Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What Do John Mayer and Alicia Keys Have in Common?


What do John Mayer and Alicia Keys have in Common...that is,besides holiday lunching with their "name-saked" rapper friend Common?


Read the recent post on his Honeyee Blog entitled "In Harley We Trust" , the source of two of the included, photos,in addition to the info below, and decide for yourself... Then,carry on with your own independent research, also known as "googling further", and see what else you find out.


1.Multi-Platinum Albums

a. Mayer: Continuum (2006);Room for Squares (2003);Heavier Things(2005)
b. Keys: Unplugged (2005); Diary of Alicia Keys(2003); Songs in A Minor(2001)

2.Multiple Grammy Nominations and Wins

Keys is the winner of nine(9) Grammys so far. Mayer has won a total of three(3) and has been nominated for another five (5) this year in the following categories:

Album of the Year-Continuum

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance-Waiting On the World to Change

Best Pop Vocal Album-Continuum

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance-Route 66(Cars Soundtrack)

Best Rock Album-Try

3. Community Awareness


John Mayer and Alicia Keys both appear to be compassionate humanitarians based on the amount of time they spend helping out in the local and global community. Each frequently lend their time,name and talent to worthwile causes. The above is a photo of John performing with Alicia at the November 3,2005 Black Ball for the Keep A Child Alive Foundation, for which Alicia also serves as principal spokesperson. John supports various health concerns,artist development and other charitable efforts through his Back to You Fund.He has also lent his time and resources to "Toys for Tots", the Tsunami Benefit, and both Mayer with a performance of Gravity, as a member of the John Mayer Trio, and Keys participated in VH1's React Now Benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims. Keys also contributed her time and talent to Live 8 last year and also managed to sing a duet with Bono ,"Don't Give Up" with all proceeds going to purchase medicine for AIDS infected children in Africa.Mayer is looking forward to working more closely with the Save the Music Foundation in the future.

4. Good Friends

John Mayer and Alicia Keys were hanging out together recently with friends Common, Tracee Ross,Cassandra and Harley Pasternak (pictured above).Besides trusting in Harley Pasternak's fitness and training program,I understand he has a winning diet regimen from which all of his friends,including those pictured here, undoubtedly benefit.

By the way,shout-outs to Common for his appearance in those very positive and emotionally uplifting commercials for the Gap on the "Peace,Love,Gap" tip. Both Keys and Mayer have collaborated with the poetic rapper on recording projects and philantrophic efforts.

Incidentally,I think I'll be checking out Harley's diet...just between me, you and the bedpost. Everyone in that party appears to be healthy and fit. I want in on the secret...

Also,happy collaborations between Mayer and Keys on any upcoming musical projects...if they are in the works...


Peace,Joy and Love to All during the holidays.

Related Blogs and Articles:

John Mayer-Alicia Keys Grammy Performance: "No One"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rosie O'Donnell's- For All Kids Foundation-Help for Katrina Survivors


Like many others before her,not even Rosie O'Donnell could cut through the bureaucratic red tape and other delays plaguing the situation of many Gulf Coast residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.But, remarkably she did manage to bring essential services to displaced residents.

ABC-TV Nightline aired a video report Nov. 1, 2006 about the opening of The Children's Plaza and Family Center in Renaissance Village, a FEMA trailer park in Louisiana. This was an emergency response initiative of Rosie's For All Kids Foundation with the help of many local nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, all efforts were to assist the families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.(more)

Kudos to Rosie for doing what she can to make a difference.

As a member and organizer of a group of scholars and graduate students from Columbia University's School of Social Work and Union Theological Seminary who embarked on a mission to New Orleans and other cities in the Gulf Coast region this past January,I know how important it is to "reach out" and show you care.It's also important to back concern up with needed resources,which does not always translate into money.We know that for money to be effective,it has to be first issued and then spent wisely.

For further stories on Katrina relief and recovery efforts see the articles below.

Katrina Related Blog Entries:

Jan.13,2006-More Pictures of Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans Final Stop On Katrina Trip

January 12-Biloxi,Mississippi-Moore Community House

Jan.11-Ocean Springs,Mississippi-Rich and Poor Alike

Friday, December 08, 2006

Living "Life Out of Context"

I came across this book as I was visiting a social networking site today,Riottt.com.It seems like it would be an interesting read. So,I ordered a copy from Amazon and will try to squeeze in a read during the busy holiday schedule. I am resonating with Kristin Wartman's review. Here is an excerpt:

Walter Mosley is well known for his literary fiction, mystery series and science fiction. His latest book however, is a departure from those genres as he explores a variety of nefarious effects of economic globalism in Life Out Of Context. This slim, quick and enthralling read is an examination of what he calls the contemporary condition each of us are living in — a life out of context. By that he means human beings across the globe do not see their connection to each other or to any political, social, ethical or moral cause, despite the fact that globalization and technology have brought us all closer together and implicated us more deeply into each other's lives.

He writes with beauty and precision, and his scathing critiques of our government are right on point. Mosley, an African-American, discusses the lack of context among African-Americans and the problems they face as a result, consistently and seamlessly tying in the seemingly endless problems and injustices in this world. He emphasizes how all problems are connected and to remedy them, we must each pick a particular cause, learn about it and try to help fix it. He believes that if enough people do this a clearer sense of equity and justice will evolve. Mosley acknowledges the idealism present in these notions, but goes on to make them feel like real concrete possibilities...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

World Aids Day at Riverside Church- Sunday,December 3,2006

This past Sunday,I attended the World Aids Day program at the Riverside Church of New York and it was very inspiring.This was also the day that the official Aids Ministry was installed at the church.I plan to have pictures of the event posted soon...

It was a very enriching time.The day started off with a moving sermon by the Senior Minister, Dr. James A. Forbes entitled "AIDS: Beyond the Cause to the Cure."

My Highlights of the program which followed immediately after the worship service:

-I met and engaged in heatwarming dialogue with a very dedicated woman from Lesotho,a small country enclosed by South Africa, who founded an oprganization--Less Aids--several years ago to fight the growing scourge of AIDS in her country.

-I was moved by stories shared by Miss Black New York 2006,Shade Ogunleye, who did volunteer work on an AIDS unit at Harlem Hospital. She shared the moving story of an AIDS stricken child.

-There was a wonderful presentation by the Rev.Linda Tarry-Chard on the People Project Foundation which she founded to fight AIDS in South Africa. I was really inspired by her illustration of the "IF" or "Internet Family" which has been created to provide mentors and virtual family members for the number of AIDS orphans growing at an alarming rate in that country.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

John Mayer News Blast from the Past,Present and Future...

Well...looks like (I have it on good authority) that the next single from John Mayer's Continuum record will be the bluesy and soulful "Gravity" which is also the song he played last year for VH1's REAct Now Benefit for Hurricane Katrina surivivors.Here is the VH1 version of the song in the video below.For the most recent rendition,you might want to check out the new Continuum CD,if you don't already have it in your collection.If you do,then you know that John plays a mean "blues" guitar solo,there are some stellar background vocals and Alicia Keys was one of the musicians participating on the track.

John was recently in New York over the Thanksgiving holiday getting some much needed down time. He keeps busy these days with events like the Save the Music Foundation benefit which was held at the Esquire House 360 Degrees in Beverly Hills, California last night. There he ran into blues "rock badass" ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons who returned the acknowledgement in kind by proclaiming John a "bluesman." To learn more about that humorous meet up,you can read John's blog #30-"Things that Happened Last Night."

Ending on a Save the Music Foundation note,a current PSA campaign involves Beyonce,John Legend and Jewel. John is also a part of this project and PSA's featuring him will begin to air in January 2007. Here's an excerpt about that from a past CNN Money press release:

"Beginning on Thursday, November 9 the VH1 Save The Music Foundation will premiere the first of its series of new public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Beyonce, John Legend, Jewel, Rob Thomas. Each PSA will feature one of these artists as they speak about the importance of music education. Additional PSAs featuring John Mayer and Ciara will roll-out in 2007."

To learn more about this very enriching effort and to also view the current VH1 Save the Music Foundation PSAs featuring Beyonce,John Legend and Jewel, click here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rapper and Music Mogul Jay-Z Seeks to Solve a World Water Problem


Jay-z is lending an impressive hand in an effort to raise awareness about the severity of the water shortage problem in Africa which is about as devastating as any virus or war.To download and view the original United Nations Webcast click here and scroll down to the August 9, 2006 archive entry.To see the Nightline Online video "A Higher calling for Jay-Z" click here.

In a recent interview with Nightline's Martin Bashir,Jay-Z states:

"Three people die every three minutes … from easily preventable diseases,"

In order to see these problems firsthand, Jay-Z approached MTV and invited a crew to follow him during visits to Angola and South Africa. But he wanted to do more than entertain and meet and greet fans.

"I set an incredibly lofty goal of getting the U.N. involved," he said. "So they spoke to my people, they spoke to MTV and then the whole thing happened and it's like — wow!"

...The result is a public awareness campaign launched by the United Nations and spearheaded by a 30-minute documentary, "Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life," which debuted on MTV last week and can be seen on their website.

I must say even though the man has more than enough material wealth,his "goodwill" stock just soared upwards a few notches in my "humanitarian concerns and giving back to the community" book.I do keep a running tab on those things you know,as that is part of what Heavier Octaves is about.We report the good, the productive and the meaningful.

It's really heart-warming to see the "Hova" stepping out and representing like this.I also like the way in tonight's interview with Bashir, he owned up to his admittedly sometimes mysogynistic lyrics of the past and suggested that his rap on women has improved and he has since grown.Bravo to Jay-Z!

I have checked out the new CD Kingdom Come.And,I am definitely listening to the cut "Minority Report" Jay-z's take on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. With his clout,I'm glad to see the multi-platinum rapper, hailing from Brooklyn,New York, keeping it real by offering up strong,relevant and informative rap with kicka-- beat and overall production.Jam on and soar while you're at it...

BTW,that was a short retirement. But,I'm definitely not mad at'cha (at you). As a matter of fact,welcome back to the mix...