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July 05, 2012

By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER | Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two Los Angeles police officers won't face criminal charges alleging they leaked a photo of pop star Rihanna’s bruised and beaten face after she was assaulted by singer Chris Brown, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

An internal report by prosecutors says that after a three-year investigation, they didn’t have enough evidence to show celebrity news website TMZ paid the accused officers for the photo, and that became an obstacle in charging them.

The Associated Press report obtained a copy of the March 28 report on Thursday after its contents were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Officers Blanca Lopez and Rebecca Reyes may still get fired. They are slated to appear before disciplinary panels in August.

Brown, who was Rihanna’s boyfriend at the time, was arrested on suspicion of beating the Grammy winner on Feb. 8, 2009, leaving her bloody and bruised.

The “Umbrella” and “Only Girl (In The World)” songstress, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, canceled her Grammy performance that year after the incident.

Brown pleaded guilty to attacking Rihanna and was ordered to serve five years on supervised probation and to complete six months of community service including roadside cleanup, graffiti removal and manual labor.

Prosecutors allege the photo was leaked after a stack of photographs of Rihanna’s injuries was left lying on a desk at the Wilshire police station and Reyes took a picture of the top photo with her phone.

Prosecutors say Reyes later emailed the image from her LAPD email address to her personal email address.

Reyes and Lopez were roommates at the time, and phone records showed that they made multiple phone calls to Fox Television and TMZ in February.

The photo shocked fans and prompted a national conversation about domestic violence after it spread through the media.

But despite a search of Reyes’ and Lopez's bank accounts, a money trail was not discovered tying the leak to them, prosecutors said.

In order to prove the officers broke the law, prosecutors said in the report they “must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Reyes and Lopez disclosed the image of Robyn F. (Rihanna) to TMZ and obtained money in exchange for this disclosure.”

The prosecutors’ report noted that other LAPD personnel had access to the photos.

“As such, although both Reyes and Lopez’s actions are suspicious, they are insufficient to support a criminal prosecution,” the report says.

Rihanna’s attorney Donald Etra said Thursday he does not know at this time whether the singer wants to pursue any further legal action.

“Apparently this was an internal decision by the district attorney. A victim’s privacy should be protected,” Etra said.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 05, 2012

Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

Months after Mary J. Blige received backlash for her appearance in a Burger King commercial advertising a chicken wrap, the singer recently opened up about the debacle and called the ad “a mistake.”

In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, Blige candidly discussed her decision to appear in the commercial and described her feelings once it became a target for criticism.

“I wanted to crawl under the bed,” Blige said on the show. “It was a mistake, but I did it because I thought it was something that wouldn’t come out like that. It was sold to us that I would be shot in an iconic way. I was looking for someone to have mercy, but no one had mercy. It was a learning experience. It hurt my feelings. It crushed me for like two days. But [after that], I got up and kept going.”

The ad, which surfaced online in April, featured Blige singing the ingredients of Burger King’s new chicken wrap sandwich. The video quickly went viral and drew tremendous criticism from many who believed it stereotyped Blacks.

In the midst of the incident, Blige said in a statement that she understood why fans were upset and said the ad was unfinished, according to Billboard magazine. But other than that brief statement, she remained tightlipped on the matter.

“I just felt like there was no need for me to say anything, because everyone was crucifying me and going crazy,” Blige told the radio station. “So I just pulled back and watched everyone and everything. It’s just something that I thought would have been great for my brand.”

Shortly after its release, Burger King pulled the commercial, citing licensing concerns as the cause for its removal. The company also apologized to Blige in a statement, according to Billboard.

“Unfortunately, the Mary J. Blige commercial was released prematurely before all of the licensing and final approvals were obtained. We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final. We know how important Mary J. is to her fans,”” the statement read.

Blige’s ad was part of the restaurant’s media push to advertise its new menu items. Other celebrities such as Jay Leno, Salma Hayak and David Beckham also appeared in the series of commercials. 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 28, 2012

Maxwell has regretfully been forced to cancel all concert appearances this summer. The Grammy award winning singer/songwriter has been advised by his doctors to take complete vocal rest after developing definitive vocal cord edema and a vocal cord hemorrhage.

 Says Maxwell:  “I know this sucks but after many months of recording I’ve temporarily damaged my voice. I’ve had issues before during other tours, but was able to power through. I’ve been strongly advised to rest and undergo treatment. I look forward to hopefully seeing you next on our full fledged tour, when the sequel to the BLACKSUMMERS’ NIGHT trilogy is released.  My deepest apologies to those who made the effort to try and see the show.  Love and Thanks, M"

The affected dates are:

7/20 - 21 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center

7/27 - 28 - Atlanta, GA @ Phillips Arena

8/3 - 4 Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

Refunds are available at the point of purchase. Tickets purchased via the internet and charge by phone will be automatically credited to your credit card.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 05, 2012

ARIES

 

Exhilaration is high and your mental abilities are amazing. Use your intuition to brainstorm your way to a highly creative idea that could change the way you make your living. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give.

 

 

 

TAURUS

 

What you say and what you do are in harmony this week. The importance of your idea(s) comes through very clearly to others. They can see that you walk what you talk. Communicate your ideas through your values.  Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the goodness in people.

 

 

 

GEMINI

 

If you feel as if the vibes this week are mixed at best, make up your mind to only receive the positive ones. Tune the transmitter in your soul to life and give your spiritual a workout. You are in charge of who you are.  Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.

 

 

 

CANCER

 

A benefit arrives, and there’s good reason to celebrate. Claim your blessing and do the happy dance!  Loving, supportive friends surround you, and family members are well behaved. Enjoy!  Soul Affirmation: I speak my mind knowing that truth is my best defense this week.

 

 

 

LEO

 

Look forward to some pleasant news. There is every possibility for a renewed love affair or a refreshing new romantic interest. Free yourself from the past and make a fresh start.  Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.

 

 

 

VIRGO

 

Your money instincts are itchy! Go ahead and scratch, because you’ve got the golden touch this week. Promise yourself that you’ll take at least one small step toward your dreams each day this week. You go!  Soul Affirmation: I seek connection with the best that is in me.

 

 

 

LIBRA

 

A loved one may feel a bit neglected as you pursue your material dreams with vigor this week. Time set aside for this person after you’ve made some gains will prove to be extra sweet. Try not to push a mate’s understanding nature too far, though.  Soul Affirmation: My needs will be met if I just ask.

 

 

 

SCORPIO

 

Stay open-minded this week and you’ll actually feel the good vibrations! Co-workers will wonder at the smile on your face, but let it be your secret for now. Your smile itself will make others smile about their own lives!  Soul Affirmation: I smile as I think about faraway places.

 

 

 

SAGITTARIUS

 

Big appetites this week! Indulge at least one of your passions and then get back to work. You are making incredible strides toward your dream by just reminding yourself of it.  Drive carefully and pay attention to brake lights.  Soul Affirmation: Smooth communications is the key to my success this week.

 

 

 

CAPRICORN

 

Relax a bit and review your “things to do” list”.  Move methodically, and check off each item as you complete them. You’ll be surprised by the progress you are making.  Spend the afternoon with family, and friends.  Soul Affirmation: This week family is the source of my joy.

 

 

 

AQUARIUS

 

Your best self is on parade this week, and wow! You look good! Co-workers will beat a path to your cubicle, so be prepared to turn chatterboxes away gently.  Give your honey a phone call or send a loving email.  Soul Affirmation: I open myself up to the vibrations of love.

 

 

 

PISCES

 

This week’s a good week to approach that person you’ve been wondering about. While you’ve been working very hard, you need to play, too. Good playmates make work seem more rewarding to you.  Soul Affirmation: I master life by mastering myself.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 28, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — A spokesman for R. Kelly says the R&B singer is suffering complications from throat surgery and will miss promotional appearances for his new album and memoir.

Kelly’s publicist said in a statement that the singer was on his way to New York on Wednesday morning when he became ill and returned to Chicago for medical treatment. Kelly had surgery last year to treat an abscess on his vocal cords.

Kelly’s new album, “Write Me Back,” came out Tuesday and his memoir, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” releases Thursday.

The Grammy winner’s publicist says Kelly will have to cancel appearances on “The Jimmy Fallon Show,” NBC’s “Today” and at a book party. Kelly’s spokesman says it’s unclear how long the singer will be sidelined.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture