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Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:37 am
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Singer-producer Akon sat down with People magazine recently to promote his upcoming album, “Freedom,” due tomorrow (Dec. 2), and also touch on his recent collaborations with Michael Jackson and his thoughts about President-elect Barack Obama.      

You did some work with Michael Jackson earlier in the year with 25th Anniversary of Thriller. How did you riff off each other musically?

Akon: The collaboration was incredible. From the first moment we actually met each other face-to-face it seemed like we had know each other for years. I was always a big fan, I knew everything about him. It was just astonishing to me that he knew a lot about me, and he was a fan of me as well. We clicked instantly.

What surprised you the most about him?

Akon: How humble and how smart he was. Sometimes you get a certain perception from how the media portrays him, but [working with him] was completely opposite. An artist of that caliber and as big as he is, you would think he would have certain qualities that you probably wouldn’t like, such as being very arrogant or stuck up. With him, it was like he had never put out a record before – he still had that hunger.

Spin reported that you, T-Pain, Nelly and Pharell united to form a supergroup. Is that true?

Akon: This is something that we wish we could do. If it happens, that’s great for the music industry because we’re trying to bring fun back. Whether it can happen realistically, without politics getting in the middle of it, is the question. If it were up to us, the artists, it would have been done already.

Outside of music, what else have you been pursuing?

Akon: Outside of music, I’ve been doing a lot of the label exec thing [at] Kon Live Distribution. The clothing line, Konvict Clothing, is urban streetwear. Then we have Aliaune, which is the more upscale corporate look. Then there’s the Konfidence Foundation where we’re giving back to Africa, creating a better environment for the children of Africa.

Which celebrity would make a good president and why?

Akon: Celebrity? Obama! He’s the biggest celebrity I know. He’s gonna make an incredible president.



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 12:22 pm
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Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker is reporting that Michael Jackson gave his brother Jermaine “quite the tongue-lashing” for wrongly announcing that he is involved in an upcoming Jackson 5 reunion tour.      

       According to Zwecker, Jermaine’s assertion that Janet Jackson was on board for the tour is also false.      

       ‘Both Michael and Janet [Jackson] are not involved in any way,’ Zwecker quotes of a longtime MJ pal, ‘and Michael really laid into Jermaine for even raising the possibility.’      

       Michael “is said to be hard at work on a trio of new albums — including one featuring at least one track with his oldest son, Prince,” writes Zwecker. The new CDs reportedly take Jackson’s music in a new direction, “one that won’t alienate his millions of fans … but will include some interesting gospel and hip-hop touches we haven’t heard before,” said the source.


Tavis on NBC; Tribbett’s ‘Stand’; ‘Cadillac Records poster’; MiJac rejects Vegas gig; Beyonce’s cooking November 4, 2008


Tavis Smiley will join the NBC News election coverage team on the “Today Show tomorrow morning to discuss the voting results. The host of the PBS talk show “Tavis Smiley” has established his program as a popular destination for political figures from both sides of the aisle.  Last year, Smiley moderated the two PBS All American Presidential Forums during the primary season featuring the Democratic and Republican candidates.        

       *”Stand Out Live,” the new full-length concert DVD from gospel singer/songwriter/performer Tye Tribbett and his gospel ensemble, G.A. (Greater Anointing), is due for release today via Columbia. Recorded live at Rock Church International in Virginia Beach on Aug. 17, 2007, “Stand Out Live” showcases a variety of high-energy musical testimonies, each written or co-written by Tribbett, including “Stand Out,” “Hold On,” “Bless The Lord (Son Of Man),” and “I Need You.” Bonus features include “Meet The Tribbetts,” “Meet SoundCheck” (Tye’s production entity), the fabled “Beach Party Concert,” a behind-the-scenes section, Tye’s “Stand Out: The Message” mission statement, and the “Good In The Hood” music video.


       *ComingSoon.net has a first look at the new poster for “Cadillac Records,” [view here] opening in theaters on Dec. 5. Written and directed by Darnell Martin, the drama stars Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé Knowles, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker and Mos Def in the story of Chess Records and its recording artists. In this tale of sex, violence, race and rock and roll in Chicago of the 1950s and 60s, the film follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America’s greatest musical legends.


      *TMZ.com is reporting that Michael Jackson has turned down an offer from Las Vegas hotel mogul Steve Wynn to perform this December at the opening of Steve Wynn Encore tower, a $2 billion project that adds a tower next to his Wynn hotel. The Web site also reported that Jackson has been recording at the Palms studios in Vegas. On Friday, Michael denied his brother Jermaine’s statement that he is involved in a Jackson family reunion tour.


      *Beyonce is about to spend her first Thanksgiving as a married woman, but the thought of being responsible for the turkey dinner has her a bit shaken. “I like the idea of being able to cook but I just can’t do it,” the singer and wife of Jay-Z told WENN. “I have to call my mom and she has to be on the phone the whole time because I’m burning stuff.”


Gabby Union in Ghana; MiJac prepares for tour?; Tyler Perry rep denies diva behavior October 29, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 2:26 pm
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Actress Gabrielle Union traveled to Ghana recently as part of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s mission delegation trip designed to help reduce the rate of breast cancer among women in the country. She also joined Ghana President John Kufuor for a dedication ceremony at the new HopeXchange Medical Center, a state-of-the-art breast cancer diagnostic and treatment facility in Kumasi. Nearly 70 percent of all Ghanaian women who have breast cancer don’t see a doctor until the disease is in advanced stages. Essence spoke to Union about her trip abroad, how breast cancer has affected her own life, and why this issue is so important to her. Click here to read.


       *WENN is reporting that Michael Jackson is currently planning a 30-date world tour to begin in 2009. Britain’s The Sun newspaper quotes a source who claims to have overheard the King of Pop discussing it Thursday during a visit to an antiques store in Hollywood. “Michael said he wasn’t doing a Vegas residency but was going on a world tour, taking in 30 cities next year,” the source said. “He said he wanted to do it for his kids. He wants them to see what he does, and he wants to take them on the road. He said he was on his way to Los Angeles to finalize the details.”


       *The New York Post’s Page Six is quoting a source from the set of TBS’s “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” who claims the filmmaker is a diva. “Tyler makes everyone on his staff – the crew and cast – call him ‘Mr. Perry’ to his face. He won’t respond to anyone who calls him Tyler,” said the source. However, a rep for Perry told Page Six: “That’s totally preposterous. I call him Tyler. Some people do call him ‘Mr. Perry,’ but it’s out of respect.”



Obama’s XBOX 360 ad; Dennis & Donald; Pimps & Ho’s game; Marcia Brady dated MiJac October 16, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 1:41 pm
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Barack Obama has purchased virtual billboards inside of an XBOX 360 game called “Burnout Paradise” in an attempt to get out the vote among video game heads, reports Gigaom.com. While playing inside of the fictional Paradise City, gamers encounter a billboard with Obama’s image next to the words “Early Voting Has Begun, voteforchange.com.”

       *The Donald has apparently taken a liking to Dennis Rodman during filming of the next “Celebrity Apprentice” in Manhattan. A source close to the show tells the Palm Beach Post: “Trump likes hard-working people, and Dennis does work hard.” Meanwhile, the source adds that Rodman – who has been “spotted everywhere around NYC making his presence known” – is particularly smitten with fellow cast member Khloe Kardashian.

       *A company called Weaver Games has created a board game called “Pimps and Ho’s.” A press release states: “By taking control of your pimp, the goal is to prove dominance over the other players by building up serious cash flow while keeping a close watch over the Ho’s at all times. The available expansion sets, including the newly released HoTropolis, guarantees countless hours of hilarity.” The price tag for Pimps and Ho’s is $29.99 for the Standard Edition and $69.99 for the Deluxe Edition at http://www.pimpsandhos.com.
       *In her new book, “Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice,” actress Maureen McCormick spills the beans about her dates with various famous men, including the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. She also opens up about her two abortions, her battle with cocaine addiction and her long history of clinical depression.


Michael Jackson Slips Back Home to Gary September 12, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 5:03 pm
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Michael JacksonWhile it may seem that Michael Jackson lives in his own little world and has forgotten who he once was, apparently that isn’t the case.

Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Timesreports that Wacko Jacko and his brood stayed in the Windy City one night then headed to Michael’s  hometown of Gary, Ind.:

It’s all very mysterious, but I’ve learned Michael Jackson — joined by a small (for him) retinue of bodyguards and assistants, plus his three children, Paris, Prince and Prince Michael II — slipped into town Monday for a quick overnight stay.

A BZ spy at Jackson’s exclusive Gold Coast hotel reports that the entourage ”did not venture out of their suites and only ordered basics like setups, hot water, milk and juice from room service.”

Apparently, the King of Pop traveled with his own organic food, plus bed linens and towels.

Unlike other visits by Jackson and his kids to various cities around the world, there wasn’t even any shopping on this trip.

According to the source, Jackson & Co. left early Tuesday — ”before the sun was up” — and reportedly drove (via several SUVs with blacked-out windows) to Gary. There MJ and his kids supposedly toured his childhood neighborhood in the northwest Indiana city before flying out of the area via private jet.

On another note, that wild rumor about Pamela Anderson hooking up with Mike is so untrue. As if you didn’t know. Pamela told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres earlier this week that the two have a professional relationship and that Michael wants her to appear in one of his upcoming videos. Now that I believe.


Rangel drama; Kobe’s pinky; Haskins dies; ‘Moist’ Timberlake; Daddy Yankee vs. Fat Joe; MiJac dating Pam Anderson? September 11, 2008

House Republican leaders are demanding that embattled Rep. Charles Rangel D-N.Y be removed from his post as chairman of a tax-writing committee while an ethics panel reviews his personal finances, reports AP. Tuesday’s GOP thrust came as Rangel’s advisers acknowledged he will pay back federal, state, and city taxes for unreported rent collected on a vacation home. Rangel, ironically, has oversight of the nation’s tax code, and has been in Congress for nearly four decades. The congressman will soon file amended tax returns paying “modest” back taxes owed for the last several years.


       *Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has decided not to have surgery on his pinky finger so that he’s free to participate in pre-season training. The injury occurred in February, but Bryant opted to avoid surgery in order to finish the NBA season and to go to the Olympics with the U.S. team. After winning a gold medal in Beijing it was expected that the NBA’s Most Valuable Player would deal with the injury before the start of the new season. “I have always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries,” Bryant told his own Web site (http://wwww.kb24.com) on Tuesday. “That’s really just part of the game. When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery.


      *College basketball pioneer Don Haskins, the coach whose story was depicted in the film “Glory Road,” died Sunday at the age of 78, according to the Associated Press. The Hall of Fame coach is credited with helping break color barriers in college sports in 1966 when he used five black starters to win a national basketball title for Texas Western. Disney’s “Glory Road” starred Josh Lucas as Haskins and Derek Luke as one of his players on the 1966 squad. Dr. Dwayne Aboud, Haskins’ physician, told reporters Sunday that Haskins had been suffering from congestive heart failure and died at home about 4:30 p.m. He was surrounded by friends and relatives, Aboud said.


       *Director Barry Sonnenfeld is once again looking at singer Justin Timberlake as the possible lead star of his upcoming dark comedy “Moist” reports MTV News. Based on the novel by Mark Haskell Smith, the story follows a morgue attendant named Bob who comes across a severed arm with an erotic tattoo of a woman he falls for. In the course of trying to find out who she is, Bob ends up becoming Roberto, a kingpin of the Los Angeles Mexican mafia — ultimately replacing the man who the severed arm belonged to in the first place. Timberlake agreed to do the film four years ago, but the project fell through due to financing issues. The director is actively talking to studios once again about the project and JT may still be involved, reports Dark Horizons.


      *Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, has fired back at Barack Obama backer Fat Joe for calling him a sellout. “McCain is the kind of man whose promises you can actually believe in. I’ll support him till the end,” Daddy told The Post’s Sandra Guzman from his home in Puerto Rico. “I don’t care who I piss off. This is about my ideals, not about making friends.” As previously reported, fellow Fat Joe called Daddy Yankee “disgusting,” “a sellout” and “ignorant on the issues.” Joe added: “If he debates me about politics, he will never talk another word about a politician for the rest of his life.”


      *Pamela Anderson says she is not currently dating Michael Jackson as the rumor mill is suggesting.  “He just wants me to be in a video,” she said on Wednesday’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when asked about their recent meeting. “My life is so interesting. My life is a blur.” Ellen responded: “So seriously, have you been hanging out with him?” Anderson replied cryptically: “It happens … skin cancer and Vicodin. I don’t know … I have a lot of interesting friends.”