Smokey Robinson to Executive Produced Animated Children’s Series Based on Motown Music for Netflix

Smokey Robinson performs at A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn, on July 4, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Smokey Robinson (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

Netflix has picked up an original animated children’s series that will feature contemporary artists performing hit songs from the Motown catalog that will serve as inspiration for each episode.

From writer/director Josh Wakely (“Beat Bugs”), the as-yet-untitled project will feature Motown icon Smokey Robinson as its executive music producer.

The series will include 52 classic Motown hits, including those made famous by all-time greats like Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and many more.

Per Netflix:

The series revolves around a lovable, funny and slightly shy eight-year-old boy named Ben, who discovers he has the extraordinary ability to bring street-art to life. Ben and his family live in the imaginary city of Motown, based on Detroit and its rich musical heritage. Inspired by the words and melodies of Motown’s classic songs, Ben and his friends Angie and Mickey, along with an amazing cast of enchanting street art characters, discover that creativity is magic as they revive vibrancy to their city and learn life lessons.

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)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Honors Smokey Robinson at 20th Annual Music Masters Series

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R&B and soul legend William “Smokey” Robinson will be honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University during the 20thAnnual Music Masters™ series, presented by Klipsch Audio. Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the sophomore class of inductees in 1987. The weeklong celebration, Nov. 2-7, 2015, will culminate with the Annual Music Masters concert on Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. EST at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.

The tribute concert, presented by Klipsch Audio, on Nov. 7 will feature previously announced Inductees Dennis Edwards, Martha Reeves, and Mary Wilson, as well as the Robert Glasper Experiment.  New guests scheduled to perform include Avant, Avery*Sunshine, Bilal, JoJo, Eric Roberson, and Michelle Williams. Adam Blackstone (who has worked with artists such as Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake) will serve as the tribute concert’s Musical Director.  Robinson will attend the tribute concert to accept the award but is not scheduled to perform.

Tickets to the Nov. 7 concert range from $30 – $100 and are available now at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org. A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Fri., Oct. 30.

To open the tribute concert, Case Western Reserve will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Smokey Robinson, recognizing his many musical and cultural contributions, which extend from enduring songs to his leadership in the music industry. The university awards honorary degrees to recognize those who exemplify in their work the highest ideals and standards of excellence in any valued aspect of human endeavor, including scholarship, public service and the performing arts.

Additional events include:

JUST ANNOUNCED!  FREE with RSVP – Mon., Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. – “Smokey Robinson and the Sensual Black Avant-Garde” / Author Series with Jason King at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives (2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland).  Reservations can be made through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

FREE with RSVP – Wed., Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. – An Evening with Members of the Music Masters tribute band in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.  This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

FREE – Thurs., Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. – Keynote Lecture “You Really Got a Hold On Me” by Dave Marsh at Case Western Reserve University’s Tinkham Veale University Center (11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland OH).   Marsh, rock critic, historian, anti-censorship activist, talk show host, and “Louie Louie” expert, has written more than 20 books about rock and popular music, and edited that many more.  In this talk, Marsh will explore more than 50 years of listening to Smokey and why, in his opinion, Smokey Robinson is the best singer-songwriter ever.  This event is free and reservations are not required.  Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This event will be streamed live at http://rockhall.com.

Sat., Nov. 7 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Foster Theater

The conference will celebrate Smokey Robinson’s impact on popular music, including a panel discussion on Smokey moderated by renowned author and Smokey Robinson autobiography co-author, David Ritz. Ritz will be joined by Harry Weinger, Vice President, A&R at Universal Music Enterprises; Jason King, Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music; and Andy Flory, Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. There will be a special Motown-inspired performance and master class with the youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland as well as interviews with special guests. Tickets are $25 ($10 lunch voucher included) and are available through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.  Admission to the Museum is free with the purchase of a conference ticket. 

Sat., Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Annual Music Masters Tribute Concert at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.  Tickets to the November 7 tribute concert range from $30 – $100 and are at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting www.playhousesquare.org.  A limited number of premium seating and VIP packages beginning at $300 are available by contacting the Rock Hall’s development office at (216) 515-1201 or development@rockhall.org by Friday, October 30.  

Special programming for teachers and students:

Tues., Nov. 3 – Digital Classroom: Launch of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Education Unit

The Rock Hall’s award-winning education team will launch a special Smokey Robinson and the Miracles teaching unit as part of their Digital Classroom online curriculum on Tuesday, November 3. The Digital Classroom allows teachers and students to learn more about rock and roll history with lesson plans, listening guides, and exclusive content that can be used in classroom. To learn more, visit http://www.rockhall.com/digitalclassroom.

About Smokey Robinson:

Save for founder Berry Gordy, no single figure has been more closely allied with the Detroit-based recording empire known as Motown than William “Smokey” Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, Robinson served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored twenty-seven pop-soul hits at Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Shop Around,” “Going to a Go-Go” and “I Second That Emotion.” The Miracles’ brightest moments on record – “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a Clown” foremost among them – still kindle memories for those who came of age in the Sixties. Continue reading

Obamas Sing Happy Birthday To Usher At White House [VIDEO]

Usher and the Obamas (photo via youtube)

Usher and the Obamas (photo via youtube)

Usher may be the reigning King of R&B, but, right now, we’re pretty sure he’s feeling like the King of the World.”

The soulful singer spent October 14, his 37th birthday, recording a taping of PBS’ concert series “In Performance at the White House.” He and his bride Grace were chatting with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama when they surprised him by singing “Happy Birthday” and presented him with a cupcake topped with a single candle.

The former “The Voice” coach seemed humbled — and in total disbelief — by the experience, at one point, turning to the videographer and asking, “Are you getting this?

After the First Couple were done singing to Usher, President Obama said, “That’s a good cupcake, too.”

Along with Usher, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, and Esperanza Spalding also performed at the White House for the concert series.

See the Obamas serenade Usher in the video above.

article via newsone.com

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

Motown Founder Berry Gordy Recipient of Marian Anderson Award

PHILAPELPHIA – A star-studded gala took place last night in Philadelphia to honor Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.  The legendary record producer and songwriter is recipient of the 2013 Marian Anderson Award, which pays homage to critically acclaimed artists who have made a significant impact.  Tuesday night’s gala dinner and award presentation at the Kimmel Center was hosted by comedian-actor Chris Tucker. It featured performances by Boyz II Men, Kool and the Gang as well as Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Gordy in “Motown The Musical.”

R&B icon Smokey Robinson presented a tribute, along with “Philly Sound” songwriting and producing pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  Gordy, a high-school dropout who had a short professional boxing career, started Motown Records in Detroit in 1959. The record company is credited for opening doors for African-American performing artists, launching the careers of everyone from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to Diana Ross & the Supremes.  “This year we will be honoring an individual who created a new genre of American music that is beloved around the world, by young and old, black and white,” said Award chair Pamela Browner White.

Continue reading