Muhammad Ali, Titan of Boxing and the 20th Century, Dies at 74


Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.

Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.

But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.

Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.

Is Rocawear’s Jimi Hendrix Collection Predicting 2013 Rap Fashion?


In Rocawear’s most interesting — and possibly definitive — move since they had every grown-ass woman clad in velour jumpsuit dresses, the Jay-Z-founded streetwear brand is unleashing a capsule line based on the life and times of Jimi Hendrix. Taking the concept beyond track jackets and Tim-style boots, the Roc has introduced tie-dyed denim jackets and pants, sleek commemorative sweatshirts, and button-downs in a groovy, dandy-paisley print and American flag-inspired star patterns. And, miraculously, they got the “okay” from Hendrix’ notoriously protective estate to use his image, making for at least one nice sweatshirt and a Hendrix dot matrix face tee — and a classier counterpart to the collegiate Hendrix T-shirt collection that launched in Bloomingdale’s in early November.

Obviously, Rocawear’s love for Hendrix came at an opportune time: the internet’s been abuzz with shots from the forthcoming Hendrix biopic starring André 3000, and though there won’t be any official songs in the film, Three Stacks has been intriguingly coy about the plot. He’s also been seen around New York wearing a kind of 21st Century Hendrix look: not double but triple denim in overalls with a free-love slouch and a rip at the knee. At the same time, the world will be regaled with new Jimi music next year, via outtakes from final album First Rays of the New Rising Sun. (Bonus: Future’s next album is called Future Hendrix)

Since 2012 was all about rappers flossing black leather and mean-mugging in Rick Owens, we’re feeling a brighter, more ebullient, Hendrix-inspired landscape for Spring next year. And there’ve already been allusions to it: both Future and 2 Chainz have been embellishing their particular Hotlanta street vanguard looks with Hendrixian flourishes, like loco prints and top-ish hats, Meanwhile, Danny Brown is like Jimi’s wilder looks incarnate. SO incarnate! And have you seen your boy Trinidad Jame$ lately, taking to Atlanta streets doing shirtless in a vest like it’s nothing? Add in the infallible badassitude of Hendrix’s military jacket and neckscarf look, and we predict hip-hop stars will take their style even further in the coming year, becoming less beholden to rote street looks and more interested in flamboyant Black excellence. Wiz, you were simply slightly ahead of your time.

XXL Presents…30 2012 Rap Songs That Stay on Repeat


It isn’t easy condensing a year’s worth of rap music. Still, we can safely say there were enough recognizable songs that couldn’t be ignored. Some were regional anthems. Some took off on a national scale. Hip-hop’s go-to producers (Mike Will Made It and Young Chop) and everyone from Future and Big Sean to Chief Keef helped shape a new diverse sonic signature. With only a week and a few days left until the year is up, we reflected on songs that have an undeniable lasting appeal. There are obvious ones such as “Love Sosa” and “No Worries,” but we made sure to highlight the best from rap’s eclectic pool of MCs. It’ll be interesting to see where hip-hop will go since new trends are forming by the minute. Before we set our sights on 2013, here are 30 songs that’ll stay in heavy rotation.—XXL Staff


EBONY Profiled by The New York Times

D_Rogers_and_L_J_Rice_small_article-small_20616Desiree Rogers, the C.E.O. of Johnson Publishing,which owns the magazines Ebony and Jet, and Fashion Fair, a makeup line aimed at women of color, can see many sights from her 21st-floor corner office across from Millennium Park. “This is a good view of Chicago,” Ms. Rogers told a recent visitor, gesturing at a panorama of Lake Michigan, Grant Park, Navy Pier, the Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field. But the sight that holds the most personal meaning for Ms. Rogers may be a portrait by Robin Harper just above her purple retro sofa, depicting the boxer Jack Johnson with a soft, wounded expression. The portrait, Ms. Rogers said, reminded her of looking at pictures of Muhammad Ali in the pages of Ebony with her grandfather as a little girl growing up in New Orleans. “My grandfather really liked fighters,” she said. As they flipped through the magazines, she said, he’d tell her: “I hope you’re great. And I hope one day you’ll be in those pages.” Ms. Rogers, 53, has been in the pages of Ebony many times since her first appearance in April 1989 in a photo from George H. W. Bush’s inauguration. Her name now sits atop the magazine’s masthead, just below that of her best friend, Linda Johnson Rice, chairwoman of the company. CONTINUE READING..

Always In Style Andre 3000 On Gillette Campaign, Fashion, Jimi Hendrix Movie

Scoring a sit-down with Andre 3000 is rare these days.  It’s been a while since Three Stacks dropped a solo record, yet his coveted guest verses shine like gold on any given tracklist. Few MCs have been blessed enough to receive a sixteen from the reclusive MC. No one knows when he’ll release a new album, or even confirm the next Outkast project, not even himself. Still, as most listeners have given up on Dr. Dre’s Detox, the hunger for new rhymes from the enigmatic icon won’t let up.  Most recently, we’ve witnessed Andre pop up as the new face of Gillette. On a recent stop through the Big Apple, VIBE wrangled the rapper for an eye-opening interview on being the face of Gillette, his quirky style choices, transformation through the years, playing Jimi Hendrix in an upcoming biopic, and the status of his rap career. Read the full interview