*Recently was invited to the city of Philadelphia by public relations extraordinaire Syreta Oglesby to the 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend. The all-star celebration was held by Charles “Charlie Mack” Alston, CEO of 215 Aphillyated.

 Mack, a longtime friend of Philly’s own Will Smith, has been in the entertainment business in some capacity since the late 70s and has worked with the likes of Will Smith, Boyz II Men, Tatiyana Ali and was co-producer for the hit film “ATL” starring TI.

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  Michael Vick, Charlie Mack, Tyrese Gibson and a volunteer worker (photo via

 However the weekend wasn’t about Charlie Mack the industry insider. It was about Charlie Mack, concerned citizen of Philadelphia. Since 2003, Mack has been cashing in favors and checking his rolodex to get his celebrity friends out to help fight violence and promote education in the streets of Philadelphia.  He’s doing his best to make sure the burg known as the birthplace of liberty can once again live up to its claim of being the city of Brotherly Love.


Will Smith, Tyrese Gibson, Lisa Raye, Kevin Hart, Michael Vick, the Family Crews, Alan Payne, Vivica A. Fox and scores of other celebrity were out and about representing for a great cause. A portion of the proceeds go to the Charlie Mack Cares Center.

The weekend long affair started with the Talented Teen Competition held at Yesha Fellowship Hall and hosted by BET’s “106 & Park” host Terrence J, with celebrity judges Tyrese Gibson, producer Rodney Jerkins, Lil’ Mama and the lovely Toccora Jones.  The winner took home $10,000 in cold hard cash.  This was followed by children’s activities held at the Bible Way Baptist Church.  Mack and his celebrity friends were also in full effect at the Youth Study Center for “Education Over Incarceration” and the Healthy Hoops Basketball and Asthma Education Clinic Tour on Sunday at Hagen Arena on the campus of St. Joseph’s University.  It truly seemed like the brother was in two or three places at once.

Though the weekend was a whirlwind of activity for all involved, I was finally able to catch up with a couple of lovely ladies at the screening for “The Streets,” starring Meek Mills, produced by Mack and directed by Jamal Hill. Actresses Elise Neal and Jill Marie Jones were on hand and were happy to tell us why they think Charlie Mack is the man. What most people don’t realize that Neal has a special relationship with Mack that dates back over 20 years.

“I’m here supporting Charlie Mack and his whole foundation,” said Neal. “Charlie and I have known each other for years, I was in the ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ video back in the day. Will Smith and Charlie are really good friends of mine and this is the first year that I’ve been able to come here and it’s been a great weekend. Charlie Mack cares has really done some great things here in Philadelphia.  I actually went to college here and Philadelphia, PCPA but now it’s called College of the Arts.  That was my school.  Being a girl from Memphis and seeing people do such positive things they’re doing for kids?  Man, it’s been a really great weekend.”

Rebecca Crews and Jill Marie Jones (photo courtesy 

Next up on the red carpet was Jill Marie Jones and, while I’ve been aware of the beauty of Neal for sometime, I was pleasantly taken aback by Jones’ amazing up close aesthetics.  Not certain whether she was wearing lip gloss or lip stick, but those lips were like “Pow” … but I digress. After snapping back to reality I was able to get her take on the weekend’s festivities.

“I’m here for the Charlie Mack weekend,” said Marie Jones. “He’s had these weekends before but we’ve never been able to link up because of my schedule. What he does for the youth of Philly is awesome. I’m here for Charlie Mack. A man who does what he does for the city and is really trying to uplift the city. That’s what I’m all about.”

 After stepping away from the hurricane of commotion and showing some love we returned the favor by giving them the chance to plug some upcoming works.

 “Right now I’m shooting a film called ‘The Under Shepherd.’ It’s myself, Isiah Washington, Clifton Powell and it’s a great cast,” said Neal.  “It’s really going to tell you, completely, everything regarding the underbelly of a church. Everything is going to be exposed in this film.”

 Sounds like that’s going to be something to check for.  In the meantime, you can catch Jill Marie Jones in Russ Parr’s “35 and Ticking” with Kevin Hart, Nicole Ari Parker, Meghan Good and Mike Epps.

 “Right now I’m on the 5th chapter of my first book and I’m really excited about it. I have a development situation that I created for myself.  So, hopefully, you’ll see me on television some time soon.  Also, I have a movie called ’35 and Ticking’ with Kevin Hart, Nicole Ari Parker, Megan Good, Mike Epps and the list goes on with the amazing talent that is on this film.”

 The 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace event finished with a fashion show and closed with a private party at the Vault Night Club.  From Saturday July 24 through 25, Philadelphia was filled with stars from all over the Hollywood constellation there to support the future of Philadelphia’s children.  What started as a celebrity basketball game back in the early 90s has exploded into a weekend that Philadelphians have come to love and that’s all due to a man with a mission, Charlie Mack!

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