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The Last Word: Say Goodbye to Neverland, Rihanna Looks For Marrow, and Obama Didn’t Clear His Samples

What’s the deal? Another week gone by and we’re still around to tell the story. Too many happenings for five days, as Ralph Nader put his hat in again for another presidential run, LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 10,000 points, more than three million people experienced a massage power outage in Florida and comedian Jimmy Kimmel got back at his girlfriend Sarah Silverman’s humorous affair with Matt Damon by debuting his new video titled “I’m F**king Ben Affleck.” Congratulations to Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony on the birth of their twins. Shout to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, who made history by being the first U.S. orchestra to perform in North Korea, and the sounding boards for blazing their own path on the road to redemption. So without further delay…The Last Word for the week ending Feb. 29, 2008 1. Justin Timberlake Multitasks for the Dollar Justin Timberlake is putting his talents to good use as he puts his hand in multiple jars. First up are induction duties at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, as he welcomes pop music icon Madonna into the fold on March 10. The two have been chummy lately while working on the Material Girl’s forthcoming album, which is due to hit stores this year. Madonna joins fellow Hall of Fame inductees Little Walter, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, The Dave Clark Five, The Ventures and Philadelphia International record label founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff as part of the 2008 class. Until that comes around, Justin can focus on his second gig. The Associated Press reports that the singer will don a minor league baseball uniform for his new role in Michael Meredith’s The Open Road. Timberlake will play Carlton Garrett, a fictional Corpus Christi Hooks player who tries to reconnect with his father as he struggles to get home to his ailing mother. Although most of the real Hooks are preparing for spring training, the team’s president, J.J. Gottsch is hoping that some of the players will be able to talk to Timberlake about his role and offer insight on “what it’s like playing for the Hooks, playing for an Astros minor league team and playing at Whataburger Field.” And if making money from movies and music wasn’t enough, JT is doing the modeling thing as the new face of Parfums Givenchy’s latest men’s fragrance. According to reports, Timberlake will be featured in the company’s new campaign that will be unveiled in June. Plans call for the venture to be launched in two stages, with the first stage debuting in this Fall. The final stage will consist of worldwide roll out throughout 2009. Look for JT to come to continue hustling as he juggles gigs at a local bank, shopping center and fast food near you. He may have brought sexy back, but can he do the same for work-related burnout? Slackers like me need to know. 2. Rihanna Gets “A Piece of the Rock,” Helps Out Marrow Patient Who says entertainers are only out for themselves? I guess Rihanna didn’t get the memo. Fresh off of being named an honorary cultural ambassador for her native Barbados, People magazine reports that the songbird is leading the search to find a marrow match for a New York City mother of two, Lisa Gershowitz Flynn. Rihanna is working with DKMS – the world’s largest non-profit marrow donor center to help raise awareness for the need for people to come forward to become donors.According to Rihanna, the effort involves more than helping Flynn. “When I heard about Lisa [Gershowitz Flynn]’s plight, my heart broke. I said, ‘I need to get the word out about Lisa right away,’” she told People. “My own charity, Believe, works specifically with children in need [and with children with leukemia]. Children need their mothers more than anything else in the world. Lisa has two children. My charity will continue to work with DKMS, because in finding a way to save Lisa’s life, we will in turn be saving her children’s lives.”Although the best contenders for a match with Flynn are Jews of European (Ashkenazi) descent, anyone ranging in age from 18- to 55-year olds can be tested as a match for Flynn or others in need of a donor. To learn more about how to help, visit GiftforLisa.com or DKMSAmericas.org. Rihanna’s effort to help Flynn comes days after being named an honorary cultural ambassador. The vocalist was honored for her contributions by the Caribbean island’s government as she was awarded “a piece of the rock.” Translated she got a plot of real estate in Barbado’s exclusive Apes Hill area of St. James parish.Not bad for a 20-year-old with a Grammy and two albums under her belt. 3. Barack Obama Joins the “I’m Using Your Song Without Permission” Club Barack Obama may be leading a movement for change on his way to securing the Democratic presidential nomination, but he’s not scoring points with old school R&B singer Sam Moore. According to EURWeb.com, the Sam and Dave member is taking Obama to task for using the duo’s classic song “Hold On I’m Comin'” during campaign rallies in his bid for the White House. “I have had no choice but to set the record straight, and I have begun explaining that the song was being performed at your rallies without my permission or my endorsement of you as my choice as a candidate for President and that I was writing this to you asking you to not continue including my material at your events,” Moore said in a cease and desist letter he recently wrote to Obama’s camp. “I must request that you instruct your team to cease and desist from playing the song as I was not asked if I minded that my performance, as well as my name and the little bit of fame I enjoy, was associated to your bid to win the nomination of your party as their candidate for President of The United States of America, our wonderful country. I have not agreed to endorse you for the highest office in our land.”Despite the letter, Moore does wish Obama “well in your quest for the nomination.””Having been hit with rocks and water hoses in the streets, in the day with Dr. King as part of his artist appearance and fund raising team, it is thrilling, in my lifetime, to see that our country has matured to the place where it is no longer an impossibility for a man of color to really be considered as a legitimate candidate for the highest office in our land.”With Moore’s request for respect, Obama becomes the latest presidential contender to get blasted for borrowing a song without permission.Republican hopeful Mike Huckabee was recently blasted by Boston chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston Tom Scholz for using his 1970s hit “More Than a Feeling” without his blessing. Prior to that, Republican frontrunner John McCain agreed to stop playing John Mellencamp’s songs “Our Country” and “Pink Houses” at his rallies after the singer voiced his displeasure over their use. So let that be a lesson. Just because you’re running for the highest office in the land doesn’t give you the right to jack someone’s track without their consent. Unless of course you’ve got “connections” that can “persuade” the artist to back off and quit complaining. Ain’t that America…Gotta love it. 4. Jill Scott Invests in Bra Solution Jill Scott may live a golden life, but the neo-soulstress found things a bit difficult as she dealt with her well-developed front. “I have large breasts,” Scott told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I’ve been blessed with them, and I need something that can support (them).” The good folks at Ashley Stewart must have been listening they were “inspired” by Scott to create its butterfly bra for voluptuous females. As a result, the diva, who found no relief from custom made bras or even wearing two at the same time (“a bra for lift, and one for shape”), is certain she found an end to her problem. And if you’re wondering whether or not Scott considered a breast reduction rather than a new bra, the answer is yes. However, fear about a painful surgery killed that idea as well as sentimental attachment to what God gave her.”I really enjoy my breasts,” she said. “They’ve been with me for a long time — without being too graphic, we’ve had fun!”Nuff said. 5. Cherish Hopes You Can Handle the TruthWith their new song “Killa” turning into a hit single, the timing seems to be right for Cherish to step back into the limelight with a new album. The forthcoming Sho’Nuff Records/Capitol Music Group project, titled The Truth finds sisters Farrah, Neosha, Felisha and Farron King working with various music heavyweights such as Terius “The-Dream” Nash and producers Don Vito, Jazze Pha, Adonis & K-Fam, and Eric Hudson.The Truth is the follow-up to Cherish’s debut album Unappreciated. The release, which was certified Gold by the RIAA in 2006, included the hits “Do It to It,” featuring the Young Bloodz’ Sean P and the title track “Unappreciated.”  Cherish’s The Truth is slated to come to stores on April 29. 6. Jackson Gets Covered by Fall Out Boy As He Bids Farewell to Neverland With an impressive 167,000 copies sold in its first week, it’s clear that Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is still relevant in the eyes of music fans. And rock and rollers are no exception as rock group Fall Out Boy covers the King of Pop for its new live CD/DVD. “****”. The group, who taped “****” on June 22, 2007, at Phoenix’s Cricket Pavilion, will do a cover of Jackson’s classic “Beat It” as well as Akon’s “Don’t Matter,” Timbaland’s “One and Only” and Panic At The Disco’s “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies,” in addition to their hits (“Sugar, We’re Going Down,” “Thanks Fr The Mmrs,” “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race”). The Jackson cover is a studio version featuring a “special guest guitarist” yet to be named, Billboard reports. News of the Fall Out Boy cover comes as Michael gets word that his Neverland ranch will be put on the auction block unless he comes up with the more than $24 million he still owes on the property.Financial Title Co. filed the notice of trustee’s sale with Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Tuesday (Feb. 26). According to reports, the auction date has been set for March 19. Jackson has until the date of the auction to initiate efforts to keep the 2,500-acre estate. The filing states that more than $24.5 million may be asked for because interest and other costs accrued by Jackson if the property does end up being auctioned. Bidders can choose from numerous items that will be up for grabs, including Neverland’s merry-go-round and other carnival rides, locomotives, sculptures, curtains and bath tubs While this could be cause for alarm, it may not be a big deal for Mike since he hasn’t lived at Neverland since he was acquitted on child molestation charges in 2005. So I ask you, is Neverland worth keeping? Or should Michael make a clean break and let someone else deal with the place? I’m on a budget so I can’t buy it. Maybe there’s someone who has a few million to spend that can make something out of the place. All things are possible. Stranger things have happened.

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