247 The Sound Entertainment News Archives for 2022-08

Stokley Releases Video for 'Cafe' Featuring Wale

Stokley has released the official video for his Wale-assisted track “Cafe,” directed by Josh Sikkema.
 

The video begins at the Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a male patron sings Mint Condition’s 1991 classic “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes).” He gets his lucky break when Stokley walks in and rewards his singing chops with a cup of coffee.
 

For most of the video, a stylish Stokley grooves to “Cafe” in a solo frame. He also spends time on the set of a photoshoot featuring three beautiful Black women. Wale doesn’t join the R&B vet for the visual but has his verse mouthed by the women at the shoot. 
 

“Cafe” is lifted from Stokley’s sophomore solo album, Sankofa, released in September 2021. It the album’s latest focus track, following the top five R&B radio and Billboard success of “Woman” featuring KiDi and his number one single “She…” 

 

In an interview with Rated R&B, Stokley expressed how he felt that Wale named him a musical mentor. “I look at myself as an example. People say role models, but it’s an example of what you can become, what you can do, [and] how you could pass it on, just as it was passed on to me.” 
 

As for Sankofa, Stokley shared, “It’s an elevation as well as going deeper, broader and farther than I’ve gone before. It’s more personal. It’s more intimate.” 
 

Sankofa features guest appearances from Wale, Snoop Dogg, The Bonfyre, Shakespeare! and H.E.R. In the same interview, Stokley talked about working with H.E.R. on the song “Rush.” 
 

“[It’s] a great collaboration. She sent the idea to me. I pretty much just put all my intricate stuff over it, inside it, and it made sense. It had a little Minneapolis slant on it, kind of Princely but new and old R&B. I like flirting in between those two worlds. It worked out perfectly,” he shared. 
 

Stokley is supporting Sankofa with several concerts this summer and fall. Tickets are available on his official website.

 

Watch Stokley’s “Cafe” video below. 

 

 

 

R&B Star Tevin Campbell Opens Up About His Life — and Sexuality: 'I've Embraced Me'

The man who famously posed the question, "Can we talk for a minute?" is now opening up like never before.

 

Beloved R&B singer Tevin Campbell, known for sultry '90s hits like "Can We Talk" and "I'm Ready," recently appeared on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast for an in-depth interview, discussing his life and career and revealing for the first time what his personal experience has been as a gay man in the music industry.

 

"I refer to myself as a former child star because that's just what I am," says Campbell, 45, of his musical past. Discovered by famed talent manager Benny Medina at age 12, the Waxahachie, Texas, native was thrust onto the music scene a year later by mentor Quincy Jones — and instantly dubbed "the next Michael Jackson" for his smooth, savant-like vocals and impressive range.

 

The comparison was a "big compliment" that came with a lot of pressure, says Campbell. "I just kind of wanted to be me, you know?" Instead, he was packaged as a young, heterosexual heartthrob.

 

Signed to Warner Brothers Music, he released his debut album T.E.V.I.N. in 1991 and followed it up with I'm Ready in 1993, both to huge success. Campbell admits, "I don't think the sex symbol thing worked, but the love songs last."

For instance, "Can We Talk," a song that was almost given to Usher, his contemporary at the time, earned Campbell a Grammy nomination and has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to a popular TikTok singing challenge. "I had no idea at the time, like when I was 15 or 16 recording this song that it would have that impact," says Campbell. "I was just a kid singing in the studio."

 

Coming of age in the heteronormative space of R&B at that time, "I didn't hide anything about me. I didn't try to act a certain way or anything," says Campbell. But also, he notes of that era in the industry, "You just couldn't be [gay] back then."

 

Partly due to changes at the record label, Campbell and his music got put on the back burner after his third album, released in 1996, didn't perform well. Around the same time, his personal journey began.

 

"When I came out to my family and friends [at] about 19 or 20, that was it for me. And then I went on the road of discovering myself. I didn't know who I was," says Campbell, who stepped away from the music industry and credits much of his growth to the six years he spent performing in the Broadway musical Hairspray beginning in 2004.

 

 

"Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that," he says. "That was a great time in my life."

 

Despite years of speculation, Campbell has largely kept his private life private. Earlier this year, he responded to a Twitter user's question about famous singers who are rumored to be gay. He simply tweeted "Tevin is…" adding a rainbow emoji.

"It was a casual thing for me," Campbell says of what many took as a coming out statement. In truth, he adds, "I love my fans, but what they think about my sexuality is of no importance to me."

 

Asked his thoughts on the recent success of young, queer Black stars like Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X who've opened up to fans, "It wasn't like that in the '90s," he says with laugh. "But I'm glad I get to see it. I'm glad that's changing. There are a lot of kids, especially young Black boys that need to see representation."

 

He adds, "They're not being taught to love themselves because of who they are."

For Campbell — who has new music in the works, recently performed at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville and took home this year's R&B icon award at the Black Music Honors — loving himself is his greatest accomplishment.

 

"What makes me happiest right now is how far I've come in life," he says, "You know, there are a lot of child stars that don't make it. But a lot of us do… and the fact that I've embraced me."

Diddy & Mary J. Blige Discuss The State Of R&B: "They Was Trying To Kill It"

Diddy raised the question: “Who killed R&B” and brought Mary J Blige on Instagram Live with him for an in-depth discussion on the subject.

 

Diddy began a lively social media debate when he took to social media to discuss the state of R&B. Many fans have claimed the genre is not what it used to be and is in a state of decline since its heyday decades ago. 

 

The music mogul received varying responses when he asked: “Who killed R&B?” on Twitter. Diddy then attempted to get a definition of the genre from his followers before announcing Mary J. Blige would be joining him on Instagram Live to discuss the topic.  

 

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul swiftly knocked down any suggestion that anybody could kill off R&B.  
 

“You can’t kill something that’s in our DNA,” Mary explained to Diddy during the discussion. “It’s gonna keep transitioning from generation to generation to generation to generation. They was trying to kill it.” 
 

She then prefaced her next point by thanking the radio stations who genuinely support the genre before discussing how they contributed to the decline.  
 

“Before I say what I’m gonna say, let me just say this: I wanna thank all the radio stations around the country that are playing R&B music and sincerely support it,” she continued. “But, you know, a lot of the radio stations killed it, for the same thing that Tank was saying. They ain’t gon’ jump on the bandwagon of whatever the hottest things is—but, let me just say this. We have to keep ourselves alive as R&B singers.” 
 

She then named herself and some of her peers, including Chaka Khan, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan, and SWV, asserting that artists like these cannot be killed.  
 

Mary J. Blige went on to say that the music is “in us,” yet “they wanna call it ‘Popular Music’ with Adele and Justin Timberlake get ahold to it, so now it’s ‘Popular Music.’ But it’s been popular music! We’ve been had it!”  

 

Watch Diddy and Mary J. Blige discuss the state of R&B below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASHANTI SHOULD SEND CEASE-AND-DESIST TO IRV GOTTI, SAYS JUDGE GREG MATHIS

Ashanti has been on the receiving end of many disparaging comments made by Irv Gotti this past week, and she’s now being advised on how best to handle it.
 

On Tuesday (August 9), TMZ ran into esteemed TV Judge Greg Mathis who had a few tips for the R&B singer, advising her that she should consider issuing a cease-and-desist to her former label boss.
 

“If she feels she’s being defamed, she should perhaps send a cease and desist if nothing else, hoping that they’ll honor the law,” Mathis said. “Because cease-and-desist order is just that, a law. So that would be my suggestion prior to moving further, just send a cease-and-desist and hope they honor that.”
 

He continued: “I deal with this quite frequently and as I tell the litigants there has to be an intent to hurt your reputation and it has to be made to third parties, and it must actually hurt your reputation so that’s the issue. Does it actually hurt your reputation or does it give you more fame like kids get in this society?”
 

When asked to share his personal thoughts on Gotti’s comments, he merely said: “I’ll just say the circumstances surrounding it clearly indicate that there’s bad blood in the air.”

 

 

During Irv Gotti’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs podcast last week, the famed producer recounted his alleged brief love affair with Ashanti, and at one point even claimed her hit song “Happy” was created right after the pair finished having sex.
 

The Murder Inc. co-founder’s comments caused a widespread backlash in the Hip Hop community, with many saying the 52-year-old was way out of line.
 

Fat Joe slammed Irv Gotti for “disrespecting” Ashanti, while also calling out Ja Rule — who was on Drink Champs with Gotti — for not sticking up for his friend and former label mate, with whom he formed a successful partnership on hits like “Mesmerize,” “Always On Time” and “Wonderful.”
 

Irv Gotti got wind of Joe’s comments, and said he was disappointed his former friend would take such a stance against him.
 

“I feel like [Fat Joe] fooled me. He’s not my friend. I was fooled, but in life you get fooled,” Irv said while a guest on Houston’s 97.9 The Box. “Forget Joe ’cause they don’t want me to talk about Joe. So I won’t talk about Joe, I’ll talk about life. And In life, everyone goes through friends. People who you thought were your friends — I’m not talking about Joe.”
 

He continued: “In life, I’ve had countless friends come and go, but, you know what remains consistent and why I get through all of this? My family, ’cause I don’t really need friends … I’m more than content going home and spending time with my mom. Like, I’m a weird dude like that.”

 

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On Thursday (August 11), Ja Rule addressed the controversy in an Instagram post, saying he does “not condone” Gotti’s remarks about Ashanti and wishes to be left out of the drama, given his long-standing relationship with both parties.
 

“Brotherly love… The last few days have been very turbulent for me but it’s time to land the plane,” he wrote alongside recent photos of him and Ashanti performing together. “I love my sis I love my bro but I DO NOT condone or agree with the behavior nor the way Gotti handled things on drink champs.
 

“I hope y’all understand how uncomfortable this is for me being in the middle of something I wish to not be… going forward all I ask is to be left out of this please and thank you!!! Sincerely Switzerland Bennett… #ICONN #Vibes.”

Ashanti has yet to respond to the situation

Ari Lennox Says Her Long-Awaited Follow-Up To 'Shea Butter Baby' Is Done

R&B fans have been eating well this year, thanks to releases from the likes of Giveon, Kehlani, and Syd and the upcoming release of SZA’s CTRL follow-up. However, one name has been missing from the lineup: Dreamville’s Ari Lennox, whose 2019 debut album Shea Butter Baby was also her last. But that may be changing soon, as the Washington, DC native recently announced that her next album is done on Twitter. “Are you guys ready??” she asked.


She’s also announced that “Hoodie,” the lead single for the new album, drops this Friday, August 12, sharing the devious cover art. The design sees Ari sitting atop a water tank in which she’s apparently trapped a man who struggles to get loose as she looks on.
 

The singer’s fans could use the good news after she’s had something of a rough year so far. Late last year, she ran into some trouble at the airport in Amsterdam, saying she’d been racially profiled and arrested and later remarking that she was not okay, even a month later. Then, an early appearance on a South African podcast led to the singer feeling disrespected and even expressing a wish to be dropped from her label. However, things have been looking up since Ari contributed to Dreamville’s D-Day Gangsta Grillz mixtape and changed her management. She certainly appears to be in a better place mentally, and hopefully for her fans, that translates into music that makes the wait worthwhile.

Busta Rhymes, a multi-award-winning actor, composer, rapper, and producer, will receive the BMI Icon Award on September 7 at the 2022 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. BMI President & CEO Mike O'Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative (Atlanta), Catherine Brewton will s

Busta Rhymes, a multi-award-winning actor, composer, rapper, and producer, will receive the BMI Icon Award on September 7 at the 2022 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative (Atlanta), Catherine Brewton will serve as the event’s host at the exclusive gathering, which will take place at the LIV Nightclub Miami Beach.

 

“As one of the pioneers of hip-hop, we are excited to honor Busta Rhymes as a BMI Icon,” said Brewton in a press statement. “Through his award-winning solo work, countless collaborations and acting, Busta is a true innovator in every sense of the word and has made a dynamic impact on legions of fans and music creators worldwide.

“His quick wit and intricate rapping style have made him legendary, inspiring many young performers to follow in his footsteps. We’re also thrilled to be back in person in Miami, celebrating our top music creators behind some of today’s most-performed songs. We’re looking forward to a fantastic night of great music.” 


Rhymes will be celebrated for his career in the early 90s with the Leaders of the New School Hip-Hop crew, leading to several successful albums and hits like “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” “Break Ya Neck,” “Dangerous,” “Gimme Some More” and “What’s It’s Gonna Be?,” featuring Janet Jackson.

 

The 35 R&B/Hip-Hop songs from BMI’s catalog of more than 18.7 million musical works with the highest number of performances in the United States over the previous year will also be honored throughout the evening. During the ceremony, the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Songwriter, Producer, and Publisher of the Year will also be announced.

BEYONCÉ TEAMS WITH RONALD ISLEY FOR "MAKE ME SAY IT AGAIN, GIRL" REMAKE

Just days after teaming with Madonna for a “Break My Soul” remix, Beyoncé has teamed with R&B legend Ronald Isley and The Isley Brothers for “Make Me Say It Again, Girl.” The single is a remake of the Isley Brothers classic from 1975’s The Heat Is On album.

 

You can hear a preview of the single below, and be sure to tune into iHeartRadio for the full single.

 

This Beyoncé run may be her best yet. With Renaissance already sitting on top of the Billboard 200, Beyoncé now has taken control of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Break My Soul.” Pulling off a trifecta, Beyoncé also holds the top spot on the Artist 100 chart.

 

Beyoncé’s reign at the top of the Artist 100 is a first since the start of the chart in 2014. The Renaissance album is the seventh No. 1 for Beyoncé and bowed with 332,000 equivalent album units.

 

“Break My Soul” jumps from No. 6 to No. 1, giving Beyoncé her eighth No. 1 single. All 16 tracks of the Renaissance album are placed in the Hot 100.

 

Beyoncé is the fifth woman to lead the Artist 100, Hot 100, and Billboard 200 charts at the same time. The other four are Taylor Swift, Adele, Ariana Grande, and Camilla Cabello.

 

 

Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' Album Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200

Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 332,000 equivalent units. It’s the largest first-week sales by a woman this year. 

The album’s hefty debut numbers also put Beyoncé behind British megastar Harry Styles as the second artist of 2022 with the most albums sold in its first week.

Outside of Adele‘s 2021 album 30, Beyoncé leads the pack as the first woman to have a new album launch atop the Billboard 200.
 

Each of Beyoncé’s seven studio albums topped the big albums chart — and she’s the only woman to achieve this feat. Her last proper solo album, Lemonade, opened at No. 1 with 653,000 units sold. 
 

Additionally, Renaissance earns Beyoncé her tenth top 10 album on the Billboard 200. Before this latest release, 2019’s The Lion King: The Gift entered at No. 2 with sales of 54,000. Then, a few months earlier, Homecoming: The Live Album started at No. 4 on this list, selling 38,000 in its first week. 

 

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” said Beyoncé. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
 

The music icon also thanked her fans for supporting her latest album. “I’m thankful that it was received and understood. Thank you to my beautiful team for your heart and grind,” Beyoncé wrote in a letter. “Thank you to all of the brilliant collaborators and musicians, composers and everyone involved in creating this piece of art. And thank you to the absolute best fans on the planet. I’m grateful to be loved by you.”

 

Renaissance was powered by the current single, “Break My Soul,” co-produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. It recently reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her eighth chart-topper and first since the Grammy-winning “Savage (Remix)” with Megan Thee Stallion.  
 

Not to mention, the 15 other Renaissance songs were entries on the Hot 100 this week. This feat brings Beyoncé’s Hot 100 appearances to 81, the third most among women. She passes Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (73) and Ariana Grande (71) to trail behind Nicki Minaj (123) and Taylor Swift (168). 

 

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” said Beyoncé. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
 

The music icon also thanked her fans for supporting her latest album. “I’m thankful that it was received and understood. Thank you to my beautiful team for your heart and grind,” Beyoncé wrote in a letter. “Thank you to all of the brilliant collaborators and musicians, composers and everyone involved in creating this piece of art. And thank you to the absolute best fans on the planet. I’m grateful to be loved by you.”
 

Renaissance was powered by the current single, “Break My Soul,” co-produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. It recently reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her eighth chart-topper and first since the Grammy-winning “Savage (Remix)” with Megan Thee Stallion.  

Not to mention, the 15 other Renaissance songs were entries on the Hot 100 this week. This feat brings Beyoncé’s Hot 100 appearances to 81, the third most among women. She passes Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (73) and Ariana Grande (71) to trail behind Nicki Minaj (123) and Taylor Swift (168). 

 

So far, Beyoncé has not shared an official music video for “Break My Soul.” According to the press release, visuals, including one for the lead single, are forthcoming. But she did drop several remixes, including a Queens Remix featuring Madonna.  It reimagines the original production with her co-star’s 1992 hit single “Vogue.” 
 

Other alternate remixes included those done over by producer/artist will.i.am, Chicago house DJ Terry Hunter, house producer/DJ Honey Dijon and DJ Nita Aviance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ne-Yo's wife files for divorce after she alleges he fathered a child with another woman

Days after accusing husband Ne-Yo of sleeping with another woman, Crystal Renay Smith has filed for divorce.
 

According to legal documents obtained by The Times, the entrepreneur filed a petition for divorce from R&B singer Ne-Yo — whose given name is Shaffer Chimere Smith — on Monday. The petition said Ne-Yo and Smith separated on July 22, 2022.

“Petitioner is entitled to a divorce from respondent upon the ground that the marriage is irrevocably broken with no hope for reconciliation,” the court document said.

 

 

 

 

 

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