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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HABBAKUK MUSIC EXEC STANDS BY ALLEGATIONS THAT ARTIST BREACHED CONTRACT

Attorneys say Isaiah Thomas is 'free and clear', but legal dispute is heating up

By Mona Austin


Gospel record label Habbakuk Music Group (Habbakuk) --named after a Hebrew prophet and Old Testament book in the Bible-- is still in a holy spat with its former artist, Isaiah Thomas.


In February EUR published an injunction from Habbakuk alleging Thomas violated his contract by recording a CD with another label while he was still in his agreement with them. Details of the the dispute were revealed in several emails obtained from Washington-Essex after an interview request.


According to April Washington-Essex, CEO of Habbakuk, the rift between the artist and label transpired when Thomas was "in a rush" to record a second CD and she wasn't ready. In an e-mail dated April 27, 2009 she explained to Thomas that God did not green light the label's involvement in a CD he wanted to record.


"I have been seeking God about the timing of your next recording," she wrote in the e-mail. "To date, God has not confirmed His approval for Habakkuk Music to participate on May 16, 2009 for several reasons. . ."



As the head of a Christian company the label executive said she felt she had every right to look to God for guidance.




Instead of waiting for God to speak Washington-Essex, Thomas opted to record an album with his church choir. a statement obtained from Thomas' attorneys deny their client breached the agreement previously held with Habakkuk.


The artists' new label, Global Gospel Music Group (headed by Antonio Murchinson) responded to the injunction from Habakkuk in a February 17 press release stating their artist is "free and clear of all past obligations to Habakkuk." Thomas has already begun to make new strides in his career. A newly released single, "I Dare You" has charted on Radio and Records.


Washington-Essex allegedly sent the notice of injunction to radio stations across the country to stop them from playing his new music. There was a dramatic decline in radio airplay, which Thomas' Attorney Carl Brown claims is a result of her actions.


"She tried to sabotage Thomas," Brown said in a New York Post article. "He went from being the third-most-added song in gospel radio to being nonexistent weeks later. The stations didn't want to deal with any legal problems."



Says Thomas, who reportedly is suing Habbakuk for $500,000, "I am grateful for a brand new opportunity to minister Gods' Word thru [sic] Song. God made a way to produce this second album even when companies walked away".


Both record companies are based in Maryland.


STATEMENTS FROM APRIL WASHINGTON-ESSEX, CEO OF HABAKKUK MUSIC



Here is my personal statement about the matter:

From the New York Post and courthousenews.com articles, to the accusations and rumors being made by Isaiah D. Thomas and Global Gospel Music Group, in short, are all false.


This started in March 2009 with Isaiah's rush to do a live church recording. The comment about me hearing from God was taken completely out of context from an email (see below) that I sent to Isaiah about a previous conversation regarding his urgency to do this "live" church recording scheduled for May 16, 2009. At that point, we were just starting to sell records as a result of the moderate success of his current single, Said He Would Be With Me. We were also in the process of releasing a follow-up single from The Greatest CD project to further maximize the CD's success. As a result, I asked him to wait. He was so anxious about doing the recording and thus proceeded to move forward. Everything was moving so fast, so I began to pray and seek God for direction. I then sent the email (see below) stating that God has not given his approval for "Habakkuk" to participate in the May 16th recording. This line was taken completely out of context. As CEO of a Christian record label, I have every right to seek God about timing and direction.


Furthermore, I was also prayerful and wanted Isaiah to wait because of some troubling "things" I had learned. At this point, if I wanted to be revengeful I could "badly" damage His reputation and career with "proof", but I won't because too many people would get hurt and the gospel music industry would suffer even more damage.


With regard to cheating Isaiah out of royalties; to the best of my knowledge, contributing writers on his CD, "The Greatest" have received multiple checks for mechanical royalties and accurate statements from Habakkuk Music for CDS sold. With regard to cheating Isaiah and manipulating soundscan reports for 12,000 units sold, it's not true. Artists must get educated about recouping against royalties. More importantly, artists must stay focused and humble, and stop thinking they are bigger than hype that we as record labels are skillful at creating. Sometimes it translates into mega records sales and but in most cases, especially in gospel music, it doesn't. If Isaiah was in doubt about royalties owed, manipulating soundscan, etc., there is a clause in our contracts that gives the artist the right to demand an audit. That option was never exercised. Instead Isaiah proceeded to enter into another agreement while still under contract with Habakkuk. It's like being in a marriage, trouble comes, and he jumps into another marriage getting married before the divorce is final.


In closing, we at Habakkuk Music and our affiliates invest a lot of time, money and efforts into breaking artists. To let Global Gospel Music Group or any other entity attempt to infringe upon our assets without warning would be weak leadership on my part. Moving forward, my intent to continue to handle this matter with discretion.


Sincerely,

April Washington-Essex



Email regarding statement taken out of context:





Isaiah,



I have been seeking God about the timing of your next recording. To date, God has not confirmed His approval for Habakkuk Music to participate on May 16, 2009 for several reasons:



The manner in which the proposed recording has been discussed and scheduled is not in compliance with the contract section regarding "Recording", as articulated in the Agreement between Habakkuk Music and Isaiah Thomas The singles entitled "The Greatest" and "God Said He Would Be With Me", from your most recent project, are currently receiving significant airplay from consistent marketing and promotion efforts The video for "He's Able", the third single release from your most recent project, for which planning and budgeting has been appropriated...is scheduled for shoot and projected launch in June 2009



In order for us to move forward on this new project together, Isaiah, we need to get/be on the same page, figurately [sic] speaking. What this means in a literal sense will require, at minimum, a face-to-face meeting to address the aforementioned concerns.




STATEMENT FROM GLOBAL GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP


Global Gospel Music Group is proud to announce the signing of Multi-Stellar Award Winner, BMI Award Winner, and Dove Award Nominee Isaiah D. Thomas along with the release of his new single entitled "I Dare You" which has charted No. 3 as most added single this week on Radio and Records Gospel panel.

Contrary to assertions which have been circulated in the media by Mr. Thomas' prior record label Habakkuk Music, our artist was contractually free and clear of all past obligations to Habakkuk Music at the time of his signing to Global Gospel Music Group. Mr. Thomas, through his counsel Chris Brown, properly terminated all agreements with Habakkuk Music due to breaches of his contract. The intentions and stated desires of Habakkuk Music to continue its relationship with Mr. Thomas cannot and does not supersede [sic] legal and contractual processes.

The matter is presently not subject to any court or legal proceedings nor are there any court orders, injunctions and/or restraining orders.

Global Gospel Music stands behind the validity of its agreement with Isaiah D. Thomas, and will continue to market, promote and support his recordings and career. We wish the principals of his prior label, Habakkuk Music, all the best.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kedar Entertainment Group and CENTRIC Present Multi-Platinum R&B Group Dru Hill at Times Square’s B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on Monday, March 29

(New York, New York – March 23, 2010) After eight years, R&B multi-platinum group Dru Hill will release their first studio and fourth CD, InDRUpendence Day on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz and new member Tao (pronounced Tay-oh) reunites and signs a new recording contract with Kedar Entertainment Group.


On Monday, March 29, Kedar Entertainment Group and CENTRIC presents Dru Hill’s first New York performance at Times Square’s B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42 Street, New York, NY at 8:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at B.B. King Box office or at all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets can also be charged by phone at 212-307-7171 or go online to www.tickemaster.com. Earlier that evening, the group will make a live appearance on BET’s 106 and Park. The B.B. King performance will be followed by an exclusive New York City industry listening party on Tuesday, March 30 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


On Wednesday, March 31, the group will perform at the legendary Apollo Theater’s “Amateur Night,” located at 253 West 125th Street, New York, New York. Amateur Night, the world's most original and enduring amateur talent competition, continues in its 75th year every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Apollo Theatre Box Office or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or go online to www.ticketmaster.com.


The new single, “Back To The Future” is a mid-tempo ballad and will impact urban adult contemporary on Tuesday, April 20. The new album is a soulful blend of R&B, rock, The new album is a soulful blend of R&B, rock, hip-hop and romance—in true trademark Dru Hill form. There are several key local and national radio promotions, performances and interviews scheduled for the release of the album.


In 2001, the group disbanded so that members could pursue solo careers. Dru Hill group member, Sisqo went on to achieve international success with the acclaim debut album release, Unleash the Dragon, which included the mega hit, “Thong Song.” The album sold over eight million units worldwide, while former group member Woody went on to pursue a career in gospel music.


On May 20, 2010, Dru Hill will star in a reality TV series titled Sweat’s Platinum House, produced by label mate Keith Sweat and airing on CENTRIC. The series is guaranteed to keep audiences glued to their seats and further demonstrates the group’s provocative and edgy swagger. In addition to Sweat’s Platinum House, Dru Hill’s member Sisqo also stared in the London based (UK) TV sensation, Celebrity Big Brother. The show has already garnered international visibility for the group and is an excellent marketing vehicle for the CD project oversees.


An international tour of Europe, Asia and Africa is set for May 2010. Dates will be announced in the coming weeks. They are already keeping a busy schedule.

Group Makes Live Appearance on BET’s 106 & Park on Monday, March 29



Group Performs at the Legendary Apollo Theater’s “Amateur Night” on Wednesday, March 31



First Studio Recording in Eight Years

“InDRUpendence Day” in stores June 8, 2010



New Single “Back To The Future” Impacting Urban Adult Contemporary on April 20



Group Stars in CENTRIC’s Platinum House Premiering May 20


For more information on Dru Hill, please visit druhillonline.com and kedar.com.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Niecy Nash Makes Her Debut on "Dancing With the Stars" Tonight!


America's Favorite Comedic Actress Competes for the Winning Title and Mirror Ball Trophy on the hit ABC primetime show, premiering tonight - Monday, March 22nd at 8 pm ET/PT


Niecy joins eleven celebrities for Season 10 of "Dancing With the Stars," including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, model/actress Pamela Anderson, ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews, actress Shannen Doherty, reality TV star Kate Gosselin, Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, NFL player Chad Ochocinco, "The Bachelor" Jake Pavelka, Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, and actor Aiden Turner.

Also catch Niecy today on NBC's "The Bonnie Hunt Show" and CBS's "Entertainment Tonight"(check your local listings for times)


About Niecy Nash

Niecy Nash is the host and producer of the Style Network's home makeover show, "Clean House." A two-time Daytime Emmy nominee and the new Celebrity Panelist for the entertainment news program, "The Insider," she recently won a 2010 Gracie Award for her role as no-nonsense Officer Raineesha Williams on the Comedy Central hit, "Reno 911!" and its spin-off film, "Reno 911: Miami." In 2008, Nash starred in her own FOX comedy series, "Do Not Disturb." She is also well-known for her recurring role on the comedy series, "The Bernie Mac Show." Her most recent film work includes "Not Easily Broken" and Walt Disney Pictures' "G-Force." Additionally, Nash is developing various television and film projects through her own production company, Chocolate Chick, Inc. The proud mother of three adoring children, when asked what her hobbies are, Nash proudly replies, "motherhood," which she considers her greatest success in life.
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BISHOP NEIL C. ELLIS HAS SUCCESSFUL BOOK LAUNCH AT TYLER PERRY STUDIOS


(New York, NY – March 22, 2010) -- A distinguished group of celebrities and VIPs attended Bishop Neil C. Ellis’ book launch and press conference for Pursuing the Glory at Tyler Perry’s Studios in Atlanta, GA on Thursday, March 18, 2010. The select group included Bishop Ellis and First Lady Patrice Ellis; Pastor Paula White; Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Xernona Clayton, David and Tamela Mann; Sheryl Underwood, Kim Fields, Terri Vaughn, Ruben Cannon, Daniel Wilcox (NFL player); Roger M. Bobb (Vice President of Production at Tyler Perry Studios); Angella Christie (saxophone player); Terence Mathis (former NFL and Pro Bowl player); Katherine Smith (Bahamas Consul General); The Honorable Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas) and a host of others notables. The event was hosted by Kalilah Allen-Harris, former Miss Black USA.



The event’s décor was created and designed as a storybook setting. Book pages that were ten feet tall by six feet wide lined the hallways of the studio, making it appear as though guests were walking through a life-sized book. Prior to the presentation, guests had an opportunity to tour various parts of the studio, watch movie trailers in the theatre’s screening room, view the chapel set and dine on hors d’ oeuvres.



The book launch included readings by various celebrity friends such as Bishop Noel Jones (via SKYPE), Pastor Paula White, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Terri Vaughn, Xernona Clayton and Terence Mathis. Special presentations were made by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office, Katherine Smith, and a congratulatory letter from Bishop T.D. Jakes. Performances included gospel artist Tamela Mann and saxophonist Angella Christie. At the end of the presentation, all guests received a complimentary copy of Pursuing the Glory book and study guide, a CD copy of Bishop Neil C. Ellis Presents: The Mount Tabor Praise & Worship Ministry Live Recording of Wave of Glory, along with the other gift items.



The introduction of Bishop Ellis, was an eloquent, heart-felt and emotional expression through words and tears from his wife, Mrs. Patrice Ellis, who stated, “I’m a better Christian, not because of church or reading the Bible, but because of watching my husband, and knowing my husband…Who knew, what looked so bad and painful, would become his [Ellis] greatest season.”



Bishop Ellis and Tyler Perry have forged a close relationship over the past few years. When event producer Michelle Duffie of D3 Entertainment Group reached out to inquire about the possibility of hosting the event at the studios, Tyler Perry and his team, led by Roger Bobb, were very receptive to the idea and shortly thereafter plans were underway.



In Pursuing the Glory, Bishop Ellis profoundly reveals the various dimensions of the Glory of God, and how you can prepare, receive and maintain both the power and presence of God in your life. He specifically discusses the revelation of glory that came to him, after vocal cord surgery in 2007 where he was literally in a place of silence for over 16 weeks



Pursuing The Glory is in stores now and available at all on-line bookstores. Bishop Ellis is also gearing up for book tour, which begins April 7 and continues through June 2010. Tour dates are available at www.pursuingtheglory.com or by emailing info@d3egroup.com.
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HISTORIC HEALTHCARE BILL PASSES, REPUBLICANS DEEM IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL


Cheers of "Yes we can" filled the room when the House passed healthcare reform by a narrow margin on March 21 at 10:45 p.m., the moment the required 216th vote was tallied, a decision that will make health insurance available to over 30 million uninsuread Americans. The final count was 219 to 212 in an effort that has been President Barack Obama's top priority during his first year as Commander-in-Chief. In the post-victory address, the President said, "We proved we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges."

Realistically, the worst challenges to this legislation may have only just begun. The GOP unanimously opposed the healthcare reformation plan. According to various news reports over 30 states are preparing to block this bill on the grounds that government mandated healthcare is illegal.

The sentiments couldn't be more polarized along party lines.

Like most Conservatives and Republican law makers, Jay Sekulow, head of the American Center for Law and Justice says the government can expect multiple law suits from states and individual citizens once Pres. Obama signs the Healthcare Bill into law in the coming days. Sekulow says the government is violating the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution by forcing the American people to buy a product.

The top-ranking African-American in the House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) thinks, "This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century."





View video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVy6JalOSAk&feature=related
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