Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to Headline Saturdays and Sundays at Coachella 2017

Beyoncé, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar (photo via Variety.com)

article by  via Variety.com

Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead will headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this year. The 18th annual fest will once again take place over two weekends — April 14 to 16 and April 21 to 23 — at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif.

Aside from a brief surprise cameo during husband Jay Z’s headlining set in 2010, and again for little sister Solange’s appearance in 2014, Beyoncé has never played the desert festival. She will headline the second night, with returning veterans Radiohead on Friday and Lamar (who first played the fest in 2012) closing out the proceedings on Sunday.

All three artists released highly acclaimed new music in 2016.

To read more, go to: Coachella 2017 Lineup: Beyonce, Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar to Headline | Variety

R.I.P. George Michael: Requiem for a Soul Man

Pop/R&B Superstar singer/writer/producer George Michael (photo via bet.com)

essay by Keith Murphy via bet.com

There’s an avalanche of thoughts that tumble through one’s mind when you are left to ponder the extraordinary (yet criminally underrated) career of George Michael following his shocking death on Christmas Day at the age of 53. But for this writer, the date of January 30, 1989, remains a moment that underlines the sheer gift, curse and deeply complex appeal of the ultimate white rhythm and blues vocalist. It was at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium during the American Music Awards where Michael stepped on a debate-igniting, cultural land mine.

The former member of the monstrous pop duo Wham! was coming off the unfathomable commercial triumph of his critically-acclaimed solo debut Faith, which would go on to sell 25 million copies worldwide (10 million in the U.S. alone). Michael was now being viewed as a worthy addition to the ‘80s holy pop trinity of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna. When you headline your own sold-out world tour (The 1988 Faith trek became the second-highest-grossing tour of that year, pulling in nearly $20 million), fire off six consecutive top five singles on the Billboard charts (fueled by the one-two punch of the No. 1 rockabilly-dipped-in-soul title track and the dark, controlling church-infused ballad “Father Figure”) and win Album of the Year at the Grammys, you can pretty much write your own check.

But before that coronation solidified his place as a legit music industry behemoth, Michael found himself at the center of a racial tsunami when he won two AMAs for Favorite Album (Soul/R&B) and Favorite Male Artist (Soul/R&B). This was the era of the “Crossover Negro,” especially in the recording biz, as the aforementioned King of Pop and The Purple One — alongside the likes of Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, and Lionel Richie — all took turns ruling the top of the charts. Teddy Riley was leading the multi-platinum New Jack Swing wave. And hip-hop’s golden age was just kicking off, forcing MTV to create Yo! MTV Raps just to keep up with the street-infused genre’s groundbreaking stars like N.W.A., Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa and De La Soul. Black culture was cool and was only going to get cooler in the next decade.

For many African-American followers, their first introduction to the East Finchley, London native was Wham!’s 1982 cheeky, disco-rap rave-up “Young Guns (Go For It).” Michael and his conspicuously silent partner Andrew Ridgeley were pushed as cutesy teen idols that indulged in the funk.

But while Wham!’s No. 1 commercial breakthrough, 1984’s overtly day-glow single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” made them global stars, it was a heaven-sent slow jam that forever gave Michael his ‘hood pass. At just 17 years old, the gifted singer/songwriter wrote and produced the mournful torch song “Careless Whisper,” a mammoth hit that not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but also became a top 10 hit on the U.S. Hot Black Singles, earning its place as a quiet storm staple on R&B radio. “I’m never going to dance again/Guilty feet have got no rhythm,” remains one of that era’s most heartbreaking lines ever recorded. This was a different cat.

To read full essay, go to: George Michael: Requiem for a Soul Man

Music Legend Stevie Wonder Honored With Detroit Street in His Name

Stevie Wonder (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

Stevie Wonder Avenue (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit roadway has been renamed for Motown legend Stevie Wonder. The award-winning singer and songwriter attended a Wednesday ceremony to honor him, alongside hundreds of people including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

Applause broke out when the sign for “Stevie Wonder Ave” was unveiled along Milwaukee Avenue, two blocks from the site of Wonder’s first home in the city.

Wonder moved to Detroit from Saginaw, Michigan as a child and signed with Motown Records when he was only 11 years-old.  His first recordings were done under the moniker “Little Stevie Wonder.”

To read original article, go to: Stevie Wonder Honored With Detroit Street In His Name | Black America Web

Tupac Shakur to be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2017

Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)

Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson

According to latimes.com, late rapper Tupac Shakur is among the group of six inductees into  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Along with Shakur, folk singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, English pop-rock group Electric Light Orchestra and pop-rock band Journey were chosen to join the institution for 2017.

In addition, Nile Rodgers, Chic founding member, producer and guitarist, will be inducted as an honoree for the hall’s award for musical excellence.

April 7, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be where the annual induction ceremony to induct new Hall members is held.  Tickets available to the public will go on sale in January.  The induction speeches and musical performances will be filmed for a highlights special scheduled to run on HBO after the event.

Prince Scores 40th Billboard Charting Album With Posthumous ‘4Ever’ 

article via blackamericaweb.com

Prince’s greatest-hits compilation “Prince 4Ever,” the first album release since his death on April 21, debuts at No. 80 on the Billboard 200 this week, and becomes the 40th album of his career.

The album was released off-cycle on Nov. 22 (instead of the normal Friday release of Nov. 18 or Nov. 25), so it arrives on the chart with only two days of sales and consumption activity, notes Billboard. Still, “Prince 4Ever” sold 8,000 copies in the week ending Nov. 24, according to Nielsen Music, and earned 9,000 equivalent album units.

The new 40-track offering includes one never-before-released song, “Moonbeam Levels.” It was originally recorded in 1982 during sessions for the “1999” album.

The other 39 songs on “4Ever” mark his greatest hits from 1978 to 1993 during his time with Warner Bros. Records — from his first charting single “Soft and Wet,”, to “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1993.

To read more: Prince Scores 40th Billboard Charting Album With Posthumous ‘4Ever’ | Black America Web

Jamie Foxx to Produce Limited TV Series on Marvin Gaye with Suzanne de Passe

Jamie Foxx / Marvin Gaye (photo via rollingstone.com)

article by Ryan Reed via rollingstone.com

Jamie Foxx will chronicle Marvin Gaye’s triumphant, tragic life story in a planned limited series about the soul icon. The actor is executive producing the project alongside Passe Jones Entertainment’s Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, who will shop the series to various linear and digital outlets, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’ve been a huge fan my whole life. His brilliance in music is unparalleled,” Foxx said in a statement. “Marvin Gaye’s story has always fascinated me.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who signed Gaye to the legendary Detroit label in 1961, offered his official blessing to the series: “Marvin was the truest artist I have ever known,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am confident that this is the right team to bring his story to the audience in an authentic and compelling way.”

At Motown, Gaye found success with his romantic musical persona, partnering with duet partners like Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. But he explored social issues and sexual subject matter on later LPs, including 1971 masterpiece What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On, respectively. After a commercial decline later in the decade, he found a resurgence with 1982’s Midnight Love and hit single “Sexual Healing.” But his story ended tragically in 1984, when he was fatally shot at age 44 by his father in Los Angeles.

While numerous actors, musicians and filmmakers have attempted to produce Gaye biopics over the years, Foxx’s is the first authorized by the late singer’s family. “This project will be a powerful and definitive telling of Marvin Gaye’s life story,” said Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, who will also executive produce the project.

To read more, go to: Marvin Gaye’s Family Approves Jamie Foxx-Produced Series – Rolling Stone

Motown Museum Garners $6 Million Donation for Expansion from Ford Motor Company

motown-ford-theater-rendering-2016-billboard-1548

An artist rendering of the expanded Motown Museum in Detroit. (Image courtesy of Ford)

article via eurweb.com

Ford Motor Company and UAW-Ford have announced a $6 million investment towards a planned expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit, reports Billboard.

The figure makes the auto giant and union the lead donors in a recently announced $50 million upgrade that will create a new Ford-branded theater, space for interactive exhibits and a recording studio at the tourist attraction.

“We are thrilled to play a role in the next chapter of a global music icon,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “The enhanced museum will not only upgrade the visitor experience, it also fits with our commitment to investing in the cultural heritage of Detroit and southeast Michigan.”

As part of the Ford/UAW investment, the expanded Motown Museum will include a new venue to be called the Ford Motor Company Theater, as well as a new interactive activity called the CARaoke Experience that will incorporate music with Ford vehicles. The donation will also fuel educational, music and other programming.

The Motown Museum is located in the Hitsville U.S.A. house where record company founder Berry Gordy launched his music empire in 1959. Scores of stars and hits were created there before the label moved to California in 1972.

To read original article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2016/11/ford-donates-6-million-toward-motown-museum-detroit/#