Brian McKnight

He has sold more than 30 million albums. He has 16 Grammy nods, no wins. He has released 16 CDs. In his show he performs television theme songs like Happy Days, Welcome Back Kotter, The Love Boat, and Good Times. In addition to singing he plays eight instruments piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, trombone, tuba, […]

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Mavis Staples

She is 76 years old. She won her first Grammy at 71. She was born and raised in Chicago. Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Lou Rawls, and Curtis Mayfield were her neighbors. She always travels with her sister Yvonne. “Pops” Staples first name is Roebuck. She wrote “freedom songs” . She performed at Newport Folk Festival […]

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Bessie

Bessie Smith and her mentor, Ma Rainey were bisexuals. The director/writer/filmmaker was an intern at Frameline who produced the film in collaboration with HBO. Both Bessie and Ma Rainey were cross-dressers. The movie took 22 years to make. Benny Goodman recorded with Bessie. Queen Latifah portrayed Bessie and Mo’Nique portrayed Ma Rainey. Dee Rees’ mentor […]

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Nina Simone

She was born Eunice Waymon. She changed her name so her mother wouldn’t know she was playing non-church music a.k.a. the devil’s music a.k.a. jazz. She wanted to be the first black classical pianist to play Carnegie Hall. She wrote Mississippi Goddam after the deaths of Medgar Evans and the girls in the church in […]

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Prince

He knows how to get high on music and take us all along for the ride. He went to a Warriors game and mentioned Steph Curry in a song. No one compares to him! No one struts and walks with a cane like The Purple One. No one is funkier than Prince. No one is […]

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Al Jarreau

Born Alvin Lopez Jarreau in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sunrise March 12, 1940, sunset February 12, 2017, Los Angeles, California He was a PK, preacher’s kid, his dad was a Seventh Day Adventist minister. He embraced Scientology at one time, but later dissociated himself from it. He was married twice and had one son. He wrote the […]

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