Gloria Estefan Featured in Hip Hop Public Health’s Bilingual COVID-19 Health Awareness Campaign “20 Segundos o Más”

Gloria Estefan is promoting proper hygiene during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic…

While more and more U.S. states lift the quarantine orders and open up businesses, the 62-year-old Cuban singer has joined forces with fellow Latin artists to remind everyone COVID-19 is still a serious problem.

Gloria Estefan

Estefan and other artists are taking part in the Hip Hop Public Health’s20 Segundo o Más” campaign, a new bilingual PSA song and video by Doug E. Fresh, producer DJ TedSmoothDoseLeisleyToby Love and Fabián.

20 Segundos O Mas

It’s the follow up to the HHPH’s successful “20 Seconds or More” education and awareness campaign launched in Spring.

Set to the beat of Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe’s classic salsa track “La Murga,” the song fuses Latin rhythms and hip hop beats, encouraging the Latin community throughout the U.S. to follow the hand-washing and other protocols necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“DJ TedSmooth and I purposely selected the song’s universally loved Latin hook, the big horns backing the classic Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe masterpiece, ‘La Murga.’ This catchy hook combined with the information in the song will definitely get people to dance and hopefully adhere to our message of hope, vitality and taking care of themselves and each other,” Doug E. Fresh said in an official statement. “Once again, Hip Hop Public Health is bringing together art, science and social media innovation to help fight the COVID-19 health pandemic.”

Dominican DJ TedSmooth (Teddy Rafael Mendez) added: “It was an honor to collaborate with Hip Hop Public Health and my old friend Doug E. Fresh on this track for mi gente. Latino roots and culture run deep, and to have legends like Lisa LisaDJ Camilo and Greg Lamond with some of the new voices out here coming together to protect our people against the coronavirus is an incredibly meaningful experience. I know we can make a difference together.”

While the campaign is focusing on communities in the U.S. most impacted by COVID-19, HHPH is also conducting outreach and sharing the video and education campaign components in communities across Latin America, including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru, among others.

The four-minute music video features guest appearances by more than 30 community influencers and activists committed to making a difference through creative expression, civic duty and medicine, including Gloria and Emilio Estefan, N.O.R.E., Lisa Lisa, Chris TuckerDJ EnvyAmara La Negra and many more.

The video reinforces proper hand-washing techniques and other safety protocols like social distancing and wearing a mask.

Bruno Mars to Headline This Year’s Essence Festival of Culture

Bruno Mars is sharing his essence in a big way…

The 34-year-old part-Puerto Rican Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has been named one of the main stage headliners for the Essence Festival of Culture.

Bruno Mars

Mars will co-headline the event with Janet Jacksonas Essence celebrates its 50th anniversary. 

Mars’ appearance will be his first time performing at the festival — and his only 2020 U.S. festival performance.

Essence Festival of Culture will expand for the first time from three to five days (July 1-5) in New Orleans, marking one day for each decade. This year’s theme is “Own Our Power.”

Jackson will be making her third appearance at the festival. Her appearance will take place during her newly announced Black Diamond World Tour, titled after her upcoming 12th studio album.

In addition to Jackson and Mars, the festival’s three-night concert series will include the following lineups at the Louisiana Superdome:

Main stage: Ari Lennox, Janelle MonaePatti LaBelleRaphael Saadiq (performing songs across his entire career from Tony! Toni! Tone! through his solo albums, including Jimmy Lee), Estelle Presents Reggae & Afrobeats Link Up featuring Afro BChronnixElephant ManKraniumMax GlazerMaxi PriestShenseeaand more, Summer Walker,  Swizz BeatzPresents In the Zone featuring guest artists. 

Hosted by Loni Love with music by D-Nice, the main stage lineup will salute music icons each night, including a special anniversary celebration on July 4. 

Superlounges: Casmé, D SmokeDemi GraceDoug E. Fresh Presents The Real Hip-Hop and R&B Party, Elah HaleGoldlinkJac RossJamesdavisJidennaJune’s DiaryKiana LedeKitty CashLeikeli47MasegoMr EaziOswin BenjaminRapsodySaweetieSiRSminoStokleyTamiaTank and the BangasTeaMarrrThe New Respects and Umi.

 “This is a milestone year for Essence and our community as we celebrate 50 years of creating opportunities for our culture to shine and the role of black women in making it possible for us to do what no other brand has done,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc.“To be able to say that at 50 years, we are black-owned, diversified across media, technology, commerce and live events, and impacting our culture in new and even deeper ways than ever before is a blessing – and one that comes with a tremendous responsibility to our community to continue to evolve, innovate and transform. That remains our focus and commitment as we work to ensure that we are here serving black women deeply and advancing black culture, economic ownership and inclusion globally for the next 50 years.”

Regarding Mars and Jackson, Ebanks added, “These two powerhouses, along with our robust slate of programming, performances and tributes, will continue our legacy of cultural excellence and dynamic, only-at-Essence experiences that excite, elevate and inspire.”

For more information, visit Essence.com/festival.

Swizz Beatz Collaborates with Bally & Ricardo Cavolo for Art-Inspired Capsule Collection

Swizz Beatz is bringing new meaning to the phrase “wearable art”…

The 39-year-old half-Puerto Rican hip-hop artist and record producer has collaborated with Bally for a new capsule collection, with an assist from Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo.

Swizz Beatz

Beatz personally reached out to Bally via Instagram asking to ceam up, and he wanted to make sure whatever he created was artistic enough to be considered art.

“It’s a dream collaboration,” Beatz tells Billboard of Bally x Swizz, his new, illustration-centric collection with luxury footwear brand Bally, available now. “I’ve been a fan of Bally since back in the day, growing up in the South Bronx. Bally used to be the signature of making it, Slick Rick, Doug E Fresh with “Fresh dressed like a million bucks/Threw on the Bally shoes and the fly green socks,” and now to come back years later and be the one to bring things to a new generation…it’s amazing.”

Bally x Swizz

The idea to collaborate with the second oldest heritage brand in the world (second only to Hermes) came to Beatz while at London’s Heathrow airport.

“I saw these sneakers at the Bally store there and was like, ‘okay, these are cool. But why doesn’t anyone wear them?’

In Bally’s mind, they thought what they were doing was perfectly fine, because the leather, the know-how, the fabrics; those have always been the best. But they were very conservative about it. That’s not what the young people want,” Beatz says.

As a result, their first capsule collection is unlike any Bally line previously produced, and hopefully will be one the younger set is clamoring for. Textured leather backpacks ($825), lace up high tops ($595), slip-on sneakers ($425) and a handful of luxury accessories (iPhone cases, keychains, sweaters and even varsity jackets ranging from $125 to $1,695) are decorated with Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo’s folk art-inspired protagonists; pious-looking symmetrical symbols designed in bright, Barcelona-like colors.

Bally x Swizz

“When I spoke with Swizz about the concept of the collection, he told he wanted me to create something about when the artist works with total freedom, the creation with no borders, free spirit,” Cavolo said of the inspiration behind his exclusive illustrations. “So I decided to create a few characters representing the artists who let the animal they have inside, out. Working with freedom and no borders means to work with that animal inside of us. These characters are a sort of gods or shamans with his/her spirit animal as totems.”

When asked about choosing Cavolo, Beatz said he wanted an artist whose work felt, at its core, “diverse with no color boundaries.”

“It’s very important for art to be freedom of expression, and I didn’t want people to say this is only a hip-hop thing or only a black thing or only an Asian thing. I wanted people to feel like they can be part of it,” Beatz said. “The world is very fragile right now, people are very fragile right now. At the end of the day being an African American from the South Bronx, people think I should only have one style, one taste. But I broke out of that 20 years ago and I want to help other people break out of that too. We’re inspired by the world, not just our surroundings. When I started traveling decades ago, I started collecting art from all places from the world. When I look at art now, I see cultures and united ideals instead of peoples skin.”

The Bally x Swizz capsule collection is available at bally.com and Bally stores, with products ranging from $125 to $1,695.

Ashanti to be Featured on First Lady Michelle Obama “Songs for a Healthier America”

It looks like Ashanti will be makin’ music with First Lady Michelle Obama

The 32-year-old part-Dominican American singer/actress, who recently starred on Lifetime’s Army Wives, will form part of a hip-hop album from the first lady and non-profit organization Partnership for A Healthier America aimed at inspiring healthy living among our youth.

Ashanti

Entitled Songs for a Healthier America, the 19-track rap album due in September is part of Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to fight childhood obesity.

Along with Ashanti, the record will include tracks featuring Jordin Sparks, Run DMC, Ariana Grande and Blink-182‘s Travis Barker.

Mrs. Obama herself won’t be heard on any of the tracks but she will be making cameos in the music videos, with a total of ten clips to be created for the album, which will first be released to New York schools before being distributed to other major cities.

The first track, “Everybody“, featuring Sparks, Doug E. Fresh, Ryan Beatty, Artie Green and Dr. Mehmet Oz, was already released back in June as a free download and its music video can similarly be found online.

The positive message as well as the bouncy beat of the track, not to mention the spoken word feature from the First Lady highlighting the second year of her “Let’s Move” initiative, calling on everyone to spread the word is a fitting lead track for the well-intentioned project.

Lending some of his valuable support to the First Lady’s pet project is President Barack Obama himself, who has, in the past, made appearances and even sung publicly to help promote the program.