STEVIE WONDER RELEASES VIDEO MESSAGE ON MLK DAY
NEW YORK (AP) – Stevie Wonder says of all the awards and tributes he has received during his career, he feels his biggest accomplishment was having his song “Happy Birthday” help create a national holiday for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Wonder has released a video as an open letter to King for yesterday’s holiday. In it, Wonder says if King were alive today, he “would not believe the lack of progress.” Wonder says the racial problems that persist in this country make him “physically sick.” Wonder called on the incoming Biden administration to form a national commission on equality. Wonder didn’t call out the Trump administration by name. But he did say people “can not be afraid to confront a lie and a liar” – and that those who don’t acknowledge the truth, “should be held accountable.”
SPIKE LEE REMEMBERS KING ASSASSINATION IN APPEARANCE ON JIMMY FALLON
NEW YORK (AP) – Spike Lee says though he was only 11 years old when Martin Luther King was assassinated – he has vivid memories of that day in 1968. He says he was sitting on the stoop of his home in Brooklyn, New York – when he heard a woman screaming over and over, “they killed Dr. King.” It was his mother – who had heard the news about the events in Memphis, Tennessee. Lee says he believes King was killed because he began speaking out against the Vietnam War. The filmmaker says it’s ironic that during Vietnam, Blacks made up about 33% of the American fighting force, while representing just 10% of the U.S. population.
GARTH BROOKS SAYS PERFORMING AT INAUGURATION ISN’T POLITICAL
NEW YORK (AP) – Garth Brooks says performing at a presidential inauguration “is not a political statement.” Rather, he says it’s “a statement of unity.” Brooks will perform tomorrow at the Biden-Harris inauguration in Washington. It will be his second performance for an incoming president in the past three inaugurations. He performed for Barack Obama’s swearing-in in 2009, but skipped Trump’s in 2017. Brooks says he was asked to play for Trump, but turned down the invite because of a scheduling conflict. Other musicians taking part in the swearing-in event tomorrow include Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.
JESSICA BIEL AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE WELCOME NEW BABY
UNDATED (AP) – Justin Timberlake says having a second child in the family means less sleep – and more work – for him and his wife, Jessica Biel. Timberlake talked about the arrival of the couple’s new child during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ show yesterday. Timberlake says the new arrival is named Phineas, who joins his 5-year-old brother Silas in the clan. Timberlake used a football analogy to describe the challenge of keeping up with two kids. He says it’s like having to switch from playing a “zone” defense to mastering “one-on-one” coverage. Timberlake says he usually ends up “covering” one kid, while Biel looks after the other.