Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beyonce at the 'Today' Show

When I first heard this song, I was so not impressed _ disappointed, actually. But after two listens, it grew on me (once I finally got to listen to the lyrics). And now, it is one one of my favorites! I can't get enough of it! Hence, me posting this video ... Happy pre-Turkey day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

TRL Bites the Dust ...





Man, remember the good old days, when "TRL" was hot? When we knew the Backstreet Boys were the next Beatles, when Britney Spears was a virgin, and when Christina Aguilera was a fresh-faced young cherub?

Well, those innocent, fun days were revisted Sunday, Nov. 16 when "Total Request Live" bid farewell to the airwaves with a three-hour extravagnza that featured Aguilera, Justin, Beyonce, and a bunch of other superstars who owed much of their success to "TRL."

I took some snapshots while reporting ... here are some of the photos, along with a link to my story.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_en_ot/music_trl_finale;_ylt=AtnKqO9D7afWYz9cyz5EZxtBr7sF

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beyonce Hearts Barack


Photo by Nekesa Moody

I spoke recently to Beyonce and she gushed over Barack Obama, praising him as a father, a leader, a future president ... she was so excited she even wore a suit in honor of the president elect, with red, white and blue stilettos.





I spoke to her about her upcoming album, but she said she was almost embarrassed to talk about her project when something so momentous as Obama's election was going on. She and her hubby joined stars like Mary J. Blige and Diddy on rallies for Obama, and says she's so glad she was a part of it.


Here's the article I did on her ... check it out!

Beyonce gushes with pride after Obama election
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Ap Music Writer Thu Nov 6, 11:25 am ET
NEW YORK – Attention, Mr. president-elect: Come Inauguration Day, Beyonce is at your service.
"I'm there. I can't wait. I feel like all of us, we're ready to do whatever we have to do. Whatever they want — if they need me to volunteer, they need me to sing, I'm there, and I'm ready," a giddy Beyonce said in an interview the day after Barack Obama made history in becoming the nation's first elected black president.
The singer couldn't stop beaming after Obama's win over Republican John McCain on Tuesday. In fact, she was so inspired, she wore a blue suit and tie in honor of Obama — with stiletto heels that were red, white and blue.
"I've never been so patriotic!" she laughed. "I'm just beyond excited."
Beyonce was supposed to be in Japan on Election Night to promote her upcoming album, "I Am ... Sasha Fierce," but decided to postpone it at the last minute.
"I said, 'What am I doing? I'm completely making a bad decision. I have to go home, I'm gonna kill myself if I'm not home in America,'" she said. "I knew I needed to be here."
After going with hubby Jay-Z, Diddy, Mary J. Blige and others to states like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio just before the election, she watched the returns Tuesday night with family and friends in her home. She was not only inspired by Obama, but McCain's concession as well: "McCain's speech was so classy."
The 27-year-old said the win was particularly important for the inspiration it gave to African-Americans.
"My nephew, who is 4, when we say, 'You can do whatever, you can be whatever,' it's not cliche. You have no doubt that it's not true," she said.
The election even brought Beyonce to tears, though she says it was the good kind: "I fell asleep crying and smiling at the same time," she laughed. "I woke up with mascara running and a smile on my face!"
___
On the Net:
http://www.beyonceonline.com

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fitty's new show ....


He may be getting as rich as Donald Trump, but 50 doesn't want his new show on MTV to be compared to The Donald's reality show. I spoke to 50 recently about his business-oriented reality show _ and a few other subjects _ and he made it clear that it wasn't another "Apprentice" or "I Want to Work for Diddy." Did anyone watch? Check out this article I wrote about it. Here's a pic of 50 looking suave that I took after our interview. More to come from that session later.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Presidential Politics!!

If Mos Def Were President by GOOD Magazine
For those few people who aren't stirred up about tomorrow's election, maybe Mr. Def can move you ... with this humorous take on what he would do if he would be president. He gets my vote! I hope everyone is geared up to vote tomorrow (if you haven't already)!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Jennifer Hudson Tragedy

I've interviewed Jennifer Hudson twice. The first time was just before the release of "Dreamgirls," and the last time was just a month ago, when she was releasing her self-titled, debut CD. Each time, she's been sweet, gregarious, and just a pleasure; I always thought about how proud her mother must be of her.

So it is particularly painful to learn about the triple tragedy that took the lives of her mom, her brother and her 7-year-old nephew. I can't imagine the terror that little boy went through, and I just don't know why such evil happens to anyone, especially an innocent like him.

This is a difficult story to cover. I covered it the day the story broke, and again with this story today. I wish I never had to write such a story.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/166028

Billboard's Women in Music Breakfast







Billboard held it's annual "Women in Music" breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel last Friday, and besides naming the 20 power execs in music, they honored Ciara, Colbie Caillat and Deborah Harry. Harry got the icon award _ she told the crowd that she dyed her hair blonde (hence the name of her group, Blondie) because she wanted to be a movie star. But she says that painting is her true passion.
Colbie, best known for her hit "Bubbly," said that she's learned how to become a better performer in the year since she's become a platinum success.
And Ciara, whose third album is due out early next year, talked about becoming a multiplatform star, with a straight-to-DVD release of her movie "Mama I Wanna Sing," along with her recent modeling contract and even plans for an exercise video (her body was looking incredibly tight, so she definitely could teach us ladies a thing or two).
Here's some pics from the day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prince's Jam Session in NYC


I've had a lot of great experiences writing about music, and Prince is at the top of the list. I've interviewed him and seen him perform, and last week, got a treat as I watched five hours of Prince jamming onstage. Now, it wasn't all at once _ he performed one show for a small group of people at a loft at the Ganesvoort hotel in NYC, then another, but it added up to more than five hours _ I didn't get home till 5 a.m. We weren't allowed to take any pics, but here's a photo I snapped of the purple candle that was burning all night!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"There are not enough panties on my stage tonight ..."

AP Photo
That comment alone tells you what kind of mood Maxwell was going for in his comeback concert at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday _ the first time fans have heard his smooth tenor in several years. The suaveness that is Maxwell was on full display, as he made the ladies squeal by singing classics like "Sumthin Sumthin," "Don't Ever Wonder" and my personal favorite, "Fortunate." He also displayed a few new songs _ the standout was "Pretty Wings." You can hear a snippet of it on his MySpace page (myspace.com/maxwell). It's off his new CD, "Black Summers' Night," which is out sometime early next year.
I interviewed Maxwell a couple of weeks before the concert ... check out http://www.freep.com/article/20081011/ENT04/810110343this article and also the video from it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Raphael Saadiq at S.O.B.'s






Raphael Saadiq has a new record out, "The Way I See It," where the R&B veteran borrows from the Motown sound. It's like a time warp, and from what I understand, he used some of the very musicians that helped craft the legendary label's key hits.


Saadiq brought that old-school sound to his show at S.O.B.'s on Monday, but it wasn't all about the new stuff: He kept the audience members happy by not only singing those classic Toni! Tony! Tone! hits (like "It Never Rains in Southern California," "Me & You," "It Feels Good," etc_ but his own hits and that great Lucy Pearl song.


The night's biggest surprise? His physique! He took of his shirt and dang if he wasn't ripped!!! Who knew??

video

Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows"


I love love love this song, but a lot of men (OK, two I know) were so put off by it that they didn't even wanna listen to the rest of Jazmine's amazing album _ a bad thing, since it kicks off the CD. Give it a chance guys! If you ain't guilty, why do you need to worry about the scenario anyway! LOL!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Madonna's "Sweet" Tour





I was a little worried about going to Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" tour kickoff at East Rutherford last night. Her last tour, 2006's "Confessions," was a disappointment to me, and I was worried that two years later, she would only get worse, not better. But I was completely totally wrong and totally blown away!

Check out my review.
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=5957629

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pop Champagne!



I really think the Grammy for best new artist next year needs to go the vocoder. Though the vocoder ain't really new, it has transformed urban music since T-Pain came on the scene, and daggone if every brother ain't using it. Shoot, if Luther was alive today, we might even be hearing him sing "A House is Not A Home" with vocoder assistance (I keed, I keed!).

The vocoder is one of the things that makes this song SO DANG HOT, but not the only thing ... the drumbeat on this is INSANE! I wanna go dancing after hearing this righgt now, and I am in my pajamas!!!

VH1 Hip Hop Honors







VH1's 5th annual Hip Hop Honors went down Oct. 2nd at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, celebrating the music of Cypress Hill, Naughty By Nature, Too Short, Slick Rick and De La Soul. I was all amped to go, but then as the night drew closer, I realized ... I would miss the Biden-Palin debate!!! Not only that, I started recalling the hot ghetto mess that precedes going to the Hip Hop Honors _ long lines, surly security guards, and crazy crowds. By the time I got to my seat, I was pretty annoyed, and ready to bounce.
But the great thing about the show is that it reminds you of everything you love about hip-hop _ how you grooved to Slick Rick in high school, partied with De La Soul's "Buddy" in college, identified with Cypress Hill when they talked about how they could "Just Kill a Man," and felt a surge of pride for the hip-hop nation every time "Hip Hop Hooray" came on. (I can't really say anything remotely positive about any Too $hort song, so I'm gonna just shut my mouth on that one). The show was amazing, as usual, with the surprise highlight being a tribute to Isaac Hayes, who was one of the more sampled musicians in hip-hop. When Chuck D and Flavor Flav came out and performed "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," I knew I had made the right decision to stay _ after all, you can catch Palin-Biden on YouTube, but you can't capture the magic that is classic hip-hop in a live setting (though VH1 will try _ the show airs a few times this month).
The show was great, and the afterparty at Opera continued the fun, with Q-Tip on the turntables. We saw Melle Mel, Luke, Kid Rock, Joy Bryant, Biz Markie, De La Soul, and Isaac Hayes son in the mix. Check out the pics!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Robin Thicke "Something Else" Party


Robin Thicke celebrated the release of his CD "Something Else" with a party sponsored by Target, but it certainly wasn't a discount affair. It was held at the swank Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center (or near it anyway!). Even though there was a piano and a mic set up for Robin to sing, he only thanked the audience and sang along when DJ Cassidy played his new song "Magic. " But it was good enough ... throngs of women flocked to his side with cameras (I was included, but hey, it was for journalistic reasons)!


Robin's wife, actress Paula Patton, was gushing with pride when her boo sang ... others at the party included Jay-Z, Diddy and Swizz Beatz.


Go check out the album ... I think it's a smart follow-up to "The Evolution of Robin Thicke."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MTV Video Music Awards












The MTV Video Music Awards are yesterday's news, I know, but I did take a few cool pics of celebrities while I was out in La-La land. I got the best pics at the celebrity gifting suites, where the famous get free stuff just for being famous. Nice work if you can get it. :) I also snapped some pics in the press room during the VMAs, but they were kind of blurry ... hard to write and take pics at the same time!

The Baby Phat Fashion Show!







First off, lemme apologize for the pathetic delays in posting, for all two of you reading :) ... my computer was in the shop and I went away for a bit. Anyhow, I'm not a crazed follower of Kimora or Baby Phat, but the Baby Phat fashion show during fashion week always has the buzz for being the absolute craziest show with lots of celebs ... so I always wanted to check out the spectacle for myself, and always, always, I missed it. It was either MTV Video Music Awards getting in the way, or the Grammys, or just ... something. But this year, the planets aligned and I got a chance to finally go _ and it was the 10th anniversary! How appropros. Here are a few of the pics I took during the show. Not sure there's much here I would wear (or could wear, given the pencil-thin models) but it looked pretty cool to me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My music week package!

I do this every week ... check it out on AP's You Tube page. Here is the one for last week ... I'll post this week's in a few days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw1ZjDrWRjI

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

DJ Cassidy's Birthday Party







pictures by nekesa moody

I am embarassed to admit it, but when I heard that DJ Cassidy was having a hot party for his birthday at Cipriani's, my first repsonse was: "WHO?" But apparently I am ignorant, because DJ is the hot dude who DJed Beyonce and Jay's wedding (had my invite not gotten lost in the mail I would have known) and has all these A-list friends; many of them were on the guest list for the bash.
We got there just as the party was starting and it was already a zoo. By the time we left, we could barely leave due to the crowd. I left early so all I saw was Cassie and Jermaine Dupri but apparently other celebs were in the mix; tragically, I left before Bell Biv Devoe performed: They sang my theme song, "Poison!" So so so sad.
Here are some pics from the night (as usual, taken by moi).

Brooke Knows Best

Most of the time when I interview folks, I go to them, but every so often, the stars come to me _ well, really, to my offices, which have a pretty nice TV studio. That's why Brooke Hogan swung by our remote locale: I interviewed her for her new TV show, "Brooke Knows Best." But of course, what everyone really wants to know about is all the dang scandal: the parents' romantic hijinks, her brother's jail term, and more. Brooke was pretty open and cool to talk to; it's noteworthy that she still manages to goof around and laugh even though much of her life, at least family wise, has fallen apart. Here's a link to the article ....
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080711/ap_en_mu/celeb_q_a_brooke_hogan

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Usher at the Apollo











Usher came to the Apollo on June 6 for just a one-off show for fans, but he played it almost like it was a full-fledged concert; he crooned all the fave hits like "You Make Me Wanna" and "Burn," while also playing some of his new stuff, like "Love in This Club" and "Moving Mountains." Chris Brown was allegedly in the house, but I didn't see him. I did see Ciara jamming to the groove as well as Fat Joe; when we went to backstage, we also saw wife Tameka, who thanks to bloggers is probably just as famous as those other folks. LOL! Here are some pics of the great show, though a hater usher at the Apollo made me shut my camera off _ right when he was taking off his shirt! Talk about bad timing ... The first shot is a great one of Usher thanking a young disabled fan after the show.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chad from the Neptunes/Kanye show ...





I interviewed Chad from the Neptunes recently ... since he's known as the quiet one I was worried that the interview would be a bland one, but Chad had a lot to say and was very nice and engaging. Here's a link to that story.




photo by Nekesa Moody

http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2008/06/12/chad_hugo_the_other_neptune_inches_towar
Meanwhile, I interviewed him during the Kanye show; Rihanna was performing (and I hear killing it) so there was plenty of "ella ella" when I played back my interview to transcribe.

I did catch the Kanye set ... gotta say, very few performers can command the stage for almost two hours with just them onstage _ no musicians, no background singers, no booty girls. Kanye did his thing and the crowd was going crazy ... here's a snippet of that show as well.

Erykah at Radio City



I first saw Erykah Badu perform about ten years ago, and while she was in great voice, her stage show seemed a bit sterile then; she didn't engage as much with the audience. Flash forward a decade, and Erykah has developed into a sizzling performer whose eclecticism is as much a factor in her dynamic performance as her voice. When she performed at Radio City Music Hall on May 9, all of that was on display. Check out a glimpse of her performance.


video

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jammy Awards


Every year, I attend the Jammy Awards with a decided dose of blahness _ wondering, why did I decide to go? And each year I leave and say, "Dang, that was great _ why did I ever think that I wouldn't enjoy this?"


If you are not up on the Jammys, it's an awards show to celebrate the best on the jam-band scene and in the improvisational scene. This year, the buzz was all about Phish, who were getting a lifetime achievement award. There were rumors that they were going to perform, that they were going to maybe announce a tour _ but none of that happened. They did appear, and Trey Anastasio's speech was sweet and perhaps the emotional highlight of the night.


His performance though of Beatles' classics with the Fab Faux was the musical highlight though. A close second was hearing Doug E. Fresh jam with Jurrasic 5's Charlie 2na and Galatic on "The Show" and "La Di Da Di" and the jazz jam that included Phish's Page McConnell, Roy Haynes, James Carter and Christian McBride.


This is the last year of the Jammys, so this was a historic evening.


Here are some pics and video of the evening. Gotta say, Grace Potter looked gorgeous _ with legs like that she's the jam-band scene's Tina Turner! LOL!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MJ is always the perfect pickup ...




So, like I said, after the depressing Madonna Malawi documentary, I needed something to lift my spirits. And how convenient that Tribeca was also showing the very groundbreaking, most important musical film of all time that night _ "Thriller"! Their was face-painting, a dance contest and more to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that great album and video but of course I missed a lot of it ... I came in while they were midway showing the documentary on the making of "Thriller."

But it was loads of fun. There were at least 1,000 people outside to watch it on a beautiful night. Little kids were getting white gloves (see, MJ is kid appropriate). My girl Dara got her MJ on, and I got my white glove! John Landis, who directed the historic clip, was also on hand to sign autographs. It was cool hearing the excitement from people who had never seen the documentary (I've watched it too many times to count). Twenty-five years later, and it's still magical, and still manages to thrill.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Madonna's Malawi documentary




Remember the last time Madonna did a documentary, and the most shocking thing involved the creative use of a water bottle (so I've been told at least ...)

Well, don't expect any such frivolity when you watch "I Am Because We Are," her new documentary on Malawi, the southern African nation from which she took home David, the child she is trying to adopt.

The movie is a very, very, very, very, very (did I say very?) depressing look at the tragedy of this country, and another one of those movies that makes you wonder if Africa will ever emerge out of its malaise. This movie was particularly paralyzing for me _ after watching how the AIDS crisis is devastating the country, the abject poverty, the superstitions that are holding them back and the horrific violence that some perpetrate on each other, it made me wonder if any help would help at all. Madonna tries to end the movie on a hopeful note but after almost two hours of nothing but misery it's a tough sell.

Madonna showed the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival, in front of packed theater _ Natalie Portman was in the audience, as was her BFF Rosie O'Donnell. She later answered questions for the crowd ... all in all, it was a riveting evening. But I so needed a pick me up after that!