Nicki Minaj Funds Village in India to Create Access to Clean Water, Computer Center And More

CREDIT: Getty Images

by Latifah Muhammad via vibe.com

Nicki Minaj is quite the giver.  A week after paying off college loans and tuition for some of her fans, Minaj revealed more of her philanthropic efforts, via social media. Apparently, the Queens native has been quietly sending money to an impoverished village in India for the last couple of years. And her kindness is already paying off.

Thanks to the “No Frauds” rapper’s generosity, villagers now have access to a computer center, a reading program, two water wells, and more.“This is the kind of thing that makes me feel the most proud,” Minaj wrote on Instagram Saturday (May 20).“The money I’ve sent to this village in India for the last couple years [via my Pastor Lydia Sloley], has gotten them a computer center, a tailoring institute, a reading program and two water wells.“

“We complain about the most ridiculous little things when some [people] don’t even have clean water,” she continued. “Blessings to India. Our work is far from done.”Minaj added that she’ll be dropping more details about her charity work in the “near future,” in case fans want to get involved.

To read more, go to: Here’s Why Nicki Minaj Sends Money To A Village In India

Happy 67th Birthday, Stevie Wonder! Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Legend Worth Reading 

Stevie Wonder (photo via okayplayer.com)

by Kevito via okayplayer.com

What can be said that hasn’t already been shared about Stevland Hardaway Morris? Better known around six galaxies as Stevie Wonder, the man, former child prodigy and one of the most successful musicians of the late 20th century turns 67-years-old today (May 13). For those not old enough to know the story of the “Lil’ Stevie Wonder,” here it goes: Signed to Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11, he performed, wrote, sung and produced records for them all the way into the 2010s.

With iconic singles such as “Sir Duke,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Superstition,” and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life — Stevie has more than 30 U.S. top ten hits, won 25 Grammy Awards, helped to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday into a national holiday. He is an official “Messenger of Peace” for the United Nations and one of the all-time top artists for the Billboard Hot 100.

To us, he is simply a man who has been in touch with the divine spirit of the Creator, and has illuminated our worlds with his songs and legacy. From playing on street corners with his friend back in the days to throwing down at President Barack Obama‘s last White House party — Stevie Wonder’s impact on pop culture, politics, activism and music are the stuff of legends. For that, we celebrate his life and continuing revolution around the sun by championing these 15 stories that you should read to get more familiar with the architect behind so many classic jams.

Brayton Bowman Puts A Valentine’s Day Twist On This Stevie Wonder Classic [Premiere]

Stevie Wonder Talks God, Race + A Nickname From The Temptations On PBS’ ‘Blank On Blank’

Charlie Murphy Claims Stevie Wonder Was A Boxer In A New ‘True Hollywood Story’

“I Encourage You To Choose Love Over Hate” – Stevie Wonder Pleads For #BlackLiveMatter In London

Stevie Wonder: “Prince’s music was so picturesque that even I could see it.”

Watch Outtakes From Stevie Wonder’s Karaoke Session w/ James Corden

Snoop Dogg Tells The Tale Of Collaborating With Stevie Wonder On New LP ‘Bush’

Watch An Animated Peanut Butter Wolf Introduce Stevie Wonder To Madlib

Stevie Wonder Takes Us Behind The Creation Of “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”

Stevie Wonder Lists The Top Ten Advantages Of Being Blind On The Late Show With David Letterman

Throwback Thursday: When Bob Marley Met Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson

MLK Day Was 20 Years In The Making And Stevie Wonder Was There Every Step Of The Way

Stevie Wonder Weighs In On Ferguson & Eric Garner’s Death Mid-Show In Seattle

Unreleased Stevie Wonder Track “So Much In Love” Surfaces

Stevie Wonder Boycotts Florida Following Zimmerman Verdict

Source: Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder: Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Icon You Should Read Okayplayer

Director Steve McQueen Partners With Tupac Shakur’s Estate for Authorized Documentary

Tupac Shakur (l); director Steve McQueen (r). Photo credit: colorlines.com

 by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

“12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen will collaborate with Tupac Shakur‘s estate for an upcoming feature-length documentary. Deadline reported yesterday (May 9) that the Oscar-winning British filmmaker will direct the project through a new deal between the estate and Amaru Entertainment, the company founded by the rapper’s late mother Afeni Shakur.

Tupac’s aunt, Gloria Cox, will executive produce with Jeanne Elfant Festa of White Horse Pictures, the production company responsible for several music documentaries, including “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week–The Touring Years.” White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall also feature as producers alongside Jayson Jackson (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and estate trustee Tom Whalley. Deadline did not report a release date.

“I am extremely moved and excited to be exploring the life and times of this legendary artist,” McQueen told Deadline. “I attended [New York University] film school in 1993 and can remember the unfolding hip-hop world and mine overlapping with Tupac’s through a mutual friend in a small way. Few, if any, shined brighter than Tupac Shakur. I look forward to working closely with his family to tell the unvarnished story of this talented man.”

The still-untitled project comes nearly 14 years after Amaru Entertainment released “Tupac: Resurrection.” The Afeni Shakur-produced documentary incorporated rare archival footage and the MC’s own narration, recorded before his 1996 killing in a drive-by shooting. “Tupac: Resurrection” earned a “Best Documentary (Feature)” nomination at the 44th Annual Academy Awards.

To read more: Steve McQueen Partners With Tupac’s Estate for Authorized Documentary | Colorlines

Oscar Winner Jennifer Hudson Joins ‘The Voice’ on NBC as a Coach for Season 13 

Jennifer Hudson (photo via variety.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winner and former “American Idol” contestant Jennifer Hudson will join Season 13 of NBC’s “The Voice” as a coach.  She will be coaching along with Miley Cyrus (returning for a second stint) and regulars Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Hudson was the winning coach on the U.K. edition of “The Voice” earlier this year.

“Jennifer is an extraordinary vocal talent and one of the premier voices of our time. She embodies the experience, expertise, positivity and sheer talent that “The Voice” stands for,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of NBC’s alternative and reality group. “Her exceptional skills as a singer and actress have extended to film, television and Broadway, which makes her an incredible addition and a natural fit for our show.”

Hudson was just on NBC in December with her show-stopping performance in the “Hairspray Live” musical, and just released a new single, “Remember Me,” Variety reported.

Upcoming Documentary ‘Nice & Rough: Black Women IN Rock’ Uncovers Long History of Black Female Rockers

(photo collage via shadowandact.com)

by Tambay Obenson via shadowandact.com

Speaking of “Hidden Figures,” here’s an intriguing upcoming documentary from filmmaker Sheila Dianne Jackson and her Eve’s Lime Productions shingle, that I think will be of interest to many of you. Promising to bring to light the mostly ignored story of black women in rock, the film is titled “Nice & Rough: Black Women IN Rock.”

Per the filmmaker, it will pay homage to the women who helped define the sound that emerged as rock n’ roll in the 1950s and 60s, and the generation of women that followed them, inspired by their contributions. It originally started as a documentary on background singers, and evolved into something more that will uncover a rarely talked about, and to many, likely entirely unknown history of black women in rock. Jackson says she was inspired by her sister, a multi-talented singer (opera, jazz, R&B, and metal rock), who was attracted to hardcore rock music, which the filmmaker was fascinated by, leading her to expand her original idea into one that chronicled a rich though “hidden” history.

To read more, go to: Doc: ‘Nice & Rough: Black Women IN Rock’

Nicki Minaj Offers to Pay College Tuition, Students Loans for Fans

Nicki Minaj (photo via money.com)

by Jennifer Calfas via time.com

Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj has offered to pay college tuition fees and student loans for several of her fans.

Minaj made the offer on Twitter under several conditions, asking for verification of 4.0 GPAs and confirmation from their schools.

Minaj responded to tweets from fans late Saturday evening and into the early morning. The series of tweets came after Minaj promoted a contest for a fan to join her at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas later this month.

The contest had fans tweeting at her with #NickiBBMAs, and eventually escalated into pleas to the multiplatinum artist for help with college tuition fees and student loans.

The requests went beyond tuition and student loans, with some fans asking for less than $1,000 for books and other supplies for school. Minaj appeared to grant those requests, asking for the contact and bank info for some of her fans.

By the end of the evening, Minaj said she would pay for about 30 fans’ college tuition, student loans or other education-related fees. The fees ranged from $500 to books to $6,000 for tuition.

She said she’d make these payments Sunday, “then see if I have any money left.” She also promised to respond to more requests from fans to help pay college fees in a month or two.

The rapper said she plans to help pay for more of her fans’ college fees in the future.

Source: Nicki Minaj Offers to Pay College Tuition for Fans | Money

Ne-Yo Invests $2.3 Million in Holberton School, a Free Coding Academy, to help Diversify Tech

Ne-Yo with the Holberton founders Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier and Trinity Partner Dan Scholnick (photo via Holberton School)

by Biz Carson via businessinsider.com

The idea of a coding school that charges no upfront tuition was intriguing to Ne-Yo. The Grammy Award-winning artist is certainly not the first musician to invest in Silicon Valley, but he’s one that wants to put his talents and money into helping to solve the diversity challenges facing the tech industry.

On Thursday, Holberton School plans to announce that Ne-Yo invested in the coding academy’s most-recent $2.3 million funding round and is joining its Board of Trustees as a result. “This is not a realistic career for people who came up like me. It’s more realistic to do what I do, be a singer or an NBA star,” Ne-Yo said during a party celebrating his new role at Holberton hosted by Trinity Ventures in San Francisco. “Thanks to these guys it now is,” Ne-Yo said. “I have a platform, and I’m going to use this platform to spread the word.”

While there are plenty of coding schools and bootcamps abound, the Holberton School is taking a different approach by charging no upfront tuition for students to enroll. Instead, graduates have to contribute about 17% of their salaries or internship pay to the school for three years after graduation. Already, Holberton’s free (at least upfront) approach has helped the coding school attract a wide-range of people wanting to break into the tech industry.

Women constitute 40% of its students, and 53% of the student body is people of color.Specifically, Ne-Yo wants to attract more Hispanics and blacks to the coding school based in San Francisco. The school is able to keep its costs low by not hiring formal teachers or giving lectures. Instead much of the curriculum is based around students working on specific projects and helping teach each other. They also work with mentors from companies like Uber and LinkedIn to finish the two-year program.

Already, some of Holberton’s students have interned or been hired at companies like Apple, NASA, and Dropbox. While the coding school is still only about 18 months old, it’s early success is already attracting heavy-hitters like Ne-Yo, along with existing investors including Trinity Ventures, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, and Jerry Murdock, co-founder of Insight Venture Partners. “I’m very, very excited about this,” Ne-Yo said at the celebration. “Let’s make Holberton one of the biggest schools on the face of the planet.”

To read full article, go to: Ne-Yo invests in Holberton School, a free coding school – Business Insider