Category Archives: Music

Abraham McDonald: ‘Celebration of Life’ for Beloved R&B Crooner Set for This Weekend

Photo via Facebook

*Though many came to know R&B crooner Abraham McDonald from his powerful performances on Oprah?s Karaoke Challenge, or articles written about him in publications such as Essence, the lovable teddy bear had won the hearts of many others during his climb to notoriety. But on March 10, 2018, those hearts were broken as what many considered one of the most powerful voices in soul music since Luther Vandross and Donny Hathaway, was silenced.

The announcement of McDonald’s passing was delivered on his Facebook page by his sister, Breeze McDonald.

It is with the greatest heartbreak that I his sister @TheeCoachBreeze announce the passing of my brother @AbrahamMcDonald. He was loved by so many. Please allow time for our family to grieve. We will send out memorial information when we have all the details. Rest my love Heaven.

It didn’t take long for posts from family and friends all over to come pouring in, offering heartfelt condolences. Continue reading

Los Angeles Unified Concert Will Benefit Arts Education Programs

*Los Angeles, CA – On April 12, 2018, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LA Unified) will host a Benefit Concert at The Music Center?s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown Los Angeles. The Benefit Concert, presented in association with The Music Center, will feature A-List Performers who are committed to giving back to the next generation of artists. LA Unified student artists from selected schools will perform alongside celebrity guests.

In addition, notable LA Unified alumni will join the festivities as hosts to advocate for arts education. The full roster of performers and hosts for the Benefit Concert will be announced when tickets go on sale mid-February.

Los Angeles is one of the most vibrant, artistic and creative centers in the world. LA Unified?s Arts Education Branch (AEB) is committed to ensure that every school in the district provides arts classes, arts instruction, and arts experiences for every student in the district. 

“The LA Unified Arts Education Branch is seeking to utilize all of the arts ecosystem through its far- reaching programming,? said Senior Executive Director of the Arts, Rory Pullens. Continue reading

Your Thoughts: When Does ‘Inspired By’ Become ‘Stealing From?’

Michael with his “Embarrassment of riches!” and the man who helped him achieve it, Quincy Jones.

*Art can be a tricky thing. To create it, you are generally inspired by something: be it an event, an incident, a thought or something you heard. As a writer, I am inspired by conversations, incidents that happen to myself, a family member or friends. Musicians, I would think, can be inspired by the same.

Recently, the legendary Quincy Jones did an interview with Vulture and called the late Michael Jackson the “Machiavellian of music.” He said Jackson “was a thief” when it came to his inspiration behind a few of his biggest hits. Now before we go any further, this is not to say Quincy lied. I actually believe that HE believes Jackson stole the music. This article is to differentiate “theft” from “inspiration.”

BTW, I was “inspired” by Quincy Jones’ recent interview to write this article.

Now I’m no legal professional. But I do know there are Intellectual Property legalities — and where music is concerned, it has something to do with the usage of a number of bars in a song and/or too much similarity, etc. You know, the same blurred lines (pun intended) that got singer Robin Thicke in trouble. 

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2018 Grammys ‘Gift Bag’ Helps Soothe Pain for Those Who Remain ‘Nominees’

*The 2018 Grammys may be over and after a rush of months looking forward to it, many of music’s finest left with the same title they came with, “nominee.” But I have a feeling their spirits were lifted, once they set eyes on the Grammys “Gift Lounge.”

Go on in and let ’em make a boo-boo better. Just look at what you get to take home!

Because you are who  you are, you got to walk into that Gifting Suite at Madison Square Garden, and peruse a wide variety of products retailers were BEGGING you to take. For free. And maybe pose with them in a pic of you holding the box.

Hey, much of this stuff hasn’t even been released in the states yet!

Let’s see, your finger is twitching like crazy because it senses that awesome smart ring over there. And wait! No way is that belt with  an LED Light that promises to burn fat!

Omg. Grammy who? Uh-huh. Something tells me you’re feeling better already, and you’ve barely gotten in the door!
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33rd Annual ‘Kingdom Day Parade’ Looks Awesome…Here’s What You Can Expect to See!

Photo credit: ABC-7, 31st Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles

*April 4, 2018 will mark 50 years since the assassination of a man widely known, respected and remembered for his ongoing work on the civil rights platform. Come to think of it, its rather appropriate to call him the Godfather of Civil Rights. I won’t go into details, those too young to know and those who want a refresher on his work can go here.

But the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. does live on, and with the apparent ongoing attempts to alter or change the reality that is U. S. history, we must ensure that he is never, ever forgotten.

With that said, the 33rd Annual Kingdom Day Parade will serve up an offering that sounds too good to be missed.  Those planning to be in the Los Angeles area on  Monday, January 15 can expect to witness the following features at the parade. 

But who says you have to be in L.A.? If you can’t, don’t fret. You can watch it on TV!!

ABC-7 will again broadcast the entire 2-hour parade — LIVE — from 11am to 1pm and here’s what you can expect to see. Continue reading

SPOTLIGHT ON: Bigi Jackson, Michael Jackson’s Boy Has Gone and Grown Himself Up! (New Video Shows Lots of Personality!)

*We may have more chances to see Michael Jackson’s beautiful daughter, Paris, since she posts so regularly on social media, and has a recurring role on STAR, one of the hottest TV shows currently on Fox. And from time to time her brother Prince, though not as visible, may pop up in an interview or via family photos or videos on special occasions, but we remain fascinated about Michael’s youngest son, formerly known as ‘Blanket’ but has since changed the moniker to reflect a more grown up image, ‘Biji’.

Just look atcha!

The 15-year-old, immediately recognizable by his long, dark hair (eyebrows to die for!) and focused gaze through beautiful brown eyes. He has always appeared to be extremely shy, and is rarely seen. But now, in a new video published by his big sis, we hear and see the teen having fun with his homies; caught snoring with his mouth open (friends, can you ever really trust them!?); and playing with a baby at a birthday party.

We also see the teen as he appears to be running errands with his uncle, TJ, who recently gained full guardianship; voluntarily given by his aged grandmother, Katherine.

At one point in the video (scroll down), Bigi is heard asking a female friend, “What exactly is Ecstasy (the hallucinogenic drug)?” before the video cuts to the teen watching a concert performance with the overlay “not having it” written on screen. Continue reading

Michael, Prince and the Pain Behind Being ‘Effin Great’ (Videos)

*(UPDATED) In their 1969 hit,  Everybody Is a Star, Sly & The Family Stone hits on a good point in the lyric Everybody wants to shine. Who will come out to a cloudy day?” A beautiful, beautiful song with deep lyrics that showcase the distinct voices of Rose Stone*, and fellow group members Freddie Stone, Larry Graham and finally, Sly Stone, in succession. But the beautiful lyrics are sad today. They cause me to think of two exceptional artists in particular. Two men who really, truly, have no equals…at least to date.

Two men: Michael Jackson and Prince, exemplified the high cost of being Effin’ Great!

I came across two videos you may or may not have seen. One with Sheila E. talking about her time working with Prince and how he was “always in pain” — a heartbreaking admission especially since we now know his cause of death.  In another video, a cantankerous Dick Gregory blasts a journalist who blurts out an assumption that Michael Jackson was never satisfied with the money.

At times the interviews are hard to watch. Then again, the truth is sometimes hard to hear.

“No one wants to talk about that. You guys don’t need to know. You don’t need to know that we hurt everyday.” –Sheila E.

Sheila E. and Prince, both prolific artists, they worked together for years…and have the scars to prove it!

Sheila’s emotional interview shares how she also endures a lot of pain due to her years to work as a percussionist.  She says she was physically unable to walk for a time and had to take time away from doing what she loved to get her head together.

Surely you remember all those awesome dance moves Michael showed us; and Prince jumping up on pianos and shit, is it any surprise at all they popped pills?

They made it look so easy, but look at the price they paid.

The cost…No wonder there is so few members in the effin’ great club.

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It’s Back! ‘Motown the Musical’ Makes it’s Way to SCFTA

Kenneth Mosley (L) as Berry Gordy, Trenyce as Diana Ross in this touring production of Motown the Musical

COSTA MESA, CA MOTOWN THE MUSICAL returns to the Segerstrom Hall stage for one week only December 19 ? 24, 2017. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy?s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.

Featuring more than 50 classic hits such as ?My Girl? and ?Ain?t No Mountain High Enough,? MOTOWN THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat.

 Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Work Light Productions are proud to announce the complete cast for the National Tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL. Continue reading