Featured Post

Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...


Breaking News

Friday, January 31, 2014

Pres. Obama reiterates SOUA points in weekly address

buzzz worthy. . .
WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, the President discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
February 1, 2014

Hi, everybody. 

This week, I delivered my State of the Union Address.  Today, here’s the three-minute version.

After four years of economic growth with eight million new private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in more than five years.  And with the economy speeding up, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. 

But while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Too many Americans are working harder and harder just to get by.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse those trends.  It’s time to restore opportunity for all people – the idea that no matter who you are, if you work hard and live up to your responsibilities, you can make it if you try.

The opportunity agenda I laid out on Tuesday has four parts. This week, I took them on the road.

Job one is more new jobs: jobs in construction and manufacturing, jobs in innovation and energy.

In Wisconsin, I talked with plant workers at GE about part two: training more Americans with the skills to fill those new jobs.

In Tennessee, I talked with students about part three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education, from early childhood, through college, and right into a career.

And with steelworkers in Pittsburgh, and retail workers in Maryland, I laid out part four: making sure hard work pays off for men and women, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there for you when you need it.

These ideas will strengthen the middle class and help more people work their way into the middle class.  Some of them will require Congress.  But wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.  I’m going to ask business leaders, education leaders, and philanthropic leaders to partner with us to advance these goals. 

And every single day, I’m going to fight for these priorities – to shift the odds back in favor of more working and middle-class Americans, and to keep America a place where you can always make it if you try.

Thanks.  Have a great weekend.  And enjoy the Super Bowl.

###
Read more ...

Jennifer Holliday performs new music on "The View" (Hear samples from her latest CD)

buzzz worthy. . .
By Mona Austin
Jennifer Holliday performs at the 29th Annual Stellar Awards.


Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Holliday has re-emerged after a 23 year hiatus with a  new CD entitled "The Song Is You."  The original Dream Girl told hosts of "The View" that after she lost 200 lbs. the industry "didn't know what to do with me." Holliday has battled clinical depression, MS and financial setbacks, but says her faith carried her through the tough times. Guest host Mario Cantone addressed the fact that the "You're Gonna Love Me' singer was not cast in the film version "Dream Girls" and she shrugged it off saying not being included did not bother her. A true inspiration, Holliday has come out of all of her challenges looking and sounding incredible. "God is a real answer for me," replied the vocalist when asked how she endured those dark days.

"The Song Is You" is Hollidays debut on Shanacie Records.  The album is comprised of jazz and R&B standards including a staggering take on "At Last." As she sang "Nobody Does It Better" on the show, it was clear that voices of Holiday's caliber are missing in music.


Learn more about Jennifer Holiday's story in an Essence Online interview I conducted in 2011 around the time she collaborated on a project with her pastor in Atlanta, GA Raphael Warnock.

The album is in stores and available online now.  To hear samples from "The Song Is You" watch the video below.



Watch Jennifer Holliday on "The View"

Read more ...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

VIDEO: Al Roker goes off about Atlanta's lack of preparedness for snow on the roads

buzzz worthy. . .

The usually bubbly veteran broadcasters Al Roker did not spare any words in expressing his frustration with how government officials handled the Atlanta weather emergency yesterday.  According to the NBC weatherman, there was  no excuse for the lack of snow preparation which left I-285 in Atlanta looking like a "parking lot" for hours yesterday in the bitter cold.  Roker said he had reported the expected  snowfall on Monday and "they just didn't want to spend the money. . ."  that it would take to make the roads driveable.  Children slept on school buses with nothing but their backpacks and the clothes they'd worn to school while the traffic gridlock prevented people from leaving their places of employment, where many spent the night.  Roker penned the blame on the both the mayor of the City of Atlanta and the governor of Georgia, saying they had fair warning to prepare for snowy weather conditions.

Last week Roker criicized ew York mayor de Blasio for his slow response to the weather conditions there,

Read more ...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Real Housewives of Atlanta Fight Recap: What happened? Your guess is as good as mine

buzzz worthy. . .
By Mona Austin
Attorney Phaedra Parks tries to hold her husband Apollo Nida back from a fight that broke out on
 Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 6.

Since the days of smut show host Jerry Springer, adults behaving badly have been the center of money-making, ratings-boasting,  must-see T.V. The "Jerry Springer Show" primed and desensitized viewers to accepting non-fictional violence so that by the time reality T.V. penetrated programming, grown folks beating the snot out of each other in front of millions of voyeuristic viewers was the unfortunate norm.  Before I recap the most recent episode of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" (RHOA) I want to point out Springer did not tolerate men and women going at each other, which is a comparison I never thought I'd be able to make given the level of success of some of the RHOA cast mates. Unfortunately, based on the most recent episode, several women on the  RHOA  don't seem to have a problem with a man being physically aggressive toward a woman.

I'll explain why I came to that conclusion, but first here are deets on the previous episode to get you caught up:


In typical  housewives fashion, the ladies chose an upscale venue for an  mess fest outing.   Their meeting place  was a nicely appointed hilltop winery. They were transported by private bus, arriving clad like urban royalty, but once they got pass playing nice ratchet conduct soon took over.


A new woman, Natalie, was introduced to the group  as R&B singer Christopher Williams' wife. (Natalie and Christopher are friends of Peter and Cynthia and were introduced on the show in the episode before this one, where she told Cynthia Kandi's man Todd was a "hustler.")  Having worked with Williams in a play Kenya was quick to point out that the singer never acknowledged the woman (who claimed they were married for 18 years) as his wife, only as his  "common law wife" -- because that's what ex-beauty queens with mommy issues do -- slay other women that they don't even know with the bat of each false lash. This time however, to be fair,  Kenya made a valid point, saying in  a Bravo.com blog post, “I found Natalie to have an agenda when she was speaking so negatively about Todd.”   Natalie said she was friends with Todd's ex-girlfriend and knew that Todd was all about "coming up", which the ladies felt implied he was using Kandi.  As we saw in earlier episodes this season, Momma Joyce told Kandi the same thing about Todd.  "Going there" would have been touchy for anyone.   In sheer school girl fashion, the ladies supported Kandi when she read Natalie, but the superficial nature of their relationship was still obvious.


With the the foundation of ill feelings among frenemies duly laid, the cast enters the next episode.   


Nene said she hoped to clear the air around the inner group gossip and the  "fakeness" among the women during "Pillow Talk."  What better way to resolve conflict between rivals than at an  adult pajama party? Nene said she invented  "Pillow Talk" for couples (and other invited single guests,such as Porsha) to air out their issues  among others with less than perfect marriage records as a form of "free therapy." ( Incidentally, most of the women opted to wear revealing negligees instead of PJ's.) Being half naked and hashing out their personal issues by answering highly invasive questions host/moderator Leakes compiled was exactly the type of "therapy" they needed to get  better ratings relationships.  

At the start of the couples "bonding" segment, Nene paced continually across the room with wine glass in hand like she was looking for a fight, casting a menacing mood in the atmosphere; I knew there would be trouble.  She said she was "m-f-ing irritated" because Kenya was late.  By the time she answered the door for  Kenya and her assistant Brandon, Nene's level of irritability was at its max. Then the games began. . . .

One of the "Pillow Talk" questions pertained to how one would feel about their spouse frequenting a strip club.   Both Peter, Cynthia's husband and Apollo, Phaedra Parks' husband said they are strip club regulars.  However, Peter said he does not get lap dances. Kandi, gently claimed that when she saw Peter at a strip club, there was a woman on his lap.  Apollo chimed in saying he has dropped as much as  $8k per visit at a strip club.  He'd been imprisoned and said after being released he used to (During the individual interview Kenya wondered where the money was coming from, a question that the Feds  may have an answer to. Keep reading for the tea on why Apollo recently turned himself in to police.)  After going off on Kenya for being late Nene instigated a confrontation between Kenya, Christopher and Natalie by having Christopher address a question about their marital status.


That's when the most violently explosive moment in RHOA history happened.  


Christopher stood up to get something to eat and proceeded to address Kenya directly.  Natalie and everyone else except NeNe was still sitting on the huge bean bags that where there to set the intimate atmosphere shouting at Kenya.  Not to be outdone, Kenya began to walk toward Natalie to verbally defend herself directly in Natalie's face after being accused of back peddling.  In summary, here's what happened next: Christopher grabbed Kenya's arms; she told him to keep his hands off her; Brandon stood up and told Christopher to take his hands off Kenya and assumed a protective fighting posture they; got in each other's face. Peter, Apollo and Greg stepped in to prevent a fight and a fight started, which left Apollo pounding on Brandon. I know it's confusing. It was all a blur, but like Brandon everyone in the room and viewers alike wondered, "What just happened?"  

Phaedra was rightfully embarrassed as her ex-con spouse proved you can't turn a thug into a gentleman. 

The episode ended with Phaedra preparing to take Apollo home and he dives at Brandon again!

The lavish party Phaedra hired Dwight to orchestrate for little "Mr. President" her second born would have been the talk of this episode, but her hubby  became the focus after he tried to beat Brandon senseless at this gathering. Black families being unified and  living well is more of what America needs to see.  One man attempting to  beat the life out of another is not.


I guess this was all just a big misunderstanding because Nene Leakes would NEVER condone violent behavior.   in a Jan post on her official Web page Nene wrote:


" I’ve been on this show from the very beginning and we have NEVER had a physical altercation on this show! I am all about a good read, throwing shade and even getting you together when need be but violence is never okay to me. I think it’s a sad display of behavior and I think it is sad to the black community to be a part of such negative activity! I am bigger, I am better and for that I apologize!" Nene Leakes
Another side of Appollo is slowly coming to light just as he seemed to wiggle his way out of the being accused of texting Kenya. (Incidentally, he did not want to hold Phaedra's hand at their son's event after he walked her down the stairs.  There seems to be trouble in paradise, but Phaedra will reportedly represent her hubby in court as Brandon filed assault charges.  Phaedra recently tweeted that she will "Never" divorce.)

This all out brawl was a first for RHOA.  Over the life of the show while there have been some close calls, cast members have kept their desire to pounce on each other at bay. Although gutter-level drama seems to follow this group everywhere they go, this violent melee completely caught everyone off guard.  Previews suggest that matters are only going to get worse.


Now, I'll address my original point.  RHOA has sunken to a new low.  It is unbelievable that someone got injured and the general consensus among Nene, Phaedra and Cynthia is that Kenya started the fight because she stood up.  Christopher putting his hands on Kenya in the midst of a tense confrontation had nothing to do with it of course.  Yet again this fight and the continued backstabbing on the show are a negative and dangerous reflection of African Americans in the media.  Although Christopher did not hit Kenya, the mentality of her female co-hosts suggests that if he had Kenya would have deserved it.  Springer didn't stoop that low. Their blaming the victim  sends the wrong message when there is conflict between men and women and further proves that a session with "Dr. Leakes" was not the right vehicle to address issues among people who can't stand each other.  


Unlike most reality T.V.shows where people come to blows, the RHOA stars are not a bunch of twenty somethings high on liquid courage.  Everyone on RHOA is 30+ professional or semi-professional.  The problem is when  pride and ego swell to the point that a person only concentrate on what they can gain, all 

Hanging out with people who tolerate you instead of celebrate you is not a good practice and in this case it proved to be dangerous.  

As parents (with the exception of Kenya and Porsha) everyone involved in this show should ask themselves if the image they are presenting is something they would want their children to see or emulate.

For Apollo, the timing of this outburst could not have been worse considering the federal felony charges he is facing for identity theft, among other things. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Nida, 35,  surrendered to authorities this week after the U.S. District Attorney's office accused him of bank fraud by creating bank accounts using other people's names. Nida was released on  $25,000 bail, after being charged on Jan. 23 with strict stipulations.  He has to surrender his passport, maintain steady employment and report to a probation officer regularly.

In the   book 'Lies of A Real Housewife' written in 2012, Angela Statton claims Phaedra is directly connected to her husband's criminal behavior.  Statton says Apollo, his brother and Phaedra committed similar crimes with her for which he previously served 6 years on jail.



Brandon says he is suing Apollo for injuries he sustained during the brawl.

Read more ...

OXYGEN MEDIA GREENLIGHTS SEASON TWO OF “PREACHERS OF L.A.”

buzzz worthy. . .

Network Begins Casting For New Editions In New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit
NEW YORK– January 27, 2014 – Oxygen Media returns to the pulpit with the pick-up of a second season of the authentic docu-series "Preachers of L.A." to air Fall 2014. Returning with Bishop Noel JonesMinister Deitrick HaddonBishop Clarence McClendonPastor Jay HaizlipPastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Ron Gibson, “Preachers of L.A.” gives viewers a candid and revealing look at the dynamic lives of these mega-pastors in Southern California. On the heels of the show’s success, the network announced it will begin casting new editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.
“‘Preachers of L.A.’ touched the heart strings of our Oxygen viewers. They were captivated by the triumphs and tribulations of these men of God and the amazing women and families that stood alongside them.” said Rod Aissa, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development for Oxygen Media. “We look forward to bringing more of these compelling stories to life both in LA and around the country.”
“Preachers of L.A.” hit rating milestones by becoming the most watched freshman series in network history among P25-54 and averaging over one million total viewers. Delivering digital success as well, the series averaged more full episode streams per week in season than any other Oxygen original series and was the #10 most social cable reality program in October and November.  On VOD, "Preachers of L.A." earned over two million transactions.
“Preachers of L.A.” is produced by L. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment, with Lemuel Plummer and Holly Carter serving as Executive Producers.
Read more ...

MLK Oratorical Contest Winners

buzzz worthy. . .





Read more ...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Daft Punk, Lorde and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win big at the Grammys (Full Winners List)

buzzz worthy. . .

The far out  eletrinica group "Daft Punk" won the Album of the Year Grammy for "Random Access Memories."  The electronica group bested Sara Bareilles "The Blessed Unrest," Daft Punk "Random Access Memories," Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "The Heist" and Taylor Swift's "Red."  The Grammys were held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday night where the group performed with Stevie Wonder and collaborator Pharell Williams. Jay Z led with 9 nominations and took home the award for best rap collaboration with Justin Timberlake for "Holy Grail." The full list of winners follows:

Best Pop Solo Performance: Lorde, "Royals"
Best Rock Song: Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, "Cut Me Some Slack" 
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Daft Punk, featuring Pharrell Williams, "Get Lucky" 
Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Best Dancing Recording: Zedd featuring Foxes, “Clarity”
Best Dance/Electronica Album: Daft Punk, “Random Access Memories”
Best Comedy Album: Kathy Griffin, “Calm Down Gurrl”
Best Rap Performance: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, “Thrift Shop”
Best Rap Song: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Wanz, “Thrift Shop” (Ben Haggerty & Ryan Lewis)
Best Rap Album: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “The Heist”
Best R&B Performance: Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway, “Something”

Best R&B Song
: Justin Timberlake, “Pusher Love Girl” (James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake)
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Gary Clark Jr., “Please Come Home”
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Rihanna, “Unapologetic”
Best R&B Album: Alicia Keys, “Girl On Fire”
Best Blues Album: Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite, “Get Up!”
Best Music Video: Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z, “Suit & Tie,” (David Fincher, video director; Timory King, video producer)
Best Music Film: Paul McCartney, “Live Kisses” (Jonas Åkerlund, video director; Violaine Etienne, Aron Levine & Scott Rodger, video producers)
Best Country Solo Performance: Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Civil Wars, “From This Valley”
Best Country Song: Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go ‘Round” (Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne)
Best Rock Performance: Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”
Best Metal Performance: Black Sabbath, “God Is Dead”
Best Rock Album: Led Zeppelin, “Celebration Day”
Best Alternative Music Album: Vampire Weekend, “Modern Vampires of the City”
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Pharrell Williams
Best Pop Instrumental Album: Herb Alpert, “Steppin’ Out”
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Michael Buble, “To Be Loved”
Best Reggae Album: Ziggy Marley, “Ziggy Marley in Concert”
Best World Music Album: Gipsy Kings, “Savor Flamenco” & Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Live: Singing For Peace Around The World”
Best Children’s Album: Jennifer Gasoi, “Throw A Penny in the Wishing Well”
Best Spoken Word Album: Stephen Colbert, “America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t”
Best Instrumental Composition: Claire Fischer, “Samientos For Solo Alto Saxophone And Chamber Orchestra”
Best Latin Pop Album: Draco Rosa, “Vida”
Best Tropical Latin Album: Pacific Mambo Orchestra, “Pacific Mambo Orchestra”
Best New Age Album: Laura Sullivan, “Love’s River”
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Gregory Porter, “Liquid Spirit”
Best Song Written For Visual Media: Adele & Paul Epworth, “Skyfall”
Best Musical Theater Album: Cyndi Lauper, “Kinky Boots”
Best American Roots Album: Edie Bickell & Steve Martin, “Love Has Come For You”
Best Americana Album: EmmyLou Harris & Rodney Crowell, “Old Yellow Moon”
Best Bluegrass Album: Del McCoury Band, “The Streets of Baltimore”
Best Folk Album: Guy Clark, “My Favorite Picture of You” 
Read more ...

Grammy Live Blog: Mona's take on music's biggest night

buzzz worthy. . .

I'll be sharing my thoughts on  the 56th Annual Grammy Awards throughout the two-and-a-half hour show in shifts.

The 8:00 Hour

Jay Z and Beyonce kicked off the show with steamy romp through "Drunk in Love"  from Bey's surprise platinum selling album. Queen Bey showed the world she iss the queen of all forms of dropping it like its hot.

The Daft Punk fellas should have come down to earth for once and had a space carved into their helmets so they could speak. Newly minted Prodcuer fo the Year Pharell Williams spoke for the group in accepting the award for Best Collaboration.

In waht host L.L. Cool J called "a special Grammy collaboration" (aren't they all?),
Robin Thicke and  Chicago blurred the lines of R&B and big band sound and receiving a standing ovation after visiting a few Chicago diddies and finishing with "Blurred Lines."

Keith Urban Gary Clark, Jr. followed with a solid performance.

John Legend. One man dressed in all white, a piano, a voice.  "All of Me (Loves All of You).  The performance broke to monotony of collaborations, although they have all been super. Legend is legend for a singular reason. That smooth, well controlled voice"was made to love."

Charlie Wilson and Kevin Heart presented Best Rock Song to Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney.  They said the song came about from a jam session.

Taylor Swift. One woman, her voice and the piano.  Sound familiar? Like John legend, she captivated with the way her voice carries lyrics. I'm totally not in the bash Taylor Swift club and take nothing away from her talent.  She was good.  However, you can't just come after John legend in a similar set up and not be extra-amazing.  Mr. Legend was better.

The 9:00 Hour

Pink enters from the sky doing aerial gymnastics as a flashback to two years ago when she introduced this skill on the Grammys. Afterwards Nate Ruess (of Fun) and Pink perform "Love Again."  When most of us would have needed a water break, Pink only took enough of a break to ad a flowy black skirt to the lace one piece she wore while twirling in the air as she sang. Olympics or Cirque de Soleil? Pink is acrobatically talented enough to take her pick. By the time she made it to the stage the routine picked up the them form her music video. I'm impressed with this performance, but wouldn't want to see it again.  The novelty has worn off.

At 9: 24, a young goth rebel named Lorde walked onto the stage to receive the Grammy for Best Pop Song. She said this is the part of the night she least expected, thanked the other nominees in that category and walked off shyly.

Jamie Fox presented the award for Best Rap song and paused a few times to apologies to Jay Z for eyeing Beyonce backstage.  Jay Z won, thanking God adn the rest of the Universe for putting Beyonce in his life.  Toying with the award he would tell their daughter Blue Ivy, "Look daddy got a gold sippy cup for you."

Kendrick Lama r and Imagine Dragons, a marriage of rock and rap. SO here we Taylor Swift was on the front row getting her jam on This was he best mash up.  No shade to Best New Artists Macklemore and Ryan, Lamar was overlooked according to the Twitterverse.  His performance was on another level tonight, so maybe he'll get his moment in this mash up.

Julia Roberts introduced Paul McCartney and Ringo Star.  It was fun watching Mr. Star perform alone earlier in the show. The Beatles are celebrating 50 years together in 2014.

 The 10:00 Hour

"Unorthodox Jukebox" by Bruno Mars wins for Best Pop Vocal Album.  He dedicated the award to his deceased.

"Mammas Don't Let Your Baby's Grow Up to Be Cowboys" was the highlight of the country segment wit legends, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, joined by Blake Shelton.

The award for Best Country Album went to Kacey Musgraves for "Same Trailor Different Park. She said,  " Got to make a record that I poured my heart into and I'm so proud of."

Stevie Wonder, Daft Punk and Pharrell is the performance I've been waiting for all night.  The combination of Wonder's "For You" was unexpected. The crowd went wild.  The camera caught Katy Perry, Beyonce and Jay Z and Steven Tyler jamming.

I need a moment after this performance. . .Indeed! Carol King and Sara Barielles. *tears*  Thank you for this empowering song "Brave" Sara.  I Just wanna see every woman be beautiful and brave and to feel like a natural woman.  Carol King wrote "Natural Woman" (Yes the one made famous by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin).  They both played piano and sang.  Their energy together was cosmic.

One  biggest awards of the night, Song of the Year went to Lourde for "Royals."  John (missed the last name) joined Lourde on the stage and said they initially wrote the song to just give away.

Presented by Steven Tyler and Smokey Robinson, Recording of the Year also went to Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams.  Again he spoke on behalf of his French Alien cohorts and Nile Rogers, the guitar player in the song.

 In the 11:00 Hour

With Queen Latifah as the officiant, 33 couples of all persuasions lined an aisle of the Staples Center and chose to exchange vows during the performance of "Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan.
Madonna emerged singing a verse of her classic "Open Your Heart To Me" to the beat of "Same Love."

Kent Knappenberger wins the very first  Grammy for Best Music Teacher.

This is a beautiful piano tribute to the late van Cliburn by the Classical Music Ambassador to China.

Album of the Year goes to Daft Punk

Various rock bands teamed up to rock out on the final performance of the evening.  That's a wrap!

Read more ...

2014 Grammys Pre-Show To Stream Live Online

buzzz worthy. . .

GRAMMY® PRE-TELECAST CEREMONY TO BE STREAMED LIVE AT GRAMMY.COM ON SUNDAY, JAN. 26, STARTING AT 1 P.M. PT


Larry Batiste Orchestra, Ben Harper, and Charlie Musselwhite, Hiatus Kaiyote, Roomful Of Teeth, La Santa Cecilia, Summer Horns (Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, and Richard Elliot) and Verdine White to Perform at Prelude to Music's Biggest Night® And Kick Off
The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards®

Cyndi Lauper to Host the Star-Studded Ceremony
Roberto Fonseca, Jimmy Jam, Sarah Jarosz, Jeff Lorber, Tig NotaroTye Tribbett, and
Diane Warren Will Help Present Awards in Approximately 70 Categories

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  — The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards® Pre-Telecast Ceremony will take place at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, from 1 – 3:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live internationally at GRAMMY.com/live and CBS.com. Attended by nominees and industry VIPs, the star-studded ceremony will be hosted by GRAMMY® winner Cyndi Lauper. The Pre-Telecast will feature performances by current nominees Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Sarah Jarosz, Hiatus KaiyoteRoomful Of TeethLa Santa Cecilia, and Summer Horns (Dave KozMindi AbairGerald Albright, and Richard Elliot) with the Larry Batiste Orchestra and special guest Verdine White. Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the day in approximately 70 categories will be current nominees Roberto FonsecaJeff Lorber, Tig NotaroTye Tribbett, and Diane Warren, as well as five-time GRAMMY-winning producer Jimmy Jam. The live stream of the Pre-Telecast will remain on GRAMMY.com as video on demand for 30 days following the event. Following the ceremony, the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network from 8 – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. For GRAMMY coverage, updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy®'s social networks on Facebook and Twitter.

Host Lauper is nominated for Best Musical Theater Album for Kinky Boots.

Performers Hiatus Kaiyote, Roomful Of Teeth, La Santa Cecilia and Summer Horns (Koz, Abair,  Albright, and Elliot) each have one nod: Hiatus Kaiyote for Best R&B Performance for "Nakamarra"; Roomful Of Teeth for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Roomful Of TeethLa Santa Cecilia for BestLatin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album for Treinta Días; and Summer Horns for Best Pop Instrumental Album for Summer Horns.

Harper and Musselwhite share two nominations: Best Blues Album for Get Up! and Best Music Film for I'm In I'm Out And I'm Gone: The Making Of Get Up!Musselwhite has a third nomination for Best Blues Album for Remembering Little Walter.

Presenters Fonseca, Notaro and Warren each have one nomination: Fonseca for Best Latin Jazz Album for YoLorber for Best Pop Instrumental Album forHacienda; Notaro for Best Comedy Album for Live; and Warren for Best Song Written For Visual Media for "Silver Lining." Jarosz has two nominations for Best American Roots Song for "Build Me Up From Bones" and Best Folk Album for Build Me Up From Bones. Tribbett has three nominations: Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance and Best Gospel Song for "If He Did It Before… Same God [Live]," and Best Gospel Album for Greater Than [Live].

Read more ...