Sunday April 14th, 2002
New CD's this week:
This week was a bit of a quiet week as far
new albums was concerned. There was the
debut album of a group totally unknow to me called Diversiti. And the other was from
Woody Rock with guest appearences from Dru Hill, Natalie Wilson, Mary Mary, Gospel
Gangstaz, Case, Ruff Endz and Men Of Standard
Short news stories this week:
Nona Gaye To Take Aaliyah's "Matrix" Role
The filming of the long-awaited sequel to
"The Matrix," which was to feature Aaliyah in
the role of "Zee" can now go forward after a lengthy re-audition process. Nona Gaye,
daughter of R&B legend Marvin Gaye, has been chosen to fill the role left open by the
death last August of Aaliyah, who had already filmed portions of the movie before her
Carribean plane crash. "The Matrix: Reloaded" will introduce the character Zee, but the
role will grow considerably in the third Matrix installment. Filming for Reloaded will
begin next week.
Joe Responds To R. Kelly's Dis
R&B singer-songwriter Joe has responded
to embattled R&B superstar R. Kelly's recent
negative comments. In a Vibe magazine interview, Kelly said, "He (Joe) has a beautiful
voice, but I think he needs a producer who is going to give him who he is, not who I am."
During a conference call on Wednesday (April 10), Joe offered, the following to response
to R. Kelly's comments: "I think it's kind of distasteful, you know, especially with what's
going on with him right now. I think he would have more things to be concerned with
opposed to talking about my career, what I sound like, and who I sound like. You know, I
produce most of my music and, you know, believe it or not, I like guitars. I'm sure he
likes guitars. I like piano, he likes piano. I like bass and drums, he like bass and drums.
Either I do an a capella album...I don't think that's gonna happen. I think we like the same
kind of music."
Joe continued: "I think there was a time when he was compared to Aaron Hall from Guy,
so it doesn't really bother me. I think people just talk and want to just stir and get a whole
bunch of things going. But, you know, what I'm not fearful of is ridicule or whatever, you
know--I just do the music that I love to do. I'm flattered that he's threatened by my ability
to--I guess, I would say, if he says it, you know--sound like him. I'm just trying to do the
music that I love to--that people and that my fans can appreciate."
In related news, Joe will begin his North American tour on April 13 at the Union County
Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey. He will be joined on tour by the legendary Maze
featuring Frankie Beverly.
Mary J. Blige Cancels Italy Date Due To Terrorist Threat
Overseas fans of Mary J. Blige might be
saddened to know that the singer has canceled a
planned engagement in Italy. Blige was to perform in Milan on Tuesday (April 16), but
the show has been canceled due to a recent U.S. State Department warning that terrorists
in Italy might strike American visitors.
Promoters of the show said, "Following the American government statement to its
citizens regarding possible terrorist cities, the artist decided to cancel the concert." Blige
was to promote her latest album, No More Drama, at the show, which was promoted by
U.S.-based Clear Channel Entertainment.
Ashanti Beats Tweet To Debut At #1 On
"I feel so crazy right now - just in
the air," Ashanti said when she learned that her self-
titled debut would claim the #1 spot on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart.
She heard the news while visiting a radio station in New York. Murder Inc. CEO Irv
Gotti paged the R&B star with the SoundScan figures: #1 with more than 500,000 copies
sold. The "Foolish" singer was so excited that she and her friends celebrated with a bottle
of Dom Perignon live on the radio.
It was clear that Gotti was proud of Ashanti. "I'm a dreamer. I always say we can go
beyond our expectations, but she went beyond my expectations," he said. "I've never been
speechless in my whole career, but I'm speechless."
And with good reason. Ashanti's first-week numbers were so big, she outsold the #2
artist, Celine Dion, and #3 artist, Tweet, combined. Former chart-topper Dion's A New
Day Has Come sold more than 260,000 copies. And Tweet, Missy "Misdemeanor"
Elliott's protégé and the artist billed as Ashanti's direct competition, flew Southern
Hummingbird into third place, selling nearly 195,000 albums, according to SoundScan
figures released Wednesday (April 10)
Brian McKnight And Jermaine Dupri Team Up For Remix
Brian McKnight and Jermaine Dupri have
linked for the remix of McKnight's "What's It
Gonna Be," McKnight's new single. The remix appears on the Cornerstone Mixtape, a
music industry sampler, and is expected to hit radio stations soon.
The single comes from McKnight's album Superhero, which was released last fall, and
features the Grammy-nominated "Love Of My Life," as well as collaborations with
*NSYNC's Justin Timberlake on "My Kind Of Girl," and Nate Dogg on "Don't Know
Where To Start."
Former R. Kelly Protege Sparkle Says Singer Molested Her Niece
Former R. Kelly protegee Sparkle maintains
that her niece is the young girl exploited in
the alleged R. Kelly sex tape.
The popular singer, who released the Number One R. Kelly-produced song "Be Careful"
in 1998, discussed the ordeal Wednesday (April 3) on KKBT (The Beat) Los Angeles.
Sparkle, who is the aunt who turned over the sex tapes to authorities in Chicago, said that
the public has placed more attention on the multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning
Kelly than on her niece, who was 14 years old at the time the tape was made.
"People want to say, 'That's not R. Kelly,' but what about my niece?" Sparkle told Adimu,
the radio station's afternoon on-air personality.
When Adimu asked Sparkle how her niece was doing, she paused for a long moment
before answering. "To me, that's the important thing," Sparkle said. "My niece, she's
exposed. It's like, Robert is going to be okay. He's got the money, the fame--you know,
everybody don't want to see a black man being brought down. But what about the
children? What about our kids?"
The traumatic experience has caused a division in Sparkle's family, since some family
members did not want the case to go public. Sparkle believes some cases may be settled
out of court. "There has been a couple cases that have come to light so that they would
not go to criminal court," she said. "But there are others that haven't been spoken of that
have possibly been paid off."
Still, she feels that the authorities have substantial evidence against R. Kelly. "I believe
that they have a lot that they are actually going to bring to light," she said. "But as of
right now, it's still being investigated, and until the powers that be come say, 'Yo, indict
him for whatever whatever,' it's still just an investigation."
Sparkle discredits Kelly's legal counsel as without compassion for young African-
American children. "I don't believe that they give even two hoots about our black
children," she said.
But Sparkle said she won't allow Kelly's defense stop her from speaking out, even though
her reputation is on the line. "Reputation is just what people think of you," she said. "But
my character, at the end of the day, is what I do. And at the end of the day, I've done right
by going in and saying, 'Yeah, that is her, and why is this happening.'"
Sparkle introduced her niece to Kelly, in hopes of helping the then 12-year-old female
rapper land a break in the music business. The child's father, Sparkle's brother-in-law,
eventually played guitar for Kelly, Sparkle said.
Sparkle's 1998 debut was released on R. Kelly's Interscope imprint, but she left his label
and her 2000 follow-up was released on Motown. She says that after she and Kelly
severed their ties, Kelly's relationship with her niece turned into molestation
Sparkle feels remorse for introducing Kelly to her niece. "Although I'm not responsible
for his act, I feel responsible for even taking her there," she said.
When asked for her reaction to the alleged R. Kelly sex tape, which is being played on
the Internet and sold on street corners, Sparkle said that it was not appropriate to say on
air the words she really wanted to express. "It's messed up," she said. "I mean, she's just
being exposed to the world. It's sickening. And definitely hurtful for kids period, around
this country. I mean, we are adults, and we're supposed to look out for our children. I
can't even express it, dude. I swear to God. It's just massive."