Sunday, February 10, 2013


Lil Mama has landed the coveted role of playing Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in an upcoming TLC biopic. The 23-year-old New York native, whose real name is Naitia Kirkland, has been quiet on the scene after crashing Hov and Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” MTV performance back in 2009. The stunt had almost cost her a burgeoning career.
An unlikely mouthpiece, MC Lyte broke the news during the VIBE Impact Awards. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say, but I will,” the legendary rapper said at the pre-Grammy event. “She just got the role of Left Eye in TLC’s new movie.”
But before spilling the beans to red carpet cameras, Lyte revealed that she’ll play mentor to the “Lip Gloss” rapper as she resurfaces to the spotlight. “I’m going to put my focus and concentration on helping a sister who is talented, smart, witty and just had her chances cut too short…That is a talented young woman. I want to see her do some beautiful things.”


Let the DC Comics versus Marvel wars begins!
With the success of Marvel Studios' Avengers initiative, Warner Bros. and DC Comics began scrambling for ways to make their own super-powered ensemble films. To counter, Fox hired Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) as a creative consultant for Marvel to help oversee their properties.
In an interview with SciFi Now, the Scottish comic book writer turned filmmaker shared his thoughts on Warner Bros.' planned Justice League film, which so happens to be released in 2015 alongside The Avengers 2 blockbuster. "I actually think the big problem for them is the characters are just too out of date," Millar surmises. "The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they're in a really weird time."
While he expresses his love for DC Comics growing up, Millar says that he has doubts about how Warner Bros. can pull of characters such as The Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern logically for the big screen.
"How do you do a movie about 'Green Lantern,' his power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone?" he asks. "The Flash has door handles on the side of his mask and if he doesn't wear that mask, I'll be pissed off, y'know what I mean?" "They're in a weird, weird situation — if you've got a guy who moves at the speed of light up against the Weather Wizard and Captain Cold or whatever, then your movie's over in two seconds."
Shots aside, Mark Millar has a point. The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League may not read well for new audiences who aren't familiar with how they work on the page. And when you put them all together (could you see Aquaman fighting alongside Batman, really?), you have the potential to create a big blockbuster dud. Or in Millar's words, "I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million." Ouch.
What do you think of Millar's comments? Is he right? Or can Warner Bros. pull off a miracle after getting rid of Will Beall's horrible script? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

T-Boz, Om’Mas Keith, Others On Pluses, Minuses of Social Media at Grammy Week Event

Left to right: Nic Adler, owner of the Roxy Theatre; Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins; music producer/songwriter Om’Mas Keith; Dorothy Hui, VP of digital at Roc Nation; Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard; Alex Ljung, founder of SoundCloud.
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins went from hating Twitter to now seeing it as an integral part of how she talks to her fans. Watkins’ attitude shift highlights the way social media has infiltrated the music industry and become a part of the business, relinquishing its status as digital rebel without a cause.
That’s not to say that social media has been domesticated for marketing purposes. If anything, social media tools continue to morph in unpredictable, and sometimes challenging ways, according to a panel representing artists, producers, marketers and technologists hosted by the Recording Academy as part of Grammy Week.
Om’Mas Keith, whose work on Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” is up for two Grammy awards this week, said social media, which lets musicians directly engage with their own fans, has changed the way young artists think of record labels.
“Their desire to be signed to a label is at an all-time low,” Keith said on Friday at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, just a few hundred feet away from where the Grammy Awards will be presented on Feb. 10 at Staples Center. “The concept of a major label is almost foreign to them.”
Nic Adler, owner of the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles and co-founder of a social music marketing firm Adler Integrated, agreed that social media also has shifted the balance of power towards fans by allowing them a digital soapbox to broadcast exactly how they feel.
“With social, it’s now the fans that are inspiring the artists,” said Adler, who noted that he’s used social feedback to make the Roxy a better nightclub, for example, taking heed of the complaints he gets on Twitter. “It’s made the fan much more powerful.”
One of the ways fans are more influential is through SoundCloud, a platform used by 180 million people, including musicians who upload snippets of their works in progress to get feedback from fans or drive buzz. This iterative creative process is one of the biggest ways social tools are changing the game, SoundCloud founder Alex Ljung said.
“We don’t any longer live in a world where things are hidden from people until it’s done,” Ljung said of musicians who release their rough works on SoundCloud to get feedback from fans. “It’s being broken down into a longer public conversation. We live in a world that’s much more conversational. That change is massive because it affects everything we do. I call it the ‘Age of Play,’ because we can play more and learn more in the process.”
Although social media lets artists have a direct relationship with their fans, those connections can sometimes come at a cost.
“It’s a fine line,” Watkins said of balancing how personal she feels she can be and still maintain her privacy. “I have fans who love me and hate me at the same time. I get death threats from people who want to marry me. Some people don’t know where it should stop. That’s why some of us don’t like it.”
Social media also requires artists to be more multi-dimensional as entertainers, said Dorothy Hui, VP of digital marketing for Roc Nation.
“Gone are the days of having three photos being enough” for a marketing campaign, Hui said. “It puts more onus on artists to be multifaceted in their personalities. Music is now just one piece of their brand.”
That means having a continuous presence on social media platforms to engage with fans, not just when artists are marketing a tour or releasing music, panelists agreed.
“You have to be continually delivering content -- the music, the videos,” Keith said. Anything that demonstrates “that you epitomize the concept of you as the artist. They want to know that what you’re not being fabricated.”
But beware: Not all artists are writing those Tweets on their official accounts. “A lot of them don’t,” Watkins said. “Trust me on that one.”


State Property's Beanie Sigel reportedly appeared in court this week, months after getting arrested on drug and gun-related charges.
According to reports, Beans appeared in court Friday (February 8) morning to waive a preliminary hearing.
Shackled and wearing prison blues, Sigel, born Dwight Grant, stood before Magisterial District Judge Edward Christie and waived his preliminary hearing on all charges. The portly but seemingly slimmed down defendant said little during the brief proceeding, but smiled when the judge wished him good luck. Assistant District Attorney Lindsay McDonald said the rap artist's case will be "fast-tracked" to allow him to begin serving his federal time. "We expect to have the matter resolved in Media in the next few weeks," said defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. Sigel is scheduled to be formally arraigned in Media on March 6. (The Reporter Online)
Last year, fellow Philadelphia rapper Cassidy spoke to SOHH about Sigel's publicized woes.
"Yeah, that's a sad situation because you know Beanie is from my city. He was one of the first cats to get on and get it popping and take it to a whole other level, and he's really lyrical," Cass toldSOHH. "It's sad that he has to go away for the [tax evasion conviction] situation. Everything happens for a reason, so hopefully he'll be able to build from the time where he's sitting down. Be able to develop. Learn more about himself. Learn more how to move when he finally gets the opportunity to get back out here, so when he does get back out here he can take it to a whole other level. That's definitely sad. I don't wish nobody to go to jail. I've been there before. I know what that life's like, and it definitely ain't a fun place to be so it's sad to see him have to go away." (SOHH)
Although slated to begin a two-year jail sentence for a tax-related crime on September 12th, Beans had to start his bid immediatelyfollowing a late August arrest.
"At this point, the Federal authorities will take him into custody and he'll begin serving the sentence that he was going to start on September 12 anyway," Sigel's longtime attorney Fortunato N. Perri told XXL. "He had bail set on the new charges, but the Federal authorities have issued a detainer--a warrant, essentially--that will transfer him to Federal custody and he'll start serving his sentence." (XXL Mag)
Details of his unexpected drug and gun-related arrest hit the Internet days prior.
Police say Sigel, 38, whose real name is Dwight Grant, was a passenger in a Ford Fusion that was initially pulled over for driving erratically on I-95 southbound near Exit 8 in Tinicum Township. Upon further inspection, Pennsylvania state troopers found several prescription bottles and a small amount of marijuana on the driver. Sigel was arrested after troopers confiscated more than $4,600, a bottle of codeine syrup with a scratched off label and prescription pills wrapped in plastic bags, according to authorities. Troopers also found a firearm in the center console of the Ford. Both are convicted felons and neither is allowed to possess a gun. (NBC Philadelphia)


What's next? A Zane comic book?
Marvel Comics announced yesterday a deal with fellow Disney-owned company Hyperion to publish two action-and-adventure romance novels featuring two of the company's most popular super-heroines, X-Men's Rogue and former Fantastic Four member She-Hulk.
A press release from the company says that the "novels showcase strong, smart heroines seeking happiness and love while battling cosmic evil." Think Twilight meets Fantastic Force.
The books are titled The She-Hulk Diaries (see image below) and Rogue Touch, respectively, and focuses on key storylines that have been used in the comics. Diaries takes a look at how Jennifer Walters (alter-ego of She-Hulk) balances climbing the corporate ladder with battling super villains at night "all while trying to find a Mr. Right who might not mind a sometimes very big and green girlfriend."
Rogue Touch centers on the popular X-Men heroine, who can absorb other heroes' powers through touch. Similar to her comic book back story, Rogue accidentally puts her boyfriend in a coma and runs away from home. But in the book, she comes across the "handsome and otherworldly James" and sparks fly. Caught between her superpowers and "the only man alive who seems to truly understand her," Rogue Touch and The She-Hulk Diaries look like a quick crash grab by Marvel.
Hyperion will publish both novels in June.


New York rapper Lil Mama has reportedly landed a role in an upcoming biopic for late TLC group member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
According to reports, rap veteran MC Lyte broke the news during Grammy Awards festivities.
You heard it here FIRST! Lil Mama has been cast to play the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez in the upcoming biopic about the R&B group TLC! MC Lyte broke the news to HipHollywood while out and about during Grammy week. "I'm going to put my focus and concentration on helping a sister who is talented, smart, witty and just had her chances cut too short, Lil Mama, cuz that is a talented young woman. I want to see her do some beautiful things." She went on to say how she is looking to take Lil Mama under her wing and get her the shine she deserves! VH1 has already begun production on the TLC biopic and both T-Boz and Chilli serve as consultants and executive producers on the film. (Hip Hollywood)
Last month, Mama and Lyte hooked up for an event days prior to the presidential inauguration.
Lil Mama and MC Lyte could've passed for college roommates as they posed for photos at the Hip Hop Inaugural Ball on Sunday (January 20) in Washington, D.C. -- and that's not even shade. Pass the ramen noodles pon de left hand side. The event, originally launched by Russell Simmons, recognizes hip-hop's instrumental role in President Obama's re-election. The "Lip Gloss" rapper joined Yo Yo in hitting the stage to pay tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award honoree MC Lyte. (Crunk Tastical)
Recently, West Coast rapper Game paid homage to the late TLC member with a tattoo.
Rapper The Game is showing his respects to a fallen R&B icon with some permanent ink. No, it's not Aaliyah this time--well, not yet. Check out his new Dia' De Los Muertos-inspired tattoo of the departed Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, which pays tribute to both the fallen TLC member & the mexican holiday in a pretty dope way. "Got a Dia' De Los Muertos version of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes tatted on the left side of my ribs by @petertattooist ... Gettin a Dia' De Los Muertos version of Aaliyah on the right side of my ribs next...... 2 rib tats in one day.... #BitchImThuggin Pain.... Aint nobody got time for that ha ha ha......" (VIBE)
A fatal car crash ended Lopes' life at the age of 30 back on April 26, 2002.
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, member of hip-hop R&B group TLC, was killed in a car accident Thursday in Honduras, her record label reported early Friday. She was 30. The head-on collision on a treacherous two-lane country road occurred shortly before 6 p.m. outside La Ceiba, a town on the Atlantic coast, said Carlos Bakota, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy. Lopes, who was driving, died instantly, he said. The singer was one of eight people in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Three members of Egypt, a new band, were taken to Dantoni Hospital in La Ceiba. (CNN)
Check out MC Lyte break the news:

Mary J. Blige Receives Top Honors At Vibe Media's 20th Anniversary Event

With more than two decades in the business, and over 50 million records sold, Mary J. Blige has more than earned her crown as the queen of hip-hop soul. Adding another item to her list of accolades, Blige was honored by Vibe magazine at their 20th anniversary Inaugural Impact Awards held at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Hollywood, Calif. Saturday (Feb. 9) night.

Mary J. Blige addresses the crowd at the Sunset Tower Hotel
Vibe editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall proved himself to be a true fan of Blige, leading the crowd in a rendition of "Be Happy."

L-R: Kendu Isaacs, Diddy, Mary J. Blige and Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell
In a sea of events held ahead of Sunday's Grammy Awards, the acknowledgement of her career success, and a record-setting 10 Vibe covers -- the most of anyone in the history of the publication -- was a double celebration, given the company's anniversary milestone. "Vibe is on the pulse of youth culture," Vibe Media CEO Ari Horowitz told "It's an incredible brand, we know that there's nothing else like it. We're able to be really broad, so we've been able to cover the rising side of the movement," he continued, referencing Blige's role as a progenitor of neo soul.
Pictured below L-R: Future, Vibe editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall and Ciara
Over the years the Vibe brand has experienced changes, cutting back production of the magazine, and beefing up its online presence. Through all those adjustments, many artists have come and gone, but Blige remains a relevant figure among readers.
Diddy addresses the crowd
"Mary was the artist that bridged that generation to this generation, and the generation ahead," said Andre Harrell. In 1989, Harrell singed Blige to his Uptown Records imprint after being turned on to her talents by one of his employees. "In terms of being a real person she redefined that and brought glamour to it. When they thought it was just going to be one thing, it was everything. It was dressed up, it was dressed down, it was fashion. It was all of that. Her music is useful, her sprit is honest, it never changed. You can follow the story from unloved to finding love, finding love to being married, being married to marriage is not easy, to still in love. It's an on-going story. She tells it with such and honesty and bravado that she makes life in general seem alive."

L-R: Queen Latifah, Diddy, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige and Andre Harrell

Nick Cannon and VIBE CEO Ari Horowitz
Far from coming off coy, Blige was described by Sean "Diddy" Combs as holding back at the very start of their collaborations, before finding her footing. "Me and her grew up together, like so many true partnerships," Diddy said. "I would say these partnerships work the best when two people are in the same situation or in the same boat. We were in the same boat because we were two people that nobody believed in, at that time."

L-R: Diddy, BET president Stephen Hill, Queen Latifah, Jermaine Dupri and VIBE editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall
Now, over 20 years later, the 42-year-old is still as humble as a new artist, but she's also reached a place of self-acceptance. "I don't want to be perfect," Blige told the audience upon accepting her award. "I'm cool with being imperfect, you can let someone else be perfect."

L-R: VIBE executive editor Datwon Thomas, Diddy and VIBE editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall


R&B singer Chris Brown reportedly avoided a potentially life-threatening fatal wreck this weekend but still managed to total his Porsche after getting chased by paparazzi in Los Angeles.
Details of what reportedly went down Saturday (February 9) afternoon have started to circulate online.
Police in Beverly Hills say Chris Brown escaped injury after crashing his Porsche into a wall while being chased by paparazzi. Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said the collision occurred around noon Saturday. Brown told police that he lost control of his black Porsche during the chase. Hoshino said police will investigate the incident. He said he didn't know whether the paparazzi in the pursuing vehicles have been identified. (ABC News)
One of his representatives confirmed what went down and placed the blame on local paparazzi.
The singer's rep tells E! News, "Chris Brown was in a car accident this afternoon after being ruthlessly pursued by paparazzi. He was in his vehicle by himself headed to the Debbie Allen Dance Academy for a Symphonic Love Foundation event when two vehicles cut him off." (E! Online)
Despite the nasty wreck, the rep said Brown did not have any serious injuries.
"The occupants jumped out, with cameras, and agressively approached his vehicle," the rep continues. "In an effort to remove himself from the situation, he began to back down an alley at which point his was cut off by two additional vehicles. Chris' vehicle was totaled due to this agressive pursuit by the paparazzi. He is okay." (E! Online)
Shortly after the headline-generating incident, Brown reportedly linked up with R&B love interest Rihanna.
Brown had his car towed from the scene. According to Hollyscoop, he headed to Soho House in West Hollywood afterwards to meet up with Rihanna. They were seen "embracing in a passionate hug." The star famously made headlines the night before the Grammy Awards four years ago after getting into a scuffle with Rihanna, landing her in the hospital with her face covered in bruises. (Yahoo News)

Snoop Dogg Sparks Up While Busta Rhymes, Evan Bogart Share Stories at BMI ‘How I Wrote That Song’ Panel

 Above, L-R: Luke Laird, B.o.B, Snoop Dogg, BMI VP of writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton, Evan Bogart and Busta Rhymes. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
This year's edition of BMI's annual “How I Wrote That Song” panel, held Feb. 9 at the Roxy in West Hollywood, Calif., skewed toward hip-hop and R&B, with performers B.o.B., Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg making up more than half the panel.
But it was full of insights into the process of writing hits, ranging from anecdotes about No. 1 songs written in hours to stories of addiction propelling songs you've heard hundreds of times. It also was a testament to the overarching power of urban music, with country songsmith Luke Laird beatboxing through his twangy songs, and pop songwriter/producer Evan Bogart expressing his deep love for De La Soul.
The buzz before the panel, of course, was about the actual Grammy Awards on Sunday. Bogart and Laird told Billboard their votes for Album Of the Year went to fun.'s “Some Nights,” as did “Call Me Maybe” co-songwriter Josh Ramsay, who was in the audience for the panel. This is Ramsay's first Grammy ceremony as an attendee and he still seems awestruck at the invitation.
BMI senior VP of writer/publisher relations Phil Graham and BMI VP/GM of writer/publisher relations Barbara Cane VP with Snoop Dogg. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
“None of us could have predicted the song doing what it did, and we all feel grateful and lucky for it to have done what it did,” Ramsay told “I never even considered that it was going to happen. I didn't see it coming at all. I found out on Twitter!”
Bogart's excitement for the ceremony comes from what he sees as a particularly strong batch of nominees for the larger categories -- a specific source of pride, since he serves on the Grammy nominating committee.
“Real, authentic, true-to-themselves artists in music are coming back, fully demonstrated in the Album of the Year and Best New Artist categories, which I think got all five nominations in each category absolutely dead-on,” Bogart said. “That's very inspiring with where music has been -- and where it's going.”
Left to right: BMI's Catherine Brewton, David Claassen and Nicole Plantin; Luke Laird; BMI's Barbara Cane and Malik Levy; B.o.B; Snoop Dogg; Evan Bogart; Busta Rhymes; and BMI's Byron Wright and Alison Smith. (Photo: Joe Scarnici)
He echoed those statements during the panel -- which took place in a smokey haze caused by a giant blunt ignited by Snoop -- and was moderated by BMI VP writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton and functioned as a round-robin, with each songwriter discussing the background behind some of their biggest hits. That ranged from stories about the gangsta-rap classic “Nothing But a G Thang” (“I wrote that in jail,” admitted Snoop Dogg) to Hot Chelle Rae's “Tonight Tonight” (Bogart came clean that its funky lick was “Jackson-5 ripoff-y”) to “A Little Bit Stronger,” a song of Lairds recorded by Sara Evans – and originally intended for Lady Antebellum.
Other anecdotes of note: according to Busta Rhymes, the verses on Tribe Called Quest's “Scenario” weren't heard by the other rappers until after they were recorded -- there was no “cheating” by listening in on the collaborators' lyrics. Rhianna's “SOS” -- a song partially inspired by Bogart's then-new sobriety -- was his first recorded cut ever and his first No. 1. B.o.B's vocal track on “Don't Let Me Fall” was recorded in a closet in his the apartment he was living in at the time.
One of the panel's highlights -- and a brief reminder that Grammy Week magic can happen at any time -- was a short version of B.o.B. backing himself for an acoustic rendition of the song... with Laird, of course, joining in for a little impromptu beatboxing.


Atlanta rapper Soulja Boy Tell Em recently delved into his financial stability and why he is too smart, and cheap, to ever go broke after a short run in the music industry.
According to SB, he cashed-in on the first million bucks while still in his teenage years.
"I feel like it ain't nobody's business, but at the same time, I'm sitting on M's. You got some rappers, that's been rapping 10-plus years, they just now getting their first million," SB said when asked about the reality of his financial situation. "My first year I started off, I did my first million dollars when I was 17. Of course that's going to come with some haters. Look at Perez Hilton, how old he is? 35? 34? Lying about a 17-year-old. Blogging about a 17-year-old with a million dollars. You don't think he wishes he had a million dollars at 17? But who cares? As long as I'm handling my business, and as long as I know I got M's stashed up, I feel like I'm in the Matrix. I feel like I got unlimited money. I feel like Rick Ross--I'm going to be rich forever. My hustle is just so immaculate. If I go broke today, and I have zero dollars in the bank account today, I have so much work that I could go do, that I'm going to make it right back." (Complex)
The 22 year-old rapper also credited his tendency of being a cheap spender for helping keep a large sum of money in the bank for rainy days.
"Yeah, man. Look at the ones that came and went before me. Look at all the one-hit wonders and all the people that were hot at one time and ain't hot no more," Soulja added. "You have to learn from that. And at the same time, to be honest: I'm a cheap a** n*gga. I'm a millionaire that live with a hood mindset. 'Cause I still feel like I'm in the hood. Once you've been broke before, you had no money, you had nothing to eat, you had no car, nobody wanted to give you nothing, once you get rich, you ain't going to go that broke. You got a lot of n*ggas that was silver spoon fed, and born rich and born with money, and if they go broke, they're gonna kill themselves. But I know what it feel like to be broke. I'm not trying to go back there." (Complex)
Just a week ago, Soulja boasted about winning $200,000 in a high stakes Super Bowl XLVII bet.
Soulja Boy HIT IT BIG last night ... coming up victorious on a $200k Super Bowl bet thanks to the Baltimore Ravens ... and the rapper says he already has a plan to spend the money. Soulja was hanging out with Sean Kingston in L.A. last night after the game ... and explained why he felt so confident bettin' on the birds. It's pretty solid logic. So what's he gonna do with his winnings? The 22-year-old says he plans on dividing the money between his retirement account and a low-risk mutual fund ... JUST KIDDING HE'S GONNA BLOW IT ON SOMETHING REALLY EXPENSIVE!!!! (TMZ)
A couple years ago, fellow Atlanta rapper Killer Mike spoke to SOHH and killed the idea of Soulja only making money off album sales.
"I like Soulja Boy, I always have," Mike told SOHH. "I don't really have no opinion on record sales because I don't understand [them]. I can't lie to you and tell you I can't believe that some of this isn't designed. The same time Soulja Boy sells 13,000 physical copies, he probably sells a quarter million, half million if not more ring tones. So I think record companies are still making a gang of money off Soulja Boy. I don't think anybody's sad over there. I mean the record company or anyone around his team. So I mean, sh*t happens. Soulja Boy's gonna keep dominating." (SOHH)

Epic’s L.A. Reid Feted At Clive Davis’ Annual Pre-Grammy Gala

Above: Antonio "LA" Reid (left) and host Clive Davis onstage at the Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring L.A. Reid at The Beverly HiltonPhoto by Jason Merritt/WireImage)
This year’s Pre-Grammy Gala ran long. And it was packed to the rafters with the check-in line snaking all the way down the hall to the meetings rooms at the rear of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. But it was well worth the wait.
Presented by Clive Davis and The Recording Academy, the ninth Pre-Grammy Gala, guests heard moving tributes to the evening’s special honoree,Epic chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid and were treated to a series of knockout performances by Patti Smith, the Lumineers, Usher, Miguel, Emeli Sande and capped by a duet featuring Jennifer Hudson and the legendaryGladys Knight.

Power Trio (from left): President, North America, Creative for Warner/Chappell Jon Platt; Access Industries Chairman Len Blavatnik; and Warner/Chappell Music Chairman & CEO Cameron Strang at the 55th Annual  Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring L.A. Reid. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
As always, the Pre-Grammy Gala brought out a diverse mix of guests from the music industry, film, TV, sports and beyond. AEG’s Randy Phillips, Access Industries Len Blavatnik, Greenberg Traurig's Joel Katz, Sony/ATV’s Martin Bandier, Warner/Chappell’s Jon Platt, Island Def Jam Music Group/Republic's Barry Weiss, Vested in Culture's Sylvia Rhone, Motown's Ethiopia Habtemariam, Universal Repiblic's Monte Lipman, Big Machine's Scott Borchetta, Universal Music Publishing's Evan Lambert and Island Def Jam's Steve Bartels were just a few of the industry executives on hand.
The night kicked off with a welcome from Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow. He then presented a short video clip showing Davis being presented withBillboard’s first Musical Visionary Award during the magazine’s inaugural Power 100 reception on Wednesday evening (Feb. 7). Introduced by CBS chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves, Clive Davis kicked off the proceedings with EDM guru Afrojack. Emeli Sande, who had the UK's No. 1 biggest selling album in 2012, performing at the Pre-Grammy's Gala. (Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Over the next two and a half hours, a diverse lineup of talent fired up the stage from Patti Smith (“This is my first Grammy anything appearance”) and Emeli Sande (who drew a standing ovation from Joni Mitchell) to Grammy nominees the Lumineers (“We didn’t expect to be here”) and Miguel. Acknowledging the upcoming one-year anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death, Davis introduced a video clip of Houston singing “All the Man That I Need” during a concert for soldiers
Longtime friend/creative and business partner Kenny “Babyface” Edmondswho recalled to audience laughter that when he first met Reid, the latter was wearing spandex pants. “But he had a dream early on about wanting “to create a Motown of the South,” said Babyface of the inspiration behind the pair’s storied label La Face.
Kenny "Babyface" Edmunds pays tribute to his former La Face Records partner Antonio L.A. Reid (Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Then he brought out the “baby” of La Face, Usher. In between sharing special memories, a dynamic Usher sang snippets of songs tied to the La Face era, including “Every Time I Close My Eyes” and “U Got It Bad.” He also thanked Reid for not letting him go by his original stage name Cha Cha.
Before teaming with Portnow to present the President’s Merit Award to Reid, Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Doug Morris noted that he and Reid (whom he also describe as a “consummate record man”) have a lot in common. “We move around a lot and sometimes it’s involuntarily.”

Honoree Antonio 'L.A.' Rei, Chairman/CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Doug Morris and NARAS President Neil Portnow onstage at the Pre-Grammy Gala (Photo by Jason Merritt/WireImage)
Reid hit the stage and first asked for another round of applause for Usher’sperformance. “What Usher embodies is exactly why I do what I do,” he said. “I want people to feel music. When I watch a performance like that, I feel complete.” Going on to thank Davis, Babyface (“He discovered me; I didn’t know I could write”) and Portnow, Reid also paid tribute to his “boss and friend Doug Morris, the greatest music executive despite Billboard magazine’s poll.” He closed his remarks by issuing a challenge to the music industry: “I live for opening doors for the young generation of creators. If we do nothing else with our success, let’s open up some doors.”
Following the tribute, Emeli Sande took the stage for a knock-out two-song performance, which set the tone for the finale: a tribute to icon Gladys Knight.Jennifer Hudson, backed by a band led by “Tonight Show” music directorRickey Minor, belted out a stirring take on Knight’s “Where Peaceful Waters Flow.” Then Knight joined Hudson for a rollicking duet on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” before bringing down the house on her own with “Neither One of Us” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Jennifer Hudson and  Gladys Knight performing a rollicking duet of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine. (Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Ther many cool celebrity sightings: Katy Perry and John MayerSting. Quincy Jones. Sean Diddy Combs. John Legend. Where else but at Clive's Gala could you find a black-capped Johnny Depp chatting with Alice Cooper andDave Grohl? As someone walking by commented, "That's a cool table right there."