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Erykah Badu Taking Control of the Music at Grammy Glam Event PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Sunday, 29 January 2012 13:57

From her sky-high gold boots to her oversize jewelry, Erykah Badu has been known to show off her eye-catching fashion sense on stage.  Perhaps that's why she's been invited to join Grammy Glam, a red-carpet event sponsored by The Recording Academy and three cosmetics companies that will kick off the Academy's Grammy Week, leading up to the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.  The event is designed to celebrate the connection between music and glamour.

The Grammy Award-winning Badu will reprise her role as DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, treating the crowd to a special music set at MyHouse in Hollywood on Tuesday, February 7 where CoverGirl, Olay and Venus will set up a series of beauty-themed rooms.  DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa will also take a turn on the wheels of steel, joining new DJ duo The Jane Doze.  Female fans who can't be at the event will have a chance to show off their spinning skills, too, by entering the Grammy Glam room on Turntable.fm.  Their selections will be spotlighted virtually at the event during The Doze's opening act.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2012 14:39
Etta James remembered as triumphant trailblazer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Sunday, 29 January 2012 13:35

GARDENA, Calif. — Etta James was remembered at a service today attended by hundreds of friends, family and fans as a woman who triumphed against all odds to break down cultural and musical barriers in a style that was unfailingly honest.

The Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized James in a rousing speech, describing her remarkable rise from poverty and pain to become a woman whose music became an enduring anthem for weddings and commercials.

Perhaps most famously, President Barack Obama and the first lady shared their first inaugural ball dance to a version of the song sung by Beyonce. Sharpton on Saturday opened his remarks by reading a statement from the president.

"Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation's musical heritage," Obama's statement read.

The Grammy-winning singer died Jan. 20 after battling leukemia and other ailments, including dementia. She had retreated from public life in recent years, but on Saturday her legacy was on display as mourners of all ages and races converged on the City of Refuge church in Gardena, south of downtown Los Angeles.

Among the stars performing tributes to James were Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera, who told the gathering that she has included "At Last" in every concert she's performed as a tribute to her musical inspiration.

Wonder performed three songs, including "Shelter In the Rain" and a harmonica solo. James' rose-draped casket was on display, surrounded by wreaths and floral arrangements and pictures of the singer.

Sharpton, who met James when he was an up-and-coming preacher, credited her with helping break down racial barriers through her music.

"She was able to get us on the same rhythms and humming the same ballads and understanding each other's melodies way before we could even use the same hotels," Sharpton said.

He said James' fame and influence would have been unthinkable to a woman with James' background — growing up in a broken home during segregation and at times battling her own demons.

"The genius of Etta James is she flipped the script," Sharpton said, alluding to her struggles with addiction, which she eventually overcame.

"She waited until she turned her pain into power," he said, adding that it turned her story away from being a tragic one into one of triumph.

"You beat `em Etta," Sharpton said in concluding his eulogy. "At last. At last. At last!"

The assembly roared to their feet, and would again stand to applaud performances by Wonder and Aguilera, who filled the sanctuary with their voices.

"Out of all the singers that I've ever heard, she was the one that cut right to my soul and spoke to me," Aguilera said before her performance.

Throughout the service, a portrait of James as a woman who beat the odds in pursuit of her dreams repeatedly emerged.

"Etta is special to me and for me, because she represents the life, the triumphs, the tribulations of a lot of black women all over this world," said U.S. Rep Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

"It does not matter who sang `At Last' before or after Etta. It does not matter when it was sung, or where it was sung. `At Last' was branded by Etta, the raunchy diva — that's her signature and we will always remember her."

James won four Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement honor and was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. In her decades-long career, she became revered for her passionate, soulful singing voice.

She scored her first hit when she was just a teenager with the suggestive "Roll With Me, Henry," which had to be changed to "The Wallflower" in order to get airplay. Her 1967 album, "Tell Mama," became one of the most highly regarded soul albums of all time, a mix of rock and gospel music.


She rebounded from a heroin addiction to see her career surge after performing the national anthem at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She won her first Grammy Award a decade later, and two more in 2003 and 2004.

James is survived by her husband of 42 years, Artis Mills and two sons, Donto and Sametto James.

"Mom, I love you," Donto James said during brief remarks. "When I get to the gates, can you please be there for me?"

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2012 13:37
"You Can Create Tomorrow" 9th Annual Poster Design Scholarship Competition PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Saturday, 28 January 2012 12:16


The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, are challenging high school seniors and high school graduates to design a poster that best expresses the theme "You Can Create Tomorrow" in the 2012 Poster Design Competition. Entries are being accepted through February 3, 2012. Winners will earn up to a full tuition scholarship to study at one of the more than 45 Art Institutes schools.

This year's competition is open to high school seniors and high school graduates from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Contestants will compete in two different categories: (i) high school senior or (ii) high school graduate/adult.

For inspiration, prospective competitors can see what past winners have to say about their experiences during and after the competition at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo0c15nSONg&feature=youtu.be.

To see the full entry requirements, complete official rules and to learn more about The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/postercompetition or http://www.multivu.com/players/English/51393-art-institutes-poster-design-competition/.


Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 12:17
SiriusXM Debuts "The Badge with Howard Safir" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Saturday, 28 January 2012 12:45


Sirius XM Radio has announced the launch of The Badge with Howard Safir, a provocative, six-week series hosted by the former Police Commissioner of New York City on which he will offer his insight on the drama, heroism and challenges faced by law enforcement officials today. In addition, subscribers will have the opportunity to call in to The Badge and ask everything they ever wanted to know about police officers, criminals and what it takes to keep society safe.

The Badge with Howard Safir will launch on Sunday, January 29 at 11:00 am ET on SiriusXM Stars (channel 107) with special guest former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Safir served as Police Commissioner during Giuliani's administration for four years and has worked with Giuliani for over four decades on national and international law enforcement matters. In the wide-ranging interview, they take on issues including gun control, career criminals, homegrown terrorists, leadership in the aftermath of 9/11 and discuss their first-hand experience surrounding President Ronald Reagan's assassination attempt. The Badge will air Sundays from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm ET through Sunday, March 4. Select video clips of Safir's interview with Giuliani are available at www.siriusxm.com/stars.

On upcoming shows, Safir will be joined by current and former police chiefs, agents, decorated officers, prosecutors, issue advocates and other top-level insiders. They will offer listeners advice on how to stay safe and what to do if you are the victim of a crime, and explore topics including: what exactly happens when someone is arrested, realities and myths of popular television shows like CSI, cybercrime and protecting your identity, career criminals and the complexities of letting repeat offenders walk. Each week, Safir will honor fallen officers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. He will also pay tribute to officers whose valor and courage have made them heroes in their communities.

Safir's notable career in both the public and private sectors includes Police Commissioner of New York City, Director of Operations for the United States Marshals Service, Chief of the federal Witness Protection program, Assistant Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Fire Commissioner of New York City, Chairman and CEO of Bode Technology Group and consultant to the Chairman of ChoicePoint. Mr. Safir currently serves as the Chairman and CEO of Vigilant Resources International (VRI) and is on the Board of Verint Systems, Inc. and Lexis-Nexis Special Services.

Visit www.siriusxm.com/stars for more information

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 12:46
Digital Distribution Technology for African Markets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Saturday, 28 January 2012 08:37


The launch of Spinlet, Africa's premier digital distribution service will be celebrated this week on an international level at the Midem 2012 in Cannes, France. The Spinlet service will debut within Africa this February with over 200 thousand tracks making it the largest platform for music discovery throughout Africa.

To celebrate, Spinlet is hosting a showcase of African music on Monday, January 30th at the DaDaDa Club as part of the official Midem Off festival. Spinlet Night will feature two of Africa's hottest hip-hop rap artists Naeto C and Paul G as well as the rising soul and R&B star Sesu. Headlining the event is the world-renowned DJ Jazzy Jeff, who will be DJ'ing from the Spinlet catalog, including top songs from Ice Prince, D Grin, 2face Idibia, Tiwa Savage and more.

Spinlet's launch means a paradigm shift in music distribution and the fight against piracy in one of the world's hottest emerging markets. "We are dedicated to working against piracy with structured deals in the artists favor and bringing in marketing support to create revenue and promotion of artists' music internationally," says Spinlet CEO Eric Idiahi. "Being on the ground in Nigeria, I see that our biggest competitors are pirated CD's on the street corner, we want to create value in the users eye and revenue for the artists."

Spinlet is supported on the most popular smart phones including Android, BlackBerry and Symbian^3 and is available for free download via the Android Market, Blackberry Store, and Symbian Platform. "We have partnered with an amazing catalog of artists, mobile carriers, payment providers and a variety of brands to support our network to ensure our users get a unique and quality experience," Says Spinlet founder and COO Sami Leino, "we are confident that the service speaks for itself, and users and artists alike will agree that is what sets us apart as Africa's top mobile music application."

Within Spinlet, users can remotely store, manage and listen to music from anywhere using their mobile device. Spinlet promotes social sharing with an interface that allows users to create accounts, make playlists and share their favorite titles using social-networking sites, such as Facebook with their friends. "We want to support African music in every way possible and that means promotion on every level, whether it be internally on the Spinlet application or at international events like Midem, the largest and most influential music industry conference in the world," says Idiahi.

This has made Spinlet the first stop in signing digital distribution agreements in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African Countries. Spinlet offers an array of multi-national, award winning music and has signed hundreds of artists and labels to the service. Additionally, any music rights holders can upload their music for sale on the Spinlet platform.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 08:37
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