Alicia Keys is making sure hip-hop is giving back in a big way. Chance The Rapper and Salt N Pepa will perform at Keys’ 13th annual Black Ball in NYC on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The annual black tie affair is put on by Keys’ charity Keep a Child Alive (KCA). It was announced earlier this month that A$AP Rocky would be performing along with rock star Patti Smith.
Star-studded events, humanitarian and otherwise, are nothing new to Chano or the ladies. The Chicago rapper just wrapped his Magnificent Coloring Day Festivalin his hometown to celebrate the launch of his charity Social Works Inc. The 23-year-old mixtape star brought out big names like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, and Keys to celebrate the day. In fact, Chance has had a long history of helping his city through community efforts.
As for Salt-N-Pepa, the legendary crew has been reppin’ for hip-hop for more than 30 years now. Back in the 1980’s, the Queens duo, along with DJ Spinderella, were among the first rappers to promote safe sex, and were recently honored at VH1’s 2016 Hip Hop Honors.
The 2016 Black Ball will take place at Hammerstein Ballroom on Oct. 19 with a special tribute to legendary music mogul Clive Davis. As always, Alicia Keys will serve as the night’s host. Check out details about how to donate to KCA and attend the Ball here.
Alicia Keys continues to speak her truth, sticking to her word that her days of feeling forced to wear make-up due to cultural pressures are long gone.
Most recently, the Grammy-award winning singer stopped by The Today Show and not too long after they all got to talking, co-host Tamron Hall was next to support the movement to rock a natural face by wiping off her make-up while on national television.
Keys has been experiencing backlash recently for her decision to attend this year’s VMAs without make-up, with her supporting husband Swizz Beatz taking to social media to defend his wife’s choices.
With her movement continuing to gain momentum, along with Hall, co-hosts Billy Bush and Al Roker also joined in on the fun, with all agreeing to wipe their faces clean while broadcasting across the U.S. Keys also gushed at Hall’s fresh face, complimenting the co-host exclaiming, “You’re so beautiful, look at you!”
During the on-air conversation, Keys reminded everyone that her choices have nothing to do with her hating make-up, nor does she have anything against those who choose to wear make-up. For Keys, she no longer wants to feel forced to wear make-up and it’s as simple as that.
In the essay she penned earlier this summer explaining her decision to walk away from her make-up brushes, the singer wrote, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
To check out some footage of Keys’ recent appearance on The Today Show, click here.
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 Williams. LL 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:
Last night, Black Entertainment Television held its 15th annual BET Awards celebration, honoring musical legends Janet Jackson and Smokey Robinson, as well as radio and television personality Tom Joyner with special tributes and awards. Jason Derulo, Ciara and Tinashe did a tribute in dance to Jackson before she received her Ultimate Icon Award from longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Performances by Alicia Keys,Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Kendrick Lamar, Tyga and Chris Brown, to name a few, also energized the event, and it was no surprise when Best Acting awards went to deserving “Empire” darlings Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. To see the full list of winners, read below:
Best New Artist Sam Smith
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Kendrick Lamar
Common Big Sean
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Nicki Minaj
Best Actor Terrence Howard
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist Beyoncé
Music impresario Jay Z has launched Tidal — positioned as an ad-free, high-quality streaming-music subscription service priced starting at $10 per month — with the participation of numerous big-name artists including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna.
In January, Jay Z acquired Sweden-based Aspiro for $56 million. The artists announced onstage at the New York event Monday were introduced as co-owners of the company, representing the first artist-owned digital-music service — as opposed to companies like Spotify and Pandora.
“Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artitsts,” Alicia Keys said at the event. “We believe that it is in everyone’s interests — fans, artists and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come.”
Tidal’s mobile launch partner is Sprint. Other artists participating in the service include Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, Jack White (formerly of the White Stripes) and Deadmau5. Tidal was launched with the hashtag “#TIDALforALL” — although, obviously, it’s only for those able or willing to pay at least $120 annually for audio and video content.
The Tidal service will compete with other subscription-music services including Spotify and Apple’s forthcoming music-streaming service, based on its acquisition of Beats Music, which is expected to launch this summer.
Tidal will not offer a free version of the service; the standard-audio version (Tidal Premium) will be $9.99 per month and the high-def audio version (Tidal HiFi) will be $19.99 per month. Both tiers are free to try out for 30 days, according to the company.
Tidal says it provides a library of more than 25 million tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles. The service is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as in Web browsers and desktop players, available in the U.S. and 30 other countries at launch. Tidal provides streaming quality at more than four times the bit rate of competitive services, according to the startup.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama put their weight behind Let Girls Learn on Tuesday, an initiative to help girls around the world attend secondary school and complete their education.
“Let Girls Learn” began as a United States Agency for International Development effort last summer, and featured a video with celebrities like Alicia Keys and Shonda Rhimes. The goal was “to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education,” building on past work on girls’ education and empowerment around the world. Now, the Obama administration will enhance existing programs and expand efforts across the government and through partnerships with the private sector.
“A good education can lift you from the most humble circumstances into a life you never could have imagined,” the first lady said Tuesday when she and the president announced the plan. “I see myself in these girls. I see our daughters in these girls,” she said. “I want to use my time and platform as first lady and beyond to make a real impact.”
According to a FLOTUS tweet, women and girls make up 70 percent of those living in extreme poverty around the world, a fact that education can help change. Approximately 62 million girls around the world are not in school, explains a fact sheet published Tuesday by the White House, with half that number representing adolescent girls.
“These girls have diminished economic opportunities and are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, early and forced marriage, and other forms of violence,” the fact sheet says. “Yet when a girl receives a quality education, she is more likely to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family and her community. In addition, girls’ attendance in secondary school is correlated with later marriage, later childbearing, lower maternal and infant mortality rates, lower birth rates, and lower rates of HIV/AIDS.”
The first lady will work with the Peace Corps to develop community-based solutions and recruit and train volunteers. During the first year of the program, the Peace Corps will implement Let Girls Learn in 11 countries—Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo, and Uganda—and will expand to additional countries the following year.
The initiative will include programs focused on education, empowerment and leadership, health and nutrition, preventing gender-based violence, and preventing child, early and forced marriage.
Partnerships with the private sector include commitments from the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, CARE, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., PBS Learning Media and the U.N. Foundation’s Girl Up campaign.
Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and a whole list of celebrities have partnered up to participate in Operation Bobbi Bear, an organization that helps sexually abused children in South Africa. They have each designed a unique stuffed bear, courtesy of Build-A-Bear, that will be auctioned off Dec. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Sotheby’s New York.
The Life Ball Charity has teamed up with “Arms Around the Children” for this special benefit, with funds going towards Operation Bobbi Brown. By providing aid to sexually abused children in Africa, they are hoping to minimize the risk of HIV/AIDS infections in youth.
Bruno Mars,Bill Clinton, Eva Longoria and designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Roberto Cavalli and Vivienne Westwood are also among those who’ve created their own special bear for the cause. If you can’t attend the auction, you can see and bid on the bears online at bobbibearauction.com.