'30 Jahre RTL' Anniversary Show
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Rebecca Ferguson Vows To Perform "Strange Fruit" After Receiving Inauguration Invitation

The former X Factor UK contestant was asked to perform at this month's inauguration ceremony.

Fifty-two years ago, award-winning vocalist/pianist Nina Simone forever cemented that stirring feeling of "Strange Fruit" when she performed it as part of the soundtrack to the Civil Rights Movement. Now, powerhouse singer Rebecca Ferguson seeks to revive the song on the nation's largest stage.

According to Billboard, the former X Factor UK contestant was asked to perform at this month's presidential inauguration (Jan. 20). But the only way she'll take centerstage is if she can perform the Abel Meeropol written song. In a statement published to Ferguson's Twitter account, she explained her understandable reasoning.

"If you allow me to sing "strange fruit" a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial," she writes. "A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington."

In 1939, Billie Holiday crooned the tune that would stand the test of time at Cafe Society. The melody heartbreakingly and poignantly depicted black people's experience with the horrors of racism. "Strange Fruit" also found a rightful place in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978. Now, that same song might find a new place in history in 2017.

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Questlove To Executive Produce Broadway Musical About ‘Soul Train’

Soul Train, the audacious dance series that proudly spotlighted black culture while showcasing performances from legendary artists such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and more, is the focus of a new Broadway musical with Queslove as executive producer, Deadline reports.

The Roots drummer, who authored the 2013 book Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation, will executive produce the musical alongside, Tony Corneilus, son of Soul Train host and creator, Don Corneilus. Having worked directly with his father for “several years,” Cornelius’ son expressed gratitude for the impact that the series “has had on the culture at large,” both stateside and abroad.

Playwright Dominique Moriseeau, director Kamilah Forbes, and choreographer Camille A. Brown, are also included in the musical's production team. In a statement to Deadline, Morisseau said that she can’t wait to collaborate with a “legendary creative team of incredible women to celebrate the history and the unsung hero of our nation’s longest running televised music and dance series.”

More than 20 hits from the era are set to be featured in the musical, which will also detail Cornelius’ story in the early days of creating the series. Soul Train debuted in October 1971, and took its final bow in March of 2006. Cornelius died by suicide in 2012.

The musical is slated to debut in 2021, corresponding with the 50th anniversary of Soul Train’s television debut.

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Big Sean Donates $100K Recording Studio To Detroit Boys And Girls Club

Detroit native Big Sean gave back to his community in a huge way on Saturday (Aug. 17). As a part of his second annual DON Weekend hosted by his Sean Anderson Foundation, a $100,00 production studio was installed on the city's west side at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Boys & Girls Club.

Equipped with headphones, audio workstations, DJ controllers and mini-performance stage, Sean's latest investment follows the 2015 recording studio that he opened at his alma mater Cass Tech, as reported by Detroit Free Press.

"It's a full-circle moment when your neighborhood supports you and holds you high, and you're in a position to be able to hold it up your own way and take it further," Sean said. President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan region, Shawn Wilson, said the space will include three video-editing bays and an audio-mixing console. Live intimate performances, movie nights, and classes with topics will also be held.

"Detroit is like one those staples in music," the "Single Again" rapper said. "It's important that we keep that legacy of being one of the music's backbones. We've got a reputation to uphold."

DON Weekend featured a block party, carnival rides, food trucks, a self-care panel, and more.

Today was one of the most bossed up things we ever did! Threw a block party w/ free rides, food n everything BUT also had rooms where we introduced people n kids to yoga, self healing, computer coding/engineering, Music programs n lighting and more right in our hood! #DONweekend pic.twitter.com/LQDaxYXVZf

— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 18, 2019

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California Governor Signs 'Stephon Clark Law' To Combat Excessive Force By Police

A California law that will change the standards for use of excessive force by police has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, The Los Angeles Times reports. The Assembly Bill 392 was signed into law on Monday (Aug. 19) and will be named the “Stephon Clark Law," which honors the 22-year-old who was fatally shot by Sacramento police in his grandmother’s backyard. Local authorities believe he pointed a gun at them and was responsible for a theft in the area.

"They didn't have to kill him like that. They didn't have to shoot him that many times,” Clark’s grandmother said in a press conference last year. "Why didn't you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a taser. Why? Why? Y'all didn't have to do that."

The law’s new language will state that officers could only use deadly excessive force when deemed “necessary” not within “reasonable” range, which is what the law currently states now. Reportedly, the mandate also prohibits authorities from firing at fleeing suspects who don’t pose any danger on the scene. The law goes into effect in January 2020.

“We are doing something today that stretches the boundary of possibility and sends a message to people all across this country that they can do more and they can do better to meet this moment,” Newsom said.

Initially, though, law enforcement was not keen on this new law and rebutted the bill until it was reformed to their liking. “This is Stephon Clark’s law,” his brother, Stevante Clark told the L.A. Times. “The cost, the price that had to be paid for this, it hurts...I hate that this had to come out of such a tragic situation, but at the same time, it helps the healing process to know his name could possibly prevent something like this from happening again.”

“The bill is watered down, everybody knows that,” he continued.  “But at least we are getting something done. At least we are having the conversation now.”

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