- Created on 02 January 2013
(AP) — Bobby Womack has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member told the BBC in a recent interview the diagnosis comes after he began having difficulty remembering his songs and the names of people he's worked with.
A spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a message left by the Associated Press.
The soul singer has cut a wide path through the music business as a performer and songwriter in his 50-year career and recently launched another act with "The Bravest Man in the Universe," the Damon Albarn-produced comeback album that recently made several best-of lists.
Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease characterized by memory loss. It's the latest health problem for the 68-year-old singer, who's also been fighting cancer and other maladies.
- Created on 02 January 2013
(CNN) -- Reality for TLC's T-Boz has been a challenge, starting at age 7, when she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.
"I was told I wouldn't live past 30, I would be disabled my whole life and I would never become a mother," T-Boz, a member of one of the most successful girl groups ever, told CNN. "My daughter is Chase. She's 12. I've traveled the world in one of the best groups ever. I'm 42."
Reality called again five years ago when doctors found a brain tumor, which left her partially blind and deaf.
"But after losing my sight, hearing, balance and speech, yes, I'm returning," said T-Boz, whose real name is Tionne Watkins. "I had to take three years to heal and fight for everything that I wanted back.
T-Boz is sharing the lessons learned from hard reality in a reality TV show that premieres Tuesday night, coincidentally on a network with the same name as her group -- TLC.
"It's about 20 years later, me coming back from the brain tumor and doing things I want to do," she said. "You'll hear about all that in the show, my real-life struggles, being a single mother. I don't care how much money you have in the world. It's not about that. It's all about time. I'm in charge of raising a young woman one day, to be a mother and hopefully a wife. All of that. As you know, being a parent, that's probably the hardest job ever"
"Totally T-Boz" is real -- especially compared with most shows, she said: "They're fake as all get-out, right? I'm real."
Her experience with reality TV includes being fired by Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2009.
"If I'm not the chick you want, because you don't want that, then they'll probably censure me," she said. "That's fine, but I'm staying me, because I'm happy and I've always been happy in my skin."
Like other entertainers who disappear from the spotlight for a while, T-Boz never stopped working while she focused on raising her daughter and fighting for her health.
"I get a lot of 'Oh, you've been gone,'" she said. "I wasn't gone. Just because you didn't see me doesn't mean I wasn't working and collecting checks. I just wasn't singing and doing videos. I do a lot of other things, like I said, like writing scripts and stuff like that. I write for other artists."
When a doctor told her that her headaches were caused by a tumor, "I said 'Say huh? Say huh?" she said. The diagnosis triggered a string of emotions, but never anger, she said.
"I had that fight," she said. "I want to live. I didn't have time to die."
The hardest time was not knowing if the tumor was cancerous and if it would kill her, she said.
She began a desperate search for doctors she trusted who did not look at her "just like I was a dollar sign," she said.
"They're like, 'You know, sickle cell can cause complications because it will turn on your body, your heart and lungs. You could just die, have a stroke," she said. "I was like, Jesus, Lord, what's going on?"
Some doctors told her removing her tumor through surgery would be too complicated. "It's just like they wanted to still keep the tumor in my head, and maybe burn some of your cells and you may not remember something."
"In my gut, I know if I had stayed in Atlanta, and let them touch me, I wouldn't be here," she said. "I wasn't going to make it through those surgeries. I was going to die. And I felt that."
She chose a Los Angeles doctor to oversee her treatment and brain surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
"I said, 'I know this is him in my heart," she said. "I packed up my stuff and my family and I came here."
But she had to make a decision.
"I had to give the order of what I wanted to be saved," she said. "So I said my face first, because you couldn't look at me and tell I'm deaf or blind. My hearing second, because I still want to hear and sing and have my speech. And then my balance. So they took my balance completely from the right."
But after three years of physical therapy to teach her brain how to compensate for the loss of balance, "mostly everything else is back. I can hear and see and I can speak," she said. "So I am blessed."
When you meet her now, it's hard now to tell anything was ever wrong with T-Boz.
"I still have a crooked smile and just certain things I deal with, but I'll take all of that to be back here and be Chase's mother," she said.
Predictions of her lifespan are still pessimistic, but her optimism rejects them.
"Now they're saying 45, and I plan to be talking to y'all at 56," she said. "I'd rather take over the disease than let it take over me. Let's put it that way."
T-Boz has a lot left to do. This year is the 20th anniversary of when she teamed with Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas as TLC.
VH1 is producing a bio-pic about them, which means T-Boz is back in the studio working on the soundtrack.
"It's going to be hard to see who can dance like us," she said. "I don't even think I could do me again. Could I do T-Boz again the way I did it?"
The reunited group -- with a replacement for Lopes, who died in a 2002 auto accident in Honduras -- will also tour to support the release of a new album, which includes two new singles.
And T-Boz has her own song out called "Champion," with the profits going to a charity for children with blood disorders.
"There's a lot of people who have been going through what I went through and I want to help whoever I can," she said. "I want to share my story because I think God spared me for a reason. I think that I'm supposed do something with it."
- Created on 28 December 2012
(AP) — Fontella Bass, a St. Louis-born soul singer who hit the top of the R&B charts with "Rescue Me" in 1965, has died. She was 72.
Bass died Wednesday night at a St. Louis hospice of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said. Bass had also suffered a series of strokes over the past seven years.
"She was an outgoing person," Mitchell said of her mother. "She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat."
Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.
Bass began performing at a young age, singing in her church's choir at age 6. She was surrounded by music, often traveling on national tours with her mother and her gospel group.
Her interest turned from gospel to R&B when she was a teenager and she began her professional career at the Showboat Club in north St. Louis at age 17. She eventually auditioned for Chess Records and landed a recording contract, first as a duet artist. Her duet with Bobby McClure, "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing," reached No. 5 on the R&B charts and No. 33 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1965.
She co-wrote and later that year recorded "Rescue Me," reaching No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart. Bass's powerful voice bore a striking resemblance to that of Aretha Franklin, who is often misidentified as the singer of that chart-topping hit.
Bass had a few other modest hits but by her own accounts developed a reputation as a troublemaker because she demanded more artistic control, and more money for her songs. She haggled over royalty rights to "Rescue Me" for years before reaching a settlement in the late 1980s, Mitchell said. She sued American Express over the use of "Rescue Me" in a commercial, settling for an undisclosed amount in 1993.
"Rescue Me" has been covered by many top artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Melissa Manchester and Pat Benatar. Franklin eventually sang a form of it too — as "Deliver Me" in a Pizza Hut TV ad in 1991.
Bass lived briefly in Europe before returning to St. Louis in the early 1970s, where she and husband Lester Bowie raised their family. She recorded occasionally, including a 1995 gospel album, "No Ways Tired," that earned a Grammy nomination.
Bass was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2000.
Funeral arrangements for Bass were incomplete. She is survived by four children. Bowie died in 1999.
- Created on 31 December 2012
(AP) — A kid for Kimye: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting their first child.
The rapper announced at a concert Sunday night that his girlfriend is pregnant. Kardashian was in the crowd at Revel Resort's Ovation Hall with her mother, Kris Jenner, and West's mentor and best friend, Jay-Z. West told the crowd of more than 5,000 in song form: "Now you having my baby."
The crowd roared. And so did people on the Internet.
The news instantly went viral on Twitter and Facebook, with thousands posting and commenting on the expecting couple.
Most of the Kardashian clan also tweeted about the news, including Kim's sisters. Kourtney Kardashian wrote: "Another angel to welcome to our family. Overwhelmed with excitement!"
West, 35, also told concertgoers to congratulate his "baby mom" and that this was the "most amazing thing."
Representatives for West and Kardashian, 32, didn't immediately respond to emails about the pregnancy.
The rapper and reality TV star went public in March.
Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries in August 2011 and their divorce is not finalized.
West's Sunday-night show was his third consecutive performance at Revel. He took the stage for nearly two hours, performing hits like "Good Life," ''Jesus Walks" and "Clique" in an all-white ensemble with two bandmates.
AP Writer Bianca Roach contributed to this report.
- Created on 27 December 2012
After dating for two years, R&B diva Janet Jackson is finally getting hitched again and this time it's to a man who is loaded. The lucky man is Qatari millionaire Wissam Al Mana, according to the US Weekly.
Al Mana, 37, gave Jackson a "huge expensive ring" earlier this year according to published reports, but she was terrified of misplacing it so it was kept in a vault.
Al Mana, who is worth a reported $200 million, has built his net worth as managing director of Al Mana Retail and is one of the richest investors in the Middle East. He is a shareholder in the Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Dubai, Doha, Bahrain and Kuwait. Al-Mana's company, Al Mana Luxury Company, represents A/X Armani Exchange and other luxury brands.
As far as any children in the couple's future, the source told US Weekly that Jackson definitely wants some of her own.