Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Simply the Best: Tina Turner's Iconic Voice Silenced at 83

Tina Turner, the renowned singer and performer who rose to fame alongside her husband Ike Turner in the 1960s and '70s before achieving solo success with the iconic hit "What's Love Got to Do With It," has died at the age of 83.

According to a statement from her manager. Turner, a Swiss citizen for the past decade, passed away on Tuesday at her home in KĂŒsnacht near Zurich after battling a long illness.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in segregated Tennessee, Turner overcame tremendous obstacles during her career. Despite enduring physical abuse, emotional devastation, and financial ruin throughout her tumultuous 20-year marriage to Ike Turner, she defied the odds by establishing herself as a solo superstar in her 40s and remained a highly sought-after live performer for many years.

Turner's repertoire spanned various genres, including pop, rock, and rhythm and blues. Her hits, such as "Proud Mary," "Nutbush City Limits," and "River Deep, Mountain High," as well as '80s chart-toppers like "What's Love Got to Do With It," "We Don't Need Another Hero," and her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," captivated audiences worldwide.

Known for her distinctive wigs and raspy contralto vocals, Turner sold over 150 million records worldwide, won 12 Grammy Awards, and received inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice—first as part of Ike and Tina Turner in 1991 and later as a solo artist in 2021.

In 2005, she was honored with a tribute at the Kennedy Center, with accolades pouring in from notable figures including Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey.

Turner's indelible impact on music history, both as part of Ike and Tina Turner and as a solo artist, as well as her bravery in sharing her life story through various mediums, solidified her legacy as the Queen of Rock & Roll.

She also left her mark on the silver screen, making an iconic appearance as Aunty Entity in the 1985 film "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," showcasing her talent as an actress alongside her musical prowess.

"In Memoriam: Two-time Inductee Tina Turner worked hard to reimagine the role of a Black woman in rock & roll—one that was firmly placed front and center. During her time in the duo Ike and Tina Turner (inducted in 1991), her electric onstage presence forever raised the bar for live performance," tweeted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"Their hits 'River Deep–Mountain High' and 'Proud Mary' endure to this day. But this Queen of Rock & Roll went on to make music history again with her solo career (for which she was inducted again in 2021) and with her bravery in sharing her life story as a book, film, and Broadway musical. There was nothing her deep, robust voice couldn't do, as displayed on her solo hits like 'What's Love Got to Do with It' and 'Private Dancer'."

Fetty Wap's Legal Battle Ends in Six-Year Prison Term for Drug Trafficking

Fetty Wap
Fetty Wap has been handed a six-year federal prison sentence for his involvement in a drug-trafficking scheme centered in New York.

The sentencing took place on Wednesday in federal court on Long Island, New York.

Maxwell, having pleaded guilty in August 2022 to a conspiracy drug charge, faced a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

During the court proceedings, Maxwell expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging, "My selfishness and pride have landed me in this position today."

His defense team attributed his involvement in drug sales to financial hardships arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October 2021, Maxwell and five co-defendants were apprehended following allegations of participating in a drug-smuggling conspiracy that brought substantial amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and other narcotics into the New York City area. The charges involved the possession and distribution of over 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of illicit substances, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine, between June 2019 and June 2020.

Prosecutors revealed that the drug-trafficking operation relied on the use of the U.S. Postal Service and vehicles equipped with concealed compartments to transport drugs from the West Coast to Long Island. The drugs were subsequently stored for distribution among dealers in Long Island and New Jersey.

Maxwell's guilty plea specifically pertained to the conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances, the primary charge in the indictment. By avoiding conviction on all charges, Maxwell evaded the possibility of a life sentence. It is worth noting that his plea exclusively pertained to cocaine-related charges.

While Maxwell's defense attorneys advocated for a minimum five-year prison term, the prosecution sought a longer sentence. Defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio expressed her regret, describing it as a "tragic day" for Maxwell, a native of Paterson, New Jersey. Macedonio emphasized Maxwell's acceptance of responsibility for his actions.

Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Caffarone made it clear that the prosecution's case remained impartial to Maxwell's celebrity status as a performer, stating firmly, "The defendant did, indeed, engage in drug sales. The defendant did, indeed, sell cocaine."

Addressing Maxwell directly, Judge Joanna Seybert acknowledged his potential and encouraged him to make the most of it, saying, "You possess immense opportunities. Endeavor to utilize them effectively."

Maxwell gained widespread recognition in 2015 with his debut single "Trap Queen," which reached the No. 2 position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song's melodic yet gritty style explores themes of loyalty, even in the context of drug-related activities. In 2016, Maxwell earned two Grammy Award nominations for his notable contributions to the music industry.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Watch: 'The Color Purple' Returns to the Big Screen as a Musical, Featuring Star-Studded Cast

"The Color Purple," a beloved literary classic, is making its way back to the big screen, this time as a musical.

Oprah Winfrey, known for her Oscar-nominated role as Sofia in the acclaimed 1985 film adaptation, is teaming up with Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones as an executive producer for the movie musical.

Winfrey expressed her personal connection to the story during a recent Q&A, stating, "'The Color Purple' had a profound impact on my life—it truly resonated with my own growth and journey." Her heartfelt words highlight the enduring power and universal themes of the narrative.

The first trailer for the 2023 rendition of "The Color Purple" showcases a visually stunning production, captivating audiences with extravagant musical numbers and the electrifying vocals of Fantasia Barrino.

Based on Alice Walker's groundbreaking 1982 novel, the film features an exceptional cast. Danielle Brooks assumes the role of the fierce Sofia, while Barrino, celebrated for her mastery on Broadway as Celie, takes on the role of Celie's sister, originally portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg.

The star-studded ensemble also includes Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Ciara, Halle Bailey and H.E.R.

Scheduled for a Christmas Day premiere, the movie promises to deliver a fresh perspective on "The Color Purple." Watch the trailer below for an exclusive glimpse into this highly-anticipated musical adaptation.