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Fashion Meets Music: Shalamar

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Fashion Meets Music: Shalamar

When “The Second Time Around” hit airwaves in 1979, Shalamar was on their way to the top of the charts. This R&B trio made up of three Soul Train dancers, Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, was created by the show’s booking agent and producer Dick Griffey and Don Cornelius. With their smooth vocals, trendsetting style, and cutting edge dance moves, Shalamar’s original line up went on to be an influential dance trio and helped introduce popping and locking to the UK.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s Shalamar burned up the R&B charts with hits like “A Night to Remember” and the albums Big Fun, Three For Love, and Friends, which was certified platinum and reached number 1 in the US and number 6 in the UK. Speaking of “A Night to Remember” one year before Michael Jackson moonwalked across the stage at Mowtown 25, Shalamar’s Jeffrey Daniel performed the “backslide” (aka the moonwalk) on the UK’s Top of the Pops during a performance of the hit song. He was eventually hired by MJ to teach him the complicated step…How’s that for little known music history facts?

If I had legs like that I would wear shirts as desses too!

By the mid 1980s trouble began to brew in the group, leading to both Watley and Daniels leaving Shalamar shortly after the release of their album The Look in 1983. However, the show must go on and this group’s story doesn’t end there. With the addition of Delisa Davis and Micki Free, the group returned to the top of the US charts with their hit “Dancing In The Sheets” from the Footloose soundtrack and won a Grammy for “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills” from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. By 1990, after the departure of Howard Hewett, Shalamar had faded into obscurity, with the original members reuniting in 1996 on Babyface’s “This Is for The Lover in You” a cover of a single from Shalamar’s 1980 album Three For Love.

Peep game folks! Long before Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel teamed up with Howard Hewett to form Shalamar they were setting trends every week as they popped and locked their way down the Soul Train line. Jody was the epitome of fly and funky with her braided locks down to the tip of her platform shoes while Jeffrey kept cool in dance ready threads and a sick afro. Once the two were in Shalamar their style went through the roof with Jody rocking classic disco diva frocks and Jeffrey blowing his hair out into a Flock of Seagulls-esque do. Don’t forget about Howard Hewett who balanced out Jody and Jeffrey’s fame-tastic style by injecting a smooth casualness only found in guys during the late 70s-early 80s.

What goes around eventually does come back around. Thanks to this season’s 70s revival, Shalamar’s R&B meets disco style is perfectly on trend again.

So that you know I’m not biased, here’s a video by Shalamar part 2, with Micki Free and Delisa Davis. Micki and Delisa were fly in their own right and will draw no comparisons from me to Jody and Jeffrey-apples to pears.

Layout by C_Rocka

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Actress Elizabeth Taylor Passes Away At Age 79

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Actress Elizabeth Taylor Passes Away At Age 79

One of America’s great actresses, Elizabeth Taylor died today, March 23rd 2011 at the age of 79. Known as one of the great Hollywood Golden Actresses. Besides being known for her acting and beauty, ‘Liz’ lived a private, public life. She was an icon in many ways, the original Maneater, gem collector, AND she always had a certain poise, an ora that exuded femininity, grace and class. But above all of that, she was talented winner of two Academy Awards, warm hearted and was best friends with The King of Pop.  Seriously, Queen Elizabeth II made her Dame in 2000. Dame Elizabeth also became a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Honors in 2002. During the 1960s, she won the coveted Oscar for Best Actress twice; for her role as a call girl in 1960’s BUtterfield 8, and for her portrayal of the loudmouth, alcoholic Martha in 1966’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, which also earned her the British Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a New York Film Critics Circle prize. She also made history as the first actress to earn a cool million for a single movie appearance, for 1963’s Cleopatra. Cleopatra had to be my favorite film with her in it, she was stunning.  Today, many of us are saddened to know that we’ve lost another great talent, humanitarian and icon. You are missed! <3

February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011

Images by: C_Rocka

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Six Degrees of Sampling: Maybe Tomorrow by The Jackson Five

About a decade ago or so I walked into Vinyl, a record store in downtown Vancouver, and found a used copy of The Jackson 5’s Maybe Tomorrow gatefold album. Indeed, this was a gem. I remember my boyfriend incessantly asking to borrow the record but I kept on saying no because I knew he would either lose it or wreck it.

The first time I listened to the record I instantly loved it. Not only for the tracks themselves, but also because I could recognize samples taken from some of my favorite songs. One of the samples was from the title track, “Maybe Tomorrow,” which was used in Ghostface Killah and Mary J. Blige’s “All That I Got is You,” one of the best singles from Ghostface’s solo debut Ironman and one of my favorite Wu-Tang ballads (did I just use the term Wu-Tang ballad?!). Ghostface does a superb job at illustrating his formative years and the sample taken from “Maybe Tomorrow” sets the mood of the song perfectly.

Eventually that boyfriend and I broke up – to this day he still has a good number of my records so I’m really glad I kept the Jackson 5 album. Yep.

Check out the two songs below.

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Image credit: Katrina

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Fashion Meets Music: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

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Fashion Meets Music: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Screamin Jay Hawkins

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins may not have been a hugely successful recording artist, his best selling single sold over a million copies but failed to reach the top 10 of any chart, however this innovative performer was one thing that many of today’s top charting artists are not; he was original. In a time when everything is a remix of something else, rediscovering the man that put a spell on some the most celebrated acts around and was one of the original shock rockers is refreshing.

No one could ever accuse Jalacy Hawkins of stealing the sound of his only commercially successful song, “I Put a Spell on You”, from any other musician from his day. Nor would any artist have grounds to bring a lawsuit against him for his over the top stage performances featuring elaborate set design and a smoking skull on a stick named Henry. From his raw, guttural tone and wild onstage antics to his leopard skin and gold costumes, everything about Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was his own. In a time when his contemporaries would have been impeccably put together in suave suits with perfectly styled hair, Hawkins was a mixture of Vincent Price, the Phantom of the Opera and a voodoo priest.

Screamin' Jay HAwkins and Henry

Screamin' Jay HAwkins and Henry

Being completely honest, how many artists of today can you name that are capable of pulling off that level of authentic insanity? No, Gaga doesn’t count because it remains to be seen how authentic she is and how long she can pull off whatever it is she’s attempting. Aside from a few performers like Prince, Tom Waits and the late Michael Jackson, most acts around these days could never come close to influencing an audience like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins did. Just to prove my point, not only has “I Put a Spell on You” been covered by everyone from Ray Charles and Nina Simone right on down to The Kills and She and Him but Biggie sampled the saxophone line from the song in his track “Kick In The Door.” Notice his career touched generations of musicians because he was doing his own thing not trying to rip off someone else’s hard work, throw a new spin on it and call it his own.

If there’s anything to learn from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, its not that you should go out and throw a ring on every finger and start dressing like an undertaker/pimp but that you should be true to who you are and not base your image on anyone else.

Layout by SB

Screamin Jay Hawkins – I put a Spell On You
Uploaded by Tushratta. – See the latest featured music videos.

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Fashion Editorial: Strong Shoulders

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Fashion Editorial: Strong Shoulders

i-D Magazine Cover, September 1990 "Pretty Young Things"

i-D Magazine Cover, September 1990 "Pretty Young Things"

Fashion director of i-D magazine and Stylist extraordinaire Edward Enninful along with photographer Emma Summerton produced this beautiful yet bold fashion editorial. Read the full story

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