MP3 Melange Lavonne - The Movement
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16 MP3 Songs
HIP-HOP/RAP: Alternative Hip Hop, URBAN/R&B: Urban
HomoRevolution this year (2008), is hitting stages from California to Boston. One of the featured performers is 28-year-old California native Melange Lavonne, an outspoken, openly lesbian hip-hop artist whose song "Gay Bash" delves into the death of her best friend Kevin at the hands of gay bashers. The video for the song was shot 2007 and has been aired on MTV Logo's Click List, and voted The Best Music Videos for MTV Logo's New Next Now 2007. Lavonne, who has just completed her new album, titled "The Movement" brings all of herself â including her sexual orientation â to her music despite the fact that hip-hop is often experienced as misogynistic and homophobic. "I'm trying to get a message across, trying to spread awareness â¦ about what I've endured and what my friends have gone through," said Lavonne, who has been the victim of anti-gay discrimination herself, specifically through the loss of a collegiate athletic scholarship. "I had a basketball scholarship at a University in New Orleans," she explained. "The 60-year-old female coach had suspicions that some of the players were playing around with each other, and she told us that she couldn't have dykes on the team, that it would not be tolerated. She pulled me aside specifically and said that I could either get psychiatric help or lose my scholarship." She wasn't out to her parents at that time and didn't want to jeopardize who she was, so she left the school, telling her parents it was due to an injury. Later, she told her parents the truth. That experience was a turning point for Lavonne in another way, too. While sitting in the airport terminal waiting for her flight back to California, a woman from a Christian revival group noticed her and told her, "Whatever you're going through, God still loves you for who you are." Lavonne recalled: "It felt like I was saved. I learned that you can be a lesbian and have Christ in your heart and in your life." She stayed in touch with this woman and her husband for several years. Her parents took some time to adjust to Lavonne's sexual orientation: "It took my mom some time to get used to it â she's really religious â but once she saw what the damage of her not accepting me did to me [such as suicidal depression], she stopped. I gave them a chance to be accepting. My stepdad and mom are so accepting now." Lavonne has known she was gay since she was born. "My parents are Christian, and they told me that before you have sex, you'll have to get married, and then you'd have kids. I always assumed and knew I would marry a woman and then have kids, ha ha." She was out to her classmates and teammates in High School in Sacramento, Calif.: "Everyone was very accepting, even the guys at my school. I dated a cheerleader." The fact that she was healthy enough to play high school basketball and date was not a foregone conclusion, since Lavonne has been battling cancer since she was 12. "I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease around the same time my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer," she said. "I had one and a half years of radiation therapy and was home-schooled. â¦ To boost up my confidence, I took up sports." Her father, with whom she was living with at the time after her parents' divorce, was a former basketball coach and encouraged her to shoot hoops. Unfortunately, her battle with cancer is not over. "In April 2005, another tumor developed, and in the process of removing it, they found a rare type of cancer called SETTLE tumor [Spindle Epithelial Tumor with Thymus-Like Differentiation]," she said. "There's only 22 diagnosed cases in the world, so Im told." Lavonne does not let it slow her down, though. In addition to writing songs, dabbling in music production and touring with HomoRevolution, she's also done some modeling and acting and is attending school, majoring in graphic design with a minor in business marketing. "When I got into the hip-hop industry, I started doing my own posters, cover art, flyers, etc. ââ¬¦ to save money," she said, "and I discovered that I'm good at it and enjoy it." Despite some setbacks when she began her music career ("I ended up losing everything" to shady producers, she reported), she's happily working on her new CD, tentatively called The Movement. "My new album is more personal; it expresses my creative side." She now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., away from the ruthlessness she found when living in Hollywoodand records in Palm Springswith her producer & cousin, King Beats. I love hip-hop because I can articulate in about four minutes what I can in a conversation. In 48 bars, I can get my point across." She has toured extensively around Southern California, is touring with the homorevolution which was about of the True Colors Youth Conference at Uconn, touring in New Jersey, New York, and is recently working on her new video "I Got You aka Gay Parenting. Ironically, Lavonne didn't grow up listening to rap and hip-hop and doesn't listen to it much now, other than when visiting clubs. "I grew up listening to '80s music like Tears for Fears and Duran Duran," she said. "There's a wide variety of music I listen to now: jazz, classical, rock, alternative. I love, love, love Michael Buble." Her outspokenness definitely carries over to her music as well. Her song "Sick Sad World" decries racism, abuse, poverty, anorexia and prejudice. In "The Game," she exposes some of the problems of the hip-hop world, saying, "the music industry is a pimp and they see you as a ho." "I got you" addresses Gay parenting and "Future President" addresses the fate of the nation. She also touches issues on Domestic Violence, A.I.D.S, Gangs, and Global Warming Despite hip-hop's negative rap, Lavonne is clearly in love with the genre. She adds, "I'm married to hip hop; it's my dedication." For more on Lavonne, visit her official website or her myspace.com/melangelavonne
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