‘Black Beatles’ by Rae Sremmurd

Black Beatles, by the Tupelo hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, debuted Sept. 13, 2016. Brothers Aaquil Ibinshaman “Slim Jxmmi” Brown and Khalif Malikibnsham “Swae Lee” Brown released the song as the third single on their second studio album, SremmLife 2. Produced by Mike Will Made It, the song features guest vocals from rapper Gucci Mane. Because Black Beatles became the unofficial theme song in the Mannequin Challenge, an internet video phenomenon in which people remain frozen in action like mannequins, Black Beatles also went viral. The song became Rae Sremmurd’s first No.

‘Proud Mary’ by Ike and Tina Turner

Proud Mary was written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, in 1969. A year later, Ike and Tina Turner recorded quite a different version arranged by Soko Richardson and Ike Turner. The song starts off with a slow, sultry tone in which Tina warns the audience that she and the band are going to start it off “nice and easy” but finish it “nice and rough.” After the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song turns into a funk-rock vamp by Tina and the Ikettes. It took only one performance to know it would become one of Tina Turner’s signature songs.

‘If I Die Young’ by The Band Perry

If I Die Young was written by Kimberly Perry, one-third of the Ridgeland-born sibling trio that make up country music group The Band Perry. Brothers Neil and Reid started out as roadies for a teenage Kimberly as she sang in her own band. Once they had united to form The Band Perry, the siblings joined a New Faces of Country tour in 2005. If I Die Young was released in June 2010 as the second single from the group’s self-titled debut album. Despite the somber subject matter — “Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’ ” — If I Die Young became The Band Perry’s first No. 1 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of Dec. 11, 2010. In May 2011, the song sold more than 2 million copies, the 11th country music song to do so.

‘Misty Blue’ by Dorothy Moore

Misty Blue, written by Bob Montgomery in 1966 and recorded by Eddy Arnold, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Simon, among others in various genres, was most successful in the 1976 blues version by Dorothy Moore. The Jackson native recorded the song in 1973, but Malaco Records wasn’t able to release it. Henry Stone of TK Productions picked up the single for national distribution and began promoting it. Initial airplay in Chicago and Washington, D.C., led to its April 1976 release in the South. Three months later, it was nominated for a Grammy Award and reached No. 2 on the R&B chart, No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 14 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Vicksburg agrees to restructure city government

Vicksburg’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution Monday that will restructure city government in a manner proposed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr., The Vicksburg Post reported. Flaggs’ proposal to amend the city’s 105-year-old charter had undergone more than two years of debate, arguments and attempts at compromise. “I feel relieved, now that all the work we put in is not in vain, and I think it’s the most progressive thing that ever happened to this city,” Flaggs said. “I intend to restructure and reorganize this city so that we can have more day-to-day oversight and accountability, and I hope that translates in to saving dollars.”
Flaggs said he believes about $1.5 million could be saved through restructuring the city government. The board voted Monday to put Flagg’s amendments on the board’s minutes, signalling their approval.

Church, cemetery, schools added to National Register of Historic Places

Mt. Olive Cemetery in Hinds County, one of the oldest private African American graveyards in the state, is one of five Mississippi properties recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Department of the Interior also approved the addition of Hillsboro Methodist Church and Cemetery, Scott County; Mt. Moriah School, Walthall County; Walthall County Training School, Walthall County; and the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson House, Adams County. Hillsboro Methodist Church, established circa 1836, initially was a log chapel called Cypress Grove.

Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi honored in NYC

Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi was honored at the Education Innovation Awards presented by EVERFI, Inc., for its efforts to strengthen communities and empower students through unique digital learning opportunities. Twenty institutions were honored with this distinction at a ceremony hosted on June 12 at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City, the foundation said in a press release. 

Honorees were selected based on a set of criteria that included the scale and impact of their digital education initiatives as well as unique student engagement and employee volunteering activities that supplement their programs.

The Mississippi foundation’s Community Digital Scholars program this year involved 25 percent of the 4th-12th grade public school students in its 11-county region. The largest number of those students engaged with the financial literacy segment and, on average, increased their knowledge of personal finance by 91 percent, the foundation’s release said. “Education is one of the main causes that matters to the Community Foundation’s mission. From our earliest successful efforts to place Internet-accessible computers in all of Mississippi public classrooms, we have used technology to improve education,” said Community Foundation President Tom Pittman.

Baptist Hospital transfers Oxford facility to Ole Miss

The University of Mississippi will take over the Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi building in Oxford when the hospital moves to its new facility in November. The Board of Directors of the Institutes of Higher Learning approved the $22 million purchase of the 15-acre location south of the Ole Miss campus during its Thursday meeting. “The purchase of this property allows us to provide improved space for our support units and other functions that serve external constituencies,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a press release. “It will also be a major factor in helping us effectively address our capacity for future growth.”

The purchase agreement will be submitted to the city of Oxford and Lafayette County under their right of first refusal, but both Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors president Jeff Busby expressed support for the transfer of the property to the university. The agreement includes a lease-back to allow Baptist Hospital sufficient time to complete the move into its new facility, which is currently under construction on Belk Boulevard between South Lamar and Old Taylor Road.

State bond refinancing saves $32M for FY2018

The state Bond Commission has restructured nearly $450 million in outstanding state bonds, saving more than $32 million in Fiscal Year 2018 alone, Treasurer Lynn Fitch announced Thursday in a press release. “The Bond Commission pays close attention to the financial markets so we can take advantage of favorable market conditions to save Mississippians money,” Fitch said in the release. “Today’s refunding not only eliminates the need for a deficit appropriation for debt service in FY 2018, but also saves taxpayers millions throughout the remaining life of the bonds.”

Such proactive management of state debt is saving $34 million this time, for a total of $69 million since Fitch took office, the release said. Fitch and Gov. Phil Bryant are in New York City this week for their annual meetings with analysts from the three top credit rating agencies. Fitch said she and Bryant are emphasizing steps taken to improve the state’s budgeting and borrowing, including the Fortify Act passed during the Legislature’s special session earlier this month and debt management rules adopted by the Bond Commission. Current ratings, according to the release from the Treasurer:

Fitch Ratings: AA/Stable

S&P: AA/Negative

Moody’s: Aa2/Negative

Tuition up, jobs down at community colleges

Mississippi’s 15 community colleges are raising tuition and eliminating jobs for the upcoming school year to close budget gaps, the Associated Press reports. Tuition will increase an average of 13 percent, bringing average tuition and fees to $3,104 annually, up from $2,748 this year. Approximately 250 jobs will be cut, and five schools are dropping at least one intercollegiate sport, according to AP. Schools began the current budget year with $265 million in state funding but will start next year with $237 million. Eighty-one people will be laid off, 122 jobs will be eliminated after employees leave the positions and 35 student jobs will be eliminated, Community College Board Executive Director Andrea Mayfield said in a statement.

Thornberry takes NCAA golf title, named First Team All American

Ole Miss sophomore golfer Braden Thornberry won the NCAA Arnold Palmer Individual National Championship on Monday and followed that up by being named one of 10 PING First-Team All-Americans by the Golf Coaches Association of America on Tuesday. The Olive Branch native posted five wins this season, including Monday’s NCAA national championship, and led the nation in stroke average at 69.57, according to olemisssports.com. His seven career wins in just two season is tied with Dave Peege for the most in school history. Here’s a look at what Rick Cleveland had to say about Thornberry in April:

At age 10, Thornberry found the right game