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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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Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jason Miller/Getty Images

College Football Officials Pondering Policy Changes After Incident With Odell Beckham Jr.

A domino effect might be on the horizon after Odell Beckham Jr.'s encounter with LSU players and a security officer that led to arrest warrants and debates about possible NCAA violations.

Speaking to USA Today Sports Thursday (Jan 16) executive director Bill Hancock said officials from the College Football Playoff will investigate practices that allow non-players to engage with players on the sidelines during events such as the national semifinals and championship games.

“Being on the sidelines is a privilege,” Hancock told the outlet. “Along with any privilege comes responsibility, because the focus should be on the people playing and coaching in the game, rather than on any visitors. The CFP will be reviewing its policy for allowing guests onto the sidelines and into locker rooms at future games.”

While the LSU Tigers beat Clemson Monday to secure a spot in the national championship, all eyes were on the Cleveland Browns wide receiver for handing out money to players and slapping the buttocks of a Superdome security guard. The incident took place in the LSU locker room. It was initially reported that the money was fake but it was confirmed that the money was actually real.

Video of the incident went viral and just a few days later, New Orleans Police Department public affairs officer Juan Barnes confirmed that the security guard filed the complaint. An arrest warrant for simple battery was issued against Beckham Jr. on Thursday.

The NFL star and former LSU player possibly committed an NCAA violation "if it’s determined athletes with eligibility remaining received cash," USA Today Sports mentions. OBJ and his representatives are cooperating with authorities, the Browns said in a statement.

Statement regarding Odell Beckham Jr. incident: pic.twitter.com/7cN3jOLCj6

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 16, 2020

LSU will now investigate the incident to confirm if any NCAA violations were committed and if it will affect any of the players seen in the video.

Many have pointed exactly why the officer was in the locker room in the first place. As the players were celebrating their big win, the security guard allegedly threatened the players who were smoking cigars in the locker room. Stephen A. Smith reacted to the news and the NCAA possible violation as "bogus."

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Whitney Houston And Notorious B.I.G. Among 2020 Rock Hall of Fame Inductees

The 35th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will welcome a mixed bag of legends that include the late Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. as well as Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and psychedelic folk band T.Rex.

According to Variety, the ceremony will air live for the first time ever on May 2 via HBO. Viewers can expect a long list of tribute performances given three of the inductees (Houston, B.I.G. and T. Rex) are no longer with us. Biggie, born Christopher Wallace, is the seventh rapper to given the honor. He joins Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., N.W.A., the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Tupac Shakur. The Brooklyn legend is also the first rapper to be inducted since Shakur in 2017.

Artists who were nominated but not inducted this year were Pat Benatar, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, Dave Matthews Band, MC5, Motorhead, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy. Khan has been nominated a total of six times–solo and with her group Rufus.

Last year’s inductees were Janet Jackson, the Cure, Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Zombies. It's currently unknown who will induct Houston or Biggie. In the past, fellow music titans have inducted artists. In 2007, Jay Z inducted Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Janelle Monae inducted Jackson in 2019 and Mary J. Blige inducted Solomon Burke in 2001 and Nina Simone in 2018.

Enjoy some of their best moments in music below.

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Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Lopez And Six Other Major Oscar 2020 Snubs

If you listened closely to Monday morning's announcements of the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, there was a certain snark to Issa Rae's reaction to the Best Director nods. With no women or people of color listed, Rae joked, "Congratulations to those men," reminding us of a long list of snubs who are hard to ignore.

Out of the 24 categories presented, just a few people of color were honored. One being Cynthia Ervio for her performance in Harriet and the team behind the critically acclaimed horror-dramedy hybrid, Parasite. Matthew Cherry earned his first Oscar nomination for the touching animated short, Hair Love, which won over the hearts of many.

Meanwhile, notable performances from Lupita Nyong'o to Eddie Murphy seemed to be totally forgotten. Playing two characters worlds apart was a feat Nyong'o accomplished with ease in the Jordan Peele-directed thriller, Us. Still, it wasn't enough to secure a nomination. Murphy's hilarious comeback as comedy legend Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name was a hit with fans and critics alike but hasn't received as much love as it should in the award season. While Jennifer Lopez's role in Hustlers earned her a Golden Globe nomination, she too was shut out from the Oscar's race.

Other snubs are a blend of overlooked performances in general. Take Alfre Woodard and Jamie Foxx for their respected performances in Clemency and Just Mercy. Both actors stepped up to the plate in these crime dramas. We don't know if the rich tradition of slave-driven films have daunted the Academy's vision of seeing black actors play anything outside of it, but the actors showcased their best abilities on the big screen. We received some clarity on Foxx's absent nomination as Variety reports that Warner Bros. studio released the film nationwide until after ballots closed last weekend. Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas' Queen and Slim also took a lot of creative risks that didn't work out in their favor in the awards sector.

But the shut outs weren't limited to just black actors. Cho Yeo-jeong provided a stellar performance in Parasite that went unnoticed for a Best Actress nomination.

As far as music goes, it seemed like Beyoncè would be a shoo-in for "Sprit," her song from The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack which she executively produced. Her flavor of R&B mixed with Afrobeat was daring and met some controversy due to the lack of variety on the project, but "Spirit" was a grandiose yet gentle song that stood out on the project.

And lastly, for the second year in a row, there were no women nominated in the best director category. Nominees included Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips. Keeping all of this in mind makes Rae's subtle shade burn a bit more don't you think?

See reactions to the snubs below.

I’ve been thinking for an hour about how there are more Scarlett Johansson nominations than people of color nominations in the acting category this year. Please make it make sense.

— Andrea González-Ramírez (@andreagonram) January 13, 2020

Lupita Nyong’oAwkwafinaSterling K. BrownAlfre WoodardCho Yeo-jeongEddie MurphySong Kang-hoKelvin Harrison, Jr.Zhao Shuzhen

Just a few of the magnificent performances from last year that the Academy has failed to recognize. #Oscars2020 pic.twitter.com/lh72tUiPj0

— ahmad (@ephwinslow) January 13, 2020

to think that Halle Berry is the only black actress to win an Oscar for best actress in a leading role. No Angela Bassett. No Viola Davis. No Lupita Nyong’o. No Octavia Spencer pic.twitter.com/Kl6JshN3Hs

— c (@chuuzus) January 13, 2020

So they have Scarlett Johansson nominated for both best actress & supporting actress? while Lupita Nyong’o played two masterful characters in the same movie and she she was completely snubbed #OscarNoms pic.twitter.com/IlFjSahEjs

— c (@chuuzus) January 13, 2020

Nominate Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy for anything challenge

— Nicole Gallucci (@nicolemichele5) January 13, 2020

No women directors. All white supporting actress! Where is Awkwafina, JLo, Shuzhen Zhao? Where is Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Lupita, Beyoncé? Queen and Slim, Farewell? So predictable choices very disappointed . #OscarNoms #OscarsSoWhite pic.twitter.com/1CwE15Fskq

— Constantinos Isaias (@Isaiasthoughts) January 13, 2020

Scarlett Johansson got nominated for that high school drama class acting and Lupita didn’t for playing two characters masterfully... #OscarNoms pic.twitter.com/nqdj2qcmHA

— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) January 13, 2020

The Academy dead ass looked at Lupita Nyong'o and said, "We prefer you as a slave."

— Robert Daniels (@812filmreviews) January 13, 2020

The Oscars said f*** y’all social rants.

We are nominating every white we got. Spicy white, old white, off white, eggshell, man white, some white women, and a POC to keep up appearances

The Oscars will never reward Black art fairly #OscarNoms #OscarsSoWhite

— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) January 13, 2020

to quote rihanna: "who is in charge of this account" https://t.co/nLt3EPID3z

— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) January 13, 2020

i genuinely think not nominating j lo is rooted in racism and sexism about the kinds of performances the oscars deem worthy of praise doNOT @ me

— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) January 13, 2020

No shade. Didn't hear any serious Oscar buzz for Ervio coming into the announcements. Fact that there are no other black nominations makes this one look side-eye worthy, as if they were trying to avoid another #OscarSoWhite moment. Lupita, JLo got robbed. Eddie got robbed. SMH. https://t.co/aZcI0qoa04

— Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29) January 13, 2020

I don't even have the capacity to think deeply about the #OscarNoms, I think it'd just make me angry? And it's too early.

— "they're very local" (@dariansymone) January 13, 2020

They really screwed up if I see people mad at the nominations for half a dozen totally different reasons.

— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) January 13, 2020

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