UMG Unveils Special Programming, Mentorship Opportunities for Black Creatives & Students

Universal Music Group and its recently-established Task Force for Meaningful Change are celebrating the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (CBC ALC) this year with a series of special programs, discussions and opportunities.

The celebrations kicked off last week with a trio of events, including the °1824 Mentorship Initiative, which selected 15 young Black creatives and college students for a new UMG mentorship program; an interactive recruitment workshop with UMG’s diversity & inclusion team; and a panel entitled “The Soundtrack to Change: A Discussion on Music and the Social Justice Movement” mounted by Republic Records’ Action Committee.

Other events and initiatives going forward will include “Black and Blue,” a live conversation on police brutality against Black and Brown communities hosted by Def Jam Forward with special guest Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) along with Def Jam artists Chuck D, Jadakiss and Bobby Sessions; “Music Mavens,” a discussion between women leaders across UMG with special guest Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL); and “The Art of Black Entrepreneurship & Brand Building,” a panel hosted by IGA with special guest Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY).

This is the fourth year UMG has celebrated the CBC Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Past years have included appearances by politicians, executives and artists including U.S. Senator and current Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, Meek Mill, BJ the Chicago Kid and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-NY).

Unveiled in the wake of massive nationwide protests that sprang up following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the Task Force for Meaningful Change was designed to review UMG’s commitment to addressing issues of equality and inclusion inside the company and beyond. UMG simultaneously unveiled a $25 million “Change Fund” designated to further racial justice in multiple arenas.

You can find more information on forthcoming events below.

Black & Blue | Sept 29, 5PM ET | LIVE STREAM VIA FACEBOOK OR YOUTUBE

Presented by Def Jam Forward, Black and Blue is a LIVE conversation on the persistent police brutality in Black and Brown communities. Featuring special guest, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), along with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Retired NYPD officer Ronald Colter, former NBA player and community activist Royce White and Def Jam Recordings artists Chuck D, Jadakiss and Bobby Sessions, the panel tackles the issue of generational over-policing and begs the question “What can be done?”

Music Mavens | Oct. 3, 1PM ET | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR CBC ALC AND TUNE IN

From breaking the next big artist to orchestrating pivotal business decisions, these women are defining how to be a boss. Featuring special guest Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), the group will discuss what it means to be a woman of color in a position of power in the music industry and how we all can foster future generations of female executives. Join leading music executives Ethiopia Habtemariam (President, Motown Records, and EVP, Capitol Music Group), LaTrice Burnette (EVP GM, Island Records), Marleny Reyes (SVP, Marketing, Republic Records), Natina Nimene (SVP, Urban Promotion & Artist Relations, Def Jam Recordings) and Nicole Wyskoarko (EVP Urban Operations, Interscope Records) for this engaging session on female empowerment.

The Art of Black Entrepreneurship & Brand Building | Oct. 3, 1:45PM ET | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR CBC ALC AND TUNE IN

Navigating entrepreneurship and building a brand can be challenging in its own right. Being Black and launching your own venture or marketing your work to others creates additional barriers that makes the pursuit of the ‘American dream’ that much more complex. Presented by Interscope, Geffen and A&M Records, please join special guest Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and panelists from IGA’s Joint Venture Label Partners, LVRN and Dreamville, for a breakout session on ways to foster Black entrepreneurial success and strengthen brand building.

Kim Kardashian Poses in Skims for Gorgeous Photos Taken by Kanye West

Kanye West has an eye for a good photo, especially when Kim Kardashian West is his muse.

KKW took to Twitter on Monday (Sept. 28) to share a series of stunning black-and-white photos for AnOther Magazine that were taken by her husband. In the snaps, the makeup mogul is seen posing on a wooden bench in her Skims shapewear. The look is complete with a sleek long ponytail and delicate HUNROD jewelry.

See the photos below.

Here Are the Lyrics to Drake’s ‘Laugh Now Cry Later,’ Feat. Lil Durk

Drake will “Laugh Now Cry Later” with Lil Durk, according to their joint hit, which serves as the lead single for Drizzy’s highly anticipated sixth album, Certified Lover Boy. 

The two are posted up at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., for the official music video, which documents a night filled with laughs, tears, jet skis, one-on-one games, orange Nike shopping bags and red Solo cups and features prominent athletes Odell Beckham Jr., Marshawn Lynch and Kevin Durant.

Check out the emotional roller coaster of lyrics and music video below.

Whoa, whoa
Yeah

Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry, but I guess you know now, baby
I took a half and she took the whole thing, slow down, baby
We took a trip, now we on your block and it’s like a ghost town, baby
Where do these n—as be at when they say they doing all this and all that?

Tired of beefing you bums, you can’t even pay me enough to react
Been waking up in the crib and sometimes I don’t even know where I’m at
Please don’t play that n—as songs in this party, I can’t even listen to that
Anytime that I ran into somebody, it must be a victory lap, ayy
Shawty come sit on my lap, ayy
They saying Drizzy just snapped
Distance between us is not like a store, this isn’t a closeable gap, ayy
I seen some n—as attack
And don’t end up making it back

I know that they at the crib going crazy, down bad
What they had didn’t last, da–, baby

Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry, but I guess you know now, baby
I took a half and she took the whole thing, slow down, baby
We took a trip, now we on your block and it’s like a ghost town, baby
Where do these n—as be at when they say they doing all this and all that?

I’m in the trenches, relax
Can you not play that lil’ boy in the club? ‘Cause we do not listen to rats
We in Atlanta, I buy her a wig, she tellin’ me Tae is the best
Point at that n—a who act like a killer
But you only one from the ‘net
I’m like DaBaby, I’m not just a rapper
You play with me, you gon’ get stretched
Ooh-oh
Bring Drake to the hood
Surround Drake around Dracs
Even though I got a case
I’ma do what it take

And I never been embraced
And the money’s hard to make
So I bet they on they face right now

I know that they at the crib going crazy, down bad
What they had didn’t last, da–, baby

Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry, but I guess you know now, baby
I took a half and she took the whole thing, slow down, baby
We took a trip, now we on your block and it’s like a ghost town, baby
Where do these n—as be at when they say they doing all this and all that?

When he tell the story, that’s not how it went
Know they be lying, a hundred percent
Moved out the Ritz and forgot ’bout the Bent’
Valet just called me to tell me come get it
Knocked that boy off and I don’t want no credit
If it was me, they wouldn’t regret it
Left me for dead and now they wan’ dead it, yeah
Heart is still beating
My n—as still eating
Backyard, it look like the Garden of Eden
Pillow talk with ‘em, she spilling the tea
And then shawty came back and said she didn’t mean it
It’s hard to believe it

I know that they at the crib going crazy, down bad
What they had didn’t last, da–, baby

Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry, but I guess you know now, baby
I took a half and she took the whole thing, slow down, baby
We took a trip, now we on your block and it’s like a ghost town, baby
Where do these n—as be at when they say they doing all this and all that?

Lyrics licensed & provided by LyricFind

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Written by: Aubrey Drake Graham, Durk Banks, Roget Lutfi Chahayed, Ronald N. La Tour, Ryan Alex Martinez

Event Designer Bobby Garza in Austin, in a Pandemic: ‘I Can’t Gauge Anymore When Things Are Going to Be Done’

When the concert business shut down in mid-March, Bobby Garza abruptly shifted from putting on live events to tearing them down — his company, Austin-based Forefront Networks, had to cancel the California food-and-music festival Yountville Live later that month, and massive productions like December’s Trail of Lights in Austin are in question, too. In early April, his life changed even more dramatically: Forefront furloughed 30 percent of its staff, including him.

As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Garza, a 43-year-old Forefront creative team leader who used to be general manager of festival producer Transmission Events, every other week to chronicle his experience throughout the crisis. (Read the latest installment here and see the full series here.

How was the first week of school for your kids?

I want to call it a complete dumpster fire, but the reality is that the boys are relatively acclimated to this process. They know what they’re doing and it seems like the instruction is going well. There’s this part of me that feels like I need to focus on work, and future work, but every hour, I feel compelled to go downstairs and check on things. That’s even after my family agreed to pick subjects and give the boys specific people to call — my mom is incredibly fluent in Spanish, [so] if they’ve got problems in Spanish, they can call my mom. But it’s such an incredibly surreal situation. I don’t quite know how to calibrate myself for that.

How are you able to squeeze in work through all this?

A lot of it is extending what I used to consider to be my workday. After the kids go to bed and go to their mom’s house, I’ll jump over to the computer and spend two or three more hours trying to figure out some stuff. It’s a big gap in the day that you lose just walking up and down the stairs: “What’s going on? How are you doing on your assignments? Can I cook you lunch? Do you need a snack?”

You said last time you might be able to announce some events with your contract job at the Long Center in Austin. Any progress on that?

We’re further down that road but not quite there. I can’t gauge anymore when things are going to be done. If we were able to get in a room and sit down and say, “We’re going to knock this out over the next two hours and have an agreement afterwards,” that probably would happen. Instead, it’s like, “We’ve only got an hour for this Zoom call and there are 12 people on the call and we want to make sure everybody’s heard and everybody’s stoked about it.” People are so starved for other human attention that you always want to take a few minutes to be like, “How are you doing? What’s going on at the house?” If it were a normal work day, I’d call somebody: “Hey, I need this, I need to talk to you about this.”

What are some of the issues about putting on live events in this context?

Most venues are trying to figure out right now: What collection of virtual and live events, when you’re able to have them, can you have efficiently in a way that’s financially sustainable that thinks about audiences? For example, venues and bars right now are completely shut down, but a performing-arts center can do stuff at 50% capacity. And outside, a performing-arts center can do stuff at 100% capacity, as long as there are socially distant measures.

In Colorado, we’ve had tiny Red Rocks shows, like Nathaniel Rateliff did 175 people over multiple nights. Are those types of shows worth it?

Venues have gotten to a point where they have to do something, and that’s a really scary spot to be in: “If I don’t stay open, I’m going to close permanently.” Most people, if they’re able, would choose to operate at some level of a negative just to get back in the game. There was a drive-in here in Austin a while back and it was like $450 a car. That’s my biggest fear right now — if this environment continues, what does that do for live entertainment, and does it become part of some class analysis [in which] only the wealthy are able to go see live music and experience artists? If that happens, it’s going to be a gigantic tragedy. If you’re running a venue, you have a certain percentage you have to hit to break even. The rule of thumb’s 85%. If you book it at 85%, and you’re only able to have 15 or 25% at your venue, what’s the other lever you’re able to pull? And that’s ticket price. Or you ask artists to make less money because they’d be playing for the first time in six months. That’s a terrible choice.

Are there any models for live events right now that seem profitable? What about comedians like Dave Chappelle performing in a field?

For comedy, it’s a lot easier. You don’t have the same type of sound demands and all you’ve got to think about is microphones. But I have a buddy who’s a comedian and he was on the road 300 days a year. You don’t get that anymore.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York recently announced it won’t return until fall 2021. At that point, could concerts conceivably start to go back to normal?

If there is a vaccine, sure. If people do what they’re supposed to in the interim, absolutely. If we continue to see stuff like those first-of-the-college-year parties and everybody running around [with] no masks and all of that stuff, it’s in danger.

What else is going on?

It was my kid’s birthday this week. He turned 14! We had the big Zoom call and he got a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons art things. He likes painting those figurines — he got this huge magnifying glass and thin brushes and paints. He got a new ukulele. And I baked him a tres leches cake from scratch.

I didn’t know you had baking chops.

Dude, it’s like the easiest cake to make and it always turns out great. it’s just math and measuring. It’s not a lot of really technical baking stuff. I can stumble through that one good enough.

Coronavirus

Florida and San Francisco Loosen Restrictions on Live Music

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a sweeping executive order that lifts all restrictions on bars, nightclubs and other businesses that were implemented due to the spread of the coronavirus. He stated at a press conference, “We’re not closing anything going forward.”

DeSantis’s order also suspends all fines incurred for not wearing a mask and requires local governments to justify any localized restrictions that bring capacity below 100%.

The news comes as Florida approaches 700,000 contracted cases of COVID-19 and reports more than 14,000 deaths, according to the state’s health department. In the last full week of testing, the state averaged more than 2,000 new cases per day and has seen more than 8,000 non-residents test positive while in the state.

Music venues and nightclubs across the state will be allowed to open at full capacity, something American Nightlife Association president JC Diaz says owners are feeling both excited and concerned about. 

“It’s a little bit of a balance if you will, from the health and economic standpoint,” Diaz tells Billboard. Nightlife is “a huge economic driver and obviously you can get people back to work. But also the mitigation measures are extremely important in order for us to not have a huge spike whether it be locally or having an influence on an international level.”

While the state will not allow for the enforcement of reduced capacities, Diaz believes venue owners will not be filling their rooms to the maximum capacity. He explains that most patrons are interested in mitigation measures and will be more comfortable in establishments that follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services protocols. 

“I understand what DeSantis is trying to do. He is trying to make sure that we can generate the billions of dollars that the industry provides and the jobs of course,” says Diaz. But he cautions, “If we open up prematurely without mitigation measures, as we have seen it in other markets, it’s great for the first couple of weeks, but then the industry is [in] complete shut down again.”

On the same day in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed announced the Jam permit, which would allow local businesses to apply for the ability to play amplified music and have live performances in outdoor spaces. The permit, created and administered by San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission, gives businesses the opportunity to apply at least two weeks in advance to hold outdoor entertainment on private patios and rooftops, in parking lots and throughout the city’s roughly 1,600 shared spaces (city sidewalk, curb lane, street or other outdoor location).

“It’s a first step. It’s not going to give everything to everyone in our community right now. It’s a limited permit because of the health restrictions, but it has the ability to adapt as rules change,” says San Francisco Entertainment Commission executive director Maggie Weiland.

The permit will allow for venues with parking lots or shared spaces to open for live events as long as there is dining and patrons are seated six feet apart and follow the county’s outdoor dining regulations. Amplified noise will only be allowed for 6 hours per day between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. and be subject to sound limits.

Performers are only allowed to “jam,” as state restrictions prohibit singing, shouting, or playing wind or brass instruments — activities shown to increase the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. All performers and staff are required to use face coverings and each performer must fit in the performance area and keep a distance of at least six feet from other people.

“I’ve received a lot of great feedback from our music community. For actual venue owners, this is a game changer,” says Weiland. “All of those independent venues in the city that had been closed, they could take advantage, but it’s just trying to figure out if this is financially feasible based on having to do outdoor dining.”

Weiland says the Entertainment Commission has already received 25 applications since Friday and is hoping for more as regulations change and businesses figure out spaces and ways to bring live music back to the city. 

“That’s why this permit is so important in a lot of ways, because it brings the conversation back to the table,” says Weiland. “It shows our community that entertainment, music, artists, culture are incredibly important.”

Coronavirus

Here Are the Lyrics to Justin Bieber’s ‘Holy,’ Feat. Chance the Rapper

Justin Bieber blessed the Beliebers with a “Holy” collaboration with Chance the Rapper, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week (dated Oct. 3).

After the two first linked up on Bieber’s Journals highlight “Confident,” they reunited for Bieber’s first single since he dropped his No. 1 album Changes in February. “Holy” examines the pop star’s devotion not only to his religion, but also to his wife Hailey.

In a behind-the-scenes video for the song’s accompanying visual, he explained why he tapped Chance once more. “Chance is one of my good friends, I consider him a brother,” he said. “I asked him if there was anything on his heart that he wanted to share on this record, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I would love to.'”

Check out the lyrics and music video below.

I hear a lot about sinners
Don’t think that I’ll be a saint
But I might go down to the river, uh
‘Cause the way that the sky opens up when we touch
Yeah, it’s makin’ me say

That the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
On God
Runnin’ to the altar like a track star
Can’t wait another second
‘Cause the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy

I don’t do well with the drama
And no, I can’t stand it bein’ fake
No, no, no, no, no, no-no-no
I don’t believe in nirvana
But the way that we love in the night gave me life
Baby, I can’t explain

That the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
On God
Runnin’ to the altar like a track star
Can’t wait another second
‘Cause the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy

They say we’re too young and
The pimps and the players say, “Don’t go crushin'”
Wise men say, “Fools rush in”
But I don’t know (ah-ah, ah, ah)
They say we’re too young and
The pimps and the players say, “Don’t go crushin'”
Wise men say, “Fools rush in”
But I don’t know (Chance the Rapper, ah)

The first step pleases the Father
Might be the hardest to take
But when you come out of the water
I’m a believer, my heart is fleshy
Life is short with a temper like Joe Pesci
They always come and sing your praises, your name is catchy
But they don’t see you how I see you, Parlay and Desi
Cross, Tween, Tween, Hesi’ hit the jet speed
When they get messy, go lefty, like Lionel Messi
Let’s take a trip and get the Vespas or rent a jet-ski
I know the spots that got the best weed, we goin’ next week
I wanna honor, wanna honor you
Bride’s groom, I’m my father’s child
I know when the son takes the first steps, the Father’s proud
If you make it to the water He’ll part the clouds
I know He made you a snack like Oscar Proud
Suffer it to be so now gotta clean it up
Formalize the union in communion He can trust
I know I ain’t leavin’ you like I know He ain’t leavin’ us
I know we believe in God and I know God believes in us

‘Cause the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
On God
Runnin’ to the altar like a track star
Can’t wait another second
On God
Runnin’ to the altar like a track star
Can’t wait another second
On God
Runnin’ to the altar like a track star
Can’t wait another second
‘Cause the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me
Feels so holy

Lyrics licensed & provided by LyricFind

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Written by: Justin Bieber, Chancellor Johnathan Bennett, Steven Franks, Tommy Brown, Jon Bellion, Jorgen Odegard

Here Are the Lyrics to BTS’ ‘Dynamite’

BTS blew up the Billboard Hot 100 like “Dynamite,” with their first No. 1 hit sung completely in their second language of English.

RM exclaimed to Billboard in a video interview, “This is my tombstone! We’ll take it to this grave!” And one of the “Dynamite” songwriters, Jessica Agombar, said working on the K-pop boy band’s highly anticipated banger couldn’t be possible without their irrepressible energy and enthusiasm.

“Me and David [Stewart] thought to ourselves, ‘What would they need to say right now to uplift the world? It needs to be energetic, fun, hopeful, positive and just like a huge ball of energy,'” she told Billboard earlier this month. “Me and David were so hellbent on getting the single — because we felt so, so passionately that this was going to be great for them — [that] everyone worked 100 miles an hour.”

Check out the explosive lyrics and music video below.

‘Cause I-I-I’m in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight

Shoes on, get up in the morn
Cup of milk, let’s rock and roll
King Kong, kick the drum, rolling on like a rolling stone
Sing song when I’m walking home
Jump up to the top, LeBron
Ding dong, call me on my phone
Ice tea and a game of ping pong

This is getting heavy
Can you hear the bass boom? I’m ready (woo hoo)
Life is sweet as honey
Yeah, this beat cha-ching like money
Disco overload, I’m into that, I’m good to go
I’m diamond, you know I glow up
Hey, so let’s go

‘Cause I-I-I’m in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (hey)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa

Bring a friend, join the crowd
Whoever wanna come along
Word up, talk the talk
Just move like we Off The Wall
Day or night the sky’s alight
So we dance to the break of dawn
Ladies and gentlemen, I got the medicine
So you should keep ya eyes on the ball, huh

This is getting heavy
Can you hear the bass boom? I’m ready (woo hoo)
Life is sweet as honey
Yeah, this beat cha-ching like money
Disco overload, I’m into that, I’m good to go
I’m diamond, you know I glow up
Let’s go

‘Cause I-I-I’m in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (hey)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa

Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na, life is dynamite
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na, life is dynamite
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa

Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Light it up like dynamite

Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy
Light it up like dynamite

‘Cause I-I-I’m in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite (this is I)

‘Cause I-I-I’m in the stars tonight
So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight (ah)
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa (light it up like dynamite)

Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na, life is dynamite
Dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na, life is dynamite
Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
Light it up like dynamite, whoa

Lyrics licensed & provided by LyricFind

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Written by: David Stewart, Jessica Agombar