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Hip-Hop Mogul Wants Beyonce and Jay-Z to Support 'Guns for Greatness'

A millionaire hip-hop mogul has put in a bid to help get guns off of New York City's streets.

Michael "Blue" Williams, head of Family Tree Entertainment, has proposed the city's first private gun buyback program to the NYPD. Dubbed "Guns for Greatness," the system provides NYC residents who return guns with mentoring programs and tickets to highly-anticipated concerts. Williams hopes to gain the support of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who are both scheduled to headline big shows in the city this summer.

“The Beyoncé show is coming to Brooklyn; the Jay-Z show is coming to Yankee Stadium," Williams told the NY Daily News. "Our goal is to reach out to individuals who are in my industry, in my world and who I have an association with and get their support."

Williams -- who is partly responsible for the success of acts like Outkast and Cee-lo Green -- is awaiting NYPD's Commissioner Ray Kelly's approval to move forward with Guns for Greatness. The mogul has already raised $75,000 toward the cause, and hopes to raise an additional $25,000. With the city's youth at the center of the gun violence, they have become Williams' main focus with the proposed program, which will aim to help black and Latino males between the ages 16 and 36.

“This program aims to provide young people with an opportunity to receive guidance and inspiration from committed mentors, an important option that will enable them to experience possibilities other than a life surrounded by gun violence and unnecessary shootings and killing," Williams' letter read.

The mentoring program will remain optional for those who turn in guns for money and tickets, Williams said.

“You can make a decision to take that money and walk back out, or you can make the choice to get a mentor,” said Williams. “In my perfect world, I’d love to have a gift package for signing up for the
mentorship program that is worth way more than $250. I think that when you’re dealing with younger people, you have to offer a little more to incentivize them."

Though Beyonce and Jay-Z have not yet signed on to helped with Guns for Greatness, William's has gained the support of the Hot 97 radio station, IHOP, and several record labels. The mogul hopes to launch the buyback program on March 23.

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Malcolm X’s Daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, Speaks On His Legacy And Netflix Docuseries

In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of his assassination, Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, spoke out on her father’s legacy and the popular Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X? 

Speaking with Democracy Now on Friday (Feb. 21), Ilyasah praised the filmmakers behind the six-part docuseries for their work in attempting to uncover, “Who killed our father? Who took the life of a very young man who challenged the moral compass of world nations.”

Ilyasah was just two years old when her father was assassinated in front of her, three of her sisters and her mother, Betty Shabazz, who was pregnant with twins at the time. A week before Malcolm’s murder, the family’s home was firebombed.

Ilyasah has no memory of her father’s assassination which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, inside Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. Malcolm was preparing to give a speech in the venue and invited his family to sit in the front row.

“I’m really grateful that I don’t have memory as my older sisters I’m sure can recollect, being 6 years old and 4 years old, the trauma and chaos and understanding that our father never came home,” she said. “And especially to my mother who was a young woman that actually saw bullets just tear my father’s body apart.”

The interview details the days leading up to Malcolm's death, including France banning him from entry into the country three weeks before his assassination. Malcolm who was only 39 years old when he died, traveled to Europe during the first week of February in 1965. He was turned away at the airport in France without explanation and subsequently forced to fly back to London where he delivered what would become one of his final speeches at the London School of Economics.

“He realized this was bigger than the Nation of Islam,” Ilyasah explained of Malcolm being banned from France. “The Nation of Islam itself did not have the power to keep him [out of France] and France did not want history to include that Malcolm was assassinated on their land. And so that speaks volumes, and my father understood that his life was not just challenged by the Nation of Islam. It was much bigger than that.

“It’s important to look at the work that he was doing,” she added. “Challenging world powers, challenging world nations for taking control of an [unequal] distribution of the world’s wealth.”

Ilyasah also dismantles the notion that her father “miraculously became Malcolm X” after he went to prison by detailing how his upbringing shaped his interest in political activism.

“He was always a leader,” she said. “He was always compassionate, he was always a learned young man. His parents instilled specific values in him and his siblings. The importance of self love, compassion, [and] care.”

Watch the full interview in the video above (Ilyasah’s portion begins at 12:17).

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Gregg DeGuire

Jhene Aiko Reveals Release Date For ‘Chilombo’ Album

Jhene Aiko announced the release date for her third studio album and what appears to be the album artwork on Friday (Feb. 21). The album titled, Chilombo, after Aiko’s sur name, is slated to drop on March 6 and promises to be some of her “realest” work to date.

“Just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO #phew realest s**t I ever wrote,” the Grammy-nominated tweeted on Monday (Feb. 17). Aiko described the album as an compilation of her previous work. “If sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO.”

just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO 👏🏼 #phew realest shit i ever wrote....

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

if sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO 🌋

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

Last month, Aiko dropped the track “P*$$Y Fairy (OTW),” which is expected to be on the album. Aiko’s last album, Trip, was released in 2017.

See the Aiko's latest album artwork below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

"Chilombo" March 6th 🌋

A post shared by Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo 🌋 (@jheneaiko) on Feb 21, 2020 at 6:00pm PST

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Jojo Announces ‘Good To Know’ Album And Tour

Jojo has a new album, Good to Know, dropping this spring and will be hitting the road for a headlining tour kicking off in April, the singer announced on Friday (Feb, 21).

The album title encompasses all that Jojo has learned “in the past few years,” she explained in a statement. “Every piece of feedback, criticism (internal or external), whatever it is — it’s all just information. And it’s all good! I’ve been lucky to have the space to reflect on my own journey up to now, and I hope people can take comfort in the fact that I am not anywhere near perfect, and I will never sugarcoat anything. We're all constantly living and learning and that’s what makes this life fun.”

The 'Good to Know' tour launches at Seattle’s The Showbox on April 21, and wraps May 30, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Presale tickets will be available beginning Monday, Feb, 24. Additional tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 28.

Click here for more information.

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