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Author: Monica Mercuri

I am a freelance journalist.

Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation Donates $5 Million To Fight COVID-19

Photo Credit: Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage.

The Clara Lionel Foundation, Rihanna’s education and emergency relief nonprofit, announced Saturday (March 21) that it has donated $5 million toward COVID-19 response efforts.

The donation will benefit on-the-ground partners including Direct ReliefFeeding AmericaPartners in HealthThe World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fundthe International Rescue Committee.

Funds will support local food banks serving at-risk communities in the U.S., the acceleration of testing and care in countries like Haiti and Malawi, and the mobilization of resources and support for Native Communities.

Read the full article, which is part of my COVID-19 coverage and its impact on the music and entertainment communities, here.

Interview: Wiz Khalifa Talks ‘The Wiz Vault’ And The Importance Of Giving Back To Music Education

(Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/Film Magic)

“The music programs in Pittsburgh—that’s where I learned how to be who I am today,” says Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa, who recently launched The Wiz Vault to raise money for music education programs similar to those that helped him early on in his career. 

As part of the “Clothes Off My Back” campaign, launched in September, the singer-songwriter, actor and Taylor Gang founder is selling his personal clothing, accessories and memorabilia from monumental career moments for charity.

In January, the vault was expanded to offer sneakers from the rapper’s exclusive collection, offering high-end brands like Supreme, Jordan and Valentino. Standout pieces from the vault include Jordans from his sneaker collection and jackets he wore in past music videos, Khalifa says.

Read the full article, here.

Interview: Antoni Porowski’s Go-To Holiday Dish, Adapting A Plant-Based Lifestyle, ‘Queer Eye’ And More


Antoni Porowski’s food expertise ventures beyond his expert role on Queer Eye. You can visit his fast-casual healthy restaurant, The Village Den, located in Manhattan’s West Village. Porowski is in charge of developing the café’s menu, which caters to wide-range of diets such as paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and more.

Read the full article here.

2019 Analysis: How TikTok Influenced Music Discovery In 2019

In 2019, Lil Nas X captured the No. 18 spot on Forbes’ top-earning country stars, fueled by his viral hit “Old Town Road” and its many remixes. The track, which holds the title as the longest-reigning Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 in the chart’s history, first went viral on the popular social media video app, TikTok.

An influx of TikTok videos emerged inspired by the country/trap mix, which showed users sipping “Yee Yee Juice” before changing into old western outfits when the beat drops. Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road – remix,” re-recorded with Billy Ray Cyrus, exploded on streaming services and climbed the Billboard charts, propelling the Atlanta-native into stardom.

But the song’s initial popularity on TikTok, and the 20-year-old’s subsequent success, helped him earn an estimated pretax income of $14 million in 2019 (in the scoring period from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019), according to Forbes. He signed to Columbia Records and released his debut EP 7, just four months after posting the song on TikTok in February 2019.

Check out the full article on Forbes here.

Photo Credit: Jens Kalaene/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The World’s Highest-Paid DJs 2019: The Chainsmokers Topple Calvin Harris With $46 Million

Beneath electrifying Tesla coil disco balls, Marshmello ascended the glowing 360-degree rotating DJ booth shaped like his signature cylindrical mask. His headpiece immediately illuminated in rainbow, mimicking the multi-colored laser beams and special effects scattered throughout the 29,000-square-foot nightclub.

This scene last April kicked off Marshmello’s residency at the new Kaos Dayclub and Nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, part of a megadeal worth $60 million. 

Even with that massive haul, Marshmello isn’t the highest-paid electronic act in the world—that honor goes to the Chainsmokers, who garnered $46 million in pretax income over the past year. The duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall top our annual Electronic Cash Kings list with their biggest earnings year yet, dethroning Calvin Harris after six consecutive years at No. 1.

Read the full Forbes article here.

Interview: Sarah Michelle Gellar Talks Return To TV And Why ‘Buffy’ Is Still Relevant…

“It was the time away that got me really excited about different projects and more focused on what it is I ultimately wanted to do,” says Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is preparing to make her return to primetime television after a five-year hiatus from acting. During her time away, she spent valuable time with her children and pursued a second career with Foodstirs, an organic and kid-friendly baking kit and mix company she co-founded with friends Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman, in 2015. Read the full Forbes article here.