Tuesday, September 20, 2022

R&B Group Wanmore, Sons of B2M's Wanya Morris, Signs Record Deal With Mary J. Blige

Photo Courtesy 300 Entertainment 
Traditional R&B has had a hard time over the past couple of years compared to its hip-hop brethren rap, which continues to dominate the charts.

The falling revenues and lack of new breakout stars were enough for music mastermind Diddy to recently declare the art form dead —a bold, if premature, statement coming from a guy who just signed a deal with Motown to head an imprint, Love Records, dedicated to it.

It appears there may be hope on the horizon, however, for those looking for R&Bs' next big thing and it comes with a pedigree that makes it worth watching.

WanMor, the scions of R&B royalty, Wanya Morris, announced a new record deal on Monday with Mary J. Blige's Beautiful Life Productions and 300 Entertainment.

The quartet — made up of brothers Wanya Morris II “Big Boy,” Wanya III “Chulo,” Wanya IV “Tyvas” and Wanya V “Rocco" — ranges in age from 12-18, and has a musical style inspired by their dad's group Boyz II Men.

“There’s been so much conversation about the state of R&B and the next generation of R&B artists,” said Blige of the signing in a statement. “This generation has been giving us great R&B, and that feeling, that soul, and that sound remains in our DNA. When we heard WanMor sing, we knew we could stop looking. They are IT!"

Kevin Liles, chairman & CEO of 300 Entertainment and Elektra Music Group, added that the group is what has been missing in music.

"Every Little Girl in the City" Cover Art
"There’s no one out like them,” Liles said. “It all comes down to their voices, songs, and fans. WanMor is bringing the superstar R&B group back. R&B is not dead."

Whether or not the group can mimic the success of their pop's iconic R&B group, which topped Billboard's list of the 10 Biggest Boy Bands (1987-2012), sold millions of records and collected four Grammy Awards —remains to be seen.

WanMor, however, is off to a quick start. The group's latest single, “Every Pretty Girl in the City,” was released on Friday (Sept. 16) ahead of the announcement, with a visual showcasing their singing and dancing abilities.

Watch the full video below:

Monday, September 19, 2022

R&B Singer and Broadway Veteran, Marva Hicks Taha, Dead at 66

Marva Hicks Taha
Broadway veteran, actress and R&B singer Mava Hicks Taha — who duetted with pop music legends Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, and whose credits on the Great White Way include "Motown" and "The Lion King" has died.

A statement released by her husband Akwasi Taha and the rest of the family Sunday revealed that she passed away at the age of 66 on Friday (Sept. 16) in New York City.

"It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our dear Marva Hicks Taha," the declaration read. "Our beloved wife, family member and friend will be greatly missed and remains marvelous in our hearts forever. The love she had for her husband, family, friends and entertainment community knew no bounds."

It continued, "We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. Memorial arrangements will be announced in the coming days." –

Taha's career on the screen, stage and behind the microphone spanned four decades.

The Virginia native was a fixture in the theater community. In addition to her work on Broadway in musicals such as "Caroline or Change," and "Lena Horne, The Lady at Her Music," she starred in many off-Broadway and regional theater productions nationwide.

Most recently the three-time Helen Hayes Award winner — which recognizes excellence in professional theater in the Washington, D.C., area — starred in an April 2022 performance of "Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous" at Atlanta's Alliance Theater.

In addition to her theater career, Taha was an accomplished musician.

After signing with Polydor Records in the late eighties she notched a Top 10 Billboard R&B charts single in 1991 with "Never Been in Love Before" off her debut album "Marva Hicks."

While the singles that followed did not fare as well, Taha continued to be an in-demand backup singer, providing vocals for a diverse array of music superstars over the years including Jackson, Wonder, Whitney Houston, James Ingram and Michael McDonald.

Off the stage, her immense talents as an actress translated well to both the small and big screen.

Her film and television credits include "Mad About You," "Star Trek," "One Life to Live," and "LA Law," among many others. Taha also lent her voice and talents to many nonprofit organizations including the Ronald McDonald House.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Watch: First Look at British Actress, Naomi Ackie, as Whitney Houston in ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ Biopic

"The Voice" may be gone but her musical legacy lives on and thanks to Sony a new generation is set to be exposed to the story behind the rise and fall of one of America's most prolific and acclaimed singers.

On Thursday, the studio released the first trailer for its upcoming Whitney Houston biopic, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

In the two-minute clip from the fully-authorized biographical drama, viewers get their first glimpse at British actress Naomi Ackie's ( "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker") portrayal of the music legend who the movie's synopsis says went "From New Jersey choir girl to one of the best-selling and most awarded recording artists of all time."

Only time will tell if the movie, slated for release on Dec. 21, will be a gift to fans of the departed diva, but the outlook is promising considering the film's pedigree.

Anthony McCarten, who wrote the hit 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," penned the script. While the man who signed and mentored Houston throughout her music career, super-producer Clive Davis, portrayed by master character actor Stanley Tucci in the film, is producing.

Watch the trailer below for a first look at Ackie in the iconic role: