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The Real Definition of 'Epic': Above & Beyond

Forget all those times you’ve heard a show carelessly described as "epic". The overused word is defined as 'noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.'

Above & Beyond. Aptly named “Group Therapy,” the English trance trio’s launch party for Anjunabeats Volume 10 at the Roseland Ballroom this month became a night for the history books.

Devoted concertgoers came out in droves for the sold out show, wearing custom made clothing and carrying signs reading “We are not alone 2nite” and “NYC never forgot about love” – an homage to Above & Beyond’s transcendent theme that brings together the friendliest fan base you will ever encounter at a modern day EDM show.

Deep house opener, Beckwith, set the tone for the night as fans mingled and picked their spot in the crowd, carefully selecting downbeat tracks that progressively layered complicated rhythms over top of each other. Next up was Andrew Bayer. The 25-year-old producer-DJ who had the honor of opening for A&B spent the next 90 minutes raising the BPMs and brought the crowd to party mode, dropping his own popular tracks like “Keep Your Secrets” and other genre favorites including Eric Prydz’s “Miami to Atlanta.”

By the time 12:30 a.m. rolled around, the crowd could not be contained. As Tony McGuinness and Jono Grant took the stage (Paavo Siljamäki produces with the group but does not perform live) hands rose to the sky, coming together to create a sea of hearts on the dance floor. One thing that fans have come to look forward to from every Above & Beyond show is the way the group interacts with the audience. From typing out messages, to pulling fans out of the crowd to drop their most iconic song, the experience with A&B is unique from start to finish, guaranteed.

Fans reveled as Tony and Jono spoke to them from the monitor behind the decks. “The future is in your hands,” they proclaimed at one very emotional point. They also referenced the new Freedom Tower currently under construction in downtown Manhattan. “And by the way, your new tower looks f****** amazing!”

As the confetti cleared from the air, and Norin and Rad stepped up to play to the crowd - ready to rage till 4 a.m. – fans mingled in back and outside, sharing their stories that brought them there that night. Some had just experienced Above & Beyond for the first time while others boasted that they were seeing them for their 7th, 8th, even 15th time. While they exchanged phone numbers and hugs, added each other on Facebook and cheesed out for photos, one sentiment was clear throughout – they were all members of the trance family now, and next time Above & Beyond was playing, they would all be there for another round of Group Therapy.

Check out the latest release "Black Room Boy" (Above & Beyond Club Mix), dropped Feb 25th:

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Kevin Mazur

Tekashi 69 Fears For His Life In Prison, Wants To Serve Remainder Of Sentence At Home

Tekashi 69 fears for his life in prison, especially after snitching on his old crew. The onetime gang-affiliate, born Daniel Hernandez, received a shortened sentence after cooperating with federal prosecutors, but he wants to serve out the rest of his time on house arrest, or at a halfway house.

“Allowing Hernandez to serve the remainder of his jail sentence under home confinement would be the most reasonable means to adjust and prepare for his re-entry into the community,” Tekashi’s lawyer Lance Lazzaro said in court documents filed on Tuesday (Dec. 15).

Tekashi is currently incarcerated at a private facility for safety reasons. However, his attorney argues that the Bronx native “is still housed with various members of the Bloods” gang.

“As a result of Hernandez's cooperation with the government against multiple gang members with the Bloods, Hernandez's safety is still, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, seriously at risk,” the lawyer pointed out, according to The Blast.

The documents go on to note that Tekashi’s co-defendant, Roland “Ro Murda” Martin, was stabbed nearly a dozen times for severing ties with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. Tekashi fears that he could meet a similar fate if his request isn’t granted. “It is foreseeable that placement in any Bureau of Prisons facility, including any CCC, would jeopardize Hernandez's safety,” the lawyer added.

A judge has yet to rule on the request.

Regardless of whether or not he’s allowed to return home or to a halfway house, Tekashi’s lawyer says that “given the sensitive nature of his testimony,” the “Gunmo” rhymer will have to take “extreme” safety measures, likely for the rest of his life.

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Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Tashonna Ward: 25-Year-Old Woman Dies After Waiting Hours In ER

The family of the 25-year-old Wisconsin woman are seeking answers following her tragic death earlier in the month. Tashonna Ward, a daycare worker whose newborn daughter died last year, passed away after waiting nearly three hours in the emergency room at Wisconsin's Froedtert Hospital where she sought treatment for chest pains and shortness of breath.

Ward checked into the ER at 4:58 p.m on Jan. 2, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. During the wait, hospital staff checked Ward’s heartbeat and she underwent an x-ray, the latter of which showed that she had an enlarged heart.

She was sent back to the waiting room.

"I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a [doctor]. Like that is really f***ing ridiculous,” Ward reportedly wrote on Facebook according to NBC News.

Ward left Froedtert to go to another hospital at around 7:30 p.m., but never made it. She collapsed soon after and was rushed back to Froedtert where she was pronounced dead.

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain, and stick them in the lobby?" Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward, said according to the Journal Sentinel. Andrea launched a Go Fund Me  account to raise funds for her cousin’s funeral.

A rep for Froedtert expressed condolences over Ward's death . “The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy,” a rep for the hospital said in a statement. “We cannot comment further at this time.”

Ward had previously been told that she developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy. Her baby died last March after the baby’s umbilical chord wrapped around the its neck.

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men women in the U.S., the risks are even higher for black women. According to 2017 statistics, nearly half of black women over the age of 20 battle some type of heart disease.

Black women are also at higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications. While there are several variables at play (like a lack of access to proper health care), the larger issue is that black women are often “undervalued,” noted Dr. Ana Langer, director of the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in an interview with the American Heart Association.

“[Black women] are not monitored as carefully as white women are,” said Langer. “When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.”

Ward’s family are reportedly scheduled to meet with the hospital next week. The hospital has received numerous online complaints over the years, many of which involve billing issues but also treatment and long wait periods.

A Yelp review  posted last year warned patients not to believe the 23-minute wait time touted at the hospital. The woman and her ailing child left the hospital after waiting for six hours “without being evaluated other than a [five-minute] ‘triage.’”

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Akon Is One Step Closer To Building Futuristic Cryptocurrency-Powered City In Senegal

Akon recently finalized an agreement to build a “futuristic,” eco-friendly, cryptocurrency-based city in his home country of Senegal, he announced on social media on Monday (Jan. 13).

“Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal,”  he tweeted. “Looking forward to hosting you there in the future.”

Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future pic.twitter.com/dsoYpmjnpf

— AKON (@Akon) January 13, 2020

Akon City will be built in the village of Mbodiene (about six miles south of Senegal's capital city of Dakar), the Jakarta Times reports.The city will utilize sustainable energy resources in addition to utilizing  crypto currency. Akon launched his own cryptocurrency, Akoin, in 2018.

A spokesperson for Senegal's tourism ministry said that Akon’s goal is to build an eco-friendly tourism village.

Aside from Senegal, Akon traveled to Abu Dhabi for an energy summit hosted by MASDAR, one of the world’s lead renewable energy companies.

Thank u Masdar for an amazing sustainable week in Abu Dhabi. pic.twitter.com/NfS9TSQTks

— AKON (@Akon) January 15, 2020

The 46-year-old entrepreneur, who was born in Senegal but raised mostly in the states, founded Akon Lighting Africa to provide sustainable energy solutions to the continent, a mission that he has been working on for several years.

“There’s always been so many initiatives in Africa, so much money raised in Africa, but there’s never no results and it got to the point where you get tired of it,” he said in a 2015 interview. “I took it more personal than anything and I wanted to be in a position to where if I move forward on something I wanted to actually see it materialize.”

Akon also expanded the brand to include Akon Lighting America, the first African-American owned solar energy company of its kind.

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