This year the 4th Annual Urban One Honors will be hosted by R&B icon, Ne-Yo. This year’s theme is “The Soundtrack of Black America.” Eva Marcille will host a special backstage pass segment featuring exclusive interviews. The honorees will include Timbaland, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Gamble & Huff, Jennifer Hudson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. We had a chance to attend a press conference with questions asked by different outlets. The below Q&A features answers by Ne-Yo. Check it out below to learn about the upcoming show.
See below for the Q&A.
Question From Another Outlet: Now there’s talks of you featuring on the late Aaliyah’s posthumous album “Unstoppable” right, according to social media many fans are having something to say about a lack of R&B features on the project from today’s woman. So in your opinion do you think R&B albums, can stand alone in today’s musical climate without having heavy features from a rapper?
Ne-Yo: I think so, I think it just really depends on, you know the sounds being used and what’s being talked about. At the end of the day I don’t think that an R&B album just has to have a rap feature for it to be successful but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been proven time and time again that, that recipe works but I genuinely feel like R&B is slowly but for surely making a come back. The pendulum is swinging back towards people wanting to feel something from the music and I mean I love hip-hop as much as the next man but you can’t get from a hip-hop song that thing that you get from that right R&B song and that’s just always going to be what that is.
Question From Another Outlet: This is seriously so exciting, this year‘s honors are going to air on MLK day which is such an important day for all of us. I want to ask you about the importance of the day and the fact that music is coming and bringing us all together yet again during a very stressful time in all of our lives.
Ne-Yo: Everybody’s familiar with what Martin Luther King‘s dream was and that was just basically for in layman’s terms for everybody to rock together, just realize that you know under this skin and whatever color it is we’re all one tribe and so, for this kind of show to fall on this day you know with that message it just all kind of makes perfect sense. It was kind of serendipitous, it was meant to happen this way and for me to be bestowed the honor of hosting the show there’s not words that I could put together to say how grateful and appreciative I am.
Question: Being that you’re amongst some of the most iconic musicians on the Urban One Honors, what impact has any of the honorees had in your career?
Ne-Yo: My earliest memory of loving music, loving any piece of music would have to be you know anything old Motown anything Michael Jackson, anything Prince, anything Stevie Wonder just that whole era of music is kind of what molded my love for music and for melody you know those different sounds and tones so with that being said without Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, without a Gamble and Huff, without the innovations of a Timbaland there probably wouldn’t be a Ne-Yo.
Ty Cole: Urban honors honors the best music obviously for Us by us and This year’s theme is the soundtrack to Black America. For New Artist to gain your honor and respect what are two things you look for?
Ne-Yo: Two things I look for. For one passion for the art. Ok, its one thing being able to hold a note and I want to get in the music because I want to make money and you know all of these things that people sometimes allow to be the motivation for why they do what they do. I’ve never felt like art should ever be motivated by Finance or income. I feel like it’s suppose to be again self expression, it’s supposed to be therapeutic, it’s supposed to be your way of speaking a language that only you can understand and some people can relate to, that’s kind of what art is supposed to be so if your an artist and you play guitar or whatever it is that you do and you would do it for free you’re probably going to get my attention before the guy thats, you know his main concern is how many fans he’s gonna get, how much money is going to be made behind his art.
The Urban One Honors will air this Monday, January 17, 2022 which is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 8pm on TV One and Cleo TV, a division of Urban One.