Sway Calloway Joins VH1 as On-Air Personality and Executive Producer of “Behind The…” Series Reboot

Sway Calloway (photo courtesy Bob Gohn/MTV)

Sway Calloway (photo courtesy Bob Gohn/MTV)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Former MTV News reporter and radio DJ Sway Calloway has signed with cable channel VH1 as an on-air personality and producer.  Calloway will appear in VH1’s tentpole events, executive produce specials and events and bring new programming ideas to the channel.

As a TV star and host of his own national Sirius XM/Shade 45 radio show “Sway in the Morning,” Calloway has interviewed every global hip hop and pop artist of the last 15 years as well as U.S. senators, governors, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama – four times.   And now, with a recurring role in the hit TV series “Empire,” Sway has become a pop culture icon himself.  He continues to host “Sway In The Morning” and connect with fans at SwaysUniverse.com.

Sway’s first partnership with VH1 will be on the new series “Behind The…,” an expansion of the renowned VH1 “Behind The Music” franchise that will explore all facets of pop culture and its intersection with current cultural and political issues.   Calloway will host and serve as executive producer of the “Behind The…” series.
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Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pharrell and Others Perform at “Shining A Light: Concert For Progress on Race in America” Airing Tonight on A+E Networks & Several Others

John Legend at "Shining A Light" Concert

John Legend at “Shining A Light” Concert

A+E Networks and iHeartMedia are simultaneously airing “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America” on Friday, November 20 at 8PM ET/PT.  The sold-out concert was recorded at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, November 18th, and the two-hour special event will air across the entire A+E Networks portfolio in more than 130 territories globally, including A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, H2, LMN and FYI, as well as on more than 130 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital platform.  Additionally, AOL has joined in the simulcast making the historic special event available to anyone with internet access across the globe on AOL.com.

Artists Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Nick Jonas, Tom Morello, Smokey Robinson and Big Sean join the previously announced performers including Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Jamie Foxx, Rhiannon Giddens, Tori Kelly, John Legend, Miguel, Pink, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Sia, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Pharrell WilliamsLL Cool J, Marshall Faulk, Morgan Freeman, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Kurt Warner and Nick Young are among the presenters joining the telecast.

Alicia Keys has joined John Legend and Pharrell on extraordinary journeys to Baltimore, Ferguson and Charleston, where they met with a diverse group of residents in communities at the center of the national conversation on racial inequality and violence.  Joined by NPR’s Michele Norris with John Legend in Ferguson, award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien with Pharrell Williams in Charleston and ABC News’ Byron Pitts in Baltimore, these visits included intimate discussions and special private performances by each for those most effected.  These incredibly moving, heart wrenching and eye-opening moments will be featured throughout the two-hour concert, as well as in the one-hour special, “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America,” airing immediately following the concert on A&E Network and AOL.com at 10pm ET/PT.

To see Alicia Keys perform Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We Will All Be Free”, watch below:

The concert will kick off A+E Networks’ campaign to confront issues of race, and promote unity and progress on racial equity, inspired by the response of the Mother Emanuel family members in Charleston and others working for reconciliation and change around the country.

The concert and the ancillary programming will help raise money for the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by United Way Worldwide (ShiningALightConcert.com).  The fund will provide grant funding to individuals and organizations fostering understanding, eliminating bias, as well as provide support to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the broader A.M.E. denomination. The fund will support efforts to address racism and bias through public policy change, individual innovation, and community mobilization.

Tickets for the concert on November 18 sold out within 3 hours of the on-sale date raising more than $150,000 to benefit the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by The United Way Worldwide.

To see a clip of John Legend’s performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” from the event, watch below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

SiriusXM Launches ‘African Ancestry Radio’ with Actor Louis Gossett Jr. As Guest

louis gossett jr.

NEW YORK –– SiriusXM announced the launch of “African Ancestry Radio,” a three-week series of live, call-in shows during which the hosts help listeners and celebrities of African descent in their quest to reconnect with their heritage.

Hosted by Gina Paige, co-founder of African Ancestry, and award-winning producer Shirley Neal, “African Ancestry Radio” launched live on Sunday, February 8 at 12:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Urban View channel 126 with Louis Gossett Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis as their first celebrity guests.  EURweb.com’s founder Lee Bailey also joins in each week as special entertainment correspondent.

Scheduled in celebration of Black History Month, the hosts lead conversations on ancestry and heritage and guide SiriusXM listeners who are looking to more accurately and reliably trace their African roots. Themed around music, the February 15 show will feature Grammy award-winners and alternative hip hop group Arrested Development.

In addition, “African Ancestry Radio” will feature discussions on how a person’s roots influence personality, who they are and how they act.  Each show will include at least one celebrity guest who has previously taken the tests and whose African ancestry will be revealed during the broadcast.

“‘African Ancestry Radio’ promises to be enlightening, empowering, and inspirational for SiriusXM listeners across the country,” said Dave Gorab, Vice President and General Manager, Talk Programming, SiriusXM. “We are pleased to present this exclusive series as part of our special programming commemorating Black History Month.”

After the broadcast, “African Ancestry Radio” will be available on SiriusXM On Demand for subscribers listening via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smartphones and other mobile devices or online at siriusxm.com.  Visit www.siriusxm.com/ondemand for more information.

Gina Paige is co-founder of African Ancestry, Inc., pioneering a new way of tracing African lineage using genetics.  Paige resides in Washington, D.C. and holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

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Rickey Smiley Pays Bail Of 80-Year-Old Woman Jailed Over Domestic Dispute

rickey smiley tempie strickland

An 80-year-old Fort Worth, Texas woman was jailed several days ago on attempted murder charges, after she threatened to shoot her former husband who was allegedly threatening her, Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth reports. But, just this morning, radio personality Rickey Smiley paid her bond in a sign of overwhelming humanity that has become as big a story as the senior citizen’s alleged act.

On his website, The Rickey Smiley Show, the comedian said that he became aware of the story after someone sent him a link via social media. “It moved me in a certain way,” Smiley explained. “I started digging…I wanted her released.”  The altercation that lead to Tempie Strickland‘s (pictured) arrest began Saturday night when she and her live-in ex-husband, Sterling Strickland, 73, were arguing over his staying out late at the barber shop and playing bingo. Strickland says she believed that Sterling was going to hit her at one point, making her pull out a gun and pointing it at his chest.

Watch news story here.

“I pulled a gun but I wasn’t shooting at him,” she said. “And the bullet didn’t go off and I didn’t do it anymore.” She continued, “I wasn’t going to shoot him. I ain’t never shoot no man. I’m a Christian. I don’t do that.”  The cops arrested her after Sterling called 911 to report his ex-wife’s actions. Though he did not want her arrested, the police cuffed her that night and charged her with attempted murder; that charge has since been downgraded to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and Strickland’s bond was reduced.

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Robin Quivers Is Cancer-Free

Robin Quivers in New York City (Gary Gershoff/WireImage)

Longtime Howard Stern show co-host Robin Quivers revealed this morning that she’s been declared cancer-free after a long battle with the disease. She’s been broadcasting from her home by an ISDN line since she had a grapefruit-sized tumor removed from her bladder in May of 2012, missing only two episodes despite undergoing extensive radiation therapy, chemotherapy and highly invasive operations. “Howard was wrecked when this first came out,” said Stern producer Jon Hein on the air. “He didn’t feel comfortable doing the show without her. It looks like she’s cancer-free and will hopefully be back here sometime soon.”

Quivers has been an essential part of the Howard Stern show since she was first paired up with the shock jock in March of 1981 at a Washington, D.C. radio station. With the exception of a very brief time period when Stern moved over to WNBC in New York in 1982, they have been together ever since. 

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EBC Suspends Summer Tournament To Host Trayvon Martin Invitational

A Black ANd White Photo Of Trayvon Martin

On Friday, July 26th the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) will suspend their summer tournament for one weekend to host the Trayvon Martin Invitational in memory of the slain Florida teen.  In conjunction with Vibe Magazine and NYC radio station Hot 97, the tournament will host New York’s elite streetball teams (within the tri-state area), top NBA players and celebrities who will come together at the legendary Rucker Park. There will be 2 games every night at 6pm & 8pm with the winning teams of each game advancing toward the Invitational Championship game which takes place on Monday, July 29 at 8pm. Bringing young and old together, the EBC in conjunction with activist Kevin Powell will host community leaders at the park to speak to the Harlem fans and attendees.

CEO and founder of EBC, Greg Marius states “This is an extremely difficult time for many people, I can not begin to express my sympathy with Trayvon Martin’s family but only show my support by joining together as a community to make a difference. If we do not make a stand for all the injustices now, who will?”

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Tom Joyner Offers Rachel Jeantel Full Ride To Any HBCU Of Her Choice

Rachel JeantelThroughout the Trayvon Martin case, Rachel Jeantel‘s testimony was riveting and difficult to watch for many reasons, including defense attorney Don West’s obvious frustration with her and condescension toward her. Jeantel was the last person to speak to Trayvon Martin before being killed by George Zimmerman who was found not guilty on July 13.  Jeantel was deemed by the defense and the media as an implausible source due to her ‘lack of education.’ The 19-year-old was berated by many due to her speech, appearance and mannerisms. Fortunately her testimony and recent appearance on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” influenced Tom Joyner to lend a helping hand.

Joyner reached out to Jeantel and offered her a full scholarship to any HBCU of her choice. In addition to assisting the young teen with college, he also wants to help her complete high school with the best tutors and SAT courses. Jeantel hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement.

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article by Bria Feliu via theurbandaily.com with additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson