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The Last Word: Michael Jackson’s “Smelly,” Prince Fans Are Mad, and Chris Brown Runs a Math-a-Thon

What’s up, party people? Welcome to the end of the week. Say goodbye to another slow, but busy five days as we witnessed the face of King Tut, unrest in Pakistan amid emergency rule imposed by President Pervez Musharraf, Oprah’s devastation over the scandal surrounding her South Africa-based leadership academy for young women, Rudy Giuliani getting an official presidential endorsement by televangelist Pat Robertson, another line of toys being banned, and singer Trey Songz contemplating legal action against police who arrested him and his entourage following a show in Springfield, MA.Shout out to Zoey Koplowitz, a 43-year-old woman who has multiple sclerosis, who finished the New York City marathon in under 29 hours, singer Christina Aguilera, who finally confirmed that she is pregnant and the sounding boards for their never-ending quest to make a better version of me.So here we are…The Last Word for the week ending Nov. 9, 2007 1. Anthony Hamilton Gives His Best With Third Album Although he’s carved out a reputation as a soulful R&B singer with his first two albums, Anthony Hamilton may have waited to give fans his best. “I always felt my third album was going to be my best one,” said the crooner, who told Billboard.com that his forthcoming album Me will “make a statement.” “I don’t think I’m going to let myself down or the people down. It’s a nice transition; you can just see my growth from the first one and the second one to this one.” With Me, Hamilton offers a project containing songs that are “full of life and situations we all go through, the changes of men and women and relationships with God and family and children – and the political side of Anthony Hamilton that I speak out on in certain situations.” Mix in a cameo in Denzel Washinton’s new movie American Gangster (as well as two songs on the film’s soundtrack) and a yuletide collaboration with saxophonist Boney James on the musician’s upcoming release Christmas Present, and Hamilton is on course to end 2007 strong and start 2008 with a bang.  2. Chris Brown Runs Math-a-Thon for St. Jude Hospital While touring with Bow Wow, releasing a new album, and giving fans an early present for the holidays with his forthcoming movie This Christmas may be enough to keep ordinary entertainers more than a little occupied, Chris Brown is proving that you can never be too full with more food on your plate.  Especially when you’re down for a good cause. Such is the case with Brown’s latest video, which finds the singer working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to encourage middle school students to take an interest in math and fund-raising while encouraging them to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude. The clip, which features parts of the video for Brown’s hit single “Run It,” is part of the St. Jude Math-a-Thon program. The singer, who visited the Memphis, Tennessee-based hospital last year, is a steady supporter of the facility. Last year, he raised more than $50,000 for St. Jude through donating proceeds from every ticket sold from his 2006 “Up Close & Personal” Tour.  Math-a-Thon participants receive pledges from family and friends after completing math problems. Money raised from the effort goes toward helping children with cancer and other diseases. Last year alone Math-A-Thon raised more than $22 million in 2006. This school year, the program is expected to raise more than $25 million. “We can all make a difference in the lives of others,” Brown said in a statement. “I’m proud to help St. Jude. I feel like I’m just a regular person helping out.”  Brown’s Math-a-Thon Live video will be shown in thousands of schools around the country.  3. Prince Fans Beef With Prince  Rule No. 1 of being a popular singer: Never bite the hand that feeds you. In this case, it’s Prince who seems to be taking his war with web sites that feature his music and videos to, of all people, his fans.  RollingStone.com reports that lawyers for the Purple One have issued cease-and-desist letters to Prince fan sites demanding that they remove all photographs, images, artwork, album covers, lyrics and fan-submitted pictures related to Prince, including ones of tattoos and license plates that refer to him.  In response to the heat, three of Prince’s biggest fan sites have united to launch a new web site called PrinceFansUnited.com. According to a press release from the site, the reason that the sites come together is to “fight back to what amounts to an injustice to the fansites and the very fans who have supported Prince’s career, many since the very beginning nearly thirty years ago.” The move is the latest development to occur since Prince’s recent hiring of Web Sheriff to crack down on YouTube, Ebay and other Web sites that offer his music and video footage. Although they hope that the singer will change his stance on the issue, the fansites state in the release that they “are fully prepared to defend their position in the proper court of law, as well as fully prosecute any claims to which they are justly entitled.” I’m a Prince fan to the fullest, so I’m keeping my peace and hope for a peaceful resolution to this. I would hate for him to get Morris Day and Jerome to track me down because of what I’m saying.  Let’s not go Crazy. Let’s all stay sane.  4. Amy Winehouse Gets Raided Well not quite. According to People.com, it was the singer’s home in London that attracted police on Thursday (Nov. 8). Winehouse, who was not arrested, and her husband Blake Fielder-Civil were believed to not be home at the time of the raid. Local press accounts stated that officers from the Metropolitan Police Service were seen entering the back of Winehouse’s residence in northwest London at the time. If you’re wondering why the cops raided the home in the first place, don’t look for it anytime soon as authorities are keeping mum. The only thing they are saying is that “Investigations are ongoing..” Add to that a statement from police saying four unidentified men ages 19 to 25 were arrested at addresses in east London on allegations of perverting the course of justice and we have another intriguing chapter in the Winehouse chronicles.  Stay tuned for the next episode.  5. Bob Marley and James Brown: Dead and Wealthy Bob Marley and James Brown may be six feet under, but the singers are not among the poor as they make the Forbes.com list of the 13 highest paid celebrities. Brown was ranked 11th on the list as he pulled in $5 million for 2006. Marley followed at number 12 with $4 million. Others who made the list included rapper Tupac Shakur ($9 million), actor James Dean ($3.5 million), Albert Einstein ($18 million), Peanuts creator Charles Schulz ($35 million dollars) and Beatles members George Harrison ($22 million) and John Lennon ($44 million).  So who’s the richest celebrity dead person? That honor goes to Elvis Presley, who earned $49 million. Dead and still ballin’. Must be nice.  6. Michael Jackson Reveals “Smelly” Nickname Over the years, Michael Jackson has collected a variety of nicknames. King of Pop, Jacko. Tito’s more popular and financially set younger brother. But the singer is fessing up to an interesting nickname that may surprise fans. One that was given to him by Quincy Jones, the man who produced his classic Thriller album. “Quincy calls me a nickname: ‘Smelly,'” Jackson said in the new issue of Ebony magazine, which hits newsstands on Monday (Nov. 12). “Back then, especially back then — I say a few swear words now — but especially then, you couldn’t get me to swear. So I would say, That’s a ‘smelly’ song. That would mean it’s so great that you’re engrossed in it. So [Jones] would call me Smelly.”  As if the nicknames aren’t bad, Jackson has practically spent his entire career in the rumor mill. So how does the 49-year-old singer deal with it, you ask? “I don’t pay attention to that,” Jackson said. “In my opinion, it’s ignorance. It’s usually not based on fact. Every neighborhood has the guy who you don’t see, so you gossip about him. You see those stories about him, there’s the myth that he did this or he did that. People are crazy!” Jackson’s Ebony interview comes amid reports that his Neverland residence has gone into foreclosure per a Notice of Default report for California’s Santa Barbara County. TMZ.com reports the foreclosure came as a result of the entertainer reportedly being delinquent on a $23 million loan as of Oct. 12.  7. Country Music Bug Bites John Amos Damn, damn, damn James! First Jamie Foxx, then Bobby Brown and Sisqo. Now John Amos has been bitten by the country music bug. EURWeb.com reports that the actor, who currently stars in ABC’s comedy Men in Trees, is gearing up to release a country music album.  The release, titled We Were Hippies, is part of a five-album deal Amos signed with Music Row Records Nashville. So is Amos, who’s best known for his roles as Kunta Kinte in Roots, James Evans in Good Times and my personal favorite Cleo McDowall in Coming to America, cut out to for the country music audience? Apparently so, according to Music Row CEO Gene Cash. “Country Music is all about storytelling. That’s what makes John perfect for this genre,” said Cash, who discovered Amos’ musical talents during several trips the actor made to Nashville. “We worked with him closely and helped him discover his singing voice as well. John Amos is country music.”  Those who pick up the album can hear Amos sing the title track as well as other Johnny Cash originals including “Hopelessly,” “Independence Day” and a tribute to the late county legend titled, “When Johnny Came to Town.” “I’m originally from East Orange, New Jersey and my mother and I would spend our summers on the family farm in Birmingham where I learned to ride horses listening to Johnny Cash and other great country artists,” Amos said. “To now be embraced by the Cash family in this way is a ride.” We Were Hippies is available for download at iTunes. I say again, damn, damn, damn James!!!

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