Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Revenge of the HipHop Publishing Outcasts

Title of this post courtesy of Greg Tate.

From Tuesday's AdAge.com.

New music title slated to debut next month
by Nat Ives

The ousted owners of The Source and Vibe's recently fired editor in chief
are launching newwstand-only Hip Hop Weekly.

The ousted owners of The Source and Vibe's recently fired editor in chief
are launching a newsstand-only music title.

Hip Hop Weekly is slated to debut on Oct. 16 with a guaranteed paid
circulation of 100,000.

David Mays and Ray "Benzino" Scott, who started The Source in 1988, were
forced out last January amid allegations of tax evasion and a sexual
harassment suit filed by two former staffers. Mimi Valdes was booted from
Vibe after a change in ownership last summer.

Ms. Valdes, now the editor in chief at Hip Hop Weekly, said the magazine
will try to get in on the celebrity-weekly action, particularly through
columns by radio veterans Wendy Williams and Star & Buc Wild.

"The rest of the magazine is really about trying to offer some insight,
reflection and criticism on hip-hop as it influences everything," she said.

The weekly format will also make the title more competitive with monthly
music books, whose long lead times make it harder to present
up-to-the-minute news and photos.

Hip Hop Global Media, the holding company backing Hip Hop Weekly, will price
the first issue at $2.99 and subsequent issues at $3.99.

That's more expensive than OK magazine and Bauer Publishing's In Touch and
Life & Style Weekly, which sell for $1.99, and even Wenner Media's Us Weekly
and Time Inc.'s People, which sell for $3.49.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Maybe The Greatest Show On Earth

So Ringlin thinks he's got the greatest show on earth? Well after last night's spectacular offering by Imani Uzuri at Joe's Pub to celebrate the release of her long-awaited debut record, Her Holy Water: A Black Girl's Rock Opera, I'm not sure if the clowns still have it. This was the best show I've seen by far this year! EVERYBODY in that muhfuh was in total agreement with me. Just ask Todd Wilson, Greg Tate, Freedome Bradley, Kim Knox, DJ Rehka, Melissa Thornton or the 70 or so other heads there.

Imani started singing the title song "Her Holy Water" from behind the curtain and hit the stage singing like her very life depended on each melody. She didn't waste time riffing and wailing and giving over-the-top American Idol styled endings, instead she told you stories about her grandma in North Carolina where it was about church, family and making the best outta the lil bit you had; and also how she thought she was so ugly after cutting her hair into a short natural fro until these sisters exclaimed how she was giving them Grace Jones and how that was the day she knew she was a diva. Her sense of humor was dead-on. The band's timing was ill, sick, infirmed, whatever the heck you wanna call it, they killed!

I know I've said it before, but Imani has a beautiful, throaty deep alto that rises into this incandescent soprano shrill and make no mistake she knows how to use every bit of her God-given talent . At one point last night, Imani, dressed in hot pink, was on her knees singing Ishi (pron. E-She)-- a song about a Native American who died and whose bones were assumed by a US museum and how his people, his tribe had to fight for his bones. She chanted Ishii over and over again-- Iiii-shiiii, Iiiiiii-shi-- going from a mournful lament to a high pitched battle cry. It was goose-bump riveting. My comrade Todd looked over at me and said "whoa, she's taken it to different level tonight." And indeed she did. And just when you thought it was all about revolution, politics and God, homegrrrl starts bluesily singing "wet cootchie" and goes into a raunchy, crazy humorous riff about the power of the punany. Well I guess now that I think about it, I've never heard anyone at Joe's Pub or any NYC venue sing so reverently about wet cootchie. Although we wouldn't mind, Maxwell never treads that deeply or explicitly and since we are talking reverently R. Kelly and all of hiphop is eliminated. So I guess that is pretty revolutionary and yeah God was all up in there in that joint. From beginning to end, the show last night was 70 minutes of unadulterated Black grrrl fire-water. It burned, but it healed and we loved every minute of it. Like Greg Tate says in the liner notes of her CD (which we all got copies of): "Dig: the only way you're ever going to figure out Imani Uzuri's music is if you surrender to her beckon and call, her weep and wail, her songs and screams, her tears and dreams, her melodies and metamorphosis. You'll likely turn into some hella-fierce and lovely kind of Other thang yourself."

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