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The Last Word: Maxwell Returns, Jamie Foxx Sends an Apology to Miley Cyrus Via His Daughter, and Terrence Howard Talks Iron Man 2 Drama

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Hello, hello, hello. Once again, the weekend arrives as

everybody tries to protect themselves from the swine flu, takes in President

Obama’s first 100 days in office and enjoys the arrival of the summer movie

season.

 

Thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of

Gospel music singer the Rev. Timothy Wright and Golden Girls star Bea Arthur, who both died last week. As always,

shout out to the sounding boards for making headlines everyday in the story of

their lives.

 

So without further ado, I give to you…the Last Word for the

week ending May 1, 2009.

 

1. Maxwell Makes Official Return With New Album and Tour

 

After months of teasing and a brief tour last year, Maxwell

is back.

 

This crooner is gearing up to release his highly anticipated

fourth album, BLACKsummer’snight, on

July 7. The video for the project’s first single, “Pretty Wings” premiered

Wednesday (April 28) on BET’s 106 & Park along with the radio debut of the song.

 

In addition to providing vocals, Maxwell expanded his

presence on BLACKsummer’snight by

producing the entire nine-track album himself as well as co-producing the

project with Hod David and featuring a live, ten-piece band. So what exactly

has Maxwell been doing between his last album and his new release?

 

“In the past few years I’ve been making music for

myself, looking at the landscape and fighting for copyright – I’ve been living

my life,” the singer told a crowd at Sony Music’s New York offices.

“I felt a disenchantment and preferential treatment in the industry. There

was humility, bravado and entitlement missing. So I sat back because I didn’t

want to throw what I had into thin air.

 

But, then I came to the realization that this is a gift no

matter what,” Maxwell continued. “You need to cure and bring a

connection through sound. I hope in some small way I can leave some kind of

mark.”

 

You can judge for yourself if he makes the mark when he hits

the road for a tour this summer and a headlining gig at the Essence Music Fest

on July 4 in support of BLACKsummer’snight.

The tour, Maxwell’s first in six years, is set to kick off June 20 in

Milwaukee. BLACKsummer’snight

will be the first in a trilogy of releases Maxwell plans to unveil on fans. The

remaining albums, blackSUMMERS’night

and blacksummers’NIGHT, are

slated to arrive in stores in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

 

2. Jamie Foxx Lends Voice to the Homeless; Recruits

Daughter for Miley Cyrus Apology

 

He may have finished playing music prodigy Nathaniel Ayers

in The Soloist but Jamie Foxx is taking

the film’s message beyond the big screen by teaming up with Nineline, a crisis

helpline run by Covenant House, a nationwide agency that works with homeless

kids.

 

EURWeb.com reports that the entertainer has lent his voice

to a recorded message for the helpline as part of Participant Media’s social

action campaign for The Soloist. Foxx’s

involvement in the effort should go a long ways toward helping those in need of

guidance, according to Covenant House president Kevin Ryan.

 

“Now kids in crisis will not only hear a reassuring

voice but a well-known, positive role model,” he said. “I’m convinced that

hearing Jamie’s voice will be the difference for kids who might otherwise get

scared and hang up before we can help. This is a tremendous gift to our

kids.”

 

Foxx’s goodwill comes amid he actor/singer’s recent taunting

of Miley Cyrus on his radio show. Although he publicly apologized for his

remarks days later on The Tonight Show,

the entertainer is working to prevent any more negativity coming out of the

situation with the help of his daughter. The 14-year-old is doing her part by

writing a letter to Miley, apologizing for her father’s comments.

 

Foxx, who admitted that the remarks were

“insensitive,” sees the letter as the beginning of the end of the

drama surrounding his comments.

 

“I don’t want to defend my position as a comedian to be

further insensitive to Miley on (US late night show) Jay Leno. We apologized to

Miley and reached out to her… and so we’ll move on,” the entertainer told

WENN. “My daughter has written a letter to her. We’re going to get that to

her and like I said, I don’t want to defend it… you can’t defend it.”

 

And there you have it. ‘Nuff said.

 

3. John Legend Goes Green For Summer Tour

 

John Legend will champion the environment as well as good

music when he hits the road this summer on a major tour of North America.

 

According to Billboard,

the crooner plans on going “green” for the outing by joined forces with the

nonprofit environmental organization REVERB. The pair will work tour venues and

local caterers to ensure and facilitate the use of green products and

practices, along with neutralizing CO2 emissions from venue energy use, hotels,

flights and touring vehicles.

 

In addition, fans can purchase eco-friendly merchandise that

will be available. A John Legend on-line ride-sharing service will also be

available to encourage and assist with carpooling to shows as well as the

singer’s “greening” website that offers include tips and calls to action for

fans with prize incentives.

 

News of the eco-friendly tour comes after Legend topped

Billboard’s Green 10 list for his work on behalf of various environmental

causes in March.

 

4. Terrence Howard Sheds More Light on Iron Man 2 Drama

 

Breaking up may be hard to do, but Terrence Howard isn’t

going out quietly in regards to Marvel Studios’ decision to replace him with

Don Cheadle for the upcoming Iron Man

sequel. Rather than letting it go, the actor is reopening the situation, as he

believes Marvel made “a very, very bad choice” in letting him go.

 

“They didn’t keep their word. They didn’t honor my contract.

They produced a great bounty with the first one but they put it all in the

storehouse and you were not allowed in,” Howard told Parade magazine as we alluded that Marvel shorted his Iron

Man co-star Gwyneth Paltrow and almost

everyone else with the exception of Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr.

 

And while it would be easy for him to let the cat out of the

bag as far as details on the highly anticipated sequel after seeing the script,

Terrence will not go there.

 

“I believe in karma. When someone does something wrong, you

don’t have to get them back. Everything right will return the favor for you,”

said the Oscar nominee, who admitted to looking forward to seeing the film and

Cheadle’s performance as Col. James Rhodes, the role he played in the first Iron

Man.

 

“I want to see Don Cheadle become me. No, I want him to do

better than me. That’s what I really want to see,” he said. “Don Cheadle was

the reason I got Crash, so I have a lot

of love for him.”

 

It’s good that he’s supporting Cheadle, but you have to

wonder if Terrence is secretly hoping IM2 doesn’t do as well as the first film.

I guess we’ll find out next year when IM2

hits theaters.

 

5.   

Usher Does Double Duty with the UN and Boys and Girls Clubs

 

Although it’s been a minute since we’ve head something new

from Usher, the singer hasn’t completely disappeared. He’s just been working

outside the music world with new alliances with the United Nations Foundation.

 

According to reports, the Foundation and Usher have come together

to launch the Nothing But Nets campaign, a global, grassroots effort that

encourages underprivileged youths to become more pro-active in making a

difference in global issues. Among the issues highlighted by the campaign is

the disease Malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa that is spread by

mosquito bites.

 

For Usher, the venture comes at a crucial time as it “sends

an important message: youth, regardless of their backgrounds, can make a

difference in this world by taking action through service to save lives. Anyone

can make a difference. All it takes is $10 to send a net and save a life.”

 

With Nothing But Nets, the UN and Usher are out to raise

funds to help prevent African kids from getting Malaria by supplying more

mosquito nets to civilians. For more information about Nothing But Nets or to

send a net, visit http://www.NothingButNets.net.

 

In addition to the UN, Usher is working with the Boys &

Girls Clubs of America to shine a light on the benefits of the organization

through its Be Great campaign. People.com reports that a childhood photo of the

singer is featured on a new billboard for the effort, with the tagline “Be

Iconic.”

 

‘Be Great’ starts when you’re an infant,” Usher

explained. “It’s what every parent wants of their child. It’s what my mom

wanted of me, and what I want for my kids.

 

“It’s those around us who motivate us to be iconic.

Places like the Boys & Girls Club helped me be that icon I am today. ‘Be

Iconic’ is not just about status, it’s about what you choose to care about.

What you give your time, attention and focus to.”

 

In Other Words…

 

* Beyoncé fans that plan on attending the vocalist’s

upcoming I Am… World tour will be able to help the hungry in addition to

enjoying the Grammy winner’s performance. Media sources report that Beyoncé is

teaming up with a General Mills created national hunger relief campaign to

co-sponsor Show Your Helping Hand food drives during the course of the outing,

which kicks off June 21 in the US.

 

The initiative will assist the food rescue organization,

Feeding America, in delivering meals to food banks around the country.

 

* Dancehall artist Sean Paul is coming back to the music

scene with the arrival of Imperial Blaze,

his first album in three years. Paul’s new song, “So Fine” debuts today (May 1)

on radio outlets. Imperial Blaze

is slated to hit stores August 18.

 

* Toni Braxton has filed a new lawsuit against Lloyd’s of

London amid claims the insurance company is not covering a 2006 concert she

cancelled in light of problems with her heart. In the suit, Braxton claims she

sought coverage from Lloyds after buying “non-appearance” and

“cancellation” insurance. The insurance is noted for protecting

entertainers in case their concerts have to be cancelled.

 

According to Braxton, Lloyd’s refuses to pay for the losses

at her Flamingo Hotel concert, which never took place. The company cites the

fact that the songbird’s heart problems was an undisclosed, pre-existing

condition. Braxton, who disagrees with Lloyd’s, is suing the company for

undisclosed damages.

 

* With a popular movie and a role on the hit show The

Office to his credit, life after The

Wire is pretty good for Idris Elba. So

good, in fact that the actor is doing his part to take a stand against knife

crime in his native London by joining forces with The Prince’s Trust charity.

 

Elba’s involvement comes amid what he sees as “an upsurge in

knife crime in the last five years.” With The Wire being popular overseas, the actor hopes to utilize

his affiliation with the hit show to connect with youth. “The underlying

issues of The Wire are not a

million miles from what British kids are dealing with today. The show is

recognized for its realistic portrayal of urban life where kids hang around on

corners with nothing to do. They are hand-picked by gangsters that offer them

quick money for dirty jobs – this is very similar to the gang and drug culture

emerging in some of the U.K.’s biggest cities.”

 

* Ashanti is expanding her acting resume with a stint in the

stage revival of The Wiz. The singer

will be featured as Dorothy in the musical, which will run from June 12 through

July 5 at New York City Center as part of its “Encores! Summer Stars”

series.

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