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Raphael Saadiq Returns with New Album in Honor of Brother Who Died to Addiction




Singer Raphael Saadiq performs onstage during PREMIX Hosted By Connie Orlando at The Sunset Room on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
(Source: Getty Images North America)

*Raphael Saadiq is back with his first album in eight years, the self-produced “Jimmy Lee,” (Columbia), which addresses the loss of his brother to addiction.

The R&B singer and producer broke out as a member of trio Tony! Toni! Toné!, alongside his brother D’wayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christian Riley. They sold millions of records in the 90’s before calling it quits in 1998. Saadiq hasn’t released a solo album since 2011’s “Stone Rollin’.”

The Grammy-winning artist has spent the last eight years working on projects for other hitmakers, including co-writing Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” and composing music for HBO’s hit series “Insecure.” He earned his first Academy Award nomination in 2018 for “Mighty River” from “Mudbound.”

On Aug. 23, Saadiq makes his solo return with “Jimmy Lee,” partly inspired by the death of his brother from a drug overdose on February 20, 1998.

Saadiq was also the mastermind behind the R&B Lucy Pearl — a mash-up of A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Dawn Robinson of En Vogue. But did you know he had two other artists in mind to form this supergroup? He reveals this fun fact in a candid new interview with NME  — peep excerpts from the Q&A below.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Naomi Campbell Addresses Claims She Was Procurer for Jeffrey Epstein [VIDEO]

It’s been eight years since the release of ‘Stone Rollin’’. Is there a reason it took you so long to put out a new album?

“I was actually changing management teams so I pretty much managed myself for a long time until I eventually hooked up with new management. I was really good for a while but then that sort of didn’t work and things went wrong and then I hired another management team for a year and then I realised that wasn’t gonna work either. I was still making music the whole time but I just didn’t want it to come out without having a team together, although in-between albums I was thinking about not having a team. I just didn’t feel that comfortable finishing a record and giving it to the people working for me. I’ve been on this horse ride a couple of times before so I knew that I didn’t really want these kind of people attached to my next record.”

‘Jimmy Lee’ is about your brother who died from a drug overdose. Did you have to do any further research to help you create it?

“Not really, I was really close to him. The only thing that was new to me was learning how fast he got connected to drugs when he and my parents moved to California from Louisiana.”

Do you think you now understand the inner workings of an addict better?

“Yeah, definitely. It’s not an easy thing to understand. Like, how do you get into it? I’m always thinking, do they think they’re just gonna get high? They definitely don’t think they’re gonna be a hindrance on anyone else’s life.”

Have you ever taken drugs?

I’ve done pills before, ecstasy, shrooms, stuff like that, but it wasn’t for me. The reason why I tried them, especially the pills, was because I thought it was okay to do. In America, everybody thinks a pill is okay. It’s not coke or heroin, but at the end of the day a drug is a drug. So after reading up about it, I was like, ‘Oh nah, this is not okay.’”

You recently said that one of the reasons R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl didn’t make a second album was because Dawn was being a diva. Joi stepped in to replace her for some live shows, but you chose not to do a new album with her. Why was that?

“I always felt like you just needed the original group, you know? I’m really about the original group. And Joi is a good friend of mine but she was just helping us out. It would have been a different group with her and I wouldn’t have wanted to do the same music that I was doing with Dawn and Ali. So making that shift would have been too much. The fan base liked Dawn and she was really good. But people, and I guess I talk about this on my new record, have these addictions. You never know what Dawn was going through so I hate to write her off as a diva but that’s just the word people use. It’s all about their gowns, their hair and this and that, and that’s what happened that year. People suffer from different things, mental illness, so we couldn’t talk her out of whatever was going on in her head.”

Are you saying she was addicted to being famous?

“No, I felt like she didn’t know how to handle the fame. I don’t think she had a big head or anything, I just think it sometimes gets too much and then people end up sort of self-sabotaging themselves. She even said things about me that weren’t true.”

Really, like what?

“She said I’m the reason why she lost her house. She was only with us for six months so I don’t know how I did that. She definitely had to be dealing with something else.”

Is it true that the group’s original lineup was supposed to feature D’Angelo?

“Yeah, but it wasn’t Lucy Pearl. The other group was meant to be me, D’Angelo and Q-Tip.” 

Why did that not happen?

“Getting us all together would have been difficult. Those are two big power figures who have taken a long time to put their own projects out so after seeing that I knew it couldn’t work. They’re my friends and I didn’t really wanna put that type of pressure on either one of them.”

You recently announced Tony! Toni! Toné! are reforming. It wasn’t that long ago that your brother D’wayne said it was never going to happen. What changed?

“I’ve been working on new Tonys music for about 15 years. I just felt like we should do something, a few songs, maybe seven or eight of them and then do a few shows. So I’m not gonna be back-back because I have way too many things going on, but as far as doing a tour and an EP or something, I’m down for that. I’d actually like to perform the very last record we did together, ‘House of Music’. We never toured that record so if everyone is up for it I’d like to do that and put out three new records.”

So he was spending more money than the rest of you?

“Yeah, on partying, hanging out and all that. The money wasn’t all that bad though. I always felt that we could get the money back anytime but I just said, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna leave. Later on we’ll get back together as brothers, not as musicians.’ And that’s what happened, we got back together as brothers.”

Before Tony! Toni! Toné!, you toured with Prince. You’ve said you felt like he was beginning to hate music towards the end of his life. Could you elaborate on this?

“You could just tell by listening to him talk. He practised so much and studied so hard, and he would sit down at the piano and write these beautiful compositions, so he had to be frustrated.”

Read the full interview here

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The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)




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*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.

The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.

“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”

MORE NEWS/RELATED: BMEE Authors: Urgent Steps Are Necessary to Address Implicit Bias in Early Education  

staceylee uncf

Stacey Lee, director of the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”

The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.

“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”

emt offering

Source: Empower Me Tour

Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”

In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.

“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”

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Legendary rapper Bun B is a panelist at the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.

“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”

Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”

Register for the virtual Empower Me Tour on November 20 & 21, 2020 here. Spring tour dates will be announced soon. For general information on the United Negro College Fund, go here.

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(Photo credit: UNCF)

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New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’



Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby
Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby

After all that’s happened this year, it’s time to say Goodbye 2020. New single available by Jazzy Rita Shelby at most digital platforms.

*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.

“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).

It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.

Jazzy Rita Shelby Goodbye 2020 looking up - Copy

Jazzy Rita Shelby is fed up with this year and elated about her new single “Goodbye 2020.” Avail now from SB Music (Written by L. Shelby & E. Miller)

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.

Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars.  As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.

This year has been a year like no other.  “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead.  Radio Programmers click here for adds.

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“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA.  Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita.  The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture.  “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms.  Click here to listen on Spotify.


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Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH




Spell - poster

*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!

Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All FearsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family.  He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

WHOA! READ THIS: Disabled Siblings Found Living with Dead Body of Mother Decomposing Under Pile of Clothes

DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai


STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.

Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language







Paige Theall


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