Clarence Avant, ‘Black Godfather' of entertainment, and benefactor of athletes and politicians, dies
Clarence Avant, the manager, entrepreneur, facilitator and adviser who helped launch or guide the careers of Quincy Jones, Bill Withers and many others and came to be known as the "Black Godfather" of entertainment and beyond has died at 92.
Gloria Estefan, Jeff Lynne, Teddy Riley, Glen Ballard, Liz Rose heading to Songwriters Hall of Fame
Gloria Estefan, Jeff Lynne, Teddy Riley, Glen Ballard and Liz Rose are being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday, with Post Malone and musical theater lyricist Tim Rice also being honored.
New this week: Brooke Shields, 'Grease' prequel and NF album
This week’s new entertainment releases include an album from Michigan rapper NF, a two-part documentary about Brooke Shields on Hulu, and Kathryn Hahn portraying a character inspired by writer Cheryl Strayed in the series “Tiny Beautiful Things.”.
Jon Batiste tops Grammys; Silk Sonic soars, Rodrigo crowned
Jon Batiste won album of the year honors for “We Are” at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, giving him five trophies on a night that saw the ’70s funk of Silk Sonic take record of the year and song of the year and newcomer Olivia Rodrigo take three awards.
'Hadestown' jumps ahead of pack to welcome Broadway patrons
“Hadestown,” the brooding musical about the underworld, has set its Broadway reopening date on Sept. 2, jumping ahead of such megahits as “Hamilton” and “Wicked” to position itself as the first show to welcome audiences on Broadway since the pandemic.
Paul Simon sells song catalog to Sony Music Publishing
Sony Music Publishing announced Wednesday, March. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)NEW YORK – Paul Simon is the latest icon to sell his rich catalog of songs. Sony Music Publishing announced Wednesday that it has acquired Simon's catalog, which includes six decades of music, from his time in Simon & Garfunkel to his solo career. Ad“I’m pleased to have Sony Music Publishing be the custodian of my songs for the coming decades. Sony Music Publishing also represents catalogs by Motown, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Ashford & Simpson, Leonard Cohen and more.
Cuomo crisis recalls Northam’s; supporters say no comparison
FILE -This Monday March 15, 2021 file photo shows Virginia Gov. “#Cuomo is pulling a Northam,” tweeted veteran political analyst Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Like Cuomo, Northam initially faced nearly unanimous calls from his own party to resign after a scandal erupted over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook. “I don’t see any comparison," said state Sen. Richard Stuart, a Republican and personal friend of the Virginia governor. As for Northam, his senior political adviser Mark Bergman said: “He will never be running for office again."
Oprah’s deft royal interview shows why she’s still the queen
In this video grab issued Monday, March 8, 2021 by CBS This Morning, Oprah Winfrey discusses her interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. "Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special aired March 7. (CBS This Morning via AP)LOS ANGELES – There were royal victims and villains in Harry and Meghan’s tell-all — or tell enough — interview with Oprah Winfrey. But there was only one immediate and clear winner: the American media queen. She also explained the palace bureaucracy that dictates aspects of royal lives, aside from the wishes of the queen, something that U.S. viewers may be unfamiliar with.
6 Dr. Seuss books won't be published for racist images
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families," it said. Within hours of Tuesday's announcement, Dr. Seuss books filled more than half of the top 20 slots on Amazon.com's bestseller list. Ad“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement. In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio."
New this week: 'Coming 2 America,' Camilo and a dragon movie
(ABC/Paramount+/Amazon via AP)Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES— Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back in Queens as Prince Akeem and Semmi in “Coming 2 America,” the sequel to the 1988 film, which is now coming straight to your living room Friday on Amazon Prime Video. Set to becoming the King of Zamunda, Murphy’s character returns to the U.S. to find a son he’s never met. Ad— A more family friendly streaming option this week is the Walt Disney Co.’s computer animated “Raya and the Last Dragon,” featuring the voices of “Star Wars’” Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as a dragon. The big-voiced Grammy-winning singer self-produced “Baby, I’m Hollywood!” – which is a mix of soul music, piano ballads and funk sounds.
Paris Hilton says she was abused as teen at Utah school
Paris Hilton wipes her eyes after speaking at a committee hearing at the Utah State Capitol, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Hilton has been speaking out about abuse she says she suffered at a boarding school in Utah in the 1990s and she testified in front of state lawmakers weighing new regulations for the industry. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)SALT LAKE CITY – Paris Hilton testified about abuse she says she suffered years ago at a boarding school in Utah, as she lobbied Monday for a bill seeking to regulate the state’s troubled teen industry. The socialite and reality TV star also spoke about the abuse in a documentary titled “This is Paris” that was released this fall. A statement on the school website says the previous owners sold the school in 2000.
The Weeknd vows to tone it down for his Super Bowl show
This photo provided by the NFL shows singer The Weekend speaking at the halftime press conference ahead of the Super Bowl 55 football game, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Perry Knotts/NFL via AP)The Weeknd may be known for his graphic music videos and performances featuring blood and violence, but the three-time Grammy winner says he will tone down his act during the Super Bowl halftime show. The pop star said he will “keep it PG” during his headliner slot on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium as the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida. The 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show will be different this year due to the pandemic and The Weeknd said he will use different parts of the stadium, the field and a “little bit" of the famously massive pirate ship. AdWhen asked for his favorite Super Bowl halftime show, The Weeknd cited Diana Ross' 1996 performance. The Weeknd, whose real name is, Abel Tesfaye, joins a list of celebrated musicians who have played during Super Bowl halftime shows, including Madonna, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Katy Perry, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and last year’s duo of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87
King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his production company, Ora Media, tweeted. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, which gave the show an air of gravitas. “Do you know who I am?”“Always loved Larry King and will miss him,” Seinfeld tweeted Saturday. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest-rated program.
Rape charges denied by lawyer for '70s Show' actor Masterson
Attorney Tom Mesereau entered the plea for the 44-year-old actor, who was not in court, to three charges of rape by force or fear. Prosecutors allege that he raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003, all at his Hollywood Hills home. Defense lawyer Tom Mesereau entered the plea for Masterson, who was not present in court, to three charges of rape by force or fear in Los Angeles County Superior Court. All of the alleged rapes happened at his Hollywood Hills home. The alleged rapes happened at the height of Masterson’s fame as he starred as Steven Hyde on Fox TV's retro sitcom “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006 alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace.
Sidelined 'Mean Girls' musical won't reopen on Broadway
FILE - The cast of "Mean Girls" performs at the 72nd annual Tony Awards on June 10, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP, File)NEW YORK – Producers of the Broadway musical “Mean Girls” have decided not to restart when authorities allow theaters to reopen in New York City, the second and likely not last established show to be a casualty of COVID-19 on the Great White Way. “We remain excited to bring this musical to the big screen, relaunch the tour and prepare for a London production,” said “Saturday Night Live” and “Mean Girls” producer Lorne Michaels in a statement. Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows, including 16 that were still scheduled to open. Late May is the earliest Broadway will reopen, according to the Broadway League.
Neil Young becomes latest artist to sell stake in his songs
FILE - In this May 25, 2019, file photo, Neil Young performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif. Young has become the latest artist to strike gold with his song catalog. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)NEW YORK – Neil Young has become the latest musician to strike gold with his song catalogue, selling a 50 percent stake in his music to a British investment company in a deal announced on Wednesday. Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said that he bought his first Neil Young album when he was seven years old. “Neil Young, or at least his music, has been my friend . In the song, Young sang: “Ain't singin' for Pepsi, ain't singin' for Coke.
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch sold to billionaire
FILE - This Dec. 17, 2004, file photo shows the rear entrance to pop star Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch home in Santa Ynez, Calif. Jacksons Neverland Ranch has found a new owner in billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. Burkles spokesman said in an email Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, that Burkle bought the 2,700-acre property near Santa Barbara, California. LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California has found a new owner in billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. The asking price of the property was $100 million in 2016 then dropped to $67 million a year later. Other features on the ranch are a “Disney-style” train station, a fire house and barn.
Appeals court sends 'Leaving Neverland' fight to arbitration
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)PASADENA, Calif. – A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a lawsuit filed by the Michael Jackson estate over an HBO documentary about two of the late pop star's sex abuse accusers can go forward in private arbitration. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with two lower courts and ruled in favor of the Jackson estate in its decision on “Leaving Neverland." Unless there are further appeals, the case will go to a private arbitrator, which the Jackson estate argued was required by the 1992 contract at the center of the lawsuit. HBO has also more generally defended “Leaving Neverland” as a valid and important piece of documentary journalism. “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed has been filming the hearings in those cases for a follow-up documentary.
‘Dark Knight,’ ‘Grease’ added to National Film Registry
This image released by the Library of Congress shows Heath Ledger, left, and Christian Bale in a scene from the 2008 film "The Dark Knight." The film was added to the National Film Registry. (Warner Bros.-Library of Congress via AP)LOS ANGELES – This year's inductees into the National Film Registry include a record number of female directors and filmmakers of color as well as a new crop of movies ranging from a silent short film thriller, classic musicals and an acclaimed Batman film. The national library said this year’s selections include a record nine films directed by women and filmmakers of color. Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman film “The Dark Knight” was a blockbuster and the top public vote-getter.
The Dylan catalog, a 60-year rock 'n' roll odyssey, is sold
Universal Music Publishing Group is buying legendary singer Bob Dylans entire catalog of songs. The Nobel Prize-winning songwriter has sold publishing rights to his catalog of more than 600 songs, one of the greatest treasures in popular music, to the Universal Music Publishing Group, it was announced on Monday. Tambourine Man,” Jimi Hendrix’s reworking of “All Along the Watchtower” and Adele’s cover of “Make You Feel My Love.”Events have conspired to make song publishing a more valuable asset. Given the pace of change in the industry, “songs seem to be the place to place your bets,” Light said. Dylan's songs, however, will long outlive him.
Taraji P. Henson tells New Jack Swing backstory in podcast
LOS ANGELES – Taraji P. Henson remembered wearing her favorite outfit to a music festival where some of the biggest New Jack Swing tunes were being performed from Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” to Tony! Tone!’s “Feels Good.”At the time, Henson had no clue about the backstory behind the music era, which made its mark in the ’80s and ’90s. I was enjoying the music,” said Henson, who serves as a producer of the six-part series, which airs Tuesdays. The series examines the “rise and eventual fall” of the New Jack Swing movement. “I didn’t think of her as an audio actress, but she’s just great at it.”Through the podcast, Henson wants the New Jack Swing story to be turned into a film.
The Weeknd to headline the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show
The NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation announced Thursday, Nov. 12 that the three-time Grammy winner will perform at the 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP, File)LOS ANGELES – The Weeknd will bring his popular falsetto vocals to the 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. “We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position,” the singer said in a statement. This is an extraordinary moment in time and the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show is going to be an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary performer.”Roc Nation and Emmy-nominated producer Jesse Collins will serve as co-executive producers of the halftime show. “We are thrilled to have The Weeknd join us in Tampa Bay on the Pepsi Halftime Stage,” said Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer.
In Brazil, a parrot puppeteer’s death stirs the nation
Puppeteer Tom Veiga suffered a stroke caused by an aneurysm at his home in Rio de Janeiro, at age 47. “It’s really like a mom who loses a son, a companion.”Her homage reflects in part why “Mais Voce” became so popular. On Monday's broadcast, “Mais Voce” shared tear-filled tributes to Veiga from about two dozen of his friends and colleagues at the network. Globo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it plans to find a new actor to bring Louro José to life. “Thank you for everything Louro José, Tom Veiga,” one Twitter user identifying as Lia Carioca said.
Paris Jackson mines her heartache for solo debut album
Paris Jackson poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2020, to promote her debut solo album "Wilted," releasing on Nov. 13. Her new single Let Down drops Friday, Oct. 30. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)NEW YORK – It started in her bedroom with just a guitar, but Paris Jackson has turned coping with the heartache after a recent breakup into her debut solo album. “You were my all/And now I fall to the ground,” she sings on her new single “Let Down,” which drops Friday. When asked what he might think of her music, Jackson demurs.
Halloween goes on at the White House with a few twists
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet trick-or-treaters on the South Lawn during a Halloween celebration at the White House, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON – With a bit of rejiggering, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump played host Sunday to hundreds of superheroes, unicorns, skeletons and even a miniature version of themselves as part of a Halloween celebration at the White House. In years past, the president and first lady personally handed out candy to the costume-clad kids. The same went for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff giving out candy also wore gloves. The South Portico of the White House was decorated with bright-colored leaves in various shades of autumn, chrysanthemums and pumpkins, while a military band set the mood by playing songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Lawsuit of Michael Jackson sexual abuse accuser dismissed
LOS ANGELES – A judge has dismissed the lawsuit of one of two men who alleged that Michael Jackson abused them as boys in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland." Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark A. “We are pleased that the court dismissed Mr. Safechuck’s case by ruling that he had no grounds to pursue such a lawsuit,” Jackson estate attorneys Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement. A judge dismissed it in 2017, but an appeals court revived it early this year after California Gov. The similar lawsuit of Safechuck's fellow accuser and “Leaving Neverland” subject Wade Robson, which was also revived by the appeals court, remains alive.
Guitars played, partly made by Eddie Van Halen go to auction
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Two guitars owned, played and partly designed by the late Eddie Van Halen will be going up for auction. Both guitars were hand-striped by Van Halen in the familiar style of most of his guitars dating back to the first Van Halen album in 1978. Each of the guitars is expected to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000. The guitar legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer died of cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65. “As we were preparing for our annual ‘Icons & Idols: Rock and Roll’ auction lineup, we were stunned to hear the sad news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing last week,” Julien’s Auction’s president Darren Julien said in a statement.
Paris Hilton protest calls for closure of Utah school
Paris Hilton speaks before leading a protest Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Hilton was in Utah Friday to lead a protest outside a boarding school where she alleges she was abused physically and mentally by staff when she was a teenager. Hilton, now 39, went public with the allegations in a new documentary and wants a school that she says left her with nightmares and insomnia for years to be shut down. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Paris Hilton protest calls for closure of Utah school
Paris Hilton speaks before leading a protest Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Hilton was in Utah Friday to lead a protest outside a boarding school where she alleges she was abused physically and mentally by staff when she was a teenager. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)PROVO, Utah – Paris Hilton has been speaking out about abuse she said she suffered at a boarding school in Utah, and on Friday she took her push nearly to the school’s front doors. When she was 17, Hilton was finally sent to what she describes as “the worst of the worst”: Provo Canyon School in Utah. Hilton and others at the protest vowed to push forward until all schools that mistreat youth are shut down.
Tony Award nominations to be announced Oct. 15
NEW YORK – Nominations for this year's Tony Awards have been set for Oct. 15, pitting 18 eligible shows in competition for 26 competitive categories in a coronavirus-shortened season. James Monroe Iglehart will announce the nominations on the Tony Awards' YouTube Channel at noon ET. The Tony Awards Nominating Committee will meet Tuesday to vote on this year’s nominations. That left the following productions eligible for 2020 Tony Award nominations:“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” “Moulin Rouge! Producers, citing health and city authorities, have three times extended the Broadway shutdown, currently until at least early January.
Outtakes: Stevie Nicks on Petty, Prince, Beyoncé and Harry
FILE - Harry Styles, right, presents a trophy to Stevie Nicks at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York on March 29, 2019. I feel like I know Beyoncé even though I really don’t know her at all. I hope you’re wrong.’ But he’s absolutely right.”_________CALL ME MAYBESpeaking of friends Stevie Nicks have been in touch with — don’t count the members of Fleetwood Mac. I’m really, really good friends with Mick,” she said. That’s really good too because that kind of keeps you in sort of that mindset also,” she said.
How Eddie Van Halen transformed Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'
I went, ‘What do you want, you f-ing so-and-so!,’” Van Halen told CNN in 2012, 30 years after he worked on the song. When Van Halen arrived at the studio in Los Angeles, Jones told him he could improvise. I said, ‘Look, I changed the middle section of your song,’” Van Halen told CNN. After the record's release, Van Halen would remember shopping in a Tower Records while “Beat It” was playing on the sound system. "The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, 'Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen,'” he said.
Guitar rock god Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65
FILE - *Van Halen is seen in Los Angeles, Jan. 17, 1993. Members of Van Halen, from left, left, Michael Anthony, bass guitar, Sammy Hagar, lead singer, Alex Van Halen, drums, and Eddie Van Halen, lead guitar appear in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1993. Eddie Van Halen, who had battled cancer, died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)
Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65
Members of Van Halen, from left, left, Michael Anthony, bass guitar, Sammy Hagar, lead singer, Alex Van Halen, drums, and Eddie Van Halen, lead guitar appear in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1993. Eddie Van Halen, who had battled cancer, died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. Added Lenny Kravitz: “Heaven will be electric tonight.”The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — formed in 1974 in Pasadena, California. “We showed up here with the equivalent of $50 and a piano,” Eddie Van Halen told The Associated Press in 2015. Van Halen, sober since 2008, lost one-third of his tongue to a cancer that eventually drifted into his esophagus.
Black singer of regional Mexican music sparks buzz, emotion
Sarah Palafox, an African American woman who sings regional Mexican music, poses in Moreno Valley, Calif., in this undated photo. Palafox, an African American woman raised by a Mexican immigrant family, has generated excitement online with her versions of regional Mexican music. Other videos of her singing banda — another form of regional music from Mexico’s southwest coast — also have been shared thousands of times. She would only say the music will be different and she’s not listening to critics who tell her she’s shouldn’t be singing regional Mexican music. “I was told you can’t wear braids, you can’t wear your Afro and go on stage and sing Mexican music,” Palafox said.
Actor Masterson's lawyer denies and denounces rape charges
Actor Danny Masterson, left, stands with his attorney, Thomas Mesereau as he is arraigned on rape charges at Los Angeles Superior Court, in Los Angeles, Calif. on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. “There have been repeated attempts to politicize this case,” said Mesereau, who also represented Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson in their sexual misconduct cases. “We want to do anything we can to tone down the cameras and the circus-like atmosphere that have pervaded this case," the attorney said. Despite dozens of investigations, most have led to no charges based on lack of evidence or too much time passing. He was removed from the Netflix show “The Ranch” in 2017 over the allegations that would eventually lead to the charges.
Virginia lieutenant governor enters race for governor
FAIRFAX, Va. – Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax formally kicked off his campaign for governor Saturday, a year after facing two allegations of sexual assault. Fairfax delivered a campaign speech at the Old Court House in Fairfax in northern Virginia. In February 2019, Fairfax faced calls for his resignation from fellow Democrats after two women publicly accused him of sexual assault. Fairfax has denied the allegations and accused the women of being part of a “smear campaign” to end his political career. Fairfax was elected Virginia's lieutenant governor in 2017.