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Jazz Singer Al Jarreau Dead at 76
Feb-12-2017 156 0


Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau has passed away at age 76, his representatives said on Sunday. Jarreau, a seven-time Grammy winner, was known for hits like "Mornin'" and "We're in This Love Together". He was still touring last week when he abruptly cancelled his remaining performances, citing exhaustion. Representatives said he was hospitalized in Los Angeles and "improving slowly". His family told TMZ that Jarreau had sung to nurses during his hospital stay. He would have turned 77 next month.

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reuters Aug-22-2017 11 0
Comedian Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges will be moved from November 2017 to March 2018, a Pennsylvania judge said on Tuesday.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill said the additional time was necessary to give Cosby's new lawyers, who made their first appearance on Tuesday, time to prepare. The 80-year-old entertainer's first trial for allegedly assaulting a woman in 2004 ended in a mistrial in June when a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
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PETER SBLENDORIO Aug-22-2017 20 0
Another woman has come forward with explosive allegations against R. Kelly in the wake of claims that the Grammy-winning singer manipulates every aspect of life for several women who live with him.

Jerhonda Pace, now 24, told Buzzfeed she was only 16 when she began a sexual relationship with the singer, whom she first met in Chicago when she attended his child pornography trial in 2008 when she was only 15. She says Kelly did not ask her how old she was when she was first invited over to his house in 2009, but told private investigators later on that she had claimed she was 19.

Pace accused the R&B star of mentally and physically abusing her during their 8-month relationship. She says she told Kelly she was 16 in July 2009, after they'd already started their sexual relationship, and he allegedly told her to lie about her age and tell people she was 19.

Pace — whose last name was Johnson at the time (she’s since married) — told Buzzfeed that she followed a set of "rules" when she spent weekends with Kelly at the singer's Olympia Fields, Ill. home that required her to wear baggy clothes and ask for permission to use the bathroom, shower, and even eat.

She claims Kelly turned violent toward her in January 2010 after the singer saw her texting one of her friends.

"I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on," she told Buzzfeed.

Pace says she stopped seeing Kelly from there, and reached out to Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans, who had worked with woman who claimed to be wronged by Kelly in the past. Pace told Buzzfeed that Loggans reached a big settlement with Kelly within weeks.

Years later, Pace tells the outlet that she's currently worried about a friend who she brought into Kelly's group, who sources tell Buzzfeed still lives with the singer.

Pace's allegations come a month after Buzzfeed originally reported that the parents of an aspiring singer — since identified as Joycelyn Savage — believed their daughter was one of several women being manipulated by Kelly in what they've described as a "cult."

Three other women who were allegedly once part of Kelly's circle went on the record in that article to accuse Kelly of regulating everything that the six women who live with him do, from what they eat, to what they wear and what they do sexually.

Kelly's team has vehemently denied all allegations against him, and Savage has said she's fine, despite her parent's concerns. An attorney for Kelly did not immediately return a request for comment on the latest Buzzfeed story.

Pace says she broke a nondisclosure agreement by speaking to Buzzfeed, but decided to tell her story to try and help the women who are allegedly living with Kelly.

"If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that's what I will do," Pace said. "I didn't have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him. He's brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson."
"I just really hope I can help these women out," she continued. "Kelly needs to be stopped."
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Dee Thompson Aug-17-2017 28 0
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals at Dallas ruled that Erykah Badu’s comments on social media about former manager Paul Levatino were protected free speech, however the case is going back to the trial court for further rulings.

Paul Levatino worked for Erykah Badu (real name Erica Wright) for 8 years as the general manager of her business interests. His duties included merchandising, concert and event management, and marketing. He was paid through her company Apple Tree Cafe Touring.

On May 27, 2014, Badu terminated the employment of Levatino. She said on May 29, 2014, on social media that Levatino was never her manager and she had never had a manager, according to the court's opinion. She also alleged he had shut down her Facebook fan page.

In October 2014, Badu received a letter from Levatino’s lawyer Joseph H. Gillespie of Gillespie Sanford LLP stating she had defamed Levatino, and asking for a public retraction and compensation. 

On Oct. 31, 2014, Badu filed a petition seeking a declaratory judgment, saying that Levatino had never been her talent manager and was not owed any compensation. Badu next filed an amendment to the petition alleging fraud, conversion and theft by deception.

In response to the petition, Levatino filed a counterclaim “...asserting Badu’s Facebook and Twitter posts were defamatory and have caused Levatino to suffer actual damages in the form of lost compensation and earning capacity, and non-pecuniary damages.” Additionally, “Levatino asserts Apple Tree is liable for the statements and omissions made by Badu,” according to the court of appeals' Aug. 3 order.

Levatino moved for dismissal of Badu’s claims under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) and asserted that his pre-suit demand letters were protected activity under the TCPA. 
To be considered an exercise of the right of association under the TCPA, communication must happen “between individuals who join together to collectively express, promote, pursue or defend common interests,” according to the court's opinion.

In his petition, Levantino claimed “Attorney-client communications that culminate in a demand letter to opposing counsel expressing the common interests of the attorney and client are protected under the right of association and it was error to hold otherwise.” 

His petition also stated, “The court of appeals decision also contravenes the broadly written and liberally construed purpose of the act because instead of limiting frivolous anti-SLAPP suits, it instead incentivizes such suits by protecting parties that rush to the courthouse to file strategic retaliatory suits in response to pre-suit demand letters.”

The trial court, appellate court and Texas Supreme Court all denied his petition for review.
In its Aug. 3, ruling, the Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas ruled that the issue of attorney’s fees was remanded back to the trial court to decide. It also ruled that Badu’s comments on social media were exercises of her right of association. 

Additionally, the Court of Appeals 5th District of Texas ruled that because Badu’s comments on social media were damaging to his reputation, and it was commonly known in the music industry that he was her manager, that Levatino presented a prima facie case of defamation. According to the Wex Legal Dictionary, a "prima facie case is a cause of action or defense that is sufficiently established by a party's evidence to justify a verdict in his or her favor, provided such evidence is not rebutted by the other party."

The Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas concluded that “We reverse, in part, that portion of the trial court’s order awarding Levatino attorney’s fees and cost, and remand the attorney’s fees and cost issue to the trial court to determine whether appellants’ motion was frivolous or solely intended to delay. We otherwise affirm the trial court’s order.”
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NICOLE BITETTE Aug-13-2017 62 0
A woman is suing rappers Drake and Future after she was raped at one of their concerts.

The unnamed woman claims a man associated with the Nashville venue, Bridgestone Arena, told her he would take her backstage to meet with the stars, but instead violently attacked her and raped her, according to The Tennessean.

The 28-year-old woman is now suing the stars for $25 million, alleging they should have known better when employing the man, Leavy Johnson, who had outstanding warrants for previous assaults at the time of the attack, TMZ reported.

She claims the music artists and venue employees put people in danger by having Johnson work during the show, according to the gossip site. He was working as an employee for Delaware North, a concession stand company contracted out by the venue.

Johnson, 38, was arrested and charged with rape in April for the Aug. 14, 2016 incident, The Tennessean reported.

He had previously fled Tennessee after the incident and was arrested in Florida. Johnson was flown back to Nashville to face the rape charges in May, with the assistance of U.S. Marshals' fugitive task force and a Nashville police supervisor from the fugitive unit.
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Peter Sblendorio Aug-08-2017 34 0
An Atlanta rapper who called himself "bulletproof" after he was shot 10 times and survived was killed by an unidentified gunman Sunday evening in DeKalb County, Ga., according to officials.

Yung Mazi — who had collaborated with big-name artists such as Rich Homie Quan and Yung Thug — was gunned down in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office said.

The shooting occurred at around 8:55 p.m. when the rapper, 31, appeared to be leaving the Urban Pie pizza restaurant.

Atlanta Police did not disclose his identity in their police report, but confirmed a 31-year-old male died in the area after sustaining multiple gun wounds. Authorities responded to the scene after hearing gunshots outside the the department's Zone 6 precinct, which is located nearby.

Officials said no suspects are in custody, and the investigation for the rapper's shooter is ongoing.

Yung Mazi, whose real name was Jabril Abdur-Rahman, claimed in a video last year that he had survived 10 gunshots during his lifetime. He tweeted last December that "God made me bulletproof" following a shooting at a Waffle House in Buckhead, Ga.

The rapper's brother, Luqman Abdur-Rahman, asked for privacy in a short phone conversation with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We're praying for him and all involved," he told the newspaper.

Yung Mazi's colleague Rich Homie Quan, meanwhile, paid tribute to the artist by sharing an Instagram photo of his late collaborator counting money.

"Rest easy Mazi," he captioned the picture.
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JD Knapp Jul-09-2017 143 0
Nelsan Ellis — famous for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood” — has passed away at age 39, Variety can confirm.

The actor died after complications from heart failure.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of ‘True Blood.’ Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”

“True Blood” creator and executive producer Alan Ball echoed HBO’s epitaph in a statement of his own. “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” said Ball. “Working with him was a privilege.”

Ellis’ “The Help” costar Octavia Spencer broke the news on Instagram Saturday morning, saying, “Just got word that we lost (Nelsan). My heart breaks for his kids and family.”
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Eric Renner Brown Jul-05-2017 299 0
JAY-Z released his 13th studio album, 4:44, less that a week ago, but it has already achieved a coveted industry distinction. The Brooklyn rapper’s latest project notched platinum status in mere days, making it his 13th solo studio effort to earn the designation. Jay has more platinum albums than any other hip-hop artist — in fact, no others have more than 10 — and that’s not even counting the platinum honors he has received for collaborative LPs with Kanye West, Linkin Park, and R. Kelly.

“Props to Jay, he’s done it again!” RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement. “Another platinum album adds to an already iconic career.”

Jay’s accomplishment means 4:44 tallied downright gaudy numbers. In early 2016, the RIAA changed its metric for gold and platinum honors to acknowledge streaming. Under the new system, the RIAA counts 1,500 song streams off an album as one album sale. The awards are then calculated based on a combination of streaming and old-fashioned physical album sales.

Because Jay released 4:44 as a streaming exclusive, that means he reached platinum status — in less than a week — without physical album sales. To propel the record to the equivalent of 1 million album sales, listeners would have had to stream 4:44‘s 10 tracks a total of at least 1.5 billion times. Even more impressive? Jay essentially handicapped himself within the streaming sector, limiting 4:44 to his own TIDAL service and keeping it off competitors like Spotify and Apple Music. Plus, he included a stipulation that, initially, those who subscribed to TIDAL after midnight on Friday morning couldn’t access 4:44 if they weren’t Sprint subscribers. (The album is now available to all TIDAL subscribers.)

JAY-Z and TIDAL have made headlines for their relationship with the RIAA in the past. In February 2016, TIDAL and co-sponsor Samsung gave away 1 million copies of Rihanna’s brand-new ANTI, helping the album secure platinum status in less than 24 hours. The RIAA recognized the giveaway in its calculation, but Billboard disqualified those numbers, on the grounds that it doesn’t recognize gratis promotions.

When Jay released his previous album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail, in 2013, he similarly tested the basis by which the RIAA designates albums platinum. The record predated TIDAL by almost two years, but the rapper teamed with Samsung, which distributed copies for free to its customers while giving Jay and his entertainment company Roc Nation $5 per copy. The arrangement led to near-instantaneous qualification for platinum status.
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Jun-21-2017 123 0
The investigation into alleged sexual assault on "Bachelor in Paradise" is over ... and the conclusion -- no sexual assault, and the show will go on.

The show was put on ice after a producer claimed Corinne Olympios was so drunk she was not capable of consenting to oral sex in a swimming pool with DeMario Jackson. Warner Bros. put the show on hold during the investigation. As we reported, multiple people who saw the video claim Corinne was "fully engaged" and lucid throughout the sexual encounter. We're told the investigation is now complete and the finding was there was no sexual assault. We're told DeMario's lawyer met with Warner Bros. lawyers Monday, reviewed the tapes and assured him he was in the clear. Our sources say filming will resume in the same location in Mexico. The show will air this summer. As for the swimming pool incident, Warner Bros. says it will not be released. As for Corinne and DeMario ... we're told no decisions have been made on whether they'll be on the show.
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Rachel Desantis Jun-12-2017 184 0
Diddy raked in $130 million pretax this year, making him No. 1 on Forbes' annual ranking of the highest-earning entertainers.

The artist formerly known as Sean Combs, 47, has been a fixture on Forbes' highest-earning lists for years, but snagged the top spot this year thanks to the boost he got from selling one-third of his Sean John clothing line in November for $70 million. The line, of which he now owns a reported 20%, earns nearly half a billion dollars in sales each year.

The "Last Night" singer also has a lucrative partnership with Ciroc vodka worth eight figures, as well as stakes in Revolt TV, DeLeon tequila and Aquahydrate alkaline water.

And because that's not enough, he earned even more this year thanks to his Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, which featured performances by the likes of Jay Z and Usher in 25 massive arenas.

Diddy, Jay Z, Dr. Dre top Forbes' list of richest hip hop stars
Back in May, he also ranked No. 1 on Forbes' list of wealthiest hip-hop stars, with an $820 million fortune.

Just behind Diddy at No. 2 is Beyoncé, who earned $105 million thanks to her Formation World Tour and "Lemonade" album sales.

Meanwhile, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling cast a spell over the literary world last year with “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a stage play that sold 4.5 million copies domestically to become the bestselling book of 2016. The book, as well as the release of the film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” secured Rowling’s spot in third place with $95 million.

Hip-hop star Drake and Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo landed in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Drake, who supplemented his album “Views” with Apple, Sprite and Nike endorsement deals, earned $94 million, while Ronaldo, the highest-ranking athlete on the list, pocketed $93 million thanks to a contract extension with Real Madrid worth more than $50 million over the next four years.

Canadian singer The Weeknd came in sixth with $92 million thanks to a hit album and subsequent tour, while radio personality Howard Stern scored seventh with $90 million.

Not far behind, with $88 million was the British band Coldplay, who grossed more than $5 million at each stop on their Head Full of Dreams Tour.

Rounding out the top ten was author James Patterson, with $87 million, and NBA superstar LeBron James, with $86 million.

"Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner also nabbed a noteworthy spot on the list as the youngest entry. The 19-year-old came in at No. 59 with $41 million.
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