Bruno Mars Donates $1M from Michigan Concert Proceeds to Flint Water Crisis

Recording artist Bruno Mars (photo via hollywoodreporter.com)

via hollywoodreporter.com

Bruno Mars is donating $1 million from his Michigan concert to aid those affected by the Flint water crisis. Mars told the audience Saturday at his show in Auburn Hills that he and tour promoter Live Nation are redirecting funds from the concert to The Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a charity.

In 2014, Flint switched water sources and failed to add corrosion-reducing phosphates, allowing lead from old pipes to leach into the water. Mars says in a statement that “as people, especially as Americans, we need to stand together to make sure something like this never happens in any community ever again.”

To read more, go to: Bruno Mars Donates $1M to Flint Water Crisis | Hollywood Reporter

Meet Kayla Robinson, the Teen Who Made Frank Ocean’s Powerful Panorama Tee via Green Box Shop

Green Box Shop creator Kayla Robinson (l); Frank Ocean (r) [photos via mtv.com]

by Hilary Hughes via mtv.com

Since launching Green Box Shop in 2016, social media has played a huge part in how Kayla Robinson, 18, runs Green Box Shop: She heavily relies on Instagram and Twitter to promote her line of T-shirts bearing progressive, all-caps messages, and she’s found inspiration for some designs by connecting with people online and checking her feed, too.

A couple of famous fans have snapped up Green Box Shop shirts — including Zendaya, who posted an image of a Green Box tee on Snapchat before saying she’ll snap up a few shirts (or all of them) herself — thanks to their popularity on these platforms, and it was one of these well-known customers who let Robinson know that Frank Ocean was rocking one of her shirts for his headlining set at the Panorama Music Festival on July 28.

“Well, Jessica Williams, she DMed me,” says Robinson of the moment she realized her shirt was about to go viral. The star of The Incredible Jessica James and former Daily Show correspondent has been a Green Box shopper for a minute, and was all too eager to share that Ocean was broadcasting Robinson’s WHY BE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, OR TRANSPHOBIC WHEN YOU COULD JUST BE QUIET? design to a thousands-strong crowd.

“She texted me in all caps, all excited, like, ‘FRANK OCEAN IS WEARING ONE OF YOUR SHIRTS!’ I was like, ‘That’s not true! You’re lying!’ I didn’t believe her at first, but then she sent me some pictures, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ I just started freaking out. I just remember doing something in my kitchen, and I just immediately started running around.”

Robinson’s reaction is completely understandable given the intense surge of interest in Green Box. During a typical week, Green Box sees a daily average of 50 orders. On July 29, the day after Ocean’s set, Robinson says that 3,500 orders were placed (though not all for the shirt he wore, specifically); an additional 1,000 orders came in before this article went to press on July 30. That means that Green Box sold ten times what they typically do in a week in a single day thanks to the exposure Ocean provided — and it also means that Green Box has a chance to give back more than they already do.

For Robinson, the focus of Green Box has always been more about freedom of expression than about fashion, as she launched the company to sell tees with activist messages she’d actually wear (and raise money to fund her yoga teacher certification in the process).

“I never really had an interest in fashion — you know, as in being really trendy or fashionable,” she says. “I was already in the phase of tie-dying a lot of shirts, and so I decided to put my ideas on shirts and sell them to raise money. I first started doing this through GoFundMe, and then the business grew. It basically came from a passion of speaking my mind and tie-dye.”

To read full article, go to: Meet The Teen Who Made Frank Ocean’s Powerful Panorama Tee – MTV

Aretha Franklin Honored with Aretha Franklin Way in Hometown of Detroit

Aretha Franklin wipes away tears as she has street dedicated to her in hometown of Detroit (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Jenna Amatulli via huffingtonpost.com

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was honored with a street named after her in Detroit this week.

A portion of Madison Avenue ― beginning at the corner of Brush Street outside of the Detroit City Music Hall for the Performing Arts ― is now called Aretha Franklin Way.

Franklin was near-speechless during the unveiling ceremony:

The 75 year-old songstress later spoke on the stage at the Music Hall on Thursday evening, thanking the city of Detroit for always supporting her and joking about needing some Kleenex.

“Thank you again for this resplendent and magnificent honor of this street, Aretha’s Way. I want to see it every time I come down here, I’m going to dance down it!” she said.

Source: Aretha Franklin Overcome With Emotion After Street Named After Her In Detroit | HuffPost

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

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.

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

Beyoncé Funds “Formation Scholars” Awards at Four Different Colleges For ‘Bold, Creative’ Women

Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards in February. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

article by Anastasia Tsioulcas via npr.org

Beyoncé‘s visual album Lemonade was released a year ago this week, but its impact continues to unfold. Just last week, the project won a Peabody Award. But the singer is also focusing on making its resonance felt through a very different vehicle: a group of scholarships called the “Formation Scholars” awards.

Announcing the program this morning on her website, she says that the scholarships are meant “to encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.” The awards specifically are geared to students studying either “creative arts,” music, literature or African-American studies.

There will be one recipient — either an incoming or current undergraduate or graduate student — at each of the four participating institutions: Berklee College of Music in Boston; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Parsons School of Design in New York City; and Spelman College in Atlanta.

To read more, go to: Beyoncé Funds College Scholarship Award For ‘Bold, Creative’ Women : The Record : NPR