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September 23, 2021
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September 23, 2021
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CLOSING ARGUMENTS BEGIN IN R. KELLY’S TRIAL
NEW YORK (AP) – R. Kelly’s New York trial on racketeering and sex-trafficking charges is heading into the final phases. Yesterday, prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes said in closing arguments that Kelly ran a criminal enterprise that included assistants, drivers and bodyguards who helped him target and exploit girls, boys and young women for sexual purposes. Kelly’s defense will give its closing arguments next. Kelly’s lawyers have said his accusers were groupies who tried to cash in on his fame. Meanwhile, a judge in Chicago yesterday says Kelly’s criminal case there will be on hold until the outcome of the New York trial is known.

 

BRITNEY SPEARS OFFICIALLY ASKS COURT FOR END OF CONSERVATORSHIP
LOS ANGELES (AP) – For the first time, Britney Spears has said in court documents she wants to end the conservatorship that runs her life. The first step: she wants her dad out. Spears’ attorney filed documents yesterday in Los Angeles saying Spears fully consents to ending the conservatorship, and “a necessary first” is for her father, James Spears, to be removed. He had overseen her personal life and finances for most of the past 13 years, but only her finances for the past two. James Spears had said in court documents earlier this month he would step down from the role, but he did not give a timeline. Britney Spears’ documents also show that she is putting together a pre-nuptial agreement after she recently got engaged to her boyfriend, Sam Asghari.

 

RIHANNA CONSIDERS NEW MUSIC AS SHE CREATES NEXT FASHION SHOW
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rihanna is hoping to blow up your perception of her music with her next album. Rihanna puts it this way: “You’re not going to expect what you hear. Just put that in your mind.” She says she treats music like fashion, in that she likes to play and experiment and do what she wants. Speaking of fashion, Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3” event will air tomorrow on Amazon Prime Video. She says while she’s done her best to represent all shapes and colors of women, there’s a group she’s neglected: men. Rihanna says lots of male models are all about the six-pack abs, but she wants to show men of all shapes as well.

 

REMY MA TAKES TITLE ROLE IN “THE DELRHONDA HOOD STORY”
NEW YORK (AP) – Remy Ma will take her first role as a lead character in an upcoming TV movie about the true story of the head of a Detroit drug empire. She will portray Delrhonda “Big Fifty” Hood in BET’s “American Gangster Presents: Big Fifty – The Delrhonda Hood Story.” It premieres Sept. 30.

 

MUSGRAVES, HALSEY AMONG MUSICAL GUESTS ON “SNL”
NEW YORK (AP) – Kacey Musgraves will be the musical guest for the first episode of the new season of “Saturday Night Live.” Owen Wilson will host that episode, which airs Oct. 2 on NBC. Kim Kardashian West will host on Oct. 9, with Halsey as the musical guest. Young Thug will perform on the Oct. 16 episode with Rami Malek as host. Jason Sudeikis returns to “SNL” to host for the first time on Oct. 23, with Brandi Carlile as the musical guest.

 

BRANDI CARLILE, STURGILL SYMPSON AMONG WINNERS AT AMERICANA HONORS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile added another trophy to her shelf as she won artist of the year at the 2021 Americana Honors and Awards show.
Meanwhile, country singer Sturgill Simpson took home the album of the year award.
Late folk singer John Prine won song of the year for “I Remember Everything.” He died last year from complications of COVID-19.
The annual awards show returned in-person last night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee The event was canceled last year before of the pandemic.

 

 

GROUNDBREAKING FILMMAKER MELVIN VAN PEEBLES DIES
NEW YORK (AP) – A pioneering filmmaker who took on Hollywood on his own terms has died. His family says Melvin Van Peebles died Tuesday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 89. He’s credited with ushering in the “blaxploitation” film wave of the 1970s. He is lionized for the movie “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” – and not just because of its racy title. He wrote, produced, directed, starred in – an even scored – the movie, which told of a Black street hustler who tries to elude police after killing white officers who were beating a Black revolutionary. Its budget was just a half million dollars – but it made $14 million at the box office. It also spawned a series of movies with Black heroes like “Shaft” and “Superfly.”

 

R. KELLY PROSECUTORS BEGIN SUMMATION FOR JURY
NEW YORK (AP) – A federal prosecutor says R. Kelly was able to get away with sexually abusing underage victims for more than two decades – because he surrounded himself with a bunch of people who helped him get away with it. And Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes is calling on the jury in his sex-trafficking trial to put a stop to that. In the first part of her closing argument, Geddes said Kelly “set rules, lots of them” – and demanded “complete obedience” to those rules by those around him. Prosecutors will continue their summation to the panel when court resumes today. Kelly denies the charges against him.

 

R. KELLY AND HIS CHICAGO CASE
CHICAGO (AP) – No matter what happens with R. Kelly in his federal sex-trafficking case in New York City, it won’t be the end of the legal drama for the singer. He faces another criminal case in his hometown of Chicago. A judge says that case remains on hold until the New York trial ends.

 

BRITNEY SPEARS FILES TO END CONSERVATORSHIP
LOS ANGELES (AP) – You might be surprised to know that for all of her complaining about the conservatorship she’s been under for more than a decade, Britney Spears has never formally asked the court to end it. But she has now. She has filed papers with a Los Angeles court asking that the arrangement that ruled her personal, professional and financial life be ended. That puts her in harmony with her father, who asked for the same result earlier this month. But her filing makes clear she and James Spears still are at odds. She says in her demand that getting her dad taken off the conservatorship is “a necessary first step” in regaining her freedom.

 

JOHNNY DEPP CLAIMS HE’S A VICTIM OF “CANCEL CULTURE”
SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (AP) – Johnny Depp claims he’s a victim of “cancel culture.” The actor known for doing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies says the trend is one that’s sweeping the movie industry – and amounts to what Depp calls an “instant rush to judgment.” Depp made the claim when asked at a Spanish film festival about losing roles in Hollywood in the wake of his ex-wife making allegations of domestic violence against him. The claims were heard in a trial last year – and the judge who ruled in it determined the abuse allegations against Depp were “substantially correct.”