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Jennifer Hudson’s debut self-titled CD
Jennifer Hudson’s debut self-titled CD isn’t due out until September 30, but the just-released cover and promotional pics are generating quite a buzz. We love the full-figured Dreamgirl, but it seems like her CD cover features a much, much slimmer J-Hud. What’s the skinny? Is it some sort of digital diet or did Hudson cop Beyonce’s pre-Dreamgirls lemon-and-cayene-pepper fasting plan? Either way, fans of the Oscar-winning actress should know that R&B singer and songwriter Ne-Yo penned a few of the tracks including the lead-off single, “Spotlight.” In addition to the album, Hudson will be featured in the upcoming movies, “Secret Lives of Bees” and “Winged Creatures.”
United Negro College Fund Salutes Patti LaBelle 30th Anniversary set for Kodak Theatre September 13
UNCF, the United Negro College Fund, celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a salute to Patti LaBelle. The soulful songbird from Philadelphia, who has earned her rightful place among rhythm and blues royalty, will be honored by UNCF, the nation’s largest minority higher education assistance organization, on its 30th annual television special An Evening of Stars (AEOS) presented by Target.
The two-hour tribute will honor LaBelle before a live audience at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on September 13, 2008 and will be televised nationwide in January 2009.
The Grammy-winning R&B/soul singer will receive UNCF’s prestigious Award of Excellence in recognition of her distinguished career as an artist and performer and for her longstanding support of UNCF. Previous AEOS Award of Excellence honorees include Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Steve Wonder, Quincy Jones and Lou Rawls.
“Throughout her career, from the first notes she sang in her church choir through her four decades as a renowned vocalist, Patti LaBelle has exemplified the dedication to excellence that UNCF honors and supports,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “Through her best-selling books and the numerous businesses she has started and seen through to success and, most of all, through her generous support of UNCF and many other charities, Patti embodies the spirit of UNCF’s iconic motto, ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste.’”
A music industry icon, LaBelle birthed and developed a new era of women’s music, and in the process has influenced a new generation of female singers. Known for her strong vocals, her signature high-octave vocal belting and a range considered to be one of the highest in music, she is recognized as one of the country’s greatest female vocalists.
Although she is widely known for classic ballads such as the duet “On My Own” with Michael McDonald, “If Only You Knew,” “I Believe I Can Fly”, “You are My Friend” and “If You Asked Me To,” she continues to influence current artists such as Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot, Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim, who paid homage to the soulful diva with a hip-hop-infused rendition of her 1973 hit, “Lady Marmalade,” for the Academy Award-winning musical Moulin Rouge.
In June of this year, LaBelle released The Essential Patti LaBelle and Live in Washington DC, a previously unreleased concert recorded in 1982. Her studio album, Miss Patti’s Christmas was released in 2007, and she was also showcased on VH1’s popular Divas special, accompanied by superstar talents Jessica Simpson, Cyndi Lauper and Gladys Knight. Between recording and touring, she tapes her TV One show, “Living It Up with Patti LaBelle”, and managed to fit in a role in the film Idlewild. She also starred in her own sitcom series, Out All Night. LaBelle is also the author of four best-selling books: Don’t Block the Blessings, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, Patti’s Pearls and Patti LaBelle’s Lite Cuisine.
The list of accolades and awards Patti LaBelle has received is long and illustrious. She has won two Grammy Awards, seven NAACP Image Awards, two American Music Awards, a Cable Ace Award and received three Emmy® Award nominations. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1997, she received a Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award.
LaBelle’s work as a humanitarian is as legendary as her entertainment career. Over the years, she has been a frequent performer on An Evening of Stars and is an advocate for adoption, foster care, Big Sisters, the American Diabetes Association and numerous other charities.
Russell Simmon’s Midnight Summer’s Magic
Russell Simmon’s Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s Ninth Annual ART FOR LIFE benefit gala sold out and raised a record 1.5 Million over the weekend in support of providing arts education to underserved New York City youth, defying the odds in this economic downtown reported to be affecting most fundraisers.
“Even in this economic climate, it is clear our supporters understand the importance art plays in a young person’s life,” Russell Simmons emphasized. “I think Governor Paterson said it best when he made the point that anyone with a young child can see the critical role expressing themselves through art and creativity plays in their development. The imagination is everything and the cultivation of creativity is the most important thing you can do for a child. We were thrilled so many old and new friends came out and supported this important cause and helped us raise more money than ever for the over 50 art programs Rush Philanthropic supports.”
Danny Simmons declared, “Fourteen years ago we did our first fundraiser event in Manhattan and raised $250,000. Today, we walked in to this event over 1 million dollars strong, and will see even more results after the online charity auction closes. We’ve come along way!”
Celebrities, socialites, arts patrons and friends from the entertainment and financial community, including New York Governor David Paterson, Aretha Franklin, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Gayle King, Padma Lakshmi, Christy Turlington Burns and Ed Burns, Jill & Bobby Zarin, Ramona & Mark Singer and The Countess LuAnn de Lesseps all from “The Real Housewives of NYC”, Lorraine Bracco, Al Roker & Deborah Roberts, Sante D’Orazio, Grant and Tamia Hill, Lyor Cohen, Alan Patricof, Kevin Liles, Kelly Bensimon, Tracey Edmonds, Erika & Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Kehinde Wiley, Tracy Mourning, R. Couri Hay, Curtis Martin, and many more all turned out in support of this year’s fundraising effort.
“Mariah Remix Contest” - $5,000 Grand Prize
Mariah Carey’s new hit single, “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time,” will be the subject of a unique competition. The “Mariah Remix Contest” will allow fans and remixers throughout the world to create distinctive new mixes of the song, using individual tracks from the master sessions of “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time.” The “Mariah Remix Contest” is being launched by MariahCarey.com, in conjunction with UltraStar Entertainment, the digital media company behind her official site and fan club, and IndabaMusic.com, the leading music collaboration website and online community for musicians.
Eight instrument stems from “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time,” including lead vocals, keyboards, brass, bass, and drums, will be available at www.indabamusic.com/mariahremix throughout the duration of the 6 week contest. In addition, an advanced audio package including 20 stems and project files for ProTools, Logic, and Garageband will be made available for those who wish to create more advanced entries.
Submissions will be accepted through August 28th, with online fan voting beginning the next day, and ending on September 12th. The 10 remix finalists, as voted by fans, will be judged by the celebrity panel of Mark Sudack (co-executive producer of E=MC2), Kerri Mason (Dance Columnist, Billboard), and Mantis Evar (EVP, Indaba Music).
The grand prize package will include $5,000 cash, the winning remix posted on Mariah’s official website, www.MariahCarey.com, her record label’s website, www.IslandRecords.com, and MySpace page, www.MySpace.com/MariahCarey, and the winning remixer featured as Mariah’s ‘Top Friend’ on MySpace for one month. The second prize winner will receive a complete Pro Tools recording system, courtesy of www.Sweetwater.com. All ten finalists will win a signed copy of E=MC_.
“I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” is the third single from E=MC_, and follows up hit, “Bye Bye.” E=MC_ arrived in stores April 15th and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with first week Soundscan sales of 463,000 copies - the biggest first week total of Mariah’s career.