2020 Billboard Power List Event
Signage is seen at the 2020 Billboard Power List Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on January 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Billboard’s Grammys 2020 Power 100 Event Pins Leadership As The Music Industry’s Most Lucrative Tool

The event was held in Los Angeles ahead of the Grammy Awards.

The start of a new decade inspired a change of plans for Billboard’s annual Power List. In previous years, the publication ranked 100 music industry professionals for their strides in the business by creating strategies that have propelled artists to the top of the charts and proved that the senior practices of the business can sometimes benefit from a fresh makeover. For 2020’s edition, the brand opted to not rank those chosen professionals but instead gathered and produced a list of honorees including Lyor Cohen (YouTube’s Global Head of Music), Roc Nation’s Jay-Z (Chairman), Desiree Perez (CEO), and Jay Brown (Vice Chairman) to Quality Control’s CEO Pierre “P” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee.

To a resounding applause inside the event’s NeueHouse location on a balmy Thursday evening (Jan. 23) in Los Angeles, Hannah Karp, Editorial Director of Billboard Media Group, explained the reason for the change and the company’s hope that next year will produce another list of futuristic innovators. “For one thing it’s always been hard to compare the power of executives in different sectors,” Karp said. “We also wanted to inspire a new generation of music business executives that honor leadership instead of just leverage.”

The first award of the night, which was named in honor of Jay Frank, a beloved music industry veteran who worked as senior vice president at Universal Music Group (UMG) before he passed away from cancer in 2019, was given to Mitchell Shymanskly, vice president of data and analytics at UMG, for his strides in digital music leadership.

“Jay was a visionary in our field, he saw things differently which is the true definition of an innovator,” he said. “He was looking constantly for an edge and it was a great privilege of mine to have the opportunity to work alongside him.” Shymanskly learned the mantra, “We don’t succeed alone.” That quote was echoed by Columbia Records chairman/CEO Ron Perry, who received the Breakthrough Award. He gave praise to his team for their work and success, especially after a year of witnessing Lil Nas X’s breakneck speed to pop stardom.

While future pioneers both in front and behind the mic filled the room, a living legend who helped shape some of music’s most fortified models also made a special guest appearance. The Clive Davis Visionary Award was presented to Atlantic Records’ Craig Kallman (CEO) and Julie Greenwald (COO) by the man himself, Clive Davis.

Greenwald shared the duo’s singular vision that allows Atlantic Records the ability to remain one of the music industry's pillars of success. “Build and maintain a music company that we love, we surrounded ourselves with an extraordinary team of people and then we signed artists that both Ahmet and Lyor would truly be proud of,” Greenwald said. For women in the music industry, being able to take that stage and receive these awards was a major feat for Jody Gerson, UMG’s CEO, who received the Executive of the Year award. The Executive of the Decade award was given to UMG's chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. “To me, what is most meaningful is that this is a recognition without qualifications,” she said. “I am being honored not as a female executive, but as an executive. It is my hope that this award will help pave the road for more exceptional and diverse leaders to come. We all deserve to be judged for our merits regardless of who you are or how you identify.”

Gerson also sits on the board of directors for She Is The Music (SITM), a program that promotes inclusivity in the music industry. Gerson revealed that UMG will donate $50,000 to the organization, which aims to provide resources for gender diversity in songwriting, producing, executive positions and more. In 2018, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative conducted a study on the lack of women representation in the music sector. The research, which was published in 2018, concluded that for the year of 2017 out of 651 producers only two percent were women while men dominated at 98 percent. In the songwriting world, out of 2,767 credited songwriters, 12.3 percent were women while 87.7 percent were men.

Now, with new sights and plans set to change the makeup of the industry, Gerson reiterated that there's no better time than the present to implement new practices. “The moment of change is here.”

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LeBron James Sets Children's Book For Release This Summer

A man of many talents, LeBron James is adding author to his stacked resume. According to Entertainment Weekly, the three-time NBA champion joined literary forces with HarperCollins Publishers to create a children's book titled I PROMISE. The book will be released in August.

"Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together. That's why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me," he said. "Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in. I PROMISE is powerful in that way and I can't wait for people to read it." On Instagram, James expounded upon his statement, hoping that the text will inspire its young readers and encourage the next game-changer.

"Man, the beauty of this is the process in how we got here," he wrote. "Never settling no matter the opportunities or chapters we add to this journey and now we get to share our promise and our story with kids and families everywhere. I can’t wait for everyone to read this, share this, feel empowered, and strive for greatness the same way my kids from Akron do every day." The book is illustrated by Nina Mata and will focus on giving back to communities and a reminder to always bet on yourself.

 

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Our own children’s book⁉️ What!! @ljfamfoundation @ipromiseschool Man, the beauty of this is the process in how we got here. Never settling no matter the opportunities or chapters we add to this journey and now we get to share our promise and our story with kids and families everywhere. I can’t wait for everyone to read this, share this, feel empowered, and strive for greatness the same way my kids from Akron do every day. 🙏🏾 Middle school edition next. 👀 👑 @harpercollins

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 18, 2020 at 9:10am PST

EW also notes the book will be followed by "a middle-grade novel" in 2021. The news follows another feat for the pro-athlete off the hardwood. After opening a public elementary school in his home state of Ohio in 2018, James' self-titled foundation partnered with Kent State University to offer free tuition for four years to the school's first graduating class.

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Pop Smoke Dies At 20 After Home Invasion

On Wednesday morning (Feb. 19), it was reported that rising rapper Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a home invasion, TMZ reports. The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. in Hollywood Hills, California.

Local law enforcement has launched a search for two male suspects who were seen fleeing the scene of the crime on foot. According to ABC Los Angeles, the residence where the murder occurred is located on the 2000 block of Hercules Drive. Pop Smoke was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the 20-year-old was on the rise in the music world, breaking onto the scene with 2019's anthem "Welcome To The Party." The Brooklyn native received acclaim for his Meet The Woo project, having recently followed it up with Meet The Woo Vol. 2 mixtape, that debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. The "Dior" rapper also announced a "Meet The Woo Tour" that was slated to kick-off on March 2, beginning the ascent of a fulfilling career.

This story will be updated as more information is made public.

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Young Thug Tweets Message For Dwyane Wade’s 12-Year-Old Trans Daughter

Dwyane Wade supporting his 12-year-old child’s gender transition is apparently sending a few ripples through the rap world. Young Thug took to Twitter on Tuesday (Feb. 18) with a message for 12-year-old Zaya, whom he referred to as Wade’s “son.”

“All I wanna say to dwade son is ‘GOD DON’T MAKE MISTAKES’ but hey live your true self,” he wrote. Many people online were quick to check Thugger for his comments and for misgendering the child. He eventually deleted the post and tweeted, “You’re gods [sic] best creation.”

“The London” rapper has been known to proudly sport gender-bending fashions, which includes wearing a dress on the cover of his album No My Name Is Jeffery, but he’s not alone in his comments about Zaya. Boosie Badazz recorded a viral Instagram rant about Zaya’s transition that was mostly met with backlash.

Zaya who was born Zion, came out as trans to Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union. The NBA star and father of five opened up about the tween’s gender identity in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last week. “Me and my wife Gabrielle [Union] we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and proud allies as well,” said Wade.

“We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously so when our child comes home with a question, an issue, or anything, it’s our jobs as parents to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved.”

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