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Biden takes the helm as president: ‘Democracy has prevailed’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, summoning American resilience to confront a historic confluence of crises and urging people to come together to end an “uncivil war” in a nation deeply divided after four tumultuous years Declaring that “democracy has prevailed,” Biden took the oath at a U.S. Capitol that had been battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks earlier.
Harris team says it was blindsided by VP-elect’s Vogue cover
Rafael Payare to head Montreal Symphony starting in 2022-23
Grammy-winning producer Detail accused of sexual assault
Viola Davis, LeBron James among honorees at AAFCA TV Honors
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has landed on the cover of the February issue of Vogue magazine, but her team says there’s a problem: the shot of the country’s soon-to-be No. 2 leader isn’t what both sides had agreed upon, her team says.
Instead of the powder-blue power suit Harris wore for her cover shoot, the first African American and Asian American woman elected vice president is instead seen in more casual attire and wearing Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, which she sometimes wore on the campaign trail.
Harris’ team was unaware that the cover photo had been switched until images leaked late Saturday, according to a person involved in the negotiations over how Harris would be featured on the cover.
MONTREAL (AP) — Conductor Rafael Payare was hired Thursday as music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal starting with the 2022-23 season.
A Venezuelan who turns 41 on Feb. 23, Payare follows the lengthy tenures of Montreal music directors Kent Nagano (2006-20) and Charles Dutoit (1977–02).
Payare trained with Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim and Lorin Maazel. Payare has been music director of the San Diego Symphony since 2019-20 and has a contract there through 2025-26.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Viola Davis, Sterling K. Brown and LeBron James are among several honorees at the AAFCA TV Honors later this month.The African American Film Critics Association announced the recipients of the second annual event on Wednesday. The virtual ceremony is scheduled to air on Aug. 22. Comedian-actress Aida Rodriguez will host the invitation-only streamed event.“In a time of such uncertainty, we have witnessed how powerful the medium of television and streaming is,” said Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of AAFCA. “We couldn’t be more proud to honor shows and performances that uplift and inspire at a time when we all need entertainment the most.”
Eric Jerome Dickey, bestselling novelist, dead at 59
NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Jerome Dickey, the bestselling novelist who blended crime, romance and eroticism in “Sister, Sister,” “Waking With Enemies” and dozens of other stories about contemporary Black life, has died at age 59.
Dickey’s publicist at Penguin Random House, Emily Canders, told The Associated Press that the author died of cancer Sunday in Los Angeles. She did not immediately provide other details beyond listing four daughters among his survivors.
Dickey was an aspiring actor and stand-up comic who began writing fiction in his mid-30s and shaped a witty, conversational and sometimes graphic prose style. It brought him a wide readership through such novels as “Sister, Sister” and “Naughty or Nice” and through his “Gideon” crime fiction series, which included “Sleeping With Strangers” and “Resurrecting Midnight.”
He also worked on the screenplay for the 1998 movie “Cappuccino,” wrote a comic book miniseries for Marvel, and contributed to such anthologies as “Mothers and Sons” and “Black Silk: A Collection of African American Erotica.”
“In comedy you learn to write with flow — segue, setup, and punch line — but in a way that people won’t see or notice. And in theater you learn about character,” he told BookPage in 2000. “You’ve got to bring something to it, and what you bring is the understanding of the character you get from doing your homework, from understanding the little stuff like speech patterns and the way the character walks, and from understanding the big stuff — your character’s motivation.”
He wrote 29 novels in all, according to his publisher, and has more than 7 million copies in print worldwide. His final book, “The Son of Mr. Suleman,” comes out in April.
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman: ‘Even as we grieved, we grew.’
NEW YORK (AP) — In one of the inauguration’s most talked about moments, poet Amanda Gorman summoned images dire and triumphant Wednesday as she called out to the world “even as we grieved, we grew.”
The 22-year-old Gorman referenced everything from Biblical scripture and “Hamilton,” and at times echoed the oratory of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. With urgency and assertion she began by asking “Where can we find light/In this never-ending shade?” and used her own poetry and life story as an answer. The poem’s very title, “The Hill We Climb,” suggested both labor and transcendence.
“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
Of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we’ve found the power
To author a new chapter,
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.”
It was an extraordinary task for Gorman, the youngest by far of the poets who have read at presidential inaugurations since Kennedy invited Robert Frost in 1961, with other predecessors including Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander. Mindful of the past, she wore earrings and a caged bird ring — a tribute to Angelou’s classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — given to her by Orpah Winfrey, a close friend of the late writer.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” Winfrey tweeted. Gorman was also praised by “Hamilton” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, who tweeted “YES @TheAmandaGorman!!!” Gorman, soon responded: “Thx @Lin_Manuel! Did you catch the 2 @HamiltonMusical references in the inaugural poem? I couldn’t help myself!”
Rapper DaBaby arrested on Beverly Hills weapons allegation
John Lewis’ funeral set for Atlanta church that MLK once led
Witness: Driver gunned down armed protester in Texas capital
Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Grammy-nominated rapper DaBaby has been released from a Los Angeles County jail after an arrest in Beverly Hills, where police said he took a loaded gun into an upscale store on Rodeo Drive.
DaBaby, whose legal name is Jonathan Kirk, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle, Beverly Hills police said.
The 29-year-old was one of a group of men who walked into a store on an upscale stretch of Rodeo Drive, police said. Store security called police after seeing a gun in one man’s waistband, and officers met the men as they returned to their vehicle, police said.
The arc of Lewis’ legacy of activism will once again be tied to Ebenezer’s former pastor Martin Luther King Jr., whose sermons Lewis discovered while scanning the radio dial as a 15-year-old boy growing up in then-segregated Alabama.
King continued to inspire Lewis’ civil rights work for the next 65 years as he fought segregation during sometimes bloody marches, Greyhound bus “Freedom Rides” across the South and later during his long tenure in the U.S. Congress.
The shooting happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday as demonstrators were marching through downtown Austin, police spokeswoman Katrina Ratliff told reporters early Sunday. The man who was shot was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when a witness says the driver of a car that drove through a crowd of marchers opened fire on an armed demonstrator who approached the vehicle. And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a protest there, authorities said.
Braxton posted a lengthy message on social media late Saturday that paid tribute to David Adefeso being her “angel on earth.” She said she is grateful for Adefeso who found her “lifeless” in their home, saying it “couldn’t have been easy” for him.
The R&B singer did not provide details about her hospitalization. Police only confirmed they responded to a medical emergency July 16 at the downtown Los Angeles high rise that she calls home.
“Through this entire time, you have held my hand, heard my cries, held me when I have been weak. You have had my ENTIRE back‼️” she said in the post
Braxton, 43, shared the post along with an older video of the couple talking about getting engaged. She called Adefeso and her 7-year-old son Logan, whom she shares with former husband Vincent Herbert, a priority.
“Although I been said yes in this old video… now and then, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if you weren’t by my side,” she wrote. “Thank God I’m here and thank God for you.”
Arts – Entertainment – Culture – Politics
Lil Wayne, Kodak Black get clemency; Joe Exotic does not
Two rappers were among the entertainment figures included in a list of 140 people who were pardoned or had their sentences commuted by President Donald Trump in a last-minute clemency flurry early Wednesday. But the news was not as good for one hopeful celebrity.
— Rapper Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was given a full pardon. The Grammy-winner was charged in Florida on Nov. 17 with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a federal offense that carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison. In the pardon, Lil Wayne was praised for his “commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks.” Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders backed the pardon. Lil Wayne is one of the seminal figures in rap in the last two decades, selling more than 20 million albums in the U.S. since releasing his debut in 1999. Sentencing for the rapper, who frequently expressed support for Trump, was set for Jan. 28. In a statement, Carter’s attorney Howard Srebnick said a pardon was appropriate since “prosecuting a non-violent citizen for merely possessing a firearm violates the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.”
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says he regrets that his players found out about the team’s switch to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through social media rather than from him.
And Flores says the decision to bench popular veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was difficult.
“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said Wednesday. “He has been productive. His leadership has been great. But we felt like for the team now, moving forward, this is a move we need to make.”
Tagovailoa, the fifth pick in the April draft, will make his first NFL start on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams after the Dolphins’ bye this week.
News of the change leaked Tuesday.
“The one thing in this situation that’s unfortunate is that I didn’t get a chance to address the team before this was out in the media,” Flores said. “It’s not the way I or we want to do business. Unfortunately, it’s kind of the way of the world right now.
“I’m not happy about that at all. I’ll address that to the team, and really apologize to them that they had to find out through social media. I don’t think that’s fair to them.”
The timing of Tagovailoa’s promotion was surprising because the Dolphins (3-3) have won their past two games by a combined score of 67-17.
The Ryan Coogler-produced Fred Hampton film “Judas and the Black Messiah” will have its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before heading to HBO Max and theaters, programmers announced Tuesday.
Daniel Kaluuya plays the Black Panther Party chairman and his “Get Out” co-star Lakeith Stanfield plays FBI informant William O’Neill who agrees to infiltrate the group in the late 1960s. Martin Sheen co-stars as J. Edgar Hoover, who headed the FBI during that time.
“Judas and the Black Messiah” will premiere Feb. 1 on the Festival’s digital platforms and at various drive-ins in locations like Birmingham, Alabama, Columbia, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
The 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Jan. 28, is going largely virtual this year due to the pandemic. Tickets are currently on sale.
The 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Jan. 28, is going largely virtual this year due to the pandemic. Tickets are currently on sale.
Coogler, who directed “Black Panther,” has a long history with Sundance. His first film “Fruitvale Station” premiered at the festival in 2013, winning the top audience and jury awards.
Arts Entertainment Culture
Fresh comedy faces, ‘Modern Family’ farewell seek Emmy nods
The 72nd prime-time Emmys are the first major entertainment honors to unfold amid the coronavirus’ disruption, and Tuesday’s virtual announcement makes clear how much improvising is required.
The nominations, typically unveiled with fanfare at the TV academy’s Los Angeles headquarters, will be announced online Tuesday by host Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”) and presenters Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Josh Gad (“Frozen”) and Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”).
Last year’s best series winners “Game of Thrones” and “Fleabag” called it a wrap, clearing the path for others to prevail. With the downtime forced on academy TV voters by the virus, the field could include underdogs that benefited from more attention.
Something else to look for: Whether recent social justice tumult affects the Emmys’ up-and-down record of ethnic and gender inclusivity in nominations and awards.
On the drama side, “The Morning Show” is aiming for best series and actress bids for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. It’s the flagship entry from Apple TV+, one of the new kids on the increasingly competitive streaming block.
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” which took the best drama trophy in 2017, is vying for its third nomination in the category. “Big Little Lies,” last year’s winner for best limited series, is hunting for a drama series nod for its second season.
The comedy categories hold the promise of fresh faces, including the Muslim American series “Ramy.” Its star and co-creator, Ramy Youssef, earned a Golden Globe in January for his performance.
Others seeking their first top comedy nod include the female-led comedies “Insecure”; “Dead to Me”; “Better Things” and “The Great,” with past winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” also in the running.
Previous nominees “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Good Place” and “Silicon Valley” are pursuing recognition for their farewell seasons, as is “Modern Family” — which aired for 11 seasons and has five wins to date in the category, a record it shares with “Frasier.”
The Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be presented Sept. 20 on ABC.
Recordings reveal confusion behind Breonna Taylor’s death
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The police officer who fatally shot Breonna Taylor described seeing only “shadowy mass” and said he didn’t recall firing the 16 bullets later matched to his gun. As she lay bleeding, Taylor’s boyfriend called his mother before dialing 911.
And neighbors roused by the gunfire at Taylor’s apartment after midnight on March 13 only added to conflicting testimony about whether police serving a narcotics warrant announced themselves before using a battering ram to break down her door.
Details of the chaos and confusion during the raid that resulted in the 26-year-old Black woman’s death were revealed in 15 hours of audio recordings released Friday. They contained testimony and recorded interviews presented last month to the Kentucky grand jury that decided not to charge any Louisville police officers for killing Taylor.
“If you told me I didn’t fire a gun, I would be like, OK,” detective Myles Cosgrove told investigators soon after the shooting.
In fact, investigators determined Cosgrove shot 16 of the 32 bullets police fired into Taylor’s apartment, responding to a single gunshot from her boyfriend when they rammed down her door. Evidence showed one of Cosgrove’s bullets killed Taylor.
Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he thought intruders had burst into Taylor’s home, not police. As she lay bleeding, Walker said he called his mother — then dialed 911, telling an operator: “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
The dramatic accounts of the moments before Taylor’s death are key to a case that has fueled nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Police said they knocked and announced themselves for a minute or more before using a battering ram to get inside. Walker said he did not hear officers identify themselves, perhaps because he was too far from the door.
Game on: NBA finally set to see games that count again
The world has changed since the NBA stopped on March 11.
For 22 franchises, however, there is a goal that remains in place.
The NBA, at long last, is officially back. A re-opening night doubleheader inside the bubble at Walt Disney World awaits Thursday, when New Orleans takes on Utah before a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference — the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
There won’t be any fans in attendance, health and safety protocols that were painstakingly written in response to the coronavirus pandemic will be paramount, and teams can’t even shower in the arena after games. But after 20 weeks of waiting, wondering and worrying, the 2019-20 NBA season is ready to hit the restart button with a champion scheduled to be crowned in October.
Arts Entertainment Culture
Barack Obama to appear on Michelle Obama’s podcast debut
The former United States president is expected to appear on “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify, the Obama’s Higher Ground and streaming service announced Friday. The podcast will debut Wednesday.
In the premiere episode, the former first lady and her husband will hold an intimate conversation about community, the love that powers relationships and life after living eight years in the White House.
“For eight years my life was full of crazy schedules, juggling big initiatives, speeches, state dinners,” Michelle Obama says in the first episode’s intro. “Not to mention trying to raise two daughters and keeping my head above water. But once Barack’s second term ended, the presidency was over and finally had some time to breathe.”
Arts. Entertainment. Culture. Politics.
From police chief to VP? Inside Val Demings’ unlikely path
South Texas drenched by cyclone amid surge in virus cases
Police investigate anti-Semitic tweets by grime artist Wiley
Oprah’s O Mag to end regular print editions after 20 years
In 1972, the future Florida congresswoman was a young Black girl struggling to make friends at a predominantly white Jacksonville high school. She and her best friend, Vera Hartley, created the Charisma Club. Hartley was president and Demings was her second-in-command.
“We created an environment of inclusion,” Hartley said, recalling how she and Demings invited white students to join. Then “we were able to get into other clubs.”
Downgraded to a tropical storm, Hanna passed over the U.S.-Mexico border with winds near 50 mph (85 kph), the National Hurricane Center said. It unloaded more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain on parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico.
Twitter banned the rapper for seven days after rants on Friday and Saturday. He was also dropped by his management company after he shared the comments, which called Jews “cowards’’ and “snakes,’’ among other things.
The brand, which is among the most recognizable magazines in the U.S., is not going away but will become more “more digitally-centric,” a Hearst spokeswoman Monday said. There will be “some form of print” after the December issue “but what it is exactly is still being worked out,” she said.
Movie theaters implore studios: Release the blockbusters
Since then, Hollywood has turned opening weekends into an all-out assault. Staggered rollouts still happen, of course, but the biggest films are dropped like carpet bombs. Anything less risks losing the attention of moviegoers. Global debuts north of $300 million became commonplace. Last year, “Avengers: Endgame” made well north of $1 billion in a couple days.
Hollywood has now gone more than four months without a major theatrical release. While some films have found new streaming homes, the biggest upcoming ones — “Tenet,” “Mulan,” “A Quiet Place Part II” — remain idled like jumbo jets on the tarmac. The leading chains are still shuttered. Recent coronavirus spikes have forced release dates to shuffle and chains to postpone reopening to August.
Civil rights icon John Lewis remembered in his hometown
US attorney: Feds will stay in Portland until attacks end
Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas greet first child
fter talk of collaboration, conferences go their own way
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, people in Portland came out in droves to protest police brutality and racism, chanting that “Black lives matter.” As the weeks went by, the crowds dwindled to a few dozen and the protests increasingly turned violent.
“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said. ”We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so.”
The 24-year-old “Game of Thrones” star Turner and the 30-year-old singer Jonas announced the birth Monday.
“Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are delighted to announce the birth of their baby,” they said in a statement released through his label Republic Records.
Plans for the college football season — if it is played — should start coming into focus this week.
They will trickle down from the top of major college football, with Power Five conferences putting in place revised schedules they hope will make it easier to manage potential disruptions brought on by COVID-19.
The Power Five commissioners talked a lot in the spring about the importance of collaboration and trying to launch the season together, with all of the Football Bowl Subdivision acting in unison. The way things are heading, that appears to be out the window.
Here’s where each conference stands with the first scheduled college football games about a month away.
LEADING OFF: Marlins postponed again amid virus outbreak
Here’s how Trump’s opposition to mail voting hurts the GOP
The Latest: South Africa nearing half-million virus cases
Ex-49er Dana Stubblefield convicted of raping disabled woman
Major League Baseball has already postponed a second scheduled game between Miami and Baltimore after more than a dozen Marlins players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the club to lock down in Philadelphia. Commissioner Rob Manfred said the soonest the Marlins could resume their schedule is Wednesday, when they are set to play in Baltimore.
“I don’t see it as a nightmare,” Manfred told MLB Network on Monday night. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
After months of hearing Trump denigrate mail-in balloting, Republicans in the critical battleground state now find themselves far behind Democrats in the perennial push to urge their voters to cast ballots remotely. While Democrats have doubled the number of their voters who have requested mail ballots compared to 2016, Republicans have increased their numbers by about 20% since the same time.
The recent tally is the hard evidence confirming many Republicans’ fears about Trump’s tweeting about mail-in voting: GOP voters are listening and appear less likely to take advantage of what many election and health officials agree is the easiest and safest way to vote in a pandemic.
South Africa now has 452,529 cases and 7,067 deaths, making up more than half the reported cases on the African continent. It has the fifth highest caseload in the world.
Like many others, the country has struggled with trying to ease lockdown restrictions and then seeing cases rise. But businesses have expressed frustration as unemployment is now above 30% and likely to keep increasing.
And corruption related to pandemic aid is a problem as the president has warned that now, more than ever, persistent graft puts people’s lives at risk.
A jury found Stubblefield, 49, guilty of rape by force, oral copulation by force and false imprisonment, and acquitted him of raping a person incapable of giving consent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.