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"Photo courtesy of the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Credit Card portfolio"
Rob Longert

Swizz Beatz Brings Something Different To Mariott Bonvoy Amex Customers

I'm a disrupter, my partners Amex and Marriott they're disrupters as well for a long time, and it's organic

Before becoming one of hip-hop's superproducers and graduating from Harvard Business School, Kasseem Dean was just a kid from The Bronx who gravitated to the art he saw. Whether it was the graffiti on the trains and the brick walls or the fashion of the late 80s and early 90s, Dean, better known as Swizz Beatz, digested it all.

Now, with a few hits and Grammy's under his belt, the 40-year-old multihyphenate's newest muse is the upliftment of other living artists by way of The Dean Collection. Collaborating with American Express and Marriott Bonvoy, a new travel program for Mariott International, Swizz Beatz, premiered his latest art installation "Deluxxe Fluxx" inside Manhattan's Skylight Studios.

Created by Brooklyn-based duo Faile & Bäst, members of the media, musicians, art lovers and more were able to take part in the immersive experience, which featured neon-colored lights, old-school arcade games, and music that wasn't "regular," as Swizz said.

Before the night's activities began, VIBE caught up with  Mr. Dean to discuss the newest addition to the collection, what art has done for him and what he thinks art is supposed to do for the masses.

How are you, Mr. Dean?
I'm good. I love that you call me Mr. Dean.

Well, that's how I was raised. 
Respect. Blessings.

My first question to you is: The Dean Collection began in 2014 and from my understanding, you started it because you wanted to support living artists.

It's one of the reasons, yes.

So, what triggered the launch?
The Dean Collection started as me and my wife's personal collection because we wanted to create a museum for our kids to run when we weren't here anymore. It was all about building a legacy. But then we realized shining a light on living artists with our star power, created more star power and more synergy, more education. More! More! More! This isn't something we should keep private. This is something the masses should know and we should help hundreds of thousands of artists around the world if possible with our gift. It's just been a blessing.

What is it about FAILE that you took to?

Well, I've been a fan of colors and vibrations for a long time and these guys have been killing it for a long time. They're such masters of their craft. I feel our culture needs to understand FAILE and we should support them and celebrate them as creatives. I just wanted to show the culture an amazing experience and different forms of art, not only canvasses on the wall but also an immersive experience. Even the music I'm going to play tonight is not going to be regular. "I want people to know I celebrate all artists. Whether you're African-American, white, Asian, you name it. We at The Dean Collection celebrate all artists."

What is it about this kind of art, like you said not just canvasses on the wall, that feeds you?
Well, it's visually and sonically stimulating. Most of us are in our heads all day--

Superfacts.

dealing with what we're dealing with, so if I can bring you into a world that can take you away from negatives and bring you into a positive and a creative state of mind, then we've done a good job and that's what art is supposed to do. Art is supposed to take you to another level. Although my next show might be canvasses, this particular one in New York City I felt that we needed this in the city right now just to shake this up.

I'm a disrupter, my partners Amex and Marriott they've been disrupters as well for a long time, and it's organic. When you come in here you feel like it's about the creativity. Even though we have strong brands backing us--and all artists need strong brands to back them--but its how you collaborate with those strong brands, and the artists trust The Dean Collection to represent them well.

What are you wearing?

I have on vintage Dickies. This is my Father's Day gift from my wife and my kids. I have on a cool G-Shock that happened to match the vibe.

I dig it.

Thank you. Oh, and these shades I've got are ECOODA.

My last question: You're a kid from The Bronx. Before Ruff Ryders, before Harvard Business School before you met the love of your life how did art keep you?

You know, different sides of the art kept me. Growing up in The Bronx, I grew up with graffiti on the trains and on the walls. It excited me. I grew up around fashion where you painted the back of your jacket. It excited me. I grew up around DJs and music and DJing so that excited me. Those chapters have been written before, how they organically came out, I just let it flow.

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R.Kelly Is In Jail On Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

R.Kelly faced a wide range of legal trouble in Illinois, however, after an arrest last week, the singer-songwriter's woes have taken a new turn, which may result in a lengthy--if not--life sentence.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Illinois have charged the 52-year-old with racketeering and child pornography due to allegations Kelly, with the help of former employees, recruited and transported underage girls across state lines to molest them and create pornography. Kelly also instructed the minors to not testify against him.

Kelly was previously released on $1 million bail, however, Los Angeles attorney Lou Shapiro said due to the gravity of the new charges, Kelly will most likely stay inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

“His life is on the line now,” Shapiro told The Los Angeles Times, "I think he’ll be kept in. Ordinarily, he would be released, but the charges are so egregious, and he has every reason to flee.”

In Brooklyn, federal prosecutor indicted Kelly on five counts including a racketeering charge and four violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits crossing state lines for illegal sexual purposes.

The racketeering charge alleges Kelly committed sex crimes as part of an organized plot which existed under a threat of intimidation. Racketeering is most associated with organized crime and carries a 20-year minimum sentence.

The indictment outlines that the girls Kelly recruited were instructed to wear baggy clothes when they weren't with Kelly, to keep their head down and refer to Kelly as "daddy."

“It goes without saying that with the new federal charges, R. Kelly is not in a position that would cause any envy,”  Lara Yeretsian, a criminal defense attorney and founder of Yeretsian Law in Glendale, said. “He is facing up to 20 years for each racketeering count, while the Mann Act violations each have at least 15 to 21 months for each count. This doesn’t even include the decades he is facing in Chicago.”

Shapiro said Kelly's charges stem from dream hampton's Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly in which the writer-turned-filmmaker outlined Kelly's own childhood molestation, musical beginnings, rise to fame, and his countless sexual assaults against women and girls, including Aaliyah.

“You’re seeing prosecutions rise from a documentary that caused public anger and pressure,” Shapiro said. “It’s a day of reckoning for people who have gotten away in the arena of sex offenses.”

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Jenny Anderson

Regina King To Direct Film Adaptation Of 'One Night In Miami'

Academy-Award winner Regina King is set to make her directorial film debut with the adaption of Kemp Powers' play, One Night In Miami. 

The performance centers around a conversation between Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and 22-year-old Muhammad Ali who had not yet become a Muslim and was still Cassius Clay.

Ali's enthusiasm due to his win against Sonny Liston was short-lived when the newly minted heavyweight boxing champ wasn't allowed to party at several of Miami's hotspots due to Jim Crow segregation, instead, he checked in to another hotel with the rest of the men to celebrate.

Set on Feb. 25, 1964--10 months before 33-year-old Cooke was murdered and almost a year to the date before Malcolm X's assassination-the men were said to have had a lengthy, passionate discussion about uplifting black people.

In the play, Powers reportedly tried to double down on who they were individually what they've accomplished in their respective fields and how they could pool their star power, athleticism, and activism for the greater good of black Americans.

No word yet on who will play the iconic roles, when production begins and when the film will hit theaters. All we know is that Regina King is the director and that's more than enough for us.

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Brian Ach

Diddy Teases A Return Of MTV's 'Making The Band'

A nostalgic reality television show could possibly make a comeback.

MTV's classic Making the Band aired from 2002 to 2009 as a talent search show that formed boy bands and girl groups.

Initially overseeing the aspiring the artist-driven show was Lou Pearlman who helped with the formation of O-Town during its first season, Billboard reports. Diddy took over the talent discoveries helping to birth Danity Kane, Day26, Donnie Klang, and Da Band.

The entertainer and entrepreneur took to his social media Monday (July 8) teasing fans about the potential remake after MTV personally called him about collaborating once more.

"MTV called me out of nowhere and was like: 'Hey what do you think about partnering and bringing Making the Band back?" 

View this post on Instagram

If y’all want me to bring it back, leave a comment with #IWantMyMTB

A post shared by Diddy (@diddy) on Jul 8, 2019 at 10:20am PDT

He also started the hashtag #IWantMyMTB on Twitter getting thousands of users talking about what would be an epic return.

You think I should bring Making The Band back??? Let me know #IWantMyMTB https://t.co/oXoWnMGzhJ

— Diddy (@Diddy) July 8, 2019

Danity Kane was formed during Making the Band 3 and spawned their hit single "Show Stopper" featuring Young Joc. Comprised of Dawn Richard, Shannon Bex, Aubrey O'Day, Aundrea Fimbres, and D. Woods the all-girl group earned a 2008 BET Awards nomination for Best Group.

Successfully having two chart-topping albums with their original members, the group had hit singles "Bad Girl" with Missy Elliott before calling it quits years later.

Male R&B group Day26 formed not soon after with Brian, Willie, Big Mike, Que, and Rob. The group successfully came out with singles "Exclusive (No Excuses)", "Since You've Been Gone", and "Got Me Going". In 2009 they won Best Group at the BET Awards. They later disbanded but reunited for a nationwide tour.

With the remake not set in stone just yet, the numerous response on social media may help the reboot come to fruition.

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