September 27, 2012
By ANTHONY McCARTNEY Associated Press
A judge has ordered a further review of Chris Brown’s community service and travel to determine whether the R&B singer has violated the terms of his probation for the 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown appeared in court Monday September 24 for the first time in more than a year, and Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg tried to sort through Brown’s probation record and the impact of a positive marijuana result during a random drug screening. Schnegg said community service logs from Brown’s home state of Virginia were “somewhat cryptic” and additional review was needed to determine whether he had complied with his probation.
A spreadsheet sent by the Richmond, Va., police chief indicated Brown had completed 1,402 hours of community service, ranging from trash pickup, to washing cars, painting and tending to stables.
Brown spoke briefly during the hearing, telling Schnegg that he wasn’t required to sign in when performing his service. His lawyer, Mark Geragos, welcomed the inquiry and said he expected to show that Brown had complied with all his probation terms.
The judge said Brown produced a medicinal marijuana prescription from California and that she had never ordered him not to use drugs, so the positive drug test may not have a major impact on his probation.
She warned Brown that while his marijuana use may have been legal, he needed to be mindful of his public image and his sway with young fans.
“You are not an average person who can sit in their living room and do what you want to do,” Schnegg said, noting that Brown’s mother was sitting in the audience of the courtroom. “You are not only in the public eye, but you are on probation.”
Brown has had several high-profile incidents that have drawn negative attention, including a bottle-throwing New York City nightclub brawl involving his entourage and a group accompanying Drake. Brown received a cut on his chin, and neither entertainer was ever charged. A woman in Miami has also accused Brown of taking her cell phone away after she tried to take pictures of him outside a South Beach nightclub, but the singer has not been charged in that incident.
Schnegg urged him to be careful going forward.
“You should be mindful of obeying all rules of the courts,” Schnegg said. “A lot of people look up to you — a lot of kids. What you do and what you say impacts other people.”
Brown was sentenced to five years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to felony assault for his February 2009 attack on Rihanna. Before Monday, he had received positive reports from probation officials and praise from Schnegg. The judge ordered Brown to return to court Nov. 1 for another update.
Virginia officials also reported that Brown may have traveled to Paris without permission, but Schnegg said she has approved most of the singer’s travel and would have to review that claim further.
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. Associated Press
Even though T.I. hasn’t produced any major hits lately, the Grammy-winning rapper believes he can still sell a considerable amount of albums based on his track record.
T.I.’s credentials include 10 Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits and five platinum albums. But he has yet to make a big splash musically since he was released from jail following an 11-month term at an Arkansas prison on a probation violation. His last album, 2010’s “No Mercy,” reached gold status, but it didn’t produce any No. 1 hits.
But he says that hasn’t affected him and his future success.
“I’m going to always rise above the doubt that may exist about me,” he said in a recent interview. “I have a core audience of fans that are going to buy (my albums) whether I have a single out. I ain’t got to have a video out. ... When you hear my name and an album, it’s going to be the complete body of work. It’s going to be above standard.”
T.I. said he sets himself apart from most of the current “it” rappers because of his success as an entrepreneur. He’s in the Starz drama series “Boss” and the upcoming comedy “Identity Theft” alongside Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy; he’s got his own Vh1 reality show “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle”; he has the clothing line Akoo; and recently, he released his second novel with author David Ritz called “Trouble & Triumph: A Novel of Power & Beauty.”
“There’s a difference between being hot for the moment, and being huge,” he said. “Whether I’m hot or not, I’m still huge in a lot of different areas. ... It’s certain things I’ll do that (other rappers) will never be able to do. I’m aware of that, and I believe they are, too. It’s just sometimes people get caught up with what’s hot.”
T.I. might have made strides outside of rap, but the 31-year-old said he is still passionate about recording music. His eighth album, “Trouble Man,” will “tentatively” be out in December. His new single, “Ball,” features Lil Wayne.
“I have to give them the new me,” he said. “I just have to show that I remember the methods, the practices of the old me. It’s like a guy who you know that has lived a certain lifestyle and you know he’s validated to speak on it.”
September 20, 2012
Anyone who needs to catch up with hip-hop star Wyclef Jean just has to refresh his Twitter feed.
“You know I’m direct about everything,” says Jean, 42.
Some things need more than a tweet to explain, though, so Jean has written an autobiography, “Purpose” (It Books) on sale Tuesday, that explores his political, financial and personal turmoil, including an extramarital affair with fellow Fugee Lauryn Hill.
The book opens with Jean hearing the news that a catastrophic earthquake has struck Haiti, the Caribbean country where he was born. The Grammy-winning multimillionaire returned home the next morning, trying to make sense of the chaos and overwhelming loss of life.
He kicked his Yele Haiti Foundation into overdrive to help survivors, and the urgency to get Haitians back to work drove Jean to announce his candidacy during Haiti’s 2010 presidential elections.
Both efforts, though, eventually left him reeling from criticism over his methods and motives. His presidential campaign was cut short, while Yele faced allegations of financial improprieties that benefited the singer.
In his book, Jean dismisses the problems at Yele as complications of a small charity's sudden growth. After a restructuring, Jean writes, “We are a completely transparent organization and I invite the world’s curiosity.”
In a conversation with The Associated Press, Jean compares those setbacks with the success he achieved with the Fugees, whose second album “The Score” remains one of the best-selling hip-hop records of all time.
AP: Do you think you’re going to run for president of Haiti again in a couple years?
Jean: (chuckling) ... Keep in mind, right, that y’all always say “my run for the presidency” but there’s something you all must add — Wyclef never even got a chance to run for the presidency. It was sort of like, before I could even spit out who my technicians are, what are my policies, it was like, “Yo, this guy don’t have no technicians, this guy don’t have no policies, he’s not running, get him out!” Right now, it’s definitely, like, not in the focus.
AP: How was working on a book different from working on an album?
Jean: It takes you back to a place and to a time. I always tell people, the easiest thing for me in the book was talking about the Fugees. Because, you know, you’re young, you’re rock and roll. The hardest thing in the book was probably talking about my relationship with my dad. Growing up in a Christian household and then defying that and saying I’m going to be a rapper, and after they bring you from Haiti and the expectations, what they expect from you, and the fact that he never really came to my shows. ...
AP: The book brings up some of your personal drama (extramarital affairs, including an on-again, off-again relationship with Hill) and your wife in the books comes off as being one of the most patient people in the world. What was her reaction to the book?
Jean: The main thing about me is, I’m just bluntly honest, you know what I mean? It’s like, I’m a man. Beyond my book, it’s in my music. If I’m going through something, you’ll hear it in my music. Like, if you’ve heard “The Carnival” — “To all the girls I’ve cheated on before, it’s a new year ... I’m in love with two women, who is it going to be now?” This is not (something) I waited like 20 years later to be like, boom. I just basically stated the stuff that happened when it happened. ... They say, what’s the secret? I say, first, the person I was trying to be with had to be a friend first, and clearly I would say that's how we made it through.
AP: Was there any kind of bitterness when ex-Fugee Pras Michel came out and supported Haitian musician-turned-politician Michel Martelly instead of you early in your so-called run for the president?
Jean: No. ... There’s a clear line, you know, between music and politics. And if you decide that you’re going to be a political candidate or run for that, then you have to have (what are called in Haitian Creole) “iron pants.” You basically have to be ready for everything to come at you, and whatever you expect, expect different. ... As you can see, it was a lot of people coming at me, so that tells me a lot about myself, you know what I mean — my strengths, and what I possess. I always say, you come at me, I only weigh a buck-seventy-five, but you’re coming after what created me and you’re going to have a lot on your hands, because that’s God.
You seem preoccupied this week and it’s because your mind is filled with a vision of love for the entire planet. Use your gifts to assist others in seeing the world as you do, in glorious color. Check the details on paperwork that you have to do, dreamer. Soul Affirmation: I release internal pressure by enjoying the beauties of the world around me.
Everybody’s in a good mood this week, and you’ll want to join friends or family in sharing good food and feelings. You may be asked to grow, or move. Think seriously about it, because it could enhance your spiritual growth. Soul Affirmation: In order for money to come I must think about money as my friend.
At work, some matters have been on hold but now you will get the green light. Continue to work as diligently as you have been in the pass to ensure success. Have faith that your plans are on target. Soul Affirmation: Anticipation of a beautiful immediate future lights up my week.
Remember that you are in control of your emotions this week. Things will look brighter as soon as you let yourself feel like the glowing spirit that you are. Co-create your reality this week by using positive emotions to remind yourself of how wonderful you are. Soul Affirmation: I will ask joy to marry me.
You are in the middle of a dream coming true. Watch for signs that your wish is about to be granted. You’ll be very happy with what you’ve achieved. Soul Affirmation: Love is easier than breathing.
Overall, the vibrations surrounding you this week are very good, very good indeed. Go with the best, and refuse to allow any minor inconvenience to spoil your sunny mood. You are going to have a lovely week. Soul Affirmation: He who doesn’t ask will remain a fool forever.
Remember that you look marvelous! Be prepared for lots of compliments this week, and plan to accept them gracefully. You may be planning a time period trip; it’s going to be a nice getaway. Soul Affirmation: Communication is a skeleton key that opens many doors.
A party or gathering with friends from the past gives you the opportunity to strut your stuff a bit. You’ve made tremendous strides and accomplished much in your life, so be pleased with yourself this week. Pass some of your wisdom along to others. Soul Affirmation: All that I need is within me.
You should know by now that trying to be in two places at once is very taxing to your nerves! Slow down a bit and trust that you’ll get what needs to be done accomplished. Give yourself a head start on all road trips so that you have time to enjoy the view. Soul Affirmation: Seeing my past clearly this week gives me a clear vision of my future.
An afterglow surrounds you during the week, and you may not feel like getting immediately into work-mode this week. It’s okay to go with your feelings; the world will wait for a little while. Treasure happy moments. Soul Affirmation: Facing down challenges makes me feel good about myself.
Your mind is busy this week with thoughts of new projects and the things you want to get done. Best course of action is to clear up pending and overdue items. You’ll have a clean desk in no time and will feel genuinely content and relaxed for the week. Soul Affirmation: I will actually write a love letter to the universe this week.
Lots of opportunities are swirling around you, and it will require some diligence on your part to make the most of some of them. You’ll be happy you put in some extra effort this week! Soul Affirmation: I open up to the universe. The universe opens up to me.
Tony Award-winning actor Ben Vereen has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.
Court records in Los Angeles show Vereen filed the petition September 13, citing irreconcilable differences. The actor-dancer married wife Nancy Bruner Vereen in July 1976, although his filing states the pair separated in March.
The 65-year-old won a best actor in a musical Tony Award in 1973 for his role in “Pippin” and he appeared in numerous films and television series. His acting credits vary from a role in the miniseries “Roots” and a guest stint on “How I Met Your Mother,” as well as a Golden Globe nominated performance in the film “Funny Lady.”
Vereen is asking a court to terminate his estranged wife’s ability to collect spousal support.
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