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Raphael Saadiq Speaks On Tony! Toni! Toné! Reunion

Raphael Saadiq is a renaissance man. When the respected singer-songwriter-producer isn’t on the road performing his latest material, such as the critically acclaimed, ‘60s soul inspired album The Way I See It, he is overseeing his video game development company IllFonic. And then there’s his role as an executive producer of an upcoming sitcom pilot called Love That Girl! starring The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Tatyana Ali.

But when Saadiq, who has worked with everyone from Whitney Houston and Erykah Badu to Snoop Dogg and Ludacris, talks about music, it’s obvious where his true passion remains. “I just felt like as an artist you always do what you like first,” he says of the continued positive response to Way I See It, which was released in September of 2008. “You build that fan base that would like to see you do different things. That ‘60’s music was the soundtrack to my life. I didn’t want to try to completely fit into what’s going on right now even though I like some of the newer stuff out right now. I felt like the music of the ‘60s was all around the world.”

Still, Saadiq says he is proud of his past work as a member of the influential late ‘80s/early ‘90s R&B act Tony! Toni! Toné!. The band, which went on to release one gold (starting with 1988’s Who?) and three platinum plus albums (The Revival, Sons of Soul, and their last project 1997’s House of Music) was a product of the New Jack Swing era sparked by Teddy Riley.

“Back in the day, when it was Guy, Keith Sweat, and Tony! Toni! Toné!, the black music executives were just getting their new jobs,” he recalls. “They were putting a lot of people on so a lot of music was coming out of New York. Everything was so brand new. If you wasn’t a strong band, artist or producer it was up to you to live on your own.”

But the question Saadiq continues to get on a regular bases is will there ever be a Tony! Toni! Toné! reunion? “For me it’s been a struggle,” he says of the possibilities of re-grouping. “I love the Tony’s. People always ask me would I ever do it again. But after three albums of putting my records together like I am now, I don’t think so.”

Saadiq is set to perform at SXSW music festival at the AOL Spinner Music on March 19. —Keith Murphy 

CHECK OUT OUR GALLERY OF RAPHAEL SAADIQ SHOTS HERE

 

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Drake, Boogz, Gilla And Other Toronto Artists Talks Toronto Gun Violence In New Documentary

Mustafa The Poet commissioned some of Toronto's brightest stars to speak candidly about the city's growing gun violence. Against a black backdrop Rax, Gilla and the Six-God himself Drake, all discuss losing a peer senselessly to the streets.

Titled Remember Me, Toronto the somber 11-minute documentary shed a light on the emotional after effect gun violence has on the victim's loved ones. “They don’t know the pain I’ve been through,” Boogz from Malvern said. “The friends I’ve lost.”

Drake attributed the city's violence--which boasts more than 98 homicides and 406 shootings in 2018, making it Toronto's bloodiest year on record-- to feuds passed down generationally. "In a lot of the situations in the city it's passed down by elders, people don't even know the logistics of the beef or why or what really happened, it's just I am conditioned to hate this area of this group of people, " he said.

While street life may be glamorized in some artist's music, Baka NotNice noted the consequences of that lifestyle are far from braggadocious.“You know that feeling when you get the cuffs put on you and you get put in the back of the car. It’s not a game when that happens It’s for real,” he said.

The "God's Plan" rapper also discussed the power street credibility has on the male ego. "It's a daunting path to try and be the biggest and baddest from your ends," Drake said.

Reflectively, Gilla said all this death could be a great teacher in a perfect world.

“I wish we could push a button so that everyone we lost to street life, they’re back, but everything that happened that led up to this sh*t we can remember, and all the pain and sh*t that we still felt we can still feel it and now we have a chance to be like ‘Yo, do we really want to do this sh*t again?'

Check out Remember Me, Toronto Shebib scored documentary above.

 

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Michael Jackson's Former Bodyguard Says Singer Was "Definitely" Into Women

Since the release of Finding Neverland, the legacy of Michael Jackson has gone through many filters. Accusations of child molestation have brought into question the entertainer's sexuality but those who knew him well are condemning the shocking behavior recounted by his accusers.

In an interview with Jim Breslo for the Hidden Truth Show Monday (March 18), Bill Whitfield denied Jackson was ever into men or young boys. Whitfield, who was the singer's personal bodyguard for two years, shared stories about Jackson's dating life. Whitfield claimed Jackson dated two women during his employment with the singer but didn't like to bring women home where his children lived.

"We've had enough conversations to know that he's into women. I know," he said. "I'm aware of him spending time with women. Two women in particular, but what he did with these women in the time they were together, that's not for me to tell. I'm not going to put his whole sexual actions –if any– out there."

Whitfield also shared a story where he was Jackson's wingman of sorts when he took interest in a woman who happened to be attending Georgetown University.

As the host lent his ear the victims, Whitfield insisted that the singer "wasn't the type of guy to molest children" and claimed the accusers in the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck were lying.

"They're lying. I'll speak what I know," he said. "I can refudiate their lies because I know what they're lying about. Where are these pictures at? Their facts are fake, the pictures are fake. What else you got?"

Listen to the interview up top.

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Donna Brazile Signs On As Fox News Contributor

On Monday afternoon (March 18), Donna Brazile inked a new contract to become a contributor for Fox News. According to Politico, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairperson will provide statements on the nation's politics on Fox Business as well as the flagship cable station Fox News.

"In order for us to best decide as a people how to better protect and preserve our way of life, we need to first be able to hear what others are saying without the filter of bias and contempt," Brazile wrote in an op-ed about her decision. "Not until we once again become practiced at treating those of differing views with civility and respect can we begin to join together to solve the myriad of problems our country must overcome."

Brazile also mentions how important the upcoming 2020 presidential election is for the country, and that through her new platform, listening to the other side might disperse necessary information.

"In order for us to best decide as a people how to better protect and preserve our way of life, we need to first be able to hear what others are saying without the filter of bias and contempt," Brazile continued. "Not until we once again become practiced at treating those of differing views with civility and respect can we being to join together to solve the myriad of problems our country must overcome."

In 2016, Brazile resigned from her on-screen position at CNN on reports of collusion during Hilary Clinton's previous presidential campaign. Brazile was accused of sharing information with Clinton's team ahead of a town hall. In an attempt to get ahead of the criticism Brazile believes will come her way, she reiterated the need to have an open mind.

"There’s an audience on Fox News that doesn’t hear enough from Democrats," she said. "We have to engage that audience and show Americans of every stripe what we stand for rather than retreat into our ‘safe spaces’ where we simply agree with each other.”

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