MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 27

February 28th marked a day the rise of a singing superstar, Alicia Keys, and another artist solidified their acting career.

Alicia Keys took home 5 Grammys at the in 2002 at the 44th Annual Award show for her debut album, Songs In A Minor. Her Grammys that night included: Best New Artist, Best R&B Album Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song all for ‘Fallin’.

Songs In A Minor has sold over 6.2 million copies in the U.S. and over 12 million worldwide. Her Grammy wins in 2002 made her the second woman to win 5 in one night.

Jamie Foxx was nominated in Both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the 77th Academy Awards on February 27, 2005. He was the 10th actor to be nominated in both categories and took home Best Actor in a Leading role for his starring role in Ray.

In December of 2005, Jamie released his 2nd studio album, Unpredictable, and it peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 with over 500,000 copies sold.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 25

American Idol star, Jennifer Hudson, took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls at 79th Annual Academy Awards on February 25, 2007.

Hudson played Effie White in the movie and was a STAR from her opening scene. Her cover/extended version of Jennifer Holiday’s, ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ is unforgettable.

Post-Dreamgirls, Hudson went on to release 2 studio albums (Jennifer Hudson / I Remember Me), won a Grammy (plus other awards for acting/singing), and appeared in more movies such as: Sex & The City 2, The Secret Life of Bees, Black Nativity, and more. She starred as Winnie Mandela in the movie, Winnie, released in 2013. Her 3rd studio album is set to be released sometime this year and she’s released her first single of the project, ‘I Can’t Describe,’ featuring T.I.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 12

EGOT

To win an EGOT , also known as GATE, is a significant achievement. An EGOT is a performer who wins a Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. There’s not many African-Americans to have reached that peak, intact there are only two: Whoopi Goldberg and James Earl Jones.

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Whoopi Goldberg first received a Grammy in 1985  Five years later she took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Ghost. She has two Daytime Emmys, 2002/2009, and she received a Tony in 2002 as a producer of Throughly Modern Millie. She completed these achievements over the span of 17 years tying her for second to be the fastest to do so.

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James Earl Jones was put in a different category along with Barbara Streisand and Liza Minnelli, being that one of his wins was non competitive; it was a honorary award. To complete Jones’ EGOT he won a Tony in 1969, a Grammy in 1977, an Emmy in 1991, and was honored by the Academy in 2011. It has taken James 42 years to complete the EGOT making him the oldest in his category to complete it and the second oldest overall behind Helen Hayes.

Then & Now Thursday (V.4) — Music to Acting

There are not many artists that have successfully made the transition from music to acting and vice versa. I will be highlighting those that have and discussing a few that have not lived up to the hype.

LL Cool J began his career in the mid-80s with his debut album, Radio. He was known for his Kangols, tone body and his signature of licking his lips. He was also one of the first rappers to merge R&B and Hip Hop and got a lock of flack for it during his time, but now that trend is a hit. Over the course of his 20+ year career he has released 8 studio albums and 2 compilation albums in 96 and 09 and has won 2 Grammys along the way.

His acting career began in simultaneously with that of his rapping career and starred in minor roles and took his talents to TV starring in the show, In The House, in 1999. He has gone on to appear in several other movies such as: Deep Blue See, In Too Deep, Deliver Us From Eva, Rollerball, S.W.A.T., and others. He returned back to TV as a star on the NCIS spin-off, N.C.I.S.: Los Angeles and has been there since 2009. He’s also been the Grammy host for the past 3 years as well as the Grammy Nominee show host.

Jamie Foxx began his career doing stand up in the late 80s and landed his first huge role on In Living Color in 1991 where he remained for 4 years. After his time with In Living Color he released his debut album, Peep This. He did not dwell so much on the album and went back to acting and appeared on TV shows and movies here and there before landing his own show, The Jamie Foxx Show in 1996. During that time he appeared in movies such as: Booty Call, Any Given Sunday, Player’s Club, Ali, and more.

The turning point in Foxx’s career was his starring role in Ray in 2004. This role rejuvenated his career in a way making him more assessable to roles other than comedy. He won an Academy Award for his role and released his second album, Unpredictable, that same year. Foxx juggled both music and acting and won a Grammy alongside Kanye West for ‘Golddigger’ and won a Grammy for his solo work in 2010 for his hit ‘Blame It’ featuring T-Pain. Foxx is currently back in the acting world and recently starred in the hit, controversial movie, Django Unchained and will be appearing in upcoming movies The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Annie, and Horrible Bosses 2.

Grammy award winner, Will Smith, is more so best known for his show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, than anything else in his career. Aside from acting, Will was a ver popular rapper in the 80s becoming the first to win in the first Grammy award in the Rap category alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff in 1988. His acting career has him 4 Golden Globe and 2 Academy Award nominations. He’s starred in movies: Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, Ali, I Am Legend, and more. He starred alongside his son Jaden, in the Pursuit of Happyness and starred in movie series Bad Boys and Men In Black.

There are other artists who have done the transition successfully such as Jennifer Hudson,Tupac, Aaliyah, Tyrese, Ludacris Justin Timberlake, etc.  Aaliyah and Tupac’s lives were both cut short, but they both were very impressive on the big screen and musically.

You even have the Disney stars that are doing too bad for themselves such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus.I have realized that the transition either works or it doesn’t and it’s more so men having better chances with landing roles than women.

Beyoncé is one to me that he acting chops don’t seem as organic and natural. She’s such a perfectionist it seems like she tries really really hard, some times too hard. I’m not saying that all the movies she’s been in were horrible, but I think that she’s a better performer than she is an actress. All of the movie roles she’s taken on has been with her singing primarily minus Austin Powers in Goldmember and Obsessed.

There’s more, but those were just some that always stood out to me that could juggle successfully both acting (TV/Movie) and singing.