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"Create Your Own Wave: Artist Empowerment Through Ownership"

By Steven Duarte
          In today’s music market there is a multitude of ways that an artist can generate revenue for the works that they create. With the expansion of the internet as a shared market-space, artists now more than ever have the opportunity to have their music heard by fans in addition to potential sponsors and collaborators.  The main challenge that an artist faces today when pushing their music is finding a viable and credible platform to release and sell their content in an effective and efficient manner.  While there are numerous service providers for music distribution and placement in the game today, there are certain groups that possess a better understanding of what artists desire and require to reach success due to the past experience and insight of the people running the business.  One group that fits into this mold of artistic empathy is Add Ventures Music which is headed by Chris Gotti who co-founded Murder Inc. Records with his brother Irv Gotti in the late 90’s.  I had the chance to speak with Chris himself so he could kick game on how the industry has changed from when he first began his career and explain what he wanted to accomplish by starting Add Ventures Music.
           When speaking about the changes of artist development Chris believes that record labels no longer have the same relevance as they did when he first started as a music exec.  He stated- “Before the internet record labels would try to dictate who would become successful as an artist.  Talent was always very important, but they would take that talent nurture it; use their relationships and resources to actually make it become independent enough to generate revenue and be successful…. Technology laid a paradigm shift where that business model is no longer relevant.”

          The conversation continued and Chris began to break down the nuances in how distribution has also experienced significant change as a result of the internet being a market that is difficult for labels to regulate- “They cannot block the internet. They’re (Record Labels) trying to block things and they’re doing it (in some places). On iTunes they don’t allow you to just upload things anymore directly you have to meet a criterion, that’s record label business.” 
          With so many creatives having access to the internet, labels are not able to establish a deal with all of them due to the massive number of artists that are currently releasing music.  However, one of the biggest elements that is lacking from most independent artists is an ENTIRE understanding of what it means to navigate and conquer the music business.  Even as an emcee myself, when I heard Chris breakdown the whole process of what needs to happen for your artistry to take off; the information seemed a bit overwhelming to those like me who are pursuing music for the sake of longevity and sustainability. As a service Add Ventures Music’s goal per Chris’ words is to “Give you the harsh reality of what this music industry is about business wise.” 

          As we got deeper into this dialogue Chris made an interesting remark that helps to summarize what he meant by understanding the reality of the industry when he asked me the question- “How come Google can’t tell you what to do with your art (to be successful)?”   The response he gave albeit simplistic was very profound, “There is no right or wrong answer, if you are an artist you have to figure out YOU and what resonates with your audience and grow it.”

          One thing I found to be interesting during our talk was that Chris was on record stating that he does not like to speak to artists about business in the industry because their focus should be on making hit records.  In spite of that apprehension Chris said that he gives the knowledge that he does because he wants his platform “To empower other artists and help artists”.  Compared to other competitors like TuneCore who only provide distribution services and nothing else, Chris strives to provide not only distribution but also mixing services as well as DJ promotions and video production, while also equipping his members with the knowledge that is necessary to sustain them long after they sign with Add ventures. His hope for artists who are up and coming is that they learn to be comfortable at taking risks when creating content because you never know what will have a great impact on your audience.
          Although Add ventures Music Chris’ main focus at this time, he is no stranger to navigating the industry due to his time in running Murder Inc. with Irv Gotti.  As a fan of what they were in the 90’s and knowing about the history of the group as it relates to their success with hit artists and music, I asked Chris what he was able to learn and apply from his time being in his partnership with Universal and he said “Murder Inc was a joint venture with Universal. We were 50/50 on all proceeds and we made sure we had 100% control over our brand…. We did listen (to Universal) to their suggestions but we created our own way.”  Based off the experience that he gained from the joint venture with Universal, Chris says that the dispersing of that specific knowledge is the premise that Add Ventures Music was built on.
          After we wrapped up our talk I was thoroughly impressed, inspired, and motivated to internalize and take action on the many topics that were covered by Chris in the interview.  Today more than ever it is incumbent upon the artist to firstly see and uphold the value in their creations.  Even more than that artists must see that there is a great opportunity to create ownership over their own craft so they can receive proper compensation instead of taking lesser deals from big record labels.  For any musician or emcee who is interested in expanding their platform to a new level, Add Ventures Music is a great group to get in touch with.  With someone as knowledgeable and passionate as Chris Gotti at the helm the future for this service provider is very bright. In the end  when asked what he wanted to ultimately gain from this endeavor Chris said with supreme confidence that his main goal with Add Ventures is To Educate The Independent  Artist Empower The Independent Artist.personally hope that efforts like his become the norm in creative communities all over so we can finally receive our just due for our contributions to society and the culture all over the world.

Steven X
Columnist, Artist
IG: @stevenxthetruth


Memorial spotlights the man behind Nipsey Hussle rap persona . S.I.P

Memorial spotlights the man behind Nipsey Hussle rap persona


People watch as a hearse carrying the casket of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle passes Hussle's clothing store The Marathon, Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Los Angeles. Hussle’s casket, draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea in East Africa, embarked on a 25-mile tour of the city after his memorial service, drawing thousands to the streets to catch a glimpse of the recently-anointed hometown hero. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands flocked to remember the life of Nipsey Hussle at a packed memorial service Thursday that provided mourners with a deeper appreciation of Ermias Asghedom, the man behind the up-and-coming hip-hop persona.

Some of people who knew Hussle best, from his actress-fiancée Lauren London, dear friend Snoop Dogg and his mother shared their most personal stories about the rapper during the three-hour service held in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The 21,000 seat venue hosted its first celebrity funeral since Michael Jackson’s in 2009, ending with a montage of videos of the rapper set to his song, “Dedication.”

Hussle’s casket, draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea in East Africa, then embarked on a 25-mile tour of the city, drawing thousands to the streets to catch a glimpse of the recently-anointed hometown hero.

Police kept an eye on the crowd, which appeared largely peaceful. At one point, people sat atop a police car spray-painted with the words: “Nips in Paradise.”

A shooting killed one person and wounded three others a few blocks from where the procession had passed by. But a police spokesman, Officer Drake Madison, said there was no indication it was connected to the event. South Los Angeles has seen an increase in shootings that began before Hussle’s slaying.

London shared a text message sent she sent the rapper in January calling him “my turn up and my church.” She spoke about learning so much from being in his presence as her provider and protector, but turned sad at the thought of their son being unable to remember his dad.

“My pain is for my two-year-old,” she said.

After the service, she revealed a fresh tattoo of Hussle on her forearm, writing in an Instagram post that “Real Love Never Dies” and that from now on “When you see me, you will always see him.”

Hussle’s mother, Angelique Smith, spoke calmly about her being in “perfect peace” and “happy and complete” despite her son’s death. She declared: “Ermias was a legacy.”

She called him a “superhero” who wasn’t afraid to lead, recounting a story about Ermias at 9-years-old running down the middle of the street to flag down a firetruck to extinguish her car’s engine that went under flames. Miraculously, the car still ran.

“We’re burning but not destroyed,” Smith said.

Snoop Dogg talked candidly about Hussle being a visionary and meeting him for the first time.

“Most rappers when they push up on Snoop Dogg with a mixtape, this is their line: ‘Ahh, dawg, listen to my music. I can make you a million dollars,’” Dogg said. “Nipsey’s line was, ‘Hey homie, listen to my music. Just give it a listen.’ That’s it? No record deal? You don’t want to get put on? So to me, he had vision to know and understand that I don’t want to be handed out nothing. I’m going to come and get mine.”

Hussle was shot to death March 31 while standing outside The Marathon, his South Los Angeles clothing store, not far from where the rapper grew up.

Eric R. Holder Jr., who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.

At least one of the rapper’s wishes came true Thursday. In his 2016 song “Ocean Views,” he rapped about having a Stevie Wonder song played at his funeral. The legendary singer took the stage to perform “Rocket Song,” one of Hussle’s favorites.

Earlier in the ceremony, a montage of photos featuring the rapper from infancy, childhood and adulthood, with fellow rappers, his family and London, were shown to the crowd, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Hussle’s children also appeared onstage to pay tribute. London’s son with rapper Lil Wayne, Cameron Carter, said days after Hussle died, he had a dream in which he saw the rapper.

“I realized Ermias told me what heaven was like. He told me it was paradise,” Cameron said.

Cameron then told the audience that Hussle would look at him through the window at times and say “respect.” Cameron then asked the crowd to say “respect” in unison, and the crowd sent the word booming through the arena.

For a decade, Hussle released much sought-after mixtapes that he sold out of the trunk of his car, helping him create a buzz and gain respect from rap purists and his peers. He said his stage name, a play on the 1960s and ’70s rhyming standup comic Nipsey Russell, was given to him as a teen by an older friend because he was such a go-getter — always hustling.

He charged $100 for his 2013 mixtape “Crenshaw,” scoring a cash and publicity coup when Jay-Z bought 100 copies for $10,000.

Last year, Hussle hit new heights with “Victory Lap,” his critically acclaimed major-label debut album on Atlantic Records that made several critics’ best-of lists. The album debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s 200 albums charts and earned him a Grammy nomination.

But the rapper was also a beloved figure for his philanthropic work that went well beyond the usual celebrity “giving back” ethos. Following his death, political and community leaders were quick and effusive in their praise.

Hussle recently purchased the strip mall where The Marathon is located and planned to redevelop it, part of Hussle’s broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger.

His family and friends vowed to continue his work, and London told the crowd: “The marathon continues!”

Hussle’s brother, Samiel Asghedom, also breathed life into motto. He talked about how Hussle would assemble parts to build his first computer, but became emotional about his brother leaving his “heart and soul” on the popular intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson Avenue.

“Bro, you made the world proud,” he said.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter:


Meet David Lewis Hollins Jr “YahPasion” Add Ventures Music Member

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Lewis Hollins Jr.

David L Hollins Jr (born April 26, 1989), better known by his stage name YahPasion is an American independent hip hop artist. He is under a distribution deal with AddVentures Music. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He started writing at seven years old and began recording with his cousin at the age of 12.

After spending years recording with a group of other various artists, he decided to pursue a solo career. From there, he started his own brand (KrowVillageEnt) to perform under. He was always motivated by all music. Widely considered to be an experimental artist, new listeners should be ready to experience a different vibe, with every listen.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been smooth for the most part struggling is what makes the music I make better I just convert the struggle and pain into poem form, so it works out for me.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with YahPasion – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am an Arizona hip hop artist I’m distributed through Chris Gotti '‘Addventures Music'‘ Distribution Company. I’m outside of the box type artist I think different then the way most artists think sonically different for me art should be unique to you its like a fingerprint.

Any predictions for the industry over the next few years?
Yah willing I’m alive I see myself changing the world as much as possible, I see it like this every artist is a prophet you will be sent to the people that your message is supposed to reach and that will be your tribe so to speak, so for the people I’m here to reach my music will change their way of thinking on another frequency I also have my own shoe company coming out soon look out for that I’m just working hard to change my life and everyone around me.

Image Credit:
Nia Starz

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


Aretha Franklin Family members celebrate birthday of late ‘Queen of Soul’

DETROIT (AP) — Family members celebrated Aretha Franklin on what would have been the Queen of Soul’s 77th birthday Monday with a memorial service and a screening of a documentary film.

The service was held inside a chapel at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. Franklin died last yearafter battling pancreatic cancer and was laid to rest inside a crypt not far from Woodlawn’s chapel.

“Our family thought it might be a good idea for us to start today the right way, in prayer,” Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens said. “And ask for God’s blessing on today as we go through these very exciting events of the day.”

In addition to Owens, Franklin’s sons Kecalf Franklin, Edward Franklin and Ted White Jr. were among those who attended the remembrance service, which focused not only on the legendary singer, but also other departed family members, including Aretha’s father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, and her brother Cecil Franklin, who also was a pastor.

“It’s always very emotional, mixed emotions, when I come here, because not only is my aunt here, but my mom is here. And my uncle Cecil,” Owens said, adding: “I think about my life with them growing up and what each of them meant to me.”

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The Rev. Edward Branch, a family friend and the senior pastor at Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, presided over the service, saying he hoped the gathering would “heal their hearts and help them to focus on the brighter times and the greater memories that are behind.”

Later Monday, the Detroit Institute of Arts was to host the premiere of “Amazing Grace,” which chronicles Franklin’s 1972 performance at a Los Angeles church. Owens said the film will go into wider release next month.

While the movie and the recent release of a boxed set of recordings from that performance are reasons to celebrate, the loss of her aunt still stings, Owens said.

“Each day, it gets a little better,” she said. “So, we just rely on our strength and that of our family and our friends and our support systems.”

amily members of the late Aretha Franklin gather before entering the Mausoleum Chapel at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Monday, March 25, 2019, in Detroit. Family celebrated Franklin and other passed family members with a memorial service inside a chapel at the cemetery on what would have been the Queen of Soul's 77th birthday. Franklin died last year after battling pancreatic cancer. Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece, says "our family thought it might be a good idea for us to start the day the right way _ in prayer." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

amily members of the late Aretha Franklin gather before entering the Mausoleum Chapel at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Monday, March 25, 2019, in Detroit. Family celebrated Franklin and other passed family members with a memorial service inside a chapel at the cemetery on what would have been the Queen of Soul's 77th birthday. Franklin died last year after battling pancreatic cancer. Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece, says "our family thought it might be a good idea for us to start the day the right way _ in prayer." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Review: In ‘Us,’ Jordan Peele holds a dark mirror to America

Review: In ‘Us,’ Jordan Peele holds a dark mirror to America

By JAKE COYLE March 20, 2019

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Lupita Nyong'o in a scene from "Us," written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele. (Claudette Barius/Universal Pictures via AP)

Jordan Peele has tightened his grip in “Us,” a less satirical and more slaughterhouse horror parable than the writer-director’s astonishing debut, “Get Out,” that despite its deficiencies will leave all who enter its shadowy world convinced of Peele’s growing command as a singular conjurer of American nightmares.

It’s a movie moment to savor. When was the last time a filmmaker’s sophomore release was greeted with such anticipation? It’s as if Peele struck such a deep and rich vein in “Get Out” that no one can wait to see what else he’ll uncover. Peele has found a new passageway into American psychology, and we’re all waiting outside the mine for him to call out from the dark with his latest revelation.

And in “Us,” Peele has produced a terrifying artifact: a sinister ballet of doppelgangers and inversions that makes flesh the unseen underbelly lurking beneath every sunny American dream and behind every contented nuclear family. It’s a scissor-sharp rebuke to anyone who’s ever held hands and sang “Kumbaya.”

“Us” begins on images of one such moment of supposed unity: Hands Across America, that wholesome ’80s experiment in linking arms across the country. It’s seen on an old TV screen with VHS tapes of “Goonies” and “C.H.U.D.” leaning against it. Later, when the Wilson family takes a vacation near Santa Cruz, California, they look out of their window at night and see the ominous silhouettes of a hand-holding family just like themselves outside on the driveway.

Their appearance is eerie to all: the mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), the father Gabe (Winston Duke) and their two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). But it’s Adelaide who most immediately recognizes the danger. The Santa Cruz boardwalk is where she, as a young child, wandered into a carnival tent’s hall of mirrors to find herself face-to-face with her exact double.

(Universal Pictures via AP)

That’s the film’s opening prologue before shifting to present day, and the scene, classically spooky, is perfectly realized by Peele. From the start, we feel Peele’s increasing confidence as a filmmaker and, as Michael Abel’s rhythmic, chanting score plays over the opening credits, we settle in for what we know, as soon as the Wilsons make their vacation plans, will be Adelaide’s frightful reunion with her childhood mirror-image tormentor.

It comes fast, like an assault. Soon after unpacking their bags and after a day at the beach with some friends (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker), the red-dressed doubles appear. Their arrival is harrowing and violent and “Us” quickly takes the shape, a little disappointingly, of a home invasion movie. A student of both genre and satire, Peele’s genius lies in his ability to sustain both. But in “Us,” he sometimes struggles to break free of genre tropes.

The Wilsons’ doppelgangers are a kind of sadistic, scissor-wielding echo of each family member. As “Us” bleeds into one ghastly scrape after another, we gradually grasp that they’re part of a larger uprising of an underclass who are each horribly tethered to a surface-world human. Adelaide’s double explains simply: “We’re Americans.”

“Get Out” proved Peele a master of metaphor but “Us” works less on a purely symbolic level than on its own infinite-loop system of horror. Some questions get answered but others don’t. The doubles arrive with only slightly more reasoning than the crows did in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Nightmares don’t always need clarification.

But I do think “Us” would work better if it gathered its suspense more steadily and more closely tethered its ideas to its characters. If the doppelgangers are stand-ins for an otherness that we fear in others but deny in ourselves, I’m not sure zombie-like maniacs were the most interesting way to go, or the most humanizing. And Peele’s script, delving so relentlessly into terror, doesn’t leave either side of the mirror room for much reflection. “It’s all just craziness,” someone says.

(Claudette Barius/Universal Pictures via AP)

Yet there’s an undeniable power of “Us” as a deeper, more primal vision of a two-tiered truth in American society that’s as unshakable as one’s shadow. Peele, working with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis (“It Follows,” ″Glass”), creates fever-dream images with passionate precision.

And then there’s Lupita. While each member of the family excels, Nyong’o delivers arguably her fiercest, most extraordinary performance as both Adelaide and her monstrous doppelganger. The wild difference between the two will get the most attention, but I was most impressed by the great subtlety of her Adelaide, a quiet, uneasy woman with a dark secret.

“Us” doesn’t match “Get Out” but Peele will surely have more sunken places to investigate. And for that we should be thrilled.

“Us” is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for violence, terror and language. Running time: 104 minutes. Three stars out of four.


MPAA definition of R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:


Fake heiress’ life of luxury left others footing big bills. By MICHAEL R. SISAK

NEW YORK (AP) — Anna Sorokin traveled in celebrity circles and tossed $100 tips — all the more reason to believe she was the German heiress she said she was. But behind the jet-set lifestyle and pricey threads, prosecutors have said, was a fraudster who bilked friends, banks and hotels for a taste of the high life.

Sorokin, 28, lived in luxury New York City hotel rooms she couldn’t afford, promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill, and peddled bogus bank statements in a quest for a $22 million loan, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has alleged.

On Wednesday, the one-time darling of the Big Apple social scene went on trial on grand larceny and theft of services charges alleging she swindled various people and businesses out of $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey that saw her jetting to the Midwest and Marrakesh before landing in a cell at Rikers Island.

“Her overall scheme has been to claim to be a wealthy German heiress with approximately $60 million in funds being held abroad,” prosecutor Catherine McCaw said after Sorokin’s October 2017 arrest. “She’s born in Russia and has not a cent to her name as far as we can determine.”

Sorokin’s attorney said she never intended to commit a crime.

Lawyer Todd Spodek told jurors in an opening statement that Sorokin was exploiting a system that was “easily seduced by glamour and glitz” after she saw how the appearance of wealth opened doors. Spodek said she was merely buying time, so she could launch a business and repay her debts.

Defense attorney Todd Spodek delivers his opening statement in New York State Supreme Court Wednesday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

“Anna had to fake it until she could make it,” Spodek said.

Sorokin, jailed since her arrest, faces deportation to Germany regardless of the outcome of the trial because authorities say she overstayed her visa. Her story, however, may stick around. Shonda Rhimes, the force behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” is developing a show about Sorokin for Netflix. Lena Dunham, of “Girls” fame, is working on one for HBO.

Sorokin arrived in the world of champagne wishes and caviar dreams in 2016 with a new name (Anna Delvey) and a wardrobe to match (Celine sunglasses, Gucci sandals and high-end buys from Net-a-Porter and Elyse Walker). She made a show of proving she belonged, passing crisp Benjamins to Uber drivers and hotel concierges, but she gave varying accounts for the source of her wealth, according to people who knew her.

At different times, they said, she’d claim her father was a diplomat, an oil baron or a solar panel muckity-muck. In reality, her father told New York magazine, he’s a former trucker who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

At first, people around Sorokin didn’t see a red flag when she asked them to put cabs and plane fares on their credit cards — she sometimes said she had trouble moving her assets from Europe, they said — and they laughed it off as forgetfulness when they had to hound her to pay them back.

“It was a magic trick,” Rachel Williams, the friend from the Morocco trip, wrote in Vanity Fair. “I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of the props, and the audience, too. Anna’s was a beautiful dream of New York, like one of those nights that never seems to end. And then the bill arrives.”

As she ingratiated herself into the New York party scene, prosecutors said, Sorokin started talking up plans to spend tens of millions of dollars building a private arts club with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops. She thought about calling it the Anna Delvey Foundation.

Sorokin kept up the heiress ruse as she went looking for a $22 million loan for the club in November 2016, prosecutors said. She claimed the loan would be secured by a letter of credit from UBS in Switzerland and showed statements purporting to substantiate her assets, according to an outline of the charges.

Anna Sorokin arrives in New York State Supreme Court for her trial on grand larceny charges, in New York, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

One bank rejected Sorokin because she “did not have sufficient cash flow to make loan payments,” prosecutors said. She bailed on another firm when it pressured her for a meeting with a UBS banker who could verify her assets, prosecutors said. At the same time, Spodek said, one of the firm’s executives sent Sorokin provocative texts, telling her she was “beautiful inside and out,” that he was “forcing myself not to kiss you” and asking to come up to her hotel room.

While seeking the loan, prosecutors said, Sorokin convinced one bank to lend her $100,000 to cover due diligence costs. She ended up keeping $55,000 and “frittered away these funds on personal expenses in about one month’s time,” prosecutors said. A few months later, in May 2017, Sorokin allegedly chartered a plane to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, but never paid the $35,400 bill.

Broke and facing a big bill at a midtown Manhattan hotel in July 2017, Sorokin pleaded with a police officer that a bailout was on the way, prosecutors said.

“I have no money and no credit cards. I’m waiting for my aunt from Germany. She’s going to pay,” Sorokin said, according to court documents. “I’m not trying to run. Why are you making a big deal about this? Give me five minutes, and I can get a friend to pay.”


Jussie Smollett’s attorneys say all criminal charges dropped

By AMANDA SEITZ and MICHAEL TARM 5 minutes ago

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that charges alleging he lied to police about a racist and homophobic attack have been dropped.

Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men.

A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

Smollett, who is black and gay, plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

Smollett reported that he had been attacked on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.

Police said Smollett hired two men, both of whom are black, to attack him. Police said Smollett paid the men $3,500.

The men are brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and one of them had worked on “Empire.” An attorney for them has said the brothers agreed to help Smollett because of their friendship with him and the sense that he was helping their careers.

Police have also said that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where “Empire” is shot. The FBI, which is investigating that letter, has declined to comment on the investigation.

Irv Gotti & Murder Inc. - The Unauthorized Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

Irv Gotti & Brother Chris Gotti founders of Murder Inc. Records ruled the hip-hop and pop charts during the early 2000s. In our profile of the legendary hit maker, learn how Gotti shaped the careers of groundbreaking artists such as Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Ashanti, and Jennifer Lopez. In this mini-documentary, we take you on a journey from Irv's early days in Queens, NY, to his rise in the music business as hip-hop's most sought after producer, to the fall and resurrection of the Murder Inc. empire. Follow us: Watch More Documentaries:  Will Smith Documentary - Beto O'Rourke Documentary - Kamala Harris Documentary - Interview with Mayor Michael Tubbs - Stream MURDER INC.'s Discography Via Apple Music: Ja Rule - Venni Vetti Vecci (1999): Ja Rule - Rule 3:36 (2000): Ja Rule - Pain is Love (2001): Ashanti - Ashanti (2002): Ja Rule - Last Temptation (2002): Ashanti - Chapter II (2003): Ashanti - Ashanti's Christmas (2003): Ja Rule - Blood in My Eye (2003): Lloyd - Southside (2004): Ashanti - Concrete Rose (2004): Ja Rule - R.U.L.E (2004): Ja Rule - Exodus (2005): Ashanti - Collectables (2005): Lloyd - Street Love (2007): Vanessa Carlton (2007): Ashanti - The Declaration (2008): Lloyd - Lessons in Love (2008):



Daylight Saving Time is on thin ice, millennials regret buying homes, and more top insights

During the week, the Daily Rundown brings you the day’s trending professional news. On the weekend, we try to keep you current on the big ideas that can help you see what’s coming. Read on and join the conversation.

Is it time to ditch Daylight Saving Time? Actually, many argue the culprit is Daylight Saving Time’s less sunny other half: standard time. Several states, including Florida, California and Oregon, are looking to make DST a year-round affair, which would give us more evening daylight hours. Their reasoning? The time shifts have been associated with disrupted sleepincreased rates of depression and a modest uptick in heart attacks. Sticking with DST all year may even help keep the peace, with extra evening daylight connected to a reduction in crime. (P.S. Remember to switch your clocks forward an hour on Sunday.) • Here’s what people are saying.

The rise of fire-resistant housing: The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety is testing fire-resistant materials and landscaping to withstand the kind of wildfires that have devastated parts of the U.S. Using fiber cement composite rather than wood, metal gutters instead of vinyl and landscaping with rocks rather than mulch can keep embers from turning into full-scale blazes, reports CNBC. Wildfires destroyed more houses and structures in the U.S. last year than at any point on record, costing California alone $19 billion real estate damages. • Here’s what people are saying.

A smart stop sign that could save lives: Researchers at The University of Texas in San Antonio have developed a solar-powered stop sign that can flash a light at the right moment to make sure drivers don’t roll past the sign altogether, therefore raising the risk of an accident. The sign uses infrared sensors to detect the vehicle type and its velocity, allowing it to trigger a light at the right time to allow a safe stop. 54% of U.S. traffic deaths occur on rural roads, according to New Atlas. And in many cases, those accidents come from drivers missing stop signs. • Here’s what people are saying.

Millennials suffer from housing remorse: After a bit of delay, millennials have finally entered the housing market, with homeownership rates among those under 35 and between 35 and 45 on the rise, The Washington Post reports. But these new homeowners are not so thrilled. A recent survey by Bankrate found that 44% of all homeowners have misgivings about their purchase, but that figure rises to 63% among millennials. The reasons for regret include unexpected costs and maintenance, lack of space and location. • Here’s what people are saying.

China’s factories are running low on workers: As China’s services economy expands rapidly — with e-commerce and delivery services booming — manufacturers are struggling to fill their ranks, Bloomberg reports. Trade tensions with the U.S. have only made matters worse, with some factories looking to close shop and move to places like Cambodia or Vietnam. In the meantime, some Chinese manufacturers are offering 10% to 20% pay bumps and traveling to remote villages to find candidates. • Here’s what people are saying.

One last idea: Putting your unique thoughts and original work out into the world is a risky, daunting pursuit. But author Jon Acuff reminds us that the potential rewards are worth the risk.

“You never know where your idea is going to go, but you've got a guarantee that it won't go anywhere unless you share it. Put it out there. Sing the song. Write the book. Start the business. There's a whole world waiting for your idea.”

Want to get ahead at work? Looking for advice from the pros? Share your burning career questions in the comments with #YouAsked and we’ll get experts to weigh in.

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/AFP/Getty Images

The Link Between Meat and Cancer: MSK Experts Explain the Headlines

Debunking the Link Between Meat Consumption and Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, announced that it had classified processed meat as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, “based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.” It also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen based on limited evidence linking its consumption to cancer and “strong mechanistic support supporting a carcinogenic effect.”

In the report, a group of 22 experts from ten countries concluded that every 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten per day — the equivalent of a hot dog or two or three strips of bacon — increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

Experts from Memorial Sloan Kettering put this news into perspective.


An agency within the World Health Organization classified processed meats as carcinogens — cancer-causing agents. These high-fat, high-calorie foods contribute to obesity, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer. Also, foods high in preservatives like processed meats have been linked to gastrointestinal cancers for years. But the increased risk is modest


  • An international cancer agency classified processed meat as a carcinogen.

  • It also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen.

  • The link between foods high in preservative salts and cancer risk has been known for years. 

  • The increased cancer risk from processed meats is modest.

  • Keeping a healthy, balanced diet is most important.You’ve probably seen the attention-grabbing headlines this week: Bacon causes cancer! But what’s the real story behind the news?

Earlier this week, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, announced that it had classified processed meat as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, “based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.” It also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen based on limited evidence linking its consumption to cancer and “strong mechanistic support supporting a carcinogenic effect.”

In the report, a group of 22 experts from ten countries concluded that every 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten per day — the equivalent of a hot dog or two or three strips of bacon — increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

Experts from Memorial Sloan Kettering put this news into perspective.

“This announcement didn’t come as a big surprise to most of us,” says MSK gastroenterologist Robin Mendelsohn. “We’ve known for a long time that obesity is associated with cancer, so there’s a direct link between eating high-fat, high-calorie foods like meat and an increased cancer risk.”

Medical oncologist Clifford Hudis, Chief of MSK’s Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Vice President for Government Relations, and Chief Advocacy Officer, adds that foods high in preservative salts, such as processed meats, have been associated with gastrointestinal cancers for more than 100 years. He also notes that the refrigerator, by allowing us to eat things that use less of these specific salts, contributed to a decline in stomach cancer in the last century.

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In addition, many processed meats like sausage and ham are smoked, which may further increase the number of carcinogenic compounds in them.

For other, nonprocessed red meat, the mechanism by which eating them may lead to cancer is not entirely clear, Dr. Mendelsohn says, but many of these foods also tend to be high in fat and calories.

Speaking about the IARC findings, Dr. Hudis explains, “an 18 percent increased risk is considered real but modest from a public-health standpoint, compared to cigarettes and tobacco, which increase the risk of lung cancer 800 percent or more. Some of the elevated risk may reflect the association of meat consumption with increased weight.”

“Given that much larger increases in risk are seen with tobacco as one example,” he says, “red meat is not the biggest issue. There are great reasons to avoid meat, including its high calorie content. The global issue we face is rising rates of obesity.”  And like tobacco use, obesity is a modifiable risk factor for cancer, which means that people may be able to avoid increased risk by maintaining a healthy weight throughout their life.

“Obesity will soon replace tobacco as the leading modifiable risk factor for cancer, at least in Western countries, ” Dr. Hudis says, noting a policy statement issued by the American Society of Clinical Oncology earlier this year.

The bottom line: Experts agree that the most important thing to focus on is a healthy, balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as exercising regularly and keeping your weight under control. A diet low in meat can be an easy way to achieve this goal, says Dr. Hudis.

“Anytime you choose to eat something healthy, that’s better, but I like to eat a steak or a hot dog once in a while, and that’s OK. Everything in moderation,” says Dr. Mendelsohn.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meats as carcinogens — cancer-causing agents.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meats as carcinogens — cancer-causing agents.

Judge Mathis has agreed to being spokesman for 1 Million Jobs Campaign

Judge Greg Mathis

Judge Greg Mathis


Judge Mathis is a national figure known for his advocacy campaigns for urban youth, and equal justice.  His inspirational life story of a street youth who rose from jail to Judge has provided hope to millions who watch him on the Emmy award-winning television court show Judge Mathis each day.


Judge Mathis’s public service career began in college where he led Free South Africa and voter registration campaigns on campus, while also working nights at McDonalds as a swing manager. After graduating from college in 1983, he joined the staff of Detroit City councilman Clyde Cleveland and continued to work as an advocate for equal justice with Reverend Jesse Jackson’s PUSH Excel, where he currently serves as Chairman. Judge Mathis has also served as a national board member of the NAACP and the Morehouse School of Medicine.


In his efforts to reach out to youth and ex-offenders both in and outside of the courtroom, Judge Mathis opened the Mathis community center in his hometown of Detroit and has assisted thousands of youth with his non-profit agency Young Adults Asserting Themselves (Y.A.A.T.), an agency that provides career, business start-up and job opportunities, as well as job training and college enrollment assistance.


In 2009, in honor of his years of work and commitment to his hometown of Detroit, the city named one of the streets, Mathis Avenue, after him.  The street is part of a new housing development, which replaced the housing projects he grew up in.


Judge Mathis has received numerous awards and keys to the city from government officials and is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from both Florida A&M University and Eastern Michigan University. He has been recognized for his efforts by numerous newspapers, magazines and television networks.  He has appeared on such shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today ShowLarry King Live, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  


Judge Mathis is married, and the proud father of four children, and recently became a grandfather.


Thrill of the skate _ Philly sees roller rink revival

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Thrill of the skate _ Philly sees roller rink revival

By BARBARA BOYER, The Philadelphia InquirerFebruary 16, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Floyd Williams, soon to be 82, has no plans to stop roller skating.

Neither does one-time roller derby competitor Zia Hiltey, 34. The two, both of west Philadelphia, dance hand-in-hand when they cross paths on skates Tuesday night at the Holiday Skating & Fun Center in Delanco. They’re at the Burlington County rink for the live organ music played for the past 22 years by business executive Ralph Brown, and, most of all, for the thrill of the skate.

On any given day in the Philadelphia region, home to at least 11 thriving roller rinks, children of all ages, their parents, and grandparents are lacing up and rolling onto hardwood floors for a perennial pastime that is back — again. The roller skating revival draws together folks of diverse ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds for hours of fun on wheels.

For some, it’s a welcome throwback, or as Williams put it, “I feel like 20 in the rink.”

Hiltey, a professional photographer, skated as a child and took an interest again in 2006 when she was lured by the punk aspect of roller derby. She competed with the Philly Roller Girls for two years and now skates just for fun.

Since the debut of roller rinks in the United States in the early 1900s (Chicago opened one in 1902 and it attracted more than 7,000 people its first day), roller skating has held a singular place in American culture from urban centers to the suburbs.

Jim McMahon, executive director of the Roller Skating Association International, said the renewed interest started several years ago on the West Coast, where California’s temperate climate provides a welcome backdrop. The revival has since moved to the East Coast, where rinks are seeing an uptick in customers.

Although the number of rinks in the United States has fallen from about 1,260 five years ago to 1,200 today, more people are skating, McMahon said. In 2017, 36 million skaters went to a rink. Last year, it climbed to 38 million, and the industry expects that number to rise to 44 million in 2019. Rink owners are now partnering with educators through STEM programs, in which students learn the science behind roller skating. They study physics, rink design, and the art of combining music with skating. Then they put it all together in the rink.

The older generation of skaters, those in their 70s and up, say they worry that the art of roller figure skating — holding hands, skating in unison, spinning — is slowly disappearing. They say it’s a style that many younger skaters don’t embrace.

“What we do, it’s a lost art. I was here in its heyday,” said Joe “Sonny” White, 80, of Philadelphia. “I met the love of my life roller skating.”

The year was 1951 when White spotted his beloved Dottie, “a hell of a skater,” at a rink at Broad and Poplar that closed years ago.

Although his wife died 10 years ago, White, who has had two knee replacements, keeps skating. He visits the Palace rink in Northeast Philly where there’s a much younger crowd and modern music. He prefers Holiday, where Ralph Brown plays the organ every Tuesday night. Since 1996, Brown, who lives in Reading, has driven 90 minutes each way for the Delanco gig. He also plays at a rink close to his home. He has been playing at roller rinks for 53 years, he said.

On a recent night as dozens of skaters arrived at Holiday, Brown climbed into the booth and took a seat behind the Hammond organ. His fingers danced across the keyboards as he bounced a knee to songs like the “Chicken Dance” and “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees.

“Couples only,” Brown announced before he played “I Will Always Love You,” followed by “Love Story.” He flipped the lights off and the rink fell dark but for the kaleidoscope of colors from a hanging disco ball and the red-and-green lights blinking above the snack bar and skate-rental desk.

Vivian Veith-Ackroyd, 84, has been a manager at Holiday since 1972. She remembers when skating was so popular that customers were turned away after the first 1,200 skaters arrived.

“We would have a line out the door and down the road,” Veith-Ackroyd recalled, the disco lights reflecting off her gray hair. “It was crazy. It’s not like that now.” Now, a good night is when several hundred skaters show up.

Kadeem Vaughn, manager of ISC Cherry Hill, has noticed the renewed interest in skating at that rink.

“Originally it seemed like it was mostly younger kids. Now it seems like everyone is roller skating,” he said. “We’re riding the wave. When things picked up, we added theme events like glow parties, or backward skates.”

It’s “magical” for kids and awakens the inner child of parents who return to skate nights, or rent the rink for adult ’80s-themed parties. “They go back to a happier time,” Vaughn said.

Janet Jordan of Voorhees, a retired assistant Camden County prosecutor, is a national champion figure skater who no longer competes. She judges competitions across the United States and teaches roller skating in Cherry Hill and Perth Amboy. She has no plans to give up skating, which she started as a young girl.

“It’s a passion,” she said. “Once you get it in your veins, it’s addictive.”

Caren Eickmeyer of Marlton brought her 5-year-old daughter, Allie, for a morning class with Jordan the other day in Cherry Hill. After the class, Eickmeyer pulled on a pair of rentals to join her daughter in the rink.

“It brings you back to your childhood ... all those Friday nights skating,” said Eickmeyer, adding that the 1980 musical roller-rink love story Xanadu was among her favorite movies.

Back on skates with her daughter, Eickmeyer said, “I can’t believe how much I miss it.”

Out on the floor, champion skaters who dazzle with fancy footwork join amateurs working to master simpler moves. In the world of skating, different regions are known for different styles. Philadelphia and South Jersey are known for skating backward; New York and North Jersey favor chain skating.

Roller skating does not attract the same recognition as ice skating, an Olympic sport. But several skaters pointed out that Olympic gold medal ice skater Tara Lipinski, a Philly native, got her start on roller skates, and her first big wins were on wheels, not blades, when she was 8 and 9 years old.

With skating’s popularity on the rise, rinks across the region have gotten creative, hosting birthday parties, gospel nights, and adult skating after 10 p.m.

Tracy Medley, the managing partner of the Millennium Skate World in Camden, said roller rinks cater to a diverse crowd with varied interests, but have one common denominator: fun.

“All walks of life come together as one,” said Medley, who started skating as a child and later turned her Stockton University business degree and passion for skating into a career when the rink opened nearly 20 years ago. “It was my dream.”

On a busy skate night when hundreds crowd the Millennium floor — where rapper Meek Mill, on skates, filmed his “Monster” video in 2015 — Medley recognizes the regulars. There are doctors, lawyers, teens.

“It’s a getaway, no matter what you have going on in your life,” she said. “They call it ‘leave it on the wood.’ You come here, zone out, enjoy the music, and have a great time.”




Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,

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Lawyer: Rapper 21 Savage granted immigration bond

In an emailed statement, lawyers Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro said they’ve been speaking with ICE since his arrest to “clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society.”

They said they received notification in the previous 24 hours, “in the wake of the Grammy Awards at which he was scheduled to attend and perform,” that he was granted an expedited hearing. The Grammy Awards ceremony was held Sunday.

Abraham-Joseph was nominated for two awards at the Grammys, including record of the year for “Rockstar” alongside Post Malone. His second solo album “I Am I Was,” released in December, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

After his arrest, ICE said Abraham-Joseph entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, when he was 12, but has remained in the country illegally since his visa expired in July 2006. He was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia, ICE said. He was placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court.

Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers disputed that. They said last week that Abraham-Joseph came to the U.S. when he was 7 and remained in the country until June 2005, when he went to visit the United Kingdom for a month. He returned on a valid visa on July 22, 2005, they said.

“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad,” his lawyers said. “Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph lost his legal status through no fault of his own.”

Federal immigration officials have known Abraham-Joseph’s status since at least 2017, when he applied for a new visa. That application is pending, his attorneys said.

The attorneys also said ICE was incorrect that Abraham-Joseph has a felony conviction on his record. Fulton County prosecutors said they could not provide information on that case because it is sealed.

Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers said Tuesday that he asked them to send a message to his supporters.

″(H)e says that while he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together,” they said.

He added that he “will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members, and faceless people, he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country. And he asks for your hearts and minds to be with them.”


Female acts, rap songs win big at the Grammy Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rap artists and women have felt shunned by the Grammy Awards in recent years. But this year, they both took center stage.

Childish Gambino’s disturbing look at race relations, “This is America,” won record and song of the year on Sunday’s telecast. It was the first time a rap-based song won both of those awards, considered — with album of the year — the recording industry’s most prestigious.

Kacey Musgraves won top album and matched Childish Gambino with four Grammys total. A year after many women felt left out of the Grammy telecast, they delivered the night’s most memorable performances. The best new artist winner, British singer Dua Lipa, also cast major shade on the outgoing recording academy president.

Lady Gaga and Brandi Carlile won three Grammys apiece, and former first lady Michelle Obama was a surprise guest at the top of the show on CBS.

Childish Gambino, the stage name of actor Donald Glover, and another prominent rap nominee, Kendrick Lamar, both declined invitations to perform or attend Sunday’s show. Some rap artists feel the Grammys have been slow to recognize how the genre now dominates popular music.

Ludwig Goransson, a songwriter and producer on “This is America,” said backstage that he was surprised the victories were so historic. Just listening to the radio, watching the culture and seeing how many rap songs are downloaded is evidence of rap’s impact.

“It’s about time something like this happened with the Grammys as well,” Goransson said.

Cardi B became the first solo woman to win best rap album , although Lauryn Hill was the lead singer of the Fugees, which won the same award at the 1997 Grammys. Cardi B was so nervous accepting the award that she joked, “Maybe I need to start smoking weed.”

Jason Cole, from left, Hiro Murai and Ibra Ake pose with the award for best music video for Childish Gambino's "This Is America." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

She looked anything but rattled earlier, when her rendition of “Money” was among the night’s performance highlights. Janelle Monae delivered a smoking version of her hit “Make Me Feel”; St. Vincent and Dua Lipa’s duet on “Masseduction” was steamy; H.E.R. turned heads with “Hard Place”; and Carlile sang an inspired version of her hit “The Joke.”

Being part of a big night for women was huge to her, Carlile said backstage after the show.

“I’m a kid from the ’90s and Lilith Fair, you know, and those women were just dominating those platforms,” she said. “They were dominating those arena and amphitheater stages. They were getting record deals. They were becoming record executives themselves. They completely controlled the airwaves. They were on the radio. And to watch that backslide for the last 20 years has been heartbreaking. Tonight, it gives me hope as a mother of two young daughters.”

When she accepted her best new artist award, Dua Lipa pointedly said, “I guess this year we really stepped up.”

Dua Lipa accepts the award for best new artist. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

That was a reference to outgoing Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow, who said women needed to “step up” when he was asked about the lack of women in top categories in 2018. He later acknowledged it was a poor choice of words and delivered another mea culpa on Sunday’s show.

Yet Dua Lipa was rewarded by having her acceptance speech cut off mid-sentence. She wasn’t alone, however, as a handful of other artists were also hustled off the stage, and the show seemed disjointed at the end, rushing through its final awards. Under the circumstances, having a lengthy tribute to Portnow before he gave his own speech seemed tone-deaf.

Lipa said later she would have thanked her fans, her inspirations and team if she had more time.

When she was onstage, Lipa was one of a handful of winners who paid special tribute to fellow artists. Another was Drake, whose appearance to accept the Grammy when “God’s Plan” won best rap song was a surprise because he’s not big on award shows.

He reminded fans and fellow artists that awards are based on the subjective views of others, and aren’t contests in which there are clear winners and losers.

“You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. Look, if there are people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won,” he said at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Musgrave picked up album of the year for “Golden Hour,” which is labeled country but had wider appeal.

“I never dreamed that this record would be met with such love, such warmth, such positivity,” said Musgraves, who performed a stately version of her song “Rainbow.”

Kacey Musgraves wins four awards at the 61st annual Grammy Awards. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Dolly Parton starred in the best of the night’s two tributes to veteran artists, performing a medley of her songs with Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Maren Morris. The highlight of Diana Ross’ night was the cute introduction by a grandson with a mountain of hair.

The Grammys took some online blowback by having Jennifer Lopez deliver a tribute to Motown , once the nation’s preeminent label for black artists. Despite her hustle, Lopez was outshone by show host Alicia Keys and Smokey Robinson delivering one verse of “Tracks of My Tears” a capella.

Obama appeared on the show’s opening with Keys, Gaga, Lopez and Jada Pinkett Smith to describe the role music had played in their lives — seemingly a pointed reference to last year’s controversy over women artists.

“Music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said. “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. It allows us to hear one another.”

Another ex-White House resident was awarded a Grammy on Sunday. Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 94, won an award for best spoken word recording.

It’s his second Grammy.


Lil Baby arrested, accused of reckless driving in a Corvette

ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper Lil Baby was arrested in Atlanta after he recklessly passed other cars at high speed in an orange Corvette and tried to flee a state trooper, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The rapper, whose given name is Dominique Jones, faces charges of failing to signal when changing lanes, reckless driving and attempting to flee or elude police. He was booked into the Atlanta City Detention Center and was released on a signature bond.

A representative for Jones didn’t respond Friday to an email seeking comment and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Lil Baby arrested, accused of reckless driving in a Corvette

38 minutes ago

This undated police photo released Feb. 8, 2019, by the City of Atlanta Department of Corrections shows rapper Lil Baby whose real name is Dominique Jones. Jones, was arrested Thursday, Feb. 7 and faces charges of failing to use a turn signal, reckless driving and fleeing or attempting to elude police. (Atlanta Department of Corrections via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper Lil Baby was arrested in Atlanta after he recklessly passed other cars at high speed in an orange Corvette and tried to flee a state trooper, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The rapper, whose given name is Dominique Jones, faces charges of failing to signal when changing lanes, reckless driving and attempting to flee or elude police. He was booked into the Atlanta City Detention Center and was released on a signature bond.

A representative for Jones didn’t respond Friday to an email seeking comment and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

A trooper saw Jones fail to signal when changing lanes Thursday evening and then saw him recklessly passing other cars in an area with a lot of pedestrians, according to a State Patrol statement. The trooper activated his emergency equipment and chased Jones as he wove between cars at high speed.

The statement said that when the trooper caught up, Jones initially tried to flee but became stuck in traffic. The trooper exited his vehicle and ordered Jones to do the same. Jones got out of his car, laid on the ground and was arrested without incident, according to the statement.

The Atlanta rapper’s songs “Yes Indeed,” featuring Drake, and “Drip Too Hard” became Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot chart. Last week, he announced plans to headline The New Generation Tour, kicking off next month, to support his latest mixtape, “Street Gossip.”


Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, predicting early spring!

Groundhog doesn't see his shadow, predicting early spring

Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, predicting early spring

February 2, 2019

Groundhog Club co-handler Al Dereume, second from right, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 133rd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast an early spring. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the U.S. thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country’s most famous prognosticating groundhogs.

Just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW’-nee) Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania at sunrise and didn’t see his shadow. Nearly the same series of events unfolded about 300 miles (483 kilometers) to the east, where Staten Island Chuck’s handlers also revealed the same prediction.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped attending Staten Island’s Groundhog Day ceremony in 2015, a year after he accidentally dropped the furry critter that died a week later.

And he wasn’t the only New York City mayor who struggled with the holiday. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bitten at a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2009.