All Articles Tagged "luther vandross"

Happy Birthday Patti: Patti LaBelle’s Greatest Performances

May 24th, 2014 - By M A
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The incomparable Patti LaBelle has been captivating the music industry since she first hit the scene more than 50 years ago. Since that moment, she has mesmerized us with her incredible range, soul and passion, while blazing a trail for powerful female contemporary singers like Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera. So as Patti prepares to celebrate her 70th birthday, we figured there was no better tribute than taking a look back at some of this diva’s most incredible performances.

Mind Ya Bi’ness, Just Mind Ya Bi’ness: Celebs Who Refuse To Confirm Their Sexual Orientation

February 24th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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It may be 2014 but there are still some celebrities out there who refuse to confirm their sexual preference for one reason or another.

"Queen Latifah pf"


Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah blazed a trail by becoming successful in a male-dominated rap world. As her popularity grew, so did questions about her sexuality. Dogged by rumors for much of her career, Queen Latifah has refused to comment about her personal life. Paparazzi have caught the New Jersey native numerous times with her then-personal trainer/long-time ex-girlfriend Jeanette Jenkins but she has still been adamant about keeping her private life private. At this year’s Grammys, many thought the “Ladies First” rapper would finally come out of the closet while officiating a number of gay marriages at an event before the ceremony, but she didn’t.

The Big Voices Are Gone: Male Powerhouse Voices We Miss

November 22nd, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Earlier this week The Dream asked “where’s the big voice?” in R&B, saying today’s music is missing male powerhouse voices like we had in the ’90s. We can’t help but agree with Radio Killa and the more we thought about his statement, the more we were reminded of the male powerhouse voices we miss. Like these:

Not Everybody Is The Next __: Musical Comparisons We Have To Stop Making

April 19th, 2013 - By Lauren Carter
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Michael Jackson Thriller

Any time you’re trying to describe an artist, there’s always a temptation to compare them to someone else. It’s easier to say “Keyshia Cole is like Mary J. Blige” than to say “Keyshia Cole makes raw, soul-infused R&B filled with themes of pain and personal transformation.” I get that. But sometimes the comparisons go too far, and we try to place up-and-comers in the same category as legends whose legacies have left an indelible mark on the musical landscape.

The late, great Michael Jackson is probably the most frequent victims of suspect comparisons. It seems that anyone who can dance and sing reasonably well is at some point dubbed the new or next version of The Gloved One. Usher is the new Michael Jackson. Chris Brown is the new Michael Jackson. Beyoncé is the new Michael Jackson. In the name of all that is holy, this must stop. I have seen all three of these “new Michael Jacksons” live, and I can attest that any one of their shows will change your night, if not your life. Usher is a consummate entertainer, Chris Brown is the best dancer I have ever seen anywhere, and Beyoncé
will leave you out of breath just watching her.

That said, to compare these entertainers to the King of Pop, a man who was arguably the most innovative, groundbreaking and important artist of all-time, hurts my feelings in ways I can’t begin to describe. I could possibly tolerate something more specific like “he can sing and dance well, kind of like a young Michael Jackson.” But to compare artists to someone who was incomparable won’t fly.

Another questionable comparison involves Trey Songz. I’ve heard him described as the next R. Kelly and/or D’Angelo. I’m sorry, what did you say? Just because you take your shirt off and sing sex-laced ballads does not make you heir to the throne of Kells or the inimitable D’Angelo. So I’m going to need people to cease and desist equating any crooner with a sexed up catalogue and a six-pack to either of these two very unique and musically-gifted individuals.

And then, there is perhaps the most egregious comparison I’ve heard yet: that Frank Ocean is this generation’s Luther Vandross or Marvin Gaye. For the love of Tyler Perry, we must stop this madness. I think we’ve all heard more than enough Luther and Marvin to know that Frank is neither, so I will kindly ask the people making these comparisons to have a seat for eternity.

Young Frank and his unique brand of R&B has certainly taken the world by storm. But to compare an individual with a mixtape and an album to legends who shaped entire eras, who left us with some of the most memorable music we have, whose musical styles don’t even resemble Ocean’s, is simply ludicrous. In the words of Claudette Wyms, one of my favorite characters on the former FX drama The Shield, “You’re stretching, son. Try yoga.”

These ridiculous comparisons also occur in the rap spectrum. I think we all laughed off the idea that Ja Rule was the new DMX, but among the more outlandish claims I’ve heard is that Kendrick Lamar is the new 2Pac. Girl, bye. I can’t even dignify that with a response.

Sure, there are similarities between artists, and comparisons are inevitable. Nicki Minaj is like Lil Kim or Foxy Brown, female rappers who blend sexuality with serious bars. Justin Bieber is like Justin Timberlake; they’re both white r&b/pop artists who got their start as teen idols. Lady Gaga is like Madonna; they’re fearless females who push the envelope and weave religious imagery and sex into their music.

But no one is the new or next anyone, much as each generation might want to lay claim to their own version of some superstar. Chris Brown is not the new Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean is not the new Luther Vandross. There is one Michael and one Luther and one Marvin and one 2Pac, and there will never be some newfangled knockoff. They’ll come through and create their own lane and legacies. But we lessen the legacies of certain icons by claiming there is some updated version, like they are a line of soft drink or an old computer program. What these people did is unmatched and will remain unmatched. Without taking anything away from these talented young artists — who deserve to be seen in their own light, and not in someone else’s shadow — let’s not pretend a legend who brought us something we’d never seen before and will never see again can somehow be duplicated.

What’s the craziest musical comparison you’ve ever heard? Sound off in the comments.

Lauren Carter is a Boston-based wordsmith who writes about music, pop culture, race and relationships. Connect with her on Twitter @ByLaurenCarter or check out her blog at



“Oh-Hay, Have You Sheen?” 10 Of The Best, WORST And Most Head-Scratch Worthy National Anthem Performances EVER

February 5th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Star Spangled Banners

It’s not an easy feat to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” for big games and events. For years, the top singers and performers have been trying their best at it, and while many have been amazing, others…? Not so much. And after watching Alicia Keys try something different with her rendition of the national anthem this past Sunday, we thought we’d go through some of the best of the best, the hottest of the messes and the performances that piqued our interest for different unique reasons. And boy was it fun! Check out these 10 takes on the national anthem and decide if you agree with us about who killed it, who should have sat down somewhere, and who made us think a stepper’s jam version of the “Star Spangled Banner” wouldn’t be so bad…

And no, Roseanne Barr is not on this list because she HAD to be joking…

Mariah Carey

One Of The Best

In 2002, with her long blonde hair and tiny frame, Mimi stepped on the stage and killed the national anthem (in a good way of course). Her notes were on point (especially the very high one she did when she sang “freeeeeeeeee”), and with the dramatic music done in the background by the band, it was just perfect. And it wouldn’t be a Mariah Carey performance without her signature hand movements. It’s one of the few renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” that I can listen to as if it’s an actual top 10 hit on the radio.

MN Jam Of The Day: “Kiss For Christmas” By Luther Vandross

December 24th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Every Christmas folks are running around like chickens with their heads cut off looking for that perfect gift to buy their loved ones. But on his Christmas album, which is everything, Luther told his lover, his boo thang that spending money won’t be necessary, he just wants a kiss for Christmas. Very sweet. If you’re not familiar with this one, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

You Were On That Song!? 9 Celebs Who Showed Up On Some Of Our Favorite Tracks And We Didn’t Even Know It

December 18th, 2012 - By IndigoBlack
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Whether these artists were huge names or little known artists at the time, they’ve been featured on some of our favorite songs over the years, producing, singing, writing, and more. While many of their voices and talents were ignored since all the attention was on the major artist of that time they were working with, they all went on to have a great deal of success in their own right, even passing up the people they once had to go through hell and high water to get on a track with. Interested in finding who sang on what? You know what to do–get to clickin’. (Sorry, but you knew that was coming…)

Send For The Sandman! 9 Celebs Who Got Rejected Or Booed Off The Apollo Stage Before Making It Big

November 8th, 2012 - By IndigoBlack
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For anybody who ever tuned in to “Showtime At The Apollo” back in the day, you know brutal it can be for contestants to get booed off the stage. If you’re horrifically bad and don’t realize it, not only will the crowd let you know, but they’ll send the Sandman on you; the tap-dancing man thirsty for his own 15-20 seconds of notoriety during each airing. And while most people who get booed, denied a W and even kicked off the stage at the sound of the loudest horn go on to fade into obscurity, there have been a few celebrities who managed to get through the embarrassment and blow up big by cultivating their talents. Here’s nine comedians and singers who got the last laugh.

The Disappearing Woman: Why Do Women Lose Themselves in Relationships?

July 12th, 2012 - By Mame Kwayie
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Young Couple

You ever been in love? I’m talkin’ ‘bout that makes-your-knees-tingle kind of love, that I’mma-jump-on-Oprah’s-couch kind of love. That kind of love that has you finally knowing what all those R&B songs are all about, the kind of love that makes you throw your hands up and shout every time you hear Luther Vandross sing, “Who needs to go to work to hustle for another dollar? I’d rather be with you ‘cause you make my heart scream and holla.” I mean that glassy-eyed kind of love where you take every opportunity to mention your beloved’s name. That kind of love where “I” becomes “We” and you revel in the moment that two have finally become one.

In an episode of “Sex and the City” (“The Agony and the ‘Ex’-Tacy”; season four, episode one for the uninitiated), Carrie Bradshaw and company attend an engagement party for which the invitation states that the betrothed couple have “two souls, one thought”.

“If two souls have only one thought between them, something is very wrong,” Carrie quipped.

In curly-haired Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I couldn’t help but wonder about how women maintain their individual identities in relationships. This conversation, though hardly a new one, is timely, considering the murmurings that surround the break-up of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (forever infused as TomKat in Hollywood relationship terms). Or Kate, as Tom reportedly preferred to call her. Writer Kathleen Perricone reports,

Ever since the two first got together in 2005, the “Mission Impossible” star has insisted on referring to his [soon-to-be-former] wife as “Kate,” even though neither her friends nor her family has ever called her that[…]During an interview with All Headline News, [Cruise] explained, “Katie is a young girl’s name. Her name is Kate now – she’s a child-bearing woman.” At the time, it was also reported that Holmes had agreed upon the name change “after discussing it with Tom” and as a result “all friends and family now call her Kate.”

Cruise’s couch-jumping kind of love, his Scientologist beliefs and the pair’s blog-worthy break-up have onlookers wondering what really went on in the marital home shared by the former “Dawson’s Creek” star and one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men.

“She always seemed scared to me,” a friend of mine noted during a conversation about the split. “It was like she was always under his thumb.”

Another hot commodity in celebrity coupledom? Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, a pair that has reportedly crossed the 72-day threshold that Kardashian and basketball star Kris Humphries couldn’t reach during their brief marriage last fall. Kardashian has been photographed rocking “KW” stud earrings and has tweeted a picture of her and her beau’s his-and-hers sneakers. An innocuous digital display of affection? Lost in love or simply a case of tingling knees? It doesn’t help that not only do they go to everything together now (even laser hair removal treatments), but people have pointed out that her style has changed to better fit his, and has faded into dull looks of a monochromatic, “let’s match to everything we go to!” type of fashion. She looks more like his experimental muse than his lady.

In everyday life, I’ve wondered about friends who had essentially disappeared off the face of girls’ night out and Sunday brunches to hang out with the he, adjusting their schedules and lives to their man, maybe even their personality. Yes, it’s important to cultivate romantic relationships, but in efforts to keep the love we find, when do we lose ourselves completely?

In an essay for the Huffington Post, writer Vicki Larson cites the idea of the “Disappearing Woman,” a concept developed by relationship expert and psychotherapist Beverly Engel. In her book, “Loving Him Without Losing Yourself”, Engel writes

No matter how successful, assertive, or powerful some women are, the moment they  become involved with a man, they begin to give up part of themselves — their social life, their time alone, their spiritual practice, their belief and values.

Even in Carrie Bradshaw’s fictional New York, friend Charlotte converted to Judaism to marry her divorce lawyer-turned-husband Harry, and, in the show’s final season, Carrie uprooted her life, career and friendships to follow a Russian suitor to Paris, only to return home after realizing that she had lost her identity in the whirlwind.

In relationships, compromise is necessary, emblems of love can be cute and sometimes, love requires a leap of faith.  But at which point during the swell of the swoon do we become disappearing women, and how can we turn it around?

Do you know women who have changed a lot due to a relationship?

More on Madame Noire!


Battle Of The Bulge: 8 Celebs Who Have Yo-Yo’ed With Their Weight

May 10th, 2012 - By Val Wade
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Weight loss and weight gain seems to be a consistent problem in the USA.   With so much focus on diet fads and weight loss programs, it can be tough to know what’s right for you and your body.  These celebrities have done it all with their weight: kept it off, then put it back on.

"Kirstie Alley"


Kirstie Alley

Who can forget our favorite lady from “Cheers” during the early ’90’s?   Kirstie Alley became a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig from 2005 to 2008, when she was almost 228 pounds. Before that, she would constantly go up and down with her weight.   Her stint on “Dancing With The Stars ” in 2011 has kept her in shape and even starting a weight loss campaign.  “Cheers” to that!!