Category: Award Shows

MTV VMAs 2018: The 15 Best and Worst Moments

J.Lo’s big medley, Madonna’s rambling misfire and more from the show’s 35th annual installment

Joy, tedium, awkwardness, earnestness, Marshmello: Monday’s VMAs had it all. Fortunately, there were quite a few bright spots — Jennifer Lopez’s wildly energetic medley followed by a classy Video Vanguard acceptance speech; Nicki Minaj owning the Oculus; adorable mom moments aplenty — mixed in with the steady procession of face-palm moments. Here, we look back on the highs and lows of the show’s 35th annual edition.

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Best of the Night: Jennifer Lopez Nabs the Video Vanguard Award — and Works for It
“Music, acting, performing,” J.Lo said, Moon Person in hand, “this career has always been an obsession for me. When people said to me, ‘You do too much, you can only do one thing!’ I was always the person [to be] like, ‘Why not?’” Case in point: Her dazzling, epic performance from just minutes before. The 49-year-old Nuyorican icon took to the stage Monday night in blue-and-gold brocade, powering through no fewer than a dozen hits, from 1999’s “Waiting for Tonight” to 2018’s “Dinero,” with snazzy choreography and set changes aplenty. Midway through her medley, Lopez stripped down to a sparkling gold bodysuit that would be the envy of Donatella — then slipped on a fur coat for a momentary snowfall, evoking the holiday breakup anthem “All I Have.” She promptly vanished behind a makeshift brick wall, so that a replica of an NYC 6 train could come crashing through, with Lopez in tow as she sang the chorus of “Jenny From the Block.” And somewhere in there, surprise guest Ja Rule resurfaced from a long, post-Fyre Festival hiatus for a quick cameo. Ever the Instagram artiste, Lopez’s beau Alex Rodriguez stood by with pursed lips and his iPhone camera at the ready, as the star popped her legendary booty in gold spandex. Not even a gracious introduction by a soft-spoken Shawn Mendes could contain the uproar of her fans who cheered well into her acceptance speech.

Best: Nicki Minaj Returns to the Throne
Performing from a previously undisclosed location (spoiler: it was the Oculus in downtown NYC, and it was packed with her extremely enthusiastic fans) Nicki Minaj appeared in gold, backed by gold-clad dancers, in front of an imposing golden throne. She performed a quick-moving medley beginning with a brisk “Majesty,” forgoing the Eminem verse in favor of moving on to “Barbie Dreams,” the song filled with a series of (good-natured) shots heard round the world when she dropped it on Queen’s release day last week. She then rounded out the performance with an a capella verse from album opener “Ganja Burns,” before closing with her 6ix9ine collaboration — and current Number 5 single — “FEFE.”

Worst: Madonna’s Aretha Tribute Goes Off the Rails
Honoring Aretha Franklin is no easy task, but the VMAs’ tribute was an unequivocal failure. The show-runners recruited Madonna to give a speech — potentially a major coup — but unfortunately it had little to do with the Queen of Soul. The star began her address by saying that “Franklin changed the course of my life”; she ended it by noting that “none of [my career] would’ve happened … without our Lady of Soul.” In between, there was a story about failed auditions, an assertion of Madonna’s rebelliousness, a “bitch I’m Madonna” joke and a bad, possibly offensive imitation of a French accent, but nothing more than a passing mention of Aretha. Needless to say, Twitter was none too pleased.

Best: Logic Takes a Stand
Logic isn’t subtle. And, when you want to get a point across quickly and effectively with a single song performance on a nationally televised awards show, that’s a strength. Taking to the stage wearing a black “Fuck The Wall” T-shirt and followed by a stream of children, some of whom were displaced by our country’s immigration laws, Logic (alongside Ryan Tedder) used his “One Day” performance to make a blunt, powerful and necessary statement.

READ MORE: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/mtv-vmas-2018-the-15-best-and-worst-moments-713826/

Watch: Raekwon Brings Out Troy Ave, Bobby Shmurda, AZ & More At 2014 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

raekwon-bk-hip-hop-festivalThis year’s tenth anniversary celebration of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival brought a slew of hip-hop heavyhitters to Williamsburg. Following Jay Electronica’s set featuring Jay Z, J. Cole, Talib Kweli and Mac Miller, the legendary Raekwon had a few tricks up his sleeve for his headlining set as well.

While fans may have anticipated a Wu-Tang reunion on the stage, Raekwon switched things up for the crowd by bringing out Internet rap sensation Bobby Shmurda. The newcomer performed his viral hit “Hot Nigga.” The Chef also brought out other natives of the borough: Papoose, Troy Ave, and M.O.P.’s Lil’ Fame. Fans of classic rap got a special treat as well, with an appearance from AZ, who took the stage with “Life’s A Bitch.”

As if seeing Raekwon wasn’t enough. Peep clips from his Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival set below:
http://www.vibe.com/article/watch-raekwon-brings-out-troy-ave-bobby-shmurda-az-more-2014-brooklyn-hip-hop-festival

Why Denzel’s Already Won (And He Doesn’t Need An Oscar To Prove It)

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If Denzel Washington wins the best actor Oscar this month, it won’t break any obvious records; the actor won his first Academy Award in 1990. However, his role as Whip Whitaker in “Flight” (now available on XFINITY On Demand™) stands out for a reason made plain by the film’s review in the New York Times: “Flight Stars Denzel Washington as an Alcoholic Pilot.” Newspaper headlines have to say a lot with little, but these eight words demonstrate how much ground Black men have covered in Hollywood since Denzel Washington accepted his first Oscar from Geena Davis 23 years ago. He gripped the statue and gave it a long look as the camera panned to a beaming Morgan Freeman. Denzel soaked up the applause and adjusted his tux before he made his acceptance speech that concluded with an homage to the “Black soldiers who helped to make this country free.” The moment was a watershed in American culture. Not only did we get to witness the rise of a modern-day Sidney Poitier who moved with a showman’s swagger, but we also saw the birth of a nuanced presence for Black men in Hollywood. In the 23 years since Denzel Washington won, we’ve moved from a Black man portraying a slave who becomes a heroic soldier to portraying a drug- and alcohol-addicted airline pilot whose heroism can’t outweigh his own flaws. We are in a time where storytelling about black lives lean toward the individual rather than the collective “We” that long typified movies made about Black Americans. In her essay collection “The Black Interior,” cultural critic Elizabeth Alexander characterizes the period in which Washington came-of-age as revolutionary. “Washington has made very precise career choices, and there are no careless moves in his filmography,” she writes. “To portray Black historical characters was the necessary work of the 1980s and 1990s as opportunities for Black actors and directors expanded and Black people took more control of the image-making onscreen.” The care with which Denzel Washington and his advisors crafted his career is nothing short of remarkable. For most Black actors, their glory is summed up in one or two memorable roles. Haven’t we all heard the argument that there aren’t enough good scripts written for Black talent? However, Washington’s half-dozen Oscar nominations track the evolution in his filmography from historical heroic figures to more deeply flawed creations in which the character’s race may be the least interesting element.

His first nomination came in 1987 as a supporting actor for his portrayal of martyred anti-apartheid activist and journalist Steve Biko in “Cry Freedom.” That was followed by his Oscar-winning turn as slave-turned-soldier Private Trip in “Glory” (1989), then as the titular “Malcolm X” in 1993 (his first Best Actor nomination). In 1999, he was Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the legendary middleweight boxer who was falsely accused of murder, in “Hurricane.” And then with “Training Day” (2001), as corrupt Los Angeles police detective Alonzo Harris, he crossed the rubicon: He won the Oscar with a character who was complex, unredeemed and entirely fictional. “Flight” arguably raises the stakes even higher: While Det. Harris was a very smart twist on the gangsta characterizations of so many films, the story of pilot Whitaker wasn’t attached to any race; as many films have already proven, addiction struggles can belong to anyone. Washington has been liberated to do what Poitier was never allowed to be on screen: fully human. Poitier acknowledged as much in an interview with the Academy shortly after Washington won for “Training Day,” on the same night that Poitier received an honorary award representing his body of work.http://www.oscars.org/video/watch/mi_spoitier_denzel.html

Noted Poitier, “It represented progress. It represented… a kind of democracy that had been very long in maturing. His following me as he did, he had taken the concept of African-Americans in films to a place where I couldn’t, I didn’t. I thank him for that. He helped me that evening to a closing of my artistic life.”

First Lady Gets Grammy Nod

michelle-obama-x-large-300x225Michelle Obama has been nominated for the 2013 Grammy awards. The first lady is up for Best Spoken Word Album. She is represented in the category for the audio version of her book, American Grown. As a politician she’s not alone — Bill Clinton was also nominated for the audio version of his book, Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government For a Strong Economy. With her one nomination she leads other artists, like Justin Beiber and Nicki Minaj, that were shut out of the prestigious music award show. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards airs on February 10th. Will you be watching?

R&B TROUBADOUR MIGUEL CAPS OFF STELLAR YEAR WITH 5 GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS INCLUDING SONG OF THE YEAR!!!

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R&B TROUBADOUR MIGUEL CAPS OFF STELLAR YEAR WITH 5 GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS INCLUDING SONG OF THE YEAR!!! MIGUEL’S WRITTEN AND PRODUCED “ADORN” EARNS SONG OF THE YEAR, R&B PERFORMANCE AND BEST R&B SONG NOMINATIONS; ALBUM RECEIVES BEST CONTEMPORARY ALBUM NOMINATION; WALE’S “LOTUS FLOWER BOMB” FEATURING MIGUEL RECEIVES BEST RAP SONG NOMINATION CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED KALEIDOSCOPE DREAM TOPS 2012 BEST OF LISTS AND EARNS HIM A 2012 SOUL TRAIN MUSIC AWARD FOR BEST R&B/SOUL MALE ARTIST HIT SINGLE “ADORN” HOLDS RECORD FOR LONGEST SONG AT #1 ON BILLBOARD R&B/HIP-HOP CHART FOR 2012 AT 11 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS

[New York, NY, December 7, 2012] – Singer/songwriter MIGUEL caps off 2012 with 5Grammy® Awards nominations for his critically acclaimed sophomore release Kaleidoscope Dream.  Announced last night (12/5), MIGUEL’s nominations include the coveted Song of The Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “Adorn;”Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Rap Song for Wale’s Lotus Flower Bomb feat. Miguel.  Miguel’s “How Many Drinks” also contributes to Salaam Remi’s Producer of the Year nomination for Remi’s production on the track.  The 55th annual GRAMMY® Awards are scheduled to air live on Sunday, February 10th 2013 on CBS (ET/PT) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.

I’m incredibly honored just to be invited to ATTEND next year’s Grammy ceremony but being nominated, that’s a dream come true,” said MIGUEL.

Released October 2 on Bystorm/RCA Records, the genre-bending Kaleidoscope Dream debuted at #1 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart and entered at #3 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Digital Albums charts.  The album’s breakout hit single “Adorn,” written and produced by Miguel, currently holds 2012’s record for maintaining the #1 spot on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Chart for 11 consecutive weeks!  “Adorn” has also been #1 at Urban Mainstream Radio for 5 consecutive weeks.

As the “Best of 2012” lists trickle in, Kaleidoscope Dream has been touted on NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012 and USA Today’s Top Albums of 2012, while the hit single “Adorn” scores honors on NPR Music’s 100 Favorite Songs of 2012 and Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Songs of 2012, citing that MIGUEL “comes off like a master on this slow jam.”

Resonating with fans and critics alike, MIGUEL has captivated viewers with rousing television performances on Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Wendy Williams Show and Ellen. The Los Angeles native recently proved why he reigns supreme during his performance of “Adorn” at the 2012 Soul Train Music Awards, which he was bestowed with the Best R&B/Soul Male Artist award.

Currently gracing the cover of THE FADER, Miguel continues to bring his electrifying live performances of his hits “Do You…,” “The Thrill,” and more, to new heights while on the Trey Songz’s Chapter V World Tour along with ingénue Elle Varner. Remaining tour dates are listed below.

CHAPTER V WORLD TOUR FEATURING MIGUEL’S KALEIDOSCOPE DREAM DATES:

Dec. 7 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theater

Dec. 8 – Nashville, TN – Municipal Auditorium

Dec. 9 – St. Louis, MO – Fox Theater

Dec. 13 – Washington, D.C. – Constitution Hall

Dec. 14 – Charlotte, NC – Bojangles Coliseum

Dec. 15 – Hampton, VA – Coliseum

Dec. 16 – Baltimore, MD – 1st Mariner Arena

Dec. 27 – New Orleans, LA – UNO Lakefront Arena

Dec. 28 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC Arena

Dec. 29 – Southaven, MS – Landers Center

Dec. 30 – Dallas, TX – Verizon Theatre

Dec. 31 – Houston, TX – Reliant Arena

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Signed to Mark Pitts’ ByStorm imprint in 2007, Grammy-nominated MIGUEL‘s progressive 2010 debut album All I Want Is You, spawned two #1 hit singles – “Quickie” and “Sure Thing,” as well as the album title track. While his debut album earned him unanimous praise, his current release, Kaleidoscope Dream takes him down a new path of musical exploration with ground breaking, cutting edge precision. The album features production from Salaam Remi [Amy Winehouse, Adele], Pop & Oak [Kanye West, Big Sean], and Jerry Wonda [The Fugees, Wyclef Jean] amongst others.