All Articles Tagged "artists"

Artist, Kehinde Wiley, Finds Grace in Black Women Portraits

October 2nd, 2014 - By Rich
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Acclaimed International Artist Kehinde Wiley, was mostly known for his highly texturized portraits of everyday African American men, but just two years back he began featuring African American women in his work. Wiley intertwines historical and often Victorian poses and costumes with the “every day” Black women seen walking down the street. In fact, that’s where he pulled many of his models from. By walking the streets of Harlem to Haiti and getting women to be featured in his work that look like the women in our  families.

PBS featured a documentary of Wiley’s work this September, “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace” featuring his creative process, selection of women, and partnership with Givenchy on making the gowns in his portrait series. Wiley, the son of a Nigerian father and African American mother, has always used his work to celebrate Black people in portrait scenes. In an interview with the Huffington Post the creative painter spoke on the series and more.

On what inspired “Economy of Grace:”

The reason why I am painting women now is in order to come to terms with depictions of gender and the way it is featured art historically–a means to broaden the conversation. Any consideration of male power in painting naturally includes the presence of women within that dialogue. “An Economy of Grace” is an investigation of the presence of women in painting, but in a broader sense, it is a investigation of the negotiation of power in image-making.

On his choice of Givenchy costumes:

For this body of work I looked to 18th and 19th-century society portraits for inspiration. At that time it was common practice for nobility to commission unique clothing for portraiture. Working with a major fashion house, we’re revamping that tradition for the 21st century. I’ve always been a big fan of Givenchy and Riccardo Tisci’s work, so it was a wonderful opportunity to work with him.

How we’d describe the women featured:

Powerful yet elegant.

Check out the documentary and our favorite portraits below.


The Beauty of Black:  12 of Our Favorite Kehinde Wiley Portraits

“You Make Yourself Art!” Watch Jay Z’s Performance Art Piece For “Picasso Baby”

August 3rd, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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If there’s one word I can use to describe Jay Z, it would be…charming.

Friday night, HBO premiered Jay Z’s “short film” for his song, “Picasso Baby.”  In the beginning, Jay discusses how he believes concerts are “pretty much performance art” with different venues.  He goes to explain that by doing the video for “Picasso Baby” at a small venue like Pace Gallery in New York City, he’s able to have an exchange of energy between the crowd and himself.

As the performance starts and continues, you get to see Jay interact with different people in the crowd – both young and old.  In some capacity, almost everyone who comes face to face with him throughout the song is some type of artist, whether it be a singer, dancer, actor, designer or anything else you can think of.

There are a few people who stand out like actor Michael K. Williams from The Wire, actress Taraji P. Henson (who is clearly a Jay Z fan) and actress/activist Rosie Perez. By the way, Rosie is still as fly as she was back in the 80s.  There were also appearances by Wale, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Rowley and Fab Five Freddy.

Check it out and let us know what you think! Did you expect more?


Awww, Besties! Drake Supports J. Cole And Buys All Copies of “Born Sinner” At Best Buy!

June 22nd, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Well, wasn’t that a nice gesture!

During J. Cole’s “secret show” Wednesday night at Irving Plaza in New York City to support his new album, Born Sinner, he surprised the crowd and brought out Drake. The two have recently come together to record music, including the “Jodeci Freestyle.” Yes, like Jodeci the music group.

But after the show, the two went on a little shopping trip a few blocks down to Best Buy where Drake decided to show serious support for his friend and fellow artist, J. Cole. Drake cleared the entire section of Cole’s Born Sinner on the late night trip caught on video, which also shows fans shouting out support for both rappers.

As the video comes to a close, you hear the young lady checking Drake out saying that Cole has been outselling Kanye West’s Yeezus album, which was released on the same day, at that location. You can also hear Cole saying, “We need that scan…we fighting Yeezus.” Both men are expected to sell at least 200,000 copies with Kanye likely coming out on top.

Drake’s total ended up being about $880 which also included an album from Sade as well as his own album, Take Care.

That was pretty cool of him.  It is no secret that record labels by massive amounts of albums when they want a certain artist to do well so there’s nothing wrong with one artist showing support to another by doing something very similar.

By the way, Drake also recently revealed that his new album, Nothing Was The Same, will be released September 17th.


Good luck to both of them with their albums (and I’m sure we’ll be following up more on Drake in the upcoming weeks and months)!

Check out the video!

Lil Mo Says She Turned Down R&B Divas Atlanta Because Of ‘The Type Of Artists They Are’

May 30th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

If you hadn’t noticed, Lil Mo has been making her presence very well known ever since she was added to the cast of “R&B Divas LA.” First she got back on our radars after talking ish about Keyshia Cole, then talking more ish about Keyshia Cole , then making t-shirts about her comments about Keyshia Cole. Now it appears she’s throwing just a bit of slight shade toward some of the members of her “R&B Divas” franchise.

In an interview with Sister 2 Sister, Lil Mo talked about how she came to be a member of the “R&B Divas LA” cast and said that she was initially offered the opportunity to join the Atlanta franchise but turned it down.

“I got a call asking if I was I interested [in ‘R&B Divas Atlanta’] and I really wanted to know who the cast was going to be – I mean Atlanta was cool but the type of artists they are, it just didn’t seem like a fit,” admitted Lil Mo. “I’m more hip-hop and R&B and that ATL scene just was a different vibe. Faith Evans was the most mainstream artist on there. So I wasn’t sure about joining the Atlanta one, but when the LA opportunity came around, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is more my style.’

“The cast [of ‘R&B Divas LA’] includes Kelly Price, Chante Moore, Dawn Robinson, Claudette Ortiz and Michel’le,” said Lil Mo. “I know a couple of people might make you say, ‘Damn. I didn’t even know they were still alive, but dammit when I saw the roster I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ I’m happy to be in the company of some great singers.”

So did Lil Mo not want to be around her peers? From what I’ve seen of her career and attitude so far, she seems like she would be right at home with the ladies in Atlanta. Faith and Monifah definitely fall in the hip-hop and R&B category, as does Latocha Scott of Xscape who just joined the cast this year. In LA, the singers lean much more toward real R&B, with a lot of the women trying to even become more mainstream R&B pop-ish, but it didn’t work out. Maybe there were some personality differences that also underlined Lil Mo’s decision — or she realized she wouldn’t stand out as much in Altanta because it seems she’s clearly going to be the most vocal LA cast member.

Either way, Lil Mo says her purpose for doing the show is to signify her re-entry into the business.

 “I thought that coming back with TV would be the best way to introduce me as an artist and with music,” said Lil Mo. “I have a lot of things coming up – new album, new TV show, just a whole new life. It’s like I have been born again and the only one who could orchestrate this rebirth this way is God.”

Don’t Be A Starving Artist: 9 Flexible Day Jobs For Creatives

March 25th, 2013 - By Candace Smith
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Creative folk have to quench their desire to create. In the words of author Chuck Wendig, “art harder.” But as you’re striving to “art harder” and create a masterpiece, hoping that you can one day make a living from this passion, your student loans, monthly rent, and transportation needs still await. So what do you do? You find a job that will allow you to pay the bills while providing you with flexible working hours to practice your craft without sacrificing too much of your sanity. Yes, jobs such as this do exist, and you won’t have to wait tables or tend bar. Some of them are creative, some are less than. But all of them will pay the bills while leaving time for your real career of choice.

Stop The Bullying: Willow Smith Joins the “Delete Digital Drama” Campaign

March 17th, 2013 - By MN Editor
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From Essence

If you’ve ever had to remove a negative comment from one of your social media streams, then you know how pungent the effects of cyberbullying can be. Willow Smith has decided to take action against these kind of online attacks by teaming up with Seventeen Magazine’s “Delete Digital Drama” campaign.

The 12-year-old-singer will be one of the celeb activists behind the initiative which seeks to empower young women to disengage from cyberbullying by deleting harsh and mean comments they see on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. This announcement comes just days after her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, released a lengthy statement about online bullying towards young celebs via her Facebook page.

You can check the rest out over on Essence. Perhaps this is the reason why Jada started talking about online bullying – kind of pre-promoting Willow’s latest endeavor.

Have you or anyone you know ever been cyber bullied?

What Happened? 7 Popular Artists Who Went MIA At The Peak of Their Fame

June 11th, 2012 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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First things first: THIS IS NOT A WHERE ARE THEY NOW? if you were wondering. Check back at the end of the week.

Anywho, while most actors, singers and more have chosen to let folks in on every single aspect of their lives thanks to their affiliations with social media sites like Twitter, Tumblr pages, reality television shows, and their quest to make errands a chance for a paparazzi photo op, there are a slew of big name artists who would balk at all that exposure. Some of the biggest names in entertainment over the years dropped albums, TV shows, had huge roles in movies and more over the years, only to disappear off of the face of the earth when the press and the people were calling for them. Why? Well, after reading the most recent issue of GQ, which profiled the rise, fall and re-emergence of D’Angelo, folks like Questlove eloquently explained it as “a crazy psychological kind of stoppage that prevents them from following through. A sort of self-saboteur disorder.”

Or maybe they just weren’t feeling folks all up and through their business and wanted to live like normal folks. Whatever motivates these artists to dip in and out of public view only they know, but we’re always happy when they come back. Here are a few, aside from the obvious Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo, who decided to step out of the spotlight when they were huge, but decided to come back later (before disappearing for a bit again).

Whose Star Shines Brighter? Mentors and Their Protegees

May 16th, 2012 - By madamenoire
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While it can be hard to imagine now, a lot of the musicians currently ripping down stages and burning up the Billboard charts, at one point, needed a helping hand getting into the recording industry. Everybody needs to start somewhere and luckily for these artists they were introduced and mentored by just the right person to set off their careers.

From mixtapes to million-dollar deals,check out this gallery of Superstar Musicians and the Larger Than Life Proteges at 

More on Madame Noire!

Video: Ri-Ri & Drake Preview “Take Care,” J.Lo Dances, Rita Ora Debuts, and Nicki…Well, Yeah.

April 6th, 2012 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Music time!

Folks are all over the place performing and filming music videos. Rihanna and Drake, who would still make an adorable couple in my opinion, just released a preview of their video for the song, “Take Care.” The actual premiere of the video in its entirety isn’t until tonight, around 7:56 p.m. EST on MTV. The video seems a lot darker and more stripped than their last video together, “What’s My Name,” so I guess we’re going to see a softer side of the two. On top of that, Nicki did “Starships” for the “TODAY” show, Jennifer Lopez dropped a new video for her track with Pitbull called “Dance Again,” and new Roc Nation starlet Rita Ora finally released a video. The song is featuring UK rapper Tinie Tempah and is called “R.I.P.” Anywho, you tell us if you’re feeling them. Enjoy!


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Rihanna and Drake (excuse Sway who is all up and through the beginning of the short clip…):

Get More: Music News

Rita Ora:

Are these songs a pass or play for you?

More on Madame Noire!

’90s One-(Or Two) Hit Wonders Whose Jams Make Us Want a Comeback

February 21st, 2012 - By IndigoBlack
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Okay, so we don’t really need them to make a comeback, but the people on this list made some of our favorite jams over the years. Some were wedding worthy jams, dance club-a-licious, and others were so ’90s we love them just because. Your definition of one-hit wonder might be different, but if we can only think of one jam that reached the top of the charts or got attention, than those artists were put on this list. Either way though, it’s all love…


Nicole Wray- “Make it Hot”

“I got what you want, I got what you neeeeed!” When Nicole Wray dropped that Timbaland produced-Missy laced track on us in ’98, as Missy said, she was making us all want to bob our heads. She was a decent alternative in the camp to our girl Aaliyah at the time, whose voice Wray’s was a polar opposite of (but the two women were friends–check Aaliyah in the video), but for some reason, after “Make It Hot” went gold, Wray’s career started to slow down big time. She’s done some features, but “Make it Hot” was the last time we’ve successfully heard her shine on her own.