CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST JUSSIE SMOLLETT
CHICAGO (AP) – “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) says he’s “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.” Smollett made the comment Tuesday after an emergency court hearing where his attorneys say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped. Smollett had faced 16 felony counts alleging he lied to police about a racial and homophobic attack against him in January. Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.
CHICAGO MAYOR CRITICIZES DROPPING OF SMOLLETT CASE
CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police chief have angrily criticized Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) and the decision by prosecutors to drop all charges that alleged the “Empire” actor staged a racial and homophobic attack in the city in January. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, a visibly angry Emanuel called the decision a “whitewash of justice” and asked, “Where is the accountability in the system?” Emanuel criticized Smollett for not taking any responsibility despite what he described as overwhelming evidence. He also says Smollett continues to drag Chicago’s reputation through “the mud.” His voice seeming to quiver with anger as he said about Smollett, “Is there no decency in this man?” Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said Smollett still owns the city an apology. Smollett has not backtracked from his original story, insisting he’d been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
FAMILY OF LATE DJ AVICII TO LAUNCH FOUNDATION IN HIS MEMORY
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The family of the Grammy-nominated Swedish electronic dance DJ Avicii (ah-VEE’-chee) is launching a foundation in his memory. The international pop star, whose name was Tim Bergling, died in Muscat, Oman, on April 20, 2018. He was 28 years old. Police said there was no evidence of foul play. His family announced Tuesday that the Tim Bergling Foundation will initially focus on supporting people and organizations in the field of mental illness and suicide prevention. It also will be active in climate change, nature conservation and endangered species. The foundation’s objectives may be pursued in Sweden and abroad. The international pop star performed his electronic dance songs at music festivals around the world and landed on U.S. radio with his country-dance mashup “Wake Me Up.” He retired from touring in 2016.
WITH ‘BLACK PANTHER’ AND NOW ‘US,’ WINSTON DUKE IS ON A ROLL
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Winston Duke says he wanted his character in the new horror sensation “Us” to have sitcom dad energy. Duke plays the dual roles of the all-American dad Gabe and his murderous doppelganger Abraham in the Jordan Peele-written and directed film. For Gabe, Duke says he looked to classic characters Homer Simpson and Carl Winslow of “Family Matters” for inspiration. “Us” is now playing in theaters nationwide and earned more than $70 million at the North American box office this weekend.
KHALID, BRANDI CARLILE, KELLY CLARKSON TO SING AT ACM AWARDS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The ACM Awards will feature collaborations between pop star Khalid (kah-LEED’) and Kane Brown, three-time Grammy-winner Brandi Carlile with Dierks Bentley and pop star Kelly Clarkson pulling double-duty with performances with both Jason Aldean and Dan + Shay. The awards show is also bringing back its flashback performance slots, this time with upcoming Country Music Hall of Famers Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs. Miranda Lambert, the most awarded ACM artist with 32 wins, will perform with George Strait, and sing a medley of her own hits. Eric Church will perform with new female artist winner Ashley McBryde, while Aldean, who is receiving the ACM Artist of the Decade award during the April 7 show, will also perform with Florida Georgia Line. Maren Morris will perform with Brothers Osborne.
WINFREY, SPIELBERG, ANISTON WILL HAVE SHOWS ON TV PLUS
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) – Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston will have shows on the new Apple TV Plus service. Apple announced it as part of its rollout of new products yesterday in Cupertino, California. The service will launch this fall.