August 01, 2013

LONDON (AP) — Pop singer Rihanna has won a court case in Britain against retailer Topshop, which was selling T-shirts bearing her image without permission.

High Court Justice Colin Birss ruled in favor of the singer on Wednesday, saying buyers were likely deceived by believing Rihanna had authorized its sale.

“I am quite satisfied that many fans of Rihanna regard her endorsement as important,” the judge said in his ruling. “She is their style icon. Many will buy a product because they think she has approved of it. Others will wish to buy it because of the value of the perceived authorization itself. In both cases they will have been deceived.”

Birss also said the sales caused a loss of control over Rihanna's reputation in the fashion realm, where the singer has been trying to carve out a name as a designer. She has a clothing line in her name at a rival store.

The shirts were first sold as the “Rihanna Tank.” After her complaints, they were sold as being the “Headscarf Girl Tank” and the “Icon Tank.”

Topshop’s owner, Arcadia Group Brands Ltd., had argued that Rihanna was seeking legal recognition for a flawed assumption that only a celebrity could market a product bearing his or her image.

Topshop said it was surprised and disappointed by the ruling and was considering an appeal.

“There was no intention by Topshop to create the appearance of an endorsement or promotion,” it said in a statement. “We do not believe it conveyed any false message to our customers.”

The judge did not make an assessment of damages in his ruling.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 01, 2013

Special to the NNPA from

The Houston Defender


Originally titled “Taking Atlanta,” the series is more along the lines of MTV’s “The Real World,” simply following six strangers – Alexandra Dilworth, Emily Lipman, Africa Miranda, Tribble Reese and Jevon “Vawn” Sims, each of whom is busy in various professions but finds common ground in the city’s social scene.

Atlanta is mecca,” Bravo Media senior vp of current production Shari Levine tells The Hollywood Reporter. “There is so much personality to that city and the people really reflect that.”

Levine says the casting process wasn’t that far off from the network’s “Real Housewives” franchise. “You’re looking for similar qualities, people willing to be transparent with interesting lives, but we’re targeting a different age group and very different places in their lives,” she says. “Much of the cast is 10 years younger, they’re single, they’re active in their careers.”

The younger set is something Bravo has been going after more and more. Levine compares “The New Atlanta” to recent successes Vanderpump Rules and Shahs of Sunset — both of them filmed in Los Angeles. Bravo wants to bring that success to the ATL, a city which has already been a ratings boon to the network.

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and Atlanta-set “Married to Medicine” gave the network its most-watched night ever back in April.

“Atlanta last season was just amazing,” says Levine. “The first part of the reunion was the highest-rated ever [2.9 million adults 18-49 and 4.3 million viewers] for any of the franchise. It’s an amazing cast.”

That’s probably one of the reasons why the “Real Housewives of Atlanta’s” third spinoff will help launch “The New Atlanta” on Sept. 17, at 10 p.m. “I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding,” starring “House­wives” fan favorite NeNe Leakes, will be “The New Atlanta’s” lead-in.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 25, 2013



At home, projects flourish as family cooperates. They do love you and they are tired of being difficult. However, time spent by yourself leads to important insights. It’s a favorable time for research and study.

Soul Affirmation: I let my luck work for me.
Lucky Numbers:  4, 24, 45



Lover, friends, relatives are in your corner. They just have a hard time verbalizing it. Their support gives you the boost you need if you’d swallow your pride and reach out for it. Their help may not come in the form you want it, but it is in the form you need.

Soul Affirmation: I find joy in facing responsibility this week.
Lucky Numbers:  10, 34, 37



It wouldn’t hurt to be a little less independent. Depend on someone.  Declare a truce. Decide that you are not right. Elevate a friend’s opinion to your guiding principle for this week. Compromise. Be a team player and watch the reward unfold.

Soul Affirmation: I calm my emotions by forgetting about the past.
Lucky Numbers:  24, 26, 54



A positively alerted attitude will draw opportunities to you this week.  You’ll see more of the big picture if you take a mental step backward. You’ll hear exactly what you need to hear if you take the time to listen.

Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.
Lucky Numbers:  13, 21, 39



Don’t waste time thinking about the past. Sure they were wrong, but what does it matter now. Enjoy the present. Find something good to do for the rest of the week. Avoid conflict. Nothing is so important that it needs to be resolved this week.

Soul Affirmation: I find comfort in the familiar.
Lucky Numbers:  3, 16, 37



You face a big challenge that allows you to take big steps toward your career goals. It’ll be on your mind for the next few weeks. Spend some time planning. Life is not always for fun and games. Games are not your biggest satisfaction anyway.

Soul Affirmation: The key to my happiness lies in my sympathy for others.
Lucky Numbers:  42, 46, 54



Reconsider a business offer, it might be a good one. You’ve got time so sit down and weigh the pros and cons. Doing it alone is not best.  Make a phone call. Talk to someone who knows you well. Get an objective opinion.

Soul Affirmation: I graciously anticipate joy and this gives me the ability to give.
Lucky Numbers:   13, 31, 40



Your intuition is very high this week. You see where things are going even before they start. This will keep you from making false moves.  Be careful not to let your suspicions keep you from making the moves that are definitely called for.

Soul Affirmation: My mood is created by the company I keep.
Lucky Numbers:   18, 44, 51



Beware of financial pitfalls. Your thinking on money matters is not as clear as it could be this week. Someone will try to catch you off guard.  This week your luck turns for the better, so spend it with the one you love or want to love!

Soul Affirmation: A slowing of pace is just what I need this week.
Lucky Numbers:   3, 41, 49



Your mate has a sweet surprise. He or she might be a little timid about revealing it unless you present a very receptive mood. Choose your words carefully. You will receive good news about a loan or financial investment.

Soul Affirmation: I look to distant horizons to find truth this week.
Lucky Numbers:  1, 2, 16



You and your mate should start saving for a joint project. It will make you feel closer to each other. It’ll give you something with which to bind the relationship. Otherwise you might feel that you are drifting apart.

Soul Affirmation: Self confidence is the key to my success this week.
Lucky Numbers:  17, 37, 45



Challenges will be ever present for you this week.  Work at it calmly knowing that you are getting some things out of the way. Tackle tasks using your famous self-control rather than your passion. Use your passion on the weekends. Let loose! Be free!

Soul Affirmation: The sunlight of my spirit shines in the land beyond the horizon.
Lucky Numbers:   23, 34, 51

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 01, 2013

By Kam Williams


LAWT Contributing Writer


Born in Santa Ana on February 9, 1987, Michael B. Jordan is one of Hollywood's brightest young actors. In 2012, he starred in 20th Century Fox’s box office hit CHRONICLE, a supernatural thriller that follows three Portland teens as they develop incredible powers after exposure to a mysterious substance. He also had a supporting role in George Lucas’ film RED TAILS, a World War II saga recounting the story of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.


Michael recently completed shooting ARE WE OFFICIALLY DATING? opposite Zac Efron, Imogen Poots and Miles Teller. Before embarking on his film career, he was best known for his work in two of the most significant television dramas of the past decade.


First, he received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the hard-shelled, soft-hearted, young urbanite Wallace in the HBO hit dramatic series THE WIRE. He then went on to star as quarterback Vince Howard on the NBC’s Emmy-winning FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.


He also portrayed recovering alcoholic Alex on the third season of the NBC series PARENTHOOD. Blessed with the opportunity to begin a professional acting career early in his life, Michael caught the eye of Bill Cosby and was cast in the recurring role of Michael on the series COSBY in 1999. Almost simultaneously, he appeared on the HBO series THE SOPRANOS opposite the late James Gandolfini.  


In 2001, he was selected from hundreds of hopefuls to play Jamal in the feature film HARDBALL starring Keanu Reeves. A couple years later, he became the youngest African-American actor contracted with ABC’s daytime drama series ALL MY CHILDREN where he played Reggie, Susan Lucci’s character’s adopted son.


Michael later moved to Los Angeles where he soon landed a lead in the independent film BLACKOUT, co-starring Melvin Van Peebles, Jeffrey Wright, and Zoe Saldana. In the fall of 2007, he was cast in the faith-based feature film PASTOR BROWN.


He has enjoyed guest appearances on CSI, COLD CASE, LIE TO ME, WITHOUT A TRACE, and LAW & ORDER, and garnered NAACP Image Award Nominations for Outstanding Male Actor in a Television Daytime Drama Series in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Here, he talks about starring as the late Oscar Grant in FRUITVALE STATION, a critically-acclaimed picture which has wowed audiences at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals earlier this year. The movie recounts the shooting of the 22 year-old Grant in the back by a police officer on a train station platform on New Year’s Day 2009.    




LAWT: Hi Michael, thanks for the interview.


Michael B. Jordan (MBJ): What’s up, buddy? Thank you for taking the time.


KW: That’s quite a powerful performance you delivered as Oscar.


MBJ: Thank so much, Kam.


LAWT: Congratulations on this picture’s winning at Sundance in January and then again at Cannes in June. Did you attend both film festivals?


MBJ: Yes sir, I did.


LAWT: Where did it get the longer standing ovation?


MBJ: At Cannes. It went on for about 7 or 8 minutes. It was overwhelming. I got chills all over. It was very intense. 


LAWT: What interested you in Fruitvale Station?


MBJ: Honestly, I remember hearing about the incident when it happened, and feeling very angry, upset and frustrated about not being able to do anything about it. I felt very helpless. I was coming off a project at the time, and I really wanted to do an independent film that was more of an intimate, character-driven piece. And it just so happened that what I wanted to do, Ryan’s vision [director Ryan Coogler] and the timing of his project worked out in my favor, man. All of the pieces seemed to fall right into place.


LAWT: Did you feel any pressure to deliver a great performance given that it’s the biopic of a person who has passed away and who left behind family, including a young daughter who barely got to know him?


MBJ: Of course, and I put a lot of that pressure on myself. I knew that Oscar’s daughter was going to see this film someday, and that was the only pressure I needed to do her father justice. But I felt a huge responsibility not only to his family, but to the whole Bay community, since the story is so important to them, too.


LAWT: Did you meet with his mother or any of Oscar’s friends and family members in preparing for this role?


MBJ: Yes, I spent time with his mother, his daughter, his girlfriend, Sophina, and his best friends. So, I got a chance to get to know Oscar a little bit better and to understand each of their relationships with him. It was very beneficial to the film.  


LAWT: Is there anything the family wanted people to know about Oscar?


MBJ: That he was a person, a flawed human being who made some mistakes just like anybody else. That was about it. They really trusted Ryan’s vision and what he wanted to do.


LAWT: Did you identify with this character at all, given how often young black males are subjected to profile stops and police brutality? 


MBJ: Yeah, I’m from Newark, New Jersey, so I’ve been in that sort of situation before. I could relate, since I used to catch the train back and forth between Newark and Manhattan all the time. You’d see transit cops interacting with intoxicated passengers during the holiday season in response to distress calls. It could just as easily have been me, or somebody else with a group of friends going to the city who might have gotten a little rowdy. Oscar was a product of his community. The problem is that people from outside of that community can be quick to judge us based on the way we look, talk and dress.


LAWT: How was it being directed by Ryan Coogler?


MBJ: He’s an incredible director, extremely talented and a natural born leader. And he was the ideal coach for me, because we’re so close in age. We speak the same language, being from the same generation. The story meant a lot to him because he’s from the Bay area. He’s very close to this project. Everything worked out. It was a perfect storm.  


LAWT: What was it like acting opposite an Oscar-winner in Octavia Spencer?


MBJ: That ain’t bad, either. Not too shabby. I learned a lot from her. She’s one of the most giving actresses I know in terms of getting you there. Whatever you need, she’s very selfless, no ego, and I think it shows.


LAWT: Is it weird that the cast has actors named Michael Jordan and Kevin Durand? Are you worried that people might mistake the picture for a movie about basketball?


MBJ: Oh man, that was the crazy thing.


LAWT: What message do you think people will take away from the film?


MBJ: I hope people feel angry, upset, or something that sparks a conversation about how we can be better people. A better father… a better brother… a better mom… a better sister… We have to start with the individual. So, I want people to leave the theater and think, “How can I be a better person?” That’s the only way things are going to improve. It may not happen in my lifetime, but if I can play a part in moving things along, then I feel I’ve done a good job.   


LAWT: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?


MBJ: Scaring my little brother who is deathly afraid of birds. It’s ridiculous because he’s 6’ 7” and weighs 290 pounds. But he hates birds. If you really want to have a good laugh, all you have to do is send him pictures of geese, ducks and stuff like that randomly. His responses are pretty funny and make me laugh out loud.   


LAWT: What are your favorite dishes to cook?


MBJ: My grilled lamb chops and homemade mashed potatoes. And my barbequed salmon, that’s pretty good, too. I love cooking! The first dish I ever learned to make was rainbow trout with couscous and raisins. It’s pretty incredible. I can cook that with my eyes closed now. 


LAWT: What is your guiltiest pleasure?


MBJ: My Japanese animation.


LAWT: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?


MBJ: [LOL] You’ve got some great questions, dude… No.


LAWT: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?


MBJ: Snow Crash.


LAWT: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to? 


MBJ: Memories Back Then by T.I.


LAWT: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?


MBJ: Being around like-minded creative people. Watching a really good movie excites me, because it makes we want to get up off the couch and go shoot something and act in a scene. And music excites me because it puts me in a mind state, whatever that may be.


LAWT: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?


MBJ: A man trying to figure it all out.


LAWT: The Mike Pittman question: What was your best career decision?


MBJ: Doing the movie Chronicle.


LAWT: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?


MBJ: For more wishes.


LAWT: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?


MBJ: I been waiting for that question. That’s one nobody has ever asked me. It was one day when my dad was outside washing the car. My older sister tricked me into sitting in the bucket. I remember getting stuck in the bucket, soggy diaper and all, and not being able to get out. That’s my earliest childhood memory.    


LAWT: Thanks again for the time, Michael, and I look forward to speaking with you again in January when you get that Oscar nomination.


MBJ: I appreciate that, Kam [Chuckles] But don’t jinx me, dude.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 25, 2013


City News Service


In video testimony shown to a jury July 24, a physician who treated Michael Jackson for two years said the singer was addicted to the pain medication Demerol and that he gave the pop star an opiate-inhibiting implant to try and break his habit.

Questioned by AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam, Dr. Alimorad Farsch­cian said the entertainer wanted to end his Demerol problem for the sake of his children. The singer’s youngest child, Blanket, was born in February 2002, 10 months after Jackson originally began seeing Farschcian.

“His main concern was his kids, always his kids,” the witness said.

Farschcian said his primary practice was regenerative medicine and that Jackson originally asked him to treat an ankle injury. But Jackson later asked about helping him with his drug issues, Farschcian said.

The doctor said he placed drug-inhibiting implants in Jackson’s abdomen on five different occasions until the pop star stopped coming to him in 2003, when Farschcian said the entertainer appeared to be sober.

The implant blocked the feeling of euphoria that Demerol gave Jackson, according to Farschcian.

The physician was called to the stand as a defense witness in trial of the negligence/wrongful death lawsuit that family matriarch Katherine Jackson filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2010 against AEG Live, the promoter of her late son’s planned comeback tour.

The suit, which also names the singer’s three children as plaintiffs, alleges that AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray as the pop star's physician for the tour and failed to supervise him properly. But AEG maintains it was Jackson who hired Murray in 2006 as his personal physician and chose him to be his doctor during his “This Is It” concerts.

Jackson was in Los Angeles rehearsing for the 50 London tour dates at the time of his June 25, 2009, death at age 50. Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer a lethal intravenous dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid and was sentenced to four years in jail.

Farschcian said his notes from Jackson’s treatments showed the singer made steady progress and that an insomnia problem appeared to be improving. He said Katherine Jackson also was aware of the implant treatment of her son and was happy with it.

But asked by Putnam whether he ever believed Jackson had resumed using drugs while under Farsch­cian’s treatment, the doctor replied, “I might have.”

Farschcian said it was sometimes difficult to reach Jackson personally because of his bodyguards and others in his entourage.

The doctor said he let Jackson stay at the physician's Miami-area home twice because the singer was concerned about the paparazzi. Farschcian said he also visited Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.

Farschcian said he met with Jackson shortly after the entertainer’s November 2003 arrest on child molestation charges of which he was later acquitted. Asked by Putnam to describe how Jackson looked physically, Farschcian replied, “Not too good.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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