February 13, 2014

By Maleena Lawrence

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

Standing at the forefront of her destiny the 2014 NAACP Image Awards Nominee, Lady Ele has been considered to gain a major win in the category for Outstanding World Music Album. Her album entitled, “Coming From A Lady” has given the World Music scene a soulful dose of R&B with a traditional taste of class. During this interview with The Los Angeles Sentinel, Lady Ele, an unsigned independent artist, recalls a time when the possibilities of having an opportunity to pursue her goals as a singer were far and few. Against the odds, she worked hard, focused and dreamed constantly both as a child and as an adult to be the best at what she loved and at an art that could help heal others, singing and writing music. Read for yourself and see how the power of music makes a large world seem so very small.

Maleena Lawrence (LAWT): Lady Ele, what does this NAACP Image Award nomination say about your personal growth as an artist?

Lady Ele: I am extremely honored and flattered. This is a dream come true. The first time I attended the NAACP Image Award’s show was probably five years ago. I remember sitting in the top floor section watching the show with some friends of mine and they were also brown girls from Sweden. We decided to come out here to America to study and pursue our dreams. We said, in five or six years, however long it will take we want to be more than just an attendee. I wasn’t honestly aiming to be nominated myself. My friends and I were thinking of being the girls who could hand off the trophy, showoff the artist on stage or sing background for artists that I am in contact with. The fact that I am nominated this year is an absolute honor.

LAWT: What does the NAACP Image Awards signify to you?

LE: What the NAACP stands for to me is what we are missing in Europe. For example, growing up over there it was always just one brown girl in the modeling agency or one brown girl who gets to sing, basically no chance cause the diversity was non existent. So, having an organization like the NAACP who uplifts and highlights the people of color who are extremely talented but do not always get the recognition is important. Regardless, if I win or not, I just want to continue to stay in the mix. I also became a member.

LAWT: You mentioned being in the background, How does it feel to make the transition from singing back-up to being at the center of the stage?

LE: Wow, you know it’s amazing. It’s what I always aspired to do. I sang back up for Sleepy Brown. It is a little more safe their because you are not the ultimate person responsible for the feedback from the audience or the actual success of the show. Now it’s a lot more work but I am truly happy that now I am doing my solo career. This nomination signifies that my music is of quality. Some music people said weeks ago, “your music has a verse, a pre hook and hook then a bridge---and it modulates then a hook again”. It tells me that I am on the right track.

LAWT: Both your debut album, “She, Her, Ele” and current album “Coming From A Lady” expresses consistent tones of femininity, Is there a certain message you want to convey to women in your music?

LE: I think that it is up to each of us to express how we feel. I also think that a lot of times women are portrayed as overexposed, super sexual and more promiscuous than gracious. I don’t think that is who they are but it is based on how the world or the media portrays women in such a way. “Coming from A Lady” is a title I chose because I feel like what I am saying in each song is coming from a lady not a girl who is clueless. It’s not coming from a person who is trying to figure it out. It’s coming from a person who is fairly seasoned and poised enough in my life, love and music experiences. I’ve grown into knowing that I am a lady not a girl and that’s why I chose the title. I wish more artists would be who they are and not who they think they need to be.

LAWT: Tell us why you selected, You Know You Wish to be your title track?

LE: My current track, You Know You Wish is currently played on KJLH, World Music show with Hugh Fuller on Saturday’s. I wrote this track from experience or based on women I know who have and take good care of their man. We have so many roles to play. What I am saying in the song is to keep your man happy. When a woman knows her role and the man knows his and they establish an agreement to love each other early in the best way makes a happy relationship. But, sometimes having a good man can cause a little jealousy or envy amongst other women. (Laughs) So that is why I wrote this song. Some men are simple and some are very needy. Everybody needs to find his or her own thing.

LAWT: You seem so full of perseverance, love and grounded, what or who keeps you inspired as an artist?

LEA: Oh my God, so many inspire me. Stevie Wonder has always been my shining star and I followed him from an early age. Unfortunately, I grew up in a house where my mom was physically abused by my step-dad. It was hard watching and processing that as a kid. Music strengthened me and got me through it. Music inspired me. Music helped me talk sense into my mom to leave him. It was a song by Stevie Wonder and Babyface called, How Come How Long. A string of Swedish artist, African artists, American artist inspire me and have been on my radar. I am so grateful to be in this country. Music is flourishing. I will say I am lucky and this is showing me that my work is worth it.

LAWT: Lastly, Lady Ele, What is World Music?

LE: What is it today? World Music has that frequency and a message that can reach across. For the people nominated in my category it is a true honor they are all great. World Music is an ongoing love thing. 

To learn more about Lady Ele and hear her music go to: www.musicbyele.com.

Facebook: eleonore.hansson | Flickr: musicbyele  | Youtube: elesongslive.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 06, 2014

 

ARIES

Be especially sensitive to your spirit and your intuition this week.  They are your sixth sense that will alarm you of a situation that you should avoid. You’ll also be alerted to meet a new person who will be important to your personal life in the near future. Expect the unexpected from your lover. Soul Affirmation: New intuitions create new plans and a new cast of characters. Lucky Numbers: 4 12, 17

 

TAURUS

Do not feel alone in facing your tumultuous circumstances this week.  Call upon your support system and do not be afraid to ask for help.  Your ability to reach out will be a strong sign of courage.  The people closest to you will feel a new respect for you. Soul Affirmation: When I reach out in love someone is always there. Lucky Numbers: 8, 24, 32

 

GEMINI

Do not narrow your options by accepting any offer that is put on the table this week.  Internalize the situation and discover how resourceful you are and capitalize on your own strengths and ability make things happen.  Don’t underestimate yourself, especially this week! Soul Affirmation: The wisdom of the ages is revealed as my spirit. Lucky Numbers: 12, 32, 48

 

CANCER

Love, joy and hope fill the air around you this week.  Three of the greatest intangible assets that one can experience will be given to you in abundance this week. Use them to overcome the bad vibes being given out by a co-worker this week. Soul Affirmation: Hope is future’s way of shining on me this week. Lucky Numbers: 1, 23, 42

 

LEO

Live this week especially in a celebratory mode and count your blessings for you are wealthy in ways that are above materialistic levels.  Do not dwell on the financial situation in which you find yourself this week. Be ecstatic about the little pleasures that bring you laughter and gladness in your life! Soul Affirmation: When I give thanks for what I have, I lose all sense of what is missing. Lucky Numbers: 7, 28, 31

 

VIRGO

Take the time this week for self-reflection. There is something about yourself that you are not seeing clearly. Remember now and whenever you examine your inner self to celebrate your strengths, for you have so many, and to accept your weaknesses as necessary, you are rewarded. Soul Affirmation: When I am clear about who I am, the world becomes clearer. Lucky Numbers: 6: 8, 47

 

LIBRA

This week your honest acceptance of yourself will give you a power of both grandeur and humility. People will approach you for advice. You are capable of seeing clearly what it is that troubles them. This week be a counselor. In that you will find your prize. Soul Affirmation: I rejoice because of who I know myself to be. Lucky Numbers: 34, 51, 52

 

SCORPIO

This week others might mistake your gift for something else. They may not be able to see it but your inner strength is very available to you this week. Fill the workplace with warmth as soon as you enter.  Let peace radiate from your inner glow. Soul Affirmation: Love is the greatest gift I can give. Lucky Numbers: 7, 16, 33

 

SAGITTARIUS

Someone influential is watching you at work this week. Get your work done as you think about celebrating your harmonious vibrations in the evenings in secluded time with your lover. Think about being uninhibited in your celebration and you will radiate joy in you work place and no one will know the reason. Soul Affirmation: My focus is good for making those decisions important to my career. Lucky Numbers: 14, 16, 19

 

CAPRICORN

Emotional well being is as important to happiness as physical health. Cool it this week. Give yourself a break. Problems are learning experiences. Make sure you keep that in mind as you face a challenge in the financial area of your life this week.   Know that highs and lows bring balance to life and balance signifies well being. Soul Affirmation: Money is my good friend this week. Lucky Numbers: 4, 21, 55

 

AQUARIUS

This week is your week to shine!  Let nothing get in the way of your light.  You have an energy inside of you that can light the path at work. Now is the time to let your inner glow radiate out to co-workers. Others are in need of your inner strength. Let love dominate your week. Soul Affirmation: I move ahead joyfully in practical matters. Lucky Numbers: 3, 46, 47

 

PISCES

Everyone wants joy in their lives but few people are ready to commit to truly joy filled ideals.  The ideal you need to cultivate this week is forgiveness. You’re holding on to something needlessly. Even if you get even you won’t feel any better. Let it go. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy letting my conservative side shine through. Lucky Numbers: 22, 37, 50

 

 

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 06, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

“American Masters – Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” which traces the author’s personal and professional journey from her birth into a family of sharecroppers in Eatonton, Ga., premieres nationally Friday, February 7 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Walker made history as the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her seminal novel The Color Purple (1982), for which she won the National Book Award.

Presented on PBS in honor of Walker’s 70th birthday and Black History Month, filmmakerPratibha Parmar’s new documentary tells Walker’s dramatic life story with poetry and lyricism, and features new interviews with Walker, Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover,Quincy Jones, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire and the late Howard Zinn in one of his final interviews.

“As a filmmaker, one of the deepest desires is to engage the audience in the conversation unfolding on screen. I am thrilled to offer this in ‘Beauty In Truth,’ where Alice’s openness, warmth and on-screen intimacy reflects our long history of kinship,” said Parmar. “Making ‘Beauty In Truth’ has been an adventure of discovery and sheer inspiration. I’m so pleased it will have a national audience on American Masters.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 06, 2014

Jenna Fryer

AP Auto Racing Writer

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rapper 50 Cent is bringing his headphones and audio line into NASCAR via a partnership with Swan Racing.

The rapper — born Curtis Jackson — will have branding for his SMS Audio line on both of Swan Racing's cars. The logos will also be on the uniforms for Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt, and the drivers will be featured on Swan-branded SMS Audio headphones.

The partnership also calls for 50 Cent to make appearances at races throughout the 2014 season, although the rapper is no stranger to the Daytona 500. He made headlines when he awkwardly attempted to kiss Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews on the starting grid for the Daytona 500.

But NASCAR seems to be a fit for Jackson, particularly this partnership with Swan Racing, which is owned by Brandon Davis, the CEO of independent oil and gas company Swan Energy.

Jackson is an admitted former crack dealer turned rapper who has built an empire beyond entertainment. He invested early in Vitamin Water and has expanded his business interests into clothing and now audio equipment.

"I'm an entrepreneur, 50's an entrepreneur and it's a good fit for both of us," Swan Racing team owner Brandon Davis said Tuesday. "This partnership broadens our reach and gets us into a whole new market and I believe that holds true for them, as well. If we both do this correctly, it should be a mutually beneficial relationship."

The deal is the latest for Davis, who is transforming the organization he purchased in late 2012. A former start-and-park team, he set a goal of racing in every event. Then he signed Bill Romanowski as an investor, and most recently added Iowa businessman Anthony Marlowe as a minority owner.

Davis has also expanded to two cars for the 2014 season and hired a pair of young drivers in Whitt and Kligerman.

The relationship with SMS Audio was put together by Illinois-based Pegasus Marketing Group, which works with the race team and 50 Cent's company. Davis has yet to meet the rapper — their discussions have on the telephone because of scheduling conflicts — but Jackson said in a statement he's excited about the venture.

"Swan Racing and its up-and-coming drivers are the perfect match for SMS Audio," the rapper said. "They are as passionate for the sport of racing as we are for our audio products, and we're confident that the music-loving NASCAR fan base is going to enjoy our headphones."

Davis hopes Swan's partnership with the prolific rapper can bring attention to his fledgling race team. Davis said he spent "10 times the amount of money I planned" on his inaugural NASCAR season, and has been trying different avenues to bring in more marketing opportunities for his team.

"We did everything we said we were going to do, and paid all our bills. It was just more difficult than I expected," Davis said. "NASCAR is an entrepreneur's dream. It's a good platform because you can be creative with the way you bring money into your team and work partnerships. The structure opens the door for entrepreneurs to come in and use this platform for different kinds of marketing opportunities, and this is one of them."

Swan Racing was a one-car team last season, primarily with David Stremme. The team had five top-20 finishes. Expanding to two teams has required doubling the team personnel, and a larger investment, which Davis is still doing without steady sponsorship.

"It's been a lot of fun for me, a lot of pleasure, but from a marketing standpoint it has been very hard," he said. "I would grade my experience as an A, but my performance as a D and we are working hard to improve that. The hope is that in partnerships with Anthony Marlowe and SMS Audio, we are doing a better job and making some inroads."

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 06, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

12 Years a Slave’ Director Steve McQueen has joined forces with the world’s oldest human rights organization.

The filmmaker will act as an ambassador for Anti-Slavery International, a committee set up in 1839 to lobby against slavery and related abuses.

He met with officials at the group’s headquarters in London on Monday (Feb. 3) and declared his intention to highlight the importance of working against modern-day slavery across the globe.

Referring to the hero of his Oscar-nominated movie, Solomon Northup, the free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, he said, “Right now, there are Solomon Northups in every region of the world who have been taken away from their families and placed in slavery.

“I hope that, 150 years from now, a film will not be made about our ambivalence to slavery. We have to do something about it.”

He also hosted a private viewing of the movie for Members of Parliament, and urged politicians to add Northup’s book about his horrific experiences to the curriculum in England’s schools.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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