startdate = December 20, 2016, 12:00 am ||| enddate = January 27, 2017, 11:59 pm ||| currenttime = October 16, 2017, 9:41 pm
Judges – Gala
SAVE THE DATE:  Wednesday, March 29, 2017



A consummate artist of the first order, Patti Austin celebrates an incredible sixth decade in the music industry with the release of “Ella: Now & Then,” her second recorded tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, following her 2002 Grammy-nominated best-selling album, “For Ella.”

Featuring some of the pioneering vocalist’s classic material, “Ella: Now & Then” finds Gram

my-winner Austin (who declares she’s “busier than ever!”) lending her finely-honed craft to treasures from the vast Fitzgerald legacy including songs like “Mack the Knife,” “April in Paris,” “Sing Me A Swing Song” and “Lullaby Of Birdland.”

In the past decade, it’s in the world of jazz (a genre that is close to her heart) that Patti has been building a solid international audience: aside from a decade-and-a-half of performing live the songs from “For Ella” worldwide, Patti was justifiably awarded a 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance” for her best-selling Top 10 Jazz album, “Avant-Gershwin.”

The New York native is in constant demand globally for live performances, thanks to a legacy of recordings that started in 1955, continued through the ‘60s with success as a teenage R&B star before establishing herself as a mainstay among jazz and soul audiences through her ‘70s recordings.  By the ‘80s, Austin became known to the wider international audience as a result of the Grammy-nominated “Baby Come To Me” and “How Do You Keep The Music Playing”, her early ‘80s classic duets with James Ingram, masterminded by musical godfather Quincy Jones.

Notes Austin, “I’m in an interesting place because I’m 66, I’m not a teenager and yet, for some reason, I seem to have an appeal with younger audiences and now we are creating different platforms to help establish my brand, with a weekly radio show, my  mentoring organization (Over My Shoulder) and my new Ella record.”

Unquestionably, a 21st century renaissance woman, Patti Austin continues to create milestones in an incredible career; a further testament to her status as a member of that rare breed: a true artist whose creativity knows no limits.


Three-time Tony®Award winner Hinton Battle is recognized as one of Broadway’s most respected musical stars as a dancer, singer, choreographer, producer and writer. He was scouted by the prestigious School of American Ballet and received a full scholar- ship under George Balanchine. He debuted on Broadway at 15 as the Scarecrow in the musical ‘The Wiz’ to critical acclaim. His ca-reer has since spanned over three decades with award winning performances in the most successful musicals in Broadway history – ‘Dancin’, ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘*Sophisticated Ladies’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Rag- time’, ‘*Miss Saigon’ and ‘*The Tap Dance Kid’. He has appeared in fifteen films and television programs, including the feature film ‘Dreamgirls’ in which he played opposite Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, ‘Touched by an Angel’, ‘Quantum Leap’, ‘Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story’, ’These Old Broads’, ‘Foreign Student’,“Sweet”, and ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Smash’.

As a choreographer, Hinton’s credits include the 65th and 66th Academy Awards, the feature film ‘Idlewild’ featuring Outkast, a film for which he created a new dance style called ‘SWOP’ (a fusion of swing and hip- hop styles). He has directed and choreographed ballets for the Baltimore School of the Arts, Washington Reflections Dance Company, and Philadanco.

He directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway musicals ‘Respect’, ‘The Marvelous Wonderettes’, ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ and he is currently one of the producers of the hit Off-Broadway show, ‘Sistas: The Musical’, in its third year at the St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City. As author, producer and director his accomplishments include, ‘Love Lies’, starring Grammy Award-winners Brian McKnight and Angie Stone.

In 2016/2017, Battle will launch an international dance schools, Hinton Battle Dance Academy in Japan to train future dancers for the global stage.

Awards: NAACP Image Awards, Midtown International Theatre Festival Award, Fred Astaire Awards, Ira Aldridge Awards, the Choreographer Media Honors, Planet Connection Award, the 2012 Champion of the Arts Award from Big Boi’s “Antwan Patten” Big Kidz Foundation, and the Amas 2014 Rosie Award for lifetime achievement in recognition of extraordinary accomplishment in theatrical arts.

In association with Dance Place, Hinton will produce HINTON & FRIENDS CONCERT, September 10, 2016 — a local celebration of dance companies, & 2016 SOUL DANCE & BBQ, September 11, 2016 — master class and all you can eat bbq.

Powered by Yoshimoto Koygo, Hinton produced HINTON BATTLE 2017 DANZEOFF Convention Competition in Washington, DC,

Mr. Battle in partnership with Yoshimoto is proud to announce the opening of HINTON BATTLE DANCE ACADEMY (HBDA) Japan April 10, 2017.  A three year dance academy which feature classes in Neoclassical Ballet, Horton, Hip Hop, and Rhythm Tap.  * Tony®Award



First female to perform hip hop in the White House and first African American female to serve as the President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy (Grammy Organization) is just the first of many firsts. Lyricist, inspirational speaker, dj, pioneer, icon, veteran and entrepreneur describe one of the most prolific and well-respected female Hip Hop artists of all time: MC Lyte. She has consistently found ways to reinvent herself musically, while expanding her resume and gaining new fans.

A current member of the Board of Trustees of Dillard University and reared in Brooklyn, New York, MC Lyte always has her finger on Hip Hop’s pulse. Many are familiar with her stellar music making skills, but over the course of her extensive career, MC Lyte has ventured out to other avenues that have allowed her to show the world just how talented she truly is.

A pioneer in the industry, she opened the door for future female Hip Hop artists by daring to do what had never been done while doing something she loved. MC Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall, the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single, the FIRST female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy and in 2006, MC Lyte became the FIRST solo female rapper to be honored/inducted on VH-1’s HIP HOP HONORS.

MC Lyte has graced network television as well as the big screen and she has been the voice behind the VH1 Hip Hop Honors and national campaigns for Wherehouse Music, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike. She was the host of Morning Cup on Centric and she made history as the first female MC in her 40’s to release a full album as she unveiled her lyrical talent, once again, to the world with the release of her critically acclaimed album, LEGEND.



Donnie Simpson has been called a trailblazer and a true media legend. His love for music and radio started as a young kid growing up in Detroit where his mother owned Simpson Record Shop, a bustling Motor City Mom & Pop, started in 1966.

In the early 1980’s, Simpson was the backup sports anchor for legendary sportscaster George Michael on WRC-TV, the NBC station in D.C. Considered one of the nation’s first video jockeys, he later paved his way into television history when he joined BET as host of the ultra popular Video Soul.

Moving from television to the silver screen, Simpson appeared in such classic films as Krush Groove and The Five Heartbeats. He also appeared on the popular sitcoms, Martin and The Jamie Foxx Show.

On August 17, 2015, he returned to radio as host of the afternoon drive at Majic 102.3, a Radio One station in Washington, D.C. On October 4, 2015, Donnie was inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame. He was the only non-musician to be inducted.

An active community volunteer, Donnie has served as Honorary Chairman of the National Black Family Reunion and has assisted in fundraising efforts for AIDS research and the United Negro College Fund. Donnie and his wife have established The Donnie & Pam Simpson Scholarship Fund, to help minority college hopefuls in need of assistance in getting the opportunity they deserve. Always committed, in 2005 Donnie stayed on the air for 16 hours and raised over $220,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Donnie Simpson’s consistent #1 ratings success and reputation have earned him “Icon” status among his peers, The White House, and his millions of fans worldwide.