News on MixTape, Joe Diffie, Spirit of Liberty

DJ Red AlertThe sixth annual MixTape Awards will be held Dec. 11 at New York's Apollo Theater, honoring primarily non-commercial DJs who create underground hip-hop mixtapes. DJ Red Alert will host the event, presenting awards in 17 categories to mixtape DJs from the major markets of Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. The winners are chosen in categories such as best hip-hop tape, best blends, the Pinkhouse award, and mixtape of the year, based on voting at the awards' official Web site. The show, created by Just Entertainment, will also feature as-yet-unannounced live performances.

DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex, Kid Capri, K-Slay, Green Lantern, and Tony Touch are among the mixtape DJs set to attend the awards show. Clue, a past winner, entered The Billboard 200 at No. 3 with his "DJ Clue? The Professional 2" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) in March.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







Joe DiffieCountry artist Joe Diffie will host the 10th annual Country Steps In For First Steps concert on Feb. 10 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The event raises funds for First Steps Inc., a Nashville-based organization that assists children with special needs, including Diffie's son Tyler, who has Downs Syndrome. Other confirmed performers include Tracy Lawrence, Ricky Skaggs, and Cletus T. Judd, with more expected to be added.

"I look forward to putting together this concert every year," Diffie said in a statement. "The staff at First Steps made such an impact on my son's life. This event is the least I can do to give back to this worthy organization."

Diffie's latest Monument album, "In Another World," debuted at No. 57 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart earlier this month.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







Neil YoungNeil Young, "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, directors Kevin Smith and Kimberly Peirce, and California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will be honored at the 20th anniversary Spirit of Liberty Awards dinner Dec. 11 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The event, sponsored by People for the American Way, "recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the values of the American Way."

Young will receive the Spirit of Liberty lifetime achievement award, while Parker, Stone, Peirce, and Smith will receive Defender of Democracy awards. Pelosi will be presented with the Spirit of Liberty award.

"These individuals ... have taken public stands to support a free, open, and democratic society through their art and work, educating while entertaining, and courageously addressing today's most fundamental social and political issues," the organization said in a statement.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

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