Here are two brand spankin' new music videos for your viewing pleasure or displeasure, I'll let you decide. The first video comes from Kanye West. The latest 808s and Heartbreaks video is for "Street Lights." The second video, "Mrs. International," comes via rap duo Red & Meth and special guest Eric Sermon in support of their recent release, Blackout! 2.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Phonte Stands Up For His Hero
While many celebrities have released statements concerning the loss of music's greatest icon, Phonte went a step further and wrote an essay honoring and defending the legacy of his hero. A member of Little Brother and Foreign Exchange, Phonte posted his MJ essay, My Hero Ain't Molest Them Bitch Ass Kids: Phonte's teary-eyed tribute to The King on his MySpace page. Check out a few excerpts.
Michael Jackson's impact:
Honestly I'm still trying to process it, almost like the loss of a much-loved family member. I mean, hell, to many of us Michael WAS family. Much like Nike, or Coca-Cola, or McDonalds, Michael Jackson wasn't so much a person as he was a living, breathing, American institution; a ubiquitous force that has seemingly existed forever and one that we couldn't imagine a world without. Seeing Michael onstage was less like watching a musician perform and more akin to witnessing a magician at work.
Sexual Abuse Accusations:
It is my belief now, just as it was 16 years ago, that the charges brought against Michael during his 1993 sexual abuse case were false...Ask the average parent whether they'd want justice or money for their abused child and more than likely they'd say justice, if for no other reason than to protect their child (and other children) from a future attack. The fact that Evan Chandler was willing to essentially let Michael off the hook for a few million (reportedly 2-3), made their case seem like a well-orchestrated extortion attempt.
Generally when victims of abuse come out with allegations against someone, other victims come forward to corroborate their story (i.e. the Catholic Church scandal, where a few parties came forward and it later led to thousands).
Very rarely do child molesters stop at just one kid, or even two for that matter. An alleged pedophile with only two accusers is kinda like an alleged serial killer with only one body. Or an alleged sneaker addict with only two pairs of Jordans in his closet. It just doesn't make any logical sense, nor does it coincide with the recurring psychological characteristics of most people who fall into those categories.
When it came to children, the only thing Michael was guilty of in my opinion, was naivete. While cuddling in the bed with children isn't technically illegal, it does violate several social norms; norms that a man who dresses funny, lives at an amusement park and refers to himself as “Peter Pan” would certainly pay a higher price for breaking. When I hear the tales of Michael laying in bed with those children, watching movies, tickling, and engaging in general horseplay, it sounds less like the work of a pedophile and more like the actions of a man trying to experience a childhood he never had.
Michael Jackson & Allegations of Self Hatred:
Michael Jackson never tried to disown or separate himself from his Blackness at any point in his career. In fact, he was probably the most openly pro-Black pop entertainer of his time. Michael Jackson ashamed to be Black? I mean, this was the same guy who:
-portrayed Black people as kings and queens in ancient Egypt ("Remember the Time" video)
-called Tommy Mottola (his then label boss) a devil and a racist
-sang "white man's gotta make a change" live on the Grammies in '88
-sang about a beautiful African woman in "Liberian Girl"
-featured an African chant at the end of "Wanna Be Startin Somethin"
-donated over $25 million to the United Negro College Fund
-sang "I ain't scared of no sheets" in "Black or White" and upped the ante by morphing into a BLACK PANTHER at the video's end
-wrote a song called "They Don't Really Care About Us," with a Spike Lee-directed video that featured prisoners raising the Black power fist
-uhhh “We Are The World” and USA for Africa, anyone?
Micheal Jackson & The Media:
This essay is my plea to all people who consider themselves a fan of Michael Jackson, but especially to Black people: Don't let them talk about our Brother. Don’t let his naysayers convict him of crimes that were never proven. Don't let people reduce the memory of one of our greatest heroes to that of a weird guy who wore a shiny glove and molested little boys.
When Elvis Presley died, did the media remember him as an overweight, drug-abusing racist who dated a 14 year-old, or was he eulogized as The King of Rock and Roll?
When Woody Allen dies, do you think the media will focus on the controversy behind him marrying his own stepdaughter, or on the films "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" and how great they were? (Ditto for Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll pioneer who married his 13-year old cousin.)
Was MJ a weirdo?
Of course he was a weirdo...But maybe if you had been in the public eye since you were 7, had grown ass women throwing themselves at you since you were 13, suffered physical abuse at the hands of your father, watched your father and older brothers engage in sex with groupies on tour as a child, were called "Big Nose" and "ugly" by both family members AND fans, developed a skin disease that took away the one thing you repeatedly expressed your pride for, and spent the last half of your life as the most famous person on Earth, you'd probably be a bit of a weirdo too.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The recent death of Michael Jackson is followed by the death of another urban music & cultural icon, VIBE magazine. The brainchild of legendary producer, Quincy Jones, VIBE magazine made its' debut 16 years ago. After nearly two decades in circulation, the beloved magazine has become the latest victim of the media recession. As a teenager, the thought of working at VIBE was the dream job. I still look forward to mid-month when my copy of VIBE arrives in the mailbox. VIBE was the premier magazine chronicling urban music, fashion and culture. I wonder if I'll get a refund on my two year subscription. The magazine has yet to release an official statement but it is being reported that an assistant in the office of editor in chief Danyel Smith confirmed the sad news. Goodbye, VIBE.
Stevie Tries to Say 'Goodbye'
Michael Jackson's lifelong friend and former Motown label mate, Stevie Wonder, took time out of his recent Kansas City concert to pay tribute to the King Of Pop. Wonder, a fellow child singing sensation, delivered a moving tribute via talkbox. Before singing the emotional charged 'Never Can Say Goodbye' Stevie spoke of his dear friend. Click play and see for yourself.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saadiq Pays Homage to Jackson
While performing in Japan, a country known for it's love of black folks and black music, Raphael Saadiq & crew dug deep in MJ's music catalogue and performed 'I Want You Back.' In all fairness, this was taped the day MJ died so Saadiq & crew had very little time to rehearse. Therefore, I can't complain. While it isn't a spectacular performance, I'm sure it comes from the heart and that is all that matters. Click play & enjoy!
In Case You Missed It!
Watching last night's BET Awards in it's entirety proved to be quite a difficult task. Many, including myself, watched to catch the much-talked-about MJ tributes. Needless to say, I was disappointed with BET once again. Buffoonery & Coonery can be used to describe what was suppose to be a highlight of Black entertainment. One of the few highlights occurred when a stoic Janet Jackson approached the microphone and expressed her family's heartache and pain during such a difficult time. In case you changed channels in utter disgust and missed it, here it is. Janet's heartfelt words and the image of a young Janet with her older brother in the background proved to be a magical, memorable TV moment. Jaime Foxx and NeYo sang a worthwhile rendition of 'I'll Be There' immediately after Janet left the stage.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Never Can Say GoodbyeThe past 10 to 15 years have proven to be difficult times for Michael Jackson. During that time period it was difficult for us, his adoring fans, to focus squarely on his artistry, music, legacy and humanitarian efforts. We've been inundated with non stop stories detailing MJ's oddball behavior. The press labeled The King of Pop 'Wacko Jacko,' he was crucified for loving children and deemed a child molester. Difficult times indeed. News of his shocking, untimely death allowed myself and many others to reflect on the man and his music and the countless personal memories surrounding all things MJ, thoughts of bad times have vanished from my memory bank.
Losing Micheal is, in a real sense, like losing a close relative. We all grew up on the music of MJ. His music transcended generational gaps. My 52 year older mother grew up listening to the soulful sounds of Michael and his brothers. She even dreamed of one day marrying Mike. Born six years after the release of Off The Wall and two years prior to Bad, the timeless music of Michael Jackson played throughout the soundtrack of my life, the life a child growing up in inner-city New York during the 90's.
Michael epitomized everything that was cool. There was a time when we all, boys & girls, wanted to be MJ. We wanted the black penny loafers, the black leather jacket, the glove, and the jeri curl! We can all remember our very first introduction to MJ and how we spent countless hours trying to imitate his signature dance moves. We can all remember when someone, having just discovered MJ's music, came to the playground and tried his or her best to duplicate MJ's dance moves, body and facial movements and vocal magic. Within a few minutes, a battle would ensue as everyone on the playground was trying to be just like Mike.
Yesterday, while listening to the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye," my 10 month old daughter began to mutter the words "bye, bye, bye." A few tears fell. I began to imagine a world without Michael Jackson. It proved to be an impossible task. Believe it or not, the entire world speaks the same language, the enduring music of Michael Jackson.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Today marks what would have been Tupac Shakur's 38th birthday. named after Túpac Amaru II, a Peruvian revolutionary who led an indigenous uprising against Spain and was subsequently executed, Tupac was a revolutionary in his own right. A man of many words, some contradictions and plenty of questionable actions, he tried to be the Malcolm X of his day. Without a doubt, Tupac, much like Malcolm X, was on his way to sparking a huge revolution. Tupac was once quoted as saying, "....I will spark the brain that will change the world." Unfortunately, he would meet the same fate as Malcolm X. As we celebrate, 38 years of Tupac, let's talk a look back at a memorable song and video. In related news, Tupac's mother, Afeni, has organized a star studded benefit concert hosted by Mike Epps. The concert kicks off today at the Tupac Amaru Shakur for the Arts in Atlanta and will feature guest such as Ludacris, Ciara, Young Jeezy, Big Boi, Jim Jones and Polow Da Don.
Celebrate 50 With Motown
Here is something you need to hear. Just in time for summer cookouts and family gatherings, Flwrpt has gathered a slew of Motown tracks, hits and rarities, for a mixtape celebrating 50 years of Motown. Don't expect to hear the traditional Motown hits, Flwrpt has unearthed tracks from the likes of Yvonne Fair, Willie Hutch, Eddie Kendricks, Rick James, The Jackson 5 and many others. Give Motown Fifty a listen, you won't be disappointed.
MJB Working On Fall Release
Mary J. Blige has been making moves at an unstoppable pace since her rise to mainstream stardom thanks to her breakthrough album, The Breakthrough. MJB is currently working on her ninth studio album. Mary expects the project to be available sometime this fall. November, to be exact. The forthcoming album includes collaborations with T.I, Drake, and Public Soul Announcement fave Jazmine Sullivan. Mary describes the album as "Crazy. Anything you could ever want or desire from Mary is on this album. Come November you're going to be happy again."
Monday, June 15, 2009
The Art of Noise Courtesy of Raheem
The DMV's very own, Raheem DeVaughn, is making some noise with his latest mixtape, Art Of Noise. The 19 song mixtape is the first project to come from his record label venture, 368 MUSIC GROUP. Raheem's latest project serves a prelude to his upcoming third studio album, The Love & War Masterpeace, which is expected to drop later this year. Hooray! Art of Noise features collaborations with his artist Phil Adé, T-Pain and a couple of new jacks such as Ice the Villian, Young Chris, Stello and Kingpin Slim. You can rejoice in the fact the mixtape is free. Click here to download Art of Noise.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Soul Sunday On TV One
Consider it Soul Sunday on TV One. Mary J. Blige and Melba Moore are the headlining acts for TV One's Sunday night programming. In the midst of working on her 9th studio album, MJB opens up to Cathy Hughes as part of the network's "TV One on One" series. Nowadays, Sister J. Blige has no problem talking about her life, career and the valuable lessons learned. Be sure to tune in @ 9pm EST.
TV One's critically acclaimed series Unsung takes a look at the life and career of Grammy-nominated and Tony-winning vocalist Melba Moore. I can't wait to learn about the woman behind the legendary voice. Check out the teaser below. Unsung airs Sunday night @ 8pm EST.
At 70, Bill Withers Is Still Bill
A huge fan of documentaries, I long for docs that center around soul music and/or the musicians and singers responsible for the everlasting musical genre. The good folks at SoulBounce put me on to the forthcoming Bill Withers doc Still Bill. The West Virginia native responsible for 'Ain't No Sunshine,' 'Lovely Day,' and 'Lean On Me' takes filmmakers on a journey of his complex, fascinating personal life. Interviews with Dr. Cornel West, Sting, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Withers' family and close friends are included in the film, which has been screened at a few film festivals. Hopefully, Still Bill will be coming to a theater near you. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Little Man, Big Mistake
Dating Janet Jackson; good idea. Collaborating with New Era; bad idea. Jermaine Dupri and New Era have released a pair of signature collection fitted caps, the Gold and Platinum “A-Towns”. Who is responsible for designing this f*ckery? Fire them immediately!!!
When Rap Goes Wrong
File this under, WTF??? It seems like so called rappers Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer held a one night only concert in, of all places, Utah. Don't be surprised if Coolio and Kriss Kross are performing at an arena near you.
T.I.'s Sweet Deal
I'm sure you've heard the news, T.I. was sentenced to a year and a day behind bars. The Atlanta native will report to prison on May 19. T.I was arrested back in '07 after attempting to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers. In the coming days and weeks, I'm sure we will all see 'FREE T.I.' t-shirts and headlines on MySpace that read 'Free T.I.' Unlike others, I have no sympathy for Clifford Harris. I'm sure he feels the same way. T.I.'s lawyers were able to work out an extraordinary deal with prosecutors. 1,000 hours of community service and a light sentence serves as a reason to rejoice. The average man would have received a much harsher sentence. I commend T.I. for his community service, visiting 25 states, speaking at 262 events and spending 1,030 hours preaching non-violence and respect for the law.However, before you decide to buy a 'FREE T.I.' t-shirt or post the words 'FREE T.I.' on your MySpace or Facebook page think of our brothers and sisters who truly deserve freedom. Mumia Abu Jamal, is one of those people. Google the man and support a worthy cause.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Has Kanye Lost His Mind?
I was a fan of Yeezy before his debut album, College Dropout, dropped. I was anxiously awaiting for him to drop his debut while he was grinding out beats for Roc-A-Fella. Lately, I've been wondering about his sanity. Most of his behavior & words are questionable, at best. In the new issue of Complex magazine, Kanye announces that he will change his name to Martin Louis The King Jr. A combo of Dr. King and his favorite designer, Louis Vuitton. The Chicago native demands everyone "address me as such." In the words of Jay-Z, "Fame is the worst drug know to man/It's stronger than, heroin."
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A Madea Sized Mistake
Everyone who knows me is aware of how much I love and appreciate MJB. I've been a fan since I heard my mother's copy of What's The 411? back in '93. In recent days, I've been asked my opinion on Tyler Perry casting the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul in his latest film, 'I Can Do Bad All By Myself.' Mary will portray a night club manager with a passion for singing. I can't help but laugh. With all the love I have for Sister J. Blige, I am well aware that she ranks as one of the worst actors in the world. Did you catch Mary's
Oscar-nominated performance in 'Prison Song'? Do you remember her one time role on The Jaime Foxx show? I've heard Mary express interest in enrolling in acting classes. Let's hope she has.
Chrisette Discusses Epiphany
I was captivated the very first time I heard Chrisette Michele's amazing voice. The Def Jam darling's voice is a breath of fresh air in the saturated market of mainstream R&B. Chrisette, along with singer/songwriter/producer Ne-Yo, sat down for an interview with Billboard to discuss her artistic growth, the direction of her upcoming album and much more. Chrisette's sophomore set, Epiphany, hits store next week, March 31 to be exact.
Happy Belated Birthday, ArethaForty two years ago, Aretha Franklin became a household name around the globe after departing Columbia Records for Atlantic Records. Aren't we thankful? The preacher's daughter from Detroit by way of Memphis ushered in a new era of soul music. Aretha's soul is raw and emotional. Erotic and seductive. At times, down right heartbreaking. Aretha was and still is the epitome of soul. Fifty five years after recording her very first album, Aretha and her music is still celebrated. We celebrate Aretha for being a voice when we had no voice. For easing the pains of life with her amazing angelic voice. There is an Aretha song to describe each and every emotion known to man. 'Angel,' 'Call Me,' 'A Rose Is Still A Rose,' 'Ain't No Way,' 'Don't Play That Song,' the list goes on and on. As we celebrate the birth of "our sister beloved, the one who wears the coat of many colors," as described by Rev. Jesse Jackson, let's enjoy a classic Aretha performance.
Leela James Covers James Brown
The pressures of everyday life have forced me to neglect Public Soul Announcement. Needless to say, I'm back. Soul sensation Leela James is back on the music scene as well. The Los Angeles native's debut video for her latest release, Let's Do It Again, is available for your viewing pleasure. Conjuring up images of 1960's juke joint snuggled in the backwoods of Mississippi, Leela keeps the video simple and soulful. Leela can do no wrong in my eyes. Hit play and enjoy.
Uriel Jones (1934-2009)
Motown's Funk Brother Uriel Jones Dies [Detroit Free Press]
Thursday, February 12, 2009
'If This Isn't Love' It's A 'Dreamworld'
Here are two spanking new videos for you to enjoy. First up, J. Hud's 'If This Isn't Love.' The girl has been on a roll lately. In the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy, Jennifer has emerged to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, win a Grammy and deliver a performance at the Grammy's worthy of a standing ovation. She hasn't missed a step with her latest video. Simple and straightforward for obvious reasons, it's a moving symbol of one woman's enduring spirit. The next video comes from blue-eyed soul crooner Robin Thicke. I was the digging the track 'Dreamworld' the moment I heard it. The somber tune, that invokes the memory of Marvin Gaye among other things, proved to be a magic moment on an album that failed to please the masses. Sit back and enjoy the charming video.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
A. Ham's 'Soul's On Fire'
Anthony Hamilton is a rarity in contemporary R&B, he is one of a few artists who could have succeeded in the 1960's & 70's alongside the likes of Otis Redding, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, or Gladys Knight & The Pips. Without a doubt, A. Ham is revered around these parts. In the wake of dropping The Point Of It All, A. Ham has hit the road with his brand of authentic soul. In the midst of releasing an album and touring, Anthony created his own blog, Playin' It Cool, which chronicles his journey on tour. His latest post features a heartfelt performance of 'Soul's On Fire' from The Point Of It All. Hit play and enjoy!
I Got That Good Hair
After being asked, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?", comedian Chris Rock set out to make a film that chronicles the trials and tribulations of black hair. Chris collaborated with writer and pop culture critic Nelson George on the thought provoking, funny film, which grabbed a grand jury prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The doc digs deep into the culture of black hair, visiting salons and styling battles, scientific laboratories, and Indian temples exploring the way black hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of black people. The film is set to premiere on HBO.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Etta James Got Jokes
When audio of Etta James' rant against President Obama and Beyonce hit the net, I had a feeling the 71 year old legend was simply joking and entertaining her audience. I was absolutely right. It was all a joke! Check out what Etta had to say. "I didn't really mean anything," James said. "Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude. ... That's probably what went into it....they were all laughing, and it was funny." As for Obama, James said she "always thought he was handsome and he was cool." [NYDN]
It's A Family Affair
The second cover of VIBE's March 2009 issue features Keyshia Cole and her beloved mother Frankie. Keyshia & Frankie prove to be the first mother & daughter to grace the cover of VIBE. The March issue hits newsstands nationwide February 17. Be sure to check out the video below, Keyshia talks about her latest project A Different Me.
Yes We Did!!! Maybe, He Can Too!!!
"I will not promise you this path will be easy, yes, this will be hard, but if we find our way, we can build a state like we have never known, not at some distant point called one day, but right now, in our season."
U.S. Rep. Artur Davis has announced his candidacy for the office of governor in the state of Alabama. The Harvard educated lawyer and close friend of President Obama is hoping to become Alabama's first black governor. It won't be easy. Davis will need to clench a large number of white votes in a state where Obama got fewer than 20 percent of the white vote.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Leela James Plans New Album
I'm pleased to announce that Leela James is making a comeback. The wait is finally over! Four years after releasing A Change Is Gonna Come, Leela has switched labels and plans on releasing her Shanachie Records debut, Let's Do It Again, in April. Get ready for some authentic gut-bucket soul. Leela pays tribute to soul icons and her personal influences including the Staple Singers and Bobby Womack. Don't sleep on Leela James, be sure to cop the album when it drops.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Chrisette Michelle's 'Epiphany'
Def Jam's premier songstress, Chrisette Michele, has completed work on her as-yet-untitled sophomore project. The album's first single, 'Epiphany', will hit the airwaves on February 10. The track, produced by Ne-Yo, finds Chrisette dealing with the harsh realities of a failed relationship and can be heard on Chrisette's MySpace page. Chrisette reveals on her MySpace blog that she decided to collaborate with a couple of songwriters for the new album, "you know that I wrote my last album save the chorus on 2 songs and i was VERY afraid of giving some one else the pen and pad...but when i did, magic happened." The new album drops March 31.
Words Of Wisdom Courtesy of Chris Rock
"Excellent black people have always been compensated for excellence. Always. The real equality is when we can have a black president as dumb as George Bush. That's when we're really equal. That's when the dream has come true." - Chris Rock
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
More Obama Art
Here is another piece of Obama-inspired artwork. I don't know who the artist is, if you know please let me know. Enjoy!
Black College Fashion
For years it has been difficult to find decent apparel representing HBCU's. In an attempt to bring Black college apparel to the forefront of urban fashion, New Era Cap Co.has teamed up with Atlanta based apparel based design company, Tradition, to launch New Era presents Tradition. The line, representing 30 HBCU's including Morehouse, Howard, Grambling and North Carolina A&T, includes fitted caps, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hoodies, letterman jackets, and button down shirts. The spring collection hits various chains and independent retailers next month. A portion of all "New Era presents Tradition" sales will be used towards scholarships or other worthy investments on campus. The merchandise is worth buying, so buy a few items and give back. Check out the website.
It's Time To 'Get It Together'
I know very little about Maya Azucena but I know I'm feeling the BK natives call-to-change anthem 'Get It Together' and the accompanying music video. The video mirrors the inspirational track, it's possesses a heartwarming, feel-good vibe. Maya picked the ideal time to drop the video, in the midst of Obama's rise to President. Now, it's time for us to get it together!
Obama Rejects Sean John Designs
The publicity surrounding Michelle Obama's dresses, Malia and Sasha's J. Crew inauguration outfits and Aretha's regal hat is astounding. Designers have become overnight celebrities. Interest in the outfits of First Daughters Malia and Sasha led to the crash of the J. Crew website. Aretha's hat is the buzz of the blogosphere, the man responsible for making the hat has received hundreds of calls from people who want to buy the 'Aretha hat.' Needless to say, the worldwide publicity can launch a company to the next level. It's no surprise that Diddy's label Sean John presented Mr. Obama two Sean John tuxedo sketches in hopes that Obama would wear one for the inaugural celebrations. President Obama stuck with a more Presidential look courtesy of his designer of choice, Chicago based Hart Schaffner Marx.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Groovin' On A Sunday Afternoon
I'm sure you would never expect to hear 'When Doves Cry' playing in a Baptist church. Church ain't what it used to be. The congregation, young and old, at Atlanta's The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church celebrated 132 years of ministry with the help of Sam Cooke, The Temptations, Prince and T.I. A combination of warmth and humor. Sam Cooke's 'You Send Me' set the mood for the 'Builders', folk born before 1946. They grooved like it was 1957. The Temptations signature tune 'My Girl' served as the soundtrack for those born between 1947 and 1965, also known as 'Boomers'. The following generation, 'Busters' ('65-'83), relived their college days with Prince's 'When Doves Cry.' T.I's anthem 'Swagga Like Us' was played for the 25 and under crowd. A great balance between spirituality and nature. The way church should be.
I, like so many others, have grown tired of the constant Obama news coverage but I can't get enough of the Obama artwork, this piece was created by artist David Choe.