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The Last Word: Kelly Rowland Takes On a New Genre, Amy Winehouse Snubs Quincy Jones, and Sade Returns!

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How’s the life? The weekend has approached after a short

work week filled with Sonia Sotomayor potentially becoming the first Hispanic

and third woman to sit on the Supreme Court if her nomination to the bench is

confirmed and North Korea testing the world with launching more nuclear

missiles.

 

Thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Tyson for the loss of

his daughter Exodus on Tuesday (May 26). Congratulations to T.I. and Tiny, who

reportedly got married last week and Robert DeNiro, who recently became a grandfather

after his son welcomed a new baby boy last week. Happy Birthday to Dr. Forte,

who is thankful for another one.

 

Shout out to Smokey Robinson, who will receive the ASCAP

Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award at the organization’s 22nd annual kudos gala

on June 26 and the sounding boards for never going into a situation without a

plan.

 

So let’s get to it…the Last Word for the week ending May 29,

2009.

 

1. Robin Givens Makes IRS Most Wanted List

 

In yet another case of celebs trying to dodge the long arm

of debt, Robin Givens has gotten the attention of the IRS.

 

According Forbes.com, the actress is being sued by the US

government over what it says is $292,000 of unpaid federal taxes, interest and

penalties that go as far back as 1996.

 

In a recently filed lawsuit, the government requested formal

judgment against Givens in a Tampa, Fla. federal court on 39 separate

assessments covering eight of the 12 calendar years through 2007.Through this,

it would be easier for the IRS garnish Givens’ earnings or levy assets such as

bank accounts in an effort to collect the allegedly unpaid amounts.

 

The suit stems from Givens’ failure to pay $222,000 in

federal taxes. The remaining $70,000 demanded by the government pertains to

interest and assorted penalties for failure to pay, underpayment of estimated

tax and late filing. The pleading does not state what her total income or tax

was for the years in question, nor the extent of any partial tax payments,

Forbes stated.

 

And to add insult to injury, the magazine lists the actress

1,224 out of 1,400 on his Forbes “star currency” list.

 

2. Kelly Rowland Dances to a New Beat; Starts New Charity

 

R&B fans have known and grown with Kelly Rowland through

time with Destiny’s Child and as a solo artist. Now, the singer is stepping

into new arena as she enjoys the success of “When Love Takes Over,”

her hit collaboration with DJ David Guetta.

 

The song, which is the first single from Guetta’s

forthcoming album, One Love, has become

a hit on the Hot Dance Airplay chart with a recent as well as a wake up call

for Rowland to explore an alternative to R&B. The songbird recalled her

first encounter with Guetta’s music while taking in one of the French DJ’s

performances last summer.

 

“I had spent nights dancing in the South of France from12:45

a.m. to 8 in the morning, but I had never thought about recording a dance track

myself. Hearing David’s song made me consider taking on this whole new style,”

Rowland told Billboard.

 

Guetta fans can look for Rowland when she appears with the

DJ at various spots on his summer tour. In the meanwhile, Kelly is keeping busy

on other fronts as she co-hosts Bravo’s new series The Fashion Show with style guru Isaac Mizrahi and gears up to start

a new charity called I Heart My Girlfriend. The program will serve as an

interactive support system for teenage girls.

 

At this time, there are now solid plans for another Rowland

solo album as she is still between labels. But if “When Love Takes Over” is any

indication, we could be doing more dancing to Kelly’s music down the road.

 

“This has definitely inspired me to put more of a dance

sound on an album of my own,” the entertainer said. “I want to try

out that world without straying too far from my urban roots.”

 

3. James Brown’s Kids Make Peace With Singer’s Widow

 

The fight over James Brown’s estate has come to an end.

 

E! Online reports that an agreement has been reached between

Brown’s six adult children and his widow, Tomi Rae Hynie.

 

Per the terms of the agreement, about half of Brown’s assets

will be placed in a charitable trust set up by the Godfather of Soul to pay for

his grandchildren’s education and to help needy children in South Carolina and

Georgia; a quarter will go to Hynie and her young son with Brown, James Brown

II. The rest will be split among Brown’s older children.

 

“From the perspective of the charitable beneficiaries,

the risks of not approving the settlement agreement are substantial,”

Judge Jack Early wrote in his decision, while noting that more than $1 million

has been spent in legal fees and other estate-related expenses.

 

The settlement concludes months of arguing between Hynie and

Brown’s grown children. And Tomi is happy for the peace as she expressed a

desire to “work with the trustees and other Brown family members to promote

James Brown’s legacy.” 

 

Now if only the Martin Luther King Jr.’s kids could get

along and end their drama, then maybe him and James can truly rest in peace.

4. Amy Winehouse Snubs Quincy Jones; Goes Into the

Fashion Business

 

Just what is going on with Amy Winehouse? As if being a

slave to drugs and taking her sweet time in releasing new music wasn’t enough,

she’s now missing out on paying homage to the great Quincy Jones.

 

The Daily Mirror

reports that plans for Winehouse to contribute to an all-star tribute album for

Jones have fallen apart. And the songstress has no one to blame but herself as

a source detailed what it was that caused the latest in a long line of missed

opportunities.

 

“Basically after Amy’s horrendous gig in St Lucia, and

then pulling out of the Island 50th birthday gig, everyone realized she wasn’t

going to get it together,” the source said. “Quincy Jones is one of the

most respected men in the music industry, so it was a huge honor for Amy to be

asked to record for him. To snub him is a big no-no.”

 

Needless to say, Q isn’t thrilled at being snubbed.

Especially after he invited her and producer Mark Ronson to record a song for

the album tribute after meeting them last summer at the Nelson Mandela 90th

birthday concert.

 

According to the Mirror,

Winehouse kept Jones on a string for almost a year after agreeing to do the

tribute. As a result, the track (a new version of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own

Me”) has been dropped from the album as well as Q’s hopes of having Amy perform

with Michael Jackson at a launch for the CD. Now how cool (or disastrous) would

that have been.

 

I guess if music doesn’t work out for Amy, she has something

to fall back on. The folks at Marie Claire say that the Grammy winner has

joined forces with London-based fashion company PPQ to launch her very own

clothing line.

 

The collection, which will be inspired Winehouse’s retro

style, is in the first stages, according to PPQ designer Amy Molyneaux, who

says the line will be “all about high-end statement pieces”

 

“For example, maybe a dress or an amazing piece of jewelry

like a bracelet,” she added. “It’s going to be distributed online, we are

going to be providing all materials and doing the design, but Amy will

definitely be involved in the creative process.”

 

I wonder just how “involved” Amy will be. Makes you wonder

if the clothing line will reflect Amy’s style BC (Before Crack). Any

suggestions on what to name the clothing collection?

 

5. Sade Comes Out of Musical Hibernation for New Album

 

It may be a little early, but ’tis the season for the return

of vintage R&B. First, it was Guy and Blackstreet. Then Ginuwine, Al B.

Sure! and the Commodores. Now comes the biggest to date with the return of the

one and only Sade!

 

This is not a rumor. Sade’s website, http://www.sade2009.com, confirms

that a new album from the vocalist is coming on November 24, 2009. At this

point, no title for the project has been released.

 

Normally, an item this brief would occupy In Other Words…,

but this is main item news. I guess it’s safe to say that ‘09 is the year

R&B came home.

 

6. Taraji P. Henson Goes Nude for In Style; Reveals

Celebrity Crush

 

With an Oscar nomination on her resume, the possibilities

are infinite for Taraji P. Henson. Professionally and personally. And if you

want to get next to the actress, it helps to know what she defines as sexy.

 

“Sexy is a feeling that comes from having an understanding

of yourself,” said Henson, who appears nude for In Style magazine’s annual sexy issue. “You can be sexy in

sweats.”

 

As for what brings out her sexy, the answer lies in jazz

music as Taraji admits, “the instruments tease you. I let my mind run away.”

 

For those wondering about Henson’s celebrity crush, the

entertainer revealed it is none other than fellow Oscar nominee Salma Hayek. Picture

that, if you will, and let your mind truly run away.

 

In Other Words…

 

* Not one to let his fame make him untouchable, Usher is

making local moves as the newest member of the Woodruff Arts Center’s 79-member

board of trustees. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the entertainer was

among six new Woodruff trustees announced last week. In addition to the board,

Usher also joined Woodruff’s education task force as he shared his thoughts on

he was “so honored to be invited” onto the group.

 

“I first and foremost would like to give more young people,

who wouldn’t otherwise have the means, the opportunity to experience art

programming at the Woodruff Arts Center,” the crooner shared with the paper via

e-mail. “I also hope to share new ideas that can combine art and service as

powerful agents of change in Atlanta.”

 

* Martini has a new spokeswoman, and her name is Thandie

Newton. According to reports, the actress has signed on as the spokeswoman for

the company’s “Stay Beautiful” campaign. Under the new endorsement deal, Newton

will be featured in a series of ads styled by fashion guru Bay Garnett and

photographed by A-list photographer Anders Overgaard in an exclusive London

members club.     

“She was a natural choice to be our ambassador for 2009

due to her cutting edge style and passion for fashion and beauty,” a Martini

spokesperson said about the company’s decision to use Newton as the spokeswoman

for a new rose version of the drink. “She has an inspirational lifestyle, while

still being a role model that women can relate to.”     

 

* The Wayans Brothers are doing more than make people laugh

as the family teams up with the NorthStar Moving Corporation and The Clothes

Off Our Back Foundation to donate their designer shirts, jeans, jackets and

sweaters for an auction to benefit children’s charities.

 

The sale is currently going on at the Foundation’s web site,

http://www.clothesoffourback.org and will conclude at 5 p.m. PDT June 9. Proceeds will

go to Feeding America, The Art of Elysium, Hope North and H.E.L.P. Malawi.

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