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.
The Withers Family
15th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour
The Virtual “Gospel City Playlist” Concert Series Will Showcase Award-Winning Gospel Singers to Raise Money for Ronald McDonald House Charities®
In honor of Gospel Music Heritage Month, which takes place annually in September, McDonald’s is serving inspiration with a side of friendly banter for music fans of all ages. Starting Sept. 19 through Oct. 10, the 15th annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour, a long-standing event that fosters community through the deeply rooted tradition of gospel music, will take place virtually every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on BET Network’s YouTube channel and BET.com.
Brought to fans by McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden movement, award-winning gospel artists hailing from the Gulf Coast, West Coast, Carolinas and DMV regions will showcase their talents to spark debate on which U.S. region produces the greatest gospel hitmakers and hits. Multi-award-winning musician and syndicated radio personality Lonnie Hunter will host the four-part “Gospel City Playlist” series, featuring legendary gospel artists like Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and Israel Houghton, and rising gospel artists like Mali Music and Pastor Mike Jr., among many others.
For the first time in tour history, fans can watch the show from the McDonald’s app while reppin’ their city. Ahead of each show, fans can also experience a virtual red carpet hosted by social media comedian @NotKarltonBanks who will perform lively skits, host spirited interviews with tour artists and give viewers a peek behind-the-scenes.
“Faith and inspiration are a core part of gospel music, and an integral part of McDonald’s community-based gospel tour,” said Erica Campbell, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and 2021 McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour performer. “People need inspiration, and I am proud to join such an amazing line-up of artists to help reach gospel music lovers nationwide.”
Each year, the concert series helps raise awareness of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) and its mission of improving the health and well-being of children and their families. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, RMHC needs our support more than ever. Virtual concert goers will be able to donate to RHMC live at RMHC.org/ICGT2021. McDonald’s has supported RMHC for more than 40 years as the founding mission partner and continues to support global Charity in a variety of ways. Since 2012, The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour has raised over $1.08M to help families stay close when their children are ill.
“We are excited to make the tour virtual for the second year as we celebrate 15 years of the awesome McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Owner/Operator Chairman. “We are committed to feeding and fostering the communities in which we operate, and this longstanding, free celebration of gospel music is one of the many ways we want to help lift up and encourage our guests, crew members and community.”
Visit www.blackandpositivelygolden.com for streaming information and additional details. Follow @WeAreGolden on Instagram for tour updates and to join the conversation around which playlist is best using #blackandpositivelygolden.
MMCA PARTNERS WITH STARZ™
WASHINGTON, DC, August 17, 2021 – The Multicultural Media & Correspondents Association (MMCA) is pleased to partner with STARZ to host the inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception on Thursday, August 19 from 6:00 -7:00 pm EST (3:00 -4:00 pm PST) during NABJ’s signature annual convention. In keeping with MMCA’s other signature events including their Multicultural Media and Correspondents Dinner (MMCDTM) and inaugural Sheroes in Media Awards Gala, this reception is designed to honor Black media excellence and highlight the need for increased media diversity. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s gathering will again be hosted in a virtual setting.
This year’s honorees for the inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception include “Newsmaker” Award recipient Karine Jean-Pierre (White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary) and “Impact Journalist” Award recipient Trymaine Lee (Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award Winning Journalist, MSNBC Columnist “Into America,” Podcast Host).
In addition to the presentation of the “Newsmaker” and “Impact Journalist” Awards, the reception will feature a moderated discussion with STARZ talent regarding the network’s #TakeTheLead initiative.
“Partnering MMCA to honor this year’s Media Diversity Excellence Award recipients and discuss our #TakeTheLead initiative aligns with our commitment to promote representation on screen, behind the camera and throughout the organization,” said Jeffrey Hirsch, President and CEO of STARZ. “Collaborations like this one are an important way for us to engage with impactful and diverse voices that are leading change.”
The conversation will be moderated by NABJ Arts & Entertainment Chair Kelley L. Carter (Host of ‘Another Act’ for ESPN’s – The Undefeated) with featured talent from several popular Starz series: Patina Miller (Raising Kanan), Hailey Kilgore (Raising Kanan), Amber Stevens West (Run The World), Corbin Reid (Run The World), Ajiona Alexus (BMF), and Michole Briana White (BMF).
The event will also incorporate a fun interactive cocktail mixing session courtesy of Beam Suntory led by Corbin Reid from STARZ hit series “Run The World,” who serves as celebrity mixologist.
“We are thrilled to partner with STARZ for this inaugural Media Diversity Excellence Awards Reception during the signature annual gathering for Black Journalist and media professionals. MMCA’s vision to create a collective, inclusive and sustained effort to honor BIPOC media excellence and to increase diversity in media ownership and control is more critical than ever. By joining with STARZ at the NABJ convention, we continue to raise awareness of our collective efforts and pay tribute to those who are leading the fight for media diversity,” said David Morgan, MMCA President.
Method Man Launches Tical World™
Method Man is a multi-talented personality, having transitioned his multi-platinum, award-winning success in the music industry into the film industry, with an award-winning career in acting and producing; as an NAACP Award-winning actor in Power: Book II and executive producing “Wu-tang: An American Saga,” now entering its second season on Hulu. Now, the self-proclaimed “comic book geek,” and host of the Marvel / Method podcast, is following in the footsteps of Stan Lee by launching his own comic universe, Tical World™, featuring original characters that will evolve into storylines for interactive comic books, TV shows, feature films, and video games. Tical World is breaking new ground by releasing original characters, artwork, and music in both physical, traditional form and via non-fungible tokens (NFTs). His anthology is a sharp contrast to the “cash grabs” that NFTs have become synonymous with, by launching an ongoing, interactive world that is centered around creating a new experience through which to connect with his fans. TuneGO®, Inc. will secure the content and creative rights for Method Man’s Tical World™ in the patented TuneGO Vault™.
Tical World™ will be an interactive comic community, giving audiences the opportunity to offer creative direction, interact with characters, purchase NFT rights to ownership, and create new storylines. Fans can sign up for limited-capacity early access to the Tical World community at https://www.tical.world.
The universe will be securely hosted on TuneGO’s next-generation global platform, with NFTs minted on the energy efficient Flow blockchain. The patented TuneGO Vault™, which creates a verifiable and indisputable “digital record” of the entire creative process, will be used to ensure the content and creative rights of Tical World are transparently secured and protected.
The first of the three Tical World NFT drops, called Part 1: The ORIGIN, will include:
- Original one-of-a-kind artwork of the Tical World anthology—a Killa Beez-inspired painting on canvas, on display digitally at https://www.tical.world and entitled “Who M I?”, by renowned New York City artist Alex Smetsky, which will be signed to the buyer by Method Man and Mr. Smetsky.
- Original 3D-enabled digital animation depicting part I of the anthology.
- Unreleased, original audio by Method Man, with original music composition and production by Van Gogh.
- Five physical and digital artist renderings of the five original Tical World comic characters, representing the comic universe’s “Da Vinci sketches,” and signed by artist Alex Smetsky.
- The first minted gold VIP card for Tical World and Tical Athletics, Method Man’s athleisure brand, offering exclusive discounts, access to limited-edition designer collaborations, physical and digital apparel, and the capability for the cardholder to be the first to access new product drops.
“The owner of this NFT will be purchasing a piece of history—as if they were buying the original sketches of Star Wars, Marvel, and Harry Potter characters,” said Alison Ball, President of TuneGO. “Method Man’s Tical World is introducing a new interactive experience that combines the digital and the physical to give its fan community a say in the creative process. We are proud to work with Method Man, and a variety of other artists, to secure the ownership rights to the content they bring to today’s audiences in new ways.”
The environmentally friendly Tical World™ uses Proof-of-State design principles via Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, consuming thousands of times less energy than traditional Proof-of-Work blockchains like Ethereum. Combined with the TuneGO Vault, Method Man’s first NFT drop incorporates the world’s most advanced and environmentally friendly technology solutions for content security, creative rights protection, and equitable royalty collection.
“The patented TuneGO Vault complements blockchain technology by adding an extra layer of transparency that enhances the long-term value of an NFT’s artwork and creative content throughout its lifespan,” said John Kohl, Co-Founder and CEO of TuneGO. “With the support of TuneGO, it is possible to own both the original physical, and digital, renderings of Tical World comic characters, all minted via the blockchain. As more artists introduce creative content through the minting of NFTs, we can help them prove they own what they create, and trade what they create as unique assets that can’t be copied or replaced.”
The enhanced, patented TuneGO Vault, launched earlier this year, is a first-of-its-kind solution giving artists and labels full control over the entire creative process, providing the ability to establish a chain of custody for a song, or pieces of artwork, prior to the minting of an NFT. This level of detailed tracking of creative rights and contributions has never before been available to artists.
TuneGO® Inc. is leveling the playing field in the music industry. We streamline content and music rights management, creative collaboration, plus distribution, licensing, and promotion, on a single unified digital platform, enabling artists and creatives to focus on what they do best—making music. Our patented technology stores a complete, permanent digital record of the music creation process in the cloud, essentially digitizing an artist’s catalog while protecting creative rights throughout their career. TuneGO’s end-to-end ecosystem also offers streaming distribution, sync licensing opportunities, and promotional services to help artists take their music to the global stage.
By giving artists, labels, and publishers the capability to securely manage their digital content and control their creative rights on the same platform where they distribute and license their music—ensuring artists are paid all of the royalties to which they are entitled—TuneGO is breaking new ground in the music industry. To learn more, please visit www.tunego.com or contact TuneGO at info@TuneGO.com. TuneGO is a free download in the app store and is powered by cutting-edge technology which has more than 100 granted patent claims.
About Tical World
Method Man’s Tical World™ will be the first of its kind to provide a community owned, character-based experience that transcends the digital and physical world. As the origin story is told via exclusive artwork, animations, and music, the future will be unfolding as the characters, already slated for an original series of comic books, animated films, and video games, are released to the community. In addition, relevant designer collaborations across physical and digital apparel will be available on the Tical World Store at shop.tical.world, and through Method Man’s athleisure line, Tical Athletics. To learn more, and sign up for early access to Tical World, please visit www.tical.world.
JConnelly for TuneGO
Artist and Tical World™ Contact:
SOURCE TuneGO, Inc.
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