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The Last Word: Ne-Yo’s On Michael Jackson’s Comeback, Rihanna Talks Tomboys and Light Skin, and Timberlake Pees In the Presence of Michael Jordan!

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What’s shakin’ everybody? Another five gone down, another bit of loose change made. With Hurricane Dolly causing damage in Texas, Danica Patrick and Milka Duno catfighting on the racetrack, WNBA players brawling on the court, and John McCain trying to get some attention away from Barack Obama’s international trip overseas, it was just another week in the world today. Shout out to Rosario Dawson for encouraging young Latinos to register to vote, Marvin Sapp for breaking records on Billboard’s Gospel Radio and Urban Adult Contemporary charts with his hit single “Never Would’ve Made It” and the sounding boards for making me realize that the knight is always darkest before the dawn. And here.we.go…the Last Word for the week ending July 25, 2008 1. Justin Timberlake Pisses Over Michael Jordan, Gets Edited by ESPNAs cool as he may seem on stage and in music videos, Justin Timberlake gets star struck just like the rest of us. Case in point: the singer’s recent meeting with basketball legend Michael Jordan.Although Jordan confessed to being a JT fan, it was the singer who literally lost control in front of the man he considers to be one of his biggest role models.”When I was young…I wanted to be Michael Jordan. It was weird, I heard (Gary Wright song) ‘Dreamweaver’ in my head when he walked in the room,” Timberlake told WENN. “He was like, ‘Hey man, my kids and I, we’re big fans of your music,’ and I was like, ‘That’s cool…’ Up until the point where he walked away and I realized I had peed a little.”I guess if you’ve already brought sexy back, why not bring urination back in the mix too? I sense an R. Kelly collaboration on the horizon. Don’t be surprised.As if being around one sports great wasn’t enough, Justin apparently got a bit carried away when he hosted this year’s ESPY Awards. According to a Sports Illustrated blogger, ESPN stepped in to edit out comments JT made regarding Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce’s knee injury from Game 1 of the NBA Finals before it was broadcast on Sunday (July 20). After Timberlake joked that Pierce was back on the court “shucking and jiving,” the blogger noted how the remarks were met with silence from the crowd when the show taped before Timberlake went into his next joke about Eli Manning. Good thing ESPN saved the day. Otherwise Justin would’ve pissed away his ghetto pass right down the toilet.2. Shakira Leads the Charge for LibertyHands down, Shakira is one of the most talented female singers around. But the Colombian songstress is garnering just as much attention for her role as a political activist.Media sources report that Shakira led nationwide demonstrations in Columbia Sunday (July 20) to demand the release of hundreds of hostages seized by leftist insurgents. The demonstrations took place in more than 40 cities that included London, Paris, Beijing, Miami, Sydney and New York, according to the AFP news agency.The event follows Shakira’s meeting with recently released FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) captive and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt in an effort to raise awareness of her plight. The 31-year-old singer’s presence remained strong on Sunday, as she sang the national anthem at a parade presided over by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and performed in the city of Leticia.”We unite, unite our voices in a single shout: Liberty!” said Shakira, who called the day “historic.” Beauty, a killer voice, and a militant mindstate for freedom. Drive on, Shakira. Drive on. No objections on this side.3. Ne-Yo Co-Signs Michael Jackson Comeback; Remixes Big Red Gum JingleDespite an alleged beef, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown have put aside their differences in the name of the almighty dollar. According to Billboard.biz, the singers have been recruited by Wrigleys to put their stamp on jingles for two of the company’s most popular brands of gum.Ne-Yo will remix the Big Red song, while Brown upgrades the Double Mint jingle and country singer Julianne Hough takes on the jingle for Juicy Fruit. The new jingles will be officially unveiled at a Wrigley’s hosted concert in New York on Wednesday (July 29). New York radio station Hot 97 will give away tickets to the show as part of the promotion. And while Ne-Yo earns a little extra gas money, he hasn’t forgotten his day job, as he confirmed that he is working on Michael Jackson’s forthcoming comeback album. Although Michael’s influence is evident in Ne-Yo, the young singer admitted to not recognizing the King of Pop’s voice when he personally called to ask him if he could write songs for his album. “I actually hung up on him because I thought someone was playin’,” Ne-Yo told New York Magazine. “…Then his representative called back. ‘This is Peter Lopez. I have Michael Jackson on the phone.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God. Are you serious?’ And then I apologized for the next ten minutes. Any comedian who has ever made fun of Michael Jackson was right on. Sad but true. He does have a very high, not very manly voice.” Once Ne-Yo got on board, it didn’t take long for him to figure out what Michael wanted from him as the King of Pop told him that he wanted to make the song he chose as melodic as possible in an effort to get back to that type of vibe. “He’s trying to get back to a place where people remember why they love Michael Jackson in the first place,” Ne-Yo said about Michael’s desire to come back strong. “In the beginning, you didn’t care about Michael Jackson’s personal life. It was about his dancing and his music. That was why you loved Mike. He’s trying to get back there. And I’m trying to help.”No need to say no more. Let’s hope the help pays off and Michael delivers a classic album. Stay tuned… 4. Rihanna Represents for the Tomboys; Remembers Light-Skinned RidiculeRihanna may be striking sexy poses with umbrellas while dating male singers on the low, but according to the songbird, she was anything but the dainty female when she was growing up.”I wore my brother’s clothes, dresses with sneakers, or no shoes at all. I would always get into trouble with my mom. She would say things to scare me like, ‘You’re going to get cut!’ But I couldn’t help it,” Rihanna told InStyle magazine as she reminisced over how she would “climb trees, steal mangoes, catch birds – silly things that were fun to us at the time.”As if battling with her mom over her tomboy status wasn’t enough, RiRi had to contend with schoolmates in Barbados who gave her grief over being light-skinned. The singer admits that it made fitting in a bit of a challenge.”It made me angry… For the first six years of school, I would go home traumatized,” she said. The harassment continued to my very last day of elementary school. High school was better.”Obviously, we know who got the last laugh. Not only does she have a successful singing career, but Rihanna is making moves with Circuit City as the face of the company’s new back to school campaign. Ads for the campaign, which uses music and music video clips from the vocalist’s latest single “Disturbia,” are scheduled to begin running next week. In addition, Rihanna will participate in an online chat on Aug. 20.And there you have it. Light skinned people may be out of style right now, but don’t sleep on them. The world is truly theirs for the taking.5. Wayne Brady Steps into the R&B Arena Following in the steps of fellow actor Terrance Howard, Wayne Brady is expressing himself musically with his upcoming debut album A Long Time Coming. The 12-track R&B project will feature original material from Brady (such as the lead single “Ordinary”) as well as his versions of classic hits like Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” and Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do.” A Long Time Coming is slated to hit stores on Sept. 16.As it stands now, Howard and Brady are currently in talks to hit the road together for nationwide tour. The outing, dubbed the Do I Have to Choke or Whoop That Trick? Tour, will hit local hot spots in the hood and suburbs in an effort to capitalize off Brady’s family friendly image and Howard’s status as a versatile entertainer that’s able to give you those critically-acclaimed ghetto anthems along with the grown and sexy tunes. In Other Words…* There is life after Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam Records for Bobby Valentino. The crooner, who parted ways with the label less than three months ago, is working on his third album The Rebirth, which is slated to be released later this year.* Ashanti is doing her part to give back, as she was among a group of nine “ambassadors” on hand to help Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi launch a new tourism campaign that promotes tourism in Nassau. The Glen Cove native was more than happy to be associated with the venture as she said, “It was amazing to be asked and I wanted to give something back to the community.” * Count Beyonce, Chris Brown and Mariah Carey among those who will perform at the fifth annual Fashion Rocks concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Sept. 5. Proceeds from the show, which will also feature Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Keith Urban, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Kid Rock and Duffy, will go to Stand Up To Cancer.* Mark another boy band off the list as BlackVoices.com reports that R&B boy band B5 has been dropped from Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment. The group, which released two albums during their time at the label, is working on a new album while searching for a new record deal.* Janet Jackson won’t have to pay anything for her infamous wardrobe malfunction. According to reports, a federal appeals court threw out a $550,000 indecency fine against CBS Corp for the singer’s 2004 Super Bowl halftime show on Monday (July 21).* Kelly Rowland is making plans to come to the small screen as she filmed a pilot for a new a travel and lifestyle series called Around the World. The singer will host and executive produce the show which will focus on the best in dining as well as hotel accommodations and party destinations around the globe. Although several networks including E!, Bravo, Style, A&E, VH1 and Oprah’s O.W.N have inquired about the pilot, no deal has been done.

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