AHH Stray News: Baby D, Russell Simmons, American Gangster, Urban Network Magazine

Big Oomp Camp Allstar member Baby D announced the release of a new album titled A-Town Secret Weapon. The Decatur native has been a member of the Big Oomp camp since 1994, when Big Oomp launched his legendary independent label/record store chain. The album is the first release under the Koch Urban South imprint, which is headed up by Big Oomp. Baby D enlisted the production talent of DJ Montay, who has experienced recent success producing Flo Rida and T. Pain’s "Get Low," as well as "Walk It Out" and "2 Step," hit singles from Big Oomp Camp Allstar member Unk. A-Town Secret Weapon is due in stores April 1, 2008.

Russell Simmons’ Simmons Jewelry Co. recently presented a donation in the sum of $311,535.00 to the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.). The non-profit organization was founded by Simmons after his return from Africa last year. A majority of the proceeds were generated through the sales of Simmons Jewelry’s Green Initiative jewelry collection, which included the signature Green Bracelet. Over $20 from the sale of each Green Bracelet, which retails for $125, is donated to D.E.F. The money is used to fund education programs in African countries that produce diamonds. Celebrities like Beyonce, Ludacris, T.I., Naomi Campbell, John Mayer, Mischa Barton, David Beckham, Serena Williams and Bill Clinton have sported the bracelet. For more information on D.E.F., visit ww.diamondempowerment.org.

A group of former federal drug enforcement agents filed a $55 million dollar class action lawsuit against NBC Universal on January 16, claiming they were defamed in the hit movie American Gangster. Three agents claim the final credits of the film falsely states that three-quarters of the DEA agents assigned to New York were convicted as a result of the cooperation of heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, portrayed by Denzel Washington. The agents, who seek to halt all distribution of the film, claim that Lucas no agents were convicted as a result of Lucas’ cooperation with police officer Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe in the flick. Universal issued a statement denying the allegations in the lawsuit. "American Gangster does not defame these or any federal agents. The law enforcement officers portrayed in the film are identified as members of the New York City Police Department. The end legend specifically refers to members of "New York City's Drug Enforcement Agency" -- not the federal Drug Enforcement Administration where the plaintiffs formerly worked." Universal said in a statement.

The Los Angeles based Urban Network Magazine will celebrate its 20th anniversary next month. The magazine originally launched in February 1988 as an industry trade publication for urban radio, music retail and record companies. Today, the print magazine and website targets the consumer and entertainment industry enthusiasts. The company will host its long-running Urban Network Entertainment Marketing Summit. The 18th annual event will take place March 26-29 at the Newport Beach Hyatt in Newport Beach, California. The summit will host panels on new business models, the state of urban radio, how to market music on social networks and other informative panels. This year’s keynote speakers will be Starbucks Entertainment President Kenneth Lombard. "To be around for 20 years—especially in today’s unpredictable marketplace—is a milestone to be celebrated," says Miller London, Urban Network’s President & CEO. "We at the Urban Network are very grateful to the industry and to those who have given their ongoing support; and, we look forward to you all joining us for our Summit in Newport Beach." For more information visit: www.urbannetwork.com.