Friday, May 20, 2022

Music Unites Congress as Legendary Producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Push for Laws to Protect Artists | PICs

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis & others visit Congress
(L-R) Jimmy Jam, Harvey Mason jr., Rep. Ted Deutch, Sofia Carson, Rep. Michael McCaul, Terry Lewis, and Valeisha Butterfield Jones attend the GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards Dinner at The Hamilton on April 27, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

*In a bitterly divided Congress, music brought together Republicans and Democrats to honor Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and lobby for laws to protect artists,

Jam and Lewis, legendary producers and songwriters,  who have a career that spans decades, worked on iconic songs from artists such as Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Boyz II Men and have won 5 Grammys, were nominated for 27 and have contributed to more than 100 gold, platinum multiplatinum and diamond albums. They released their first album, Jam & Lewis: Volume One, last year. EURweb’s Spotlight host and I Heart Radio’s Jazmyn Summers was there.

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Terry lewis and Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers)
Terry lewis and Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers)

Jimmy Jam who is the first Black chair of recording academy told Summers,

“We have a night of celebration where different parties whether they are Democratic, or Republican are going to party together tonight.   Life without music is like breathing without oxygen.   Music is truly divine art.”

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Lewis lauded their 50 years of friendship, longer than most marriages.  “I am honored to be with Jimmy in the service of music. Music allows us to find our commonality.”

Harvey Mason,Jr.the first African American President and CEO of the Recording Academy (the entity which produces the Grammys) applauded the bipartisan crowd.

“We are celebrating 20 years of advocacy. We passed a music omnibus bill that would make things better.  During the pandemic, we pushed for health and Congress provided unprecedented assistance through the Save Our Stages Act, the biggest investment in the arts in American history. We’re all here united in our belief that music can change the world. It serves the hopeful, it brings people together providing the common language for justice and peace. Music has the power to unite, enrich,  heal and change the world,” Mason declared.

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The Save Our Stages Act made grants to live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The famed Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis duo also performed with Morris Day and the Time before Prince fired them. Jam and Lewis had nothing to say about the purple prince letting them go.  But Morris Day in an interview with I Heart radio personality and EURweb Spotlight host Jazmyn Summers claimed that Prince suffered from jealousy of him and the group.  Lewis said he cannot confirm or deny that allegation.

“Morris was a fine handsome gentleman and Prince was a fine handsome gentleman.  Two big personalities what can I say,” he told Summers.

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The gathering also paid tribute to Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) for their leadership in supporting the rights of music creators, especially helping music industry professionals recover from the devastating effects of Covid 19 the past couple years.

Rapper Bun B & Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy of Summers)
Rapper Bun B & Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy of Summers)

Rapper Bun B of UGK fame with the late Pimp C commended Lewis and Jam, “As one of the only hip hop members that’s a national trustee for the recording academy, I’m honored to be here as a representative of the hip hop community to pay homage to two incredible musical legends who have given so much to music and culture and progression of American art.”

He told Summers that young artists today need to make sure they have support.

“Every artist needs someone that can protect them. Every artist needs a person that genuinely has a care and concern for them.   It’s good to have a good manager, it’s good to have a good lawyer.  Those things are extremely important,   but the most important thing is to have a good friend.  You need someone you can go to because this industry is very rough.  A lot of times these young artists get big-headed, older artists too. It’s good to have someone whose gonna be honest with you and tell them the truth about themselves.  The question is are you gonna receive that honesty.”

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Bun B believes it’s an opportune time for up-and-coming rappers, telling Summers,

“It’s a perfect time for an artist to be able to take advantage of his art because for many years we were creating content but not being properly paid for it but an artist has never had more power than they have right now.  It’s amazing to see these young artists come into the industry and be able to take full advantage of what the world has for them.”

Bun B made sure he took time to shout out his former partner popular rapper Pimp C who was found dead in his hotel room on December 4, 2007, with a coroner’s report allegedly attributing his death to complications stemming from heavy consumption of the drug purple drank and his pre-existing condition of sleep apnea.

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“It’s still UGK for life.  RIP the pimp. We riding for him baby. You know it.”

Actor Fran Drescher, best known for the Nanny series called Jam and Lewis a “classic. ”

Actor Fran Drescher & Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers)
Actor Fran Drescher & Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers)

She lauded the Grammys’ work in passing the Crown Act.

“We were just instrumental in getting the Crown Act passed,” she gushed. “ Now that that’s passed it’s illegal to tell a person of color that they can’t wear their hair in a natural way.  Obviously, in the music industry, people are more easily accepted for expressing themselves however they wish to be but for a secretary.  a nurse, people out in the civilian world it’s really going to have a wonderful important trickle-down effect.  My MO is always to want to go to the mat for anyone who is marginalized.  I always want to protect those who need to benefit from my celebrity and my reach and speaking out on their behalf.“

Grammy-winning a cappella gospel sextet  Take 6,’s Alvin Chea  called Jam and Lewis significant for their genre.

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“They are innovators.  We are gospel boys and our good friends Sounds of Blackness hooked up with them back in the 80s and they (Jam and Lewis) completely made an innovation to what they did and it let us know that anything with the right groove and the right vision can happen.  They took our art form and took it to the masses. We love everything about them everything they have done with Janet and all the way across .”

 Take 6, and the honorees Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, joined Ledisi and Yolanda Adams to perform on stage.

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The Recording Academy is lobbying Congress this week as part of the annual Grammys on the Hill Advocacy Day, Capitol Hill’s largest legislative event for music creators.  It brings Grammy winners and nominees, and industry leaders, to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers. The Academy is pushing for passage of various new laws it believes will help artists financially including the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), which among other measures ensures performers are compensated when their songs are played on AM and FM radio.  Currently, artists are not compensated.

The American Federation of Musicians in a statement supporting the Act says,” For far too long, our broken system has let AM/FM radio stations — many of which are owned by just a few massive media corporations — get away with refusing to pay performers when they play their music. While corporate broadcasters gobble up billions in advertising dollars, the artists and musicians whose performances make all of it possible receive no compensation whatsoever for their hard work. It’s unfair, plain and simple. It’s time to right this wrong.”

Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers))
Jazmyn Summers at Grammys on the Hill 2022 (courtesy Summers))

Article by Jazmyn Summers  You can subscribe to Jaz’s YouTube channel  and follow her @jaztalk1 on InstagramTwitterFacebook

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