247 The Sound Entertainment News Archives for 2022-03

Smokey Robinson Reveals Why He Resents Being Called An African-American


A 2004 poem titled “A Black American” by Smokey Robinson recently resurfaced when a teacher animated the poem for Black History Month. Amid the newfound traction, the Motown Records’ hitmaker spoke to his resentment towards the term “African-American” and the poem’s impact in correlation to the Black experience on The View. 


“I think that when you [use the term African-American], you’re disclaiming all the contributions that Black people have made to America. I consider myself to be a Black American, and I enjoy being called Black, and Black has been so negativized as a color down throughout history by those who wanted to negativize it. And so, it spilled over into the Black community and to the Black people. And even Black people back in the day calling each other Black was a sign for a fight […] Like Black was so negative,” the 82-year-old crooner stated.




Robinson went on to gift each host a copy of Walter Milton and Joel Freeman’s Black History 365: An Inclusive Account Of American History. He also spoke on Black Americans in the armed forces not dying for African countries but instead dying in states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. “We’ve contributed so much to America that it should be acknowledged […] That’s how I feel about being Black and I’m proud to call [myself] a Black American,” he exclaimed.


The original piece (see 2020 version above) was written for the season three finale of Def Poetry Jam. Watch Smokey Robinson’s full interview on The View below.

R&B star Mahalia announces Button Factory Dublin show



Leicester-born R&B musician Mahalia has announced her Dublin comeback show at the Button Factory on May 17th, with special guest Ruti.


The Grammy-nominated act recently dropped her brand new single ‘Letter To Ur Ex’ via Atlantic Records, following on from previous releases ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ and ‘Roadside’ (feat. AJ Tracey).


‘Letter To Ur Ex’ offers a more retrospective side of Mahalia, fusing her knowledge and experience with maturation. Exploring, understanding, and accepting every part of herself, Mahalia has taken her growth and merged it with her foundations; she has twisted her bases.


“I wrote ‘Letter to ur ex’ the morning after me and my guy had had a really bad argument due to a text that had been sent by his ex-partner the night before. I think when everybody begins a new relationship, it’s vital that it feels like a fresh start," Mahalia says of the track.


"Like everything before doesn’t really matter and the next journey begins now with only the two of you. I realized through this experience that this isn’t always the case. But, really, I just wanted to tell her how her actions were making me feel. How her gain in closure was my loss in love. And though I am also a woman who has felt all of those feelings before, I wanted to ask her to let him go so that I could hold him close. To close their old door so that I could open our new one."



Beginning 2020 with her second BRIT nomination, Mahalia featured on up-and-coming fellow Midlands rapper Pa Salieu’s debut mixtape, Send Them To Coventry, whilst also gracing the tracklist of Headie One’s No.1 album Edna.


Mahalia also received a Grammy nomination for ‘All I Need’ - Jacob Collier’s single of which she features alongside US rapper, Ty Dolla $ign. Shortly after, Mahalia concluded the year with two MOBO wins for ‘Best Female Act’ and ‘Best R&B/Soul Act’. She was also nominated for ‘Album Of The Year’ for her debut album Love and Compromise.


In 2021, Mahalia was also nominated for her first-ever Ivor Novello award for her 2020 collaboration with UK lyricist Pa Salieu for his single ‘Energy’ and subsequently concluded the year with an incredible headline show at London’s prestigious venue, O2 Brixton Academy.


Reflection has been the thread running through Mahalia’s writing and while the current global situation offers little more than uncertainty, the singer hopes that her music will encourage her listeners to carve out time to also look back and re-evaluate.


“We’re all fixated on how we can make ourselves better during and after this period of time but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they’ve lived through and how they’ve helped shape the people they are now.”


Tickets €25.90 on sale this Friday, 4 March at 10am from singularartists.ie.


Usher Says New Album Will Release This Year


The last time Usher released a full-length album was in 2016 with Hard II Love. Three years ago this month, the iconic singer hinted at a sequel to his seminal 2004 Confessions LP. 


Since making that cryptic announcement, Usher has checked in more than a few times with different singles, including the chart-topping singles "Bad Habits" and the Ella Mai-featured "Don't Waste My Time." 


Additional one-off tracks surfaced, such as "SexBeat" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris, "I Cry", " and" Too Much with Marshmello and Imanbek. He also contributed to songs by Summer Walker, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Jam & Lewis, and most recently, Mary J. Blige. 


With his second Las Vegas residency on its way, Usher is readying new music in the coming months. 


In a recent interview with People’s Mark Gray, the Grammy-winning superstar said his fans can look forward to fresh tunes ahead of his stint at Dolby Live at Park MGM.


“By the time we are live in July, you will have heard new music. My plan is to get back to servicing music the way that we did before,” he said. 

Usher had plans to make his long-awaited return before now, but his album rollout was delayed due to the pandemic.


For Usher, it seems like the additional downtime altered the direction of his ninth studio album for the better. 


He said, “In COVID, while we have been in quarantine, my ideas changed. I actually learned new things. I was able to really be reflective and find out what things matter and really have some true, honest, deep conversations with people and myself, to take some ownership of some of where my life has gone and some of the things that I’ve come through. It is honest.”


As for the anticipated arrival of his next album, Usher responded, “I’m going to release an album this year, hopefully, but now it’s just a matter of the timing, and what the name of the album is and all of that.”


Noted earlier, Usher is headed back to Las Vegas for another residency. Comprising 23 shows, Usher: The Vegas Experience, starts July 15 and runs through Oct. 29. 

Ahead of this residency, Usher will headline the Lovers & Friends Festival on May 21 in Las Vegas. 


In summer 2021, Usher celebrated the 20th anniversary of 8701. Legendary songwriter and producer Jimmy Jam spoke exclusively to Rated R&B about his involvement in the album.

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