Celebrity Pick
This week's celebrity pick is Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Posted by Spoken Word

J urnee Diana Smollett-Bell (born October 1, 1986) is an American actress. She began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms, with her most significant regular role being on On Our Own (1994–95). She received critical acclaim and Critic's Choice Award for playing title role in the 1997 independent drama film Eve's Bayou.

In adult age, Smollett-Bell has starred in films The Great Debaters (2007) and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also had starring roles on number of television series, include NBC sports drama Friday Night Lights (2009-2011), and HBO vampire drama True Blood (2013-2014). In 2016, Smollett-Bell began playing a leading role as Rosalee, the house slave, in the WGN America period drama, Underground. Smollett-Bell has won three NAACP Image Awards.

Smollett-Bell was born Jurnee Diana Smollett in New York City, the daughter of Janet and Joel Smollett. Her father was Jewish (his family immigrated from Russia and Poland), and her mother is African American. She is the fourth of six performing siblings, one sister, Jazz, and four brothers: Jussie, JoJo, Jake, and Jocqui.

Smollett-Bell began her acting career appearing in a recurring roles on the ABC family sitcoms include Full House and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper playing Denise Frazer. From 1994 to 1995, she co-starred with her siblings in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own. In 1996, she appeared in the Francis Ford Coppola film Jack, making her big screen debut.

Smollett-Bell received critical acclaim for her...Read More

Classic Hip Hop
The Beastie Boys’ unconventional methodology represented a unique hybrid of rock and hip-hop
Posted by Spoken Word

A dam Yauch aka MCA (vocals, bass; August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012), Michael Diamond aka Mike D (vocals, drums; born November 20, 1966), Adam Horowitz aka ADROCK (vocals, guitar; born October 31, 1966)

The Beastie Boys combined hardcore and hip-hop in a fresh-sounding musical mashup that was danceable, infectious and wickedly funny. By attracting a sizable following of white fans – hardcore-loving teens and party-minded frat kids – with their bratty wit and cunning collages of beats and samples, they broadened the audience for hip-hop, bringing it into the mainstream. Like their fellow New York rappers...Read More

Voices of Jazz
Charles Mingus - Voices of Jazz
Posted by Spoken Word

One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church– choir and group singing– and from “hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when [he] was eight years old.” He studied double bass and composition in a formal way (five years with H. Rheinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with the legendary Lloyd Reese) while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. His early professional experience, in the 40’s, found him touring with bands like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton.

Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950’s– Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. One of the few bassists to do so, Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians. He was also an accomplished pianist who could have made a career playing that instrument. By the mid-50’s he had formed his own publishing and recording companies to protect and document his growing repertoire of original music. He also founded the “Jazz Workshop,” a group which enabled young composers to have their new works performed in concert and on recordings.

Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. His recordings bear witness to the extraordinarily creative...Read More

The Art of Soul
In memory of Tina Marie
Posted by Spoken Word

“Music is meant to inspire/To elevate and to take you higher” “Luv Letter”

Before her untimely death at the age of 54 on the day after Christmas 2010, Teena Marie, known as “Lady Tee,” the Ivory Queen of Soul, wrote, produced, arranged and sang on 13 albums that have sold 2.5 million copies in the soundscan era. Starting with her 1979, Rick James-produced debut, Wild and Peaceful , Teena Marie’s many soul and R&B hits include “Square Biz,” “Behind the Groove,” “I Need Your Lovin’,” “Fire and Desire,” “Lovergirl” and “Ooo La La La,” a song famously sampled by the Fugees.

Teena Marie was working on her 14th and latest album for Universal Music Enterprises, Beautiful , at the time of her passing, the follow-up to 2009’s Congo Square , which peaked at #4 on the R&B chart and went to #20 on the album chart, producing the Top 12 Urban AC hit, “Can’t Last A Day.” Recorded at her Pasadena home studio and finished except for final mixes, Beautiful was seen through to its conclusion by Teena’s 20-year-old daughter Alia Rose, who sings with her Mom on two tracks, a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love” and “Rare Breed,” which she co-wrote (Alia co-wrote two more songs on the album, “Sweet Tooth” and the title song). The first single, “Luv Letter,” which has just gone to radio, is just that, an homage to Tee’s Motown roots, with nods...Read More

Black Men Rock!
A Moment in History - Olaudah Equiano
Posted by Spoken Word

Olaudah Equiano (1745 – 1797) was an 18th century African writer and anti-slavery campaigner. From an early age, Olaudah Equiano experienced the horrors of slavery first hand. But, after gaining his freedom, he gained British citizenship and wrote about his experiences. His autobiography ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano‘ played a pivotal role in turning public opinion in Britain against slavery. His accounts of slavery and its human suffering were a factor in the enactment of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Early life and experience as slave

Equiano writes that he was born...Read More

Videos
 Actual Villains- Cave in
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Posted on May 9th 16
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The Como Brothers Band - Numbed (Lyric Video)
Posted on March 31st 14
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Nicci Canada - Attraction (Official Music Video)
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Posted on January 8th 14
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Utopian Dreams Summer 2012 - So into You (snippet)
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Posted on September 7th 13
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