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August 23, 2012

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY Associated Press


Michael Jackson's father has dropped a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the former doctor who was convicted of causing the singer's death.

Court records show Joe Jackson's request for a dismissal was granted on Monday August 20. The filings do not elaborate on a reason for dropping pursuit of the case, but two attorneys handling the case were recently ruled ineligible to practice law in California.

The Jackson family patriarch initially filed the lawsuit against Conrad Murray in June 2010, on the anniversary of his son's death. A federal judge refused to hear it and it had to be re-filed in state court in Los Angeles.

"It's good finally that this case is dismissed and gone," Murray's attorney Charles Peckham said. "It's pretty clear that Joe Jackson intelligently and smartly dismissed this case so he, his wife and children can focus on Michael Jackson's life instead of the circumstances of his death."

He said Murray, who remains jailed and is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction, remains pained by Jackson's death and feels sorry for his family. "His heart goes out to them," Peckham said.

Jackson's mother, Katherine, continues to pursue a case against concert company AEG Live alleging it negligently hired and supervised Murray, who was giving Jackson nightly doses of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. Murray's treatments were conducted while Jackson was preparing for a series of comeback concerts.

Her case is scheduled for trial in April.

Joe Jackson's case claimed Murray repeatedly lied to paramedics and doctors about giving Jackson propofol and that he did not keep adequate medical records — all issues that prosecutors raised against Murray during his trial last year.

He had been seeking damages for a variety of issues, including loss of income and support, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 16, 2012

Associated Press


For one night, Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Gospel — not just Soul.

Franklin has been inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with country and bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs, singer-songwriter Dallas Holm, family group The Hoppers, the late televangelist Rex Humbard and Christian rockers Love Song.

Franklin couldn’t attend the induction at Trinity Music City in Hendersonville, Tenn., but sent a video message played during the ceremony.

Long before she became the queen of soul, Franklin learned to perform as a budding star in her father Rev. C.L. Franklin’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Christian stars Jaci Velasquez and Jason Crabb, who performed Skagg’s signature song “Somebody's Prayin’,” hosted the event. Dailey & Vincent and Michael W. Smith were among presenters.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 16, 2012


Creativity comes from a deep source. Take the chance to pursue creative goals. Others will understand later. You and a child can come to an unmatched understanding. Speak truth and let the chips fall where they may. Soul Affirmation: I do not allow demands to be placed on me this week.



Listen carefully and follow good advice that will come from someone you’ve often regarded as foolish. You run into difficulties with one of your projects; don’t worry, it’s only temporary. How you manage your mind will affect the eventual outcome. Soul Affirmation: The deed is done. I must wait for the results to unfold.



If there is someone or something that you’re avoiding don’t panic if you find you must confront what you’ve been hiding from. Wait for things to work themselves out. Don’t force the issue. Time solves more problems than you ever can. Soul Affirmation: I seek connection with the best that is in me.



Be flexible. Yes, you. There are many ways to be right and your lover or friend will have come up with one that is different from yours. You‘ll be asked to compromise this week or you just have to give in. Remember you sometimes have to give a little to get a little. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.



Use your natural magnetism to get to someone who might be hard to reach. If you have a problem that you need to get off your chest tell a relative or friend, don’t hold it inside. Where’s the party? Find it. You need a social setting to make the magnetism work best. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give.



Even if you can’t be with someone you care for, call that person or send a Soul Vibration to let them know you care. You’ll feel better and so will the person. Take time to meditate on the good things life has in store for you. Soul Affirmation: The success of others is the investment I make in myself.



A person is only as good as their word. If you have made any promises recently remember to follow through. People will be counting on you. Any dissatisfaction you feel might come from not doing what you told someone that you would do. Soul Affirmation: Superficiality is often the best route to clarity.



If you’re not sure about a business deal ask someone who knows. Asking questions now can help avoid mistakes in the future. The love that you have been looking for is right in front of you. Your ability to see it improves this week. Soul Affirmation: When I am clear about who I am, the world becomes clearer.



Your ability to display enormous grace under enormous pressure will be tested this week. Use your gifts this week to transcend petty criticism. Consider the source and know that you are doing just fine. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the love that others have for me.



You can expect a message from a distance to arrive this week and you’ll be happy to hear it. The spirit is easily lifted if you remember that you only have to imagine your world the way you want it to be. Create a happy reality this week! Soul Affirmation: I let worry fly away.



You’re likely to be efficient and productive this week. Even if you work hard you’ll get satisfaction from a job well done! Use your talents to create some free time for yourself. Take a vacation or hang out at home with someone special. Soul Affirmation: With spirit I co-create my world.



Matters relating to health need attention. Prevention is more valuable than cure. Rest and eat well this week. Your stress will be lower by knowing that you do not have to fix a relationship that has gone sour. Feel your independence and ability to travel alone. Soul Affirmation: People love me, yes they do.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 16, 2012

By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY Associated Press


Evelyn Lozada is ending her 41-day-old marriage to Chad Johnson after the football star was arrested for allegedly head-butting her over the weekend.

A rep for the VH1 reality star confirmed reports that Lozada filed for divorce on August 14.

"Given the recent events that have taken place, Evelyn has decided to file for divorce and move on with her life," Lozada's lawyer, Michael B. Gilden, told the TV show "The Insider" in a statement.

Johnson released his own statement — the first since his arrest — on his official website, OCNN, and reaffirmed his love for Lozada.

"I am going to let the legal process run its course. I wish Evelyn nothing but the best, I have no negative words to say about her, the only thing I can say is I love her very much," said Johnson, who was dumped by the Miami Dolphins a day after the arrest.

"I will continue to be positive and stay training hard for another opportunity in the NFL. I appreciate all my fans and supporters and if I have disappointed you in any way, you have my sincerest apologies. Once again I will continue to stay positive and appreciate all the support during this tough period in my life."

The marriage imploded August 11 after an argument between the two ended with Lozada being treated at a hospital for lacerations to her head.

According to Davie, Fla., police, Lozada found a receipt for condoms and confronted Johnson about it at dinner. The argument continued during their drive home, and when they arrived at their driveway, he allegedly head-butted her.

In a 911 call released by authorities, a neighbor told police that there was an incident involving a "high-profile person" and is heard telling Lozada to wipe the blood from her head. Lozada is heard saying that Johnson head-butted her, and the caller says Lozada will probably need stitches.

However, Johnson told police she head-butted him.

Earlier Tuesday, Lozada said in a statement: "I am deeply disappointed that Chad has failed to take responsibility for his actions and made false accusations against me, it is my sincere hope that he seeks the help he needs to overcome his troubles. Domestic violence is not okay and hopefully my taking a stand will help encourage other women to break their silence as well."

However, Lozada has been prone to violence: On the VH1 series "Basketball Wives," where she gained her fame, she became infamous for attacks on other castmates. In June, she apologized for her behavior and in a letter to her younger self posted on The Huffington Post, she blamed her penchant for fighting on violence in her own household growing up.

Johnson is a six-time Pro Bowler who last season was on the New England Patriots. His July 4 wedding to Lozada — whom he courted publicly on "Basketball Wives" — was taped for a spinoff show called "Ev & Ocho." It was due to debut Sept. 3, but VH1 shelved it after Johnson's weekend arrest.

Johnson — formerly known as Chad Ochocinco — and Lozada were prominently featured in the recent first episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins."

Lozada was the former fiancee of former NBA player Antoine Walker and has been one of the main stars of "Basketball Wives," which also features Shaunie O'Neal, the former wife of former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.

In court papers filed August 14, Lozada says the two had a premarital agreement but asks Johnson pay for her attorney fees associated with the divorce.

Besides ending her marriage, Lozada also was mourning the loss of her brother-in-law, who walked her down the aisle and was to be a part of the "Ev & Ocho" show.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 16, 2012

By Pat Hendricks Munson

Sentinel Contributing Writer


Her name may not be recognizable to the general public but millions have seen her handiwork on the faces of some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars.  She is called upon time after time to deliver just the right look for actors and actresses going before the cameras to portray characters of every era, age and ethnicity.

She is none other than Marietta Carter-Narcisse a makeup artist extraordinaire, and one of only two members of color in the makeup and hairstylist branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; a voting member.  The artist has worked in the industry for years now adding esthetic credence to actors’ performances in highly acclaimed and recognizable movies as well as period pieces such as the upcoming “Sparkle,” about a 1960s up and coming singer staring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and the late multi-Grammy winning Whitney Houston. 

Carter-Narcisse was not expecting to work on this film when out of the blue she received a last-minute call requesting her services on the movie set in Detroit.  The always professional makeup expert had less than a day to prepare and pack for the trip.

“I received the call after 12 in the afternoon on a Monday and by eight in the morning on Tuesday I was on a flight to Detroit,” said Carter-Narcisse, who went straight from the plane to the set.  The beauty pro artist, teacher and businesswoman principally worked her magic on Sparks but also had the opportunity to makeup Houston on several occasions during filming. 

Working 80 plus hours per week for one month straight was grueling to say the least.   However, viewing trailers and looking at pictures of the stars in the movie all the hard work is paying off.  Sparks and Houston look very authentic in their 1960s era makeup and clothing and Carter-Narcisse is proud of the work she’s done and the film itself.  With Sparks being in almost every scene Narcisse had her work cut out for her and she is pleased with the results.   

“I feel real good about how Jordin looks.  I am very, very happy.  It could have been a huge disaster not having time to prepare as I usually would.   When doing these films time is needed to research the period in order to manipulate authentic imagery.  You have to know the period to manipulate it.  I brought my research to the project.  I wanted to give that retro chic look of the 60s.” 

Carter-Narcisse gives lots of credit to Houston for making her feel comfortable and understanding the last minute arrangement of her stepping into a project already in progress.  She remembers Houston being very warm, supportive and understanding and even though they had never met they realized they had many friends in common.

“Whitney was great.  She made me feel very comfortable.  We talked a lot about our kids, raising children in this industry, being there for them and trying not to miss out on that part of family life while meeting the demands of the industry” said Carter-Narcisse, a wife and mother of a 17-year-old son.  That was one of their last conversations before shooting ended in November 2011 and the announcement of Houston’s untimely death in February this year.  The movie opens Friday, August 17.

Her portfolio covers a who’s who in the film industry including top stars such as Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Cindy Crawford and Robert Deniro.

She has either worked as the makeup artist, designer or supervisor on “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Malcolm X”, “A Time to Kill,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “ Ghost,” “The Mighty Quinn,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Negotiator,” “Baby Boy,” on television commercials, music videos and more.

Carter Narcisse started out as a seamstress.  A native of Barbados she moved to New York in 1971 with her parents and four brothers. Back in the early days her dad, who recently passed away after 61 years of marriage to her mother, could not afford to buy clothes for his children. 

“My dad said ‘if you want clothes, make them.’  Between the ages of 12-24 years old I made everything I ever wore except underwear.  I would look at pictures in a magazine and tell my friends ‘I’m going to wear that tomorrow.’  I made a new outfit every night and I never wore an outfit twice.” 

The young seamstress started sewing clothes for friends in her neighborhood and it wasn’t long before her talent was recognized.  A secretary at her junior high school, also a native of Barbados, noticed she had style and eventually started an after school program for girls teaching them about fashion and how to properly apply makeup.  By the time she was 16 she had a steady flow of customers for her home-made clothes.

“I didn’t know I was a business person.  I was totally passionate about it.  It was so much fun doing it.  It was great,” Carter-Narcisse remembered.  After high school the budding entrepreneur attended Long Island University on a full scholarship as a pre-med major while going to work at a hospital “dressed to kill” in her self-made designs.  After graduating from LIU she worked for two years as an insurance underwriter while on a waiting list to med school.

Although she admits to hating that job she continued to go to work in perfect makeup, dress and shoes.  One day her boss told her “you don’t belong here.”  She resigned and enrolled into beauty school, eventually getting a cosmetology license.  With that she left New York and moved to Los Angeles, via Europe.  That’s where her youngest brother was on the road as a valet for the Commodores, repairing their clothes and other odd jobs.  At that her young brother didn’t really know who they were.  However, she did, and being the innate business woman she is “I hitched myself to him” and the rest is history.  Through him and the Commodores she met Natalie Cole.

“It was one of those moments when God gives you and opportunity.  I had no business cards, no pen and no paper.  I offered my services to Natalie Cole and three days later her manager called to say “Natalie wants you to do some alterations.”  From those alterations Carter-Narcisse went on the road with Natalie Cole for almost a year doing her hair, makeup and gowns.

It’s been a long and winding road from the small island of Barbados to literally touching the faces of tinsel town royalty.  Carter-Narcisse considers is “very fortunate to have a career as a makeup artist and not just a Black makeup artist…I was fortunate a lot of my films weren’t pigeon holed.  They appealed to a more general market because it can be tough in this industry for people to see you as simply an artist and not the color of your skin.

“I hope they market Sparkle as just a really sweet movie.  I think it will be fabulous.  The trailer looks hot and I’m looking forward to seeing it.  It’s Whitney’s last movie and I think people want to see it, which is great.”

In the meantime Carter-Narcisse is spending quality time at home in Florida with her family.  She is teaching makeup to a younger generation of artists and is actively working to help build the film industry in Barbados.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture