Here are my picks for music stories you’ll want to be aware of in this edition of the Music News Roundup for the week of 8 September 2014.
Kriss Kross’s Chris Kelly honored at hip-hop gala
According to Billboard.com, late Kriss Kross member Chris Kelly, was honored at the first Love and Die for Hip-Hop Black Out Gala on 6 September 2014. Kelly was one half of the group Kriss Kross which is famous for the hit song, ‘Jump’, which can be viewed below. Kelly died last year of what appeared to be a drug overdose.
The event, which took place at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, was hosted by musician and former radio host Ed Lover, Lil’ Wayne’s daughter Reginae Carter, and the Three Brown Girls. The host committee involved multiple stars including Tiny Harris from Xscape, Kirk and Rasheeda Frost from Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta, and former music executive Shanti Das. Other honorees included Kawan ‘KP’ Prather and Rico Wade who were both instrumental in shaping Atlanta’s hip-hop scene.
The proceeds from the event went to music scholarships for students at the Atlanta Institute and Media which was Kelly’s alma mater.
Tragedy strikes G.R.L.
This past weekend saw the death of G.R.L. group member and The X Factor alum, Simone Battle. According to multiple outlets, the 25-year-old singer was found on 5 September, but no specific cause of death had been determined. The outlets go on to state that an autopsy was scheduled to take place this past weekend. Battle was a finalist on The X Factor in 2011 and joined G.R.L. shortly after in 2012.
G.R.L. was formed in 2011 by Robin Antin, the creator of the Pussycat Dolls. She formed the group as a reboot of the Pussycat Dolls after the group’s disbandment in 2010, but the group has evolved into a girl group with a unique identity of its own.
When asked in an interview with People Magazine earlier that year, Battle said, ‘We’d all been pursuing careers in the industry on our own, individually, but once we found each other, we realized we wanted to do it together. It felt so right. The chemistry was perfect.’
The ladies of G.R.L. got their break when they were featured on Pitbull’s ‘Wild Wild Love‘. After that, the group maintained their momentum with performances on The Today Show and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The group released their debut single titled ‘Ugly Heart’ in June, and a self-titled EP soon followed on July 29th.
Two members of the group, Natasha Slayton and Lauren Bennett, as well as Antin have posted lengthy messages expressing their dismay at the loss of their group mate and friend. Several collaborators and music industry professionals including Pitbull, Dr. Luke, Simon Cowell, Cirkut, and Nicole Scherzinger have tweeted their condolences.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we hope those affected by this tragedy are able to get through this and get the healing they may seek.
Ladies’ Code members face a double tragedy
Two members of the K Pop girl group, Ladies’ Code, have died this week. The deaths of EunB and RiSe, who died only four days apart, come after a car crash near Seoul on 3 September, 2014.
According to BBC, a police inspector said the group was coming back from a television appear in Daegu. The van driver was treated for small injuries, So Jung is being treated for a fractured jaw, and Ashley and Zuny were treated for minor injuries and shock.
Unfortunately, 22-year-old Go Eun-bi, who was known as EunB, did not survive the crash and her funeral was held on September 5th.
The group, which had debuted in 2013, had recently released their new single ‘Kiss Kiss’.
On Sunday morning, it was announced that 23-year-old RiSe had also died. Polaris Entertainment said the following in an official statement on allkpop.com:
‘At the time of the accident on the 3rd, RiSe obtained a big injury to her head and was moved to the hospital. She was operated on as much as possible for a long time, but she has ultimately passed away. Her parents, who came from Japan, and the label employees stayed with her at the end. We are sorry to give another sad news since the late EunB and we cannot hide our sorrow.’
The BBC article said the authorities are investigating the crash. The driver was questioned shortly after being treated, and a camera that was inside the van was sent to the National Forensic Service.
Roger Waters premiers new documentary at TIFF
A new Pink Floyd documentary may be on its way to theatres soon. Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters decided to celebrate his 71st birthday with the documentary’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), according to Billboard.
The documentary titled Roger Waters: The Wall follows Waters on his recent tour where he covered Pink Floyd’s 1979 album by the same title. The documentary also explores Waters’ inspiration for writing the album.
After being sang happy birthday by the audience, Waters revealed details behind the documentary. He said he began working with co-director Sean Evans five years ago to update his show with ‘a more ecumenical and anti-war approach’ to reflect his personal views. The tour has reportedly raked in $500 million in gross profits.
After the film, he participated in a Q&A that was moderated by Piers Handling, the CEO of TIFF.
The film does not yet have a release, but here’s to hoping that we won’t have to wait too long.
Cee Lo Green finds himself in hot water
Cee Lo Green, singer and former host of The Voice, has found himself in hot water again this past week. The singer recently pleaded no contest to the furnishing of ecstasy, in connection with a 2012 court case that was filed against the singer for sexual assault. The plaintiff alleged that Cee Lo had slipped ecstasy into her drink without her knowledge and then had sex with her – sex that she had no recollection of.
The original sexual assault charge was thrown out for insufficient evidence, but Cee Lo was still charged for the furnishing of a controlled substance.
Cee Lo maintained that he is innocent despite the plea. He then took to Twitter where things quickly went south. Cee Lo sent several tweets including:
‘People who have been raped REMEMBER!!’
‘If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! So WITH implies consent.’
‘When someone brakes on a home there is broken glass where is your plausible proof anyone was raped’
‘So if I TRIED but did NOT succeed but the person said I DID then what really happened?’ ‘
The reactions to Green’s tweets have been swift. According to The Hollywood Reporter, TBS cancelled his television show The Good Life the day after the tweets came to light. Although, Cee Lo issued an ‘apology‘ the next day, it hasn’t stopped others from distancing themselves from the singer.
In an announcement made on 5 September, a representative from a United States Navy-sponsored concert called Freedom LIVE that is scheduled for September 20th, released the following statement on their Facebook page:
‘Unfortunately, one of the performers we signed for the JBAB Freedom Live show on 20 September recently posted comments on social media that we consider to completely inconsistent with Navy core values. Regardless of intent or context, the lack of sensitivity towards an issue that is one of the great challenges facing our Navy is unacceptable.’
Ticket holders can receive a refund if they wish, and a replacement performer will soon be announced.
And that’s not the only festival that dropped Cee Lo. He has also been dropped from the Gretna Heritage Festival, where he was previously scheduled to be a headliner, according to The Times-Picayune.
I, personally, am quite pleased with the swift response to Cee Lo’s comments. The comments he made are absolutely deplorable and should have no place. I do have a question, though. While I understand that it’s seen as good business (and professional courtesy) to stay silent on another singer’s issues, I have to wonder where the comments from Cee Lo’s fellow recording artists are – many of whose audiences are overwhelmingly made up of women.
I feel like an exploration of the issue is another article in itself. For now, I can only hope Cee Lo can realise how harmful what he’s said was, accept responsibility, and grow from this situation to make sure his words and actions line up with the love for women he has previously professed to have.
But that’s enough from me. What music stories have caught your eye? Feel free to let me know.