Byron Allen, the comedian and onetime TV host who’s building a broad-based entertainment empire, is now one of the backers behind the biggest deal in sports media in years. Read more from Bloomberg.
Music industry legend Clarence Avant is the focus of the forthcoming Netflix documentary The Black Godfather. Produced by Avant’s daughter Nicole Avant and directed by Reggie Hudlin, the feature-length documentary will premiere June 7.
The documentary’s title is derived from Avant’s longtime—and well-deserved—nickname: the “Godfather of Black Music.” During a multi-faceted career that dates back to the racially charged ‘60s, Avant defied convention and perception by parlaying his natural talent as a powerhouse negotiator into successful tenures as an artist manager, label executive, radio broadcaster, music publisher and ongoing social activist/philanthropist.
In addition to mentoring hit-making producers and executives such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Sony/ATV chairman/CEO Jon Platt, Avant has played a key, behind-the-scenes role for a diverse list of celebs, sports figures and dignitaries that includes Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, Muhammad Ali and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
The Black Godfather chronicles Avant’s colorful, barrier-breaking career and enduring legacy through insightful interviews with an industry who’s who. Among those paying tribute are Snoop Dogg, Sean “Diddy” Combs, hit songwriter Diane Warren, Lionel Richie, David Geffen, music/film producer Suzanne de Passe, Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge, actress Cicely Tyson and Jamie Foxx.
Avant received the Industry Icons Award at the 2019 Pre-Grammy Gala in February. He was also presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016.
Deva Mahal was born with the blues in her blood. Becoming the genre-defying artist, powerhouse vocalist and astute songwriter that she is today could only be achieved through living a life rich with pain, joy, loss, love, heartache and experience. A soul as singular as Deva’s can only find voice through an equally unique sound, which she’s forged by growing her blues roots through the fertile soil of modern R&B, indie-pop, soul, rock and gospel.
Listeners will get their first taste of that distinctive approach in October 2017 with the release of Deva’s debut EP from Motéma Music. The full scope of her voice and vision will be revealed in 2018 on Run Deep, her aptly-named first album, produced by Scott Jacoby (Vampire Weekend, José James, Coldplay) along with newcomer Jarrett Wetherell. The title captures not only her estimable musical bloodline but the finely-hewn emotions that course through her songs. Deva plumbs her own emotional depths to explore issues of overcoming adversity, battling one’s own demons and dealing with the pains of love and loss, alongside wry observations on contemporary romance. She breathes vivid life into those songs with a knockout voice that combines pulse-pounding soul with a decidedly modern edge.
Deva (presciently, or perhaps an example of self-fulfilling prophecy, her name is pronounced “Diva” but given a slight twist) is the daughter of blues icon Taj Mahal and Inshirah Mahal, a dancer, artist and educator who Deva refers to as “my rock.” Their support and influence combined with Deva’s inborn passion and soaring talents make her a formidable and inspirational artist. Those remarkable facets come together strikingly on Run Deep, which is composed of ten new songs and a powerful cover of a King/Goffin hit from the 1970s. Deva’s songs are as infectious as they are stirringly personal, placing her powerfully moving voice in the service of raw, vulnerable explorations of resonant emotion.
Her songs draw on a deep well of personal experience, serving as revelations, cautionary tales, and empowerment anthems. “When you are bullied and treated like you don’t belong, or faced with great adversity at a young age,” she says, “you learn ways to cope. Music gave me an outlet to express the pain of those experiences and the strength to challenge racial, physical and gender stereotypes.”
The wider world started to realize Deva’s songwriting talents in 2008, when “Never Let You Go,” a co-write with her father, gained acclaim on the Grammy-nominated album Maestro. She’s also collaborated with a wide-ranging array of artists, including TV on the Radio, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Fat Freddy’s Drop. She’s performed at such renowned festivals as Sonar, Womad, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival
“Every experience in life leaves a mark,” Deva sums up. “Evidence of its existence. Some experiences leave scars, deep grooves inside your very soul that never truly leave you. That is where Run Deep comes from. I never want to wade in the shallow places in life because it’s easier, safer or more comfortable. My music speaks a lot about pain and heartache, but I dive into those feelings, submerge myself in them so I can work through them and get to the other side.”
Check out Deva’s new single “Goddamn” ft. Son Little
At the stroke of 10am Monday, after a weekend of stunting with Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On,” Flinn Broadcasting Corporation flipped former “Pop Gospel” outlet WMSO (1240AM/W281BR) to Memphis Soul 104.1, playing nothing but great soul music from the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s from such classic soul artists as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, The Spinners, Diana Ross, The Jacksons and many, many more.
According to the colorful brochure, “Memphis Soul 104.1 will be targeting a vastly underserved audience for the great memories of true soul of Memphis music.” Memphis Soul 104.1 is also the new local home of The Tom Joyner Morning Show weekdays at 5am.
Memphis Soul 104.1 joins the growing Flinn Memphis family, which also includes Top 40 WHBQ-FM (Q107.5), Sports-Talk WHBQ-AM (560/87.7FM), AC WMPS-AM (Sunny 103.1FM/1210AM), Alternative WIVG (i96) and Rhythmic KXHT (Hot 107.1).
Empire will officially come to an end at Fox next year with its sixth season, the network recently announced. Read more in Vanity Fair.
Grammy Award Winning Super Star
FANTASIA shines with “ENOUGH”
Impacting R&B Radio May 13th & 14th
“Enough is a sonic breath of fresh air…
We’ll hear this song at all the weddings… from now on! Fantasia delivers!”
–Brian Robinson AKA Mr. Incognito PD, WPEG/WBAV-Charlotte
Watch Fantasia’s amazing new video for “Enough”
Contact: Ken Wilson Wilson.Ken@mac.com or Eddie Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lala Anthony will star in 50 Cent’s new Starz series, “Intercepted”. Based off of Alexa Martin’s best-selling novel of the same name, the 39-year-old actress will play the role of Marlee Harper (Anthony), who is the perfect girlfriend to her NFL-star boyfriend whom she’s dated for the last ten years. However, when her relationship unexpectedly ends, she vows to never date an athlete again. Only one problem: Gavin Pope, the new star quarterback in town has Marlee in his sights.
The project is from 50 Cent and his G-Unit Films and Television. It is part of of his overall deal with Starz. Lala will also executive produce.
Rick Party and Sasha the Diva, hosts of Westwood One’s Rick and Sasha traveled to Kansas City this past weekend to participate in two big promotions for Cumulus Urban AC KMJK (Magic 107.3). On Saturday, Rick and Sasha hosted the station’s “Saturday Night Groove Party” at Harrah’s VooDoo Lounge for over 1,000 fans. On Sunday, Rick and Sasha’s exclusive pre-Mother’s Day Brunch at Bayou on the Vine honored Magic 107.3’s Kansas City “Mother of the Year,” Jessica McClellan, the Founder and President of Giving Hope & Help Inc.
Al Payne, PD of Magic 107.3 says, “Rick and Sasha engage every single listener. They connect with fans and take it all the way home like no other morning show that I’ve ever seen before. It’s no wonder they are already approaching the Top 5, up from No. 12, with our core female listener!” That’s the Magic 107.3 crew hanging with Rick and Sasha — pictured, (l-r): Darron Story, Sean Tyler, “Mother of the Year” Jessica McLellan and her husband, Sasha the Diva, D’Juan, Ivani Bing, Rick Party, Al Payne and Gary Bernstein.
Rick and Sasha airs from 6-10am ET/5-9am CT and is currently heard on more than 15 stations nationwide, including KMJK/Kansas City, KMEZ/New Orleans, WDLT/Mobile, WRRX/Pensacola and WLXC/Columbia, SC. The show is available with or without music and is perfect for Urban, Urban AC, Classic Hip Hop/Throwback or Gospel stations. For more info, contact Stuart Greenblatt at 212-419-2946 or email@example.com, or Gary Bernstein at 508-245-1776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a direct challenge to Billboard
, another venerable music industry publication, Rolling Stone
and its parent company, Penske Media Corporation
(PMC) announced the launch of Rolling Stone Charts. Discuss….
The charts, which will publically launch on Monday, May 13, will track the popularity and reach of artists, albums, and songs in the United States. Powered by state-of-the-art music analytics service Alpha Data (formerly Buzz Angle Music), Rolling Stone Charts are customized for specific content verticals, incorporating digital and physical sales, and on-demand streaming activity.
The first launched charts include: 1) Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs — a daily chart that ranks the most consumed songs of the week by audience demand, comprised of on-demand audio video streams, and song sales. 2) Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums — a weekly chart that ranks the most consumed albums of the week by audience demand, comprised of physical and digital album sales, song sales, on-demand audio video streams. 3) Rolling Stone Artist 500 — a weekly chart that ranks the most streamed artists of the week by audience demand, comprised of both on-demand audio video streams. 4) Rolling Stone Trending 25 — a weekly chart that ranks the fastest-growing songs of the week measured by consumption of on-demand audio video streams, physical purchases, digital purchases, and airplay spins (radio). The chart does not measure volume of consumption but rather the highest rates of growth week over week, signaling the songs and artists deserving of attention. 5) Rolling Stone Breakthrough 25 — a weekly chart that ranks the artists who have charted for the first time, measured by audience demand, including both on-demand audio video streams.
“PMC’s strategy is to constantly evolve our brands and products across media platforms,” said Jay Penske, Founder, Chairman and CEO of PMC. “What’s imperative and exciting about our new Rolling Stone Charts is that it will present a transparent, granular and real-time quantification to accurately reflect listeners’ evolving interests and give insight into worldwide trends.”
Following Russell Wilson’s benchmark $140 million contract extension which made him the world’s highest paid football player, and Ciara establishing her own record label, Beauty Marks Entertainment– the power couple are now starting a joint venture in the form of their own media production company.
The couple has announced the formation of Why Not You Productions with the goal of creating film, television, and digital content– both scripted and unscripted that tells “inspiring and aspiring narratives and human- interest stories”, said the couple in a press statement.
“While we work in different fields in our day-to-day, we are excited to come together to collaborate and create stories that we hope will touch people’s lives. We are both storytellers at heart and we want to be able to share stories that uplift people and inspire others to create positive change. That’s ultimately what we want this company to represent,” they went on to say.
“When people look at me, I hope they don’t just see a football player. I hope they see a person who is innovative and creative, someone who builds something from nothing,” Wilson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We want to be able to impact lives. That’s what we want to do at the end of the day — even from the kids space. We just want to tell stories that connect with the world and to the emotions.”