NAJEE’S NOTES: Stevie Wonder still giving to the community

December 8, 2017

Legendary singer-songwriter and humanitarian Stevie Wonder has announced he will be performing his iconic works “Talking Book” and “Innervisions” for the 21st annual House Full of Toys benefit concert Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. at Staples Center.

“This is the 21st [time] our city will be celebrating the joy of giving in the spirit of song and will make this night such pleasured fun for the old and young,” Wonder said.

Wonder is one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century. He signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11 and he continued performing and recording for Motown into the 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

Among Wonder’s works are singles such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “Superstition,” “Sir Duke,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” and albums such as “Talking Book,” “Innervisions” and “Songs in the Key of Life.”

He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top 10 hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, one of the most-awarded male solo artists, and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists.

Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States.

In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2013, Billboard magazine released a list of the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the U.S. singles chart’s 55th anniversary, with Wonder at number six.

Wonder is also the owner of KJLH Radio Station and, through his station, has given a voice to our community to be informed or discuss serious issues. As someone who has been blessed over the years to have walked with and held conversations with such world icons such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Rosa Parks and President Barack Obama, Wonder, for me, has been someone I have the highest regard and respect for.

I first met him more than two decades ago in Leimet Park at the World Stage. I was so exicted and could barely contain myself. Wonder, who I had idolized since I was a child, was in the same room and I was just a few feet from him. I waved my hand and gestured to his security if it was OK if I said something to him as we exited the building. They nodded yes. And I spoke to Wonder, introducing myself and thanking him for his music and activism which inspired myself and countless others worldwide.

I was shocked when Wonder knew who I was and said he listened to the KJLH Radio morning talk show “The Front Page,” then hosted by Carl Nelson. Wonder said he was an early riser and listened in to the show at times.

I was a frequent guest on the show, talking about activism in our community and what the pressing issues were. I was humbled.

I eventually had one of the most memorable experiences of my life as I was able to sit in as co-host of “The Front Page” a few years later with Wonder and its current host Dominique Di Prima.

Wonder is someone who loves and cares about people. He has proven it with his time, money and relentless activism. Wonder is out in public quite often and I have had the pleasure of talking to him every time our paths have crossed. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

I look forward to donating and giving to Wonder’s “House Full of Toys,” which will benefit children, people with disabilities and families in need. Concertgoers are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or unwrapped gift of joy. The charitable gift is 100 percent tax deductible since no goods or services will be provided in consideration for your gift.

Wonder’s We Are You Foundation, is a nonprofit organization. The toy donations allow the station to continue serving the children of our community, especially in such a time as this, so they are mobilizing to help bring smiles to kids across our communities.

The need is great, especially for the older kids 12-17 You can bring gift cards, tablets and electronic devices, just help us serve them as well as the young ones. With your help, KJLH can fill many houses full of toys this holiday season.

If you can’t make it the concert, just drop off your toys at the studios of KJLH at 161 N. La Brea Ave. in Inglewood or wherever you see the KJLH Street Team.

On a personal note, Stevie Wonder and his House Full of Toys concert is an annual event for my family, this year with special guests Andra Day, Dave Matthews, Pharrell Williams, Savion Glover and Tony Bennett.

I’m looking forward to being with and supporting Wonder again.

Information: (213) 742-7340.

For news tips, email or follow me on Twitter@Najeeali.


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