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Music Enthusiasts Mourn Passing of Etta James

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By BVN Staff –

Music lovers are mourning the loss of Etta “Miss Peaches” James, who died this past Friday of complications from Leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills and sons Donto and Sametto James by her side.

James, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, had suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. She passed at a hospital in Riverside stated her longtime manager Lupe DeLeon. She would have been 74-years-old yesterday.

A private funeral has been planned for this Saturday for James at the Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles. As a child, Etta was a gospel prodigy, singing in her church choir and on the radio at the age of 5. When she turned 12, she moved north to San Francisco where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleader Johnny Otis.

In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record "The Wallflower" (a tamer title for the then-risqué "Roll with Me Henry") with the Otis band. It was that year that the young singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed The Peaches (also Etta's nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as "Good Rockin' Daddy" in 1955.

After signing with Chicago's Chess Records in 1960, James' career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry," "At Last" and "Trust in Me." But James' talents weren't reserved for powerful ballads. She knew how to rock a house, and did so with such gospel-charged tunes as "Something's Got a Hold On Me" in 1962 and "In The Basement" in 1966. James continued to work with Chess throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Sadly, heroin addiction affected both her personal and professional life, but despite her continued drug problems she persisted in making new albums.

In 1967, James recorded with the Muscle Shoals house band in the Fame studios, and the collaboration resulted in the triumphant Tell Mama album.

With suggestive stage antics and a sassy attitude, James continued to perform and record well into the 1990s. Always soulful, her extraordinary voice was showcased to great effect on her recent private releases, including Blue Gardenia, which rose to the top of the Bil lboard jazz chart. In 2003, James underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds.

The dramatic weight loss had an impact on her voice, as she told Ebony magazine that year. "I can sing lower, higher and louder," James explained.

Boyz II Men Receives First 2012 Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

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By Lea Michelle Cash –

Having sold more than 60 million albums and holding the title for the most successful R&B group of all time, winning four Grammys, nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards and three Billboard Awards, Boyz II Men, the powerful balladeers gathered together this month to be awarded the city of Hollywood’s highest honor—the 2,456th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What a way to bring in the new year many fans kept shouting on the 7,000 block of Hollywood Blvd near other Motown greats like, Steve Wonder, The Supremes and Temptations

who previously have been awarded stars—regarding the rags to riches story that began 20 years ago, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a group of young teens who loved old school R&B music.

The teens managed to go backstage at a Bell Biv DeVoe concert and they performed a cappella version of New Edition’s “Can You Stop the Rain” to Michael Bivins who was looking to sign new artists to his budding record label Biv Ten Records under the wings of Motown Records. In 1989, Michael Bivins produced their first album.

Through a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, the harmonizing quartet which featured all four members, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman, Wayna Morris and Nathan Morris as leads stayed together and weathered the storms as they climbed the charts as Motown artists even beating out Elvis in record sells. In 2003, due to health reasons, McCary left the group as a performer but remained a founding member.

Bivins, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface were present at the Walk of Fame celebration, along with many lifelong friends who were there in the beginning when they were teens. Terry Lewis said, “These guys are music. These guys love music and they’re passionate about it. They can sing anything under the sun.”

As the ceremony progressed and each member of the group individually took their moment to deliver remarks, in the middle of their statements they got emotional recalling their 20-year journey toward success and stardom. Shawn Stockman said, “I can’t explain how happy, I am. This is one of the happiest days of my life and I thank all of my fans who we affectionately call soldiers.” Wayna Morris added, “It is the best feeling in the world to be standing here together in front of everybody and be appreciated.”

In the last few years, the talented team have released several albums: “Love” (2009) and “Twenty” (2011) dedicated to celebrating twenty years, which is climbing the charts to date.

The popular R&B group as a trio continues to dazzle fans with sold out concerts across the country and around the world. Known for their timeless classics, End of the Road, On Bended Knee, Motownphilly, and One Sweet Day, Boyz II Men will continue to bring joy and vitality using their outstanding vocal talents in spreading true R&B music to their fans.

'The Mike Epps; I’m Still Standing' Tour Stops At San Manuel Casino

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With Special Guest Host and Southern California Native Nick Cannon

Thursday, January 12, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino welcomes the hip hop comedian, Mike Epps in THE MIKE EPPS; I’M STILL STANDING TOUR with Special Guest Host Nick Cannon. Tickets are on sale today and available at Ticketmaster.com and the San Manuel Box Office for $35 and $45.

A native of Indiana, Epps has steadily climbed his way up the standup comedy ranks. He was recognized by a national audience in 1995, when he appeared on the Def Comedy Jam tour. It was later during a performance at the Los Angeles Comedy Store that Epps gained attention from Ice Cube. This sparked his feature film career, appearing in “Friday” and “All About the Benjamins” alongside Ice Cube.

Known for his quick wit and ability to blend hip hop audiences with comedy, Epps hosted both the 2009 and 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards with rave reviews. In 2010 he released his first comedy rap album called Funny Bidness: Da Album, which featured Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock and Slim Thug. Most recently, he can be seen in the feature film, “Jumping the Broom.”

A multi-faceted entertainer, Nick Cannon is a film star, comedian, musician, writer and executive producer. Cannon headed to Hollywood at age 15, and began landing gigs at world renowned comedy venues including The Improv, The Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store. With this comedy success, he was booked as the opening act for Nickelodeon’s hit show, “All That.” This path culminated with the creation of “The Nick Cannon Show”, earning him his first Kids Choice Award.

He went on to take the leading role in the feature film “Drumline,” and the same year released his self-titled debut album. In 2005, MTV debuted “Nick Cannon Presents Wild N Out”, which became one of MTV’s highest rated shows in the network’s history. More recently, he can be seen on “America’s Got Talent” and the NBC scripted comedy, “Up All Night.”

Every Thursday night with headliner entertainment, San Manuel gives away $1,000 just for seeing the show. To be eligible to win, guests only need a ticket to the show, a Club Serrano card and to be 21 or older. Guests can enter beginning at noon on such days. Three drawings will be held on those nights: $250 at 7:20 p.m., $250 at 10:00 p.m. and $500 at 11:00 p.m. Winners must be present.

Note: Doors open at 6:30. Must be 21 to enter Casino. Please gamble responsibly.

R&B Sensation New Edition Comes to San Manuel

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Thursday, December 29, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino welcomes R&B hiphop group, New Edition to the San Manuel stage, where all six members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Mike Bivins, Ricky Bell, and Ron Devoe will sing crowd favorites.

Tickets are on sale today and available at Ticketmaster.com and the San Manuel Box Office for $55, $65, and $75.

Beginning in 1978 with three young friends from the Boston area, New Edition grew to make their mark on music.

From their initial Jackson 5-inspired material to their later more mature fusion of hip-hop and R&B, the group, which grew to have five members, established much of the groundwork for the style of music known as the ‘new jack swing’. They were discovered by producer Maurice Starr, who wrote their first smash hit “Candy Girl.” The single topped R&B charts, and was the title of the debut album.

In 1984, they scored their biggest pop hit with the Top Five single “Cool It Now,” which ended with a short rap section, and claimed a spot of the next album All for Love.

Later that year, they released a holiday album and struck an endorsement deal with Coke.

Over the last 25 years, New Edition has taken different forms and has even split up.

But the group has enjoyed renewed success since joining together again and signing with the Bad Boy Label, owned by Sean P. Diddy Combs, in 2002.

Currently the group is recording new music, performing throughout the US, and supporting community events and organizations through the New Edition Foundation.

Every Thursday night with headliner entertainment, San Manuel gives away $1,000 just for seeing the show. To be eligible to win, guests only need a ticket to the show, a Club Serrano card and to be 21 or older. Guests can enter beginning at noon on such days.

Three drawings will be held on those nights: $250 at 7:20 p.m., $250 at 10:00 p.m. and $500 at 11:00 p.m. Winners must be present.

Note: Doors open at 6:30. Must be 21 to enter Casino. Please gamble responsibly.

San Manuel and Manny Pacquiao Host Night of Boxing

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By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

Highland - Professional boxing, the ‘Sweet Science’ has had to share the stage with cage fighting and mixed marshal art formats in recent years, but on Thursday night at San Manuel, it was purely boxing.

The fight card selected by Top Rank and hosted by welterweight champion and fighter of the decade, Manny Pacquiao. Over 2,000 fight fans packed San Manuel’s Yuhaviatam room as Pacquiao climbed into the ring to open the evening.

Pacquiao, who recently defeated Pomona’s Sugar Shane Mosely, will defend his title against Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12th in Las Vegas.

The seven-bout fight card was competitive and kept the crowd interested and motivated toward the main event.

The three top fights of the evening, all involved Filipino fighters. In his third professional fight, welterweight Javier Albonica won a four round decision over Anthony McDavitt. In a flyweight bout, Richie Mepranum won his 23rd fight in a decisive fourth round TKO over Rigoberto Casillas.

Each fight seemed to progress in quality and intensity as the main event featured San Diego’s Aaron Garcia against another quality Filipino, Bernabe Concepcion. The WBC Continental America’s Title would be on the line.

Both fighters traded accurate body and headshots for most of the 10 rounds. Garcia did hurt his opponent in the 6th however; Concepcion was able to open up a cut with a series of precision headshots in the 9th.

The record San Manuel crowd roared to their feet for the 9th and 10th rounds. As the judge’s decision was read. As their corner hoisted each fighter up, the unanimous decision and title belt went to Concepcion for his 31st win and a Filipino sweep.

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