The hot new teen group, The OMG Girlz, consisting of Miss Baby Doll, Miss Star, and Miss Beauty, return to light up the SCREAM Tour Next Generation PT 2 stage starting in Baltimore, MD at the Pier Six Pavillion on August 23 th and ending the tour in St. Louis at Pagent on September 9 th. The Girlz are joined on the SCREAM Tour Next Generation PT 2 with Diggy and Jawan Harris.
OMG is set to embark on the month-long tour to promote their self-titled debut album, Officially Miss Guided, scheduled for release this Fall. The Pretty Hustle/Grand Hustle/Interscope Records CD and its stars are off to a great start. Not only have they garnered admiration from labelmate and Megastar Lady Gaga who recently tweeted “I’m in love with these little cuties,” but the hit singles “Gucci This (Gucci That)” and “Where The Boys At?,” have over 5 MILLION hits combined digitally.
Consummate performers, OMG recently performed on the BET Awards pre-show and christened the “New & Next” stage for the Essence Music Festival during the 4th of July weekend. The video for the hit single, “Where The Boys At?,” came in at #1 on BET’s 106 & Park countdown on July 18 th.
We expect even greater things from this talented trio! Be sure to check them out in a town near you to see what all of the buzz is about!
The Heineken Red Star Access tour hit Chicago on Saturday August 18th, and gave real hip hop fans one of the best free shows of the summer. I’m biased because I love Nas and would wait in a trash can to see him live for free. Especially in the intimate House of Blues venue downtown, where music lovers can see a live show amongst their coolest peers and get close enough to touch the artist.
The Red Star Access concert featuring Nas and Pusha T was a big hit in Chicago. Even though this seemed like an ultra exclusive event, all you had to do was register at www.followredstar.com and be sent a personal invitation to get in. Admission was free, and so was the Heineken bar-my favorite.
Pusha T rocked the crowd first performing his most popular features from “I Don’t Like”, “Mercy” and “So Appalled”. He also shouted out his boss Kanye West and his label Good Music for changing his life this past year, and rejuvenating his career. Pusha T has sort of a cult following right now as his album is still in production. But that night the crowd flowed with all of his features and his original tracks. What I like about Pusha T is that he kept the crowd hype, and didn’t rely on a rap track to amplify him, but instead put passion into the performance. And Push T isn’t afraid to talk religion with the game in his music.
When Nas hit the stage, everything went crazy. For me it was a dream fulfilled seeing him perform his earlier hits like “The World is Yours” and “It Aint Hard to Tell,” that still spin on my Pandora radio. Nas didn’t even need a hype man because the crowd rapped all the words with him. Even when he performed songs off his new hit album “Life is Good” the crowd rocked with him. Nas performance was like watching a timeline of inspirational raps songs from 1996 to 2012. And Nas’ swag was effortlessly on 100 that night. The Don wore simple all black everything yet was still grown man sexy.
The Urban Victory Online Film Festival (UVOFF), opened last week at www.urbanvictory.com It will be the first ever online festival to focus on films by or about African Americans and people of African descent. The festival will run from August 15 to September 30, and will feature over 30 short films–dramas, comedies, and documentaries from a diverse group of filmmakers. See the list of films at http://urbanvictory.com/film_makers
Viewers can watch any or all films for free upon registration at www.urbanvictory.com. If they view, rate, or comment on the films, they will be automatically registered in a drawing to win a pair of theater passes to one of the top regional black film festivals in the U.S. Three lucky viewer/advocates will win two passes each.
In addition, awards will be given to filmmakers for best narrative short, best documentary, and best international film. “We’re very excited by the response to our call for short films. We’ve received films from not only the U.S., but the U.K., Kenya, Canada, Trinidad, and Peru,” says Michael Eastman, CEO of Urban Victory Network (UVN), the company hosting the film festival. “Short term, we’ll be introducing some excellent filmmakers and films at the online festival,” says Eastman. “Long term, our vision is to provide an online platform for urban film.”
“Going forward, we invite filmmakers to submit their films to urbanvictory.com to build an audience and to earn revenue for their work. The Internet is a powerful medium for distributing urban films made by indie filmmakers from around the world, and an excellent way to connect viewers with great content,” said Eastman. During the festival, UVN will be interviewing filmmakers and providing audience members with an opportunity to ask questions of the filmmakers. To catch the interview series, visit www.blogtalkradio.com
Urban Victory Network is building the world’s premier source for finding and enjoying global black film. UVN seeks to make it easy for filmmakers and filmgoers to connect from Los Angeles to Paris, Rio to Kingston, and from Capetown to Cairo.
Filmmakers get free hosting of their film and earn 70% of net revenues generated on UVN. Urban Victory also maintains a calendar of urban film festivals around the world and retweets any major announcements by featured filmmakers.
Early spring, I got the chance to attend the Verses and Flow event sponsored by Lexus. Two great things happened that evening. I got to watch crooner Robin Thicke perform his sexy ballads, and I was introduced to a Chicago spoken word artist and her inspirational poetry. Antoinette Houston, aka Young Flame is a young woman with a lot to say about life, love, and her history, and she’s uninhibited when she’s performing.
What sets Young Flame apart from a traditional spoken word artist who undulates their voice and uses boisterous gestures to animate their perspective, is that Young Flame takes complex topics, and breaks them down to their simplest form, making it stimulating and therapeutic. Her poem, I Don’t Wanna Be in Love, I Just Wanna Be In Like reacts to the complicatedness of falling in and out of love, and made me realize things about myself that, well, I hadn’t realized before. And another piece of hers, Fantasyis a romantic piece put to a smooth melody, where Young Flame almost sounds like she’s flowin.
I got to chance to chat with Young Flame on a lovely afternoon about her inspirations, her roots, and her artistry:
UnRated: When I watched your performance the first thing I thought was “damn this girl is FIRE.” Is that how you got your name?
Young Flame: I was doing a show at All Hype City and after I performed someone in the audience said, “hey, that was fire.” The definition for me though is more than just a name. I was hoping to spark somebody. I wanna perform for people and have someone say, wow that drove me to do something, or drove me to say something.
UnRated: What I really enjoy about your art is that it’s relatable to me as a young black woman. What are some compliments from some unexpected supporters that you can recall?
Young Flame: Recently I did this piece called Sista You Mad and it was for this conference at UIC and the whole preface to the poem was to be to Sisters not meaning black women, but sisters meaning Women. And at the conference you had Black women, Caucasian women, Asian women, etc. And this Asian woman came up to me and she was like 18 or 19 and said, “I really liked your piece. I can really relate to your piece.” I wanted that but to hear it was like, wow.
UnRated: Is most of your content factual or a mixture of fact and fantasy/fiction?
Young Flame: It’s real life. I think that’s the best way to be. So everything I say has either happened to me or happened to someone around me. I speak it out there in hopes that someone will feel it and to relate as well.
UnRated: How did you land that great gig with the Lexus, Verses and Flow?
Young Flame: I had heard about the show on TVOne. So I found the Talent Agent on Linked-In. I sent her an email telling her about myself and my bio, and I sent her a link to my video for I Don’t Wanna Be in Love, I Just Wanna Be In Like. Two weeks later she emailed me back saying, “wow your Facebook video was nice. I really appreciate you reaching out.” One week later she sent me a message saying, “We’re doing this event in Chicago, by any chance would you be in Chicago this particular weekend?” I happened to be in Chicago that weekend. I thought, wow, to represent my city for that particular platform, and for Lexus to be the host, I couldn’t think of anything better.
UnRated: Is doing poetry therapeutic for you?
Young Flame: Yes. It started as my diary when I was 11 years old. I didn’t know what poetry was at 11. It wasn’t until I was about 14-15 when I was like “whatever this is, I’m liking what this is.” It was my therapy to get out everything going on in my life.
UnRated: Who are some artists/ poets that have inspired you?
Young Flame: Definitely Jill Scott. I feel like she’s a storyteller. Lauren Hill is a landmark. Also Erykah Badu. Not just because they are in the category of neo soul. They are African American women I look to keep inspiring me within my art.
UnRated: Since you are so talented at changing your tone to blend with background vocals and you can ride a beat so well, do you sometimes find yourself flowing?
Young Flame: I’ve done improv for 5-6 years and I would do what’s called battle improv with one of my cast mates and he’s a rapper. A lot of times to keep up with him, I would switch my flow up. I didn’t want the audience to think, “guy against a girl, he’s gonna demolish her.” I wanted them to know I can throw the heat too.
UnRated: What is one piece that you perform that is the most emotional for you?
Young Flame: My first project was called “Boiling Point” and I called it that because I had a lot that I wanted to get out. And one of the signature pieces of Boiling Point was called Dear Mama. It was about me growing up with a mom struggling with substance abuse. She’s 7 years clean and sober now, but with that piece, I wanted to write a letter to my mom and to any young person that has gone through something like that and not had a strong enough voice to get those feelings out. Whenever I perform that piece, whether it’s for a small group, or whether it’s for people my age, it’s emotional because it’s real.
UnRated: I see the entertainment, advertising, and music industries opening their doors to incorporate spoken word into a number projects. Where do you see the most opportunity for you to grow as an artist and make money?
Young Flame: The sky is the limit. After that [Versus and Flow] event, a woman in charge of entertainment for Boeing came up to me and said she liked the piece so much that she asked would I be interested in doing something for them. To me it’s just an affirmation of, you never know whose watching. So I try and make my poetry something that is not just relatable, but have a feeling like it can fit in different elements, whether that’s a school, comedy show, or business like Boeing.
UnRated: What musician would you love to collaborate with?
Young Flame: Jill Scott and Common. Common because as an artist. I feel like he represents Chicago well. He’s a true lyricist. Both of them are strong performers that I would love to work with.
UnRated: Where are you from in Chicago?
Young Flame: I was born on the West Side, and I stayed there till I was 5 years old. Then my mom moved over to the South Side.
UnRated: How has where you grew up shaped your work?
Young Flame: Whenever I write or perform, it’s all based on Chicago. The culture and the landscape is always gonna be true to me.
UnRated: Do you think there are many opportunities to grow in Chicago?
Young Flame: Absolutely, to me Chicago and New York are the top cities for art such as this. You got the LA’s and the big markets for other things, but for hip-hop and for poetry, just the whole “real” element, I think that Chicago and New York are the main two markets.
UnRated: What advice would you give to a female artist residing in Chicago?
Young Flame: I would let her know not to try to fit a particular mold, to be what she wanted to be. Once you’re that, everyone will flock to you because they are feeling what you’re saying. Don’t try to be gimmicky.
UnRated: What’s on the horizon for you in 2012?
Young Flame: I just finished filming my EPK. That will give people an insight into who Young Flame is, what I’m doing, and where I’m trying to go. I record this weekend with a hip-hop artist from Chicago. He liked my piece I Just Wanna Be in Like so much that he’s doing a piece called, In Like. He flipped it and he wants me to write a piece talking about what ever happened to old school love, why is everybody liking each other instead of truly being in love. I’m hoping that my performance on the TVOne Live event will give me a spot on their Season 2 of Verses and Flow. I just got signed with a talent agency that will give me more print work, modeling, and acting projects. I’m also working on my next project, Journey of a Thought which I’m very excited about.
UnRated: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Young Flame: I hope that my poetry is branded in such a way that I finally get to perform with Jill Scott or Common, or at least they know my name. And I see myself making an impact on both young people and people my age as well. If I can do that, I’m winning!