C.J.: Minnesota's Lee Hawkins "Wiggles" with Australian kiddie rock stars

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 4, 2014 - 12:56 AM
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Lee Hawkins with the Wiggles in Sydney.

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A Lee Hawkins interview with the Wiggles turned into a gig for the Minnesotan, a Wall Street Journal reporter, Fox Business Network regular guest and, let’s not forget … singer.

Hawkins and the Wiggles are scheduled to “do a little performance” Thursday on Fox Business Network’s “After the Bell” show. “We’re going to do a song. We’re going to sing something,” Hawkins told me Wednesday, not tipping his hand as to what.

“After the Bell” airs at 3 p.m. in ­Minnesota. “My mom and dad [Roberta and Lee, Sr.] watch every week,” he said.

Hawk connected with the Wiggles, a multiplatinum Australian group that performs for children, when he interviewed them for “WSJ Live” in 2013.

“We sang in the interview,” he told me. “After the interview, we ended up singing a couple of Motown songs off camera and then they asked me to perform in a New York concert a day or so later. I did that and later I went to Australia to tape their TV series ‘Wiggle House,’ and we recorded a couple songs for their new album and I performed with them at their DVD release premiere in Sydney. I am a featured guest singer on their new album, ‘Apples & Bananas.’ ”Three of the four member of the Wiggles, performing as the Hair Healers, also recorded a few blues songs with Hawk “for fun” that have been posted on YouTube also (http://bit.ly/Qg6o5ccq).

“I am now an honorary North American member of the Wiggles,” said Hawk.

And suddenly a superstar in the eyes of his 2-year-old niece, Chloe.

“I came home [recently] for my Sunday school teacher’s funeral. My family went to dinner and I showed Chloe that ‘Do the Hawk’ video [bit.ly/1xcCoet], and she just went nuts,” he said. “I was sitting right next to her. You know, Wiggles concerts are like rock shows.”

Chloe probably went a little nuts seeing her uncle, who acquired the nickname Hawk in college, dressed in Hawk wings for the video. Something new to add to my favorite Hawk looks, which already included the red pants he wore in the Wiggles’ “This Little Piggy” video, and an ostentatious fur.

“The thing about the Wiggles is they have a whole compound in Sydney and part of their building has 13 or 14 different sets, and this large costume room that has thousands and thousands of costumes,” he said. “It was so crazy that they just so happened to have wings. I was a police officer, I was a chef in the series ‘Wiggle House,’ a lot of different characters.”

None of them was probably cool enough for his niece Darah, 10, the eldest child of Tammi and Darren Harmon and big sister to Chloe.

“Darah is into Katy Perry now. They went to a Katy Perry concert,” said Hawk. “I had bought her all this Justin Bieber stuff, but that sits in the garbage can.”

Bieber stuff belongs in the garbage until he gets his anger issues under control; he doesn’t think rules apply to him. But that’s not how the Hawk rolls, as he explained his new boundaries with his former interview subject.

“I don’t do this in my capacity as a Journal reporter,” Hawk said. “I am doing it more in my capacity as a singer. So you won’t see me cover them anymore now that I perform with them, because I am real strict about that.”

 

Poor news for People

“Maybe they should call it White People magazine,” wrote the New York Daily News (NYDN) in a story about my former StarTribune colleague Tatsha Robertson suing the magazine for discrimination.

Until being laid off in May, Robertson was the only black senior editor at People. She had previously worked at Essence magazine. In her tenure at People, Robertson said she was rebuffed in efforts to produce more stories about blacks, according to the lawsuit.

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