The Chicago Journal

Bob McGrath, Sesame Street alumni, passed away

Bob McGrath, a beloved name for children across different generations and an original Sesame Street cast member, died on Sunday.

McGrath was 90 when he passed away.

His family and Sesame Workshop released a statement on social media announcing his death.


Bob McGrath’s family shared the news in a Facebook post, writing:

“The McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father, Bob McGrath, passed away today.”

“He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”

Meanwhile, the Sesame Workshop paid tribute to the actor’s nearly five-decade career with the program on Twitter.

“A founding cast member, Bob embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performance brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world.”

“We will be forever grateful for his many years of passionate creative contributions to Sesame Street and honored that he shared so much of his life with us.”

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Bob McGrath appeared as Bob Johnson in the Sesame Street pilot in 1969 and stayed for 47 seasons.

Although he left the main cast in 2017, McGrath has still represented Sesame Street at various events following his departure from the show.

According to Sesame Workshop, Bob McGrath was also an accomplished tenor and musician.

He performed in concert halls in nearly all corners of the world, from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo.

McGrath also produced several children’s songs for Sesame Street, including favorites like People in Your Neighborhood and Sing a Song.

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Sesame Street cast member Alan Muraoka took to Instagram to pay his respects when news of Bob McGrath’s death broke.

“Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me: a role model, a mentor, a friend,” Muraoka wrote.

“His kindness and wicked sense of humor were such a joy, and I loved him so much. Rest well, my friend. You did good.”

In a 2015 interview, Bob McGrath was asked about his takeaways from being on the program.

“You can’t help but be influenced by all of the wonderful research and good messages that are shown on ‘Sesame Street,'” said McGrath.

“I learned how important it is to listen, really listen, carefully to what your children have to say.”


Bob McGrath, original ‘Sesame Street’ cast member, dead at 90

Takeoff dies after a stray bullet from a nearby shooting hits him

Takeoff, the 28-year-old Grammy-nominated musician, died Tuesday after a shooting at a bowling alley in Houston, Texas.

According to his record company’s statement, the Migos rapper died from a “stray bullet.”

The shooting

The shooting in Texas occurred at 2:30 on a balcony outside 810 Billiards and Bowling Alley.

Takeoff was playing dice with his uncle and bandmate Quavo across at the Bowling Alley.

According to police, 40 to 50 guests attended a private party when someone opened fire.

Upon arrival, officers said they found a large crowd and a man with a gunshot wound to the head or neck.

However, the man was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, two other people were injured and were taken to hospital.

No arrest was made.

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Police response

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said he didn’t want to speculate that Takeoff was the target of the shooting.

“Based on what people say about him, he’s well respected, non-violent,” said Finner.

“I would not expect him to be involved, but I do want to wait on the investigation.”

“But we have no reason to believe that he was involved in anything criminal at the time, just as people describe him as very peaceful, loving, a great entertainer.”

Later, Chief Finner urged witnesses at the scene to come forward.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he said:

“Please step up, get the information to us so we can bring down some closure to this family who’s hurting right now.”


Kirsnick Khari Ball, better known as Takeoff, was one-third of the Atlanta band Migos.

The band is among the most successful, producing songs that hit the charts.

As a result, they made hits like Walk It Talk It, Stir Fry and Versace.

However, the group broke into the mainstream in 2016 with their single Bad and Boujee, which topped the US charts.

The song was also nominated for Best Rap Performance at the Grammy Awards.

Although Takeoff didn’t appear in the song because he missed the recording session, the rapper was a key architect of the Migos sound.

As a result, Migos is now famous for its punchy vocal triplets and scattered, stammering rhythms.

Read also: Rap icon Coolio passed away on Wednesday, aged 59


After the news broke, tributes for Takeoff began flooding social media as friends, fans, and collaborators mourned the rapper.

Drake did a remix of Versace, which gave the band a boost in the charts, and wrote on Instagram:

“I got the best memories of all of us seeing the world together and bringing light to every city we touch. That’s what I’ll focus on for now.”

Gucci Mane recently worked with Takeoff and Quavo on the song Us vs. Them.

Additionally, he shared a photo of the rapper on Instagram and said the news broke his heart.

Atlanta legend Outkast wrote:

“Rest in peace, Takeoff. Sending our deepest condolences and prayers to his family, friends, and community of people touched by his craft.”

Finally, many musicians are urging fans not to share videos of Takeoff’s final moments online out of respect.


Migos rapper Takeoff killed by ‘stray bullet,’ record label claims

Report: Musician Rex Orange County to go on trial for six charges of sexual assault

Sexual assault is gravely frowned upon, and fans are shocked and heartbroken to learn that Rex Orange County was the perpetrator of the allegations.

The singer was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman six times in two days.

The reports

Several news outlets, like Variety and The Guardian, claimed Rex Orange County assaulted a woman six times.

The first two times took place in the West End on June 1, 2021, according to The Sun.

He then attacked her in a taxi the next day and three more times that same day at her home in Notting Hill.

A statement was released on his behalf, stating:

“Alex is shocked by the allegations, which he denies and looks forward to clearing his name in court.”

Appearing in court

On Monday, the 10th of October, the singer appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

Rex Orange County pleaded not guilty to charges of intentional touching of a sexual nature without consent.

He was released unconditionally on bail for his three-day trial.

The trial is scheduled for January 3, 2023.

Rex Orange County

Alexander James O’Connor started his music career in 2016 and caught the eye of American rapper Tyler, the Creator.

The two then collaborated on the Tyler, the Creator album, Flower Boy.

From there, Rex Orange County became a popular name among music fans.

His third studio album, Who Cares? was released in March and topped the UK charts.

In July, Rex Orange County announced that he would be canceling his tour dates in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, citing unforeseen personal circumstances.

The message reads:

“It is with a great deal of sadness to announce that due to unforeseen personal circumstances, I am having to spend some time at home this year and I will not be able to continue with touring as planned.”

“The UK/IRE dates will still go ahead this summer but Gunnersbury Park in London on August 13th will be the last show of the year.”

“I am devastated to say that the Australia, New Zealand, and European shows scheduled for September and November will be cancelled [sic].”

“All tickets will be refunded. This is the last thing I want to do.”

“I love touring and I am so sorry to be letting anyone down. I look forward to getting back to it as soon as I can.”


Singer Rex Orange County charged with sexual assault

Rex Orange County charged with 6 counts of sexual assault in the UK

Yathatisall Merges Art and Music With New Rap Styles

Musician and actor Najeeb Al-Amin, best known as YaThatIsAll, is a trendsetter for making music. With the passion, talent, and determination necessary to climb up to the top, he is regarded as Chicago’s top Afro hip-hop artist. The rising hip-hop artist has been releasing hit songs for years, his unique sound and style setting others’ pace to follow.

Originally from South Side Chicago, the singer-songwriter discovered his love for music at a tender age and gradually trained himself to great heights in showmanship- a real spectacle to behold. At the age of seventeen, YaThatIsAll is a young MC studying audio design and working as a sound engineer in his home city in collaboration with several artists to make hit songs. YaThatIsAll is recognized by fans and significant artists as a generic rap artist and a true creative when making Music. His debut mixtape, which he made working closely with Zoawe Joseph the First and Fifteenth Co-Founder Chilly, was well received by tens of thousands of fans who acknowledged that this great use of lyricism rhymes would take him far in the music industry.

 YaThatIsAll is stirring a revolution in the music industry with his new mixtape entitled Proof. He blends his Afrobeat rap sound with fan style comic book storytelling, helping his audience visualize the tracks. The mixtape and accompanying comic book artwork will be released on Instagram and his website

YaThatIsAll cannot only sing and rap, but he can also do it fluently in three languages. Additionally, he has the remarkable ability to write his songs and plays multiple musical instruments, including the guitar, percussion, and keyboard. He continues to dive into his iconic music influences, learning from them as he hones his craft. The young artist is always striving for greater heights, and he has worked with many globally-acclaimed artists, including award-winning Nigerian pop star 2Face and Chicago rap legend chief Keef.

 He wishes to amass a broad fan base of hardcore Afro Rap, Trap, and Hip Hop music fans and anyone who is a fan of good music as he introduces his distinctive rap style to the world. He considers himself different from his completion because, according to him, he is the original Midwest Afrobeat HipHop – Drill Scene and Punk Rap trendsetters. He admits that his passion for Music drives his consistency, and his distinctive style represents Afrobeat rap styles at the highest.

In the future, YaThatIsAll is looking to collaborating with other artists and businesses to promote the African and Afro-American culture through different sharing platforms. He is an ambassador of peace and acceptance as he wants to use his Music to encourage others and impart social and racial awareness in the world community. He is hopeful that a feature film will be shot based on his comic book artwork Proof.

YaThatIsAll Music is available via his website. He is also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where he shares his thoughts and music progress with his fans.

Meet the YouTube Sensation and Budding Musician Javi Mac

One of the most common reasons why a truly passionate and creative individual is determined to work on the next masterpiece is that they were not satisfied with the previous one. True enough, some of the most successful artists did not end their careers with just one breakthrough. Instead, they continue to create countless works of art until they reach a point where they are delighted with everything they have worked on. One such artist who is fueled with this limitless vigor is Javi Mac.

Originally from the streets of Champaign, Illinois, Javi Mac always had a passion for music. Although this remarkable zeal only manifested a few years later, Javi can fondly remember writing songs at the age of four, when his family decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia. This subsequently led an entertaining prepubescent life filled with music and rapping in high school. But unlike other musicians, Javi Mac did not center his interests solely on making music and writing songs. Instead, he explored the arts more, where he eventually discovered and fell in love with video editing and production.

Taking a cue from his newfound interest, Javi Mac quickly rose to fame when he uploaded his videos on Youtube. His content quality took the internet by storm as it gathered over 350,000 subscribers and 100M viewers on the popular video streaming site. As a result of this rapidly-growing popularity, Javi has become one of the world’s top interviewers for adult entertainment in the last three years. But due to Youtube’s community standards, Javi Mac had to emigrate his videos to his personal website,

Although Javi Mac has gathered enough traction in the entertainment world through his videos and adult content on, he never forgot about the scintillating feeling he had while writing and making music. Reminded by his first love, Javi began to work on some songs and redirected his path towards becoming a stellar musician in the entertainment business.

While it may seem that a change in his path entailed a step back from his successful career, Javi Mac never actually left his desire to perform and write songs. In fact, Javi’s disposition was ultimately rooted in music. With a grandfather who shared the stage with James Brown and a father who produced with Rick Rubin under Def Jam Records, music came naturally for Javi Mac. Driven to continue his trail, Javi shares snippets of his songs to the videos that he uploads on

Shifting from one career to another and being a success at it is a difficult path to traverse with. However, this redirection showed that Javi Mac is not a one-trick pony. Built with a flexible disposition, Javi Mac takes the reins of his music career with a catalog of unexplainable and wildly entertaining tracks and, at the same time, showcases a blend of deep groove R&B, Electro Pop, and 80s hip hop bounce.

At the core of every true artist lies countless talents hidden beneath the corners of one’s soul. And being a genuinely creative individual, Javi Mac continues to surprise people with masterful pieces that prove to create lasting impressions across the world.

To know more about Javi Mac, you may visit his website

Todd Waites Speaks Boldly Against Bullying and Empowerment to Corporate Settings

Bullying continues to be a real and damaging experience in many schools today, and children are groping for ways to either escape it or cope. Professional musician, concern survivor, business executive, and motivational speaker Todd Waites is speaking up about the short-term and long-term effects of bullying on people to encourage children to either stop doing it or how best to deal with a bully in school. As Todd opens up about his personal experience with bullying as a teenager, he hopes to minimize it, if not completely prevent it from happening to any child in schools. 

Todd Waites fell victim to bullies and was ridiculed repeatedly in school after he lost an entire arm and shoulder to bone cancer. Despite the excruciating journey of going through a two-year treatment and coming to terms with losing a part of his body, some of his peers still found a reason to make fun of him. Due to this experience, Todd can easily relate to what many kids go through in schools today. He knows what it is like to be singled out, to be made to feel unimportant, and to seemingly have no hope to ever accomplish his dreams. 

Despite his physical predicament and challenges involving his peers, Todd Waites was able to find a way to take the higher road and not let his painful experience define his future. Instead, he used these hurtful experiences to fuel his determination to become someone great in the music industry. Without thinking twice, Todd pursued his dream to become a professional keyboard player, and with hard work and perseverance, he was able to successfully tour in different parts of the country with his band. Todd became a respectable name in the industry and has worked with big names to include members and former band members of Journey, Stryper, Firehouse, Newsboys, Petra, ApologetiX, Bon Jovi, Rick Springfield, Styx and more. 

Additionally, Todd Waites also did collaborations with former Journey vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. They recorded two songs together in the middle of 2019. Just recently, Todd recorded a remake of the song When Children Cry with the blessing of Mike Tramp, the original writer of the song. The remake is available for streaming on YouTube.

Aside from his music career, Todd is also best known for his exemplary performance as a Director / Vice President of Sales and has effectively managed sales teams for the companies he worked with. Eventually, Todd went into motivational speaking as different sectors started to hear about his remarkable life story. He gets invited to speak in corporations, churches, schools, and other major events. 

By telling young people about his accomplishments and how he survived bullying as a student on top of surviving two different kinds of cancer, Todd Waites knows that his message is something that people need to hear to realize that there is more to life than being a victim. Through his True Rockstars Don’t Hate initiative, Todd gets to encourage children from poverty-stricken areas and schools that have had shooting incidents. What makes his talks more exciting is that he never goes to any of it without his keyboard. Aside from sharing his life stories, he also performs for them.

In 2012, Todd Waites made a life-changing decision to give up his touring days and focus on motivating children to spare them from drug addiction, suicide, and bullying. As he teaches them to believe in their worth and individual purpose, Todd is helping in raising a new generation of strong young people who are not easily discouraged. 

Find out more about Todd Waites by visiting his website. Click this site to know more about True Rockstars Don’t Hate. 

Lito Jordan Champions Independence with His Music and Record Company

Musician and entrepreneur Lito Jordan discovered how empowering it is for him to take control over his own life and destiny. “There is something about owning your own thing that gives you a different level of perspective and integrity,” says Lito. His mission is to influence others to manifest their desired reality and chase after their dreams.

The recording artist from Chicago, Illinois, uses his music as his primary tool in sharing with urban America the power of ownership. People with day to day struggles, which includes just about everyone, will easily relate to his songs. Lito comes from a place of truth when he creates music. His humble yet expressive musicality combines profound substance with a unique style. Lito’s organic yet powerful delivery of his music always causes listeners to be pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of his process, Lito explains that he speaks for his neighborhood. From song inception to performance, Lito visualizes everyday people who work hard to make something for themselves. This acute awareness of the collective human pursuit allows him to project his struggles and aspirations to his listeners. At the same time, his professionalism, the sound of his music, and his overall talent are on par with mainstream artists. This unique combination of qualities makes Lito one to watch out for.

It saddens Lito to observe that his fellow artists are told what to do, what to say, and what not to say. He is concerned with the fact that rappers signed to labels all sound the same. The loss of sovereignty is a struggle that he is intimately familiar with. Earlier in his life, he worked in numerous jobs for other people. This experience acquainted him with the challenges of working without passion.

Examining his options more carefully, Lito decided to create his own platform where he can express himself with authenticity. He founded Family Over Everything Records to cultivate his sense of self-sustainability, independence, and entrepreneurship. Today, Family Over Everything is one of the biggest record companies in the industry. He is making the most of his power to say and do what he wants when he wants to, and in whatever way he desires. Lito has successfully maximized his platform to speak on what is going on in the world, his views, and his life.

Allowing himself to be retrospective, Lito admits that growth brings with it some discomfort. However, he never allowed himself to give in to the self-imposed limitations and fears. His journey has helped him develop the strength and courage to outgrow people and places.

Lito Jordan hopes that all who will listen to his music and hear of his story will learn that people can attain whatever vision they have for themselves. His experiences have taught him that with dedication and passion, anyone can live a life worth having. It will require hard work, but all will eventually realize the person they are meant to become.

Follow Lito Jordan on Instagram to learn more about his life and music.

Rising Music and Film Artist Kenny Peters Opens Up About His Life Experiences to Inspire Dreamers

“It is never too late to chase your dreams.” Musician and theater-film artist Kenny Peters is living proof of this inspirational quote. At almost 55 years old, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in audio production at the Institute of Austin as his second degree. But this artist has much more up his sleeve. He has taken on so many endeavors to pursue his dreams. Throughout his journey, he has endured deeply painful experiences that nearly pushed him toward suicide over ten years ago. Fortunately, he was able to pull through, and today, he continues to reach for his dreams. 

Kenny Peters is a singer, songwriter, actor, and soon-to-be author. Growing up, he had a passion for performing, and music played a big role in his life. He found himself playing the violin for the school orchestra and eventually,  even the orchestra’s piano despite the fact that he only learned to play the instrument by himself. 

Music and theater became Kenny’s refuge from the pain and difficulty brought about by his parents’ divorce in 1976. While living with his non-biological father, he endured physical abuse as his father figure drowned in alcoholism. In the early 80s’ , he also started to embrace his real sexuality and took the courage to come out as a gay man. In 2008, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness that took its toll on old friendships that experienced its effects when Kenny was still undiagnosed. 

Despite losing old friends and facing people who found it difficult to accept the diagnosis, he continued to push forward in life. He chose to live an open and vocal life about his journey toward recovery. He educated more people about mental health issues, correcting misconceptions and, ultimately, striving to break the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses. 

Music continued to be Kenny’s support system. Today, he has over 35 years of experience in music. Over the years, he traveled coast to coast and performed. He even landed 4th place in a nationwide music contest in Las Vegas. In the mid-90s, he was a part of a music project with an unsigned singer. Reaching high notes and being a “belter” helped him make a name for himself in the local music scene. His singing ability was inspired by classic male voices such as Gino Vannelli’s. After being inspired by Gino’s music style, he was able to meet the singer whom he hopes to work with for a private workshop in the future.

After leaving the corporate world in 2008, he worked on an album containing songs that helped him through his illness, which landed 65,000 streams on SoundCloud. Later on, he explored television and film, which brought him supporting roles in TV series such as Friday Night Lights, films like Shiloh and Frontier Freedom, as well as commercials. Kenny also served as an operations manager for actor Terry Kiser’s The Actors Arena school, which he initially had just attended for an 8-week coaching session.  

In recent years, Kenny has focused on a weight issue caused by certain medications, which led him to weigh over 315 pounds. The determined artist, however, managed to lose 130 pounds in just ten months, and his new appearance inspired many others. The eventual death of his father figure also helped Kenny make peace with his past. Now that he is free, he is back to doing what he loves.

He has been working on a very personal album that details the events of his life. The project, called Worth the Wait, is scheduled for release before the year 2020 ends. The first single of the album “No, Father,” which delves on child abuse, was released in November 2015 with positive reviews coupled with a call to improve technical issues that he is now working on.  

Kenny also manages a personal blog website that seeks to inspire others who have gone through life’s roller-coaster ride as he did. For Kenny, believing in one’s self is the key for people to survive whatever life throws at them. He is dedicated to proving that no one is ever too old to reach his dreams. 

For more information about Kenny Peters, check his website.

King Burt on Living the Double Life of a Musician and CEO

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down countless industries and companies. But some people are making the most of these unprecedented times by launching their passion projects and working on their oft-neglected skills and talents. Founder and CEO of Inspire Vibes, Burton Baloubi, a.k.a. King Burt, is not only the assistant vice president for a major corporation but also a rising pop, rap, country, and hip-hop star.

King Burt has diligently dedicated his free time to commit to his lifelong dream of becoming an artist fully. King Burt is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the music industry. In the short time since he entered the game, he has been well applauded for his realness and creativity. He has released several hot tracks that have recently blown up and are on their way to becoming mainstream hit singles—“Price Tag,” “Hugh Hefner,” and “Country Girl.”

King Burt prides himself on having an unusual yet electrifying vibe, and he is genuinely unafraid to state what’s at the forefront of his thoughts. He is focused on staying true to his upbringing and maintaining an authentic presence. The attention his music has brought him has not changed his disposition and who he is as an individual. King Burt is determined to make music in the same manner that he always has, and he will carry on with his life the way that he needs to live. One of his guiding principles is to never change for anybody.

The up-and-coming artist is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and attended Garner Magnet High School—coincidentally the same high school that American Idol winner Scotty McCreery attended. However, King Burt’s style doesn’t sound like typical North Carolina music—or like any kind of sound, for that matter. His extraordinary style is something that is unique to the US market and has never been heard before. His capacity to create such unique vibes is what separates him from other artists, both mainstream and independent.

King Burt prides himself on being able to live two separate lifestyles and still be a genuine person. When he’s in his suit and tie, he assumes the mentality of a businessman and CEO of his own company. His youth doesn’t stop him from making profitable decisions for his company. When he’s King Burt, he is able to transform into a rockstar that makes fire music. Not even his fans are able to recognize that it’s corporate mastermind Burton Baloubi.

His life experiences are what motivated him to try to make himself be exceptional and stand out from the crowd. He strives to become an example to people who have also been in his shoes. His biggest loss was the death of a dear friend who lost their life to suicide. This grief motivated him to make his dreams a reality because he realized that life shows no one mercy.

King Burt sees himself making music on a bigger scale so that he can have the privilege of being able to touch thousands of lives through his creativity.

Check out King Burt’s adventures on Instagram.