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Stevie Wonder Drops New Music After Being ‘Blessed with a New Kidney’

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*Music icon Stevie Wonder has released two new songs inspired by the turbulent times we’re living amid the COVID crisis and rising racial tension across the nation. 

The tracks “Where Is Our Love Song” and “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate,” mark the first time the artist has dropped two songs at the same time. The songs will be released through his new label So What the Fuss Music, distributed through Universal Music Group’s Republic Records. 

Wonder made the announcement during a virtual press conference Tuesday, MSN reports. He also gave an update on his health after he “was blessed with a new kidney” last December.

“Since I have been released from the hospital, the nurses have made sure I’ve taken my medicine on time and I’m going to do it for as long as I have to, even if it is the rest of my life. I feel great. My voice feels great. I feel like I’m about 40 right now and I just thank everyone for the prayers and the love,” he said.

“And for all of the people that have been listening to these rumors, listen, if I’m feeling some kind of way, I’ll let you know,” Wonder continued. “We don’t want to have misinformation. I am alive and well.”

READ MORE: Dr. Dre’s Wife Could Be Charged with Embezzlement Amid Divorce Battle

Wonder started writing “Where Is Our Love Song” as a teenager. “Then came this year, with all the confusion and all the hate and all the east versus west, left versus right. It’s just a hard break,” he said. 

He also updated the lyrics to “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate” after “thinking about where we (are) in the world and thinking about how this is the most crucial time.”

“Change is right now. We can’t put it into the hands of fate. Ain’t nobody got time to wait,” he said. “We can’t put it the hands of fate finding a cure for this dreadful virus. We got to get on our knees and pray or whatever you do.”

“I want everyone to be well,” Wonder continued. “I don’t care what color you are because actually I don’t see your color. You see color, don’t act like you don’t see color, you do. But I don’t see your visual color. But I do feel your soul. I do feel your spirit. I see the color of your spirit and soul, and I’m seeing too many spirts and souls that are not about the love that we’re supposed to have and feel for one another.”

Scroll up and listen to both songs via the YouTube players above. 

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Aaliyah Book Titled ‘Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah’ Dropping in 2021

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'Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah' Book
'Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah' Book

Book Cover Provided by Atria Books / Simon & Schuster

*Christmas has come early for Aaliyah fans, as an upcoming book has been announced that will chronicle her life and career. 

According to Billboard, “Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah” will drop Aug. 17, 2021, under Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. 

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.”

READ MORE: Aubrey O’Day Takes Aims at Trump Family, Claims Ivanka is a Lesbian

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.”

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JAY-Z: Rapper Launches ‘Monogram’ Cannabis Line

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*Jay-Z announced Friday that he is launching his first line of cannabis called Monogram in a joint venture with California-based weed company Caliva.

Monogram debuted its website and Instagram account Friday, providing fans with a glimpse of the product.

According to a press release, Monogram aims to “redefine what cannabis means to consumers today,” with “careful strain selection, meticulous cultivation practices and uncompromising quality.” 

Jay-Z joined Caliva as Chief Brand Strategist last July as part of a multi-year partnership.

The rapper detailed his role in a statement, noting that he will help the company with creative decisions, outreach efforts and strategy — focusing on the social justice issues surrounding legalization, Rolling Stone reported. 

READ MORE: Jay Z Allegedly Sold Kanye’s Masters to Get His Own Masters Back

Per a statement, Jay’s efforts will include “advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development.”

“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” the hip-hop star said in a statement at the time. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”

After conducting an extensive search to find the perfect partner in the cannabis industry, Jay-Z reached out to Caliva. 

“For Jay-Z to seek out Caliva as a partner is humbling and confirms our mission of being the most trusted name in cannabis,” says Caliva CEO, Dennis O’Malley. “To find that we were in complete alignment around our values and ethos was just a home run. We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased to be working with him and have him as our Chief Brand Strategist.”

Jigga is the latest rapper to enter the legal marijuana business. He joins the likes of Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs and Juicy J and Cypress Hill’s B-Real. 

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Viola Davis Remembers ‘My Baby’ Chadwick Boseman at ‘Ma Rainey’ Event

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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Chadwick Boseman's Final Movie - viola davis

*Netflix dropped the first trailer for the upcoming “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on Monday, along with a conversation with star Viola Davis and director George C. Wolfe

The film is based on August Wilson’s award-winning play from producer Denzel Washington

The official synopsis from Netflix reads; “Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey (Academy Award winner Viola Davis).”  The late Chadwick Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee. 

Boseman died in August after a private battle with colon cancer. He was 43.

During the “Ma Rainey” preview event this week, Davis described the “Black Panther” star as the epitome of “an artist.”

“That’s just who he was,” she said, reminding viewers she played his mother in “Get On Up.”

“Chadwick is my baby,” said Davis. 

READ MORE: First Look at Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis in Netflix’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Davis went on to say, “We are in the business, that a lot of times people have business conversations that masquerade themselves as artistic conversations. They don’t understand the difference between getting on set and demanding their vegan food being brought to them or their vegetarian dishes, or the dietary concerns, having that car ready. They don’t know the difference between that and making choices as an actor and getting down and dirty and doing the work and leaving your ego and your vanity at the door. He loved it. He demanded it.” she added, “He demanded it in every single way.”

Wolfe said of casting Boseman, “Chadwick put his entire being into Levee and Levee demands that because of the scale of the role. He put every ounce of his heart and passion into it.”

Davis also praised Washington for honoring Wilson’s legacy. The actor also produced  “Fences” and plans to bring nine of Wilson’s plays to the small screen.

“August lets us talk as people of color. I think other people may look at it and say, ‘Why do they go on and on and on?’ My whole thing is why not? We have a lot to say. There has been a muzzle placed on those for so long. This work has got to be in the hands of a great artist,” Davis said.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” premieres Dec. 18 on Netflix.

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