Press Pass: Todd James aka Reas' "Make My Burden Lighter" Opening

Todd James aka Reas got his start tagging subway cars in New York City during the early '80s: a time when rap music was still a juvenile, and park jams were center of hip-hop culture. With the drive and determination to take his art to the masses, Reas made the transition from spray painting murals in the street to designing artwork and logos for some of the New York's most identifiable rap artists. More than decade later, James is now one of the emerging stars of the post-graffiti, contemporary art scene. VIBE.com was in attendance at the opening of his latest exhibition titled "Make My Burdens Lighter" at the Gering Lopez Gallery in Midtown Manhattan. ––Mikey Fresh

If you're in town, check it out for yourself:
Todd James aka Reas "Make My Burden Lighter"
Jan.15th - Feb. 20th
GERING & LóPEZ GALLERY
730 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10019

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"All The Stars" musicians Kendrick Lamar and SZA will not perform their Oscar-Nominated song during Sunday's awards telecast.
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Black Panther's 'All The Stars' Won't Be Performed At The Oscars

According to Deadline, Kendrick Lamar and SZA will not be performing their Oscar-Nominated song “All The Stars” during Sunday’s Academy Award telecast.

Per the site, the Pulitzer Prize-winning MC has been heard at work and focusing on creating new music abroad. Due to his schedule, creating a stage performance that would do “justice” to the stand-out track from Black Panther would be difficult to achieve.

“As such, the mutual decision between all parties, Lamar’s camp and Oscars, was to forego a performance of the song on Sunday,” the site says of the nixed performance. “None of the other nominees, i.e. SZA, wanted to perform the song live without Lamar. ‘All the Stars’ is a complex, nuanced, beautiful song, and not having Lamar perform it, didn’t make sense.” Due to his schedule, Lamar did not appear at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards earlier this month.

In the past for ‘Best Original Song’ performances, the Academy would pair musicians to perform covers of the nominated tracks. However, “All The Stars” is a song that not just anyone can perform.

The performers that will be singing on the telecast include Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born‘s “Shallow,” and Bette Midler for “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns.

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Drake's 'So Far Gone' Debuting In Top 10 On Billboard 200

Ten years ago, college campuses were enthralled in Drake’s romantic verses and relatable sonic vignettes on his ubiquitous mixtape, So Far Gone. It was conveniently released the week of Valentine’s Day on Feb. 13. At the time, he dropped the free project without much commercial push.

Now, a mere decade later, the mixtape is climbing to its debut on the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. Since its tenth anniversary, the project has garnered slots on prominent streaming services starting the week of Feb. 15, Billboard reports.

It’s projected that the compilation might debut at No. 5 on the charts next week, and can end the week of Feb. 21 with 45,000 album units. If Drizzy is able to receive this accolade, it will make this his tenth album that’s reached a top 10 slot on the charts.

In typical Drake fashion, when he was creating So Far Gone, he was grappling with a relationship that seemingly went sour, which served as his main source of inspiration. During a 2009 interview with Complex, he detailed the message behind some of the album's songs.

“It starts with this monologue, 'Lust For Life,' of me crying out, in my head the things that I never say. The things that I was just thinking, that was my mindset. Then it goes to 'Houstatlantavegas' which is about what I felt about the girl I was with,” he said.

“I just felt that nothing was ever good enough, and she was always searching for more excitement and then we move into 'Successful,'" he continued. "I say at the end of the song, 'There are so many things I want to say but I just don't know how to say it to you.' I know exactly what I want to say, you know, I just want to be successful, but I don't know if I can do it with you and then it goes into 'Let's Call It Off,' which is the breakup.”

While it must have been heartbreaking, the end of that relationship kicked off his musical career. “And then coincidentally when I broke up with that girl a week later I went to Houston and met Lil Wayne and that's where 'November 18' comes from,” he explained.

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'Boomerang' Episode 3 Recap: Stand In Your Power

As the aptly-named episode of BET’s Boomerang kicks off, Bryson is in a deep sleep when his sexual fantasy of Simone riding him like an Amtrak is abruptly cut short after she pulls out a strap-on (um, y’all are grown). Let’s just say, she’s not a football player but she rams. Despite his obvious initial thought, this isn’t a conflict of sexual identity. It’s that feeling of loss of power whenever he’s around the two most important women in his life: Simone and his mother Jacqueline who (FUN FACT) was played by the Queen, Robin Givens in the series’ 1992 film inspiration. First of her name. Mother of no BS. Protector of her pockets. Goddess of You Got the Wrong One. We stan.

While diving deeper into his familial issues, we realize that Jacqueline wasn’t just a ball-buster to Marcus back in the day. A therapy breakthrough reveals that mommy dearest isn’t too affectionate to young Bryson either.  Although she did pull her strings to land Bryson a solid role at the Graham agency, she didn’t make family a priority and that kind of thing sticks with you, ya know? Don’t feel too bad for Bryson just yet because at this point, he will no longer be a “yes, man,” no matter how bomb Simone always looks in her bob.

Just as Bryson decides to boss up, he unexpectedly runs into Simone back at the office who is helping herself to some supplies for her "home office." In a sudden “I can make moves, too” moment, Bryson shares with Simone that her idea (that he’s been persistently pitching)  has finally been greenlit and naturally, sis is annoyed. Marketing an avant-garde black film, such as the project in the episode, “Woke,” has always been a passion of hers.

Within two seconds into listening to his “plan of strategy” to market the movie, it’s obvious that Bryson can’t possibly be Big Bad Bry for too long without asking for Simone’s help. And Simone knows that. At this point, he’s still strong enough to not ask Simone for it but the Hustle Hungry protege takes it upon herself to force it anyway. It’s simple to her. Bryson needs black talent to promote the film and Simone has just the client- Tia. Granted, homegirl can’t sing a note to save her life, but Simone has some tricks and this is way too big of an opportunity to pass up.

Once again at the board meeting, a clearly annoyed Victoria is still over Bryson for previously messing up by being a sucker for love, but she hasn’t lost faith just yet. He still has a shot to prove himself. At an afternoon meeting at their swanky loft, the twin directors of “Woke” try to explain the direction they want for their movie. Although poor Bryson is lost (mainly because their responses barely answer his questions) he hasn’t reached a place of uncertainty to where he feels as if he has to agree with all of Simone’s suggestions. He’s holding it down as Boss Man Bry and he proves that when he reaches the studio. Simone has Tia record two different versions of the track, confident that Bryson would like hers better.

After listening to both, unbeknownst of who is responsible for which, Bryson chooses Tia’s track. He almost even backtracks when he finds out that wasn’t Simone’s vision, but he decides to man up instead and stand his ground, instead.  Yes, he said what he said. Operation Stand in Your Power is in full effect. Simone’s grip on Bryson’s heart slowly slipping. Maybe now she’ll retire from the Rams. *wink, wink*

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