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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.
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 Chocolate, an 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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”:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) have spent more than two decades hop-scotching across the continent’s bottomless circuit of iconic cities, from recent stops in Milan, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid to its inaugural acts in the global hubs of London and Paris.
The spotlight shines very bright with a stage that big, and it takes someone at the pulsing vanguard of pop culture to stand at the center of it all. Past hosts have proven equal to the enormity of the moment, with a register that includes Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran and Ruby Rose, among many others.
This year, as the EMAs land back in Rotterdam for the first time since 1997, singer, songwriter and producer Bebe Rexha will join that historic register, hosting the event and also performing.
There’s little doubt she belongs. Her No Broken Hearts video with Nicki Minaj has passed 125 million views on YouTube since posting in April:
So are we. Earlier this week, MTV welcomed Rexha to its Times Square studio, where MTV News’ Sway sat down to ask her exactly how cool it was to host the EMAs. The whole thing streamed on Facebook Live.