Reggae crooner Terry Linen releases new album after extensive hiatus

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After a long hiatus of  nearly 15 years, the soulful reggae crooner Terry Linen returns with his new studio album, entitled Welcome To My World. His sophomore effort, which will be released February 11, 2014 on VP Records, follows his acclaimed self-titled debut.

In 1999, the talented Jamaican vocalist emerged in the reggae scene. His influence and similarity to lover’s rock icon Garnett Silk was evident, hence the name “Linen,” and he swept the world by storm with his massive cover anthem of Whitney Houston’s “Your Love Is My Love.”

His comeback is a definite cause for celebration. Produced by Joe Fraser, Welcome To My World is filled with traditional quality reggae and features his signature covers as well as more than half-a-dozen original songs. The talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fabian Smith and songwriter Fitz Livermore also play a key role in the album’s song structure and composition.

The 16-track set boasts beautifully crafted lovers rock, typified by “Have To Get To Know You,” “I Can’t Change” and “My Heart Goes Out.” He recreates Frankie Avalon’s late 50s’ hit “Venus,” which strikingly resembles the original. The jubilant “Bam Bam” first sang by Toots & The Maytals, a soulful reading of the O’ Jays’ “Your Body’s Here With Me,” the definitive reggae cut of R. Kelly’s “I Look To You” and a tribute to Whitney Houston on “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” are more of Linen’s irresistible covers that complete the set.

For more information please contact press@vprecords.com.-OnPointPress.net

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Should collegiate athletes be classified as employees?

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter leads the effort to unionize college football players.

 

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Northwestern University football team took the initial steps to be recognized as a union on Tuesday January, 28 2014. That date may mark the end on the current structure of amateur athletics as we know it. The president of the National College Players Association (NCPA), Ramogi Huma, filed a petition on behalf of the Northwestern football players at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

NCPA President Ramogi Huma helps organize efforts to provide union protection for college players.

NCPA President Ramogi Huma helps to organize efforts to provide union protection for college players.

Numerous Northwestern players signed union cards that Huma also submitted to the NLRB on a day in which there was a press conference held to announce their intentions to have these college players recognized as employees. Huma is currently seeking to represent Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players and Division 1A college basketball players as be believes them to be “the strongest argument to be made” for players as employees at this time. The tenet the NCPA believes that qualifies players to be classified as employees is the 40 hours or more they must dedicate to their sport in order to receive their benefits (scholarship, room, and board).

Kain Colter, starting quarterback for Northwestern, has been front and center in this movement and was part of the press conference. Colter acknowledged that “many of us would probably have graduated by the time” this issue reached a resolution. Huma and Colter both mentioned that they are determined to endure the lengthy process it will likely take to reach their goal but they both stated the cause was well worth it. Colter was emphatic in supporting the notion stating, “to remain while players are denied justice would be complicit in inflicting injustice on future generations of collegiate athletes.”

Colter went on to explain that the three main goals they hope to achieve by unionizing. First, receiving medical protection for players while playing and in the future if they can prove the injury is a direct result of that sport. Second, academic trust funds for athletes as an incentive to improve the 50 percent graduation rate among those in FBS and Division 1A basketball. Third, an increase in the stipend players receive to defray additional costs. As Colter surmised, “players miss class regularly for sports but if a player with a 4.0 GPA misses games for academics, he’d lose his scholarship.”

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in their compensation for student-athletes.

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in their compensation for student-athletes.

In a statement released by NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy, the NCAA denied all of the claims made by the NCPA. Remy declared, “Student-athletes are not employees…their participation is completely voluntary.” Remy also maintained extreme confidence that any legal action would rule in the NCAA’s favor. The NCAA has been consistent in asserting that the benefits and educational possibilities players receive are adequate compensation for the athletic opportunities student-athletes experience.

While there are many people who do not believe the package college players receive is enough, there is a groundswell of support to extend the benefits these players receive as the NCAA continues to receive billions of dollars in revenue. The filing to the NLRB by Huma is the first step in a likely lengthy legal process. As ESPN business analyst Andrew Brandt mentioned on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, “The NCAA has legal precedent on its side and…it will take several years to conclude this matter.”

Regardless of the outcome of this matter, the discussion about the amateur status of collegiate players will rage on. This bold move by the NCPA may even inspire professional boxers, who lack a union as well, to recognize the importance of protecting athletes that help generate the billions of dollars in sports revenue yearly.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

 

 

Ziggy Marley, Daft Punk, Isley Brothers win in upside down Grammys

ZIGGY

Prolific singer/song-writer Ziggy Marley won Best Reggae Album at the 56th Grammys.

By Carmen Glover

The 56th Grammy Awards show delivered on its plan to create buzz, spark conversation and stoke fires. The awards show was replete with results that elicited emotions running the gamut from elation, to shock, to downright anger and feelings of outrage.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis created mixed reactions when they swept the top rap categories.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis earned mixed reactions when they swept the top rap categories.

The Twittersphere exploded with curses and declarations that “rap is dead,” when it was announced prior to the actual Grammy telecast that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a white group, won the top trifecta in rap for Best Rap Performance “Thrift Shop,” Best Rap Album “The Heist’ and Best Rap Song “Thrift Shop.” The group, which also won Best New Artist in the televised show, beat out Drake, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West to sweep the rap categories and to say many rap lovers were angry is putting it mildly. Swearing that they will now “give up on the Grammys” the vocal throng vented for what seemed like all night long. Undaunted, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ignored all detractors and thanked their fans.

Mega-producer Pharrell Williams was a big winner on Grammy night.

Mega-producer Pharrell Williams was a big winner on Grammy night for his collaboration with multiple winning group Daft Punk, whose catchy song “Get Lucky” was a Grammy favorite.

“Before there was any media or buzz there was our fans,” they said. “We made this album without a record label. We made it independently.”

Daft Punk, featuring mega-producers Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, won for  Album of the Year  with “Random Access Memories.” They also won for Best Pop/ Duo Group Performance and Record of the Year for the smash hit “Get Lucky.” Both Williams and Rodgers took the stage with the group to express thanks. While the group members stood quietly by, their faces hidden by face masks, Williams thanked the fans. “I’m sure they would like to thank their fans and family,” Williams said, to laughter and applause. Williams also won for Producer of the Year: Non-Classical.

The Isley Brothers were Lifetime Award Recipients.

The Isley Brothers were Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients, along with the Beatles.

The lifetime achievement awards ceremony was held the night before the Grammys and the Isley Brothers, the Beatles and Kris Krisstofferson received the special honor. Ziggy Marley, the oldest son of late reggae superstar Bob Marley, won Best Reggae Album for “Ziggy Marley in Concert” in a category that also had albums by Beres Hammond, Sizzla and Snoop Dogg, who has renamed himself Snoop Lion and produced a reggae album after spending time in Jamaica testing the waters in that musical genre.

Darius Rucker, former lead singer for Hootie & the Blowfish, won in the Country music category.

Darius Rucker, former lead singer for Hootie & the Blowfish, won in the Country music category.

In more evidence of an upside down Grammy show, Darius Rucker, who has transitioned to county music after enjoying extensive success as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, won for Best Country Solo Performance for “Wagon Wheel,” beating out longtime country singers such as Blake Shelton.

 

Rihanna's Album "Unapologetic" which clearly defines, her, won at the Grammys.

Rihanna’s Album “Unapologetic” which clearly defines her, won at the Grammys in the Urban Contemporary category.

Predictably, Rhianna won for Best Urban Contemporary Album with “Unapologetic,” and Alicia Keys won for Best R& B Album with “Girl on Fire.” Justine Timberlake won for Best R & B Song for “Pusher Love Girl,” instead of his popular hit “Mirrors” and his collaboration with Jay Z, “Suit and Tie,” won for Best Music Video, while Gary Clark Jr. won for Best Traditional R& B Performance with “Please Come Home,” and Best R& B Performance went to Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway.

Bill Withers was a winner at the Grammys.

Bill Withers was a winner at the Grammys for Best Historical Album, tying with The Rolling Stones.

Bill Withers “The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums” tied with the Rolling Stones “Charlie Is My Darling Ireland 1965” for the Best Historical Album while Ben Harper’s collaboration with Charlie Musselwhite, “Get Up!” won Best Blues Album.

Bruno Mars drew enthusiastic applause when he was named a winner.

Bruno Mars drew enthusiastic applause when he was named a winner.

When Bruno Mars was announced as the winner for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Unorthodox Lunchbox” the audience erupted in cheers. Mars thanked his family and dedicated the award to his mother who died recently, saying she was “looking down” on him.

Ben Harper won for Best Blues Album.

Ben Harper won for Best Blues Album for “Get Up!.”

LL Cool J did well in his third stint hosting the Grammys.

LL Cool J did well in his third stint hosting the Grammys, making sure to give special love to his label, Def Jam.

LL Cool J was superb as usual as the host, but Beyoncé’s and Jay Z’s opening performance was risqué and seemed more suited to a strip club with Beyoncé’s derriere fully exposed while she spouted lyrics so raunchy that no stanza was allowed to be sung without being bleeped out by the censors. If the Grammy producers hoped to create controversy with the broadcast and the selection of the winners, then they hit a home run

See the list of all the winners at Grammy.com.–OnPointPress.net.

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2014 NBA All-Star game starters announced, surprising changes made

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Last night, the National Basketball Association (NBA) revealed the starters for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, as voted on by the fans. The starters are a combination of fan favorites and first time starters. The Eastern Conference will be represented by Kyrie Irving, Dwayne Wade, Paul George, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. The Western Conference starters are Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Kevin Durant. The reserve players will be selected by the coaches and revealed next Thursday. The injured players that are elected to the all-star team will be replaced by players selected by the commissioner.

The NBA continues to make jerseys with sleeves despite fan reaction.

The NBA continues to make jerseys with sleeves despite poor fan reaction.

The NBA continues to tweak what is considered by many to be the best all-star game of the major professional sports. Unfortunately, the recent changes have not been good. This year’s jerseys were largely disliked by the fans when they were unveiled a few weeks ago. The NBA has also changed the voting format which eliminated the center position from the fan ballot. The result this year is a starting line-up in both conferences devoid of a center. In the previous format, Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert would likely be starters for the West and East respectively. While these changes seem subtle, they change the composition of the teams and make the game more difficult to enjoy, especially with such distracting jerseys.

The classic look of this Michael Jordan jersey would not only make a difference aesthetically, but likely monetarily as well.

The classic look of this Michael Jordan jersey would not only make a difference aesthetically, but likely monetarily as well.

A few simple changes can help the NBA All-Star game reclaim its former glory as the most exciting exhibition game. First, return the all-star game to early in the afternoon on Sunday instead of the late night time slot it currently has. Most sports fans are accustomed to having a premier sporting event Sunday afternoon and this game was featured at that time successfully for years. Secondly, go back to the classic all-star game uniforms. Fans like acquiring jerseys they want to wear outside, not these pajama look-a-likes the NBA is pushing this season. Last, but not least, add two more players to the all-star roster per team. There are 30 NBA teams but only 24 all-star player spots. There are always more deserving players than all-star positions, but adding two players for each side would create more slots to reward a greater variety of players in the league.

The NBA All-Star Weekend is a great platform for the league to showcase their young talent, 3-point specialists, best dunkers, and best players in the league this season. There is no need for the novelty ideas for this all-star game because, unlike with other major sports, the best players will be on the court when it matters and the game will always include memorable highlights. In this case, revisiting the past might be what’s best for the future of the NBA All-Star game.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

President Obama promotes voting rights changes

President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama.

By Carmen Glover

The long lines that voters experienced during the last presidential election resulted in many voters in Florida and other states still being on-line when President Obama took the stage to give his acceptance speech.

In several states across the nation, particularly in Southern states where most of the governors are Republicans, early voting and Sunday voting were eliminated. Also, voting centers were closed earlier than they had been in the past, and new voter identification laws all contributed to utter chaos, long lines and a prevailing sense of anger, hopelessness and despair because voters felt that they were being denied their hard-fought rights to vote.

While delivering his inaugural speech, President Obama said of the voting laws and long lines “We have to do something about that.” Yesterday, he did. Shortly after he was re-elected, Obama created a bipartisan commission to probe the reasons for the long lines at the polls and recommend measures to fix them.  Yesterday, the commission revealed that 5 million people were on-line for more than an hour, waiting to vote, in the 2012, 2008 and 2004 presidential elections. Also, the commission’s results indicated that Black, Hispanic and poor voters experienced longer lines and waiting times than other groups when they tried to vote.

“No American should have to wait more than half an hour to vote,” Obama stated yesterday in response the commission’s findings, “We could have even more problems in the future if we don’t act now.” The commission also revealed that numerous voting machines are obsolete and the various counties lack the federal funds to purchase new ones. The issue with the voting machines presented an “impending crisis in voting technology,’ the commission revealed.

By issuing its findings the commission has made strides in addressing the serious matter of voter disenfranchisement caused by a range of issues such as the long lines, inferior machines and restrictive voting laws. By speaking out about the findings, the President has drawn attention to the issue, so that it can be resolved before the midterm elections later this year. This comes not a moment too soon.-OnPointPress.net.

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‘Ride Along’ is historic MLK weekend box office winner

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along.

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in  scene from blockbuster ‘Ride Along’ which broke MLK weekend and January records at the box office by combining a funny script with great promotion.

By Carmen Glover

Boasting a humorous yet relatable storyline, the Will Packer-produced and Tim Story directed detective caper ‘Ride Along’ trounced its competition in historic fashion over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, with box office receipts of $48.1 million.

‘Ride Along’ created history at the box office by earning the highest totals recorded not only over any MLK weekend but also for the month of January. The movie outperformed ‘Cloverfield,’ which earned 46.1 million during the 2008 MLK weekend. ‘Ride Along’ stars Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Laurence Fishbourne and Tika Sumpter, featuring a cameo appearance from comedian Gary Owen and a supporting role for John Leguizamo. The movie enjoyed robust box office showing which was aided by a funny script and cast combined with excellent marketing as well as solid word-of-mouth.

Tika Sumpter plays Kevin Hart's love interest and Ice Cube's sister in "Ride Along."

Tika Sumpter plays Kevin Hart’s love interest and Ice Cube’s sister in ‘Ride Along.’

According to box office totals by The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Ride Along’ earned $48.1 million by Monday afternoon, delivering the best numbers recorded over any MLK weekend. ‘Ride Along’ beat the mainstream action film ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,’ an equally enjoyable movie starring Kevin Costner and the gorgeous Chris Pine, in the latest installment of the Jack Ryan thriller. In the past, Jack Ryan was played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ earned 18 million over the four-day weekend.

William Packer produced Ride Along

William Packer, who produced ‘Ride Along,’ also had box office success with ‘Think Like a Man,’ ‘Takers,’ ‘Obsessed,’ ‘This Christmas’ and ‘Stomp the Yard.’

Listings by Box Office Mojo show that the top grossing MLK weekend movies featuring African-American casts from 1991 to present are: ‘Book of Eli,’ starring Denzel Washington ($38,234 million); ‘Coach Carter,’ starring Samuel Jackson ($29,168 million); ‘Stomp the Yard,’ starring Columbus Short ($25, 876 million); ‘Snow Dogs,’ starring Cuba Gooding Jr. ($23, 708 million) and ‘Notorious’ starring Angela Bassett ($23,393 million).

Tim Story directed Ride Along.

Tim Story, who directed ‘Ride Along,’ also directed ‘Barbershop,’  two ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, ‘Think Like a Man,’ and its upcoming sequel, ‘Think Like a Man Too.’

‘Ride Along’ tells the story of a security guard, played by Hart, who wants to join the police academy and marry Sumpter, who plays Cube’s sister. Cube, a no-nonsense police officer, who has no use for Hart, invites Hart to spend a day with him to test his mettle. Hart is desperate for Cube’s approval to marry his sister as well as his support in Hart’s hopes to join the academy. What follows is a series of comedy mixed with action that makes the time pass by quickly as the story unfolds.

The four-day MLK weekend provided a great opportunity for ‘Ride Along’ to perform strongly at the box office, with many people having the holiday off and being eager and available to mix up service activities with the lighthearted relief the movie delivered. The move was made with a budget of $25 million and had an audience support of 50 percent African-Americans, 30 percent Hispanics, 12 percent Caucasians, with the under 25 age group making up 46 percent of the film’s moviegoers. (Final movie totals will be released on Tuesday.).–OnPointPress.net.

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It’s Broncos vs Seahawks for a great Super Bowl matchup

 

Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl 48 with a chance to win the first championship in franchise history.

Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl 48 with a chance to win the first championship in franchise history. Are they the team of destiny?

By Charles Glover

One thing is certain for the upcoming February 2 Super Bowl game: an established, seasoned, white, pocket quarterback will face a younger, exciting, black, dual-threat running quarterback in what will provide a great showcase of two distinct styles of quarterback play. Peyton Manning leads Denver in a structured offense based on timing and precision, while Russell Wilson leads Seattle in a more instinctive offense that reacts to the defense.

Leading up to the AFC and NFC championship games, much of the attention focused on the rivalry between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. But if the Seahawks wins the Super Bowl, it would be the second time in NFL history that a black quarterback has led his team to Super Bowl victory and it would be the first time that a dual-threat quarterback has done so.

In the AFC game, Manning and the Broncos dominated the Patriots defense throughout, with Brady seeming unable to galvanize his team, while lacking the typical passion that is usually associated with his play. The Broncos won 26-16.

Peyton Manning heads to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in his 16 year career as the Broncos defeated the Patriots Sunday.

Peyton Manning heads to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in his 16- year career as the Broncos defeated the Patriots Sunday.

“Being in my 16th season and going to my third Super Bowl I know how hard it is to get here,” Manning said after his team won the game, while Brady expressed disappointment in not getting the result that he wanted, stating that “it was not a good feeling.”

In the NFC game, the 49ers led for most of the game but were plagued by turnovers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were determined and dogged, as if they felt that they were the team of destiny. they won 23-17. Seahawks team owner Paul Allen, in accepting the championship trophy, thanked “the coaches, the players and the fans,” calling the fans “amazing” while quarterback Wilson thanked “God for bringing us here.”

The Super Bowl game will be an exciting matchup of two vastly different styles of play, featuring a quarterback in Manning who has led his team with the top offensive record. Manning has been in the NFL for 16 seasons and is coming off a spectacular year. In Wilson he will face a younger running quarterback who has led his team all season long to the top defensive record, despite being in the NFL for only two seasons. Stay tuned for what will be a great matchup on Super Bowl Sunday.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.