Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

Bourgeois Brief: John Legend Is Your New Google Assistant, Teyana Taylor Hits the Floor, Kanye Debuts on the Hot 100 & More!

Bourgeois Brief: John Legend Is Your New Google Assistant, Teyana Taylor Hits the Floor, Kanye Debuts on the Hot 100 & More!

Your daily dose of art, news, and pop culture headlines, and a signal boost for creators of color.

John Legend Lends Voice to Google Assistant

On Tuesday, Google announced six new virtual assistant voices for its smart devices, which include Android phones and Google Home speakers.  John Legend is one of those new voices. Now, you can ask him to dim the lights or look up directions.  Maybe he’ll even sing them to you? Read more at CNET.

Teyana Taylor Joins Season 4 of Hit The Floor

Singer and actress Teyana Taylor is set to star in season 4 of Hit The Floor. The scripted dance drama makes the jump from VH1 to BET starting July 10. Taylor plays London, a choreographer searching for a fresh start. Read more at Shadow and Act and see the promo below.

Kanye Debuts on the Billboard Hot 100

The last few weeks have seen no shortage of Kanye controversy. The outspoken rapper drew criticism and backlash for supporting Donald Trump and suggesting slavery was a choice.  His comments preceded the release of two new songs—“Lift Yourself” and “Ye vs. the People”. The latter song debuts on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 at No. 85 and marks his 82ndappearance on the chart. West is reportedly prepping a new 7-song album for a June 1 release. Read additional chart news at Billboard.

Single Ladies Choreographer Looks Back on Video’s Legacy

Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” is one of her most celebrated songs and videos.  In an interview with OUT, choreographer JaQuel Knight spoke about working on the choreography and the lasting impact of his contribution.  He says, “I’m so thankful for it, and for the opportunity to have done something for the culture. We grow up and we all want to create the next ‘Rhythm Nation.’ The next ‘Beat It.’ The next ‘Smooth Criminal.’ I think ‘Single Ladies’ is that for me.”

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Adopts Local Children Through Music Program

10 years ago, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra partnered with its music director, Marin Alsop, to start OrchKids. OrchKids is a free afterschool program that connects inner city kids with classical music through practice and instruction.  The program started with 30 kids and has grown to more than 1300.  World-renowned musicians like Wynton Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma have played with the students, many of whom have gone on to win scholarships to prestigious programs. The New York Times profiles OrchKids and its immeasurable impact on the local community.

Tidbits

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

J. Cole announces new tour with Young Thug [SPIN]

Wale releases surprise EP [VIBE]

Food for thought

As mentioned above, Kanye West has found himself at the center of controversy once more. However, his recent comments expose a fraught relationship with his blackness and the black community at large. Celebrated writer and social commentator Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the topic for The Atlantic:

West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory…

Read his full piece here.

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Music Industry Vet Jimmy Spice Curry Talks to UB About the Highs and Lows of the Entertainment Biz

Music Industry Vet Jimmy Spice Curry Talks to UB About the Highs and Lows of the Entertainment Biz

Bourgeois Brief: Janet Jackson to Receive Icon Award, Nicki Minaj Confirms Album Release, Hamilton Exhibition Heads to Chicago & More!

Bourgeois Brief: Janet Jackson to Receive Icon Award, Nicki Minaj Confirms Album Release, Hamilton Exhibition Heads to Chicago & More!