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December 26, 2010

Another Soul Legend Passes (R.I.P. Teena Marie 1956 - 2010)


It has been confirmed by her manager that Teena Marie has passed away at her home in California. Apparently, her body was discovered by her daughter and reports state that Marie suffered a severe seizure about a month ago. The true cause of death will not be determined for some time as her body is now at the coroner's office.

Marie's accomplishments in R&B need not be trivialized. Considering how difficult it can be for a black recording artist to record pop music respectfully, I argue it is equally as difficult for a white recording artist to do R&B music. Fellow soul singer Eddie Levert commented today that "she was one of the blackest people I know".

From Wikipedia:

Teena Marie (March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010) was an American Grammy Award-nominated singer–songwriter–producer. Marie, nicknamed Lady Tee, (sometimes spelled Lady T), was a protégée of late funk legend Rick James, and was notable as one of the few successful white performers of R&B. She played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also wrote, produced, sang and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release Irons in the Fire. She said it was her favorite album. She had a daughter, Alia Rose, who, as of 2009, sang under the name Rose Le Beau. Marie died on Sunday, December 26, 2010, at home, as announced by her manager, Mike Gardner.[4] She was 54.

R.I.P. Lady Tee!

- uhkeem

December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from your friends at Urban Pop Life


In yet another challenging year, there are reminders everywhere of how wonderful life is and how blessed we are to simply be alive. To you and yours here's to a safe holiday, blessed new year and the wisdom to appreciate and live in the eternal moment of NOW! There is NO PAST, and there is no future. There is ONLY RIGHT NOW! Appreciate it, embrace it and always do your best in it.

Urban Pop Life will return with a new look, new contributors and new content in January. Get ready for a new level of POP in 2011.

Love and respect,

Ricky Day and the UPL staff.

December 21, 2010

George Michael Will Always Have FAITH (New 2011 Editions!)

3D Product Photo - FAITH Deluxe Edition.jpg

George Michael's FAITH

The album that made George Michael an icon to generations is being celebrated with three commemorative packages:

1. Faith: Deluxe Edition
Limited edition, numbered box set presented in black-and-gold-foiled slipcase, with:

• CD of remastered 10-song album
• CD of remastered 7-inch and 12-inch singles and B-sides
• 180-gram vinyl replica LP
• DVD with BBC interview, original EPK, and 7 promo videos (approx. 100 mins.)
• 60-page hardbound book with interview, rare photos and memorabilia
• Memorabilia envelope with 5 art prints, poster, tickets, and Faith tour pass
• First 2,000 orders receive a specially-designed, numbered art print
• AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY at (pre-order now - ships January 31, 2011)

2. Faith: Special Edition (includes two CDs and the DVD)*

3. Faith: 2-CD Remastered Edition*

*both released February 1, 2011

- uhkeem

Keyshia Cole Has Reality TV Regrets...


R&B singer Keyshia Cole speaks candidly with Ryan Cameron of V-103 in Atlanta about her broken family and how she is trying to find the road to forgiveness. Take a listen to the interview below...

Also, Keyshia's new album Calling All Hearts drops today (12/21)! I commend Keyshia for the growth she has displayed throughout her career. She deserves happiness after all she's been through. And congrats to Keyshia on finding love with her fiance and newborn baby!

From her official bio:

Keyshia Cole’s journey -- from the mean streets of Oakland and an adopted family to achieving her dreams as a singer-songwriter -- is one of today’s truly extraordinary and inspirational success stories. Since 2005, when her debut CD The Way It Is was released, Keyshia has scored two #1 R&B/Hip-hop albums and seven #1 singles, two of them platinum. In addition, she has scored six Top 40s on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

Her 2nd album, 2007’s Just Like You debuted at #1 on Billboards R&B and Hip Hop chart (#2 nationally) and was propelled by three #1s, the platinum “Let It Go” featuring Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim, “I Remember” and “Heaven Sent.” “Shoulda Let You Go” featuring Amina hit the Top 10. The groundbreaking album garnered Cole four Grammy nominations, including for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary R&B Album, and an American Music Award nomination.

In 2008, she released her third album, A Different Me, which also debuted #1 R&B and again #2 nationally, with the R&B Top 10 singles “Playa Cardz Right” featuring 2Pac, “Trust” featuring Monica and “You Complete Me.”

Keyshia has also delved into the worlds of television and film. Most notably, her critically acclaimed BET reality series “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is” became the #1 most-watched series in the network’s history during its three-season run from 2006-2008. She also played herself in the movie “How She Move” in 2005. In support of Calling All Hearts, Keyshia is planning for an all female national tour in the new year.

- uhkeem

South African 10-Year-Old Sings!

south africa.jpg

Listen to 10-year-old Vicus from South Africa singing All-4-One's "These Arms". There's something special about this kid. Hope he gets a chance to truly expose the world to this talent on a grand scale.

- uhkeem

December 18, 2010

Fashion photographer Chiun-Kai Shih’s Live Portrait Exhibition at the Levi’s® Workshop was a blast


Last night Leica Camera hosted a reception to celebrate Chiun-Kai Shih’s Live Portrait Exhibition from 7PM-9PM at the Levi’s® Workshop. The reception showcased portraits of celebrity friends and candid shots of Workshop patrons created earlier that day by famed Fashion Photographer and Conde Nast China Contributing Creative Director Chiun-Kai Shih. Photographer Chiun-Kai Shih is chiefly known for having captured some of today’s most iconic fashion spreads for various Conde Nast Publications including Vogue Germany and GQ Taiwan, as well as InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times. In his work, Chiun-Kai Shih focuses on people’s energy - capturing unexpected moments to create sparks of excitement and true emotion. Complimenting his exceptional photographic style, Chiun-Kai Shih will shot with the Leica S2, a supremely professional camera that features flexibility, durability and easy operation combined with industry-leading resolution and image quality. I was fortunate enough to be asked to pose for a portrait along with my partner in crime fashion stylist and Ford Models agent Tayo Fajemisin. Check out our image as well as a few others from the show and some shots of the events guests having a blast.

You can see a sampling of the portrais here:


The Levi's® Photo Workshop is a temporary public facility that features a professional-grade production studio, vintage camera rental, digital design stations, exciting printing equipment, and a shop full of bits and bobs to keep you shooting in style. Although there are some important local pioneers collaborating here, these resources are really for everyone. So, whether you're a point-and-shooter, a trained professional, or somewhere in between, you are always welcome to visit and develop your craft... or your film!

NEW YORK, NY 10013
(212) 343-1206

Public Transportation:
Canal Street / Tunnel - N / R
Canal Street - 1 / 2
Canal Street - A / C / E
Spring St - 4 / 6

December 17, 2010

What Do U Think About Florence + the Machine Live???


Here we are again with a compelling live performance by Florence + the Machine singing "Cosmic Love" on the David Letterman Show. First off, who conjures up that kind of arrangement? Secondly, please understand that most late night talk show hosts don't just give out compliments to the live music guests. David especially keeps it real. They've learned how to speak around their negative thoughts and still make the guest(s) feel at home. "What a machine?" is what David said to the band while clapping his hands in their direction. Look out for this band! They have a following now, but I think it's about to swell significantly.

Hurry and watch these before they get snatched down!

This video was shot very much from an audience perspective, however I think Florence killed it. Her voice transcends like few other singers out today. I love this song in particular as my previous post illustrates HERE. SUPPORT TRUE TALENT!!!

- uhkeem

Adele - "Rolling In The Deep" (Music Video!!!)

My apologies for the delayed posting of her brand new video for "Rolling In The Deep" from her forthcoming sophomore album 21. Nevertheless, Adele delivers and it's all about that voice. She is going to murder this track live!

- uhkeem

Happy Holidays from Major Models

December 15, 2010

Urban Pop Life 2010 Holiday Party at Pearl Lounge TONIGHT!


Please join us 2nite for a warm evening of friendship, networking and holiday cheer. There is NO COVER charge and there will be 2 for 1 drinks. The music selections will include pop, R&B, hip hop and soul. This gathering of friends, clients and associates will be as diverse as the city itself and a lot of fun!

Looking forward to seeing you tonight. Your guests are welcome.

The UPL Holiday party is from 6:30 - 8:30pm and leads in to the popular weekly After Work Wednesdays event regularly hosted by the venue for an urban alternative crowd.

Best regards and holiday cheer,


"NOWHEREISHERE" at FRAMING AIDS 2010 closing event reception on Sunday, December 19, 5 pm at the Queens Museum of Art: Partnership Gallery


December 19, 2010, 5 pm
FRAMING AIDS 2010 Art Exhibition: ABSENCE
Queens Museum of Art: Partnership Gallery

Guest artists Lawrence Graham Brown (Jamaica/USA) and Antonio Ortuño (Spain) in collaboration with Hector Canonge, artist and director of QMAD, Queens Media Arts Development, present the performance "NOWHEREISHERE" at FRAMING AIDS 2010 closing event reception on Sunday, December 19, 5 pm at the Queens Museum of Art: Partnership Gallery.

"NOWHEREISHERE” responds to this year's exhibition theme ABSENCE by challenging the public's general knowledge about the pandemic, and by proposing a better understanding of the conditions that afflict people living with HIV and AIDS. Positioning themselves as targets or predators, victims or heroes, the artists create a dynamic narrative that consists of dance, spoken-word, and repetitive movements. Inspired by their personal experiences, and drawing from a pull of texts written individually as they conceived the piece, they will leave their body imprints on a large canvas while combining their fragmented recitations as they spin in concentric motions during their presentation.

About the Artists:

Recently featured in Hispanic Magazine, Hector Canonge lives and works in New York City. His work incorporates the use of various media, commercial technologies, physical environments, cinematic, and performance narratives. He has been awarded scholarships by Harvestworks, fellowships by NJCU, and has participated in residencies at Atlantic Center for the Arts, AIM Program 27 at the Bronx Museum of Art, Newark New Media at City Without Walls, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University, and The Wassaic Project. Canonge’s work has been featured at the Bronx Museum, Jersey City Museum, NY Studio Gallery, Exit Art, Gallery Aferro, Topaz Arts, Y Gallery, IATI, and other art spaces in the city and abroad. He’s been commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation, The Queens Council on the Arts, Queens Museum of Art, Artists Unite, Association of Hispanic Arts (AHA), and has received funding awards from NYSCA, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council -MCAF Program, and NoMAA Regrant Program, made possible by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation. His work has been reviewed by the The New York Times, ART FORUM, New York Daily News, Manhattan Times, Queens Chronicle, and on online publications such as NYRemezcla, Turbulence, and ART CARDS Review among others. More information about the artist:

Lawrence Graham Brown is a self educated multi media artist, wrestling within the constructs of race, class, religion, and identity. His work explores themes of Black-ness, African-ness, Jamaican-ness, Gay-ness while forging his life experience as a working class immigrant. He describes himself as a “Ras-Pan-Afro-Homo-Sapien” man in the new world, performing a self denying role. His work has been shown at the Museo del Barrio NY, National Gallery of Jamaica, Institute of Jamaica Museum of Ethnography, New York University international small works show -recipient of the jurors award, Shanghai Biennial, Beijing Biennial, China, and Real Artways, Connecticut. Solo shows: University of the West Indies, Jamaica WI and Lutz Rohs Gallery Duren, Germany. His work has been reviewed by the New York Times, Hartford Advocate, Jamaica Gleaner, The Hartford Guardian, Duren Im blick; Duren Germany.

The artistic journey of Antonio Ortuño began in Zaragoza in the Contemporary Art Festival "Conmutaciones-02", with the video installation "Por Amor/ Deshechos" ("For Love/ejection"). Later came Valencia, where he presented the video "Él, antoñito" ("He, little antonio") in the space "El almacén del adecuado comportamiento" ("The store of appropriate conduct"), part of the Second Valencia Biennial. Later works include "Despegar" ("Detach"), a video he screened at the "Nabi Center" in Seoul, South Korea; the video "¿Te parece que esto son sólo palabras?" ("Does this seem like just words to you?") in the International Festival of Video Art in Valencia in the Sala Parpalló; the video installation "Individualities" in Local Project gallery in New York; and his participation in "The Most Curatiorial Biennial of the Universe" at ApexArt gallery in New York and in Animal Gallery in Santiago de Chile with the video “Love=pleasure”. Recently he also participated at “Framing AIDS” in the Queens Museum of Art in New York, Pool Art Fair in New York City and the Spain Art Fest´10 in Times Square. He has lived in New York City for five years now. More information about the artist:

- Via #7 Flushing IRT. Exit Willets Point/Shea Stadium and follow the signs on a ten-minute walk through the park to the museum, which is located next to the Unisphere.

- Free Trolley Service: 4 - 7 pm, street level on Roosevelt Avenue at the entrance of the Train Station.

Queens Museum of Art: Partnership Gallery
(Flushing Meadows Corona Park)

December 14, 2010

Fashion Video: Venecia by Rico Kinnard

Rico Kinnard is a NYC based photographer and video director. He's also a friend and one of the earliest supporters of my work. I'm very happy to share with you this exciting new direction in his work as he moves into video. Stay tuned for a full profile of Rico coming in 2011. For now, check out this great fashion video shot and directed by Rico.


Model V E N E C I A- Photoshoot from Rico on Vimeo.

STEPHEN G. RHODES January 15 – March 5, 2011 at Metro Pictures



January 15 – March 5, 2011

Metro Pictures
519 West 24 Street
New York, NY 10011

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 15, 2011, 6–8 p.m.

For his debut exhibition at Metro Pictures, Stephen G. Rhodes fills the gallery with labyrinthine installations composed of collage, sculpture, painting, and film — constructions that revolve around the 18th-century Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant and the master-servant dialectic he shared with his steadfast servant Lampe.

Rhodes's fictive Kant sports lederhosen and a blonde wig in a fragmented film that is chopped apart and projected onto the walls of one room. A hypochondriac, haunted by creative impotence and a fear of bowel problems, Kant labors at his typewriter, takes restorative walks, and guzzles coffee and tea. A hybrid of a writer, a philosopher, and a scientist, he pulls the string of a tea bag to initiate violent chain reactions. Walls collapse and bombs explode, as rational causality breaks down.

Fragments of Rhodes's film sets are used in the installation, along with glass-paneled wooden cabinets — papered with collages made from travel souvenirs and pornography, and caked with ash from fireworks — that take the place of windows. The back panels of Rhodes's domestic interiors are lined with fragments of a text that align his characters' psychological turmoil with that of the vexed protagonist of The Shining.

Rhodes filmed material for the exhibition in an Upstate New York warehouse, California, and Eastern Europe; at the border in Arizona and the mouth of the Mississippi; and along the freeways of Texas's desert. Spliced together and projected inside the gallery, the pieces create a displaced, discontinuous site of historical and cultural curiosities. Meanwhile, on a wooden plank secured high above the floor, time clicks comfortably along on a lengthy row of found clocks.

Born in 1977, Stephen G. Rhodes lives and works in New York. He has recently had solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and galleries in Tokyo, Berlin, and London. His work has been included in PortugalArte 10 in Lisbon, Younger than Jesus at the New Museum in New York, and Prospect 1 in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Bard College in New York and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10-6pm
Please direct press inquiries to Andrew Russeth at or 212 206 7100

December 13, 2010

Michael Jackson (UPL Album Review)

(Album to be released December 14, 2010)

On June 25, 2009, the world lost one of its greatest entertainers in the history of music. Michael Jackson, the undisputed King of Pop, suffered what was essentially a drug overdose of grand proportions. Despite MJ’s personal pitfalls, his music has been off the wall, thrilling, bad, dangerous and invincible. Now, some 18 months later, Epic Records is releasing a 10-track set of tunes recorded by Michael before his untimely death.

At first listen, the simply-titled Michael album appears to be a cheap attempt at capitalizing off his fame and is not really a credible offering of music that Michael would’ve approved. The intense speculation surrounding this new project is about whether all of the vocals on this album actually belong to MJ. To this date, superproducer Teddy Riley (as well as many other longtime collaborators) continues to support the claim that it is indeed Michael Jackson’s voice.

The lead single, “Hold My Hand” produced by Akon, is classic MJ material on a basic level. However, Akon at times overpowers the track with his own signature vocals. Michael definitely wouldn’t have allowed that to happen if he was still alive. Other tracks like the big-city-bright-lights “Hollywood Tonight” and the sickeningly-repetitive “Best of Joy” are void of Michael’s traditional high-pitched adlibs we’ve come to expect from this musical perfectionist. It begs the question of whether this is truly what Michael Jackson would have wanted the world to hear.

Nonetheless, Michael actually isn’t entirely incomplete from a composition standpoint. Legendary rocker Lenny Kravitz wrote and produced “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day”, which finds Michael somewhat in his edgier element. He sounds alive with his usual vocal dynamics and the blaring electric guitar riffs. It sounds like a song he actually enjoyed recording. The album closes with a tender acoustic number called “Much Too Soon”. MJ croons about a lesson-in-love learned much too soon after she’s gone away. There is likely a subliminal message here as we lost the King of Pop much too soon.

It’s important to note that Michael Jackson is a musical genius who will never be forgotten and cannot be duplicated. As we all witnessed in the 2009 film This Is It, Michael always had to have a say-so when it came to his art and how it would be portrayed. Sadly, it’s apparent that he wasn’t able to do so with Michael. He’s one of the very few artists in history, if not the only artist, whose posthumous work will never compare to his older material…not by a long-shot. No record label can recreate that MJ magic without the man himself. Hopefully, this lesson will be learned sooner than later before his legacy is completely tarnished.

Rest in peace Michael…

- uhkeem

Love Jones NYC was a soulful holiday blast...

(Que of Day 26 sang a soulfl rendition of Donny Hathaway's classic A Song For You)

Yesterday the UPL crew and singer/songwriter Nikko checked out the always entertaining Love Jones NYC produced by J-Harris. This months event was sponsored by our friends at Concrete Loop (WE LOVE U ANGEL!!!!) Special guests included co-host for the evening the talented singer/songwriter Jayms Madison, Que of Day26, Angel Laws of Concrete Loop, singer/songwriter Nikko and designers Robot and Brucling.

Check out these images from the event. More photos are coming soon.

(designers Robot and Brucling, Que, Angel Laws, Nikko, J-Harris)
(Nikko, Jayms Madison, Que...that's a lot of talent in one photo)

December 11, 2010

New at Sloan Fine Art 128 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of New York City

(Images left to right:
Marion Peck, “Colette” (detail), 2010, oil and encaustic on panel, 16.5” x 16.5,” Cover of Marion Peck’s book “Animal Love Summer” & Brad Woodfin, “Ibis,” 2010, oil on panel, 20” x 16”)

Sloan Fine Art is pleased to present, in the front gallery, “What You Are, So Once Were We,” new paintings and sculpture by Marion Peck. With "What You Are Now, So Once Were We," Marion Peck takes inspiration from photographic portraiture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and a Victorian sensibility, to challenge our contemporary relationship with death. As she explains, “Looking into the face of a stranger, someone who had a name, someone who lived a life and then died long ago, I am filled with a strange sensation. It is as though I am looking at a ghost. There is a connection between me, one of the living, and them, one of the dead.” By marrying this emotional, connective response with her exquisite technique and fastidious attention to detail, Marion Peck has created an exhibition that both honors the dead and engages the living. Two powerful, complex, larger scale works, the painting “Good Christian Children” and mixed media sculpture “Solve et Coagula,” are complimented by a multitude of smaller, hauntingly beautiful sepia-toned portraits while the entire gallery is staged with black velvet walls, a church altarpiece and fresh lilies. The overall effect is not sadness, but rather the feeling of being enveloped in an environment of quiet reverence and fond affection. The viewer is encouraged to slow down, take pause, and experience each individual, lovingly executed work while considering the artist's message that, "Remembering those who came before us is what makes us truly alive."

Marion Peck's first fine art monograph, "Animal Love Summer," is a 128-page, full-color survey, with works spanning 1993 to 2010, and essays by artist/educator Aaron Smith and Peck herself. Sloan Fine Art will host a signing with Marion Peck Saturday, December 18th from 3 to 5pm and books will be available throughout the run of her exhibition.

Marion Peck earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and went on to study at two different MFA programs, Syracuse University in New York and Temple University in Rome. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide including Sloan Fine Art, Bellwether Gallery and DFN Gallery in New York, Roq la Rue, Davidson Galleries and the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, Galerie Magda Danyz in Paris, Galleria Giampiero Biasutti in Turin, The Laguna Art Museum and The Bristol Art Museum. Born in The Philippines while her family was on a trip around the world, Peck lived in Rome and Seattle before settling in Eagle Rock, California. This is Marion Peck’s second solo exhibition at Sloan Fine Art.

Sloan Fine Art is also pleased to present, in the project room, “The Strangers” by Brad Woodfin.The magnificently rendered wildlife creatures in Brad Woodfin’s paintings delicately emerge from a deep black background. Barely breaking the glossy surface shadow, they exist in a no man’s land between darkness and light, mystery and revelation, power and vulnerability. These majestic creatures are familiar to us through nature shows and childhood education. Yet they are strangers, forever unknown. Each lone figure represents the little ease of those among us who are strangers, with moods inspired by the wearing of masks, Noh theatre and Fever Ray, as well as by the animals themselves.

Brad Woodfin was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1970. He headed west in 1991 and eventually studied printmaking and painting at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. While he has previously exhibited in Vancouver and New York, “The Strangers” is Woodfin’s first solo show in the U.S. Brad Woodfin lives and works in Montréal, Canada.

Sloan Fine Art is located at 128 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. Business hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6, and by appointment. The gallery is CLOSED December 20, 2010 through January 4, 2011 for the holidays.

128 Rivington Street
(corner of Norfolk)
New York, NY 10002

NEW!!! Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg & Akon - "Kush" (Music Video! Detox Is Almost Here!)

- uhkeem

Music Rewind: Remember This One???

UPL presents the weekly Music Rewind to remind us what music is all about. It's possibly the most versatile chameleon in music history. Madonna has tried on so many musical styles and she always manages to make them a perfect fit. However, there is one style of music she has yet to try on for size - it's rhythm & blues. Madonna's 1984 hit song "Borderline" from her self-titled debut album touched upon it, but she has yet to dedicate an entire album to the genre. UPL predicts it'll happen before she retires. Wanna bet???

Madonna - Borderline
Uploaded by jpdc11. - See the latest featured music videos.

- uhkeem

December 10, 2010

Jazmine Sullivan Interview!


Hello UPL community!

Please take a moment to check out my latest interview HERE with R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan. She opens up about the public misconception that she's "mean", not always feeling comfortable with her raspy voice and presently being in love. Hope you enjoy it!

Love Me Back is in stores now!

- uhkeem

Melodie Provenzano & Rachel Hovnanian December 11 - January 29, 2011 at Carrie Secrist Gallery

(Melodie Provenzano, Tiger's Play, 2010, graphite and gouache on paper, 11 x 11 inches, Rachel Hovnanian, Suburbia, 2010, archival ink on rag paper, 52 x 42 inches)

Melodie Provenzano & Rachel Hovnanian
December 11 - January 29, 2011
Carrie Secrist Gallery is pleased to announce two upcoming exhibitions featuring the work of Melodie Provenzano and Rachel Hovnanian. This will be the first solo exhibitions in Chicago for both artists. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, December 11th, from 4-7pm with both artists present.

New York based artist Melodie Provenzano is inspired by objects; the way they look and the emotions that they suggest. Still life's are composed with figurines and various items, like drinking glasses, golf balls, ribbons, and bows. The final arrangement is a meticulously rendered composition that allows a brief glimpse into the artist's personal world. Using graphite and gouache to create these mock dramas, with accents of color and gold leaf to suggest a narrative momentum, Provenzano allows the audience to assign their own meaning to the works. The works are filled with images of love and misfortune, artificiality and intimacy, and failure and realization. The drawings are affectionately constructed but within these delicate works are strong recognitions about our own notions of power and fragility.

New York based artist Rachel Hovnanian's work seeks to provoke. Hovnanian explores the reward and the cost of beauty through a range of media from small and large-scale sculptures in cold, imperious marble to haunting photographs, film and artifacts - all delivered with monochromatic precision. The vignettes are made from the artist's simple observations honed by life experiences that often verge on the caustic and humorous. How physical beauty is valued, and the search for inner meaning are the questions that provide the foundation and energy for Hovnanian's work.

Melodie Provenzano graduated with a BFA from the Parsons School of Design in 1996. She was recently included in Playing Around at the Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, VT and Champagne & Baloney at Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York. She is represented by Lyons Weir Gallery in New York.

Rachel Hovnanian lives and works in New York City and received her education at Parsons School of Design, the National Academy of Design, The Arts Students League and the University of Texas. Her work is exhibited internationally and includes shows at Parasol Unit foundation for Contemporary Art, Jason McCoy Gallery, and Meredith Long & Company. Hovnanian's work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Europe and Elle Décor.

For further information please contact Natalie Schuh at, or at 312.491.0917.

December 08, 2010

NEW MIX From WBLS (New York) DJ Sir Charles Mixin Dixon!

sir charles.jpg

DJ Sir Charles, who also mixes for Music Choice, is a friend to the UPL community and we have his latest mix right here for all those '90s house/R&B fans out there! Enjoy!

Download the 60-minute mix HERE.

- uhkeem

Aretha Franklin reported to have pancreatic cancer

DETROIT | Wed Dec 8, 2010 3:30pm EST

DETROIT (Reuters) - Soul singer Aretha Franklin, who recently underwent surgery for an undisclosed health issue, was reported to be suffering from pancreatic cancer, the Detroit News said on its web site.

Publicists for the 68-year-old singer, who has canceled all her appearances through May 2011, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Detroit News report on Wednesday cited a source familiar with the situation for the cancer diagnosis, an illness which the report pointed out has a poor prognosis.

Separately, the Fox television station in Detroit reported the same diagnosis for the "Queen of Soul," citing a close relative as the source. The report said she was doing "OK."

After the surgery, Franklin released a statement December 2 that she had undergone "highly successful surgery" but did not disclose the nature of her illness.

The legendary singer of 1960s hits like "Chain of Fools" and "Respect" had continued a busy schedule of touring and recording until late October.

In January 2009, she sang at the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

(Writing by Andrew Stern, editing by Greg McCune)

December 07, 2010

UPL With Elle Varner (Live Performance at Fontana's)

(Pictured from left to right: UPL's Akim, Elle Varner)

Elle Varner performed this past Friday December 3 at Fontana's on the lower east side of Manhattan, NY. Newcomer Anthony Hall, also signed to MBK Entertainment, opened the show and unfortunately I missed out! I was late to the show and caught the tail end of Elle's performance (about 2.5 songs). But please believe that I JUMPED right in! The place was packed as you can see by the heads in this photo below... :(


Elle rocked and swayed and sang every song as if it was her last. This girl is super talented! She's the product of a musical family and it shows. Check out my previous post on Elle HERE. Also, see below for a YouTube video of the fun and poppy "Tiny Little Temper" - tiny warning, it's a sassy one lol.

Album to be released in February 2011...

- uhkeem

NEW!!! Kandi - "Haven't Loved Right" (Music Video!!!) - In Loving Memory of AJ Jewell...

Check out my UPL interview with Kandi HERE. Hope you enjoy it!

- uhkeem

I've Been Watching, Watching You Watching Me (B.o.B - "The Watchers" Music Video!)

Who ever said a truly conscious rapper can't thrive in this day and age? B.o.B is the truth! Check out his latest video for "The Watchers".

Download his brand new No Genre mixtape HERE.

- uhkeem

December 06, 2010

Little Jackie Contributes New Christmas Song To Target Commercial

From wikipedia (I'm tired lol):

Little Jackie is an American band consisting of Imani Coppola and Adam Pallin. Little Jackie, which derives its name from the 1989 hit song "Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star" by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, released a hit single in 2008 called "The World Should Revolve Around Me" from their debut album The Stoop.

- uhkeem

A Brilliant Catastrophe - B. Slade (UPL Music Moment)

(Pictured from left to right): UPL's Akim, B. Slade and Ricky Day of course...

Here’s what I like to refer to as an UPL Music Moment. It’s brand new, something different for the musical palate and worth a listen.

The Grammy-nominated/Stellar Award-winning artist formerly known as Tonex has been reborn. After making his mainstream gospel music debut in 2000 with Pronounced Toe-Nay, Anthony Charles Williams II carries the new moniker of Brian Slade A.K.A. B. Slade. Urban Pop Life witnessed this musical phenom live onstage this past Thursday, Dec. 2nd at New York's legendary Joe's Pub. Saying it was an amazing and lively show is quite an understatement.

This accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, and dancer has been compared to the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson without hesitation. There's almost no limit to his talents. B. Slade sings with the vocal range of Prince and the fire/tenacity of MJ. He delivers on all musical fronts even right down to raising the bar for his incredible band. Toward the end of the night, he praised his drummer for knowing how to play in the pocket and not overpower the artist. B. Slade's background vocalists kept the harmonies tight and each of the beautiful ladies got a moment to showcase their skills on the mic.


Now who remembers the artist formerly known as Tonex? Check out one of his most popular gospel tunes HERE. It's hard to believe the transition. Check out this vid below of his Joe's Pub performance last week. Yes, he's a major Janet Jackson fan and this one of the three Janet songs he covered that night.

Tonex simply doesn't exist anymore! I get the feeling Tonex is the artist everyone (including his label, family, and church) wanted him to be. His wikipedia page explains much more than the public has been privy to (especially with regards to his sexuality). Slowly, he's been peeling away the layers of his soul to become the artist he now is - B. Slade (whether you love it or hate it).

His latest project A Brilliant Catastrophe (beta) is available now as a free download HERE.


- uhkeem

New Art at M+B: BEDTIME FOR BONZO Curated by Matthew Porter December 11 - January 29, 2011 and MORES McWREATH Between Everywhere December 11 - January 29, 2011

Curated by Matthew Porter
December 11 - January 29, 2011

Artists' Opening Reception
Saturday, December 11, 6-8 PM

Arthur Ou, Test Screen 4 (Point Reyes), 2008

Between Everywhere
December 11 - January 29, 2011

Artist's Opening Reception
Saturday, December 11, 6-8 PM

Mores McWreath, You Have Never Been There, 2010, 90 minutes, digital video

612 North Almont Drive
Los Angeles, California 90069
310 550 0050
*Please note our new website and email address

Curated by Matthew Porter

M+B is pleased to present Bedtime for Bonzo, a group exhibition curated by Matthew Porter with participating artists Walead Beshty, Gil Blank, Matthew Brandt, Andrew Bush, Eduardo Consuegra, Moyra Davey, Arthur Ou, Matthew Spiegelman, James Welling, Hannah Whitaker and Mark Wyse.

Like a river that returns every year to its floodplain, our politics and entertainment can be expected to return to the preceding decades for material. In particular, much of the recent rhetoric from the mid-term elections echoed the eight years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Viewing Jimmy Carter’s famous 1979 “Malaise Speech” as a herald of the 80s, this show presents a selection of images that, when stripped of their original contexts, serve as both index and icon for a decade best defined by a sententious leader. They can also be seen, in the decade before the Internet, as a late-century analog swansong. This is the Eisenhower era in color, with a technological upgrade. The confection-coated green and silky whites of the suburbs look saccharine next to rust-belt towns in decay—evidence of the simultaneous achievement and dismantling of the American dream.

Bedtime for Bonzo is a 1951 film starring Ronald Reagan as a moralizing pedagogue intent on meliorating a chimpanzee’s understanding of right and wrong. If the images on the walls feel equally didactic, remember that this is a show about the 80s, when subtlety was traded for over-dramatic hyperbole.

For further information, please contact Shannon Richardson at M+B at (310) 550-0050,, or visit our website

kunsthalle M+B

M+B and François Ghebaly Gallery are pleased to announce their second collaboration for KUNSTHALLE M+B with Between Everywhere, an exhibition of video and images lingering on transitory moments and interstitial spaces by New York based artist Mores McWreath. As our world plunges deeper and deeper into a state of ecstatic and continuous communication, where even brief private moments are churning with the all-consuming, superficial chatter of reigning networks, McWreath’s work seeks out rapidly diminishing liminal space by employing imagery from our media culture while denying specificity. Following the success of his solo show curated by Andrea Zittel at the CUE Art Foundation in NYC in the fall of 2009, this will be McWreath’s debut solo exhibition on the West coast.

Between Everywhere focuses on the neutral; moments apart from and between the endless harassment of communication networks whose daily bombardment works to exterminate interstitial space. McWreath's work seeks to access the recesses of the mind, balancing somewhere in the state between waking and dreaming. Culled together over the past year in a process based on digital cataloging, researching and most importantly visual consumption, the exhibition centers around a feature length video, You Have Never Been There. Composed entirely of scenes lacking people from 120 apocalyptic movies, it is an ambient film of silent landscapes, seething seas, glowing moons, and panoramic rubble. Very much a self-portrait of Western culture delivered through the envisioned landscapes of it’s imagined destruction, McWreath’s film perpetually wavers in a state between horror and beauty, science and fantasy, suspense and relief. Using scenes that fil mically function as establishing or transitory shots and that deny the viewer specificity, the final product exists almost exclusively as an in-between state, representing an idealized space of potential and projection.

Mores McWreath (American, b. 1980) received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and an MFA from the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts. He attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in 2008-09. In 2009 he had his first solo show in New York at CUE Art Foundation curated by Andrea Zittel. Recent group exhibitions include Video Art: Replay at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA, 2010; Theoretical Practice at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, 2009; Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2008; Ghosts of Presence at the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2007; and Flex Your Textiles at John Connelly Presents, New York, 2006. His work has been screened in festivals and exhibitions both nationally and internationally including Videomedeja Serbia, the Athens International Film and Video Festival, 700IS Iceland, and the Jakarta International Video Festival. He currently teaches at The Cooper Union.

For further information, please contact Alexandra Wetzel at M+B at (310) 550-0050 or

ABOUT kunsthalle M+B

M+B and François Ghebaly Gallery are pleased to announce their new relationship expanding collaborative dialogue within the Los Angeles art community with KUNSTHALLE M+B. Following the success of its first year in Chinatown, with exhibitions by Joel Kyack, Matt Mullican, Marie Jager, and Channa Horwitz, KUNSTHALLE will be moving to M+B on Almont Drive in West Hollywood.

Following the success of its first year in Chinatown, with exhibitions by Joel Kyack, Matt Mullican, Marie Jager, and Channa Horwitz, KUNSTHALLE has moved to M+B on North Almont Drive in West Hollywood. KUNSTHALLE M+B presented the work of English painter Robert Fry earlier in the year, and the new exhibition will present a video and installation by New York based artist Mores McWreath.

According to the dubious lights of Wikipedia “Kunsthalle is, generally, in German speaking regions a term for a facility mounting temporary art exhibitions.” German is off-putting and tough. To American ears, it sounds stern, well-built, and foreign. Sturdy makes the modest sound mighty. Even if the vision is broad the project is simple: a facility for mounting temporary art exhibitions. KUNSTHALLE is a gathering of friends and colleagues, a network of like-minded people who are in need of a room. It’s not for everybody, but art never is. –Andrew Berardini

T 310 550 0050
F 310 550 0605

December 04, 2010

Tria Gallery Presents CASEY VOGT & DANIEL BALTZER Background Noise


Tria Gallery Presents
Background Noise

Opening Reception
Thursday, December 9, 6-8 pm

531 west 25 street, ground floor suite 5 / 212.695.0021
Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 - 6:00

December 03, 2010

here + now: HARLEM Photography by Ray A. Llanos Curated by Ali Evans


On view now through December 11, 2010
(Thursday - Sunday 12-6pm)

Workspace Harlem Gallery
2340 Fifth Avenue
(@ 142nd St./#3 train to 145th St.)
New York, NY 10037

For more info or to make an appointment email

Music Rewind: Remember This One??? (Old School Club/House Music Special)

UPL presents the weekly Music Rewind to remind us what music is all about.

Murk (also known by several other names, including Funky Green Dogs) released "Fired Up" in 1996 and it exploded just like a fireball! My older brother was a club DJ so he played this stuff alllllll the time. I was born to love music. I'm proud I caught the tail end of this era and had a chance to truly enjoy incredible melodies, harmonies and beats. Also, check out the original music video HERE.

And this is a classic from's Raze with "Break 4 Love". It's the group's only significant hit and it's a home-run! The subtly of his lead vocal combined with that massive beat and the girl in heat...come on!!!

Ok, who knew there was a video??? I just happened to stumble upon this...seriously (lol). It's a treat though. This song has that '90s swag to it. The perfect two-step song or you can simply bug the f*** out if you want. It's a very versatile track. It's Lidell Townsell featuring MTF with "Nu Nu" from the year 1992. How many nu-nus still out there??? No really???

I can't describe what happens to me when I hear this one. I know it's "gospel" house music so let me be cool (lol). It's the incomparable Kenny Bobien with his early '90s rendition of the Patti LaBelle classic "You Are My Friend". This is, indeed, my all-time favorite house track!

- uhkeem

All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day...

hurts christmas.jpg

The English pop duo Hurts has released a new Christmas single "All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day". It's a little dark in theme, but it's really about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after possibly having a rough year. New Year's Day brings about a new beginning and everyone loves to celebrate the new year. Cheers to 2011!

Bonus: To help establish some balance, here is Mariah's Christmas offering entitled "Oh Santa". It's a fun song and some critics have speculated that it will likely be another classic holiday tune much like her smash 1994 hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You".

- uhkeem

December 02, 2010

Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures December 19, 2010–March 21, 2011 at MOMA in NYC

warhol kiss.JPG
(Andy Warhol. Kiss. 1963–64. 16mm film (black and white, silent). 54 min. at 16fps. © 2010 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Film still courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum)

Sixth floor

Among Warhol’s cinematic oeuvre, the black-and-white silent films are the most daring and experimental in their selection of subject and theme, psychological acuity, rhythmic pacing, and sheer beauty of form. Although these films were originally shot at sound-film speed (twenty-four frames per second), Warhol specified that prints be projected at a slower speed of sixteen frames per second, a rate used in the projection of silent films from the 1890s through the 1920s. For this exhibition, a selection of Warhol’s films made between 1963 and 1966 has been transferred from 16mm film to DVD at the speed of sixteen frames per second, and projected onto screens and monitors in a gallery setting. Thus it is again possible to see the works as Warhol intended, and to appreciate the ways in which he challenged and provoked both subject and viewer in his manipulation of moving images.

This exhibition originated at MoMA as Andy Warhol: Screen Tests (MoMA QNS, May 1–September 1, 2003). With the addition of Andy Warhol’s silent films, the show debuted as Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (May 8–August 8, 2004), and was also presented at Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (April 26–June 26, 2005); Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (June 16–August 14, 2005); Malba—Colección Costantini, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (September 23–November 21, 2005); the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (December 18, 2008–February 9, 2009); and the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague (January 29–April 5, 2009).
Organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, and Director, MoMA PS1.

The exhibition is supported by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley.

Special exhibitions, audio programs, films, and gallery talks are included in the price of admission.
Adults $20
(65 and over with ID) $16
(full-time with current ID) $12
(16 and under) Free
This policy does not apply to children in groups.
Members Free
Guest of Members $5

Tickets may be purchased online.
Admission is free for all visitors during Target Free Friday Nights, held every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets for Target Free Friday Nights are not available in advance. Your Target Free Friday Night ticket permits you to all other Museum galleries, exhibitions, and films.
Please note: Film tickets may be obtained for same-day screenings at no charge by presenting your Museum admission ticket stub at the film desk.

Target Free Friday Nights sponsored by Target

Nimbus Dance Works debuts Jersey City Nutcracker as part of Winter Season


Nimbus presents the inaugural performances of a new holiday tradition for Jersey City: Jersey City Nutcracker. Drawing on Nimbus Dance Works’ strong local ties and the company’s mission to integrate top-caliber dance directly into the community, Jersey City Nutcracker features a cast comprised of top professional dancers as well as community members, including youth from dance schools Jersey City Dance Academy, Next Step Broadway and from the Jersey City public schools. Created by a collaborative team of standout local artists, including Nimbus Dance Works Artistic Director Samuel Pott (choreographer), Alysia Souder (librettist/ playwright), Irene Borngraeber (scenic designer), and Allison Duncil (costume designer), the full production will be rolled out over the course of the next two years.

When: December 17th at 7:30pm; December 18th at 7:30pm & December 19th at 6pm
Where: Grace Church Van Vorst, 39 Erie Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Tickets: purchase online at

Nimbus' Jersey City Nutcracker contains elements of the original E.T.A Hoffman folktale and is set to Tchaikovsky’s renowned orchestral score, but presents a newly-configured storyline set in a contemporary urban environment. “We envision that Jersey City Nutcracker will bring people of all ages and all parts of the Jersey City community together around this classic dance. Our version celebrates the traditional elements of Nutcracker – holiday spirit, family values, and childhood fantasy – and simultaneously introduces themes relevant to contemporary youth and families” Pott said.

In addition to selections from Nutcracker, the winter program also features the world premiere of Priyè Ginen (Prayer for Africa) a new duet by company dancer Jean-Paul Jr., and Pott's poignant “Six Chansons,” set to the enthralling music of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

NEW!!! Natalia Kills - "Mirrors" (Music Video!)

The album Perfectionist by Natalia Kills drops in March 2011...


- uhkeem

Raheem DeVaughn (UPL After Hours Special)

raheem devaughn.jpg

It's been a little over five years since the release of Raheem DeVaughn's debut album The Love Experience. If you are not familiar with his music, please take a quick listen HERE to one of my favorite Raheem tracks.

Raheem later released his sophomore album Love Behind The Melody in 2008 spawning the female anthem "Woman". Still, not enough people knew his name. Back in March of this year, Raheem dropped his latest project called The Love & War MasterPeace. It was clear that he doesn't have any plans on quitting. He's a lover, but also a fighter...fighting for recognition. Well, I think he may have a winner on his hands with his latest release "Single" from his Jackin 4 Beats mixtape available for free HERE. According to YouTube, it has over 100k views in less than 48 hours. Some of his more well-known hits didn't trend this quickly. Raheem turned up the heat with this one! This is definitely for private viewing (lol). Enjoy!!!

Bonus: Here's one of his latest releases "Bedroom" from The Love & War MasterPeace. It's directed by fellow Washington, D.C.-native/rapper Tabi Bonney.

- uhkeem

Day (Or Two) Late, But Hopefully Not A Dollar Short (Keep A Child Alive - World Aids Day 2010)


- uhkeem

A message from Janet Jackson for the Trevor Project