The Last Word: Akon’s Finds Legal Troubles, Beyonce Makes the Naughty List, and Fergie Uses Her Body For Peace

What’s 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 Marbury’s dad, and those affected

by the tragic mall shooting spree in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

And here’s 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 he’s doing business with Michael Jackson and the hottest

singers and rappers, Akon can’t 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, don’t expect Akon to make another cameo as the crooner’s

lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, will be able to stand in for him at future

court appearances.

 

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 year’s Grammy Award

nominees. Although the awards won’t be given out until February, Akon

already knows what he’s going to do should he win one of the four

Grammy he’s 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, Franklin’s time on the silver screen has been reduced to bit parts in the Blues Brothers movies. Although she’s 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, don’t 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 Tank’s 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

north.

 

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, who’s 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

 

It’s 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

issues.

 

“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

Morning.”

 

Prior to the ceremony, Ross and her fellow honorees visited the White

House as they were recognized by President Bush. Those who weren’t 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 who’s been naughty and

who’s 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

the cut.

 

In fact, teens felt that the songstress should be on Santa’s 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 Santa’s good side. And if you’re 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.  

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