Beyoncé to give graduation speech
NEW YORK (AP) — Beyoncé has been added to the list of guest speakers for YouTube’s virtual commencement ceremony that will also feature the Obamas.
YouTube announced Tuesday that Beyoncé will deliver an inspirational message to the 2020 class for its “Dear Class of 2020” event, which will take place June 6 at 3 p.m. EDT and will stream on YouTube.
Barack and Michelle Obama will also speak at the virtual celebration, which will include appearances from Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter, Malala Yousafzai, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Zendaya, Alicia Keys, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Demi Lovato, Hasan Minhaj and more.
“Dear Class of 2020” will include music performances from BTS, Lizzo, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe x Halle, Maluma, CNCO and Camila Cabello.
Tribute for late music exec set
NEW YORK (AP) — A tribute to Andre Harrell, the influential music executive who discovered Sean “Diddy” Combs and died earlier this month, will air Sunday.
The memorial broadcast dubbed “Mr. Champagne and Bubbles” — a nickname of Harrell’s — will feature tributes from Chris Rock, Mariah Carey, Jamie Foxx, Babyface, Naomi Campbell, Lee Daniels, Clarence Avant, Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons, Robin Thicke and more. It will air commercial free on BET, BET Jams, BET Soul and REVOLT TV, where Harrell served as vice chairman.
Harrell, who died at age 59, founded Uptown Records and shaped the sound of hip-hop and R&B in the late 1980s and ’90s with acts such as Mary J. Blige, Heavy D & the Boyz, Al B. Sure! and Guy, the R&B trio that also included megaproducer Teddy Riley, the leader of the New Jack Swing movement.
In the early ’90s, Diddy began interning for Uptown and quickly rose up the ranks after finding success with just-signed acts including R&B group Jodeci and Blige, who was dubbed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul with the release of her 1992 debut, “What’s the 411?” Uptown also released Notorious B.I.G.’s first single, 1993’s “Party and Bull----,” which was featured on a film soundtrack.
Diddy often credits Harrell with giving him the tools to find success in music and life, even saying Harrell was like a father figure to him. In 1993, Harrell let go of Diddy, who then launched his uber-successful Bad Boy Records.
Diddy posted multiple tributes to Harrell on social media following his death.
“I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me,” Diddy wrote on Instagram. “I’m going to miss him so much. I can’t even imagine life without Dre.”
UN: pandemic could close museums
BRUSSELS (AP) — Museums are starting to reopen in some countries as governments ease coronavirus restrictions, but experts warn one in eight worldwide could face permanent closure due to the pandemic.
Studies by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums show 90% of the planet’s museums, some 85,000 institutions, have had to shut at least temporarily.
“It is alarming data that we are giving,” Ernesto Ottone, Assistant Director General for Culture at UNESCO said in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday.
He said the problem cuts across the board, affecting museums big and small, new and established, featuring art or science.
Museums that indicated they might well not reopen, he said, “have been closed for months and they have no revenues. And they don’t know how they’re going to get their revenues.”
And once they do reopen, Ottone said, “they (won’t) have the capacity to update their infrastructure” to conform with social distancing and other pandemic precautions.
Some costly blockbuster shows have suffered heavy damage this spring. A once-in-a-lifetime exhibit bringing together fragile paintings by Flemish master Jan van Eyck had barely opened in Ghent, Belgium, when it was abruptly canceled. It won’t be resumed, as many of the works were on loan and had to be returned.
In Rome, a similar supershow on Renaissance artist Raphael had to close after just three days, but was able to hold on to all 120 works and will now reopen June 2 through Aug. 30.
Overall, the picture is dark, more Munch than Monet.
“Nearly 13% of museums around the world may never reopen,” UNESCO and ICOM said in a joint statement, saying those in poorer countries faced a greater risk.
Things are pretty bleak in wealthy countries too.
The Network of European Museum Organizations said large institutions in tourist hotspots like Paris, Amsterdam or Vienna have suffered income losses of up to 80 percent, that can reach hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars) a week.
Places like the Stedelijk and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, or the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna, could lose up to 2.5 million euros ($2.75 million) a month.
Ottone said matters were particularly tough in Latin America, “where 99.4% of all museums are closed right now.”
“So you have a continent that doesn’t have anything open,” Ottone said. “It’s the first time in our history and it will be very difficult to come out from this crisis for those institutions.”
It is little wonder that royalty and prime ministers are now lining up to boost their cultural institutions.
“We have to show our support at the maximum level to this sector by coming here, to show that they are open again and that people can come back here in complete safety, but also by taking measures and decisions ... to support them,” Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said Tuesday, touring the re-opened Bozar Center for Fine Arts in Brussels.
King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde visited the nearby Royal Museums of Fine Arts, wearing protective masks.
Across Europe, such reopenings provide some hope.
In Berlin, four museums and one special exhibit that reopened had 10,000 visitors over the past week — about 43% of last year’s level for the same week. Visitors need to buy tickets for a particular time slot, which limits the number of visitors.
In Italy, one-time epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, the Villa Borghese and the Capitoline museums, both home to Caravaggio paintings and Bernini sculptures, reopened on Tuesday.
There’s still no reopening date set for Italy’s biggest cultural draws, including the Uffizi in Florence and the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum in Rome.
The same goes for France. Big hitters, such as the Louvre – the world’s most visited museum — and the Pompidou Center remain shuttered after an easing of restrictions May 11.
Greece reopened its ancient sites — including the Acropolis — Monday, and set a June 15 date for museums.
Overall, the situation remains dire amid uncertainty over when tourism, a lifeline for most museums, will resume.