September 13, 2012

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY Associated Press

 

Concert giant AEG Live is seeking book drafts and manuscripts by Jermaine Jackson that it claims may reveal details about his superstar brother that will help its defense in a lawsuit filed by the singers’ mother.

AEG is seeking drafts and manuscripts of Jackson’s recent book, “You Are Not Alone,” as well as an unpublished memoir it claims may focus on Michael Jackson’s alleged drug abuse.

Jermaine Jackson’s attorneys are fighting the request, calling them overly broad and in violation of the First Amendment, according to court filings. Turning over the writings also would violate the privacy of Michael Jackson’s three children and other family members and constitute a “fishing expedition,” according to documents filed Monday.

AEG’s attorneys contend the writings are important to its defense in a case filed by the singers’ mother claiming the concert promoter failed to properly supervise Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Michael Jackson’s June 2009 death.

Their efforts seek drafts of a book described as “Legacy: Surviving the Best and the Worst,” which was reportedly in the works several years before the pop superstar's death. AEG claims drafts of the work would show issues “of immense relevance to this case, including Michael Jackson's rumored long-term abuse of prescription medication.”

AEG’s attorney Marvin Putnam wrote in an email that the company was seeking the documents because, during his book tour, Jermaine Jackson publicly touted the “details of his brother’s life and death.” Putnam also wrote that Jermaine Jackson claimed he was the “only person qualified to deliver the real Michael.”

The writings are not covered by protections afforded to investigative journalists since they are memoirs, AEG wrote in its motion to get a judge to order the release of the materials. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Jermaine Jackson’s lawyer Kevin Boyle, who also represents his mother in the lawsuit against AEG, was not immediately available for comment.

AEG had promoted Michael Jackson’s comeback shows, titled “This Is It,” which were canceled after his unexpected death due to an overdose of a hospital anesthetic the singing had been given to help him sleep.

The company also is seeking to depose Jermaine Jackson. And it obtained a judge’s order Wednesday requiring Jackson’s longtime friend and dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein to appear for a deposition next month.

Katherine Jackson sued AEG in September 2010, and the case is scheduled for trial in April 2013.

The company also is involved in a separate lawsuit filed by Lloyd’s of London over Michael Jackson’s life insurance policy. Putnam said the company has informed Lloyd’s that it has recouped its losses and is no longer pursuing the claim. Any proceeds should be paid to a company that benefits Michael Jackson’s estate, he said.

AEG’s formal withdrawal of the claim is expected soon, as well as its dismissal from the case filed by the insurer.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 13, 2012

By SANDY COHEN | Associated Press

 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Mariah Carey was late to the BMI Urban Music Awards, where she was the guest of honor, but that didn't stop other artists from literally singing her praises.

Fantasia Barrino and Eric Benet were among those who serenaded the star with her own hits. Benet performed "One Sweet Day" and the former "American Idol" sang "Hero" during the private ceremony at the Saban Theatre, where writers, producers and publishers of the year's top urban hits were recognized Friday.

Barrino stepped off stage and stood right in front of Carey in the audience's front row as she wailed the final words of the song. When she finished, they embraced.

BMI chief Del Bryant presented Carey with the music-rights organization's Icon Award for her outstanding songwriting that has resulted in 18 No. 1 singles and more than 200 million albums sold.

Bryant called her "an unparalleled musical superstar" and "the greatest singer in history."

He also endorsed her new position as a judge on "American Idol."

"Who knows more about musical artistry and song selection than Mariah Carey?" Bryant asked.

"Sorry, Randy, didn't see you there," he added, jabbing at Carey collaborator and longtime "Idol" judge Randy Jackson.

Carey, 42, didn't mention "Idol" as she accepted her award.

She simply thanked the performers "for doing something so beautiful with the songs I wrote" and BMI for honoring her songwriting contributions.

"I'm so humbled by this moment because a lot of people still don't know I write my own songs," she said.

Other entertainers honored Friday included Nicki Minaj, who had the year's most played song with "Super Bass," and Drake and Lil Wayne, who were named songwriters of the year for their string of hits. None of the rappers were on hand to accept the honors.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 13, 2012

Associated Press

 

Kanye West hasn’t released a solo album since 2010, but the rapper has kept relevant with another strong year.

Now, BET is taking notice.

West received the most nominations with 17 for the seventh annual BET Hip-Hop Awards, which will air Oct. 9. The rapper has had a big year as a producer, performer and director. He also collaborated with Jay-Z on the hit album, “Watch the Throne.”

Rapper 2 Chainz scored 13 nominations and Drake earned 11 nods, respectively.

The nominations were announced September 12.

The ceremony will be taped Sept. 29 at Atlanta's Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. Actor and comedian Mike Epps will return as host for the fourth straight year.

Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty, who committed suicide earlier this month, will be honored during the show.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 13, 2012

By LYNN ELBER

Associated Press

 

Just call CeeLo Green music’s newest Santa Claus.

The 38-year-old singer-rapper is working on a Christmas album that he promises is “the real deal.”

Green said in a recent interview that the album, “CeeLo’s Magic Moment,” is a “soulful take on a host of Christmas classics.”

Among the tunes to be included on the Elektra Records album are “Silent Night,” “The Christmas Song,” “This Christmas,” “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “White Christmas.”

Rod Stewart, B.o.B. and Straight No Chaser are among the featured artists.

Green’s Christmas album will be released Oct. 30. The “Forget You!” singer was back this week as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” which begins its new season.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 06, 2012

By KAREN MATTHEWS  Associated Press

 

Hip-hop royalty including LL Cool J and Sean “Diddy” Combs packed a standing-room-only funeral chapel this Wednesday to pay their respects to music-industry mogul Chris Lighty.

Mourners at the Manhattan funeral home also included Missy Elliott, Q-Tip, Russell Simmons, Busta Rymes, 50 Cent and Grandmaster Flash.

The 44-year-old Lighty was found dead in his Bronx apartment last week with a gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner ruled it a suicide, but his family has asked for a second autopsy.

Speakers at the funeral, who included family members as well as LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes, didn't allude to the circumstances of Lighty’s death. Instead they stressed his legacy in the music world and his life as a family man.

Mourners filed past the flower-bedecked coffin where Lighty was laid out in a dark suit. A slideshow depicting his life appeared on a screen. By the time the service started, the chapel had become as crowded as a hot nightspot, with security guards only letting people in if someone else left.

Lighty had been a part of the hip-hop scene for decades, working with pioneers like LL Cool J before starting his own management company, Violator. But he was in the midst of a divorce and had been having recent financial and personal troubles.

A player in the hip-hop game since he was a child disc jockey, Lighty rose through the ranks at Rush Management, Simmons' first company, before eventually founding Violator Management in the late 1990s.

His roster ranged from Academy Award-winners Three 6 Mafia to Elliott to up-and-comer Papoose and perpetual star Mariah Carey. He made it his mission not so much to make musical superstars but rather to create multifaceted entertainers who could be marketed in an array of ways: a sneaker deal here, a soft drink partnership there, a movie role down the road.

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Lighty talked about creating opportunities for his stars — a Chapstick deal for LL Cool J, known for licking his lips, and a vitamin supplement deal for 50 Cent.

“As music sales go down because kids are stealing it off the Internet and trading it and iPod sales continue to rise, you can’t rely on just the income that you would make off of being an artist,” he said at the time.

Survivors include his two children. He and his wife, Veronica, had been in the process of divorcing. The case was still listed as active, but electronic records show an agreement to end it was filed in June.

Lighty’s brother Dave has said he wants a full investigation of his brother's death, which he isn’t sure was a suicide.

Forensic pathologist Michael Baden, the former head of the city medical examiner’s office, said Wednesday that he performed a second autopsy at the request of the family and was awaiting test results.

Baden is paid to give independent opinions on deaths and has testified in several high-profile cases including the O.J. Simpson trial.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the department is still investigating and will wait until the full toxicology report is back, but he reiterated that the medical examiner's office has said it’s a suicide.

Grandmaster Flash referred to medical examiner’s findings outside the chapel.

“Whatever the pressure was that made him take his life had to be tremendous pressure,” he said. “I just wish that Chris would have reached out and said, ‘Flash, I need some help, man.’ ... He didn’t reach out. It's really sad.”

Simmons posted an online appeal to the music industry Wednesday to fill the void left by Lighty by mentoring young hip-hop artists.

“Chris was a shining example of playing the game, while always keeping it real,” he wrote.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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