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Heart & Soul Music Festival

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On March 21, 2020 at the fabulous Apopka Amphitheatre, actor Christian Keyes will be hosting the Heart & Soul Music Festival, a fundraiser to help children travel to, and experience Africa, with the Kid’s Free Trip to Africa program! Christian Keyes is a long-time actor and is well known for his roles played in Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. He has also held a recurring role in the television shows Let’s Stay TogetherSaints & Sinners, and most recently the well-known soap opera The Young and The Restless.

The Kid’s Free Trip to Africa program was created in collaboration with several non-profits, WMCHN, Inc. and WHPB 98.5 The Wire, which is based in both Florida and Michigan. The Kid’s Free Trip to Africa program took its first group of students to Ghana, Africa in 2017 and have since taken a total of 22 high school students to the continent, free of charge. Through fundraising, the program has been able to pay for the student’s passports, immunizations, airfare, and accommodations. This has indeed been the experience of a lifetime and life changing experience for these young students.

The goal of the Kid’s Free Trip to Africa program is to give students, especially African American students, the opportunity to travel to Africa and obtain valuable knowledge and experience the cultures of their ancestors. In past years, students have been able to meet new friends, experience new food, learn about the history of African slaves, experience life-changing activities, and grow a deeper love and respect for Africa. It is an educational cultural exchange experience that lasts a lifetime.

100% of the proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for the Kid’s Free Trip to Africa Program. The demand has been high for students who are interested in going, in comparison to the funds available to support their trip. The goal of the program is to fund 100% all interested students, the opportunity to experience this trip of a lifetime.

The festival headliner act is Midnight Star, who in the eighties and nineties had hits such as Curious, Wet My Whistle, Slow Jam, and No Parking on the Dance Floor. Also, on the line-up, is the 3 decades hit maker Meli’sa Morgan with hits such as Do Me Baby, Do You Still Love Me?, Back Together Again, and a duet with Kasif called Love Changes. Another female legendary singer in the show is Angela Winbush, who is a songwriter, arranger, and producer, with songs such as Angel, You Don’t Have to Cry, and other top ten R&B hits. The final act is Loose Ends featuring Jane Eugene, who had the hits in the 80’s, Slow Down and Hanging on a String. This will be an amazing show!

The mission of WHPB 98.5 is to serve and educate the urban community about issues that impact their families, their community, and their well-being. The station has been in operation for 3 1/2 years and is a 24-hour full-service station. In September 2019, Orlando Magazine named The Wire 98.5 FM in the “Music Radio Station category of their Best of Orlando 2019 Issue.” General Manager Paul Billings largely credits the station’s community partnerships, supporters and the listeners for the remarkable success which the low-power FM station has enjoyed over the time present.

Paul Billing and The Wire team would like to thank all the sponsors; Florida Lottery, Bud Light, Hope&Help, Mentality Grooming Company, and 30 Something Orlando for their continued support of the station.

For more information on tickets, go to www.heartandsoulfestival.com, call 407-601-7565, or visit https.//heartandsoulmusicfestival.eventbrite.com/

General Admission: $35, day of show: $40, Reserved Silver Seating: $40, day of show: $50, fixed seat under canopy, Reserved Gold Seating: $60, day of show: $75, fixed seat under canopy, Reserved VIP Diamond Seating: $80, day of show: $100, under canopy.

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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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