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Mel Waiters Gets Street Named After Him

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After over a year of gathering petitions and going through city council, fans, family and city leaders today celebrated the renaming of Rio Grande Street to Mel Waiters Way on the city’s East Side.

Mel Waiters died in 2015 after leading a long and legendary career as a musician on the Southern soul circuit with fan favorites like “Got my Whiskey” and “Hole in the Wall.”

He was born and raised in San Antonio and according to his website appeared with R&B and blues greats such as as Bobby Blue Bland; Bobby Womack; Gladys Knight; Betty Wright; The Manhattans; Clarence Carter; Shirley Murdock; Zapp Band; Evelyn Champaign King; Charlie Wilson; and Babyface.

To learn more about this legend, visit his website at http://www.melwaiterslive.com

 

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New York Public Library Acquires Personal Archive of Harry Belafonte

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The New York Public Library‘s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has announced that it has acquired the personal archive of civil rights activist, entertainer, and producer Harry Belafonte.

Acquired with support from the Andrew W. MellonFord, and Open Society foundations, Danny and Manizeh Rimer, and the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, the collection includes four hundred linear feet of audiovisual materials, personal and professional papers, television scripts, and photo albums chronicling the entertainer’s life, activism, and career, from 1949 to the present. Highlights of the collection include Belafonte’s first recording, a 1949 acetate pressing that contains “Lean On Me”; scrapbooks of his press coverage from the 1940s, including performances in the Schomburg Center’s American Negro Theatre; papers and notes documenting his efforts in support of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr., including the 1963 March on Washington; scripts of movies produced by and starring Belafonte; and cue cards with the lyrics of “We Are the World,” the signature celebrity charity effort of the 1980s, which Belafonte inspired and produced. Processing of the collection will be expedited, and items will be available to researchers in approximately fifteen months.

Belafonte has a longtime connection to the Schomburg Center and the New York Public Library, which in 2017 named its 115th Street branch after him.

“It is with great honor that I can announce Harry Belafonte’s return home to Harlem,” said Schomburg Center director Kevin Young. “This collection testifies to Belafonte’s unprecedented, over seventy-year public journey across black life and American life as a whole, starting with his time in the American Negro Theatre, which began in the basement of the Schomburg Center….Belafonte’s range is on view in this previously unseen material, from musician to movie producer, actor, to activist. His massive collection of clippings, music, and letters provides a great source to educate people of all ages about the importance of black life and its cultural contributions to American history — from the U.S. civil rights movement, the global human rights struggle, popular music, the history of African-American theater, television, and cinema, and American entertainment. As the New York Public Library celebrates its one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary and the Schomburg Center marks its ninety-fifth, the addition of Belafonte’s materials will help to continue the enrichment and education of the community for generations to come.”

“The Schomburg library in Harlem is one of the greatest gifts our city has bestowed on our community,” said Belafonte, who recently celebrated his ninety-third birthday. “It is deeply moving that this destination so critical to my life and well-being, from the days of my youth until now, should be the repository for much of my life’s work. I am honored.”

Schomburg Center Acquires American Icon Harry Belafonte’s Extensive Personal Archive.” New York Public Library Press Release 03/13/2020.

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“Lovely Day” Legend Dead at 81

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You may not have know him personally, but his classic hits like “Lean On Me, “Lovely Day,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just the Two of Us,” and “Grandma’s Hands” have spanned generations and are still played heavy in rotation today. It is with sadness the world learned that the legendary soul artist Bill Withers passed away at the age 81. According to reports he died on March 30th due to heart complications. His death was confirmed by his family on the singer’s webpage (billwithers.com/news/bill-withers-music-belongs-forever-to-the-world/ noting the following:

We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones. We know his legacy will live in our hearts and in yours for generations to come.

We will miss his sharp wit, playful sense of humor, and no-nonsense way of turning a phrase as no one else could. He was a deeply proud man, full of integrity and principle, and we as his family are immensely proud of him for sharing his musical and lyrical gifts so elegantly and generously with the world. A master of writing love songs, he loved music, cherished and protected his family, and our love for him is immeasurable. 

With Love,

The Withers Family

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New Season New Celebrity Spotlights

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SEASON 3 OF TV ONE’S HIT SERIES UNCENSORED RETURNS WITH ALL NEW EPISODES EXPLORING THE PERSONAL LIVES OF CELEBRITIES ON SUNDAY, APRIL 26 AT 10 P.M./9C
New Season to Spotlight Larenz Tate, Tyrese, Eve,Yandy Smith-Harris and Omari Hardwic
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TV One’s original auto-biographical series UNCENSORED resumes for its third season with premiere episodes debuting on Sunday, April 26 at 10 p.m. ET/9C. The edgy docu-series explores the private lives of some of today’s most notable personalities including actor Larenz Tate, singer/actor Tyrese, rapper/TV personality Eve, producer/TV personality Yandy Smith-Harris and actor Omari Hardwick. 

“We’re excited for the return and talent line-up for this season of Uncensored, which is one of the network’s top-rated series,” said Executive Producer in Charge of Production Jason Ryan. “Viewers will get to experience the intimate revelations of some of their favorite celebrities.” 

The auto-biographical series delves into the lives of luminaries as they reveal secrets to their success, obstacles they faced and how they’ve navigated the perils of social media that helped but sometimes haunted their careers. Viewers will get a glimpse into the lives of celebrities as they personally reveal their own stories, in their own words.

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