a sucker for a serenade. Elvis's daughter, 32, is engaged again, this time to singer John Oszajca, 25. It's her third attempt at harmony with a musician. Before Michael Jackson, she was married to bassist Danny Keough, the father of her two kids. There could be another Jackson connection, a song on Oszajca's debut album. The title: "I Might Look White."Imagine the possibilities: Brett Favre returns to the field after Deion Sanders steals his woman, coach Mike Shanahan gets "kidnapped" right before the big game and players wielding their seats give new meaning to the term getting benched. According to the WWF's Vince McMahon, it could be a reality by this time next year. Last week the wrestling kingpin announced plans to muscle his way onto the football field, creating his own NFL rival, the Extreme Football League (XFL). The league will have teams in eight cities, and play a 10-week season starting after the Super Bowl next year. For now, the master...
  • Nothing But Garnett

    Kevin Garnett is a gifted mimic. He steps off the basketball court and seconds later is on a rollicking roll, from the late rapper Tupac Shakur to a dead-on Tony Montana, the Al Pacino mobster in "Scarface," to quick riffs goofing on his Minnesota Timberwolves teammates. No one is ever safe from Garnett's barrages, except his mom. She calls regularly from back home in Mauldin, S.C., with the most... uh, helpful suggestions on dealing with the rigors of NBA life. "When I hurt my ankle this season, she told me to eat tomato soup," says Garnett. "I'm like, 'Ma, how is that going to help?' But then you know what I did, right?" Of course: Kevin heated up the soup.Since he arrived in the NBA five years ago, Garnett, 23, has been heating up the basketball court too. Each season the seven-footer has upped his scoring, rebounding and assists, establishing himself as the most versatile big man in the league. He can hammer the ball inside or throw a feathery pass in the lane, and this season...
  • Battling The 'Whitewash'

    It's often said that the entertainment industry is driven only by the desire to make money, but that is plainly untrue. It is also driven by the desire not to lose it. As soon as the fall TV shows were announced last summer, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attacked the networks for underrepresenting minorities both in front of the camera and behind it. NAACP president Kweisi Mfume called the fall slate "a virtual whitewash" and led a six-month campaign, threatening to picket, to boycott the networks and their advertisers, and to seek federal intervention. Last week NBC suddenly got religion, and announced a plan to generate minority jobs. ABC followed quickly. As for CBS, the network had long been planning exactly the sort of program the NAACP was agitating for, Steven Bochco's inner-city hospital drama "City of Angels." The show boasts many skin tones—and very few whites. In the second episode, an arrogant surgeon tells the hospital's new medical...
  • In The Eye Of 'The Hurricane'

    Denzel Washington may make almost $10 million a movie, but he's not afraid to take a punch. When he took on the role of Rubin (Hurricane) Carter--the real-life middleweight contender imprisoned for 19 years for a murder he didn't commit--Washington trained as if he'd been given a shot at the title. He lost 44 pounds, and spent day after day taking punches: "I put my heart and soul into it. We were doing a lot of the full-body boxing, which I loved, but I began getting headaches and memory loss--that was a problem. It's a tough sport. I knew that already, because I know [Tyson] and Ali. But I can't give it up. It's addictive."Washington gives a heavyweight performance in Norman Jewison's powerful movie "The Hurricane." Jewison, who also directed Washington in his breakthrough role in "A Soldier's Story," claims that by the end of filming he couldn't tell the actor from Carter himself: "He had his walk, the way he spoke, the way he carried his body. This role is probably his best work...
  • Jamie Foxx Gets In The Game

    In Oliver Stone's football saga, "Any Given Sunday," Jamie Foxx plays a third-string quarterback who gets his big break when the two men in front of him get injured. In real life, Foxx benefited from a similar stroke of someone else's bad luck. Stone had originally cast hip-hop impresario Sean (Puffy) Combs in the role. When Combs pulled out--because of scheduling conflicts, the filmmakers insist--Foxx was ready to strap on the jock as "Steamin'' Willie Beamen, an upstart with a golden arm and a swollen head. "I played football in high school and that attitude is there from the very beginning,'' says Foxx, 32, whose real name is Eric Bishop. "Puffy's loss was my gain."The good fortune seems to be holding. Foxx gives a winning, charismatic turn in "Sunday," and the film just had the biggest opening weekend of any movie in Stone's career. Before this stormy meditation on race, money and testosterone, Foxx was known for his light, raunchy comedy, both in his eponymous WB series and his...
  • Rap Takes Another Big Hit

    At first Jay-Z insisted he didn't want a party for his new album. Then, about a week and a half ago, one of the world's biggest-selling rappers suddenly changed his mind, and by last Wednesday night his people had made it happen: rented New York City's Irving Plaza nightclub; lined up a deejay and background vocalists for Jay-Z's performance; printed up personalized tickets for such guests as Puffy Combs, Busta Rhymes, Eve, Russell Simmons and Lil' Kim. Great party. The host, in baggy jeans, Phat Farm shirt and a blinding diamond necklace, did snippets of some slamming songs from the album "Vol. 3--The Life and Times of Shawn Carter" (his real name), to be released on Dec. 28, and the beats bumped loud enough to rattle the champagne glasses. "There was no commotion, and the performance was off the hook," recalls the rapper Juvenile. But there was this one thing. Damon Dash, co-owner of Jay-Z's Roc-a-Fella Records, grabbed the mike, yelled "F--k the bootleggers" and exhorted the...
  • Doing It Without The Man

    It's a classic NBA one-on-one: a coach, Phil Jackson, with his reputation as the league's reigning genius, vs. a star-studded L.A. Lakers team that has played like a remake of "Dumb and Dumber." Since Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant arrived in L.A. three years ago and began their "who's the man?" duel, the Lakers have been the most disappointing team in the NBA. The two superstars were unwilling to talk off the court and incapable of communicating on it. As a result, the Lakers have bombed in the playoffs, including 4-0 sweeps by Utah and San Antonio the past two seasons. Swept away in the process were two coaches. But Jackson is clearly the man now. And by the end of last week he had kick-started the formerly brooding and feuding Lakers to a 5-2 record. With six championship rings from his Chicago Bulls tenure, bolstered by a five-year, $30 million deal, the new coach far exceeds his players in stature. "Jackson knows how to win so there's no more excuses," says O'Neal. "If we can...
  • The Doctor's In The House

    When last we saw Dr. Dre, the producer who helped to invent gangsta rap with N.W.A back in the '80s, he'd become a kinder, gentler rapper. His eclectic, adventurous 1996 CD "Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath" featured strings, Supremes-like vocals and appearances by obscure aspiring rappers; on the video for the single "Been There, Done That," a tuxedoed Dre did a slinky tango. And guess what: the CD sold only a fourth as much as Dre's hard-edged 1992 "The Chronic," the rap album of the decade. "It just didn't work out the way I planned," says Dre, a.k.a. Andre Young. "I had people my mom's age coming up to me saying, 'Oh, I really liked that tango dance song.' That was cool, but that's not who my peeps are. That's not who made me successful. So I knew I had to come back to where it all began."This week Dre's peeps will get the album they've been waiting for. "The Chronic 2001" has irresistible grooves, the old lowrider funk, the b----es-and-hos rhetoric (exhibit A: "You Can't Make a...
  • Bad Vibes At Cable's Bet

    The week the hit film "Three Kings" opened, three of its stars--George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube--made the talk-show rounds. Clooney did Leno, Wahlberg did Letterman and Ice Cube did "Live From LA"--a new show on cable's Black Entertainment Television. Cube, the rapper and actor, decided to make the black-owned network his first stop because it's the sole place on the dial where African-Americans can see "us and only us," he says. "We need that because we don't get it anywhere else.''At a time when blacks and others are decrying poor minority representation on mainstream TV, BET offers an alternative. For nearly two decades, it's been the only network exclusively aimed at black America. Founded and owned by former congressional press secretary Robert Johnson, 53, BET has grown from a fledgling netlet into an empire valued at $1.5 billion that reaches 90 percent of black cable households. But despite the lack of color elsewhere on TV, BET's viewers and employees have become...
  • Eve, The First Lady Of Rap

    Rapper Eve Jihan Jeffers likes a good dare. When she was in the ninth grade, a schoolmate dared her to dye her hair blond, and Eve couldn't resist the challenge. "I was like, I can do that--no problem," remembers the 20-year-old Philadelphia native with a roll of her eyes. "I did dye it and went to school the next day and blew everybody away. I've always been that girl--the girl who was going to do what she was going to do no matter what."A few weeks ago that girl, with her cropped, still-blond hair, did what no female rapper has done before when her album "Eve" entered the charts at No. 1. While her climb to the top may seem as if it happened overnight, Eve has been around for a while. "I was a stripper for a minute and made some good money, but I knew that wasn't me," says Eve. "A lot of my friends were, like, 'What are you doing? You got talent on the mike. Put it to use'."After high school, Eve concentrated on her writing and rhyming, and eventually came to the attention of rap...
  • More Bounce To The Ounce

    When they showed 24-year-old rapper Juvenile the video for his new hit single "Back That Azz Up," he gave it the accolade du jour: "That s--t is off the hook!" The video--basically, women shaking their rear ends--is subtle only in its coyly misspelled title. But MTV has it in heavy rotation, and young America's chanting along: "Call me Big Daddy when you back that azz up." Wait, get your mind out of the gutter. Juvenile says, "It's just like saying, 'Let me get another look'."This is the latest coup for Juvenile (Terius Gray), New Orleans-based Cash Money Records and the bass-heavy Southern hip-hop called bounce music. The label's founders, Ronald and Brian Williams, once sold albums out of their car. Juvenile made his living by capturing alligators at $50 a pop. ("You just need a stick and some rope.") Now his debut, "400 Degrees," has hit the pop top 10, and Cash Money, also home to the Hot Boys, is the hottest rap label in the country. "I'm a little surprised," says Juvenile, ...
  • A Legend Comes To Life

    When you consider the short, sad life of Dorothy Dandridge, it has a familiar ring. She was a child performer who rose to sudden stardom, a sex symbol who was frustrated as an actress, a victim of two bad marriages, dead at 42 of an overdose. But Dandridge had one historic triumph. She was the first African-American to be nominated for a best-actress Oscar, for "Carmen Jones" in 1954 (Grace Kelly won, for "The Country Girl"). "I fell in love with Dorothy as a child, the first time I saw her in 'Carmen Jones'," says Halle Berry, 33, who stars this week in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." "I knew I wanted to be an actress just because of her and how she jumped off the screen."Though her movie career was short, Dandridge is in no danger of becoming a footnote. Two biographies have come out in the last decade, and Berry's been vying with Whitney Houston, who bought rights to one of the books, to get her film out first. Besides the eerie coincidence of Berry and Dandridge being born in...
  • Kobe Goes It Alone

    At the end of the Los Angeles Lakers' tumultuous season, Kobe Bryant will, as he has after every game and practice, "get ghost." Nobody exits the L.A. Forum swifter than Bryant, signing a few autographs on the fly till he disappears behind the tinted windows of his jet-black Mercedes coupe. Sanctuary lies a few miles up the coast in a sprawling, six-bedroom Pacific Palisades manse, where Kobe lives with his parents and an older sister. In his bedroom, with the Italian marble floor, the Jacuzzi and the spectacular ocean view, Bryant retreats into reverie in which there are only triumphs. "Like that game against Houston [in this year's playoffs] where I made those free throws at the end of the game and we won," says Bryant. "I've dreamed about that many times. I like to dream about it again."At 20, Bryant is already living the modern American dream, a $70 million man on the NBA's glamour team in the nation's starriest city. His acrobatic moves make him the envy of teenage boys and his...
  • The New Color Line

    The big shocker at last week's NFL draft came when Ricky Williams, winner of the Heisman Trophy at the University of Texas as college football's premier player, wasn't the first running back chosen. For a guy who hasn't even played his first NFL game, Williams has already been involved in more than his share of surprises. A few months ago he stunned the league when he dropped his agent from an established firm and became the first pro footballer to join rapper Master P's new sports-management group. In a deal sealed over sweet-potato pie at Master P's Baton Rouge, La., mansion, Williams signed on in front of a large ensemble of family and new friends. "That night it was all about family, not business," Williams told NEWSWEEK. "These people are going to be down for me through the good and bad--just like family. That's the fit I needed."There were rumors--denied by the Indianapolis Colts, which passed on the Texas star--that Williams's draft slip was related to his new "family," who...
  • Surly Worm Gets The Bird

    After a loss three weeks ago, Los Angeles Lakers coach Kurt Rambis was berating the team in the locker room. Dennis Rodman raised his hand, according to two teammates. "May I say," Rodman offered, "what a sh-tty coach you are?" Last Thursday, after "The Worm" showed up late for yet another practice, Rambis and owner Jerry Buss finally put an end to Rodman's two-month tenure, waiving him and agreeing to pay the remainder of his $600,000 contract. (Neither team executive would comment.) Rodman's teammates, whom he had carelessly criticized in the press, including NEWSWEEK, were neither surprised nor sorry to see him go. "He was coming into practice--if he got there--smelling like pure alcohol," said one. "He had been nothing but trouble on a team with enough trouble without him. We couldn't take it anymore and he didn't seem to [care]. That was the big problem."Rodman denied the drinking charge, and told NEWSWEEK that he was being made the scapegoat for a team playing below...
  • Laker Maker Or Laker Breaker?

    No one can cram more tumult into 48 hours than Dennis Rodman. Take, for example, one recent weekend that began Friday night with the Lakers power forward being benched after a sideline spat with new coach Kurt Rambis. Neither that nor the L.A. loss kept Rodman from donning cowboy boots and hat later to party the night away at a Whitney Houston bash in Beverly Hills. By Saturday afternoon, he wasn't in much of a mood for practice, showing up--without apology and with a new peroxide 'do--75 minutes late. "Dennis is doing what Dennis needs to do," said Rambis, who kept Rodman in the starting lineup Sunday for a key tussle with New York. Rodman responded by wreaking basketball havoc as only he can. It wasn't just his team-leading 12 rebounds, but rather how the Lakers seemed to embrace his roughhouse style. And Rodman's "conniving, cunning" tactics, as he calls them, goaded two Knicks into stupid retaliations, which got them tossed out of the game. After the Laker win, Rodman ho-hummed...
  • She's Got Her Own Game

    Standing ovations don't mean what they used to; sports fans today give them up easily and often. Still, few athletes get a standing "O" just for stepping on the basketball court--during warm-ups. The instant Tennessee forward Chamique Holdsclaw appeared at the Southeastern Conference tourney in Chattanooga last week, a sea of orange and white rose in the stands. A chant of "Cha-mique, Cha-mique,'' rolled off fans' tongues as easily as the ponytailed, 6-foot-2 Holdsclaw glided down the court. "It's kinda weird, but I always think they're clapping for someone else," said the 22-year-old senior before leading UT to the conference championship. "I never get used to the response that people have toward me."She may have to get used to it. Holdsclaw (her first name is pronounced Shuh-Meek-Wah) may not turn out to be "the female Michael Jordan.'' (She wears number 23, too, but in honor of her favorite Biblical psalm, not MJ.) But she certainly has the skills and the charisma to become the...
  • Taking Rap Back To Its Real Roots

    Enough with the endless sampling and the cheesy million-dollar videos, says the Philadelphia-based act the Roots. It's time to make rap real again. "Now it's all about money and talking about how many women you have and cars you drive," says drummer ?uestlove. "Corporate America has taken it over."But less sampling doesn't spell a lack of influences. The group's sublime album, "Things Fall Apart,'' takes its title from Chinua Achebe's novel about colonizers who destroy an African community. Another track splices in a scene from Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues.''The Roots call for a return to the old school of rap with their live band sound and their midtempo beats, but the best track is "You Got Me,'' a love song featuring Erykah Badu. (The group produced and performed on her Grammy-winning album.) With Badu's earthy falsetto and frontman Black Thought's smooth Philly flow, the song will likely become an anthem for the Lauryn Hill crowd. "Things Fall Apart'' reminds us that truly good...
  • Taking It Hard To The Nba Hoop

    THROUGHOUT THE '90S, NBA basketball has increasingly become a one-on-one game. So it seems appropriate that saving this season--perhaps even the league--came down last week to NBA Commissioner David Stern and players' union chief Billy Hunter going head to head in an all-night negotiating session. But going one on one with Stern at the table is a bit like going one on one with Michael Jordan on the court; the inevitable result is a slam-dunk. When the deal was finally struck in the predawn hours Wednesday, Stern had led the owners, in playoff parlance, to virtually a clean sweep.Hunter insisted the six-year agreement (with a league option for a seventh) that ended the six-month lockout was a genuine compromise. With a league vote on canceling the season less than 40 hours away, he said, ""We both blinked.'' But Hunter likely mistook a Stern wink. While the NBA players remain the best-paid athletes in the world, the league exacted extraordinary concessions (chart), including a...
  • Denver's No-Flash Back

    HE HAD HIS FIRST TASTE OF football stardom at the age of 8 when he earned the nickname ""Boss Hogg'' as a bowl-'em-over running back on a Pop Warner team in San Diego. So Terrell Davis was thrilled to accompany his Denver Broncos teammate John Elway to see John's son play in a Pop Warner game. The parents and kids may have become blase about seeing the superstar quarterback, but they thronged Terrell, seeking autographs, handshakes, even hugs. Davis, 26, still a reluctant star in his fourth NFL season, was so nonplused by the attention that he fled the field. ""I don't think I've completely mastered the idea of being famous yet,'' says Davis.Fame has become an increasing predicament for Davis since the Broncos' upset win over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. The victory will be remembered as the crowning achievement of Elway's Hall of Fame career, but it was Davis who earned the MVP trophy. ""Terrell is, no question, the greatest back I've ever played with,'' says Elway, who had been...
  • Hoop Nightmare

    When a basketball star choked and tried to punch his coach, it highlighted a growing culture clash in the NBA. Are the game's bad boys, old-guard coaches or the hype-hungry endorsement industry to blame?In pro sports ugly usually begets uglier. And the incident in Oakland where Golden State Warriors star Latrell Sprewell assaulted his coach, P. J. Carlesimo, during a practice was plenty ugly from the start. After the coach scolded him for a lacklu ster effort, a teammate told NEWSWEEK, Sprewell ""went straight playground" on Carlesimo: ""Bitch, you're gonna trade me or I'm gonna kill you." Then he apparently decided not to wait for that first option, seizing the coach's throat. Players pulled Spre well off, and the 27-year-old all-star guard was ushered out of the gym. But 15 minutes later he returned and lunged at Carlesimo again, striking him a glancing blow to the neck. ""You prepare for a lot of things in the course of a career," said Carlesim o, who has had strained relations...
  • Amistad's Struggle

    BORN WITH OUR eyes on the future, we Americans are notoriously oblivious to history--our own or anyone else's. Unless we are personally involved, our attitude goes, it's nothing to get worked up about. Did anyone, other than a few spoilsport movie critics, take umbrage when the new animated film ""Anastasia'' claimed that Rasputin's curse caused the Russian Revolution? ...
  • Ready For His Close-Up

    EVEN BACK IN JUNIOR HIGH IN Indianapolis, Kenneth Edmonds--you know him as Babyface--was more or less the guy he is now. He was in his first band then; onstage, he'd let others sing as he hung back, playing guitar, registering the crowd's response. ""I'd watch to see what they reacted to,'' he recalls. ""We were doing other people's songs and it helped me see what I needed to write so people would be drawn to it. I've always paid close attention to what makes people tick.'' ...
  • Black Beauty's New Face

    ALEK WEK GIGGLES A LOT. SHE giggles at the mere mention of Method Man, her favorite rapper, and she giggles when she talks about sashaying down the runways of New York, Paris and Milan. And why shouldn't she? At 20, Wek is the hottest face in fashion, keeping heads turning with her flawless ebony skin, tightly cropped hair and never-ending legs. Cameos in Janet Jackson and Busta Rhymes music videos have even made her a strikingly different-looking presence on MTV. After Wek modeled Cynthia Rowley's spring line two weeks ago, the designer declared that ""her happy personality wears the clothes.''""It's all been such a blast--particularly seeing myself on MTV,'' says Wek in her thick British accent. ""It's just been real fun--that's the best I can say.'' Born into the Dinka tribe in Sudan, Wek escaped the war-torn country with her family when she was 14. After relocating to London, the 5-foot-11 beauty was discovered at an outdoor market two years ago. Since then her African look has...
  • Going Hard To The Hoop

    A DOZEN PHILADELPHIA PLAYERS ARE streaking up and down the court in three-on-three drills, but new 76ers coach Larry Brown only has eyes--and instructions--for one. ""Allen, go down the lane sooner,'' Brown urges. ""Allen, get to your position sooner.'' ""Allen, space out.'' Allen Iverson acknowledges his coach with a slight nod and hustles to comply. Only when the coach is finished with his tutelage does Iverson relax with some hip-hop dance steps and jocular high-fives. Those awaiting the conflagration or, at the very least, clash as the NBA's most controversial young star begins play this season for one of basketball's most relentless teachers have so far been disappointed. ""All those people who were saying that we wouldn't get along were so full of bull,'' said the 22-year-old point guard. ""Coach Brown is a great coach who can help us win, and that's something I can definitely get along with.''Having proclaimed himself--by both word and tattoo--""The Answer'' before he played...
  • Not Losing His Religion

    EVEN THE LAMEST PERFORMERS GET standing ovations these days, but how many singers can lay claim to three hours of body-swaying adoration? Welcome to a Kirk Franklin concert, a musical lovefest of remarkable dimensions. It's a Saturday night at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, and Franklin's sold-out audience is packed with hip-hop kids in baggy pants and baseball caps standing with middle-age folks in Sunday-best suits and floral hats. The front row is filled with stars like Brandy, Angela Bassett and Stevie Wonder. It's an odd mix. But what's more surprising is that they've come together to hear a gospel singer. Franklin, 27, may dress in electric blue pants and psychedelic vests, but he says his nationwide Tour of Life is about redemption first and entertainment a distant second. ""I'm doing what it takes to get the attention of my generation,'' he says. ""Kids are killing their parents. They're lost. Someone has to bring them back.'' ...
  • Bring In 'Da Night

    A YEAR AGO QUINCY JONES COULDN'T buy a booking in late-night to hawk his 33d album, ""Q's Jook Joint.'' The 64-year-old music man, perhaps the most influential African-American in Hollywood, was told that Leno wasn't interested and that Letterman's people wanted him only if he'd perform, which he hasn't done in 23 years because of a medical condition. Jones didn't get mad. He got even. ...