Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Martin Luther King Day – January 20, 2014

The Stone of Hope - Washington DC

The Stone of Hope – Washington DC


Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.

Reverend King & President Obama

Reverend King & President Obama

Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2014



Each year, America sets aside a day to remember a giant of our Nation’s history and a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. During his lifelong struggle for justice and equality, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and oppressors alike, and led a Nation to the mountaintop. Behind the bars of a Birmingham jail cell, he reminded us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On a hot summer day, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator, he challenged America to make good on its founding promise, and he called on every lover of freedom to walk alongside their brothers and sisters.

As we marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom last August, we noted the depth of courage and character assembled on the National Mall that day. We honored all who marched, bled, and died for civil rights. And we celebrated the great victories of the last half century — civil rights and voting rights laws; new opportunities in the classroom and the workforce; a more fair and free America, not only for African Americans, but for us all.

We were also reminded that our journey is not complete. It is our task to build on the gains of past generations, from challenging new barriers to the vote to ensuring the scales of justice work equally for all people. And we must advance another cause central to both Dr. King’s career and the Civil Rights Movement — the dignity of good jobs, decent wages, quality education, and a fair deal. Because America’s promise is not only the absence of oppression but also the presence of opportunity, we must make our Nation one where anyone willing to work hard is admitted into the ranks of a rising, thriving middle class.

Dr. King taught us that “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” In honor of this spirit, Americans across the country will come together for a day of service. By volunteering our time and energy, we can build stronger, healthier, more resilient communities. Today, let us put aside our narrow ambitions, lift up one another, and march a little closer to the Nation Dr. King envisioned.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2014, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


Ne-Yo Interview



Ne-Yo Interview by Ken Simmons (Loop21)

Three-time Grammy Award winner Ne-Yo is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama, and he is releasing his fifth CD, “R.E.D.” (Realizing Every Dream), on Election Day as Obama vies for re-election. Since making his recording debut in 2005, Ne-Yo has recorded three consecutive No. 1 platinum albums and five platinum singles. Ne-Yo also is one of the most in-demand composers, writing songs for numerous stars including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson. In addition to his impressive musical accomplishments, he also is enjoying a successful acting career with appearances in four films including George Lucas’ story of the Tuskegee Airmen, “Red Tails.”

Ne-Yo recently sat down with Loop 21 to discuss working with Michael Jackson, being “terrified” by his executive position at Motown, and the possibility of recording with Obama.

Loop 21: You named your new CD, “R.E.D.,” which is an acronym for Realizing Every Dream. What dreams have you realized?

Ne-Yo: I have realized so many dreams that we don’t have enough time to talk about all of them. They include winning three Grammys, traveling and performing all around the world, and being able to provide for myself and my family. I have worked with some amazing artists. I have realized all the dreams I’ve had since I knew at the age of 9 that I wanted to pursue music, and that is why I named the album “Realizing Every Dream.” I have realized many dreams but there is so much more I want to accomplish. I have won three Grammys, but Stevie Wonder has double-digit Grammys so I have more to do. My albums have sold platinum, but other artists have sold more so I have higher goals and dreams. I want my music to inspire people to realize their own dreams.

Loop 21: You have enjoyed a very successful career. Your first three CDs, “In My Own Words,” “Because of You,” and “Year of the Gentleman,” all debuted at No. 1 and were certified platinum. However, your fourth CD, “Libra Scale,” was not as popular. How did its lack of success affect you?

Ne-Yo: It was a learning experience for me. I try to learn from everything I do whether it is good or bad. I learned to know more about something I am tackling for the first time before I dive into it. “Libra Scale” was conceived as the soundtrack to a 30-minute science fiction movie I wrote. I had never written a screenplay before. I learned that each page of a script is equivalent to one minute. I went to my label, Island Def Jam, and submitted a 146-page script. The songs were inspired by the script. They told me it was much too long and I had to cut it. So I had to cut it down and sacrifice certain elements which affected the album. We never produced the short movie as I intended so the project was not what I envisioned. It was definitely a learning situation.

Loop 21: How did that lack of success affect creating “R.E.D.”?

Ne-Yo: For “R.E.D., I decided to make it less complicated. Just concentrate on producing quality music. Make sure that I had enough songs for my R&B fans and also my pop fans. One problem with my “Year of the Gentleman” CD was that for people who were new to Ne-Yo and liked the song “Closer,” there was nothing else on that CD similar to that song so those fans did not have other songs that they liked. So I wanted to make sure on “R.E.D.” I had enough songs for my R&B fans, my pop fans, and the fans who like a mixture of those styles.

Loop 21: You pride yourself on being a gentleman and your website is called Ne-Yo The Gentleman. How do you feel you’ve influenced people with this style when so much of urban and pop culture is going in a different direction?

Ne-Yo: I want to be a leader and not a follower. I never want to follow a trend. When you follow a trend you are putting a time limit on yourself because a trend will fade away. I want to have longevity and last for years. I have a responsibility as an artist to project a positive image. I take that responsibility very seriously. I know kids are watching. Hopefully kids will see me and like my style. The fact that various companies have approached me to represent their products shows me that my style has a broad mass appeal. I feel my music appeals to a 4 year old and a 14 year old as well as a 40 year old. I am very careful about how I present my appearance, my music and my lyrics. I choose my words very carefully. I know the power and the importance of words. Everything I do is as a gentleman. That is who I am.

Loop 21: You were appointed a senior vice president of A&R for Motown Records responsible for signing and developing artists. You’ve said that you are “honored, excited and also terrified” by this appointment. What does this position mean to you?

Ne-Yo: I am honored because Motown is more than a record label. Motown has a rich legacy. Smokey Robinson held the same position and I am following in his footsteps. I feel that Motown’s energies have been in the wrong place. There was too much attention on imaging and marketing and not enough attention on the music. That is why I believe the label has suffered. Motown has always been known for quality music as well as the imaging and the marketing. It is important to start with the music and create quality music. I talked to (Motown Records founder) Berry Gordy and I expressed to him my fears about holding this position. It was scary to me that I would be so responsible for artists’ careers. I went to his house and he played me a tape of the quality control meeting he had for The Temptations’ (1964) song ”My Girl.” Everyone in the room was asked the question, “If you had only one dollar, would you buy ‘My Girl’ or would you buy a sandwich?” The rule was if the majority voted to buy a sandwich, the song would not be released and they would go back to the drawing board. Seven of the eight people voted to buy a sandwich. Berry was the only person to vote for buying the song. He told me that was one of the few times he overruled the vote and decided to release a song. Obviously “My Girl” became a No. 1 hit and a classic. He told me that showed that you have to trust your instincts and trust your opinion. You take into account what other people feel but know that your opinion matters. He told me to value other people’s opinions but also value my own opinion. I have to struggle with the fact that I am a Motown artist and I am also a Motown executive. There are similarities but there are also great and distinct differences. As an artist I live on my vibe, my emotion, and my spirit. As an executive I have to be more practical. I have to be concerned with elements I don’t think about as an artist, such as what radio stations will play the song, the marketing, and will teenage girls like the music.

Loop 21: In addition to music, you’ve enjoyed a successful acting career. Your roles have ranged from playing a professional hit man on TV in “CSI:NY” to a Tuskegee airman in “Red Tails.” What have been the highlights of your acting career?

Ne-Yo: Those two roles are special because they are so different. For “CSI:NY,” I told them I wanted to portray a character different from myself. I wanted to be a bad guy. I wanted to step away from what people knew. The scene begins and you see me in a familiar way wearing the hat in an elegant setting with a lady, and then there is a twist and I kill three people. “Red Tails” was the highlight of my acting career. The Tuskegee airmen overcame tremendous adversity. They excelled against all odds. They were presumed to fail. They were not considered citizens. Their achievements give me strength. Nothing I encounter will ever be as difficult as what they faced. So whenever I feel there is something I can’t overcome, or a task I can’t complete, a goal I can’t achieve, I am inspired by the Tuskegee airmen. I realize that they overcame obstacles greater than anything I will ever face so I have confidence that I can succeed.

Loop 21: You were the headline performer at the Michael Jackson birthday concert in August in New York City. You idolized Michael and had the chance to work with him. What happened the first time he called you?

Ne-Yo: I hung up on him because I thought it was somebody playing a practical joke on me. He called my cell phone and I have no idea how he got the number. Nobody will confess that they gave him the number. But he did call back and I was ecstatic that he called. He wanted me to work on his new album and of course I was honored. I learned more in a few weeks working with him than I did in my entire career. I gained so much knowledge about music and songwriting from him critiquing my songs. It was an incredible experience. I wrote several songs for him and we planned to record them after his “This Is It” concerts in London. But he died before we were able to start recording. Michael was the epitome of the possibility of greatness. There will never be another Michael Jackson because no one has that same hunger to succeed. He lived, breathed, ate and slept music. No one worked as hard around the clock, had so much dedication and attention to detail in perfecting his craft. I am happy to have spent time with him and talk with him and learn from him. He would tell me what he thought about the music business, what was right with it and what was wrong with it. I still have the songs I wrote for him and I am trying to decide what to do with them. Perhaps I will record them for a tribute album and donate the proceeds to charity.

Loop 21: You mentioned charity. You created your own charity, the Compound Foundation, in 2007 to assist children in foster care and group homes. What do you feel you’ve accomplished with the foundation?

Ne-Yo: My focus has been to show the kids that there is a difference between where you come from and where you can go. We have had some small successes with our entrepreneurship training courses, education programs, scholarship programs, providing music studios, and funding to agencies that secure adoption and adult guardians. We try to prepare children for the next steps following foster care and help them successfully function in society. We also work with the adults in properly guiding the children. Unfortunately one problem with the foster care system is that it believes the solution to undesirable behavior is often overmedicating the children. The idea is to pacify the kids with drugs. I talk to kids and it’s disturbing that they know so much about these drugs and are so dependent on them. They say they want the red pills or the blue pills. I don’t feel that is the right solution. If a kid needs discipline then the adult needs to learn how to discipline the kids instead of constantly sedating them with a drug. Foster parents complain about kids having behavioral problems but they would also have issues if they were constantly shuttled from foster home to foster home and having to deal with different adults and different personalities while carrying their clothes in garbage bags. If anyone is interested in learning more about our foundation or making a donation, please visit www.compoundfoundation.org.

Loop 21: Your new CD, “R.E.D.,” is being released on Election Day. You are featured in the pro-Obama “Forward” video executive produced by will.i.am who also produced the “Yes We Can” Obama campaign song in 2008. Why it is so important for you to express your support for Obama?

Ne-Yo: I support Obama 100 percent and it would take too long to explain all the reasons. The short answer is simple. It took eight years to break it and it takes eight years to fix it. The previous administration created such problems that Obama needs two terms to correct the problems he inherited. Many people are unrealistic about their expectations and their need for quick solutions. The problems can’t be solved overnight. He needs more time. He has had progress but some people are impatient and feel he has not done enough. Reversing the process, reversing and correcting the ills of our country requires more time and that’s why he has to be re-elected to continue and finish what he started.

Loop 21: We heard Obama sing Al Green’s “Let Stay Together.” Would you record a song with him?

Ne-Yo: If Obama called me and asked me to record a song with him, I would jump at the chance. I would be a fool to turn down that opportunity. He has a pretty good singing voice. I would make sure he did not sing about politics. Maybe I would put Kanye West on the track. That would make a very politically incorrect song. (laughs)

(Interviewed by Ken Simmons for Loop21)

DJ June Club Chart – November 12, 2012

Jay-Z and President Obama – 2012

DJ June Club Chart – November 12, 2012

1. My President Is Black – Jay Z


The original version of “My President” was recorded in June, 2008 by Young Jeezy featuring Nas. As Barack Obama was re-elected to a second presidential term last Tuesday, this became a victory song.

2. Everyday Is Your Birthday – Swizz Beatz


Swizz Beatz’ new single “Everyday Is Your Birthday” which teaches you how to party like every day is your birthday is getting a lot of radio play. Every birthday song becomes a big hit so is this one. No doubt!

3. Right Now – Rihanna feat/David Guetta

19日に発売予定のアルバムからの曲。「ダイアモンド」とは反対のダンス・トラックでクラブ受けしそうな曲。David Guettaだし、間違いないでしょう!

A brand-new single from Rihanna’s seventh studio album Unapologetic scheduled to be released on 19th of this month. Unlike a smooth ballad like “Diamonds,” “Right Now” embraces the hard-revving rave-ups and knotty bass lines of dubstep featuring David Guetta.

DJ June This Week’s Events

Tue., November 13 Toca Tuesday @ Sutra Lounge with DJ Tony Touch & Guest DJ Talib Kweli
Thu., November 15 @B.O.B. (245 Eldridge)

Fri., November 16 Providence @ Tropicana Hotel, Atlantic City

Sat., November 17 Providence @ Tropicana Hotel, Atlantic City

‘I Got 99 Problems, But Mitt Ain’t One’

President Obama 2012


‘I Got 99 Problems, But Mitt Ain’t One’

Jay-Z joined Barack Obama in Columbus, Ohio 2 days before the election as the president closes out the end of the campaign season. “What’s up? Ohio makes some noise!” the rapper greeted the crowd and he jumped into a remix of “99 Problems,” substituting Mitt in the chorus to proclaim the GOP candidate as not a problem. Jay-Z said “Four years ago we voted for hope and change, that change is also on the way, we know it’s not an overnight thing, but we absolutely want to move forward.” Then he introduced Barack Obama.

President Obama Won and Promised ‘Best Is Yet To Come’

 President Obama won a second term and he promised his thrilled supporters “that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.”

The media projected President Barack Obama had secured more than the 270 needed to win the presidential election. Obama eventually won 303 of the electoral votes and 50% of the popular vote.

While more than 90% of the Black vote was projected to go to Obama, as the Black vote usually goes over 80% to the democratic candidate,  black leaders have also been sounding off for months on the high standards they would hold the president to in his second term.

Obama sent an email out to supporters Tuesday saying, “I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.”