There's no such thing as too young live your dreams, and 11-year-old Alaya High knows that well. The viral sensation took social media by storm with her lyrical world play, and some big names took notice. Now, she is the youngest female rap artist to sign with a major label.
Alaya, a.k.a. “Lay Lay” signed a record deal with Empire, the Houston native announced Wednesday (Aug. 1), via an Instagram photo from the company’s Atlanta office. In the caption, Lay Lay the record label and her fans, father, and management team. “Look out for my first single ‘Go Lay Lay Go’ ALBUM ON THE WAY!!!” she added.
Empire, a San Francisco-based independent distribution, recording and publishing company, has forged a strong arm in the music game by offering non-traditional contracts to recording artists. “The idea was not to lock people in and get rights from them,” founder Ghazi Shami told Billboard in 2016. ”The approach was, ‘What’s the fastest path to business?’ And if we start to do good things together then naturally those rights will evolve into other revenue streams: publishing, touring and things of that nature.”
The company’s roster includes D.R.A.M., Remy Ma, Tyga, Young Dolph, and the late XXXTentacion.
Alex Trebek, the longtime host of the weekday quiz show Jeopardy, recently announced that he plans to retire from the show when his contract ends. Trebek's departure wouldn't happen until 2020, but he already has a replacement in mind, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates.
Trebek, recently talked with TMZ and mentioned his support for two people to replace him. One person was Alex Faust, the current announcer for the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. The other, the person that has everyone talking, is Laura Coates. Coates is a former prosecutor, who’s a professor at George Washington University, a CNN legal analyst, and a SiriusXM host. She recently tweeted her excitement about being on Trebek's short list.
Coates, the self-professed “edutainer”, is a graduate of University of Minnesota’s law school and a lecturer at George Washington University. She received her undergrad degree from Princeton University and eventually became a federal prosecutor. The Minnesota native also published a book on knowing your privileges when it comes to the law titled “You Have The Right: A Constitutional Guide To Policing The Police.”
Early in 2018, we saw the unimaginable success of the movie The Black Panther. The film wasn't just one featuring a majority black cast with a positive black role model. it was much more. The Black Panther, through the setting of the fictional country of Wakanda, showed the world what black excellence is all about. A strong leader, strong family values, strong and smart women, a focus on education, and a desire to make the world a better place. It is with this in mind that Wakandacon was born.
What is Wakandacon? It is a celebration of black creativity, technology, business, culture, entertainment and more. Wakandacon is something new! It's an inclusive place where you can be a nerd about anything – pop culture, gaming, tech, womanhood, politics, or your own beautiful Blackness.
The creators imagined a place free and unshackled from the ravages of racism; of exploitation; of discrimination; of emotional, physical, and sexual violence. With that in mind, they hope to create a space for people of all types to come together, educate each other, and celebrate all of our passions. It's an event where anyone can dress up, dance, connect, support each other, and celebrate the entire diaspora looking past the present and into our future.
The show kicks off this weekend, going from August 3rd to the 5th. It will take place at the Hilton Downtown Chicago.
Tickets are still available for the weekend festivities. Tickets cost $35 for the weekend. To join the fun, sign up for your passport to Wakanda here.
The creative mind behind the shows black-ish and grown-ish, Kenya Barris, is leaving ABC. Despite having more than two years left on his contract, Barris will be taking his talents to Netflix as the streaming giant continues to acquire major talent for future projects. He will remain executive producer of his hit shows as his co-showrunners take the reins. Barris will be leaving ABC in August.
One reason for Barris' early exit from ABC may stem from already existing controversy between Barris and his former studio over some of the show's story lines. This is especially true of an episode about the current state of the country that the network pulled over “creative differences.”
Barris isn't the first major creator to leave ABC for Netflix. Last year, Shonda Rhimes, the mind behind Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, How To Get Away with Murder among others, announced her departure from ABC to join the land of streaming.
Ving Rhames is a huge movie star. He has starred in all kinds of big time movies from Pulp Fiction to the recently released Mission: Impossible - Fallout. He is even famous for his voice, doing voice-overs for countless video games and of course the Arby's commercials. You would think that with all this fame and notoriety the 59 year old actor could enter his house in a nice neighborhood with having the cops called on him. Sadly that just isn't the case.
Rhames shared a racial profiling experience that falls in the category of “relaxing at home while black.” The actor was asked about dealing with racism during an interview with Sirius XM’s Clay Cane show on Friday (July 27) where he revealed that police held him at gunpoint after a neighbor called 911 to accuse him of breaking into his own home.
Rhames said that the police encounter took place at his house in Santa Monica, Calif. sometime this year. The Mission: Impossible – Fallout star was kicking back in his boxers one afternoon when he heard commotion around the house.
Rhames assumed that the noise came from his puppies running around the backyard, until he heard a knock on the door. “I opened the door [and] it’s a red dot pointed on my face from a 9 mm,” he recalled of the cops storming the house.
“My hands are up and they have me outside, ” said Rhames. “It was a police officer with a 9 mm pointed at me, one officer behind him and two…to the left of me was the captain of police [department], and another officer with a police dog. I get out and [one of the officers] recognized me.”
The officer who recognized Rhames has a son who plays sports with Rhames' son.
After a little investigating, Rhames found out that his neighbor called 911 to report a “large black man” breaking into the house. Not surprisingly, the neighbor denied calling cops when confronted by Rhames and the officers.
Listen to Rhames recount his experience below.
Annually during Labor Day Weekend, the Festival grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park come alive in a simulated African village. Attendees are transported across the Diaspora with interactive engagements, vibrant drumming, museum quality and collectible artifacts, colorful and rich handwoven fabric and textile, and other program spaces.
Interactive spaces include: Drum & Afro-folk Village, Children and Family, African Heritage, African Spirituality, Wellness (Health) Village, Books and Authors, Fine Art, Film and Video, Food Court, Seniors and Quilting, and the African Marketplace.
ENTRANCE TO THE FESTIVAL INCLUDES THE CONCERT
ON SALE NOW
TICKETS OPTIONS - TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE:
GENERAL ADMISSION - (AGES 13-64)
$15 PRE-FESTIVAL PRICE
$20 AT THE GATE
SENIOR - (AGE 65+) $10
CHILD* - (AGES 5 - 12) $5
*Children under 5 are free.
FAMILY PASS - (2 ADULTS AND UP TO 4 CHILDREN UNDER13) $40
WEEKEND PASS - (ONE ADULT ADMISSION FOR ALL 4 DAYS) $40
Chicago Talent is a new Chicago reality show that showcases the lives and endeavors of several Illinois artists and entrepreneurs. It is taking a new angle to the idea of creatives being successful in business. As so many people envision LA or NYC with this subject, we want to make sure that Chicago is represented as well. It will show them at work, at play and even some emotional moments that occur behind the scenes of such hardworking, ambitious talents. What you normally wouldn’t see when browsing their social media, websites or even interviews, you will see on this show.
The series is set to air between 5 and 6 episodes in its premiere season online to an audience of at least 50,000 viewers. The first episode is scheduled to air August 19th via their Facebook episodes platform. Think Jada Pinkett-Smith’s “Red Table Talk” broadcasting set up. The premiere party for the show will be held August 16th downtown Chicago. The first season being their test run, the cast and its producers are taking a leap of faith. It is being produced, edited and filmed by the same team who released The Fresh Faces Project documentary, having gained over 30,000 Facebook views within its first month of release.
The creator of the show and executive producer, Calynn M Lawrence, is a 22-year-old seven time award winning publicist and magazine editor with a specialty in the fashion and entertainment industry. She is using this new platform, Chicago Talent, as an extension of her nonprofit campaign The Fresh Faces Project to continue in her overall career mission of bringing the exposure and promotion that underrated talents deserve. Having invested much of her own personal money into the release of the show, she earnestly hopes that viewers will fall in love with the concept and support the talents she believes in so much.
Like Their Pages!
Follow the Creator On Social Media!
Meet the Cast at The Premiere Celebration!
Every summer, President Barack Obama reveals his list of great summer reads. This year's list was just released on Friday (July 13) and features a heavy helping of African authors.
“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” our former (but forever in our hearts) President wrote on his Facebook page. This is his first time back to Africa since leaving office. “As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.
The recommendations include Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Things Fall Apart by China Achebe, The Return by Hisham Matar, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes. While the last author is not African, Obama says that his memoir was both a “smart” and “compelling” reflection of the world.
Hopefully, his highly-anticipated summer music playlist also makes an appearance into public consciousness soon.
Mary J. Blige is expanding her repertoire and she is doing so with her best friend, Simone I. Smith. Together, they are launching a new jewelry line appropriately named Sister Love.
Blige and Smith, who is also LL Cool J’s wife, released their debut accessory, the “Queen Hoops Earrings,” at the 2018 Essence Festival this past weekend. The earring were a huge hit, selling out rather quickly. There are still a limited amount available for purchase at SisterLoveMJB.com and they retail for $199.
“What made me want to work with Simone is she already created an amazingly successful jewelry line and all the pieces are things that I love, and she also has an amazing fashion sense,” Blige said in a statement. “I wanted to add to that by sharing some of my fashion sense with her and creating some things I dream about and I know other women are dreaming about.”
With Sister Love, Smith and Blige want to spread a message of positivity and empowerment. “We are working together with this collaboration to celebrate our friendship and successes and empower others from our strength of supporting each other.”
Legendary rapper/producer Pharrell Williams is teaming up with Spotify to to shed light on the black historical experience in America. The campaign is titled Black History Is Happening Now and will release content all month along.
“Our influence is everywhere in clothing, music. You know, there would be no rock and roll without us. Like, we’ve been here. Black now is America,” says Pharrell. “Black future in America. Black history in America.”
Watch Pharrell in a Spotify Black History Is Happening Now clip below and more on Spoti.fi/pharrellwilliams via your Spotify app.