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Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson visit ailing Aretha Franklin

By News Desk,

Aretha Franklin, the legendary soul singer who has fallen gravely ill, was visited at her Detroit-area home on Tuesday by fellow recording artist Stevie Wonder, U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and ex-husband Glynn Turman, her publicist said.

Franklin, 76, a one-time gospel singer whose reign as the “Queen of Soul” has spanned more than 50 years, is under hospice care at her home, according to publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

Quinn declined to discuss Franklin’s ailment, but said: “She’s seriously ill.”

The singer, whose hit songs include “Chain of Fools” and “Think,” has a long-standing professional relationship with Wonder, with whom she performed 13 years ago at the Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in Pasadena, California.

She and Turman were married from 1978 to 1984.

In her heyday of the 1960 and 1970s, Franklin dominated the music charts with hits including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby, I Love You,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Respect,” a cover of an Otis Redding tune that became a song of empowerment during the U.S. civil rights era.

Franklin’s fans, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, have taken to social media to express their thoughts.

“Like people all around the world, Hillary and I are thinking about Aretha Franklin tonight & listening to her music that has been such an important part of our lives the last 50 years,” Clinton said in a tweet on Monday night.

Madonna still shocks at 60

By Entertainment Desk,

Whether by brazenly injecting sex in the public sphere, adopting gay subculture for mainstream audiences or becoming the top-selling female musician of all time, Madonna has asserted an incalculable influence.

The pop superstar is turning 60 on August 16 and is again breaking barriers — this time as a mature woman who is still brash, carnal and unapologetic.

Giving new meaning to the term sexagenarian, Madonna openly dates men three decades younger, maintains a svelte figure that would be the envy of most people half her age and on her latest tour put on a characteristically provocative show that simulated most conceivable sex acts.

Madonna is hardly the first female entertainer to stay active while growing older, with singers as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Cher, Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks on stage in their 70s.

But Madonna — who entered pop culture at the same time as MTV — has embodied the cult of youth like few other artists and, while others reinvented themselves or staged nostalgic comebacks, the Material Girl has never gone more than four years without an album since her blockbuster self-titled debut in 1983.

The title of a single off her latest album, “Rebel Heart,” summed up her unwavering attitude: “Bitch, I’m Madonna.”

Freya Jarman, a music scholar at the University of Liverpool who co-edited a book on Madonna, said the pop star has already left her legacy, with younger artists such as Lady Gaga so evidently influenced by her.

But she emphasized that Madonna was now demonstrating a new kind of relevance.

“As an aging, female popular musician who is still so much in the public eye, she is absolutely relevant,” Jarman said.

“Madonna stands out in a way that she always has done, in that she has always been interested in creating a stir which someone like Cher, for my money, does not, really.”

Many stars “seem to fade in and out of focus, while Madonna doesn’t seem to fade out,” Jarman added.

– ‘To age is a sin’ –

Madonna, as throughout her career, has faced harsh commentary as she grows older.

An ex-girlfriend of one of her former lovers, Brazilian model Jesus Luz, branded her a “ridiculous old bag,” while numerous social media users heaped scorn when Madonna locked lips on stage at the Coachella festival with the much-younger Drake.

And tabloids have fixated on Madonna’s hands, one part of the body that can uncharitably betray age.

In a 2016 speech as she accepted an award from music magazine Billboard, Madonna said that society allowed women to be “pretty and cute and sexy” but not to share their opinions — or sexual fantasies.

“Be what men want you to be. But more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men,” she said, describing unwritten rules of the music business.

“And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio,” said Madonna, likely referring to BBC Radio 1 declining to play one of her recent singles as it pursued a younger audience.

Madonna has persisted in her political outspokenness, delivering a fiery speech to last year’s Women’s March a day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, vowing that women would not accept “this new age of tyranny.”

– Both sexy and maternal –

Madonna has also challenged conceptions of motherhood, adopting four children from Malawi in addition to her biological son and daughter.

Madonna, who last year moved to Lisbon where one of her sons is attending a youth football academy, is marking her 60th birthday by encouraging fans to donate to her charity for children in Malawi.

Even as a mother, Madonna has pursued her relationships. The attention stands in contrast to the comparative societal yawn over older men who date much younger women, with still active stars Mick Jagger and Billy Joel both recently becoming fathers again.

“As a feminist, I would say good for Madonna. If that’s your sexual taste and she can pull it off, she is doing a fantasy that most women either don’t want or can’t do,” said Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who studies aging and sexuality.

Older women have also enjoyed growing prominence in Hollywood, but their love interests — especially as depicted in films — are rarely younger men.

Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee robbed in Spain

By Entertainment Desk,

A thief who pretended to be Daddy Yankee stole two million euros in jewels from the reggaeton star’s hotel room safe in Spain, his representatives and local media said Thursday.

The 41-year-old singer, best known for his catchy summer dance song “Despacito” which he performs along with fellow Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, “was the victim of a robbery while he was out of his hotel in Valencia” in eastern Spain, his representatives, Nevarez PR, said in a Twitter message.

“No more statements will be given so as to not to hinder the investigation in any way,” Nevarez PR added. The singer himself made no mention of the theft himself on social media, where he has millions of followers.

Ramon Luis Ayala, better known as Daddy Yankee, reported the theft of diamonds and gems from his hotel room safe to police on Tuesday night, online local newspaper Las Provincias reported.

A spokeswoman for local police in Valencia confirmed it was investigating a theft of jewels and cash from a hotel in the Mediterranean city on Tuesday but declined to identify the name of the victim.

According to Las Provincias a man who presented himself as Daddy Yankee, reggaeton’s best-known name, asked a hotel employee to open the safe in the singer’s room. He then took two million euros in jewels from the room.

The man also took jewels and cash from other hotel rooms where members of Daddy Yankee’s crew were staying, according to the paper.

Police questioned Daddy Yankee and his crew, as well as hotel employees and inspected the room, but did not find fingerprints or other clues, it added.

Daddy Yankee gave a concert in Valencia on Sunday as part of a European tour.

Kardashian relationship with boyfriend Bendjima crashes

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

American television personality and socialite Kourtney Kardashian has parted ways with her model boyfriend Younes Bendjima after nearly two years of dating.

Reports say the relationship “didn’t end well” but that Bendjima doesn’t appear to be too heartbroken as he has been seen hanging out with friends on a beach in Mexico.

The 39-year-old Kardashian apparently ended the relationship with Bendjima, 25, and the former couple already unfollowed each other on social media, according to TMZ.

TMZ shared photos of Bendjima reportedly getting cozy with Jordan Ozuna, a former Hooters waitress, during his vacation.

However, Bendjima denied anything was going on between the pair.

“They really want me to be the bad guy,” Bendjima wrote on an Instagram story Tuesday, including a screenshot of a Daily Mail article about his “rebound” girl.

“Can’t I have fun with your friends anymore?”

Bendjima then posted several photos of his friends playing in the sand.

“I’m not attached to this ‘life’ so you can’t touch me,” he continued. “I know who I am, where I’m from and where I’m going and that bothers you; only one opinion matter, the one of my Lord.”

News of the split comes just weeks after Bendjima trolled the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star’s revealing bikini picture on Instagram.

“That’s what you need to show to get likes?” he said in a since-deleted comment.

Many Kardashian fans took issue with Bendjima’s comment, though the model claims it was just a joke, according to Us Weekly.

Kardashian began dating Bendjima in 2016 after years of on-again-off-again romance with Disick, with whom she shares three children, Mason, 8, Penelope, 6, and Reign, 3.

Court sentence Booba, Kaaris to jail after airport brawl

By News Desk,

Two of France’s biggest rap stars, Booba and Kaaris have been ordered to spend a month in custody after a brawl between them and their entourages delayed flights and forced a partial shutdown of a Paris airport.

The beef between the rap stars at Orly airport kicked off on Wednesday in a departure hall packed with holidaymakers, some of whom filmed the incident on their phones as the rivals fought across shelves of perfume and souvenirs at a duty-free store.

A French judge on Friday said “persistent animosity between the two groups” and the risk of further altercations meant the rappers and nine others should remain in detention until the next hearing on September 6.

“What happened is inexcusable, regrettable,” Booba said during the hearing, making reference to the travelling families, working people and children who were there at the time.

Kaaris said that “everything is over, everything is calm” now.

The two rappers, who had been due to perform Wednesday evening in Barcelona, have waged a feud over social media where some users mocked the duo and called on them to settle differences through fighting.

Booba, 41, has reportedly fallen out with Kaaris, 38, in the past after failing to support him in a dispute with fellow French artist Rohff.

Rohff was sentenced in November to five years in jail for aggravated assault in a clothes boutique owned by Booba.

Kaaris’ lawyers Arash Derambarsh and Yacine Yakouti claim the rapper was “taken aside by Booba, who insulted his child and his wife”, before several people “jumped on him”.

He added the assailants used perfume and glass bottles as weapons.

Booba’s lawyer Yann Le Bras responded by telling BFM TV the video footage showed it was Kaaris and his group whose behaviour had been “very aggressive”.

Orly airport said the fight had damaged Orly’s image, “endangered the lives of others”, and it was lodging a public order complaint after the ruckus forced officials to temporarily shut down the departures hall. Air France has also made a complaint.

Fourteen people were initially placed in police custody on Wednesday afternoon, with two released on Thursday morning.

The detainees face up to seven years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros.

Royal family crown, jewels stolen in Sweden

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

Security collapsed as imperial crowns belonging to the Swedish royal family were stolen by thieves who escaped on a motorboat on Tuesday, reports claim.

Two crowns worn by Karl IX and Queen Kristina, as well as a royal orb, were taken from the 13th Century Strangnas Cathedral.

The artifacts are gold-plated and adorned in precious stones and pearls though their exact value is unknown.

Police spokesperson Thomas Agnevik said: “It’s too difficult to translate these things into some kind of value; it’s such a unique object.”

He said the thieves would have had to break the glass the jewels are kept behind, which would have set off the church alarm.

Witnesses told Aftonbladet how they were enjoying lunch on a fine day when they saw men running from the cathedral in all directions.

Tourist Tom Roswell said he saw the gang jump into a little white boat and race off into Lake Malaren, one of the largest in the country.

Agnevik added: “We are looking for a small and open motorboat.

“We have some different information about how exactly the boat looked. We are now examining all the tips we receive.”

Diddy expresses desire to visit ‘motherland’ Nigeria

By News Desk,

American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur, Sean Combs a.k.a Diddy has expressed a desire to come ‘back home’ after meeting Nigerian superstar Ayobami Balogun a.k.a Wizkid.

Diddy is worth $825 million and held the number one spot as Forbes’s Richest Hip-Hop Act for seven consecutive years before being toppled by Jay-Z in February.

Diddy, who is best known for his hit song ‘Bad Boy For Life’, shared a video on his Instagram page @diddy on Friday following Wizkid’s visit to his home.

He said, “Hit me with some love… Some positive vibrations from the mother land.

“Be clear… Be clear y’all know I’m coming back home.

“I’m coming back while I’m looking young and pretty too, I ain’t gonna wait too long. I’m coming back while I look young and pretty,” Diddy said.

Wizkid, who is currently on an international social tour, has been spotted with Drake in London.

On his visit to the United States, he has also been seen in the company of superstars like DJ Khaled, producer Metro Boomin and singer Fergie.

In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over one million followers on Twitter.

He went on to become the first Afro-beat artiste to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records, for his contribution to Drake’s hit song ‘One Dance’.

The 28-year- old recently sold out the O2 hall in London; and is set to release a much anticipated album ‘Made In Lagos’ later in 2018.

Prince Harry joins Elton John to launch HIV campaign targeting men

By News Desk,

Britain’s Prince Harry joined pop star Elton John on Tuesday to launch a campaign to raise HIV awareness among men, warning that “dangerous complacency” about the virus threatened the quest to wipe it out.

The billion-dollar project “MenStar” will target men living with or at risk of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been ravaged by AIDS since the 1980s.

“The MenStar coalition is bravely tackling the root cause of this problem — the lack of awareness of HIV prevention amongst hard-to-reach young men,” Harry said at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.

Speaking at the launch, which also featured South African actress Charlize Theron and Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of late President Nelson Mandela, Elton John said: “If we want to end AIDS once and for all, we must make men part of the solution.”

Around 36.7 million people around the world have HIV, according to 2016 figures cited by the United Nations’ HIV/AIDS body UNAIDS. Fewer than half of men living with HIV receive treatment compared with 60 percent of women, it said.

“It is time there was a global coalition to teach men to protect themselves. And in doing so, it will teach them to better protect not only their wives and girlfriends, their sisters and daughters, but also, critically, their brothers and their sons,” the British singer said.

UNAIDS said this month that the fight against HIV/AIDS was “slipping off track” and while deaths were falling and treatment rates rising, rates of new HIV infections threatened to derail efforts to defeat the disease.

Prince Harry said the campaign launch came at “a time when new energetic and innovative solutions are needed more than ever before”.

“MenStar” is supported by the U.S. government’s PEPSTAR program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Experts at the conference hope for the elimination of AIDS worldwide by 2030, but the United Nations warned last Wednesday of a funding gap of £4.6 billion that threatens efforts.

Nigerians applaud singer Falz over sexual violence video

By News Desk,

Nigerians and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) have lauded singer, Folarin Falana a.k.a Falz for addressing sexual violence in his latest music video.

The reactions came after the award wining artiste announced the release of the video titled “Child of the world” on his social media platform @falzthebahdguy FALZ – “Child Of The World” official video out”

DSVRT said it acknowledged Falz’s effort to speak up about “real life issues” on their official twitter account.

@DSVRT “We would like to use this medium to appreciate Falz for spreading the word on Sexual Abuse in the recently released video for his song, Child of the World.

“Together we will tackle this menace. Thank you for pointing Survivors in the direction of Help and Justice @falzthebahdguy”.

There has been a popular demand for Nigerian music artistes to use their art to speak on issues affecting the Nigerian society and lifestyle.”

While Some Nigerians took to Twitter to praise the idea behind the music video others called on more artistes to do same .

@iambussie “In a country where we got artiste doing songs and videos just for the commercial value, its rare to see the kind of Falz”.

@alpha_jenner “Falz touched sexual harassment, HIV/AIDS and suicide all at once with Child of The World. So far Falz seems to be doing everything as an artist to speak against societal problems”.

@elsieisy “Our celebrities don’t speak on social issues,

Let’s pay attention to the ones speaking up in an amazing way”

@ifol_ “From child of the world to this is Nigeria to whatever the next project is we just want you to know we your fans at proud of you”.

@t_riumphant “Cool how Falz could treat topics like rape, HIV and suicide in one video.Child of the world is lit”.

@ecstacy “Falz is touching important subjects with his music and that my people, is outstanding”

#Childoftheworld”.

@michealeyitayo “The message in this video is so deep and encouraging our society needs more musicians like you @falzthebahdguy #ChildOfTheWorld”.

“@wojayz “Falz is a great guy that uses music to communicate on real issues, #ChildOfTheWorld video is a masterpiece. Beautifully executed, I had been anticipating a video, and yes, I worried that it may not interpret the message well Kemi Adetiba did a fantastic job”.

Others said the idea behind the song was well depicted by ex Big Brother Naija housemate Bambam in the music video.

She acted as the “Child of the world” who was sexually harassed by her uncle.

Also, societal pressure forced her to get involved in sexual acts with rich men to raise money to live a certain standard of life.

This latest video is reminiscent of the music video titled “This is Nigeria” which was released by Falz earlier this year, also touching on issues affecting the Nigerian populace.

Meanwhile, Kemi Adetiba the music video director, thanked Nigerians for the feedback on the new video as it is currently YouTube’s number 1 trending video.

“Overwhelmed by the avalanche of messages and reposts on the new “Child of the World” video

It felt great to go back to where it all started… Music Videos.

Thanks to Falz for being an incredible Artiste, an amazing song, and thinking I was the one able to interpret it.

Thank you to Toyin Abraham and Bambam for giving up their precious time and bending to my creative madness.

Thank you to those clicking to watch. I see what you’re doing to the numbers And it isn’t even 24 hours yet’” Adetiba said.

Chance the Rapper releases 4 new songs, buys news website

By News Desk,

Chance the Rapper has entered the news business by buying the Chicagoist website — and announced the purchase through song Thursday.

Chicagoist was part of a network of city-oriented websites including New York’s Gothamist that found a following amid an appetite for a fresher, younger take on local news in the United States.

The sites were abruptly closed last year by publisher Joe Ricketts, a conservative mogul who also owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team, after staff voted to unionize.

New York public radio station WNYC later acquired Gothamist and affiliated sites and confirmed Thursday that Chance, the increasingly prominent 25-year-old rapper, had bought the assets of Chicagoist.

“I look forward to relaunching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content,” Chance said in a statement.

The rapper expressed his intentions quite differently when he broke the news in a song, “I Might Need Security.”

“I bought the Chicagoist just to run you racist bitches out of business,” he rapped on the song, one of four he released on Thursday.

On the track, whose chorus is a melodious rendering of the F-word, Chance attacks Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over police brutality.

“Rahm, you done! / I’m expectin’ resignation / An open investigation on all of these paid vacations for murderers,” he said, in apparent reference to police officers who are suspended rather than fired for misconduct.

Chance also took a shot at the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the city’s two daily English-language newspapers, for an unflattering article on his child support payments.

Chance, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, has achieved striking success over the past two years despite defying industry convention by self-releasing all of his music.

The son of a Democratic political aide who worked for future president Barack Obama in Chicago, Chance has been outspoken about the state of the city.

Last year he donated $1 million for schools in the Midwestern metropolis amid a government funding crisis in a dispute with the Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner — whom Chance also lambasts in his new song.