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The Last Word: Kelly Rowland Takes an HIV/AIDS Test For Staying Alive, Justin Timberlake Reveals His OCD, and D’Angelo Is Back In the Studio

What’s cookin’ people? Five slow days gone and one fast weekend to go digesting crazy wildfires in California, Ralph Nader claiming that Barack Obama is “talking white” in order to attract voters and North Korea making good on its promise to open up about its nuclear program in an effort to get off the US terrorist list. Add to that, singers using the hottest beat out now to beef with each other, and the week is complete. Shout out to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who are helping American and Iraqi children affected by the war by donating $1 million to the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict on behalf of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, and the sounding boards for never giving up on your humble narrator.And the winner is…the Last Word for the week ending June 27, 2008   1. BET Does It Again (And Kinda Gets it Right) Another year, another BET Awards gone by. After a couple of years of lackluster showings, BET brought us a memorable event. From Alicia Keys taking things to another level by bringing out SWV, En Vogue and TLC to Al Green making everyone from Quincy Jones to Diddy to Tom Joyner sing along and dance to “Love and Happiness” and “Let’s Stay Together” to T-Pain playing ringmaster for his circus-themed set, it was a good BET Awards. But as always, there are those parts of the show that make you (as Arsenio once said) go Hmmmmm…. Here are my top three reasons why the BET Awards remain uniquely “BET”: a. Shameless promotion from sponsors Point blank, if I want to see a commercial, I’ll just wait until the TV break. But things go to another level with BET’s award show, as the network proudly displayed Subway and other advertisers on the marquee of the fake theater setting in the Shrine Auditorium. Don’t even get me start on Diddy and the “Ciroc room.” I guess any advertising (free or price driven) is good advertising. b. Reality show stars who shouldn’t quit their day job Keyshia Cole’s family always gave us a strong dose of reality on The Way It Is. But the singer’s mom, Frankie, made it a point to get her mingle on with Pretty Ricky at the pre-show as she welcomed the opportunity for the quartet to appear on an upcoming episode of the hit reality show. And if that didn’t bring a smile to your face, there was Neffe and Frankie taking us into the show’s first commercial break with a wardrobe malfunction waiting to occur and the influence of the cue cards front and center. Entertainment at its finest…hmmm worthy indeed. c. Nostalgia rules TLC, SWV, En Vogue and the return of Maxwell. All of that by itself made the Awards worth watching and talking about. BET outdid itself with bringing these performers back to the public eye. Maybe next year they can make reunite Troop, Wreckx-N-Effect, Jade and Naughty by Nature and even give Hammer a lifetime achievement award. Picture his tribute with Usher, Chris Brown, and Ne-Yo doing his patented dance moves. The Al Green segment was, in my opinion, the showstopper of the night with A. Keys coming in a close second. If they would’ve gotten D’Angelo involved in that tribute on the same stage as Maxwell, it would’ve been even more powerful. A true meeting of the old and the new. Speaking of D’Angelo…2. D’Angelo Finally Returns to the Studio It looks like the search for Michael Archer is coming to an end. Word on the street is D’Angelo is in the studio working on his third album. According to a source, the as-yet-untitled project will include collaborations with Raphael Saadiq and John Mayer. A single from the project is slated to come out before the end of the year. In the meantime, plans are underway to release a live album that will feature four new songs in the Fall. And if you still can’t wait, you can always pick up the new CD/DVD greatest hits release titled The Best So Far… That project, which arrived in stores on Tuesday (June 24), includes classic D’Angelo material as well as rarities and previously unreleased videos. Let’s hope the album will arrive. There’s no use in D’Angelo teasing us with this and then go and answer the call of the law with an unnecessary case. Even Dr. Dre is making progress on Detox….one down, one more to go. What’s up Maxwell? 3. Kelly Rowland Goes to Tests for HIV With all of her fame, it would be easy for Kelly Rowland to let someone else lead the effort to recognize the importance of getting tested for HIV/AIDS. But the former Destiny’s Child member is stepping up to do her part. According to media sources, Rowland recently traveled to the Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya to take an HIV test. As the first ambassador for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, the singer is raising awareness of HIV/AIDS by using her celebrity status to motivate youth to protect themselves against the deadly disease. “It’s killing us as people and I think above anything these numbers aren’t changing,” Rowland told CNN. “The more that I get involved, you get everybody out there … involved, then hopefully we can see a change – a big change.” HIV has developed into a major problem in Africa as UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, estimates that more than 22 million adults and children are living with HIV on the continent. I hope the testing system in Kenya is better than New York as more than 200 people falsely tested positive for HIV/AIDS in the state recently. 4. Justin Timberlake Comes Clean About his OCD and ADD Being a well-known celebrity can mean a lot of busy time, but Justin Timberlake seems to be handling it well. But even he has his own share of issues as the former boy band member recently revealed that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). According to reports, Timberlake confessed to being overly-obsessed with neatness as he regularly spends time making sure things are lined up perfectly. As a result, the singer, who insisted he also has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), experiences a lot of stress that can often be debilitating. “I have OCD mixed with ADD,” Timberlake told WENN. “You try living with that. It’s complicated.” With his revelation, Timberlake puts himself in the company of fellow OCD victims David Beckham, Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz and, I guess, detective Monk from the USA Network.  5. Aubrey O’Day and India.Arie Seek the Bright Neon Lights of Broadway Music may garner her fans that enjoy a good tune, but Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day is looking beyond the studio as she prepares to make her Broadway debut in Hairspray. The singer, whose theatrical run begins on July 18 at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City, will play Amber Von Tussle, the stuck-up arch-nemesis of Tracy Turnblad. O’Day isn’t the only Broadway bound singer. Look for India.Arie, to make her mark in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. The Grammy winner will start her theater gig on Sept. 8 at the Circle in the Square Theater in New York City 6. Ciara Prepares for Her Close Up, Gets in the Clothing Game As a performer, Ciara definitely keeps you interested with her dance moves and Crunk’n B style. But the entertainer is making moves outside the music world as she is currently in talks with discount department store, Steve & Barry’s, to create an affordable clothing line that incorporates her personal style. “I have a couple of cool things that I’m working on,” Ciara shared with Billboard.biz. “The coolest thing about Steve & Barry’s is they cater to everyday people. I won’t say that my line will be like theirs, I want to stay true to who I am, but most importantly it has to be affordable.” In addition to the clothing line, Ciara is increasing her presence in the modeling world by signing a contract with the Wilhelmina modeling agency. The company will work on casting the young diva in clothing and fragrance campaigns, according to Ciara, who has done print modeling for Jay-Z’s Rocawear line. Looks like Ciara has it all planned out. With modeling, music and acting, she seems to be set. But I gotta say that if the modeling thing doesn’t work out, she can always look for work as an “interpretive dancer.” That sensual dance off with Chris Brown at the BET Awards was enough to motivate me to make it rain on the TV set. So keep on making it do what it do, Ciara. Make the money. Don’t let the money make you. In Other Words… * Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Shakira are among the 25 celebrities that will receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. * American Idol winner Ruben Studdard is taking himself off the market. The 29- year-old singer and his 30-year-old fiancé Surata Zuri McCant obtained their marriage license Monday (June 23) and are set to jump the broom on Saturday (June 28). The groom reportedly has 20 groomsmen lined for the ceremony….Congrats to the happy couple.* Corinne Bailey Rae is returning to the public eye months after the death of her husband. According to reports, the songbird is scheduled to make her first live appearance overseas on Channel 4′s Live From Abbey Road TV show as she joins legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock for a performance.* R.I.P. to Philadelphia gospel legend Ira Tucker, who died Tuesday (June 24). The Dixie Hummingbirds lead vocalist, who was a member of the group since 1938, was regarded as one of the most prolific hard gospel singers in history. Among those influenced by Tucker were the Temptations, Bobby Blue Bland and Stevie Wonders. He was 83.

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