Tag: Erykah Badu

R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Artist Roy Hargrove, 49

Roy Hargrove performing at the Marseille Jazz Festival of the Five Continents in July. (Credit: Claude Paris/Associated Press)

by Giovanni Russonello via nytimes.com

Roy Hargrove, a virtuoso trumpeter who became a symbol of jazz’s youthful renewal in the early 1990s, and then established himself as one of the most respected musicians of his generation, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 49.

His death, at Mount Sinai Hospital, was caused by cardiac arrest brought on by kidney disease, according to his manager, Larry Clothier. He said Mr. Hargrove had been on dialysis for 13 years.

Beginning in his high school years Mr. Hargrove expressed a deep affinity for jazz’s classic lexicon and the creative flexibility to place it in a fresh context. He would take the stock phrases of blues and jazz and reinvigorate them while reminding listeners of the long tradition whence he came.

“He rarely sounds as if he stepped out of a time machine,” the critic Nate Chinen wrote in 2008, reviewing Mr. Hargrove’s album “Earfood” for The New York Times. “At brisk tempos he summons a terrific clarity and tension, leaning against the current of his rhythm section. At a slower crawl, playing fluegelhorn, he gives each melody the equivalent of a spa treatment.”

In the late 1990s, already established as a jazz star, Mr. Hargrove became affiliated with the Soulquarians, a loose confederation of musicians from the worlds of hip-hop and neo-soul that included Questlove, Erykah Badu, Common and D’Angelo. For several years the collective convened semi-regularly at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, recording albums now seen as classics. Mr. Hargrove’s sly horn overdubs can be heard, guttering like a low flame, on records like “Voodoo,” by D’Angelo, and “Mama’s Gun,” by Ms. Badu.

“He is literally the one-man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music,” Questlove wrote on Instagram after Mr. Hargrove’s death.

Even as he explored an ever-expanding musical terrain, Mr. Hargrove did not lose sight of jazz traditions. “To get a thorough knowledge of anything you have to go to its history,” he told the writer Tom Piazza in 1990 for an article about young jazz musicians in The New York Times Magazine. “I’m just trying to study the history, learn it, understand it, so that maybe I’ll be able to develop something that hasn’t been done yet.”

In 1997 he recorded the album “Habana,” an electrified, rumba-inflected parley between American and Cuban musicians united under the band name Crisol. The album, featuring Hargrove originals and compositions by jazz musicians past and present, earned him his first of two Grammy Awards.

His second was for the 2002 album “Directions in Music,” a live recording on which he was a co-leader with the pianist Herbie Hancock and the tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. That album became a favorite of jazz devotees and music students trying to envision a future for acoustic-jazz innovation.

In the 2000s, Mr. Hargrove released three records with RH Factor, a large ensemble that built a style of its own out of cool, electrified hip-hop grooves and greasy funk from the 1970s.

He held onto the spirit that guided those inquiries — one of creative fervor, tempered by cool poise — in the more traditionally formatted Roy Hargrove Quintet, a dependable group he maintained for most of his career. On “Earfood,” a late-career highlight, the quintet capers from savvy updates of jazz standards to original ballads and new tunes that mix Southern warmth and hip-hop swagger.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Artist Roy Hargrove, 49”

“Betty: They Say I’m Different” Documentary About Funk Music Pioneer Betty Davis to Premiere at Red Bull Music Festival in NY

The trailblazing funk singer, bandleader and producer Betty Davis dropped out of public for decades. A new documentary, “Betty: They Say I’m Different,” tells her story. (Credit: Robert Brenner)

For a few short years in the 1970s, no one made funk as raw as Betty Davis did. She sang bluntly about sex on her own terms, demanding satisfaction with feral yowls and rasps, her voice slicing across the grooves that she wrote and honed as her own bandleader and producer. Her stage clothes were shiny, skimpy, futuristic fantasies; her Afro was formidable.

A major label, Island, geared up a big national push for her third album, “Nasty Gal,” in 1975. But mainstream radio didn’t embrace her, and Island rejected her follow-up recordings. Not long afterward, she completely dropped out of public view for decades.

Ms. Davis’s voice now — speaking, not singing — resurfaces in Betty: They Say I’m Different,” an impressionistic documentary that will have its United States theatrical premiere on Wednesday at the Billie Holiday Theater in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as part of the Red Bull Music Festival. The film includes glimpses of virtually the only known concert footage of Ms. Davis in her lascivious, head-turning prime, performing at a 1976 French rock festival. The present-day Ms. Davis is shown mostly from behind and heard in voice-over, though there is one poignant close-up of her face.

This month Ms. Davis, 72, gave a rare interview by telephone from her home near Pittsburgh to talk about the film and her music. After years of entreaties from and conversations with its director, Phil Cox, and producer, Damon Smith, she agreed to cooperate on “Betty: They Say I’m Different” because, she said, “I figured it would be better to have them cover me when I was alive than when I was dead.”

Mr. Cox said, via Skype from England, “Betty doesn’t want sympathy, and she’s found her own space now. To me, that is just as interesting as that woman she was in the 1970s. It’s the antithesis of the age we live in, where everybody wants to be on social media all the time.”

Ms. Davis has longtime fans from the ’70s and newer ones who have discovered her in reissues and through hip-hop samples. They have clung to a catalog and a persona that were musically bold, verbally shocking and entirely self-created. Long before the current era of explicit lyrics, Ms. Davis was cackling through songs like “Nasty Gal” — “You said I love you every way but your way/And my way was too dirty for you” — and “He Was a Big Freak,” which boasts, “I used to whip him/I used to beat him/Oh, he used to dig it.” She still won’t reveal who was, or whether there was, a real-life model for songs like those.

“I wrote about love, really, and all the levels of love,” she said. That emphatically included sexuality. “When I was writing about it, nobody was writing about it. But now everybody’s writing about it. It’s like a cliché.”

Ms. Davis was born Betty Mabry in Durham, North Carolina, in 1945, and she grew up there and in Pittsburgh. She headed to New York City in the early 1960s, when she was 17, and enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She supported herself as a model and a club manager; she reveled in the city’s night life, meeting figures like Andy Warhol, Sly Stone, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Continue reading ““Betty: They Say I’m Different” Documentary About Funk Music Pioneer Betty Davis to Premiere at Red Bull Music Festival in NY”

President Barack Obama Signs Rape Survivor’s Bill of Rights Into Law

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House June 13, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
President Barack Obama(MARTIN H. SIMON-POOL/GETTY IMAGES)

article by Angela Bronner Helm via theroot.com

President Barack Obama signed the Survivors Bill of Rights Act into law on Friday, after being passed by Congress on Wednesday night. The Senate passed the bill in May.

The law was drafted in support of sexual assault survivors and provides specific rights to those who are survivors of rape in relation to law enforcement, counseling and how rape kits are handled.

Mother Jones reports that as of 2014 more than 100,000 rape kits have languished for years in police warehouses and crime labs, going untested.

Erykah Badu actually did a July concert in Detroit to raise money so that the more than 10,000 rape kits found in a warehouse in 2009 could be tested.

Fusion reports that the new legislation means that survivors will have access to sexual assault counselors, more information about their rights and will be able to track when and where their rape kit is tested by law enforcement, if they choose to submit one.

According to Mother Jones, survivors can no longer be charged fees or prevented from getting a rape kit examination, even if they have not yet decided to file a police report. The kits must be preserved, at no cost to the survivor, until the applicable statute of limitations runs out. Also, survivors will now be able to request that authorities notify them before destroying their rape kits, and if they choose to keep the evidence, it has to be preserved. Survivors will also have the right to be notified of DNA profile matches if a hit comes up on the kit.

The bill was partly drafted by 24-year-old Amanda Nguyen, a rape survivor who currently is a White House deputy liaison at the State Department. Nguyen is also founder of the sexual assault survivor advocacy organization, Rise.

Read more at Mother Jones and Fusion.

Ava DuVernay, Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Lives Matter & More to be Honored at Revolution Awards for Black History Month

2015-02-03-06-24-27.jpgHarlem-based cinema foundation ImageNation will honor the brightest entertainers and advocates who exude “Black Excellence” during the annual Revolution Awards, set to take place in New York next month.

The awards’ theme, eloquently titled Cocktails, Cinema & Revolutionwill honor famed director Ava DuVernay, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-PerryBlack Lives Matter, and actor Hill Harper on Feb. 10.

ImageNation founder Moikgantsi Kgama shared her thoughts about how this year’s show will tie into Black History Month.

The Revolution Awards came to fruition in 2003, honoring the accomplishments of activists, actors, and artists who step outside the box to help improve Black and Latino communities. Past honorees and participants include Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Erykah Badu, Lee DanielsTalib Kweli, and the late Ruby Dee.

“History is being made everyday. This event celebrates Black History Month by recognizing our most inspiring change agents while highlighting ImageNation’s newest monthly film program Cocktails & Cinema. I am looking forward to the Revolution Awards returning to an epic evening of honoring those who make a difference,” said Kgama.

In addition to the awards, the film 1982, starring Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, Wayne Brady, Troi Zee, La La Anthony and Ruby Dee, will be screened. The movie stars Harper as a father protecting his daughter from his wife’s battle with drug addiction.  Harper will also engage in a discussion of the film with director Tommy Oliver, image activist Michaela Angela Davis, and noted psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere.

The event is open to the public. To find out how you can be part of the magic during Black History Month, get a ticket here and find out more about ImageNation’s 20-year legacy here.

article by Desire Thompson via newsone.com

LIFESTYLE: GBN Picks for August 2015

by Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle Editor
by Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle Editor

It’s August, and summer is almost over, but I’m always on the hunt for fun entertaining things to do, read, watch and… enjoy! Here’s a few listed below:

IN ART

August 25th October 27th

Muse by artist Mickalene Thomas

mickalene
This gorgeous book is at the top of my list. It explores Mickalene’s inspiration of African American female beauty and identity through her photographs. We get lots of inspiring 70’s-themed shots. http://mickalenethomas.com
UPDATE: The release date of this book has been pushed to October 27.  To pre-order via Amazon, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Muse-Mickalene-Thomas-Photographs/dp/159711314X
IN SPORTS
August 31st

U.S. Open

serena
Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Serena will compete in the U.S. Open and may just make make tennis history.
IN TELEVISION
August 5th
Mr. Robinson
NBC premieres Mr. Robinson starring Craig Robinson as a musician (lead singer and keyboardist of the funk band Nasty Delicious) who takes a job as a high school substitute teacher to pay the bills. Craig is moved to inspire the kids.  This sounds like a pretty cool premise promising lots of laughter. http://www.nbc.com/mr-robinson

July 30

unnamed-2
L.A. Hair star Kim Kimble

Thursdays, catch the new season L.A. Hair on WE tv with celebrity stylist Kim Kimble and her staff. Famed hair stylist Jonathan Antin reappears this season looking to break into the lucrative world of wigs and extensions. http://www.wetv.com/shows/la-hair http://kimblehairstudio.com

IN CINEMA
August 7th

Fantastic Four
unnamed

Michael B. Jordan joins Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell as four young outsiders who acquire superhuman abilities after a trip to an alternative universe. Check out the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAgnQdiZFsQ

August 14th

Straight Outta Compton

unnamed-4

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. The F. Gary Gray-directed film about the revolutionary rap legends N.W.A. is steadily gaining rave reviews. Click here for the trailer: http://www.straightouttacompton.com/#/

IN MUSIC

August brings us Erykah Badu!

unnamed-5

Click for tour dates: http://www.livenation.com/artists/41646/erykah-badu

August 10th

Future

future

Future at the Observatory, Santa Ana CA http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/future-aug-10

August 12th

Earl Sweatshirt

sweatshirt

Odd Future member and solo artist and all-around talented guy begins his second leg of the U.S. world tour this month and I can’t wait to see him! http://earlsweatshirt.com

He will also be appearing at the Low End Theory Festival with Flying Lotus on August 8: http://www.shrineauditorium.com/events/detail/275496

August 21st

Method ManThe Meth Lab

Method Man

It’s been a minute since Method Man has released a solo effort. He’s done tons of collaborations but this will be the first album he has put out in a decade. This 5th solo effort proves to be worth the wait.

August 22 -23rd
FYF Festival
FYF fest
Los Angeles-based annual festival featuring music performances from indie and alternative bands. Frank Ocean, Morrissey and Solange are among the many premiere acts.
August 28th
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
Finally! The highly-anticipated album is coming out this month.
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August 30th – September 7th
Burning Man
unnamed-9
Explore the annual festival in the Nevada desert…features great d.j.’s, parties and communal harmony. http://burningman.org

Sisters Making Waves With Their Swimsuit Designs

swimsuit_design
RUE107; A. LEKAY

Have you ever had trouble finding that perfectly sexy one-piece or tantalizingly comfy bikini to show off your assets in the summer? So did a few designers we met, and they say it was their quest for a curve-contouring swimsuit that drove them to start their own companies.

When it comes to swimwear, these sisters are making waves. From itty-bitty, teeny-weeny string bikinis to formfitting, flattering one-pieces and everything in between, The Root has a list of nine bathing-suit designers who offer something for all shapes and sizes.

1. Tennille McMillan

nakamuli
Nakimuli swimsuit (M. JONES IMAGING)

Tennille McMillan began designing bathing suits in 2012 after fans of her clothing line, Nakimuli, wanted more from the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born and -bred designer. Her suits favor African-inspired prints, and she tells The Root that she has just started designing her own patterns, too, which come in all shapes and sizes. The 34-year-old designer says that Erykah Badu wears her line, as does Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black.

2. Desiree D’Aguiar

tracy_suit
BRANDSXBROTHERS FOR WINIFRED TAYLOR

Designer Desiree D’Aguiar does only one thing: swimwear. The 25-year-old started her Winifred Taylor label last year. Although D’Aguiar works in Toronto, where she grew up, the beach plays a large role in her life, thanks to her Caribbean roots. D’Aguiar tells The Root she gets her inspiration from artists, using their work to drive her collection. Her next collaboration will be with Tosh Jeffrey.

3. Altrichia Cook

laying_out
A. LEKAY

Altrichia Cook is the designer behind the A. Lekay label. She’s been in the swimwear business for two years. The 28-year-old is based in central Florida, where she grew up. Cook tells The Root that her quest for a high-waisted swimsuit that would hide certain imperfections led her to start designing her own. It caught on with her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters, and the company was born. Nicki Minaj is a fan and wore an exclusive bikini in July’s issue of Cosmopolitan. This year A. Lekay showed its suits during New York Fashion Week.

4. Risque Dukes

multi_suits
RISQUE DUKES SWIM APPAREL

Risque Dukes founded her swimwear company of the same name in 2013. It’s based in Miami, which seems like the perfect location for an über-sexy line. The 25-year-old Army veteran tells The Root that she always wanted to be an entrepreneur and designer, so when she couldn’t find a “selfie-worthy” bikini, she decided to design her own. Her current collection includes bikinis featuring prints of Haitian, Bahamian and Jamaican flags. This year Dukes showed her suits during New York Fashion Week.

5. Monif Clarke

plus_size
MONIF C.

Monif Clarke, the designer behind the Monif C. label, is from New Jersey but traces her roots to Barbados, where the 36-year-old gets some of her inspiration for her sexy, bright and tight line of swimwear. She was one of the first to introduce plus-size bikinis five years ago, when she couldn’t find suits she liked that fit her figure. The swimwear line is an offshoot of her clothing line, which started with the “Marilyn” convertible dress and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

6. Kambili Ofili-Okonkwo

kamokini_yellow_scuba_suits
KAMOKINI/’ANUEL MODEBE

Nigerian designer Kambili Ofili-Okonkwo came up with idea for Kamokini a few years ago while living in England. The 27-year-old tells The Root that she wanted a swimsuit “that would make a woman feel confident when she might be at her most vulnerable.” So she sketched some designs and had them made during a trip to China. She started by selling to friends and family, then last year officially launched her company. Kamokini is a combination of her family name and “bikini.”

7. Marie-Jean Baptiste

rue_107
RUE107

New Yorker Marie-Jean Baptiste is the designer behind the Rue107 line, founded four years ago. The name comes from her own Haitian background. The brand, the “home of confidence and curves,” includes swimwear and caters to all sizes. Baptiste weaves the rich and bold colors of her home country into the feminine swimsuits, which she says are perfect for a day at the beach. Baptiste, who was studying nursing before pursuing her passion, tells The Root that her detour only helped her understand even more how to design for the body.

8. Shakedria Mathis

8th_ocean_2
MICHAEL DAUGHTRY/8TH & OCEAN SWIM

Shakedria Mathis’ swimwear company, 8th & Ocean Swim, was born in 2013 out of her love of travel and her obsession with finding the perfect bikini. She combined the two into the “travel-kini,” which she says is perfect for the “pretty young traveler or PYT, who loves and lives on vacation in a bikini.” The 29-year-old designer hails from Miami but lives and works in New York City.

9. La’Daska Mechelle Powell

lakesha
Ladaska Mechelle swimsuit  (COURTESY OF SHAMAYIM.NET)

La’Daska Mechelle Powell started making swimsuits while in design school in Tampa, Fla., in 2009. One year later she launched her swimwear company, Ladaska Mechelle. The Texas native has designed for the Dallas Stars Ice Girls and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She tells The Root that she finds inspiration everywhere and makes most of the suits herself. The 31-year-old now lives and works in New York City.

article by Julie Walker via theroot.com

Usher, Missy Elliott Join the Essence Festival Lineup for July 2015

usher, missy elliott,

Usher and Missy Elliott were both added to the Essence Festival lineup. This comes after a first round of entertainers were chosen, according to the Singersroom.

Elliott and Usher are joining R&B/soul artists Mary J. Blige, Erykah BaduFloetryIndia.ArieElle Varner, Kelly Price, TweetTankRaheem DeVaughn and many more who have been confirmed for the 21st annual celebration.

Hip-hop artists Kendrick LamarCommonSlick Rick, Kool Moe DeeDoug E. Fresh and Mystikal were also confirmed.

Comedian Kevin Hart is headlining the “Now Playing” Concert on the first night. The festival will be on July 2 – July 5 in New Orleans, La.

“On the heels of the ESSENCE Festival’s epic 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, we’re delighted to announce a selection of the best artists and biggest names in entertainment who will take the stage at the Superdome this summer,” Essence President Michelle Ebanks said in a press release.

“From first-time Festival performer Kendrick Lamar to return appearances from fan favorites like Kevin Hart, Common and Mary J. Blige, the ESSENCE Festival offers the definitive entertainment and cultural experience for our passionate ESSENCE community every Fourth of July weekend,” she added.

article via eurweb.com

Carl Jones’ Animated Musical “The Wizard Of Watts” Airs Saturday on Cartoon Network, Takes on Police Brutality

“The Wizard of Watts,” an animated musical coming to Adult Swim on Saturday, tackles police brutality during a charged time. (Credit: Adult Swim) 

LOS ANGELES — “The Wizard of Watts,” a coming animated television musical, was conceived two years ago as a big, fat gob of raucous entertainment wrapped around a nugget of racial commentary.

Then, with the musical’s animation already far underway, Ferguson, Mo., became a flash point, starting a national debate about race, overzealous policing and the need for officers to wear body cameras. Then came the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” and the broader protest against police brutality.

Suddenly, “The Wizard of Watts,” with its devastated black neighborhoods and army of pigs, took on greater weight. How the musical will be received by viewers at a racially charged cultural moment is anyone’s guess. But when it arrives on Cartoon Network’s after-hours Adult Swim block on Saturday, “The Wizard of Watts” will at the very least become one of those eerie instances of art accidentally mirroring life.

The primary villain in the Magical Land of Oz-Watts, where the story takes place, is a vicious pig clad in riot gear. Water does not neutralize this Oz villain; instead this baddie gets melted with a camcorder. “Oh, no! Not an irrefutable visual record of my illegal actions!” the anthropomorphized pig wails as he turns to mush at the musical’s climax.

Even Carl Jones, the director of “The Wizard of Watts” and one of its writers, was surprised at hitting such a cultural bull’s-eye.

“I take pride in tackling things with my gloves off, but animation takes such a long time to produce that you usually don’t end up being all that current,” he said.

Mr. Jones had noticed on social media how African-Americans were increasingly using cellphone cameras as “protection from police, like as a weapon,” he said.

“Nobody was talking about it and so I decided we had to take it on,” he said.

Continue reading “Carl Jones’ Animated Musical “The Wizard Of Watts” Airs Saturday on Cartoon Network, Takes on Police Brutality”

J Dilla Recording Equipment Headed to the Smithsonian

J Dilla Recording Equipment Headed to the Smithsonian

J Dilla was only 32 years old when he died in 2006, but in his too-short life, the prolific producer worked with hip-hop icons including Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, De la Soul, Common, and A Tribe Called Quest, even earning a Grammy nomination for his work with Tribe. And now, another honor for the late Detroit beatmaker: His recording equipment will be featured in the Smithsonian.

At the ninth DC Loves Dilla tribute concert on Thursday night, Dilla’s mom, Maureen Yancey, announced onstage that she would donate her son’s custom Minamoog Voyager — one of the last synthesizers Bob Moog built for someone before he died in 2005 — and his MPC to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“I feel it’s necessary to raise the level of art appreciation in the hip-hop sector and honor my son James Dewitt Yancey, one of the most influential individuals in the history of hip-hop,” Dilla’s mom said in a Smithsonian press release announcing the donation.

Below, watch Yancey announce the donation at the benefit concert, which raises money to battle lupus, a disease that might have played a part in Dilla’s early death.

article by Katie Atkinson via billboard.com

Erykah Badu is New Face of Couture Powerhouse Givenchy

afp-givenchy

The French haute couture house has quickly become the talk of the fashion blogs following the announcement of its Spring-Summer 2014 brand ambassador. Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci chose the infinitely charismatic soul singer Erykah Badu.  The two first images from the campaign were unveiled on Givenchy’s brand new Instagram campaign, showing the forty-something actress in a striped long dress and a tribal-inspired tunic.

The campaign, which will soon be presented in its entirety, was shot by famous fashion photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Erykah Badu, who has released six studio albums, is already a familiar face in the world of fashion and beauty. She lent her charismatic charm to Tom Ford fragrances for two campaigns in 2008 and 2009.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/erykah-badu-new-face-givenchy-article-1.1545426#ixzz2nkfxISbz