vince staples

SXSW 2017 Day 1: Vince Staples Tests New Music, Ari Lennox Reps For Dreamville & More

Here are some of the highlights from the first day of South by Southwest's annual music festival. 

2016 saw South By Southwest celebrate its 30th year, and 2017 is a milestone year for SXSW in a different sense: After a decade of competitive corporate-sponsored expansion, the Austin festival is finally scaling back a touch this year. And that's hardly a bad thing: SXSW was originally about spotlighting up-and-coming talent, so cutting back on secret concerts from A-listers and showcases sponsored by brand-name products could help SXSW regain some of its cool cache. (That being said, there are still plenty of recognizable names at the venerable Austin festival this year, whether they're performing, giving a keynote speech or sitting on a panel.)

Below, Billboard's on-the-scene reporters share standout moments from Day 1 of the music portion of SXSW, from the dive bars to the industry panels.

Ari Lennox: "Thanks to Dreamville for saving n---as from working at Wendy's and Papa John's," Ari Lennox said with a laugh during her Tuesday night SXSW set, nodding to the J. Cole-founded Interscope imprint she's signed to. While Cole deserves credit for giving Lennox some shine via his label, 30 seconds of listening to Lennox sing live is proof enough she would have pulled ahead of the pack eventually, A-list cosign or not. The 25-year-old alt R&B singer has an incredibly strong, confident vocal tone, and her onstage delivery is a degree of flawless that most singers require a dozen takes to achieve in the studio. Watch out for her. -- JL

Vince Staples: -- Possibly the night’s most hyped show was a late-announced performance from Vince Staples, a proud son of Long Beach, Calif. and one of the most promising and accomplished MCs to emerge in the past five years. The show was part of Apple Music’s SXSW series (along with the Chainsmokers Thursday and a mysterious big show slated for Friday night) and was held in a customized venue on the east side of downtown with state-of-the-art lights and sound but an unfortunately low ceiling and stage, which makes sightlines a challenge not only when the average height of a crowdmember comes up to the performer’s chest, but when you’ve got an artist like Staples, who has great songs, razor-sharp lyrics and a percussive, propulsive flow that drives his tracks as hard as the hardest beats -- but whose enthusiasm for performing live seems tepid, at least on this night. With eye-grabbing graphics projected on the screen behind the stage -- an odd combination of sea creatures, explosions, Cold War-era Air Force footage and morphing flowers -- over the course of his hour-plus set he performed most of his stellar Summertime ’06 album, his Prima Donna EP and his latest single “Bagbak” (his new album, Big Fish Theory, is due “very soon,” per his label). And while the crowd clearly loves his songs and he had some strong moments, when the dude tells you to “put your hands in the air” and he’s got his back turned to the audience, it tends to dampen the mood. -- JA

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'In Living Color' Cast Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Bulleit Whiskey At Tribeca Film Festival Afterparty

Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the finale of In Living Color, the Tribeca Film Festival premiered the pilot episode of the legendary comedy sketch show before attendees at The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Theater in New York City's Spring Studios.

After laughing over nostalgic skits like "The Homeboy Shopping Network," "Men On..." and "Love Connection," a few cast members joined New York Times editor Aisha Harris for a panel discussion about the historic television series. Creator Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kim Wayans, Tommy Davidson, and David Alan Grier shared stories about their time on set as well as their thoughts on the variety show's intention and impact as the first sketch comedy show from the lens of black culture.

Following the screening, Tribeca Film Festival attendees headed uptown to the Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier Lounge to for the 25-Year In Living Color Celebration. The cast and crew enjoyed bites and bourbon-infused drinks like "The Producer," "The Director," "Leading Lady," "Guest Star," and "Screenwriter." To add more fun, 3D printed cocktails were served with edible designs in the shot glass from 7000+ customized drinks like "With a Twist," "Dark Skull," and "Rock On."

As the night went on, DJ Shawn Wayans hit the turntable and spun all the throwback tunes as attendees hit the dancefloor. A good time indeed. Flip through photos from the event down below.

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Mahershala Ali Addresses 'Green Book' Backlash After Golden Globes Win

Mahershala Ali took home the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Green Book on Sunday night (Jan. 7). Following his acceptance speech, Ali addressed the backlash regarding the film's plot.

Critics appeared to be upset about the film's storyline which depicted the true relationship between jazz pianist and composer Dr. Don Shirley (played by Ali) and Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). In the movie, Shirley, a black man from the deep South in 1962, hires an unemployed, white bouncer from the Bronx as his security to escort him during a the segregation era. During their journey, the two develop an unbreakable bond while confronting their differences. The backlash came after Shirley's family stated that the film and Ali's portrayal was inaccurate and filled with lies.

"I will say this," Ali said in response to the controversy, “my job is always the same: I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it."

He added: "I respect the family…and Doc Shirley. I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don’t want to offend anyone in any capacity."

This is Mahershala Ali's first Golden Globe win. Check out his acceptance speech above.

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Regina King Makes Vow To Employ Women On Everything She Produces

Regina King took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk on Sunday (Jan. 7). While it was the Hollywood star's time to shine, King took a moment during her acceptance speech to acknowledge other women in the industry with a courageous pledge.

After thanking various contributors who helped her nab the win, King addressed a more important issue. "The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we are speaking for everyone," she said. "And I just want to say that I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years, everything that I produce, I’m making a vow — it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce that is 50% women."

She concluded: "And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries — I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same."

King is now a two-time Golden Globe winner. She previously won the award in 2016 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in American Crime. She was also nominated this year for her performance in Seven Seconds but did not win.

Watch Regina King's acceptance speech at the 2019 Golden Globes n the video above.

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