Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Price of Fame: RiRi and the Birthday Cake Remix

The Price of Fame:  A featured post that takes a look at musicians and the impact that success has on their lives

On Monday, February 20, 2012, after much speculation, Rihanna released a remix to the song Birthday Cake off her Talk That Talk album. . .featuring Chris Brown (at the same time, CB released a remix to the song Turn Up the Music, off his upcoming album Fortune featuring Rihanna)

Sidenote:  I don't think CB added anything to Birthday Cake and Rihanna could've released the song without his assistance.  However, I do think she added to CB's song.  But let's get to the real meat of the situation.

Of course this didn't go without people talking. . .it was even on the 6 o'clock news!  Why?  Because people automatically go back to the highly publicized aftermath of the physical altercation that occurred between RiRi and CB on the eve of the 2009 Grammys, which left Rihanna severely beaten by the hands of Chris.  Rumors have been circulating for a while that they have been seeing each other again and the release of this single just adds more fuel to this fire.  People began to talk about whether Rihanna's choice to collaborate with Chris was a good move or not.  Most people's opinions about the situation fall under the following scenarios:

The Battered Wife Syndrome

How can we forget when Rihanna broke her silence months after the altercation and sat down with "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer.  Rihanna said she decided to speak publicly about what happened so she could be a voice to help other women who may return to an abusive situation.  "I will say that to any young girl who is going through domestic violence, don't react off of love. F love." said Rihanna "Come out of the situation and look at it in the third person and for what it really is" (click here to view the interview).

Regardless of her the real motive, to some doing this collabo with Chris seems hypocritical and a step back.  It may make the statement that it's okay to go back to your abuser.  What message is this sending to the same women RiRi was trying to be the voice for in her interview?  She may not think or want to be a role model but she is to many, especially young girls, some of which saw them themselves in those vivid pictures of Rihanna plastered everywhere.  Abuse in any form shouldn't be taking lightly so is this a sign that RiRi does take it seriously anymore?  Some already think abuse is a damn joke which was sadly evident as many young girls tweeted their willingness to be beaten by Chris after his Grammy performance.  Click here to read the disturbing comments.

Forgive, Forget, and Move On

Maybe this is RiRi's way of telling the world that she has forgiven Chris for his violent act and that she's ready to move on and maybe even take him back.  Who's to say there is a time limit on forgiveness?  Maybe CB has learned from his past mistakes and is a changed man.  Isn't it possible for someone to change?  Even though Chris latest Twitter rant, after many came down on his lackluster Grammy performance, proves he may have some more growing up to do.  

Strictly Business

Many are able to separate the personal and professional and just see it has a great musical collaboration and nothing more.  As The-Dream, who is the producer of the RiRi track and was in the studio with the two, said, “For me, it’s just music — two talented people doing a record together, doing two records together, and that’s what it was.” Rihanna may have done the collaboration with CB strictly on the professional tip and somewhat strategic business move.  The remix was even released independently and not through her record label (Jay-Z was pissed!)

Regardless of what position you find yourself in, at the end of the day, RiRi is going to do whatever the hell she wants to do in her career and in life.  Who are we to judge?  Who are we to care?  We do because that is the price an artist pays for fame.  By default, celebs are susceptible in having their every move scrutinized and judged by the public.  It doesn't make it right but people feel invested in their careers and their lives and don't necessarily separate the two or really care.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Release Tuesday: 2/28/12

 Estelle - All of Me
~J9's NRT Pick! ~
I call this Estelle's break out album as she sharing her trials, tribulations, and triumphs in life while asserting her individuality, independence, and strength.  Check out:  International (Serious) ft. Chris Brown & Trey Songz, Don't Break My Heart, Thank You (click here to read my Analyze This feature on the song), Speak Ya Mind (can you guess the melody of another song she uses in the chorus?).   Preview the entire album here.

Ja Rule - PIL 2

Maino - Day After Tomorrow

Miguel - Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1
(released Feb. 27)
Click image for free download.

 WZRD is the rock collab efforts of Kid Cudi' and record producer Dot da Genius.

Check out the albums expected to drop this year, visit New Album Releases

Monday, February 27, 2012

A.B.C. by Eric J: "Go To Work" - Kalenna

A.B.C.:  Also known as "Another Bad Creation" from my cousin, Eric J (choreographer/dancer/instructor)


Eric J Class Schedule

Mon. - Beg. 9-10:30pm
Tues. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Thurs. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Sat - Int. 7:30 - 9:30pm

Gonna be in the NYC area? Take his class and really GO TO WORK!  For more info, visit: Broadway Dance Center

Wanna see more Eric J videos???  Visit his YouTube page and leave feedback!!

Follow Eric J on Twitter. . . @Ericj616

Friday, February 24, 2012

Black History Month: Shuffle Along, Paving the Way for Black Theatre

As always, to celebrate Black History month, throughout February check out a series of features acknowledging parts of black history as it relates to music.

Shuffle Along was the first major successful Broadway musical written, produced, and performed by blacks.  It was written by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, with music and lyrics by Noble Sissle, a famous black band leader and Eubie Blake, a famous ragtime pianist.  The musical was centered around a three way mayoral race in a Southern town called Jimtown.  It was filled with comedy, deceit, jealousy, fights, and romance. 

The play opened in late March 1921 at the Howard Theatre in D.C. for two weeks before premiering at the Daly's 63rd Street Theatre in New York City on May 23, 1921.  Some promoters and theatre managers doubted it would be a hit because they didn't know if white audiences would be interested in seeing a colored musical.  No black show had been successful on Broadway in over 12 years.  However, to much surprise, Shuffle Along was well received.  The Daily News said it was "interesting as a novelty, the song numbers are full of melody and everybody dances,"  Billboard called it "real, wholesome and filled with a spirit of liveliness and good humor which amazes anyone who has endured the languid efforts of ordinary Broadway musical affairs," and the Evening World proclaimed that "Shuffle Along is well worth your attention.... No musical show in town boasts such rousing and hilarious teamwork."

With almost 500 performances, Shuffle Along ended its run on July 15, 1922 but not without breaking down a whole lot of racial walls.  It legitimized black musicals, proving that white audiences would pay to see black talent on Broadway.  After a 10 year absence, Shuffle Along brought back black actors to Broadway and changed the attitudes of people to accept black performers as something more than just performers in burlesque or minstrel shows.  It also allowed blacks to sit in the orchestra section rather than being confined to the balcony section.  Despite some stereotypical portrayals of blacks, it was the first time blacks were shown as real people and the first to show a real black romance.  I'm Just Wild About Harry became one of the most famous songs from the musical and in 1948 it was used as President Harry Truman campaign song.  Shuffle Along also paved the way for other black musicals to follow suit like How Come (1923), The Chocolate Dandies (1924), Africana (1927) and Keep Shufflin’(1928).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

American Idol Season 11: A First Look

American Idol Season 11

American Idol Season 11 kicked off in early January making stops in San Diego, CA, St. Louis, MS, Portland, OR, Galveston SC, Aspen, CO, Pittsburgh, PA and Savannah, GA, which are all new cities this season. Each city seemed to provide a great backdrop to the set of the auditions, which was a great change. Let's not forget the top 24 being selected completely surrounded by water!!!! Amazingly beautiful, click here to watch a video where you can see the stage.

The majority of contestants this season seem to fit into major two groups, the young and the multi-talented. There are a lot of 17 year old contestants, which is not surprising, since last season's final two, Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina, were both 17. However, this season there are several 15 year old contestants in the Top 42 and with so many contestants under 18 years old, we are seeing parents and family members everywhere throughout the audition process. The multi-talented range from obvious singers, but dancers, guitarist, pianist and a drummer! Automatically, this makes for the potential of an amazing season 11!

There are several stand out performances...check them out here!

Contestant: Reed Grimm
Status: Top 24
Song: Georgia by Ray Charles

Reed is awesome and soulful! Not only is he the first contestant to play the DRUMS while singing, but what the video does not show is Reed's struggles before he hit the stage!!! Reed wanted to sing acapella but the producers told him, at this stage of auditions, he must perform with the band! Reed struggled through a rehearsal with the vocal coach and a keyboard player. The producers were thinking his entire performance was going to be a complete wreck. As Reed took the stage, he decided, in that moment, to take a seat behind the drums, never practicing once...the best part was the producers sweating and shaking his head off stage...HOWEVER, Reed was FANTASTIC!!!!

Contestant: Phillip Phillips
Status: Top 24
Song: Superstitious by Stevie Wonder/ Thriller by Michael Jackson

True talent! I'm always interested in singers that play instruments.  Once a singer has their instrument, you see a different level of confidence.  This was no different with Phil. When he grabs that guitar he takes his talent to a whole other level while performing Thriller which was AH-MAZING and unexpected!

Contestant: David Leathers, Jr
Status: Top 42
*His place in the Top 24 is still unknown*
Song: Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

For me, confidence and swagger will get you everywhere! And David has all of the swag and talent to back it up...I mean really, 17 and stepping up to a Celine Dion song is absolutely fantastic. David has also picked up the nickname "Mister Steal Your Girl" because of all his charms =) All I know is his voice is simply angelic!!!

Contestant: Jessica Sanchez
Status: Top 24
Song: The Prayer by Celine Dion

Jessica's voice is timeless! Her voice has a rawness which is very Beyonce/Soul-Like, which is so amazing for her to be only 16 years old! I'm excited that she is in the Top 24 and I look forward to seeing a true powerhouse, hopefully she makes smart song choices.

We will be back for recaps and reviews once the contestants reach the Top 8!

I know Top 8 seems random, but there's a little method to my madness...Top 8 is usually where the good folks at American Idol like to throw us a curve ball, a judge's save or a double elimination.
Not, to worry we'll be back!!! =)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

State of Emergency: The Subtle Jabs of Madge

State of Emergency:  A featured post that sheds a light on offensive acts, all in the name of music.

Now that the dust has settled on Madonna's much hyped Superbowl performance, I feel the need to shed some light on some jabs that Madge made recently.

Jab #1:  Madge vs. Lady Gaga in the Born This Way Controversy

A year ago, Lady Gaga released the first single Born This Way off her second album of the same name.  Upon first listen, many music fans quickly heard the similarities in the song to Madonna's 1989 song Express Yourself.  And of course the media felt the need to use this as an opportunity to create a feud between the two women.  Throughout Gaga's career, she has never denied the fact that Madonna has had a huge impact on her. 

Madge kept quiet about this issue until January 2012 in a 20/20 interview.  She started out by stating she respected Gaga and her writing abilities and of course saw the likeness.  Then when asked about Born This Way, Madge said "it felt reductive" meaning minimal.  Click here to view the entire interview.

With all of the above, I'm not understanding why Madge felt the need to lay this jab on Gaga.  I mean sheesh, just sit back and be flattered that you have an admirer.  Yes, it is apparent that Gaga has imitated but isn't imitation a sign of flattery?  Despite this, Gaga has managed to created her own identity.  And Madonna should talk. . if you've seen her new video for Give Me all Your Luvin', you can't help but notice that Madge has been doing a lil copying herself as you can clearly see some of Gwen Stefani's cheerleader concepts used from the Hollaback Girl video (original concept done by Toni Basil in the Mickey video).  One could say Madge is being slightly hypocritical.  Plus, I think Madonna is too old for that type of concept anyways, she should be beyond something like that. 

Jab #2:  Madge vs. Janet Jackson in the Superbowl

During a press conference for the Superbowl, Madonna was asked to share what people could expect from her halftime show and to compare it to the Janet Jackson halftime performance.  She replied "You don't have to show your nipples to be interesting, and it doesn't necessarily mean you're cutting edge if you do."  Wow, a jab at Ms. Jackson.  If you're one of the few people who don't know what happened during Janet Jackson's performance, she experienced a "wardrobe malfunction" which resulted in exposing her breast, look here.

With this, Madonna basically guaranteed no controversy from her performance.  Well, she spoke to soon because I guess rapper M.I.A. didn't get the memo.  During the performance of Madonna's new single Give Me All Your Luvin', M.I.A., who is featured on this single with Nicki Minaj, got a bit too comfortable and gave the middle-finger directly to a camera.  View it here.

I will give Madge this, her jabs were done in a very subtle, non-confrontational way.  But, I don't think they were really necessary and she could've kept them to herself because in the end, it kinda backfired!

Sidenote:  I'm soooooooo over Madonna right now after making several freakin' attempts to get a ticket to her damn concert even after another DC show was added.  #IMOVERYOUMADGE #thatisall

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obama Jams with Musical Legends to Honor Blues During Black History Month

 Taken from the MSNBC Blog

AP reports: At a concert tonight at the White House marking Black History Month and celebrating the blues, President Obama again took the mic. He was challenged by the musicians on stage to follow up his Al Green "I'm So In Love With You" performance, "You done started something, and you gotta keep it up now." After initially laughing off the offer, the President took the microphone and sang several lines of "Sweet Home Chicago" from his spot in the front row. He tried handing the mic back more than once, but continued singing, even alternating lines with BB King.

The concert featured music legends and contemporary major artists, including King and Mick Jagger, as a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month. The concert, airing next week on PBS, is part of the "In Performance at the White House" series, something Obama has been doing since in office. To learn about his White House concert series, check our post here.  

To read the entire post, click here.

New Release Tuesday: 2/21/12

Tyga - Careless World:  The Rise of the Last King
After a Martin Luther King Jr. sample dispute, which held up the album a bit on release day, it is now available for purchase in some stores.  Check your store for availability. 

Check out the albums expected to drop this year, visit New Album Releases

Monday, February 20, 2012

J.Cole Headlines Spring 2012 Campus Consciousness Tour

J.Cole officially announced that he will headline the biannual Campus Consciousness Tour (CCT) also called The Sideline Story Tour following in the footsteps of past acts like Janelle Monae and Wiz Khalifah.  The tour is a project of REVERB, which aims to educate and mobilize students to take positive action for the planet, while keeping the environmental footprint of the tour itself to a minimum.  "My music gives me a platform to reach a lot of young people" says J.Cole.  "I'm happy to be partnering with Reverb to engage my fans and hope they'll get on board with these positive environmental messages.”

J.Cole with opening act BIG K.R.I.T. will perform at 13 campuses in 30 days.  First stop will be on April 11 at the University of Rhode Island.  For those who have never seen a J.Cole performance, click here to check out some concert footage from his tour last year.

UPDATED (2/22/12):  More dates added.

Tour Schedule

April 11 - Univ. of Rhode Island @ Ryan Center Kingston, RI 
 April 13 - Babson College @ Pepsi Co Pavilion Babson Park, MA 
 April 14 - Colby College @ Wadsworth Arena Waterville, ME
April 17 - Univ. of Illinois @ Assembly Hall Theater Champaign, IL
April 18 - Northern Illinois University @ Convocation Center DeKalb, IL
April 19 - Univ. of Kentucky @ Memorial Coliseum Lexington, KY
April 20 - Univ. of Pittsburgh @ Johnstown Sports Center Johnstown, PA
April 21 - UNC Greensboro and A&T State U @ White Oak Ampitheater Greensboro, NC
April 23 - Drury University @ O’Reilly Center Springfield, MO
April 24 - Univ. of Northern Iowa @ McLeod Center Cedar Falls, IA
April 26 - Bloomsburg College @ Nelson Fieldhouse Bloomsburg, PA
April 27 - West Virginia Univ. @ WVU Coliseum Morgantown, WV

April 28 - Philadelphia, PA Temple University @ The Liacouras Center
April 29 - TBA
May 3 - Univ. of New Hampshire @ Whittemore Center Arena Durham, NH

May 4 - South Orange, NJ Private Location 

Click here to purchase tickets.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Black History Month: Charley Pride, the First & Only Black Country Music Superstar

As always, to celebrate Black History month, throughout February check out a series of features acknowledging parts of black history as it relates to music.

Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1938 in Sledge, Mississippi.  He was one of 11 children of poor sharecroppers.  At the age of 14, Charley brought a guitar and taught himself how to play.  Surprisingly music wasn't his first love.  He actually wanted to become a professional baseball player.

In the last 1950s, Charley pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League and incorporated music in between games playing guitar on the team bus and performing with various bands onstage as the team traveled across the country.  Due to an injury, his baseball career was a short one.  However, he was persuaded to pursue music full time and in 1965, his manager Jack Johnson got him signed to RCA Records.

As Pride started getting airplay on the radio, he was labeled as "Country Charley Pride."  As you can imagine, in the 60s, whites weren't that receptive to blacks let alone blacks performing country music.  So for the first 2 years, Pride's picture was purposely omitted from his records to avoid backlash.  His start was a rocky one with unsuccessful initial singles.  That changed in 1967 when his 3rd release, Just Between You and Me reached #9 on US Country chart. By the 70s, Charley would become the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis.

In 1971, Pride released Kiss an Angel Good Mornin', his signature tune.  The song was a 5-week country #1 and a million-selling crossover single that helped him land the Country Music Association's prestigious Entertainer of the Year award, as well as Top Male Vocalist twice in a row.

Other Accomplishments
  • In 1967, became the first black performer to appear at the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Between 1969 and 1971 Pride had eight single records that simultaneously reached number one on the US Country Hit Parade and also charted on the Billboard Hot 100
  • Received an Oscar nomination in 1972 for All His Children, the main soundtrack song for the Paul Newman and Henry Fonda movie Sometimes a Great Notion.  
  • Headlined a special Christmas performance for President and Mrs.Clinton at the White House.
  • In July 1999, Charley received his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Over the past thirty years, Pride has remained one of the Top 20 best-selling country artists of all-time with 36 #1 hit singles, over 70 million albums sold, 31 gold and 4 platinum albums - including one quadruple platinum. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the producers and will play Charley in an upcoming biopic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Analyze This: "She Will" by Lil Wayne ft. Drake

Analyze This:  An in depth look at the lyrical content of a song to provide insight

 Caution, explicit content!

Young Money

  Lil Wayne:
I tell her “now goin’ pop that pussy for a real nigga"
I already know that life is deep but I still dig her
Niggas is jealous but really I couldn’t care less
I’m in hell’s kitchen with an apron and a hair net
Devil on my shoulder, the lord as my witness
So on my Libra scale, I’m weighing sins and forgiveness
What goes around, comes around like a hula hoop
Karma is a bitch? Well just make sure that bitch is beautiful
Life on the edge, I’m dangling my feet
I tried to pay attention but attention paid me
Haters can’t see me, nose bleed seats
And today I went shopping and talk is still cheap
I rock to the beat of my drumset
I’ve been at the top for a while and I ain’t jump yet
But I’m Ray Charles to the bullshit
Now jump up on that dick and do a full split

Hook - Drake:
She just started to pop it for a nigga
And look back and told me “baby, it’s real”
And I say I ain’t doubt you for a second
I squeeze it and I can tell how it feel
I wish we could take off and go anywhere but here baby you know the deal
She bad, so maybe she won’t
Uh, but shit then again maybe she will

Do it for the realest niggas in the fuckin’ game right now
She will, yeah
Do it for the realest niggas in the fuckin’ game right now
She will, she will, she will
Maybe for the money and the power and the fame right now
She will, she will, she will
Do it for the realest niggas in the fuckin’ game right now
She will, she will, she will

  Lil Wayne:
Yeah, I tell her “now go on, pop that pussy for me”
Haters can’t see me, but them bitches still looking for me
And you could take that to the bank and deposit that
Put your two cents in, and get a dollar back
Some people hang you out to dry like a towel rack
I’m all about “I” give the rest of the vowels back
I like my girl thick, not just kinda fine
Eat her 'til she cry, call that “wine and dine”
Try to check me and I’ma have ‘em checkin’ pulses
They say choose wisely, that’s why I was chosen
Rocking like asphalt, it's the cash fault
Looked in the face of death and took its mask off
Now I like my house big and my grass soft
I like my girl face South and her ass North
But I’m Ray Charles to the bullshit
Now hop up on that dick and do a full split!

Hook - Drake

J9's Analysis:  I'm not the biggest Weezy fan but I have to admit his lyrics, whether written by him or someone else, are very cleaver.  My boy Jeremy actually was the first one that made me realize how Weezy's use of lyrics is rather brilliant.  Me being the communications person that I am, I've always been fascinated at the many ways words can be manipulated.  Weezy's songs are a testimony to that.  Instead of my usual analysis, I'm going to highlight some of his most cleaver lines.  Let's take a look. . . 

I already know that life is deep but I still dig her - The word "dig" is used in the literal sense like 'digging a hole' and then the slang term of dig is used, meaning liking someone.

I’m in hell’s kitchen with an apron and a hair net - Hell's Kitchen is a section of Manhattan yet he uses it in the actual sense of being in a kitchen.

So on my Libra scale, I’m weighing sins and forgiveness - Uses his Zodiac symbol as a physical tool.

What goes around, comes around like a hula hoop - A cliche taken literally to give us a visual.

Karma is a bitch? Well just make sure that bitch is beautiful - After illustrating the real definition of Karma in the line above, he then makes it something tangible. . the name of an actual woman.

I tried to pay attention but attention paid me - You might say Weezy has gotten himself into many sticky situations because of his lack of attention.  This has eventually has drawn people's attention to him.

But I’m Ray Charles to the bullshit - Uses Ray Charles as a visual to emphasize he's blind to the bullshit.

I’m all about “I” give the rest of the vowels back - A play on "I" as the vowel and "I' the possessive.

And then of course the best line of the entire song. . . .

Eat her 'til she cry, call that “wine and dine - Okay, okay, I'm sorry but this line is hot even though sexually explicit.  He takes the normal phrase "wine and dine" and uses it as "whine and dine" to describe the sounds she will make when he performs oral sex on her. . .WOW.  Sidenote:  wine and whine are homophones, words with different meanings that sound the same, but are spelt differently.

She Will appears on Lil Wayne's lastest album, Tha Carter IV.  Click on the image to purchase on

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Release Tuesday: 2/14/12

A Valentine's Day NRT!! 

Jon B. - Comfortable Swagg

This album is a long time coming.  I'm not going to say it's his best, but it's decent composed with some sexy sexy hits . . . might get some folks in trouble, lol.  Check out Watch'n Now, Comfortable Swagg, Only One.  Also, check out the MusicLife interview we did with Jon B. here.

To purchase album through Amazon, click on the album image or click here to buy via iTunes.

Get a head start and check out the albums expected to drop this year, visit New Album Releases

2012 Grammys: The Good, The Bad, and the Impossible

Sunday, February 12, 2012 was the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.  There was some good, some bad and some absolutely impossible. Overall, the evening was decent, when we expected GREAT!

J9: To some of people's surprise, LL did a great job as MC.  I can only imagine the pressure of not only hosting the Grammys for the first time which by itself is stressful but then on top of that having to handle the Whitney situation in such as way that she gets the respect she deserves but also not diminishing the main reason people were there. LL started off the night by leading, us all in prayer, he said “We’ve had a death in our family,  For me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we love, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston.”

ChinaBabe: LL Cool J was the night's host and he did a great job on keeping the show moving. Although, he seemed a bit unnecessary at times. I think he had a tough job to do since the evening had a looming cloud with the passing of Ms.Whitney Houston (click here to read MusicLife's Tribute) but the night still seemed to move along gracefully.

The Tributes
There were three great tributes that I would like to highlight from last night's award show.

Artist: Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt
Song: Sunday Kind of Love
In Tribute To: Etta James 1938-2012

ChinaBabe: Anytime you have Alicia Keys and a piano it's always a great thing! To have Alicia, a piano and Etta James it's all magical.  I don't know Bonnie but she has an amazing voice. This performance was a very welcomed surprise!!!
Sidenote: I would like to give a shout out to Alicia's legs...they don't get nearly enough attention...
*Too much?*

Artist:  The Band Perry, Blake Shelton, Glen Campbell
Song: Rhinestone Cowboy
In Tribute To (Lifetime Achievement): Glen Campbell

J9: Not gonna lie, had really no idea who hell Glen Campbell was but his story was a touching one.  Diagnosed with Alzheimer's 6 months ago, lifetime achievement award recipient Campbell took to the stage for what will be one of his last performances.  Eventually, he won't remember this song or who he is.  That is what made the performance so amazing.  He wasn't performing as a charity case, but as an entertainer who had everyone on their feet regardless of whether or not they were a country fan.  Plus, it also was a testimony of the power of music.  Glen's wife said in an interview that music is good medicine for him as it helps his memory and slows down his decline.  

Artist: Jennifer Hudson
Song: I Will Always Love You
In Tribute To: Whitney Houston 1963-2012

ChinaBabe: While Jennifer Hudson is the absolute vision of what Ms. Whitney embodied, strength, beauty and class.  There is NO other artist that should have been standing in THAT spotlight when the lights came up. However, there was a bit of emotional restraint that I could feel through out the song. I've listened to it about 10 times and I feel like JHud, held it together by holding back. In the moment, my head understands that last minute pressure...but my heart wanted the emotion! Ms. Whitney deserved that...

Sidenote:  Did anyone notice that Vesta, Don Cornelius, and Etta James were not included in the Tribute montage?
The Performances

This year's performances left A LOT to be desired. However, there were a handful of great performances...Check them out!

Artist: Bruno Mars
Song: Runaway

ChinaBabe: This performance was great!!! Bruno's energy and his vibe completely stole the show! I don't know who makes the decisions about the opening act, but Bruno should have topped that list! His swag stays on ONE MILLION!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!

Artist: Taylor Swift
Song: Mean

ChinaBabe: Taylor Swift had an amazing performance. Whenever she sings, to me, it seems effortless. She moves and her voice doesn't move, it's just absolutely refreshing! My favorite line in the song was "Someday I'll be singing this at the Grammys and all you'll ever be is mean". Taylor is an extraordinary writer and doesn't really get the credit she deserves for that... This performance was just perfect!

Song: Rolling in the Deep
J9: As everyone should know by now, this was Adele's night not because she won record, song, and album of the year but this was her first performance after having vocal cord surgery.  To show people that she was back, she started the performance A capella so people could hear with no interference the beauty and strength in her voice.  This was her full circle moment!

Please click on the song title to view the performance

ChinaBabe: The We Found Love/Princess in China/Paradise performance started off extremely well with Rihanna's We Found Love intro.  I was really surprised that RiRi was going to try and sing this song live. Please keep in mind, that this song is not overly complicated, it's pretty simple. But then Robyn started moving, and it went downhill very, very, very quickly. *side eye* If you jump around while singing, the quality of the song will decrease if you CAN'T SING! I just thought, I would inform everyone. 
J9: As the performance segued into Princess in China it continued to decline since the girl was now obviously out of breath and struggling then Chris Martin not hitting his notes which was very disappointing... hot mess!

ChinaBabe: Chris Brown's Turn Up the Music/Beautiful People performance was...ummm...interesting, yup, let's stick with interesting. I'm sure the record was turned on once Beautiful People started but I'm going to need Chris Brown to do something else.

J9: Bruce Springsteen opening the show with We Take Care of Our Own and Paul McCartney closing it with a Abby Road Medleyol skool still runs it!!  I just sat back in aw while they made our generation of artists look pathetic and I wondered there is no chance of longevity anymore.  It was as if Bruce and Paul were saying to the youngings. . "this is how it's done." #yougotserved

The Winners

Record of the Year: Rolling in the Deep, Adele

Song of the Year: Rolling in the Deep, Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth

Pop Solo Performance: Someone Like You, Adele

Pop Vocal Album: 21, Adele

R&B Album: F.A.M.E., Chris Brown

R&B Song: Fool For You, Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim & Jack Splash

R&B Performance: Is This Love, Corrine Bailey Rae

Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: Fool For You, Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona

Rap Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West

Rap Performance: Otis, Jay-Z and Kanye West

Rap Song: All of the Lights, Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West

Rap/Sung Collaboration: All of the Lights, Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

To view the complete list of winners please click here.

#EpicFail of the Night

Artist: Nicki Minaj
Song: Roman's Holiday

ChinaBabe: I'm not sure exactly where to start...but I'll try...
This train wreck has several issues. Let's first start with the obvious... This is NOT hip hop, this is pop! This is NOT creative, it's copy-written by Lady Gaga and Madonna, except without the talent! This is NOT thought provoking!!! Wait, it did provoke a thought...who is Nicki Minaj? Is she a singer? A rapper? A political activist, taking a stand against Catholic church? 
Oh, did I go to far, too fast... I'll wait...
Let me bottom line all of this... it's confusing!!! We don't know who Nicki Minaj is and it is clear neither does Nicki...I'm going to need her to take some serious alone time and figure out who she is... ASAP!!!!
I'm just disgusted by being forced to ingest Nicki Minaj and like it, but I refuse in the name of Hip Hop!

I'll leave you with a quote 'just 'cause you don't understand a ni**a don't mean that he nice' --Jay Z

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In Memory: Ms. Whitney Houston, Queen of Pop

'The Voice'

"Without a doubt, her voice, for me, and for the world, was the gold standard. She had it all, she broke all barriers." — Tommy Mottola, former chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment

"At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure.... she will be sorely missed by us all." — Bishop T.D. Jakes, producer of Houston's final film project, a remake of the movie "Sparkle."

Yesterday, February 11, 2012, on the eve of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, the music world was rocked again as we heard of another legend gone too soon, Whitney Houston at the age of 48. She was found unresponsive in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel about 3:30 p.m. by her bodyguard (how ironic). Paramedics performed CPR on her, but she was pronounced dead about 4 p.m.  According to TMZ, Whitney was taking Xanax, a drug used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders, and fell asleep in the tub.  However, official cause of death is still unknown.

In the 90's, Houston was crowned as the Queen of Pop, rightfully earned as she was one of the world's best-selling music artists selling more than 170 million albums, singles, and videos.  Whitney is the only artist to chart 7 consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits with Saving All My Love for You, How Will I Know, Greatest Love of All, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me), Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional and Where Do Broken Hearts Go (probably the first successful pop crossover artist of our time).  Whitney was the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have 3 #1 Top Billboard 200 Album awards on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Her 1985 album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release.  The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986 and was ranked at #254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

And the records continue. . . her second studio album Whitney (1987), became the first album by a female artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.  The album makes her the only female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at #4.  According to Guinness World Records, she's the most awarded female act of all time with a total of 415 awards of which includes 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards. Without Whitney, there would be no Mariah, Brandy, Leona Lewis, Beyonce, Rihanna, or Jennifer Hudson.  She paved the way for stars like these to crossover.

She was also an actress making her debut in The Bodyguard. .  I don't know a girl out there who hasn't tried to hit that high note in I Will Always Love You, which became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period.  Before Saana Lathan's "Something New," Whitney did it first with Kevin, probably made a lot of black women see him wayyy differently than the guy in Dancing with Wolves, lol.   

Fact: Did you know that Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement? During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa.

Houston performed The Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991.  Her version was one of the greatest renditions ever so much so that it was released as a commercial single.  The video of her performance reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop hit.

J9 Remembers:  I was in the movie theater when something told me to check my phone and that is when I saw a text from my girl Bec with the news.  I thought it was a freakin joke and of course went straight to FB and Twitter to get confirmation (funny how now social media is a credible source of news now).  I was in denial and shock for a while until early this morning around 1am, it finally hit me and I broke down as I watched VH1 Soul's Whitney marathon.  I didn't realize how much her music was a part of my life.  I think with all the drama in recent years, it sorta got lost and I thank VH1 for bringing it back!  

I'm not going to say she was among my top favorite female artists but there was no doubt she was an AMAZING singer.  When she sang, it was effortless.  Her voice had so much passion and at the same time sounded weightless.  My heart goes out to her family, especially her daughter Bobbi Kristina.  I'm filled with sadness not only because we lost an incredible musical legend but because a young girl is mourning the loss of her mother, something I know all too well. 

It's sad that for the younger generation who didn't know her before the drugs, they will probably remember Whitney more for her disastrous performance overseas, her phrase "hell to the nah" from her reality show with Bobby or "crack is wack." than all the accolades listed above.  Whitney is yet another singer whose career was ruined and cut short at the hands of drugs.  There will NEVER be another Whitney, worth way more than a Million Dollar Bill!!  . . R.I.P.


 J9's Favorite Video: Heartbreak Hotel
Year: 1998

I picked this video because it embodied women's independence, girl power!  I love how Whitney got together with Faith and Kelly, 2 artists there are among the man Whitney paved the way for.  In the video, she's just so classy and someone not to be messed with. Sidenote:  Check out the interesting facts discovered when VH1 featured this video on Pop-Up Video.

ChinaBabe Remembers: My close friend texted me "I know you heard, can you believe this?!" I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined what would come from her next. This is not only a tragic loss for the music industry, this is a devastating loss for a family. I will continue to pray that the world realizes that Ms. Whitney was not only a legend to us, but a person, a human being, a mother and a daughter.  So, no matter how the circumstances surrounding her death play out...let us all try and remember her mother and her daughter!!!!

Personally, I can't really express, in words, how the loss of Ms. Whitney Houston will affect my life. I'm still somewhere between disbelief, disappointment and sadness. Ms. Whitney's voice has always had a special connection with me, when ever I hear her sing, I am affected. I never realized that until pulling together this post. I cannot listen to ONE SINGLE NOTE without tearing up. I would like to say thank you Ms. Whitney for gracing the world with your gift. Rest in serenity...

China Babe's Favorite Video:  I'm Every Woman
Year: 1993

I love this video and this song! Of course, we all know the original by Ms. Chaka Khan in 1978. However, Ms. Whitney took this song to a whole OTHER level in the 90s. Not only was it a renewed girl power anthem but she was in full joy and happiness being very pregnant with Bobbi Kristina! There is a strength and joy in her voice that is only matched by the glow on her face. Pure Beauty!

I love you Ms. Whitney and you are truly more than missed...

MillieBee Remembers: When I heard on the news about Whitney’s passing, I was almost too stunned to be able to contribute this piece.  I started remembering songs that brought me so much joy like, I Get So Emotional and I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the songs that made me reflect including,  and yes all of the songs that I had shed tears while listening to, like, Miracle, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. I also remembered her performances in the movies, Waiting To Exhale with the song Exhale (Shoop, Shoop), as well as The Preacher Wife, with her rendition of I Believe In You And Me.

From her early beginnings, the pure clarity of her voice and the vocal range was so amazing to me and I knew it was a rare gift. I was lucky enough to watch her career grow and was sadly also a witness to her struggles. One day while listening to the radio, I heard ‘the voice’ that could only be hers. I found out that it was a song written by Alicia Keys, Million Dollar Bill, and I thought… Whitney’s Back!!   When I heard the CD with, I’ll Call You Tonight and the duet with Akon, Like I Never Left, I was so happy for her but in the back of my mind I wondered if she was strong enough for the demands of her chosen career.  I had hoped that the song I Didn’t Know My Own Strength would be her anthem to get through it all and move forward.

I would like to extend heartfelt prayers to her daughter, and to her Mother, Cissy. No mother should have to bury their child.

Whitney…I Loved You… Flaws And All.

MillieBee's Favorite Song:  Miracle, One Moment in Time

 MillieBee's Favorite Video: Didn't We Almost Have It All

Year: 1987

I am not much of a video person and don't usually find what they show has anything to do with the actual meaning of the song...remember I am at the end of the day... ol skool.  When I'm watching the video, I just like to watch the artist perform.  It makes me feel like I'm at one of their concerts.  Therefore, I will touch on the song Miracle because of the message of hopes and dreams with love.  The chorus is: Nothing should matter. Not when Love grows inside you. The choice is yours. There's a miracle in store. This says everything I would like love to be...

On the night that was supposed to be music's Oscars, a night to celebrate the joy of music and to also honor Diana Ross with the lifetime achievement award, we will be celebrating the life of a falling star.  So of course, a tribute will be done and I called it. . . it has been reported that Jennifer Hudson will do a tribute during the show to the person that undoubtly is responsible for where JHud is today and the who presented her with her first Grammy in 2008.

We leave you with her performance of Didn't Know My Own Strength at the 2009 AMAs, a song that was an emotional personal testimony of her overcoming her struggles and demons.

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A.B.C. by Eric J: "Cockiness" - Rihanna

A.B.C.:  Also known as "Another Bad Creation" from my cousin, Eric J (choreographer/dancer/instructor)

I'm loving the wall part!!  Get it girls!! I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT!!

Eric J Class Schedule

Mon. - Beg. 9-10:30pm
Tues. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Thurs. - Adv. Beg. 9-10:30pm
Sat - Int. 7:30 - 9:30pm

Gonna be in the NYC area? Take his class!  For more info, visit: Broadway Dance Center

Wanna see more Eric J videos???  Visit his YouTube page and leave feedback!!

Follow Eric J on Twitter. . . @Ericj616

Friday, February 10, 2012

The YouTube Connection: Millie Jackson Influences Jill Scott

The YouTube Connection:  A featured post that links the music lover to amazing musical finds on YouTube.

Ladies and gentleman, I have come to realize that MANY people are oblivious to the power that YouTube holds in growing your musical passion. It can be the music lover's BFF (I know it has become mine). YouTube houses many interviews (both pirated & indie), unreleased music, unofficial remixes, fan concert videos, and a HECK-ova lot more.

So, I have decided to make it my civic duty to help my fellow music lovers tap into the greatness. I will take your musical minds to the next level. Please, follow me on this journey.

For my first installment, I would like to share this fantastic interview with Jill Scott (<-------click). It was from 2011, just before her latest album dropped, The Light Of The Sun. This interview is in 4 clips. (Make sure to watch all 4) I really enjoyed how she dove into the thought process of the songs. Some of the questions the audience asked were out of the norm, which helped the viewer see the other side, the real side, of Jill....and not just the stuff we already know or have heard.

Now, one of my favorite parts of the interview is when Jill was asked about her musical influences. Ms. Millie Jackson was one the artist on her short list. Jill.....who is one of my BFF's (in my head) btw.... said her mom took her to a Millie Jackson concert when she was about 7 years old. The audience seemed uber shocked. I did not know anything about Millie's music or style, so I didn't get what all the hub-bub was about. Well ....what do you think I did? YOU GOT IT!!! YOUTUBED IT! And what I found was jaw-dropping. Among the many, many, many tracks I listened to, my favorites were 2 live performances, Slow Tongue <----click, and Something You Can Feel <-----click. After my eyes got back in their sockets, I definitely saw the connection to Jill's lyrical technique. Ms. Scott's sensual approach and unabashed freakiness is very reminiscent of Ms. Jackson.  They both share that "tell it like it is" style and do not back down for anyone. LOVE IT!

And get this....after you listen to Ms. Millie, you will also realize that SHE is the ORIGINAL Nasty Girl. She was speaking her raunchy mind even before Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina and Adina Howard. Millie was telling us what she wanted and how she wanted "it" before many of us even knew what "it" was.

So, I am now a fan of Millie because of Jill. And if it was not for the YouTube Connection, I might still be in the dark. Thank you, Jill Scott & YouTube! O, and you can also learn more about Millie Jackson by catching her Unsung on TVone. It first aired on Monday, February 6, 2012. Check it out

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Black History Month: Black Swan Records, First Black-Owned & Operated Record Label

As always, to celebrate Black History month, throughout February check out a series of features acknowledging parts of black history as it relates to music.

Before Black Swan Records, black music hardly got any play, despite its influence and popularity. The styles of music rooted from the African American culture were replicated by white artists and it was rare to come by popular black music by black artists. This frustrated Harry Herbert Pace, founder of Black Swan Records; he was ready to put an end to it.


Black Swan Records, the first black-owned and operated recording company, introduced blacks into mainstream music in the 1920s and also became the first to market to black audiences. Although the recording company only lasted three years, it paved a way for upcoming black musicians and businessmen interested in the industry.

In 1921, Pace borrowed $30,000 in capital under Delaware law and created Pace Phonograph Corporation, Inc. The Board of Directors for this corporation included Du W.E.B DuBois and Viola Bibb. Pace then started his own recording company in his New York City (Uptown) basement and named it “Black Swan” in honor of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1817-1876), a freed slave and international performer who was nicknamed “The Black Swan” by her followers. The music label focused on blues, jazz and classical music. Ethel Waters was one of the company’s earliest and most popular recording artists.

In the fall of 1921, the company began a tour that kicked off in Philadelphia. For eight months, its artists traveled across the nation, performing in 21 states and 53 cities. This created a lot of buzz for the label. By July 1922, it moved from Pace’s basement to its own building in Harlem and earned an income of about $104,628. Its profits tripled!


As the record label became more popular, Pace ventured out to white business. Some blacks became upset with him for promoting his “all-Black” company all the while producing music featuring white ensembles.

As the demand for black mainstream music grew, Black Swan Records’ dominance in the black music industry declined. Whites snuck through the passage Pace dug out and his success became his failure. Other music labels began working with blacks. Although there had still been some inequalities in recording/performing, the black race was no longer restricted in recording mainstream music and whites were more open to selling it.

In December 1923, Black Swan Records went bankrupt. Paramount leased the label’s catalog in 1924.


Dubbed “the recording company of the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance,” Black Swan Records released over 180 records in its time—the most released by a black-owned record label up until the 1950s. It was a part of the “New Negro Movement” where black artistry began crossing over into mainstream culture.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Madonna Follows Super Bowl Halftime Performance With 2012 World Tour

Following her amazing Bridgestone Superbowl XLVI Halftime performance and release of her new single Give Me All Your Luvin', Madonna announces her 2012 World Tour!!!  It will promote her 12th album MDNA (dropping March 26) and marks her new partnership with Live Nation Entertainment. 

This tour, her 9th, is said to be one of the highest-grossing treks in history, potentially giving her two tours in the top five all time. Her last tour, 2008-2009's Sticky & Sweet, grossed $408 million according to Billboard Boxscore, the highest ever for a solo artist and third-highest of all time. Prior to that, Madonna's 2006 Confessions Tour grossed $194 million, according to Boxscore, then the highest ever for a female artist.

The tour starts May 29 in Tel Aviv, Israel.  She will stop in 26 European cities.  The first of 26 North American shows starts in Philly on August 28. North American tickets are scheduled to go on sale beginning February 13.  US residents ordering tickets online to a US performance will receive their choice of a digital or physical copy of Madonna's new MDNA album with every ticket purchased.

For pre-sale and international tour, visit her website.

UPDATE:  Due to shows selling out, more shows have been added.

North America Tour Schedule

Aug 28 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center - On Sale Feb. 13
Aug 30 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre - On Sale Feb. 18
Sep 1 - Quebec City, QC - Plains of Abraham Site - On Sale Feb. 17
Sep 4- Boston, MA - TD Garden - On Sale Feb. 13
Sep 6 - New York, NY - Yankee Stadium - On Sale Feb. 13
 Sep 8 - New York, NY - Yankee Stadium - On Sale Feb. 21
Sep 10 - Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place - On Sale Feb. 13
Sep 12- Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre - On Sale Feb. 13
Sep 15 - Atlantic City, NJ - Boardwalk Hall - On Sale Feb. 27
Sep 19 - Chicago, IL - United Center - On Sale Feb. 13
Sep 23 - Washington, D.C. - Verizon Center - On Sale Feb. 13
 Sep 24 - Washington, D.C. - Verizon Center - On Sale Feb. 21
Sep 29 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena - On Sale Feb. 13
Oct 2 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena - On Sale Feb. 13
Oct 3 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena - On Sale Feb. 21
Oct 6 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion - On Sale Feb. 13
Oct 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center - On Sale Feb. 13
Oct 13 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand - On Sale Feb. 27
Oct 16 - Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Center - On Sale Feb. 27
Oct 20 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center - On Sale Feb. 27
Oct 24 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center - On Sale Feb. 27
Oct 27- New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Arena - On Sale Mar. 5
Oct 30 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center - On Sale Mar. 5
Nov 1- St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center - On Sale Mar. 5
Nov 3 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center - On Sale Feb. 27
Nov 10 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena - On Sale Mar. 5
Nov 15 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena - On Sale Mar. 5
Nov 17 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena - On Sale Mar. 5
TBC - Miami, FL - To Be Confirmed - On Sale Soon

Tickets available via and

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ol Skool Spotlight: A Tribute to Don Cornelius

Ol Skool Spotlight:  A feature post that sheds light on artists from the ol skool that have influenced the direction of the music we love today.

I was in my car, listening to the news when I heard about the passing of Don on February 1, 2012 of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound, and all I could do was shake my head and say, “Nooooo…..”. Then all the wonderful memories of Saturday afternoons, watching Soul Train came flooding back.

Donald Cortes “Don”Cornelius was born in Chicago's South Side on September 27, 1936. Earlier in his career, he served in the Marines and then worked at various jobs, before taking a three-month broadcasting course in 1966. This led to a job as an announcer, news reporter and disc jockey on a Chicago radio station WVON, when African-Americans were primarily denied media careers.

Originally a journalist inspired by the civil rights movement, Cornelius recognized that in the late 1960s there was no television venue in the US for soul music. At WCIU-TV, while working as the host of a news program, Don pitched his show idea for an African-American focused dance show as a pilot to his managers and they agreed to let him produce the show with his own money in exchange for studio space. His vision was to expose a larger audience to African-American musicians with their appearances on the show. The result was the creation of the dance/music franchise, Soul Train.

The show first aired in 1970 as a local five day per week, afternoon show, before becoming a once weekly Saturday afternoon show in 1971. The show then moved to Los Angeles and went into national syndication. Notable artists including James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson appeared on the show, increasing their visibility on the music scene. setting the stage for sequent television dance programs.

Soul Train was widely influential to young African-Americans who watched not only to hear the latest music by well-known artists, but also to see the latest fashions and dance moves. The show also served as a platform for talented dancers. The Soul Train Dance Line was a popular feature on each show. The dancers would form two lines leaving a space in the middle for people to dance down the middle, showing off their dance moves. Cornelius said "We had a show that kids gravitated to," and Spike Lee described the program as an "urban music time capsule."

Don was well known for catchphrases that he used throughout the show, the most memorable one was what he said at the end of each show-- I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" He served as host from the show’s beginning until 1993 when he decided that the show, needed fresh, new hosts to remain current. He began using various hosts weekly until 1997 and then subsequent regular hosts included Mystro Clark (1997–1999), Shemar Moore (1999–2003), and Dorian Gregory (2003–2006). .

In addition to the vision as an important contribution to the music and dance scene, Don often spoke about pro-social issues designed to uplift his audience, gave a platform for TV commercials geared toward and featuring African-Americans and insisted on as much African-American presence behind the cameras as in front of the camera.

Soul Train has the distinction of being the longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in TV’s history. Centric cable channel (formerly BET J), now airs Soul Train in reruns. Spin-offs from the show include, The Soul Train Music Awards, honoring the top performances in R&B, hip-hop and gospel; The Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, celebrating top achievements by female performers; and the Soul Train Christmas Starfest, featuring holiday music performed by a variety of R&B and gospel artists.

His influence has been recognized by Hollywood and the broadcasting community with:

  • A star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame
  • Induction into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall Of Fame
  • A special Grammy Award from the NARAS Board Of Regents for career contributions and achievements
  • A 2005 Pop Culture Award
  • A 2005 TV Land Network Awards Cablecast.
  • The Soul Train set and memorabilia being placed in the Smithsonian’s Museum of African-American History and Culture last year.

Many artists have paid tribute to Don over the past few days, showing how he continues to influence the music scene. I think that Questlove from The Roots said it best, “Don was my first non-musical, non-celeb, non-blood related hero. He showed US, how important we are.”

On Saturday, February 4, a Soul Train dance line flash mob assembled on Times Square in NYC as a tribute to what was a classic feature on the show. This tribute speaks for itself.

What was your favorite Soul Train moment?


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