Showing posts with label Popular Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Popular Post. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2024

Simone Biles Wins Record-Breaking Ninth All-Around Title at U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Photo Courtesy USA Gymnatics
Simone Biles secured a record-extending ninth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, decisively defeating Skye Blakely. This victory cements Biles' status as the most decorated gymnast in history and sets the stage for her pursuit of a third consecutive Olympic all-around title in Paris.
Biles, a dominant force in gymnastics for over a decade, showcased exceptional athletic prowess throughout the competition. Her score of 119.750 comfortably surpassed Blakely's 113.850. The competition was notably affected by the absence of fellow Black gymnast Shilese Jones, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury. Despite this, the event underscored the depth of talent within the Black gymnastics community, with Biles standing as a beacon of inspiration for future generations.

Beyond her athletic achievements, Biles has made significant contributions as an advocate for athlete safety and empowerment, particularly within the Black community. Historically underrepresented and facing numerous barriers in gymnastics, Black athletes have found a powerful ally in Biles. The "Simone Biles Legacy Act," which mandates increased oversight within the U.S. Olympic Committee, is a testament to her commitment to creating a safer and more equitable environment for future athletes, especially young Black girls who look up to her.

Biles' triumph at the U.S. Championships adds to a career marked by both dominance and resilience. In 2020, at the Tokyo Olympics, she made headlines by prioritizing her mental health and stepping away from competition. This courageous decision sparked a global conversation about the pressures faced by athletes, resonating deeply, particularly among young Black women who identified with her vulnerability and strength.

From her early years in foster care to her rise to international stardom, Biles continues to inspire athletes of all backgrounds. Her routines, known for their technical difficulty and grace, constantly push the boundaries of what is possible in gymnastics. Off the mat, Biles leverages her platform to promote diversity and inclusion within the sport, encouraging young Black girls to chase their dreams on national and international stages.
Biles' latest victory at the U.S. Championships is a testament to her enduring dominance. As she prepares for Paris, she remains a central figure in gymnastics and a powerful cultural icon. To young Black athletes, she is more than a champion; she is a symbol of hope and inspiration, embodying the possibilities of perseverance and excellence.

Reflecting on her win and her journey towards Paris, Biles told NBC, "Today, it was just getting out there and getting comfortable and confident in my gymnastics and hopefully going to Olympic trials and making that next step towards Paris. I couldn't be more proud of how I'm doing this time of the year, just getting that confidence. Over and over, getting myself back in front of the crowd. And just doing what I do in practice."

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Dee Barnes, Hip-Hop Icon and Dr. Dre Assault Survivor, Issues Urgent Plea for Donations

On Saturday, Dee Barnes, the iconic host of the late '80s and early '90s music video show "Pump It Up!", took to social media with an urgent plea. She’s facing financial difficulties and is seeking to raise $3,000 by Monday.

"Hello EVERYONE! I’m trying to urgently raise $3000 this weekend, my deadline is this Monday 6/3/24. If you are able to donate and share. Thank you, I really appreciate you ALL!” Barnes wrote, providing details for donations via CashApp, Venmo, and PayPal.

The next day, she updated her followers, stating, "Still need your help please! $1,800 to get closer to the goal! THANK YOU!!"

Barnes made history as the first Black woman to host her own music video show on a major network, with "Pump It Up!" airing on FOX from 1989 to 1992. However, her career took a dramatic turn after a violent assault by Dr. Dre in 1991. The attack left her with lasting physical and emotional scars, and despite filing charges and settling out of court, Barnes' career and personal life were significantly impacted. In 2019, she revealed she was homeless, leading to a viral response and a successful GoFundMe campaign. Yet, five years later, she continues to struggle.

Beyond her financial challenges, Barnes has remained a vocal advocate for victims of domestic violence. Recently, she spoke out about a 2016 video showing Sean "Diddy" Combs assaulting Cassie Ventura. "Seeing that video is extremely triggering," she tweeted on May 17. "#DrDre punched, slammed, kicked and stomped me out. #Concussion Logging TF off."

Barnes’ advocacy for domestic violence victims has been unwavering. She expressed her disappointment with Combs and solidarity with Ventura and other victims, tweeting, “I’m disgusted and disappointed with Sean Combs. I stand with #Cassie, #KimPorter and all the other victims of his violent abuse.”

Dr. Dre has publicly apologized for his actions, first in 2015 and later in the 2017 HBO series "The Defiant Ones." He acknowledged, “Any man that puts his hands on a female is a fing idiot, he’s out of his fing mind. I was out of my fing mind at the time, I fed up. I paid for it, I’m sorry for it, and I apologize for it.”

While Barnes has accepted Dre's apology, she continues to highlight the long-term impact of domestic violence and the challenges survivors face in rebuilding their lives. Her recent call for financial assistance underscores these ongoing struggles.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Rare Wu-Tang Clan Album 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' to be Exhibited in Australia

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin in 2015, photo by Luke Fenstemaker and courtesy of Luke Fenstemaker, Pleasr, and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
The enigmatic Wu-Tang Clan album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" will be displayed for public listening at the Museum of Old and New Art on the Australian island of Tasmania from June 15 to 24, offering a rare opportunity for fans to experience this exclusive piece of hip-hop history.

Recorded secretly over six years, only one physical copy of the album exists, and it has been heard in its entirety by only a few individuals. The album's display is part of Mona’s "Namedropping" exhibition, which explores rare objects believed to possess mystical properties transcending their material circumstances.

“'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' is more than just an album,” said Jarrod Rawlins, Mona's director of curatorial affairs. “When I was considering status and what a transcendent namedrop could be, I knew I had to include it in this exhibition.”

The album is bound by a legal agreement preventing its commercial exploitation until 2103, though it can be played at private listening parties. Free tickets for curated private listening sessions will be available for a limited number of visitors.

An Album Shrouded in Mystery
Wu-Tang Clan announced in March 2014 that they would produce a single copy of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," to be sold to the highest bidder. The album, housed in a hand-carved box with a leather-bound book of lyrics and its backstory, was a protest against the devaluation of music in the digital age, said Wu-Tang member Robert “RZA” Diggs in a 2014 interview with Forbes.

In 2015, Martin Shkreli, the notorious "Pharma Bro," purchased the album for approximately $2 million, making it the world's most expensive music album at the time. However, U.S. federal authorities seized the album when Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy in 2017.

From Shkreli to Cryptocurrency Collective
In 2021, the U.S. Justice Department sold the album to an undisclosed buyer to satisfy part of Shkreli's $7.4 million forfeiture order. Later that year, digital art collective PleasrDAO confirmed they had acquired the album, reportedly for the equivalent of $4 million, using cryptocurrency. PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization and early adopter of NFT digital art, announced their intent to make the album more accessible to fans.

“This beautiful piece of art, this ultimate protest against middlemen and rent-seekers of musicians and artists, went south by going into the hands of Martin Shkreli, the ultimate internet villain,” said Jamis Johnson, PleasrDAO’s Chief Pleasing Officer, in an interview with Rolling Stone. "We want this to be us bringing this back to the people. We want fans to participate in this album at some level."

Wu-Tang Clan's Legacy
The Wu-Tang Clan, originating in Staten Island, New York, in the 1990s, has a storied history in hip-hop. The group's influence extends beyond music, as they have become cultural icons. Their decision to produce a single-copy album was a bold statement about the value of music as an art form.

As the album makes its way to Mona, fans and art enthusiasts alike have a unique chance to engage with a piece of modern music history, even if only for a brief moment. The limited exhibition underscores the album's status as both a rare artifact and a significant cultural statement.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Double Trouble: Sean Kingston and Mom Arrested in Fraud Case

Sean Kingston and his mother Janice (left). Photo Credit: Instagram/seankigston
Broward Sheriff's deputies raided a Southwest Ranches property linked to singer Sean Kingston in Florida on Thursday. The raid resulted in the arrest of Kingston's mother, Janice Turner, 61, on multiple fraud and theft charges.

The months-long investigation, led by BSO's Dania Beach District deputies in collaboration with other units, targeted Kingston's alleged failure to pay for a $150,000 entertainment system, including a 232-inch television, from Ver Ver Entertainment. The company filed a lawsuit against Kingston in February for non-payment.
Attorney Dennis Card, representing Ver Ver Entertainment, alleged outside the raided property that Kingston used his celebrity status to acquire goods and services without paying. "He lures people using his celebrity into having them release things without having him pay for it, and then he simply never pays," Card said.
Kingston, 34, known for hits like "Beautiful Girls" and "Fire Burning," has a history of legal troubles, including previous allegations of assault and theft. In 2011, he sustained critical injuries in a personal watercraft accident in Miami Beach, requiring emergency heart surgery.

Authorities apprehended Kingston later that same day in Fort Irwin, California. According to a news report, he cooperated during the arrest and is expected to be booked into the San Bernardino County Jail.

In an Instagram statement seemingly brushing off the incident, Kingston reassured his followers, saying, "People love negative energy! I am good and so is my mother!.. my lawyers are handling everything as we speak."

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' Named Apple Music's All-Time Greatest Album

Lauryn Hill's seminal 1998 debut, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," has been crowned the greatest album of all time by Apple Music, solidifying its place in music history. The announcement marks the pinnacle of Apple Music's 100 Best Albums list, a celebration of the most influential records ever made.

In a statement to Apple Music, Hill reflected on the album's depth and collaborative spirit: "This is my award, but it's a rich, deep narrative, and involves so many people, and so much sacrifice, and so much time, and so much collective love."

To mark this momentous occasion, Apple Music convened a special roundtable discussion featuring legendary producer Nile Rodgers, Grammy-nominated artist Maggie Rogers, and hosts Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden. They explored the significance of the top albums, with Hill's groundbreaking debut taking center stage.

Released in 1998, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was a seismic event in the music world. The album blends R&B, hip-hop, and soul, addressing themes of love, identity, and social justice with profound lyrical skill and emotional depth. Despite being Hill's only solo studio release, it remains a towering influence in music.

"This album doesn't just resonate with the people who were around when it came out. It has not dated, not even a fraction," Lowe said during the roundtable. "In fact, it feels more fresh and more relevant the more you listen to it."

Ebro Darden emphasized the album's holistic impact: "It exemplifies and captures popular music of the last 25 years. It’s R&B, it’s hip-hop, it’s independent women, strong women, it’s topical, it’s sampling… I think that’s why it got voted number one."

Nile Rodgers praised Hill's artistry and the album's enduring legacy. "She’s amazing. This record is amazing," he stated, capturing the reverence Hill commands in the music industry.

Apple Music has also produced 100 audio vignettes that narrate the significance of each album. These are available on Apple Podcasts, offering fans an intimate look at the records that have defined generations.

For a look at the complete list click here

Top 10 Albums from Apple Music's 100 Best Albums List:
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" – Lauryn Hill
"Thriller" – Michael Jackson
"Abbey Road" – The Beatles
"Purple Rain" – Prince & The Revolution
"Blonde" – Frank Ocean
"Songs in the Key of Life" – Stevie Wonder
"good kid, m.A.A.d city" – Kendrick Lamar
"Back to Black" – Amy Winehouse
"Nevermind" – Nirvana
"Lemonade" – Beyoncé

50 Cent Confirms Diddy Doc for Netflix as Sixth Accuser Emerges

Netflix outbid other networks and services for the multi-chapter series produced by 50 Cent's G-Unit Film and Television Studios. The acquisition follows CNN releasing a 2016 clip showing Combs physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie.

Combs acknowledged the 2016 assault in a hotel hallway after the CNN footage surfaced. He issued a video apology, expressing deep regret and calling his actions "inexcusable."

50 Cent, a vocal critic of Combs on social media regarding the allegations, confirmed the Netflix deal on Instagram, taking a swipe at TMZ for using an unflattering photo. "TMZ use this fat boy picture of me because their doc went to Tubi LOL. It's ok guys we're all making good television, mine just happens to be the best! NETFLIX wins the bidding war but if more victims keep coming out, I'm gonna need more episodes," he wrote.

The documentary's production coincides with a new sexual assault lawsuit filed against Combs. Former model Crystal McKinney recently filed a lawsuit accusing Combs of drugging her and forcing oral sex in 2003, according to court documents obtained by TMZ. This marks the sixth such accusation against Combs.

McKinney alleges she met Combs at a New York City nightclub during Men's Fashion Week. She claims he invited her to his studio, where they consumed Hennessy and marijuana laced with narcotics. McKinney asserts that Combs then forced her into oral sex and is seeking unspecified damages.

The new lawsuit adds to the mounting accusations against the Bad Boy Records founder. 50 Cent reacted by sharing a screenshot of the lawsuit news on Instagram.

Combs, 54, a prominent figure in the hip-hop industry since founding Bad Boy Records in 1993, has faced a growing shadow over his career due to the recent allegations. Multiple lawsuits paint a picture of Combs using his celebrity status to prey on and intimidate women.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Kendrick Lamar's 'Alright' Tops Spotify's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of Streaming Era

U.S. Government, White House photographer., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
While recent headlines have focused on Kendrick Lamar's ongoing creative rivalry with Drake, Spotify's latest "CLASSICS" program cuts through the noise, highlighting Lamar's enduring artistic merit. His critically acclaimed album "DAMN." takes center stage on the list of the 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the Streaming Era (2015-present).

This recognition places Lamar alongside other titans of the genre, including Drake's own "Know Yourself" (2015) and genre-bending tracks like Travis Scott's "SICKO MODE" (2018) and Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" (2017). The list reflects the diversity and dynamism of hip-hop in the streaming era, showcasing the evolution of the sound alongside its enduring social commentary.

"Our focus isn't just on chart numbers," said Carl Chery, Creative Director and Head of Urban Music at Spotify, in a news release. "The CLASSICS program is about celebrating the art and culture of hip-hop, recognizing the work that has resonated deeply with fans and critics alike."

This qualitative approach ensures that artists like Lamar are recognized for the depth and influence of their music. Tracks like "HUMBLE." and "DNA." from "DAMN." perfectly embody this, blending innovative production with Lamar's signature lyrical prowess that tackles complex issues.

While "DAMN." is the album highlighted, Lamar's earlier works like "To Pimp a Butterfly" and "good kid, m.A.A.d city" continue to be revered within the hip-hop community. His ability to consistently deliver impactful music throughout his career solidifies his place as a key figure in hip-hop's ongoing narrative.

This recognition by Spotify follows previous chapters of the CLASSICS program, highlighting the influential albums that have shaped the streaming era. Kendrick Lamar's inclusion across these lists further cements his legacy as a defining artist of our time.

To explore the full list of the 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era, including standouts like "Mask Off" by Future (2017) and "Rockstar" by Post Malone ft. 21 Savage (2018), visit Spotify's CLASSICS program page.

Top 10 Songs of the Streaming Era (According to Spotify's CLASSICS Program):
  1. Kendrick Lamar - "Alright" (2015)
  2. Cardi B - "Bodak Yellow" (2017)
  3. Drake - "God's Plan" (2018)
  4. Lil Uzi Vert - "XO Tour Llif3" (2017)
  5. Future - "March Madness" (2015)
  6. Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert - "Bad and Boujee" (2016)
  7. Travis Scott - "SICKO MODE" (2018)
  8. Sheck Wes - "Mo Bamba" (2017)
  9. Pop Smoke - "Dior" (2019)
  10. Juice WRLD - "Lucid Dreams" (2018)

Diddy Apologizes for 2016 Assault on Ex-Girlfriend Cassie Ventura

Sean "Diddy" Combs apologized in a video for a violent attack on his then-girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie Ventura, in a 2016 video that recently surfaced.

"It's so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you gotta do that. I was f**cked up. I mean, I hit rock bottom. But I make no excuses," Combs said in a video posted on Instagram. "My behavior on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in this video. They're disgusting. I was disgusted then when I did it, I'm disgusted now. I went and I sought professional help. I've been going to therapy, going to rehab. I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I'm so sorry, but I'm committed to being a better man each and every day. I'm not asking for forgiveness. I am truly sorry."

The video, dated March 5, 2016, shows Combs grabbing, shoving, and kicking Ventura, whose real name is Casandra Ventura. The footage corroborates allegations made in her lawsuit filed last November, describing an incident at the now-shuttered InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles.

Combs previously denied the allegations through his attorney and in a social media post titled "Enough Is Enough." The post was deleted from his Instagram but remains pinned on his X account (formerly Twitter). In April, he posted a video of his 1998 song "Victory," where he is seen running from Los Angeles police, with the caption "Bad Boy for life" and a fist emoji.

In response to Combs' apology video, Meredith Firetog, a lawyer for Ventura with Wigdor LLP, told Variety: "Combs' recent statement focuses on himself, not the victims he has hurt. He initially denied the allegations, suggesting his accusers were motivated by money. Now that the video proves their claims, his apology lacks sincerity and won't sway anyone."

On November 16, 2023, Ventura filed a lawsuit in New York accusing Combs of raping and beating her throughout their relationship, among other allegations. Although the two parties reached a settlement the following day, Combs has since faced multiple lawsuits alleging sexual assault.

In November, Joi Dickerson-Neal filed a lawsuit under the New York Adult Survivors Act, alleging Combs "drugged, sexually assaulted and abused" her and that she was the victim of "revenge porn" created and distributed by the rapper.

In December, another lawsuit filed by a Jane Doe alleged that Combs and R&B singer Aaron Hall took turns raping her and her friends at Hall's apartment sometime between 1990 and 1991. Combs posted his denial that month, and in February denied a separate set of charges from an unidentified woman, calling them "entirely fictional."

Amid these allegations, Combs temporarily stepped aside as chairman of Revolt, and his Hulu reality show was scrapped.

Friday, May 17, 2024

AP style: Combs Assault Video Released After Settled Lawsuit

Surveillance video from 2016, obtained by CNN, shows Sean "Diddy" Combs chasing down his then-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, in a hotel hallway. The footage, captured from multiple angles on March 5, 2016, appears to corroborate claims detailed in a now-settled federal lawsuit filed by Ventura in November.

In the video, Combs is seen grabbing Ventura by the neck, throwing her to the floor, and kicking her while holding a towel around his waist. Ventura attempts to collect her belongings as Combs shoves her and throws objects in her direction.

Ventura has not commented on the video. Her attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, emphasized the seriousness of the situation, stating, "The video confirms the disturbing allegations Ms. Ventura made against Mr. Combs."

CNN has reached out to representatives for Combs and InterContinental Hotels for comment, but they have not responded. Combs has previously denied Ventura's allegations.

This incident is part of a broader legal dispute between Combs and Ventura, which includes allegations of sexual assault and other abuses. Despite denying the allegations, Combs settled the lawsuit shortly after it was filed.

Combs continues to face multiple civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct and other illegal activities. In April, authorities conducted searches of his homes in California and Florida as part of a federal investigation into these allegations.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Woman Sues DJ Akademiks, Alleging Rape, Defamation

MILLION DOLLAZ WORTH OF GAMECC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Internet personality DJ Akademiks, whose legal name is Livingston Allen, faces accusations of rape and defamation in a newly filed lawsuit in Essex County, New Jersey.

Fauziya Abashe alleges she was invited to Allen's home in July 2022, expecting to be alone with him. Upon arrival, she encountered two unidentified men. The lawsuit claims Allen told these men Abashe was receptive to sex, without her knowledge.

Abashe refused a drink offered by one of the men, identified as an Allen employee. The employee, allegedly stating he was "in charge," insisted she have a drink he prepared.

Later, the employee pressured Abashe to wait for Allen in the hot tub. She agreed, believing the men would leave after setting it up. However, the lawsuit alleges both men forced her to consume alcohol and then assaulted her.

Abashe claims she woke up to Allen assaulting her around 4 a.m. The lawsuit alleges Allen later showed her partial surveillance footage of the assault and refused to provide the full recording.

Abashe contacted Allen later, reporting injuries sustained during the encounter. Text messages included in the lawsuit show she contacted police, who facilitated a recorded call where she questioned Allen. The lawsuit alleges Allen recounted details of the assault during the call.

Allen addressed the lawsuit on social media, saying, "I have no comment beyond what I've previously stated. This will be decided in court. I'm confident in my innocence."

Monday, May 13, 2024

Rap Legend Snoop Dogg to Guide Aspiring Singers on 'The Voice'

West Coast rap icon Snoop Dogg is gearing up to share his rhymes and coaching prowess on season 26 of "The Voice." The announcement comes as the hit show concludes its historic 25th season with a two-part finale on May 20 and 21.

Though this is his first official coaching role, Snoop Dogg is familiar with "The Voice" stage, having served as a mega mentor during season 20. His musical career is a powerhouse, with his debut album "Doggystyle" launching him to stardom and earning him 17 Grammy nominations and millions of albums sold domestically.

Snoop Dogg expressed his excitement about joining the coaching panel during NBC's upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall on Monday. "Since Reba [McEntire] is the queen of 'The Voice' who brings the sparkle," he said, "I can be the king who brings the style, the funk and the fun."

Beyond music, Snoop Dogg is a multifaceted entertainer. He's a published author with a successful cookbook, "From Crook to Cook," and holds influential positions within the music industry as Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant for Def Jam Recordings. He recently acquired Death Row Records.

Fans can expect Snoop Dogg to leverage his extensive experience and unique style to mentor contestants. Joining him on the coaching panel for season 26 is swing legend Michael Bublé, returning for the first time since his role as a season 3 advisor, alongside returning coaches Gwen Stefani and McEntire.

Childish Gambino Announces Tour and New Album

Musician Donald Glover, known professionally as Childish Gambino, is launching a world tour, "The New World Tour," spanning North America, the U.K., Europe and Australia in 2024 and 2025. The tour kicks off Aug. 11 in Oklahoma City.

Glover also unveiled a reimagined version of his 2020 album, "3.15.20," titled "Atavista." The album features completed versions of tracks and two new songs, "Atavista" and "Human Sacrifice."

The tour includes stops in Kansas City, Milwaukee, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and more.

In the years since, Glover has expanded his creative portfolio with the critically acclaimed TV show "Atlanta" and his role in the "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" reboot.

"Atavista" is a reworked and enhanced version of "3.15.20," an album Glover released as an unfinished project during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the tour and album, Glover has announced a second album, "Bando Stone & The New World," billed as his final Childish Gambino project. The album will serve as the soundtrack for a film of the same name, due out this summer.

Tickets for "The New World Tour" go on sale May 17. An American Express pre-sale begins May 15.

Childish Gambino 2024-2025 Tour Dates:
08/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Paycom Center *
08/12 – Kansas City, MO @ T-Mobile Center *
08/14 – Milwaukee, WI @ Fiserv Forum *
08/15 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center *
08/17 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena *
08/18 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena *
08/20 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena *
08/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center *
08/23 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden *
08/24 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena *
08/26 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center *
08/27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center *
08/29 – Washington, D.C. @ Capital One Arena *
08/30 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena *
09/01 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena *
09/02 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena *
09/04 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena *
09/05 – Sunrise, FL @ Amerant Bank Arena *
09/07 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center *
09/08 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center *
09/10 – Austin, TX @ Moody Center *
09/11 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center *
09/13 – Denver, CO @ Ball Arena *
09/14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Delta Center *
09/16 – Phoenix, AZ @ Footprint Center *
09/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Arena *
09/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Arena *
09/21 – San Francisco, CA @ Chase Center *
09/23 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena *
09/24 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center *
09/25 – Seattle, WA @ Climate Pledge Arena *
09/27 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome *
09/29 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place *
10/02 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center *
10/03 – Chicago, IL @ United Center *
10/31 – Lyon, France @ LDLC Arena #
11/02 – Milan, Italy @ Unipol Forum #
11/04 – Cologne, Germany @ Lanxess Arena #
11/06 – Hamburg, Germany @ Barclays Arena #
11/08 – Oslo, Norway @ Oslo Spektrum #
11/10 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Royal Arena #
11/12 – Prague, Czech Republic @ O2 arena #
11/13 – Berlin, Germany @ Uber Arena #
11/19 – Paris, France @ Accor Arena #
11/21 – Munich, Germany @ Olympiahalle #
11/23 – Brussels, Belgium @ ING Arena #
11/24 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Ziggo Dome #
11/26 – Manchester, UK @ AO Arena #
11/28 – Glasgow, UK @ OVO Hydro #
11/30 – London, UK @ The O2 #
12/01 – London, UK @ The O2 #
12/03 – Birmingham, UK @ Utilita Arena #
12/05 – Dublin, IE @ 3Arena #
01/28 – Auckland, NZ @ Spark Arena #
02/01 – Brisbane, QLD @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre #
02/04 – Sydney, NSW @ Qudos Bank Arena #
02/07 – Melbourne, VIC @ Rod Laver Arena #
02/11 – Perth, WA @ RAC Arena #

Friday, May 10, 2024

Philadelphia Soul Pioneers The Spinners Announce New Album 'Full Circle'

The Spinners: Jessie Robert Peck, Marvin Taylor, Ronnie Moss, C.J. Spencer and Henry Fambrough
In celebration of their 70th anniversary, legendary R&B vocal group The Spinners are set to release their anticipated album "Full Circle" on May 25. The album marks the final recordings featuring original member Henry Fambrough, a founding member of the group known for his smooth baritone vocals and signature falsetto.

Fambrough, who died in February at the age of 85, joined The Spinners in 1954. He played a pivotal role in shaping the group's sound and propelling them to stardom. His soulful delivery on hits like "I'll Be Around" and "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" helped solidify The Spinners' place as one of the most influential R&B groups of the 1960s and 1970s.

"Full Circle" will feature 10 brand-new tracks distributed by Reservoir Recordings. Executive produced by Bernard Grobman, the album includes singles like the soulful ballad "Easy on Me" and the up-tempo "After Hours."

The Spinners will embark on a North American tour in May to coincide with the album launch. Renowned for their lasting impact on R&B history, the group's chart-topping hits like "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," and "The Rubberband Man" helped shape the landscape of Philadelphia Soul for over six decades.

Emerging from the doo-wop scene in the 1950s, The Spinners rose to prominence in the 1960s under the guidance of legendary producer Thom Bell. They crafted a smooth and sophisticated sound that blended classic soul with intricate harmonies and sophisticated orchestration. Their music became synonymous with Philadelphia Soul, a subgenre characterized by its lush production, romantic themes, and soulful vocals.

"The Spinners' influence on music history continues with their new album, aptly titled 'Full Circle,'" said Faith Newman, Reservoir's Executive Vice President of A&R and Catalog Development in a statement. "Each track is a testament to the group's enduring legacy and the timelessness of their catalog."

"Full Circle" promises to solidify The Spinners' position as musical icons. Fans can expect a return to the group's signature sound with new music that showcases their unwavering dedication to their craft. The band's influence continues to resonate across generations, leaving a significant influence on the hearts of millions worldwide.

"Full Circle" Tracklist (to be released May 25th):
  • After Hours
  • Rainy Saturday
  • Easy On Me
  • Dreamin' Bout You
  • U're Not There
  • New Level
  • I Can
  • Hostage (Can't Let You Go)
  • Totally Beautiful
  • My Angel Love

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Sneaker Drop or Song Snippet? Scott and Ye Spark Rumors with New Project

Travis Scott unveiled teasers today for the upcoming release of his Nike Cactus Jack 1 sneaker line, available in Dark Mocha and University Red colorways.

One teaser features Kanye West, sparking speculation about a possible musical collaboration. The clip showcases West's face and tattoos while he sings in the background. Scott captioned the video "YE AND THE JACK," hinting at the partnership. Rapper Ty Dolla $ign also commented with two black hearts.

In another video, Scott shares a glimpse of his children Stormi and Aire playing with West's youngest kids, Chicago and Psalm. Set to Scott's song "My Eyes" from his August 2023 album UTOPIA, the video shows the children having fun and wearing Cactus Jack apparel and sneakers.

Fans anticipate the release of the Cactus Jack 1's, available for purchase on Scott's website starting Friday.

Meanwhile, Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign's anticipated album Vultures 2 remains unreleased. The project was initially scheduled for May 3rd but has seen no updates.

Scott, following the success of his UTOPIA album, is preparing for the European leg of his Circus Maximus Tour this summer. The 12-show tour kicks off on June 28th in the Netherlands and includes stops in several European countries.

In other news related to Scott, nine of the 10 wrongful death lawsuits filed in connection with the Astroworld music festival tragedy have been settled. This includes a lawsuit filed by the family of Madison Dubiski, one of the 10 people killed during the concert. Only one wrongful death lawsuit remains pending.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

R&B Artist Mariah the Scientist's Arrest Ignites Social Media After Mugshot Goes Viral

Courtesy:  Courtesy: Fulton County Jail
R&B singer Mariah the Scientist, born Mariah Amani Buckles, was arrested on March 28 in Atlanta and faces battery charges stemming from an alleged altercation at Cavo Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, according to Atlanta Police Department records.

The arrest gained traction online Wednesday after Buckles' mugshot reportedly from that date circulated on social media.

Cleopatra Dues, the alleged victim, told police Buckles forcibly removed her wig and dragged her across the floor, resulting in minor scratches on her feet. Dues claimed she had no prior interaction with Buckles and alleged the attack was unprovoked.

Police have not confirmed the authenticity of videos circulating on social media that purport to capture the altercation.

Buckles, a successful Atlanta-born artist, balanced academic pursuits with a passion for music. After attending St. John's University in New York on a biology scholarship, she opted for a full-time music career. Her 2018 debut EP, "To Die For," garnered recognition and led to a record deal with Canadian rapper Tory Lanez's label, One Umbrella, in collaboration with RCA Records.

Buckles has since released studio albums like "Master" and "Ry Ry World." In 2023, she signed with Epic Records and released her latest album, "To Be Eaten Alive," which charted on the Billboard 200.

Buckles' attorney has not yet responded to a request for comment on the charges.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

More Than Music: Blige's Strength of a Woman Movement Grows with $100,000 Fund

Mary J. Blige has partnered with Pepsi to empower Yonkers women. Fund grants $100,000 to local organizations supporting education and advancement.

Mary J. Blige, the undisputed Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, stands at a crossroads. While whispers of a graceful exit from the music spotlight within the next five to six years have emerged, Blige's unwavering commitment to uplifting Black women continues to burn brightly.

"There's definitely gonna be more acting, and retirement in, like, five or six years," Blige shared in a recent interview with Extra TV. "But for now, I'm still doing what I'm doing, just at a different pace."

Blige's legendary voice may be transitioning to new stages, but her dedication to empowerment takes center stage at the annual Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit. Now in its third year, the event is set for May 10-12 in New York City.

"This festival is more than just music," Blige emphasized. "It's a celebration of resilience, a space for us to share stories, and inspire each other to keep pushing forward."

Workshops, panels, and empowering performances promise to create an unforgettable experience, but Blige isn't content with just conversation. Partnering with Pepsi, she's launching the Pepsi x Mary J. Blige Strength of a Woman Community Fund, a $100,000 initiative specifically designed to support underserved women in her hometown of Yonkers, New York.

"Pepsi has been an incredible partner from the start," Blige remarked. "Now, with their support, I can finally come home to Yonkers and give back to the community that nurtured me."

The fund will award grants to local organizations tackling critical issues faced by women, including education, financial stability, and food security.

"Through this fund, we aim to uplift those who are often overlooked," Blige stated. "It's about creating opportunities for them to thrive."

Friday, April 26, 2024

Watch: Ne-Yo Brings Hits and New Song 'Two Million Secrets' to NPR's Tiny Desk Concert

R&B singer Ne-Yo brought his smooth vocals and songwriting talents to NPR's Tiny Desk concert series on Friday.

Ne-Yo launched into a four-song medley of his hits, including "Because of You," "So Sick," and "Sexy Love," before surprising fans with a new song, "Two Million Secrets." Ne-Yo described the new track as a "personal reflection" on growth and redemption.

He further showcased his songwriting prowess with covers of songs he wrote for Rihanna ("Take a Bow"), Beyoncé ("Irreplaceable"), and Mario ("Let Me Love You").

The intimate concert concluded with Ne-Yo's signature anthem "Miss Independent."

Born Shaffer Chimere Smith, Ne-Yo is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter with multiple platinum-selling albums. He remains a force in R&B, both with his own music and as a sought-after songwriter.

Watch the entire performance below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BIG3 Co-founder Blasts WNBA as 'Male-Dominated System' After Clark's Record Nike Deal

John Mac, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh off her historic selection as the number one draft pick by the Indiana Fever, 22-year-old Caitlin Clark has solidified her status as a marketing powerhouse.

Clark is poised to ink a record-breaking $28 million endorsement deal with Nike, which includes the development of her own signature shoe line. This development comes on the heels of her decision to turn down a groundbreaking offer from the BIG3 league, sparking discussions about the future of gender equity in professional sports.

The BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by music icon Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, reportedly presented Clark with a $15 million package. This offer significantly surpasses the standard rookie salary in the WNBA, which stands at $76,535, highlighting the substantial financial gap between the two leagues.

In a guest column for Outkick, Kwatinetz argued that the WNBA "underpays" its stars, attributing this to a "male-dominated system" that controls basketball and limits opportunities for women. He criticized the NBA for exerting influence over the WNBA, alleging that it hinders women from receiving their fair share.

Kwatinetz further claimed in his Outkick column that Clark "found out about the BIG3 offer at the same time as everyone else," insinuating that her agents, with ties to the NBA, may have shielded her from the proposal.

The BIG3 has positioned itself as a proponent of equality, emphasizing its promotion of diversity by featuring female athletes competing at a high level alongside men. They highlight their female coaches and Black commissioner as evidence of their commitment to inclusivity.

While the financial opportunity presented by the BIG3 was undoubtedly tempting, questions linger about whether Clark, renowned for her finesse on the court, would have thrived in the league's physically demanding, defense-oriented environment. Was the offer truly withheld by her agents, or did Clark harbor reservations for other reasons?

This situation has become a focal point for discussions regarding the unequal treatment of women in basketball. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice into the NBA's business practices may shed light on the complexities underlying these disparities.

One thing remains certain: Caitlin Clark's journey is just beginning. Her decisions will be closely monitored, with some viewing her as a potential symbol of resistance to change or a catalyst for progress in terms of compensation and treatment of female athletes.

However, Clark's groundbreaking Nike deal offers a ray of hope. This lucrative endorsement signifies her immense marketing potential and could pave the way for a more prosperous financial future for female athletes in the WNBA. The inclusion of a signature shoe line in the deal is particularly noteworthy, elevating Clark to an unprecedented level of visibility within the sport.

This windfall stands in stark contrast to Clark's WNBA contract. The Indiana Fever will pay her a standard rookie salary, totaling $338,056 over four years. This amounts to a yearly salary of $76,535 in her first year, increasing slightly to $97,582 in her fourth year, should the team exercise their option.

The glaring disparity between Clark's Nike deal and her WNBA contract serves as a poignant reminder of the financial challenges faced by women's basketball players. While Clark's marketability transcends the court, questions persist about the equitable compensation of elite female athletes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Megan Thee Stallion Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Road Trip Rendezvous

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses rapper Megan Thee Stallion of harassment and creating a hostile work environment for a former cameraman.

Emilio Garcia, who worked for Megan Thee Stallion from 2018 to June 2023, alleges in the lawsuit that he was subjected to inappropriate behavior, including verbal abuse and fat-shaming comments.

The lawsuit centers on an incident in June 2022 during a trip to Ibiza, Spain. Garcia claims he was in a moving SUV with Megan Thee Stallion and several other women after a night out when she allegedly engaged in sexual activity with another woman. Garcia says he was unable to leave the vehicle and felt uncomfortable.

The lawsuit details additional instances of alleged misconduct. Garcia claims he was subsequently berated by Megan Thee Stallion and subjected to derogatory comments about his weight. The lawsuit quotes Garcia as saying, "She told me, 'Don't ever discuss what you saw,' before berating me and using insults like 'Fat B-tch.'"

"The harassment was severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment," the lawsuit states.

Garcia says he resigned in June 2023. Representatives for Megan Thee Stallion and Roc Nation have not commented on the allegations.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Mary J. Blige and A Tribe Called Quest Lead 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Mary J. Blige, the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul," and the pioneering alternative rap group A Tribe Called
Quest lead a strong contingent of Black artists selected for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 2024 class. The announcement was made during Sunday night's "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Night" episode on "American Idol."

Blige, who began her career with Uptown Records in 1989, broke new ground in the hip-hop soul genre with R&B hits like "Real Love" and "You Remind Me." Her collaborations with iconic rap artists set a standard for blending R&B and hip-hop, notably her Grammy-winning duet with Method Man, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," considered one of rap's greatest love songs.

A Tribe Called Quest, formed in Queens, New York, in 1985, quickly rose to prominence with their unique blend of jazz-infused beats and socially conscious lyrics. Their albums "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm," "The Low End Theory," and "Midnight Marauders" are hailed as classics, influencing generations of artists.

Joining them are legendary singer Dionne Warwick, whose smooth vocals and timeless hits like "Walk on By" and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" created a signature blend of pop, gospel, and R&B. Funk legends Kool & the Gang, songwriter Norman Whitfield (mastermind behind Motown hits like "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Just My Imagination"), and blues powerhouse Big Mama Thornton, credited with bridging the gap between blues and rock & roll, round out the class.

These artists, selected from a pool of nominees, helped shape the course of rock & roll with their originality, impact, and influence. The induction ceremony will be held live on Saturday, October 19th, at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Fans can tune in on Disney+ or catch a special airing on ABC at a later date, with streaming available on Hulu the following day.

Full List of 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
Performer Category:
Dave Matthews Band
Kool & the Gang
Mary J. Blige
Ozzy Osbourne
Peter Frampton
A Tribe Called Quest

Musical Influence Award:
Alexis Korner
John Mayall
Big Mama Thornton

Musical Excellence Award:
Jimmy Buffett
Dionne Warwick
Norman Whitfield

Ahmet Ertegun Award:
Suzanne de Passe