Whats poppin people? Another weekend dawns on us as we make it to the
end of another five. From Democrats criticizing Pres. Bush for not
knowing until last week that Iran had stopped work on its nuclear
weapons in 2003 to Jena 6 member Mychal Bell being sentenced to 18
months in jail after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of
second-degree battery for beating a white Jena High School. Add all that to the
student’s family filing a new civil lawsuit against the LaSalle Parish
School Board, the adult Jena 6 members in the beating, and the parents
of the younger members of the group, and it was both an interesting and sad week.
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of UGK rapper Pimp C, who
died tragically on Tuesday, New York Knicks forward Stephon Marbury
and his family regarding the death of Marburys dad, and those affected
by the tragic mall shooting spree in Omaha, Nebraska.
And heres to the sounding boards for always instilling their sense of good and evil into your humble narrator.
Now for the main course….the Last Word for the week ending Dec. 7, 2007.1. Akon Tosses Innocence For Tossing Fan
Although hes doing business with Michael Jackson and the hottest
singers and rappers, Akon cant seem to shake the downside of being
famous. The 34-year-old singer pleaded not guilty Monday (Dec. 3) to
criminal charges that were filed after he tossed a fan offstage this
summer during a concert in Fishkill, NY.
According to reports, Akon made a brief appearance in court before he
was released on his own recognizance. Although the case will resume in
January, dont expect Akon to make another cameo as the crooners
lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, will be able to stand in for him at future
The court appearance is the newest development in the aftermath of the
fan tossing incident. Akon was charged with misdemeanor endangering the
welfare of a minor and second-degree harassment after a female fan
complained about a concussion she suffered after a 15-year-old boy the
hitmaker threw off the stage fell on her during the concert, which took
place June 3 at a local minor league baseball stadium. The incident was
sparked when an object was thrown at Akon during his show, according to
those who attended the performance. The singer, who took offense to the
action, soon asked concertgoers to point out the person responsible.
The boy was later brought up to Akon, who hoisted the teen onto his
shoulders and tossed him into the crowd.
“It was never Akon‘s intention to violate the law,” Brafman said in a
written statement released to the media. “This unfortunate incident was
a spontaneous reaction during a live concert that Akon deeply regrets.”
In happier Akon news, the singer joined Amy Winehouse, Rihanna, Justin
Timberlake, Ne-Yo and Kanye West among this years Grammy Award
nominees. Although the awards wont be given out until February, Akon
already knows what hes going to do should he win one of the four
Grammy hes nominated for.
“I’m calling my mom,” he told MTV. “She’s probably going to scream,
’cause she’s always said, ‘You know what, you’re gonna win.'”
Now that he has someone in mind to make his one phone call should he
end up in the big house, maybe now Akon can get that “Sorry, Blame it
On Me” Long Arm of the Law remix with fellow law-abiding singer R.
Kelly in the can too. To keep his name out there, of course.
2. Aretha Franklin Breaks Down Her Lack of Movie Time
If you know anything about music, you know about Aretha Franklin. Few
singers can compare to the Queen of Soul, but on the big screen, the
65-year-old singer said she is getting a lack of respect.
“Unfortunately, I have not gotten the offers from Hollywood that I
would have liked to have gotten,” Franklin said during a recent phone
interview with The Associated Press. “I don’t understand why it’s so
hard for longtime artists in the music industry who have numerous
awards and citations and things like that to even get a pittance of an
offer from Hollywood. It just doesn’t happen. What is the problem?”
To date, Franklins time on the silver screen has been reduced to bit parts in the Blues Brothers movies. Although shes working on a biopic on her life, Franklin feels skin
color may be the reason why her and other music veterans have been
ignored by Hollywood.
And she doesn’t believe it’s getting any better for Black entertainers either.
“It’s a little disappointing to see in 2007 that that kind of thing still happens, and you’ve got a huge set of double standards there,” continued Franklin, who added that Black
entertainers are still finding it hard in Tinseltown, despite the
success of Oscar winners Halle Berry and Jennifer Hudson. “Halle Berry
is only one person please!”
As for that biopic, dont look for it in theaters since plans for that
fell through. Franklin, who has a play in the works, is currently in
talks with a network to do a two-part series. For her, the only way for Blacks to make in Hollywood is to create opportunities for themselves.
So says the Queen. Nuff said.
3. Avant and John Legend Plotting 2008 Returns
Fans of male-oriented R&B can mark 2008 as the year two R&B heavyweights return.
Billboard.com reports that Avant has signed a new deal with Capital
Records and is gearing up to release a new album in the summer of 2008.
The as-yet untitled project will feature various producers,
including Rodney Jerkins and DJ Smurf.
Look for a new Avant single in March. You can also catch him live on
tour with Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tanks new group TGT as well as on the
stage with Morris Chestnut in the play Love In the Nick Of Tyme.
In addition to Avant, John Legend will reemerge on the scene. Forgive
me for being so late with this one. Far be it for me to get away from
the computer for a day or two during my recent extended weekend up
Anyway, Legend is starting work on his third album as he has “three songs I love already.”
“I’m usually pretty prolific and pretty quick with my output, so I’m
guessing I’ll be done with it by the end of the spring and put it out
either late summer or early fall. That’s what I’m headed towards,” said
the Grammy-winner, who plans on releasing one more single, “Show Me,”
from his latest album Once Again.
So what can we expect from this new offering? Nothing yet, if you ask
Legend, who said it’s too early to predict a musical direction or
theme. The singer, whos clocked in time with Will.i.Am and Rick
Knowles, will get in the studio next with Pharrell Williams, Kanye West
“and we’ll see who else.”
4. Fergie Makes Peace With Her Body Through New Treaty
Its no secret that Fergie has found a measure of success by making
herself Fergalicious. But now, the Black Eyed Peas singer is spreading
the love to young girls who have issues with their body by signing a
new Seventeen magazine Body Peace Project Treaty.
The document, which has also been signed by Ashlee Simpson and
Hairspray star Brittany Snow, is designed to help change the way young
girls look at their bodies by helping them examine unhealthy body image
“So many girls feel awful about themselves.” said Snow, who recently
revealed she suffered from anorexia and bulimia.”I got help when I was
17. It was a process and still is a process, but I am 21 years old now,
and I have done a lot of hard work.”
“It is a daily thing, but I am 100 percent better than where I was in
just little things, like not hating myself in the morning and wearing
jeans, and even if they are tight, being OK with myself,” continued
the actress who told Entertainment Tonight that she lost two friends to
anorexia. “So many people are going through this. Celebrities included. There is a way to get help and feel better.”
Seventeen magazine is hoping to get one million girls to sign the treaty.
5. Diana Ross Gets the Kennedy Treatment from Ciara
Singing icon Diana Ross was in good company this week, as she was among those who were officially recognized as members of the 30th class of Kennedy Center honorees.
Ross was honored with Beach
Boys founder Brian Wilson, film director Martin Scorsese, actor Steve
Martin, and pianist Leon Fleisher for their contributions to American
culture during the ceremony, which took place Sunday (Dec. 2) at the
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The 63-year-old former
Supreme was treated to a musical tribute courtesy of Ciara, who sang
“I’m Coming Out,” Yolanda Adams, who performed “Reach Out and Touch
(Somebody’s Hand)” and Vanessa Williams, who belted “Touch Me in the
Prior to the ceremony, Ross and her fellow honorees visited the White
House as they were recognized by President Bush. Those who werent able
to make the ceremony can catch it Dec. 26 via a two-hour special on CBS.
6. Beyonce Keeps Naughty Company on New List
Christmas is coming, and Santa is taking stock of whos been naughty and
whos been nice among the celebs. So who better to ask than the most
honest critics around, kids. And while stars like Miley Cyrus and
Angelina Jolie were among the “nicest” in the eyes of kids ages two to twelve
and teens 13 to 17 respectively, R&B diva Beyonce failed to make
In fact, teens felt that the songstress should be on Santas naughty
list, according to a survey conducted by E-Poll Market Research, a
company that specializes in celebrity and brand research, to gauge
children’s attitudes about nice, naughty, and the seasonal question of
who makes Santa’s list.
Beyonce came in at number four on the naughty list, while Britney
Spears grabbed the top spot. Paris Hilton followed at number two and
Lindsay Lohan rounded out the top four at number three.
So how do you define “nice”? For kids, it simply comes down to
“cleaning up and doing chores,” “sharing” and “being honest and polite”
as a way to get on Santas good side. And if youre wondering how they
classified being naughty, the kids cited such things as “not listening
to parents,” “being mean and bullying,” and “being snobby.”
I guess you learn something new everyday. So if you were Santa, what
stars would you put on your naughty and nice lists? No matter who you
choose, make sure you check the list and check it twice.