2017 Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Debra Lee - Arrivals
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LL Cool J To Be First Hip-Hop Honoree At Kennedy Center

This is a Kennedy Center first. 

Ladies love LL, but apparently so does the Kennedy Center. The 2017 Kennedy Center gala honorees were reportedly announced on Thursday (Aug. 3), and LL Cool J made the list. The latest honor means that the rapper will be the first hip-hop artist to ever receive an award at the prestigious center in all of its 46-year history.

LL, whose real name is James Todd Smith, will reportedly be celebrated for his "talent and ingenuity," Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein said in a statement. "Landmark hip-hop artist LL Cool J taught the world how to rhyme as one of the pioneers of the hip-hop phenomenon," Rubenstein said.

Following the happy news, the "I Need Love" rapper hopped on social media to express his gratitude for the incredible honor.  "To be the first rap artist honored by the @KennedyCenter is beyond anything I could have imagined," he wrote in a post on Instagram. "I dedicate this honor to the hip-hop artists who came before me and those who came after me. This simply proves that dreams don't have deadlines."  The rapper also mentioned his late grandmother who offered up some words of advice during the early stages of his career: "if a task is once begun, never leave it ‘til it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all."

LL Cool J has endured a lengthy and impressive career in music and the Hollywood  industry. From winning Grammy's to starring in major feature films, and hosting a number of TV and awards shows, LL has pretty much done it all.

The Kennedy Center's awards gala will reportedly air on CBS on Dec. 26.

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What We Know About R. Kelly's Sexual Abuse Charges

R. Kelly was indicted on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Friday (Feb. 22). During a press conference held late Friday afternoon, prosecutors detailed each of the charges. R. Kelly's case involves four alleged victims, almost all of which were under the age of 17 at the time of sexual contact.

Here is what we know so far.

1. The first victim is identified by the initials HW, who is believed to have had sexual relations with Kelly from May 1998 to 1999. The charge was determined by the fact that during the time of their sexual encounters, HW was under the age of 17 while Kelly is alleged to have been more than five years older.

2. RL is the second victim that has been identified by prosecutors, who is believed to have been sexually involved with R. Kelly from 1998 to 2001. RL was believed to be under the age of 17, while Kelly was at least five years older.

3. The third victim, identified as LC engaged in sexual intercourse on Feb. 2003. The count was determined by semen found on the body for the purpose of "sexual gratification."

4. The fourth and final victim, identified under the initials JP, was involved in sexual incidents with the accused from 2009 to 2010. The charge was determined by JP being under the age of 17 while R. Kelly was believed to more than five years older.

5. If convicted, Kelly faces up to 70 years in prison.

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Tidal Announces Tidal Unplugged Program For Upcoming Artists

The Jay-Z owned streaming service is launching Tidal Unplugged, a program geared toward rising artists. The program has been bestowed with a $1 million fund, courtesy of its donors, venture capitalists and philanthropists, Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen. The goal of the program is to gather emerging artists and provide them with support and tools to advance their music careers.

The selected, local artists will begin the program in Detroit, where Lampert's grandfather started his music career and will receive a grant that can cover necessary equipment, time in the studio, as well as living expenses amongst other things. There are plans to expand Unplugged to other locations, but as of right now it's solely in the Motor City.

"Kicking it off in Detroit, we're giving artists the means and resources to pursue their passion," Tidal said about Unplugged. "This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows aspiring musicians to dedicate more time and energy to seeking a career as an artist."

Unplugged will also allow the artists to maintain complete ownership of their recording masters from the four songs they will record when they make it to the first stage of the program. Additionally, Tidal plans to help the musicians with the distribution and promotion of their music, as well as help the artists prepare for a TIDAL Unplugged showcase concert later this year in November.

 

Detroit, welcome to TIDAL Unplugged. Up-and-coming artists are getting the opportunity to give their all to their music with our new artist grant program. Submissions open March 1. https://t.co/krL3l8HHGg pic.twitter.com/w30fElrp6N

— TIDAL (@TIDAL) February 21, 2019

Tidal Unplugged is calling for musicians of all genres in the birthplace of Motown Records, however, the announcement states that all submissions must be a cappella or performed acoustically with minimal use of digital components.

Detroit-area artists can apply for the program on Tidal's official website or here, starting on March 1, 2019. Finalists will be announced in May 2019.

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Amy Winehouse Hologram Tour Postponed Over “Unique Challenges”

Amy Winehouse's hologram tour is officially postponed, BASE Hologram, the company behind the digital production, announced via Twitter Tuesday (Feb. 19).

“In developing the type of highly ambitious, state of the art hologram/augmented reality theatrical event that would truly capture her genius and incredible artistic and social contributions, we encountered some unique challenges and sensitivities,” the company revealed.

The tour, originally scheduled to launch sometime this year, is delayed until BASE can “determine the best path to a creatively spectacular production that would properly honor Amy’s legacy.”

Mitch Winehouse, the “Back to Black” singer's father, announced the tour last fall, which was expected to feature a live band backing a digital projection of Winehouse.

Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in 2011, following a very public battle with addiction that ultimately cut her life short. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, an organization that works to prevent “the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.”

Read BASE Hologram’s full statement on the tour delay below.

pic.twitter.com/9RtqQVeDzU

— BASE Hologram (@BASEHologram) February 20, 2019

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