Sound Bites: Skunk Anansie, Isaac Hayes, Michael Jackson

Skunk Anansie Calls It Quits

The members of British dance rock quartet Skunk Anansie will go their separate ways, according to the band's management. The group most recently released Post Orgasmic Chill in 1999. Lead singer Skin is working on her solo debut, due out early next year, and guitarist Ace is also working on an album. Cass, the band's bassist, is pursuing a career in photography, in addition to music, and drummer Mark is pursuing both music and acting. "This has been a mutual decision and the band remain the best of friends," the band's rep said in a statement.

Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Guitarist Commemorate Stax Records

R&B singer Isaac Hayes and members of Booker T. and the MG's turned out in Memphis today to celebrate the groundbreaking for a museum and music conservatory honoring Stax Records. The Memphis label released 800 singles and 300 albums between 1959 and 1975 — including Hayes' popular soundtrack to Shaft, Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour," and Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay." After the label faded and its building was torn down in 1989, the surrounding neighborhood in South Memphis became economically depressed. The Stax Museum is part of a civic revival project for the neighborhood.

Michael Jackson to Investigate Reports of Slavery

Continuing his stated mission to support children worldwide, pop star Michael Jackson has announced a plan to travel to Africa to investigate reports of children sold into slavery. Jackson will be joined on the trip later this year by spiritual advisor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and the Rev. Al Sharpton, according to The Associated Press. Jackson was distressed when he heard news early this week of a search for a ship off the coast of western Africa believed to be carrying child slaves, according to the news service. Police have detained the ship's captain and crew but have not yet found evidence of the allegations. Jackson said he will take time off from his music schedule for the trip. He has been long at work on a new album, which is expected this fall, and he recently announced an all-star concert to be held Sept. 7 in New York's Madison Square Garden.