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Real music, real impact, real inspiration

David Goodson | 2/28/2013, 3:32 p.m.

With album numero tres, the march to his legacy continues and as he says, "I'd like to see myself as a key contributor to our music, but the main thing for me is to speak to you in my own voice. The struggle will be there because I make risky music, but I know that with my work ethic and passion, I'm privileged to love what I do; what will come to me in my career will come."

For anyone who missed the Jill Newman Productions album release event at the Highline Ballroom, then next month you can get redemption. Bilal and more than a dozen musicians will gather at New York City's Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium to honor Prince. The Music of Prince Benefit Concert is the ninth installment of philanthropist Michael Dorf's annual series that will donate funds to various programs promoting music education for underprivileged youth. Thus far the efforts have generated $700,000. The lineup includes the Roots, Talib Kweli, D'Angelo, Elvis Costello, Booker T., Alice Smith and the Blind Boys of Alabama, amongst others.

The whole thing goes down on March 7. Tickets are on sale now, with prices ranging from $48 to $150.

It's perfect timing for the television airing of "Stevie Wonder With Friends: Celebrating a Message of Peace," which premiered Saturday on Centric at 9 p.m. The musical celebration took place last October in New York at United Nations Headquarters in honor of the 67th anniversary of the U.N.'s peacekeeping and crisis management efforts. The show featured Wonder performing duets with musicians across the spectrum, including Sting, Valerie Simpson, BeBe Winans, Stephanie Mills, Janelle Monae, Elle Varner, Doug E. Fresh and more.

"We are honored to celebrate all the amazing work the United Nations does around the globe," said Debra Lee, CEO and chairman of BET Networks.

Beyond his incredible music career, Wonder has consistently used his voice to create a better and more peaceful world. The effect that Wonder's music has literally impacted the world can be gauged by the testimony of global dignitaries like Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said in his official message for U.N. Day 2012, "The United Nations is a unique and indispensable meeting place for diplomats. The United Nations is also a peacekeeper disarming fighters, a health worker distributing medicine, a relief team aiding refugees, a human rights expert helping deliver justice ... No single leader, country or institution can do everything. But each of us, in our own way, can do something."

And why is the timing on point? Well, Wonder has been in the news this week for speaking out on the reckless behavior of a chart topper who has failed to realize that his self-hatred should not be spewed to influential ears. In this case, it's Lil Wayne, who went way over the lines of decency and shock value. In a constant search for wit, analogies and word play in his songs, the rapper delivered an inexcusable line about Emmit Till. No need to repeat the verse, the song or the label, because if it reached the ears of the public, it's an example of the fact that all publicity is good publicity. But it should be noted that it was intended for release on a major label during Black History Month no less. No respect.

"You just cannot do that. ... I think you got to have someone around you that--even if they are the same age or older--is wiser to say, 'Yo, that's not happening. Don't do that,'" Wonder said about the lyric. "Sometimes people have to put themselves in the place of people who they are talking about. Imagine if that happened to your mother, brother, daughter or your son. How would you feel? Have some discernment before we say certain things. That goes for me or any other writer."

I'm out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.