Born on This Day in 1958: Michael Jackson, the Incomparable King of Pop

Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas has launched the #MJWeAreOne campaign in conjunction with MichaelJackson.com.

Fans worldwide are urged to use Instagram by sharing videos — using the hashtag #MJWeAreOne — honoring MJ and sharing ideas of how to make the world a better place.

The MJ Global Party has fans celebrating Jackson’s birthday in live-time around the world using the hashtag #MJGBP2014. Check out the website here.

The fifth annual Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts is underway in Jackson’s birth home of Gary, Indiana. The three-day festival celebrates Jackson’s life and career while helping revitalize part of Gary.

So on this day, remember the King of Pop in your own way. Listen to your favorite MJ song. Watch your favorite Michael video for the thousandth time.

Below I’m posting one of my all-time favorite Jackson songs and videos, the John Singleton-directed “Remember The Time” and I know I’m going to shake my head (for the thousandth time) when Magic Johnson says “Behold, great Pharoah Ramses!”, laugh (for the thousandth time) when Eddie Murphy’s eyes bug out at Iman crushing on Michael, stare in awe (for the thousandth time) at the dance moves, and lose it (for the thousandth time) when Michael sings the “Rah dah /dah dah dah / What about us, girl?!” part because it is just so uniquely Michael, uniquely musical and uniquely inspiring.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Michael Jackson Makes Top 10 History with New Single

Watch Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good” video

Jackson “returned” to the stage as a hologram, performing last weekend at the Billboard Music Awards. His performance ended with a standing ovation.

article by Kyle Harvey via thegrio.com

Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake Storm Onto Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Charts with “Love Never Felt So Good” (AUDIO)

Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake Storm Onto Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Charts

It’s a royal return for the King of Pop to the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Michael Jackson‘s “Love Never Felt So Good” with Justin Timberlake makes splashy debuts at No. 20 on the Hot 100 and No. 6 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The track (heard below) is the first single from Jackson’s posthumous album “Xscape,” due tomorrow (May 13).

“Good” sold 80,000 downloads in the week ending May 4, according to Nielsen SoundScan, after only three full days on-sale. The song went on-sale in the evening of May 1, after it premiered on the iHeartRadio Music Awards the same night. It’s available as both a duet and as a solo track from Jackson, although sales of the Timberlake version drive 80 percent of its combined sales.

Powered by hourly play across a multitude of Clear Channel-owned radio stations on May 2, “Love” debuts at No. 38 on the Radio Songs chart. It bows with 34 million in audience for the week ending May 6, from 358 stations, according to Nielsen BDS. “Love” is Jackson’s biggest Radio Songs hit since “Butterflies” peaked at No. 14 in early 2002.

The debut for “Good” is handsome not just because of its sales and airplay figures, but also thanks to its streaming numbers. The tune collected 1.9 million U.S. streams in the week ending May 4, according to BDS. It arrives at No. 41 on Streaming Songs.

Bringing Michael Jackson Back: The Inside Story of ‘Xscape’ (Cover Story)

“Good” arrives as Jackson’s 49th Hot 100 hit (not counting his entries as part of the Jackson 5). He nets his highest Hot 100 rank since “Butterflies” reached No. 14 (Jan. 26, 2002). He also ties for his third-highest debut: “You Are Not Alone,” his 13th and last No. 1, launched at the summit (Sept. 2, 1995), almost three months after “Scream,” with Janet Jackson, started at its No. 5 peak. “Good” matches the bow of his classic “Thriller,” which began at No. 20 on Feb. 11, 1984 and rose to its No. 4 highpoint three weeks later.

“Good” becomes Jackson’s 33rd top 20 Hot 100 hit, tying him with Rihanna for the seventh-best sum in the chart’s 55-year history. (Jackson was born the same month as the Hot 100: August 29, 1958, or 25 days after the chart’s inception.) Elvis Presley leads with 48 top 20 hits, followed by Madonna (44), the Beatles (42), Elton John (40), Lil Wayne (39) and Stevie Wonder (36).

On Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, “Good” is likewise Jackson’s highest-charting entry since “Butterflies,” which reached No. 2 on the ranking. He lands his 33rd Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs top 10. (James Brown boasts the most top 10s all-time, 60, followed by Louis Jordan, with 54, and Aretha Franklin, with 52.)

Timberlake, meanwhile, tallies his 21st Hot 100 top 20 and 10th such hit on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

article by Keith Caufield & Gary Trust via billboard.com

 

Young Men Debunk Negative Racial Stereotypes In “Suit and Tie” Video

A group of young Black and Latino men are letting the world know that they are far from the image of violent, uneducated and unkempt individuals that the media often makes them out to be.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.22.47 AMDressed in suits, button-down shirts and bow ties while serving plenty of bravado, 34 juniors and seniors from Illinois’ Central High School recently created a short video called “Suit & Tie In The 217″ to combat the negative stereotypes they face regularly — and we love every second of it!

Set to the Justin Timberlake/Jay Z collaboration “Suit & Tie,” the teens show off their superb style while the messages “we are not gangsters and thugs,” “we are employees and volunteers,” “we are scholars” and “we are athletes” appear across the screen. To be specific, they are Honor Roll students, poets, future collegiate athletes and National Honor Society members, just to name a few of their talents and accomplishments.

“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” Tiffany Gholson, a Central High School counselor that helped with the project, told NewsOne.

Between Obama’s new initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, this awesome viral video and countless other groups and individuals attempting to reclaim the narrative of young black men — we’re hopeful the mission will be accomplished.

Check out the amazing video above and let us know what you think about it in the comments section.

article by Julee Wilson via huffingtonpost.com

Toni Braxton to Star as Darlene Love in OWN Biopic

Toni Braxton

According to Variety.comToni Braxton will star as singer Darlene Love in OWN’s biopic of the famed pop vocalist.  My Name is Love: The Darlene Love Story is slated for a December premiere, and the telefilm revolves around Love’s long career in the music industry, starting out as the key voice behind Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound hits from the 1960s. OWN’s first scripted movie was brought to the network by Morgan Neville, the documentarian who was behind last year’s Academy Award-winning feature, Twenty Feet from Stardom, about Love and other well-known backup singers.

OWN has also announced it’s set Octavia Spencer to star in a miniseries revolving around a journalist investigating the notorious mass murder and cover-up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. Tulsa comes from drama veteran (and Oklahoma native) Nancy Miller (TNT’s Saving Grace).

Additionally, OWN has ordered 20 more episodes of Tyler Perry’s hit primetime soap The Haves and the Have Nots, bringing it to 56 episodes to air through 2015. A new Perry drama series, Single Mom’s Club, is set for a fall debut with a 20-episode order.

Justin Timberlake is lined up as the first guest on the new season of Oprah Winfrey’s interview series Oprah’s Master Class, to premiere May 11.  Another programming tentpole planned for next year is the seven-part documentary series Belief, examining the origins of faith “through the eyes of believers.”

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GBN MUSIC REVIEW: Quick Love for Pharrell Williams’ “GIRL”

pharrellgirl

Review by Lesa Lakin

Review by Lesa Lakin

In our quest for great music, we didn’t hesitate to add Pharrell Williams‘ latest release GIRL to our must-have list.  He is, after all, the man who makes us “Happy.”

GIRL celebrates women in this insightful, sultry, melodically delicious album.  Giving the ladies much more than a superficial “I get you” wink, Pharrell lyrically dedicates this album to all the amazing women he’s ever come across, and had me swooning from track one.  Listen closely to “Marilyn Monroe” — he celebrates ALL females and all of our differences.  In our current climate of technology-based put downs (social media rants) and the ever-increasing desire for perfect beauty, Pharrell thoughtfully doles out the love no matter who you are or what you look like.  He wants a different girl… and it’s refreshing.

My personal favorites on the album are “Hunter”, “Come Get It Bae”, “Lost Queen” (I love when he sing/talks on this one), “It Girl” and a fun song with Justin Timberlake called “Brand New” — all great turn-it-up-and-blast songs.  There’s something about the smoothness of Pharrell’s voice paired with his incomparable, artistic use of beats, lyrics and vocals that make me want to run, bounce, dance, drive… MOVE!   Simply put, this album will make you… yes, I’m saying it again, but in all caps now – HAPPY.  Additionally, Alicia Keys lends her vocals to the inspirational track “Know Who You Are.”  Great beats for the boys with melodic compliments to empower the girls.  This man pleases all while provoking deeper feelings.

And seriously, when I heard there was even a controversy about Pharrell’s choice of cover models (hysteric claims of no brown girls)… I sighed. Who doesn’t know that Pharrell likes brown girls, all girls… and why do we even care what models he chose?  Slow your roll haters and get your facts straight — Williams is extremely inclusive.  P.S.  there is a black model featured.    

GIRL is non-stop fun and a timeless keeper which should capture audiences of various ages.  I’ve been arguing with my youngest sister for years over who the original Pharrell fan is in the family.  She actually tried to claim that she’s loved/known about “Skateboard P.”  the longest.  It’s pretty cute but I can’t ever let her have this.  I’ve been digging Pharrell since, well… I’m not going to date myself.  Just trust that Mr. Williams has been making me dance for quite some time and there are no signs of him stopping any time soon.

Oh, and about Pharrell using “GIRL” as the album’s title before everyone starts — yes, of course sometimes calling a woman a “girl” can be condescending and even worse, derogatory.  But that’s certainly not Pharrell’s intention here.  It’s a fun, inclusive and tender use of the word, and truth be told, I don’t think there is a woman out there who doesn’t want to be somebody’s girl.  I’m winking back… thanks, Pharrell.

GIRL by Pharrell Williams – GBN highly recommended

First Listen: Pharrell and Rick Ross’ New Albums Streaming for Free

This Jan. 26, 2014 file photo shows Pharrell Williams on stage at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Oscars producers say in a news release Tuesday, Feb. 7, that Williams will sing his nominated song “Happy.” The Oscars will air live March 2 on ABC with Ellen DeGeneres as host. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Two of the bigger albums of 2014, will be released next Tuesday, March 4th, but eager fans can listen to Pharrell  and Rick Ross’ new projects now for free.  iTunes launched the G I R L radio station last night which will be streaming The Neptunes frontman’s 10-track second solo album.  Featuring appearances from Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys, Pharrell’s looks to carry his 2013 success into the new year.

Rick Ross’ Mastermind is the Boss’ sixth album of his career, but he’s never been in a position to prove so much to so many. His public image took a huge hit after rapping about slipping Molly into a woman’s drink. Despite offering a delayed apology, the flap cost him a lucrative Reebok shoe endorsement.  Ross is due for a comeback and with a track list featuring, Diddy, Meek Mill, Jay Z, and Houston legend Scarface, he will be carrying the MMG flag in 2014.

Will you be purchasing Mastermind or G I R L?  Click on the links below and let us know what you think in the comments.

Pharrell – G I R L  stream

Rick Ross – Mastermind stream

article by Kyle Harvey via thegrio.com