*This Sunday, May 24, 2020, at 7pm ET/4 pm PT some of the entertainment, music, and fashion’s biggest stars will come together to memorialize one of the cultural architects for black media and the founder of Uptown Records, the late Andre Harrell, also known endearingly by close family and friends as “Mr. Champagne and Bubbles.” Fans will be able to watch commercial-free on BET, BET Jams, BET Soul and REVOLT TV while streaming on all iONE digital brands, and on Fox Soul (www.foxsoultv) or via the Fox Soul App.
Executive Produced by Wendy Credle, Rikki Hughes and Harrell’s son, Gianni Credle-Harrell, the broadcast will feature special guest tributes by Chris Rock, Mariah Carey, Jamie Foxx, Babyface, Naomi Campbell, Lee Daniels, Robin Thicke, Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons, Clarence Avant, and more.
“There is a divine message when a soul as bright as Andre’s, Mr. Champagne & Bubbles, the official life of the party, chooses to transition during a time when so many people whose lives he touched so deeply, cannot get together to console each other, to share joy-filled stories, and to do the “hampty hamps” two-step in the name of his love,” says Credle. “This Tribute is our gift to Andre. When his day came, Andre said, “Listen, if they ain’t playing Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go” at my funeral, guess what, I ain’t going.” He said, “I don’t want a funeral. I want a party.” Well, Andre, in the words of Frankie, “You made us happy, This you can bet, You stood right beside us, And we won’t forget.”
In partnership with BET and Jesse Collins Entertainment, Harrell announced late last year that the production of a 3-part miniseries on the rise of Uptown Records, which is slated for release in 2021.
“As a prolific leader, Andre Harrell was passionate about the betterment of the people around him, empowering and molding some of the biggest names today. His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and the culture. I am forever grateful, humbled, and honored to have experienced his presence throughout my career. Working closely together over the past two years with him to tell his story through the upcoming Uptown Records Biopic is something I will truly cherish. He was a wonderful adviser, friend, and someone I consider family,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.
As the Founder of Uptown Records, Andre launched the careers of Mary J. Blige, Heavy D and the Boyz, Jodeci, Al B. Sure, Anthony Hamilton, The Lost Boyz, Teddy Riley and Guy, while also mentoring the hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. By the end of 1994, Billboard Magazine ranked Uptown second amongst all the major labels for the number of charted R&B singles and fifth for R&B charted albums.
Known for his creative genius and keeping his hand on the pulse of the joyful side of black culture, while leading Uptown, Harrell expanded into television and film where he created, and executive produced the first multicultural major network television drama ever, “New York Undercover,” starring Malik Yoba, Michael DeLorenzo and Lauren Velez. He also created and executive produced two of the first films to star women of color, Strictly Business and Honey, where he cast both Halle Berry and Jessica Alba respectively, in their first leading roles in a major motion picture.
In 1995, Andre became the president and CEO of Motown Records, during which he oversaw the careers of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Queen Latifah.During this time, he also discovered and launched superstars 98 Degrees and Mario Winans. After leaving Motown, Andre became president of Bad Boy Records overseeing the careers of Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, and more.
Leading with innovative philanthropy, in 1995 as the AIDS crisis was sweeping across the country, inspired by the death of rapper Eazy-E, Andre created and produced the benefit concert, Urban Aid 4 Lifebeat at Madison Square Garden televised on BET and MTV. He continued this work alongside Bono and Bobby Shriver by introducing the (RED) campaign for HIV/AIDs awareness to the urban market.
Andre founded Nu America Records and launched the career of one of today’s leading vocalists and chart-toppers, Robin Thicke. He executive produced the most significant single in the history of radio with Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” – the most played radio song in 2013.
Freda Payne Pairs with Johnny Mathis for Gershwin Duet ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ / VIDEO
*Los Angeles — When Freda met Johnny – Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis, that is – chemistry and musicality abounded as they breathed delicious life into George & Ira Gershwin’s classic, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” As a tantalizing sneak peek evidence of Freda Payne’s first project since 2014’s acclaimed Come Back to Me Love, the sound of these legends’ voices together on one mic for the first time anywhere/anytime is a treat for the ears and hearts of all, arriving just in time to warm them for the holidays…a season of love, sharing and wistfulness as special for the singers as it is their ardent fans.
“I was so happy that he agreed to do it,” Freda delights beaming! “Many singers request for Johnny to sing duets but he doesn’t grant that wish for everybody. I thought I was more honored to work with him but he was honored, too – tickled and honored. It reminded me of when David Gest and I saw his show at The Mirage in Las Vegas then went backstage with Steve Wynn and his wife to say hello. When Johnny came out to greet us, I was so in awe…but he was giving me waves and bows of playful ‘I’m not worthy!” It touched me so to see that he was not afraid to give kudos to others. So, when I saw him walking down the halls of Capitol Records in Hollywood into ‘Studio A,’ I was like, ‘He has arrived – thank you Jesus!’ It was lovely recording our vocals perched on stools side by side.”
Producer Rodrigo Rios had the idea for Freda to cover “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and to sing it as a duet with Mr. Mathis. He handled the business overtures himself and, once Mathis graciously accepted, Rios turned to Grammy-winner Gordon Goodwin to pen the arrangement and bring in his Big Phat Band to accompany them. Everything came together like hands in silk gloves – with charm and grace as the pair glided smoothly through the time-kissed melody.
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is a 1937 popular song with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin that went on to become a Jazz standard and a chestnut of The Great American Songbook. It was introduced by Fred Astaire in the film “Shall We Dance” singing on the foggy deck of a New Jersey to Manhattan ferry to Ginger Rogers who remains silent listening throughout. No dance sequence follows which was unusual for the Astaire-Rogers numbers (though they did dance to it later in their final/reunion musical, “The Barkleys of Broadway” for MGM in 1949). Subsequent recordings of note range from the groundbreaking Charlie Parker with Strings LP in 1950 to Frank Sinatra in 1954, and Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong in 1956.
Now Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis add their magical and heartwarming spin on the gem for a new generation to swoon over and enjoy!
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” was produced by Rodrigo Rios, co-produced by Freda Payne and executive produced by James M. Goetz. It will be released in November via The Sound of L.A. Records with distribution, marketing and promotion handled by company proprietors Michael & Anissa Sutton.
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Produced by Rodrigo Rios
source: Pump It Up Magazine
It’s All About H.E.R. Music / WATCH
*H.E.R. is a soulful R&B singer, who plays electric guitar with the style of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Yet, she has her own style of singing and her own manner of playing the guitar.
While it is more common to see female singing recording artists playing piano during their performances, it’s a bit more of a rarity to see the combination of a female singer-electric guitarist, especially one that has designed a Fender Stratocaster for the iconic guitar maker. In essence, she is the first Black woman to have her own signature Strat, which she showcased when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live” this past October (2020).
As the show’s musical guest, H.E.R. performed her new single “Damage” and debuted “Hold On.”
During the two-time Grammy-winner’s extraordinary vocal showcase on “SNL”, it was difficult to miss her guitar brilliance and even harder to miss the uniquely designed guitar she was playing.
“The H.E.R. Stratocaster makes a statement as bold as the artist who inspired it,” said a Fender company executive.
“I’ve looked up to a lot of guitar players, but there haven’t been many Black female artists who have been in this position and have been able to represent Black women,” H.E.R. said. “The goal is to inspire with this guitar.”
H.E.R. adds that the idea of what’s she is doing as a guitarist goes beyond inspiration, as she wants to leave a legacy.
“The legacy I want to leave is just to inspire and pass the torch on to the next girls who want to kill it on the guitar,” said H.E.R.
Lakers Re-sign LeBron James and Anthony Davis / VIDEO
*Los Angeles Lakers fans are too thrilled these days because the chances of winning another championship in 2021 just got better. If you haven’t heard, the team announced on Thursday that they have officially re-signed both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
First up was James’ deal. He inked a two-year, $85 million contract through the 2022-23 season on Wednesday. The extension will take him into his age 39/40 season, but because he’s LeBron James his age doesn’t matter. He’s still performing at an extremely high level.
“LeBron James is a transcendent basketball player and human being,” said vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka in a press release. “LeBron put his trust in the Lakers in 2018, and now this contract extension paves the way for LeBron to further solidify his legacy as an all-time Lakers great. We could not be more honored by this commitment.”
Now, let’s talk about AD, Anthony Davis. He was a free agent this off-season, but he signed his new deal with the Lakers only hours after James on Thursday morning, opting for a five-year contract worth up to $190 million. Many thought the 27-year-old would sign for two years with a player option for the third season, as that would have given him the most flexibility possible and allowed him to re-enter the market for his next deal having just met the criteria (10 years of service) to earn up to 35 per cent of the cap, reports Sportsnet.
“In the Orlando bubble, Anthony Davis proved he is one of the game’s most complete and dominant two-way players,” Pelinka said of the big man. “Now, Lakers fans get to watch AD continue to grow and lead our franchise for years to come. This is truly a blessed moment for Lakers Nation.”
With these deals done, it appears that both players expect to play a good deal (or most) of their respective careers with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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