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April 23, 2014

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'Unsung' Gets First NAACP Image Award Nomination; New Season Scoop

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After four seasons, TV One's celebrated documentary series 'Unsung' has earned a NAACP Image Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Information Series or Special.

The one-hour documentaries celebrate the lives and careers of notable music acts, who have been under-appreciated over the years. The show's co-Executive producer Mark Rowland of A. Smith & Co. Productions, the production house behind 'Hell's Kitchen' and BET's 'American Gangster,' to name a few, said he couldn't be happier that their original series is finally getting its due.

"We've been crossing out fingers for a few years [and] after the second year we were hoping we would get nominated and when we didn't we said, 'It's ok,' but this last year we had the most number of shows and the biggest range [of artists] and I think it's been our best overall," told BlackVoices.com in an interview shortly after hearing about their nomination yesterday.Last year's nine 'Unsung' episodes, which showcased Teddy Pendergrass, Tammi Terrell, Heatwave, Musical Youth, George Clinton, The Fat Boys, Angela Winbush, Miki Howard and The O'Jays, wrapped on Nov.8.

Profiles on Shalamar, Phyllis Hyman, Minnie Riperton and DeBarge were previously featured.

"The show has managed to take a place of pride and honor in the community. There is a real sense of responsibility to keep it to that standard for us and to exceed it. We take our jobs very seriously. These are wonderful musical artists so there is fun involved, but we are excited to tell this ongoing story. It's creating an archival legacy," he continued. "I feel that the NAACP feels that way as well to include us with several other stellar pieces of programming."

Working on the 2009 episode of 'Unsung' with Teena Marie was one of Rowland's highlights thus far.

"Teena Marie passed away. We had done a story with her and with her support and blessing and she was extremely happy with the show and the results," he shared. "We were brokenhearted she died suddenly and some of us were at the memorial, but there is gratitude that she did that show and that that will live on," he reflected.

TV One announced at last week's Television Critics Association winter preview that 'Unsung' would be getting a new season.

BlackVoices has learned exclusively that some of the artists that will have 'Unsung' specials include Alexander O'Neil and Cherelle, The Spinners, Denise Williams, Evelyn Champagne King, Big Daddy Kane and The Ohio Players. There will be twelve episodes this season - three additional ordered compared to last season's nine.

There are no plans for a DVD set right now, but discussions are ongoing regarding a home video package. Ultimately, TV One will decide whether to release 'Unsung' on DVD. They also are the final authority on who to feature on episodes, although producers seriously consider fan input via the the network's website.

Rowland, who has been working on 'Unsung' from the start, regards their partnership with TV One as "the most harmonious and gratifying of his career."

"Maybe we are lucky and just see eye to eye but their input is smart, sharp and elevating and it's been an absolute joy to work," he said.

Tune in to see if 'Unsung' takes home an award when the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards airs live on March 4 at 8 pm EST on Fox.


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Black Music Notes June 2

6/2/10: Ryan Leslie
Singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie is set to make a special appearance at New York's Bowery Ballroom on June 22 and 23. Leslie, who recently wrapped up his international tour with Ne-Yo, will also give fans a preview of select songs from his third solo project 'Les Is More.' Doors open at 7 pm.

Black Music Notes June 2

6/2/10: Dr. Dre
Hip Hop's favorite music physician, Dr. Dre will be honored with the ASCAP Founders Award at this year's Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. The 23rd annual event, which is set to take place June 25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, will honor Dre for his musical legacy and influence. "Dre is one of the most important voices in modern music," said ASCAP president Paul Williams. "He created a unique, recognizable sound that dominated rap music in the early '90s...and continues to inspire artists and producers across all genres with his musical techniques."

Black Music Notes June 2

5/28/10: Kanye West
Despite shying away from the media since his 2009 MTV Video Music Award tirade, Kanye West is slowing making his way back into the spotlight. Last weekend in Manhattan, West made a special appearance at club CV and it turned into a mini album listening party of his forthcoming opus. "Kanye leaned over and said, 'Play track three,'" DJ Scram Jones told MTV News. "They all went nuts, Kid Cudi was dancing on the table, and then we cut it off at about a minute-and-a-half ... By the end of the process, we played four records."

Black Music Notes June 2

5/28/10: Robert Cray
Five-time Grammy Award-winner Robert Cray is set to release his new live album entitled 'Cookin' In Mobile' on July 27. The 13-song project , which features a bonus DVD with behind the scenes footage, was recorded earlier this year at the Saenger Theater in Mobile, AL. Longtime Cray fans can expect to hear classic hits such as 'Right Next Door' and 'Smoking Gun,' in addition to recent hits such as 'I Can't Fail' and 'That's What Keeps Me Rockin'.'

Black Music Notes June 2

5/28/10: Lil Kim
While many people are making comparisons between Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, the Queen Bee has reportedly inked a new deal with a fellow Brooklyn mogul. According to various reports, Kim is the latest signee of Jay-Z's record label, Roc Nation. Although details regarding the deal have yet to surface or confirmed, a rep for Kim and Jay's camp was unavailable for comment at press time.

Black Music Notes June 2

5/28/10: Miles Davis
Miles Davis' landmark album 'Bitches Brew' drew critical acclaim throughout the music world during the early 1970s. In honor of the timeless classic, Columbia/Legacy will reissue the album as a super-deluxe Collector's Edition on Aug. 31. The all new collector's edition will find four bonus tracks from alternate versions of 'Spanish Key' and 'John McLaughlin.'

Black Music Notes June 2

5/20/10: Lionel Richie
As Memorial Day steadily approaches, Lionel Richie and PBS are set to celebrate the holiday with the annual broadcast of the National Memorial Day concert. The May 30 event, which takes place on the West Lawn of the US Capital, will feature an array of performers including Richie, Yolanda Adams, and others paying homage to our fallen U.S. troops. This year's concert will also recognize the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

Black Music Notes June 2

5/20/10: Kelly Rowland
Following her departure from longtime manager, Matthew Knowles last year, Kelly Rowland has inked a deal with Universal Motown Records. For label president, Sylvia Rhone, signing the former Destiny's Child member was inspirational. "I think Kelly is an immensely talented, gracious, and beautiful woman, and I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with her on what's turning out to be an amazing album," she explained. "For an artist whose career began as a member of a landmark group like Destiny's Child, Kelly has truly come into her own and I am deeply inspired by her incredible energy." Rowland's as-yet-untitled album features collaborations from Stargate, Salaam Remi, Ne-Yo, Rico Love, and Esther Dean. No release date was set at press time.

Black Music Notes June 2

5/20/10: Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne has proven once again that he is "music" with his recent contraband jail incident. In fact, the Grammy Award-winning MC called his personal DJ, Scoob Doo to give him the details on what exactly happened, which surfaced online via YouTube. "Ain't too much, I got in a little trouble and whatnot, you feel me," Wayne explained about being caught with headphones and a MP3 charger. "Yeah, they tried to bang me with that. ... But I can't live without my music, Scoob. You know how it is, man. I needed my music. It's all good. I had to take my little slip up. I ain't trippin'. Players f--- up."

Black Music Notes June 2

5/14/10: Eminem/ Jay-Z
Following collaborating on the popular music video game DJ Hero, hip hop heavyweights Eminem and Jay-Z are teaming up once again for yet another business venture. According to published reports, the rap kingpins will be apart of a two part Live Nation produced concert event to be held at each of their hometown's baseball stadiums. "These shows are like a dream come true," Hov said. "I've always hoped that hip-hop could play any stadium like other genres of music. How perfect is it that Eminem and I get to play our hometowns and show how far the live rap experience has come?" Eminem will headline a concert Sept. 2 at Comerica Park in Detroit, while Jay-Z will perform at Yankee Stadium Sept. 13.

Black Music Notes June 2

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