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The President and First Lady Host: In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by: Audiegrl

February 9, 2010 marked the beginning of the 2010 White House music series with “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” – a concert celebrating Black History month.

Earlier that day, the White House also hosted a “Music that Inspired the Movement” workshop. High school students from across the country participate in a workshop to learn about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, and Smokey Robinson, the legendary Motown singer, will facilitate the workshop with performances by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences. Other artists participated as well, including: John Legend, John Mellencamp, and Toshi Reagon.

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In the evening, the President and First Lady hosted the “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” concert, featuring songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings with participants including Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir and The Freedom Singers, featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, Toshi Reagon and more. Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward will be guest speakers.

“The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music,” Obama said as he welcomed his audience.

He said activists from coast to coast were inspired by spirituals, felt their will sharpened by protest songs and base broadened by artists of hope. He said their work paved the way toward a more just America that allowed him to make history in 2008 with his election.

“Tonight, we celebrate the music of the movement,” Obama said.

Singer Yolanda Adams’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was an early highlight of a night filled with amazing performances.

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The celebration was supposed to come on Wednesday, but faced with another major winter storm the White House decided to move the concert ahead by a day to beat what could be a second crippling snowfall in a week. As guests packed the first floor of the executive mansion, heavy snow landed on the South Lawn and blanketed the rest of Washington.

Morgan Freeman

Actor and activist Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, who read excerpts from historical works throughout the night, harkened back to the song lyrics Obama invoked during his election-night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park.

“A long time coming,” Freeman said.

He later deadpanned: “I wish I could sing.”

Obama said the music helped the movement’s faith as their leaders were jailed and their churches bombed.

“It’s hard to sing when times are rough,” Obama said. “The hymns helped … advance the cause of the nation.”

The concert was to be televised at 8 p.m. Thursday on public broadcasting stations nationwide as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series. National Public Radio also planned a one-hour concert special from the event to be broadcast nationwide on NPR stations beginning Friday.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under African-Americans, Art, Artists, Barack Obama, Change, Children, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Dr. Jill Biden, Education, Entertainment, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Hollywood, Live Stream Video, Media and Entertainment, Music, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Spirituality, Students, Technology, Television, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Vice-President Joe Biden, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

R&B Legend Charlie Wilson Fills the Gaps in His Life’s Winding Road

Posted by: Audiegrl

Charlie Wilson

Full circle: Charlie Wilson shows the alley he slept in as a homeless person after his Gap Band days in Hollywood. Wilson has renewed his life and career.

USA Today“This building wasn’t here,” Charlie Wilson says, waving at a high-rise condo under construction along busy La Brea Avenue. “It was a parking lot for U-Hauls. I slept under them when it rained. So did a lot of other crackheads.”

He brushes a tear from his cheek. Revisiting the haunts of his darkest days is distressing for the R&B legend, who led the Gap Band to international stardom in the ’80s and rebounded to solo glory in recent years. In between lies a desperate stretch of addiction and homelessness that took the singer from a posh Hollywood Hills manse to seedy alleys.

Strolling a narrow road behind a pawn shop, he points to the grassy spot he frequently staked out while living on the streets from 1993 to 1995.

“I slept in that deep corner there,” he says. “When I come through this area now, I get all tensed up. A lot of people who sink that far into depression, drugs and street life don’t come back. A lot of people I knew then are dead.”

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Wilson, who turns 57 on Friday, did more than survive. He just had the most successful year of his 43-year career. The singer is up for two Grammys: R&B album for fourth solo effort Uncle Charlie and R&B vocal for hit single There Goes My Baby, which spent 10 weeks atop Billboard’s adult R&B chart. The album entered the R&B chart at No. 1 and the pop chart at No. 2, a career peak. He’s also nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Nobody is more astonished by this resurrection than Wilson, who returns to the mileposts of his downfall with humility and gratitude. He starts a walking tour at the former location of the Total Experience studio, where the Gap Band, his trio with brothers Robert and Ronnie, recorded from the mid-’70s to the late ’80s, generating a string of platinum albums and such hits as You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Party Train, Outstanding, Burn Rubber on Me and Shake.
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Read the full story here

Charlie Wilson talks to USA Today about his past struggles with drugs, his time spent living on the streets of L.A., and his comeback as a Grammy nominated singer.

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George Lopez Interviews Charlie Wilson on Lopez Tonight

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Charlie Wilson Performs His Grammy Nominated Song, “There Goes My Baby” on Lopez Tonight

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44-D Friday Night Video Jukebox Edition 

Brought to You by, TheLCster

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Why Can’t People Just Admit they Like Bob Fosse?

bobfosseThis is the second video that I know of that Beyoncé has done that pays tribute to Bob Fosse! Take it from me people, check this man out, he is worth it. He’s the most talented man to touch a pair of jazz shoes.

Start your weekend out right by taking some time to feel the rhythm and see where it takes you…

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Dancing With the Stars: Mya Raises the Bar

Posted by Audiegrl
myaI’ve never watched ABC’s Dancing with the Stars before. (except of course, the youtube video of Tom Delay shaking his butt) But my ears perked up when I heard that Mya was one of the celebrity dancers. Most people usually consider her a talented R&B singer, but I remember the days when she was considered a great dancer.

Mya is a dancer turned smooth urban R&B vocalist who released her eponymous debut in the spring of 1998, when she was just 18 years old.

Mya was born in Washington, D.C., where she took dance classes as a child. After briefly losing interest in the art, she returned to dancing in her pre-teens, eventually joining the dance troupe T.W.A. (Tappers With Attitude). She left the group after a short while, heading to New York to study at the Dance Theater of Harlem with Savion Glover, best known as the choreographer/mastermind behind the Broadway spectacular Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk. Her passion for improvisation made her a favorite of Glover, who had her perform solo at the Kennedy Center.

Although Mya was best known as a dancer, she was also musically inclined, learning how to sing and play the violin as a child. When her father — a professional musician — learned that his daughter could sing and was serious about a musical career, he shopped around the demo tapes, eventually earning the attention of Haqq Islam, president of University Music. Impressed with Mya’s audition, Islam signed her to Interscope Records.~Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide (2003)

This 2003 video, choreographed by Travis Payne, is one of my favorites. Mya pays homage to both Cyd Charisse and her tap mentor/genius Savion Glover. It features some rapid/instant/tricky costume changes that mostly occur without the changing of a scene. This video earned Mýa two nominations at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Dance Video and Best Choreography.

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This is Mya dancing on the first week of Dancing with the Stars

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