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Free in April 2005
|Birth name||Antoinette Marie Wright|
|Also known as||Marie Antoinette|
|Born||February 7, 1968|
|Origin||Dorchester, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Genres||Hip hop, R&B|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, rapper, music producer, television personality, radio personality|
Antoinette Marie Wright (born February 7, 1968), better known by her stage name, "Free", is an American media personality, television producer and philanthropist. She rose to fame as the first host of BET's 106 & Park. She was later a disc jockey at KKBT 100.3 The Beat in Los Angeles and is the former co-host of the Ed Lover Morning Show on Power 105.1 in New York City.
Born Marie Wright, she is of African American descent. She began her journey in the arts as a child in Boston, MA. She attended the Roxbury Center for Performing Arts for 11 years and traveled and toured as part of a young dance troupe. Inspired by hometown group New Edition, she was part of a few groups in Boston performing and winning talent shows, while honing her singing and rap skills.
Free left Boston to immerse herself in her true passion: music. One of Free's stepping-stones was an internship at a radio station in MA, where she began to make a name for herself. She then made career moves between LA and New York in an effort to build the structure of her calling. She appeared on "Patriots", the second track on Can-I-Bus, the debut album from critically acclaimed rap artist Canibus. This appearance was her first major appearance and the album eventually went gold. Her appearance on the album was a direct result of her professional connection with Wyclef and his Refugee Camp crew.
“What influenced me to chase after my dreams was music itself; its power and creative medium.” Fate led her to a casting held by BET, where executives choose her to co-host their signature show based in NYC: "106 & Park Top 10 live". During her 5 years at 106 & Park, Free interviewed notables such as Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, Aaliyah, Halle Berry, Maxwell, and Alicia Keys.
In 2003, Free began to record a full-lengthed debut studio album titled, Pressure Free, which was expected to be released in spring of 2008. Free went on to promote the album and release buzz singles via underground mixtapes from early 2003 to 2007. A buzz single, "Uh Huh", featuring Busta Rhymes, leaked via the internet in hopes of regenerating buzz for the album. Contributors for the debut included Faith Evans, Bink, Scott Storch, Rockwilder, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Rah Digga, Timbaland and Missy Elliott. As of 2012, there is no confirmation if the album will be released.
On December 1, 2009, Clear Channel Radio New York's Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM), R&B, Hip Hop and Back in the Day Joints, announced that Malikha Mallette will move to co-host "The Ed Lover Show," 5:30-9:30am and DJ Envy is Power 105.1's new afternoon personality, 2-6pm weekdays. The announcement was made by Cadillac Jack, Power 105.1's Program Director. Free stated on her Twitter page "Ok that's a Tuesday Morning for ya: As of now I will no longer be heard on Power105 in the am: NY thanks for the laughs..rock on!"
In October 2010, Free returned to BET to produce and star in “106 & Park’s” two-episode anniversary show: “106 & Park: 10 Years & Counting” and “106 & Park: The Celebration, 10 Years Live!” Both shows earned the highest “106 & Park” ratings in BET history.
She can also be seen on BET again as a presenter at the inaugural Black Girls Rock! Awards on November 7, 2010.
On May 9, 2011, Free began co-hosting "The Big Tigger Morning Show" on Washington, DC area radio station WPGC 95.5 FM, alongside Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan, 6am-10am weekdays. In December 2011 when Big Tigger was fired, Free continued the radio show solo.
In 2002, Free founded the Free4Life Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young people in disadvantaged neighborhoods through programs that encourage literacy, financial education and creative arts. The Free4Life Foundation has created opportunities that inspire, support, encourage and strengthen the healthy development of young people in Boston’s underserved communities. Initially focused on eradicating domestic violence and improving financial literacy, Free is currently in the process of expanding the depth and breadth of the foundation’s scope. Through the foundation, Free also launched the successful fundraising event, Break! Break!.
Free is also an advocate for breast cancer awareness. In October 2010, she participated in the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” charity walk in honor of her late mother Selina “Tina” Wright. Forming team “Walk 4 Tina,” Free and her family walked 5.7 miles to help raise donations and awareness.
- 2004: Free's World (mixtape)
- 2007: Pressure Free (shelved)
- Album appearances
- 1999: "Bring It All to Me (Triple Threat Mix)" — Blaque (feat. NY Glaze, Jazz-Ming Mackey, and Free)
- 2003: "21 Answers" — Lil' Mo
- 1996: The Associate (on "Mr. Big Stuff" with Queen Latifah and Shades)
- 2003: The Fighting Temptations: Music from the Motion Picture (on "Fighting Temptation" — Beyoncé (feat. Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free)
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