Tag: Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys Announces Music Industry Initiative for Female Advancement

Alicia Keys (photo via variety.com)

by Cherie Saunders via eurweb.com

Alicia Keys announced on Wednesday the formation of a music-industry group for female advancement called She Is the Music.

The singer broke the news during her acceptance speech for the Icon Songwriter honor at the National Music Publishers Association’s annual meeting in New York.

“I’ve joined forces with a group of really powerful female executives, songwriters, artists, engineers, producers and publishers to help reshape the industry that we all love by creating real opportunities and a pipeline of talent for other women,” she said. “We’re calling our initiative She Is the Music. We want to create a model for change that effects women across all industries. We deserve the utmost respect, and so many of these women across industries are telling our culture that time is up on double standards, and it is it’s over for pay inequity and colleagues who are at best disrespectful and at the worst unsafe — so it’s over for that.”

Approached by Variety for more details following the ceremony, Keys would only say, “You’ll be hearing about it” and “We just want it to permeate right now.”She spoke at length about the issue in her 10-minute acceptance speech. After thanking the family members, collaborators and executives closest to her, she continued:

“It’s especially meaningful to receive this award right now as a woman in the music industry. (applause) My mama taught me that every year is the year of the woman so I never thought (inaudible), but this year is definitely something else. It’s a powerful year, it’s an empowering year, and it’s the beginning of so many things. And many of us in the music world are working more diligently than ever to showcase and support the work of female songwriters, musicians, engineers, and producers.

“We have to do something because the statistics are brutal,” she continued, citing statistics from a University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism study of Grammy nominees earlier this year. “Of almost 3,000 pop songwriters credited last year only 12% were female, only 3% of the engineers were female, and one of them is Ann [Mincieli, Keys’ regular engineer]. Only 2% of producers are female and one of them is me! Our world is 50-50, and it’s time for our industry to reflect that.

“So this reminds us all to continue to be conscious and present of the diversity we want to see in the workplace, and how we can make it better. So the next time that you get a chance to hire someone, whether it’s the biggest producer or the newest intern, look for a woman — especially a woman of color, a fresh voice, who brings something new to the spectrum. She is the music so give her a shot!

“Songwriters tell our stories, they sing who we are as people — don’t we all want to hear from all of us? My ancestors’ spiritual songs told their stories and gave them strength, and we’re all stronger because of it. And today’s battle for civil rights still draws on the power of protest songs written decades ago by Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Buffy St. Marie, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Aretha, Tina, Dolly Parton — picking up that powerful torch and speaking the truth of women and our inner lives. And there are so many people carrying that forward: Mary J., Sia, SZA, Kacey [Musgraves], Solange, Janelle [Monae], H.E.R., and so many more talented female writers are running with that torch today and lifting all of us up.

“And I hope that when we look back on the first part of the 21st century that we as songwriters continue to capture the passions and problems and possibilities of this moment we’re in, so that future generations will know who we are and what really stand for.

“The songwriter is more powerful than any politician and any government because she reaches directly to the people and she uses her talent and skill and puts time in a capsule —ideally a capsule that holds about four minutes of material (laughter) — or if you’re Isaac Hayes about 20 minutes! God bless him too. And if she’s lucky as I’m blessed to be, her words will forever be sealed in our memories and our history and our hearts.

“So I thank you and I’m so grateful for this honor and for your work to continue, so we can all get what we deserve and to be a creative force that makes our hearts sing and makes love the forefront, and shows the world that magic and alchemy is possible every day.”

It’s a topic that Keys also spoke about at Variety’s Power of Women event in April. “We are more on fire than we’ve ever been,” she said, referencing her 2012 hit “Girl on Fire.” “Look at all the action that’s around us: women running for office in record numbers, women banding together in the entertainment industry, women demanding an end to disparity in the music industry like equal representation on the Grammy stage,” she said, referencing the low number of women performers during this year’s show and Recording Academy chief’s comment that women need to “step up” in order to get ahead in the music industry.

“We were told we need to step up. Well, you feel that step up now?”

Source: https://www.eurweb.com/2018/06/alicia-keys-launches-she-is-the-song-music-industry-initiative-for-female-advancement/

Sean Combs is Revealed as Buyer of $21.1 Million Kerry James Marshall “Past Times” Painting

“Past Times” by Kerry James Marshall sold for $21.1 million on Wednesday to the music mogul Sean Combs (image via Sotheby’s)

Ever since the sale at Sotheby’s on Wednesday night of “Past Times,” a monumental painting by Kerry James Marshall with a narrative centered on black experiences, many people have been speculating about which collector or museum might have placed the winning $21.1 million bid. The sale was an auction high for Mr. Marshall, and it was widely reported to be the most ever paid for the work of a living African-American artist.

On Thursday night, Jack Shainman, Mr. Marshall’s gallerist and dealer in New York, told The Times that the buyer was Sean Combs, the entrepreneur, fashionista, Grammy Award-winning record producer and subject of the documentary “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story.”

“I know that this work has found a home in a collection with purpose and an eye toward preserving legacy — that of Sean Combs, and that means a lot,” said Mr. Shainman, who has represented Mr. Marshall since his first show at the gallery in 1993.

The dealer said Mr. Combs was introduced to the painter’s work by a friend and sometime musical collaborator, the hip-hop recording artist and record producer Swizz Beatz. Swizz Beatz is also an avid art collector with his wife, Alicia Keys. Mr. Combs viewed the painting at Sotheby’s before the sale.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/arts/sean-combs-kerry-james-marshall.html

Salt-N-Pepa and Chance The Rapper to Perform at 2016 Black Ball to Aid Alicia Keys’ Keep A Child Alive Charity

Chance The Rapper Salt N Pepa KCA Ball
Chance The Rapper (l); Salt N Pepa (r) [Dave Mangel/Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images]

article by Sidney Madden via xxlmag.com

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 Festival in 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.

Read More: Chance The Rapper and Salt-N-Pepa to Perform at Alicia Keys’ 2016 Black Ball – XXL | http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2016/09/chance-the-rapper-salt-n-pepa-to-perform-alicia-keys-2016-black-ball/?trackback=tsmclip

Alicia Keys’ Powerful No-Makeup Movement Wins Over “The Today Show” Co-Host Tamron Hall

Alicia Keys and Tamron Hall wear no make-up on “The Today Show” (photo via today.com)

article by KC Orcutt via bet.com

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.

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)

Janet Jackson Receives Dance Tribute and Icon Award at 2015 BET Awards

Janet Jackson (l) receives Ultimate Icon Award; Kendrick Lamar opens the BET Awards (photos via Getty Images)
Janet Jackson (l) receives Ultimate Icon Award; Kendrick Lamar (r) opens the 2015 BET Awards (Photos: Getty Images)

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.

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Jidenna and Janelle Monae arrive at BET Awards (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Performances by Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Kendrick LamarTyga 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
Dej Loaf
Fetty Wap
Rae Sremmurd
Tinashe

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Kendrick Lamar
J. Cole
Drake
Common
Big Sean
Wale

“Empire” Actor Jussie Smollet (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Nicki Minaj
Azealia Banks
Tink
Iggy Azalea
Trina
Dej Loaf

Best Actor
Terrence Howard
Anthony Anderson
Idris Elba
Jussie Smollett
Kevin Hart

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Beyoncé
Janelle Monáe
Jhené Aiko
Ciara
Rihanna
K. Michelle

SEE ALSO: Janelle Monae and Jidenna Perform ‘Yoga’ and ‘Classic Man’ at 2015 BET Awards

Chris Brown at 2015 BET Awards (Photo credit: Jerome Dorn)
Chris Brown at 2015 BET Awards (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
The Weeknd
John Legend
Trey Songz
Usher
August Alsina
Chris Brown

Best Group
A$AP Mob
Migos
Rae Sremmurd
Rich Gang
Young Money
Jodeci

Continue reading “Janet Jackson Receives Dance Tribute and Icon Award at 2015 BET Awards”

Jay Z Launches Tidal, the First Artist-Owned Streaming-Music Service

Jay Z Kanye Rihanna Madonna Tidal
(JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES)

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 PunkJack 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.

article by Todd Spangler via Variety.com

Obamas Launch “Let Girls Learn” Education Initiative

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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.”

imagesThe 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.

To join the efforts please go to letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov

article by Stav Ziv via newsweek.com

Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson Design Teddy Bears to Raise Money for Operation Bobbi Bear

Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson Design Teddy Bears for Operation Bobbi Bear

Alicia KeysJanet 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 ClintonEva Longoria and designers like Karl LagerfeldVersaceRoberto 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.

article by Dorkys Ramos via bet.com

Essence’s 20th Anniversary Festival Largest Ever With 550,000 Attendees

This past weekend’s Essence Festival surpassed its record setting attendance of last year’s 543,000 attendees by 7,000. At the 20th anniversary of the famed festival, more than 550,000 people attended and saw various performances, activities, and speakers throughout the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans.

“Through a unique combination of entertainment and empowerment programming, the ESSENCE Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community,” said ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks. “In recognition of our 20-year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before—live in New Orleans for our more than 550,000 festival-goers and available digitally on multiple screens for our ESSENCE community of 11.5 million.”

There were more than 80 performers including such dignitaries as Prince, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton.

article by Cedric “BIG CED” Thornton via blackenterprise.com