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Meet Mike Taylor, West Philly’s Electrifying Fresh Prince

The up-and-coming musician chopped it up with VIBE about his sound, style and influence.

The stage is set for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, and for Rostrum Records signee Mike Taylor, the opportunity to be invited to the most famous venue in the world, Madison Square Garden, is a feeling that is surely indescribable for someone who was just signed earlier this year.

Taylor, who was nominated at this year’s ceremony for “Best Electronic Video” thanks to his contributions on Afrojack’s hit “SummerThing!” saunters down the white carpet with a smile brighter than his pink-colored duster coat, which could barely reach the ground due to the singer’s towering appearance.

“I don’t think I’ve ever missed a VMA on TV, and now I’m here!” he gushes. “It’s really crazy.”

Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Taylor like most musicians developed his love for music at a young age. Big names from the Motown era such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Rick James and Michael Jackson are listed at the helm of his inspirations.

“I think Motown, Berry Gordy, Rick James are some of the best to do it, ever,” he grins. “Rick James is my favorite rockstar on the planet still!” I note that I can see a little bit of Rick James in him because like James, his hairstyle is both exciting and eccentric.

After moving to Los Angeles in 2011 and becoming a nightlife staple, he was able to work with DJ Vice for his song “World Is Our Playground” in 2013, and was featured at Mad Decent’s Block Party. In 2015, “SummerThing!” landed in the top 10 on Billboard’s dance charts, and success has continued to come Taylor’s way.

His newest single “Electric Church” fuses a thumping bass with a gospel, pop and electronic feel. “Let the spirit into your soul, let this music into your body,” he sings right before a feel-good drop that basically warrants a dance party.

His flavor comes from styles he was brought up on, such as soul and gospel, and to keep the energy going for fans of his sound, he weaves in elements of EDM and pop.

“I’m always grounded in soul music, because I think that most music and its elements come from soul,” he notes. When creating songs like his Gladius- produced joint “Body High,” Taylor reveals he uses personal experiences and perspective to come up with feel-good tunes for everyone to enjoy.

One of the biggest goals for Taylor is to make music that transcends genre and race, especially in this tough times, because he believes all we need to achieve togetherness is commonality.

“The first thing that we do is to bring people together, to have a collective consciousness and conversation,” he explains. “So you bring people together, and then we start talking about action and moving forward as a community and as humanity. That’s where we can start- we can make something that starts that really healthy conversation amongst different kinds of people through all walks of life.”

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Report: Jehovah's Witness Community Kept Secret List Of Child Molesters

The Jehovah's Witness community is reportedly being investigated for allegedly keeping a secret database that listed thousands of "undocumented" child molesters within the community, The Atlantic reports.

According to the latest report, the information was obtained after the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which serves as the head of the Jehovah's Witness organization, sent a survey to its 10,883 U.S. Kingdom Halls seeking information about members of the community accused of sexual abuse in 1997. The survey was reportedly comprised of 12 questions, including how the community viewed the alleged abusers, whether the abuse was a one-time occurrence, and more.

The responses were then mailed back to the Watchtower in a blue envelope and scanned into a Microsoft SharePoint. It was never shared with the police, however.

In 2014, a man filed a lawsuit against the Watchtower, claiming he was molested by a Jehovah's Witness leader in 1986. During that case, the Watchtower disclosed that its U.S. headquarters had received 775 blue envelopes from 1997 to 2001.

In 2012, Candace Conti, a former member of the community, was awarded $28 million by a jury after claiming a man she worked with for a community service project sexually abused her when she was nine and group leaders ignored her because of the  "two-witness rule."

According to The Atlantic, the organization's "two-witness rule" requests that two people bare witness to the crime being alleged. "Barring a confession, no member of the organization can be officially accused of committing a sin without two credible eyewitnesses who are willing to corroborate the accusation," the rule states. Critics have said that the rule makes it easier for child molesters to abuse kids.  

According to estimates, the number of accused Jehovah's Witness child molesters listed in the secret database could range from 18,000 to 23,000. It's unclear how police are proceeding in light of the new report.

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Ethan Miller

Report: Streaming Services Account For 93 Percent Of Latin Music's Revenue

A new report by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) found that streaming is now making up 93 percent of Latin music’s total revenue in the U.S., Billboard reports. This amount is in comparison to the 75 percent made of all other genres in total in the U.S. by the various streaming platforms available. It’s estimated that now Latin music currently accounts for 4.2 percent of the total $9.8 billion dollars of the music business in the U.S. The figure has increased since last year, which stood at 4 percent.

"Latin music’s transformation from a physical-based business to a streaming driven one is even faster than the overall U.S. music market’s turnaround," reads the 2018 Latin music revenue report. Most of the revenue comes from paid subscriptions, which make up a total of 58 percent of the genre’s revenue.

These paid subscriptions all come from music/content streaming services like Amazon Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Apple Music, which all grew 48 percent year by year. Ultimately, the growth generated a cool $239 million. Revenue from other ad-driven platforms like YouTube and Vevo garnered a total of 34 percent, which made $93 million. The sub-category made Latin music 24 percent in revenue, which is three times larger than the average eight percent made off the U.S. general market.

The artists whom helped push forward the genre digitally within the last year have been: Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J.Balvin and Karol G, among others. "Overall, the Latin music market is showing signs of strength again," the report stated. "We are excited for the next chapter of this comeback story."

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Tone Loc Detained After Confronting Family Over Confederate Flag Hat

West Coast rapper Tone Loc was reportedly detained at the Midland International Air & Space Port in Texas on Sunday (Mar. 24). He was reportedly handcuffed by airport security after aggressively confronting the parents of a teenage boy who was wearing a Confederate flag hat, CBS7 reports.

The incident reportedly started when the 53-year-old– born Anthony Terrell Smith– confronted a teenager who was wearing the controversial hat at baggage claim.

"How are you going to wear that in front of a black man?" Loc asked the boy, according to witnesses.

The teenage boy's parents reportedly stepped in and reprimanded the rapper for talking to their son in such an aggressive tone. The rapper apologized but continued to state that the boy should not be wearing the hat.

The argument didn't stop there though. The family and Loc continued the heated altercation outside. In a video obtained by an NBC affiliate, the "Wild Thing" artist could be heard shouting: "F**k all that Confederate sh*t."

Authorities were later called to the scene where they separated both parties and detained Loc. Once the situation de-escalated, the handcuffs were removed, and Loc was permitted to leave. No criminal charges were filed.

Watch a clip of the incident below.


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