The 8th Annual Black Music Honors continues all month long with national syndication broadcast running from June 10 to July 2 and a special airing on Bounce TV on Juneteenth (June 19).
The 2023 Black Music Honors takes viewers to different levels of excitement through the rich tapestry of Black musical excellence from soul-stirring gospel to nostalgic R&B and energetic Hip-Hop. Whether young or aging gracefully, watchers rediscover music from the airwaves of yesterday as each song takes viewers back to the moment they first heard these radio hits. The raspy, soulful Anthony Hamilton leaves the crowd wanting more after singing ballads “Charlene” and “The Point of It All” with an unexpected feature performance by rapper David Banner. Xscape’s Latosha returns to the stage turning heads and reminding us of her vocal chops for the incredible Evelyn “Champagne” King tribute that also features the radiant Elle Varner and the harmonious voices of The Shindellas giving watchers no choice, but to stand up and dance.
Exhibiting the transformative power of contemporary gospel music, The Hawkins Family tribute takes you to church for an unforgettable performance including Mary Mary’s Tina Campbell, Kelontae Gavin, Pastor Beverly Crawford, Melvin Williams and Zacardi Cortez. The exhilarating moment concluded with an exciting vocal showdown that left even the performers themselves wanting more, barely making it off stage.
“I’m amazed to witness the rise of so many talented young artists in 2023,” shares Tramaine Hawkins. “Their music carries hints of the songwriting legacy from our family, which continues to resonate powerfully even today.”
Other highlights include a special ode to the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop that will transform living rooms into a thrilling party featuring rapper Juvenile with anthems that rocked the 90s and early 2000s. Audiences will sway in a slow dance to heart-throbbing moments including Robin Thicke‘s rendition of Bobby Caldwell’s timeless classic “What You Won’t Do For Love” and an intimate concert experience by a superb male R&B lineup of Dave Hollister, Kenny Lattimore and Raheem DeVaughn transporting viewers through the expansive catalog of honoree Jeffrey Osborne.
“When I was growing up and just starting out, I never saw myself as a legend,” says Jeffrey Osborne. It was my mother who served as my driving force, teaching me to believe in myself, and my wife who fearlessly supported me when I ventured beyond my successful group in times of transition and uncertainty.”
The excitement level explodes as knockout performances by Lil’ Mo, Sheléa, Sevyn Streeter, and Tweet dominate the stage, leaving the audience speechless and unable to fully capture the experience in words. Adding to the astonishment, a surprise performance by Da Brat leaves even honoree Missy Elliott speechless and in awe.
As an honoree, SWV touched hearts with their emotional speech, shedding tears and sharing their personal truths. Member Coko says, “Thank God after 31 years, we are still standing. We felt overlooked and unappreciated, so this is extra special.”
DeRay Davis, with his naturally witted and down-to-earth punch lines, and LeToya Luckett, showcasing an array of fierce fashion moments, flawlessly steered the remarkable show filled with laughter, style, and an appreciation for the extraordinary contributions of Black music. To witness the numerous unforgettable moments of the show, tune in to the premiere on The Stellar Network on June 3 at 8 p.m. ET. You can find the network on Charter Spectrum and Verizon Fios. Check with your local provider for availability in your area. For specific air dates in your local area between June 10 and July 2, please check here. Don’t miss the special broadcast on Bounce TV as part of your Juneteenth celebration on June 19 at 7 p.m. ET.
Procter & Gamble presents the 8th Annual Black Music Honors. Verizon presents the Legends Icon award, honoring the incomparable Jeffrey Osborne. Walmart proudly presents the Gospel Icon award, recognizing the esteemed Hawkins Family. My Black is Beautiful partners with the event to present the Urban Music Icon award, celebrating the groundbreaking group SWV. AT&T Dream in Black presents the Music Innovator Icon award, honoring Missy Elliott. Cadillac proudly presents the R&B Icon award, recognizing the timeless artistry of Evelyn “Champagne” King.
The 8th Annual Black Music Honors is executive produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as producer and executive in charge of production, and Michael A. Johnson as producer and director.
Celebrating Hip-Hop’s Golden Anniversary at National Battle of the Bands
The 2023 Pepsi National Battle of the Bands (NBOTB) is turning up the heat to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. The event organizers announced an all-star lineup featuring Doug E. Fresh, aka “Human Beat Box,” Slim Thug, Choppa, Lil Keke, Z-Ro, DJ Mr. Rogers, and a special artist announcement on August 26. These artists will join the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) marching bands for an unforgettable musical experience.
The musical showcase, hosted in collaboration between Webber Marketing and the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority, occurs annually in Houston, TX, at NRG stadium. Event organizers have generated nearly $1 million in scholarships for the participating colleges and universities.
Recognized as the annual kickoff to the fall marching band season, NBOTB spotlights hip-hop legends shaping the genre’s rich history. The special anniversary celebration seeks to pay tribute to the cultural impact of hip-hop, intertwining with the spirit and soul of HBCU marching bands.
“The 50th anniversary of hip-hop is a significant milestone in our musical heritage,” said Derek Webber, executive producer and creator of the National Battle of the Bands. “We’re ecstatic to bring together the vibrant energy of HBCU bands with hip-hop pioneers, creating a unique synergy that honors the past and fuels the future. This year’s lineup symbolizes the unbreakable bond between music, culture, and education.”
The rich history of HBCUs extends beyond academia to a thriving tradition of soulful marching bands and community activism. Their performances are not just about the music but also the movement, passion, and creativity that resonate with the essence of hip-hop. This shared heritage makes celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop at NBOTB a momentous occasion in American culture.
For more details, including tickets and official event information, visit (NationalBattleOfTheBands.com) or follow.
Black in Gaming
The fast-paced gaming world will hit American movie theaters on Aug. 25 via the Sony movie “Gran Turismo.” The film is loosely based on the true story of gamer Jann Mardenborough (played by Archie Madekwe), a mixed-race teenager who becomes a real-life race car driver.
In 2011, Mardenborough became the third and youngest winner of the GT Academy competition, beating 90,000 entrants. Sony PlayStation used the Academy to help racing gamers become professional drivers.
Though his success is far and few between for Black gamers. Research shows that Black people make up a staggering 2% of the video game industry, and only 11% of Black characters are featured as the central player outside of athletes in sports games.
The nonprofit Black in Gaming Foundation is dedicated to cultivating, supporting, and promoting Black professionals in the video game industry. By actively working on creating opportunities for Black people in the video game industry, BIG also develops action plans to combat systemic institutionalized racism that manifests itself in unsafe spaces, microaggressions, and hidden discrimination in the workplace.
Also, soft-drink company Mountain Dew (MTN Dew) is doing its fair share to uplift minorities in Esports. The company is bringing back the MTN DEW Real Change Challenge in 2023, which focuses on promoting representation in Esports and gaming and supporting HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) student gamers.
MTN Dew is teaming up with Cxmmunity Media, a champion of diversity and equity in gaming and creators of the HBCU Esports League. The Real Change Challenge will be open to all current HBCU students. Contestants will compete for a share of the $500,000 prize pool, coaching, and exposure to esports professionals. The tournament will kick off in October, with sign-ups open to all current HBCU students through Sept. 8 at (HBCUESports.co/RealChange).
Black Weekend is Here!
The tax-free weekend is not only the best time to go shopping but THE prime time to socialize, network, and get involved in the community that we like to call Black Weekend.
Kicking off Black Weekend on Friday, Aug. 11, is the first annual Purchase Hire Black expo presented by Avista Products at the Freeman Expo Hall near the AT&T Center from 2 pm to 8 pm. The free expo is a great way to recognize Black Business Month as a way to celebrate and support Black-owned businesses. Later that night, check out famed jazz musician Najee, who will perform on Aug. 11 at 7:30 pm at the Buena Vista Theater downtown. He is a part of the 2023 jazz series dubbed “Jazz on the Water by Land & by Sea,” presented by Foster Perry Travel.
Then on Saturday, head over to the Renaissance with the Stars on Aug. 12 at the Tobin Center starting at 5 pm. This annual fundraiser supports the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund, which is a part of the San Antonio Area Foundation. This year’s dancers are Kit Mason, Jon Coker, Jacob Valenzuela, Juan Antonio Flores, George A. Williams, and Ryan Lugalia-Hollon.
After the Renaissance with the Stars, people can head to the 14th Annual All White Martini Party on Aug. 12, sponsored by Psi Alpha Scholarship Foundation, Inc., at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from 8 pm to 2 am.
And then, on Sunday, Aug. 13, choose between two soulful brunches or hit both starting at 9 am with Tony G’s Soul Food at its Soulful Brunch featuring Southern favorites until 4 pm. Or, check out the R&B Brunch Bash on that same day from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Upstage Comedy Lounge presented by the Brunch Boss & Young Black San Antonio.
And if you have a little energy left from Friday, bowl for a good cause. The Obadiah Jo’el McCarthy Memorial Scholarship Bowl-A-Thon starts at 2 pm at Banderal Bow. This event provides academic scholarships to high school seniors and includes awareness about organ donation.
To learn more about all these events, visit (www.Weekend.Black).
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