The Last Word: Brandy Returns, Akon To Update Thriller, Mariah Carey Finds God, and Bobby Brown Goes Country

What it is, smart people? We got

the end of another week upon us. With wildfires gripping San Diego,

Hillary Clinton calling Vice President Dick Cheney Darth Vader and

Jackie Chan trying to sing instead of fight, it was a another week in

paradise.I gotta join Illseed in

sending my congratulations to actress Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon and her

husband Michael Nilon for the birth of their twin boys. Thoughts and

prayers go out to the family of Jennifer Lopez, whose maternal

grandmother, Julia Rodriguez, died Saturday (Oct. 13). Shout out to

Prince, who topped the Vanity Fair best soundtrack list with his

classic album Purple Rain, and the infamous sounding boards for being

they way they are with the guidance.So here we are...the Last Word for the week ending Oct. 26, 2007.1. Michael Jackson Recruits Akon for Thriller Upgrade Finally!

Some music news from Michael Jackson. The singer has gotten out of the

courtroom long enough to work on a 25th Anniversary Edition of his

classic album Thriller. According to reports, Jackson has

enlisted the likes of Akon, Kanye West and Will.i.Am to redo hit

singles "Billie Jean," "The Girl Is Mine," "Wanna Be Starting

Something," and "Pretty Young Thing." The updated tracks will be

accompanied by commemorative artwork and four additional songs that

were left off of the original Thriller LP. Although the name of

the previously unreleased tracks are under wraps, Jackson’s longtime

producer Bruce Swedien confirmed that "Don't Be Messin' Around" is in

the running to be one of the featured songs. As it stands,

there is no release date scheduled for the album. However, Rolling

Stone and Fox News report that the project could hit stores in early

2008. 2. The Power of Prayer, According to Mariah Carey Paris,

Lindsay and Britney may be embroiled in one drama after another, but

Mariah Carey has found a way to keep things balanced in her life. "If

you're not spiritually centered, you're kind of back and forth," the

song bird told "But you know, not everybody is at that

point, and maybe some people have to reel themselves in and get back to

that point." With her voice, Carey has gained numerous fans

and awards during her career. As a result, she is well aware of the

presence of a higher power as she admits to using that power as a

source of strength. "Prayer works for me," Carey revealed. "Reading the Bible does work for me, because knowledge is power." Those

praying for new music from Carey can take comfort in knowing that the

singer’s album, which was originally scheduled to come out at the end

of the year, will instead be released in early 2008.3. Dionne Warwick and Sinbad Among IRS Most Wanted Think celebrities pay their taxes on time? Guess again. According

to, singer Dionne Warwick and comedian Sinbad are among those

featured on California’s list of the biggest tax offenders. Warwick

owes the state $2.67 million dollars in back taxes, while Sinbad is

$2.14 million in the hole. Although Warwick’s publicist revealed

that the Grammy-winner is "aware of the tax situation," the publicist

told TMZ that the debt was a result of "the negligence of previous

business advisers." "She and her current business management

team are now working with the state of California to resolve and settle

the matter with the FTB [Franchise Tax Board]." the publicist said. California’s

biggest tax dodger list is announced every year by the FTB as a way of

shaming and embarrassing the worst dodgers into paying their debt.

While Warwick has come forward to address her debt, there has been no

word from Sinbad. At least the funny man can take comfort in knowing

that he is in good company. O.J. Simpson also made the list

with $1.55 million due in back taxes. I guess being delinquent with

O.J. puts you in the top tier of those who like to multi-task their law

offenses as they compete for the honor of Celebrity Most Likely to

Remain a Fixture in the Eyes of the Law. 4. Beyonce Sets Up Virtual Food Drive With Pastor Although

she’s out touring the world in support of her latest album, Beyonce has

slowed down long enough to launch an international virtual food drive

initiative to help feed the needy. According to media

sources, the singer has linked up with her minister Pastor Rudy Rasmus,

the Global Food Banking Network and Aidmatrix to bring the venture to

life. Those who use the service can select from a shopping list that is

appropriate for each country. Donations are also illustrated so people can visually see how many lives are being helped. "Reaching

out and touching lives is incredibly empowering, that's why I want my

fans to experience more than my music," Beyonce said. "I want them to

experience the joy of making a difference by helping someone else." The joy of giving. Nuff said. 5. Bobby Brown, Jamie Foxx, and Sisqo Take the Country Route With

its slate of reality shows and behind the music episodes, VH1 may have

a lock on bringing back entertainers from back in the day. But the

network may have some competition as Country Music Television (CMT)

branches outside its traditional demographic by recruiting Bobby Brown

and former Dru Hill member Sisqo for its new show Gone Country. According to,

Gone Country will center around seven celebrities who compete for a

chance to reinvent themselves with a country music career. The stars

will live in a Nashville mansion together and

compose songs with Nashville songwriters. They will compete against

each other in each episode in challenges that will test them musically

and physically to adapt to a country music lifestyle, both on and off

the stage. John Rich of Big & Rich will chose the winner of

the competition at the end of two weeks. From there the entertainer

will record and release a song at the end of the six-episode series,

which is currently in production in Nashville and is set to premier in

January 2008. In addition to Brown and Sisqo, the show will

feature Wilson Phillips member Carnie Wilson, Dee Snider of Twisted

Sister, American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo, Julio Iglesias Jr. And

Maureen McCormick from The Brady Bunch. And if that doesn’t

make you want to get that Johnny Cash or Reba McEntire CD, maybe

having Jamie Foxx on board for this year’s Country Music Association

(CMA) Awards will do the trick. The actor/singer will share his talent

with country music fans when he joins Rascal Flatts for a duet

performance of the group’s song "She Goes All the Way," for the show,

which will air live from 8 to 11 p.m. Nov. 7 from the Sommet Center in

Nashville on ABC. Now that he’s added some country twang to

his swagger, it’s only a matter of time before Foxx and country rapper Cowboy

Troy give us that Best of Both Worlds release, titled Little Prairie in

the Ghetto. 6. Music Is Therapy for Brandy Let’s

face it. We all have different ways of dealing with whatever life

throws at us. For Brandy, the best medicine for lawsuits and possible

criminal charges from a fatal four-car traffic accident is working on a

new album. According to the 28-year-old singer, the project ranks high on her things to do list. "I've just got to get that album out," Brandy told People. "I have to get it out, if it's the last thing I do." The

album, which will be Brandy’s fifth studio release, will be the first

offering from the songstress since her 2004 album Aphrodisiac. And it

couldn’t come at a better time. "I've been gone for a long

time," said Brandy. "I really want to give the fans something that they

deserve to have. So, I'm working really hard on this. I really want to

make it the best work I've done so far." As it stands now,

the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has yet to file charges against

the singer, despite reccomendations from police investigators that she

be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. Nevertheless, Brandy is holding steady while working on the album."I

think it's really finding that belief in yourself, where you just have

it no matter what's going on, no matter what anyone else says," she

said. "I think that's the challenge, is to really have that belief in

yourself.. I'm really working on this thing. This is what I'm supposed

to do. I'm destined to do it. You just keep affirming everyday, and it

will just be there."