50-Greatest-Cameos-
Desire Thompson

Lights, Camera, Action: 50 Most Memorable Celebrity Cameos In Music Videos

These stars make us miss creative music videos. 

The rollout of music has evolved over the years, but nothing beats a dope visual. After emotional and mind bending formats gave way to music videos in the 80s (thank you Michael Jackson), artists are almost challenged to match a stunning story to their tunes.

Take Kendrick Lamar’s recent video, “DNA.” Directed by Nabil Elderkin and The Little Homies, we meet Kung Fu Kenny, the rapper’s resilient persona directly inspired by Don Cheadle’s character in Rush Hour. The acclaimed actor also had a starring role in the video, with the two going round for round lyrically before he meets his demise. There’s a lot to process, but Cheadle’s presence adds star power and continues the blueprint for celebs stepping outside of their comfort zones.

There are plenty of acts that own the celeb-cameo schtick, like Jay Z, Kanye West and of course the late Michael Jackson, the creator of what many call “mini-movies.” Take a trip down memory lane with these standout cameos by our favorite actors, models and personalities that shined in front of the camera and over the baseline.

Let us know your favorite celeb cameos in the comment section below.

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50. Rihanna, “Paranoid” by Kanye West (2010)

A baby faced Rih dreams of revenge in this underrated avant-garde video.

49. Christopher Walken, "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim (2001)

Most importantly, the Grammy-winning track features vocals from the legendary Bootsy Collins.

48. Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson & Tiny Luster, “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson (1992)

The song is also reportedly dedicated to the most glamorous celebrity of them all–Diana Ross.

47. Teyana Taylor, “Fade” by Kanye West (2016)

The video that launched a million revenge body goals.

46. Robin Williams, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1998)

The late comedian appeared in the video to the only a cappella song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

45. Rupert Grint, “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran (2011)

This was cute, in a single, white male kind of way.

44. Kim Kardashian, “Bound 2” by Kanye West (2013)

The visual proclamation to his wife spawned the hilarious parody by James Franco and Seth Rogen.

43. Nia Long, Tracee Ellis Ross and Pamela Anderson, “Touch The Sky” by Kanye West & Lupe Fiasco (2006)

Thanks to this cameo, “Nia Looooooong” might be the only way to say the actress' name these days.

42. Taraji P. Henson, Wood Harris, Bill Duke & Steve Harris, “Testify” by Common (2005)

Henson's performance left us wanting a full blown film from G.O.O.D. Music.

41. Kerry Washington, “Bad Habits” by Maxwell (2009)

Lust has never looked so good.

40. Jennifer Lopez in Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” (1993) and Puff Daddy’s “Been Around The World” ft. Mase (1997)

Back then, Jenny from the block was an ambitious dancer stealing scenes left and right.

39. Stacey Dash, “All Falls Down” by Kanye West (2003)

The political pundit was just one of many memorable cameos in Kanye’s video vault.

38. Zoe Kravitz, “I Know” by Jay Z (2008)

The actress takes on three different lost souls on the Pharrell-produced jam.

37. Shaq, “Vanilla Twilight” by Owl City (2010)

Yea, pretty random.

36.  LeBron James, “Death of Autotune” by Jay Z (2009) 

Directed by Anthony Mandler, the visual featured cameos from James and Harvey Keitel.

35. Tracy Morgan, “Notorious B.I.G.” by Notorious B.I.G. (1999)

Morgan provides the laughs in this classic video.

34. Kylie Jenner, “Come And See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR (2016)

Long story short, Party decided to see Kylie for once.

33 Kevin Hart, “Lean Back” by Fat Joe & Remy Ma (2004)

Hart helps remake the line from Biggie’s “One More Chance” video, which happens to have plenty of memorable music cameos.

32. Blac Chyna, “Rich $ex” by Future (2015)

This random cameo only boosted convos about Angela Kardashian.

31. Djimon Hounsou, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” by Janet Jackson (1990)

The then model was the apple of Janet’s eye in this black and white video.

29. Ben Affleck, “Jenny From The Block (Track Masters Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez (2002)

Then-husband Ben had no qualms about being the topic of her This Is Me...Then album or this super 2000s video.

28. John Legend, Anna Nicole Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vida Guerra, GLC & Fonzworth Bentley, “The New Workout Plan” by Kanye West (2004)

Next to MJ, Kanye really enjoyed celeb cameos.

27. Danica Patrick & Dale Earnhardt, Jr., “Show Me What You Got” by Jay Z (2006)

Shot by director F. Gary Gray, the rapper paid homage to the James Bond films, GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and You Only Live Twice.

26. Scarlett Johansson, “What Goes Around...Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake (2006)

Ironically, the song was actually about a celebrity that Justin’s friend was dating.

25. Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls & Jourdan Dunn, “Yonce” by Beyonce (2014)

The new girls of fashion proved they can hang with King Bey in this two-minute clip.

24. Lauren London, “Frontin” by Pharrell feat. Jay Z (2003)

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Mimi Faust also makes a cameo alongside never-aging model Lanisha Cole.

23. Beyonce, “Happily Ever After” by Case (1999)

Bey was just 17-years-old when she played Case’s love interest in this 90s classic.  

22. Kid Cudi, “T.O.N.Y.” by Solange Knowles (2008)

Cudder got quite the surprise in this lovely jam.

21. Solange, “Ice Box” by Omarion (2009)

The same year, Solo played the love interest in Omari’s breakout hit.

20. Usher, “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce (2004)

In an alternate universe, these two would reign as King & Queen.

19. Lala Anthony, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, DMX, Lil Kim, Rosario Dawson, Tank, plus many more, “I Miss You” by Aaliyah (2002)

Baby girl’s closest friends and peers came together to honor the singer on her posthumous single.

18. Ciara, Kim Kardashian & Chrissy Teigen,  “MILF$” by Fergie (2016)

Fergie’s comeback game was heightened with a few of her famous friends.

17. Carmelo Anthony, “And I” by Ciara (2004)

Carmelo Anthony played the singer’s love interest from this Goodies cut.

16. Mekhi Phifer, “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy & Monica (1998)

The ultimate lover's quarrel featured the young actor.

15. Amber Rose, “Massive Attack” by Nicki Minaj (2009)

This outrageous video had a little bit of everything, including a fresh faced Amber Rose.

14. Claudia Jordan, “I Wanna Know” by Joe (1999)

Another 90s jam with the reality star.

13. Bruce Willis, “Stylo” by Gorillaz (2015)

The action legend takes on the band in this suspense-filled video.

12 Kelly Rowland, “Baby By Me” by 50 Cent (2009)

Kelly was the girl of 50’s dreams.

11. Rita Ora, “Over” by Drake (2009) 

The singer was new to the Roc Nation family at the time this video dropped.

10. Trey Songz, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown (2004) 

VA boys gotta stick together.

9. Karrueche, “Paradise” by Cassie & Wiz Khalifa (2013)

Welp, who knew?

8. Mos Def in “You Don’t Know My Name” (2003), Method Man in “If I Ain’t Got You” (2003), Derek Luke in “Teenage Love Affair” and Chad Michael Murray in “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)" (2010) by Alicia Keys

Can your fave match the eye candy Alicia Keys had in her 2000s music videos? We think not.

7. Michael Jordan, “Slam” by Michael Jackson (1991)

Legend meets another legend.

6. Quincy and Kidada Jones, “Triumph” by Wu Tang Clan (1997)

The father and daughter make a cute cameo in the group's apocalyptic world.

5. Eva Longoria & Lisa Raye in “Unpredictable” (2006), Ron Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker & Samuel L. Jackson in "Blame It" ft. T. Pain (2009) by Jamie Foxx

Jamie brought out the heavy hitters for his music videos.

4. Shia LaBeouf, “Elastic Heart” by Sia (2013)

The actor pulled off an emotional performance in Sia's monster hit video.

3. T-Pain, Three 6 Mafia, DeRay Davis & Big Gipp, “International Player’s Anthem” by UGK feat. Outkast (2007) 

The memorable video was the last one Pimp C shot before his death in 2007.

2. Drake, “Epiphany” by Chrisette Michele (2009)

Odd, but fitting.

1. Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, Winnie Harlow, Queen of Creole Leah Chase, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, Ballerina Michaela DePrince, Quvenzhané Wallis, Blue Ivy, Jay Z, Chloe and Halle Bailey, twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi, Mama Tina, Richard Lawson, Jay Z’s grandmother Hattie White and Ava Clark, “Lemonade: The Visual Album” by Beyonce (2016)

The amount of black girl magic seen throughout the singer’s modern masterpiece truly gives us life.

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.

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8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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