Chance the Rapper

fiWVBWhThere’s a new rapper in town. His name is Chance and he recently released his 3rd mix tape, Coloring Book. The album is critically acclaimed (NYTimes) and is breaking all sorts of records. Before you get your hopes up, you need Apple Music to stream the album. #sorry Chance the Rapper is label-less and refuses to sell his music. Yet, his album is the First Streaming-Exclusive Album to Chart on Billboard 200 (Billboard).

Here are a few noteworthy quotes from Chance:

  • On Record Labels and the Industry: “I don’t agree with the way labels are set up…that anybody should sign 360 deals or sign away their publishing or take most of the infrastructure that’s included in a formal deal. But I’ve learned to not be like f–k this company, f–k that company, even though a lot of those people tried to make it really hard for me to release my projects.”
  • On His Decision to Not Sell His Records and the Grammys: “I think a big part of it is we are at such a crucial time in terms of music. The charts are already changing, they’re including streaming…I don’t really care about that but at least they’re making that move and I think the Grammys started making the move…The wording is they can’t nominate a project unless it’s a commercial release.”

Screen-Shot-2016-05-23-at-23.58.221Chance bypassed the record labels. He skipped the middle man and went directly to a distributor, Apple Music. Finally some depth in music! Finally someone who is free to do music their way and stick it to the people. Quiet as it’s kept I’m sick of Beyonce and Drake and Rihanna and … I’m sure you can name a few others. I can do without all of their latest albums. They’ve had great runs (and thank you very much); but I’m over it. Time for some fresh blood!

Now, back to Chance. If you like Kanye’s Ultralight Beam (video here) you will love Coloring Book (Apple Music). It’s almost like a continuation of that gospel track. The best way to proceed is for you to take a listen. I picked 2 free options for you: one is a performance on Saturday Night Live (YouTube), the other is an interview with Beats1′ Zane Low (YouTube). Get to know Chance, he’ll be around for a very long time.

By the way: I just switched to Apple Music but not because of Chance. More on that later.

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September 2015 – the month of the Black Woman

I’m calling September 2015 the month of the black woman. Incredible things have happened. Not just in terms of what black women have accomplished – that has been happening for many years – but in terms of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by the media. This is a hot topic that has been talked about in The Huffington Post, The New York Times and others news/media outlets. I’m summarizing a few of the awesome news stories / articles you can read up on at your leisure, complete with pictures, videos and tweets from social media.

  • The Emmy’s: How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis became the the first African-American to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Viola is amazing and her speech was perfect – she came out rocking her natural hair and did not shy away from the significance of the moment, quoting Harriet Tubman. Also, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba won Best Supporting Actress Drama category and American Crime‘s Regina King as Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie — a record for diversity in the top categories. (Deadspin).
  • TV and Advertising: Shonda Rimes had an amazing spotlight in Essence magazine, called ShondaLand, featuring her hit shows on ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. You should definitely buy this issue – all the covers are fabulous. It was also just announced that the hit show Empire on Fox, produce by Lee Daniels, starring Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson, is getting Getting Half a Million Dollars for 30 Seconds of Ad Time – that’s as much as it costs in some top-tier NFL programming. #score
  • Movies. The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathanwon the box office its opening weekend with a gross of nearly $26 million.
  • Magazine Covers: We’re talking majors here. Vogue (Beyonce), New York (Serena Williams), Self (Kerry Washington), Essence (Misty Copeland), i-D (Willow), Dazed (Amandla Stenberg), Shape (Ciara), Variety (Queen Latifah) – all in the month of September. This is definitely first. Buy one or all of them. Check out Black Enterprise for more great shots. When black women are on the cover of major magazines, we should support it with our dollars by purchasing a copy of the magazine.
  • Music: Last night during The Emmy’s, Apple released a new ad featuring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson promoting Apple Music. You can watch it here. Beyonce also headlined Jay Z’s Made In America fest in Philadelphia and brought the house down! #wishiwasthere You can watch her full performance here.
  • Sports: Serena Williams is #1 tennis player in the world. She is also the first person since Stephie Graff (1988) to play for a chance to complete a Calendar year Grand Slam. She also launched a new campaign with Chase. (This is a happy post so I won’t talk about her pay discrepancy or endorsement deals, you can read more about that in The Atlantic).
  • Politics. Loretta Lynch was recently photographed for Vogue Magazine and recently spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus (transcript here). She has an even more magnificent spread in the October issue of Essence. President Obama also paid homage to Amelia Boynton Robinson who died last month at age 104 and other female civil rights leaders. “Even if they weren’t allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day, doing the work that no one else wanted to do.” At this conference Essence and BWR also release the results from its survey, “The Power of the Sister Vote.” The results are not alarming. #wevote Read the results here.
  • Fashion and Beauty. Janelle Monae is the Face of COVERGIRL’s Star Wars Collaboration and Samira Wiley will hit the runway for Christian Siriano.

The very essence of this post alone shows that the country is showing the positive faces of many Black Americans in an array of fields.The many faces of Black American Women. And I’m almost sure I missed something we should feel good about. These features should make us  all proud, they certainly make me smile. And while our individual efforts may not be showcased to the general public, the question I have for you is, “What are you doing to continue to display and embody these positive messages and themes?” #BeTheChange #readAnything

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity,” Viola Davis



click image to watch the video
click image to watch the video