KC Chiefs’ Muslim Player Punished for Prayer Following Touchdown

KC Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized for praying following a touchdown.  (Google Images)

KC Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized for praying following a touchdown. (Google Images)

Katie McDonough of Salon.com is reporting that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on Monday night after he dropped to the ground in prayer to celebrate a touchdown. Abdullah, a practicing Muslim, was apparently penalized under the NFL’s rules on “excessive celebration.”

McDonough writes:

“The news of Abdullah’s penalty traveled fast, and fans (and non-fans) mobilized again. The NFL responded swiftly, saying the penalty was a mistake. ‘Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown,’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ABC News in a statement.”

Fans were disturbed by the penalty which smacked of discrimination due to Abdullah’s religion. Former NFL player and devout Christian Tim Tebow, would kneel in prayer following a winning play during his college and professional career, giving birth to the term, “Tebowing” in reference to the behavior. Tebow was never penalized by the NFL for praying during a game.

Former NFL player and devout Christian Tim Tebow kneels in prayer during a football game. (Google Images)

Former NFL player and devout Christian Tim Tebow kneels in prayer during a football game.(Google Images)

Abdullah, a practicing Muslim, missed the 2012 season to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, along with his family.

Read more at Salon.com or MSNBC.

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Dr. Maya Angelou’s Work to Become Hip-Hop Album

Dr. Maya Angelou. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Dr. Maya Angelou. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

The Grio is reporting that excerpts from  Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will be incorporated into a hip-hop album entitled Caged Bird Songs.

The songs are produced by Shawn Rivera and RoccStar. Rivera is the lead singer of the R&B group Az Yet. Roccstar is known for co-writing “Fine China” by Chris Brown.

Maya Angelou’s grandson Colin A. Johnson expressed that Angelou was in love with the concept of the album from the beginning. The author reports:

“Johnson said that the pair of musicians had started working on the project without Angelou’s knowledge. She eventually backed the project once she found out about it, even going as far as lending previously recorded vocals and using her home in North Carolina as a place to record the tracks.

He [Colin] also said that his grandmother was a fan of hip-hop, seeing the music as a way for people of this generation to communicate and convey messages. He added that she had ‘great stories about her interactions with Tupac (Shakur).”

Dr. Angelou’s poetry was previously used in the film Poetic Justice (1993), starring Janet Jackson and the late rapper Tupac Shakur. The film was directed by John Singleton.  It is hoped that this project with AZ Yet will help deliver the messages of Dr. Angelou’s books to a younger audience, who may otherwise never experience Dr. Angelou’s words, particularly because many of her works have been banned from school systems.

The album will consist of thirteen songs and is set to be released November 4 of this year through Smooch Music.

Read more at TheGrio.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid: ASCAP Honors Visionary Leader

Musical visionaries  Antonio 'L.A.' Reid and Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds at the ASCAP Soul Legends Awards Dinner at the Mandarin in Atlanta. (Photo Credit: Robin Lori )

Musical visionaries Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds at the ASCAP 3rd Annual Rhythm & Soul Legends Awards Dinner at the Mandarin in Atlanta. (Photo Credit: Robin Lori )

Veteran musician-turned-record label executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid strives to bring out excellence in anything and everyone with whom he comes in contact. Since the late 1980s, he and longtime collaborator, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, have been responsible for creating some of pop, R&B and soul music’s most memorable hit singles to date.

The prolific Grammy-winning duo’s groundbreaking imprint, LaFace Records, was their platform that made superstars out of chart-topping, million-selling artists like Usher, TLC, OutKast, P!nk, Ciara and Toni Braxton.

Their gold and multi-platinum hit factory was among the first African American-owned brands that solidified the city of Atlanta as an undeniable mecca for music and entertainment.

L.A., the current chairman and CEO of Epic Records, was recently honored at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) third annual Rhythm & Soul Legends Dinner. The well-dressed Cincinnati native wearing a blue and green-squared blazer, white poplin and starched denim was escorted into the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta ballroom joined by a tranquil Babyface, wearing dark sunglasses and a gray two-piece suit.

When L.A. refers to Babyface as “a visionary,” he points directly towards him. The pair took the Coming to America approach when they launched LaFace back in 1989. “He thought we should leave California,” says L.A. “We collectively looked at a map, picked Atlanta and got lucky.”

L.A. and Babyface found initial success as members of the R&B outfit The Deele. The ambitious, hard-working duo would go on to land in the studio to pen and produce for Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, The Whispers, Pebbles, Bobby Brown, Shalamar, The Boys, Sheena Easton, Johnny Gill, Karyn White, Paula Abdul, Troop, After 7 and The Jacksons.

Once LaFace opened its doors for business, L.A. especially instilled values onto the staff that stressed the importance of quality control. Some of the then young executives perceived his mentorship as an invaluable asset essential to the office’s day-to-day environment.

Shanti Das, for example, was hired in 1993 fresh out of Syracuse University as LaFace’s National Director of Promotions before being promoted to Senior Director of Marketing. The passionate and relentless Atlanta native developed artist campaigns alongside L.A. and Babyface.

She traveled extensively with the company’s roster to ensure that the public and other industry professionals knew of LaFace’s brand presence.

“[L.A.] didn’t really believe in mediocrity,” says Das, “and I’ve always respected that about him. He always told me to strive to be my absolute best. I still try to do that today in everything that I do.”

Das, referring to her old boss as “powerful,” further elaborates on L.A.’s high standards. She remembers TLC having to shoot three different music videos for their chart-topper “Creep” because L.A. didn’t like the first cuts.

“It just wasn’t right,” she adds. “He didn’t want to put it out there. He really respected intellectual property and made sure the video was right before we released it.”

Indebted to the former judge on the FOX talent competition series, The X Factor for giving her an opportunity, Das believes L.A.’s ongoing mentoring provided her with a stable foundation to become a super successful, high-ranking woman executive in the music business.

Post-LaFace, Das advanced to numerous posts at Arista, Columbia and Sony Music before reaching her pinnacle as Universal Motown’s Executive Vice President of Urban Marketing and Artist Development.

“He told me that I needed a little more fight in me back in the day,” says Das, “and I didn’t really understand that. I do understand it now because sometimes women are taken for granted in the workplace. He was just trying to toughen me up a little bit.”

Like L.A., “DJ Eddie F.” Ferrell established a successful track record as a performer and producer prior to working at LaFace. The DJ for the late Heavy D served as LaFace’s Vice President of A&R.

The Mt. Vernon, NY native and creator behind the theme song to the Emmy-winning sketch comedy series, In Living Color, was responsible for signing and overseeing the careers of The Tony Rich Project and Donell Jones.

Always one to produce work that exceeds expectations, Eddie F. remembers the LaFace office being “a real fun, creative company.”

“It was one of the few, even though it was an entertainment company, to run like a professional first-class business,” says Eddie F. “It was relaxed with a sense of excellence to everything. I always tried to do the best that I could with anything that he wanted to get done and knock it out the park.”

Day-in and day-out, Eddie F. and L.A., also the founder of Hitco Music Publishing, would chat for hours about concepts and ideas they wanted to execute alongside timelines and budgets.

The two also connected through their shared love of both music and producers.

Eddie F. feels that L.A.’s decision to embrace him defined the pinnacle of his career. He says L.A. reiterated that music was a team effort. “He used to say you don’t know if it’s the guy in sales that made the extra push or the guy in promotions that went to radio,” says Eddie F.

“You don’t really know who made your record happen.” Das, on the other hand, comments on L.A.’s manifesto for finding and signing successful recording artists. He believes those artists have “the IT factor.”

“We saw it in Usher and P!nk, who came to audition for LaFace,” adds Das. “It’s hard to put your finger on it. It’s not really tangible, but you know what artists have that confidence and that excitement about them.”

T-Mo and Gipp, one-half of hip hop quartet, Goodie MOB, call L.A. “Superman.” Their unprecedented style of conscious music and contribution to the LaFace catalog eventually rubbed off on the savvy businessman.

Their subject matter and musical offerings enhanced L.A.’s appreciation for musical innovation.

In turn, the multiple BMI Icon award winner and the Recording Academy’s 2013 President’s Merit award honoree encouraged Goodie MOB to embrace their authenticity and individuality.

“We brought an alternative to what he was used to,” says T-Mo. “He was used to flashy things and all the good stuff. We brought that street edge to him…that ATL realest…the real Southwest…the whole Atlanta.”

Since L.A. and Babyface sold their shares of LaFace in 2000, the recording industry has undergone numerous infrastructural changes. Through mergers, shifts to digital platforms and staff downsizing, L.A. headed Arista for four years followed by Island Def Jam Music Group for another seven years.

To this day, L.A. insists that his greatest achievement is OutKast. Coincidentally, he received his ASCAP honor the day prior to the iconic six-time Grammy-award-winners highly anticipated weekend homecoming concerts in Atlanta.

A proud yet modestly dressed L.A., surrounded by a small entourage including Usher and Jermaine Dupri on opening night, attends the first two shows. He nods his head to OutKast’s live set as he walks through the massive audience.

The nod is also a nod to something the game changer said before stepping into the Mandarin Oriental’s reception area to receive his award. When asked what makes a great leader in the music business, L.A. says, “It’s about making sure that the people that follow you are well taken care of.”

Christopher A. Daniel is pop cultural critic and music editor for The Burton Wire. He is also a contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

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Whoopi Goldberg on Life, Love and Offending Others

Comedienne Whoopi Goldberg performs at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Comedienne Whoopi Goldberg performs at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

*Warning* – profanity is included in some quotes in this article.

Whoopi Goldberg keeps it real. The bold veteran of both stage and screen built her entire career around unapologetically interrogating headline news and ongoing social issues without blinking an eye.

The funny woman’s uncompromising honesty and thorough explication of hot topics keep her audiences gasping for air. Ironically, the co-host and moderator of the hit ABC daytime series, The View, never intended to become a comedienne.

“I wanted to be an actor,” says Goldberg. “I’m a storyteller, so I take a little more time. Comedy just gave me a chance to show people what I could do.”

The riveting Grammy, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning entertainer born Caryn Johnson performs before a massive audience at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

As she paces across the dark area that closely resembles her timeless Broadway backdrop, the humorist walks into a standing ovation smothered in an eruption of applause, whistles and shouts. Not a fan of flying at all, Goldberg arrives in Atlanta from New York City by tour bus precisely one hour and 15 minutes prior to showtime.

The iconic performer’s expressive Drama Desk award-winning stage presence meshes together witty, nostalgic self-reflective personal narratives, alternating irreverent monologues and soliloquys topped off with her biting grin after every joke.

Goldberg grabs a thick book and opens it midway through her 90-minute set. “I have to write shit down because I can’t remember anything,” says Goldberg.

A casually dressed Goldberg wears her thick chin-length dreadlocks pinned up. Anytime she wisecracks, the comic slowly paces across the stage in her bright pink crocs and green socks or takes a sip from her water bottle.

Having recently lost 30 lbs., Goldberg’s self-deprecating remarks on her body type segues into sharing about her knack for eccentric footwear.

“People are fit on that show for the most part. I don’t have that body,” says Goldberg.

From there, a carefree Goldberg, who proclaims her love for gadgets, critiques her ability to be in a good relationship, going so far as to jokingly compare her dissolved marriages to apps on mobile devices.

“It’s a bitch,” she says. “I’m not really good with people. I can’t do it. I tried it four or five times. You actually have to listen to the other person. That’s why I have a cat.”

Laughter erupts and echoes throughout the hall.

Goldberg makes it perfectly clear through her cordless mic that she’s pissed off about controversial topics. She goes on to offer a disclaimer to audience members, suggesting that they exit if they deem her subject matter too offensive.

“This is me talking me and using language I love,” says Goldberg in the midst of euphoria. “I like to let people know I don’t look at it as cursing. I have very specific things that I do and talk about.”

Goldberg literally drops the ‘f-bomb’ the entire show. The groundbreaking Mark Twain Prize recipient’s repertoire sort of resembles her day job on The View, which premiered its 18th season just four days prior to her performance.

The show has a complete set makeover. Panelists Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace now join Goldberg. “It’s very comfortable,” she says. “They’re all people I know.”

Goldberg offers insights on domestic violence, technology, gay marriage, flatulence, legalizing marijuana, womanhood and age. Never one to subscribe to being politically correct, the straightforward human rights advocate and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador comments on society’s criticisms of President Obama.

“If you’re on TV, people run to you with shit,” she says. “People feel like they can say all kinds of stuff to you. He’s made shit a little easier for us. I have to be careful. I can’t say ‘What the fuck?’ on TV.”

Goldberg, who admits that she tries not to be cranky, adds, “Maybe I have a skewed idea of how things should be, but shit annoys me. I’m a little bitchy. As you can see, I’m always in trouble with somebody.”

For instance, ABC had an issue with Goldberg, who quit smoking two years ago, using her vaporizer pen. Her former singular-titled NBC sitcom bearing her first name was canceled after just one season. The subject matter is quite funny to Goldberg.

The network thought otherwise. “I got into some deep shit on that show,” says Goldberg with slight chuckling.

On the other hand, Goldberg says her monologue on the little girl who didn’t feel beautiful still resonates with many of her female fans across the globe. “It’s a woman’s piece,” says Goldberg, “and I didn’t know that I was doing that.”

Goldberg’s Emmy-nominated HBO documentary on trailblazing female comedienne “Moms” Mabley prompted her to produce her next project: a 10-part series on people of color in entertainment from 1860 to the present.

“There isn’t one place to find all of these amazing people,” says Goldberg.

Towards the end of her set, the jokester showed her appreciation to a few adoring fans. Goldberg shakes one lady’s hand. She hugs and takes selfies with a few of the elders in the audiences. An author of children’s books, Goldberg tells a few audience members with copies to wait so that she can autograph them.

Those moments and experiences allow Goldberg to maintain a sense of humility and gratitude about her success.

However, she refrains from discussing her friendship with deceased comedian Robin Williams, who co-hosted HBO Comic Relief along with Goldberg and Billy Crystal. “When I leave my house, I leave as Whoopi Goldberg, so I try to be a good person,” she says. “If you listen to critics, you’ll never do anything.”

The show closes to thunderous applause, cheers and a unanimous standing ovation. Goldberg waves as she exits. Before she leaves, the comedienne takes another few minutes to reflect and express her gratitude.

“There are lots of talented people in the world that won’t be able to do what I do,” says Goldberg. “It’s just what I like to do. I realize that it’s luck, and you guys make me remember I’m better.”

Christopher A. Daniel is pop cultural critic and music editor for The Burton Wire. He is also a contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

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Black Voter Turnout for Mid-Term Elections Not Guaranteed

Promoting voting among minority groups. ( Photo credit: Google Images.)

Promoting voting among minority groups. ( Photo credit: Google Images.)

NewsOne.com is reporting that expected black voter turnout for the mid-term elections has the Democratic party on edge.

A weak mid-term election turnout could lead to a complete Republican take over in Congress. The author reports:

“There’s plenty of cause for concern. Voter turnout, in general, is lower for mid-terms than it is in presidential election years, but the trend is even more pronounced for minorities, who skew Democratic.”

This has caused Democrats and progressives to start a series of initiatives aimed at creating a greater voter turnout from minority populations.

The effort started Sept. 21 with “Freedom Sunday.” Freedom Sunday included 3,000 churches across the nation, who aimed to increase voter registration and education.

Read more at NewsOne.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

The Nation's First African-American U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step down. (Google Images)

The nation’s First African-American U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step down. (Google Images)

Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning from his post. Eilperin reports:

“After serving for nearly six years as the head of the Justice Department, Holder is the first African American to be Attorney General of the United States and will be the fourth longest person to hold the position,” a White House official, who asked not to be identified because the announcement had not been made yet, said in an e-mail.

“Holder’s accomplishments have established a historic legacy of civil rights enforcement and restoring fairness to the criminal justice system. Holder revitalized the Department’s praised Civil Rights Division, protected the rights of the LGBT community, successfully prosecuted terrorists, and fought tirelessly for voting rights, to name a few. He will remain at the Department of Justice until his post is filled.”

Holder is the nation’s first African-American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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ASPiRE Launches Partnership with White House Initiative on HBCUs

Students graduate from Fisk University. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Students graduate from Fisk University. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Cedric Thornton of Black Enterprise is reporting that ASPiRE TV has launched a partnership with the White House Initiative on HBCUs to increase awareness of the value and the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to expose college students to entrepreneurs and professionals in corporate and private businesses.

Thornton reports:

“ASPiRE is extremely proud to expand its commitment to improve educational opportunities for African- American youth at HBCUs by partnering with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Paul Butler, general manager, ASPiRE.  “We are honored to further strengthen our focus on education by joining with the Billion Dollar Roundtable to advance education and opportunities for HBCU students.   We recognize that HBCUs are an important part of our culture and safeguarding their legacy, along with enhancing educational, professional and entrepreneurial opportunities for the next generation of leaders, is critical to our nation’s future.

This collaboration is a part of ASPiRE’s initiative to promote excellence in education among African-American students at HBCUs and to provide those students with professional development and support.”

The White House Initiative on HBCUs is currently holding its HBCU Week Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, September 22-23. For more information visit the official website. Click here for the conference program.

To read this article in its entirety, visit Black Enterprise.

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Lamar Hawkins III: Funeral Held for Bullied 14-Year-Old

Bullied 14-year-old commits suicide. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Bullied 14-year-old commits suicide. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

WESH TV is reporting that hundreds gathered for the funeral of Lamar Hawkins III, a 14-year-old boy that committed  suicide at Greenwood Lakes Middle School last week. Hawkins’ parents believe the boy committed suicide due due to bullying he suffered from a stunted growth disorder.

“Her 14-year-old son, who they called Shaq, had stunted growth, and his family believes that made him an easy target. She said he was pushed down the stairs, knocked out of his chair and mocked at lunch.”

Lamar’s mother, Shaniqua Hawkins, is saying that the family had voiced their concerns to the school about the bullying that had been taking place.

Shaniqua Hawkins told WESH TV:

“I felt paralyzed by the inability to make the bullying stop at school…I watched him walk out the door of our home and knew there was a very good chance others would be cruel to him.”

Read more at WESH.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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Carvin Haggins: Producer Talks Purpose and Rage Against the Rachet

Super producer Carvin Haggins (Photo Credit: AList Events Marketing, LLC)

Super producer Carvin Haggins
(Photo Credit: AList Events Marketing, LLC)

When songwriter and producer Carvin “Ransum” Haggins first collaborated with artist Musiq Soulchild, the singer asked him why he makes music. Haggins, with full confidence, tells the uplifting vocalist that he wants his music to “save the world.”

The selfless creative ambassador to Philadelphia and co-creator behind Musiq’s benevolent sound through memorable songs like “Just Friends (Sunny),” “Love,” “Halfcrazy,” “Dontchange” and “B.U.D.D.Y.” made his life’s work out of keeping his proclamation front and center.

Along with his production comrade since 2000, Ivan “Orthodox” Barias, Haggins is responsible for consistently creating mid-tempo compositions and heartfelt ballads under their Karma Productions imprint.

The prolific, Grammy-winning pair’s refreshing sound is heavily melodic and set to honest lyrics that deliver universal messages. “Music is the inspiration to your soul,” says a raspy-voiced Haggins via phone.

“I write music to give people an outlet for whatever it is they think. I pray that what I write is an expression of life. They can use song to escape whatever predicament or situation they’re in.”

Barias and Haggins became acquaintances-turned-collaborators through fellow Grammy winner DJ Jazzy Jeff. Their highly sought after Midas touch and comforting ingenuity blessed a range of performers like Will Smith, Jill Scott, Kenny Lattimore, Mary J. Blige, 2Pac, Keyshia Cole, Angie Stone, Chrisette Michelle, Justin Timberlake, Faith Evans, Darius Rucker, Leela James, SWV, Joe, Chris Brown, Tamia, Mario, Jaheim, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi, Estelle, Heather Headley, Raheem DeVaughn and Rick Ross.

Frequently taking a pause between responses, Haggins lists “gateways,” or shared experiences and significant moments among diverse people, as the foundation for his brand of songwriting.

As Haggins itemizes his list, it sounds like he’s sharing a secret recipe. “It has to hit home, resonate in everyone’s mind, have integrity and be real,” says Haggins.

He and Barias recently rebranded themselves as Forever Music, Inc. and Ethical Music Entertainment, which continues the duo’s knack for introducing artists, creating timeless music and implementing strong values in their intellectual property on their terms.

Reiterating how extremely grateful he is to have a successful career in the music business, Haggins makes it a point to expound upon the nucleus of his musical synergy with Barias.

“The idea of Karma [Productions] is what you put out is what you get back,” says Haggins, the recipient of this year’s Gamble and Huff Award for Excellence in Songwriting. “So that’s what we did. We just put out good music. We wanted to make sure that we honored our predecessors.”

There is a science to Haggins’ output.

Before he goes into the studio to make music, he interviews the artists. The conversation gives Haggins a better sense of what the artists feel and what’s on their mind.

It’s extremely important to the producer that he taps into their psyche to ensure that everyone involved in the creative process remains on the same page.

“If we don’t share the same understanding of this music and understand that we don’t do music for money but to change lives, then I can’t really share my gift with you,” he says. “Through that conversation, we can create a song that can be the same conversation that everybody is having privately.”

Haggins’ music has also endured its share of conflict.

There were times when record executives suggested to the producer that he make “edgier records” counter to his integrity. Naming songs like K Camp’s “Cut Her Off” and Beyonce’s “Partition”, Haggins told those executives that he would never compromise his mission by making that type of music.

“Those records don’t do nothing for your soul,” he declares. However, another situation prompted Haggins to work towards raising awareness about the quality of music being mass distributed.

Two years ago, he attended a new artist showcase in Philadelphia. Haggins remembers the predominately young audience singing along to songs full of vulgar lyrics and overtly sexual content.

Also a minister and Sunday school teacher, Haggins remembers getting dressed to go to church and deciding at that moment that he would speak out against the influx of obscene messages in music being heavily rotated on terrestrial urban radio.

This past May, Haggins became a spokesperson for Rage Against the Ratchet, a campaign that speaks out against urban radio stations rotating derogatory music. He’s involved because he hopes to try and alter the morality primarily within the black community.

“It’s my hope that all parents, adults and responsible children start to stand up for what they know is right and stop settling,” says Haggins.

“Start standing up for what you believe in, and move your life to a better place.” Committed to extending his musical activism, Haggins seeks to empower young people like the ones at that showcase.

He co-founded Destined to Achieve Successful Heights, or DASH Program, an integrated and interactive outreach initiative that teaches youth the ins and outs of entertainment and business.

Haggins, who survived a stroke in his teens, says his humanitarian efforts are deeply rooted in wanting to pay his success forward upon building his discography. He admits that he used to “run the streets and live a fast life.”

“My overall goal was to figure out when I get on how I can give back and give kids the opportunity to prosper,” says Haggins.

“What I live for and how I’m living is to make sure I can give those who don’t have the opportunity, the opportunity to be successful.” The DASH Program, Haggins adds, encourages young people to understand the importance of longevity and discipline.

“The idea is to show kids that there is a scene that works behind the music industry that actually lasts longer than some of the artists,” says Haggins. “You don’t have to earn your riches in front of the camera.”

Simultaneously, Haggins is in the process of co-organizing and fully developing Creative Minds, a STEM school. One particular program he’s extremely proud of is one that will allow kids to write music with the possibility of having a major artist record it.

From there, Haggins wants to get the record some airplay and try to create a revenue stream for the kids’ intellectual property. Any royalties generated will go towards the student’s college fund.

“We’re just trying to provide that equal footing for the less fortunate kid,” he says. “We want to make sure we provide our children with a rigorous school schedule and provide them with the skills of making music.”

Producing music in the studio has not taken a backseat. Haggins and Barias are working on new music for legendary trio The Three Degrees and artists on their Forever Music label.

Philly Sound architects Gamble and Huff even declared that Haggins and Barias are their musical offspring. Haggins fully accepts the compliment.

“We’re just making sure our elders are proud of our movement,” he proclaims.

“Whatever my purpose is, I accept it. I came from nothing. I work for those who have nothing. I gave my life to uphold those who couldn’t fight. I fight for people who are afraid to fight. I’m a giver.”

This post was written by Christopher A. Daniel, pop cultural critic and music editor for The Burton Wire. He is also a contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

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U.S. News & World Report Ranks Spelman College Top HBCU

Spelman College students with President Beverly Daniel Tatum. (Photo Credit: Spelman.edu)

Spelman College students with President Beverly Daniel Tatum. (Photo Credit: Spelman.edu)

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual rankings of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Spelman College topped the list at number one, followed by Howard University (#2), Morehouse College (#3), Hampton University (#4) and Tuskegee University(#5). Xavier University (Louisiana), Fisk University, Florida A&M University, Claflin University and North Carolina A&T rounded out the top 10. The following HBCUs made the top 20:

11. North Carolina Central University

12. Tougaloo University

13. Delaware State University

14. Dillard University

15. Morgan State University

16. Winston-Salem State University

17. Johnson C. Smith University

18. Clark Atlanta University

19. Jackson State University

20. Elizabeth City State University

Read more at U.S. News & World Report.

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