Connect with us

High times, good vibes at UCLA Jazz/Reggae Festival 2014



Positivity and mellow spirits filled UCLA’s intramural sports field for day one of this year’s UCLA Jazz/Reggae Fest Sunday. Most importantly, I enjoyed some quality hydroponics along with viewing some great performances from both veteran and emerging artist and before Snoop Dogg a.k.a. Lion a.k.a. Snoopzilla closed out the evening’s festivities. 

A little more on that later however. 

Running late, I made it just in time for Sarah Reich’s Tap Music Project featuring Lee How Nico Rubio. An interesting opening act, this may be the first time the festival may have featured a tap dancer backed by a full-on jazz band. Those out of the loop will know Reich as the biggest name in contemporary tap dance. My time in the photography pit was sort of short considering some amazing(in my head) shots taken fairly quickly. Spending some time wondering around the festival grounds, saw some great artwork from local artist besides the typical hippy vendors. Considering how low the funds were, I enjoyed free refreshments from the festival’s media tent and energy drinks from Monster. 

Around the time Georgia Anne Muldrow graced the stage, bigger media outlets like Hip-Hop DX and Hail Mary Jane rolled in. Always good to get reacquainted with old associates and gain new ones, the crowd also began to build once Odd Future collective The Internet started their performance. Running through tracks from both their debut Purple Naked Ladies and last year’s amazing Feel Good, there were several interesting music covers peppered in. That meant making some also reductions of Jamiroquai classics “Too Young To Die” and “Mr. Moon” along with The Gap Band’s “Outstanding.” Those who have followed OF will understand their almost religious reverence for anything involving Pharrell and N.E.R.D. With that in mind, hearing Syd the Kid sing the opening lines of “Tape You” from In Search Off… just oozed with style. 

Once The Internet were done, Syd and Matt Martians were doing interviews while keyboardist Patrick Paige and drummer Christopher A. Smith hung out. After each act finished performing, a step-and-repeat was available for  acts to take more photos and give one-on-one interviews. Deciding to bypass the influx of desperate writers and soak in the atmosphere, I just shoot the shit with Smith for a moment. Interestingly enough, I actually grew up with Smith in the same church were he played drums. Outside of reminiscing on our times at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church(the catalyst of my agnosticism) as the stage prepared for Aloe Blacc’s set, he managed to inform me that the group is already underway on their third album. Not revealing too much information, Smith told me that some of the stuff they have in store is “crazy.” Of course, everyone who’s preparing their new project gives that same answer. However, I’ll just take their word for it if they can manage to evolve from the awesomeness of Feel Good.  

Spending some time with the Hail Mary Jane crew, I ended up chiefing with team after getting shots of Aloe Blacc’s performance(damn three song rule). Located with the rest of the festival goers near the field’s middle area, the smoking session lasted till the end of Blacc’s set time. Seems like Blacc had such a good time performing tracks Lift Your Spirits and everything during is Stones Throw era, he almost tried to go on longer.  

High as giraffe pussy(word to Gucci Mane) from the generous supply of Skywalker OG, I waited patiently near the photographer pit to get a good spot for Snoop’s performance. Of course things were made difficult due to the enhanced security due to the Long Beach-native’s presence or the recent college shooting near University of California Santa Barbara. Then there were the annoyance of thirsty struggle rappers passing out their potentially sub-par mix-tapes. But who am I to shit on anyone’s dreams? The hustle is respected.  

Once Snoop graced the stage all attention was on the D.O Double G. The former Death Row artist has evolved creatively and personally over the years; something this performance became a testament to. Spitting in that same California drawl which made him an international star outside of Hip-Hop, the Doggfather ran through his stable of classics and contemporary hits. That meant everything from “Gin and Juice” to his guest verse on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” and everything else in-between. Filling his role as activist, he dove into an interesting spill on marijuana legalization before transitioning to “Young, Wild and Free” sans Wiz Khalifa. One of the editors from a publication(which will go unnamed) told me how much he wished Snoop didn’t rely so much on his “pop” stuff during his act. Understandable attitude, however, I don’t think the all-ages crowd would have had an appreciation for “Murder Was The Case” or “Aint No Fun.” Regardless, Snoop Lion delivered another solid set of material. Hell, there were times he stopped performing to jam along to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Joan Jett and the Blackheart’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll.”

The first day of UCLA’s JRF should serve pretty well for the Memorial Day’s more reggae centric line-up featuring Ky- Mani Marley, Black Uhuru and Kevin Lytte. 


First Look at the Magical World of ‘Wicked’ Starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo (Trailer)



The new trailer for the upcoming movie musical ‘Wicked’ has finally dropped, leaving fans buzzing with excitement. The film, which stars Ariana Grande as Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, is set to be released in two parts.

The trailer opens with a stunning shot of the Emerald City, the iconic location from the original ‘Wizard of Oz’ story. We then see a young Elphaba arriving at Shiz University, where she meets Glinda for the first time. The two characters couldn’t be more different – Elphaba is a shy, green-skinned girl whom her peers often ostracize, while Glinda is a bubbly, popular blonde who seems to have everything she could ever want.

As the trailer progresses, we see glimpses of the musical numbers that have made ‘Wicked’ such a beloved show on Broadway. The production design features vibrant colors and intricate costumes that bring the world of Oz to life.

The pairing of Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, both vocal powerhouses, is beautiful and will yield beautiful musical numbers. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Erivo mentioned that she and Grande were surprised at how well their voices complemented each other.

The trailer also gives us a glimpse of the other characters in the film, including Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz.

‘Wicked’ part one is set to premiere later this year, with the second installment scheduled for November 2025.

Continue Reading


Ariana Grande – 34+35 (Remix) feat. Doja Cat & Megan Thee Stallion



Ariana Grande, Megan Thee Stallion, and Doja Cat have teamed up for a new remix of Grande’s Positions track 34+35.

Continue Reading

Film & Television

Why Did Michaela Coel Walk Away From a $1 Million Dollar Deal with Netflix?



Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.

Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. So, naturally, Coel’s history with the streaming platform made it the premier destination for her new project. After a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, however, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series.

According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.

I May Destry You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.

The series is now streaming on HBO.

Continue Reading