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EUR Review: The Brandy Verzuz Monica Battle Was One for the Ages / Video

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*If you were not one of the 1.2 million people who tuned in on August 31st to watch the newest installment in the Verzuz battles, Brandy verzuz Monica, you missed a good one.

The two mega singers squared off in person in Atlanta; the first time they have been in the same room in eight years.

Monica began the evening by paying homage to the late Chadwick Boseman, saying, “the level of devastation this year is unprecedented” and added Chadwick Boseman, “was a man that was dedicated to the arts.”

Monica decided to let Brandy go first, but before Brandy got started, Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris appeared on the screen, acknowledged looking forward to the evening and urged people to vote.

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Brandy hit the ground running with, “What About All of the?” Monica followed it up with, “Everything to Me.” They went back and forth and toe to toe, like two heavyweight contenders. The audience was treated to, “Almost Doesn’t Count,” “Have You Ever,” “Best Friend,” “Like This and Like That,” “Sitting Up in My Room,” and “Angel of Mine,” just to name a few.

Speaking of the audience, there was a veritable who’s who listening in. Not only did we have the Verzuz founders Timbaland and Swizz Beatz in attendance, but a few other heavy hitters as well. Let’s see, there was Tiffany Haddish, Jill Scott, Fat Joe, Da Brat, Kerry Washington, Stephen Curry, Erykah Badu, Tyrese, Babyface, Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Tisha Campbell Martin, Neyo, Trey Songz, Vanessa Bryant and Michelle Obama, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

With the climate we are in, this Verzuz battle was needed and a welcome distraction. It lifted people’s spirit. For over two hours, we were able to lose ourselves and only think about the places the songs took us to. Many of the listeners commented that this was the best Verzuz battle ever and asked for a concert tour.

If there was ever anything negative going on between Brandy and Monica, they appeared to have cleared the air. They talked to each other a lot in the background (off mic), while the songs were playing. In between songs, they were very uplifting and complimentary, with Monica applauding Brandy on all that she has accomplished and endured and Brandy acknowledging Monica’s longevity, since Monica made her first album at 12 years old. Brandy’s longevity is nothing to sneeze at; she made her first album at 14 years old.

Brandy, who has her own record label and a new album, “B7,” said she could not make records for a while, but Monica “held it down.” They both mentioned how important their families and longtime managers are to them. Brandy dedicated a poem and the song “Best Friend” to her brother, Ray J, who came out and hugged her. Monica, who is unabashed and very down to earth, commented once people know her business, she has already moved passed it and is over it.

The evening ended with their hit duet, “The Boy is Mine,” which Brandy shared was supposed to be her first single, but she couldn’t release it because according to her, “The Boy is Mine was missing something” and continued to tell Monica, “What you brought to the song, took it to a different place.” Although an enjoyable evening was had by all, noticeably missing from the playlist was Monica’s, “For You I Will” and “Love All Over Me.” But we’ll forgive her, because the 2.5 hours they gave was plenty. Right before they left the room, they said to be on the lookout for a concert. We can only hope.  And the winner was….the fans!

marilyn smith

Marilyn Smith

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected].

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Tisha Campbell/Tichina Arnold Hosted Soul Train Awards Premieres This Sunday Nov. 29 at 8/7C on BET

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Tisha Campbell Tichina Arnold - Soul Train Awards

* The 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” is taking center stage this Thanksgiving weekend with dynamic performances and a celebration of music that brings people together.

Babyface, Brandy, CeeLo Green, Charlie Wilson, Ella Mai, Jazmine Sullivan, Lucky Daye, Monica, Smokey Robinson are set to perform at the annual showcase. Hosted by Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold, the 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” airs Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 8PM ET simulcast on BET, BET Her, VH1 and MTV2.

In addition to the previously announced performances, this year’s highly anticipated Soul Cypher features R&B stars PJ Morton, Chanté Moore, Shanice and Stokely. Recording Artists, Ella Nicole and Moses Sumney are set to take the BET Amplified Music Stage, a platform for emerging artists. Deon Cole and Nicco Annan join Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and Brandee Evans as presenters

H.E.R. leads with 8 nominations, followed by Chris Brown with 7 nods, and Beyoncé and Young Thug with 6 each. The coveted Lady of Soul Award will be presented to Grammy Award-winning singer, actress, philanthropist and entrepreneur Monica.

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The night begins with the one-hour, pre-show “Soul-Coming: Countdown to the Soul Train Awards” hosted by Flex Alexander and Shanice at 7 PM EST, followed by the 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” at 8 PM ET and the broadcast debut of the BET “Soul Train Edition” of DJ Cassidy’s groundbreaking virtual series, “Pass the Mic” directly afterwards.

Internationally, the 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” PRESENTED BY BET will simulcast on BET Africa on November 29, 2020, at 3:00AM CAT; BET France on December 1, 2020 at 9:50PM CET; and BET UK and BET South Korea on December 2, 2020 at 9:00PM GMT and 9:00PM KST, respectively.

Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET, along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE), and JCE’s Jeannae Rouzan–Clay and Dionne Harmon will Executive Produce the 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS.”

For show information, please visit BET.com/SoulTrain, the official site for 2020 “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS.”

source: CR8 Agency / [email protected]

 

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Obama Responds to His Critics Who Say He Didn’t Do Enough for Blacks / WATCH

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*(Via UrbanHollywood411) – Former President Barack Obama continued his book tour Wednesday (11-25-20) with a conversation on The Breakfast Club about his record on supporting the Black Community, Joe Biden winning the election and Latinos who voted for President Donald Trump.

While discussing his record-selling memoir “A Promised Land” with hosts Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, Obama addressed criticism that he didn’t do enough for African Americans while he was in the White House.

“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope. And I also think that we generally view the presidency as almost like a monarchy. In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do it,’” he told the three radio hosts.

He then said he “had the statistics” to prove his accomplishments.

“By the time I left office, you had seen three million African Americans have health care that didn’t have it before. You had seen the incarceration rate, the number of Black folks in prison, drop for the first time in years… You had seen Black poverty drop to its lowest level since 1968. You had seen Black businesses rise, you had seen Black income go up,” Obama said, adding that “millions of Black folks were better off” when he left office.

Get the rest of this story at UrbanHollywood411.com.

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Abby Phillip of CNN: A Next-Gen Star is Born

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Abby D. Phillips (Twitter)

Abby D. Phillip (Twitter)

*In this age of fast-talking and often overbearing television news correspondents, many have been in the business far longer than CNN’s Abby Phillip.  Yet Philip, 31, is a breath of fresh air.

During the recent presidential election night coverage, and the days that followed, more people turned to CNN than any other news outlet, to get their information about the historic election.

What viewers witnessed was a strong team of correspondents, with Phillip at center stage.  She has been touted for presenting journalistic brilliance, rooted in deep perspectives and wisdom of the political landscape.  Phillip was superbly praised, especially when she talked about the role Black women played in the presidential election.

“For Black women, this has been really a proving moment for their political strength, in carrying Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination through the primary,” Phillip told the NY Times.

And even before Biden’s win, Phillip predicted the former vice president would become president-elect.

“Not only would Black Women put Joe Biden in the White House,” Phillip said on the air. “but they would also put a Black woman in the White House as well.  And while Donald Trump’s political career began with the racist birther lie, it may very well end with a Black woman in the White House.”

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While what Phillip said on the air is profound, it’s just as important how she said it.  Phillip is methodic in her vocal delivery, with a cadence and inflection in her voice that draw viewers to her solemn and insightful take on an array of political topics.

Born in Virginia and raised in Bowie, Maryland to parents from Trinidad and Tobago, Phillip ultimately graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in government.  After working at ABC News and the Washington Post, CNN hired Phillip in 2017 as a political news analyst.

While she has been a valued news analyst and contributor on many segments at CNN since joining the popular cable outlet, her star began to rise exponentially after she was chosen to help anchor the coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.  The ultimate shine on the star came when CNN’s executive producers tapped her to be a major political contributor on election night, which has been called the most important election in American history.

“I was excited, but I was stressed,” Phillip said.  “I knew it was a big deal.”

 

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