Jhené Aiko to Perform at CNN’s “Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom” Concert

Jhené Aiko is helping celebrate Juneteenth

The 34-year-old part-Spanish and Dominican American Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter will perform as part of CNN’s first-ever Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom programming, featuring a Hollywood Bowl concert with a lineup of artists.

Jhene AikoThe goal of the program: to inform and educate viewers on the meaning of the new federal holiday.

CNN obtained the rights to the event, from Live Nation Urban and Jesse Collins Entertainment, and the lineup includes Chaka Khan, Khalid, Yolanda Adams, Anthony Hamilton, Billy Porter, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Earth, Wind & Fire, Killer Mike, Lucky Daye, Mary Mary, Aiko, Ne-Yo, Michelle Williams, Mickey Guyton, Robert Glasper and The Roots, among others.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver taped remarks.

Johnita P. Due, senior vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for CNN Worldwide, said in an interview this week that event  “is really one of the most meaningful things that I have been involved in” at the network.

“The thing that makes it special, of course, is that it was only a year ago that the federal government made Juneteenth a national holiday,” she said. “So how many times in history will we have that opportunity to really shape for the country, and for the world, how a holiday is celebrated, and the meaning of a holiday and the importance of a holiday.”

This is the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. June 19, 1865 was the date that federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX and informed citizens that slavery had been abolished in the state. The anniversary was commemorated the following year with prayers and singing, and it endured as an annual tradition.

“We really feel that with this event, we are able to not only commemorate the holiday, but we’re able to educate people around the meaning behind it, and also to uplift and inspire people to continue to make a difference and continue in the pursuit if freedom for all,” Due said.

The event also will include The Re-Collective Orchestra, a 68-piece all Black symphony orchestra that will be the first time that an all-Black symphony has performed at the bowl. Adam Blackstone and Questlove will serve as the evening’s musical directors.

Earlier in the evening, Don Lemon will anchor a pre-show highlighting African American advocates and creators.

On Thursday, CNN Business hosted a streamed conversation on advancing Black leadership, with correspondent Stephanie Elam sitting down with Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer. Also appearing were Operations Hope Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant and Collab Capital co-founder Barry Givens.

Due said that CNN staff had been brainstorming ideas for coverage of Juneteenth, and went on a tour with curators at the National Museum of African American History and Culture before they connected with Live Nation Urban. She said that artists will give music and spoken word performances that share their experiences of Black America. Interstitial packages will be woven in with the live performances.

The goal also was to have a diversity of music genres, including rap, R&B, country, soul, hip hop and gospel. Viewers also will be directed to ways they can get engaged in organizations and volunteer activities.

Due said that they “want people to be uplifted and we want people to be motivated.”

“We want people to walk away with a renewed commitment to make a difference in society as it relates to racial and social justice and equity,” she said.

Jennifer Lopez Joins Michelle Obama’s ‘When We All Vote’ Initiative

Jennifer Lopez is helping get out the congressional vote…

The 52-year-old Puerto Rican superstar is among the celebrities who’ve joined a national nonpartisan voting initiative launched by former Michelle Obama as the effort gears up for the November congressional elections.

Jennifer Lopez

“Are you ready for the midterm elections?” the former first lady asks in the a video announcement.

J.Lo is one the newest co-chairs of Obama’s When We All Vote initiative, alongside H.E.R, Steph Curry, Becky G and Bretman Rock.

They join Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, Liza KoshyJanelle MonaeLin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Paul, Megan Rapino, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Rita Wilson.

The volunteer co-chairs use their platforms to help boost voter registration and education with the goal of helping increase turnout for congressional and state elections in November. Democrats currently have slim majorities in both the House and Senate.

“The right to vote is so important and I hope to inspire many in my generation to exercise that right often and purposefully,” H.E.R said in a statement provided by When We All Vote. “That’s the only way that we can hope to make change in policies that affect us all now and for many years to come.”

Mrs. Obama launched the voter education and registration initiative for the 2018 midterm elections.

Colman Domingo to Star as Gay Rights Activist Bayard Rustin in “Rustin”

Colman Domingo is bringing the story of a gay rights activist to life.

The 51-year-old Guatemalan American actor will star as activist Bayard Rustin in Rustinthe first film production from Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground, which has a deal at Netflix.

Colman Domingo

Along with Domingo, the film will also star Chris Rock, Glynn Turman and Audra McDonald.

Turman previously starred alongside Domingo in the Oscar-nominated  film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The George C. Wolfe directed film, which he co-wrote with Milk‘s Dustin Lance Black, tells the story of how Rustin overcame an onslaught of obstacles, and altered the course of American history by organizing the 1963 March on Washington.

Domingo’s previous credits include appearances on HBO’s Euphoria, and the films Selma, If Beale Street Could Talk and Zola.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Artists Offering Civic Lessons in Netflix’s Animated Series “We the People”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is giving a civics lesson…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and playwright, the mastermind behind the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, lends his voice to the new animated Netflix series We the People.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

Created by Chris Nee and produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, the 10-part series provides a range of civics lessons through three-minute music videos on topics that include the Bill of Rights, immigration and the courts.

In addition to Miranda, the series also features award-winning artists H.E.R., Brandi CarlisleBebe Rexha and others.

Miranda took on the topic of “The Three Branches of Government” episode, writing and performing the song “Checks and Balances,” alongside Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Daveed Diggs, Brittany Howard and Robert Lopez.

With its light hip-hop bear, the catchy number explains the checks and balances of the United States government.

Meanwhile, Jorge R. Gutierrez directs the immigration-themed episode, which features the track “American Citizen,” performed by Bebe Rexha.

The 46-year-old Mexican animator, painter, writer, voice actor, and production designer helms Rexha’s pop message that lets everyone know from the second they are born, they are an “American Citizen.”

The episode is full of visual treats showing how the country is one built from a nation of immigrants, as animated versions of Sofia Vergara, Steven Chen, Anousheh Ansari and Padma Lakshmi are all featured to illustrate the point.

We the People premiered on Sunday, July 4 on Netflix.

José Andrés Takes Part in Prince Harry & Meghan’s Spotify Holiday Special

José Andrés has joined the royal court…

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, are kicking off their multi-year audio partnership with Spotify with a holiday special featuring a royal court’s worth of A-list guests, including the 51-year-old Spanish chef.

The stand-alone special promises “a collection of personal anecdotes and inspirational stories from a variety guests around the world … plus a surprise or two,” according to a press release.

In addition to José Andrés, billed guests include Stacey Abrams, Christina Adane, Brené Brown, Rachel Cargle, Deepak Chopra, James Corden, Matt Haig, Sir Elton John, Hussain Manawer, Naomi Osaka, Tyler Perry, and George the Poet.

Following the pattern set by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground, the royal couple’s exclusive podcast partnership with Spotify, which starts in 2021, became known earlier this month. It followed the announcement of a Netflix deal earlier in the year. Archewell Audio is their production banner and teamed with Spotify-owned Gimlet Media to produce the special.

“We thought, what if we can bring together some people that inspire us – people that we admire…  and get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020,” the Duchess says in setting up the special.

Bidding good riddance to 2020, Prince Harry adds, “As we all know, it’s been a YEAR. And we really want to honor the compassion and kindness that has helped so many people get through it.”

The Duke and Duchess also single out a song that they say offers inspiration for listeners heading into 2021. “’This Little Light of Mine’ played at the very end of our wedding… while we were walking down the steps of the church,” Markle says. “It was the music that we wanted playing when we started our lives together. Because as we all know, ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that…’” Replies Prince Harry, “The message of this song is one we hold so dearly. It’s about using the power we each have within us to make this world a better place.”

Christina Aguilera’s Randi Rahm Archive 2007 Pre-Grammy Party Dress Among Gowns Headed to Auction

Here’s your chance to own a little bit of Christina Aguilera fashion history…

Property from the Randi Rahm Archive, an exclusive collection of iconic couture gowns worn by Hollywood‘s elite, including the 39-year-old half-Ecuadorian American Grammy-winning singer, will be up for auction next month.

Christina Aguilera

Julien’s Auctions has announced that the Rahm signature styles that have graced the covers of magazines and waltzed down red carpets will be available for bidding December 2-3, both live from Beverly Hills and online.

The top items featured in the auction include Aguilera’s black satin crepe gown from the 2007 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Awards party (estimated $2,000 to $4,000), Beyoncé‘s nude fringe embellished dress she wore to first lady Michelle Obama‘s 50th birthday bash in 2014 (estimated $3,000 to $5,000), and Mariah Carey‘s orchid and gray twisted halter silk dress from her 2005 “We Belong Together” music video.

Christina Aguilera

Three more items from Beyoncé’s wardrobe, Carrie Underwood‘s one-shoulder purple satin silk gown from her 2010 CMA Awards performance (estimated $2,000 to $4,000), Katy Perry‘s tie-dye aqua-blue cocktail dress from her 2012 “Katy Perry: Part of Me” Tokyo meet-and-greet (estimated $2,000 to $4,000) and more are also included in Rahm’s collection.

The collection will be available to both bidders and collectors, who must register either in-person at the exhibition or online before the sale here.

The public exhibition at Julien’s Auction is free to the public and open until November 27 (closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26) at 257 N. Canon Dr. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The auction will take place from Wednesday, December 2, to Thursday, December 3. Interested parties can place their bids in person, online and on their iPhone app, over the phone with an auction house representative, or in advance via absentee bid. Absentee bid forms are available by calling Julien’s Auctions, checking their website and seeing the back of each catalog.

Fred Armisen to Participate in Taran Killam’s “Mafia 4 ‘Merica” Event to Benefit When We All Vote

Fred Armisen is joining the mafia

The 53-year-old half-Venezuelan American actor/comedian will take part in fellow former Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam’s Mafia 4 ‘Merica.

Fred Armisen

Described as an evening of charity and comedy, the event will take place on Saturday, October 24, at 7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm ET via the Looped app. All proceeds from the evening will benefit When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization founded by Michelle Obama and others.

Armisen, Vanessa Bayer, Jillian Bell, Adam Brody, Will Forte, Natasha Lyonne, Bobby Moynihan, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Andrea Savage, Ben Schwartz, Cobie Smulders and others will play the popular party game Mafia. Audience members will know everyone’s role, but the players will not.

Mafia consists of two secretly predetermined teams, an informed minority (The Mafia), and an uninformed majority (The Villagers). At the start of the game, each player is confidentially assigned a role affiliated with one of these teams (Mafia or Villager).

The game has two alternating phases. First, everyone closes their eyes and The Mafia must decide secretly to eliminate a Villager in the night. Secondly, everyone is told to open their eyes and The Host announces who has been eliminated. Immediately following, the entire group must debate, accuse, argue and lie through their teeth to save themselves until a consensus is made and the group votes to eliminate who they think is one of The Mafia.

The person with the most votes is eliminated, whether they’re rightfully accused as Mafia, or just a lonely Villager. Whatever team can eliminate their opposing side first wins.

The ticketed event is on sale here.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & His Hamilton Cast Mates to Reunite for Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Fundraiser

Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing his bidding for Biden…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, actor, singer/rapper, producer and playwright and the original cast of his hit musical Hamilton will reunite this week for a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the latest pop culture themed virtual event.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final Hamilton curtain call

The campaign announced that among those participating will be Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Javier Muñoz, Leslie Odom, Jr., Okieriete Onaodowa and Phillipa Soo. Director Thomas Kail will moderate a Q&A, and it will be followed by a special performance.

The event will take place at 9:00 pm ET on Friday, October 16 with no ticket amount. Proceeds will go to the Biden Victory Fund.

The cast of Hamilton also performed in 2016 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Democrats have been drawing on cast reunions as a way to raise small-dollar contributions. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has hosted recent virtual reunions of the cast of The Princess Bride and Veep.

HBO Max is debuting a West Wing reunion on October 15 to benefit When We All Vote, the get-out-the-vote effort led by Michelle Obama.

Selena Gomez Urges Facebook to Stop the Spread of “Hate, Misinformation, Racism and Bigotry”

Selena Gomez is going straight to the source in the fight against online misinformation and hate speech…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress shared on Instagram Stories a direct message to Facebook leaders Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, calling them out for their lack of accountability.

Selena Gomez

Gomez, who has 193 million followers on Instagram (owned by Facebook) and tops 77 million on Facebook itself, asked Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and CEO, and Sandberg, its chief operating officer, to start talking about misinformation and hate speech.

Gomez didn’t specify what information she classified as belonging to those categories, but called on Zuckerberg and Sandberg to shut down individuals and groups promoting it.

“Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry,” she wrote, days after a significant push by stars like Rosario Dawson, Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Ruffalo, Dwyane Wade and Katy Perry promoted #StopHateforProfit by blacking out their social media activities.

“I am calling you both to HELP STOP THIS. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it.”

Gomez also pointed to the national election in her message. She’s a co-chair of “When We All Vote,” a claimed nonpartisan organization that encourages voter participation. Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Shonda Rhimes are among its leaders.

“We cannot afford to have misinformation about voting,” Gomez said in her message. “There has to be fact-checking and accountability. Hope to hear back from you ASAP.”

Facebook has not yet publicly responded to Gomez.

Rita Moreno Dons ‘Vote’ Mask as Part of When We All Vote’s New ‘Get Out The Vote’ Campaign

Rita Moreno isn’t masking her feelings about the importance of voting this year…

With the November election right around the corner, the 88-year-old Puerto Rican Oscar-winning actress and Latina icon is encouraging people to do their civic duty without uttering a single word.

Rita Moreno

Moreno is taking part in When We All Vote’s new campaign.

Director and producer Allen Hughes has brought together a wide range of artists, athletes, industry leaders, and notable community members wearing a “VOTE” face covering to inspire maximum voter participation.

When We All Vote

Those taking part in this year’s mask campaign include Tony Bennett, Dr. Dre, Robert De Niro, Larry David, Megan Rapinoe, Sean Penn, David Crosby, Snoop Dogg, Diane von Furstenberg, Padma Lakshmi, Sterling K Brown, Tyler Oakley, Kevin Love, Ron Howard, Judd Apatow, Lindsey Vonn, Michael Keaton, Bryan Cranston, Sandra Oh, Steve Buscemi, Pamela Adlon, Christopher Poindexter, Rita Moreno, Iliza Shlesinger, and Deepak Chopra, along with healthcare worker Cady Chaplin.

“This is clearly an existential election year, and it’s critical that every eligible voter in every community engage in this election,” Hughes says. “The very soul of our nation is on the ballot November 3rd, 2020.”

Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote uses a data-driven approach to increase participation in elections. The group focuseson increasing participation in every election while closing the race and age voting gap. The goal is to change the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.

In addition, Michelle Obama has added Selena Gomez, Liza Koshy, Megan Rapinoe, Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, and Rita Wilson to this year’s co-chair list.

For more information on the organization and its new campaign, visit whenweallvote.org.