Gospel Star Edwin Hawkins, Known for ‘Oh Happy Day,’ Dies
1/24/2018 10:32:32 PM

Edwin Hawkins, the gospel star best known for the crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” and as a major force for contemporary inspirational music, died last week at age 74. Hawkins died at his home in Pleasanton, California. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, publicist Bill Carpenter told The Associated Press. Along with Andrae Crouch, James Cleveland and a handful of others, Hawkins was credited as a founder of modern gospel music. Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke and numerous other singers had become mainstream stars by adapting gospel sounds to pop lyrics. Hawkins stood...

Chicago—where Kanye West was raised—is the name of baby No. 3 with Kim Kardashian West.
1/24/2018 10:26:47 PM

Chicago—where Kanye West was raised—is the name of baby No. 3 with Kim Kardashian West. Mom made the announcement last Friday on her app without explanation. Chicago was born August 15, weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces. She joins big sister North, 4, and middle brother Saint, 2. Kardashian West's fertilized egg had been implanted into a surrogate, who gave birth to the child. The rapper and the reality star chose to use a carrier after Kim suffered pregnancy complications with her two older children. She said her doctors told her it wasn't safe for her to carry...

Industry Exec Says Hip-Hop Should Dominate at Upcoming Grammys
1/24/2018 10:03:15 PM

Music executive Lyor Cohen says hip-hop should dominate the top categories at the upcoming Grammys. Cohen spoke about the Recording Academy giving rap a "deserving" chance. Both Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar are nominated for album and record of the year. Jay-Z, the leading nominee with eight, is also nominated for song of the year. "It's long overdue for the right artists to win the right category in the right time," Cohen said. Cohen is now YouTube's global head of music, but has been an integral figure in hip-hop for decades was the former head of Def...

Sterling K. Brown Makes History at SAG Awards—and Says Time's Up
1/24/2018 10:02:24 PM

For Sterling K. Brown, the Time’s Up movement is about taking stock of certain things that maybe hadn’t registered with him — kind of like when he realized for the first time, back in college, that his future wife was uneasy about taking the subway home from NYU after a late night of study, while he wasn’t. “It has been a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the fact that I actually have privilege, that I have male privilege,” the “This Is Us” actor said backstage in the SAG Awards press room Sunday night. “I take a lot of things...

What will #MeToo movement mean for Cosby's next trial?
1/17/2018 10:12:50 PM

By Kristin DeGroot Jurors couldn't agree the first time around whether to accept a woman's story that “America's Dad,” Bill Cosby, sexually assaulted her over a decade ago. Now he faces a retrial in less than 90 days in a vastly different cultural climate, one in which powerful men from Hollywood to the U.S. Senate are being toppled by allegations of sexual misconduct. The jury in Cosby's case was deadlocked on charges he drugged and molested a woman in 2004, and the judge declared a mistrial in June. But that was before the revelations about movie...

Liam Neeson: ‘Bit of a witch hunt’ over sex allegations
1/17/2018 10:12:07 PM

Actor Liam Neeson says the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal has sparked “a bit of a witch hunt.” Asked about the issue on the Irish broadcaster RTE, Neeson said: “There's some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee or something and suddenly they're being dropped from their program.” He referred to U.S. radio presenter and writer Garrison Keillor, who was dropped by Minnesota Public Radio last year over an allegation of “inappropriate behavior.” Neeson said that wasn't the same as the...

Rapper with song 'Sell Drugsz' gets prison for selling drugs
1/17/2018 10:10:20 PM

A rapper whose songs include “Sell Drugsz” has been sentenced to three years in prison for doing just that. Federal prosecutors say 30-year-old Michael Persaud, of Johnston, was sentenced in federal court in Providence for trafficking heroin and fentanyl. His stage name is Montana Millz. Prosecutors say an East Providence undercover detective bought nearly three-quarters of an ounce of fentanyl and a small amount of heroin from Persaud over a four-month period beginning in October 2016. Authorities also say they seized 11/2 ounces of fentanyl from his...

Why not President Oprah? In Trump era, some Democrats hail idea
1/12/2018 5:36:34 PM

By Thomas Beaumont and Steve Peoples Oprah Winfrey's impassioned call for “a brighter morning even in our darkest nights” at the Golden Globes has Democratic Party activists buzzing about the media superstar and the 2020 presidential race—even if it's only a fantasy. Even so, for Democrats in early voting states, and perhaps for a public that largely disapproves of President Donald Trump's job performance, the notion of a popular media figure as a presidential candidate is not as strange as it once seemed, given the New York real estate mogul and...

Barack Obama David Letterman's first Netflix guest
1/12/2018 5:35:49 PM

David Letterman booked former president Barack Obama to be his first guest when he returned to TV last week. Obama joined Letterman on Jan. 12 for the launch of the new “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” on Netflix. Other guests slated to be on the show include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern. In each hour-long episode, Letterman will conduct a long-form conversation with a single guest and explore topics of his own outside the studio. It is the first talk show Letterman has hosted since he stepped down from...

Ben Vereen apologizes for 'inappropriate conduct' in 2015
1/12/2018 5:33:15 PM

Tony Award-winner Ben Vereen is apologizing to female actresses for “inappropriate conduct” while he directed a production of the musical “Hair” in Florida three years ago. The apology on Twitter comes a day after the New York Daily News reported several actresses at The Venice Theatre alleged sexual misconduct by Vereen, including unwanted kissing, inviting women to join him naked in his hot tub and making demeaning and degrading comments. Vereen, who won a Tony in “Pippin” and starred in the landmark TV miniseries “Roots,” also...