Newsweek Cover: What Michelle Means to Us
At a recent Sunday brunch after church, my “sista friends” and I sat on the patio of a Los Angeles restaurant gabbing about the election of Barack Obama. Sure, we were caught up in the history of the moment. Most of us never thought we’d see an African-American president. But as a group of six black women in our 30s and 40s, we were equally excited by who is coming along with Obama to the White House—his wife, Michelle, and their two young daughters. We all praised—OK, maybe even envied—Michelle’s double Ivy League pedigree, her style, her cool but friendly demeanor. And yet we’re all aware of how much we have riding on her. At 44, Michelle Obama will be the youngest First Lady since Jacqueline Kennedy. And many are expecting her to usher in a similarly glamorous era in Washington. (“Bamelot,” as some are already calling it.) But Michelle’s influence could go far beyond the superficial. When her husband raises his hand to take the oath of office, Michelle will become the world’s most visible African-American woman. The new First Lady will have the chance to knock down ugly stereotypes about black women and educate the world about American black culture more generally. (Continue Reading…)

Cadillac Records: Two Takes On an Icon
Back in the day, you weren’t anyone in the blues world unless you were signed to Chess Records, the label that made stars out of a generation of rough-and-tumble musicians, notably Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf. So when I was at the recent Toronto Film Festival, I made a point of seeing “Who Do You Love,” which stars Alessandro Nivola and Jon Abrahams as Leonard and Phil Chess. The two immigrant entrepreneurs created Chess Records, the 1950s record label that popularized urban blues. Later, with the arrival of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, Chess Records ushered in a brash form of rock ‘n’ roll that was adopted by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and thousands of young, white rock artists. And what are the odds? There’s a second Chess film on its way. (Continue Reading…)

T-Pain Says It’s Time ‘For Everybody Else’ To Stop Using Auto-Tune
At the end of the “Can’t Believe It” remix, T-Pain says that Auto-Tune is almost up. What? Why would Pain, whose Thr33 Ringz debuts at #4 on next week’s Billboard albums sales chart, extinguish his signature sound now? “Not for me,” Pain clarified, “for everybody else.” The singer — who told DJ Skee in a separate interview that artists such as Ron Browz have used the Auto-Tune effect poorly — told MTV News that his biters need to pay up. Hey, if Diddy can collaborate with Pain and pay him for using the Auto-Tune, so can you other guys. (Continue Reading…)

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