California Prison's Beauty School Provides Inmates With Valuable Job Skills
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Prison Rap Videos Serve More Purpose Than Just Entertainment

Prisoners with smartphone access is nothing new, but the game has changed.

Mass incarceration is an evil plague in America that continues to destroy the lives of millions of its citizens, particularly in the black and Latino communities. Tragic stories like the case of Kalief Browder happen every day in the Divided States of America.

READ: Bobby Shmurda Calls Meek Mill From Jail And Spits A Freestyle

Though our fight to bring awareness to the evils of our criminal justice system seems like an impossible one to win, VIBE won't let our brothers and sisters in prison be forgotten. In hip-hop, serving time behind bars oft becomes one of the biggest detriments in the lives of rap's youngest and brightest stars. Rappers like Kodak Black, Meek Mill and Bobby Shmurda all fell victim to the U.S. prison system during key times in their careers. Concrete walls may be able to trap their bodies, but hip-hop is made up of resilient individuals, and the minds of these young creatives can never be contained.

With some clever editing, a new viral video from some determined prisoners is making the rounds on Instagram. As you watch the video, remember that the men in this video are all human beings with families, feelings, and much positivity to spread to the world.

READ: XXXTentacion Calls Out Drake After Being Released From Jail

Even with limited resources in the penal system, rappers have found ingenious ways to record music and even shoot their own videos. Granted, many of these music videos are filmed with smuggled smartphones—behavior we can't condone—but it's their sheer passion and desire to be heard that we cannot ignore. We've watched many crudely shot prison flicks in the past, but 2017 has ushered in a wave of cinema from behind the G-Wall.

They Lit AF

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Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2020 in Paris, France.
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Listen To Pop Smoke’s Posthumous Debut Album ‘Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon’

Pop Smoke’s heavily anticipated debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, was released on Friday (July 3).

The album dropped with new cover art after Virgil Abloh caught backlash for his initial design. 50 Cent offered to help Abloh rework the cover but its unclear if he had a hand in the final product.

 

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Pop Smoke, whose birth name was Bashar Jackson, was shot and killed in February. The Brooklyn native would have celebrated his 21st birthday on July 20.

Last month, the late rapper’s mother family announced the official launch of the Shoot for the Stars Foundation, which was established before his passing. “The foundation is meant to inspire inner city youth to do just what the name said ‘Shoot for the Stars,’” his mother said in a statement.

As for the album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon features 19 tracks, with guest appearances from 50 Cent, Quavo, Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Tyga and more.

Listen below.

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Celebrate International Reggae Day With A New Bob Marley Music Video, "No Woman No Cry"

Amidst outbreaks of viral pandemic and police brutality, the best thing anyone can say about 2020 is that it's the year of Bob Marley's 75th birthday celebration. And while the year has been terrible and dreadful, Bob Marley's music has offered much-needed inspiration. The Tuff Gong's 1984 greatest hits collection Legend has topped the charts every week since mid-January when it knocked Stick Figure out of the top spot.

Today is July 1, International Reggae Day, and what better way to celebrate than by rediscovering one of Marley's classic songs, "No Woman No Cry"? Today, Boomshots and VIBE proudly present a brand new official music video, directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa. Shot in Jamaica and New York City, the poignant, verite visual tells the tale of a family divided by geography yet connected by love and a shared commitment to providing a better life for their youths. In Jamaica, a strong and loving Mother strives to look after her children while their Father works tirelessly as a cab driver in New York City, grooving to Bob Marley while he prepares a barrel to send home.

"My feet is my only carriage, so I've got to push on through. But while I’m gone..."

Co-written with Bob's bredren Vincent "Tata" Ford, "No Woman No Cry" was inspired by real life events that took place "in a government yard in Trench Town, the same humble space on First and Marley resided, now known as the Culture Yard Museum. "Georgie," who makes the fire light, was a real person and some even say they know the true identity of the two women whose tears inspired the song. Marley's studio recording of the track, with backing vocals by the I Threes, first appeared on the 1974 album Natty Dread and has been covered by Nina Simone, The Fugees, and Erykah Badu, to name a few. The definitive version was recorded live at the Lyceum in London, the final stop of Marley's Exodus tour. Appearing on the 1975 album Live!, this rousing version became Marley's first hit single in the UK, and was later included as the second track on Legend. The new video shines a light on the genuine struggles many families face in the modern world, isolated due to poverty. In times like these we can all appreciate a song that reassures us "Everything is gonna be alright."

Boomshots and VIBE's celebration of International Reggae Day continued earlier today as Ziggy Marley joined Reshma B for a live Instagram chat on the VIBE's Instagram. Bob's firstborn son has been finishing up a new album called More Family Time, which is coming later this summer. The follow-up to 2009's Grammy-Winning Family Time. His 2018 album Rebellion Rises is more relevant than ever in 2020, with tracks like "See Dem Fake Leaders," "Rebellion Rises," and "Circle of Peace."

Ziggy and Reshma will be reasoning about Bob Marley's 75th birthday, surviving Corona confinement, as well as what actions we can take as human beings moving forward. And as a special surprise, she'll also be joined by a living legend, none other than the great Toots Hibbert.

Toots of Toots & The Maytals recently dropped a video for his latest single "Got To Be Tough," the title track of his first studio album in 10 years, which will be released August 28. The project includes a duet with Ziggy Marley singing another Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds. Toots was lead vocalist of The Maytals, a Trenchtown trio that was making hits even before The Wailers. Toots even invented the term reggae with his song "Do The Reggay." Nuff respect to the legend.

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BET Awards 2020: Watch All The Performances Here

The 2020 BET Awards was a true statement of all black everything. With this year's theme of "our culture can't be canceled," Black Entertainment Television celebrated its 40th anniversary as a network. The night's host, actress, and comedian Amanda Seales brought that the witty monologue and nostalgic flavor in between award presentations and performances as she paid odes to BET classic shows like ComicView, 106 & Park, Rap City, Teen Summit, and Bobby Jones Gospel.

To kick off the night of vibrantly-produced performances, Public Enemy's Chuck D and Flava Flav—with the help of Questlove, Nas, Rapsody, YG, Jahi, and viral sensation Keedron Harris—delivered a powerful remix of the duo's 1989 classic "Fight The Power." Soon after, Roddy Ricch performed his chart-climbing singles “High Fashion” and “The Box.” John Legend, with the accompaniment of a choir donned in black gowns and suits, sang his “Never Break” in a warehouse at a black grand piano. Up and coming artists like Masego and Lonr performed “Queen Tings” and "Make The Most."

Megan the Stallion hit the ceremony with a Mad Max-inspired performance of “Girls in the Hood” and “Savage (Remix)." Chloe x Halle delivered a virtual performance of "Do It" and "Forgive Me." Summer Walker and Usher delivered that good ol' dose of nostalgia with "Come Thru." Jennifer Hudson sang "Young, Gifted and Black" in tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Frankin. Jonathan McReynolds and Kodie Shane held it down for their respective genres with "People" and "Worldwide Beautiful," respectively. Anderson .Paak and Jay Rock delivered the soulful, thought-provoking number "Lockdown."

Last but not least, gospel recording artist and legend Karen Clark Sheard delivered a spiritually uplifting number with her Kierra Sheard in "Something Has To Break." Watch all the performances down below.

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Public Enemy, Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody, YG and More Perform "Fight The Power" Remix Roddy Ricch Performs "High Fashion" and "The Box" John Legend Performs "Never Break" Masego Performs "Queen Tingz" D Smoke and SiR Perform “Let Go” and “Black Habits” Megan Thee Stallion Performs “Girls In The Hood” and “Savage” DaBaby and Roddy Ricch Perform “Rockstar” Jennifer Hudson Performs “Young, Gifted & Black” Anderson .Paak and Jay Rock Perform “Lockdown” LONR Performs “Make The Most” Wayne Brady Performs Little Richard Tribute With “Lucille” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” Medley Lil Wayne Performs “Kobe Bryant” In Honor of Late Basketball Legend Alicia Keys Performs "Perfect Way To Die" Chloe x Halle Perform “Forgive Me” and “Do It” Summer Walker Performs “Session 32” and “Come Thru” With Usher Jonathan McReynolds and Kane Brown Perform “People” and “Worldwide Beautiful” Kierra & Karen Clark Sheard's Closing Performance of “Something Has To Break”
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