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This week’s From The Vault pick is the crossover Gospel classic, ‘Shackles (Praise You)’ by Mary Mary.

Released at the very beginning of the noughties, ‘Shackles’ was the Atkins-Campbell sisters’ first ever single and stands as their biggest hit. After reaching the pole position on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs, the cut managed to become a crossover hit placing #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and coming at an impressive #9 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart. It proved to be a global smash when it hit the Top 10 of multiple countries in Europe as well as Australia.

The accompanying video, which to this day stays an MTV and VH1 favorite, underined the “life gets better” aura evoked by the song’s lyrics (which were penned by the group and Warryn Campbell).

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At the time, Gospel purist disapproved of the track and Mary Mary’s work moreover labeling it “too secular”. Although such claims remain a constant about Contemporary Gospel, over the years acts such as Kirk Franklin, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Yolanda Adams and of course Mary Mary have helped the subgenre garner recognition and respect from a greater sect of the faith-based community as well as from the mainstream.

In many ways, this release broke the shackles off old school ideology and bridged a colossal gap. In every way, then, ‘Shackles’ is a classic.

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Mary Mary continue their foray into the mainstream with their hit WE tv reality show, aptly titled ‘Mary Mary’. Click here to check out our interview with them on our sister site That Grape Juice TV. And be sure to keep it locked on TGJ TV for your Urban Hollywood fix!

Your thoughts?

You’ve heard the song and see its smoking video, now peep behind the scenes footage taken from Azealia Banks’ ‘Liquorice‘ flick.

Styled by Lady GaGa‘s Nicola Formichetti and directed by Dazed‘s Rankin, the visual came in aid of the Rapper’s latest EP ‘1991‘, before she releases her debut album ‘Broke With Expensive Taste‘ in September.

Watch below…

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Get familiar with ‘Summer Dreaming’, Kelly Rowland‘s sun soaked visual in partnership with Barcardi.

Celebrating their 150th anniversary, Kelly joined the company in Barcelona two weeks ago to shoot the video, which she teased here days ago.

Enjoy below…

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A decade ago, accurate-or at least favorable representations of Latin Americans were an all too welcome Pop culture commonplace.

If it wasn’t ‘Taina‘ gracing our screens on Paramount’s Nickelodeon it was the fiery sounds of Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, figureheads for what has now be known as ‘The Latin Explosion‘.

Today, the story isn’t quite the same.

For, while the likes of Pitbull continue to fly the flag for Latin American music overseas, the demographic remains both mis- and underrepresented on the small screen.

Until now.

Starring 3LW front woman Adrienne Bailon and 106 & Park host Julissa Bermudez, That Grape Juice is pleased to welcome the Style Network‘s  ‘Empire Girls’.

Friends for over a decade, the ‘Girls’ landed the show following requests by friends to allow cameras into their lives.

Bermudez told us:

I had fears about being on Reality TV- because it really puts you out there, but so many funny crazy things would happen to us and our friends would be like “where are the cameras?!”

However, if you were hoping for the table tossing, cat fighting that plagues a number of today’s shows, think again. According to Bailon, “Empire Girls is feel good TV, it focuses on us being strong independent women with real goals and aspirations“.

She went onto admit:

Of course there’s going to be drama, but it’s all real. None of it’s exaggerated for the cameras.

We’re both Latina, I was born in the New York and Julie was born in the Dominican Republic, but we both represent a huge demographic in the US, and that’s the second or third generation Latin American woman- and the show reflects that. 

Both of them declaring:

It won’t endorse the stereotypes.

Our story is about inspiration, it’s about hard work, determination and progress and you’ll definitely see that with both of us trying to each our seperate goals.

Catch the ‘Empire Girls’ every Sunday only on The Style Network, (9-10pm. ET)

Your thoughts?

The Pop singer Usher has revealed he had plans to duet with the late Amy Winehouse.

Currently promoting his latest LP ‘Looking For Myself’, the entertainer revealed the news exclusively to MTV this week, days before his project is set to reach the #1 spot in the US.

Full story below…

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Sometimes Pop has a funny away of surprising its loyal.

Whether by way of a record breaking album- Adele‘s ‘21′– or the birth of an ‘epic’ feud- GaGa v Madonna, it’s safe to say that the ‘culture’ and its ever changing plot line are anything but predictable.

Take Def Jam’s Rihanna for one.

Bursting onto the scene with dance hit ‘Pon De Play’ in 2005, very few could have predicted the teen sensation would go onto to rival the acts her very cause was styled on.

Scoring more US #1 singles in seven years than many of her predecessors  have scored in twenty, Fenty’s well oiled hit machine has seen her become one of the world’s more bankable stars- raking in $90 million from her critically panned ‘Loud Tour‘.

However, for all her success, recent years have seen her brand tarnished by many a scandal.

Scandals, involving plagiarism of intellectual property, her volatile relationship with fellow entertainer Chris Brown, and more recently, baseless reports of substance addiction.

Worsened by the part she allegedly played the physical altercation between Brown and Rapper Drake Graham, the media’s coverage of her ‘troubles’ have led to fans questioning her stability, and relationship with Roc Nation boss Jay Z.

“She’s out of it”

“She’s promiscuous”

“She must be on drugs”

“She parties every night”

“She’s terrified of being replaced by Rita”.

All criticisms aimed the singer’s way.

So now we ask:

Is Rihanna budding icon with a promising future ahead of her?

Or

A deeply troubled starlet in danger of self destructing.

Weigh in below…

The 45th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony took place on Thursday night, honoring Pop music’s most influential masterminds.

Billed as the publishing equivalent to The Grammy Awards, this year’s event saw ‘Lazy Lover’ Ne-Yo awarded the ‘Hal David Starlight‘ award, for his contributions to the craft.

Pictured above with Hip Hop producer Swizz Beatz, the Compound executive was joined by his recently signed artist Adrienne Baillon, formerly of trio 3LW and later Disney’s ‘The Cheetah Girls‘.

Your thoughts?

Many said she couldn’t do it, but this month saw Cheryl Cole successfully launch her new album’s campaign without the X Factor UK press machine.

Performing at a number of outlets, The Graham Norton Show and The Queen’s Jubilee Concert to name two, her strategy is set to ensure her new single ‘Call My Name‘ becomes the fastest selling UK single this year.

Today, Channel 4’s ‘T4’ dedicated an entire episode to the star. An episode, which saw her perform ‘Name’ and its follow up effort ‘Under The Sun‘.

Peep her set below…

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Alexandra Burke stormed That Grape Juice’s The Splash recently with a soaring session in support of her sophomore album ‘Heartbreak On Hold’.

And while  the TGJ special (‘An Audience With Alexandra Burke’) saw the 23 year old perform many a new cut, it also saw her give a nod to a record-breaking fan favourite.

Click above to see the 23 year old showcase THAT voice on the song that started it all ‘Hallelujah’

Click here to watch the full set!

Your thoughts?

Soulful songtress Melanie Fiona serves up another helping of ‘The MF Life’ with the video for her latest single ‘This Time’.

The visual for the J. Cole assisted cut sees Colin Tilley take the directorial helm.

Watch the Roc stars in action below…

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Two days ago, the death of ‘Moesha’ star Yvette Wilson struck up the ever heated topic of ‘US healthcare’.

For, before her untimely death, Wilson had been forced to call on the general public to help pay for medical expenses, believed to have amounted to $25,000.

Moved by the tragedy, Twitter saw Pop mogul Nicki Minaj weigh in on the matter and call on President Obama to make the necessary changes to ensure tax paying citizens received help from the State if ever in Wilson’s position.

Hours later, Quest of ‘The Roots responded to Minaj’s tweets, informing her that The White House would be interested in working with her to raise health care awareness.

Now, the world of Pop has weighed in on his claim.

Full story below…

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Before the release of Cheryl Cole‘s dance anthem ‘Call My Name‘, reports emerged claiming ROC belle Rita Ora had told numerous journalists the song was initially written for her, and that she had rejected it from her LP.

Now, in response to these unconfirmed reports, the cut’s producer Calvin Harris has branded the singer ‘a liar’ on Twitter.

His comments below…

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