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IMQPublished on Monday, 23 March 2015 03:14
IMQ leads Streetwise Radio new spring playlist with his hot single "What Love Feels Like".
Movado, the Swiss watch company, in 2010 chose him as the winner of the Movado Bold contest and Future Legends award. His song Hot LiL Thang was featured in a national tv commercial for the Movado Bold watch. The spot ran for a whole year from 2010-2011 on cable and national stations. Born and raised in Long Beach CA. Real name Nana Owusu, which comes from his Ghanaian heritage, West Africa. I M Q started singing at 7 years old. His musical influences include James Brown, Michael Jackson, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Prince, Akon, and Ne-yo.
I M Q's was raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to support the two of them. Church had an important influence in his music. He was the main soloist for 4 years in his elementary school choir, at Light and Light Christian. He continued to sing in the choir at his local church and public schools he attended thereafter. Growing up with an absent father took its toll. After his father's passing in April 2014, he found refuge in writing as an outlet. At 16, he marked the blossoming of his music writing abilities. He moved to Atlanta, GA after high school to be close to family. In that time he honed his writing skills and worked with various producers, while attending college at GA Tech. I M Q recorded the first song he wrote “What Love feels Like,” when he relocated to San Francisco after college. He recently did a modeling ad campaign in which his face can be seen on muni buses and billboards around San Francisco, CA from July to September 2012. He continues to model in SF and LA. In the SF Bay Area he was lucky enough to find a network of talented writers and producers such as Breed Music (who he collaborated with on Hot LiL Thang/When She's Around), Steve Milne and David R (who he worked with on What Love Feels Like). I M Q can be found performing regularly at the Red Devil Lounge and Karibbean City. The stage is where I M Q feels the most comfortable. I M Q's quote: "The stage is where I leave my heart."
My song "When She's Around" is on ITunes for Purchase here:
My website: http://www.
International Women’s Month Salutes Tracie CollinsPublished on Saturday, 14 March 2015 03:07
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf presents Tracie Collins with a city proclamation declaring March 14 Tracie Collins Day
International Women’s Month Salutes Tracie Collins
Oakland-Based Writer, Producer and Director Sheds Light on Sex Trafficking in the Bay Area in Her New Play “Cold Piece of Werk”
By Shelah Moody
Photos by Emilio Vigil and Shelah Moody
On March 12, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf presented acclaimed writer, director and producer Tracie Collins with a city proclamation, declaring March 14, 2015, Tracie Collins Day.
Collins, who grew up in Daly City, CA was honored for her artistic contributions to the Bay Area, her community activism and her latest original play, “Cold Piece of Werk,” which deals with the sex trafficking epidemic in Oakland.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf with author Tracie Collins and the cast of Cold Piece of Work
“Cold Piece of Werk” is a shocking and provocative play that centers around a teenage sex worker called Midnight, brilliantly played by Majesty Scott. J’Sun Jasper delivers a frightening Morrison-esque portrayal as Midnight’s malevolent pimp, Cash. Soul singer Ashling Cole of Graham Central Station co-stars as a corrupt cop caught up in the madness. “Cold Piece of Werk” challenges everything you thought you knew about sex trafficking and prostitution industry.
“Cold Piece of Werk,” an original play by Tracie Collins, runs Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 at the Kaiser Center Lakeside Theatre, 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA, Ticket Info: http://bit.ly/1J4lIIF .
I caught up with the multi-talented and photogenic playwright and mother of three before the opening of “Cold Piece of Werk.”
Shelah Moody: What sparked your interest in theater and playwriting?
Tracie Collins: Well, I’ve always been involved in the arts; it dates back to early childhood and my formative years. My roots are in the theater. I began producing projects in 2009 and I just gravitated toward writing. It just became a natural flow.
S.M.: Where did you study theater arts?
T.C.: I studied at American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. I remember being a little girl and my dad taking me to acting classes. I was always in stage plays; I was always in theater. From acting, I went into producing, from producing, I went into writing and from writing, and I went into directing.
S.M.: Tell us about some of the plays that you’ve written and produced.
T.C. There was “The V Monologues: A Black Woman’s Interpretation,” which had several successful runs here in the Bay Area. Then, it transitioned into “Knocking at Love’s Door,” about a single mother and her issues and struggles and how love finds her; and the it went into “Girlfriend Chronicles,” the story of four girlfriends and their trials and tribulations. And now, we are moving into “Cold Piece of Werk,” which is about the sex traffic industry in Oakland.
S.M.: Tell us about “Cold Piece of Werk.”
T.C.: I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless. I wanted to speak on something that everybody in the Bay Area could relate to. Many have seen (sex trafficking) for themselves when driving down International Boulevard in Oakland. It could be your mother, your sister, your nice, you aunt. It’s right in our own backyard.
S.M.: How did you go about researching “Cold Piece of Werk?” Did you interview women who have been exploited?
T.C.: Well, it’s hard to interview people who’ve been in the industry or in that situation, simply because they don’t want to talk out of fear of being caught. My play came from a lot of ongoing research.
S.M.: Tell us about the characters in “Cold Piece of Werk.”
Majesty Scott portrays the heroine, Midnight, in Tracie Collins illuminating play "Cold Piece of Werk"
T.C.: The storyline is based around a girl named Midnight, her background and where she came from and why she does what she does. There are different levels to the girls—there are some who are the toughest and have been there the longest and there are some who are brand spanking new and have no idea what they’ve gotten into. Then, there is Cash, who is Midnight’s notorious pimp, who has another form of business, too. Cash really considers himself a businessman. “Cold Piece of Werk”
also touches on the churches here in Oakland. I’ve always wanted to bring some light into the African American community terms of how involved in the church we are. The church plays a role in Midnight’s home life. The play also features Midnight’s parents—her mother and her father, who’s a bishop in the church. This is the first of my plays that I’m not acting in. It’s kind of nice to be in the background producing, writing and directing this time.
S.M.: I heard that the Oakland Police Department has a role in “Cold Piece of Werk.”
T.C.: They do. That’s all I can say.
S.M.: In terms of playwriting, who are some of your artistic influences?
Publicist Lisa Bautista, Tracie Collins and manager Khalif Pleasants
T.C.: That’s a good question. I look at myself as someone who has her unique niche. I can always say, (TV and film) producers like Shonda Rhimes and Tyler Perry, but even still, I feel like I’m bringing something new to the table. I love Ryan Murphy. He just tests boundaries, from “Glee” to “American Horror Story.” I appreciate how different the two shows are.
S.M.: What is your main goal with the production of “Cold Piece of Werk?”
T.C.: To bring awareness to sex trafficking and make it known that it’s not just an international issue; it hits right here at home for us.
S.M.: Do you see “Cold Piece of Werk” becoming a major motion picture?
T.C.: I am turning it into a film, and I am behind that as well. That part is in development right now.
S.M.: What do you like, artistically, about living in Oakland?
T.C.: The culture that Oakland brings, and the diversity that we have here in Oakland. I have a love-hate relationship with Oakland, but what I love about the city is where it is going. I really want to be on the forefront when it comes to arts and entertainment and leading Oakland in that direction.
S.M: What’s next for Tracie Collins after “Cold Piece of Werk?”
T.C.: Well, I have a play called “Divorce: A Black Woman’s Style” coming out towards the end of the year. I will be casting for it in June. I am also writing treatments for television. One will be based on “Girlfriend Chronicles,” and we are looking to turn it into a web series, so it has to be pitched to major outlets such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. My piece, “The Midwife” is also in development as a scripted series for television. It’s about a sinister midwife in the community.
A Cold Piece of Werk,an original play by Tracie Collins, runs Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 at the Kaiser Center Lakeside Theatre, 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA, Ticket Info: http://bit.ly/1J4lIIF
Up Close and Personal at the 57th Grammy Awards By Shelah MoodyPublished on Sunday, 22 February 2015 07:41
Lisa Fischer accepts the Grammy for the documentary 20 Feet From Lisa Fischer accepts the Grammy for the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom
Photos by Shelah Moody and Denise Robertson
There’s a good reason why it’s called music’s biggest night. During Grammy Week in Los Angeles every year, there are countless events leading up to the prestigious Grammy Awards ceremony, including music seminars, panels, workshops, concerts, tributes and exclusive parties.
During Grammy week, you may find yourself sitting at a table next to Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles and her fiancée, actor Richard Lawson, at Tom’s Urban eatery after a Stevie Wonder tribute concert.
You may be sitting high in the balcony at the Staples Center during the taping of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony, watching Kanye West pull a “Yay” on Beck as he beats out Beyonce for Album of the Year. You may shiver as you experience the power of live music as multiple Grammy winners Mary J. Blige and Sam Smith perform a soul stirring version of “Stay with Me,” 2014 Record of the Year and Song of the Year. You may experience the same emotion as Usher, accompanied by a harpist, delivers an ethereal rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic,” from “Songs in the Key of Life” album, and the iconic musician later joins him on harmonica.
On February 8, “Grammy Sunday” as dubbed by the Recording Academy, I attended the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for the third time. For this blogger, the highlight of Grammy Weekend is attending the 57th Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony at the Nokia Theatre. This is where the non-televised but equally important awards are presented, where the hard working jazz, reggae, dance, alternative, roots, world music technical, film and other artists are celebrated.
Around 1:00 p.m., I arrived in my seat just in time for the announcement of Best Reggae Album, which went to Ziggy Marley for “Fly “Rasta.” (Incidentally, Ziggy Marley and his Grammy-winning brother, Stephen Marley had the honor of being featured in a John Varvatos ad on the back of the official Grammy program guide). Guitarist Hunter Hayes, one of the afternoon’s hosts, accepted Marley’s award on behalf of the Recording Academy, as musical director Ray Chew and his orchestra played Bob Marley’s “Jammin” in the background.
Immediately after Best Reggae Album was announced, Benin’s Angelique Kidjo danced her way to the stage in traditional African attire as her name was announced as the winner in the Best World Music Album category. Overcome with emotion, Kidjo dedicated her award for “Eve” to the beauty and resilience of the women of the African continent.
Rev. Smokie Norful, 2014 Grammy winner for Best Gospel Performance/Song, (“No Greater Love”) probably made history as the first co-host to ask for the audience for an “Amen!” before he announced the winners in the classical music category.
For eight years, Oakland-based producer Larry Batiste served as musical director of the Grammy pre-ceremony and how sits on the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy. This year Batiste was able to enjoy the Premiere Ceremony and other Grammy events with his wife, Linda.
As the saying goes, children and animals always steal the show. Yes, the wee folks, tuxedoed and primped and dolled up, were a strong presence at the Premiere Ceremony. Robert Glasper brought his son on stage as he accepted the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance, “Jesus Children.”
Joan Rivers’ grandson Cooper proudly held the Grammy as his mother, Melissa, accepted her late mother’s award for Best Spoken Word Album (“Diary of a Mad Diva”). The children of the late producer Gil Frisen accepted the Grammy for “20 Feet From Stardom,” Best Music Film,” along with one of the film’s stars, prolific vocalist Lisa Fischer.
Dianne Reeves, 2014 Grammy winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album
As a music lover, there is perhaps no greater joy than being able to tell the hard working, constantly recording and touring artists who you’ve followed over the years how much you admire and appreciate them. During a break in the lobby, my colleague and I scored photo ops with Dianne Reeves and her producer Teri Lyne Carrington (winners for Best Jazz Vocal Album, “Beautiful Life”) and wildly popular R&B singer Kem, 2014 Gammy nominee for Best Traditional R&B Performance, “Nobody.”
2015 Grammy nominee Kem..
Making your way from the Premiere Ceremony to the televised Grammy Awards Ceremony at the Staples center, lends the perfect opportunity for star gazing. Lesson number one; if you see actress Jane Seymour or mega producer Jimmy Jam rushing to their seats, in the name of all that is bright and sparkly, do not attempt to make conversation! If celebrities do not have time to talk to you, #shake it off!
Luckily I caught the attention of 2014 Grammy nominee Sean Paul and his longtime manager Steve Wilson. Sean Paul described the love and effort he put into “Full Frequency,” which was nominated for Best Reggae Album, and took time to “big up” younger artists such as Chronixx, No-Maddz and Rootz Underground and Konshens, who he felt were also worthy of Grammy nominations. “Full Frequency” features collaborations with Grammy winners Damian “Jr. Gong Marley,” and 2014 Grammy nominated rapper Iggy Azalea. Incidentally, Sean Paul, who broke barriers between reggae/dancehall and hip hop in 2003 with his Grammy winning album, “Dutty Rock,” was in LA working with famed producers Rob Knox and ShonuFF.
When I spotted another familiar face, fellow Bay Area resident Ledisi, 2014 nominee for Best R&B Performance (“Like This”), I instinctively called her out name. On January 20, Ledisi was honored at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards San Francisco Nominee Celebration. To my surprise, the soul singer, regally dressed in black velvet, her auburn tresses flowing, pressed her way through the crowd to receive my congratulatory hug. #Happy!
Grammy winners as they relate to Streetwise Radio:
Best Reggae Album--Ziggy Marley-Fly Rasta
Best Jazz Vocal Album—Dianne Reeves, Beautiful Life
Best Jazz Instrumental Album--Chick Corea Trio—Trilogy
Best Improvised Jazz Solo—Chick Corea-Fingerprints
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album- Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band Life in the Bubble
Best Latin Jazz Album- Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra--The Offense of the Drum
Best R&B Performance- Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z--Drunk in Love
Best Traditional R&B Performance- Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm-Jamal Warner Jesus Children
Best R&B Song- Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, Beyoncé Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko, songwriters (Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z)--Drunk in Love
Best Urban Contemporary Album- Pharrell Williams-Girl
Best R&B Album- Toni Braxton & Babyface-Love, Marriage & Divorce
Best Rap Performance-I-Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration-Eminem Featuring Rihanna-The Monster
Best Rap Song- K. Duckworth & C. Smith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)-I
Best Rap Album-The Marshall Mathers LP2-Eminem
For more 2014 Grammy winners, go to www.grammy.com.
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