*Several musicians from late night TV shows claim “systemic racism” is to blame for a lack of “economic parity,” when it comes to streaming residuals and wages.
More than three dozen live television musicians have signed an open letter to the TV networks calling for parity with actors, directors and writers – when it comes to wages, health care contributions and residuals payments on streaming platforms, per Deadline.
The letter arrives as the American Federation of Musicians kick off a new round of contract negotiations between the broadcast networks.
Musicians on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “James Corden’s late night show and more note in the letter that during contract negotiations earlier this month: “Your companies acknowledged that live television musicians are the only sector of the industry exhibiting substantial racial diversity, but at the bargaining table we are told that our contributions are worth less than those of actors, writers, and directors, even though we give just as much. You cannot ignore that the other guilds are predominately white and are compensated at a higher rate with residual payments for streamed content, health care, and wages.”
Overall, the letter’s core demands are “fair wages, fair health coverage, and equal residuals for work used on streaming platforms.” The letter says, “By addressing these demands you will demonstrate to us a commitment to value all working musicians and you will demonstrate to the world a powerful example of action toward dismantling systemic racism.”
The letter is addressed to Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment; Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and streaming; George Cheeks, the president and chief executive of CBS Entertainment Group; and Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS.
“TV networks have agreed to make meaningful residual payments and have increased pension and health contributions to singers, actors, writers and directors when content is made for streaming, but have refused to do so for musicians,” AFM International president Ray Hair said in a statement. “It is unconscionable that these wealthy global companies have decided that some digital content creators deserve compensation that reflects the value of their work, but that musicians don’t.”
A spokesperson for the union said that “the major television networks have acknowledged that the live television musicians are the only sector of the industry exhibiting racial diversity, but then the networks told musicians at the bargaining table that they are not ‘talent’ at the level of the writers, actors, and singers – the predominantly whiter and less diverse segments of the industry – who receive better compensation and health care. System or structural racism occurs when the networks take work done by a group of musicians and value it less and therefore worthy of less remuneration than the work done by singers, writers, directors, and members of the other guilds and unions.”
Read the full letter here.
The Pulse of Entertainment: Sought After Singer Charles Martin Goes Solo Again with Single ‘Truth’
* “The Lord started speaking to me. That’s how ‘Truth’ came to me,” said Charles Martin, singer/songwriter/actor and member of Deitrick Haddon’s Stellar Award winning group Voices of Unity (Tyscot Records), about his new single “Truth.” “It’s important to have private time with the Lord. He said, ‘You need to be consistent.’ So I been consistent in what he want me to do.”
Martin has a long career as a vocalist for Voices of Unity and a sought after background singer whose clients have included Fred Hammond and Deitrick Haddon.
Charles said God told him to listen to certain people and do certain things. He did not understand at the time, but he was obedient or as he says “consistent.”
“I didn’t know I would get divorced or the Pastor of my church would die,” Charles pointed out. “It (Listening to God) helped prepare me. In my flesh, I can do so much.”
So Charles Martin gives up the “Truth” on his new single.
“I took time away from recording, still doing engagements and Worship & Praise. I had personal issues,” he said about the gap between his 2010 solo debut “Mary’s Son” and this single “Truth.” “Mary’s Son” garnered him a Gospel Blue Mic Award for “Male Artist of the Year.” The single “Truth” is produced by Rachard ‘Chardyroc’ Williams.
“We worked together on my last album. I’m a little older than him. We first met in our management’s office. He said, ‘I’ve followed your career for many years.’…and he said how my music changed him. He told me how he listened to ‘Chain Breaker’ (Voices of Unity) and it changed his life’,” Charles said about the single’s producer. “I do have a bigger project. Another single is coming out at the top of the year and shortly after – the project.” www.youtube.com/charlesmartinmusic
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]
Aaliyah Book Titled ‘Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah’ Dropping in 2021
*Christmas has come early for Aaliyah fans, as an upcoming book has been announced that will chronicle her life and career.
Written by journalist and author Kathy Iandoli, the title “will focus on the span of Aaliyah’s life and career — from her earliest beginnings singing in Detroit all the way through to her game-changing musical era with Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and the late Static Major,” revealed in a press release. “The book also includes a deep dive into her tumultuously abusive entanglement with R. Kelly and an intense investigation on the crash that ended her life.”
Says Iandoli: “I wrote this book as an Aaliyah fan. This is for all of us who for the last twenty years can spot her influence everywhere, while wishing she was still here. I left no stone unturned, and I hope I’ve added to her legacy properly.”
— Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) August 25, 2020
News of the book follows confirmation from Aaliyah’s estate that they are bringing her music to streaming services.
“To our loyal fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalogue, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future,” read the announcement from Aaliyah’s Twitter account. “Thank you for your continued love and support. More updates to come!”
Check out the official announcement via the Twitter embed above.
In a 2016 story from Complex on the singer’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, who owns her catalog under his Blackground Records label, writer Stephen Witt said of the absence of Aaliyah’s music on the internet, “Aaliyah’s internet absence is different—there’s no logic to it. It’s not an artistic statement or a play for more money, and there’s no dedicated Aaliyah-only streaming service in the works.”
Witt continued, “Instead, there’s a single, stubborn man, sitting on a catalog that includes almost all of her most famous work. … The situation puts her entire musical legacy at risk of fading from memory. Year by year, streaming accounts for a greater portion of an artist’s visibility and reverence among the next generation of listeners. And he refuses to budge.”
Netflix Drops Teaser for Pharrell’s Gospel Choir Docuseries ‘Voices of Fire’ [WATCH]
*Netflix has dropped a teaser for Pharrell Williams’ new docuseries “Voices of Fire,” which follows his journey to create a gospel choir in his hometown community of Hampton Roads, Va.
The new docu-series will chronicle his search for undiscovered talent of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, per The Hollywood Reporter. Williams is joined by his uncle, Bishop Ezekiel Williams, and they collaborate with a team of influential gospel leaders who will take viewers around the community to find singers with diverse backstories.
“What if you were made for this? To withstand the storm, to beat the odds? What if believing in yourself is only the beginning?” Pharrell narrates in the teaser. “This is about to be the most awesome choir ever.” The docuseries is to be produced by A. Smith & Co. and Pharrell’s i am OTHER. Netflix greenlit the series earlier this year, confirming that it will feature singers of all ages and backgrounds
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) October 22, 2020
Williams will executive produce the project along with Mimi Valdés for i am OTHER, Arthur Smith and Frank Sinton for A. Smith & Co. and Bianca Barnes-Williams.
In addition to “Voices of Fire,” Pharrell and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris are joining forces to produce a Juneteenth-based musical for Netflix
“The acknowledgment and celebration of Juneteenth as an American and possibly international holiday is something that I would put in the life goals column for me,” Barris said in a statement, per Deadline. “For us, this project isn’t about numbers; it’s about humanity,” he continued. “Slavery is America’s recessive gene and it’s time we all dealt with it and what better way to have an audience swallow this dose of medicine than with amazing music and raw, honest, jaw-dropping comedy?”
Watch the trailer for “Voices of Fire” above. The series premieres globally on Nov. 20.
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