Friday, December 31, 2010

Momentum from amazing 2010 to continue in New Year

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have an amazing year.

Of course, no year is perfect. Everyone has their setbacks and obstacles.

But for me, the good definitely outweighed the bad in 2010.

In February, I received the "People on the Move" Award presented by Lizette Parker, the deputy mayor of my hometown of Teaneck, N.J. I'm so thankful for the honor. Thank you!

A few months later, I found out I was being honored with the National Association of Black Journalists "Emerging Journalist of the Year" Award. I accepted the award in July in San Diego. Hands down, the best moment of 2010. Thank you to NABJ President Kathy Times and the entire NABJ for the recognition and the continued support.

I had a great year at the New York Daily News, covering some amazing stories. In September, I was moved from the night shift to the day shift. A switch that allowed for continued growth and more incredible opportunities. I'm so thankful to work with such a talented crew of journalists. You guys definitely make me better. Thank you!!

Of course, I'm also thankful to have the support of my family and friends. It's because of them that I am able to do what I do.

I'm not big on making New Year's resolutions. Instead, I'll just vow to continue to work hard and carry the momentum from 2010 into 2011.

If you're chasing your dream, keep working hard. It will pay off. I'm proof.

Now, excuse me while I hit my dougie on last time for 2010... :-)

(check me out in the video below - another one of my favorite moments of 2010 - shout out to GA!)


Thursday, December 30, 2010

A real 'Monster' released 25 years ago

Kanye West's video for "Monster" was finally released today.

It was just okay for me.

It should probably be no surprise that the best part was Nicki Minaj's scene, which featured one of her many different personalities. After all, she did steal the show on the song (before the video was released).

I was hoping that Mr. West stepped out of his character a little bit more. Seeing close-ups of his blinged out mouth, and women grabbing on him wasn't really satisfying for me. Maybe he should have popped in some crazy looking contact lenses or something? I would have liked to see him become a different kind of 'monster.' I feel like we got the same 'ole Kanye. I guess carrying a woman's head was good enough, right?? Ah, well.

But while watching it, I couldn't help but think about another 'monster' from 25 years ago.

Diana Ross transformed into something of a 'monster' in her 1985 video for the Michael Jackson penned "Eaten Alive." Now, this was a pretty good effort for being in the early stages of the music video craze.

Ross proved not only was she, "The Boss," but she was a damn good monster in this video.

Check out Kanye's video, and then watch Diana's. Which one do you like better?? I have my feelings, what's yours??

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tupac's murder still unsolved; Suge not charged

It only takes a moment to kill a rumor. But it only takes a second to spread one in the Twitter world.

Well, I'm going to kill this rumor right now: Marion "Suge" Knight has not been charged in the 1996 shooting death of Tupac.

The latest silly rumor comes during a week where Twitter users also falsely reported the death of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. She's just one of several celebrities whose been a victim of a "Twitter death."

However, today's Internet hoax was pumped up by a YouTube video that appeared to show a TV news report that covered Knight's arrest for the 14-year-old unsolved murder.

But if you just paid attention, and did a little research it was easy to tell that this video was a hoax.

First, it included clips from two different Los Angeles TV stations - KTLA and FOX 11.

Also, it shows the date as "May 20, 2010." And the voice of the reporter in the second part of the clip, Jesse Gary, is clearly recorded over.

Lastly, a very quick check of the KTLA and FOX 11 websites would quickly dispel this rumor, and you could go on about your business. There are no such stories about an arrest in the death of Tupac on either website.

So people, please do a little research before you start spreading rumors because you saw it in a Twitter trending topic. Or in this case, because you saw a "news clip" on YouTube.

::Below is the phony video::

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soul singer Teena Marie found dead

Teena Marie, best known for her funky soul hits, was found dead at her home by her daughter, according to reports. She was 54.

The news of her death quickly spread on Twitter, where users have recently been falsely reporting the deaths of many prominent celebrities, including Morgan Freeman.

Unfortunately, tweets reporting Marie's death tonight were indeed true.

The "Square Biz" singer was also known for her relationship with the late Rick James. The pair last performed their hit song, "Fire & Desire" at the 2004 BET Awards. (watch video below)

The cause of her death is not yet known.

CNN's Roland Martin was among the first to confirm the news.

"Mike Gardner, the manager of @, just told me that it is true: the legendary R&B singer has indeed died," Martin tweeted tonight around 9 p.m.

"No cause of death has been provided in the death of Teena Marie. Her manager, Mike Gardner, said her body is at the coroner's office," read another Martin tweet.

Her manager also told Martin that it was Marie's daughter, Alia Rose, who found her mother dead. Rose just celebrated her 19th birthday yesterday.

Other entertainers, including Sheila E., Ronald Isley and Kym Whitley, have also taken to Twitter to confirm Marie's passing.

"I just found out I lost my friend @. Im not responding to any tweets. Signing off," tweeted Whitley, who said she just spoke to Marie yesterday.

"You dont get a prize for being the first to announce someone is dead & who wants to deliver that kind of news," Whitley continued on Twitter.

Side Note from M.Feenz:
I never saw Teena Marie perform live, but I did *hear* her performing at an outdoor show at Chene Park in Detroit in 2006. I remember leaving the office at the Associated Press, which was near the park on the Detroit River, and I was absolutely blown away by the power in her voice. Even well past her prime, she still had it. What a singer. RIP Lady T

Monday, December 20, 2010

Year in Music: Top Albums/Songs

It's the end of the year, and everyone is making their lists highlighting the year's best songs and albums.

So, you know I had to make my own lists.

My fellow journalism buddies - Mesfin Fekadu and Melanie Sims (both of the Associated Press) - agreed to make their lists as well.

It was a "challonge" issued by Fekadu on Twitter to do top albums of the year. Then, Sims upped the ante requesting that we do top songs of the year as well.

In the words of my homie Calhoun Tubbs (of In Living Color), like to hear it, here it go:

Top 10 Albums of the Year:

1.) Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
Say what you want about Yeezy, but the dude made a masterpiece of an album. He had tons of assistance from some really talented pals, but it didn't even matter. Kanye is a musical genius for bringing all those people together for this album. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" plays from start to finish, no skipping. No wonder he was named "Man of the Year" by MTV.

2.) Erykah Badu "New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh"
She stirred up some controversy when she stripped naked at the site of JFK's assassination in the video for "Window Seat." It had everyone talking. Too bad more people didn't talk about the amazing album she put out. Ms. Badu definitely should have been nominated for a Grammy. But she got snubbed (and I don't think she cares). Oh well. Life is about more than Grammy's, right?

3.) Eminem "Recovery"
Em roared back with this album. "Love the Way You Lie," "No Love," "Won't Back Down"....doesn't matter what song you pick. There's no space fillers on here. Definitely deserving of the 10 Grammy nods. And this album sounds great no matter where you listen to it -- on the computer or sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium.

4.) B.o.B. "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray"
I didn't know what to expect from this B.o.B. album, but it easily became one of my favorites and one the best albums of the year. "Nothin' on You" featuring Bruno Mars was one of the year's biggest songs. But this album was carried by more than just a hot single. For his first album, this is what every artist should strive for on their introduction to the music world.

5.) Bruno Mars "Doo-Wops & Hooligans"
Another hot debut that really caught me by surprise. "Just the Way You Are" was big song this year, but like B.o.B.'s album, the lead single wasn't all the album had to offer. In fact, "Grenade" is just as good as the lead single, maybe even better.

6.) Alicia Keys "The Element of Freedom"
This year for A-Keys was probably more about her personal life. She's now married and a mother. But before all that, she released a pretty solid album. "Doesn't Mean Anything," "Love Is Blind," "Wait Til You See My Smile," "Like the Sea"....are just a few standout tracks. My favorite though was "Unthinkable." Looking forward to her next album, which I'm sure will be strongly influenced by her hubby, Swizz Beatz. She definitely got robbed of a Grammy nod for this album.

7.) Rihanna "Loud"
Like Eminem, Rihanna returned to her old ways with this album. Maybe the red hair helped a bit. She was also helped by going back to her uptempo roots. "What's My Name," "Only Girl," "Raining Men," "Cheers"....they were all great for the album. But the song that stole the show goes to the reggae influenced tune, "Man Down."

8.) Drake "Thank Me Later"
It was easily one of the year's most anticipated albums. While it may not have been as good as his earlier mixtapes, this was still a great success for the Canadian rap star. "Over," "Fireworks," "Show Me a Good Time," "Up All Night," "Fancy".....this album was stacked with radio-friendly tunes --- the best part was you good sing-along to just about all of them.

9.) Chris Brown & Tyga "Fan of a Fan" (mixtape)
It's the mixtape that produced "Deuces," and also included "No Bullshit" (which was on his previous mixtape). Those two songs are C-Breezy's biggest tracks since the whole "Rihanna incident," bringing him back to where he belongs in the music game. If the mixtape world has helped anyone bounce back, it would be Chris Brown. He released three mixtapes this year.

10.) Usher "Raymond v. Raymond"
This was an easy album to like, considering his last album, Here I Stand, wasn't very good. I would go out on a limb and say his divorce was a tremendous factor in the success of this album.


Top 5 Songs

With so many great songs to choose from, this was really tough. But these are *my* top songs of the year.

1.) "Nothing on You" - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars

2.) "Monster" - Kanye West feat. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Jay-Z

3.) "Unthinkable (I'm Ready)" - Alicia Keys

4.) "Just the Way You Are" - Bruno Mars

5.) "Teach Me How to Dougie" - Cali Swag District

Honorable mention: "Omg" - Usher; "Deuces" - Chris Brown; Rick Ross - "Blowing Money Fast"; "All I Want Is You" - Miguel; "Beamer, Benz or Bentley" - Lloyd Banks; "Love the Way You Lie" - Eminem

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weezy No. 1 on iTunes

Lil' Wayne is used to being No. 1.

But the last time he was No. 1, he was still behind bars at Rikers Island.

Now, the Young Money leader is a free man, and he was back in New York last night to perform with Eminem on Saturday Night Live.

It was his first televised performance since being released from Rikers Island last month. He served eight months for a gun possession charge.

Weezy closed out the show performing his new single, "Six Foot, Seven Foot." The song is the first single off his upcoming album, Tha Carter IV.

And it should be no surprise that the track, which features Cory Gunz, is now No. 1 on iTunes. (ahead of Bruno Mars' "Grenade" and Katy Perry's "Fireworks")

No stopping Weezy F. Baby.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lil' Kim airs out Nicki Minaj and Diddy on Hot 97

Lil' Kim is still dangerous when given the microphone.

She proved that Friday afternoon as she was a guest on Hot 97's Angie Martinez Show.

But Kim wasn't rapping, instead she was doing her best to discuss her highly talked about beef with Nicki Minaj.

The Queen Bee even imitated the Minaj during the radio interview. She attempted to talk like the often animated Queens rapstress.

"You don't pick fights with Kimmie Blanco," she said. "Cause I'm not taking my foot off her neck. Now, you started this. I hope she ready for this 'cause I don't play."

However, despite their beef Kim said she would do a track with the Pink Friday rapper.

"Now, I would do a song with her," she said. "For the right price...$7 million - maybe."

Oh, Kim.

In other highlights, she talked about her rocky relationship with Diddy, her feelings on the movie Notorious, dating Scott Storch and she had a few words for Faith Evans. She certainly covered all the bases.

On the Notorious movie/Faith/Biggie:

-"I was very hurt," she said of the Notorious movie. "They went through everything to try to sensationalize the movie by using my character to do it...They didn't sensationalize Faith's character. They sensationalized my character."

-"They had it like as if I was always mad or bothered with her...I was his mistress so to speak. She was basically like a stalker for me and BIG... But at the end of the day I understand because she was married to the man, and at that time I was his girlfriend," she said of Faith Evans.

On dating Scott Storch:

-"He treated me like a Queen...When I was going to jail he was a big support system to me. Not just financially, but we were friends. People found that hard to believe that we really had a great boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. But we really did. We used to have fun. We used to laugh a lot."

On Nicki Minaj:

-"I saw her coming up. I saw her making her way," she said. "Lil' Kim is a entertainer. I just happened to be talented, but I'm a hustler first. So at the end of the day when I'm looking on the Internet I'm looking for business opportunities. I'm not looking for beef. I'm not looking to see who I can start war with. That's not me. That's not what I do."

-"I could also see that she was very inspired by me," she said. "I haven't been doing music like that for a second. I looked her buzz as a way for kind of come back in."

-"In my eyes, I needed that exposure as far as music is concerned," she said, regarding a song she did with Nicki Minaj. "And then when we did the record they put it out on iTunes...I guess it didn't get the response that they wanted so they pulled it...I looked like it like they kinda used me to stamp it. Cause they knew that they were gonna kinda steal my swag...If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay. Somethin' got to give."

-"I see her at the Sweet 16," she said, referring to Justin Combs' birthday bash earlier this year. "Now, if you don't have a problem with me or if it isn't nothing. You don't be this close to me, and roll your eyes and put your head down and walk right past me."

-"You're gonna find out she's bipolar," she said. "The girl is not as stupid as people think she is. She know exactly what she's doin just to make people feel sorry for her. That's her thing. She's a very contradicting creature...Everything that's in the dark is going to reveal itself in the light pretty soon. And I really feel like now it's about to happen...God made it so I could that have my way back in, and really represent the right way in this game for the females."

-"She wanted to be the only one out there. We could be in this game together. She just wanted to be out there by herself. That's definitely it," she said.

On Diddy:

"He is the most positive-negative mothersucka I've ever met," she said. "You take his butt and put it to his mouth and get a spark 'cause it's a negative and a positive."

-"I had a lot of love for Puffy," she said. "Where I'm at with Puffy is I'm sick of it. I'm sick of him not being loyal to at least one person. That's where I'm at with him. Be loyal to one person for me, please. Show me one person, and then I can maybe open my arms back up to you."

"My problem with you Puffy is the fact that you sit there and say you would never let homegirl talk reckless about me, but you on a record with her - which is your record - and she's talking reckless to me. If that was me, Puffy would have been like, 'That record can't go out. That can't go out.' He would have shut it down. With her, he just lettin' it all ride because he trying to get in where he fit in over there."

"At this point my attitude with Puffy is whatever," she said. "He can't ask me for nothing no more...He come to me, he better come correct 'cause it's all about that paper."

A little burnt hair isn't stopping this model: "Hair grows; Life goes"

To be compared to Michael Jackson is usually a good thing. But not when it's because your hair caught on fire in a freak accident.

New York model Miyoki Jones was just sitting naked in a bath tub surrounded by models, Kevin Hart, Trey Songz and Fabolous. She was smiling as Hart hyped up the event for viewers. Songz was tossing what looked like rose petals in the tub that was surrounded by lit candles.

Then the unexpected happened.

A small flame quickly grew from the back of Miyoki's head.

She quickly patted her burning hair in a panic and then appeared to dunk her head under the water to save her long locks.

"I'm being compared to MJ so early in my career... Thank you! Ha," she tweeted after the incident.

The King of Pop's hair caught on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. He suffered second and third-degree burns to his face and scalp, and was rushed to a hospital. Far worse than Miyoki, who didn't even go to the hospital.

The event, which was promotion for Diddy Dirty Money's album, The Last Train to Paris, was being broadcast via UStream from a Manhattan hotel on Tuesday night.

TMZ caught up with the rising model as she walked through Times Square.

"I'm a paid model," she said, explaining that night was just another gig. "The candle just lit my hair on fire. I have a lot of hair."

Now, Miyoki is wearing her hair in a tight bun instead of letting the damage show.

"I didn't know what was going on. I heard crackling while the cameras were rolling," she said. "I believe it was Trey Songz who said, 'Oh my God your hair is on fire.'"

She credited Diddy with being very attentive following the accident at the London Hotel.

Miyoki seems to be taking the embarrassing event in stride.

"Hair grows; Life goes," she tweeted.

She also clarified on Twitter that it was indeed her real hair that caught on fire. Not an Indian Remi weave, as many people initially believed.

"its good and untouched! :-) and... It was my real hair," she tweeted to Hot 97 radio personality Angie Martinez. (the model was referring to her scalp as being "good and untouched")

Now, the model is debating her next hairstyle.

"Should I Halle Berry my hair or Amber Rose it?" she tweeted.

Whatever she decides, I just hope she says no to 'the Cassie.'