Category: Music

Lena Horne, Legendary Performer and Civil Rights Activist, Honored with U.S. Forever Stamp

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The U.S. Postal Service today celebrates the life and legacy of Lena Horne as the 41st honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at Peter Norton Symphony Space.

“Today, we honor the 70-year career of a true American legend,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp. “With this Forever stamp, the Postal Service celebrates a woman who used her platform as a renowned entertainer to become a prolific voice for civil rights advancement and gender equality.”

Joining Stroman to unveil the stamp were Gail Lumet Buckley, an author and Horne’s daughter; Christian Steiner, photographer; and Amy Niles, president and chief executive officer, WBGO Radio.

The stamp art features a photograph of Lena Horne taken by Christian Steiner in the 1980s. Kristen Monthei colorized the original black-and-white photo using a royal blue for the dress, a color Horne frequently wore. Monthei also added a background reminiscent of Horne’s Stormy Weather album, with a few clouds to add texture and to subtly evoke the album title. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. Anyone can share the news of the stamp using the hashtags #LenaHorneForever and #BlackHeritageStamps.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 30, 1917, Horne was a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color and used her fame to inspire Americans as a dedicated activist for civil rights.

Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers and others was so disconcerting that she stopped touring, and in 1941, she made her move to Hollywood. A year later, she signed a contract with MGM — one of the first long-term contracts with a major Hollywood studio — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors. Her most famous movie roles were in Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, both released in 1943.

During World War II, Horne entertained at camps for black servicemen, and after the war worked on behalf of Japanese Americans who were facing discriminatory housing policies. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in pressing for anti-lynching legislation. In the 1960s, Horne continued her high-profile work for civil rights, performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.

Horne’s awards and honors include a special Tony Award for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; three Grammy Awards; the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Actors Equity Paul Robeson Award. She was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 1984, and her name is among those on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Customers may purchase the Lena Horne Forever stamp at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office facilities nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also are available at ebay.com/stamps.

“Girls Trip, “Get Out,” “Black-ish,” Garner Multiple Wins at 49th NAACP Image Awards

The cast and crew of “black-ish” accepts award for outstanding comedy series at the 49th annual NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, in Pasadena, Calif. Pictured from left are Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Anderson, Jeff Mecham, Jenifer Lewis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris, Yara Shahidi, Miles Brown, Peter Mackenzie, Marsai Martin, and Marcus Scribner (Credit: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards were announced last night during the live broadcast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium which aired on TV One. The two-hour live special was hosted by Anthony Anderson and opened with a powerful moment in support of #TIMESUP featuring Angela Robinson, Kerry Washington, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Ava DuVernay was honored as the NAACP Entertainer of the Year. NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell presented the NAACP Chairman’s Award to William Lucy, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson presented the NAACP President’s Award to Danny Glover and several members of the Memphis Sanitation “I Am A Man” Workers were also in attendance – they were presented with the NAACP Vanguard Award earlier in the week during a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

Gap Band leader Charlie Wilson was honored with the Music Makes a Difference honor which is bestowed upon an individual within the recording industry who has achieved worthwhile success and inspiration for civic engagement, criminal justice, education, economic opportunity, or criminal justice.

“Girls Trip” triumphed as the winner in the Outstanding Motion Picture category, and picked up a second award for its breakout star Tiffany Haddish in the Supporting Actress category.

Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele‘s horror opus “Get Out” received three awards, including Best Actor honors for lead Daniel Kaluuya, and Best Director and Best Writing wins for Peele. “Black-ish” took home the award for best television series, while host Anderson won Best Actor, Tracee Ellis Ross repeated as Best Actress and Marsai Martin won for Best Supporting Actress in a TV series.

In recording, Bruno Mars took home awards for Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album  and Outstanding Song – Traditional for “That’s What I Like.” Kendrick Lamar owned the Outstanding Album, Outstanding Song – Contemporary and Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration categories (the latter with Rihanna).

The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards in the non-televised categories were announced during a gala dinner celebration that took place Sunday, January 14, 2018, at the Pasadena Conference Center – the event was hosted by The Real’s Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley.

The NAACP Image Awards is the premiere multicultural awards show. It celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

For all information and the latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at: http://www.naacpimageawards.net.

Below are all of the winners for the 49th NAACP Image Awards:

MOTION PICTURE

Outstanding Motion Picture – “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture – Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture – Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture – Octavia Spencer – “Gifted” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Idris Elba – “THOR: Ragnarok” (Marvel Studios)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture – “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture – Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures) Continue reading ““Girls Trip, “Get Out,” “Black-ish,” Garner Multiple Wins at 49th NAACP Image Awards”

Grammy Award Winner Mary J. Blige to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Mary J. Blige (Source: TARA ZIEMBA / Getty)

by Rebecca Rubin via variety.com

Mary J. Blige will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the recording category.

The ceremony will take place on Jan. 11 at 6201 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Eastown. Sean “Diddy” Combs will join Hollywood Chamber president and CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star.

“Mary J. Blige is one of the most popular singers of our generation. Fans will be thrilled to see her star on the Boulevard as her career milestones are celebrated on this very famous sidewalk,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

The Grammy Award-winning artist has recently been recognized for her acting work. Blige received Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for her role in Dee Rees’ period drama “Mudbound,” as well as a Golden Globe nom for best original song for “Mighty River.”

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Blige got her start in music by signing with Uptown Records in 1989. At 18 years old, she was the label’s youngest and first female artist. Her debut album, “What’s the 411?,” was executive produced by Combs and spun off hits including, “You Remind Me” and “Real Love.” Since then, she’s released 12 additional albums that have garnered nine Grammy Award wins from her 31 nominations.

Among her most popular songs are “Family Affair,” “No More Drama,” “Be Without You,” “Not Gon’ Cry,” “Love Is All We Need,” and “Seven Days.”

Her film debut was in 2001’s “Prison Song,” followed by Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” She also starred alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand in 2012’s “Rock of Ages,” and appeared in 2013’s musical drama “Black Nativity.”

On the TV front, Blige has guest starred on “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Empire,” and “30 Rock.” She also played Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, on NBC’s musical “The Wiz Live!”

Source: http://variety.com/2018/music/news/mary-j-blige-hollywood-walk-of-fame-star-1202653233/

Motown Museum Receives $500,000 Donation From Hudson-Webber Foundation for Expansion

Hitsville USA in Detroit, MI (photo via wikipedia.com)

by Nigel Roberts via newsone.com

The vision of an expanded space for the world famous Motown Museum is closer to fruition with the donation of $500,000 from the Hudson-Webber Foundation, Business Insider reported.

“Every time we get another one of these significant lead gifts in the campaign, not only does it encourage us as a team, but also sends a message to the rest of the funding community about this project, the importance of this development and also makes clear that this is real,” Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the museum, told the Detroit Free Press when the foundation notified her about the award.

This donation comes after the museum received a $1 million donation from the Fred A. and Barbara Erb Family Foundation. In October 2016, the museum announced plans for a $50 million, 50,000-square foot expansion project. The new space will include more interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, retail shops and meeting spaces.

Motown Museum Expansion Expansion Artist Rendering (photo via freep.com)

Museum-goers currently only have access to two houses on Grand Boulevard and the funds from the campaign will allow a third house with more exhibits to be built. The expansion will foster job creation and economic growth in Detroit, providing the local community with nearly 250 job opportunities.

“The Motown Museum project will increase the vitality of the surrounding neighborhood and will expand the museum’s ability to serve as an educational and cultural amenity for the city and beyond,” Melanca Clark, president and CEO of the foundation, told the newspaper. “We’re so proud to support an iconic Detroit institution that connects our city to the world.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, established the original museum in 1985.

Source: Motown Museum Receives Donation From Hudson Webber Foundation | News One

Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Video Directed by Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast

Jay Z released his video for his single “Family Feud” last night exclusively on Tidal, although it was more than a standard music video premiere. Much like anything else he and Beyoncé create, it was a cultural event to punctuate 2017 with the most inclusive, woke A-list cast you will ever see in a music video.

Helmed by Ava DuVernay, the seven-minute-plus video is a short film, serves up some sci-fi, futuristic realness that can very well be a taste of what’s to come in the celebrated director’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Joining JayZ, Beyoncé and the heiress to their throne, Blue Ivy, includes an inspiring roster of actors from every part of the color spectrum: Michael B. Jordan, Trevante Rhodes, Thandie Newton, Jessica Chastain, Irene Bedard, Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo, Emayatzy Corinealdi, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, and Storm Reid — who is the star of Wrinkle in Time. Rounding out the cast is the “founding mothers”, which feature Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who, as the video shows, are different women from all walks of life who are enlisted to change the country’s constitution.

Even though there is a cinematic scope to the video, which was co-written by Jay-Z and DuVernay, it is highly personal for the Grammy-nominated rapper, who uses the track from his critically acclaimed 4:44 album to confess his sins to his wife and all-around queen of everything, Beyoncé. Where Beyoncé used her visual album, Lemonade as a platform for working through her personal issues with Jay-Z, he used 4:44 to respond and tell his side of the story. In other words, it’s an artistic way of saying, “Yea, I messed up.”

Jay’s track serves as an atonement and one key lyric sets the tone for the short film: “nobody wins when the family feuds.” Of course, he is referring to his familial relationships, but it goes beyond that and applies it to feuding within the country and the world. There’s layers of meaning in the short that starts off with a poignant James Baldwin quote and goes into a Godfather-meets-Game of Thrones scene, moments of war, moments reflecting today’s volatile political climate, and a group of empowering females looking to build a utopian rather than dystopian future.

DuVernay took to Twitter to share her thoughts, inspiration and behind-the-scenes photos from the video.

To read more, go to:  Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Directed By Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast | Deadline

John Legend to Star in NBC’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert’

John Legend
CREDIT: OWEN KOLASINSKI/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

John Legend will star in the title role in NBC’s live staging of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” set for Easter Sunday.

“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn’t anyone better to bring this story to a new audience. His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”

Legend is a multi-hyphenate musician, songwriter, actor and producer who has become active in television as a thesp and producer. He’s a 10-time Grammy winner and an Oscar winner for his work on the song “Glory” from the 2014 drama “Selma.” He won a Tony Award earlier this year as a producer of “Jitney,” the August Wilson revival.

T’yanna Wallace, Daughter of Late Rapper Notorious B.I.G., Opens Brooklyn Boutique “Notoriouss”

Notoriouss owner T’yanna Wallace (photo via Instagram)

via thegrio.com

T’yanna Wallace, the daughter of the luminary Notorious B.I.G., has just opened her first brick and mortar clothing store.

Notoriouss, which opened this weekend on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, not only draws from Biggie’s name and branding but from hip-hop as a whole as well as New York City itself, from which Biggie drew a lot of the inspiration for his songs.

On Saturday, people packed the newly opened shop to celebrate not only Wallace’s success but Biggie’s life as family members reminisced about him. Others in attendance included the likes of Jadakiss, Lil Cease, DJ Snuff and DJ Mr. Cee.

“This is a huge, huge, huge monument, huge milestone for her. We’re happy for her, and we’re just excited to be here,” said CJ Wallace, Biggie’s son and T’yanna’s brother.

As for how Wallace is distinguishing herself from her father while still paying tribute to him, CJ Wallace pointed to the spelling of the store: “Two S’s for her individuality. She wanted to do something a little different but still be tied to her father, our father.”

Notoriouss brand clothing has been available online since 2013, but the store in Brooklyn marks the first brick-and-mortar boutique for Wallace.

To see more, go to: https://thegrio.com/2017/12/04/biggies-daughter-opens-brooklyn-boutique-fathers-honor/

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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