Wednesday, January 30, 2008

America's Next Top Mogul: Tyra Banks

America's Next Top Mogul: Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks announces a new show for the CW

When Tyra Banks became a youth correspondent on the Oprah Winfrey Show nearly 10 years ago, whispers began that she was being molded as the next Oprah Winfrey. Some snickered, wondering how the Victoria's Secret model would ever reach such lofty heights.

Fast forward to now and at 33, Tyra Banks is one of the hottest commodities in both daytime and primetime television with her properties The Tyra Banks Show and America's Next Top Model.

Now Tyra is set to add another show to her Bankable Productions line-up: A currently untiltled project from the producers of Top Model and Project Runway. The project is being described as The Devil Wears Prada meets The Assistant and is scheduled to premiere on the CW Network this summer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ruby Dee snags SAG

Ruby Dee snags SAG

Cate Blanchett, eat your heart out!

Ruby Dee, still astonishing at 83, snagged the Best Supporting Actress Screen Actors Guild Award for her amazing portrayal of "Mama Lucas" in American Gangster. The SAG Awards are often an early indicator of Academy Awards success. We've got our fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Soul: The Funky Lyn Collins

It's getting funky in here!

If you're an old-school hip-hop head, you will definitely recognize Lyn Collins' voice; the infectious sampled backing of Rob Base's 1987 hit, It Takes Two.

A Soul/Funk legend, Collins gained fame as a part of James Brown's Soul Revue of the early 70s. Along with vocalists Marva Whitney and Vicki Anderson, she became one of the Godmothers of Soul and an integral influence of early rap music.

Here's Lyn Collins, aka "The Female Preacher," performing Never Gonna Give You Up on Souuuul Train. Check for the Godfather himself behind her, leading the band in one sharp 70s suit.

Collins passed in 2005 and Brown in 2007 but their music never dies.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Listening: New Music From Badu

Erykah Badu

After over a decade in the industry, Erykah Badu manages to stay as cutting-edge as the day she entered it.

Badu's latest, the Madlib-produced, Healer, may be just the thing for what's ailing the feeble music scene right now.

Download "The Healer."

Friday, January 04, 2008

Oboy, Obama!

Oboy, Obama!

"Change is coming to America." -- Barack Obama

Watch Obama's historic--and moving--acceptance speech:

related reading: Obama wins Iowa as candidate for change (CNN)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

They've Got Next: Four of the Hottest New Voices of '08

From The Cocoa Lounge

They've Got Next: Four of the hottest new voices of '08

Singer, EstelleESTELLE

//sounds like: Lauryn Hill, Floetry

For the past 5 years, British singer/emcee, Estelle, has slowly been establishing herself as a formidable presence on the UK music scene, but has remained relatively unknown by mainstream American audiences... that is until now. Recent developments may just transcend the sassy talent to a revered household name--namely signing with John Legend's newly formed Homeschool Records. Her newest project finds Estelle working with producer-heavyweights Will.I.Am, Swizz Beats, Mark Ronson (the dynamo behind Amy Winehouse)and Wyclef Jean. Her first single, "Just a Touch: Wait A Minute," is an upbeat thumper that stays in rotation on our playlist.

See Estelle performing "Just A Touch." (Live)

Singer, MuffyMUFFY

//sounds like: Kelis, Roxanne Shante, J*Davey

We know very little about the lively entity who assumes the handle "Muffy" but her souped-up, hyper-colorful flair is sure to catch fire soon. Besides resembling Monica's long-lost twin sister, Muffy, like fellow new artists, the Cool Kids, is reinventing the 80s and putting the fun back into R&B/Hip Hop music. With an already strong web-presence, Muffy may be on track to becoming an internet-marketing Itgirl, much like 2007's Girls of Summer sensation, Janelle Monae.

Visit Muffy on myspace:

Singer, Joi StarrJOI STARR

//sounds like: Jazmine Sullivan, Shareefa

If you've placed your peepers on any Kanye West performance as of late, you've more than likely already been exposed to Joi Starr, Kanye's stylish background singer. It's a tough job finding limelight amongst Kanye West's loveable stage antics, but Joi Starr always manages to hold her on. Besides singing backup for Kanye, Joi has lent her syrupy vocals to projects for Ghostface Killah and recorded several solo tracks of her own, including the catchy "What I Want." If Joi Starr manages to pocket a few solid West productions for her debut, there's no limit to how bright this Starr can shine.

See Joi Starr in action: Kanye West, "I Wonder" (Live).

Singer, Nikki JeanNikki Jean

//sounds like: Amel Larrieux meets Feist.

We practically crashed our iTunes replaying Nikki Jean's "Sunshine," last year. Her light, airy approach to singing, is part Rock, part Hip Hop with a whole lotta Niki in between. Jean, who's been gaining a strong following of indie music lovers as the lead singer of post-genre band Nouveau Riche, has upped her visibility this year with collaborations on Lupe Fiasco's critically acclaimed, The Cool. Besides being a band front woman, and highly anticipated solo artist, Nikki Jean has been an avid daily video blogger. See her video journals here.

Give Nikki Jean a listen on myspace: