Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.Am to Deliver Commencement Speech at USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy

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Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am will deliver the commencement speech for the first graduating class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation. The ceremony is scheduled for May 11. Currently appearing as a coach on the U.K. version of “The Voice,” Will.I.Am is also involved in various […]

Will.I.Am Calls Out Sexism in Music Industry: ‘Who’s That Lady’ Would Be ‘Who’s That Bitch’ Today

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Will.i.am is well aware of sexism in the music industry. “Music is probably… it does a really good job at diminishing the power of a woman,” the musician said. “And that’s really sad. Especially hip-hop, rock — sex, drugs, and rock and roll. A woman is a resource in that sentence. It’s sad.” Will.i.am appeared […]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi Heading to 2018 Sundance Film Festival

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Catherine Hardwicke and Taika Waititi are heading to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to discuss their work and the power of media, it was announced Thursday.

DuVernay, Patrick Gaspard, Rae, Megan Smith and Christine Vachon will speak on a panel titled “Power of Story: Culture Shift” to talk about their work as well as the role of creative choices in our ever-shifting culture. The conversation will be led by Washington Post journalist Sarah Ellison on Jan. 19.

Hardwicke, Waititi and Justin Lin will talk about the advantages and challenges of moving from independent filmmaking to big-budget studio films with moderator John Horn on Jan. 26, on a panel titled “Power of Story: Indies Go Hollywood.”

Also Read: Sundance 2018 Lineup: Lizzie Borden, Oscar Wilde, Jane Fonda and a lot of Lakeith Stanfield

Other noteworthy conversations at the festival include talks between will.i.am and Kevin Smith; Danny Elfman and Gus Van Sant; Justice Ginsberg and Nina Totenberg; Ira Glass and Miranda July; and Ethan Hawke and Rupert Everett.

Octavia Spencer, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Darren Aronofsky and Steven Soderbergh will also take part in conversations at the festival.

A Celebration of Music and Film will present an evening with Joan Jett who will take the stage with The Blackhearts on Jan. 20, in celebration of the premiere of the documentary “Bad Reputation.” Other live music at the festival will include performances by Michael Franti, Brett Dennen, Mr. Hudson, Ruelle, Ethan Gruska and Striking Matches.

Also Read: Sundance: Wes Anderson VR, Joaquin Phoenix Indie, RuPaul Retrospect Join Lineup

The Sundance Film Festival will take place from Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.

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Apple Wants Only Family-Friendly Original Shows: No Cursing, Nudity or Violence

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Well, Apple’s old marketing slogan was “think different.”

While streaming powerhouses like Netflix make their bones on gritty shows like “Narcos” and “House of Cards,” Apple is aiming for a more family-friendly approach as it jumps into original content, according to a new report by Bloomberg.

The tech juggernaut held up its August release of “Carpool Karaoke” — a spinoff of James Corden’s popular segment driving around and singing with celebs — to scrub “foul language and references to vaginal hygiene,” Bloomberg wrote.

Also Read: Colbert Fixes CNN’s ‘Apple’ Ad: ‘Orange You Ready to Im-Peach?’ (Video)

And Apple is also axing any “nudity, raw language, and violence” from original programming debuting on its Apple Store, according to producers and potential content partners that spoke with Bloomberg.

The brand-obsessed company is seeking comedies and dramas with “broad appeal” — think NBC’s “This Is Us” more than Netflix’s “Ozark” or HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

These constraints are part of Apple’s game plan to push its shows internationally as well, but have made the budding video wing appear “conservative and prickly” to producers pitching new shows to the deep-pocketed new player in the content world, according to Bloomberg.

Former Sony execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg joined the company earlier this year to lead its push into original shows, with about $1 billion ready to be spent in the year ahead. For reference, that’s about half of what HBO is spending in 2017, and pales in comparison to the $7 billion Netflix has earmarked for next year. Still, with more than $250 billion sitting around in cash, Apple has the ammo necessary to reinforce its content push if it’s going well.

Also Read: CNN’s ‘This Is an Apple’ Ad Inspires Bananas Knock-Knock Joke

“We’re out to be creative, move culture and do something Apple is adding value to,” said SVP Eddie Cue at the Code Conference back in February.

But the company’s aversion to “edgier fare,” as Bloomberg puts it, could stymie its plans to carve out its slice of the industry. Apple’s version of “Carpool Karaoke” has failed to gain much traction with audiences despite star power like Will Smith on its debut episod .

Planet of the Apps,” the company’s first push into original content in June, struggled to catch on as well; the “Shark Tank” for apps show was met with a collective “meh” from viewers, even with judges Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and Will.I.Am brought into the fold.

Also Read: How ‘Dirty John’ Blitzed to the Top of the Apple Podcast Charts

Wall Street has been watching Apple’s Hollywood maneuvers as well. Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White recently told TheWrap the company needs to “keep it interesting” if it wants to make a splash in the content game.

“I think if they do that — find that ‘House of Cards,’ find that ‘Breaking Bad,’ — they need something like that that’s so unique and different, and, in a way, almost a little shocking,” said White.  “That would grab the attention of an audience. ‘Mr. Robot’ is another one. Those kind of shows that are so unique it can really grab the attention of a mass audience, not just someone interested in music or apps.” 

As Apple continues to roll out its shows heading into 2018, it’ll be hard-pressed to strike the delicate balance of interesting yet censored content it appears to be targeting.

 

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Black Eyed Peas and Marvel Comics Team Up for Zombie Graphic Novel

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The Black Eyed Peas are creating an original graphic novel called “Masters of the Sun — The Zombie Chronicles,” which will be distributed by Marvel Comics.

The story, written by Black Eyed Peas frontman, Will.i.am, centers around a Los Angeles under siege both by aliens and a zombie outbreak.

According to Billboard, “The main character, Zulu-X, who also has a penchant for hip-hop, is thrust into the middle of the action-packed adventure, fighting a nefarious ancient order with the combination of wisdom and street smarts.”

Check out the cover below.

Seven-time Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum musician Will.i.am says of the project, “The Black Eyed Peas and I have begun a new journey … We’ve been working on this original story for years and partnering with Marvel to bring this book to life is more than a dream come true.”

“Few artists have done more to embed hip-hop in popular culture than will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas. So we are thrilled to present this deeply personal story that speaks directly to hip-hop aficionados, comic book fans and the intersection of those communities,” said Marvel editor Axel Alonso.

“Masters of the Sun – The Zombie Chronicles” hits shelves in July.

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Watch Gwyneth Paltrow, Will.I.Am Compete for Tech Glory in ‘Planet of the Apps’ Trailer (Video)

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Apple’s original competition series  — about the hunt for the next big mobile app — is finally showing a bit of itself and its star advisory board.

“Planet of the Apps” dropped a full trailer during this week’s Recode Media Conference, and with it an explanation of how Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, artist and producer Will.I.Am and Gary Vaynerchuk fit into the picture.

“Planet” is equal parts an investment and strategy game and a narrative about budding developers looking for their big breaks. Think “Shark Tank” meets “The Voice,” and the figurative spinning chairs are held in this series by the fab four of entertainers and one serial investor.

Also Read: New Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbook Dedicated to Blue Ivy Carter, Slew of Famous Kids (Exclusive)

The trailer dramatically refers to the group as four of the world’s “most culturally influential entrepreneurs,” but think about it — Paltrow and Alba are much more synonymous with their top-earning businesses Goop and The Honest Co. than any movie in the marketplace.

Will.I.Am’s wireless earphone company Buttons are perhaps the best reviewed and most stylish sold, and Vaynerchuk is the digital advisor to mega-brands and now touts his own incubator for Silicon Valley startups.

See how these luminaries work together, and what you can expect from the debut season —  like their own moving set-piece gimmick, an escalator that contestants must ride on while pitching their apps.

The series does not yet have a release date for the iTunes store. Watch the trailer:

Apple is launching its first TV show, “Planet of the Apps.” Here’s the trailer. More in our live blog: https://t.co/wK3Nn4xjuv #CodeMedia pic.twitter.com/AbdhyxRvJ8

— Recode (@Recode) February 14, 2017

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