Jonas Brothers, Irving Azoff & More Selected for Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2023 (Full List)

Music stars are well represented on the list of entertainment figures who will receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2023. Half of the 24 honorees who were announced on Friday (June 17) come from the world of music.

Eight honorees were named in the category of recording — Marc Anthony, Irving Azoff, Jonas Brothers, Sheila E., Lenny Kravitz, Jenni Rivera, Blake Shelton and Charlie Wilson. In addition, Ludacris, though named in the category of motion pictures, is probably even better known for music. And all three honorees named in the category of live theatre/live performance are music notables — Lang Lang, Melba Moore and Pentatonix.

Four of this year’s honorees have had multiple No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 – Ludacris (four No. 1 albums), Jonas Brothers (three), and Pentatonix and Shelton (two each).

Jonas Brothers and Pentatonix are the only groups or duos to be honored this year. All the other honorees are individuals.

Three of the awards are posthumous. Rivera, a top star of Regional Mexican music, died in a plane crash in 2012. Paul Walker, a core cast member of The Fast and the Furious franchise, died in a car crash in 2013. Juanita Moore, who received an Oscar nomination for her performance in 1959’s Imitation of Life, died at age 99 in 2014. Walker’s death inspired the Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth smash “See You Again,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks in 2015.

At least three of this year’s Walk of Fame honorees have received career-capping awards elsewhere. Azoff was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 in the non-performer category. Garrett Morris was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2017 along with the other original cast members of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. And Wilson received a lifetime achievement award at the BET Awards in 2013.

The honorees are chosen by the Walk of Fame selection panel of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Ellen K, chair of the selection panel and a top radio personality, announced the new honorees on www.walkoffame.com.

This year’s total of 24 honorees is down sharply from last year’s tally of 38. No stars were awarded this year in the categories of radio or sports entertainment. The latter category was added last year.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame originated in 1958. While some think it’s corny and consider it less serious than other top awards, it’s a tangible sign of success in the entertainment field, one that is recognized around the world. The star will be there on Hollywood Boulevard or Vine Street permanently for the honoree’s family, friends and fans to visit at will. Even superstars and jaded industry professionals often find that hard to say no to.

Dates have not yet been scheduled for these star ceremonies. Recipients have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before the offers expire. Upcoming star ceremonies are usually announced 10 days prior to dedication on the official website.

Here’s a complete list of the Class of 2023 selections to the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

In the category of recording: Marc Anthony, Irving Azoff, Jonas Brothers, Sheila E, Lenny Kravitz, Jenni Rivera (posthumous), Blake Shelton, Charlie Wilson

In the category of motion pictures: Juanita Moore (posthumous), Bill Pullman, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, John Waters, Ludacris, Paul Walker (posthumous)

In the category of television: Jon Favreau, Mindy Kaling, Martin Lawrence, Ralph Macchio, Garrett Morris, Ellen Pompeo

In the category of live theatre/live performance: Lang Lang, Melba Moore, Pentatonix

 

Drake, John Legend & Muni Long, FKA Twigs & More: Which New Music Release Is Your Favorite? Vote!

It’s new music Friday, which means there’s a fresh batch of new musical releases.

One of hip-hop’s biggest names returns with a surprise album, two powerhouse R&B singers team up for a sultry duet, and an avant-garde artist returns with a hyper-catchy track. But which release was your favorite?

Nine months after Certified Lover Boy‘s momentous arrival, Drake delivered another album with Honestly, Nevermind on Friday (June 17). His seventh LP, the Toronto rapper went against his usually well-calculated ways to announce the surprise album just mere hours before it landed on streaming services. Drizzy elected to keep his new full-length project shorter than his typically overstuffed albums with a modest 14 songs. Those expecting a rap album were sadly mistaken, as the superstar rapper leans on the house music scene and bars are a rarity outside of a few tracks.

John Legend and Muni Long also joined forces for the jazz-infused collaboration “Honey.” Produced by Ryan Tedder, Steven Franks, Lindgren and Tommy Brown, “Honey” finds the “All of Me” singer and Long taking one verse apiece to riff about how addictively sweet their respective lovers are over groovy, slow jam guitar strums. The new song — which will appear on his forthcoming album, Honey — follows Legend’s May-released single “Dope,” which features J.I.D.

Meanwhile, FKA Twigs has dropped her latest song “Killer” through Atlantic Records. Written by Twigs, Jimmy Napes, Amanda Ghost and Jonny Coffer, the song “explores the inner turmoil of heartbreak and a love so deep it’s lethal,” according to a news release. The singer tells her story with delicacy and ample hooks, continuing the winning streak that her Caprisongs mixtape started earlier this year.

Chlöe and Lil Baby featuring 42 Dugg and Veeze also returned with new music this week. So what’s your favorite new music release? Vote below!

Shawn Gee & Live Nation Urban to Produce Juneteenth Event at Hollywood Bowl With CNN

Shawn Gee with Live Nation Urban will produce the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration at Hollywood Bowl on Sunday (June 19). CNN will serve as the official broadcast partner and will showcase the performances on all CNN platforms live on Sunday, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

The series will feature the The Re-Collective Orchestra, the first all-Black symphony orchestra to perform onstage in the Hollywood Bowl’s 100-year history. The 68-member orchestra was organized by LA Phil violinist Stephanie Matthews and will be led by Derrick Hodge and LA Phil principal conductor Thomas Wilkins.

Adam Blackstone and the BBE All-Star Band will accompany the orchestra and serve as the evening’s house band with Robert Glasper leading the rhythm section. Blackstone and The Roots co-founder Questlove will serve as the musical co-directors, while more than a dozen artists — including Anthony Hamilton, Billy Porter, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jhené Aiko, Killer Mike and Mickey Guyton — will join the performance.

“It’s a variety show model with a mixture of performances with a diverse blend of genres and artists performing with the band and the orchestra,” Gee says of the event, which was born out of a partnership between CNN and Live Nation on  The New York City Homecoming Concert in 2021.

“CNN came back to Live Nation and said they wanted to do something big around Juneteenth,” Gee explains, noting that the network wanted to build a tentpole production for the new federal holiday, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, similar to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Live Nation connected CNN with Gee, recommending their joint venture partners as “the only ones who can produce this event in an authentic way.”

Gee then connected the cable news executive with Johanna Rees, vp of presentations for the LA Phil, which manages the Hollywood Bowl, and wanted to develop a Juneteenth event for the Hollywood Bowl’s 100-year anniversary season.

“We want to entertain and celebrate, but we also want to educate because there’s a lot of people, whether they’re in the Bowl or watching across the globe, that won’t know what Juneteenth is. So we have pre-recorded packages where we’re going to talk about the history of Juneteenth and highlight people like Opal Lee, who has been fighting to make Juneteenth a federal holiday for 40 years. It’s going to be an incredible three hour celebration.”

Gee has been busy the last two months, launching the new Strength of a Woman festival headlined by Mary J Blige in Atlanta, bringing back the Broccoli City festival to Washington, D.C., and staging the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, expanding the fest two days, growing from 20,000 attendees to 60,000 attendees.

“2022 has been a period of growth for us,” Gee tells Billboard. “All our brands mean something to the communities in which they exist. The Roots Picnic is a great example — its by and for Philadelphia and the city has embraced it for the last 15 years.”

“This is the most important event we’ve ever produced at Live Nation Urban. It’s a moment to celebrate and reflect on Black independence and the Black experience. It’s also a moment to raise awareness and shine light on the miles we still need to travel to true equity. We hope to see you there.”

Tickets are currently available online at hollywoodbowl.com . Learn more at livenationurban.com.

 

Pharrell Williams Talks Admiration for Kendrick Lamar, Fight Against Racial Injustice & More Ahead of D.C. Festival

Pharrell WilliamsSomething in the Water Festival is officially underway.

The ceremonious event started with an informative panel featuring Williams, retired NASA astronaut and NFL player Leland Melvin, and YELLOW executive director Stacey Owsley. The discussion, moderated by journalist Dan Kloeffe, focused on William’s youth-centric nonprofit organization YELLOW’s new partnership with STEM and the power of curiosity.

The decorated panel members also led an interesting conversation around the importance of fostering and nurturing curiosity in our everyday lives, our homes, and our educational curriculum. During the hour-long forum, Williams exclaimed “that the educational system is not broken, but it is fixed, and it is our job to break it and redefine it to be beneficial for everyone.” Pharrell is hyper-aware of the lack of opportunities and unity in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va.

“I slipped through the cracks and became successful, and YELLOW is helping create a system that provides an easier path to success,” the Grammy-winning artist said.

Something in the Water Festival is a three-day experience celebrating culture, art, education and music. The Redrock Entertainment and Live Nation-produced festival is in the heart of Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue. The event begins on Friday (June 17), with performances by Justin Timberlake, a reunited Clipse, N.O.R.E, Q-Tip and SZA among the special guests.

Although the celebration of music has moved from the 757, Williams was sure to include his beloved hometown in this year’s festivities. The highly anticipated event comes on the heels of Pharrell’s latest single “Cash In Cash Out,” featuring 21 Savage and Tyler, the Creator.

Billboard spoke with Williams about the reasoning behind Something in the Water moving from his hometown, the artist’s continued fight against racial injustice, and his admiration for Kendrick Lamar’s writing ability.

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Something in the Water moving from your hometown of Virginia Beach to Washington, D.C. Is there any chance that the festival might move back to Virginia Beach in the future?

That is a great question, but one I cannot answer. That is only because I was disappointed with how the local municipal government handled the loss of my cousin’s life. It is one thing for the officer to make a mistake, but it is another to follow up the way they did. I did not feel as if there was enough love, respect, and reverence for his life. Him being a fellow Virginian, his life and the loss of his life should have been treated like anybody else’s. When we start seeing situations handled differently, not only with African Americans but with minorities in general handled differently, then coming back is something we can think about doing again.

It’s also serendipitous too because we did this during Juneteeth weekend right on Independence Blvd. We had to do it there because we worked really hard with the governor at the time in Virginia to have Juneteenth become a state holiday. Then shortly after, the federal government followed suit. If the city was acting up back home, we got to continue because it was always a Black solution to a systemic problem.

The give back is in the leave behind of the festival. It is not just D.C.; the 757 is benefitting, and we brought the city with us to the festival. Everything happening around this festival up here and back home in the 757 is possible because of the activation of the people. It is the people who are powering this event.

You mentioned that the goal of Something in the Water Festival is to ease racial tension and unify the region as a whole. How can festival-goers help continue to support these efforts going forward?

Aye! Act accordingly. This is about all of us, not just me. It is the whole DMV. We need Maryland, my beloved Virginia, and D.C. Virginia is the reason all of this started.

Your newest song “Cash In Cash Out” features two of the biggest acts in hip-hop. Can you tell us how the surprising collaboration came about?

[Starts singing the song’s hook] Man! It was just like what are the most combustible forces I could put together. Starting with that beat, 21 Savage and Tyler, it’s like alchemy. I tried to find the most combustible equation for that, and that is what you are hearing. It’s streaming like a river right now, so we are grateful!

Your fingerprints have been on a few Billboard chart-topping albums this year, including acts like Pusha T, Jack Harlow, and Kendrick Lamar. You even recently mentioned that Kendrick is one of the greatest writers of our generation. Can you speak to his growth from good kid, m.A.A.d city to his latest effort on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers?

The evolution of Kungfu Kenny is different. He’s just different. When you look at the fact that he was awarded a Pulitzer prize, it’s different. Rap is an amazing art form, but it is more to it. When you mention someone like Jay-Z, it is more to it than just the art form. These men intend to share the codes in a very different way. They are doing more than just rhyming to a beat and creating melody and hooks. There is a great cultural intention there, and anyone who listens to those words will understand.

Drake’s ‘Honestly, Nevermind’ Breaks Apple Music Dance Album Record for Most First-Day Streams

Drake gave just one day’s notice before his surprise new album, Honestly, Nevermind, hit streaming services Friday (June 17), and yet it’s already become Apple Music’s biggest dance album in history by breaking the platform’s record for first-day streams worldwide, according to a news release by the streaming service. What’s more impressive? It only took one hour to do so.

Honestly, Nevermind marks the 35-year-old rapper’s seventh studio album to date, featuring 14 total tracks and just one guest artist on “Jimmy Cooks,” the project’s final track which sees assistance from 21 Savage. The only warning he gave of the record’s arrival was a strikingly simple Instagram photo of the album’s psychedelic cover art posted a few hours beforehand, writing, “7th studio album ‘HONESTLY, NEVERMIND’ out at midnight.”

The new album’s streaming feat is the “Knife Talk” artist’s latest in an extensive list of triumphs made with the streaming service. His previous album, Certified Lover Boy, released in September 2021, broke the platform’s record for most first-day streams worldwide and, at the time of publication, still holds the record for biggest album in Apple Music history.

In second place comes Drake’s 2018 album, Scorpion, which currently holds the record for second most ever first-day streams worldwide on Apple. His Certified Lover Boy single “Girls Want Girls,” meanwhile, maintains a record of its own: biggest song in Apple Music history by first-day streams worldwide.

For his newest release, Drake did something a little special for his Apple Music listeners. He penned his own Honestly, Nevermind album notes and released them exclusively to fans on the platform — revealing that, in spite of being a dance record, the project actually came from a rather sensitive time in his life.

“I purposely try to forget what went on between some ppl and I because I know I’m not a forgiving guy even when I try,” the rapper wrote in the album notes. “My urge for revenge wins the game against my good guy inside every single fckn time.”