Mos Def
Mos Def
Dante Terrell Smith is an American actor and emcee, known by the stage names Mos Def and Yasiin Bey. He started his hip hop career in a group called Urban Thermo Dynamics, after which he appeared on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul. With Talib Kweli, he formed the duo Black Star, which released the album Black Star in 1998. He was a major force in late 1990s underground hip hop while with Rawkus Records.
Mos Def's personal information overview.
News abour Mos Def from around the web
For Yasiin Bey, Once Known as Mos Def, a Comeback With the Finish Line in Mind
NYTimes - 2 months
At the Apollo Theater, in what was billed as a retirement show, the charismatic and versatile Mr. Bey seemed humbled by the crowd’s affection.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Yasiin Bey's (Mos Def) first pre-retirement album, 'December 99th,' is here
LATimes - 2 months
The first of three albums from Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) has arrived. Bey and producer Ferrari Sheppard’s collaborative project, “December 99th,” was released on Wednesday. Originally set for Dec. 9 — to keep with the duo’s numerical name (the pair goes by Dec 99th) — the album is...
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LATimes article
Illegal Mos Def booted from SA - Independent Online
Google News - 3 months
Independent Online Illegal Mos Def booted from SA Independent Online US MUSICIAN and actor Dante Terrell Smith, also known as Mos Def and Yasiin Bey, has been booted from South Africa after being declared undesirable by the Department of Home Affairs. Bey was given a deadline to leave the country by last night. Dept: Mos Def 'unreservedly apologised' to govt over passport rowEyewitness News Rapper plans Apollo Theater and Kennedy Center gigs next Mos Def is allowed to leave South Africa after detainmentNew York Daily News U.S. News & World Report -Quartz -Jezebel -UPROXX all 77 news articles »
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Google News article
#SupportStandingRock: Partners in Water, Pastures, and Fire
Huffington Post - 5 months
Sometimes, it takes a long time for a movement to gain traction within the mainstream Muslim American community. Collaboration and coalition building between National Muslim organizing and advocacy groups and Native Americans is one of them. For Native/ First Nations Muslims/Indigenous people, and the Muslims who answered the call for national mobilization to Support Standing Rock, this type of work makes a lot of sense. In fact, it reflects a long intertwined history between Black Muslims and Indigenous people, from escaped slaves in maroon communities to Native delegates at the Nation of Islam's Justice or Else Million Man March. In the groundbreaking, border collapsing song R.E.D., First Nations DJ trio A Tribe Called Red collaborated with Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Narcicyst, and Black Bear, a drum group from the Manawan Atikamekw Nation in Quebec. This creative production is an indication of the type of synergy that happens when people from diverse background ...
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Huffington Post article
10 Powerful Women Who Turned Insults Into Gold
Huffington Post - 9 months
Never underestimate a woman's ability to clap back -- especially a heavily-scrutinized woman in the public eye.  From body-shaming and slut-shaming to straight up bullying, famous and visible women have to deal with a consistent onslaught of public insults. But in true badass form, many have mastered the art of telling their haters exactly where they can stick it.  Here are 10 times that famous women took inherently misogynistic insults and turned them into comeback gold.  1. Beyoncé After Beyoncé's Super Bowl 50 halftime performance of "Formation," she was accused of being "anti-cop," and police forces all over the country threatened to boycott her Formation World Tour. Beyoncé dropped some truth bombs in her interview with Elle magazine following the performance -- "If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me," she said. But she also made a profit off of her ha ...
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Huffington Post article
'Hamilton' Casting Notice Reveals All The Musical's Original Inspirations
Huffington Post - 12 months
How does one describe the character of George Washington? You could use words like "powerful," "influential," "revolutionary," or "honest." But nothing beats the description Lin Manuel-Miranda's team used in an original casting notice for the hit musical "Hamilton":  Miranda's casting notes for Hamilton. — southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 29, 2016 What better way to explain one of America's most beloved historical figures -- who is remembered as both sensitive and strong -- than by comparing him to an achingly soulful singer (John Legend) and the ultimate symbol of heroic leadership ("Lion Kings"'s Mufasa, obviously)? Such was the logic of "Hamilton," as outlined in the July 2014 notice, tweeted earlier this week. The list goes on. It describes Aaron Burr as a mix between the "Les Misérables" antagonist Javert and Mos Def; Hercules Mulligan as Busta Rhymes meets 1940s film star Donald O'Connor; Peggy Schuyler a ...
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Huffington Post article
In Transit: Yasiin Bey Arrest Gives World Passport Visibility
NYTimes - about 1 year
The performer formerly known as Mos Def says police shootings of unarmed black youth led him to travel under the World Passport that got him arrested.
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NYTimes article
What in the world happened to the artist formerly known as Mos Def?
Yahoo News - about 1 year
This week, Yasiin Bey, the 42-year-old artist formerly known as Mos Def, shockingly announced that he was retiring from music and acting. The strange message, a freestyle rap via cell phone that was posted on the website of longtime friend Kanye West, has prompted many hip-hop fans to ask: “What the hell happened to Mos Def?” To try and answer that question, we have assembled a little three-part timeline of Mos Def’s odd transformation, allowing you to follow the talented artist through what has been an enigmatic multi-year period. 2011-12: The name change The most culturally-understood of Bey’s actions in the past five years, or at least the action with seemingly the most logical train of thought, was his decision to change his name. In late 2011, the well-known musician publicly announced plans to legally change his name to Yasiin Bey, a name which he planned to adapt for recordings and live performances as well as the silver screen. What seemed to many to be an odd decision for a we ...
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Yahoo News article
Rapper Mos Def jailed in South Africa
CNN - about 1 year
Mos Def has spoken out against his arrest and detention in South Africa after trying to leave the country on a "World Passport." CNN's David McKenzie reports.
Article Link:
CNN article
Mos Def arrested in South Africa for 'World Passport.' What's that?
Yahoo News - about 1 year
The American rapper Mos Def is under arrest in South Africa for trying to use a controversial document, a "World Passport," in lieu of the usual US passport. South African officials said Mr. Bey broke the country's immigration law by using the World Passport, and he must appear in court on March 8 after being released on bail.
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Yahoo News article
Mos Def ordered to leave South Africa
CNN - about 1 year
Mos Def, the hip hop recording artist and actor, learned that a "World Passport" does not make him a citizen of the world -- especially when it comes to South African officials.
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CNN article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mos Def
  • 2016
    Age 42
    In January 2016, Mos Def was ordered to leave South Africa and not return for five years, having outstayed a tourist visa granted in May 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Also that month, he was charged with using an unrecognized World Passport and having lived illegally in South Africa since 2014. Mos Def had reportedly recruited Kanye West to help defend him, and posted a message on West's website announcing his retirement from show business. Black Movie Awards Black Reel Awards Primetime Emmy Awards Golden Globe Awards Grammy Awards NAACP Image Awards
    In March 2016 it was announced that he had been attached to star in "his last live-action film", The Disconnected, a science fiction thriller dealing with policing, identity, and the intersection of technology and humanity.
    More Details Hide Details In 2000, paired with Talib Kweli, Mos Def organized the Hip Hop for Respect project to speak out against police brutality. The project was created in response to the 1999 police shooting of Amadu Diallo, and sought to accumulate 41 artists to the roster, one to match each of the 41 gunshots fired on Diallo. Mos Def is well known for his left-wing political views. In 2000, Mos Def performed a benefit concert for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. In May 2005, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, R&B singer Martin Luther and City Councilman Charles Barron approached New York City Hall, demanding the withdrawal of the $1 million bounty for Assata Shakur. In September 2005, Mos Def released the single "Katrina Clap", renamed "Dollar Day" for True Magic, (utilizing the instrumental for New Orleans rappers UTP's "Nolia Clap"). The song is a criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. On the night of the MTV Video Music Awards, Mos Def pulled up in front of Radio City Music Hall on a flatbed truck and began performing the "Katrina Clap" single in front of a crowd that quickly gathered around him. He was subsequently arrested despite having a public performance permit in his possession.
    In January 2016, Mos Def announced his retirement from both the music and the film industry on Kanye West's website.
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    He has stated once he'll retire in 2016 after releasing his final album.
    More Details Hide Details There is no release date for the album. Prior to his career in music, Mos Def entered public life as a child actor, having played roles in television movies, sitcoms and theater, some of which were under the name Dante Beze. At the age of 14, he appeared in the TV movie God Bless the Child, starring Mare Winningham, which aired on ABC in 1988. He played the oldest child in the 1990 family sitcom, You Take the Kids, shortly before it was cancelled. In 1995, he played the character Dante, Bill Cosby's sidekick on the short-lived detective show, The Cosby Mysteries. In 1996, he also starred in a 1996 Visa check card commercial featuring Deion Sanders. In 1997 he had a small role alongside Michael Jackson in his short film and music video "Ghosts". After brief appearances in Bamboozled and Monster's Ball, Mos Def played a rapper who is reluctant to sign to a major label in Brown Sugar. He was nominated for an Image Award and a Teen Choice Award.
    In 2016, Mos Def announced his retirement from both the music and film industries on Kanye West's website.
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  • 2015
    Age 41
    He again revived his stage name for two new songs in August 2015 titled "Basquiat Ghostwriter" & "Sensei on the Block".
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    In 2015, Mos Def featured on A$AP Rocky's second studio album At.
    More Details Hide Details Long. Last. ASAP on the track "Back Home" alongside Acyde and the deceased A$AP Yams.
  • 2012
    Age 38
    In January 2012, it was reported that Mos Def and Talib Kweli had begun "to resurrect" Black Star.
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  • 2011
    Age 37
    In September 2011, Mos Def announced that he planned to use the name Yasiin Bey instead of Mos Def beginning in 2012.
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  • 2010
    Age 36
    In June 2010, he recorded a cover of the classic New Orleans song originally by Smokey Johnson, "It Ain't My Fault" with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Lenny Kravitz and Trombone Shorty.
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    In September 2010, after appearing on Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Friday track "Lord Lord Lord", Mos Def confirmed he had signed with GOOD Music.
    More Details Hide Details Mos Def has been an active contributor to the recovery of the oil spill in the Gulf, performing concerts and raising money towards repairing its damages.
    In March 2010, Mos Def's song "Quiet Dog Bite Hard" was featured in Palm's "Life moves fast.
    More Details Hide Details Don't miss a thing." campaign. Mos Def features on the first single, "Stylo", from the third Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, alongside soul legend Bobby Womack. He also appears on the track titled "Sweepstakes".
  • 2009
    Age 35
    The items were released in select U.S. stores and almost exclusively on the UNDRCRWN website. 2009 also found Mos Def among the MCs aligning themselves with American entrepreneur Damon Dash's DD172 and collaborating with American blues rock band the Black Keys on the Blakroc album, a project headed by the Black Keys and Damon Dash.
    More Details Hide Details Mos Def appeared with Harlem-bred rapper Jim Jones and the Black Keys on the Late Show with David Letterman to perform the Blakroc track "Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)".
    In late 2009, Mos Def created his own clothing line with the "UNDRCRWN" brand called the "Mos Def Cut & Sew Collection."
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    In April 2009, Mos Def traveled to South Africa for the first time where he performed with The Robert Glasper Experiment at the renowned Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
    More Details Hide Details He treated the South African audience with an encore introduced by his own rendition of John Coltrane's "Love Supreme", followed by a sneak preview of the track "M.D. (Doctor)" Mos Def has designed two pairs of limited edition Converse shoes. The shoes were released through Foot Locker stores on August 1, 2009 in limited amounts.
  • 2008
    Age 34
    In April 2008, he appeared on the title track for a new album by The Roots entitled Rising Down.
    More Details Hide Details The new single, "Life In Marvelous Times", was made officially available through iTunes on November 4, 2008, and is available for stream on the Roots' website Okayplayer.
  • 2007
    Age 33
    On November 7, 2007, Mos Def performed live in San Francisco at The Mezzanine venue.
    More Details Hide Details The performance was recorded for an upcoming "Live in Concert" DVD. During the event, he announced that he would be releasing a new album to be called The Ecstatic. He performed a number of new tracks; in later shows, he previewed tracks produced by Madlib and was rumored to be going to Kanye West for new material. Producer and fellow Def Poet Al Be Back revealed he would be producing on the album as well. The album was released on June 9, 2009; but only Madlib's production had made the cut, along with tracks by Preservation, The Neptunes, Mr. Flash, Madlib's brother Oh No, a song by J. Dilla, and Georgia Anne Muldrow. Mos Def appears alongside Kanye West on the track "Two Words" from The College Dropout album, the track "Drunk And Hot Girls" and the bonus track "Good Night" off West's third major album, Graduation. In 2002, he released the 12" single Fine, which was featured in the Brown Sugar Motion Picture Soundtrack.
  • 2006
    Age 32
    He filed for divorce from Yepes in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details The former couple made headlines when Yepes took Mos Def to court over failure in child-support obligations, paying $2,000 short of the monthly $10,000 he is ordered to pay.
    Mos Def's final solo album for Geffen Records, True Magic, was released in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details The song "Crime & Medicine" is a remake of GZA's 1995 single "Liquid Swords". Also, the track "Undeniable" samples a version of the Barrett Strong/Norman Whitfield composition "Message from a Black Man". The song "Dollar Day" uses the same beat as Juvenile's "Nolia Clap".
  • 2005
    Age 31
    On August 17, 2005, Mos Def traveled to Canada where he married music video model Alana Wyatt.
    More Details Hide Details Following a tumultuous relationship, the couple separated soon thereafter, but have not yet divorced. Wyatt published a tell-all book Breaking The Code Of Silence in January 2012. His mother Sheron Smith, who goes by her nickname "Umi", has played an active role managing portions of her son's career. She is also a motivational speaker, and has authored the book Shine Your Light: A Life Skills Workbook, where she details her experience as a single-mother raising Def.
  • 2004
    Age 30
    The singles included "Sex, Love & Money" and the B-side "Ghetto Rock"; the latter went on to receive several Grammy Award nominations in 2004.
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    After the collapse of Rawkus records, he signed to Geffen Records, which released his second solo album The New Danger in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details The New Danger contained a mix of several musical genres, including soul, blues, and rock and roll, performed with his rock band Black Jack Johnson, which included members of the bands Bad Brains and Living Colour.
  • 1999
    Age 25
    Mos Def released his solo debut album Black on Both Sides in 1999, also through Rawkus.
    More Details Hide Details Around this time he also contributed to the Scritti Politti album Anomie & Bonhomie and Rawkus compilations Lyricist Lounge and Soundbombing.
    In 1999, Mos Def released his solo debut, Black on Both Sides, under Rawkus and Priority Records.
    More Details Hide Details His debut was followed by The New Danger (2004), True Magic (2006) and The Ecstatic (2009). The editors at listed him as the 14th greatest emcee of all time on their "50 greatest MC's of our time" list. Prior to his career in music, Mos Def first entered public life as a child actor, having played roles in television movies, sitcoms, and theater, some of which were under the name Dante Beze.
  • 1998
    Age 24
    Mos Def signed with Rawkus Records and formed the rap group Black Star with Talib Kweli. The duo released an album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, in 1998.
    More Details Hide Details Mostly produced by Hi-Tek, the album featured the hit singles "Respiration" and "Definition", which would go on to be featured in VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip-Hop.
    He subsequently formed the trio Black Star, alongside fellow Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli, and Cincinnati producer Hi-Tek and released their eponymous debut album in 1998.
    More Details Hide Details He was a major force in late-1990s underground hip hop while under Rawkus Records.
  • 1996
    Age 22
    Mos Def married Yepes in 1996, and has two daughters with her: Jauhara Smith and Chandani Smith.
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    In 1996, Mos Def emerged as a solo artist and worked with De La Soul and Da Bush Babees, before he released his own first single, "Universal Magnetic".
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  • 1994
    Age 20
    Mos Def began his rap music career in 1994, forming the rap group UTD (or Urban Thermo Dynamics) along with younger brother DCQ (Ilias Bey; born Denard Smith) and younger sister Ces.
    More Details Hide Details In 2004, they released the album Manifest Destiny, their first and only release to date. The album features a compilation of previously unreleased and re-released tracks recorded during the original UTD run.
  • 1990
    Age 16
    He played the oldest child in the 1990 family sitcom You Take the Kids, shortly before it was cancelled.
    More Details Hide Details In 1995, he played the character "Dante" in The Cosby Mysteries. Since the early 2000s, Mos Def has been well known for his roles in films such as Something the Lord Made, Next Day Air, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 16 Blocks, Be Kind Rewind, The Italian Job, Bamboozled and Brown Sugar, as well as for his portrayal of Brother Sam in the Showtime drama series Dexter. He is also known as the host of Def Poetry Jam, which aired on HBO between 2002 and 2007. Mos Def has been vocal on several social and political causes, including police brutality, the idea of American exceptionalism, and the state of African Americans. Dante Terrell Smith Bey was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the son of Sheron Smith and Abdul Rahman. The eldest of 12 children and step-children, he was raised by his mother in Brooklyn, while his father lived in New Jersey.
  • 1988
    Age 14
    At the age of 14, he appeared in the TV movie God Bless the Child, which aired on ABC in 1988.
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  • 1973
    Born on December 11, 1973.
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