Snoop Dogg, Flo Rida Introduce Airy New Hollywood Home for Eight Viacom Brands

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Viacom’s new West Coast headquarters opened last night in a raucous cascade of music and optimism, uniting the creative forces of eight major brands in a soaring, aspirational space at the heart of Hollywood.

“This new Hollywood facility reinforces our presence in the world’s entertainment capital, connecting us more deeply with the creative community and bringing inspiration for our employees, who help us deliver world-class entertainment and unforgettable stories to our audiences every day,” said Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish. “We wanted to create a space that encourages collaboration, creativity and innovation, and gives creators and employees the tools they need to do their best work.”

Bakish shared a huge stage at the launch party, addressing hundreds of employees between performances by Flo Rida and Snoop Dogg (posing as DJ Snoopadelic), star of VH1’s hit Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party and executive producer of MTV’s Mary + Jane. Deadline, Hollywood Reporter and Variety all posted vivid dispatches of the wild outdoor scene.

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Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: A general view of atmosphere during the Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Guests attend the Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Shari Redstone, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Viacom, Inc attends the Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Rapper Snoop Dogg performs at the Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Rapper Flo Rida performs at the Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Atmosphere at the Viacom Hollywood office grand opening on January 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for Viacom) Read More

Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Viacom Hollywood Office Grand Opening
Stuart Stuart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: (L-R) Rapper Flo Rida, Viacom Vice-Chairwoman Shari Redstone, Director and Cheif Liason Mayor's Office of Film and Television Production Kevin James and Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish attend Viacom Hollywood Offic… Read More

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16 out of ’16: The Viacom Blog’s Most Popular Posts From Last Year, According to You Guys

What makes our readers click?

According to our Google Analytics stats, it’s innovative marketing, brilliant shows and movies, political coverage, LGBT initiatives, A$AP Rocky, tacos, and Mediterranean music festivals.

2016 was monumental for Viacom, along with the rest of the world. We witnessed one of the most tectonic presidential elections in history. The way we consume media continued to evolve with advanced streaming services and virtual reality engagement. We lost beloved celebrities such as Prince and David Bowie, and sadly, many more. But we saw others rise to stardom, like Rita Ora, who now hosts VH1’s America’s Next Top Model, and Bebe Rhexa, who hosted the 2016 EMAs.

This list is by no means comprehensive of what Viacom accomplished in 2016—that would require far more than 16 posts to cover. But we’ve gathered those that made the largest impact, according what you, our readers, have clicked on the most.

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Viacom Just Premiered the Trippiest Virtual Reality Music Video Ever at the Sundance Film Festival

Pretend you’re a robot god in a mountain liquid dreamscape, dancing to infectious electronic beats while sparkly purple kittens float around you.

Oh, and there’s champagne too.

Enter the psychedelic world of Chocolatean animated virtual reality (VR) music experience created for the song of the same name by San Francisco based musician Giraffage. Born from the wildly imaginative mind of 3D animator Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT – the company’s emerging technology group – Chocolate was selected to premiere today at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in the New Frontier showcase of VR productions. It runs until Jan. 29.

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Jason Derulo Jams Alongside Hailee Steinfeld and More to Celebrate Nickelodeon’s 2016 HALO Honorees

Nickelodeon finished up 2016 strong on Sunday, Nov. 27. The show was full of stunning performances by stars like Jason Derulo, heartfelt collaborations between artists such as Jake Miller and Jacob Whitesides, and one purple Mohawk—courtesy of host Nick Cannon.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Nick Cannon hosts the Nickelodeon Halo Awards 2016 at Pier 36 on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 11: Nick Cannon hosts the Nickelodeon Halo Awards 2016 at Pier 36 on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)

But the biggest stars of the night were the honorees, four teens who embody the spirit of HALO (Helping And Leading Others).

Meet the honorees:

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Viacom Employee Jim Chrisman Gives His Wife a Very Mariah Christmas, Courtesy of VH1’s Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night

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Viacom’s Employee Events & Programs sent Jim Chrisman and his wife Courtney Chrisman to see VH1’s Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night live at the King’s Theatre in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, Dec. 5 2016. Photo courtesy of Jim Chrisman.

 

The holiday festivities began early for Viacom employee Jim Chrisman, a manager in our financial reporting group. Chrisman got to treat his wife to a once-in-a-lifetime seasonal surprise when he won tickets to VH1’s Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night, courtesy of Employee Events and Programs’ employee sweepstakes. The couple enjoyed special live performances by Mariah Carey, JoJo, Bebe Rexha, Teyana Taylor, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, and more. Below, Chrisman tells us a bit about how Viacom and VH1 made this holiday season particularly magical.

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Seven Years of Giving: The History Behind Viacom’s Give Back & Get Down Celebration

In the fall of 2010, Viacom’s Office of Global Inclusion started a new tradition—a holiday party that would bring employees together to celebrate the season of giving, by giving back to those in need.

Give Back & Get Down (GBGD) is the brainchild of Nickelodeon Digital Publishing Executive Assistant Tara Shaw and BET News Production Manager Renee Jackson, leaders of the BEAT (our employee resource group focused on the African-American experience).

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The inaugural celebration supported two vital causes.

City Harvest, the only food rescue program in New York City, collects excess food from restaurants and grocery stores—fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise be thrown out. Volunteers deliver this food to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, day cares and senior centers throughout the five boroughs.

Pajama Program, a national nonprofit, helps underprivileged children have a good night’s sleep. Cozy pajamas and bedtime story books are brought to kids in foster care or temporary shelters

Employees brought donations of pajamas and food to the party. While OGI members collected these items, Grammy-winning artist Miguel performed.

Seven years later, GBGD is our annual giving celebration. It embraces the Viacommunity spirit of making a positive social impact in areas where we work and live, and gives employees at premier entertainment brands the chance to let loose and celebrate a year of hard work.

Viacom has collected approximately 60 tons of donations since 2010.

 

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This year, we’ve partnered with Safe Horizons and Sanctuary for Families to support families and individuals impacted by domestic violence. GBGD VII is rapidly approaching, and donation boxes in our New York offices are filling up with toiletries.
Check back for a recap of GBGD VII on Dec. 7.

OGI Assistant Sarah Lee contributed to this article.

“That’s What American Music Is All About” – Obama, BET Host Celebrity-Fueled White House Celebration

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

BET loves President Obama. It’s not hard to see why. For eight years, the president has worked deliberately to help those who had long been overlooked, overseeing the legalization of same-sex marriage, overall economic expansion, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and more.

To emphasize the point, the net recently put together this list of seven things they most appreciate about the soon-to-be-former president’s work:

The president has taken time to speak directly to BET viewers, most memorably in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown and other unarmed black men by police across the country, when he sat down with BET News’ Jeff Johnson to discuss the importance of peaceful protest to the health and evolution of our nation. Click the image below to watch the full interview:

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As much as Obama has driven change in national policy and added gravity to essential conversations on race and justice, he has also committed considerable energy to emphasizing the importance that sports and the arts play in American culture. Never has his dedication to the musical arts been more apparent than with BET’s farewell flourish to the president, BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, which will air on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. ET.

The event, which the network hosted at the White House in October, features performances by Usher, Common, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., The Roots, De La Soul, Jill Scott, Yolanda Adams, Bell Biv DeVoe, Michelle Williams and Kiki Sheard. Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Bradley Cooper and Jesse Williams attended, reminiscing about Obama’s legacy.

Obama, whose reputation for comedic timing is legendary, seized a moment to re-dub the event “Barack Obama’s Block Party”:

Obama’s Block Party from Viacom on Vimeo.

This is one of a series of musical evenings the Obamas have hosted over their eight years in the White House, which have featured performers as diverse as Bob Dylan and Jennifer Hudson, carrying on a tradition of performance that stretches back to the administration of John Adams in 1801. Obama underscored the importance of elevating the country’s rich musical heritage to such a prominent stage in the nation’s capital.

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Introducing 2016 Viacom Employee Halloween Costume Contest Winner Allison Rube…Madonna at the 1984 VMAs

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Congratulations to Allison Rube (aka Madonna), on winning Viacom’s 2016 Employee Halloween Costume Contest.

Rube channeled the Queen of Pop’s iconic 1984 MTV VMA red carpet style with an all-white ensemble. Rube is a huge Madonna fan, and labored over finding each part of her costume—from the rocker-chic wedding dress to the white gloves and nameplate belt.

 

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Allison Rube may not have won a Moonman, but she’s the winner of Viacom’s 2016 Employee Halloween Costume Contest for her version of Madonna’s 1984 VMA ensemble.

We caught up with the winner to discuss her retro look.

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CMT Celebrates Powerful New Sounds Coming from the Next Women of Country

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Since 2013, CMT has shown an annual spotlight on the remarkable breakthrough female talent on the country music scene with its Next Women of Country roster. Last week, the net released its 2016 list, and the women on it are awesome.

From the female trios of Runaway Jane and Post Monroe to a broad list of signed and unsigned solo artists, CMT is providing a platform through its NextWomen.CMT.com site for fans to check out the creativity, energy and emotive lyrical power pouring out of this group.

While women remain underrepresented in country music as a whole, efforts like this ongoing push by CMT hope to change that by constantly showcasing the outsized talents of this new generation. The net will complement their site with weekly exclusive Next Women of Country LIVE performances on CMT.com.

“We’re so thrilled to introduce this incredibly talented and diverse mix of female artists to the Next Women franchise,” said CMT Senior Vice President of Music Strategy and Talent Leslie Fram. “With the full support of the industry behind us, we continue to see this initiative make a real difference in propelling female artists into the spotlight.”

To see just how good this group is, check out the video previews of each of the 10 artists or groups of artists on the list below. You can follow #CMTNextWomen on Twitter for continual Next Women of Country Updates.

CAITLYN SMITH:

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Big K.R.I.T. Speaks Out, Snoop Is Honored as DJ Khaled Hosts BET Hip Hop Awards

The annual BET Hip Hop Awards celebrates and showcases the year’s best in hip-hop culture, and 2016 was no exception. From Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the awards dished out memorable honors and performances by some of the biggest names in the industry. This year’s Hip Hop Awards, hosted by major key himself DJ Khaled, left us wanting “another one.”

via GIPHY

Why? Check out some highlights below, then watch the rest here.

Let’s Get Things Moving

Take notes – this is how to open a show in style. Gucci Mane performed from his ninth studio album, Everybody Looking, alongside producer Zaytoven. Joined later on stage by Young Thug, Travis Scott and Migos Quavo, the artists set the stage for the Hip Hop Awards, teaming up to perform Pick Up the Phone. Watch it here.

via GIPHY

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