A+ R A-


Concert Promoter Sued Over Michael Jackson Death

E-mail Print PDF

(Reuters) - Michael Jackson's mother and his three children filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday against the promoters of a series of planned concerts by the singer before his death last year.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Katherine Jackson, accuses promoter AEG Live of "putting its desire for massive profits" over the health and safety of the "Thriller" singer.

It said that AEG was liable for the actions of Jackson's personal doctor and alleged that the promoter had failed to provide proper life-saving equipment for Jackson.

"AEG's action and inactions led to Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009," the lawsuit said, accusing the promoter of negligence, breach of contract and fraud.

A spokesman for privately held AEG Live, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Jackson died of cardiac arrest at age 50 in Los Angeles in June 2009 after returning from rehearsals just days before the planned start of 50 London concerts.

Los Angeles coroner's officials have ruled Jackson's death a homicide and said he died mainly from a powerful anesthetic used as a sleep aid, as we ll as other sedatives and painkillers.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to prove to the world the truth about what happened to Michael Jackson, once and for all," Katherine Jackson's lawyer Brian Panish said in a statement.

The singer's personal physician Dr Conrad Murray, who was hired by AEG Live, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death and is awaiting trial in Los Angeles.

Jackson's family have previously expressed disappointment at the criminal charge against Murray, saying it does not go far enough. The singer's father Joe in June filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murray but did not name AEG.

Kenny Ortega, director of the planned "This is It" series of concerts, was also named as a defendant in Wednesday's lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The suit claims that Jackson appeared drugged and disoriented at rehearsals in the days before his death and that on June 24 he was shivering. AEG, it claimed, was aware of his condition but did not postpone any rehearsals or alter his "grueling schedule."

The civil action also seeks damages for emotional distress on behalf of Jackson's oldest son, Prince Michael, who the lawsuit said had witnessed his father injured and dying and "has suffered great trauma and severe emotional distress."

Jackson's sudden death caused a worldwide outpouring of grief and sent sales of his many hit records soaring after a career slump that had followed the entertainer's 2005 trial and acquittal on charges of molesting a young boy.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Rihanna reveals 'Loud' Album Title, Debuts Single

E-mail Print PDF

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Rihanna unveiled her new single "Only Girl (In the World)" on Tuesday shortly after announcing the title of her fifth studio album, "Loud," on her official fansite.

"Yes it is called 'Loud'," the pop star told fans while appearing on Ryan Seacrest's morning radio show on Tuesday. "Get loud everybody. Get crazy. Get excited. 'Cause I'm pumped. I'm just gonna be me."

"Only Girl (In the World)" aims squarely for dancefloor domination, as the 22-year-old pop star whose hit songs have included "Umbrella" and "Disturbia" pours her heart out to one man over a full-throttle production by Norwegian hitmaking duo, Stargate.

"Want you to make me feel/Like I'm the only girl in the world," Rihanna belts on the chorus. "Like I'm the only one that you'll ever love/Like I'm the only one who knows your heart."

The R&B singer hit the headlines last year when her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her and was sentenced to five years probation before she released a new album, "Rated R."

Producer Stargate is also responsible for previous Rihanna hit singles "Please Don't Stop the Music," "Hate That I Love You" and her most recent No. 1 hit, "Rude Boy."

If "Only Girl" is any indication, Rihanna's "Loud" will be a departure from the edgier fare of "Rated R," which has sold 975,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

In a recent interview with Billboard.com, Alex Da Kid -- the producer/songwriter behind Eminem's current No. 1 "Love the Way You Lie," which features Rihanna -- said the pop star's new material is "like a mixture of her two sides. It's commercial, but at the same time it's got an edge to it -- it has substance."

Rihanna echoed that sentiment during her chat with fans. "I'm gonna miss the Rated R era too, but nothing compares to the album I just made," the singer said, adding, "I wanted the next step in the evolution of Rihanna, and it's perfect for us."

(Editing by Christine Kearney)

Little Diversity at Emmy Awards

E-mail Print PDF

By Lea M. Cash –

I was twelve years old when I first watched the Emmy Awards on television. The glitzy glamour of Hollywood and its dazzling array of Red Carpet star power while living in Brighton, Massachusetts, a million miles away, were so magical and majestic to me. One day as an entertainment reporter, I told myself at 12, that I was going to be there— smack dab in the middle of it with all that glamour and star power. In the last decade, I have attended two previous primetime Emmy Awards celebrations, and every time I have attended, it feels like I am living my dream—but, not this year.

This year, at the three-hour telecast of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Fallon, at L.A. LIVE Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, I felt differently. I recognized that people of color were noticeably missing in a large way.

Perhaps, I was too caught up in the dream to notice it before. I began to have an uncomfortable feeling in my spirit, and that feeling in my heart grew to disappointment, sadness and finally hurt as the evening evolved. I kept asking other media folks, “Where are… all the hard working, outstanding celebrities that work on television that look like me?

Many answered, “Well, this is the Emmys and there is a whole different mindset here.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (The Oscars) have come a long way with their “Black Out”. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The Emmys) has a long way to go with their “Black Out”.

Therefore, I adjusted my heart, and focused on those celebrities that everybody loves—the ones that transcend color: Like Susan Sarandon, Ed O’Neill, Betty White, John Lithgow, Eva Longoria and Glenn Close. I even said hello to the legendary actress Ann Margret who won an Emmy Award, previously on Saturday at the Creative Art/Emmy Awards, a subset handed out to behind the scene actors for guest starring roles. She received an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.” She had a guest-starring role on Law & Order. Then, I was given the opportunity on the Red Carpet to meet Tom Hanks. What an extraordinary experience. On the Red Carpet, I gave handshakes and hugs to so many celebrated faces that I somewhat lost count. I snapped photos of the people of color I did see, except for LL Cool J and his wife.

The shocker of the evening was meeting the godfather himself Al Pacino. Other larger than life notables were Tom Selleck and George Clooney. Clooney said playfully backstage in the media room, “Hey with those guys, I was reduced to fourteen years old. As a teenager I had a poster of Al Pacino and Tom Selleck on my wall.” Pacino and Clooney usually duck and dodge the media. They both were questioned about that and told quite honestly, how media was happy to see them tonight. Pacino won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. He played the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack.” In addition, George Clooney was honored with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. He has been the driving force behind “America”, “A Tribute to Heroes”, “Tsunami Aid”, “A Concert of Hope” and most recently the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon.

The television drama to receive the most nominations was “Mad Men”, with 17. The comedy to receive the most nominations was “Glee”, with 19. The miniseries to receive the most nominations was “The Pacific”, with 24. The Outstanding made for Television Movie was “Temple Grandin”, The Outstanding Drama Series was “Mad Men”, and the Outstanding Comedy Series was “Modern Family”.

Another winner worth noting was Jane Lynch who plays the villain Sue Sylvester on “Glee”.

It is my hope that I will continue to live my dream, which includes one day the Academy of Television Arts & Science changing its reflection of television excellence, into the brilliant and colorful real deal as it is and not as it once was. There should be nominations of a wide diverse nature, which reflect what all American viewers are watching. In my own silent way of rebellion towards the Emmys, I went home immediately after the show.

While walking the long distance to the media parking lot an African American male in a tuxedo, security, (an off duty police officer), on a golf cart pulled up beside me. “Tired?” he asked. “Not too many of us out tonight. Thought I’d give my sistah a ride.”

It's Hammer Time at California Theatre

E-mail Print PDF

It’s “Hammertime” in San Bernardino when the man who first brought rap music into the mainstream takes center stage Sept. 11 at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St.

Presented by the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, MC Hammer in concert is the first show of the fall season at the historic and landmark theater in downtown San Bernardino.

Tickets are $19 to $49, and are available through www.ticketmaster.com, www.livenation.com, or the theater box office at (909) 885-5152.

Known as much for his flashy wardrobe, especially his trademark baggy parachute pants, as his immense talents as a dancer and showman, MC Hammer’s second album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” became the best-selling rap album of the time.

Born Stanley Kirk Burrell in Oakland in 1962, he was a bat/ball boy for the Oakland Athletics, where he entertained fans by dancing during breaks in the game, and earned the nickname “Hammer” for his resemblance to baseball legend “Hammerin” Hank Aaron. He became interested in hip-hop when he returned to civilian life after a stint in the U.S. Navy, and formed his own record label called Bust It. He recorded the album “Fell My Power” in 1987 with ex-Con Funk Shun mastermind Felton Pilate producing.

Capitol Record later signed him to a multi-album deal; his first release was a revamped version of his first album retitled “Let’s Get It Started.” The album, with the hit “Turn This Mutha Out,” went double platinum. But it was MC Hammer’s 1990 follow-up album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” that launched his career into the stratosphere. It’s first single, “U Can’t Touch This,” was an instant smash hit and went on to win two Grammys (Best R&B Song and Best Solo Rap Performance). MC Hammer’s next two singles, “Have You Seen Her (a cover of the ‘70s song by the Chi-Lites) and “Pray” (built on the keyboard hook from “When Doves Fly” by Prince) followed “U Can’t Touch This” into the Top 10.

Sales of “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” passed the 10 million mark and make it the No. 1 Album of the Year. He released the album “Too Legit To Quit” in 1991. Although it wasn’t as successful as “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” the title track was a hit and the album still sold more than three million copies. “The Funky Headhunter” (1994) featured the singles “Pumps and a Bump” and “It’s All Good.” In 1995 he released “Inside Out.” Other albums include “Family Affair (1998), “Active Duty” (2001), “Full Blast” (2003), “Look Look Look (2006), and DanceJamtheMusic (2008).

MC Hammer became a preacher in the late 1990s, was a television show host and dance judge. In 2008 he co-created a dance web site called DanceJam. In 2009, Hammer’s own reality show, called Hammertime,” aired on A & E Network. This summer he started a mixed martial arts management company, Alchemist Management.

Ex-wife of Tiger Woods Breaks Silence

E-mail Print PDF

By Christine Kearny –

(Reuters Life!) - The now ex-wife of Tiger Woods has broken the silence she maintained through the torrid sex scandal that engulfed their marriage, saying she has been through "hell."

Elin Nordegren spoke to People magazine in an interview published on Wednesday, two days after she and Woods issued a statement confirming their divorce, which had been widely anticipated for months after his public confession of infidelity.

"I've been through hell," the Swedish-born former nanny told the publication. "It's hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden -- was it a lie? You're struggling because it wasn't real. But I survived, it was hard, but it didn't kill me."

Nordegren, 30, who met Woods at the age of 21 while minding children for a Swedish golfer but is now studying psychology, said she never suspected the affairs that Woods, reputed to be the world's wealthiest sports star, admitted to and publicly apologized for in February.

"I'm so embarrassed that I never suspected -- not a one. For the last three and a half years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school," she said.

When asked about his ex-wife's comments, Woods told reporters on Wednesday after playing a golf event in New Jersey that he "wished her the best in everything."

"It's a sad time in our lives. And we're looking forward to -- in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that's the most important thing," he said.

Nordegren said she has "not watched one minute of golf" since the revelations.


Woods, who has won 14 major championships, returned to the game in April after losing up to $35 million in sponsorship revenue as his private life unraveled over allegations that surfaced in late November and December about affairs between him and several women.

The revelations surfaced after a middle-of-the-night car accident at the couple's luxury Florida home where Woods crashed into a tree and a fire hydrant. Nordegren told police she smashed the car's back window with a golf club to get him out.

Nordegren told People that she did not hit Woods on the night of the car crash.

"There was never any violence inside or outside our home," she said. "The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous."

Since then Nordegren said she has experienced various emotions. Woods and Nordegren share custody of a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.

"The word betrayal isn't strong enough. I felt like my whole world had fallen apart," she said, before later adding, "I have been through the stages of disbelief and shock, to anger and ultimately grief over the loss of the family I so badly wanted for my children."

Of the settlement she received, which neither she nor Woods have disclosed but People estimated to be worth $100 million, she said it wasn't worth splitting up her family.

"Money can't buy me happiness," she said. "Or put my family back together."

Praised for maintaining her privacy through the ordeal, Nordegren, who disclosed she suffered weight and hair loss from stress before the divorce, said she wanted to protect her children.

"For my kids, I felt that (maintaining privacy) was the only normalcy I could give them, since they have a very famous dad," she said.

She conducted the interview over four visits lasting a total of 19 hours at the rented Windermere, Fla., home where she now lives with their two children.

The magazine said Nordegren had approached the publication to tell her side of the story and a spokeswoman said no one had been paid for the article.

"I felt like setting some things straight," Nordegren said in the article.

She and Woods tried for "months and months" to reconcile, she added, but "without trust and love" it wasn't possible. She will relocate to southern Florida so that her children can be close to their father.

"Forgiveness takes time," she said.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Patricia Reaney and Jill Serjeant)

Page 27 of 102

BVN National News Wire