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.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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.