All Articles Tagged "entertainment industry"
Chrisette Michele Talks Being Underrated And Shying Away From The Limelight In New Documentary, ‘Journey To Better’
I will never forget the first time I heard soul singer Chrisette Michele’s voice. I was 16 years old and Nas had just released “Can’t Forget About You” as the second single off of his Hip Hop Is Dead album. I listened to the track over and over as I sat by an oversized window in my living room while I worked on my homework. Nas did an amazing job on the song, but what really drew me to it, was the unique voice of the woman singing on the hook. I eventually came to know the songtress as R&B singer Chrisette Michele. I combed the Internet, looking for details on her. I had to learn more about her! But unfortunately at the time, my Google searches didn’t uncover much. Six years later, Chrisette’s newly released web documentary Journey To Better, which can be found on her website, offers a little insight as to why there wasn’t too much information available about her when she was first “thrown” into the music industry. The New York native reveals that she intentionally flew beneath the radar because she wasn’t sure if she could “get the job right.”
The documentary begins in black and white, showing Chrisette rolling her bicycle down a sidewalk.
“I’ve been afraid. I didn’t always know if I’d be a singer. It takes time to get a job right. When you come into most jobs, you get years to work on getting promotions, raises, to become a CEO, to become great. In the music industry you don’t get that time. You kind of just get thrown out there into this world of stages and red carpets and magazines. And if you aren’t great right away, you’re kind of fired. You don’t really get a chance to come back and do it again the next day,” she begins at the start of the video.
She went on to say that having known how unforgiving the entertainment industry can be, she intentionally stayed beneath the radar.
“I knew that when I first started this, so I did tried really hard to stay just underneath the limelight, people call it underrated. I call it careful. So I kind of just snuck my way through this learning process and I took notes. I carried a composition notebook and literally took notes from everybody from Babyface to Diddy, Kevin Liles to whoever I got to be around, Jay-Z. I would hang out with publicists. People would wonder why I was hanging out the guy who does the mail or the person who does the marketing or the person who is the engineer. Why am I hanging out with the sound guy? Why am I hanging out with the lighting guy? I’m hanging out with these people because I want to learn everything there is to know about the music industry before I put myself out there.”
Chrisette finishes up by saying that she believes that her studying and hard work has paid off because she’s no longer afraid to show herself and is confident enough to call herself an artist.
Skip to the next page to watch Part 1 of her doucmentary, Journey to Better. What do you think of her decision to shy away from the limelight?
Want to break into the music industry? Open a new tab in your browser and find your way to your favorite video-sharing site. Millions of people browse YouTube every day, discovering new acts through music videos and live performances. The site’s related videos section makes it the perfect tool for musicians to get their music in front of a receptive audience.
For hip hop artists, YouTube videos have become the new mixtape. The perfect fix for audiences with shrinking attention spans and an industry that favors a hot single to a good album. Savvy musicians are converting video views into new followers, ticket purchasers, and song downloaders.
If there was any doubt about video’s place in the future of the music industry, media research firm Nielsen recently reported YouTube as the number one place teens go to listen to music (64 percent). YouTube isn’t just making performers stars. The digital landscape is ripe with opportunities behind the scenes, for those strategic enough to spot them. Case in point, Simon Cowell just this week launched a YouTube audition channel, The You Generation.
Artists Catch Up With the Times
Established brands have already seen the light, and accept short-form video as the future of marketing. However, independent artists often miss out on basic parts of these marketing initiatives like brand partnerships, advertising dollars, and technical tools that boost their visibility due to a lack of knowledge.
Enter Volume Visual, the recently launched multi-channel network brainchild of digital
entrepreneurs Jabari Johnson and Benoni Tagoe. Both are YouTube veterans: Jabari for his documentary series chronicling music’s hottest rising stars and Benoni as a producer of the hit online series, Awkward Black Girl.
“One of our main goals is helping artists’ channels develop their audience,” Jabari said. “We come from YouTube backgrounds and have a lot of knowledge about the space. At the same time we have a space in L.A. that artists can come and shoot videos for free. We empower the artists with the tools to help them create the visuals on a more frequent basis and help to cut costs.”
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Think of multi-channel networks (MCNs) as the digital era’s answer to Viacom, affiliating with multiple YouTube channels and undertaking business areas like promotion, funding, and partnerships so creatives can focus on what they do best. Rather than having a few dozen-cable networks under their umbrella, MCNs have thousands of YouTube channels.
The top MCNs rack up views that rival some cable networks, with the most successful companies targeting mainstream music, gaming, and pop culture. Hip hop culture, Volume Visual’s target, is noticeable absent from the mix. The venture highlights a clever strategy for staying ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing business of entertainment: pay attention to what’s shaping the landscape and figure out how to make what works for similar markets work for you.
The key to cementing a place in the future of entertainment industry may lie in creating your dream job, rather than applying for it. Technology is changing the landscape of countless industries. Odds are embracing those changes will help you anticipate trends before the old guard catches on.
“I always say that it’s never smart to bet against technology,” says Jabari. “Technology is not only at the forefront of this industry, but our culture. Finding ways to have technology interact with the normal human experience – that’s always going to win.”
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Is hip-hop destroying black America? To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.
Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti. But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.
Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls. It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Oprah’s Master Class will be kicking off its third season Sunday, March 3rd with 14-time Grammy Award-winning singer, Alicia Keys. According to the show’s website, during the special Alicia will be discussing lessons that she has learned over the years about pursuing her passions, motherhood and marriage.
During a 30-second preview of the season premiere, the “Girl On Fire” singer can be heard describing the troubled Harlem neighborhood that she grew up in and her swift rise to fame.
“Literally, I was running from pimps and prostitutes, to boom- I was on the Oprah show.”
It also appears that she will touch on some of the shady dealings of the music industry and her negative experiences with them.
“You’re meeting people who are lying to you to get whatever they want out of you,” said the newly appointed global creative director of Blackberry during the clip.
She seems to be tackling some family demons during the upcoming episode as well.
“I realize that the only person that gets hurt from all of this anger is me,” she says of what appears to be familial drama.
The episode will premiere on the OWN network this Sunday at 10/9 c. While most appear to be completely over hearing about her relationship with Swizz Beatz, viewers may find the story of her childhood and rise to fame particularly interesting.
Watch the preview on the next page. Will you be checking out Alicia on Oprah’s Master Class this Sunday?
Hollywood or Bust: Fox Partners With HBCUs To Develop Diversity Program for the Entertainment Industry
Fox has announced a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will will bring HBCU students, faculty and alumni together with executives from Fox’s media and entertainment divisions, reports Target Market News. The new union, called the FOX/HBCU Media Alliance (FHMA), is an effort to encourage students who are interested in pursuing careers in the film and television industry. It also aims to advance the careers of HBCU alumni currently working in media and entertainment across the Fox businesses.
The initiative will be spearheaded by Fox Audience Strategy, the company’s cross-divisional unit that focuses on advocating diverse perspectives in entertainment. This is just one division of the company that brings you Fox News, Fox Business, 20th Century Fox and programs like The Cleveland Show, American Dad, and Glee.
“As a HBCU alumnus, I know first-hand the extraordinary level of talent coming out of these schools,” said Nicole Bernard, Senior Vice President, and head of FOX Audience Strategy, in a press statement. Bernard received her undergraduate degree at Howard University before earning her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center.
“I am excited that we will have the opportunity through regional events, workforce initiatives and social networking platforms to not only identify, cultivate and advance the best and brightest from this vast community, but to provide an array of tangible platforms for their creative gifts,” she continued.
Through the partnership, FOX Audience Strategy is also establishing and funding the Fox Film Grant that will enable one FHMA member to participate in the diversity and mentorship program Project Involve, a year-long program of Film Independent, nonprofit arts organization that champions the independent filmmaker.
Based in Los Angeles, FHMA will also have chapters in Washington, D.C. and New York City, led by HBCU alumni in the media and entertainment industry, according to Target Market. Membership in the Alliance is open to all current HBCUs, their students, faculty and alumni who work in the media and entertainment sector.
“This partnership will help Howard and other HBCUs to continue their tradition of producing quality talent that creates award-winning work,” said Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., president of Howard University, in a press statement.
Watching Brandy unveil her video for “Put It Down” on 106 & Park this week, it’s easy to see why the world fell in love with her in the first place. In her early thirties, she still has the sweet likeability of an innocent 15 year old that makes you want to smile with her.
That makes this that much harder.
She looks gorgeous in the video. Her close-ups are undeniable proof the woman hasn’t aged since Never Say Never in 1998. But, it wasn’t “Thriller.” And to warrant three months of hype – the song hit the blogosphere in April – it needed to be “Thriller.”
“Put It Down” is the lead single for Two Eleven, the singer’s comeback album slated for release in October. I want Brandy to win. When I heard the single, in April, I was fully on board. But, she’s not going anywhere if she doesn’t pick up the pace. By the looks of things, she and her team are living in 2001.
“Put It Down” dropped on April 26 , but was not available on iTunes until May 8. For twelve days people downloaded her song illegally. Hardcore fans may have gone back to buy the single, but the rest of us kept it moving as illustrated by the song entering Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart at number 98.
Filming for the video started on July 10th. What was Brandy doing for three months? She received a lot of attention for her July performance at the BET Awards. Brandy’s tribute to Whitney Houston was arguably one of the best performances we’ve ever seen her do. This would have been a good time to release a video. The purpose of content is to extend the conversation around your brand. It’s a great tool for prolonging buzz. But, it would be another month before we saw a glimpse of the clip.
For two weeks the four-minute clip was parceled out. Video stills on August 1, a trailer five days later, and a preview the week after online and on 106 & Park. It was a valiant effort to sustain interest in the song. But keep in mind a whole summer has taken place, countless dramas have unfolded, and Brandy is still talking about “Put It Down” repeatedly. It was the equivalent of someone who keeps interrupting your conversation talking about the same thing. If you’re not bringing anything new to the table, your content is worthless. Audiences can see through repackaging.
When a brand struggles in an area, it is a smart business move to look at what other brands dominating that area of the industry are doing and learn from their success. I want Brandy to learn from Rihanna. Rihanna has mastered the changing nature of the music industry and content in general. She doesn’t have a number one album, the classic measurement of an artist’s success, but she is the best-selling digital artist of all time. Rihanna’s last single, “We Found Love,” premiered on September 22, 2011 and was available for digital download on the same day. The music video was shot in late September, and premiered shortly after on October 19.
I don’t know what the personal issue is for Brandy, but the handling of this single reflects a strategic problem many brands, especially older ones, struggle with. Old models don’t work. The news cycle is too quick and our attention spans are too short.
The level of success Brandy once had now requires that she provide more new content, more often. When done correctly it will extend the work she puts into her music and performances. For her second single, let’s hope she gets it right.
To Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, instilling diversity isn’t just a job; it’s her passion and her mission. Black Enterprise reports that the Howard University graduate became a CBS Entertainment as a publicist in 2000 and spent almost 10 years supervising publicity strategies for the network’s primetime series, movies and specials. Her career path has recently led her down a different road with an appointment as CBS’ vice president of entertainment diversity and communications on the West Coast. The newly created executive level position is aimed at broadening the company’s diversity across the region.
“Diversity on a whole is a global issue that will continuously be a work in progress,” Smith-Anoa’i said to Black Enterprise. “I challenge myself and others on a daily basis to find obvious and practical solutions to this specific problem. There has been progress, however, much more needs to be done and is being done day in and day out.”
In her position Smith-Anoa’i leads the CBS Diversity Discussion, a highly regarded workshop that gathers together minority leaders in the industry for discussion on inclusion and diversity with the company’s executive producers and executive leaders. Smith-Anoa’i strongly believes that diversity is a key to financial and company accomplishment.
“Having more diverse perspectives is always a combination for success,” she said. “When you know better, you do better and it is important and invaluable to have a voice that can ultimately bring change and raise a level of awareness that was not there before. It is pertinent to incorporate people of color at every phase of the process to insure a clear picture of Diversity is being painted.”
Smith-Anoa’i says her just her presence as an African American in an office discussion changes the dynamic of the room, even if she chooses not to say anything. It is her goal to continue to further diverse hiring and inclusion so that the discussions at CBS will continue to change and reflect a diverse staff as well as its diverse viewers.
“When diversity becomes the norm and is no longer viewed as a thorn in the side, I will rest,” she said. “Bottom line, everyone wants to feel acknowledged, included, respected and not invisible.”
More on Madame Noire Business!
- Behind the Click: Asmau Ahmed, Founder of PlumPerfect.com
- How She Made It: Alia Jones-Harvey, Producer of A Streetcar Named Desire
- The Career Freshman Part II: Getting To The Next Level in Your Career
- Crisis Management Lessons: Handle Scandal Like Your Name Is Kerry Washington
- How She Made It: Jeri Lynne Johnson, Founder of Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
- Entrepreneur Spotlight: A Sister-Run Business Brings High-End Tea Stateside
We’ve seen enough Behind the Music, Unsung, where are they now specials to know that the story of the childhood entertainer often doesn’t end well. We’ve actually seen enough of these stories on grown folks to know that the pressures of the entertainment industry are often too much for even the most grounded and stable of adults to say Hollywood is no place for teens, tweens, and anything less. But when your child is mature for her age and has talent and individuality that scream stardom it can be hard to curb the urges to launch headfirst into the celebrity lifestyle and set reasonable boundaries—even if they are just a little girl. Enter Willow Smith.
Given Will and Jada Pinkett’s daughter’s drastic hair changes in the last month from buzz cut to blonde, many are looking at Willow’s cry for attention as a cry for help. Sure, cutting and dying one’s hair is just a form of expression. But what exactly is it that Willow wants to express?
Bloggers wasted no time trying to figure that out, heading to her Twitter page where this string of tweets was found a week after she’d sent: “If your don’t care… Why should I? Make sense? #lifeishard”
Immediately there was speculation that her angst was confirmation that her parents were in fact splitting up, to which Willow replied yesterday: “Omg, stop it already! I’m not allowed to have a bad day? This has nothing to do with my parents! Geez!”
To that I reply: yes, you absolutely can have as bad of a day as an 11-year-old should have. But when you start tweeting things about life being hard, wishing life was easy, and wanting to reclaim life as a “regular child” it makes me question whether she’s dealing with entertainment industry issues that are far beyond her years and that are stripping her of the one and only time in her life when she can and should be carefree—childhood. And that’s when I also begin to question whether the freedom Willow appears to have been given as a young child entertainer is too much, too young, and too soon.
The pressures of being in the entertainment industry are enormous. You can be great today and suck tomorrow; hot one minute and a has-been the next and the bruden to stay relevant in a realm of fast-fleeting interest is a lot to deal with in your formative years. Willow appears to be one of the most confident and headstrong pre-teens on the scene, but Hollywood has a way of stripping that confidence away from young girls and turning it into something ugly if you’re not conscious of that influence and surrounded by the right people. A quick run-through of teen stars shows that those who have had the most longevity—and the least problems—are those who often had their parents with them on their journey making decisions about what was appropriate and what was out of the question for their child (Brandy, Tyra Banks, Usher, Beyonce). It’s not clear whether Willow has that same support, not to mention that same structure.
In some ways, Willow’s life from the outside looking in has everything to do with being a child star and nothing to do with it at the same time. From a business standpoint, how does letting an 11-year-old run rampant on Twitter with 1 million-plus followers protect her brand? From a parental standpoint, why does an 11-year-old child have the freedom to run wild on a social network with seemingly no restrictions? For Willow, Twitter appears to be the land of the free for stripper-pole pose posts and hair instagrams that garner as many “cute” responses as they do criticisms.
At her age, Hollywood has the potential to be the equivalent of a bully at school—to the tenth power. It’s a parent’s job to protect their child when they’re being tormented at school and to shield them from influences that could harm then. As a parent in the industry you have to do that much more to make sure your child isn’t receiving tweets, posts, comments, criticisms, and anything else that could unnecessarily wound their self-image. While Willow seems to take it all in stride and have an understanding of the media’s way of flipping things, that’s also not something she should have to contend with at her age. But because she’s been allowed to put her life on display and open herself up to all the good and the bad the public, the media, and the industry will send her way, there’s little opportunity for her to go back and for people to see her as the non-picture perfect, regular child she longs to be.
Hopefully, more than the public remembering Willow is a child, her parents will do the same so that they not only keep her grounded but keep her young spirit protected as well. The entertainment industry isn’t going anywhere and neither is the fame of her parents that can open the door for a career later in life just as easily as it has now if she so chooses.
Do you think Willow is feeling the pressure of the entertainment industry? Is she too young to be in the spotlight so boldly?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Is It Okay to NOT Shampoo Your Hair? And 6 Foods That Make Great Conditioners
- Run That Back!:10 Albums That Shaped Me
- Let it Go, Let it Flow: 7 People You Should Pick Your Battles With
- Love & Life Lessons I Learned From “Love & Basketball”
- 6 Ratchet Behaviors Ig’nant People Should Give Up for Lent
- Sweet or Needy: Which Are You?
- Missing Teen Featured on ‘The View’ Found Hours After Broadcast
- Show Off Your Shape! Style Tips To Flatter Your Body
Have you noticed that in the entertainment industry, everyone feels like they can crossover from field to field? Actors become singers, singers become actors, actors become authors etc. But are they all truly talented in these varied fields, or do they simply get bored with their current job? Whether they were discovered during a movie or have branched out into the music world on their own, these celebs have crossed over successfully.
Take a look at these 8 celebrities who actually have vocal talent….
(Rolling Out) — How did the concept of The Green Room come about? I started teaching classes in Atlanta a year ago. I was teaching from acting books I had accumulated from 15 years of living in Los Angeles. My students would ask, “where ccan I get this book?” And I could only send them online. There was no place in Atlanta for them to go and get it. I called Samuel French, that’s the name of the bookstore in Los Angeles, and asked them about opening up a Samuel French store in Atlanta. Through my conversations with them, it sparked the idea to open my own bookstore and to just distribute their books and then the coffee bar, lounge and all that came into play because that’s what I would like if I was going to hang out at a bookstore.