Today, Gold-certified pop phenom AJ Mitchell is pleased to announce that his highly anticipated debut album, SKYVIEW, will be released on September 10, 2021, via Epic Records/Vol 1 Records. Along with the announcement, AJ has shared the official artwork for the album.
In addition to revealing the album release date, AJ also announces dates for his official SKYVIEW 2021 Tour this fall. The 21-date US tour will kick off on September 13, 2021, with a homecoming of sorts in St. Louis, MO, right outside his hometown of Bellville, IL where he used to see shows growing up. The tour will also bring AJ to cities like Toronto, New York and Nashville before wrapping in Phoenix on October 17th. A special early bird on sale launches on Thursday, July 29 at 10 AM local time, while the tour will go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 30 at 10 AM local time. Tickets can be purchased at the Drive In Makeout website, while the full tour itinerary can be found below.
On the album, AJ Mitchell shares, “SKYVIEW is the final chapter of the first era of my artist journey. In 2016, I released my first single “Used To Be”, a song I had written at 13 years old. That song set me into a year journey traveling the world; learning, writing, collaborating, performing and constantly evolving. In that time, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with so many talented artists, writers, producers, photographers, and directors around the world. Those collaborations and experiences have sculpted who I am today. I dove into this industry at 15 years old, only knowing two things: I wanted to write songs and sing them as my career. SKYVIEW is the summary of my artist journey up until now. As a kid, the Skyview Drive-In theater was a place in my small town of Belleville, Illinois that had the power to transport me into a world of endless possibilities. Today, SKYVIEW is proof that anything can happen if you are willing to take the risk and do the work necessary to make any dream come true.”
Throughout this pandemic, the artist Jesse Forte, known as Jforte, has continued to do what he has done his whole career since he began making music in 2013: push the boundaries of his music and what he can do as an artist. Jforte is constantly creating and expanding as he has out a new song every week over the course of the pandemic (55+ weeks). Throughout his career he has also founded his business “Young Revolutionary Minds,” hosts the YRM podcast, wrote three books, launching products, and training to become an astronaut, all while giving back to and empowering his community. His song “Make It Happen” is culmination of his drive, story he wants to put out into the world to inspire others. We had the opportunity to ask Jforte about his career and what’s next for the artist:
You stated that making music consistently throughout the pandemic was a goal of yours, and you’ve clearly done that with one song produced each week for 55+ weeks. Where did the idea of weekly songs come from and why was it so important to be weekly?
After writing my third book, “Make It Happen” and listening to “It’s All In Your Head” 200 times, I realized I needed to be consistent and treat my gift like a job. Once I heard Russ express it the way he did, it made sense to me and I tried it out. So far, it’s been going well and getting better! Being able to put out a song weekly keeps me energized to create. I know that people may not listen right then and there, but the music will be there forever and it’s better to start now than later.
What is the production process like when you are making a new song every week? Is it any different than the production of other work you have made?
At first, I had music I wrote to beats that were famous. Then, I shopped around for beats that made sense for the music I was putting out. I would purchase the beats and write music to them. Once I got the hang of it, I started buying more beats, listening, and then sitting down. [I would use] pen and paper [to] writ[e] down my feelings, thoughts, ideas, concepts and purpose. The more I write, the better I get.
Once I get the lyrics down, I start to rehearse them, call up an engineer, and prep for the studio. I generally have at least 5 songs ready to go, just because I like to truly take advantage of the opportunity of using the booth–time is money. Most of my sessions last between 3- 5 hours.
When I write books, I try to write 2-3 pages a day. When I wrote “Fail Forward Through Success,” I would write in Cartel coffee in Tempe every day, and I wouldn’t leave until I pushed out 3 pages. Same thing with “Redemption,” and “Make It Happen” was special because I wrote it during the pandemic.
Being someone as busy as you are, burnout seems inevitable. Have there been weeks where it felt impossible to make a song? Where do you look for inspiration in times where motivation may be lacking?
Whenever my mind becomes too loud, I get rest, meditate, take a break and when I feel better, I take a step forward with whatever the goal is. I’m cool with resting, but I’ll never lay down or give up on what I have intended to accomplish. Sometimes it doesn’t happen instantly, but patience and persistence have been the best lessons and gifts I possess. I have an engine that is going to go, whether I am motivated or would rather rest. That was instilled back at Parkview.
Was music always something you wanted to do, or was it more like a passion that snuck up on you? Who were your biggest inspirations when getting into the music industry?
I was talking to Bow Wow a couple weeks ago on IG live and told him I performed “Basketball” for the talent show. We bumped Pac in the car when I was 3 and I could hear Rakim through the womb when I was being created. That’s just confirmation that I am supposed to be right where I am and that these conversations are blessings from the universe saying “we got you” and to keep going!
I’ve always wanted to be a rapper. My second-grade teacher told me, “No.” Subconsciously, I listened to her for 20 years. Then, this inner me said to fuck her opinion and be happy. I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t pursuing what was in me. That why it’s important to be around people that lift you up and let you dream!
My influences are Jforte and Yé– fun fact: I performed Roses at America’s Got Talent. They liked it but I didn’t make it past the 1st round. [Also,] Drake, Immortal Technique, Uncle Snoop, Meek Mill, Drake, Logic, Doja Cat, Cardi B, Jack Harlow, Bow Wow, Gucci, Rakim, Jay-Z, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Big Pun, 50 cent, Red Man, Method Man, HER, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, Michale Jackson, Prince, Queen, Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre and so, so many more. I just love good music!
It’s apparent that “Make It Happen” is an important, encouraging phrase for you as it is both a song title as well as the title of your third book; where did that phrase come from and what does it mean to you personally?
“Make It Happen” became even more powerful for me once I started to realize that people enjoyed the song and it pumped them up! “Making It Happen” means that regardless of circumstance, we rise to the occasion. That means meeting a deadline, being there for your loved one or just staying committed to the vision you see within yourself.
My goal is to share my truth in a majority of my music. If you listen to what I say in “Make It Happen,” it’s everything I’ve specifically been through. By the way, I write 100% of my lyrics–no ghost writers or floating pens. I thought I should mention that because I take pride in making the music you hear from me.
You’ve pursued many different avenues throughout your life, from music, writing, and hosting podcasts to getting a technical degree in software engineering, college football, becoming an astronaut and even making a biodegradable toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste. What motivates you to explore so many different paths, many of which people choose as a career rather than trying to do it all at once?
I was a D student in elementary school. I bloomed in middle school and started getting A’s and B’s. Then high school hit, and I was a jock. Then college hit, and I did pretty well. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder most of my life, I think it comes from being an underdog, my upbringing, and just realizing I want the best for myself and the people that enter my life. I definitely haven’t taken an easy road, but I know that I rather take a road less travelled and lead the way than to do what’s easy and regret the journey I could have had.
On your podcast “Young Revolutionary Minds” you share and support people’s journeys in reaching their goals. What led you to decide to share these people’s stories as the topic of your podcast?
One of my favorite podcasters, and the reason why I started that, was because of Lewis Howes. He is a big inspiration to me and I love listening to his podcast, you should check it out! Listening to his [podcast], made me realize I have met amazing people around the world and I’d love to share what they are working on! On top of this, I wanted to build relationships with new people, learn from some of the new leaders of the world, and have something to do while I was figuring out who I was.
You’ve been through lots of highs and lows throughout your life. What advice would you give people, whether it be making it in the music industry, or just achieving their personal goals? What have you learned that you’d like to share with people?
Love yourself. Trust that you are someone to adore, and know that your dreams will manifest when you do the work. Secondly, make sure to fight for what you want. When I say fight, I mean relentlessly go after what you desire. If you don’t know, ask questions, preferably from people who have been there or know how to get there. When it comes to music, don’t be afraid to explore different genres. Put your music out, stop waiting for the perfect time. Right now is perfect and will improve! Lastly, create a vision board and look at it every day. Read it out loud, then do something each day that gets you closer. And dream big!
Being in the public eye you make impressions on people and inspire others. You seem to try to always give back to communities and try to have positive energy that you’re putting out into the world. What message or feeling are you trying to put out to the world? Why is it so important for you to have that positive energy you’re exuding?
Being an artist is a privilege and my vision is to inspire 7 billion people around the world through my voice, ways of life and community. I make a lot of music– some deep, some chill, others scary, and some gangster–but the message I’m putting out is, be you. Cuz I’m me, and I do it better than anyone in the world. 😉 Being me, of course.
In 2020 you came up with the ambition goal to release a new song every week, and you have not stopped. How long do you plan to continue that? What’s next for you in 2021?
I’m going to keep putting music out and when I need a break, I’ll rest. I make music because it’s my passion. In 2021, I’m manifesting opportunities to create music with the people I listen to like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Bow Wow, Drake Meek Mill and Russ. I plan on finding ways for more people to listen to my music and to be inspired.
36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to take place October 30 in Cleveland, Ohio – Tickets on sale in July
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reveals its 2021 Inductees, celebrating the most diverse list of Inductees in the history of the organization. They are:
Early Influence Award:
Musical Excellence Award:
LL Cool J
Ahmet Ertegun Award:
“This diverse class of talented Inductees reflects the Rock Hall’s ongoing commitment to honor artists whose music created the sound of youth culture”, said John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “It will make for an unforgettable live celebration of music in October at this year’s Induction Ceremony in Cleveland.”
To be eligible, artists are required to have released their first record 25 years prior to induction. Two-time Inductees include Carole King, previously inducted with Gerry Goffin in 1990, and Tina Turner, previously inducted with Ike and Tina Turner in 1991. The Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, and JAY-Z were on the ballot for the first time. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) will become a two-time Inductee having previously been Inducted with Nirvana in 2014.
The 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio with a radio simulcast on SiriusXM’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio channel 310. The Induction Ceremony will air at a later date on HBO and stream on HBO Max.
The Induction categories and criteria for selection:
Performers: honoring bands and solo artists who, in their careers, have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock & roll.
Ahmet Ertegun Award: given to non performing industry professionals who, through their dedicated belief and support of artists and their music have had a major influence on the creative development and growth of rock & roll and music that has impacted youth culture.
Musical Excellence Award: given to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.
Early Influence Award: given to a performing artist or group whose music and performance style have directly influenced and helped inspire and evolve rock & roll and music that has impacted youth culture.
Ballots were sent to an international voting body of more than 1,200 artists, including current living Inductees, historians and members of the music industry. Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration.
Three out of the top five on the “Fans’ Ballot” are being Inducted, including Tina Turner (winning the fan vote), The Go-Go’s, and Foo Fighters. 5 million votes were cast.
The Inductees were announced on Rock Hall’s social channels and live on SiriusXM’s Volume channel and the morning show “Feedback,” hosted by Nik Carter and Lori Majewski, featuring special guest, Joel Peresman, CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
Tickets go on sale to the public and members in July.
Select Rock Hall donors and members get exclusive Induction ticket opportunities. Donate or join by June 30, 2021 to be eligible. Visit Rock Hall to learn more.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2021 Inductee exhibit celebrating this year’s class opens at the Museum in Cleveland on July 1. The Museum is open daily with advance tickets required at Rock Hall.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021 Inductee Bios
As the most successful all-woman rock band of all time, the Go-Go’s performed catchy, well-crafted songs that formed a bridge between the brash urgency of L.A. punk and the dark melodies of new wave pop.
Formed out of the diverse and egalitarian punk scene in Los Angeles in 1978 with Belinda Carlisle on lead vocals and Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar and vocals, the core lineup of the band solidified over the next few years with the additions of lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey, drummer Gina Schock, and bassist Kathy Valentine. Known for their raw and energetic live shows, the Go-Go’s circumvented record label sexism and signed with IRS Records in 1981. Their debut album Beauty and the Beat was released later that year and became the first (and, to date, only) album by an all-woman band that played its own instruments and wrote its own songs to top the Billboard albums chart.
Despite a shift toward a more melodic new wave sound, the band’s D.I.Y. punk roots remain evident in hits like “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.” The group’s second and third studio albums, Vacation (1982) and Talk Show (1984), furthered their success with the singles “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” In heavy rotation on MTV, their songs (primarily composed by Caffey, Wiedlin, and Valentine) had weighty lyrics belied by their sunny melodies and a timelessness that set the band apart from many of their 1980s counterparts.
Though the band broke up in 1985, the Go-Go’s have reunited periodically since 1990 to record and tour. In recent years, the band’s music has been celebrated with the Broadway musical Head Over Heels and chronicled in the Showtime documentary The Go-Go’s (2020). For the documentary’s soundtrack, the band reconvened virtually to record their first new song in 19 years, “Club Zero.” The Go-Go’s influence is seen in countless artists, including Bikini Kill, Green Day, and Nirvana.
Selected discography: “Screaming” (Live, 1979) • “Blades” (Live, 1980) • “We Got the Beat” (Stiff Records single version, 1980) • “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Beauty and the Beat (1981) • “Vacation,” Vacation (1982) • “Head Over Heels,” Talk Show (1984) • “The Whole World Lost Its Head,” Return to the Valley of the Go-Go’s (1994) • “Unforgiven,” God Bless the Go-Go’s (2001) • “Club Zero,” Beatnik Beach Summer (2020)
Inductees: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin
Official Statements from DMX’s Family & White Plains Hospital
“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days. Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.” – Earl “DMX” Simmons’ Family
“White Plains Hospital extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Simmons, as well as his friends and legions of fans who expressed their unwavering support during this difficult time. Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest.”
When it comes to DMX, a man blessed with a vicious bark of a voice, there is no such thing as half-stepping. Born Earl Simmons in 1970, the Yonkers-raised MC arrived as the physical embodiment of unbridled energy—a one-man distillation of fellow rugged New York acts like Wu-Tang Clan. With the release of his 1998 debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX wrapped himself in musical aggression that enhanced his imposing presence across songs like the minimal, clanging “Get at Me Dog” and rowdy breakout “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” But X scaled back the pugnacity on that same album’s introspective “How’s It Goin’ Down,” which featured angelic vocals from R&B’s Faith Evans and painted a vivid picture of a complex relationship headed down the wrong path. DMX would revisit that sensitivity on “Slippin’,” a heart-rending track from 1998’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood that found him expressing a desire to live a less tumultuous life. As at odds as the rapper’s two sides may seem to be, he’s always thrived most while letting his emotions fly unrestrained. In 2000, he released …And Then There Was X, where even the anthemic “Party Up” served as a prime example of DMX’s uniquely intense take on hardcore hip-hop. But whether ferocious, amped up, or introspective, the MC has remained grounded by his faith, which, especially in the later years of his career, he approaches with nothing short of absolute devotion.
Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap’s most distinctive personalities during his heyday. Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed physique to his gruff, barking delivery, which made a perfect match for his trademark lyrical obsession with dogs. Plus, there was substance behind the style; much of his work was tied together by a fascination with the split between the sacred and the profane. He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next yet keep it all part of the same complex character, sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash. The results were compelling enough to make DMX the first artist ever to have his first four albums enter the charts at number one.
2021 breakout artist, rapper and lyricist Yung Pooda raises the bar today with the official release of his “Chicken ‘N Grits” remix with multi-platinum R&B superstar Trey Songzand heavy-hitter Dreamdoll. The Cool & Dre produced track magnifies Yung Pooda’s undisputable versatility as an artist, with a brand-new verse, amplified by infectious melodies from Trey Songz and rapturous rhymes from Dreamdoll. The “Chicken ‘N Grits” remix is assisted by a mind-bending, electrifying visual with all three powerhouse stars, and is available today via It’s A 10 Records on all streaming service platforms.
On the hit-after-hit new remix, Yung Pooda says, “We got the best of the best with Trey and Dreamdoll on the track. They both bring some heat that can’t be topped. Just when you think it can’t get any better, we drop the remix. Run it up!”
WATCH OFFICIAL ‘CHICKEN ‘N GRITS’ REMIX VISUAL HERE
LISTEN TO ‘CHICKEN ‘N GRITS’ OFFICIAL REMIX HERE
Trey Songz shares “Jumping on this remix was a easy call, I love the energy of the original record, it’s crazy. A friend of a friend linked me and Pooda, I jumped on it and we did a video same night.”
Last month “Chicken ‘N Grits” was the #4 most added record at Urban Radio and currently ranks in the Top 35 on Mediabase’s Urban radio chart. And the song continues to catch success across radio, streaming and social media platforms, Yung Pooda continues to garner new fans and accolades as he prepares his debut project, Vivid Pictures.
ABOUT YUNG POODA
“Yung Pooda is winning the battle between life and art…” -Rolling Out
Nothing holds more weight than a promise.
In 2019, Yung Pooda found himself at a crossroads between the streets and the studio. After performing alongside legends such as Boosie Badazz, Slim Thug, and Z-Ro, recording with platinum icon Paul Wall, and igniting a buzz of his own throughout the country, the Houston rapper made an important pledge to himself. His pledge changed the course of everything to follow in its wake.
“In the middle of recording and getting in all kinds trouble, I promised God I would get out of the streets and just do music,” he admits. “I stuck to my word.”
Long before this vow, hip-hop called to him as a kid in Orange, TX. Pooda’s mother bumped Naughty by Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray” throughout the one-bedroom and one-bathroom house built by his grandfather that he and his mom shared with his grandma. As he puts it, “I used to go nuts to that song!” He used to listen to classics from OutKast, JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, Master P, Ludacris, DJ Screw, and more. When Pooda visited dad, pops actually built a home studio at his spot to cook up beats and DJ. Growing up, Pooda practiced his skills on the mic and sharpened the wordplay, developing a signature style. He sent shockwaves through the city after a successful showcase, earning endorsements from the likes of DJ Hi-C of Houston’s 97.9 The BOX who said, “He’s always been a lyricist.” Inciting local excitement, he performed multiple tour dates with Boosie Badazz and teamed up with Paul Wall for the single “Beat Up The Block.”
Relocating to Prairie View, he moved into a two-story house with his cousin and two friends where they “were trapping and getting money, but shit got too hectic.” At this point, he reset everything. “There were fights, threats, and all types of shit,” he recalls. “I ended up saying that prayer.”
His music made its way to Jeff Aronson, CEO of It’s A 10 Records, a boutique label with a distribution deal with Empire, who immediately signed him in 2019. Now, he properly introduces his signature sound and vibes on his upcoming LP, Vivid Pictures. In 2020, Pooda made waves on Tik Tok and mix show radio with the release of his first single, “Repeat Dat” which was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning duo Cool & Dre [JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Nas] along with a reflective song, “Lies Told”- his thoughtful response to social unrest and police brutality. This year, his critically acclaimed newest single, “Chicken N Grits” is bringing him to the forefront. C&G has earned over 30 million Tik Tok views, was the #4 “Most Added” song at urban radio and is in rotation at BET Jams, Revolt and YO! MTV Raps.
The title track “Vivid Pictures” places cinematic verses in between soulful samples and is at the heart of Pooda’s approach to music and life. “There’s a deep meaning,” he explains. “I aspire to be an artist and more than a rapper. I’m inspired by Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci. When I listen to a beat in my head, I’m putting art together. The eyes are the windows to the soul. Everything is clear. Each song gives you a visual like a movie. That’s Vivid Pictures to me. It’s the frequency I want to be on.”
In the end, Pooda fulfills every promise and leaves his mark on the culture in the process. “When you listen to me, I want you to feel enlightened and great,” he leaves off. “I hope you relate to the emotion and know you’re not alone. I’m young enough to make mistakes and old enough to know better. I’m telling my story. I’m human.”
After an incredibly successful clothing drop of the Adidas x Ivy Park collection, Beyoncé is at it again with a darker line. Adidas x Ivy Park’s Drip 2 sold out almost instantly, but a line that Beyoncé dubbed “Drip 2.2: Black Pack” is coming soon.
The Ivy Park Instagram account, @weareivypark, posted a teaser video of the collection captioned “THIS IS MY PARK.” Beyoncé also uploaded three posts on her Instagram to showcase the collection’s styles.
The line will debut on the Adidas website in the United States on November 17 and worldwide on the Adidas website on November 18. The collection will be available in-store on November 19. Hopefully, if you weren’t able to snag something from the first collection, these three days will be your lucky chance.
Drip 2.2 has much more neutral colors than the original Drip 2 drop. Drip 2 had a variety of bright green and teal colors and Drip 2.2 will feature black and nude. This makes the upcoming collection a bit more versatile and fitting for the winter months.
According to Teen Vogue, the designs “are similar to the last two drops; biker shorts, [sports] bras, a jumpsuit, sweats, fanny packs, and more. The only thing that’s really changed is the colors.”
A landing page announcing the launch can be found on Beyoncé’s website that shows off some of the styles we can expect next week. Teen Vogue also featured images of the collection.
British Vogue will feature Beyoncé on the cover of their December issue this year. Beyonce is shown in many stunning outfits throughout the shoot. In one image, she is showing off one of the neon looks from the Adidas x Ivy Park Drip 2 collection. The neon green jumpsuit is paired with a bold, dazzling necklace and a bright green bucket hat.
The three beautiful covers of Beyoncé were photographed by Kennedi Carter. According to Billboard, the 21-year-old photographer is the youngest photographer to shoot a cover in British Vouge’s history.
The December issue will also include an interview with Beyoncé conducted by Edward Enninful that shares how Beyoncé conquered 2020. She even shares that the most recent Ivy Park collection was inspired by quarantine.
“During quarantine, fashion was a place of escape for me. My kids and I came up with Fashion Fridays,” Beyoncé said. “Every Friday, we would dress up in my clothes or make clothes together and take each other’s pictures. It became a ritual for us and an opportunity to handle this crazy year together,”
“The newest Ivy Park collection was inspired by this new tradition. It consciously uses bright, bold colours to remind us to smile,” she continued. “I used a lot of neon yellow and coral mixed with baby blue and earth tones that felt soothing. They brought me joy and made me smile in the midst of a tough time for all of us.”
This interview allows Beyoncé to dive deeper into her thoughts on fashion and her Ivy Park x Adidas collection. Along with the interview being featured in the December issue of British Vogue, it’s available on Vogue’s website.
Ivy Park has been killing the athleisure game since it was founded in 2016. The company was originally joined with the popular store Topshop, but Beyoncé split from the Topshop name after allegations against the Ivy Park co-founder Sir Phillip Green.
Beyonce spoke in Elle about the origin of Ivy Park. “I would wake up in the morning, and my dad would come knocking at my door, telling me it’s time to go running, said Beyoncé. “I remember wanting to stop, but I would push myself to keep going. It taught me discipline.”
In 2019, the collaboration between Ivy Park and Adidas was launched and marked the rebranding of Ivy Park after splitting from Topshop. Now Ivy Park and Adidas are making waves with their joint collections. The collections have featured athletic clothing as well as spunky accessories.
Follow Beyoncé on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to make sure you don’t miss updates about the collection. You can also follow Ivy Park on Instagram and Twitter for recent updates. Make sure to mark your calendar for the release of Drip 2.2.
ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, today announced that internationally acclaimed Grammy-winning songwriter-producer and global entrepreneur Kasseem Dean, aka Swizz Beatz, has moved to ASCAP. Known for his work on songs including DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” T.I.’s “Bring Em Out,” Lil Wayne’s “Uproar,” Mýa’s “The Best of Me” and more, the megaproducer is also the co-creator of Verzuz, the livestreaming music battle series and cultural phenomenon he started in early 2020 with Timbaland.
“Swizz Beatz’s talent as a songwriter-producer is second to none. The music he has created over the last two decades reached the heights of the hip-hop, R&B and rap charts and continues to endure,” said John Titta,ASCAP Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. “From his classic late-90s records with Ruff Ryders to Verzuz, Swizz Beatz’s talent has made him one of the greatest producers and music creatives around today. We are so happy to welcome him to the ASCAP family.”
“I’m excited to be back with the ASCAP family,” said Swizz. “They have always fought hard for songwriters and in times like these, they are an incredibly important source of support for music creators. I’m looking forward to working with the ASCAP team to give back to the culture and the creative community.”
Swizz Beatz has been in the music and business world since he was 16. He began deejaying and working at his uncle’s company, Ruff Ryder Records, while still in high school. Within a short time, Swizz produced the company’s first hit, by DMX. More success followed–as a producer and artist. At 23, Swizz founded his own record label, Full Surface Records, with Clive Davis and earned a Grammy Award at the age of 33. As a producer, Swizz has worked with a diverse range of artists and some of the biggest names in the world including Jay-Z, Madonna, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Metallica, contributing to the sale of over 350 million records sold worldwide.
A recent graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program, Swizz’s talents and success extend well beyond music. He is an innovative fashion designer, collaborating with Bally, Reebok, Christian Louboutin, Aston Martin, Lotus, and Audemar Piguet. In 2015, he joined global spirit giant Bacardi as their Global Chief Creative for Culture, overseeing more than 300 brands within the company’s portfolio. An art collector since his 20s, he launched The Dean Collection in 2014, a discovery zone for art enthusiasts who appreciate art not just from the greats but also from aspiring and new artists alike.
Swizz is actively involved in many charities, with a particular focus on children: he works closely with his wife Alicia Keys’s organization Keep A Child Alive to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa; he adopted the Bronx Charter School for the Arts; is the Global Ambassador for New York City’s HHC (Health and Hospitals Corporation); serves on the board of Children’s Rights, which provides legal services to foster children to protect their rights; and currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business–from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 800,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and is the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at on their website, Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.
BET PRESENTS NEW ORIGINAL GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY “SMOKE: MARIJUANA + BLACK AMERICA” EXECUTIVE PRODUCED AND NARRATED BY MULTI-PLATINUM RAPPER AND ENTREPRENEUR NASIR “NAS” JONES
The Two-Hour Original Documentary Explores Black America’s Complex Relationship with Marijuana and the Current Fight to Reap the Benefits of Legalization. “SMOKE” Will Premiere Wednesday, November 18 at 10 PM ET/PT
Produced by Swirl Films, “SMOKE” Features Sit-Down Interviews with Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Representative Barbara Lee, Former NBA Player Al Harrington, WNBA Star Cheyenne Parker, Former NFL Player Ricky Williams, Rapper B Real, Singer/Producer Ty Dolla $ign, Son of Notorious B.I.G. C.J. Wallace and others
BET has announced a new original documentary titled “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America,” set to premiere onWednesday, November 18th at 10pm ET/PT. Narrated and executive produced by multi-platinum rapper and entrepreneur, Nasir “Nas” Jones, the two-hour special examines marijuana’s cultural, social, economic and legal impact on American society and the Black community. Told through the lens of aficionados, policy makers, advocates and innovators in the booming legal cannabis industry, SMOKE features testimony from a range of notable individuals including Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Representative Barbara Lee, former NBA player and cannabis investor Al Harrington, WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, former NFL star Ricky Williams, rapper B-Real (Cypress Hill), award-winning music artist Ty Dolla $ign, son of Notorious B.I.G. C.J. Wallace, Columbia University PhD Professor Carl Hart and others.
Watch The “Smoke” Trailer Here“SMOKE” traces the fascinating and complex legacy of marijuana in the Black community. Early usage was recreational in nature, but political and racial dynamics led to the criminalization of cannabis and eventually its prohibition. America’s unjust war on drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions. “SMOKE” features the voices of high-profile lawmakers, including the potential Vice President of the United States Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who are fighting to bring restorative justice to those incarcerated and others saddled with felony convictions. SMOKE also spotlights the tragic story of Corvain Cooper, a father, who is serving a life sentence for selling marijuana in the same neighborhood where legal dispensaries now operate in the open.
While the legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $30 billion in sales by 2025, only 4.3 percent of dispensaries are currently Black owned. “SMOKE” spotlights the hypocrisy of the system, highlighting the stories of pioneering African American entrepreneurs across the country, including former NBA player Al Harrington, who are fighting to own a piece of the booming legal cannabis industry currently dominated by White owned conglomerates and entrepreneurs.
“SMOKE” also dives into the controversy and stories of brave African American athletes, including former NFL star Ricky Williams, and WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, who have risked their careers by openly embracing their use of Cannabis.
“Smoke: Marijuana + Black America” is produced by Swirl Films. Nasir “Nas” Jones, Jason Samuels from BET, and Eric Tomosunas from Swirl Films serve as executive producers. Erik Parker serves as director for the documentary and Swirl Films’ Tony L. Strickland serves as co-executive producer.
For more information, go to BET.com and follow us @bet and @betnews across social media.
ABOUT BET BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.
ABOUT SWIRL FILMS Swirl Films is one of the leading independent TV & Urban Film Production companies in the country, based out of Atlanta, Georgia and founded by Eric Tomosunas in 2001. Swirls project slate includes the wildly popular original drama series, Saints & Sinners, and as well as high-quality films and series produced for BET, TV One, Bounce, Lifetime, Hallmark, Reel One, Netflix & Up TV. Swirl Films provides services and content across various areas of production spanning from script to screen, for movies, biopics, scripted series, award shows and documentaries. Purchased in 2019, Swirl Films owns and operates its own 100,000 square foot film studio in Atlanta.
In the face of COVID-19, Labor Day weekend looked very different his year. Absent were the large family cookouts and pool parties, or the big end-of-summer beach crowds. Many cities even had to omit public fireworks to prevent mass gatherings. Though the long weekend did not bring the celebrations we’re used to, there were still plenty of safe ways to enjoy the holiday.
Virtual events allow you to take part in more activities in different locations than you would have been able to physically. Made in America, a festival started by Jay-Z in 2012, was set to take place in Philadelphia this past weekend. On July 1, festival organizers announced that it would be rescheduled to Labor Day weekend 2021. They said in a statement “Collectively, we are fighting parallel pandemics, COVID-19, systemic racism and police brutality. Now is the time to protect the health of our artists, fans, partners and community as well as focus on our support for organizations and individuals fighting for social justice and equality in our country.”
This year’s lineup went unannounced, but last year’s festival was headlined by Travis Scott and Cardi B. Since the physical festival was canceled, a livestream showcasing the best performances took place on the music streaming service TIDAL throughout the weekend. The virtual festival included sets from Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, Coldplay, Rihanna and many other chart-topping artists.
Nationally, a Labor Day virtual race was held by The Best Races for runners to run anywhere on their own time and submit their results. Participants who registered for the full package received a personal coach who was available Monday through Friday to provide help and answer questions during training, and provided encouragement and support on the day of the race.
Runners across the country were able to choose the distance of the race they wanted to participate in. Depending on what package they signed up for, they received a certificate of completion and digital medal, a 3-inch medal sent to their homes, a printable custom bib, a custom digital photo card that contains the race results, a digital running journal, a t-shirt, optional course maps and an optional pen pal program.
Based in Portland, the Oregon Labor Movement held a statewide virtual Labor Day celebration and call to action on Monday. The organizers brought light to issues taking place in the state saying, “Working Oregonians are facing three crises at once: a deadly global pandemic, an economic free fall, and long-standing institutional racism.”
The event began at noon and featured talks from Oregon’s labor leaders, elected officials, and working Oregon citizens regarding their desire for change and their pursuit toward justice for workers. This event came after Portland’s rise to national prominence for their Black Lives Matter demonstrations and federal agents entering the city in recent months.
A number of virtual events were held in Los Angeles this past weekend, as well. HomeState, the LA-based Texas Kitchen, held its first Margarita Showdown in 2019, but had to move it online this year due to the pandemic and social distancing measures. The virtual event took place Saturday via livestream. Margarita makers in the area competed to see whose drink was the best.
Voters received eight bottled margaritas, along with limes and garnishing salt to try the different submissions from the safety of their homes. The winner chosen was El Compadre, a local Mexcian restaurant. The event was hosted by comedian Cristela Alonzo, and featured musical performances by Chicano Batman, Spoon, Questlove, Fred Armisen, Local Natives and Angela Muñoz. All proceeds from the event benefit the organization No Us Without You! and the Watts Empowerment Center.
The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories in Santa Monica hosted a virtual Labor Day Pies class on Sunday. In the class, participants were taught how to make a s’mores pie and key lime pie. Registration for the class included access to the Zoom video meeting, as well as the recipe and shopping list. Recipes can also be found on Gourmandise’s Instagram.
Some cities were able to hold in-person events following social distancing guidelines. Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, located in the Seaport District, upheld its tradition of free admission on Labor Day. The museum is typically closed on Mondays, but was open from 10 am to 5 pm for guests who reserved tickets.
In New York City, a Labor Day Paint in the Park event was held in Central Park. The two-hour socially distant class was led by a master artist who gave step-by-step painting instructions. Participants were required to wear masks and sit six feet apart. Admission included a pre-sketched canvas and painting supplies, and parties were encouraged to bring food and drinks to snack on during the class.
For those who wanted to enjoy the holiday by relaxing at home with their favorite movie or TV show, a number of stores had sales to mark the end of summer. There were countless deals that shoppers could take advantage of to celebrate their work. Many workers have faced great adversity within the past eight months, some losing their positions and having to move quickly to find a new one, and others doing their job in a way they never thought they would have to. Whether you stayed in or got out of the house for some socially-distant fun, Monday was definitely a day worth celebrating.
He makes a powerful statement with the song and the accompanying visual. The video proudly features and spotlights the achievements of over a dozen black entrepreneurs. It includes Issa Rae, Nipsey Hussle, Tyler, The Creator, Robert Hartwell, Six Sev, TyAnthony Davis [Founder of Vox Collegiate Junior High], Vincent Williams [Founder of Honey’s Kettle], Iddris Sandu, Beatrice Dixon [Founder of Honey’s Pot], Arthell & DarnellIsom[Founders of D’ART Shtajio], Neighbors SkateShop, Alrick Augustine, Denise Woodard [Founder of Partake Cookies],Chace Infinite [Founder of Harun Coffee Shop], Chef Alisa[Founder of My Two Cents], Debbie Allen [Founder of Tribe Midwifery], Angela Richardson [Founder of PUR Home], Miss Bennett Fitness, Black and Mobile, Trill Paws Dog Accessories, Third Vault Yarns, and “The First Black Valedictorian of Princeton” Nicholas Johnson. They all make cameos as title cards introduce their accomplishments. Over a slick and soulful bounce, Pharrell carries an uplifting and undeniable affirmation punctuated by his instantly recognizable high register. This anthem arrives at just the right time.
Pharrell also joined forces with TIME for a very special cover project entitled The New American Revolution. He personally curated a series of essays and conversations between Black leaders that explore America’s oppressive past and visions for a more equitable future, with perspectives from Kenya Barris, Imara Jones, Naomi Osaka, Tyler, the Creator, and more. To bring this dialogue to the forefront, he unites the likes of Yara Shahidi and Angela Davis in once-in-a-lifetime interviews. Hank Willis Thomas contributed the cover art.
About the issue, Pharrell wrote, “In assembling this project, I asked some of the most qualified people I know in every field—from Angela Davis to Tyler, the Creator, to Representative Barbara Lee—to talk with us, and with one another, about the way forward. I wanted to convey a vision of a future filled with the artists, creators and entrepreneurs who can fulfill the promise of this country’s principles.”
The issue is on newsstands now.
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