Sunday, January 31, 2010

52nd Grammy Awards: Beyoncé and Taylor Swift win Big

The 52nd Grammy Awards aired tonight on CBS and there weren't many surprises. The front runners pretty much took the night. Maxwell scored two wins taking home the Best R&B Album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Jay-Z, also picking up two awards during the pre-telecast, won for the hit single D.O.A. - Death of Autotune (Rap Solo Performance) and its follow up Run This Town (Rap Song). Country act Zac Brown Band took home the award for Best New Artist while Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, and Jamie Foxx grabbed Grammy gold.



Elton John and Lady Gaga's opening number proved to be the most interesting with Gaga sparing no creative freedom. She sang a reworked version of her Grammy winning song Poker Face before the two of them performed a duet of Speechless and Your Song. Always one for hidden commentary, I love how her performance touched on the conspiracy rumors that she is a soulless puppet concocted to mislead us all and turn us into monsters.



Lady Gaga, who was considered a favorite took home two Grammys for Best Dance/Electronica album and Best Dance Recording. Kings of Leon won the award for Record of the Year with their hit Use Somebody. Taylor Swift took home Best Country Album and Album of the Year which made her the youngest act to even win the latter. Her album Fearless was the best selling album of 2009.
“Our families are freaking out in their living rooms,” said a bewildered and humble Swift.

The big winner of tonight's show was pop sensation Beyoncé. Overtaking her previous five wins that tied her with the most wins by a female in one night, Beyoncé grabbed a total of six awards during tonight's broadcast. That gave her the record for wins by a female in one night in Grammy history. It also makes her the third most winning female and 9th most winning artist of all time. Carried by her smash hit single Single Ladies which won Song of the Year, all awards were won by her album I Am...Sasha Fierce with the exception of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance with At Last from Cadillac Records.

“Wow, thank you so much,”
she said as she took the stage to claim her award for best female pop vocal performance. “I’m sorry, I’m nervous. I’d love to thank my family for all their support, including my husband, I love you. And I’d like to thank all of my fans for all of their support over the years, goodnight, thank you.”



Overall the show was not a huge showing of fresh performances. Most of the excitement came from the actual suspense of who would win what awards.

[CLICK HERE for the Full List of Winners]


A little Grammy record trivia...
R&B crooner Brian McKnight holds the record for most nominations and zero wins with 16 nominations.
Qunicy Jones holds the record for most nominations ever with 79.
Michael Jackson holds the record for most nominations in one night with 12 and the record for wins by a solo male with 8.
Beyoncé holds the record for most wins by a female in one night with 6.
Santana has a record wins for a group in one night by winning 9.
India.Arie is the artist with the most nominations in one night but zero wins with 7.
Magic Johnson is the only sports star to ever win a Grammy.
The honor of most Grammys ever won go to Allison Krauss with 26 and Stevie Wonder with 22.



Miss Virginia takes the Miss America Crown

The 2010 Miss America Pageant aired last night, Saturday January 30, and Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron walked away with the title. Cameron, a 22-year-old from Fredericksburg, Va., won a $50,000 scholarship along with the crown. A broadcast journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University, she wants to become an anchor.

I'm not sure how many girls want to grow up to be Miss America these days but the pageant seems to be going strong. I happened to run across the broadcast of this year's pageant and caught the talent portions. While there was a ballerina and of course a couple stabs at operatic arias, winner Caressa Cameron sang Beyoncé's Listen from Dreamgirls. It was an interesting performance. Catch it in the video below.
[The video is a bit out of sync and cuts off early but you will get the overall effect]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nick Jonas for VMAN

Singer Nick Jonas
for VMAN Magazine
Photography: Mario Testino
[source]


Well, this is certainly interesting. Seventeen year old Nick Jonas, the youngest of the three Jonas Brothers has recently embarked on a solo career. I guess this is further proof that he intends to stand alone. In my opinion this is an unlikely cover choice for the men's fashion magazine. However, I guess the Jonas brothers did offer a different form of pop star fashion with their fitted and tailored clothing, opting for suits rather than baggy jeans. While I'm not a huge fan, Testino captured a bit of a rebel side of Nick Jonas that he seems to be going for. Good look. Can't knock the hustle.

Behind the Scenes Video:



Friday, January 29, 2010

Precious Moments: Sibide for Ebony Magazine

Actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe
covers EBONY Magazine March Issue
[source]

Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, the Golden Globe nominated breakout star of the film Precious sat down with Ebony Magazine for the March issue to discuss working with Mo’Nique and director Lee Daniels changing her life.

A snippet from Ebony:

With the Academy Awards right around the corner, Ebony moved far beyond the silver screen to zero in on the power of the image as it relates to African-Americans. For this March issue, Precious star and first-time film actor Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe provides the essential backdrop to help examine what power really means. In a league of her own, she has definitely defied the “classic beauty” image in today’s movie industry. Yet, she possesses the kind of inner strength, courage and freedom that most of us would love to call our own.

“I wake up with myself every morning, so the only opinion that really matters is mine,” says Sidibe.

New Video: Usher's "Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)"

Usher
Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) [Video Premiere]
featuring French Model/Actress Noémie Lenoir
Director: Chris Robinson




Usher's new album Raymond vs. Raymond is set to hit stores March 30th.

Rosie's Family Special

A Family is a Family [Trailer]
A Rosie O'Donnell Celebration



Be on the lookout for this HBO films documentary premiering Sunday, January 31 at 7pm only on HBO.
For more information, log onto HBO.com.

Obama: State of the Union

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union Address in hopes to restore hope to an ailing nation. With his approval rating at 20% less than when elected and on the heels of the catastrophic loss of Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, he addressed the need to look back on mistakes and learn from them. Obama focused mostly on job creation, the economy and the need to overhaul health care. He brought up the point that simply saying no to change is not leadership. While taking responsibility for some of his failures, Obama stopped short of bearing all of the blame.

“I campaigned on the promise of change — ‘change we can believe in,’ the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change — or at least, that I can deliver it. But remember this — I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone.”

President Obama also called for a three-year freeze on all government spending other than national security and public insurance programs mandated by law like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Also, he notably called for the repeal of the controversial military policy known as Don't Ask Don't Tell which bans openly gay people from serving in the military. The members of the armed forces did not seem to eager to applaud that notion.

Obama called for both parties to work together.
“We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.”

View the entire speech in the video below:



If you prefer reading rather than watching the video,
download the SPEECH TRANSCRIPT HERE.

***
On a fashion note, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a beautiful plum ensemble by American Designer Isaac Mizrahi. She is known for trumpeting the work of American designers and deep regal colors have become her trademark. Notice the belted high waist, a look that Michelle Obama dons frequently. The color is reminiscent of the dress she wore for Oprah Christmas special which I posted here.

Watch Isaac Mizrahi's reaction via vlog HERE.

Below Images by Mandel Ngan / Getty



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Videos: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
Angels Cry
featuring Ne-Yo



Up Out My Face
featuring Nicki Minaj



***
Mariah drops two Nick Cannon directed videos in support of her Angels Advocate remix album. With the help of Ne-Yo and Nicki Minaj, Mariah rehashed two tracks from the Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel in hopes to salvage the album which was far from successful.
I can say that while I've never been a huge Ne-Yo fan but he does add quite a bit to Angels Cry, a song that I felt was already the best on the album. As for Up Out My Face, I'm still not sure how I feel about Nicki Minaj. I just don't see the hype with her. However, she and Mariah did a great job at both emphasizing and parodying their sex appeal in the comedic video. Time will tell if the videos will help this album make an impact. What was up with Nick in the video? I know that the song has a marching band feel but I'm sure her goal was not to create a sequel to Drumline.
[Peep super blogger B. Scott's cameo in the Up Out My Face video. Good look!]

Carvens Lissaint's "Haiti"

This amazing poem was actually written a year ago. The video filmed by photographer Steven Amanuel Duarte shows Haitian-American poet and performer Carvens Lissaint reciting the work. In the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake, this poem has a resounding effect.

9.20.19.13.5.723378 Mysterious Video Surfaces



I may as well jump on the bandwagon and post this. The mysterious and provocative clip simply titled 9.20.19.13.5.723378 was posted via the youtube channel iamamiwhoami.
Speculation is rampant about who the video features and what the connect is. I guess we will have to see. I love the visuals though.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Compose Yourself: Gaga Boiling Over



Think you know everything about Lady Gaga?
Here's the pop phenomenon earlier in life. While she was still a brunette, she appeared on MTV's short lived show Boiling Points which pushed people's buttons to see if they could keep their composure under the pressure.
Funny to see a pre-fame Gaga.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chanel Iman for VOGUE Spain

Model Chanel Iman
for VOGUE Spain
Styling: María Aguilar
Photography: Michelle Ferrara
[source]


Chanel really shines in the February issue of Spanish Vogue. Rocking looks from the Alexander McQueen spring women swear collection, Chanel displays her fabulously gorgeous and commercial face and ready for the runway body.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mayer Sings "Perfectly Lonely"

John Mayer
Perfectly Lonely
[Live at the Beacon Theatre]



Recorded back in November to celebrate the release of his album Battle Studies, the video shows Mayer performing one of my favorite songs from the album. Selected as one of my favorite songs of the year on my top ten list, the songs lyrics really speak to where I am in life and where I always strive to be.

Fresh Face: Pete Pol

Model Pete Pol
[source]

Featured on Models.com as one of the new fresh faces, Pete is one of the few Thai models working internationally. His ethnic background consists of a blend of German, Thai, and Danish genes. Great look. Pete is currently in Milan with Joy Models.

Blue State Now Seeing Red

How did Brown take Massachusetts?
The state has been blue through and through for some time now. President Obama won in every one of the state's counties in the presidential election.
It's not a first. History shows that the party of the sitting president often loses midterm elections. Ted Kennedy's vacant senate seat has been occupied by a conservative Republican candidate. Scott Brown defeated democrat Martha Coakley to win a seat that has belonged to a democrat for nearly fifty years.
Many political pundits see this as a referendum and backlash against the Obama administration. The White House shoots down that notion but it is clear that voters did speak loudly and clearly. Are comfortable democratic voters to blame? Did Coakley run a campaign that was sub par as many democrats are implying?
Whether or not those things hold to be true, democrats need to get it together. One thing I can say about the Bush administration is that they had guts and zeal. Even if the ideals were misguided, they took action. Obama is practical. We understand that. However, a pragmatic approach is causing his party to be in ruins. Democrats are known for being painfully tentative while republicans tend to be impulsive and bullying.
The blame doesn't rest only with him but the people wanted change. Change is not going to happen overnight but what can we really claim to have changed in the last year.
Wall Street got bailouts, insurance companies and health care reform opponents have gutted the bill, and bankers got bonuses.
The Massachusetts voters that elected Brown were angry. The same sentiments won Obama the election after Bush backlash grew to be too large for republicans to overtake.
Is it over for the Democratic party? No. But there is an uphill battle ahead. The party needs to really dig in and stick to their guns. Second guessing and bipartisanship isn't going to help real change come along. Brown's win isn't the end of progress nor should it serve as a weapon to impede it. Brown's win should be the catalyst for progress. Hopefully, the Obama administration's eyes are wide open now.

Read two articles from CNN by clicking the links below. Great reads.

[Democrats and Finger Pointing]

[Brown's Win Means Big Changes?]


No Strings Attached: Mayer for Rolling Stone

Singer John Mayer
for Rolling Stone
[source]

Thirty-two year old musician John Mayer reveals his crude side in this revealing Rolling Stone interview, discussing sexuality and love. Here are a few snippets.

On preferring Continuum to his 2009 disc Battle Studies:
”I know that I’m supposed to say that my newest is the best one. Bulls—.”

On his split with ex-girlfriend Jennifer Aniston:
”I’ve never really gotten over it. It was one of the worst times of my life… I have this weird feeling, a pride thing, for the people I’ve had relationships with. What would I be saying to Jen, who I think is f—ing fantastic, if I said to her, I don’t dislike you. In fact, I like you extremely well. But I have to back out of this because it doesn’t arc over the horizon. This is not where I see myself for the rest of my life, this is not my ideal destiny.”

On his sex life becoming an endless loop of new girls rejecting him in clubs:
”Blowing me off is the new sucking me off!”

On finding a girlfriend:
“Do you think it’s going to take meeting someone who I admire more than I admire myself? But isn’t it also about a beautiful vagina? Aren’t we talking about a matrix of a couple of different things here? Like, you need to have them be able to go toe-to-toe with you intellectually. But don’t they also have to have a vagina you could pitch a tent on and just camp out on for, like, a weekend? Doesn’t that have to be there, too? The Joshua Tree of vaginas? …I’ll be happy when I close out this life-partner thing. Think of how much mental capacity I’m using to meet the right person so I can stop giving a f–k about it.”

On his relationships:
“All I want to do now is f–k the girls I’ve already f–ked, because I can’t fathom explaining myself to somebody who can’t believe I’d be interested in them, and they’re going, But you’re John Mayer! So I’m going backwards to move forward. I’m too freaked out to
meet anybody else.”

On masturbation :
“I am the new generation of masturbator. I’ve seen it all. Before I make coffee, I’ve seen more butt holes than a proctologist does in a week.”

On if he pleasures himself daily:
“I don’t like that question, because it seeks to make me sound strange if I say ‘Yes, but of course I do.’ I mean, I have masturbated myself out of serious problems in my life. The phone doesn’t pick up because I’m masturbating. And I have excused myself at the oddest times so as to not make mistakes. If Tiger Woods only knew when to jerk off. It has a true market value, like gold bullion. First of all, I don’t jerk off because I’m horny. I’m sort of half-chick. It’s like District 9. I can fire alien weapons. I can insert a tampon. No, I do it because I want to take a brain bath. It’s like a hot whirlpool for my brain, in a brain space that is 100 percent agreeable with itself.”

***
Funniest.Interview.Ever
hahaha
Anyway, be sure to pick up your copy of Rolling Stone for the full interview and photo spread. Also, pick up Mayer's latest album Battle Studies. You won't be disappointed.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sasha and Gaga Grammy Promo

Check out two new Grammy Awards promotional posters released featuring Beyoncé and Lady GaGa. The photos are mosaic compilations of fan photos taken from the Grammy promotional site www.wereallfans.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

New M.I.A.

M.I.A.
There's Space for Ol Dat I See


Carter for Interview Magazine

Rapper Jay-Z
for Interview Magazine February 2010
[source]

Sizing up Gabby & Dakota for V

Actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Dakota Fanning
for V Magazine
Styling: Joe McKenna
Photography: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
[source]


These young actresses appear on dual covers for V Magazine's Size Issue on stands now. The magazine has released preview stories with full figured models. Sibide, the Golden Globe nominated breakout star of Precious and Dakota Fanning, already an industry veteran, are both bright stars in young Hollywood. It's interesting that they were chosen to cover the magazine since there are mostly known for their talent, rather than their appearances.

“Growing up, there weren’t a lot of actresses and singers who looked like me. There were no real times that I thought maybe I can do it, until Mo’Nique came along. She’s a plus-sized woman who didn’t care about one day being skinny. All my life I’ve been hearing that I’ll never amount to anything until I am skinny. And she disapproved everything that everyone has ever told me.”
Gabourey Sidibe

“I think that when you’re in the public eye, you automatically become a role model, because people are reading about you and looking at pictures of stuff you’ve done. But, you know, no one’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes. I have made mistakes and I will make mistakes. I’m only human.”
–Dakota Fanning

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bullock and Mo'Nique Shine at the Golden Globes

The Golden Globe Awards aired on NBC Sunday evening and actors Meryl Streep, Robert Downey, Jr., Jeff Bridges, Drew Barrymore took home gold. Martin Scorsese, often snubbed by award showed in the past, has continued his decorated streak by being award the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Also, this has been quite a year for Sandra Bullock who has seen a revitalization in her career with two box office standouts, most notably Blind Side which she won the globe for Best Actress in a Drama. Mo'Nique took home the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her critically acclaimed role in Precious. Many believe that she and Bullock are the front runners for Academy Award wins. The hit television show Glee also took home a win. Best Picture went to Avatar, the fantasy film by director James Cameron who picked up the globe for Best Director as well. The much hyped high budget flick has amassed quite a bit of praise and has become the second highest grossing film of all time. Titanic, which was also directed by Cameron, holds the record. It seems like the Best Picture award was fueled by hype and name notoriety in the same way Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was.
The Globes are often seen as the show that predicates the Oscar winners.
Congrats to all of the winners.

[Visit the Official Globe Site HERE for the FULL LIST of Winners]



A Dream Deferred

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reactionof evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of
annihilation."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Strength To Love, 1963


Has the Black Film Died?

Hattie McDaniel, James Baskett and Sidney Poitier all broke the barriers of film to create a presence of the colored face on the silver screen. The images of blacks in film have changed dramatically in the years that followed and there aren't many more firsts to be witnessed with blacks and Hollywood. Morgan Freeman and Cicely Tyson paved way for Don Cheadle and Angela Bassett. Will Smith is one of the highest paid actors in the game and it is now common place for a person of color to be nominated during awards season, a feat that was once a rarity. But what happened to black film?

The 80s and 90s brought about a renaissance in black film. Directors like Spike Lee and John Singleton emerged, taking black film into their own hands and delivering stunning projects. Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was iconic and was followed by a string of classics that were both provocative and entertaining. Lee was perhaps the biggest force in black film, often employing phenomenal all star casts of actors of color and launching many careers. Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Samuel L. Jackson all were early standouts in Lee films.

The 80s and 90s represented a period in which blacks had varying voices and different platforms. The career of Eddie Murphy shows it best. He had films classics such as Coming to America and Boomerang, released standup comedy films, and starred in box office franchises such as Beverly Hills Cop. Black films like Soul Food, Best Man, Jason's Lyric, and Boyz N the Hood showed blacks in everyday life. The now classic films showed real people who just happened to be black. They showed the inner workings of the African-American experience from the triumphs of family to the traps of inner city life. A slew of films like Juice and New Jack City showed the crime ridden side of black culture while Brown Sugar and Love Jones gave us a romantic side.

What happened? There is a large gap in film today that depicts the black experience. Either blacks flourish in award season fodder serious films that tend to be biopics (Ray, Precious, Dreamgirls) or the films are along the lines of slapstick comedy (Norbit, the Tyler Perry Madea franchise). Nothing against award season, but the films typically have non-blacks at the helm. Actors that frequented black films have now found fame in mainstream film. Terrence Howard, Jamie Foxx, Taraji P. Henson, and Mo'Nique have all broken out of black film to find award season glory. Tyler Perry virtually serves as the lone voice of the black film vehicle now. The most recent serious black film was Precious by black director Lee Daniels. However, the critically acclaimed film drew some criticism. Many blacks felt that the film was stereotypical and that it shed negative light on the black family. I happen to have the same feelings for Tyler Perry films. Not every family is like that of the character of Precious. But that doesn't mean that every family had a Madea. Mine didn't. Spike Lee has been a very vocal opponent of Tyler Perry's approach to film making. It seems that Perry may be eroding the work of Lee which aspired to bring a thoughtful tone to black film.

So what killed the black film? After the Love & Basketball era, there were a string of black films with virtually the same story and cast (Vivica Fox, Morris Chestnut...). As is the case with blacks in television, have we lost the need to show films that center around black friendships in favor of minstrelsy? To Perry's credit, he does also create films like Why Did I Get Married. Will we ever have another Waiting to Exhale? Or a Harlem Nights? Will there be more black films that are instantly quotable and lovable? Or has the black film industry been limited to chitlin' circuit comedies or outstanding black performances in films driven by white directors/producers? It's good thing that black actors have moved into the mainstream and received widespread recognition, but has it had a negative affect the way that R&B has been effected by black music artists moving to pop?

Those are loaded questions given the varying viewpoints in the African-American community as well as different definitions of what the "black experience" really is. I'm just waiting on another feel good black film that is void of minstrel show qualities. Bring back the romantic comedy and the hood classic.

Janet Covers Gotham

Entertainer Janet Jackson
for Gotham Magazine
[source]

On what she’s taken from Michael’s death:
“When you hear people say life goes on, it’s really the truth. You can’t stop living. It becomes a part of you. I feel a bit selfish because there are times I feel I shouldn’t be doing this, but I enjoy my work and I have to keep doing it. I have to keep my life going. There are days that are harder than others.”

On her new album:
“It’s going to be a little different. The writing is about life experiences. There’s a part of me that’s craving escapism, which is a sense of wanting to keep on moving with my work but also of coming to terms with reality. So I think it will be upbeat and light.”

On her new book:
“I hope it’s inspiring for all ages. I’m talking about weight loss, confidence, self-esteem—especially in your youth. It’s not an autobiography, but there are little anecdotes that I give here and there from my childhood all the way to the present that I thought would be interesting and helpful to share.”

The New Garde

Models Abiah Hostvedt, Jamil Ramirez, & Isaiah Colbert
Photography: Takahiro Ogawa
Fashion editor: Damian Adams
Creative direction: ARTANDEXILE
[source]