This Week in The SMG Report

This Week in The SMG Report

2020 BLACK MUSIC HONORS TO CELEBRATE LEGENDARY MUSIC ICONS

Chicago-based television production company Central City Productions will present the 2020 Black Music Honors in national broadcast syndication November 21 thru December 13, 2020. Television and radio personality Rickey Smiley returns as host of the star-studded two-hour special which will honor artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music. 
The honorees for this year’s Black Music Honors include Grammy® Award-nominated R&B legends Rhona Bennett, Terry Ellis, and Cindy Herron of En Vogue, recognized as one of the top 5 highest selling American female music groups in history, who will receive the Urban Music Icon Award for their three decades in the industry. Grammy® Award-winner, actress and Broadway star Deborah Cox will receive the Entertainer Icon Award. Multiple Stellar Awards and Grammy® Award-winner and producer Fred Hammond will receive the Gospel Music Icon Award. The National Museum of African American Music will be honored with the Legacy Award.

“I am extremely excited about our 5th Annual 2020 Black Music Honors television special and our legendary awardees. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for us to stay committed to producing The Black Music Honors as a means of celebrating music icons who are often overlooked in receiving their much-deserved recognition.”

Founder and Executive Producer Don Jackson

Performers of the evening include Musiq Soulchild, Raheem DeVaughn, Tweet, MAJOR., June’s Diary, Brian Courtney Wilson, D Smoke, Evvie McKinney, Marvin Sapp, RL, and Sheléa. The show is set to air on Saturday, November 21 at 12PM (EST) on Bounce TV. State Farm returns as the show’s title sponsor. Other sponsors include AT&T, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and Bounty. For more information on Black Music Honors, please visit www.blackmusichonors.com and connect on social media @blackmusichonors.

R&C The Fragrance Duo By Russell Wilson & Ciara

Russell Wilson and Ciara are sharing their passion for fragrance by introducing R&C The Fragrance Duo, marking their first creation of an eau de parfum together, inspiring a belief that togetherness is the key to happiness. The Grammy Award-Winning Singer Songwriter and NFL Seattle Seahawk Quarterback and Superbowl Champion, have created a unique pairing of scents stored within two entwined magnetic glass bottles, symbolizing a true connection.  Starting November 17th, 2020, The Fragrance Duo is available exclusively at RandCFragrance.com for $90 (50 ml each).  A portion of all proceeds will benefit Ciara and Russell’s Why Not You Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to education, children’s health and fighting poverty.

“To do life together is the greatest gift, and to be able to create our first fragrance together was a dream come true. We are special on our own, but there is nothing more powerful and more magnetic than when we are together and that is reflected in the entire package from the bottle design to the blends inside. Being able to also give back was especially important to both of us – and doing so through our Why Not You Foundation was an essential piece that adds to the meaning of launching the fragrance.” 

Ciara & Russell Wilson

A unique design is a feat in the fragrance world and this first-of-its-kind packaging perfectly captures the sensual, modern essence of the fragrances it holds. More than just a perfume bottle, the Duo’s timeless and organically shaped aesthetic reflects the concept and connection of the scents themselves. The innovative interlocking magnetic system connects the two bottles, creating a sculptural piece of art that looks as beautiful on your vanity as it does on your mantle.  Combining beauty with functionality, the weighted and etched chrome glass bottles have a mirrored finish that reflect the refined craftsmanship and artistry of the overall experience.  A perfect complement to both blends, it was important for Russell and Ciara to create an iconic statement that was as beautiful and luxurious as the fragrance inside.  The Fragrance Duo engages all the senses. The Fragrance Duo was developed by Russell and Ciara with Perfumers Catherine Selig and Linda Chinery from Takasago.  

Russell’s scent is effortlessly sexy with an iconic, refined freshness and is described as a Woody Aromatic.  The immediate appeal of invigorating bergamot and black tea blend with smooth notes of ambroxan to expose an addictive contrast on the skin that is hard to resist. As it blends in perfect harmony with its aromatic heart, notes of lavender combine with juicy pear blossom and waterlily conveying strength and dynamic energy.  A smooth blend of patchouli, musk and vetiver drive the scent, asserting an unmistakably sensual finish.

Top : Bergamot, Ambroxan, Black Tea

Middle : Lavender, Pear Blossom, Waterlily

Base : Patchouli, Musk, Vetiver

Ciara’s blend is a sensual, evocative Oriental Floral fragrance that captures a woman’s feminine complexity with a contrast of classic with a modern twist.  The scent opens with mouth-watering, juicy red berries, delicate freesia and an unmistakable freshness of pink peppercorn, which captivate the senses.  In the heart, a blooming bouquet of white flowers and delicate peony evokes a fresh classic, yet modern, fresh femininity. As the fragrance warms the skin, smooth musk and sandalwood blend into addictive notes of vanilla for an irresistible signature that lasts. 

Top : Red Berries, Freesia, Pink Peppercorn

Middle : Jasmine, Peony, Gardenia

Base : Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla 

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie and Minnie’s Food Pantry Join Forces to Provide Holiday Meals for the Rising Number of North Texas Families in Need

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first woman elected to this position in the denomination’s 233-year history, and presiding prelate of more than 200 churches in Texas, has joined forces with Minnie’s Food Pantry, to feed the growing number of North Texas families facing food insecurity. Bishop McKenzie will host a virtual edition of her annual leadership conference, SELAH: The Main Event, on November 20-21, 2020. The event is open to the public and forty percent of registration will go to Minnie’s Food Pantry. Attendees can register at bit.ly/SelahMainEvent.

“There are thousands of families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them have food security issues for the first time in their lives. We felt compelled to support Chery Jackson and Minnie’s Food Pantry to help her help hurting families. We invite our Selah women and the Dallas Metroplex to join us.”

Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Named one of the top eleven conferences for women who want to level up by Essence Magazine, Selah is a place for leaders to reset, refresh, and recalibrate. This year’s line-up includes power-packed speakers and performers, including Grammy-award winning recording artist, Marvin Sapp;  author, Minda Harts; master entrepreneur, Gloria Mayfield Banks; author, Rev. Dr. Cecelia Williams-Bryant, preacher and author, including her newest book, “Together: A Biblical Meditation and Guide to Enrich Covenant Marriage”; Nicole Fortune, National Manager, Customer Relations Toyota Lexus Financial; Rev. Dr. Danielle Brown, pastor of church life at Cathedral International; Nicole Roberts Jones, nationally recognized transformational speaker and bankroll your brilliance expert; and Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie.

“From March until June of 2020, more than 1.9 billion meals were distributed nationwide to people facing hunger. Minnie’s Food Pantry has distributed 3 million meals since March and food pantries are giving out 60 percent more food than an average month. The need is greater than ever and generosity of neighbors all across the country is a necessity to keep up with this demand.”

Cheryl Jackson, CEO and founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry

The Clark Sisters Perform New Single, “His Love” on “Faith Friday” on GMA3: What You Need to Know

The 3x Grammy Award winning gospel group, The Clark Sisters sat down with GMA3: What You Need to Know last week for “Faith Friday” to discuss their new album, The Return, and perform their new single, “His Love”. In the interview, the sisters discuss their hiatus since their last album 10 years ago, and also include the importance of spreading “His Love” as we approach the holiday season.

The Return is currently available for download on all streaming platforms.

MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES ORIGINAL VIDEO GAMESOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE TODAY

Marvel Music announces the digital release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Original Video Game Soundtrack, featuring a score by Emmy®-nominated composer John Paesano (“Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” “Maze Runner” trilogy), and 3 new original songs: “Where We Come From” and “This is My Time” both by Lecrae, plus “I’m Ready” by Jaden Smith. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is developed by Insomniac Games and launches for the PlayStation®5 (PS5™) and PlayStation®4 (PS4™) systems on Nov. 12.

Paesano recorded the score at Ocean Way Studios (Nashville, Tennessee) and AIR Studios (London, United Kingdom), with production and remixing by Grammy®-winning producer Boi-1da (Drake, Eminem, Rihanna).  The album features 16 score tracks, plus three new original songs. The songs “Where We Come From” and “This is My Time” are both by Grammy-winning Reach Records artist Lecrae (Moore). Both tracks were co-written by Moore and Matthew Samuels (Boi1-da). The acclaimed artist recently released Restoration, his 7th studio album, and Columbia Records debut.

 “I’m Ready” is performed by Jaden Smith and was written by Smith, Omarr Rambert, and Josiah Bell. Smith recently released his third studio album, CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3, which features “Cabin Fever” and “Falling For You (with Justin Bieber).

Lecrae Releases Restoration: The Deluxe Album featuring 6 New Songs!

On Friday, November 13th, LECRAE will release a deluxe edition of his Restoration album featuring 6 brand new additional songs. Most of the artists featured on Restoration: The Deluxe Album are all signed to Reach Records including Andy Mineo, Hulvey, Wande, WHATUPRG, and 1K PhewTy Brasel and Rapsody are also featured on the deluxe edition.

Below are the additional songs on Restoration: The Deluxe Album:

  • “Come Thru Jesus”
  • “10 Toes”
  • “Rich and Famous” (feat. WHATUPRG, Ty Brasel)
  • “Deep End Remix” (feat. Rapsody)
  • “I Am Restored Remix” (feat. Hulvey, Wande, 1K Phew)
  • “Celebrate More (feat. Andy Mineo, Hulvey)

The original Restoration album released on Reach Records featured artists across all genres including John Legend, Kirk Franklin, YK Osiris, Jozzy, Dani Leigh, Marc E. Bassy, BJ The Chicago Kid and more. Lecrae has released 6 singles and videos from Restoration so far.

Gospel Artists Make Joyful Noise After Bout with Coronavirus

Gospel recording artist Shontelle Norman-Beatty is blessed with phenomenal talent. The new DARE Records artist shows off her vocals on her first single, a contemporary spin on the classic “Jesus Will Fix It (Trouble in My Way),” available on digital and streaming platforms including Apple MusicSpotifyAmazon MusicPandora, and Tidal on Friday, November 20, 2020 (to listen to the single, click here). Released during the country’s unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, Shontelle Norman-Beatty has also survived her bout with the devastating COVID-19 virus.

Though she had no temperature or fatigue, Shontelle got tested that afternoon. She recalls, “The doctor said, ‘Well, Mrs. Norman-Beatty, you’re positive.’ And I said, ‘Okay.’ He said, ‘Do you have any questions for me? Because there’s no cure for this.  All we can do is send you home, and all we can do is tell you that if it gets worse, go to the hospital. That’s it.’ I was shocked … When I went to bed on Sunday night, I felt fine. But on that Monday morning, when I woke up, I couldn’t move. I was hurting from my neck to my feet.” Shontelle says she spent the next five days quarantined in a bedroom, battling debilitating fatigue. Complicating her situation was that her husband, a pastor, and one of her sons also began to experience symptoms. She believes her recovery is due to forcing herself to get up from her bed and walk outside, taking vitamins, and heeding a friend’s advice to drink not only tea but hot toddies to sweat out the virus. And, of course, prayer. “I’m thankful that my experience was what it was, and it wasn’t detrimental, and my husband is not planning a funeral,” says Shontelle with signature humor. “I’m thanking God for that. This whole experience, for my husband and myself, has been eye-opening. Everybody needs to be proactive versus reactive. What I mean by that is, go ahead and start taking the vitamins, eating healthy, and getting exercise before you get it.”

Jarrrell Smalls was diagnosed with the Coronavirus and after coming through, he’s back with a message, “We Need Your Power” You’ve heard the song put to viral videos of Muslim men doing a traditional dance, but Smalls makes it clear who he’s talking about in his own concept video for the song. Smalls told his story to The Post And Courier and has confessed that his new ministry is to tell others about the severity of the Coronavirus. Smalls and his group made a splash with the infectious “Prayer Room” that has taken over every stage the groups has ever performed it on. We’re glad Jarrell Smalls is doing better and even more excited about new music coming from the rising quartet gospel star.

Meet Venus Opal Reese, the Hot Mess Millionaire

The pilot of Dr. Venus Opal Reese’s docuseries, Hot Mess Millionaire, has accumulated over two million streams and counting in less than six months with tons of five-star reviews on Amazon Prime. However, when Dr. Venus submitted the entire series to Amazon, it was turned down.

The Hot Mess Millionaire series is based on the life of Dr. Venus Opal Reese. She reveals the “raw and uncut” reality of what it truly takes to be “self-made” – from being homeless on the “mean streets” of Baltimore, MD, to graduating from Stanford University with a Ph.D., to becoming a Black woman millionaire.

A mansion. Luxury cars. World travel. Multimillion-dollar home-based business. Happy marriage. Bestselling author. Dr. Venus had made it “out” and was living the American Dream. But when the trauma from living on the streets finally caught up with her, the Cinderella life she had created became a soul-crushing nightmare.

The pain of being rejected by Amazon

“I was devastated,” says Dr. Venus. “For all their talk about making room at the table for women and people of color, it appears those seats are reserved for superstars, not up and coming writers/producers. Make no mistake: I’m extremely grateful they streamed my pilot. They didn’t have to.”

She continues, “It has exposed me to people who would never have known of my work. I had awesome reviews and there was a hunger for a Black woman speaking truth on their platform. I was so certain they would want the rest of the series since they had greenlit the pilot.”

But when Amazon said no, Dr. Venus said yes!

Instead of giving up, Dr. Venus has decided to self-produce the series on her YouTube channel and share it with her tribe on social media. She comments, “We as Black women often can’t wait for a seat at the table. Most times, we must build our own table.”

The eight-episode series began airing on Thursday, Oct 22, 2020, at 4pm PST on YouTube. For exclusive access, “1st Look Screening” of each episode and business Q&A with Dr. Venus, be sure to join the Hot Mess Millionaire Facebook Community.

I’m committed to empowering Black Women to have our own, so we don’t have to wait to be chosen,” Dr. Venus says.

Grammy-Award Winning Musician, Ne-Yo, Legendary Announcer, Michael Buffer and More A-List Talent Round Out Program for Mike Tyson’s Return to the Ring Against Roy Jones Jr. on November 28th

Viral entertainment platform, Triller announced today that Grammy-Award winning singer songwriter, actor, producer Ne-Yo will be performing the National Anthem before Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. enter the ring at next week’s highly anticipated event. Michael Buffer, who’s distinct announcing style has deemed him a cultural icon, is confirmed to announce the main event of Tyson vs. Jones, and UFC Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya will commentate the fight alongside Boxing Hall of Famer and Olympic Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard and sportscaster, Al Bernstein. Jim Gray is slated to host the pre- and post-fight interviews, while Barrie Eget will announce the undercard fights and sports anchor, Ernesto Amador will serve as the primary Spanish commentator. The fight can be ordered on Pay-Per-View through cable and satellite providers and is also available on PPV streaming at www.tysonontriller.com. The event is $49.99.

Opening for a fight of this magnitude is an honor and I can’t wait to witness one of the most noteworthy nights of the decade. I may be performing, but I am a fan at the end of the day and I look forward to witnessing this once in a lifetime lineup,” says Ne-Yo.

Famed ring announcer, Michael Buffer has signed on to announce the historic return of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. Known for his iconic voice and announcing style, the sports world will welcome Buffer back to the ring as he announces another renowned event. During his illustrious career, Buffer has lent his voice to MC some of the biggest sporting events of his lifetime including the MLB World Series, the Stanley World Cup Finals, and the NBA Finals. 

Commentating the unforgettable program is a unique lineup of industry megastars whose event narration will only add another layer of notoriety to the night. Undefeated UFC Middleweight Champion and one of MMA’s Pound-for-Pound Best, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya will join Boxing Hall of Famer and Olympic Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard as they commentate alongside legendary boxing play-by-play analyst, Al Bernstein.

It’s surreal that I’m actually given the opportunity to witness these two LIVING LEGENDS compete ringside! I grew up watching these two boxing icons in the ring and am honored to be on the sidelines commentating on one of the greatest comeback fights of all time,” said Israel Adesanya.

I’ve never seen a night with so many iconic names on the program. This matchup is something I thought I’d only see in my dreams, but here we are,” says Sugar Ray Leonard.

Hosted by Mario Lopez, the highly-anticipated return of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. headlines the four-hour live event that will air globally on November 28th at 8pm ET, with the three-hour main card beginning at 9:00pm ET on Pay-Per-View through cable and satellite providers and PPV streaming onwww.TysonOnTriller.com.

The PPV fight card includes Tyson vs. Jones Jr.Jake Paul vs. Nate RobinsonBadou Jack vs. Blake McKernan, and Viddal Riley vs. Rashad Coulter. The memorable night will also include multi-song performances by DaBabyLil Wayne, French MontanaWiz Khalifa, and YG.

It is the first live sporting event produced under Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League, a next-generation sports venture that gives audiences the opportunity to see their favorite sports legends in action. Producers include: Mike Tyson, Sophie Watts, Johnny Ryan Jr., Azim Spicer, Kiki Tyson, Jimmy Burchfield Jr., Ryan Kavanaugh, Bobby Sarnevesht and Nakisa Bidarian.

Pepsi and iHeartRadio Unite Four Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Marching Bands for One Epic Virtual Showcase

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB305e6fpcA&feature=emb_logo

This year’s HBCU homecoming season was unlike anything ever before, but students, faculty and alumni still came together to celebrate virtually across the country. To honor the spirit and camaraderie of the HBCU community, Pepsi, in partnership with “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio,” is bringing together the exceptional marching bands from Florida A&M, Hampton University, Prairie View A&M and North Carolina A&T – some of whom are traditionally rivals – to create a unified virtual musical event.  “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is voiced by award-winning entertainer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and current HBCU student Megan Thee Stallion, and media mogul and cultural architect Charlamagne tha God, and serves as a reminder of the longstanding fall traditions among HBCUs, which typically bring communities around the country together for an unmatched celebration at the intersection of culture, community, music and football.

Pepsi – a brand with a rich history in music, sports and entertainment – worked collaboratively with iHeartMedia and the four HBCU band directors and their marching bands to curate a first-of-its-kind, tour-de-force virtual performance featuring a cross-generational arrangement of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Move on Up” and Megan Thee Stallion’s chart-topping hit “Savage.”

It is such an honor to be part of bringing the spirit and energy of HBCU homecoming performances to life for the students and alumni that won’t be able to see it in person this year,” said Megan Thee Stallion. “HBCUs foster an incredible musical culture – one that helped me develop my career – so to be a part of ‘iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience’ and champion that love for music with these bands is truly special.

The virtual experience celebrates a month-long “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio,” which kicked off October 19, as a series of inspiring events designed to shine a light on HBCU pride, Black excellence and student achievement through uplifting, high-energy celebrations across multiple iHeartRadio platforms. The “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is available on Pepsi.com/HBCUexperience and the Pepsi brand’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

“The impact of 2020 has upended a number of events and traditions across the country, including one of the most cherished and anticipated events within the HBCU community – homecoming. We wanted to create something special that gave these marching bands the opportunity to perform for the students, faculty, alumni, friends and families that are not able to celebrate homecoming in person this year.  This virtual performance is a unifying celebration of HBCUs and a chance to show our love, appreciation and support for these incredible music programs that, year after year, bring so much joy to so many around the country.”

Todd Kaplan, Vice President, Marketing, Pepsi

The “iHeartRadio Presents The Pepsi HBCU Marching Band Experience” is part of the Pepsi brand’s ongoing effort to amplify and spotlight Black voices and Black excellence. Pepsi is also committing resources to support HBCU music programs – including refurbished equipment, scholarships, grants and more – to ensure a continuation of the traditions and opportunities are presented to current and future students at HBCUs. This commitment is only one part of PepsiCo’s larger action plan in expanding recruitment efforts with HBCUs and increasing the brand’s partnerships with diverse organizations at these prestigious institutions.

Greenwood closes $3 million seed round to build online banking solution for Blacks and Latinx

Michael “Killer Mike” Render, Ambassador Andrew J. Young and Ryan Glover are founders of Greenwood, the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. Greenwood features best-in-class online banking services and innovative ways of giving back to Black and Latinx causes and businesses. Contact: media@bankgreenwood.com (PRNewsfoto/Greenwood Financial)

Greenwood has secured $3 million in seed funding from private investors as the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners.  Greenwood features best-in-class online banking services and innovative ways of giving back to Black and Latinx causes and businesses. 

  • Andrew J. Young, civil rights legend, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and former Mayor of Atlanta
  • Michael Render, aka Killer Mike, rapper and activist in Black financial empowerment
  • Ryan Glover, Greenwood Chairman and founder of Bounce TV network

“It’s no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latinx community,” said Ryan Glover.  “We needed to create a new financial platform that understands our history and our needs going forward, a banking platform built by us and for us, a platform that helps us build a stronger future for our communities. This is our time to take back control of our lives and our financial future.  That is why we launched Greenwood, modern banking for the culture.” 

“Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community,” said Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render. “Moreover, a Black person is twice as likely as a white person to be denied a mortgage. This lack of fairness in the financial system is why we created Greenwood.”

Greenwood’s executive leadership includes:

  • Aparicio Giddins, President & Chief Technology Officer (previously of Bank of America and TD Bank)
  • David Tapscott, Chief Marketing Officer (previously of Green Dot and Combs Enterprises)
  • Andrew “Bo” Young, III, Board Member (managing partner, Andrew Young Investment Group)
  • Dr. Paul Judge, Board Member (co-founder of Pindrop and TechSquare Labs) 

Product

Greenwood’s initial products are savings and spending accounts that come with a stunningly designed black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year.  Advanced features like Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations are offered with no hidden fees. Customers who invite their friends to open accounts receive cash awards as a thank you from Greenwood. All deposits are FDIC insured by a partner bank.

Additionally, Greenwood plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen historically black banks.

“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Ambassador Andrew Young. “We have the skills, talent and energy to compete anywhere in the world, but to grow the economy, it has to be based on the spirit of the universe and not the greed of the universe. Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.”

Greenwood Gives Back

Greenwood has three key avenues to support Black and Latinx causes and businesses:

  • For every customer sign-up, Greenwood will provide five free meals to a family in need.
  • Every swipe of a Greenwood debit card will prompt a donation to UNCF for education, Goodr to feed the hungry, or NAACP to support civil rights.
  • And every month, Greenwood will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that is a Greenwood customer.

History of the name “Greenwood”

The Greenwood name pays homage to the prosperous “Black Wall Street,” part of the  Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 20th Century — a center of African American enterprise, entertainment, skills, wealth and investment capital.   Though it was destroyed by white mobs in 1921, the Greenwood District remains an enduring symbol of the economic potential of community solidarity. The new Greenwood neobank takes inspiration from the entrepreneurial and empowering spirit of the Greenwood District where a dollar typically circulated 36 times – and for up to a year — within the Black community. The new Greenwood also is proud to be a backer of the contemporary Greenwood Culture Center in Oklahoma.  

To sign up for a Greenwood account, visit www.bankgreenwood.com.

Jesse Williams invests in Greenwood, the banking platform for Black and Latinx communities

Actor, director, producer, and community activist Jesse Williams (left) joins Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover as an investor in Greenwood, a new digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. Greenwood features best-in-class online banking services and innovative ways of giving back to Black and Latinx causes and businesses. Contact: media@bankgreenwood.com

Actor, director, producer, and community activist Jesse Williams has become an investor in Greenwood, a new digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. While Williams is known by many for his role on the long-running ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy,” he also has been an activist for humanitarian and racial justice causes.  Williams won the BET Humanitarian Award in 2016 and an NAACP Image Award in 2019. He is involved with multiple organizations focused on racial justice.

“I’m excited to join the Greenwood team and work to advance economic prosperity for people of color. The time has come for Black and Latinx communities in America to strengthen our economic condition and influence. By increasing access to essential banking services and financial education, Greenwood is a key part of that movement.”

Jesse Williams

Greenwood and Williams have produced a series of videos about the financial empowerment movement. The first spot, titled “You Ready,” available at www.bankgreenwood.com/you-ready, posts to Greenwood’s social media channels today. All the videos were produced, directed and staffed by a nearly all-Black cast and crew and feature a number of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and Black- and Latinx-owned businesses. In addition, the videos were executive produced by Ri-Karlo Handy, who has become a vocal advocate for Black equity in Hollywood. The spots were scored by noted artist, songwriter and producer Johnta Austin. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHgKmi290nI&feature=emb_logo
Join The Legendary Clark Sisters’ for a Virtual Concert

Join The Legendary Clark Sisters’ for a Virtual Concert

Tickets are now available for The Clark Sisters Live Virtual Experience presented by Karew Entertainment. The concert will air Sunday, August 30th at 7pm EST on Facebook Live. This is the first ever virtual concert for the 3x Grammy Award-winning group, and felt it is important to bring joy  to their fanbase. With a global pandemic and civil unrest impacting millions in ways unimaginable, this virtual concert experience is a positive reminder of God’s love in the mist of chaos. 

With surprise guest appearances, exclusive rehearsal footage and virtual meet and greet options, enjoy a night with The Clark Sisters.  

Ticket Prices
General Admission: $12.99
VIP Admission: $19.99

To purchase virtual tickets, visit TheClarkSistersVirtualExperience.com

“The Clark Sisters Live Virtual Experience” concert memorabilia is now available for pre-order on karewapparel.com.  The concert will air Sunday, August 30th at 7pm EST on Facebook Live. This is the first ever virtual concert for the 3x Grammy Award-winning group, and supporters will be able to cherish this historic moment forever with the new apparel.
 

Apparel choices:

  1. Baseball cap (white or black) with caption “The Clark Sisters Live Virtual Experience” – $30.00
  2. T-Shirt (white or black) with The Clark Sisters’ greatest hits written on them – $30.00

To pre-order merchandise, visit KarewApparel.com
 

The Clarks Sisters Nominated for “Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song” for “Victory” at the 51st NAACP Image Awards

The Clarks Sisters Nominated for “Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song” for “Victory” at the 51st NAACP Image Awards

It has been announced that 2x Grammy Award-winning group The Clark Sisters, have been nominated for “Outstanding Gospel/Traditional Song (Traditional or Contemporary)” at the 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards! This is the first NAACP Image Award nomination for the group in their 40+ years of music. “Victory” is the first single from the groups upcoming album to be released on Karew Entertaintment/Motown Gospel.

“It is very exciting news to hear that “Victory” has been nominated for a NAACP Image Award. Here at Karew we are are truly humbled by this honor and as a team, we are excited to hear that this song is being a blessing. Congratulations Clark Sisters!”

J. Drew Sheard, President and CEO of Karew Entertainment

The 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards will air live from Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

This monumental nomination is the latest from the sanctified sisters who have influenced generations of singers and musicians. Not exactly sure who The Clark Sisters are? Read more about them, below!

Born and raised in Detroit, MI., The Clark Sisters are a legendary and iconic Gospel music group comprised of sisters Jacky Clark Chisholm, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark Terrell, Dorinda Clark Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard. The daughters of renowned Gospel musician and choral director, Mattie Moss Clark, they have been singing and performing together since 1966. The recipients of numerous notable awards and honors, including 2 GRAMMY Awards, The Clark Sisters have produced 20 albums to date. Revered by numerous Pop and R&B artists such as Mariah Carey, Jill Scott, Beyoncé, and Xscape,

The Clark Sisters were honored at the 2016 Essence Music Festival for their musical contributions with remarks from Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Kierra Sheard and Yolanda Adams. Their vocals were most recently featured on the latest projects by Hip-Hop artists Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg.  

Credited for helping to bring gospel music to the mainstream, The Clark Sisters are considered pioneers of contemporary Gospel music. Some of their crossover hits include “Is My Living In Vain?,” “Hallelujah,” “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose,” “Endow Me,” “Jesus Is A Love Song,” “Pure Gold,” “Expect A Miracle,” and “You Brought The Sunshine,” their largest mainstream crossover; which was often played on Urban/R&B radio formats and in club venues.

The Clark Sisters are the highest-selling female Gospel group in history with millions of record sales to their credit. Their biopic, executive produced by Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, and Queen Latifah will broadcast premiere nationally on Lifetime Networks Easter 2020.

SOURCE:
The David Brand

Why Is the Gospel Music Industry Afraid of Snoop Dogg?

Why Is the Gospel Music Industry Afraid of Snoop Dogg?

He’s been a Dogg, a Lion and to some in the Christian community, a big bad wolf. A wolf in Snoop Dogg‘s clothing…a pied piper, even has encroached the sacred space of gospel music. He has long been an outsider, but no stranger, at all! His mother is a minister and he promised his grandmother that he would make a gospel album which brings us to where we are, today. His album currently sits atop the charts, and almost immediately after its March 16th release, “Snoop Dogg Presents Bible of Love” shot to the top of the gospel music charts, rivaled only by Jonathan McReynolds’ “Make Room” and rightfully so. The musicality matches a budget that seemingly spared no expense. The rapper’s use of household names in gospel music isn’t what makes the project special, it actually sounds good and is put together well.

After much consideration, I too agree that Snoop Dogg’s entry into the gospel music marketplace, should actually be welcomed. Initially, I too sought to keep Snoop out, but some things deserve more consideration than others. I wasn’t alone in my derision of the rapper and his album and this irrational fear nearly kept me from experiencing a musical marvel and modern-day marketing masterpiece. For starters, as Maeve McDermott of USA Today put it, Snoop Dogg’s role on the album is actually more of “curator” and not necessarily featured artist (alas “Snoop Dogg Presents…”, only guesting on a few of the double cd’s 32 tracks.

Snoop Dogg debuted his new sound at the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration

Some things only a fool would debate. However, music production, song choice and even song writing are not up for debate on “Snoop Dogg Presents: Bible of Love”. You can debate a number of things pertaining to this project, but those three elements are beyond debate. What is debatable and open to interpretation is Snoop’s cold-turkey conversion. Suffice it to be said that many inside the gospel and secular music industry are skeptical, when considering Snoop Dogg as a believer.

Many who have been in his presence as of late recount a different, calmer side to the rapper whose last album was an effort to “Make America Crip Again”. What are the odds that on the heels of an offering like that, Snoop Dogg has answered the call to make gospel music, without fanfare…without a Lebron James-like announcement that he’s taking his talents to church? It’s not uncommon for country and pop artists to turn to their roots. It regularly happens and Reba McEntire is the latest to enjoy critical acclaim for her religious project, winning Dove and Grammy Awards for her “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope” album. Jazz giant John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” has been known to elicit varying stages of spirituality for listeners and remains an open-ended ode to spirituality in general, though Coltrane only referenced God and not other deities.

In Mark 5:1-20, the bible tells us of a demoniac who was uncontrollable, naked, hurt himself, lived in the graveyard and had to be bound by chains until he met Jesus! As was the case with most people, Jesus changed his life and he was never the same! The bible records that when people saw him- that he was clothed and his right mind, they were afraid (Mark 5:15). Yes, they were afraid, so afraid that they ran Jesus out of town (v17). The man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay and instead go tell everybody what he had done for him (vv19-20).

The former demoniac was on his own to tell everyone not only about his deliverance, but to convince them that it was not fake news! In my opinion, this is where Snoop Dogg finds himself now that his album has been released! While detractors remain, only time will tell exactly what impact this work has had on his life. Some in the Christian community believe and are rejoicing, some are apprehensive with a ‘wait and see’ attitude, and other are still protesting everything about the album and his persona.

It comes as no surprise that some of Snoop ‘s hip hop fans feel betrayed and alienated. They have been as critical as the gospel community, labeling him a sellout, a traitor and much worse. The gospel community isn’t alone in its cynicism, the Rastafarian response to the rapper’s short-lived time as “Snoop Lion” was also hotly derided. Perhaps they are more discerning that Christians, or maybe a confession of Christ is easier than ascribing to the Rasta principles. Rastafarians were much harsher on the rapper and much bolder in their rejection of his Rasta rhymes and reasoning. There was trouble before the album and documentary hit shelves and the screen. Bunny Wailer and even the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council lobbied some hefty allegations against the rapper who they felt used their religion and lifestyle only for commercial gain.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to hate Snoop Dogg! His 25 plus years in music have endeared him as one you either love or love to hate. Christian rejection to the album has been re-branded as unloving to the unlovable. Snoop Dogg hasn’t done much talking about the album, but did speak about directly to cynics in a recorded clip during this year’s Stellar Gospel Music Awards saying: “…if you finding (sic) somebody trying to find their way back home, the natural thing to do is to be welcoming, open your arms and say brother we accept you for who you are…” In the same clip, Snoop speaks directly to the critics and cynics showing that the conversion may not have been as sudden as we assumed! That’s the beauty of following Christ; we are all a work in progress (Philippians 1:6), it’s the touch of the Master’s hand however that makes the ultimate difference!

Snoop Dogg as a Christian is a frightful idea. I think many fear for Snoop, who will be forced to leave behind gangsta-rap, marijuana and pornography enterprises and think this turn toward a pure life will be short lived. Some fear that this may only a pit stop and that Snoop Dogg’s success will prop the door open for other ‘one and done’ gospel experiments. It’s my opinion that the fear goes deeper than that: many are hoping against the success of the album out of fear that in some weird way that he will be successful in his efforts to open the door to those the church has been patently unsuccessful reaching.

The bible makes clear what we are to do with fear…love! “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18)

Love is powerful…the Apostle Paul said that love “seeketh not her own” (I Corinthians 13:5) meaning that love doesn’t seek to have its own way. In this context, this means that churches, gospel music artists and fans can’t clamor for the expansion of the Kingdom to be only one-sided, achieved by one method or one group. For those “Snoop Dogg Presents Bible of Love” will send to church and to other gospel music artists and their ministries, shouldn’t we be ready to with open arms, embrace them and lead them to Christ, the greatest love of all?

Why Is the Gospel Music Industry Afraid of Snoop Dogg?

Iconic Artist And Entertainer Snoop Dogg To Release New Album “Bible of Love” On March 16th

First Release From Snoop’s Gospel Label All The Time Entertainment Available for Pre-Order Now

Snoop will Debuted Music From Bible of Love on the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, LIVE in Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Bible of Love’s First Video for “Words Are Few” Out Now

RCA Inspiration, in association with All The Time Entertainment, announced the release of Bible of Love on March 16, 2018Bible of Love is the 16thalbum and firstever gospel project from legendary, award-winning artist and icon, Snoop Dogg, whose career spans more than 25 years. The album is also the first release from All The Time Entertainment, a label which Snoop launched to provide more opportunities for gospel music artists.

Bible of Love, which is available for pre-order now, features Snoop and individual performances from a diverse array of acclaimed artists spanning multiple generations. Snoop feels there is a need for people to be unified more now than ever and he and co-executive producer, Lonny Bereal, handpicked some of Snoop’s personal favorites from gospel and R&B including, B. SladeFaith EvansRance AllenThe Clark Sisters and Tye Tribbett (more guest artists to be announced). He has always been inspired by gospel music and created this double disc, 32-track collection to both showcase the genre and bring people together.

Five songs, “Blessing Me Again” (featuring Rance Allen), “Blessed & Highly Favored Remix” (featuring The Clark Sisters), “Words Are Few” (featuring B. Slade), “Saved” (featuring Faith Evans and 3rdGeneration), and Bible of Love’s first official single, “You,” which features Tribbett, are available to those who pre-order the album now.  Additional tracks and visuals will be released with pre-orders leading up to the album’s release on March 16th.

Where to Watch Music Videos | Vevo Originals

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Snoop credits his late grandmother, Dorothy Tate, with introducing him to gospel music and inspiring him to finally release a gospel project. He says, “I am blessed to have so many legendary friends join me on this journey. As the country is in one of its heaviest times and is so divided, I wanted to make an album that spreads love and unity around the world. That’s what I was taught, so that’s all I know. Real love.”

Pre-order Links:
Amazon: smarturl.it/BOLAmazon
Apple Music: smarturl.it/BOLAM
iTunes: smarturl.it/BOLI

For more information and updates on Bible of Love, visit www.rcainspiration.com and www.snoopdogg.com.

SOURCE:
RCA Inspiration

The SMG Report