- Created on 15 November 2012
Rhythm and Blues artist John Blu received multiple nominations for the upcoming 32nd annual Chicago Music Awards.
Blu leads the pack with four nominations for R&B Entertainer of the Years, Best Male Vocalist, Record Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will go to veteran drummers Tony Smith and Jack DeJohnette. Tony Bitoy and Evangelist Dolores Diggs will each receive the Award of Honor. Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites will receive the Producer's Award.
The ceremony will be held January 20 at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. For more information visit www.chicagomusicawards.org.
- Created on 14 November 2012
The HistoryMakers will welcome and honor Berry Gordy, Jr., founder of Motown Records, during An Evening with Berry Gordy on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
The program will consist of a one-on-one interview with Gordy conducted by award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill and taped live for airing on PBS-TV. Ifill's interview will lead the audience through Gordy's celebrated life as an entrepreneur, songwriter, record producer, and movie director and producer who has left an indelible influence on music and films both nationally and internationally. Popular recording artist Kem will perform and Gordy's son, Stefan Gordy -- known to the music world as Redfoo -- one-half of the hip-hop musical group, LMFAO, will be in attendance.
Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, serves as executive producer. Suzanne de Passe, former president of Motown Productions, and Charles Randolph-Wright, director of the upcoming Broadway production of Motown: the Musical, are serving as co-producers. Ray Chew, music director for American Idol, serves as the show's music producer. Music industry powerhouses Universal Music Group, Sony Music, David Geffen, Clarence Avant, and Jerry Moss are major underwriters for the evening.
- Created on 13 November 2012
Usher Raymond (pictured left), whose messy divorce then custody battle for his two children with his ex-wife Tameka Foster (pictured) became fodder for entertainment sites, has now placed his Georgia estate up for sale, which means the former Mrs. has to vacate the premises, reports the Daily Mail.
Usher reportedly had his legal eagles send his ex notification that she had to leave the 12,544-square-foot mansion back in September. The crooner, who initially purchased the home for a reported $3 million back in 2007, has placed it on the market for $3.2 million.
According to TMZ, Usher allowed Foster to live in the home for the last few years. The couple, who divorced in 2009, agreed as per their divorce settlement that Usher could sell the home at any given time as long as he notifies Foster 60 days in advance.
Foster, who now runs a small business, had no real income at the time of the split and had been relying on Usher to take care of her and the couple's two children (she also has two children from a previous marriage, one is deceased), according to unnamed sources.
Since Usher gained full primary custody of his two boys, Usher Raymond V, 4 and Naviyd, 3, this past summer, sources say he feels Foster has had more than enough time to make other living arrangements.
The home in question has 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, 10-foot ceilings, a pool, in-home gym, 3 fireplaces, and a library.
Ironically, it was revealed in October that Tameka has been threatened with another eviction after she failed to pay her landlord the rent for the three retail spaces in a Georgia complex she has rented for the last two years.
- Created on 14 November 2012
(AP) — In a quick turnabout, a man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy now says they had a relationship as adults and it was consensual.
The man, who has not identified himself, released his statement Tuesday through the Harrisburg, Pa., law firm Andreozzi & Associates. It is not known why he made the accusation.
Sesame Workshop, which produces "Sesame Street" in New York, soon followed by saying, "We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."
Clash also responded with a statement, saying he is "relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest." He had no further comment.
Neither Clash nor Sesame Workshop indicated on Tuesday when he might return to the show, on which he has performed as Elmo since 1984.
The whirlwind episode began Monday morning, when Sesame Workshop startled the world by announcing that Clash had taken a leave of absence from "Sesame Street" following allegations that he had had a relationship with a 16-year-old.
The 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter swiftly denied the charges of his accuser, who now is in his 20s. In that statement Clash acknowledged that he is gay but said the relationship had been between two consenting adults.
Though it remained unclear where the relationship took place, sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is at least 21.
Sesame Workshop, which said it was first contacted by the accuser in June, had launched an investigation that included meeting with the accuser twice and meeting with Clash. Its investigation found the charge of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.
Clash said on Monday he would take a break from Sesame Workshop "to deal with this false and defamatory allegation."
Elmo had previously been a marginal character on "Sesame Street," but Clash, supplying the fuzzy red puppet with a high-pitched voice and a carefree, child-like personality, launched the character into major stardom. Elmo soon rivaled Big Bird as the face of "Sesame Street."
Though usually behind the scenes, Clash achieved his own measure of fame. In 2006, he published an autobiography, "My Life as a Furry Red Monster," and he was the subject of the 2011 documentary "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey."
He has won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.
- Created on 12 November 2012
(AP) — The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on "Sesame Street" is taking a leave of absence from the iconic kids' show in the wake of allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
Puppeteer Kevin Clash has denied the charges, which, according to Sesame Workshop, were first made in June by the accuser, who by then was 23.
"We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action," Sesame Workshop said in a statement issued Monday. "We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation."
The organization described the relationship as "unrelated to the workplace." Its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised "poor judgment" and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no details.
"I had a relationship with the accuser," Clash said in a statement of his own. "It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was."
Sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is at least 21. It was unclear where the relationship took place, and there is no record of any criminal charge against Clash in the state.
Clash, the 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter, added, "I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.
"I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation," he said.
Neither Clash nor Sesame Workshop indicated how long his absence might be.
"Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of 'Sesame Street' to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years," Sesame Workshop said in its statement.
"Sesame Street" is in production, but other puppeteers are prepared to fill in for Clash during his absence, according to a person close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss details about the show's production.
"Elmo will still be a part of the shows being produced," that person said.
Though usually behind the scenes as Elmo's voice and animator, Clash has become a star in his own right. In 2006, he published an autobiography, "My Life as a Furry Red Monster," and was the subject of the 2011 documentary "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey."
In addition to his marquee role as Elmo, Clash also serves as the show's senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain.
He has won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.
Clash has been a puppeteer for "Sesame Street" since 1984, when he was handed the fuzzy red puppet with ping-pong-ball eyes and asked to come up with a voice for him. Clash transformed the character, which had languished as a marginal member of the Muppets family for a number of years, into a major star that rivaled Big Bird as the face of "Sesame Street."
Among children and adults alike, Elmo was quickly embraced as a frolicsome child with a high-pitched giggle and a tendency to speak of himself in the third person.
"I would love to be totally like Elmo," Clash said in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press. "He is playful and direct and positive."
Besides "Sesame Street," Elmo has made guest appearances on dozens of TV shows. He starred in the 1999 feature film "Elmo in Grouchland." And he has inspired a vast product line, notably the Tickle Me Elmo doll, which created a sales sensation with its introduction in 1996.