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Ray J Dances with Tupac Hologram (Video)

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Singer and Love and Hip Hop star Ray J, recently celebrated the late Tupac Shakur’s 44th birthday by dancing with the famed hologram of the late rapper from the Coachella Festival of 2012. Check out the video below:

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TMZ

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Update: Bobbi Kristina is in Medically Induced Coma

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According to the Daily Mail since our report (see here) Bobbi Kristina, daughter of the late Whitney Houston, and Bobby Brown, is now in a medically induced coma. Bobbi was found earlier face down in a bathtub in a drug induced overdose earlier today.

UPDATE: After being treated and revived at a Roswell, Georgia hospital early Saturday morning, TMZreports medical authorities are taking more measures to stabilize Bobbi Kristina Brown.

‘Sources close to the family tell TMZ Bobbi Kristina has been placed in a medically induced coma for swelling of the brain,’ the website reported at approximately 2:00 pm PST.

Earlier Saturday, Roswell Police Department Spokeswoman Lisa Holland confirmed Brown was alive at the hospital, and hospital sources confirmed she was breathing but wouldn’t disclose if it was on her own or with the aid of a ventilator. Brown’s father, Bobby Brown is believed to be on his way to Roswell to be with his daughter and family. The reports come nearly three years to the day when Brown’s mother, Whitney Houston, was found dead on February 11 in the bathtub of a Beverly Hills Hotel.

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Breaking News: Whitney Houston’s Daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Found Unresponsive in Bathtub

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Prayers up for the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby brown who was just found unresponsive in a bathtub less than an hour ago.

NBC News reports that Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Georgia home Saturday, police said. Brown’s husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend found her in the tub in the morning and started CPR, the Roswell Police Department said in a statement. Police and rescue personnel arrived at the home, north of Atlanta, at 10:25 a.m. and performed “life-saving measures” before Brown, 21, was brought breathing to the nearby North Fulton Hospital.

The incident remains under investigation, police said. It comes less than two weeks before the third anniversary of Houston’s death. The Grammy-winning singer was found submerged in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills, California, hotel on Feb. 11, 2012. She was later pronounced dead. Brown is also the daughter of R&B singer Bobby Brown.

 Houston, 48, had struggled for years with cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her behavior had become erratic. Authorities examining Houston’s death found a dozen prescription drug bottles in the hotel suite. They concluded that she accidentally drowned. Heart disease and cocaine use were also listed as contributing factors in her death.

Earlier this month, Lifetime released the biopic, “Whitney,” which focused on the “I Will Always Love You” singer’s drug use. Houston’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston, released a statement blasting the film and said neither her mother, Cissy Houston, or Bobbi Kristina Brown, were consulted.

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State of Texas Set to Execute Man with IQ of 67 Tonight

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(Reuters) – Texas plans on Thursday to execute Robert Ladd, 57, who was convicted of beating a woman to death with a hammer in her home in 1996 and then setting her body on fire.

The execution by lethal injection is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville.

If it goes ahead, Ladd would be the 520th person executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Nearly 40 percent of all the executions in the United States in that time have taken place in Texas.

Lawyers for Ladd have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, saying he is intellectually disabled with an IQ of 67 and that executing him would be unconstitutional.

Ladd was convicted of sexually assaulting Vicki Garner, beating and choking her to death, and then setting her body on fire. She was found half naked with her legs and wrists bound by electric cords, state officials said.

Ladd stole several items from the residence and exchanged them for cocaine, the State Attorney General’s Office said.

DNA evidence and a palm print found at the scene implicated Ladd in the crime, it said.

Ladd won a last-minute appeal of an execution planned for April 2003 to give the courts more time to examine records indicating he was mentally impaired.

Courts allowed the execution to be put on hold until 2013 when his petition for a stay was struck down by a U.S. district court.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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‘Warning Shot’ Case’s Marissa Alexander Released from Jail

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan 27 (Reuters) – A Florida woman who says she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband was released from a Jacksonville jail on Tuesday under a plea deal that capped her sentence to the three years she had already served.

Marissa Alexander, 34, was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 but her conviction was later overturned. She faced another trial on charges that could have put her behind bars for 60 years before she agreed to a plea deal in November.

Her case helped to inspire a new state law permitting warning shots in some circumstances.

Leaving the courthouse, Alexander cried as she thanked her supporters, sharing plans to continue her education in order to work as a paralegal.

“My hope is for the people who were involved in this case to be able to move on with their lives,” she said, reading from a prepared statement.

She declined to answer further questions.

At her sentencing hearing, Alexander’s attorney noted that she had agreed to the deal to avoid putting all involved, including her three children, through a high-profile trial.

Alexander pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault for firing a shot in the direction of her husband, Rico Gray, during a 2010 argument while two of his children were also in the house.

She also agreed to serve two years of house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor. She will be allowed to work, attend classes and take her children to school and medical appointments.

Circuit Court Judge James Daniel denied a request by prosecutors to add two years of probation to her sentence at the conclusion of the house arrest.

Prosecutors called as a witness 15-year-old Pernell Gray, who said his life changed the day his stepmother fired the gun in his presence.

“I was not hurt physically, but I was hurt emotionally and mentally,” he said.

Outside the Duval County courthouse, Alexander’s supporters from around the nation unfurled pieces of a red quilt memorializing victims of rape and abuse.

“Self-defense is not a crime. Marissa should not be doing time,” a group of about 50 people holding hands chanted upon her release, calling for her to be pardoned.

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a civil rights organizer, had come from Chattanooga, Tennessee to support Alexander.

“Marissa’s story resonates with people because it was a victimless crime,” she said. “There is no justice in it.” (Writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Will Dunham, Dan Grebler and Eric Walsh)

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Teenage girl shot and killed by The Denver Police Department: Justifiable or Reckless you be the judge?

PHOTO: Denver police shot and killed a female suspect early Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, after they said she drove a stolen car at officers, hitting one of them in the leg. Neighbors described the driver as a teenager. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

DENVER — Several dozen people with candles and protest signs gathered near the alley where Denver police officers fatally shot a 16-year-old girl on Monday, recalling her bright smile and demanding answers about the deadly encounter.

Police shot the teenager early Monday morning after they say she struck and injured an officer with a stolen car. Authorities did not release the girl’s name, but friends identified her as Jessica Hernandez.

“We’re angry about it. It’s another life taken by another cop,” said 19-year-old Cynthia Valdez, a close friend and schoolmate of the girl. “She was trying to find her talent. She wanted to find out what she wanted to be. … Who knows what she could have been?”

Few details were immediately released after the shooting in an alley in the older, middle-class residential neighborhood. The four other people in the car were not injured by the gunfire, and all were being questioned as part of the investigation, police said. It was not clear whether any had been arrested.

Police Chief Robert White said an officer was called to check on a suspicious vehicle and a colleague arrived after it was determined the car had been reported stolen.

In a statement, police said the two officers then “approached the vehicle on foot when the driver drove the car into one of the officers.”

White said both officers then opened fire. The officer hit by the car was taken to a hospital with a leg injury.

Bobbie Diaz, whose 16-year-old daughter was in the car, said she was lying in bed when she heard four gunshots followed by an officer yelling “Freeze! Get out of the car! Get down!”

Diaz said she came outside to see officers with their guns drawn pulling people out of the car, including Jessica.

“She seemed like she was not responding, not moving,” she said. “They just yanked her out and handcuffed her.”

Meanwhile, Diaz said she heard another person screaming “She’s dead! She’s dead!”

“I’m just trying to process everything. I’m just heartbroken for the girl’s family,” Diaz said. “How could something like this happen again?”

Another woman, Arellia Hammock, who has lived in the neighborhood for about a decade, said she heard three gunshots about 6:30 a.m. and then saw several police cars streaming down the street. Hammock said she understands one of the officers was injured, but “that’s still no reason to shoot.”

“They shouldn’t have stolen a car. But the cops are too fast on the gun,” she said. “You’ve got stun guns. You’ve got rubber bullets. Why do they have to shoot all the time?”

That sentiment was echoed during Monday’s vigil as some held signs decrying police brutality.

One of the signs read “Girls’ Lives Matter,” a play on the “Black Lives Matter” chant that became a rallying cry after the police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

“It should have been handled differently. She’s a young girl. I’m just not OK with it,” said 16-year-old Destiny Moya, who grew up with Jessica.

Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, which was being conducted by police, the district attorney and the Office of the Independent Monitor, a civilian oversight agency for the city.

source

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Rapper Tiny Doo Facing Life in Prison Over Rap Lyrics Under CA Law

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(CNN)

 Song lyrics that glorify violence are hardly uncommon. But a prosecutor in California says one rapper’s violent lyrics go beyond creative license to conspiracy.

San Diego-based rapper Tiny Doo has already spent eight months in prison, and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted under a little-known California statute that makes it illegal to benefit from gang activities.

The statute in question is California Penal Code 182.5. The code makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity.

It’s that last part — benefiting from criminal activity — that prosecutors are going after the rapper for.

Tiny Doo, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, faces nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy because prosecutors allege he and 14 other alleged gang members increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013.

Prosecutors point to Tiny Doo’s album, “No Safety,” and to lyrics like “Ain’t no safety on this pistol I’m holding” as examples of a “direct correlation to what the gang has been doing.”

No one suggests the rapper ever actually pulled a trigger.

In fact, Duncan may rap about violence but he’s got no criminal record.

Duncan told CNN’s Don Lemon he’s just “painting a picture of urban street life” with his lyrics.

“The studio is my canvas. I’m just painting a picture,” he said. “I’m not telling anybody to go out and kill somebody.”

He denied any involvement with any gang but said the prosecution has him concerned about future creative expression.

“I would love to continue to rap,” he said. “But these people have you scared to do anything around here.”

Prosecutors say lyrics aren’t the only evidence they have. At Duncan’s preliminary hearing, they presented social media posts that they say prove Duncan is still a gang member.

CNN Legal Analyst Mark Geragos says the district attorney may be trying to send a message “that you shouldn’t glorify or glamorize gang activity.”

“The problem is you’re going to run straight head-on into the First Amendment,” he said. “If they don’t have anything other than the album, this case I don’t think would ever stand up.”

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The Problem with Diversity in Hollywood

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Selma was snubbed in the acting and directing categories, and the fact that one film was left bearing the burdens of diversity in this year’s awards race — the whitest in nearly 20 years — is a big problem.

In a BuzzFeed Entertainment conversation with Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo, André Holland, and Stephan James in Selma discusses the differences in a roundtable interview.

Alison Willmore: So Selma was snubbed at the Oscar nominations this morning. Mostly. It got a best picture nod, which isn’t nothing, and one for best song for Common and John Legend’s “Glory.” But in categories like Best Actor (for David Oyelowo) and Best Director (Ava DuVernay), it was left out in the cold, meaning that the performing categories, in particular, are entirely white this year. It sucks, but are you surprised, Kelley?

Kelley L. Carter: Sadly, not at all. I feel like this is such an evergreen conversation to have in Hollywood — at least for the last few years. The pattern to me has been that Hollywood green-lights a compelling film that features diverse characters — in this case, we’re talking about African-Americans — and then the acting, the writing, the directing is amazing, but here’s the rub: There’s so much pressure on that one film to carry it on home. Selma unfortunately was the film that fit the bill this year. As a film critic, what did you think it was missing?

AW: A more formulaic, feel-good structure? I feel like Selma might have been too nuanced, too focused on process and the very human imperfections of even great men like Martin Luther King Jr. It didn’t give in to easy triumphalism — and then, racism was solved, and we never spoke of it again. It showcased the work that was required to bring about change, and spoke directly to present-day race relations, having an immediacy that this year’s other period dramas, like Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game, lacked. And that’s what’s really frustrating to me — DuVernay made something that fit into the basic mold of the awardsy movie, but it managed to be much better and more complex. And she still didn’t get a nomination!

KLC: I love that perspective, and I agree. I believe that once DuVernay tweaked the screenplay to really focus on the freedom fighters and the everyday people who took to the streets for social change, she and the studio knew they had something amazing on their hands. All of the other unfortunate news of 2014 (the Mike Brown and Eric Garner deaths) only fueled this film, giving it a timely feel, even though we’re dealing with subject matter from 50 years ago. The studio shot this film in a ridiculously short time period because they KNEW that it deserved a fighting chance to not just be seen this holiday season, but to go head-to-head with some of the best films of the year. Sadly, I think that played a role in this film not getting more recognition — and I don’t just mean at the Oscars.

AW: Here’s the thing — it’s upsetting to me that Selma has been left out of a lot of major awards along the way to this point, which may or may not be due to how Paramount handled the film’s campaign. But the outrage and resignation so many people are expressing now about the lack of people of color (and women, for that matter) in so many of the Academy Award categories feels like a conversation we should have been having months ago. Like, haven’t we all been watching the same Oscar race until now? It hasn’t exactly been diverse! It’s terrible that it only takes the snubbing of one movie to whitewash this year’s acting race.

KLC: Yes! And as I said earlier, this is a really evergreen conversation. Here’s a conversation I hear from black folks often: “Why are the only films that get green-lit — that are considered compelling and rich and layered — the ones that deal with the ugliest bit of our history?” That’s a valid conversation to have. Whenever films that center around black, Native American, Latino, or Asian characters, it always is tied to the most challenging elements of history — or it almost always centers around identity. Now, I don’t think that black people should have any shame about descending from slaves or duck our heads because of what our lives may have looked like post-Reconstruction, and I understand that those stories are amazing.

To me, 12 Years a Slave was one of the best films I’ve ever seen, yet I know of a lot of black people who refused to see it because they’re (we’re) sick of seeing the same themes played out on a Hollywood screen year after year while calling it THE black experiences. Like, the only ones: slavery. Reconstruction. Civil rights. That’s all you get (that’s compelling), black people! I feel the same way when it comes to other ethnic groups as well. What I would love to see are more colorblind casting choices, where blacks, Asians, and Latinos get to play rich, complex characters even though they’re not white. Other than Denzel Washington in Training Day and Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball, I struggle to think (without researching it) of the last time someone black was nominated for a role that had nothing to do with slavery, the civil rights movement, etc. Also: even with Washington and Berry’s roles and wins, these films still centered on urban strife, which ultimately equals “black stories.” I live for the day when this isn’t always the case.

AW: Washington also got a nod for Flight, which was such a rarity in terms of not being a story centered on his character’s race that it looks practically subversive in this context — it’s too bad the movie was so unmemorable. But he’s also two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, to whom the Academy has already given its stamp of approval, and who won his first award for Glory, which is exactly the kind of drama you described, Kelley. When it comes to stories about people of color, the Oscars have always saved their favor for a very specific type of film. And that’s exasperating when there were other movies worthy of attention — and still not many of them! — that were left out of awards talk this year. I know I liked Get On Up much more than you did, but can we agree that Chadwick Boseman was practically incandescent when playing James Brown on stage? And what about Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s movie duo, Beyond the Lights and Belle?

KLC: EXACTLY! You’re so on the money with what you said about Denzel. It’s why last year I was really disappointed to see that the Academy ignored Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station. That was a real chance to show that Hollywood is harvesting — and highlighting — the next crop of actors. And even though it was a story based on real life, it was a chance to mix things up a bit, and give us something different. But it feels like Hollywood consistently wants to stick with the one or two black actors who they think have a following and that’s it. And like you said, this year would have been a great time to introduce a larger audience to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who really should be primed to be the next big thing. I love Chadwick Boseman and think he’s an amazing actor, and I wanted something different from Get On Up, but he is undeniably a fantastic actor who should be on the biggest award stages at some point. We just need for Hollywood to open the gates a bit more to casting actors of color in roles that aren’t just decidedly black.

AW: And in the meantime, the accepted narrow definition of what an awardworthy movie about people of color is supposed to look like means that Selma was left carrying a huge burden of expectations through this season. It was being declared this year’s 12 Years a Slave before anyone ever saw it, and not because people thought the movies would have that much in common in terms of style or structure. It’s insane that there would be only room for one black movie per year in the mainstream awards conversation, and that the triumph of 2013’s one black movie might hurt the chances of 2014’s. But that’s the narrative the Oscars have been suggesting, and it’s not just infuriating — it’s making the awards seem increasingly irrelevant.

KLC: And that to me is the big issue here: There’s this unwillingness to open the door just an inch wider to let someone else inside. I think it’s fair to say we both enjoyed the films and performances that are up for Oscars this year — for the most part. The problem isn’t really that the Academy voters got it wrong, per se. It’s just that they didn’t have much to work with — this is the whitest Oscar race since 1998. Hollywood needs to unlatch the gate and let more women and more people of color tell more stories in front of and behind the camera. And if Hollywood studios continue to still turn a blind eye, it’s time to consider the idea that the industry may just not apply much value to diverse stories at all.

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A$AP Yams, Founder of A$AP Mob, Dead at 26

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Very sad news about  A$AP Yams, founder of A$AP Mob, who passed away this weekend at the young age of 26.

Rollingstone reported that Steven Rodriguez, better known in the music world as A$AP Yams or Yamborghini has died, his label confirmed in a statement.

While cause of death and other details remain unknown, nearly every member of the A$AP Mob, the Harlem hip-hop collective that Yams established and helped bring to prominence, have taken to social media to mourn their founder. “You will be missed Bro. We done touched a lot of ground together, landed on a lot of different soil,” A$AP Ferg wrote on Tumblr. “You will always be loved & your spirit will live on!”

Rodriguez, who ran a hip-hop blog and built a reputation as a key tastemaker before founding the A$AP Mob, is credited with helping the collective secure their big money record contract and shepherding the careers of breakout stars A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. In a 2013 New York Times profile, Yams broke down his role as, “Rocky’s like Luke Skywalker, and I’m Yoda.”

Since news of A$AP Yams’ death first began to spread on social media, countless tributes have poured in from both the A$AP Mob and the hip-hop community. “Rest in peace Yams. A$AP is family,” Drake tweeted, while Wale wrote, “Yams was a great spirit. Always wit the jokes good vibes EVERYtime.” Chamillionaire, Danny Brown, Lil B, Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, Wiz Khalifa and countless more have all paid their respects to Yams on Twitter. “A.S.A.P YAMS should be remembered as a leader, an innovator and most importantly as an important part of NYC youth culture,” Azealia Banks tweeted.

In a statement, RCA Records wrote, “All of us at RCA Records are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of A$AP Yams. As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams’ vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

As BET notes, Yams had struggled with drug addiction in recent years, particularly codeine and Xanax, but the A$AP mogul entered a rehab facility in July 2014 to curb his habit. However, Yams’ last tweet on January 16th was “Bodeine Brazy,” a nod to his drug of choice.

“We wanted to become big but we didn’t want to do it by hopping on somebody else’s wave,” Yams said in the New York Times piece. “We wanted to come in the game with our own wave.” In addition to the steady stream of condolences, A$AP Ferg also shared a video of Yams discussing his craft and his clothing label:

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R.I.P./ Rest in Power Big Bank Hank of The Sugarhill Gang August 5, 1957 – November 11, 2014

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Henry Lee Jackson (January 11, 1956 – November 11, 2014), known by his stage name, Big Bank Hank, was an American old school rapper. Also known as Imp the Dimp, he was a member of The Sugarhill Gang, the first hip hop act to have a hit single, “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979.

 

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Hank died in New York on November 11, 2014, from kidney complications due to cancer. He was 58 years old.