Entertainers
Avery*Sunshine, Naima Adedapo, Jamecia Bennett, Paris Bennett

Featured Entertainers at the "Knocking Out Breast Cancer" Event on October 10, 2015

Avery*Sunshine

Avery*Sunshine

Avery*Sunshine is without a doubt one of the most dynamic voices on the creative music scene, known for her invigorating and combustible live performances, compelling and revealingly honest song writing and impeccable instrument. The earthy and charming singer who has lent her vocals to the silver screen and collaborated with the likes of Roy Ayers, Will Downing, and Musiq Soulchild, has also lent her choral directing and choirs to a few of the live performances from Michael Buble, David Foster, Anthony Hamilton, and Jennifer Holiday. In 2005 she lent her voice to the soundtrack for Paramount Pictures┬╣ The Fighting Temptations, and in 2005 she was hired as lead keyboardist for Tyler Perry┬╣s stage play Meet the Browns. In 2007, she was sought out by Grammy- and Tony Award-winning vocal powerhouse Jennifer Holliday to be choral director for the theatrical production of Dreamgirls during the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Avery*Sunshine has also had the distinction of performing at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO and four private events during the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. As home in a variety of musical contexts, she has also sung background for gospel icon Yolanda Adams.

The SunRoom is Avery*Sunshine's 2nd full length. It's one of those albums that transports you both musically and emotionally. From organic soulful in-the-pocket grooves, sublime ballads and exuberant up-tempo numbers, the vocals shine throughout, the production is tight and the songwriting is authentic and thought provoking. All of the material on the CD was co-written by Avery*Sunshine and Dana "BigDane" Johnson with the exception for the gospel track "Safe In His Arms." The musical roots of Avery*Sunshine run deep as collectively their creative core has been inspired by such diverse iconic figures as Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, The Doobie Brothers, Curtis Blow, B.B. King and John Coltrane to Parliament & Funkadelic, The Clark Sisters, Madonna, Miles Davis, Earth, Wind & Fire and James Brown.

With the release of The SunRoom, it is obvious that Avery*Sunshine and Dana "BigDane" Johnson are no ordinary stars and that their magnetic field of positivity has a gravitational pull that is destined to resonate with the masses. "Our mission is simple: to inspire and encourage people to pursue whatever their life calling is and to operate at the highest level of themselves through that calling - ultimately to #SHINE".

Naima Adedapo

Naima Adedapo

When Naima Adedapo walks into a room, you know it. There is a sweetness and a youthful energy, not to mention a unique beauty that makes up all the attraction that seems to follow the Chicago native. She exudes the determination of a woman on a mission. This might explain the past year of her roll-up-your-sleeves journey into the discovery of one's own personal artistry that a little show called American Idol ignited in 2011 after she garnered national attention as one of the top 11 finalists on Season 10.

At an early age, Naima, named after a ballad composed by John Coltrane in 1959, knew that performing and expressing herself through music and dance was her calling. Being the daughter of renowned Milwaukee area Jazz vocalist Adekola Adedapo, and the great-granddaughter of actress Gladys Williams who shared the stage with Sidney Portier, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis in the 1940s, there was no way for Naima not to be bitten by the entertainment bug. Growing up in Chicago, at age 10 Naima moved to Milwaukee with her mom and younger brother after their parents' separation. She spent her childhood around the music scene in and out of Jazz clubs with her mom all the while being influenced at a young age by the music of the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, the Motown era, Michael Jackson and later India Arie.

Finishing high school in the top of her class and graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance she made it a point to excel in whatever she did. She has been involved in the Milwaukee Public Theater as a dancer, teacher and actress appearing in a number of theatrical performances including the lead in For Colored Girls, West Side Story and Crowns among others. Since the age of 13 she has taught dance to youth for a variety of community outreach centers and schools all over Milwaukee. Before auditioning for American Idol Naima was a maintenance worker on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee dealing with the not-so-pleasant duties of emptying trash and cleaning toilets. "I got a job there to be around the music and be in the midst of my passion. I watched all these artists on the big stages and wanted so badly to one day have that opportunity," she said.

After coming off Idol, performing a 47-city tour in the US, Philippines and Canada, appearing on a number of TV shows including Jay Leno, Regis & Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America and the Today Show and experiencing a whirlwind of many firsts in the entertainment industry with the newfound exposure to contracts, recordings, TV production, red-carpets, media, public appearances and a level of instant recognition that only a show like Idol can bring, Naima went straight into a record deal. Things were moving fast with the record company to avoid losing the momentum of the Idol exposure and the first songs she had ever written were going on a cd. It was during these songwriting/recording sessions that she realized there was a lot she didn't know about herself as an artist and about the entertainment industry. There was an uneasiness she felt in the middle of this process that couldn't be explained. It was during this time that she met Nashville music executive, Cindy Owen with Given Entertainment, at one of Given business partner Jim Kacmarcik's Milwaukee charity events. The two exchanged numbers and became fast friends. "Cindy began asking me casual questions that often times I couldn't really answer. I played her some of the music that was to go on my record and it was what she said then that opened my eyes the most, 'Where is your voice? You are a singer' and I couldn't stop thinking about that."

In need of guidance and a manager, Naima soon asked Cindy if she would assume the role. Seeing so much more in the talent and abilities than what Naima even realized, with the encouragement of her new manager to broaden her scope of music beyond the borders of reggae and urban, which since her teens was the extent of what she had been immersed in, Naima began the journey of the most artistically transforming time in her life. "I wanted Naima to forget about chasing a post American Idol window of time that was quickly closing and focus on developing into the artist she was meant to be. I didn't care how long that would take. I knew it was in her and I knew she was going to blow herself and everyone else away when she started coming into her own." Naima spent the next year out of the spotlight and completely concentrating on the music and vocal coaching. Juggling a career and family life with four and six year-old girls and their father, Naima frequently made the trek between Milwaukee and Nashville where she immersed herself in music genres and artists that she had yet to be exposed to while writing and honing her sound with some of the industry's finest. "People have this huge misconception of Nashville. No, I am not doing a country record" she laughs. "Nashville has one of the most diverse, eclectic music scenes I have ever experienced. It has become my second home".

Wanting to make music with a message, Naima began pulling inspiration from some of her own life experiences in the hard lessons and struggles she's been through as well as the empowerment in the realization of what she had within her to come out on the other side. "It all started coming together for me personally and artistically. It was enlightening. I felt like my soul was being fed for the first time and I was performing and writing songs that represented what I was about. It started flowing naturally. This new music is part of the fabric of who I am." Naima said. The results of those revelations have spawned such tunes as the crowd-favorites, "Beautifully Made" that talks about loving who you are and how you were made, as well as, "Diary of a City Girl," written with renowned singer/ songwriter Phil Vassar that echoes a young girl's love of being raised in a big city.

Naima's sound has a pop vibe with soul sensibilities mixed with a powerful, smoky, soulful vocal delivery that is uniquely her own. She herself has been surprised at the power and range in her voice that has developed over a short time as well as her abilities as a songwriter. "There is so much depth to Naima as an artist and as a woman. She is hungry, she is a quick study and she is committed to giving it all to be the best that she can be." Cindy added. "She is a model artist and she is blooming like a flower." Her live show is no different. Naima is an entertainer whose vibrant love of people and connecting with them from the stage shines through with the fun, energetic performance of a seasoned pro.

Jamecia Bennett

Jamecia Bennett

Currently, Jamecia lives in Minneapolis, When she is not gigging with her own band "REAL MUZIC" She carries the torch of being new lead vocalist of the original Grammy Award Winning Sounds Of Blackness.Writer and producer of the new hit single Fly Again off their recent self titled album The Sounds of Blackness After touring the world with the Sounds Of Blackness, Jamecia also recieved a solo contract from Mercury Records that resulted in her writing and performing songs on movie soundtracks suchas, Jasons Lyric (performed song: Rodeo Style), Kazaam (performed song: The Best of Me), and Posse (performed song: Women United).

2012 Ms.Bennett was nominated for 2 NAACP Image Awards an walked away with one win, and the same week received the grammy win for the artist she produced and wrote on the project Grammy Award winning Gospel Artist Leandria Johnson. Jamecia hit the Billboard charts at #8 as a featured lead soloist with Dove and Stellar nominees James Grear and Company with a cd entitled Don't Give UP. She also completed an album that was released in London and Germany. Jamecia is also known on the off broadway play circuit for her performances in Tyler Perry's shows ( I Know I've Been Changed, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, and Madea's Family Reunion) and author Micheal Baisdons show ( Men Cry In The Dark) returning to her home where she resides Minneapolis, Minnesota she joined and directed the cast of( The Night Before Christmas) performed at the Guthrie Theatre. She later was blessed to join yet another cast of the hit off broadway show, " BeeHive" playing the roles of her idols Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Jamecia did not stop there she soon connected with one of the best theaters in Minnesota the Penumbra Theatre, where she performed in great shows such as; Black Nativity, and Get Ready.

The Ordway Center was her next venture sharing the stage with Debbie Duncan, Julius Collins, and Regina Williams in 3 month running show, "Blues In The Night." Jamecia graced the renown Guthrie Theaters stage in the 5 Tony Award Winning Broadway Show "Caroline or Change" April-June20 2009, and soon joined the cast of the broadway show, "RENT 2010." 2011 Jamecia hit the stage again performing a 3 month run of The legendary hit The Rocky Horror Show at the Lab Theater.

Now being the daughter of Ann Nesby and the mother/manager of Paris Bennett, music is family and love. Jamecia says, "I make and sing music to heal the soul." The artist development side of Jamecia she claims is her favorite past time. If you watched Season 5 American Idol you will see her work shown through her daughter Paris Bennett as she took the world by storm capturing the 5th spot as a finalist out of 125,000 artist that auditioned for the show. Jamecia teaches stage presence, vocal instruction and coaching, etiquette, interviewing skills, fashion consulting, studio vocal training and production of studio vocals. Jamecia worked under the leadership and guidance for superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for 10 years learning all she could from these talented gentlemen. She now runs a organization called Minnesota Movement LLC, which is a Management & artist developement company for up and coming artist, providing them with guidance in studio production, stage presence, styling, interviewing skills, touring etiqutte, public relations, social media and marketing.

Paris Bennett

Paris Bennett

Paris Bennett (August 21, 1988) is an American singer and songwriter born in Rockford, Illinois. Performing at an early age she was guided musically by her mother, Jamecia Bennet (actress and solo artist), and her grandmother, Ann Nesby (lead singer of the Sounds of Blackness).

2003, Bennett attended Edina High School where she played Dorothy in the school's production of, "The Wiz". In 2004, Paris relocated to Fayetteville, Georgia and started her senior year at Starr's Mill High School. After graduating High School Paris had hopes of studying Gynecology and really had no plans on pursuing music. It wasn't until her grandmother, Ann Nesby, encouraged her to try out for Season 5 of American Idol, which gained her a "Golden Ticket" to Hollywood.

In 2006, Bennett became a contestant on one of the most popular shows in the history of American television, American Idol. Paris took 5th place along the side with Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry. Season five still remains the highest rated season in the show's run thus far with the most productive and successful recording artists the show has ever generated.

Paris debut album, The Princess P, found the budding star working with such notable producers and took on some notable producers such as Jon Jon Traxx (Beyonce, Mary J., etc.) Daren Lighty (Nas, Donell Jones etc.) and Rodney Jerkins (Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, etc.). The album reached No. 1 on the US Top Heatseekers chart.

In 2008, Paris released her first Christmas album, A Royal Christmas. Included was a couple of standards as well as original tracks, "The Holla Day Shuffle" which was written by her mother Jamecia Bennett. Later that year, she was featured at the 24th San Diego Men's Chorus' (SDMC) holiday show. Also, she was featured in the PlayStation game, Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore and American Idol Encore 2. An interactive singing competition game series that allows players to compete online for a high score in singing selected song.

Throughout the years Paris has ventured in many aspects of the Entertainment Industry. Performing in one of the world's most well known stage production, "Rent" as Mimi Cover sharing the stage along side her mother Jamecia Bennett. This opportunity lead her into many other project which include taking on the role of Elyse in a movie called "Mama, I want to Sing!" with Lynn Whitefield and Grammy Award Winning Ciara and Patti LaBelle.

In 2012, Paris co-starred in Tyler Perry's filmed stage musical Aunt Bam's Place.