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Music Sermon: Hip-Hop Vs. The Grammys: 30 Years of Fighting The Power | Vibe

Rap’s relationship with the Grammys started with a boycott when the Best Rap Song category was introduced 30 years ago, and it’s been rocky ever since. Hip-hop and the Grammys have beef. The genre has always been marginalized by the Recording Academy, even as it grew into a superpower. This year, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Childish Gambino have reportedly refused to perform, and there are questions whether other luminaries will even attend – the show is no longer a can’t miss. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been an ongoing issue for three decades. Rap’s relationship with the Grammys started with a […]

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‘Cane River’: A Forgotten Black Director’s Only Film Resurfaces After Being Lost for 40 years | IndieWire

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired the restored film for a theatrical run to begin in February. Debuting in 1982, “Cane River” was an independent-film curio: a race and colorism-themed love story with an all-black cast, written and directed by a black filmmaker, financed by wealthy black backers. The filmmaker’s name was Horace B. Jenkins, who spent most of his career working in public television, and died of a heart attack at the age of 42, just a few months after “Cane River” premiered. Largely financed by the Rhodes family of New Orleans (an African American family that has provided dignified burials […]

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“Blind Tom,” born a slave, at the age of 10 became the highest paid pianist of the 19th century | The Vintage News

“Blind Tom” was a musical prodigy who was born in slavery in 1850, in the state of Georgia. He was a contemporary virtuoso of Liszt and Rubinstein, but one who seemed unaware of his skin color, his fame, or his success. Blind Tom was aware only of the sounds and music around him. He left a few compositions behind, but the man behind the virtuoso persona, Thomas Wiggins, is a puzzling character of the 19th century who left nothing to the world, not a word, not a note, only the memories of other people. Very little is known about this […]

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Regina King on fighting white supremacists in Watchmen: ‘My community is living this story’ | The Guardian

The Oscar-winner is playing a cape-swishing superhero in HBO’s revamp of the epic comic book. She talks wage gaps, wardrobe woes and her dreams of becoming a dentist. Regina King had a hard time convincing some of her friends about Watchmen, her new HBO series inspired by the DC comic book of the same name and featuring the kind of details that make some people run for the exits: time travel, kung-fu fighting, masks and thinly veiled political allegory. “Girl, don’t do this,” said one friend. King could only smile and agree. But we would all do well to watch […]

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The quiet brilliance of Kenan Thompson | The Washington Post

How SNL’s longest-tenured cast member went from child star to the sketch show’s indispensable steady hand. NEW YORK — Kenan Thompson is a sketch-comedy savant. He’s seen how the tiniest diversion — uttering an errant word, glancing in the wrong direction, taking a half-second too long to rip off tearaway clothes — can create a disruption. “He’s a master in that studio,” says “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels. “He knows the best way to do just about everything.” That includes realizing how distracting it would be for the audience to know there’s a performer with a broken arm. […]

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Remembering Curtis Mayfield Today on the 20th Anniversary of His Passing (December 26, 1999) | Albumism

Please join the Albumism team in celebrating Curtis Mayfield’s musical legacy and revisit audio & video highlights from his career below! Biography: Perhaps because he didn’t cross over to the pop audience as heavily as Motown’s stars, it may be that the scope of Curtis Mayfield’s talents and contributions have yet to be fully recognized. Judged merely by his records alone, the man’s legacy is enormous. As the leader of the Impressions, he recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s. As a solo artist in the 1970s, he helped pioneer funk and helped introduce hard-hitting […]

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Forever Feline, Forever Fierce (2008) | The New York Times

“Je cherche un billionaire,” Eartha Kitt purred last year from the stage of the Café Carlyle, the chic, intimate club in the Café Carlyle that had been her regular stomping ground for more than a decade. It was an ideal setting for Ms. Kitt to strut her archetypal show business persona: a glamorous, calculating international gold digger enslaving rich men with exaggerated feline wiles, then treating them like cat toys. If this ageless catwoman, who died at 81 on Christmas Day, was an amusing caricature, the role was fueled by a steady current of anger. Ms. Kitt, like so many […]

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When Nat King Cole moved in | Curbed, Los Angeles

The entertainer found his dream home in picturesque Hancock Park—but the neighborhood had a dark side. In July 1948, singer Nat “King” Cole and his new wife, Maria, were just beginning their lives together. The legendary crooner of standards including “The Christmas Song,” “Nature Boy,” “Mona Lisa,” and “Unforgettable” had spent the last decade of his young life on the road, and he was eager to settle down and start a family. When they were not traveling, he and Maria, a singer and socialite of impeccable lineage, made-do by staying at LA’s Watkins Hotel. So, Maria hired a real estate […]

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Ruth Carter and Cynthia Erivo on Clothes, Culture and Self-Expression | The New York Times Style Magazine

Two creative people in two different fields in one wide-ranging conversation. “This has been a long time coming!” said Ruth Carter, 59, in her Academy Award acceptance speech for best costume design for her work on the film “Black Panther” (2018). Carter, who was born in Springfield, Mass., and lives in Los Angeles, is the first African-American to win that Oscar, and her résumé reads like a tour through the past three decades of black cinema: After getting her start with the director Spike Lee on “School Daze” (1988) and “Do the Right Thing” (1989), she went on to costume […]

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Don’t Try This at Home | The New York Times

How the Nicholas Brothers became America’s foremost tap-dancers. Most jazz tap-dancers stand up and dance. The Nicholas Brothers did that — and then they flew, catapulting themselves over each other’s heads, step by step down a staircase, or running up a wall and uncoiling backward into thin air. Perhaps you’ve seen them on television retrospectives of Hollywood, in film clips of movies like ”Down Argentine Way” (1940) or ”The Pirate” (1948). More often than not, they would touch down from such feats in a split — and not just any old kind either: a true balletic split, with the back […]

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