Every year I make ten different lists of ten things.
This is a list of my favorite musical events of 2014. This includes songs, albums, live performances and videos.
This list is in no particular order:
10. John Legend performs Marvin Gaye’s WHAT’S GOING ON at the Hollywood Bowl
John Legend recreated the classic Marvin Gaye album with a full orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. He also added young poets to the show who were so powerful they made my daughter cry. I don’t usually go for poetry, but this was perfect.
9. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
Love everything about this record. Great reinvention of a classic sound, great “you go girl” big bone anthem, funny white appropriation of black flavor but not as buggy as Iggy A.
8. These Hoes Ain’t Loyal – Chris Brown
Bold lyric, especially for a not fully rehabilitated in the public eye Chris Brown. But when a minister borrows the title for a sermon, very clearly resonates with the peoples.
7. The dinner music at the Governor’s Awards
I actually never saw that clip before now. Wow.
Usually the Governor’s Awards doesn’t have live music, or even during dinner. I called my man Ray Chew, who has been the musical director for the BET Awards, American Idol, The Emmys and So You Think You Can Dance, and asked him to do the greatest movie music. People were blown away by their renditions of Moon River, Live And Let Die, West Side Story, Shaft and so much more. The room was rocking!
6. Steve Wonder performs Songs In The Key Of Life
Stevie Wonder live? No brainer. Stevie Wonder doing the ENTIRE milestone album? Insane.
First of all, the opening choir was insane. Then hearing one of the greatest sneak up on you opening songs for an album ever, Love’s In Need Of Love Today. With a live string section, Village Ghetto Land was even better than the original track. Stevie even got choked up performing (one of the many times he got emotional that night).
The transition to Contusion, which felt show offy when I first listened to the album, was a welcome explosion that pumped up the energy. The dual drummers exploded on I Wish, and…so on and so on. Stevie cleverly integrated the 4 songs on the 45 into the body of the album earlier so he could end with As and Another Star, which rocked. As if they wasn’t enough, he then went into a melody of greatest hits!
5. Amerigo Gazaway & Yasiin Gaye – The Departure
This mixtape was the album I played the most this year. I don’t know how they thought that Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey) and Marvin Gaye is the perfect combination, but man, it was a brilliant idea! Really clever combinations of different eras of Marvin Gaye and great lyrics by Mos, plus other clever additions make it perfect for most occasions.
4. The Guardians of the Galaxy
No movie integrated music into the story and tone of the film better than Guardians of The Galaxy. A bunch of great soft rock jams of the 70s and 80s got back in the public’s bloodstream and my kids know who Redbone is now!
3. Kendrick Lamar
For a year where he didn’t release a new album, Kendrick had a lot of musical impact. The new single I is dope, but the song and video with Flying Lotus is a true work of art. And that performance on one of the last Colbert episodes was incredible. Looking forward to 2015 with him in a big way.
2. D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah
Early Christmas gift from D’Angelo, who I had long given up on in terms of new music. But damn it’s here and damn it’s good. Still working my way through the album but Sugah Daddy, Really Love, Back To Future, Till It’s Done and Another Life stand out right away.
1. The Black Movie Soundtrack tribute at the Hollywood Bowl
I’ve done a lot of big things in my career, but this is definitely one of the coolest of them all. Hanging out with Marcus Miller and his all star band (with the legendary Wah Wah Watson, Paul Jackson, Jr. and a killer collection of new jacks), calling Craig Robinson to come hang out at rehearsal, laughing and grooving with him as we shared our mutual love of great music. Then working up close and personal with Public Enemy, En Vogue….it was all dream come true stuff.
My best friends were there, my mom had her birthday there, and everyone was happy.
Watching 10,000 people waving cell phones in the air to Purple Rain was as good as it gets.
Reviewing this list, it’s shocking how every entry has a nostalgic aspect to it. Have we run out of new musical ideas? Or am I not hip to them?
And Tarantino said: ‘Black and brown come together.’ Reggie Hudlin on a comic book’s birth
By David Betancourt February 5 at 10:00 PM
Django/Zorro. (courtesy of Dynamite Comics)
Overseeing historic moments involving heroes of color is nothing new for Reggie Hudlin. From his five-year run writing Black Panther for Marvel Comics to his recent announcement of the return of Milestone Media, Hudlin has consistently been a force and a voice for increasing the diversity in comics.
So when Hudlin received a call from Dynamite Comics’ Nick Barrucci shortly before the theatrical release of 2012′s “Django Unchained” — seems the publisher wanted Hudlin’s thoughts on the possibility of a Django crossover with the Dynamite Comic property “Zorro” — Hudlin was intrigued. Hudlin liked the idea enough, in fact, that he took it to “Django Unchained” director Quentin Tarantino.
“Quentin is a huge comic-book fan,” Hudlin, the L.A.-based “Django Unchained” producer, told The Post’s Comic Riffs. “I told him I’d just been pitched this idea for a comic book, Django/Zorro … and his eyebrows popped up. And he said, ‘Black and brown come together.’ And I said, ‘Exactly.’ ”
“It’s just one of those things where it was just a no-brainer for all of us,” continued Hudlin, an executive editor on Dynamite/Vertigo’s Django/Zorro comics. “It just seemed like a super-exciting concept.”
Hudlin gave Tarantino a stack of Dynamite’s Zorro comics. Tarantino came away impressed with the writing of Matt Wagner, telling Hudlin that if the series was going to be made, Wagner should be a part of it.
Hudlin had never seen Tarantino work with another writer, but he said the two scribes soon meshed easily when creating the Dynamite/Vertigo miniseries, which launched last November.
Tarantino and Wagner teamed to write a miniseries intended to be six issues, but that has grown to seven, according to Hudlin. “The story just couldn’t be contained,” Hudlin said with a laugh.
Hudlin, the executive editor of Django/Zorro, said the miniseries is rare because of the visual of seeing two protagonists of color partnering up in Old West.
“That’s the excitement of it — on so many different levels. The idea that Quentin, who [rarely] does sequels to his works, would for the first time allow the extension of a character beyond a movie: It’s a big deal,” Hudlin told Comic Riffs. “To combine sort of a modern legend, Django — which it’s already kind of taken it’s place in the pantheon of pop culture — then to pair him with a classic character such as Zorro.
Two characters of color teaming up in a period where you rarely see either black or Latin characters be heroic, and now you have them teaming up and being heroic. It’s a real event.”
And the series has created high interest among people involved with both franchises. “I think this is all kind of a real fun experiment,” Hudlin said. “So far, the story is turning out great. At the same time, there’s been a lot of excitement from the ‘Django’ cast and the studio…like, wow: Django/Zorro.”
So might they team up on the big screen?
“All of that,” Hudlin said, “is very much up to Quentin.”
Here I am on the Red Carpet with my family!
Here’s a clip of the opening number for the Image Awards that kicked it off with a bang while making our mission statement clear.
I’ve executive produced the Image Awards for three years now, and every year people say this was the best year ever. Glad to know people notice the improvements in production, pacing, star power and overall entertainment. We strive to combine humor, tears, inspirational and enlightening moments and we did it again this year.
Anthony Anderson was a brilliant host; we had heartfelt speeches from Taraji Henson, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Ava Duvernay and Spike Lee; insights in great achievers like Eric Holder and Clive Davis; and, as always, a lot of emotion around the In Memoriam section.
I’ve never counted how many times I haven’t won an Image Award, but it’s a lot. I remember when BOOMERANG lost to GLORY; I’ve lost in the TV directing category many times. I’ve lost for music videos and books. As the new NAACP President Cornell Brooks said, “you must really be dedicated to the NAACP to produce a show with that track record”. Well, I don’t do what I do to win awards, although they are nice. Host Anthony Anderson broke his 9 time losing streak this year, so we’ll see if things change next year. But I’m not counting on it.
This is a cool clip that was shot at the NAACP Luncheon two weeks before the show.