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


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

Food Art: Creative Mom Turns Healthy Food Into Famous Characters

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A good number of adults don’t even enjoy eating exotic foods like octopus and fungi, but for 3-year-old Jacob Mohmedi, that’s just another delicious, art-filled meal.

For the past year, his mom, Laleh Mohmedi, of Melbourne, Australia, has been creating these imaginative, healthy meals for her son, shaping the different foods into iconic characters her son enjoys.

“I have always been a strong advocate in healthy organic eating for children,” she told ABC News of her inspiration. “Last May, I decided to turn Jacob’s spelt pancakes into a lion. He absolutely loved it and it progressed from there. Jacob tells me which character he would like for me to make, be it from a book, a movie or something that has caught his eye that day.”


The colorful creations have amassed more than 46,000 followers on Instagram with fans salivating over the healthy meals displayed like Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, Ursula, Elsa and the Mad Hatter, just to name a few.


And yes, Mohmedi said Jacob actually enjoys and eats all of dishes, even the enormous octopus.

“Yes he sure does!” the proud mom explained. “The only creations that Jacob does not eat are the ones that are made just for art/tribute — for example, Red Queen, Carl and Ellie, Prince, Michael Jackson and the one of Mickey, Pluto and Goofy — there was a whole lot of potato in that one!

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“Jacob has always been exposed to a variety of different foods,” she added. “I honestly thought he would turn his nose up at the octopus but he actually helped me prepare it without any issues. I, on the other hand, was gagging — [the] tentacles were enormous!”


Surprisingly, the mom doesn’t have a background in art or design, but said she did always enjoy drawing and painting when she was younger.

Source: ABC


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Iraqi Society Frowned Upon His Moonwalk, But He Kept Dancing Anyway

Sources: Pri.org | All Things Michael


The moonwalk was easy for him. He could mimic almost all of Michael Jackson’s moves. But Adel Al-Jaf, known by his stage name “Adel Euro,” would have to dance in isolation while living in Iraq.

He fell in love with dancing after watching Michael Jackson and Britney Spears perform together. That was the moment he decided to become a dancer. Since then, he would start collecting Michael Jackson’s CDs and mimic the performer’s dancing.

But men who sing and dance are judged differently in Iraq, Al-Jaf said in an interview with the BBC in 2015. They’re derided as feminine, weak or homosexual.

His parents warned him that his breakdancing and rapping could lead him into trouble.

Al-Jaf was one of the 250 people killed in the Baghdad bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group on Sunday at the Karrada district.


“They told me what I’m doing could be dangerous in Iraq — because this is not our culture,” Al-Jaf said in that 2015 interview. “I cannot be dancing in the street or doing these moves outside. They said that this will bring you more trouble in your life. There is no future for this art, for this thing or this hobby you like in Iraq.”

Al-Jaf kept dancing, singing and rapping anyway. He would choose isolated areas within parks to practice his moves. When the police would stop him, he’d say he wasn’t dancing, he was performing martial arts — a more masculine and therefore more acceptable physical activity for Al-Jaf to practice.

Through YouTube and Skype, he would receive feedback on his dancing from Jonathan Hollander, the founder of a New York dance group, Battery Dance.

Al-Jaf later performed with Battery Dance in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

This was Al-Jaf’s first time performing in front of an audience. Here’s the video of his first performance.

When he returned from Jordan to Iraq, Al-Jaf said he fell into a depression.

“In our culture, they’ll fight these kind of hobbies. A man who dances is not a real man,” he said.

But he pushed himself to keep dancing anyway, despite the negative connotations his society had with men and dancing.

“One day I’ll leave Iraq and go to a place where people love dancing and they’re not fighting it.”

Read more here.


“Adel, may you rest in peace and forever dance among the stars with Michael.” – All Things Michael

For more about this topic, please watch Desert Dancer, available on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.


Lost 2014 Rolling Stone Interview With Prince About His Music, Michael Jackson’s Death And More


*In January 2014, Prince sat down with Rolling Stone magazine for a cover story that for whatever reason was never published.

In the wake of Prince’s death on April 21, the magazine has released some excerpts from the interview with writer Brian Hiatt, including discussions about his religious faith, remaining celibate, the vault of unreleased music, and his relationship with Chris Brown and the late Michael Jackson, who passed away in 2009.

Read excerpts below:

On his unreleased music:

I’ve never said this before, but I didn’t always give the record companies the best song. There are songs in the vault that no one’s ever heard. There are several vaults; it’s not just one vault.

Are there full unreleased albums?

Yeah, I like time capsule stuff. I have a couple Revolution albums in the vault and two Time albums, one Vanity 6 album … and tons of stuff recorded in different periods. But so much gets recorded that you don’t have time to compile everything. In the future you could put all the best stuff from one particular time period together and then you can release it. It’d just be like if we found a Sly and the Family Stone album and they saved their best stuff. If that’s even possible!

Do you want this to happen when you’re gone?

No, I don’t think about gone. I just think about in the future when I don’t want to speak in real time.

“I’m a very in-the-moment person,” he continues. “I do what feels good in the moment. … I’m not on a schedule, and I don’t have any sort of contractual ties. I don’t know in history if there’s been any musicians that have been self-sufficient like that, not beholden. I have giant bills, large payrolls, so I do have to do tours. … But there’s no need to record anymore.”

You’ve said that you’re celibate.

Yeah, I’m celibate.

Like, for real?

Well, it’s all physical; all of that then turns into other things. Libido is energy. I go back and forth. It’s like fasting: it’s a practice and you get better at it over time, you know, but no one is perfect … With fasting, after four days, you don’t want food anymore. You’ve got this thing that says “feed me, feed me,” and then when it realizes it’s not going to get fed, it goes away.

In the old days, you hooked up with some of your female collaborators.

I just see beauty in everybody now. When you’re a kid, you go, “She’s the finest. I want to be with her only.” And then you hook up with her and you realize that’s not the case ’cause here comes, you know, Saturday. [Laughs hard]

On religion:

“It’s just all expanded,” he explained of becoming a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001, after being introduced to the religion by his bassist Larry Graham. “Anything I believed then, I believe even more now — it’s just expanded.”

On Michael Jackson’s death:

I don’t want to talk about it. I’m too close to it.

He continued, “He is just one of many who have gone through that door — Amy Winehouse and folks. We’re all connected, right, we’re all brothers and sisters, and the minute we lock that in, we wouldn’t let anybody in our family fall. That’s why I called Chris Brown. All of us need to be able to reach out and just fix stuff. There’s nothing that’s unforgivable,” he said.

Read more here.

Sources: Euroweb | Rolling Stone | All Things Michael

Michael Jackson Tribute Wows Britain’s Got Talent Judges


Rory J Jackson, Harlow’s answer to the King of Pop, impressed judges with his dancing on Britain’s Got Talent.

Grooving to the Michael Jackson track Billie Jean, Rory got the thumbs up from Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams on the ITV talent show.

He will now advance to the second round of the competition after appearing on Britain’s Got More Talent, broadcast after the main show on Saturday (April 16).

As well as his performance being broadcast on ITV 2, Rory was interviewed by host Stephen Mulhern who asked him to dance for as long as he could.

Rory is a tribute artist, dancer, singer and impersonator of Michael Jackson, performing all-round the country and regularly headlines Harlow fairs and festivals.

The 29-year-old, who was brought up in Spinning Wheel Mead and went to Brays Grove School, is hoping to achieve his big break through the talent show.

After giving his approval Simon Cowell said: “If I had been watching from 100ft away I would have believed that was Michael Jackson. This was a really well deserved four yeses.”

Alesha Dixon added: “I was at a Bad concert and I think you did a really good job, you should be really proud of yourself.”

This was the second episode of the tenth series of the show. The eventual winner will receive a cash prize and a place on the bill for the 2016 Royal Variety Show.

Sources: Harlow Star | All Things Michael

Live 3D Technology At Coachella Was Originally Meant For Michael Jackson


INDIO, California — Anyone who walked into the Sahara Tent at Coachella shortly after midnight on Friday saw something that no one had ever seen before.

The Lucent Dossier Experience — an L.A.-based collective that combines vocal performances with avant-garde performers and aerial artists — gave a groundbreaking performance using real-time 3D Live graphics for the first time.

It’s Lucent’s 11th year performing at the Indio, California, music festival, but it was their first time taking on anything this ambitious. The 3D LED display tracked graphics that reacted and changed in response to the performers’ movements.

“We’ve all been to 3D movies, but to put it in a live event and to put performers in front of an LED and have the images flying around and past and over the performers…. it’s a brand new world,” Lucent founder and creative director Dream Rockwell told Mashable the day after the show.


She said the technology was originally intended to premiere during Michael Jackson’s tour right before he passed away.

“It’s kind of been shelved all this time,” Rockwell said. After she got connected to 3D Live Events, she took the idea to festival founder Paul Tollett, who — after seeing a demo of the performance — offered them the Sahara stage, Coachella’s home for all things dance music….


Read the full story here


Mama-Say Mama-Sa Mama-Ko-Sa! Manu Dibango To Hold Concert In Nairobi


Legendary Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphone player, Manu Dibango (real manes Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango), is headed to Nairobi.

The 82-year-old veteran jazz musician, who rose to worldwide fame thanks to his 1972 monstrous hit, Soul Makossa, will headline the bi-monthly music extravaganza, Koroga Festival, slated for May 8 at the Nairobi’s Arboretum Gardens.

He will be accompanied by his incredible band, the Soul Makossa Gang.

Dibango, who over his illustrious music career has chucked out an amazing 72 albums, latest being the Balade En Saxo in 2013, developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music.


He was a member of the seminal Congolese rumba group African Jazz, and has collaborated with many other musicians, including Fania All Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Adé, Don Cherry, and Sly and Robbie.

In 1998, Dibango recorded the album, CubAfrica, with Cuban artiste Eliades Ochoa.

Soul Makossa, the song, influenced several popular music hits, including Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, as well as his re-recording of that song with Akon, the Fugees’ Cowboys and Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music.


Read more here


Sources: The Star | All Things Michael

Charity Dog Fashion Show Features 80’s Hits And MJ Impersonator Michael Kiss

Michael Kiss

The theme of the fifth annual Le Chien fashion show presented by The Resort at Pelican Hill set the tone: I the ‘80s. And ticketholders filled the big white tent decked in full regalia.

The ultimate accessory of the night, however, strutted on all fours at the end of a leash. Fashion Week’s runway show that benefits the Humane Society of the Desert has become a family-friendly event that includes loyal canine pets in the audience who support the fellow canines on stage.

After a live auction that quickly raised more than $6,000 for the important work of the Humane Society, a familiar pair of white socks and black loafers made quick footwork on the runway. Opening to the first heart-thumping notes of Beat It, internationally recognized tribute artist Michael Kiss performed three flawless numbers (including Thriller and Billie Jean) with just as many costume changes.

The moonwalks and toe stands weren’t lost on the constituent of young attendees. Kids who missed experiencing the flashy 1980s by several decades were as eager to capture the King of Pop and his perfected dance moves on their cellphones as their parents were…..

Read more here

Sources: Palm Springs Life | All Things Michael