NEW YORK – Grammy Award-winning international superstars Rihanna and Lenny Kravitz will headline the 2011 NBA All-Star Entertainment Series presented by American Express. Kravitz will tip off the 60th NBA All-Star Game, on Sunday, Feb. 20 with a special performance during the player introductions while Rihanna will perform at halftime. The game will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT, Score Canada, ESPN Radio, and in more than 200 countries in more than 40 languages.
As the first-ever presenting partner of the NBA All-Star Entertainment Series, American Express will offer Cardmembers exclusive access including a special, behind-the-scenes tour of Staples Center to view artists’ rehearsals, as well as receive premier seats adjacent to the performance stage for NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.
In December, the NBA and American Express announced a comprehensive, multiyear marketing partnership that makes the leading global services company the league’s Official Credit Card Partner. American Express will provide Cardmembers with exclusive experiences and access to regular-season and playoff games, and premier NBA events such as NBA All-Star, the NBA Draft, and NBA Games — London 2011, the league’s first-ever regular-season games in Europe, available at www.americanexpress.com/entertainment.
Grammy Award-winning artist Lenny Kravitz will rock the 2011 NBA All-Star introductions with his new song, Come on Get It, welcoming the East and West All-Stars to the court before Sunday’s game. The song, featured in NBA on TNT promotions throughout the season, also has a basketball-themed video which was released in October and will appear on Kravitz’s upcoming album. The Hollywood crowd will then be serenaded by American multi-platinum superstar Josh Groban singing the U.S. National Anthem and R&B singer Melanie Fiona belting out the Canadian National Anthem.
As the headliner for the NBA All-Star Entertainment Series presented by American Express, pop diva Rihanna will mesmerize basketball fans at half-time performing her single What’s My Name in addition to her chart-topping hit Only Girl (In the World) off of her current album Loud.
On Saturday, Feb.19, as part of All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, pop-artist Keri Hilson will sing her rendition of the U.S. National Anthem prior to Canadian born R&B/soul singer Aion Clarke taking the court to perform the Canadian National Anthem. Between the Haier Shooting Stars and Foot Locker Three Point Contest, 2011 Grammy nominee and singer/songwriter Cee Lo Green will get the crowd going as he performs his latest single “Forget You.” Tipping off the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, pop/hip-hop group Far East Movement will hit the stage with their newest single, Rocketeer, from their debut album Free Wired. All performances will air before a nationwide audience, live on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.
The sensational group Cali Swag District will perform their hit Teach Me How to Dougie on Friday, Feb. 18, as part of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam which will be televised live on TNT at 9 p.m. ET.
About the Artists
Rihanna (Roc Nation/Def Jam) — Rihanna is an international pop music superstar and songwriter born and raised in St. Michael, Barbados. In 2005 at the young age of 17, Rihanna signed a record deal with Def Jam Recordings and released her debut single “Pon de Replay” which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Her debut single success was only a sign of bigger things to come. Rihanna’s second album A Girl Like Me released in 2006 produced her first #1 single “SOS.” Rihanna’s third album Good Girl Gone Bad produced a new sound and a new look along with the musical smash “Umbrella” feat. Jay-Z. After the success of her 2009 hit album Rated R, she released Loud in November 2010. Loud’s first two singles, “What’s My Name” (featuring Drake) and “Only Girl (In the World),” were worldwide successes, both solid #1 chart-toppers in the U.S. and UK. “What’s My Name” and “Only Girl (In the World)” were Rihanna’s 8th and 9th #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and she now ranks as the only female artist of the past decade to chart that many #1’s on the Hot 100. With over 15 million albums sold, 3 Grammys, four American Music and World Music and BET Awards, five Peoples Choice and Teen Choice Awards, MTV VMAs from every region, 15 Billboard Music Awards and nine No.1 singles, Rihanna’s influence on the musical world is undeniable.
Outside of music, Rihanna dedicates her time to her BELIEVE Foundation started in 2006 to inspire and protect children in need all over the world. Her home country of Barbados recognized her dedication to youth by bestowing her with the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.
Recently, Rihanna wrapped up filming Universal’s Battleship, directed by Peter Berg. She will make her feature film debut alongside Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard. The film is set to be released May 2012.
Lenny Kravitz — Regarded as one of the preeminent rock musicians of our time, Lenny Kravitz has transcended genre, style, race and class into a 20-year musical career, one which revels in the rich influences of ’60s and ’70s soul, rock and funk. Kravitz’s multiple talents as a writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist have resonated through eight studio albums into a timeless catalog and over 35 million in album sales. From 1999 to 2002, he won four consecutive Grammy Awards, setting a record for the most wins in the “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance” category for his single “Dig In” (previously winning for “Again,” “American Woman” and “Fly Away”). In 2004, he received his sixth Grammy nomination in the category for “If I Could Fall In Love” off his 6th studio album, Lenny. Kravitz’s appeal has also been recognized by his peers; his collaborative efforts are as varied as his own influences, having worked with Madonna, Slash, Aerosmith, Jay-Z, N.E.R.D., Mick Jagger, P. Diddy and Alicia Keys. In 2009, Kravitz appeared in a supporting role in the critically-acclaimed film Precious, for which he has received a 2010 NAACP Image Awards nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.” Kravitz and the celebrated Precious cast also received a 2010 Screen Actors Guild nomination for “Best Ensemble.” In addition to his supporting role in Precious, Kravitz has also appeared in such films as The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and Zoolander.
In 2009, the 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Kravitz’s debut, Let Love Rule, was issued. He is currently is the studio working on his 9th album Black and White America set for release in 2011. www.lennykravitz.com
Josh Groban (Warner Bros.) — An internationally renowned performer who has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, Josh Groban has thrilled a legion of devoted fans with his flawless baritone and extraordinary stage presence. The 29-year-old Los Angeles native first broke through in 2001 with his self-titled double-platinum debut, followed by 2003’s multi-platinum Closer, featuring the smash hit “You Raise Me Up,” and 2006’s double-platinum Awake. In 2007, the Grammy-nominated star became the best-selling recording artist of the year thanks to sales of Awake and his blockbuster Grammy nominated Christmas album, Noel the best-selling album of 2007. In 2008 Groban released his third live DVD, entitled Awake Live. Filmed in front of 15,000 fans at Salt Lake City’s Energy Solutions Arena during Groban’s 81-city Awake World Tour, the DVD includes electrifying versions of Groban’s hit singles “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up),” “February Song,” and “Awake.” In 2010 Josh released his fifth studio album entitled Illuminations, produced by Rick Rubin. The album has already gone platinum.
Keri Hilson (Interscope) — Keri Hilson is an American R&B recording artist and songwriter. Born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, Hilson made herself a name as a songwriter, penning tracks for several artists in the mid-2000s as part of the five-person production/songwriting team known as The Clutch. In 2006, she signed a recording contract with Timbaland’s label, Mosley Music. Hilson released her debut studio album, In a Perfect World…in March 2009, which peaked within the top five of the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the hit singles “Knock You Down” and “Turnin Me On.” The album reached number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was certified gold. Hilson earned two Grammy Award nominations for the album. Her second, and current, studio album No Boys Allowed was released on December 21, 2010.
Cee Lo Green — Cee Lo Green is an American singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He originally came to prominence as a member of the southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob, later launching a critically acclaimed solo career and forming Gnarls Barkley with DJ/producer Danger Mouse. Among Cee-Lo’s hits are the singles “Closet Freak” (2002); “I’ll Be Around” (2003), produced by Timbaland; “Crazy” (2006), by Gnarls Barkley; and “Forget You” (2010).
Melanie Fiona (Title 9/SRC/Universal Motown) — Melanie Fiona is a Canadian born R&B and soul recording artist. Her debut album The Bridge was released in 2009 and included the breakout song “It Kills Me.” The song topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and earned Fiona her first Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. With her second album The MF Life scheduled to be released this year, Fiona is a young music talent destined for success.
Aion Clarke — Aion Clarke is a singer/songwriter on the rise in the international music scene. The Toronto native was featured (under his FKA Voyce) on rap superstar Drake’s 2006’s debut mixtape Room for Improvement. In 2010, Clarke teamed up with Grammy award-winning producer Bryan Michael Cox for the mixtape The Leaks. Clarke also added his soulful voice to the Young Artists for Haiti Campaign. Clarke is currently on tour showing audiences around the world why he is an entertainer you should know.
Far East Movement (Cherrytree Records/Interscope) — This four-man group, also known as FM, blends elements of hip-hop, pop, electro, and dance to create an original sound they call “free wired.” Group members Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-Splif, and DJ Virman, who wear stylish shades, skinny ties, shiny blazers and fresh kicks, had a number 1 song on Los Angeles radio before they released their debut album. The red hot pop sensation’s debut album ‘Free Wired’ released October 2010, had the explosive smash hit single ‘Like A G6’ which spent 3 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold over 3 million units. The second single ‘Rocketeer’ is taking similar flight atop the Top 10 spots of the Billboard Hot 100, Digital songs and iTunes singles charts. In the past year, the guys have been on the road with Lady Gaga, NERD, Robyn, Kelis, Mike Posner, La Roux and will be joining Rihanna on tour next month. They have performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Lopez Tonight and Conan. The group was awarded Best International Artist in 2010 by the M.net Asian Music Awards.
Cali Swag District (Capitol Records/Checkmate Entertainment) — Cali Swag District is an American hip hop group from Inglewood, California. The group is best known for the single “Teach Me How to Dougie”, which reached Number 1 on Billboard Heatseekers, holding the Number 2 position for six consecutive weeks before claiming the Number 1 position in its seventh week. The group’s members include C-Smoove aka Smoove Da General, Yung, JayAre, and M-Bone. The group’s debut studio album, The Kickback, will be released on February 15, 2011.