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

Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Chic Among 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

(L-R) Chaka Khan, Tupac, Janet Jackson (Getty Images)

(L-R) Chaka Khan, Tupac, Janet Jackson (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its 2017 induction ceremony today.  This year’s nominees include Tupac Shakur, in his first year of eligibility, Chaka KhanJanet Jackson, and 11-time nominee Chic.

Ballots to select the final 2017 inductees will be sent out to more than 800 artists, historians, and members of the music industry. The public will also get an opportunity to vote at rockhall.com. Public voting ends Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

To be considered for induction, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.

In addition to Tupac, this year also marks the first year of eligibility for fellow 2017 nominees Pearl Jam, Bad Brains, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Joan Baez, Journey, and Steppenwolf.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2017 inductees will be announced at an unspecified date in December. The induction ceremony will be held at the Barclay’s Center in New York City in April 2017.

Read the full list of this year’s nominees include:

Bad Brains
Chaka Khan
Chic
Depeche Mode
Electric Light Orchestra
J. Geils Band
Jane’s Addiction
Janet Jackson
Joan Baez
Joe Tex
Journey
Kraftwerk
MC5
Pearl Jam
Steppenwolf
The Cars
The Zombies
Tupac Shakur
Yes

Watch Inspiring Mash-Up of Janet Jackson’s “Can’t Be Stopped” with Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech (VIDEO)

My fellow GBN Editor Lesa Lakin just e-mailed me this mash-up of Janet Jackson‘s “Can’t Be Stopped” with #BlackLivesMatter footage and Jesse Williams‘ now-classic speech from the 2016 BET Awards .  Not sure who made it and posted it on Vimeo five days ago, but thank you – great message and inspiration!  Keep protesting, speaking out, being creative and rising up!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

MUSIC: All 9 Jackson Family Siblings Have Now Had Solo Hits on the Billboard Charts

The Jackson Five photographed in Amsterdam circa 1977.   (GIJSBERT HANEKROOT/REDFERNS)

article by Trevor Anderson via billboard.com

Tito Jackson joins his brothers and sisters like Michael and Janet, and scores his first solo hit on the Billboard charts with “Get It Baby.”  With the single’s recent debut, Tito becomes the ninth and final Jackson family sibling to place a solo single on the charts.

Michael Jackson’s Top 50 Billboard Hits

For over 45 years, the Jackson family has been charting hits — stretching back to the 1969 debut of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on the Billboard Hot 100. In the following decades, the children of Joe and Katherine Jackson all embarked on solo careers, most spectacularly with Michael Jackson. By 1989, eight of the nine siblings had reached the charts.

“Get It Baby,” featuring Big Daddy Kane, debuts at No. 30 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart dated June 11, and climbs 29-26 on the Adult R&B Songs airplay chart in its second week.

The Jackson siblings’ solo chart runs date back to October 30, 1971, when Michael Jackson’s debut single, “Got to Be There,” started at No. 89 on the Hot 100. Since Michael kicked off his string, nine of the Jackson children have scored hits on a Billboard songs chart (listed in birth order):

Maureen “Rebbie” Jackson – seven charted titles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including two top 10s in 1984’s “Centipede” (No. 4) and 1988’s “Plaything” (No. 8).

Sigmund “Jackie” Jackson – two charted titles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including a 1989 top 40 hit “Stay” (No. 39).

Tito Jackson – “Get It Baby” debuted at No. 29 on Adult R&B Songs on the June 4, 2016 chart and Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks the following week.

Jermaine Jackson – 17 charted titles on the Hot 100, including two top 10 hits: “Daddy’s Home” in 1973 and “Let’s Get Serious” in 1980. Both cuts peaked at No. 9.

LaToya Jackson – nine charted titles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including four top 40 hits. Her highest ranking track, “Bet’cha Gonna Need My Lovin’” climbed to No. 22 in 1983.

Marlon Jackson – two charted titles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including the No. 2 smash “Don’t Go” in 1987.

Michael Jackson – 50 charted titles on the Hot 100, including 13 No. 1s, the most by any male artist in Hot 100 history.

Steven “Randy” Jackson – three charted titles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (one as a solo artist and two as part of Randy & The Gypsys). Of those three, 1990’s “Love You Honey” scored the best rank, topping out at No. 16.

Janet Jackson – 40 charted titles on the Hot 100, including 10 No. 1s.

Of course, the Jacksons also made music history working together. The Jackson 5 — a lineup consisting of Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and Tito — scored Hot 100 No. 1s with their first four releases on Motown: “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.”

After a break with the label, the group shifted to Epic Records and was renamed The Jacksons (with Randy replacing Jermaine). The new quintet racked up three more Hot 100 top 10s between 1977 and 1984.

Q-Tip Named Kennedy Center’s 1st Artistic Director of Hip-Hop

Q-Tip (photo via eurweb.com)

Q-Tip (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Maeve McDermott via usatoday.com

Before last year, Kennedy Center hosting hip hop shows seemed like an unlikely prospect.

But after hosting Kendrick Lamar’s sold-out performance with the National Symphony Orchestra last year, the center’s 2016 season includes its first hip hop culture series, bringing on rapper and producer Q-Tip as their first artistic director of hip hop.

The social justice-oriented rapper is best known as a founding member of the seminal hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, and has worked with many of music’s biggest names, including Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, the Beastie Boys, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Pharrell Williams.

The Kennedy Center, which celebrates John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday this year, announced details of six events celebrating different facets of hip hop culture, including a poetry slam, a teach-in and a dance competition. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming were also appointed at-large artistic advisers for the 2016-2017 season, according to the AP.

“This new programmatic platform recognizes Hip Hop’s contributions to global culture and its role in promoting values such as courage, freedom, justice, and service,” the center announced in a release.

To read more, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/03/08/q-tip-named-kennedy-center-first-hip-hop-director/81485882/

LIFESTYLE: GBN Picks for September 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 9.51.22 AM (1)

by Lesa Lakin GBN Lifestyle Editor

Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle

I’ve always had this sort of love/hate relationship with the month of September. Part of me feels like September is just a pushy month with attitude. It represents the end of summer fun with a blaring nudge toward back to business, back to school… back to get up and get stuff done!

But if I’m going to keep it positive, September also represents the beginning of beautiful, new and exciting things… and hopefully if you’re in a hot state – some cooler weather. Here are few fun, interesting things happening this month.  Enjoy!

CINEMA

the-perfect-guy

THE PERFECT GUY
September 14; PG-13
Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy & Morris Chestnut star in “The Perfect Guy”

Picking the right partner is tough and when a budding relationship ends the “perfect guy” becomes enraged with the woman that ended it – setting his sights on the perfect revenge.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CikoxQ4ytI4

Captive

THE CAPTIVE
September 18; PG-13
David Oyelowo and Kate Mara star in “The Captive” based on an inspiring true story.

A hostage (Kate Mara) uses Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” to convince her desperate captor (David Oyelowo) to put his life on the path to redemption. Watch the trailer here: http://www.captivethemovie.com

MUSIC/PERFORMANCES/EVENTS

audra-950

AUDRA MCDONALD & AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
September 1 & September 3
Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/american-classics-audra-mcdonald- american-ballet-theatre/2015-09-03

44180-homepage-109444

KEVIN HART
September 17
Honda Center, Anaheim , CA

September 18
L.A. Forum, Inglewood, CA

Check here for more cities and dates available: http://www.ticketmaster.com/Kevin-Hart-tickets/artist/1057637

lenny-kravitz

LENNY KRAVITZ
September 11
Los Angeles, CA
Greek Theater
For more tour dates and cities check here: http://www.lennykravitz.com/tour/

The Week Designers Showed Black Women Love Feat. Tinashe, Ciara And Joan Smalls