BTS Produce an ‘Epic’ Moment for New Galaxy Spot: Watch

BTS ruled MTV (and the Internet) on Tuesday night with their Unplugged performance.

But if you stepped out the room for a moment to calm yourself, you might have missed BTS’ starring performance in the commercial for the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G device.

Shot in black and white, the 15-second spot features RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook, with their song “Life Goes On” as the soundbed.

The lads are captured in the smartphone’s 8K video footage, and they’re framed with the tagline, “Made for the epic in everyday.”

The ad aired during the BTS’ 30-minute MTV Unplugged special, which went live 9pm ET. Watch it below.

The commercial is the latest in an ongoing partnership, which has seen BTS join forces for a holiday campaign, launch the Galaxy S20+ 5G and Galaxy Buds, and the tech giant has embraced BTS’ logo and purple heart in its artwork.

BTS is arguably the biggest pop band on the planet right now. They’re nominated for best pop duo/group performance for the 63rd Grammy Awards, and they’ve already be rewarded with Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and No. 1s on both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts.

Michael Bolton Wants You to Dump Robinhood in New Ad

Famed love balladeer Michael Bolton wants you to break up with your brokerage.

The multi-platinum singer has reinterpreted his Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” in a new ad for online brokerage that urges investors to transfer their portfolios away from commission-free brokerages that employ the practice known as payment for order flow (PFOF). PFOF is when a brokerage receives rebates on trades by routing them through a high-speed trading firm.

Though several online brokerages (including, until recently, use PFOF, the video’s clear target is Robinhood, which received an avalanche of publicity during the recent Gamestop scandal. The well-timed ad piggybacks on recent Reddit outrage around the practice, which last week spawned a House inquiry that resulted in Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev being grilled by members of Congress.

In a blog post, Public noted that it is “officially PFOF-free” as of Feb. 16. As an incentive to investors, the company is offering to cover any fees charged by an existing brokerage to transfer their portfolio to them.

“I could hardly believe it, what I saw on Reddit today,” sings Bolton in the revamped lyrics, his vocals accompanied by stock images of romance gone wrong (shattering wine glasses, a red rose licked by flames, etc). “Was hoping I could get it straight from you. They told me ’bout order flow. So I Googled, now I know. I think I gotta find somebody new.”

Bolton, who has his own investment portfolio listed on Public, is just one of several high-profile individuals involved with the company: Investors listed on the brokerage’s website include Will Smith, The Chainsmokers and Tony Hawk.

During his appearance before Congress last week, Tenev defended Robinhood’s use of payment for order flow in a prepared statement, in which he claimed that “Robinhood’s customers benefit greatly from payment for order flow as market-makers typically provide better prices than public exchanges.”

This isn’t the first time Bolton has updated one of his famous tunes for an advertising campaign. Last September, the singer released a carb-heavy version of his 1991 smash “When a Man Loves a Woman” in an ad for Panera Bread.

BTS’ ARMY Is Delirious After ‘MTV Unplugged’ Performance

With their MTV Unplugged performance, BTS has joined a list of luminaries that includes Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Adele and Bon Jovi.

The South Korean juggernauts, however, have an ARMY on their side!

The chart-topping K-pop superstars made their MTV Unplugged debut Tuesday night, from a stage in Seoul, South Korea.

Their half-hour set was filled with hits, rotating backdrops, wardrobe changes, and a surprise cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

Social media was lit up in the hours after BTS’ performance went live, as the ARMY turned to Twitter to share their thoughts and favorite moments. “Fix You” was a superheated talking point.

Check out some of the best reaction below.

Black Country Artists From the ’90s Share Their Stories: ‘It Was a Very Lonely Journey’

As the country music industry grapples with how to become more inclusive, some Black pioneers shared their stories Tuesday (Feb. 23) on a Nashville Music Equality-sponsored panel about the history of the Black Country Music Association. The now-defunct organization started in the early ’90s to promote black artists and educate the industry on the wealth of Black country talent.

Cleve Francis founded the group after his experiences after his time with Liberty Records (which became Capitol Nashville). Though initially hopeful, his interactions with the country music industry turned dismal.

A cardiologist who sang on the side, Francis’ music attracted the attention of CMT, which played the video of his remake of Glen Campbell’s “Lovelight.”

The CMT play prompted Liberty head/producer Jimmy Bowen in 1991 to sign Francis, who, at that time, became the only Black artist signed to a major label in Nashville. “He said, ‘I’ll give you a three-[album deal]. There’s a need for another voice in country music… you have a natural voice like Charley Pride does,’” Francis recalled.

The label sent Francis on a radio station tour across the country and he garnered press in national publications, including The Washington Post and People, but “the record fell on its face. We released two more songs and they fell on their faces,” Francis said. “The radio stations had turned on me. No one would take me on tour with them. There was no one who would touch me.” (Francis’s highest charting single, “You Do My Heart Good,” reached No. 47.)

In a 1994 commentary for Billboard, Francis gave a brief history of the African-American role in developing country music, including slaves bringing the banjo to America and the contributions of such artists as DeFord Bailey, Stoney Edwards and O.B. McClinton, but he also addressed the fact that the way some country acts, and often the genre, tied its marketing efforts with Confederate imagery was hugely problematic. “It didn’t help when some of country’s biggest stars aligned themselves with staunch segregationists and campaigned against civil rights for Blacks,” he wrote. “For many African-Americans, country music became the symbol of oppression because of its perceived association with the racism of Southern whites.”

That complicated history showed itself when Francis played at a Black National Convention Planners event in San Antonio, Texas. “There were all Black people. Within 15 minutes, they all got up and left,” he said. “They said [country] was racist music.”

As a result of his experiences, Francis formed the Black Country Music Association. “I wondered why all these Blacks were trying to get into the industry and had doors slammed on them,” he says. The organization’s goal was to educate people about Black country music as much as to promote individual members.

Singer and songwriter Frankie Staton ran the organization. Raised on country artists like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, she moved to Nashville to pursue a music career, but at jam sessions, she would be the first to sign up only to still not hear her name called three hours later to take the stage.

Though she found work at the Brass Rail in Printer’s Alley, she could not get a toehold with any facet of the recorded music industry, “I was able to perform as a live performer all over [Nashville],” she says. “It was Music Row that always stopped me.”

But she persevered. “Sometimes in life you have to wait, even when people want you to get up and walk away, you have to stay when everyone is screaming no,” she said.

She continued to knock on doors eager to find a way for Black country artists to be heard in a meaningful way and eventually linked up with the historic Bluebird Cafe for a showcase for Black country musicians from all over the United States. “I wanted to say, if only for one moment in their lives, they felt like a star, and it happened on an industry stage in Nashville, Tennessee,” she said.

Valierie Ellis was one of the artists who took the Bluebird stage and was eventually signed with Warner Bros. Nashville after noted songwriter Max T. Barnes saw her perform at Nashville club The Broken Spoke. She recorded a demo tape for him, and in a Music City twist of fate, her mom played it for the president of Randy Travis’ fan club, whose house she cleaned. That woman introduced her to Travis and his then-wife/manager Lib Hatcher, who took her to Warner Bros. “It was a very lonely journey,” Ellis said, getting clearly emotional as she recalled getting very little support and finally the label saying it didn’t know how to market her. “The door was cracked, but never wide open enough to walk through,” she said.

With a growing number of strong new Black artists now trying to break through into country — including Brittney Spencer and Reyna Roberts — as well as the success of acts like Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, Breland and Blanco Brown — Entertainment One GM Gina Miller said, “I do feel like there is some kind of movement emerging in front of us. We’re at the point where you can name a lot of names — more than both hands will allow.”

As to where to go from here, Francis suggested that the Country Music Association form a diversity task force, but posited that nothing would change. “If Nashville is serious about [structural and institutional] racism, which I have strong doubts, the CMA would form a task force to discuss this problem.” The industry needs to ask itself: “’What can we do to be more inviting to the African-American community? We’ve taken their drumming and their banjos and not given anything back’ … This is Racism 101, and if they want to keep it that way, they’re making a statement.” While he noted that many of today’s leaders are younger, “They’re saying they don’t really need us. ‘We’re doing fine, the door is closed.’”

(Both the CMA and the Academy of Country Music did form diversity task forces in 2019, primarily to address the issue of lack of play for female artists. Representatives for the CMA did not immediately respond for comment.)

The idea was also suggested to market to the broad swath of fans who may not know about the music but would like to support it and expand beyond the traditional country audience. “If people don’t like you, they aren’t going to like your music,” said panelist Shannon Sanders, BMI executive director, creative. “The investment has to be made in new audiences. People who buy Black music will buy [country music by Black artists] too. I’m not saying just black people. [It’s] not trying to force it to people who say they don’t want it.”

Francis also suggested reviving the BCMA under Staton, who stressed that for now, the organization is dormant. By the panel’s end, it was clear its status may change.

Staton predicted that as more Blacks are given their fair chance in country music, there will be an evolution. “It’s going into those places that it hasn’t gone,” she says. “There’s a whole lot of room for a lot of great things to be done. We’re standing on the forefront of a yet-defined [era] that will go down in history.”

And if the conventional gatekeepers continue to deny creatives entrance, Sanders offered another solution. “If you keep banging on the door and they don’t want to let you in, just go build your own house.”

5 Best Moments From BTS’ ‘MTV Unplugged’ Performance

After a whirlwind 2020 and a year of career highs, BTS isn’t showing signs of slowing down. In their latest high-profile performance, the septet made their MTV Unplugged debut Tuesday night (Feb. 23). With lots to be excited about — including a Grammy nod for “Dynamite” and the recent release of BE (Essentials Edition) on Feb. 19 — BTS appeared on a stage from Seoul, South Korea, to perform some songs from their latest album for the first time.  

In true BTS style, the half-hour performance was filmed with five different sets to match the mood of each respective song. From an arcade room to an indoor field to a retro-style living room, RM, Jimin, Jin, Suga, Jungkook, V, and J-Hope sang acoustic renditions of tracks off of BE, along with a surprise cover of a Coldplay classic. In between each song, members of the boy band thanked their dedicated ARMY and gave behind-the-scenes details behind the making of their latest project.

Here are the five best moments from MTV Unplugged Presents: BTS 

1. Sharing the Inspiration Behind “Telepathy”  

The septet opened with the Korean-language “Telepathy,” the fifth track on BETo kick off their set, the group sang in a game room featuring a foosball table and a basketball hoop while dressed in a more relaxed attire of jeans and tees.  

After the song, the members casually interviewed each other and revealed that “Telepathy” was inspired by their fanbase, known as the ARMY. The single, which expresses BTS’ love for ARMY, describes the disappointment in their inability to tour and connect with their fans in the last year.  

2. Revealing the Emotions Behind “Blue & Grey”  

Following “Telepathy,” the boy band cut to a completely different set for their performance of “Blue & Grey.” For their second song, the group changed into matching gray suits and sang in an indoor field complete with blue flowers and gray walls to match the pop ballad’s lyrics.  

According to Jin, V had a big part in writing “Blue & Grey,” which has a more introspective melody. Explained V: “I tried to express my inner sadness and uncertainty, so I translated the feeling of burning out as ‘blue’ and the sadness of not being able to see the ARMY as ‘gray.’” 

3. BTS’ Cover of “Fix You by Coldplay 

As a special surprise for their American viewers, BTS switched over to singing in English with their cover of Coldplay’s 2005 single “Fix You.” In a challenging year for everyone, Jimin shared, “This song gave us comfort, so we wanted to prepare this cover to comfort you as well.”   

4. The Changes in Sets and Costumes

With five unique sets and five wardrobe changes, BTS put their own K-pop spin on the classic MTV Unplugged franchise through the act’s attention to detail in creating a visual spectacle. From the indoor flower field to the vibrant arcade room, the South Korean boy band was able to translate the colorful world of K-pop into the MTV format. 

5. Jungkook’s Sweet Parting Words 

Toward the end of their set, members of the band shared their own goodbye message with fans. Looking ahead to what’s in store for 2021, Jungkook assured the ARMY, “We will continue to stay by your side this year with good music.”  

Global Citizen Unveils Recovery Plan for the World & Upcoming Broadcast Special

Global Citizen, the international advocacy organization, today announced its Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign and series of events designed to better the planet across five categories. These include ending COVID-19 and the hunger crisis, resuming learning, protecting the planet and advancing equity.

The detailed framework — presented in full and put forth on the org’s website — is being supported by leaders across the music and entertainment space including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Femi Kuti, H.E.R., Hugh Jackman, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Jonas Brothers, Lang Lang, Lars Ulrich, Miley Cyrus, Rachel Brosnahan, SuperM, Usher and Yemi Alade. Global Citizen ambassadors Jill and Olivia Vedder have also signed on.

“While COVID-19 has touched every individual on the planet, the pandemic’s impact on the most vulnerable — especially those living in extreme poverty — has been devastating, leaving people worse off than they were, even just a year ago. More than 1.5 billion children have had their education disrupted and millions of families are facing starvation. But the action we take together can make a difference,” said Chopra Jonas, Global Citizen ambassador. “By using our voices to call on world leaders, corporations and philanthropists to step up and take urgent action, and by supporting the Recovery Plan for the World, we can impact millions of lives for the better now, not later.”

The campaign will include a global broadcast special, airing in May, that will be geared toward helping overcome vaccine hesitancy while rallying governments to equitably distribute vaccines. The special is said to be in collaboration with the European Commission, the World Health Organization, Italy (as head of the G20), the state of California and iHeartMedia. Additional details are expected in the coming weeks.

Also in 2021, Global Citizen, in partnership with Teneo, will bring the campaign to life with a series of pledging moments and global events with key moments including Global Citizen LIVE, a multi-hour global event featuring performances from Lagos, New York, Paris, Seoul and Sydney; and Global Citizen at the G20 Summit, jointly hosted by the Italian G20 Presidency and the European Commission and held in Rome on Oct. 30-31.

The plans come on the heels of last year’s Global Citizen-hosted One World: Together at Home and Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, events that helped mobilize more than $1.5 billion in cash grants, with over $1.1 billion already disbursed. “A virus anywhere remains a virus everywhere, and our goal is to unite world leaders, artists and entertainers, philanthropists and CEOs to end COVID-19 for all and kickstart a global recovery,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen.

More information about the plan can be found here.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


Watch Ray J React to Lyrical References From Kanye West, Eminem & More

For years, Ray J has been the subject of lyrical shoutouts, referencing everything from his songs to his 2007 sex tape with Kim Kardashian.

The singer sat down with Genius for a new video on Tuesday (Feb. 23) where he reacted to a number of songs that mention him by name — including Kanye West’s “Highlights,” which features the lyrics, “I bet me and Ray J would be friends / If we ain’t love the same b—h / Yeah, he might have hit it first / Only problem is I’m rich.”

“That’s what it say in the song? No, it don’t,” Ray J said in disbelief to West’s reference to his former relationship with Kardashian. “That was cool. That’s like he’s having a conversation. I didn’t know it said all of that.”

Ray J went on to praise Jay-Z and West’s Watch the Throne as “one of the greatest albums of all time,” before suggesting that “maybe we might need to be friends now. Everybody need to just put that s–t behind. It’s 2021. It’s all love over here. Let’s bring the love together.”

Ye isn’t the only rapper Ray wants to link up with. The star was thrilled about City Girls’ “Make ‘em wish like Ray J” line in their “Say Sum (Remix),” and extended an offer for a collaboration. “That’s what the f–k we need!” he exclaimed. “City Girls, please, man, let’s collab. Let’s do some technology together. I got some bags. I got some opportunities for us. That’s my wish, that City Girls make ‘em wish like Ray J. And that’s Ray J’s wish is for City Girls to come get on some of this technology with me.”

Ray J’s name also made its way into Eminem’s “Godzilla,” where he raps, “This beat is cray-cray, Ray J, h-a, h-a, h-a.”

“Man, you always want to get an Eminem mention,” he shared. “That’s like the highest level of it.”

Overall, the “One Wish” singer shared immense gratitude for all the songs he’s been mentioned in. “Good and bad, it all goes together and I appreciate that s–t,” he said.

Watch the full video, which also includes songs from Method Man, Rick Ross, CupcakKe, GoldLink and more, below.