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R&B lost three legends this weekend in Little Richard, Andre Harrell and Betty Wright

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From CNN – Delivered by Black Video News

By Amir Vera, CNN

(CNN) – It was a tough weekend for rhythm and blues with the deaths of three musical icons.Singers Betty Wright and Little Richard along with music executive Andre Harrell died this weekend. All had major impacts on R&B and the music industry as a whole. If one wasn’t moving the genre forward, another was introducing the world to new acts.

Betty Wright influenced a generation of female artists

Betty Wright performs on stage at The 12th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival on March 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  Betty Wright performs on stage at The 12th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival on March 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.The soulful Betty Wright died from cancer Sunday at the age of 66 in her Miami home, according to Billboard.She had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the fall, Steve Greenberg, president of S-Curve Records who worked with Wright, told The New York Times.Wright’s career started with her family’s gospel group, according to Billboard, and she released her first album at the age of 14 in 1968.The Grammy-award winner and six-time nominee is known for her hits “Clean Up Woman” and “Tonight is the Night.”Many of her hits have been sampled by rappers and singers like BeyoncéColor Me Bad and Chance the Rapper.

Little Richard was an early figure in rock

Little Richard at his concert performance in the Hamburg Star Club, singing in the 1960sLittle Richard at his concert performance in the Hamburg Star Club, singing in the 1960sThe screaming, preening, scene-stealing wild man of early rock ‘n’ roll first came on the scene in the 1950s with hits like “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Slippin’ and Slidin‘.”The Macon, Georgia, native had a long career after that saw him becoming one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, getting a street named after him in his home town and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1993 Grammys.Aside from music, Little Richard’s most noted ambivalence was in his attitude toward his sexuality. He told Charles White he was “omnisexual.” A decade later, he told Penthouse magazine he always knew he was gay.”I’ve been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate,” he told the magazine in 1995. “How can I (put) down the fisherman when I’ve been fishing all my life?”

Andre Harrell had an everlasting footprint in hip-hop

Andre Harrell, left, and Sean "Diddy" Combs pose for a photo at a party after Lifebeat's Urban Aid benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on October 5, 1995 in New York City, New York.Andre Harrell, left, and Sean “Diddy” Combs pose for a photo at a party after Lifebeat’s Urban Aid benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on October 5, 1995 in New York City, New York.Harrell is credited with mentoring Sean Diddy Combs as well as discovering and launching the careers of various artists and entertainers.He got his start in 1980s with as one of two members in the rap group Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Harrell was then hired by Def Jam Records where he worked as vice president and then became a general manager of the label.It was when he founded Uptown Records that things really took off. He hired Diddy as an intern and launched the careers of Mary J. Blige, Heavy D and The Boyz, Jodeci and Teddy Riley.”Known to have the midas touch when it came to discovering and developing talent, Andre was responsible for changing the sound of R&B music and crossing artist and executives over into what was then known as ‘pop culture,'” the Combs Enterprises website said.

CNN’s Todd Leopold, Chloe Melas, Hollie Silverman and Jay Croft contributed to this report.

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Black Music Honors Dru Hill, Tevin Campbell, Mary Mary and The Whisphers

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Celebrating Legendary Artists and Institutions Making a Significant Impact in African-American Music, Black Music Honors Returns to Atlanta With Co-Hosts Two-Time Grammy Winner LeToya Luckett and Comedian DeRay Davis

Central City Productions announces the 7th Annual Black Music Honors live tapping at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday, May 19. The star-studded two-hour event will honor artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music.

This year’s remarkable group of honorees include Multi-Platinum, Award-Winning Supergroup Dru Hill who will receive the Urban Music Icon Award; Five-Time GRAMMY Nominee Tevin Campbell who will be honored with the R&B Icon Award and Multi-Award-Winning Gospel Duo Mary Mary will be presented with the Gospel Icon Award. NAACP Image Award-Winning Singer Karyn White will also be recognized with the Soul Music Award; Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter Keri Hilson will be honored with the Music and Songwriter Icon Award for her accomplishments penning songs for some of the biggest names in music; and the Legendary R&B Group The Whispers will take home the Legends Award for their incredible nearly six decade music career.

“We are more than excited to return to in-person taping for the first time in nearly three years with a live studio audience,” says Founder and Executive Producer, Don Jackson. “The pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the music industry and we’re honored to celebrate, commemorate and honor music trailblazers who have paved the way for the next generation of music and culture.”

Multi-hyphenate LeToya Luckett will co-host the epic night of celebration along with Chicago Actor and Comedian DeRay Davis. The televised special is set to air in national broadcast syndication Saturday, June 4 – Sunday, July 3 and on Bounce TV on Saturday, June 25. The 7th Annual Black Music Honors show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Producer and Michael A. Johnson as Producer and Director.

Tickets for the live-taping event are available at www.blackmusichonors.com or you can purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com by clicking here.

For 2022 Black Music Honors media credentials request click here and for additional press inquiries contact bmhpress@jlmediapr.com and jlmediapr@gmail.com.

ABOUT BLACK MUSIC HONORS

Black Music Honors is an annual two-hour event that acknowledges the legendary African-American artists who have influenced and made significant musical contributions to African-American culture and American music worldwide. Black Music Honors is produced by Chicago-based production company Central City Productions (CCP).

For more information, visit www.blackmusichonors.com and connect on social media @blackmusichonors on Facebook and Instagram or @blackmusichonor on Twitter.

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Patreon announces Pull Up

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PATREON ANNOUNCES PULL UP, AN INCUBATOR AND COMMUNITY FOR CREATORS OF COLOR, WITH CREATIVE PARTNERS ISSA RAE’S HOORAE MEDIA, BLAIR IMANI, AMANDA SEALES’ SMART FUNNY & BLACK, DURAND BERNARR, AND MORE

Patreon, a membership platform for creators and their most passionate fans, announced Pull Up, an incubator and creative community to give creators of color access to capital and other resources to grow their businesses. Pull Up, powered by Patreon, is supported by and developed with some of the biggest creators of color driving culture today – including Issa Rae’s HOORAE, Blair Imani, Amanda Seales’ Smart Funny & Black, Durand Bernarr, Jade Novah, Nicole Cardoza, Tim Chantarungsu, and Tina Yu, among others.

While the creator economy is growing at an exciting pace, a 2021 study found that BIPOC creators are paid almost a third less (29%) than their white peers. To help bridge this gap, and working with creators of color, Patreon launched Pull Up, a generative ecosystem where creators of color can learn from and grow with industry leaders, and each other, to “pull up” the next generation of creatives. 

“We are excited to be a part of Pull Up, powered by Patreon’s Creator Success team, who continue to be a champion for HOORAE on and off the platform,” said Issa Rae, creative partner for Pull Up powered by Patreon. “We share a core set of values in empowering creators of color with access and resources, so I’m thrilled my team and I get to be on this journey with the other creators in the initiative.”

Starting today, creators can visit pullup.patreon.com to learn more about the community and incubator and sign up to participate. Any creator can join the Pull Up Community and gain access to the Pull Up Salon Series, which is a series of community events, panels, and workshops featuring industry-leading creators of color who share how to hone your creative, entrepreneurial, and community-building skills as you grow a creative business of your own. They will also be invited to join the Pull Up community on a dedicated Discord server to connect and learn from their peers. Select Patreon creators will get the opportunity to apply to the incubator for funding.

On Wednesday, April 27, Patreon will host Pull Up Late Night, a worldwide livestream for creators, by creators. The special launch event will feature D Smoke, Nicole Cardoza, and RT TV who will introduce the program, share their creative journeys and discuss what Pull Up means to them. The event starts at 5 pm PT/8pm ET and creators can register for the event at events.patreon.com/pulluplatenight

“As a musician and creator of color, I know firsthand the challenges that many face when hustling to grow, perfect their craft and scale their businesses to be profitable,” said Hewan Abebe, Head of Creator Initiatives for the Patreon Creator Success team. “It’s these experiences that propelled me to develop Pull Up, and it is my hope that the program serves as a conduit for creators of color to retain ownership of their work, inspire community, and foster change to help generations coming up.” 

For more information on Pull Up, powered by Patreon, and the upcoming public livestream event on April 27, please visit events.patreon.com/PullUpLateNight.

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Mary J. Blige to Receive Prestigious Icon Award

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MARY J. BLIGE TO RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS ICON AWARD AT THE “2022 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS”

 MRC and NBC today announced that global superstar Mary J. Blige will receive the distinguished Billboard Icon Award at the “2022 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs). As a part of the recognition, the ten-time BBMA winner will take the stage for a breathtaking performance that will make for one of the most memorable moments of the evening. The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC and will stream live on Peacock.

Blige joins just ten other artists to ever receive the prestigious Billboard Icon Award, which recognizes outstanding artists who have achieved excellence on the Billboard Charts and have made an indelible

mark on music itself. Since the award’s inauguration in 2011, past recipients include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, and P!NK.

“My career has been such an incredible and unexpected journey that has included many turns into avenues I never could have imagined like acting, producing, launching businesses and now even my own music festival,” said Blige. “Through it all, I always one way or another gravitated back to my first love, music. To be recognized in this way at this moment, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honor and one that I am truly humbled by.”

Mary J. Blige truly defines what it means to be an icon with ten BBMA wins total, nine of which were won when she dominated the 2006 award show. Awards won include R&B Album of the Year (1995); Female R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2006); Hot 100 Airplay Song of the Year (2006); R&B Albums Artist of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Song Airplay of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year (2006); R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Artist of the Year (2006); Videoclip of the Year (2006).

For more than 30 years, the BBMAs have celebrated music’s greatest achievements, honoring the hottest names in music today. Unique among music awards shows, finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts. Since 1940, the Billboard Charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs, and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music.

The “2022 Billboard Music Awards” is produced by MRC Live & Alternative. Robert Deaton is the executive producer. More information about the “2022 Billboard Music Awards,” including additional performers, host, presenters and more will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets to attend the show are open to the public. Prices per ticket start at $90 USD and are available for purchase HERE. Doors open at 6:30 P.M. ET / 3:30 P.M. PT.

For the latest news on the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) visit billboardmusicawards.com and billboard.com/bbma. For exclusive content and more, be sure to follow the BBMAs on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagramSnapchatTikTokYouTube) and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #BBMAs.

ABOUT MRC LIVE & ALTERNATIVE
MRC Live & Alternative, a division of global entertainment company MRC, is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” and the “Streamy Awards.” MRC Live & Alternative owns one of the world’s most extensive and unique entertainment archive libraries with more than 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances and legendary programming. For more information please visit: www.mrcentertainment.com.

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