Donate Now





Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour Shatters Records with $580 Million Triumph

Photo Credit:
In a groundbreaking triumph for Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour, the musical powerhouse has shattered records with a staggering $580 million gross and 2.8 million tickets sold in 2023.

According to Billboard the tour, spanning May 10 to October 1, achieved a historic monthly streak with over $100 million in earnings for July, August and September. Beyoncé's August haul of $179 million set a new benchmark, marking the highest reported monthly gross since chart tracking began in February 2019. Surpassing Bad Bunny's 2022 record, Beyoncé now holds the title for the biggest single-year sum for a solo artist in Boxscore history.

The Renaissance Tour's phenomenal success positions Beyoncé at the pinnacle of Billboard's Top Tours Chart, claiming the No. 1 spot. Her year-end earnings of $579.8 million and 2.7 million tickets sold, including the record-setting October 1 show, outshine the competition.

Notably, the Renaissance Tour is the seventh highest-grossing tour in Boxscore history, and Beyoncé stands as one of two solo women to break into the Top 10, alongside Taylor Swift. This achievement further solidifies her status as the first Black woman to rank in the Top 10 highest-grossing tours.
The year-end chart, traditionally dominated by male artists like Bad Bunny, The Rolling Stones, U2, Ed Sheeran and Elton John, witnessed a transformative moment with the dominance of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in 2015 and 2016.
Beyoncé's remarkable feat adds another chapter to the limited instances of women leading the Boxscore report. Taylor Swift, reciprocating the support she received during her Eras Tour film premiere, attended the Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé London premiere in a dazzling silver Balmain gown. Swift expressed her admiration on Instagram, underscoring Beyoncé's influence on her artistic journey.

"Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé," a cinematic chronicle of her record-breaking tour, has made a resounding impact at the box office. With initial North American previews exceeding expectations and amassing $5 million, the film offers audiences an intimate look into Beyoncé's multifaceted life.

Co-written, executive-produced, and co-directed by the 32-time Grammy winner, the film's global opening is anticipated to reach $30-$40 million.

SZA Reigns Supreme: Four Wins Propel Her to Soul Train Awards Glory

Janelle Monáe accepts the Spirit of Soul Award presented by L'Oréal onstage at Soul Train Awards 2023 on November 19, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images for BET)
In a dazzling celebration of Black culture, the 2023 Soul Train Awards unfolded on Sunday night, hosted with flair by the multifaceted Keke Palmer. The star-studded event showcased a night of triumphs, unforgettable performances and historic moments.


The immensely talented SZA dominated the night, securing four coveted awards, including Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and Album of the Year. Usher, not to be outdone, clinched three statuettes, including Best R&B/Soul Male Artist and Certified Soul Award. Victoria Monét's brilliance shone through as she claimed awards for Best Dance Performance and Video of the Year.

Unforgettable Performances

Janelle Monae, honored with the Spirit of Life Award, mesmerized the audience with vibrant renditions from her Grammy-nominated album. Muni Long, collaborating with Grammy winners Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox, delivered a nuanced performance of her latest single. The Soul Cypher featured R&B luminaries freestyling over Usher’s 2001 hit "U Got It Bad."

Host Keke Palmer & Historic Moment

Keke Palmer, as the host, infused the event with energy, setting the stage for BET’s "house party of the year." A notable highlight was the all-female-of-color writing team — a historic first in Soul Train's illustrious history.

Closing Moments

The zenith of the evening was the Legend Award presentation to T-Pain, marked by rapper and activist David Banner. Reflecting on his journey, T-Pain urged new artists to embrace authenticity and closed the night with a high-energy medley of his hits.

Encore Presentation

The 2023 Soul Train Awards, an epitome of cultural celebration, will be broadcast again on November 27 and November 29 on BET.

Complete List of Winners:

Best New Artist: Coco Jones
Certified Soul Award: Usher
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist: SZA
Best R&B/Soul Male Artist: Usher
Best Gospel/Inspirational Award: "All Things" - Kirk Franklin
Song of the Year: "Snooze" - SZA
Album of the Year: "SOS" - SZA
The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award: "Snooze" - SZA
Best Dance Performance: "On My Mama" - Victoria Monét
Best Collaboration: "Good Good" - Usher, Summer Walker, 21 Savage
Best Group: Maverick City Music
Video of the Year: "On My Mama" - Victoria Monét
Spirit of Soul Award: Janelle Monáe
Legend Award: T-Pain

Iconic 'Mr. Big Stuff' Singer Jean Knight Passes at 80

Jean Knight, the iconic voice behind the 1971 chart-topping hit "Mr. Big Stuff," passed away at the age of 80 in Tampa, Florida. The news was confirmed by her family in a statement shared via New Orleans broadcaster LBJ on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday.

In their heartfelt statement, the family expressed the collective sorrow of New Orleans and the music world at the loss of one of their "most treasured musical daughters." Knight, a native of New Orleans, played a vital role in the city's musical legacy.
Her musical journey began with "Doggin' Me Around" on JetStream Records and reached its zenith with the groundbreaking "Mr. Big Stuff" on Stax Records. The song not only showcased her phenomenal talent but also highlighted her dynamic connection with legendary New Orleans producer Wardell Quezerque.
"Mr. Big Stuff," famous for its infectious refrain, "Who do you think you are?," wasn't just a chart-topping anthem; it was a product of soulful, syncopated melodies echoing through the Crescent City. Knight's powerhouse performances at the Essence Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival were legendary, reflecting her sassiness and joyous spirit.
Beyond the stage, Knight's love extended to cooking delicious Creole dishes, celebrating Mardi Gras, and serving on the Louisiana Music Commission. Her resilience and determination led to the formation of her label, Comstar, granting her creative freedom while staying true to her musical traditions.

Over the years "Mr. Big Stuff" has been sampled by numerous artist, including John Legend, TLC, Heavy D & the Boyz, Everclear and Eazy E. It was also used in various advertising campaign, most notably one extolling the virtues of Oreo cookied.

In the 1990s, the resurgence of "Mr. Big Stuff" attested not only to the timeless quality of her music but also to the enduring love of her fans. Over one million additional copies were sold, solidifying the song as a staple in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Oscar-Winning Actor Jamie Foxx Under Fire in Alleged 2015 Assault at Rooftop Bar

John Bauld, via Wikimedia Commons

Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx is facing a legal challenge as he was accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in New York City. The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, alleges that the incident occurred in August 2015 at the Catch NYC rooftop lounge, where Foxx allegedly groped her against her will.

The lawsuit, filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, claims that the assault took place in a secluded corner of the rooftop after the plaintiff and her friend approached Foxx for a photo opportunity. According to the complaint, Foxx's behavior escalated from compliments to unwanted physical advances, including groping the plaintiff's breasts and violating her under her pants.

Foxx's representatives have not yet responded to the allegations outlined in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages. The lawsuit also names Mark Birnbaum, the owner of Catch NYC, and the establishment itself as defendants, asserting that they enabled the assault and failed to adequately supervise their employees.

The plaintiff's legal team argues that the incident caused the woman pain, suffering, emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation, prompting her to seek medical treatment. The lawsuit is one of many filed under the Adult Survivors Act, taking advantage of a one-year window allowing victims to pursue sexual abuse claims that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.

This legal action adds Foxx to the list of high-profile figures facing accusations of sexual misconduct under the Adult Survivors Act, including music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, actors Russell Brand and Bill Cosby, former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and hip-hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs. As the deadline for filing such claims approaches, these lawsuits are part of a broader movement seeking accountability and justice for survivors of sexual abuse.

Concrete Homage: Eazy-E's Legacy Lives on in Compton Street Rename

Compton, California, paid homage to late rap legend and native son, Eazy-E, on Wednesday by renaming the 100 block of Auto Drive South as Eazy Street. The heartfelt tribute commemorates the artist's profound impact on hip-hop and the city.

Born Eric Wright, Eazy-E soared to fame as a pivotal member of the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A., standing alongside influential artists such as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Arabian Prince.

Beyond his contributions to N.W.A., Eazy-E found success as the founder and owner of Ruthless Records and as a solo artist. Tragically, he succumbed to AIDS-induced pneumonia in 1995 at the age of 30.
The decision to rename the street received unanimous support from key figures, including Compton Mayor Emma Shariff, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, state Sen. Steve Bradford, D-Gardena and Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Gardena.

Alonzo Williams, president of the Compton Entertainment Chamber of Commerce, played a pivotal role in championing the street renaming. Inspired by former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley's past efforts, Williams seized the opportunity this year, the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, to honor Eazy-E's lasting influence successfully.

"Compton has a lot of history, but nobody knows about it. I figured the most recent history is hip-hop history," Williams explained. "Being this is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, I thought it'd be a great idea to approach the City Council, talk about possibly doing this, and they loved the idea."
The renaming ceremony featured a performance by Eazy-E's son, Eric Darnell Wright, known as "Lil Eazy-E," alongside DJ Yella of N.W.A. Compton native DJ Joe Cooley, from Rodney-O and Joe Cooley, also graced the stage.

Lil Eazy-E, who lost his father at the age of 10, expressed gratitude for the recognition, stating, "The street renaming serves as a symbol of recognition and commemoration, ensuring that our father, Eric Wright, has a legacy that will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come."

He added, "It is a wonderful way for the city of Compton to honor his influence and the cultural significance that he brought to the community. I am truly grateful and honored to see my dad’s legacy continue to be remembered in my hometown, Compton, on Eazy Street."

Wright's daughters, Erica and Ebie, actively participated in the ceremony. Erica established the Eric Wright Family Foundation, dedicated to community service, while Ebie, known for her appearances on MTV's "Sweet Sixteen" and "Exiled," emphasized her father's global impact on hip-hop and social change.
In attendance was original N.W.A. member DJ Yella, though the absence of surviving members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and MC Ren was noted. Lil Eazy-E, in an interview with TMZ, expressed understanding, citing DJ Yella's past support during Eazy-E's funeral.

Looking ahead, Lil Eazy-E revealed plans for a biographical film about his father, a testament to Eazy-E's enduring influence on both Compton and the music industry.

For now, the newly minted Eazy Street, branching off Alameda Street into the Gateway Towne Center shopping plaza, stands as a symbolic testament to Eazy-E's enduring legacy.

Legal Drama and Fashion Triumph: A$AP Rocky and Rihanna in the Headlines

Courtesy Photo
In a captivating fusion of legal scrutiny and creative triumph, the dynamic music and fashion power couple, A$AP Rocky and Rihanna, take center stage as Thanksgiving approaches.

A Los Angeles judge's ruling on Monday determined that there is sufficient evidence for A$AP Rocky to stand trial on charges related to an alleged 2021 incident where he fired a gun at a former friend and collaborator near a Hollywood hotel. The decision followed a preliminary hearing featuring two witnesses. Rocky, who pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, faces a potential 24-year prison sentence if convicted.
The 35-year-old artist, fashion mogul, and two-time Grammy nominee is currently in a high-profile relationship with Rihanna, with whom he shares two young sons. The legal proceedings raise questions about the potential impact on both Rocky's personal life and career.
While Rocky navigates the uncertainty of his future, global icon Rihanna introduces a lighter note into the news cycle.

She unveiled the Creeper Phatty, the latest iteration of her iconic Creeper sneaker. Originally launched in September 2015, the Creeper became a cultural phenomenon, earning the title of Shoe of the Year by Footwear News in 2016. Rihanna's vision for the Creeper Phatty aims to reinvent the classic silhouette with an oversized design, a stacked gum sole, and vibrant pops of color.

Designed and named by the star herself, the Creeper Phatty features suede wrapping, a padded and debossed formstrip, a debossed Fenty logo on the tongue, laces with gold aglets, and a stacked gum sole. This reintroduction of the Creeper follows Rihanna's return as Creative Director for PUMA, marked by the introduction of their football-inspired Avanti sneaker in September.

The Creeper Phatty will be available worldwide on and at global retailers, including Foot Locker, starting November 30.

Cassie Settlement Sends Shockwaves: Diddy Navigates Public Scrutiny, Kesha Makes a Statement

Photo Credit: Gio Bandero for Combs Enterprises

In the aftermath of the explosive lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend Cassie, Sean "Diddy" Combs was photographed appearing stressed and solemn outside his Miami home on Saturday. The rapper, known for hits like "I'll Be Missing You," seemed visibly affected despite the settlement.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in New York, accused Combs of sex trafficking and sexual assault. The photos obtained by Page Six capture a pensive Diddy, dressed casually in a T-shirt and sweatpants, sitting outside his home with chief of staff Kristina Khorram.

Both parties released statements on Friday confirming the settlement, emphasizing mutual satisfaction. The terms of the settlement remain undisclosed.

In a joint statement, Cassie, whose legal name is Casandra Ventura, expressed her desire to resolve the matter amicably, thanking her family, fans, and lawyers for their unwavering support. Diddy echoed sentiments of an amicable resolution, wishing Cassie and her family the best.

Ben Brafman, Combs' attorney, reiterated that settling the lawsuit does not imply admission of wrongdoing. "A decision to settle a lawsuit, especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing," he clarified, emphasizing Diddy's denial of the claims.

The lawsuit detailed disturbing allegations, including physical abuse and sex trafficking, dating back to when Ventura was 19 and Combs was 37. Despite Combs' denial, the legal battle garnered support from at least three artists formerly signed to his record label.
Aubrey O'Day, discovered by Combs on "Making the Band 3," expressed her full support for Cassie, acknowledging the challenges of confronting a powerful figure in the industry. Dawn Richard and Wanita "D. Woods" Woodgett, also of Danity Kane fame, offered prayers and support, commending Cassie's bravery.

In a symbolic move within the music industry, Kesha, known for her legal battles with producer Dr. Luke, altered the lyrics of her hit song "Tik Tok" during a performance in Oakland. Kesha, who typically sang, "Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy," changed the line to "Wake up in the morning feeling just like me." The timing of this lyrical modification coincides with the public discourse surrounding accountability and allegations in the industry.

The aftermath of this high-profile lawsuit raises questions about the music mogul's reputation and the broader issue of abuse within the industry. As Diddy faces public scrutiny, the settlement leaves lingering uncertainties about the truth behind the allegations and their potential impact on his career.

Shockwaves in Music Industry as Cassie Accuses Diddy of Rape and Decades-Long Abuse


Sean Combs, the renowned producer and musician widely known as Diddy, faces serious allegations in a federal lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie, also known as Casandra Ventura. Cassie accuses Diddy of rape and extensive physical and emotional abuse, spanning several years.

In a statement to CNN, Cassie explained her decision to break her silence: "After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships."

Diddy's attorney, Ben Brafman, vehemently denied the allegations, stating, "Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations." Brafman continued to address what he called Cassie's financial demands, asserting that she had persistently sought $30 million under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship.

The lawsuit paints a disturbing picture of the alleged abuse and misconduct. Cassie claims that the alleged rape occurred in 2018, towards the end of their relationship, when she had decided to part ways with Diddy. According to the lawsuit, after a dinner intended for discussing their separation, Diddy forcibly entered her apartment, leading to the alleged assault.

The legal documents detail not only the shocking rape accusation but also a pattern of physical and emotional abuse throughout their long relationship, which Cassie says began in 2005. She describes beatings and stomping incidents as regular occurrences.

Cassie further alleges that Diddy forced her to use drugs, carry firearms, and engage in sexual activities with male prostitutes while filming these encounters. One particularly alarming claim involves Diddy threatening to blow up Kid Cudi's car, which allegedly occurred in 2012. While Cassie does not explicitly accuse Diddy of orchestrating the incident, she expresses fear for her safety,

Snooze Button for Snoop: A New Dawn as the Doggfather Puts Down the Blunt

Photo Credit: Instagram/snoopdogg
It's been a rough day for fans of the sticky-icky.

In a twist that would make Willie Nelson's pigtails curl, Snoop Dogg, the iconic hip-hop maestro and marijuana connoisseur, declared on Thursday that he's bidding farewell to the art of smoking.

The announcement, made via the rapper's Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts, left fans and skeptics alike wondering if the Doggfather himself is truly parting ways with the herb that has been synonymous with his persona for decades.

The unexpected revelation comes on the heels of Snoop Dogg's previous statements earlier this year, where he expressed his intention to cut down on smoking after embracing the role of grandfatherhood. The 50-year-old, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, confessed to the Daily Mail in March that becoming a grandfather prompted a profound shift in his perspective.

"Being a grandfather has changed me in multiple ways," he revealed. "The main way is being concerned with how I live, how I move, the kind of people I'm associated with because I want to see my grandkids grow old. The only way I can do that is to take precautionary steps as far as how I move, who I hang out with, where I go out, my intake, what am I intaking. Am I doing extra-curricular or am I just doing what I'm supposed to be doing?"

This surprising pivot from the marijuana advocate, whose name has practically become synonymous with weed, raises eyebrows and sparks curiosity about what led to this change of heart.

Snoop Dogg's relationship with marijuana has been as iconic as his music career. The rapper has unabashedly celebrated his affinity for cannabis, even famously lighting up a joint while strutting down the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards in 2021. 

His devotion to the green extends beyond recreational use; in 2015, he launched his own line of marijuana products, Leafs by Snoop. Additionally, in 2019, an Israeli start-up promoting home-grown marijuana enlisted the rapper as a brand ambassador.

As fans grapple with this unexpected twist in the Doggfather's journey, one can't help but wonder if this decision is a temporary pause or a definitive farewell to a lifestyle that has defined Snoop Dogg as much as his music has. Only time will tell if the hip-hop legend's next chapter will be written in smoke or fresh mountain air.

André 3000 Resurfaces with 'New Blue Sun': Debut Solo Album Promises Experimental Musical Odyssey

Courtesy Epic Records 
In a much-anticipated return to the music scene, André 3000, the acclaimed singer and rapper, is set to drop his debut solo album, "New Blue Sun," on Friday.

The Where's Waldo of hip-hop, known as much for random sightings in the wild by fans as his musical legacy, made the announcement on Instagram today.

Photo Credit: Instagram/andre3000
This marks André 3000's first solo project in over 17 years.

Renowned for his role in the influential duo Outkast, last released an album with "Idlewild" in 2006. Now, at 48 years old, he is ready to unveil a new musical chapter that diverges from his earlier works.

In a recent interview with NPR, André 3000 provided insights into the upcoming album, revealing that "New Blue Sun" consists of eight experimental tracks showcasing his skills with the flute and other wind instruments. The songs, described as "spontaneous compositions," were recorded after a fortuitous meeting with music producer and musician Carlos Niño.

The tracklist for "New Blue Sun" offers a glimpse into André 3000's innovative approach. Each track promises a unique and experimental musical journey, showcasing André 3000's versatility and creativity. Collaborators on the album include Nate Mercereau, Surya Botofasina, Deantoni Parks, Diego Gaeta, Matthewdavid, V.C.R, Jesse Peterson and Mia Doi Todd.

New Blue Sun Tracklist:
  1. I Swear, I Really Wanted To Make A "Rap" Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time
  2. The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off The Tongue With Far Better Ease Than The Proper Word Vagina. Do You Agree?
  3. That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control... Sh¥t Was Wild
  4. BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears A 3000™ Button Down Embroidered
  5. Ninety Three 'Til Infinity And Beyoncé
  6. Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy
  7. Ants To You, Gods To Who?
  8. Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens

Conny Van Dyke, Trailblazing Motown Artist, Dies at 78

Conny Van Dyke, one of the first white artists signed to Motown Records, has passed away at the age of 78.

Van Dyke, who also battled colon cancer during her lifetime and suffered a stroke in 2008 that partially paralyzed her and ended her career, died of complications from vascular dementia in her Los Angeles home on Saturday.Her son, Bronson Page, confirmed the news to Variety.

The former Miss Teen USA was born in Cape Charles, Virginia, but raised in Detroit. Her entertainment career began at the age of 15 when she starred in the movie Among the Thorns opposite Tom Laughlin, Bill Wellman Jr. and Stephanie Powers.

She signed with Motown Records in 1961 after being discovered performing at a drive-in theater concession stand. Her first two singles, “Oh, Freddy,” written by Smokey Robinson, and “It Hurt Me Too,” previously written and recorded by Marvin Gaye, were released in 1963. She would later go on to release two country albums, Conny Van Dyke and Conny Van Dyke Sings for You.

“I had Marvin Gaye playing the piano for me, Stevie Wonder playing the bongos. He really was 12 years old,” Van Dyke said in an interview with comedian Skip E. Lowe, recalling her days in Motown’s recording studios. “And then I some backup singers, some girls I learned a lot from. They were a couple years older than me, not much older. … The Supremes and also Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.”

Van Dyke's talents extended beyond music. She had a succesfull acting career as well. Most notably starring as Betsy, Jeremy Slate’s love interest, in the outlaw biker film Hell’s Angels '69 in 1969. Her other film roles include W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and Framed.

She also appeared on Adam-12, Nakia, and Police Woman, and on several game shows in the 1970s, including Match Game, You Don’t Say, The Cross-Wits, The Hollywood Squares, Tattletales and The Gong Show.

SZA Dominates Grammy Nominations With Nine Nods

SZA is the leading nominee for the 66th annual Grammy Awards with nine nominations
In a sweeping acknowledgment of her musical brilliance, SZA takes center stage as the leading nominee for the 66th annual Grammy Awards, securing an impressive nine nominations, as unveiled by the Recording Academy on Friday.

The R&B singer-songwriter's sophomore album, "SOS," emerges as a formidable contender for Album of the Year, while her chart-topping single "Kill Bill" stakes its claim in the prestigious categories of Record and Song of the Year.

Sharing the spotlight in these sought-after categories are other notable artists, including Miley Cyrus with "Flowers," Olivia Rodrigo with "Vampire," Taylor Swift's "Anti-Hero," Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" and Jon Batiste with "Worship" for Record of the Year and "Butterfly" for Song of the Year. Each with six nominations, the competition heats up in Album, Song, and Record of the Year.

Other top nominees announced by The Recording Academy include indie rock sensation Phoebe Bridgers, who not only clinched several nominations with her group boygenius but also earned recognition for a collaborative effort with SZA. Also gracing this musical celebration are R&B virtuoso Victoria Monet and accomplished audio engineer Serban Ghenea, each accumulating an impressive seven nominations.

In the league of six-time nominees, renowned producer Jack Antonoff, country songstress Brandy Clark, and the dynamic trio boygenius, comprising Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, add their voices to the symphony of recognition.

Billie Eilish, having previously dominated the Grammy Awards in 2020 with her debut album "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?," makes a triumphant return with six nominations, five of which are attributed to her contribution to the soundtrack of the summer blockbuster Barbie movie with the track "What Was I Made For." Notably, the Barbie movie soundtrack itself amassed seven additional nominations, primarily in categories celebrating music crafted for visual media. Collectively, "Barbie: The Album" emerges as a strong contender for the title of the most celebrated album of the year.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. expressed his excitement, stating, "From emerging artists to seasoned legends, the array of musicians recognized for their outstanding contributions to today's music is truly remarkable." The grand culmination of this celebration of musical excellence is scheduled to unfold at the Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024.

Click here for a complete list of nominees. 

TSU Alum Megan Thee Stallion Ignites Campus with Surprise Appearance

In a surprise visit to Texas Southern University on Wednesday, Megan Thee Stallion turned heads, adding sizzle to the weekly Hump Day pep rally. The Grammy-winning artist, accompanied by the Ocean of Soul Band, took center stage to honor recipients of the Flamin' Hot scholarship fund—a cause profoundly significant to her.

Launched in September, the scholarship fund aims to uplift graduating seniors at TSU, offering over $150,000 to more than 20 deserving students. A recent TSU graduate herself, Megan seized the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these scholarship recipients.

Engaging in an on-stage conversation with TSU's Tracy Clemons, Megan Thee Stallion underscored the importance of education and empowerment.

Beyond the scholarship festivities, Megan Thee Stallion's collaboration with the Canadian alt-metal band Spiritbox on "Cobra (Rock Remix) Feat. Spiritbox" continues to showcase her dynamic range. Both artists are under the management of Roc Nation, Jay-Z's entertainment company.

As a three-time Grammy winner, Megan Thee Stallion has not only dominated the music scene but has also ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing herself as a cultural icon. Graduating in Healthcare Administration in 2021, Megan now aspires to open assisted-living facilities in her hometown, exemplifying her commitment to education and community upliftment.

Megan Thee Stallion has garnered recognition for her advocacy. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented her with the 18th Congressional District Hero Award in Houston, acknowledging her outstanding humanitarian work.

Country Music Awards Rewrites History: Tracy Chapman's Classic 'Fast Car' Named Song of the Year

Tracy Chapman
Nashville's Bridgestone Arena set the stage for a historic win as Tracy Chapman's timeless hit "Fast Car" secured the Song of the Year award at the 57th annual Country Music Awards on Wednesday.

Despite Chapman's absence from the telecast, presenter Sarah Evans shared Chapman's gratitude in a heartfelt message, "I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut. Wow. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke (Combs) and to all of the fans of ‘Fast Car.’"

This accolade is especially remarkable considering "Fast Car" made its debut 35 years ago and enjoyed a resurgence in July when Luke Combs, a prominent country star, released a cover that soared to No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart. In a historic moment, Chapman became the first Black woman to top the chart since its inception in 1990.

Chapman, the sole writer of "Fast Car," also claimed the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart, a testament to the enduring appeal of her masterpiece through Combs' rendition.

Reflecting on this unexpected journey to the country charts, Chapman shared, "I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.’”

Luke Combs, who also clinched a CMA Award for Single of the Year with "Fast Car," expressed his deep appreciation during his acceptance speech. "First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time," Combs remarked, highlighting the profound impact "Fast Car" has had on his life since childhood.

The historic win at the CMAs establishes Tracy Chapman as the first Black artist to secure Song of the Year. The Country Music Association not only honored "Fast Car" in this category but also recognized Combs, Chip Matthews, and Jonathan Singleton with Single of the Year.

C-Knight, Hip-Hop Pioneer and Dove Shack Co-Founder, Dies at 52

Photo Credit: Instagram
In a somber turn of events, Arnez Blount, best known by his stage name C-Knight, has tragically passed away at the age of 52 on Tuesday, succumbing to complications stemming from a severe stroke.

C-Knight, a prominent figure in the world of hip-hop and one of the founding members of the influential trio, The Dove Shack, had been in the hospital for several weeks. According to a report by TMZ, he was ultimately taken off life support.

The Long Beach rapper's recent hospitalization and untimely demise have cast a shadow over the music industry, leaving his fans and fellow artists in deep mourning. C-Knight's bandmate, Bo-Roc, who had previously reached out for prayers during C-Knight's hospitalization, took to social media to confirm the devastating news of his friend's passing.

Screengrab Instagram
Bo-Roc expressed his profound grief in a heartfelt message, saying, "This is like f—g nightmare I swear this s—t hurt different and I don’t want to talk about s—t to nobody so please just let me be and pray for us… On my soul I love you bro and I already don’t know what the f—k to do wit u being gone…"

C-Knight's health challenges began on October 18 when he was admitted to the hospital following a troubling blood sugar test result. His father, George Lee Washington Blount Jr., disclosed that C-Knight, who battled diabetes, underwent dialysis to address dangerously high blood sugar levels when he suffered a medical emergency, leading to cardiac arrest.

Despite the heroic efforts of responding medical professionals in resuscitating him, C-Knight's condition remained unresponsive after being placed on life support. Heartbreakingly, the rapper's family had to make the painful decision to discontinue life support after anxiously awaiting the results of an MRI scan assessing his brain activity.

While C-Knight and The Dove Shack may not have attained the same level of mainstream success as some of their 1990s counterparts, their impact on the hip-hop scene was undeniable. The group's debut album, "This Is The Shack," released in 1995, reached number 68 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and secured the 13th spot on the R&B chart.

C-Knight's legacy endures through his music, with one of The Dove Shack's standout hits, "Summertime in the LBC," leaving an enduring mark on the hip-hop scene. The song, featured in the 1995 hip-hop documentary "The Show," perfectly encapsulated the essence of Long Beach's summertime vibes.

Additionally, C-Knight explored his solo career with the release of "Knight Time" in 2001. In a 2020 interview with Canada's Outlaw Radio, he fondly recollected the creation of "Summertime in the LBC," stating, "We wrote that track in 15 minutes, man... it was like low effort. It's basically just us reflecting on our growing up in Long Beach... just that whole element of having summer barbecues and things like that, having fun."

Usher Names Himself Alongside Icons on 'R&B Mount Rushmore'

In an recent interview with E! News, Usher made a bold and definitive statement, placing himself among the pantheon of R&B greats on what he calls the "R&B Mount Rushmore." He didn't hesitate to share the names of those who, in his view, belong on this musical monument.

With a self-assured tone, Usher declared, "I get to put myself up there." He continued, "Marvin Gaye is going up there, Michael [Jackson] is going to be up there, Prince is going to be up there, and I'd put a few incredible female vocalists like Whitney Houston up there. It doesn't necessarily have to just be men."

This revelation from Usher coincides with his preparation for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, slated to take place at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in February 2024. The announcement of his Super Bowl performance has generated considerable excitement, with fans and fellow artists eagerly anticipating what he has in store. Usher revealed that he's drawing inspiration from iconic acts like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Maroon 5, making his upcoming performance a hot topic in the music world.

Behind the Scenes: Usher's Super Bowl Journey

Usher's dedication to delivering an unforgettable Super Bowl performance is palpable. Juggling the responsibilities of his "My Way" residency in Las Vegas, he's fully committed to the extensive preparations for the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

In a candid interview with CNN, Usher shared his thoughts on returning to the live stage after the challenges posed by the pandemic. For Usher, the stage represents his comfort zone, a place where he can seamlessly connect with his audience and let his creative energy flow.

"It's all about having everyone together in one room, celebrating this music, and returning to a sense of normalcy," Usher explained. He underscored the profound significance of the live experience, emphasizing that it's his driving force and a source of deep passion.

While physical fitness is vital for maintaining the rigorous demands of his residency, Usher shared that his Super Bowl preparation is primarily a mental exercise. He's carefully crafting a message of unity and celebration for the performance.

"My performance will be a celebration of various aspects. I'll celebrate the places I've been, the inspirations that have guided me, the music that has touched souls, the dance that has brought joy, and the legacy of all the entertainers who have played their part in uniting the world," Usher revealed.

A Unique Tradition: Usher's Decision to Perform for Free

In an industry where artists often perform for exposure rather than payment during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Usher has chosen to follow this unique tradition. The NFL, notorious for not compensating its halftime show performers, continues this practice, providing artists with an unparalleled platform to reach millions of viewers.

Usher, having been named the 2024 halftime show performer, revealed that he wasn't the NFL's first choice, with stars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lizzo reportedly turning down the opportunity. While he won't receive a performance fee, Usher recognizes the potential for vast exposure and the chance to connect with his dedicated fan base, making this a strategic move in his thriving career.

Iconic R&B Sextet New Edition Announces Six-Show Residency at Wynn Las Vegas

New Edition, the iconic R&B sextet, is set to embark on a long-awaited residency in Las Vegas in early 2024. From February 28 through March 9, the group will grace the stage at Wynn Las Vegas' The Encore for six intimate performances.

The news, initially teased by the group during its recent tour, was confirmed on Monday. In a joint statement, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell expressed their enthusiasm for this career-defining moment. They stated, "Fulfilling a career-long dream to solidify ourselves with a residency performance in the entertainment capital of the world, we are beyond excited to embark on this fantastical journey at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas."

The group is committed to providing a unique experience for their fans. As Johnny Gill added, the residency will feature classic hits like "Candy Girl," "Can You Stand The Rain" and "If It Isn't Love." He teased, "It'll be the best show on Earth."

Bobby Reynolds, Senior VP of AEG Presents Las Vegas, noted the significance of New Edition's upcoming residency. "We are honored to have Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas serve as the home to New Edition's first-ever Las Vegas residency," he said. "Encore Theater's roster is comprised of legendary talents, and it only makes sense to have an iconic music group like New Edition join its ranks."

Tickets for these highly anticipated shows will go on sale this Friday, November 10, at 10 a.m. PT, with prices starting at $79.95.

The Las Vegas residency announcement follows New Edition's performance at the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, where they paid tribute to The Spinners. They delivered a memorable performance at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, showcasing songs like "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and "The Rubberband Man."

This performance was not only a tribute to The Spinners but also celebrated the legacy of Soul Train host and creator Don Cornelius, who received the Ahmet Ertegun Award this year. The 2023 Hall of Fame inductees included Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, George Michael and Willie Nelson.

With a string of top 10 hits, such as "Cool It Now," "Hit Me Off," "If It Isn't Love" and "I'm Still In Love With You," New Edition has left an indelible mark on the R&B genre and continues to captivate audiences.

For more details on the upcoming residency or to purchase tickets click here

SZA Named Variety's 'Hitmaker of the Year'

The Come Up ShowCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
SZA has been crowned "Hitmaker of the Year" at Variety's seventh annual Hitmakers celebration. The event, set to grace the Nov. 29 publication and accompanied by an exclusive invitation-only brunch on December 2, recognizes the individuals who have played a pivotal role in shaping and defining this year's 25 most-consumed songs, according to Billboard and Luminate Charts.

Variety's Executive Music Editor, Jem Aswad, succinctly captures the spirit of the event, stating, "The goal of Hitmakers has always been to honor the top artists and songs of the year, and especially the people behind them." He goes on to elaborate, "SZA, her 'SOS' album and tour, and her hits this year are not only a creative and commercial triumph but one with a reach that extends far beyond the music world. We are immensely proud to honor her as our Hitmaker of the Year."

SZA's distinction as Hitmaker of the Year follows a string of award nominations, solidifying her status as a dominant force in the music industry. Most recently, Femme It Forward announced its Give Her FlowHERS Awards Gala, featuring SZA alongside notable artists like Teyana Taylor, Brandy, Flo Milli, and others.

Furthermore, the BET Soul Train Awards recently revealed that SZA, Usher, and Summer Walker are leading the pack with nine nominations each. The awards ceremony, scheduled to air on Nov. 26, marks a remarkable month for the talented artist.

SZA's critically acclaimed album, "SOS," made a significant impact with its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in December. The album comprises 23 tracks, including hit singles like "Kill Bill," "Snooze" and "Nobody Gets Me," with collaborations featuring renowned artists such as Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott and Ol' Dirty Bastard.

Following the album's remarkable success, SZA embarked on an extensive tour across Europe and the United States, captivating audiences with her artistry. The North American leg of her tour commenced on Sept. 20, spanning major cities and concluding in Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 29.

Variety's 2023 Hitmakers program, meticulously curated by the editorial team, includes a lineup of distinguished awards:

  • SZA – Hitmaker of the Year
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Storyteller of the Year
  • Boygenius – Group of the Year
  • Metro Boomin – Producer of the Year
  • Mark Ronson – Soundtrack of the Year
  • Billie Eilish and FINNEAS – Film Song of the Year: "What Was I Made For"
  • Maren Morris – Changemaker of the Year
  • Republic Records – Label of the Year
  • Grammy Museum President and CEO Michael Sticka – Music Education and Advocacy Leadership Award, presented by City National Bank

Hip-Hop Icon Missy Elliott Steals the Show at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony

Photo Credit: Courtesy Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 
Hip-hop pioneer Missy Elliott took center stage at the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, making history as the first woman rapper to be inducted into the prestigious hall. The event, which took place on Friday at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and lasted for over four hours, celebrated the remarkable contributions of women and Black artists to the world of rock and roll.

Elliott's electrifying performance closed the show and featured a medley of her greatest hits, including "Get Ur Freak On," "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," "Work It," "Pass That Dutch" and "Lose Control." Queen Latifah, presenting the honor to Elliott, humorously acknowledged, "Missy will wear you out! This woman goes hard for the art."

In a heartfelt moment, the artist revealed that it was the first time her mother had seen her perform live, expressing her gratitude to share the experience with her. She also acknowledged the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and the significance of being inducted alongside her fellow honorees.

The 2023 induction ceremony featured a diverse and influential group of musicians, celebrating the significant presence of women and Black artists in the world of rock and roll. Notably, this ceremony came shortly after the removal of Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner from the Hall of Fame's board of directors. Wenner had previously made controversial remarks regarding Black and female musicians in his book of interviews. However, the talent displayed by this year's inductees suggested a different narrative.

"Trust me, nothing sounded the same after Missy Elliott came on the scene," Queen Latifah recalled. "Nothing. All the kick snares, everything changed. The bass lines changed, the pockets changed, the cadence, the writing. And that's because Missy has always been a futurist, someone who's always looking ahead."

Other memorable moments of the night included Sheryl Crow and Olivia Rodrigo's opening performance, Elton John's heartfelt tribute to Bernie Taupin, and H.E.R., Sia and Common's medley in celebration of Chaka Khan. Additionally, Dave Matthews, Chris Stapleton, and Sheryl Crow collaborated with Willie Nelson for a lively performance.

Rage Against the Machine and the late guitarist Link Wray were among the other inductees, with performances that underscored the rich diversity of musical genres represented at the ceremony.

Missy Elliott's induction marked a historic moment as she became the first woman rapper to join the esteemed ranks of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony, streamed live for the first time, offered audiences a chance to witness this musical celebration of inclusion and diversity. A two-hour prime-time special of the event will air on Jan. 1 on ABC, while it will be available for streaming on Jan. 2 on Hulu and Disney+.

2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees:

Performer Category:
Kate Bush
Sheryl Crow
Missy Elliott
George Michael
Willie Nelson
Rage Against the Machine
The Spinners

Musical Influence Award:
DJ Kool Herc
Link Wray

Musical Excellence Award:
Chaka Khan
Al Kooper
Bernie Taupin

Ahmet Ertegun Award:
Don Cornelius

'Tupac Shakur Way' Unveiled in Oakland, California: A Tribute to a Hip-Hop Legend

In a heartfelt tribute to the late iconic rapper Tupac Shakur, a section of MacArthur Boulevard was officially renamed "Tupac Shakur Way" in Oakland on Friday. The city celebrated this renaming at an event by Lake Merritt, where family members, fans, and fellow artists paid their respects.

Mo Shakur, Tupac's brother, underscored the significance of the rapper's message, stating, "Tupac was more than a rapper; he was a cultural icon. He strived to convey the importance of community care, and that's why his legacy endures."

While Tupac was born in Harlem and raised in Baltimore, the Bay Area held a special place in his heart. His parents were active members of the Black Panther Party, and he spent part of his early life in Marin City, California. He later moved to East Oakland in the late 1980s.

Tupac's sister, Sekyiwa Shakur, expressed her joy, mentioning that her brother would be thrilled to see the love and recognition from a place he held dear.

Money B, a fellow musician, emphasized the lasting impact of Tupac's legacy, saying, "He influenced not just one generation but two more. There are generations who weren't even born when he made music, yet they are still influenced by his legacy."

The initiative to rename this portion of MacArthur Boulevard was spearheaded by Oakland City Councilwoman Carroll Fife, with the goal of ensuring that Tupac's legacy endures and inspires positive change.

The City Council voted unanimously to designate the section of MacArthur Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Van Buren Avenue as "Tupac Shakur Way." This decision aligns with Oakland's tradition of honoring beloved artists, activists, and community leaders with street names, such as Peter Van Kleef, Huey P. Newton, Dorothy King and Too Short.

Tupac Shakur, originally known as Lesane Parish Crooks, transitioned from a young boy in Harlem to an influential figure in the West Coast hip-hop scene, with Oakland playing a pivotal role in his career. He often credited the city for shaping his artistry and providing him with his "Game."

Despite his untimely death, Tupac's popularity continues to soar, with over 75 million albums sold worldwide. The Oakland City Council resolution celebrating his legacy acknowledges his significant contributions to art and social outreach.

This renaming follows previous efforts to commemorate Tupac in Oakland, including the proclamation of "Tupac Shakur Day" in 2016 and various community events honoring his legacy.