Billboard Bits: Talib Kweli/Mos Def, Joey Ramone, Afu-Ra, Joe Walsh

Stories on Talib Kweli/Mos Def, Joey Ramone, Afu-Ra, and Joe Walsh.

Talib KweliThe Nkiru Center for Education and Culture, Inc., founded by hip-hop artists Talib Kweli and Mos Def to promote literacy and use the arts, education, history, and science to promote culture, will host its inaugural benefit awards reception Monday (Dec. 17) in New York. Rawkus Records co-CEOs Jarret Myer and Brian Brater will receive the organization's Black Star Award. Also to be honored are poet/activist/teacher Sonia Sanchez (Leothy Miller-Owens Award) and Nkiru volunteer Ted Sammons (Nkiru Service Award).

Noted dancer Savion Glover will join Kweli and Mos Def for a performance during the event, tickets for which are available via the organization's official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Joey RamoneFurther details about Joey Ramone's posthumous debut solo album, "Don't Worry About Me," continue to surface. As first revealed here earlier this month, the album is due out Feb. 19 through Sanctuary Records.

The set features musical contributions from Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff, and drummer Frank Funaro (Cracker, Del Lords), as well as Joey's former bandmate, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone. Also featured is a guest appearance by the Damned's Captain Sensible on the track "Mr. Punchy."

The album was produced by guitarist Daniel Rey, who recently finished mixing tracks that were not completed prior to Ramone's April 15 death from cancer.

On Monday (Dec. 18), Sanctuary will release a commercial single of the pre-Ramones track "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" and the song "I Couldn't Sleep At All" will be released. Both were recorded with Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh, and neither appear on "Don't Worry About Me."

For more news on the album and Joey Ramone's legacy, visit

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Afu-RaD&D/Koch/In The Paint recording artist Afu-Ra is in the midst of wrapping up the follow up his critically acclaimed debut, "Body of the Life Force." Due out in the early spring, the as-yet-untitled set features guest appearances from RZA, Big Daddy Kane, M.O.P., and Teena Marie, among others, and is being executive produced by DJ Premier.

The New York-based rapper is currently on the road supporting Guru. The tour touches down tonight (Dec. 14) in El Paso, Texas, before hitting Albuquerque tomorrow, and closing out Sunday in Boulder, Colo.

-- Rashaun Hall, N.Y.

Joe WalshEagles guitarist Joe Walsh will receive an honorary doctorate from Ohio's Kent State University during a commencement ceremony on Saturday (Dec. 15). Walsh, who is an accomplished solo artist, attended the school from 1965 through 1967.

Kent State spokesman Jim Szatkowski said Walsh's wife contacted the university about the honorary degree, saying Walsh regretted that he never graduated.

The 54-year-old musician will receive an honorary doctor of music in recognition of his musical achievement, as well as his involvement in environmental and humanitarian causes.

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