Teacher’s Welcome Back Rap Video Gets Compared To Michael Jackson’s Will You Be There

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New teacher Dwayne Reed wanted to put his fourth grade students at ease for the first day of school at Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, so he decided to create a music video.

“I didn’t want it to be boring and super old school,” said Reed, 25. “I wanted to get them jazzed about coming to fourth grade.”

The video is called Welcome To the 4th Grade. The creative young teacher raps about himself and what his students will be learning.

Before filming the video, Reed asked the school principal for permission. He posted the video to YouTube and Facebook last weekend and sent links to the parents to show students. The video had nearly 190,000 views on YouTube Wednesday afternoon. The response has been both positive and controversial.

“We loved the idea, so we encouraged him,” said Sue O’Neil, who has been principal at Stenson for 22 years. “Of course, we had no idea it would take off like this. When we saw it, it was uplifting and creative, and it’s a great way to connect with the kids and get them excited about school,” she said.

O’Neil said she liked the creative approach Reed took to capture the attention of his students. The staff watched the video Tuesday and applauded, she said.

On Wednesday he got to meet his students and their parents for the first time at a meet-and-greet. “They’re the sweetest things,” Reed said of his students. “This is like what I’ve been made to do in life and now I’m finally getting a shot at it.”

Outside of the classroom, Reed records music for fun with his friends. This video — his first — wasn’t without controversy. Reed said the song has a melody he sang often but didn’t know how it originated. After seeing the video, his friend said it sounded familiar. Reed said he later realized the tune sounded similar to Michael Jackson’s song “Will You Be There.” “It was no attempt to copy, steal and riff or anything,” he said.

He’s not selling the “Welcome to the 4th Grade” song and instead is making it available to download for free.

So how would he grade himself on this project?

A solid B, he said. Next time, he wants to include school staff, students and their families.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune | All Things Michael

Exclusive: 45 Child Artists To Pay A Musical Tribute To Michael Jackson For His Birthday (Updated)

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45 child artists from different parts of the world have collaborated online for Maati Baani’s Heal the World cover to be released on Michael Jackson’s birth anniversary.

In March this year, home-grown band Maati Baani launched six songs that featured 50 musicians from 20 countries. What made it unusual was that the collaboration took place entirely through the internet. Now, the duo, Kartik Shah (36) and Nirali Kartik (32), is back with a new online collaboration — this time featuring 45 children from across the globe.

The world music band will release the song — a cover of Michael Jackson’s iconic Heal the World — on Jackson’s birth anniversary, August 29. Launched in 1991, Heal the World urged people to make the world a better place and care for children affected by war. Kartik says, “We chose the song because, all through this year, there’s been violence, war and unrest either in our country or somewhere else. And it is the kids who suffer the most. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the song, so there’s no better time to release it.”

“We came across clips of young prodigies on social media who would play really complex pieces of music. We wanted to do a song with them,” Nirali says. Among others, the song features a South African choir (Mamelodi Gospel Choir from Pretoria) and 13-year-old, US-based, Sparsh Shah, who became a social media sensation earlier this year with his cover of Eminem’s rap song, Not Afraid. “We also have seven-year-old twin tap dancers from California, and Jonathan Carollo, a percussionist from Washington who plays a rather bizarre instrument — a washing machine,” Nirali adds.

Although Maati Baani has ample experience in working with musicians online, Kartik says putting together this cover was more challenging than the rest of their songs. “We had to speak to parents who would, in turn, communicate with the child artist. Also, we spent months finding some of the prodigies. But the wait was worth it.”

Stay tuned

Subscribe to Maati Baani’s YouTube channel, to listen to Heal the World’s cover.

UPDATE: See official video below.

 

Read more at Hindustantimes | All Things Michael

Questlove’s Remember The Time Michael Jackson Tribute In LA

This Saturday, August 27th, DJ Questlove joins Kiss-n-Grind to celebrate the life and musical legacy of Michael Jackson at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Get your tickets today!

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Reserved Seating is only available with Bottle Service. For bottle service pricing please e-mail us e-mail us at BottleService@kissngrind.com.  You must be 21 and over to attend.

WHEN: Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM (PDT)
WHERE: Rivera 31 at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills – 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 – View Map

Sources: Eventbrite | Kiss and Grind| All Things Michael

Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson Block Party This Saturday

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This weekend, Lee will be honoring a musical legend with his annual Michael Jackson block party.

The free party, slated for Aug. 27, is dubbed “Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson.” It will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street, which is also known as “Do the Right Thing Way,” named after Lee’s iconic film.

This will be Lee’s sixth annual birthday party for the late King of Pop, and with each passing year, the celebration seems to gain more popularity.

This year’s gathering will be co-hosted by Lee and rapper and radio host Sway. DJ Spinna will be providing the tunes all day long, and he will surely play some of Jackson’s classics.

Anticipation for the party is already growing this week; many attendees are using the #BKLovesMJ hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

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A spokesperson from Lee’s production company 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks could not be reached for comment by press time, but the company’s Facebook page assured its followers in a post that “DIS IZ GONNA BE EPIC.”

Jackson would be turning 58 on Monday, Aug. 29.

For more information on this weekend’s celebration, visit 40acres.com.

 

Read more at Brooklyn Eagle | All Things Michael

Honey The Family Dog Sings To MJ!

Honey the family pet loves long car rides with her owner, especially when Michael Jackson’s hit song “Will You Be There” (from the movie Free Willy) comes on the radio. From the first piano notes, Honey is beside herself with emotion and starts belting out along with the King of Pop!

Just like Jackson’s lyrics, “Hold me like the River Jordan, and I will then say to thee, ‘you are my friend,’” couldn’t be more appropriate as dogs love to be held and are also man’s best friend.

The adorable video was posted by I Love My Dog, a Facebook group made up of dog lovers who share precious, uplifting, and funny moments with their pets. Honey, a beautiful black-and-white mix, lifts her head up to the ceiling, howling and praising the music legend. She hits some high notes in the intro of the song as if she’s singing along with Jackson’s church choir.

Some dogs love MJ and others love the news… “My dog sings to the nightly news with Lester Holt song! Every night. We all join him!” added Facebook user Lori John Edwards, who liked the video of Honey singing in the car.

Jackson was a pop culture icon and phenomenon whose music continues to influence and inspire canines and humans alike, such as the little boy whose mommy catches him dancing to “Thriller,” and the female a cappella group from South Korea whose version of “Beat It” went viral.

Please SHARE this adorable story with dog lovers, die-hard fans of The King of Pop, and fans of the 1993 hit movie Free Willy! (You know you’re out there!)

Read more at Little Things | I Love My Dog |All Things Michael

Young Michael Jackson Fan Wins At World Championships of Performing Arts

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When he was a toddler, Ethan Scharneck watched a Michael Jackson video. He hasn’t stopped dancing since.

The 13-year-old has won two gold medals and two silver medals in the World Championships of Performing Arts with his Michael Jackson-inspired routines.

The world championship, held in California, involved performers from more than 50 countries in singing, acting, dancing, modelling and instrumental competitions.

Ethan won gold for his hip hop/funk and open dance performances, and silver in the jazz dance, and song and dance, categories.

The resident of Oteha on Auckland’s North Shore is a self-taught dancer, and says he first started after his father borrowed a Michael Jackson video tape.

“I would just go through all the moves. I would watch it over and over,” Ethan says.

“I was going crazy.”

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Ethan only took up singing at the start of the year.

“When I first went for singing lessons I was out of tune, out of key and out of time, but my singing teacher was very encouraging,” he says.

Ethan says he loves the stage and enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and he still keeps in touch with some of them.

He says meeting people from South Africa made him feel at home, as his family emigrated when he was 3.

The City Impact Church School student has aspirations to also take up acting and wants to star in a dance movie and open his own studio in the future.

Read more at Stuff

Couple Buys Michael Jackson Cassette Tape For 25 Cents, Discovers Hidden Treasure

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– A Concord couple is on Cloud 9 after making what they call a ‘once in a lifetime discovery’. They walked into a local thrift store, spent 25 cents, and may have come away with something absolutely priceless.

Mike and Amber Hernon are huge Michael Jackson fans and when they saw one of MJ’s cassette being sold for just a quarter they know they couldn’t pass it up.

“I remember when I was 7-years-old I told my mom that I want Michael Jackson to come out of my birthday cake,” Amber Hernon said.

Amber never got that birthday surprise but she’ll settle for what she and her husband Mike came across a couple of weeks ago.

“She’s just like babe, babe, babe, this is signed…and I was kind of like, no way!” Michael explained.

Unknowingly, the couple bought a Michael Jackson “Bad” cassette album that appears to be autographed by the King of Pop himself.

“Definitely a once in a lifetime chance here.”

The couple found it at Heavenly Treasures in Concord, North Carolina. It’s a thrift store the Hernon family regularly shops at. They were in the music section and noticed the Michael Jackson cassette being sold for as low of a price as you can get .

Read more at Fox46

AN EVENING WITH VINCENT PATERSON

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DANCE FILMS ASSOCIATION is thrilled to announce ‘AN EVENING WITH VINCENT PATERSON’ at the SVA Theatre on Thursday, August 25. Paterson will take to the stage for a presentation of clips and imagery, and a discussion about his career with host Joseph A. Berger. Mr. Paterson will also read excerpts from his new memoir.

As a director and choreographer, Vincent Paterson is a thirty-plus year veteran of music video, film, theater, and television, best known for his co-direction and choreography of many legendary artists. Paterson has worked with an extraordinary list of musicians, including: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Van Halen, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Lee Ann Rimes, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie, David Lee Roth, Slash, and Whitney Houston.

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Paterson has directed and choreographed over 150 commercials. He has directed two benefits for AIDS Project Los Angeles, featuring performers Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Logins, Nathalie Cole, Billy Joel, Elton John, Patty Austin, Sarah Brightman, Wynona Judd, Eddie Van Halen, and Sheila E.

For over 15 years, he worked with Michael Jackson on multiple short films such BEAT IT, SMOOTH CRIMINAL and BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR, the BAD TOUR (1987-89) and live performances from the Grammy’s to the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

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A reception will immediately follow in the SVA Theatre lobby.

Tickets on sale now: $20 General Public; $10 Dance Films Members.

Click HERE to purchase.

 

Sources: Dance Films | All Things Michael