Review: ‘One Night in Miami…,’ starring Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Eli Goree

January 15, 2021

by Carla Hay

Eli Goree, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr. in “One Night in Miami” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

“One Night in Miami…”

Directed by Regina King

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Miami on February 25, 1964, the dramatic film “One Night in Miami…” has a predominantly African American cast (with some white people) portraying celebrities, the middle-class and the working class.

Culture Clash: A social gathering of Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown leads to ego conflicts and differing opinions on race relations.

Culture Audience: “One Night in Miami…” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in a dramatic interpretation of what it would be like for four of the biggest African American heroes of the 1960s to spend time together as friends and sometimes adversaries.

Kingsley Ben-Adir (with camera), Aldis Hodge (in brown tie), Eli Goree (in tuxedo) and Leslie Odom Jr. (raising glass) in “One Night in Miami” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

It’s always tricky to do an entire story about hypothetical conversations between famous people who are well-respected and admired. If handled incorrectly, this portrayal could be considered very insincere or offensive. Imagine doing an entire story about four African American celebrities who, in their own different ways, weren’t just famous but were also inspirations to millions of people. And then you put all of four of them together (Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown) and have them hang out as if they’re old friends.

It happened in real life one night in Miami in 1964, but this story imagines what these four famous men talked about when they spent time together that night. The actors portraying these four friends are Eli Goree as Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), Leslie Odom Jr. as Cooke, Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X (whose real name was Malcolm Little) and Aldis Hodge as Brown. “One Night in Miami…,” the feature-film directorial debut of Oscar-winning actress Regina King, mostly succeeds in depicting this compelling story, but it takes a while to get there, since the second half of the movie is much better than the first half.

The movie is based on the play “One Night in Miami…,” which was written by Kemp Powers, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay. In many ways, the movie still looks like a play, since the second (and more intense) half of the film is mostly set in a hotel. However, the cinematic version of this story does a very good job of bringing a broader scope of locations that can’t be done in a stage play.

The audience is briefly taken into the lives of each of the four central characters to get a glimpse of what they’re like in public before their private selves are revealed later in ways that leave an impact on the characters as well as the audience. It’s a movie where the social cancer of racism is never far from the story, and it’s felt, seen and heard in various ways throughout the movie. “One Night in Miami…” skillfully shows the uncomfortable reality that how to deal with racism can divide African Americans and other people who are targets of racism, because the reality is that not everyone agrees with what it means to have “black power” and how to use it.

The beginning of the movie is essentially a montage of scenes showing why each man is famous and how their race impacts their life’s work. The boastful and charismatic boxing champ known as Cassius Clay (who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali after he became a Muslim) is shown in 1963 at a boxing match at London’s Wembley Stadium, where he soundly defeats his opponent Henry “The Hammer” Cooper. However triumphant this victory is for Cassius, it’s still shown in the movie that white people are the ones who control boxing and make the most money from it, while the boxers are just pawns in the game.

R&B singer Sam Cooke is shown on stage at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City, where he’s getting a chilly reception from an all-white audience who don’t seem to want a black person to be entertaining them. Some of the audience members leave in disgust while Sam is on stage. Sam performs the Debbie Reynolds song “Tammy” to try to appeal to the crowd, but deep down, he’s fuming at being booked at a place filled with racists.

Backstage in the dressing room after the show, Sam’s white manager tells him, “Boy, you really did bomb tonight, Sam.” Sam explodes in anger and yells, “Have you ever made a million dollars singing? Well, I have! So, until you do, keep your fucking mouth shut!” One of Sam’s backup musicians witnessing this tantrum then says somewhat jokingly about the manager’s comment: “He ain’t wrong though.” Later in the movie, there are cameos from singer Jackie Wilson (played by Jeremy Pope), “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson (played by Christopher Gorham) and “Tonight Show” sidekick Ed McMahon (played by Alan Wells) in the depiction of Sam’s life.

Cleveland Browns star Jim Brown is shown visiting a wealthy football benefactor named Mr. Carlton (played by Beau Bridges) at Carlton’s mansion on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. The two men chat amiably on the mansion’s front porch, while Mr. Carlton’s star-struck daughter Emily (played by Emily Bridges) gushes over Jim, as if she can’t believe her luck that this major NFL star is at her home. Mr. Carlton tells Jim that if he never needs anything, don’t hesitate to ask. As Jim starts to follow Mr. Carlton into the house, Mr. Carlton turns to him with a smile and says to Jim that he can’t come in because black people (he uses the “n” word) aren’t allowed in his house.

Malcolm X’s fiery brand of racial ideology made him controversial in the U.S. civil rights movement because of his belief that all white people are the “enemy.” In the beginning of the movie, he’s shown coming home late and telling his wife Betty (played by Joaquina Kalukango) some news that he’s not happy about at all: Louis Farrakhan, a prominent influencer in the Nation of Islam who was likely to become the group’s leader, did not approve Malcolm’s request to leave the Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad (played by Jerome Wilson), who was the Nation of Islam’s leader at the time, was like a mentor to Malcolm, who felt some trepidation of being perceived as a traitor.

It’s shown throughout the movie that this story takes place during a time when Malcolm wanted to start his own civil rights group and was grappling with insecurity and anger over how he was being treated by the Nation of Islam. He was feeling doubts about how much loyalty he owed to the Nation of Islam and also concerned about leaving the group because some of his allies could turn into enemies. The movie shows that Malcolm was worried enough that he traveled with security personnel, not just for protection against white supremacists but also for protection against anyone in the Nation of Islam who might come after him for wanting to leave the group.

The rest of the movie is then primarily set in Miami on February 25, 1964. Cassius, who was just 22 years old and soon to be known as Muhammad Ali, wins the world heavyweight boxing champ title against Sonny Liston (played by Aaron D. Alexander), who’s knocked out and gives up in the fight. Sam, Malcolm and Jim (who are in the audience) meet up with Cassius later, and they all go to the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. It’s a motel that allowed African Americans because Miami was still segregated.

The four friends are all in a jovial mood and ready to party. Malcolm has brought a Rolleiflex 3.5 German twin lens reflex (TLR) camera, and he enjoys taking pictures with it. They horse around, almost like fraternity guys, and take turns using the camera. But the mood eventually turns more serious, as insecurities and differences of opinion rise to the surface.

At first, the disagreements are fairly superficial. Sam is disappointed that they can’t stay at a more upscale establishment, and he complains to the others about it. Jim and Cassius, who are bachelors, want to go looking for women to party with, while the married men in the group (Sam and Malcolm) are more hesitant. And as the night wears on, it becomes apparent that each man is at a crossroads in his life.

Jim has plans to retire from football and wants to become a movie star. He already has a Western film lined up, but Cassius scolds Jim for wanting to quit football. Cassius tells Jim that portraying a “sacrificial Negro” in a Western isn’t the same as being paid by the NFL. Sam is more encouraging of Jim’s showbiz ambitions and tells Jim that Los Angeles is like the Promised Land. Malcolm, who lives in New York City, vehemently disagrees with that belief.

Cassius has become close to Malcolm, who has influenced Cassius to convert to Islam and to be more outspoken about civil rights for African Americans. However, Cassius’ manager Angelo Dundee (played by Michael Imperioli) has been pressuring Cassius to distance himself from Malcolm, who is considered to be too radical for mainstream society. Angelo tells Cassius that white investors and sponsors are very nervous about Cassius’ association with Malcolm. It should come as no surprise what decision Cassius makes, because it started a new chapter in his life as Muhammad Ali.

While Cassius looks up to Malcolm as a pillar of strength, Malcolm isn’t feeling very secure about his life because he suspects that he could be in real danger. Malcolm is paranoid that he’s being followed. He frequently looks out the window, and his suspicions are confirmed when he sees strange men lurking about who could be government spies. Malcolm has a trusted bodyguard with him named Brother Kareem also known as Kareem X (played by Lance Reddick), a stoic employee who is accompanied by a younger assistant bodyguard named Cliff White (played by Kipori Woods), who is in awe of Malcolm.

Sam is a successful music entrepreneur (he owns his own music publishing and record label) in addition to being a famous singer. However, Sam is grappling with what it means to “cross over” to a mainstream (mostly white) audience. Will he be perceived as “selling out” and leaving behind his African American fan base? Or is he just making a good business decision to reach as wide of an audience as possible?

It’s this issue of racial integration that sparks a heated and extended argument between Sam and Malcolm. This arguing leads to the movie’s most memorable scenes and impressive performances from Odom and Ben-Adir, while Hodge and Goree sort of fade into the background. Jim and Cassius mostly just stand by and watch Sam and Malcolm verbally rip each other apart, but Cassius and Jim occasionally interject and try to make the peace when things get too problematic.

Malcolm’s choice words for Sam include: “You bourgeois Negroes are too happy with your scraps to really understand what’s at stake here … You will never be loved by the people you’re trying so hard to win over … You’re a monkey dancing for an organ grinder to them!”

Sam then criticizes Malcolm for kowtowing too much to Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. The R&B crooner also makes a verbal jab at Malcolm by telling him that Malcolm is the only one of the four friends who isn’t as financially successful as the others, thereby implying that Malcolm doesn’t have a real career. It’s a criticism that stings Malcolm because he knows that by leaving the Nation of Islam, he will be leaving behind much of his livelihood for an uncertain future.

Sam also points out that, unlike many black artists, he owns his own work, he invested in buying other artist’s music publishing, and he has the power to hire black people for jobs. “Everybody always talks about how they want a piece of the pie,” Sam declares defiantly. “Well, I don’t. I want the goddamn recipe!”

Jim is more inclined to side with Sam, who believes there’s nothing wrong with racial integration and working with white people. Jim comments on Malcolm’s views that black people need to think like militants: “We’re not anyone’s weapons, Malcolm.” Malcolm replies to Jim, “You need to be, for us to win.”

The issue of colorism is also brought up, as Jim confronts Malcolm about being light-skinned and using his lighter skin tone to his advantage. Jim essentially says that it’s easy for Malcolm to be so militant when his light skin gives him more privileges than darker-skinned black people. Malcolm responds by reiterating that black people’s authenticity should be judged by how black people help other black people, not by skin tone.

Because the characters of Sam and Malcolm have the most emotionally charged dialogue in the movie, Odom and Ben-Adir stand out the most in the film. Odom has the additional talent of doing his own singing in the movie, and his portrayal of Cooke is that of a man with a strong sense of self who’s unapologetic for how he wants to live his life. Ben-Adir’s portrayal of Malcolm X is of a more tortured soul, and the performance comes closer to showing a more human side to the real person. Both performances are outstanding in their own ways, but most people watching this movie, just like in real life, will probably feel more comfortable watching a smooth entertainer like Cooke instead of a restless firebrand like Malcolm X.

The character of Jim Brown is written as a fairly bland and passive person, so Hodge can’t really do much but react to what’s going on around him. However, since Jim is the one who’s the mostly like to be the “peacemaker” in the group, his character is crucial in the moments where the four friends find common ground and have positive interactions with each other. Jim is the “nice guy” of the group, but unfortunately his character also seems two-dimensional. There’s very little indication of what Jim is passionate about, since he wants to leave football behind to become an actor, not for the love of the craft but just so he can become a movie star.

People who know Muhammad Ali as a larger-than-life personality will be surprised to see that he’s not really written as the character who outshines everyone in this movie. Malcolm and Sam definitely upstage everyone else. And that’s because it’s made pretty clear that this boxing champ wasn’t known yet as outspoken activist Muhammad Ali. He was Cassius Clay, a guy in his early 20s who was still finding his identity. Goree’s portrayal of Cassius sometimes veers into a try-hard impersonation that could have devolved into a terrible parody, but he shows enough restraint not to turn the character into an embarrassing caricature.

King’s direction of the movie is solid and gives viewers a clear sense of each location’s atmosphere in each scene. The production design and costume design are well-done, while the cinematography makes the scenes feel observational yet intimate. Although adapting this stage play into a movie results in some extra thrills for the singing and boxing scenes, the movie’s most powerful moments are inside a simple hotel room with just the four main characters. Everything else just seems like frosting on the cake. “One Night in Miami…” is by no means a completely insightful portrait of the four men at the center of the story, but the movie serves as an effective snapshot of what their interpersonal dynamics might have been like in their leisure time together.

Amazon Studios released “One Night in Miami…” in Miami on December 25, 2020, and expanded the release to more U.S. cinemas on January 8, 2021. Amazon Prime Video premiered the movie on January 15, 2021.

Review: ‘Critical Thinking,’ starring John Leguizamo, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Corwin Tuggles, Will Hochman, Rachel Bay Jones and Michael Kenneth Williams

September 5, 2020

by Carla Hay

Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Corwin Tuggles, Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman and John Leguizamo in “Critical Thinking” (Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

“Critical Thinking”

Directed by John Leguizamo

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Miami in 1998, the drama “Critical Thinking” has a racially diverse cast (Latino, African American and white people) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A dedicated teacher in a tough Miami school encourages his students to learn how to play chess to boost their learning skills, even though they live in an area where the some people pressure the students to become school dropouts and criminals. 

Culture Audience: “Critical Thinking” will appeal primarily to people who like feel-good stories about people who overcome obstacles, despite having the odds stacked against them.

Angel Bismark Curiel, Corwin Tuggles and Jeffry Batista in “Critical Thinking” (Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

There have been many movies about underestimated students, led by an inspirational teacher, who go on to achieve a certain goal together. In these movies, the students are usually underprivileged or disadvantaged in some way when they go up against people who are more privileged and have more advantages than the “underdogs” have. “Critical Thinking” (which is a very bland title for a movie that’s actually quite good) takes this concept and makes a slightly above-average movie, even though it hits a lot of familiar tonal beats that lead to a very predictable ending.

John Leguizamo not only stars in “Critical Thinking,” but he also makes his theatrical-release feature-film directorial debut with the movie, which is based on true events about a group of underprivileged students who competed in a national chess championship. Under his solid direction, “Critical Thinking” has some moments that are less cliché than others. Dito Montiel’s screenplay for “Critical Thinking” doesn’t clutter the movie with too many backstories, although it leaves the impression that the teacher gave higher priority and more attention to the male students than the female students.

In “Critical Thinking,” which takes primarily in place in Miami, it’s 1998 at Miami Jackson High School, where many students are from financially deprived homes in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Mario Martinez (played by Leguizamo) is a teacher for an elective class called Critical Thinking. Mario knows his class is often a dumping ground where delinquent students are sent, but that doesn’t stop him from fighting for the type of respect (and budget) that the financially strapped school gives to regular classes.

Mario’s boss is school principal Ms. Kestel (played by Rachel Bay Jones), a hard-nosed cynic who has an air of racial condescension about her when she deals with Mario and the school’s students, who are mostly people of color. Ms. Kestel comes across as someone who wants everyone to think she’s doing her part to help underprivileged kids, but she’s the type that thinks she’s too good to actually mix with people of color in her personal life.

The threat of violence is always a danger to many of the school’s students. A Spanish-speaking immigrant student who is transferred into Mario’s class doesn’t attend the class for very long, because he gets shot and killed on the street by a local gangster over a petty misunderstanding, Ms. Kestel has this reaction when she and Mario talk about the murder: “While unfortunate, it’s not a total shock anymore.” This police investigation into the murder becomes a subplot to the movie, since one of Mario’s students witnessed the crime but he doesn’t want to snitch on the gangster.

Meanwhile, life has to go on in Mario’s class, where he teaches a hodgepodge of topics, including art, literature, history and philosophy, but the favorite thing he likes to teach is chess. He encourages his students to “dig deeper than your dusty old Britannica encyclopedia” and find things that aren’t taught in textbooks.

He’s not shy about telling his students that influential people of color have often been erased from history because white men were in charge of writing history books for centuries. Mario is aware he could get in trouble for this kind of talk in the classroom, so he peeks outside the classroom door first to make sure that a white co-worker such as Ms. Kestel isn’t lurking nearby to possibly overhear him. On the subject of chess, Mario tells his students, “How come we don’t know that chess was invented in India, perfected in Persia and modernized by a [Puerto Rican] guy named Maura?”

Mario shows the students how chess can help in all aspects of life because it involves the skill of thinking ahead and strategizing. Although he has about 30 students in his classroom on any given day, there are four (and then later five) students who end up being the focus of the story, since they’re the chosen ones for the school’s chess team.

Sedrick Roundtree (played by is Corwin Tuggles) is the unofficial student leader of the chess team and the one most likely to encourage the others when they feel defeated. Even before he took Mario’s class, Sedrick was an avid chess player.

Oelmy “Ito” Paniagua (played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) has a big rebellious streak and is Sedrick’s closest friend. Ito doesn’t really think chess is cool until Sedrick convinces him to join the school’s chess team. Ito is also the student in this chess group who’s most likely to be tempted into joining a gang or becoming a drug dealer. It’s hinted at, but not shown, that Ito comes from an abusive home.

Rodelay “Roddy” Medina (played by Angel Bismark Curiel) is the group’s jokester. He dislikes confrontation and arguments, and he gets easily hurt if he thinks his friends are disloyal. Just like Sedrick, Roddy has a passion for chess and is highly competitive when it comes to the game.

Gil Luna (played by Will Hochman) is the quietest and most mellow member of the group. Although he has a Latino name, he can easily pass for being white. His apparent “whiteness” makes him the target of some teasing by the darker-skinned members of the group, but the teasing is never mean-spirited. All of the members of the group end up getting teased or taunted by one another at some point.

Much later in the story, a fifth student joins the chess team. His name is Marcel Martinez (played by Jeffry Batista), a Cuban immigrant who doesn’t know much English. Sedrick recruited Marcel to enroll in the school and join the chess team, after Sedrick and Roddy were playing some chess in Domino Park, invited some local people to pay chess with them, and were blown away by Marcel’s extraordinary talent. There’s a scene in the movie where Marcel can play chess with multiple people at a time, with his back turned to them and without looking at the chessboard, and by calling out the moves that he wants to play.

Sedrick is also the only student whose unhappy home life is shown in the movie. He lives with his alcoholic widower father (played by Michael Kenneth Williams), whose first name is never revealed in the movie. Sedrick father, when he’s not passed out drunk, frequently gets angry and picks fights with Sedrick.

The only time that Sedrick and his father bond is when they play chess together, but his father is a sore loser. Sedrick’s mother was killed by a hit-and-run accident that Sedrick witnessed when he was 6 years old. It’s obvious that he and his father haven’t been able to grieve or talk about her death in a way that can help them heal from the trauma of their loss.

When Sedrick’s father hears about Sedrick being on the school’s chess team, he scoffs at Sedrick and tells him it’s a waste of time because chess isn’t the kind of thing that most people can do as a job. And his father gets even more irritated when Sedrick’s chess team starts competing with other schools’ chess teams. Although it’s never said out loud, it’s clear that Sedrick’s father didn’t have an opportunity to be part of a school chess team that got to travel to different competitions, and he’s jealous and resentful that Sedrick is doing what he never got to do.

Although “Critical Thinking” has some heavy issues, such as gang violence, alcoholism and abusive homes, the movie also has some humor—namely, the camaraderie that the boys have with each other, especially when Roddy is around. And in a rarity for a movie about high-school students, dating isn’t really the cause of any of the angst or conflict in the story, because the boys are so focused on chess. Sedrick is the only one in the group who has a girlfriend. Her name is Chanayah (played by Zora Casebere), and she attends the same school, but she’s written as a fairly minor character.

In fact, the movie’s biggest flaw is how the female students in the movie are essentially written as background characters, with the implication being that the female students weren’t good enough to be on Mario’s chosen chess team. It’s not clear if the girls in his class aren’t interested in chess or if Mario didn’t think they were worth encouraging as much as he encourages the male students to be on the chess team.

Whatever the case, there’s definitely more than a whiff of sexism about how this chess team was assembled—and the gender imbalance is all the more noticeable when Miami Jackson High School’s chess team competes against other schools who have plenty of girls on their chess teams. That’s not to say that the movie needed to rewrite history and put girls on the Miami Jackson team, which was apparently an all-male team in real life in 1998. But the screenplay should have at least addressed why none of the girls in Mario’s class ended up on the team.

Another big question left unanswered in the movie is: “What is Mario’s own background and why did he want to become a teacher?” In one of his many “tough love” lectures to his chosen chess students when they get discouraged or act too rowdy, Mario hints that he also comes from a troubled and tough background like they do. But that’s as far as it goes. No further details are given about what kind of man Mario is when he’s not working as a teacher. There’s no “home life” shown for any of the movie’s characters except for Sedrick.

“Critical Thinking” is not a disappointing movie, but parts of the story could have done more to fill in some blanks. For example, something happens to Ito toward the end of the film and the outcome is never fully explained. If not for the acting of the main cast members, several parts of “Critical Thinking” would be quite boring to watch. Leguizamo’s fast-talking, sometime wisecracking persona serves him well in this role, since Mario is supposed to be an unconventional teacher who can relate to his students.

Lendeborg (as Ito) and Curiel (as Roddy) also stand out in their roles. Ito is a tough guy who doesn’t want to show his vulnerabilities, while Roddy is a vulnerable guy who doesn’t want to be so tough that he alienates his friends. Both portrayals are nuanced and worth watching, since these two characters are more than just generic roles.

Tuggles (as Sedrick) also does a commendable performance, particularly in some emotionally raw scenes that Sedrick has with his father. Williams is a very good actor, but he’s had many roles in movies and TV shows where he’s a guy with a mean streak/bad temper, so there’s really nothing new or noteworthy that Williams does in this movie.

“Critical Thinking” is worth a look for people who want to see a real-life inspirational story portrayed in a familiar way. The believable performances from most of the cast go a long way in preventing the movie from sinking into forgettable mediocrity. With “Critical Thinking,” Leguizamo also has proven he can do well as a director who makes very good casting choices and who has a knack for telling a crowd-pleasing story.

Vertical Entertainment released “Critical Thinking” in select U.S. virtual cinemas, on digital and on VOD on September 4, 2020.

2020 Super Bowl: Jennifer Lopez, Shakira are the halftime show performers

September 26, 2019

The following is a press release from the National Football League:

Today, Pepsi, the NFL and Roc Nation announced cultural icons Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show on FOX at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday, February 2, 2020.  Pepsi and the NFL collaborated with Roc Nation to bring these two icons together for the first time ever, for what will be an unforgettable performance on the world’s biggest stage.

“Ever since I saw Diana Ross fly off into the sky at the Halftime Show, I dreamed of performing at the Super Bowl,” said Lopez.  “And now it’s made even more special not only because it’s the NFL’s 100th season, but also because I am performing with a fellow Latina.  I can’t wait to show what us girls can do on the world’s biggest stage.”

“I’m so honored to be taking on one of the world’s biggest stages in the company of a fellow female artist to represent Latinos and Latinas from the U.S. and all over the world — and to top it off, on my birthday!” said Shakira.  “This is a true American dream and we are going to bring the show of a lifetime!”

Jennifer Lopez is an award-winning singer, actress, producer, and entertainer who has established herself in music, film, and television. She is a successful recording and touring artist who has sold over 75 million records and has a cumulative worldwide box-office gross of over $3 billion. As an artist, fashion icon, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist, Jennifer Lopez has been named to the TIME 100 list, Forbes’ Most Powerful Celebrity, and People’s first “Most Beautiful Woman in the World”, in addition to being nominated for both Golden Globe and GRAMMY awards and receiving the MTV Video Vanguard Award. Most recently, Lopez spent Summer 2019 touring the globe with her electrifying sold-out It’s My Party tour. She can currently be seen on the big screen as the notorious Ramona in the critically-acclaimed box office smash, Hustlers. As one of most influential female artists in history, Jennifer Lopez defines what it means to be a global icon and the ultimate multi-hyphenate.​

Shakira is a Colombian singer-songwriter and multi-GRAMMY® award winner.  She has sold over 75 million records worldwide and has won numerous awards including three GRAMMYs®, eleven Latin GRAMMYs®, and several World Music Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards, to name a few.  She is the only artist from South America to have a number one song in the U.S., has had four of the 20 top-selling hits of the last decade, and is one of the top-5 YouTube artists of all time.  Shakira’s last album “El Dorado” charted #1 on iTunes in 37 Countries, won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2017 Latin GRAMMY® Awards, and Best Latin Pop Album at the 2018 GRAMMY® Awards. With over 10 billion streams, it is one of the most-streamed female albums of all time. In November 2018 she wrapped her hugely successful El Dorado World Tour.

Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show Announcement

The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most-watched musical performance of the year, with nearly 100 million viewers tuning in to last year’s show.  Super Bowl LIV marks Pepsi’s eighth year as title sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and 18th year as an NFL partner. Past halftime performances include Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Prince, Madonna and more.

The Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show telecast will be produced by NFL Network with Ricky Kirshner serving as executive producer, and Hamish Hamilton serving as director. Roc Nation will serve as producers and strategic entertainment advisors of the live performance.

Viewers can expect unprecedented access to the making of pop culture’s biggest event and should stay tuned for more details.  For ongoing updates on the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, follow @Pepsi on Instagram and Twitter.

The first exclusive interview between Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will air tonight on NFL Thursday Night Football during halftime of the 8:20p.m. ET game.

For more information about Super Bowl LIV, visit SuperBowl.com.

Marvel Studios launches We Love You 3000 tour at Comic-Con International with directors Joe and Anthony Russo

July 19, 2019

Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Marvel Studios:

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame became Earth’s Mightiest Super Hero franchise this year, and soon fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will soon be able to own their own copy on Digital (July 30) and Blu-ray (August 13). But even though the curtains have closed on this phase of the MCU, the celebration is far from over. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are hitting the road for the “We Love You 3000” Tour, a series of in-person events in nine cities throughout the United States where fans will get to express their love for the MCU while the storytellers themselves get to express their gratitude!

The “We Love You 3000” Tour will kick off July 20 at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 with the Russo brothers and some surprise guests from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans will be treated to free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (while supplies last) and fans who come in costume will get the chance to participate in a special Marvel Studios Cosplay photo with the Russos and their special guests!

From there, the tour will go to Seattle, San Francisco, Torrance, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, and Cleveland before wrapping up at the D23 Expo in Anaheim on August 25. Every event will be hosted by the Russos and other favorites from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each event will have something different to offer Marvel fans including photo ops, in-store events at Best Buy Stores, and giveaways of 3,000 MCU Funko Pop Vinyl Figures and the limited edition Avengers: Endgame SteelBook – all as a way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to express their appreciation to Marvel fans.

Marvel fans made Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame the most successful franchise in film history – now it’s time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to say thank you!

Here are the dates, times and locations of the We Love You 3000 tour:

(All times listed are in the local time zone. Details are to be announced for start and end times at several of the tour stops.)

San Diego, California
WHEN: July 20, 2019: 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
WHERE: IMDboat – 5th Avenue Landing Marina, Slip 5B (Directly behind the convention center)

Everett, Washington
WHEN: July 30, 2019: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: Funko Headquarters

San Francisco, California
WHEN: August 8, 2019
WHERE: Giants Game at Oracle Park

Chicago, Illinois
WHEN: August 12, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Torrance, California
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy, 3675 Pacific Coast Highway

Miami, Florida
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Minneapolis, Minnesota
WHEN: August 14, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Cleveland, Ohio
WHEN: August 20, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy, 7400 Brookpark Road

Anaheim, California
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: D23 Expo, Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Avenue

2018 BET Hip-Hop Awards: Cardi B is the biggest winner

October 17, 2018

The following is a press release from BET:

The BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 brought the heat to Miami, Florida on Saturday, October 6, 2018 for the annual taping of the most prominent hip hop showcase on television. Comedian and Actor Deray Davis hosted hip-hop’s biggest night of the year at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. The BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 premiered on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 8:00PM ET.

Cardi B reigned supreme with four wins for MVP of the Year, Hustler of the Year, Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style), and Sweet 16, for her verse on Migos’ “Motorsport.”  The Carters followed closely picking up three awards for Album of the Year, Best Collabo and Single of the Year, for “Apes**t.”

XXXTentacion, who passed away earlier this year, was awarded for Best New Artist.  Anderson .Paak took to the stage for a tribute to his friend Mac Miller, who also passed away unexpectedly in 2018.  Lil Wayne took home the night’s biggest honor, the I Am Hip Hop Award, for his over two decades of contributions to hip hop culture.

The much anticipated cyphers were hosted by DJ Premier and featured a bevy of emcees dropping hot 16’s including Vic Mensa, Taylor Bennett, G Herbo, YBN Cordae Duckworth, Tobe Nwigwe, Blocboy JB, Casanova, Shawn Smith,  Nick Grant, Reason, Armani White, Wynne, Flawless Real Talk, Phora  and Big Pale.  Erykah Badu jumped on the turntables for a special “ladies only” cypher highlighting some of the hottest “Femcees” including Neelam Hakeem, Chika, Bri Steves and Sharaya J.

The show opened with a spellbinding performance by Lil Pump featuring Gucci Maneperforming a medley of “Esskeetit,” “Kept Back,” and “Gucci Gang.” Lil Baby & Gunna kept it sexy with performances of “Yes, Indeed,” “Yosemite,” and “Drip Too Hard.” Yella Beezy brought everyone to their feet with his performance of “That’s On Me.” Over at Club Liv, Cardi B was joined by Pardison Fontaine where they performed a medley of club bangers including “Get Up 10” and “Backin’ It Up.”  YG and A$AP ROCKY got the crowd ready for anything with their performance of “Band Drum.” T.I. took us to an exotic nightclub for his performance “Jefe” and brought out Yo Gotti for a special performance of their single “Wraith.” Young M.A. brought down the house with her performance of “Petty Wap,” before presenting the award for DJ of the Year.  Flipp Dinero kept the energy going with his performance of “Leave Me Alone.” Lil Duval hit the stage with a much-anticipated performance of his Billboard Chart-topping hit, “Smile (Living My Best Life)” featuring Ball Greezy.

Here is the complete list of 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards nominees and winners:

*=winner

Best Hip-Hop Video
Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, “I Like It”
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”*
Drake, “God’s Plan”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna, “Loyalty”
Migos featuring Drake, “Walk It Talk It”

Hot Ticket Performer
Cardi B
Childish Gambino
Drake*
Kendrick Lamar
Travis Scott

Album of the Year
Cardi B, “Invasion of Privacy”
Drake, “Scorpion”
J. Cole, “KOD”
Migos, “Culture II”
The Carters, “Everything Is Love”*

Video Director of the Year
Benny Boom
Dave Meyers & The Little Homies
Director X
Eif Rivera
Hiro Murai
Karena Evans*

Lyricist of the Year
Childish Gambino
Drake
J. Cole
Kendrick Lamar*
Travis Scott

MVP of the Year
Cardi B*
Childish Gambino
Drake
J. Cole
Travis Scott

Producer of the Year
Ben Billions
DJ Esco
DJ Mustard
Metro Boomin
Pharrell Williams*

Best Collabo, Duo or Group
21 Savage & Offset & Metro Boomin, “Ric Flair Drip”
BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, “Look Alive”
Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, “I Like It”
Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, “Rockstar”
The Carters, “Apes**t”*

Single of the Year
“Apes**t” – Produced By Pharrell (Performed by The Carters)*
“God’s Plan” – Produced By Cardo, Young Exclusive and Boi-1da (Performed by Drake)
“I Like It” – Produced By Craig Kallman, JWhiteDidIt and Tainy (Performed by Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny & J Balvin)
“Nice For What” – Produced By Murda Beatz (Performed by Drake)
“This Is America” – Produced By Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson (Performed by Childish Gambino)

Best New Hip-Hop Artist
BloBboy JB
Juice Wrld
Lil Baby
Rich The Kid
XXXTentacion*

Best Mixtape
BlocBoy JB, “Simi”*
Future, “Beast Mode 2”
Juicy J, “Shut Da F* Up”
Lil Wayne, “Dedication 6: Reloaded”
Zoey Dollaz, “Sorry Not Sorry”

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse
21 Savage – “Bartier Cardi” (Cardi B featuring 21 Savage)
Cardi B – “Motorsport” (Migos featuring Cardi B & Nicki Minaj)*
Drake – “Look Alive” (Blocboy JB featuring Drake)
Kendrick Lamar – “New Freezer” (Rich The Kid featuring Kendrick Lamar)
Nicki Minaj – “Big Bank” (Yg featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Nicki Minaj)

Impact Track
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”*
Dej Loaf & Leon Bridges, “Liberated”
Lecrae featuring Tori Kelly, “I’ll Find You”
Meek Mill featuring Miguel, “Stay Woke”
N.E.R.D featuring Future, ” 1,000″

DJ of the Year
Calvin Harris
DJ Envy
DJ Drama
DJ Khaled*
DJ Mustard

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style)
Cardi B*
Migos
Nicki Minaj
Remy Ma
Travis Scott

Best Hip-Hop Online Site/App
ALLHIPHOP
Complex
Hot New Hip Hop
Worldstar*
XXL

Hustler of the Year
Cardi B*
DJ Khaled
Drake
Jay-Z
Kendrick Lamar
Travis Scott

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, served as Executive Producer of the BET Hip Hop Awards along with Connie Orlando, BET Head of Programming and Jeannae Rouzan–Clay, Vice President of Specials, Jesse Collins Entertainment.

BET.com/HipHopAwards is the official site for the BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2018 where fans can visit to get up-to-date info on this year’s show and take a look back on past BET Hip Hop Awards.  The BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2018 will premiere on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at8:00PM ET.

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms:

●          On BET.com: http://www.bet.com/shows/hip-hop-awards.html

●          On Twitter by using hashtag: #HipHopAwards; follow us @HipHopAwards and @BET

●          On Facebook by liking the fan page at facebook.com/HipHopAwards

 

ABOUT BET NETWORKS:

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

 

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT:

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing some of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. Collins has produced ground-breaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” starring Kevin Hart, the critically-acclaimed “The New Edition Story,” a biopic on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series on BET in January 2017 and posted record ratings for the network and attracted nearly 30 million viewers. He is also the executive producer of VH1 shows “Dear Mama” and “Hip Hop Squares” with Ice Cube.  He has appeared on the cover of Vibe magazine and has been featured in numerous publications including Ebony magazine. JCE recently produced “The Bobby Brown Story”, which premiered on September 4 & 5 on BET.

ABOUT BET HIP HOP AWARDS:

BET Hip Hop Awards is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the best in hip hop music. Year after year, BET Networks delivers the best in hip-hop for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends that have and continue to make hip-hop culture a global force.

 

2018 BET Hip-Hop Awards: Drake leads with 11 nominations, Cardi B has 10 nods

September 12, 2018

The following is a press release from BET:

The BET “Hip Hop Awards” will return to The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater for the second consecutive year on Saturday, October 6, 2018, and will premiere on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 8:00PM ET/PT.

Grammy Award winning, Multi-Platinum artist, Drake leads this year’s nominations with an impressive 11 nods. Following the impressive release of Scorpion, Drake’s 11 nods includes Lyricist of the Year, MVP of the Year, Sweet 16, Album of the Year, Hot Ticket Performer, Hustler of the Year, Best Collabo and two nods for the Best Hip-Hop Video and Single of the Year categories.   Cardi B, 2017 Best New Hip-Hop Artist winner, follows closely with an astonishing 10 nominations.  With her first official album release “Invasion of Privacy,” the “Bodak Yellow” rapper snags 10 nods including Best Hip-Hop Video, Album of the Year, MVP of the Year, Single of the Year, Hot Ticket Performer, Made-You-Look Award, Hustler of the Year, Best Collabo and two nods in the Sweet 16 category.

Childish Gambino snagged the third highest nominations with six nods including ‘Hot Ticket Performer,’ Lyricist of the Year, MVP of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video and Single of The Year, all of which he will face off against top nominees Cardi B and Drake.  Additionally, he snags a nomination for this year’s Impact Track award for his first No. 1 hit, “This is America,” whose video also garnered director Hiro Murai, his first Video Director of the Year nomination.

Other top nominees for the 2018 awards include Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar, who both received five nods, Travis Scott’s nominations include Hot Ticket Performer, Lyricist of the Year, MVP of the Year and the Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style).  Kendrick Lamar’s nods include Hot Ticket Performer, Hustler of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse and Best Hip Hop Video for the visuals for “Loyalty” featuring Rihanna.

Additionally, Best New Hip-Hop Artist Award nominees include industry newcomers BlocBoy JB, Juice WRLD, Lil Baby, Rich The Kid, and XXXTentacion who posthumously receives the nomination.
Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, will serve as Executive Producer of the BET Hip Hop Awards along with Connie Orlando, BET Head of Programming and Jeannae Rouzan–Clay, Vice President of Specials, Jesse Collins Entertainment.

See below for the complete list of BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2018 Official Nominees:

Best Hip-Hop Video
Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, “I Like It”
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
Drake, “God’s Plan”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna, “Loyalty”
Migos featuring Drake, “Walk It Talk It”

Hot Ticket Performer
Cardi B
Childish Gambino
Drake
Kendrick Lamar
Travis Scott

Album of the Year
Cardi B, “Invasion of Privacy”
Drake, “Scorpion”
J. Cole, “KOD”
Migos, “Culture II”
The Carters, “Everything Is Love”

Video Director of the Year
Benny Boom
Dave Meyers & The Little Homies
Director X
Eif Rivera
Hiro Murai
Karena Evans

Lyricist of the Year
Childish Gambino
Drake
J. Cole
Kendrick Lamar
Travis Scott

MVP of the Year
Cardi B
Childish Gambino
Drake
J. Cole
Travis Scott

Producer of the Year
Ben Billions
DJ Esco
DJ Mustard
Metro Boomin
Pharrell Williams

Best Collabo, Duo or Group
21 Savage & Offset & Metro Boomin, “Ric Flair Drip”
BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, “Look Alive”
Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin, “I Like It”
Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, “Rockstar”
The Carters, “Apes**t”

Single of the Year
“Apes**t” – Produced By Pharrell (Performed by The Carters)
“God’s Plan” – Produced By Cardo, Young Exclusive and Boi-1da (Performed by Drake)
“I Like It” – Produced By Craig Kallman, JWhiteDidIt and Tainy (Performed by Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny & J Balvin)
“Nice For What” – Produced By Murda Beatz (Performed by Drake)
“This Is America” – Produced By Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson (Performed by Childish Gambino)

Best New Hip-Hop Artist
BloBboy JB
Juice Wrld
Lil Baby
Rich The Kid
XXXTentacion

Best Mixtape
BlocBoy JB, “Simi”
Future, “Beast Mode 2”
Juicy J, “Shut Da F* Up”
Lil Wayne, “Dedication 6: Reloaded”
Zoey Dollaz, “Sorry Not Sorry”

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse
21 Savage – “Bartier Cardi” (Cardi B featuring 21 Savage)
Cardi B – “Motorsport” (Migos featuring Cardi B & Nicki Minaj)
Drake – “Look Alive” (Blocboy JB featuring Drake)
Kendrick Lamar – “New Freezer” (Rich The Kid featuring Kendrick Lamar)
Nicki Minaj – “Big Bank” (Yg featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Nicki Minaj)

Impact Track
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
Dej Loaf & Leon Bridges, “Liberated”
Lecrae featuring Tori Kelly, “I’ll Find You”
Meek Mill featuring Miguel, “Stay Woke”
N.E.R.D featuring Future, ” 1,000″

DJ of the Year
Calvin Harris
DJ Envy
DJ Drama
DJ Khaled
DJ Mustard

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style)
Cardi B
Migos
Nicki Minaj
Remy Ma
Travis Scott

Best Hip-Hop Online Site/App
ALLHIPHOP
Complex
Hot New Hip Hop
Worldstar
XXL

Hustler of the Year
Cardi B
DJ Khaled
Drake
Jay-Z
Kendrick Lamar
Travis Scott

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms:

On BET.com: http://www.bet.com/shows/hip-hop-awards.html

On Twitter by using hashtag: #HipHopAwards; follow us @HipHopAwards and @BET

On Facebook by liking the fan page at facebook.com/HipHopAwards

*Note: BET “Hip Hop Awards” is a private event and tickets are not available for purchase to the public. Talent tickets are reserved for BET “Hip Hop Awards” show talent and nominees.

ABOUT BET NETWORKS:

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT:

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing some of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment.  Collins has produced ground-breaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the GRAMMY Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series, Real Husbands of Hollywood starring Kevin Hart, the critically-acclaimed The New Edition Story, a biopic on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series on BET in January 2017 and posted record ratings for the network and attracted nearly 30 million viewers.  He is also the executive producer of VH1 shows Dear Mama and Hip Hop Squares with Ice Cube.  He has appeared on the cover of Vibe magazine and has been featured in numerous publications including Ebony magazine.  JCE recently produced The Bobby Brown Story, which premiered on Sept. 4th & 5th on BET.

ABOUT BET “HIP HOP AWARDS”:

BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the best in hip hop music.  Year after year, BET Networks delivers the best in hip-hop for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends that have and continue to make hip-hop culture a global force.

September 19, 2018 UPDATE:

The BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” has remained the biggest night in hip hop on television for over a decade with its powerful performances, iconic hip hop honorees and much-anticipated cyphers. Comedian, actor and host of VH1’s “Hip Hop Squares,” Deray Davis – a bonafide fan favorite will rock the mic as host of the BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2018 in Miami, FL.

The “I Am Hip Hop” Award returns to honor self-proclaimed “greatest rapper alive,” and New Orleans’ own Lil Wayne. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide and garnered five Grammy awards, Lil Wayne is one of the most successful and critically lauded artists in hip hop. Touted rap’s first rock star, he released his platinum solo debut, Tha Block Is Hot, in 1999 at the age of 17. He released the first installment of his legendary Tha Carter series in 2004 before releasing three others, including the landmark Tha Carter III in 2008, which is the last rap album to have sold one million physical copies in the first week. Lil Wayne was the first male solo artist to surpass Elvis Presley’s record for most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and his 138 Billboard Hot 100 appearances, currently ranks as the third most of any artist. His most recent studio album, I Am Not A Human Being II, was released in 2013 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 Charts. Last year, Wayne released FWA (Free Weezy Album) exclusively on Tidal, where it was streamed a staggering ten million times within the first seven days alone. Lil Wayne is also a celebrated author who released his memoir “Gone Till November” in October of 2016 chronicling his experience in Rikers Island. Outside of his iconic music career, Lil Wayne has continued on as the CEO of his own Young Money Entertainment label (Drake, Nicki Minaj) which will release the much anticipated Tha Carter V later this year (in conjunction with Republic Records). Additionally, Lil Wayne is the CEO of Young Money APAA, a premiere full service sports agency.

From the Hood to Hollywood – nothing is off limits and no one is safe from the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards host DeRay Davis’ hilarious, sidesplitting anecdotes. He has continuously sold out venues both domestically and internationally.  His highly anticipated first-ever Netflix special “DeRay Davis: How to Act Black” smashed the cultural landscape on November 14, 2017 and was so popular it shut down the Netflix server. He can currently be seen on the FX series “Snowfall.”

 

 

2017 Ultra Music Festival: See photos, videos, recap of event

March 29, 2017

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Main Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The 19th annual Ultra Music Festival took place at Bayfront Park in Miami from March 23 to March 25, 2017

The following is an excerpt from an Ultra Music Festival press release:

A sold-out Ultra Music Festival saw the stars come out in force this past weekend at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Future, Louis Tomlinson, Alessia Cara, Kygo, 2 Chainz and Lil Jon were just a few of the surprise performers that stunned 165,000 attendees from over 60 countries.

ULTRA LIVE’s record breaking 26-hour live stream, presented by UMFTV (produced by NOMOBO) and sponsored by Guitar Center and Paramount Pictures’ and DreamWorks Pictures’ “Ghost in the Shell” attracted over 7.5 million viewers from around the world. In a revolutionary move for live electronic music broadcasting, Hardwell’s set on March 25 was streamed in 360° for the first time ever at an ULTRA event, giving the viewer a fully immersive interactive experience.

What’s more, for the first time in the history of UMFTV the Ultra Music Festival Main Stage was captured in 4K resolution, with the sets available to stream on YouTube the very next day. Within a few days the sets have accumulated over 6.2 million views, bringing the total reach of the broadcast to over 14.1 million people and counting.

For the fourth consecutive year, Ultra Music Festival became the #1 trending topic on social media, with a staggering 42+ million mentions across all platforms – becoming the most tweeted about electronic music event in history.  UMF Radio also broke its record from last year, transmitting the event to millions of fans across 51 networks in 34 countries, cementing Ultra Music Festival’s position as the most broadcasted music event in electronic music history.

2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Main Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The gigantic Main Stage provided another year of unrivalled sound, dazzling pyrotechnics and LED displays throughout the weekend with Major Lazer, Axwell ^ Ingrosso and DJ Snake closing the festival on each night.  A$AP Ferg, Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, Chase and Status, The Prodigy and Underworld were among the world-class performers on the Live Stage across the weekend. French superstar duo Justice brought the US debut of their new live show to close the stage on Sunday, combining live instrumentation with futuristic lighting and production that transformed the amphitheatre.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Resistance Carl Cox Megastructure at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The RESISTANCE Carl Cox Megastructure brought a substantial dose of house and techno to the weekend, with Cox closing the festival himself on Friday and Saturday as well as playing a special back-to-back set early on Saturday afternoon with Nic Fanciulli. In one of the highlights of the weekend, Saturday night also saw the first Sasha and John Digweed performance in the U.S. since Ultra Music Festival in 2010. On Sunday Armin van Buuren closed out the Megastructure in customary style, following euphoric sets from his A State Of Trance label mates.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Resistance Arcadia Spider at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The world-famous RESISTANCE Arcadia SPIDER played home to a range of world beating house and techno artists and unique pyrotechnics, presenting a fully immersive and unique experience with the DJ levitating above the crowd, as Maceo Plex, Adam Beyer and Jamie Jones B2B Seth Troxler closed the stage on each night. The stage broadcast, powered by BE-AT.TV, was live streamed via YouTube at youtube.com/BeAtTvChannel.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Worldwide Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The Ultra Worldwide stage saw closing sets from Datsik, Nicky Romero and GTA throughout the weekend, while the UMF Radio Stage was commandeered by seminal labels: Mad Decent, OSWLA and Jacked on each day of the festival.

Finally, and with the safest, most successful edition of the festival now at a close, Miami Police released figures showing arrests to be down by almost 50 percent from the previous year, continuing a trend that has been steadily decreasing since 2013.

Ray Martinez, Chief of Security at Ultra Music Festival said: “The safety of our patrons, crew, artists and our local citizenry has always been our primary focus. There is no question, that we possess the know-how, resources and most importantly, an absolute commitment in responsibly producing the greatest music festival in the world which is hosted annually by beautiful downtown Miami.”

Ultra Music Festival 2018 takes place on March 23, 24, 25 2018 and is an 18 + event.

New York & Company expands business partnership with Eva Mendes

March 16, 2017

Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes models an outfit from the Eva Mendes Collection. (Photo courtesy of New York & Company)

Specialty retailer  New York & Company has announced that the Eva Mendes Collection will be expanded to over 50 shop-in-shops and 19 Eva Mendes boutiques, in addition to a very strong online business. In addition, six New York & Company stores will be opening in the upcoming months, all offering an extended assortment of Mendes’ eponymous collection. Mendes is an actress who is best known for her roles in the movies “Hitch,” “Training Day” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” She and her partner, Ryan Gosling, have two daughters together: Esmeralda Amada (born September 12, 2014) and Amada Lee (born April 29, 2016).

One of the newest New York & Company locations is centered in one of Miami’s most iconic shopping centers, Dadeland Mall. The store opens on March 16, 2017, and will host Mendes and some of Miami’s most loyal customers at the grand opening tonight.

In a statement, Mendes commented, “It is such a thrill to open more stores, especially in the Miami area. I was born in Miami, so this city has always been dear to me.”

The new stores added to the New York & Company retail network are all stores in high-traffic shopping centers, including Dadeland Mall and Miami International Mall in the Miami-Metro area and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. New York & Company reports high e-commerce activity in these areas and is opening these additional brick and mortar locations to enable customers to fully experience the brand.

Apparel from the Eva Mendes Collection ranges from $46.95 to $129.95 (U.S. dollars). The collection launches on March 16, 2017, in all New York & Company stores nationwide and online at nyandcompany.com.

Miami Airport Marriott offers 20 percent discount for reservations booked online

January 4, 2017

(Photos courtesy of Miami Airport Marriott)

Miami Airport Marriott is offering up to a 20 percent discount on reservations booked online until February 28, 2017, for a minimum two-night stay on any stay taking place at the hotel during December 20, 2016, to April 30, 2017. Reservations must be booked at least seven days in advance.

Located two miles from Miami International Airport, the hotel has 362 guest rooms, five suites, a fitness center, outdoor pool, three restaurants, three concierge levels and 16 meeting rooms totaling 17,878 square feet.

In addition,  the hotel has added a new in-room entertainment package to each of its accommodations. Visitors now have access to Internet TV,  allowing guests to stream their personal Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Pandora and YouTube accounts straight to the hotel’s flat-panel TVs. Additionally, a TED Talks channel will be available exclusively for Marriott guests, putting thousands of idea-inspiring speeches in more than 100 languages right at their fingertips. An interactive channel banner makes it simple to switch seamlessly between internet TV and regular cable channels, ensuring a user-friendly experience for all viewers.