The Roots drummer and bandleader Questlove is putting on his professor’s hat as he co-teaches a course called “Classic Albums” at New York University.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to join forces with Universal Music Group’s Vice President of A&R Harry Weinger to teach the two-credit class at the prestigious Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The course is to begin at the beginning of the spring semester. Some of the albums to be studied are Michael Jackson‘s Off The Wall, Beastie Boys‘ Paul’s Boutique, and Aretha Franklin‘s Lady Soul.


Hailing from the streets of North Philadelphia and a product of Philadelphia’s prestigious Creative and Performing Arts High School, music has always been a part of Leah’s life. Smith gave her first vocal solo at the age of 4 and at the age of 9, began singing with the Temple University Program for Gifted Young Musicians. She began recording with the Baltimore based group Sandtown before she was even in a double digit age category and began writing songs at age 11. In 2008, Smith became the winner of the Best of Philly Rising/World Café Live Showcase and released her debut EP entitled Beautifully Made in October 2009 to rave reviews. Smith’s current single, Monster debuted at number 1 on within its first week of sales.

Singer/Songwriter/Musician Leah Smith has shared the stage with Grammy Award winning artists such as Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, and Israel Houghton. A former member of Israel Houghton and New Breed, Smith has already toured the United States, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Smith’s music offers a breath of fresh air to the music that mainstream culture has grown accustomed to. Leah Smith wants to share with her listeners that “real, living hope is accessible to all.” Her sound crosses genre barriers blending soul, gospel, pop, and folk musical styles to create a sound all her own. Smith’s debut EP Entitled Beautifully Made is in stores now.


Tweet is back from a looooooong hiatus and covers Aretha Franklin’s “Day Dreaming.”

He new album Simply Tweet  is due out later this year.


Aretha Franklin sat down and talked to Today Show Al Roker to  discuss the death of Whitney Houston.

Franklin said she was in a hotel room in North Carolina when she heard the news of Whitney’s death on the news.

“What?! This cannot be. What is this?,” Franklin told Roker that was her first reaction to the news.

Aretha Franklin will be singing at Whitney’s funeral and said

“it’s not going to be easy.”

The Official Whitney Houston invitation for her a “home going service” not her “funeral.”

TMZ  reports that it reads,

“With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston Family requests the honor of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston.”

The ceremony will be at The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ begin at 12:00 PM EST. A host of stars will be paying their respects including Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

CNN reports, legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, officials said. She was 48.

The entertainer, whose incredible talent was discovered at an early age, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. (6:55 p.m. ET) at the Beverly Hilton hotel despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent” and that the cause of her death is being investigated.

Houston’s bodyguard found her body, said Courtney Barnes, publicist for hip-hop artist Ray J, who was dating the pop diva.

According to her official website, Houston sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos. But she also struggled with addiction problems over the years.

Houston, whose hits included “The Greatest Love of All,” died on the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She had performed as late as Thursday night at a pre-Grammy event in the area.

She was set to appear in this year’s “Sparkle,” a remake of the 1976 hit, which was loosely based on the story of The Supremes. It was her first movie role since 1996’s “The Preacher’s Wife.”

Aretha Franklin said,

“I just can’t talk about it now.  It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.  My heart goes out to Cissy (Houston’s mother), her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown).”

Dolly Parton, wrote

“I Will Always Love You,” said, “mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, ‘Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.'”

Quincy Jones, said he was

“absolutely heartbroken” by the news.

“She was a true original and a talent beyond compare,” he said.


Aretha Franklin announce that she and William (Willie) Wilkerson, 64, were not getting married this summer like they had planned.

Sources in Franklin’s camp told the Daily News they were skeptical that Franklin would actually walk down the aisle.

Franklin’s publicist released a joint statement, signed “Aretha and Will” that said:

“Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly. There will be no wedding at this time.”

“We will not comment on it any further because of the very personal and sensitive nature of it. We appreciate all of the many well wishes from friends.”


The 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans has another all-star line up:

Aretha Franklin
Mary J. Blige
Keyshia Cole
Vivian Green
Bridget Kelly
Dru Hill
Charlie Wilson
Stephanie Mills
Raheem DeVaughn
Kindred the Family Soul
Luke James
Eric Roberson
The Stylistics
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
The Original Pinettes Brass Band
The Stooges Brass Band
Khris Royal & Dark Matter

ESSENCE will honor iconic singer Aretha Franklin with “The Power Award.”

The festival is three full days (July 6-8) of socio-political dialogue, health and wellness discussions and spiritual inspiration with Steve Harvey, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters and Dr. Steve Perry.

There will also be an All-star Gospel tribute honoring gospel stars Fred Hammond and Mary Mary.

Hello Beautiful

Omg reports, Aretha Franklin is engaged to longtime friend William “Willie” Wilkerson.

The Grammy-winning singer told The Associated Press in a statement Monday that she and Wilkerson are considering a summer wedding, perhaps in Miami Beach, Fla. The Queen of Soul wants to follow the ceremony with a reception on a private yacht.

The 69-year-old jokes:

“No, I’m not pregnant.”

Franklin and Wilkerson became engaged over the holidays. She is considering Vera Wang, Valentino and Donna Karan to design her dress.

Franklin has been married twice before.


Aretha Franklin has been honored with a star-studded tribute at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Lauryn Hill, Dennis Edwards of the Temptations and Chaka Khan were among those who entertained at the show, according to the Plain Dealer.

The 69-year-old Queen of Soul was not scheduled to perform but towards the end of the three-hour event she took a seat at a piano and traded verses with Dennis in a rendition of A Song For You.

Aretha received a key to the city from Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson during the event and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Case Western Reserve University.

The show ended a week-long American Music Masters tribute to the Respect star.