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Art of Cool Festival

Nas, Erykah Badu, Maxwell And More To Perform At North Carolina's Art Of Cool Fest

Can you feel the soul coming this weekend?

Neo-soul powerhouses Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton as well a hip-hop legends Nas and Royce da 5’9’ are just some of the performers set to take the stage at Art of Cool Festival, billed as the largest celebration of Black American Music. The two-day festival will be taking place on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29 in downtown Durham, N.C.

The two-day intersection of innovation, music and culture, broadly known as AOCFEST, will be celebrating its fifth-year anniversary this year, boasting forward-thinking jazz, alternative soul and mature hip-hop. Other performers include Damien Escobar, Madison McFerrin, Anna Wise, Dwele, Sons of Kemet and more.

The conference section of the festival features STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) activities and discussions with 9th Wonder, Rapsody, Nike designer Jason Mayden and Moet Hennessy CEO Christophe Navarre, as well a STEAM field day for the children of the city's public school district.


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💫The Art of Cool Festival returns for the 5th Year Anniversary to Downtown Durham, NC September 28 + 29, 2018. ________________ 💫AOCFEST presents an exceptionally talented and diverse group of artists ranging from industry veterans to rising new stars. Headlining the festival are @erykahbadu, @nas , @maxwell, @anthonyhamiltonofficial, @dameesco, & @royceda59. ________________ 💫Our ticket packages allow you to customize your ideal festival experience. Choose from Single Day, Weekend, or VIP passes but act now as tickets are moving fast! See 20+ artists, at 6 walkable venues, for 1 great price. ________________ 💫Click the link in the bio or visit to purchase today! . . #aocfest #theartofcool #AOCFEST2018 #musicfestival #culture #aoc #grammys #durhamnc #durm #goodmusic #jazz #hiphop #randb #livemusic #artofcool #bullcity

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In the past, Anderson Paak, The Internet, George Clinton, Goldlink, Rakim and Common have been just some of the performers at this soul-eccentric fest. HBCU alums Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong co-founded the Art of Cool project as an extension of their deep passion for the jazz culture and bringing it into nontraditional spaces. Due in part to a successful Kickstarter that raised over more than $27k, the festival aspect officially kicked off in 2014.

Strong is a jazz artist himself who has performed for the likes of Aretha Franklin, while Mitchell fell in love with the genre after dating Strong and was also interested in giving back to the local community whom where the two are based.

To find out more information, please visit

READ MORE: J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival Has Been Rescheduled

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R&B Singer Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams Passes Away At 82

R&B singer and producer Andre Williams, who was best known as Mr. Rhythm, has passed away, Pravda Records confirms . The entertainer reportedly passed away on Sunday (Mar. 17) at the age of 82.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," the Chicago-based label wrote in a statement on Facebook. "He died this after in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre."

William's manager, Kenn Goodman, told Billboard that the singer lost his battle to colon cancer while staying in hospice care. "He was diagnosed two weeks ago with colon cancer that spread to his lungs and brain," Goodman said. "After that his body started shutting down pretty quickly. But [he] was committed to trying to sing and record again."

Born Zephire "Andre" Williams, he moved from Alabama to Detroit as a teen in the early 1950s to launch his  music career. He gained local attention after winning the first place prize at the Warfield Theatre's amateur night show eight weeks in a row.

Williams then signed to Fortune Records and took over as the lead vocalist of the group, The Five Dollars. The group was later renamed Andre Williams and the Don Juans and released the top-10 charting single "Bacon Fat."

He would later go on to produce and record tracks including "The Stroke," "Humpin' Bumpin' & Thumpin'," the Five Dutones' "Shake a Tail Feather" and other Fortune Records singles like "Jail Bait" and "The Greasy Chicken."

In his later years, Williams continued to make music. He toured through Europe in 2001, 2005, and 2006, as well as produced a handful of indie compilation albums and group records. Williams was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Gilbert Carrasquillo

UPenn Grad John Legend Talks "Rigged" Education System Amid Cheating Scandal

John Legend is weighing in on the college admissions cheating scandal that rocked Hollywood and the wealthy community earlier this month. Legend specifically discussed the challenges with America's education system while attending the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles last Wednesday (Mar. 13).

While Legend highlighted the wrongdoing in the parents who reportedly paid and bribed their children's way into elite schools, he suggested that people focus on the bigger picture. "I went to a good school," Legend, who studied English with an emphasis on African-American literature at the University of Pennsylvania, said. "I think it's a longer conversation because I think a lot of people look at this rightly as fraudulent and dishonest."

He continued: "But the bottom line is, the system has been rigged for wealthy people for a long time," he continued. "The admissions system rewards people's parents being wealthy and people's parents having gone to a certain school. There's a lot of legal ways to do that that still aren't really that fair to a lot of other people."

As previously reported, the U.S. federal prosecutors charged 50 people who were allegedly part of a secret college admissions scheme. Wealthy parents, including Full House star Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman, allegedly paid more than $25 million to a "college admissions counselor" who used the money to fake test scores and bribe college officials.

Shortly after the news broke, Chrissy Teigen made fun of the situation by posting a an image of a professional soccer team with her and husband John's faces Photoshopped on two of the bodies. She was referencing court documents that alleged Loughlin paid to have her daughter appear to be a recruit for the University of Southern California's crew team.

The FBI is still pursuing the investigation.

does this look real? we are trying to get into harvard @jenatkinhair @mrmikerosenthal @johnlegend

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 13, 2019

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H.E.R. Shares Studio Photo, Teases Collaboration With Ty Dolla $ign

While fans patiently await the release of H.E.R.’s debut album, the Grammy-winning singer is dropping hints on at least one upcoming collaboration. H.E.R. seemingly confirmed via social media Friday (March 15) that her full-length studio effort could be in the works.

The “Hard Place” singer tweeted a photo captioned, “Issa album coming,” and it looks like Ty Dolla Sign is involved.

Issa album coming.

— H.E.R. (@HERMusicx) March 15, 2019

Since the Bay Area native failed to clarify if the album on the way is her heavily anticipated debut (though it seems pretty clear), some fans are wondering if a joint album with Ty could be in the works.

Whatever the case, the 21-year-old R&B star's cryptic posts are keeping fans on their toes, and giving them a peak into her creative journey.

In VIBE's latest cover story, H.E.R. shared how she deals with pressure of being one of the most buzzed about new artists in R&B. “It’s a great expectation,” said the Bay Area native. “It’s a great thing to hear people putting me up to this standard and putting me on this pedestal and expecting greatness from me, but at the end of the day, I’m just trying to be a better me as an artist musically. As a person, I’m just trying to be better than I was yesterday and continue to elevate. I keep hearing all this stuff. It’s so easy to second-guess and overthink everything you’re doing now that people are watching. That’s when it starts to go downhill when you give in to that pressure.

“I have to keep doing me,” she continued. “I have to not look at what everybody else is doing, or what everybody else thinks should be happening right now.”

See video of H.E.R.’s recent studio session below.


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I’m playing drums again. Lol. I’m about to get nice. Just wait 😂 @tydollasign @theycallmecamper @flippa123 @saintluk3 WE LOCKED. 5AM VIBES

A post shared by H.E.R. (@hermusicofficial) on Mar 14, 2019 at 10:10am PDT

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