Mary J. Blige Hub
With the Republican National Convention wrapped up and Mitt Romney now that party's official nominee, the Democratic Party is prepping for their own confab and today announced that Mary J. Blige, Earth, Wind and Fire as well as the Foo Fighters will be performing the night President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden officially start their reelection campaign.
Blige is a favorite of the Obama administration's: she appeared at the 2009 inauguration and at a White House holiday event. James Taylor, Inspire the Fire, Marc Anthony and the folk rockers from Delta Rae will also perform at the Charlotte event starting next week.
Los Angeles MayoR Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the event, said the musical talent "only adds to the excitement building in Charlotte for the historic week ahead of us."
"The tens of thousands who will attend convention events in person, and all those tuning in across the country, should be ready for quite a show," he said.
I have a report from last night's major 'No on Prop 8' fundraiser at Ron Burkle's estate in Beverly Hills.
Our source writes:
"First the good news: 'No on Prop 8' raised at least $3.9 million from last night's event! Ron Burkle underwrote the entire evening so that every dollar donated went to the No on Prop 8 campaign. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom donated $100,000. David Hyde Pierce donated $50,000. They also announced that in the past two weeks, 'No on 8' had taken in $10 million to the 'Yes on Proposition 8' campaign's $2 million. If I'm doing my math correctly, at this point we should be fairly even with the bigots in terms of funds raised.
"Patrick Guerriero stated that 'No on Prop 8' had just completed a Spanish language radio ad that was ready to air. He also announced that 'No on Prop 8' would soon be running recently completed ads specifically to address and counter the false claims made in the advertisements run by the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.
"Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stated that the campaign was trying to reach out to Hispanic voters and that he would volunteer to be the face of the television ads and the voice of the radio ads.
"Now for the entertainment!:
"Melissa Etheridge opened her set with Laura Nyro's 'Wedding Bell Blues', only she changed the lyrics 'Marry me, Bill' to 'Marry me, Jill.' She also played Janice Joplin's 'Bobby McGee'. Throughout the set she made lots of jokes as well as pointed comments about what Yes on Proposition 8's $25 million dollars could have bought (housing for people left homeless by Katrina, etc...) In the middle of her set, she said she wanted to help raise more money for No on Prop 8 by auctioning off a song, any song, for the highest bidder...with bidding starting at $50,000. There were no takers, so she started into her next song. She closed her set with 'Bring Me Some Water'. After that, Lorri Jean (director of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center) announced that two anonymous men (David and Paul, I believe), had agreed to donate $50,000 to No on Prop 8 if Melissa Etheridge would sing a song at their wedding ceremony on December 20. She accepted their proposal!
"Mary J. Blige followed Melissa Etheridge. I don't know her music, so I can't really tell you much of what she sang. The only one of her songs that I've been able to figure out is 'No More Drama'...very powerful! She also performed a cover of U2's 'One'. She looked AMAZING!"
Donate to the 'No on Prop 8' campaign HERE.
***As a footnote to this report, I'd like Towleroad readers to know that based on the tracking the campaign has done off links from this site, together you have raised at least $63,000 so far for the 'No on Prop 8' campaign.
Music News: The BBC Edits "Faggot" Out Of The Pogues' Christmas Classic, Plus Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Shelby Lynne, Gary Barlow
Please welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning weekly music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.
In the U.K., the BBC backed down a day after announcing its decision to censor the word "faggot" from Radio 1 plays of The Pogues' holiday classic, "Fairytale Of New York". The 1987 song, a duet with deceased vocalist Kirsty Maccoll, features reminiscent bickering between fictional ex-lovers, wherein Maccoll admonishes Pogues' singer Shane MacGowan with "you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot," and he refers to her as "an old slut on the junk."
The BBC had previously said, "We are playing an edited version because some members of the audience might find it offensive." Today, the BBC reported, "Controller Andy Parfitt said the original decision was 'wrong'."
The decision came after the Stonewall organization took the BBC to task for its apparent hypocrisy, as popular morning show DJ Chris Moyles refuses to apologize for his frequent use of the word "gay" in a manner "more associated with homophobic playground language."
Stonewall chief Ben Summerskill said to PinkNews.co.uk: "We would be happier to see Radio 1 take action against the persistently anti-gay Chris Moyles rather than bleep one word of a Christmas classic." In an awards ceremony put on by Stonewall last year where Chris Moyles was named Bully Of The Year, host Ian McKellen commented, "Chris Moyles repeatedly uses the word gay in the playground sense, without apology, that is inappropriate language for a host of a national breakfast show who speaks to millions of young children."
The U.K. paper The Telegraph also published comments from readers regarding the censorship of "Fairytale Of New York." Said one man identifying himself as gay: "To begin altering songs made long ago would mean bleeping out a lot of the music back catalogue. However, if the song was made today and directed at homosexuals solely then I do think that would be a whole different story."
"Fairytale Of New York" is a Christmastime staple on U.K. radio. The song originally peaked at #2 on the British chart in December 1987, held back by the Pet Shop Boys' "Always On My Mind." It has been re-released on several occasions, and is currently at #8 in this week's U.K. Top 10.
Within three days of its YouTube debut, Britney Spears' "Piece Of Me" video has garnered over 1.6 million views. There's nary a Chris Crocker cameo to be seen in the paparazzi-themed clip, but dig those backing vocals by Robyn.
Specifically designed to make you feel old, Epic will release the Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition (pictured left) February 12. Michael Jackson's landmark album will feature the nine original songs -- which include "The Girls Is Mine," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Startin' Something" and "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" -- as well as remixes, unreleased tracks "Carousel" and "Someone In The Dark," and a bonus DVD with three music videos and Jackson's original performance of "Billie Jean" from the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today And Forever special, where he first unleashed "the moonwalk" upon an unsuspecting world.
Martha Wainwright will join her brother Rufus on stage tomorrow at New York's Highline Ballroom for a Christmas charity performance benefiting SaveDarfur.org.
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
Pretty much the only album from a major artist this month, Mary J. Blige's Growing Pains, is out. The singer worked with Ne-Yo, The Neptunes, Polow da Don and Stargate on the record.
HOLIDAY CLIPS: I'll leave you with the music video (featuring a Matt Dillon cameo) for The Pogues' "Fairytale Of New York," and a perhaps less-offensive clip -- or more, depending on your tolerance for schmaltz -- of a 15-year-old, pre-Take That Gary Barlow performing his original composition "Let's Pray For Christmas" in a 1986 song competition on BBC's Pebble Mill. He didn't win.
I've always been a huge fan of Mary J. Blige, but after reading her cover interview in the forthcoming issue of The Advocate, my respect for her has grown by leaps and bounds.
"The majority of my fans are gay," she tells writer Ernest Hardy. "The majority of them are, and I have to really make sure that they know I’m paying attention to the fact that they support me, and I support them."
Blige talks about her youth: When I was growing up, my neighborhood was full of everyone—black, white, Latino, gay, straight. A lot of people that I knew were gay, but they were great people. They were good people. It’s not like they were alien. They were just people. That [acceptance] was just something that was always in me. I’ve never been a judgmental person because I have been through so much hell myself."
She also talks about the loss of her close friend songwriter Kenny Greene to AIDS, and why she got involved with causes like Minority AIDS Project: "[AIDS] was the elephant in the room that nobody’s looking at. It made me be like, Oh, this is right at our front door. This can touch us. So why wouldn’t I want to get involved with something that can help save all our lives, save everybody’s lives?"
And of homophobia in hip-hop, she adds: "The real hip-hop, the real people don’t even care about that. They’ll love you and accept you no matter what because they know who they are. There are a lot of people trying to figure out who they are and what they’re gonna be. There’s a lot of confusion in that. Confusion causes a lack of identity. I’ve heard a couple of guys say foul things, and those guys are not around me anymore because when they say things like that, I’m looking at them like, What makes you so scared? You don’t know who you are? I guess it all boils down to them not being sure about themselves and what they wanna do, whoever that is. I won’t say any names. And I don’t dislike them or anything—it just makes me wonder about them period. ’Cause if you’re not sure about that, then you ain’t sure about a lotta things!"
It's a lengthy interview, with plenty of info on her new album Growing Pains. It hits newsstands on November 20.
The Advocate [website]