On Grammy Winners, La Santa Cecilia

On Grammy Winners, La Santa Cecilia
Sharing a photo I posted to Instagram on Halloween night. I can now say I saw the Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia at the Lincoln Center Atrium that night! You must see this band live. A shame their performance occurred during the pre-telecast, (but not surprising). Latin music is more than the same tropical/urbano songs you hear over & over on the radio. I’m glad these artists are getting OUT THERE by collaborating with mainstream artists who “get it,” such as Elvis Costello, who has a song with La Santa Cecilia on their latest album. You should check out ALL the artists that fall under the somewhat strange category of: Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative. Learn more on La Santa Cecilia here: http://lat.ms/1lgGaxv

Raka Rich freestyles over Drake & Jay Z’s ‘Pound Cake’

Screen shot 2014-01-25 at 10.37.20 PMLos Rakas may be on tour with J-Boog, but they keep gifting fans with tracks every so often. This new one features Raka Rich dropping cocky lyrics over a remix of Drake and Jay Z’s ‘Pound Cake.’

Ahora estoy llenando estadios…” (Now, I’m filling stadiums.)
— Raka Rich on the track.

The “bilingual East Bay-flava’d banger,” produced by one of my favorites architects in the game — Nima Fadavi, is where the genre is going to keep going, folks. Get on it.

And it’s not just Spanish. Hip-hop is global game, and this is good thing for those who are sick of the same 10 artists we keep getting shoved down on throats on all mediums. (And, yes, I’m aware Jay Z and Drake are two of the 10, but that’s what makes this track special. Raka Rich, along with Shark Sinatra, Sin Que, and D.A.Go give this track a different flavor for sure.)

Zuzu and Burt Fox. <3
Zuzu and Burt Fox. ❤

Also check out a new BASS-tastic track by Brazil/Brooklyn’s Zuzuka Poderosa. “Baile Crunk,” produced by Burt Fox, is just as hot as the hook proclaims:

Rio De Janeiro, Tennessee & H-town,
Rio de Janeiro, Atlanta, Miami…

Teen pregnancy rates drop thanks to … MTV’s Teen Mom?

Two of Teen Mom's stars. One has already starred in porn.
Two of Teen Mom’s stars. One (Farrah, left) has already starred in porn.

I was that girl in high school who rolled her eyes any time a friend declared she and her boyfriend were so “in love,” they’ve already discussed having a baby, and if it happened by mistake, they would raise that baby and be a happy little family. If that girl started picking out names, chances are I said, “Eww. Gross. Who wants a baby?”

I’m no Grinch-like baby-hater. I think babies are fine, some of them are even cute, but I just figured that a baby would get in the way of cheerleading and yearbook, or the cool college parties of my future. Why add messy diapers or a screaming toddler into that mix?

Which is why I thought MTV‘s “16 and Pregnant” and it’s more successful spinoff, “Teen Mom” were a brilliant idea. Once they showed the hardships of parenting, teens all over the United States would commit to abstinence, right?

I watched from time to time and saw the show didn’t pull any punches. Parenting was hard, expensive, and in many cases, school (high school or college) would have to be put on hold, not to mention a social life. Often, the parents of these teen moms and dads, would judge how the young parents were (or were not) parenting, and (I’m pretty sure) almost always, the new parents would break up, and tears were a plenty.

That birth rate was going to plummet.

But as the show gained immense popularity, I panicked. (And so did pro-abstinence Fox News, of course!) Teen Mom was so buzzworthy, that the show’s stars were constantly gracing the tabloids (or the monologues of late night TV), and not always in a bad way. Sometimes they got makeovers, complete with free plastic surgery. I wondered: ‘Is this going to inspire pregnancies?’

Well, apparently not. Phew!

According to NPR’s “All Things Consdiered,” a new study attributes a portion of the decline to these shows!

Melissa Kearney, an associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland, talked to NPR’s Audie Cornish about the findings. (Listen to the segment here.)

Using birth rate data in the show’s media markets, and combining that with historical data on Google searches and Twitter data, they found some patterns:

“The day that an episode airs and the next day we see large spikes in the rate at which people are searching for how to get birth control and we see higher volumes of searches in places where more teens are watching MTV,” Kearney told Cornish on “All Things Considered.

“The Twitter data was astounding. In the Twitter data we can actually see what teens are tweeting and there are literally thousands of tweets that say things like: “Watching 16 and Pregnant reminds me to take my birth control.” [And] “16 and Pregnant is the best form of birth control.” So getting that insight into what teenagers were thinking about while and right after they watched the show was really informative.”

The numbers are impressive. Kearney and her team estimate that “teen birth rates as a result of this show fell by 5.7 percentage points over this 18-month period. To put that in perspective, that is a third of the overall decline in teen birth rates over that time.”

That’s impressive. And I hope the trend continues.

(Listen to the NPR segment, or read about it, here.)

MTV should come up with more reality shows that may help youth in this country. Perhaps a more regular look at drug addiction, binge drinking, sexting and social media privacy, or rape, for instance.

Who knows? Perhaps “Catfish,” MTV’s show about the “truths and lies” of long distance online dating is inspiring young people to be cautious about who they carry on with on the internet.

KC eighth-grader’s song about poverty holds message of hope

Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 11.06.03 AMImage via Kansas City Star

*** I work with Making Movies, and when I see the fruits of their M.U.S.I.C.A. camp (in conjunction with Kansas City’s Mattie Rhodes Center), I can’t help but be amazed at the power of music.

The Kansas City Star

Regina del Carmen Sanchez wants to someday make her living writing music, playing her guitar and singing songs that have a message about the world as she sees it.

At 14, Regina’s world is pretty small.

It revolves around the little house she shares with her mom and grandparents on the west side of Kansas City’s urban core. The women of the house spend weekends frying, baking and selling empañadas to supplement the income Regina’s mom brings home as an office assistant.


“It’s my dream to become a musician to change people’s lives, to help them understand in an easy way what is happening in the world,” Regina said.

So when she sat down to create her first song, she wrote about being poor, being afraid to open bills, worrying that one not-in-the-budget problem could mean the lights go out.

She was 12 when she wrote “Keep Your Head Up.” It took her several months, writing at home as she lay across her bed or sat at the kitchen table. Sometimes even during breaks in class a lyric would pop into her head and “I would have to write it down right then,” Regina said.

“At the time I was thinking, ‘Let me write a song about the real struggles in my family instead of a song that’s just about me, talking about me,’ ” she said.

My house is in shambles but it beats being homeless.

It’s hot in the summer time, but in the cold the heat’s hopeless.

The bills are coming in and I’m looking so nervous,

because any day now, they could disconnect my service.

The song goes on about needing money, crying and praying, and wondering how long one could endure.

Love yourself and never give up. You’ll see a better life if you keep your head up.

Hand me down clothes but I’ve never been shirtless. B een misunderstood but no I’m not worthless.

Labeled a misfit ’cause I’ve always been different. Don’t want to be a number or another statistic.

Keep your head up …

“When she sings this song, you can tell she’s gone through it,” said Juan Carlos Chaurand, who plays percussion and keyboard for Making Movies, a four-member band from Kansas City with an Afro-Cuban/indie rock vibe.

Making Movies hosted the summer M.U.S.I.C.A. camp for low-income urban youths at Kansas City’s Mattie Rhodes Center, where last summer Regina was a camper. The band charges families $15 for the weeklong camp.

Chaurand said that providing inexpensive lessons and a chance to make music to children who otherwise might not have the opportunity is the band’s contribution to efforts to break the cycle of poverty.

One day Regina sang her song for the band members. They helped her write the music and took her to a studio to record it.

“It’s a great song,” Chaurand said. “To see that come out of her is pretty amazing.”

Read the whole story here. Watch a video of Sanchez performing the song with Making Movies below.



Durham Police Claim Handcuffed Teen Fatally Shot Himself In The Head In The Backseat (VIDEO)

Global Grind

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Jesus Huerta died in the back seat of a police car from a gunshot wound through the mouth, police claim was self inflicted.

Huerta was cuffed after they received a call for a runaway juvenile and found that he had a previous warrant. Officer Duncan frisked Huerta by checking his pockets and jacket to check for weapons and found none.

WNCN reports:

Clayton said Huerta tried to drop his handcuffed hands behind his knees, and Duncan told him to stop. Huerta said he “had a wedgie” and was uncomfortable. Huerta continued to try to do that en route to the Durham Police Department, which was only a mile away. Duncan said he heard something rubbing in the back seat of the car.

Clayton said Duncan planned to check Huerta again once he reached headquarter, but on arrival, Duncan heard a gunshot in the back.


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This *so* applies to New York City in some way…

You need to know that this is no longer a city for artists, or writers or musicians. This is no longer a city for teachers. This is no longer a city for the person who just served you that 3:00 a.m. burrito. This is a city for the wealthy, and money changes everything.

It’s not your fault. But recognize that. And don’t be a dick. Know that not everyone can afford Uber. Get to know your neighbors. Get to know a writer. A server. A social worker. Step off the bus. And know that no matter how much lobster bisque and beer they pump into, your company is still a business, and your app is not curing cancer.

Goodbye San Francisco, You’re a Passionate Lover by Eric Barry via Huffington Post: San Francisco