2020 Grammy Awards: John Legend, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Camila Cabello among artists set for all-star collaborations

January 23, 2020

The following is a press release from the Recording Academy and CBS:

In keeping with the tradition of presenting signature “Grammy Moments,” CBS and the Recording Academy® have announced two special segments to take place on the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards The first, “Old Town Road All-Stars,” will feature current nominees Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, joined by BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and other surprise guests. In the past year, “Old Town Road” has been the subject of mixes and mashups, which inspired bringing together various acts who have performed it to create a one-of-a-kind performance.

Additionally, to acknowledge the importance of music education in schools by both the longtime Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich and the Recording Academy, artists associated with Ehrlich’s 40-year career will gather to perform “I Sing the Body Electric” from the film “Fame.” The performance will feature current nominees Camila Cabello, Gary Clark Jr. and John Legend, joined by Debbie Allen, Joshua Bell, Common, Misty Copeland, Lang Lang, Cyndi Lauper, Ben Platt and the War and Treaty.

“To bring high-caliber artists like Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Common, Misty Copeland, Debbie Allen, Ben Platt, Gary Clark Jr., Joshua Bell and Lang Lang together on one stage fulfills a dream of mine,” said Ehrlich, who is completing his 40th and final Grammy Awards as producer. “To be able to do this on the Grammy stage makes it unforgettable for me.”

Hosted by Alicia Keys, the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Staples Center in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound Sunday, Jan. 26 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network and streaming on CBS All Access. Previously announced performers include Aerosmith; Camila Cabello; Brandi Carlile; Billie Eilish; Kirk Franklin; Ariana Grande; H.E.R.; Jonas Brothers; DJ Khaled; John Legend; Lizzo; Demi Lovato; Meek Mill; Roddy Ricch; Rosalía; Run-D.M.C.; Blake Shelton; Gwen Stefani; Tanya Tucker; Tyler, The Creator; Charlie Wilson; and YG.

Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. is nominated for Best Rock Performance (“This Land”), Best Rock Song (“This Land”), Best Contemporary Blues Album (This Land), and Best Music Video (“This Land”).

Current Grammy nominee Billy Ray Cyrus is nominated with Lil Nas X for Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“Old Town Road”) and Best Music Video (“Old Town Road [Official Movie]”).

Ten-time Grammy winner and current nominee John Legend (Best Rap/Sung Performance [“Higher”]) and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album (A Legendary Christmas).

First-time Grammy nominee Lil Nas X is nominated for Record Of The Year with Billy Ray Cyrus (“Old Town Road”), Album Of The Year (7), Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Billy Ray Cyrus (“Old Town Road”), Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Panini”), and Best Music Video (“Old Town Road [Official Movie]”).

About the Recording Academy

The Recording Academy® represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the Grammy Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the Grammy Awards – music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

January 24, 2020 UPDATE: 

CBS and the Recording Academy have confirmed the final slate of performers for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Previously announced Gary Clark Jr. will be joined by The Roots to perform Clark’s Grammy-nominated song “This Land”; Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty will unite to honor those we have lost this year in a touching “In Memoriam” tribute; and Sheila E. will take the stage with Usher for an exciting Grammy Salute to Prince.

This year’s presenters include Common, Ava DuVernay, Cynthia Erivo, Jim Gaffigan, Dua Lipa, Trevor Noah, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Porter, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban and Stevie Wonder.

2019 DOC NYC movie review: ‘Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back’

November 18, 2019

by Carla Hay

Maurice Hines in “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” (Photo by John Carluccio)

“Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back”

Directed by John Carluccio

World premiere at DOC NYC in New York City on November 10, 2019.

In the opening scene of “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back,” Tony-nominated entertainer Maurice Hines Jr. (who is in his 70s) is shown tap dancing with the kind of talent that most people never have in their lifetimes. That opening scene in this fascinating and comprehensive biographical film is a nod to Hines’ dancing roots, because he got his start in showbiz as a tap dancer at the tender age of 5. Throughout his childhood and early adulthood, Hines’ dancing partner was his younger brother Gregory. The two brothers also performed with their musician/singer father, Maurice Hines Sr., as part of the trio Hines, Hines and Dad.

But just like a lot of siblings, Maurice and Gregory (who died of cancer in 2003) often didn’t see eye to eye, and the documentary shows that the brothers’ relationship is the source of Maurice’s biggest lifelong emotional joy and pain. Their on-again, off-again feuding is discussed, but thankfully not exploited in the movie, which shows that Maurice has led a full and interesting life that includes being openly gay from as early as he can remember.

As Maurice’s friend Debbie Allen says in the film: “Maurice is one of the most energetic, alive people I’ve ever known.” And the movie has a spectacular range of archival footage, from his early years as a performer to his stints on Broadway or on tour for such productions as “Eubie!,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Uptown… It’s Hot!” There’s also new footage of Maurice dancing up a storm with dancer brothers Leo and John Manzari, who are his protégés and frequent collaborators. Viewers also get to see how much he loves to mentor young dancers, as he’s shown as a guest instructor at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, as well as at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

One of the surprising revelations in the movie is that Maurice’s family always accepted him as gay. Living his life so openly as a gay man was rare for his Silent Generation, just as it was rare for out LGBTQ people to be completely welcomed by their families, when homophobia was enforced by society at large. In the documentary, Hines remembers his mother telling him that she always knew he was gay before he told her, and he’d tell his father about the guys he was dating when his father asked about his love life. His straight brother Gregory, who used to go to gay bars with Maurice, had no hangups about dancing with gay men at the clubs.

And Maurice isn’t shy about discussing his favorite type of men: “I like football players the best,” he says. “If they’ve got big calves, we’re going to talk.” He also mentions that he used to date a lot of football players (but he doesn’t name names), and here’s how he described the relationships: “They just fell in love with me.”

The documentary also shows him playfully flirting with a young, stocky black cameraman from the film crew, after Maurice realizes that the cameraman overheard his microphoned comment about how he thinks the guy is sexy. “I’m 75, baby,” he laughed while sizing up the cameraman. “I say exactly what I need.”

Among the other people interviewed in the movie are Gregory’s children Daria and Zach; Gregory’s first ex-wife, Patricia Panella, who’s remained a close friend of Maurice’s; the Manzari Brothers; Ballet Tap USA founder Mercedes Ellinston; and Maurice’s friends Chita Rivera and Mel Johnson Jr., whose decades-long friendship with Maurice began when they when they were in the original 1978 Broadway cast of “Eubie.” Maurice also acknowledges some of his biggest influences, including his mentor Henry LeTang and VOP dance creator Frank Hatchett.

The documentary also covers how Maurice was affected when Gregory split off from him in 1972 to establish a separate career. Gregory still performed in musical theater, but he went on to become a star of films and TV shows, while Maurice stayed primarily in theater, where he sometimes replaced Gregory in touring productions of Broadway shows that previously starred Gregory. Maurice made his film debut in director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 drama “The Cotton Club,” in which he and Gregory played estranged, tap-dancing brothers who eventually reconcile. (The movie was also the last time that the two brothers danced together in public.)

The brothers’ relationship in “The Cotton Club” was very much a case of art imitating life. Although there was a period of about 10 years when Gregory and Maurice didn’t speak to each other (even when they lived just a few blocks from each other), they eventually reunited by the late 1990s, and remained close until Gregory’s untimely death in 2003. Maurice says in the movie (and his family and friends confirm) that he will never tell anyone why he and Gregory stopped talking to each other during their long estrangement. One of the most touching parts of the documentary is when Maurice accompanies Coppola to a 2017 Telluride Film Festival restoration/revival screening of “The Cotton Club,” and Maurice gets emotional during a post-screening Q&A when talking about Gregory.

Maurice also shows his tender side when it comes to his daughter, Cheryl Davis, whom he adopted with Silas Davis, who was Maurice’s partner from 1979 to 1996. (It’s another example of how Maurice was ahead of his time, because he adopted when gay adoptions weren’t allowed in most states.) Cheryl is in the movie, and Silas is briefly heard in in the film, in a voiceover interview discussing how they raised her.

“Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” director John Carluccio, who is also the film’s editor and cinematographer, weaves together a fascinating story by not only respectfully telling Maurice’s life story but also not forgetting to present an overall historical context of the groundbreaking things that Maurice did as an openly gay black man in the entertainment industry. Many of his accomplishments were during a time when being an openly gay black man put him at high risk of being fired, assaulted, or worse.

The movie is also an unflinching look at how Maurice is dealing with aging. He shows some reclusive tendencies as a senior citizen who lives alone, and he openly discusses how much it bothers him to know that he’s losing his short-term memory. But no matter what age Maurice is, his charisma and zest for life are firmly intact, and it’s a joy to watch him in this movie. Simply put, “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” isn’t just a documentary about an underrated artist who at times was overshadowed by his more famous younger brother. The movie also shows how Maurice is a person of substance in his own right, and it’s an inspirational look at how someone can live life with passion and authenticity, while uplifting other people.

Dove Real Beauty Productions and Shonda Rimes partner with Debbie Allen for Season 2 short films

May 2, 2018

Debbie Allen and stars Chelsea Harris and Caralyn Singleterry
Debbie Allen, Chelsea Harris and Caralyn Singleterry take a selfie on the set of “An Hour With Her” (Photo courtesy of Dove)

The following is a press release from Dove:

With Shonda Rhimes returning as Chief Storyteller, Dove Real Beauty Productions releases its first film of Season 2, “An Hour With Her.” Dove Real Beauty Productions launched in March 2017 to shift the power of storytelling from Hollywood into the hands of real women who are boldly expanding the definition of beauty in their communities. This year, Real Beauty Productions is showing the incredible journey of women and girls who have been impacted by the Dove Self-Esteem Project and the inspiring intergenerational connection each has made around beauty, confidence and self-esteem. The four-minute first installment, directed by iconic dancer, choreographer, and actress Debbie Allen, follows Chelsea Harris and Caralyn Singleterry whose shared journey of confronting appearance-related negativity inspires each to embrace their beauty, develop confidence and reclaim their power.

Girls today navigate a 24-hour pop-culture, social media, always-on news cycle that can negatively impact their self-esteem. Dove research shows six in 10 girls believe that media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty most women can’t achieve.1 The result, 8 in 10 girls with low body confidence will opt out of important activities such as raising their hands to voice their opinion.2 The Dove Self-Esteem Project launched in 2004 to help change that. Leading experts agree that one hour spent talking to a girl about beauty, confidence and self-esteem can help change the way she sees herself for a lifetime. In “An Hour With Her,” Chelsea Harris taps into the lessons she learned participating in the Dove Self-Esteem Project 10 years ago to mentor 17-year-old aspiring actress and student Caralyn Singleterry. During their hour together, they connect through similar experiences of low self-esteem and bullying that pulled them both back from pursuing their dreams. Through her experience with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, Chelsea overcame her self-doubt and now she’s paying it forward to Caralyn.

1The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, 2016
2The 2017 Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report