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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...

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obama meets Pope Francis

buzzz worthy. . .

President Obama met Pope Francis for the firt time Thurday during a week-long visit to Europe.
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First Lady celebrates 4 years of Let's Move

buzzz worthy. . .


New CDC study shows significant decline in prevalence of obesity over a sustained period of time

Washington, DC – As the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative celebrates its fourth anniversary, we are seeing real progress. A new study out this week shows that the rates of childhood obesity are beginning to decline among children ages two to five.  Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing a forty-three percent drop in the obesity rate among children of preschool age over the past decade. 

“I couldn’t be more excited by the news that obesity rates for 2-5 year olds declined by 43% over the last 10 years.  Progress of this magnitude can only be explained by the leadership and hard work we are seeing across this country,” Mrs. Obama said.  “From parents to teachers, doctors to community leaders, everyone is stepping up to make small changes that are having a huge impact – and today, healthy habits are becoming the new norm for our kids. We have a long way to go, but I am more confident than ever that we can give all our children the bright, healthy futures they deserve.”

This new report follows CDC’s findings from last summer, which showed that obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declined in 19 states and territories across the country. 

Getting kids off to a healthy start is absolutely critical to their long term health.   We have made early childhood a top priority of Let’s Move!.  In 2011, Let’s Move! Child Care was started to empower child care and early education providers to help give kids a healthy start to life.  The program encourages 1-2 hours of physical activity, reduce screen time, serve healthy food such as fruits and vegetables as snacks, no fried foods, and only non-sugar sweetened beverages like water and low fat milk, and support mothers who continue to breastfeed.

There is tremendous progress being made, but much work remains.  Simple actions by parents can have a major impact on their kid’s health.  As part of our continued efforts through Let’s Move! Child Care, here are four simple tips for parents who are working hard to keep their kids healthy:

1.      If you can breastfeed, breastfeed.
2.      Fill half your kids’ plates with fruits and vegetables.
3.      Serve your kids only water or low-fat milk.
4.      Make sure your kids get at least 60 minutes of active play every day.

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buzzz worthy. . .

An All-Star Collection of Gospel And R&B Greats Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Tasha Cobbs, India.Arie, Tamela Mann, Kem, Donnie McClurkin, SWV, Erica Campbell, Candice Glover and More Join Forces on Gospel’s Biggest Night

LOS ANGELES, CA – March 27, 2014 – Gospel and R&B’s biggest names united in song during the 14th Annual “Celebration of Gospel” taping at the historic Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Academy Award® nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, the night was filled with unforgettable traditional and contemporary gospel tributes. “Celebration of Gospel” premieres Sunday, April 6 at 8 P.M. ET/PT.

Detrick Haddon and the League of Xtraordinary Worshippers opened the show with a high energy performance of their latest single “Great God” that brought the crowd to its feet. Gospel powerhouses Yolanda Adams, Hezekiah Walker and J.J. Hairston each graced the stage with their own show stopping sets while Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell brought “A Little More Jesus” to the stage with a performance of her hit single. Tamela Mann led a spirit filled performance of new single “I Can Only Imagine” and Tasha Cobbs blessed the stage with her smash hit “Break Every Chain.” R&B diva Chante Moore ministered through “Jesus I Want You” with Vashawn Mitchell performing “Chasing After You.”

This year’s “Celebration of Gospel” continued the tradition of unique collaborations between the best in soul and gospel music. R&B crooner Kem teamed up with “Sunday Best” season three winner LeAndria Johnson and surprise guest Eddie Levert to raise the praise. Songstress India.Arie joined Jonathan McReynolds in a medley of “Moved by You” and “No Gray” while Tye Tribbett joined forces with “Sunday Best” judge Donnie McClurkin for a rousing praise break. Gospel legend The Rance Allen Group collaborated with the ladies of SWV on “At Your Feet” and “Got Me Dancin’.”

“Sunday Best” season six winner Tasha Page-Lockhart and “American Idol” season 12 winner Candice Glover teamed up with JJ Hairston, Maurette Brown Clark, Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin for a powerful tribute to gospel music pioneer Richard Smallwood which highlighted the night.  Uncle Charlie Wilson offered a touching testimony with his performance of “If I Believe” and Dr. Bobby Jones provided a powerful spoken word moment.

“Celebration of Gospel” will premiere Sunday, April 13 @ 9pm BST/10pm CAT on BET’s international network in the UK and Africa, reaching more than 13 million households in 50+ countries.
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buzzz worthy. . .

Jonathan McReynolds and India.Arie perform on BET’s Celebration of Gospel
(Photo courtesy of BET)

 ‘106 & Park’ Airs Monday, March 31 and ‘Celebration of Gospel’ Airs Sunday, April 6

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Jonathan McReynolds continues to make a splash as one of today’s most inspiring and talked-about new artists, showcasing his standout live performances with two upcoming appearances on BET. A BET Music Matters artist, the singer and guitarist makes a debut appearance performing on BET’s flagship series ‘106 & Park,’ airing Monday, March 31 at 6 pm/5 pm Central.

Performing in one of the most-anticipated collaborations on BET’s upcoming ‘Celebration of Gospel’ show, this year’s 14th annual celebration features Jonathan McReynolds giving a show-stopping performance with multiple Grammy-winning artist India.Arie, performing his song “No Gray” and her song “Moved By You.” BET’s ‘Celebration of Gospel’ will air Sunday, April 6 at 8 pm/7 pm Central.

Since the release of his debut album Life Music, Jonathan McReynolds has continued to garner acclaim among critics, fans and peers for his fresh, contemplative lyrics and remarkable live stage performances, on songs such as “No Gray,” “Lovin’ Me,” “I Love You,” and more. Continuing to tour, McReynolds will soon return to the studio to begin recording for his next album.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


buzzz worthy. . . Franklin Available To Discuss Trumpet Awards, New Film "Heaven Is For Real," and Role as Expert on Upcoming Episode of "Help Desk" on OWN Honoree DeVon Franklin on the red carpet with wife/actress Meagan Good (Photo credit: Paras Griffin / courtesy of The FrontPage Firm) DeVon Franklin is the toast of the town! A night of inspiration, of celebration and honor, this year the 2014 Annual Trumpet Awards honors Franklin, Senior Vice President of Columbia TriStar Pictures, along with Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, Alfre Woodard, award winning actress, The Bronner Brothers and many more, in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments as African Americans. Hosted by Laz Alonzo and Melissa De Sousa, the 2014 Trumpet Awards will premiere on Easter Sunday, April 20 at 8 p.m. EST with an encore presentation at 11 p.m. EST. Leading up to the premiere of the 2014 Annual Click image above to view official movie trailer and website Trumpet Awards, Franklin's new film by Sony TriStar Pictures, "Heaven Is For Real" premieres in theaters nationwide, Friday, April 18. Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, "Heaven Is For Real" brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father and minister who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. The film stars Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® award winning actor Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo and co-stars Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo, the real-life couple whose son Colton (newcomer Connor Corum) claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Furthermore, Franklin is a featured expert on an upcoming episode of OWN's "Help Desk." "Help Desk" is a television show on OWN that features renowned teachers, authors and experts offering free advice in a busy public place helping those in need. It is a deeply substantive series that grounds some of the great wisdom provided by today's top experts and helps people live better, more fulfilling lives.
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Damien Sneed Receives the 2014 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Honor with Events at the Kennedy Center and The Supreme Court of the United States

buzzz worthy. . . Sneed Performed at the Historic Carnegie Hall with Lalah Hathaway, Jimmy Heath and Others (New York, NY –March 26, 2014) – Conductor, pianist, producer and recording artist Damien L. Sneed recently received the 2014 Sphnix Medal of Excellence honor, alongside Pedrito Martinez and Carla Dirlikov. The annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence honor extraordinary Black and Latino leaders in music who, early in their careers, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and leadership. The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Aspen Institute Arts Program and the Sphinx Organization presented the medals at an exclusive luncheon at the Kennedy Center. Kathy Kruse of the Kennedy Center and Adam Erickson of the Aspen Institute welcomed the guests, and the awards were presented by Sphinx founder, Aaron P. Dworkin, and Sphinx board members Ken Fischer, president of the University Musical Society and Sandra Gibson, consulting advisor to the DeVos Institute for Arts Leadership at the Kennedy Center. In addition, the Sphinx Organization presented each honoree with a $50,000 career grant to further their professional pursuits. Later that evening, Sneed and the other honorees were invited to The Supreme Court of the United States by Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a private black-tie dinner hosted by Justice Sotomayor and the Sphinx Organization. Justice Sotomayor introduced each honoree. Sneed performed a five minute piano solo of Margaret Bonds’ Troubled Water; Carla Dirlikov performed Habanera from George Bizet’s Carmen and Xavier Montsalvatge’s Canto Negro and Pedrito Martinez performed a percussion solo of Cuban’s The Tradition. “Being a recipient of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence is humbling, and also bestows a great weight of responsibility to continue my pursuit of musical artistry at the highest level possible,” says Sneed. “Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 will forever be marked in my heart and mind as a definitive point of exponential expansion because the Sphinx honor has catapulted me forward into my destiny and purpose.” Early this week, Sneed performed at (Duke) Ellington’s Sacred Music concert presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Duke Ellington was a man of faith; he was deeply religious. The Ellington Sacred Music concert blended elements of jazz and classical music with African American spirituals and gospel music. The Sacred Music concert featured over 200 high school students as singers and instrumentalists, including members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra and Sneed’s Chorale Le Chateau. There was a chorus that combined choral groups from the Bronx High School of Music, the Forest Hills High School, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, the Songs of Solomon Inspirational Ensemble, the Talent Unlimited High School and Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Conducted by jazz composer and arranger David Berger, the concert also included GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist Lalah Hathaway; opera singer Nicole Cabell; trombonist and composer Vincent Gardner; actor, singer and writer Rufus Bonds; legendary saxophonist Jimmy Heath; trumpet player Sean Jones; and Emmy Award winner and acclaimed tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith. “What makes this opportunity special is what you see in the eyes of the young people,” says Sneed. “You see their innocence, their trust in everything that you say, and their desire to grow and to be stretched. These moments in their lives are extremely important, whether they decide to become performing artists or not. The experiences that they received in this program and from the music will be a part of their futures no matter what they do. The students were thrilled to perform on a stage where so many great artists have been before them.”
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

T.D. Jakes Covers Ebony

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Women's History: Gains reported in STEM fields, but not enough

Above: A revised image of the iconic Rosie the Riveter  became the symbol
of women's empowerment and economic growth.

By Mona Austin

In reflection on Women's History Month, women in the American workforce have come a mighty long way baby! Women have literally gone to the moon and back, but unfortunately, research indicates in the field of technology women have not gone far enough on planet Earth!

Technology fields continue to be male dominated. An article in The Atlantic addresses the disparity between men and women in the tech sector and says the lack of women in technology is problematic. (Read the article by clicking here.) I agree. Copious data supports the fact that women are the economic drivers in America and their purchasing power along with usage of social media (with the exception of LinkedIn), mobile devices, e-readers and GPS for example, is stronger than men.  It would behoove companies to have women as decision makers or at the very least to employ more women for their perspective on product creation. It only makes sense. Yet, the tech sector as a whole is limiting the positive impact the ingenuity of women can have on their work culture and bottom line.

Fact: There will be more technology in our future.  

Question: Will there be more women in the future of technology?
Before I re-entered the workforce technology had evolved so much it was a no brainer that I would need to enhance my knowledge of it.   I returned to college at the turn of the millennium to take two "Continuing Education" courses that were to "guarantee" my gainful admittance back into the workforce after being a full-time stay-at-home mom: "Web Development" (for which a degree was not offered at the time) and "Managing the Writing Project." 

Knowing how to build Web sites meant I would be highly employable as "the World Wide Web" was then a fairly new invention. Being a team player, a good communicator and having project management skills would also be valuable attributes as companies became more team focused, which is the foundation the writing class I took provided. I thought I'd prepared adequately in acquiring marketable skills, but for over a year I applied for jobs requiring those exact skills and was only hired through a temporary agency. Thinking technology was the way to a secure future too, a female family member earned a bachelors degree in Information Technology several years later and did not  get a job in her field either. The employment opportunities came at a much slower pace that I'd anticipated.
A woman repairs an engine in 1915 during WWI.

However, the time and money I'd invested in those  courses was not a complete waste. Eventually, I started my own business and found customers who needed their Web sites designed on my own. My relative also found IT work after a lengthy search. While being "women in technology" did not work as either of us hoped, I am sure attaining higher education and being tech saavy made a difference in self-employment.
Unfortunately, over a decade later, new reports reveal slow progress and women's declining interest in pursuing careers in technology.

This report is perplexing in this day and time. A century ago, American women filled a void in employment during war time at factories where men who went to fight for the country left an opening.

By 1944 only 1.7 million unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 34 worked in the defense industry, while 4.1 million unmarried women between those ages did so. (Source: Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940–1950.) 

Why is it that 100 years later women's interest in technology is waning? A combination of cultural Perhaps non-traditional jobs are not at as appealing because seeing women in such roles is not a norm in society or perhaps there is an issue in hiring decisions, which  may be what my relative and I encountered. If the lack of women in technology is to change grossly,  companies must hire women and they will come. Interest in technology driven fields will increase when women entering college directly from high school see more women working in male dominated fields.
Research by Hyde supports that idea. In a January article in Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 136, No. 1), she and her colleagues found that the more gender equity a country had — measured by school enrollment, women’s share of research jobs and women’s parliamentary representation — the smaller its math gender gap.
“When girls see opportunities for themselves in science, technology, engineering and math, they’re more likely to take higher math in high school and more likely to pursue those careers,” says Hyde.

The White House has released some compelling stats this month regarding access to higher education and women working in STEM programs that supports the need for more women to get involved in not only technology centered professions, but also in math, engineering and science.

"In 1970 the number of women Bachelor's degrees in science, math engineering  or technology related degrees was below 20%.  By 2010 the number rose to approx. 35%.  This is critical, because women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields make, on average, 33 percent more than women in non-STEM fields, and the gender pay gap is smaller in those occupations.  To continue expanding economic opportunities for women and girls there are key investments that support higher education access for women and girls including:

  • Creating the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).  Over 9.4 million Americans are able use the AOTC to help finance their post-secondary education each year.
  • Increasing the maximum Pell grant award by $1,000.  President Obama pushed to increase the maximum Pell grant award, which will rise to $5,730 in school year 2014-15. Over 5.8 million women receive Pell grants or another federal scholarship, compared to over 3.5 million men.
  • Keeping student loan interest rates low.  The President has also fought to ensure that student loan interest rates stay low to provide borrowers with income-based repayment options that will help the 580,309 women at community colleges accessing loans to pay for college (more than double the number since 2007-08).  38 percent of women take out federal loans, compared to 31 percent of men."

These efforts have helped increase the number of women pursuing a college degree.  Enrollments of women in 4 year schools are up over 20 percent since 2000, and enrollments in community colleges are up by 50 percent.

The trends in higher education directly inform the contributions women make in the US workforce, but we can do more.  Our technology dependent world demands that women continue to  break barriers in these under-served areas of employment, shatter stereotypes and partake of the education that will lead us into the future.

With this knowledge, let us salute working women and continue to fight for equal pay for equal work. Women can do any job they set their minds to and have a greater chance for a secure future with higher education.

Research by Hyde supports that idea. In a January article in Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 136, No. 1), she and her colleagues found that the more gender equity a country had — measured by school enrollment, women’s share of research jobs and women’s parliamentary representation — the smaller its math gender gap.
“When girls see opportunities for themselves in science, technology, engineering and math, they’re more likely to take higher math in high school and more likely to pursue those careers,” says Hyde.

Originally published on 3/25/14
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Monday, March 24, 2014

MUST SEE: Sicilian nun singing Alicia Keys amazes judges on "The Voice" in Italy

buzzz worthy. . .

Prepare to be amazed: A 25-year-old nun, Christina Scuccia stuns the audience and all four judges on Italian "Voice."  Singing "No One", her swagger, message and vocal talent were magnetic. All four judges fought viciously for the opportunity to work with her, as fellow nuns excitedly grooves to the performance back stage.  The rapper/producer  she chose was brought to tears.
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buzzz worthy. . .


(New York, NY – March 24, 2014) – Calling all artists, singers, songwriters, praise & worship leaders, lay people, pastors, music business specialists, and more - one of the gospel music industry’s premier conferences is back for it’s 13th year – Tracey Artis’ I Hear Music In The Air Conference returns to Cincinnati, Ohio, May 16th-18th 2014. Known for her business savvy, sensitivity to gospel music needs, and standard of excellence,Tracey Artis has built an iconic brand in gospel music and entertainment, and has gathered the best in the business to share their insight into how to create an effective and successful music ministry. “I Hear Music was a vision God gave me to help educate people all throughout the country on business, music and entrepreneurship” says conference founder, Tracey Artis. 
Industry veterans and aspiring newcomers alike, flock to the conference annually for the workshops, concerts, networking and more. Conference workshops will include classes on songwriting and production, the business of music and ministry, purpose for your life, and Mary Mary: Two Women in Ministry with each session being facilitated by industry leaders. Conference registrants will have hands on access to some of the leaders in the gospel music industry, thereby building up skill sets to build up the next generation of industry tastemakers. Boasting one of the most talked about artist platforms of the year, The hosts for the 2014 I Hear Music in the Air Conference Concert are gospel music heavyweight, Byron Cage & Season 2 BET Sunday Best Winner, Y’Anna Crawley with concert headliners Multi-Grammy Winner & WEtv stars, sister duo, Mary Mary along with featured artists, Multi-Grammy winning artist, Israel Houghton, Stellar Award winner, Dewayne WoodsMonica Lisa StevensonKathy TaylorRuth La’OntraBRL, and more.  
One of the most highly anticipated elements of the conference is The Legends Ball. This year’s keynote speaker for the ball will be Multi-Stellar Winning Artist and Pastor, Charles Jenkins. The ball will feature music by special guest artist and TV superstar, Tamela Mann as well as spoken word by Tia Yarbrough. The ball will honor Vanessa Bell Armstrong with the Music Ministry Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Carl Westmoreland with the Historian Achievement Award, Inspirational Baptist Church – Bishop Victor S. Couzens with the Church Spotlight Award, Mr. & Mrs. Eric & Cassandra Robinson with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Dr. O’Dell Owens with the Community Service Award.

The I Hear Music in the Air Conference will take place May 16th-18th. Opening night kicks off with The Urban Soul Café on Friday, May 16th featuring Earnest PughMr. Del & Holy SouthSean C. Johnson & Sensere along with spoken word artists, Tia Yarbrough and Jay O’Speaks. The Café will take place at the host hotel, The Radisson Cincinnati North Hotel Sharonville. Adult workshops will take place Saturday, May 17th from 10a-11:30am while the young adult summit takes place simultaneously from 10a-2p featured special guests: Joshua RogersBRL ChicagoJillian EllisKaleb Starr and more.  The feature concert will take place on Saturday, May 17th at The Inspirational Baptist Church, doors open at 6:00pm, concert begins at 7:00pm. The conference will conclude with The Legends Ball at The Sharonville Convention Center. The I Hear Music Conference is the place to be for all in ministry seeking music and/or entrepreneurship guidance. For more information visit www.ihearmusicintheair.com
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buzzz worthy. . .
"For Better or Worse" cast

OWN's popular comedy series from Tyler Perry, "For Better or Worse," will kick-off a new season with two back-to-back half-hour episodes on Wednesday, April 9 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.  
At the end of last season, Angela (NAACP Image Award nominated actress Tasha Smith) is convinced that her husband, Marcus (Michael Jai White), is having an affair; Richard (Kent Faulcon) and Keisha's (Kiki Haynes) relationship is on the rocks and Leslie (Crystle Stewart) comes face-to-face with her stalker and is trapped without anyone knowing her whereabouts.  The new season opens with Leslie's ex-boyfriend, Joseph (Jason Olive), frantically searching for her and fearing her life may be in danger. 
"For Better or Worse," about the ups and downs of dating and marriage, centers on Angela Williams, the owner of a successful beauty salon, and her husband of 13 years, Marcus.  Marcus is a former professional football player who is partnered with Richard Ellington and Joseph Jetson on a sports program called "C-Sports Now."  Marcus's business relationship with Richard and Joseph is complicated, however, by the fact that Richard is married to Keisha, Marcus's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his teenage daughter.  In addition, Joseph's ex-girlfriend, successful real-estate agent Leslie, is Angela's best friend, which sometimes makes it difficult for everyone to keep their business and private lives from mingling.  "For Better or Worse" is written, directed and executive produced by Tyler Perry.
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Oprah drops "F-bomb" on Lindsay Lohan

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Lilo's (Lindsay Lohan's) docu-series on the OWN Network isn't going the way she or Oprah expected. On the third episode of "Lindsay" Oprah confronted the out of control star, 27, about her lax behavior and attitude toward filming the show.

Lohan has been late two to three hours for shooting  7 out of 12 times, claiming the format of the show isn't what she signed up to do.  She said she expected there would be one camera following her instead of a realty-TV styled production.

"No offense to the Kardashians, they do a great job with theirs, but I don't ever want to be that."  

"Lindsay" documents the star's journey on the road to sobriety as she dashes in and out of rehab and counseling and adjusts to life back in New York where she moved to be closer to her family during the healing process.

Oprah told Lindsay she wants her to "win", but would shut down the production immediately if she did not want to do it.

The "Queen of All Media"  and her staff are fed up to the point that she used an expletive, not at all acting like the Oprah the public is accustomed to seeing. 'You need to cut the bullshit, you really do," Oprah chided.

 After re-confirming  Lohan is committed to doing the show, the network owner added, "Don't be fu*^ing up."

"Lindsay" air on the OWN Network on Sunday nights at 10/9 Central.
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saxophonist Todd Ledbetter releases latest CD

buzzz worthy. . .
 Popular Gospel Jazz saxophonist Todd Ledbetter, known as “The Jazz Psalmist”, has been wowing audiences for years with his inspiring and skilled instrumental performances.  A 2012 Stellar Award Nominee for Instrumental Gospel CD of the Year for his debut release, Meditations: Hymns In The Key Of Jazz, Ledbetter is preparing to introduce a brand new single, the smooth track, “How I Love You”, on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.  Featuring two versions – one instrumental and one with vocals – the new song is just what inspirational jazz lovers have been clamoring for.  The new single, and its instrumental counterpart, will be available on Ledbetter’s website, www.ToddLedbetter.com.  From March 18th – 31st, fans of the saxophonist will be able to download the single for free.
Penned by Ledbetter himself, his first vocal release, “How I Love You”, showcases the talents of jazz chanteuse Christie Dashiell, a member of Traces of Blue, formerly known as Afro Blue, seen on NBC’s “The Sing Off”. Bringing a softness and purity to the uplifting cut, the songstress intricately weaves her mesmerizing voice around the improvisational tones of Ledbetter’s tenor sax.  A mixture of smooth and traditional jazz stylings, the song’s lyrics whisper sweet nothings in the ear of God. 
Produced by renowned musician and producer John Stoddart, the upcoming project is the second collaborative effort between saxophonist and producer.  “In 2011, John and I met and we sketched out about five different songs,” recalls Ledbetter.  “Last fall, we got together again and began laying tracks in the studio.” The first song out of the gate was a rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, which dropped just in time for Christmas last December.
Ledbetter feels his music is unique and has even coined a phrase to describe it.  “I call my music ‘smooth soul praise’,” says the artist.  “You’ve got the Jazz element, you’ve got the Gospel element and I think people are going to hear the praise and worship as well.  I even added a little bit of neo soul. I love the genre of Gospel Jazz because of its instrumental nature.  Without the restriction of lyrics, God can minister a different message to different people at the same time, all through the same song.” 
In addition to his Stellar Award Nomination, Todd Ledbetter is a 2011 Gospel Blue M.I.C. Achievement Award Winner and a two-time 2012 DMV Christian Music Award Nominee.  He’s been playing the saxophone for over 20 years and has been blessed to work with artists known in the Gospel and Jazz worlds such as James Moody, John Faddis, Eddie Harris, Marcus Johnson, Richard Smallwood, Byron Cage, and the late Jazz icons Ronnie Wells and Grover Washington, Jr. as well as Gospel great, the late Walter Hawkins.  Ledbetter studied at the University of Pittsburgh under well-known educator Dr. Nathan Davis.  For more information on Todd Ledbetter, log on to www.toddledbetter.com.
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Random thoughts 'Blood, Sweat & Heels' Reunion Recap

buzzz worthy. . .

I've withheld comment about the show "Blood, Sweat and Heels" until tonight's reunion show.  The group of 6 ladies was divided into "The Louds" and "The Prouds." I felt  their show was down-graded by having the reunion at Andy Cohen's club house.  Why didn't they get the same lush set up as other shows?

The idea of a "Black Sex in the City" did not resonate with me, but professional women with whom I shared similar career paths  was intriguing.  I was not feeling Demetria Lucas' smugness and disrespect when her co-stars are telling her the impact of blogging about them.  This is not a good look for her brand.  She should filter her statements more if she does not want to be perceived as hard-hearted. I expected so much more out of this group of educated, "successful", cosmopolitan black women. Micah and Melissa's drunken conduct at a business event was way over the top.  Bree is a dirty elitist. When they found out Micah's father passed they still were not compassionate. Geneva said she was compassionate Daisy is the only one who showed an semblance of good home training.  Andy should have included her more in this reunion.

Oh, Micah cleared up questions about her race.  She said both of her parents were Black and she was discriminated against on modeling gigs for being too light.

All the hair, make-up and pretty dresses in the world may look feminine, but they do not make you a lady. So much of the behavior on the show was distasteful that the focus was taken off of their professional successes and they came across as typical and catty.

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