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Alicia Keys To Launch Initiative For Female Advancement In Music

"We have to do something because the statistics are brutal." 

Alicia Keys is launching a new initiative dedicated to elevating women in the music industry. The Grammy Award-winning artist recently announced She Is the Music, a women-led music industry initiative for female advancement, Variety reports.

Keys made the announcement during her speech at the National Music Publishers Association's annual meeting on Wednesday (June 13), where she was accepting the award for Icon Songwriter. The singer didn't provide too many details regarding the initiative's agenda, but in the wake of the Me Too and Time's Up movement, she stressed its importance.  "We have to do something because the statistics are brutal," Keys said.  providing statistics backed by a University of Southern California's Annenberg  2018 Inclusion Initiative study. "Of almost 3,000 pop songwriters credited last year, only 12 percent were female. Only 3 percent of the engineers were female, and one of them is [Keys' engineer] Ann [Mincieli]. Only 2 percent of producers are female and one of them is me."

Keys also touched on the importance of diversity within the industry. "Songwriters tell our stories, they sing who we are as people – don't we all want to hear from all of us?," she continued.

Roc Nation executive and Voices in Entertainment co-founder, Meg Harkins also spoke about the new initiative and its impact. "She Is Music is an important concrete step forward, providing a platform for inclusion, support and conversation," Harkins stated. The Annenberg study’s stark data has become a catalyst for positive change within the music industry as we network and focus our energy towards meaningful change."

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Paras Griffin

T.I. Scolds Man For Wearing Gucci Amid Blackface Scandal

Gucci brand might be on a mission to right its wrongs, but T.I. isn't willing to forgive and forget so easily. A month after the luxury fashion brand received backlash for selling a sweater that resembled blackface, T.I. was seen on camera scolding a man for rocking the brand's latest steez.

"Stand up for yourself, brother," T.I. told the man. "It's what's in you, not what's on you. That sh*t ain't shit until we put it on! We make that sh*t fly! Look at me, n***a. I'm fly as a motherf**ker and I ain't got that sh*t on. I look better than you, as a matter of fact." The video was reportedly filmed outside of a bistro earlier this week.

The man hit back, using the argument that T.I. previously owned Gucci items. "They showed me their disrespect, so guess what? I can't do it no more," he said defending himself.

As previously reported, T.I. announced his plans to boycott Gucci in Feb. 2019, after news of the blackface sweater began to circulate. "We ain't going for this 'oops my bad I didn't mean to be racist and disrespectful towards your people' shit!!! Y'all knew wtf y'all was doing and WE AINT GOING FOR IT," he said in a lengthy Instagram post at the time.

In addition to publicly apologizing, Gucci has since launched a new initiative. With help from Dapper Dan and other fashion leaders, the brand announced its Changemakers Council implement and invest in programs that promote diversity and support communities of color. The council will include DeRay McKesson, will.i.am, and writer and activist Brittany Packnett. A Changemakers Fund will donate $5 million to underrepresented communities around the U.S.

“It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and reimagined," Dapper Dan said in a statement announcing the initiative. "Through our work together, Gucci is in a position to lead the overall industry toward becoming a better more inclusive one."

We'll see if that convinces T.I. to have a change of heart. In the meantime, check out the video of him scolding a man below.

 

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T.I. droppin Jewels during one of my meetings at the bistro...homie was Gucci Down too... #WrongPlaceWrongTime @troubleman31 @iam_lyriq @theshaderoom @50cent

A post shared by Lyriq (Lye-reek) (@iam_lyriq) on Mar 16, 2019 at 4:24pm PDT

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Tasos Katopodis

Shaquille O'Neal His Taking His Music Talents To Miami

Shaquille O’Neal is coming out of retirement, and we're not talking about basketball. Actually, the four-time NBA champ is heading back to Miami to showcase new music. Shaq will reportedly be one of the headliners at the upcoming Miami Music Week this month.

The sports commentator will bring "Shaq's Fun House" to Miami Music Week. The performance will showcase his DJ skills.

"Performing to me is my Game 7," O’Neal, aka DJ Diesel, told The Associated Press. "Game 7, down by one, the city needs you, everybody needs you, the crowd’s going crazy. When you do these music festivals, the kids, they come to do two things — relieve stress and have a great time. Sports and music relieve stress, and I happen to dominate both."

Shaq's passion for Dj-ing dates back to the early 2000s. His "fun house" has previously made appearances during the Super Bowl festivities earlier this year and in Miami in 2018. Shaq is also a platinum-selling rapper. His first studio album, Shaq Diesel, sold one million album units in 1993. His next three studio albums also performed well on Billboard's US R&B chart.

As far as his Miami showcase goes, Shaq said that he isn't worried. "There’s really no pressure," he said. "I was taught since an early age, if people pay to see you perform, just give them a show. When it comes to playing music, you just have to pick the right songs the kids can groove to. Give them some new stuff, give them some old stuff. And when I get up there and I see the bouncing, I just go into the zone. Music and sports are the only things that get me into that zone."

Shaq will join several celebrity guests during Miami Music Week. DJ Diesel will hit the stage in Miami on Mar. 29.

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Nuccio DiNuzzo

Buku Abi Fires Back After R. Kelly Posts Birthday Video

Buku Abi has seemingly responded to the media attention surrounding R. Kelly's birthday video message to her earlier this week. Buku requested that no one, including her father, refers to her by "Joann."

"My name is BUKU ABI. Not Joann, not dojo, not '[space] daughter,'" Buku insisted. "Nothing besides Buku will work for me. If you don’t know me personally, please don’t call me anything but Buku or Buku Abi."

While Buku didn't address anyone directly, the message was likely in reference to R. Kelly's video in which he used Buku's government name, Joann, in his birthday wish.

This wouldn't be the first time that Buku Abi has emerged on social media to address the controversy surrounding her father. In Jan. 2019, Buku released a statement amid Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, referring to him as a "monster." During his viral interview with Gayle King, Kelly suggested that Buku had been manipulated by his ex-wife, Drea Kelly, into believing he was a bad person.

Check out Buku Abi's message below.

 

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#RKelly’s daughter has something to say amid her father’s birthday wishes to her 👀😩

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:59am PDT

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