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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flashback: Dave Hollister's life-saving testimony

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Since it's Black Music Month, I've pulled out a previously published exclusive interview that
shows a singer's rare, total  transition from R&B to Gospel.

Dave Hollister, an ex- R&B singer is now  a gospel artist who vows
there is no turning back to the music of his past.  Currently Hollister sings with the United Tenors, a group made up of Fred Hammond, Brian Courtney Wilson and Eric Roberson.

The interview is 100% uncut as the artist bears all the details about a brush with death that re-directed his life's path.

The twists and turns in his testimony awe-inspiring.


  Two weeks in advance of "The Book of David: Vol. 1 The 
Transition," his first gospel recording, former Blackstreet member Dave 
Hollister talks about the transition to gospel.   

      After years of dodging his calling and encountering one negative 
experience after the other, Dave resolved to completely surrender to 
God. 

      In Part 1 of a very candid interview Hollister reveals why singing 
R&B ever again would be a death wish and relives the near tragic 
car accident that provoked sudden transformation in his life: 

Mona Austin (MA): Give us some background on who Dave Hollister is.

Dave Hollister: I was with Blackstreet and after the first album I 
started my solo career. It's funny that my boy Tupac got killed 
yesterday and it's been ten years. The day that he dies I was mixing my 
first solo album, "Ghetto Hymns." When I found out he died I went back 
into the studio and did a re-make of Twinkie Clark's "Now Unto Him" for 
that reason.

DH: I was still in the studio and I went back into the studio and did a 
remake of Twinkie Clarks "Now Unto Him".

MA: I didn't realize you'd already sand gospel.   

DH: Yeah. Just for that reason. And it was the last song on the 
album, on my R&B album. That was 10 years ago yesterday.

MA: So you've gone from singing Ghetto Hymns to church hymns?

DH: Yes definitely. ( Laughing). I had a 10 year R&B career which was 
very, very good to me, but towards the end of that about two years ago, 
I started to, ah, you know just kinda feelin' empty. And I was missing 
something. There was a void there. I mean I had everything you know 
but my marriage had failed after 14 years.

MA: Were their any children as a result of your marriage?

DH: Yeah, we had two boys.

MA: I'm sorry to hear that.

DH: God is a healer. He helped me out. He definitely healed and 
restored me from the situation. Now my boys are still out in L.A. Once 
we divorced, I left L.A. 

MA: So are they teenagers?

DH:Yes, my oldest is 14.

MA: Is he Dave Jr.?

DH: No. I don't have any juniors. I don't really like the junior 
thing ... My youngest boy will be 11 on December 21, which is my heart. 
I mean I love my oldest son, but I was there during the whole process 
with my youngest son. With my oldest son, I was on the road when he was 
born. Pretty much most of that time I was on the road.

DH: You know that was a pretty rough and trying time for me. 

MA: Yes, but I wanted to recap the details of your accident. 

DH: Well, I was driving down the Topanga Canyon in L.A. which everybody 
would know what that is. I was driving down Topanga Canyon and I was 
very drunk and I had consumed a half of an eighth ounce of cocaine…half 
of an eighth ounce of cocaine. So I was a little discombobulated. I 
was trying to operate a vehicle at the time.

MA: What were you driving?

DH: A GMC Envoy and it was a rental from Enterprise. And the wheel, 
the car kind of got away from me on one of the shaper turns. The car 
got away from me and it did from what I remember three 360 spins and at 
the end of the third spin it flipped over three times. And then at the 
end of that third time, I believe it was the third time it landed on all 
fours and slammed into the railing on the other side of the canyon which 
made the car tilt over and I was leaning over…

MA: So it was almost suspended?

DH: Yes. The only thing that was holding it up was basically God but 
the railing that was there. If I would have made one little move that 
thing would have tipped over and went over. It's almost like it was 
basically God was holding that truck up. 

MA: Did you literally stare death in the face?

DH: Definitely! And it was so crazy Mona only because all the time the 
car was spinning and flipping all I heard was "I AM GOD, I AM GOD, I AM 
GOD."

MA: (Gasping) 

DH: And I just -- that's all I could hear was that.

MA: And you walked away from this without a scratch. I mean did you hit 
your head, did anything happen to you physically?

DH: Yeah, the only thing that happened to me physically was that I hit 
my nose on the steering wheel and my nose bled onto my T-shirt I had 
on. But I did not realize that until I was out of the car and walking 
down the canyon. I didn't realize that I as bleeding because I didn't 
feel anything and I didn't see much. All I knew was what the car was 
doing and I knew what the car was doing and I just heard God's voice 
saying "I AM GOD, I AM GOD." All I could say was "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" 
that's all I could say. And after that I crawled…God allowed me to 
crawl out of the other side. If I can give you a picture of it…the car 
was actually laying, the side that I was driving was the side that the 
car was tipped on. So I had to crawl up and out of the passenger side 
to get out of the car.

MA: So it didn't move obviously and you were able to get to safety. 
How far did you have to walk to safety?

DH: Actually, I had to walk down the rest of the canyon which had to be 
at least another mile. Maybe. 

MA: And where did you find assistance?

DH: At the end of the canyon…when I got almost to the end of the canyon 
there were cars and people stopping. You know, they were stopping and 
asking me "Was I okay, was I okay"? And I was like "Yeah, I'm okay, I'm 
okay, I'm okay". And then I got away now. The reason I kept walking 
and doing that was because I had already had two DUI's. I was on 
probation for two DUI's and then I already had a drug charge that I was 
on probation for. So, if I got caught anymore then I would have went in 
jail for 5 or 6 years at least.

MA: Because of the three strike rule?

DH: Basically. 

MA: How did you avoid that happening?

DH: I just kept walking. When people were calling me and asking me 
questions, I just kept walking.

MA: I mean but after the entire ordeal was over…go ahead and finish 
your story.

DH: Well, the police never found me. They never found me. The thing 
of it was I kept walking and people kept coming past. It was a bunch of 
white people: "Do you need a cell phone? Do you need such and such? Do 
you need this?" No I don't need anything. You know what I am saying. 
Just let me walk and then I heard an ambulance or a fire truck or 
something like that and out of nowhere this black guy came and 
I…sometimes I still say he a was an angel because he came out of nowhere 
with the car and asked me if I needed help. Do I need a ride somewhere? 
He was the person that I took after about at least 10 people, he was 
the person that I took.   Everybody else was white except for this guy; 
he was a black guy…a young black guy with braids. I don't remember his 
name. I don't even remember too much of what he looked like, but he 
asked me did I want to go somewhere and I said "Yeah, I'm on my way to 
Malibu Inn." He said "Well come on because I know you don't want to get 
caught out here with this car and you smell like you've been drinking 
and such." I said "Yeah." So he took me too Malibu Inn. 

Once I got to the Malibu Inn, he came in with me. I had on a sweatsuit 
and the blood was on the t-shirt and I just zipped the jacket up so that 
they couldn't see my shirt was bleeding. And my normal ritual every 
week would be to come in, the manager of the band would be standing by 
the door waiting for me to get in with a smith of Hennessy. You know 
like a triple shot of Hennessy. A glass of smith filled up and he would 
hand it to me and I would take it and walk toward the stage. And once I 
stepped on the stage they would start my intro music up and then we 
would go into my performance of the evening. And it was basically an 
open mike night and I was the host and we used to call it church and I 
was the bishop. That's what the people that came there gave me that 
name; they gave me the name bishop and the whole night was called 
church. 

MA: Did you ever feel uncomfortable drinking under the circumstances 
since people called it 'church' ?

DH: It wasn't actually church.

MA: I know but even with the connotation?

DH: No, because you know people they've been calling me that basically 
all of my life, so it was…even in R&B it was "Bishop, how you feel 
doctor?" You know what I'm saying, even Mary J; everybody used to call 
me Bishop Dave Hollister.

MA: Is that because they knew your upbringing with your parents in the 
church?

DH: No. It was basically because they would tell me every time I would 
open my mouth on stage, I would sound like a bishop or I would make 
everything sound like it was a church song. I had the same the same 
intensity and the same fire as somebody in church. My shows were like 
church services and it wasn't the fact that I would say church things; 
it was just how it would come across. And you know the delivery and 
everything… because it is in me and that's where I came from and I'm a 
son of two pastors. So I guess it was just on me.   But it didn't 
bother me at the time but this night I came in. I walked past (the guy 
was with me) and I walked past the Smith and Hennessy and he was like 
"Bishop, you all right, you all right?" I never said nothing I just 
walked straight up to the stage went to the middle of the stage where 
the mike was and I just looked at people, and they were all excited 
because I was finally there because I was late first of all. They were 
excited that I was finally there and I just looked and I just sung 
ummm…What was the, I always forget the song because Smokie Norful's "I 
Need You Now" always comes to mind when I'm telling it. But "I Need 
Thee, O I Need Thee" was the only thing I could sing … and the musicians 
were from Chicago. We all grew up together and they were from church so 
they knew once I started they went straight to it. And the people were 
in the audience looking like "What is he doing?" You know what I mean 
because my opening song is normally Marvin Gaye (singing) "O mark us 
over been in long the have nots…"

MA: "Makes Me Wanna Holla"

DH: Yeah, "Make Me Wanna Holla" that's usually was my opening song but 
I stopped them and I just stood in the middle of the stage and started 
singing "I Need Thee, O I Need Thee." 

MA: Did you tell them your testimony? Did you refer to it at all that 
night?

DH: Yeah but it was after I was singing and we're talking about people 
and the reason I didn't say anything at first because there were some 
cops that came in looking around and I just kept singing the song until 
I saw them leaving.

MA: Wow!

DH: And once they left out of the building I kind of stopped them and 
were talking about a place that was packed to capacity. A place that 
held only, maybe legally, about 750-800 people and there was clearly a 
1000 to 1200 people every week in this place. Packed like sardines and 
I'm not just talking about regular people, I'm talking about industry 
people like Alec Baldwin always was there. Gwyneth Paltrow was there 
every Wednesday. Some of the Dodgers were there; a couple of the 
Laker's would come through. It was like an industry place in Malibu 

MA: What was the name of the place?

DH: Malibu Inn. And it wasn't a hotel. It was a restaurant and club 
type of situation. So after the cops had left out they left and I never 
saw the guy that brought me there. I didn't see him again. And then I 
asked the manager did he see the guy that came in with me, did you see 
him leave and he said "Ain't nobody come in with you." I said"huh?" 
That's why I am saying it seemed like this kid was an angel. Because he 
said he didn't seen nobody come in with me and I know he was walking 
with me. He brought me there and he walked in with me. But after the 
cops left I began to tell the people what happened to me that night and 
then I opened my shirt; I opened my jacket and they saw the blood and 
you could just hear the whole audience "Ohhh" and some people started 
crying. And then I went back into the song and people's hands just went 
straight up in the air and I am talking these same people. Alec Baldwin 
was crying in the front with his hands up. People had drinks in their 
hands but there hands were up and after I finished it was 
emotionally…the Holy Spirit came in. I finished that song and I just 
told them look "It's over for me y'all, It's over" and I walked off that 
stage and I asked the manager of the band that we put together "Just 
take me home." And he said that when he got back to the club, people 
were still in there crying and there was basically churchin' because I 
didn't live but about ten minutes away from there.

MA: What an amazing story.

DH: And after that, that was it.

MA: I remember you saying that you were done with R&B and I know you are close to Kelly Price and Kelly and a lot of artists who grew up in the church, they like doing both because R&B is just another expression of life for them. But what made you shut the door on R&B for good? What of that experience made you feel like you had to leave that behind you?


DH: Because I feel that you can't just serve two masters. And to me that is serving two masters; that's straddling the fence. You know what I mean. People don't want to hear that because they tell you God gave you this talent for this and He did give you the talent for that reason. Most of it was for to sing and edify Him, to worship Him. It wasn't for you to go out here and…I had to get that conviction for myself because when I was in the world I said the same thing. I made reference to Christian doctors and Christian lawyers. You have some Christian law firms you know. A lot of the doctors who are saved they work in secular environments. I used to make reference to that but God convicted me of that whole thing. It's just about people who want to live for God for real. Who want to live a sold out life. I don't think that you can do both. There's no way. If God is going to send you into those camps, He's going to make a way for your music to be heard. He's going to give you the type of music that will allow you to go into those camps and minister to those people where they are at. I don't feel you have to go, you know, you can't do both to me.
Dave Hollister and Blackstreet


                                             Dave Hollister and the United Tenors

This interview was originally published on in EUR.


Read more ...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Miami Heat's sweltering win is acknowledged by the President

buzzz worthy. . .


Congratulations to the  Miami Heat for their back-to-back NBA Championship win last night!  Lebron James and Dewayne Wade led their team to victory with a win 95-88 lead over the San Anotnio Spurs on Thursday night.

LeBron James with 37 points in addition to his 12 rebounds, was the team's highest scorer, while teammate Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds to the total.

Tim Duncan scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Spurs while Kawhi Leonard added 19 points and 16 rebounds.

James was named the most valuable player of the NBA final series, a distinction he also claimed in last year's competition.

This afternoon, the President called head coach Erik Spoelstra to congratulate the Miami Heat on their second consecutive NBA championship.  On the call, the President noted the Heat’s relentless determination in what was an historic season for the team and their MVP, LeBron James.  The President told Coach Spoelstra that he looks forward to congratulating the team once again at the White House.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Queen Elizabeth II honors Adele

buzzz worthy. . .


The Queen of England has elevated Adele to royal ranks.

At the Queen's birthday bash she saluted Adele for her service to music. 

Over the last two years Adele has had the top-selling album worldwide, added an Oscar fr her performance of "Skyfall" in the Bond movie  to her copious music awards while she became a new mom to a son.

The twice-yearly royal honors list reward hundreds of people for services to their community or national life. Most go to people who are not in the limelight, but there is also a sprinkling of famous faces.

Adele wasn’t the only honoree connected to “Skyfall,” the 23rd James Bond thriller and the most lucrative film in the series’ 50-year history. 
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Serena Williams: "I am deeply sorry."

buzzz worthy. . .

Serena Williams says her words about the  Steubenville rape in a  Rolling Stone article were misconstrued. The rape case involving three high school boys rapping a drunk 16-year-old gained national attention last Fall.

While not blaming the victim in the Steubenville rape case, "she shouldn't have put herself in that position," Williams opined. 

That opinion did not sit well with the public and the tennis pro had to respond to an avalanche of media backlash.

In the passage from the article below she appeared to be passing judgment on the Ohio teen:


"They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.".
Williams said throughout her career she has focused on empowering women and would not blame a 16-year-old child for being raped. 

The Tennis champ issued the following statement on her Web site to clarify her intent:

Her statement: “What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame. I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields — anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.” 

See the Rolling Stone article that caused the controversy.
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Sopranos star succombs

buzzz worthy. . .
Sopranos star James Galdofini who played Ton Soprano has died.

He passed away from  cardiac arrest while  in Italy with his 13-year-old son.

The New Jersey native was remembered in a statement by Gov. Chris Christie as some who "will always be remembered as a fine actor, a Rutgers graduate and a overall nice guy."

HBO called him a "special man and a great talent" in a separate statement.

Galdofini is mourned by his wife and two children.  James Galdofini, dead at age 51.
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Ten-Time GRAMMY® Award Winner Chaka Khan Will Be Honored by Her Hometown with a Street Naming and “Chaka Khan Day” Celebration in Chicago

buzzz worthy. . .


Khan Resumes Concert Dates in U.S. and Abroad in July

(Los Angeles, CA – June 20, 2013) -- Ten-time GRAMMY® Award winner Chaka Khan will be honored for her stellar 40-year career in music and entertainment in the place where it all began—Chicago, Illinois. The music icon will participate in the ceremonial unveiling of Chaka Khan Way on S. Blackstone Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets on Saturday, July 27. The ceremony is expected to be attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Fourth Ward Alderman William Burns and other city officials, business and community leaders and celebrity friends of Chaka’s. On Sunday, July 28, she will be honored in a ceremony proclaiming that day “Chaka Khan Day.”  After Chaka accepts the honors from the city—including an official proclamation and a copy of the street sign with her name—Chaka will return the love to the city as she performs in a free outdoor concert in Millennium Park, one of the city’s most popular outdoor arts and culture destinations.

“Chicago is where it all began for me,” said Chaka. “Even before Rufus, I sang with local groups such as The Babysitters, Lock and Chain and Lyfe. As a young girl, growing up on Carpenter Street, my parents introduced me to a very rich musical foundation—starting with jazz and opera. I owe this city so much, and I’m deeply honored by this tribute. Chicago will always be a part of me, and with this street naming, I now will always be a part of it. It’s a blessing to me and my family.  We are profoundly grateful to all the people of Chicago.”

“The Fourth Ward has a great legacy of entertainers, artists, and others that have contributed to the cultural fabric of this country and, to a great extent, the world,” said Alderman Burns.  “For over four decades, Chaka Khan has been and continues to be an incredible artistic presence.  She is also a tireless advocate for those in need, who works to change lives for the better through her charitable works. It is only fitting that we, as a community, celebrate and acknowledge her place in the history of this community.”

Chaka Khan Way will be located on the west side of Kenwood Academy, where Chaka Khan attended high school during its early days of operation. Carl McKenzie, president of Artworks Chicago and a music and cultural events producer in the city, led the appeal for the street to be named in her honor. He hopes the proximity to the school will lead a new generation to be inspired by Chaka’s extraordinary achievements in music and entertainment, as well as her efforts to use her success to uplift others. “Chaka is an international music icon who has influenced generations of artists, as well as a philanthropist who has worked tirelessly on behalf of women and at-risk children,” he said. “I hope that students will walk by that sign and want to learn more about the person behind that name.”

Chaka, who has been on extended vocal rest ordered by her doctor early this month, will resume her concert dates in the U.S. and abroad in July, which will include a private engagement in Vienna, Austria (July 4); the Schermerhorn Symphony Center with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Nashville, TN (July 6); the Dell Music Center, Philadelphia, PA (July 11); the John L. Knight Convention Center, Miami, FL (July 20); the Neighborhood Awards at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV (August 10); Billboard Live in Tokyo, Japan (August 26-29); and Billboard Live in Osaka, Japan (August 31-September 1). 

This year, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of Chaka’s career in music and entertainment, as well as her 60th birthday. The celebration will include the release of a series of new albums, titled The iKhan Project, which will feature recorded music in eight genres, including R&B, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. In addition, plans are underway for the Chaka Khan I’m Every Woman World Tour, which will feature other top female artists.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Flow Records is Looking for Talented New Artists for Fall Compilation

buzzz worthy. . .



DALLAS, TX 
- Platinum producer and Flow Records CEO, Myron Williams is looking for new music to add to the Flow Records fall compilation CD. As one of the most successful independent labels in Gospel Music, Flow Records is ready to give a fantastic opportunity to talented singers who feel they are ready to take their careers to the next level.
 
Known in the industry for such successful projects as Piece of My Passion, Thankful, Gospel Goes Classical with Juanita Bynum and Jonathan Butler, and I'm Glad, Flow Records has managed to land on the top of the Billboard Charts with every release since it's inception. Now, Myron Williams the sound behind Flow is ready to lend his ear to up and coming Gospel Artists who have singles completed and ready for release. 
 
Throughout the month of July, submissions can be sent to Amy Malone, GICPR, gicprinfo@gmail.com Music will be reviewed personally by label head, Myron Williams and his executive team. Artists will be announced in September during a special celebration. 



To learn more about this exciting opportunity visit Myron Williams Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/#!/myronlwilliams.flow?fref=ts for frequent updates.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Feeling the fatherless void: Kids of single moms on Father's Day, President Obama can relate

buzzz worthy. . .
President Barack Obama talks with students from the Becoming A Man (BAM) program, in the Oval Office following the Father's Day luncheon at the White House, June 14, 2013. The President held a roundtable with the BAM students in Chicago earlier this year. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
By Mona Austin

Father's Day was bittersweet for President Barack Obama.

Like millions of children around the nation, President Obama did not grow up with his biological father due to divorce.

As the President Of The United States (POTUS) commemorated Father's Day in his weekly address, he recalled having a desire to connect with his father despite having the support of his mother and grandparents.

"“I never really knew my own father. I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me, and there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids," he said.


"But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instill."


There are 10 million (2011 Census Bureau) single mothers in the United States, leaving a vast number of children to celebrate father figures on Father's Day instead of their real dads.  Among  African Americans 2 out of 3 children do not have their birth father in the home, far exceeding any other ethnic group.

Since the POTUS has experienced the absence of a father, he strives to be the man his father never was to his family and others.

Obama has frequently spoken publicly about  the issue of absentee fathers and broken families.

During a May 19 commencement address at Morehouse College (an all male Historically Black College), he stressed personal responsibility, telling 500 Morehouse graduates to “keep setting an example for what it means to be a man.”

“My whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me,” Obama said, referring to his own dad who left his family when he was a baby. “I want to break that cycle where a father’s not at home, where a father’s not helping to raise that son and daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.”

On June 14, the White House hosted  a Father's Day Luncheon where Obama discussed the importance of fatherhood and mentorship with leaders and members of B.A.M (Becoming A Man), a youth guidance program based in Chicago schools. Over a menu of burgers, fries, apples and ice cream he said being a father is the "best job I've got."

"All our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family," said the President as he spoke to the nation in the Father's Day video.

Remaining true to his words, President Obama attended a dance recital for his daughter Sasha on Father's Day before he and the family departed for Northern Ireland, where he will attend the G-8 Summit.

The president not only spoke about his personal feelings, but offered what he plans to do to impact fatherlessness as a leader.   He called for reforming child support laws to "get more men working and engaged with their children."


"My administration will continue to work with the faith and other community organizations, as well as businesses, on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood," he said.


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Happy Father's Day Kanye: Baby Kimye is here!

buzzz worthy. . .



Rapper Kanye West became a first-time father yesterday.   He and Kim Kardashian, 32 welcomed a baby girl one month prematurely. West was by his girlfriend's side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood when she gave birth on June 15.

Throughout the pregnancy West has been reportedly MIA and there has been widespread speculation that the couple's relationship is a media hoax.  But the controversial artist cancelled the release party for the highly anticipated album "Yeezus" last night to be at the delivery.  It was Kanye who spilled the news of the pregnancy during a concert in Atlantic City last December.

US Weekly reports the baby arrived 5 weeks early.  The baby was born a day before Father's Day 2013 and a week following her dad's 36th birthday.

WELCOME BABY!: Kim and Kanye welcome their daughter on the day before Father's Day

The June 16 episode preview of "The Kardashians" shows the new mom visiting a doctor for stomach pain. The doctor mentions  Appendicitis.  Details regarding the cause of the early delivery have not been released.

Both the mother and baby are said to be doing well, although "Baby Kimye" has to be kept in an incubator.  Happy Father's Day and all the best to you and your new family!

We are keeping the young family in our prayers.

This story is developing. . .
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5TH Annual Long Beach Funk Fest to Feature Funk Legends and New Talent


Long Beach, CA – Home grown culture and music series Summer and Music (SAM), co-produced by the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), is gearing up for the fifth annual Long Beach Funk Fest (LBFF) on Saturday July 6 by highlighting a few of its notable acts.  Justin Hectus, co-founder of SAM and LBFF, explains, “We like to showcase a combination of very well-known acts and more underground, or up-and-coming talent. This lineup offers a nice balance that equally appeals to the casual Funk fan and the more devoted aficionado.”
 
Organizers are eager to welcome Funk legend Shuggie Otis to LBFF, as it is extremely rare for him to perform in the Los Angeles area. Otis joins the event after releasing a double album earlier this year -- his first new music in almost two decades. He is considered a master of his craft and has played with legendary musicians Etta James and Frank Zappa.
 
Event organizers are also excited to bring the Bernie Worrell Orchestra to this year’s festival.  Bernie Worrell is a co-founding member of original P-Funk as well as master keyboardist, co-writer, and co-producer of many notable funk songs.  He has also played with the Talking Heads and worked with countless other artists spanning multiple genres.  Bobby Easton, founder of Long Beach Funk Fest, stated he was thrilled to have Worrell in the lineup adding, “Even if you don't recognize his name, believe me, you will definitely recognize his music!”
 
LBFF will also feature The Blackbyrds, a jazz-funk fusion group formed in Washington, D.C. in 1973 whose members were students of the late jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd.  They are known for highly sampled hits, including “Rock Creek Park,”  “Happy Music,” and “Walking in Rhythm.” 
 
Adding variety to the LBFF stage will be local favorite Sea Funk Brass Band, who perform a form of brass band Funk popular in New Orleans called second line.  “Sea Funk‘s style is such a great mix of past and present.  Their music will make LB Funk Fest feel like a celebration,” adds Hectus.
 
There will be additional performances by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, Circle City Band, Jungle Fire, Henry + the Invisibles, and Funk Angels.
 
Rickey Vincent, author of the definitive book on Funk titled Funk: The Music, the People and the Rhythm of the One, and LBFF’s emcee, shared his enthusiasm for the acts, noting “I am so excited for this year’s Funk Fest. We are going to feature the sublime groove masters Charles Wright, the Blackbyrds, the legendary guitarist Shuggie Otis, and P-Funk Hall of Fame legend Bernie Worrell and his fresh new band, Bernie Worrell Orchestra. Funk Fest is always full of funky surprises that make it the place to be each summer!”
 
LBFF will take place Saturday, July 6 from noon to 11 p.m. at the Downtown Long Beach Promenade (east of Pine Avenue between 1st & 3rd Streets). To complement the musical acts, LBFF will offer several DJs, dance performances, two beer gardens (presented by Beachwood BBQ & Brewing and Congregation Ale House), and a variety of on-site activities and vendors, including a the Kids Zone of Funktivity. 
 
Harvelle’s, a blues club located adjacent to the festival at 207 E. Broadway, will host additional funk performers throughout the day and the post-event after party and jam session. 
 
 $15 presale tickets can be purchased at www.lbfunkfest.com or in person at Fingerprints Music (420 E. 4th Street Long Beach). Tickets will also be available at the gate for $20.
 
For more information about LBFF or the entire SAM series, call the DLBA at 562.436.4259 or visit www.summerandmusic.com.
 
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