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After 7 Speaks Out After Death Of Group Member Melvin Edmonds

Singer Melvin Edmonds, from the Grammy-nominated ’90s R&B group After 7 and brother to Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, died over the weekend. He was 65.

Melvin passed away Saturday (May 18) following a short illness, his son confirmed to the Indy Star. The group's surviving members released a statement via social media expressing their sadness and grief over Melvin’s death.

“[We’re] deeply hurt/saddened by the unexpected/sudden loss of brother/friend/dad Melvin D. Edmonds,” read a tweet posted Monday (May 20). The statement went on to thank fans for the “tremendous outpouring” of love, support, and prayers. “[We’re] doing our best [to] cope. [Thank you for your] understanding in giving us [the] time we need during these difficult days.”

After 7 was founded in 1987 by Melvin, his brother Kevon Edmonds, and classmate Keith Mitchell. The Indianapolis group released two consecutive platinum albums, the first of which was their self-titled debut album in 1989. The album was led by the single “Heat of the Moment,” which peaked in the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The group released other hit singles including “Ready or Not,” “Can’t Stop,” and “Sara Smile.” Melvin left the group after their third album was released in 1995. He was replaced by his son, Jason.

After 7 released their most recent album, Timeless, in 2016. The project featured the single “If I,” produced by Babyface.

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Aaron J. Thornton

Elle Varner Hopes ‘Ellevation’ EP “Heals And Uplifts People”

Elle Varner is hoping that her Ellevation EP will be therapeutic for fans. The nine-track project, which is set to drop on July 12, comes seven years after Varner’s Perfectly Imperfect debut and features guest appearances from Wale and Rhapsody.

“There’s soo much I’ve wanted to communicate and express over these last few years and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than through my music,” Varner revealed last Thursday (June 20) in a candid Instagram post. “God continues to amaze me in the way that he has transformed so much of my pain and trauma into power and triumph. I pray that this record heals and uplifts people the way that it has been a part of my healing and #Ellevation.”

In closing, Varner added that she’s grateful to “everyone who has been a part of this journey and this music,” especially fans “who have stood by me through it all.”

 

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There’s soo much I’ve wanted to communicate and express over these last few years and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than through my music. God continues to amaze me in the way that he has transformed so much of my pain and trauma into power and triumph. I pray that this record heals and uplifts people the way that it has been a part of my healing and #Ellevation ❤️. I’m grateful to everyone who has been a part of this journey and this music! And especially grateful to the fans who have stood by me through it all ❤️🙏🏽🙏🏽. “Ellevation” July 12th #linkinbio

A post shared by Elle Varner (@ellevarner) on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:34am PDT

Last September, Varner released the EP’s lead single, “Loving U Blind.” The singer-songwriter dropped the Wale-assisted follow-up single, “Pour Me,” this past January.

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Justin Sullivan

San Francisco Becomes First Major U.S. City To Ban E-Cigarettes

San Francisco became the first major U.S. City to ban electronic cigarettes Tuesday (June 25). The measure restricts the purchase of e-cigarettes in the city in addition to barring residents from ordering them online and having them shipped to a San Francisco address, USA Today reports.

The new restriction was put in place in an effort to curb a rise in vaping among high schoolers, but opponents argue that adults consumers will suffer. The temporary prohibition is expected to last until e-cigarettes are up for safety review by the USDA sometime around 2022.

E-cigarette devices heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user then inhales. The liquid typically contains addictive nicotine, flavoring, and other “harmful” chemicals, per the U.S. Surgeon General. The use of e-cigarettes has reportedly “grown dramatically in the last five years.” Last year, 1 in 5 high school students reported using e-cigarettes at least once over the course of a month.

Juul Labs, a popular electronic cigarettes company, argues that adults who switched to vaping will be driven “back to deadly cigarettes” thanks to the ban. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Juul is working to lock in a ballot initiative that would allow the company to continue selling e-cigarettes in the city.

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Samuel L. Jackson To Portray George Clinton In Forthcoming Biopic

Samuel L. Jackson is set to portray George Clinton in a forthcoming biopic on record executive Neil Bogart, Deadline reports. The film, Spinning Gold, will feature music from an array of artists on Bogart’s Casablanca Records imprint including The Isley Brothers, KISS, Parliament, Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield.

The upcoming production also features Kenan Thompson as Barry Gordy, while his former Saturday Night Live cast member, Jay Pharaoh, plays WBLS radio DJ Frankie Crocker. Jason Derulo portrays Ron Isley, D.L. Hugely signed on to play Bootsy Collins, and Jazmine Sullivan will take on the role of Knight. Steven Strait and Sam Harris, frontman of the rock band X Ambassador, plays KISS leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The band's co-manager, Bill Aucoin, will be played by Neil Patrick Harris.

Bogart, who was born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, began his career as a singer in the 1960s before becoming a record executive at Cameo-Parkway Records and Buddha Records. Bogart founded Casablanca Records in 1973 and singed KISS to the imprint that same year. He became known for promoting funk and disco artists like Donna Summer, the Village People, and Clinton’s Parliament, whom he signed to the label in 1974.

Bogart died at age 39 from cancer and lymphoma.

Production on Spinning Gold, which is written and directed by Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart, will begin in Montreal on July 16.

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