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Megan Thee Stallion announces a new self-titled album

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Megan Thee Stallion fans, prepare: new music from her is coming.

The 29-year-old rapper revealed that she is going to release her third studio album titled “Megan” during her concert in Atlanta on Sunday. The album can be released on June 28 under Megan Thee Stallion’s own production company, Hot Girl Productions.

She revealed the album cover in an Instagram post following her announcement. On the quilt, Megan hangs the wrong way up as she emerges from a butterfly cocoon. She’s in what appears to be the lobby of a constructing, with a capital letter “M” embossed within the painting behind her.

“SURPRISE, HOT!!!! My new album “MEGAN” will be released on JUNE 28,” Megan captioned the photo on IG. “Click the link in bio to SAVE EARLY NOW!”

Megan’s album cover follows the animal motif present in lots of her releases. The pop star recently released a string of snake-themed singles, including “Cobra,” “Boa” and “Hiss,” the latter of which became a hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Megan explained how she uses snake imagery in an interview with: Officialexplaining that he doesn’t “stop at the snake” on his new album.

“This is what everyone is seeing right now,” she shared in a May cover story. “Renewal, rebirth: that’s the whole concept of this (album). We started with a snake because first of all I love snakes, but I feel like snakes are misunderstood, especially in Western culture. Snakes represent rebirth, spirituality. I’m not a person who says, “Oh my God, it’s sunny and just super bubbly and happy.” I like darker things. I like things that are a little scary. I like things that are unique. I chose the snake because… he’s kind of like an anti-hero.”

Megan stated that she didn’t know the best way to describe her upcoming project, but stated that fans would find “a little bit of everything” on the album.

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“The ‘hiss’ meant I just blurted out what I had to say,” she said in an interview. “I really don’t focus on the negatives on my album. I have a lot of different songs on the album because my emotions don’t end with anger. My emotions don’t end with sadness because I’ve really grown up and started feeling more things. I started to feel really happy. So you have songs on the album that talk about positive moments that I’m starting to experience. You get a little bit of everything. You feel all the emotions inside you.”

According to her, “Megan” can be her first album as a fully independent artist Diversity. The record follows his hit 2022 project “Traumazine

She will then proceed to perform on her “Hot Girl Summer Tour,” with upcoming shows scheduled in Raleigh, North Carolina; Hollywood, Florida and Tampa Bay, Florida.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Jazz, justice and Juneteenth: Wynton Marsalis and Bryan Stevenson join forces to celebrate Black protest

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NEW YORK (AP) – Black music traditions like jazz play a key role in Juneteenth celebrations, says civil rights lawyer and jazz pianist Bryan Stevenson.

That’s why he and Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz artist Wynton Marsalis debuted “Freedom, Justice and Hope,” a live album of historic jazz records created to protest racial injustice, just in time for this 12 months’s celebration.

In addition to a brand new arrangement of saxophonist John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” a tribute to the 4 black girls killed within the 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing of Birmingham’s sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the project features original compositions by rising bassist Endea Owens and trumpeter JoshEvans.

The album, released by Blue Engine Records, encompasses a guest appearance by the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra, of which Marsalis is the artistic and managing director. It is currently streaming on digital platforms.

Its publication comes ahead of this summer’s tenth anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, a black teenager fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests. When “Freedom, Justice & Hope” was recorded three years ago in 2021, the nation was reeling from one other flashpoint – the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“To take some of the great jazz works of the 20th century and integrate them into the narrative of the long struggle for social justice in this country is just a dream come true,” said Stevenson, founding father of the Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit. and racial justice based in Montgomery, Alabama.

The history of jazz and the musicality of Black American protest runs deeper than many individuals realize, said Marsalis, the legendary trumpeter who provides moving melodies throughout the album. Stevenson accompanies on piano and intersperses spoken reflections on disenfranchisement, racial injustice and the activism that has erupted in response.

“Jazz itself was the opposite of minstrelsy,” Marsalis said, referring to a type of entertainment popularized within the twentieth century wherein white actors with blackened faces performed racist depictions of African Americans.

“Jazz still has the same influence,” he said. “People come in, they can play and they take what they do seriously. They will discuss issues and be honest about them, and they don’t feel the need to denigrate themselves.”

Originating in ragtime and blues, cultivated in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and rising to prominence through the Harlem Renaissance, the genre is a crossroads where music meets the march for justice. Some historians even credit jazz singer Billie Holiday’s 1939 rendition of “Strange Fruit,” an anti-lynching poem by Abel Meeropol, as one among the catalysts of the Civil Rights Movement.

“I think jazz as an art form should be understood as a protest against the narrative that black people are somehow incapable,” Stevenson said. “The extraordinary thing that jazz musicians did was that they took Western music, did things with art forms that others had been doing for centuries, and added things that dazzled and inspired.”

“They did it with dignity and purpose, debunking this false narrative of racial hierarchy,” he said.

In that spirit, Owens’s lighthearted “Ida’s Crusade” chronicles journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s lifelong struggle against lynching and false imprisonment. Evans’ “Elaine” draws inspiration from the 1919 Arkansas massacre wherein several hundred Black Americans were killed.

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With Marsalis and Stevenson, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs recent arrangements of “Honeysuckle Rose,” originally composed by Fats Waller in 1929; “We Will Overcome” – The Civil Rights Movement Has Stopped Since 1947; and “Freedom Suite”, originally composed by Sonny Rollins in 1958.

Apart from Stevenson’s monologues and songs from the album “Freedom, Justice and Hope”, these songs are entirely instrumental and contain no vocals.

Jazz’s reliance on instrumental solos has led some to stereotype it as outdated, irrelevant, and less connected to social justice than rap and vocal-based hip-hop – similar to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” “F(asterisk)(asterisk) (asterisk “NWA) Tha Police” and “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar. But musicians, scholars and activists urge listeners to recognize and defend the political messages conveyed through the emotional depth of music.

“Sometimes there are no words to express the joy and sadness we feel,” said Reiland Rabaka, founder and director of the Center for African and African American Studies on the University of Colorado Boulder.

“And sometimes these trumpets, these saxophones, these guitars, these pianos – they can express it better than our words can,” said Rabaka, who has written extensively about hip-hop and Black Power, songs about women’s liberation and civil rights.

According to Rabaka, the improvisational elements of jazz may be present in the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas, where slaves chained to the underside of ships invented songs. Improv is also present in Juba and juke dances, common in various parts of the southern United States, including Congo Square in New Orleans, where slave auctions were held.

Improvisation may be compared to the resourcefulness of Black Americans who, using what they’d, built a life for themselves after freeing themselves from the agricultural environment wherein they were confined.

For Marsalis and Stevenson, the eleventh release of the album recorded three years ago is symbolic. June 19, or Juneteenth, is the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were informed of their freedom – greater than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation granted them it.

“Enslaved people learned to love in the midst of sadness, and that is something extraordinary that can be achieved,” Stevenson said. “This is the part of Juneteenth that I hope we can start celebrating. Not just emancipation, but this whole legacy. … I think music plays a key role in that.”

Echoing his colleague’s words, Marsalis said he hopes to encourage people to have a look at the challenges ahead moderately than continuing to fight old battles.

“I like Juneteenth in a symbolic sense because often people, wherever they are in the world, don’t know they are free,” he said. “From a national standpoint, the nation must view June 11 within the context of the national struggles we’re still fighting.

“We are still fighting this conflict, now on a unique battlefield. No one was telling people, “Hey, it’s long overdue.” Let’s be present,” Marsalis said.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Zsela lets go and falls into uncertainty with her debut album “Big For You”

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Zsela leans into the ebb and flow of uncertainty and encourages listeners to do the identical throughout her debut album, “Big For You.”

The album, which was 4 years within the making, is the follow-up to Zsela’s 2020 EP “Ache of Victory,” which she describes as “an imprint of time.”

“I’m connected to it because it will always be a part of my story, but I’m excited to talk about it with the new album,” Zsela said. “I worked rather a lot on myself and on this music. It took time. I feel really lucky that I used to be in a position to get the songs where I wanted them to be this time, and I’m really enthusiastic about where they ended up,” she said.

For Zsela, working on “Big For You” was a test of trusting her instincts and pushing herself beyond her comfort zone, each sonically and vocally.

“I actually began experimenting with my voice in a way that influenced my writing. I had this character that I used to be singing with who got here on a day where I just wasn’t feeling my voice. So I assumed, let me try something different. Really different,” Zsela said of the album’s character. When asked where a particular character appears, she simply replies, “I feel it’s more fun to depart it to the listener to seek out.”

Singer Zsela poses for a portrait on Friday, May 24, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Zsela has a wealthy, appealing voice. Its warm tone is intertwined with upbeat, dreamy melodies and instruments, especially heard on songs like “Fire Excape” and “Not Your Angel.”

“I feel like I’ve become more confident in just the practice of experimenting, of not being so precious, of being open to people and ideas, and really trying to practice listening to myself and where I want to go, and to the outside noise of the world,” she says.

However, when starting her transformation, Zsela says she really desired to strive for “lightness, fun and lightness” in any respect times.

“I really tried to bring it into the room whenever I was alone and working on what I wanted to say,” she said. “It’s almost like opening up and letting go and experimenting.”

“Big For You” was a probability for her to see how far she could go, establishing her creative confidence and creating an enthralling and energetic album, filled with musical tension and rest.

“My friend described this album as sweaty, it feels tense and hot,” she says.

“Big For You” in Zsela’s case means “I love you”, and the album is about love and all its complexities.

“The space we fill and move into the inside of affection is large. Like being ‘full for you’ and ‘filled with you’ and the complexity of the scale of the space we occupy and fill,” the artist said.

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The Brooklyn native takes listeners on an adventure that begins with the whimsical “Lily of the Nile” and ends with “Play” – a song that she claims “ends with a question about love.”

“It’s kind of leaving the album open and hopefully making you want to start over to see what the answer is or if there is one.”

She once more teamed up with longtime Frank Ocean and FKA Twigs collaborator Daniel Aged to provide alongside Gabe Wax.

“I keep my world of colleagues quite private. And that does not imply I don’t desire to ask more, but I feel the intimacy really built loads of trust and that was really vital to create that and to have the option to experiment and find your way home. “

Zsela has played many concert events with artists comparable to Caroline Polacheck and Arooj Aftab. However, this summer she shall be embarking on her first headlining tour and is looking forward to meeting listeners who enjoy her artistry.

“I can’t wait to see who’s in these rooms,” she said. “I’m excited to play these songs live. The whole time I was making this album, all I could think about was playing them live.”

The premiere of “Big For You” is scheduled for Friday. Zsela hopes listeners will absorb the melodies, lyrics and arrangements while driving with the highest down.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Lenny Kravitz embraced being both black and Jewish, which defined who he was

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Lenny Kravitz is black and Jewish, and that dichotomy has meant a lot in his life. In our Masters of the Game interview, he talked about how he was often teased as a toddler for not being fully either side. “I grew up with kids, and I’m sure you have, too, who didn’t know how to deal with it because they thought they had to fit into one or the other,” he said. – And we haven’t got to suit into both.

Kravitz says his family advised him to rise above it. He said he was taught “to accept all that you are and to honor all that you are and to know that if you have different elements, it’s a gift, that you can draw from different cultures, different things and different aspects of yourself. It gives you more opportunities to work and a greater understanding that we are all truly one. We are all the same. We all come from the same source. So I think having that mix is ​​wonderful.”

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But Kravitz had a very powerful example of being pleased with who you might be in your individual home. His mother, actress Roxie Roker, was a part of the primary interracial couple shown on television when she starred in “The Jeffersons”, one in all the best television series of the late Seventies. “The Jeffersons” focused on George Jefferson and his wife Louise, aka Weezy, who were a part of the black upper class at a time when there have been few of them within the country and none on television . Roker’s character, Helen Willis, lived near the Jeffersons and appeared in almost every episode. Helena’s husband was white. Her character helped normalize interracial relationships within the media and helped Kravitz feel higher.

Kravitz proudly told me the story of how Roker got the job – the show’s creator, Norman Lear, asked her if she can be comfortable playing a personality who had a white husband. Kravitz said Lear said, “Now listen, I just want to talk to you about this because I need to make sure you’re comfortable. Because you’re going to, you know, hug and kiss this man. I don’t know how you’ll feel about kissing a white man. She pulled out a photo of her husband. He was a white man. Lear said, “I’ll see you on Monday.”


This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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