Soul superstar Stevie Wonder used his set at the Global Citizen Festival in New York on Saturday (28Sep13) to call for gun laws in the U.S. to be tightened. The Superstition hitmaker was one of the headliners at the Central Park concert, which aims to help tackle poverty worldwide, but he also drew fans' attention to the hot-topic weapons ownership debate.
He declared to the crowd of 60,000, "We must do something about the gun laws in this country," before noting that John Lennon was gunned down nearby in 1980 - and then performing the Beatles icon's world peace anthem Imagine.
During his set, Wonder also invited onstage Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, as well as singers Janelle Monae and Maxwell, according to The New York Times.
The 63-year-old singer was the final act of the five-hour concert, following sets by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and Elvis Costello.
In July (13), Wonder vowed never to perform in Florida again until a controversial self-defence law is abolished following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who gunned down teenager Trayvon Martin in February, 2012.
Rapper The Game has had the image of slain teenager Trayvon Martin tattooed on his leg. The black teenager was shot and killed by Neighbourhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida last year (12). Zimmerman was controversially acquitted of the youngster's murder last month (Jul13), and the decision sparked a wave of protests across the U.S.
On Saturday (17Aug13), The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, posted a picture of the finished tattoo, which took seven hours to create, to his Instagram.com page.
Actress Stacey Dash has slammed Oprah Winfrey over comments the TV titan made comparing slain teen Trayvon Martin to hate crime victim Emmett Till. Martin was the black teenager who was shot and killed by Neighbourhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida last year (12). Zimmerman was controversially acquitted of the youngster's murder last month (Jul13), and the decision sparked a wave of protests across the U.S.
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after reportedly flirting with a white woman.
The Republican Clueless star took to her Twitter.com account on Friday (16Aug13) to slam the legendary TV show host, while quoting civil rights activist Malcolm X and linking to a Fox News article that criticised Winfrey for making the comparison.
She writes, "If You aren't careful, The newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed And loving the people who are doing the oppressing - Malcolm X Oprah Compares Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till."
This isn't the first time Dash has made headlines for her comments on the social media site.
In April (13), she blasted Jay Z and Beyonce for taking a vacation to Cuba.
In the last U.S. presidential election, Dash also voiced her backing for Mitt Romney, who ran against President Barack Obama.
The woman who allegedly attacked soul singer Lester Chambers on stage in California last month (Jul13) has been charged with two felony counts of assault and elder abuse. The Chambers Brothers star was briefly hospitalised after a woman stormed the stage at the Hayward Russell City Blues festival and pushed the 73 year old to the ground after she took offence to him dedicating a song to slain African-American teen Trayvon Martin.
Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, 43, was arrested, cited and released following the incident and prosecutors in Alameda County charged her with assault and elder abuse on Wednesday (14Aug13).
Chambers and his family had asked that Andrews-Potter, who is white, be charged with a hate crime, but authorities stated that her motives were unclear.
Chambers had paid tribute to Martin with a cover of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions' track People Get Ready shortly after the man charged with his murder was acquitted.
The 17 year old was shot dead in February, 2012, by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defence. The trial's verdict sparked mass protest across several U.S. cities and was denounced by the likes of Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna and Stevie Wonder.
Actor Matt Damon has urged Florida lawmakers to reconsider their positions on the state's controversial Stand Your Ground self-defence law. The law allows an individual to use deadly force if they believe their safety is under threat and it hit headlines last year (12) when neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Zimmerman was acquitted of the youngster's murder in a controversial verdict last month (Jul13) and the decision sparked a wave of protests across the U.S.
The Bourne Identity actor has now become the latest star to weigh in on the case, insisting lawmakers need to take a stand to discourage any kind of vigilantism.
In an interview with BET.com, he says, "The Stand Your Ground law, I hope that they would revisit that. I lived in Florida for five years. We can't have a world where people are putting guns in their pockets and walking around thinking that they're the neighbourhood watch. We have a police force for that, we should leave the novices at home."
Rappers Rick Ross and T.I. have both spoken out to voice their concerns over the controversial law, while Jay Z and Beyonce recently joined a protest on the streets of New York City in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial verdict.
Rapper Talib Kweli has joined protesters at a sit-in outside the Florida State Capitol to speak out against the state's controversial self-defence law, Stand Your Ground. The hip-hop hitmaker showed up to the Tallahassee rally on Thursday (08Aug13) to offer his support to the #TakeOverFL campaign, an initiative launched by officials at the Dream Defenders organisation, which is seeking to repeal the law and put a stop to racial profiling.
He was still with demonstrators on Friday morning (09Aug13), when he took to his Twitter.com blog to write, "Still at the Capitol in Tallahassee with @Dreamdefenders..."
Stand Your Ground, which allows an individual to use deadly force if they believe their safety is under threat, hit headlines in the U.S. last year (12) following the death of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old African-American was shot and killed by white neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida and he was acquitted of the youngster's murder in a controversial verdict last month (Jul13).
The ruling sparked protests across the country by civil rights activists, who believed the slaying was motivated by racial prejudice, and they have been demanding Florida Governor Rick Scott call a special session to address their concerns. The politician met with some of the protesters in July (13), but insisted he had no plans to reconvene legislators to discuss the issue and instead expressed his support for Stand Your Ground.
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Comedy Central hath no hilarity like a Stephen Colbert scorned by Daft Punk.
This is how you go from being a chump to being a champ. Colbert had booked the ubiquitous Daft Punk for his Colbchella concert series (sponsored by Hyundai!), but the robot-masked duo pulled out after intervention from MTV head Van Toffler, who wanted their secret performance on the upcoming Video Music Awards to be their sole appearance in the next month. Viacom owns both MTV and Comedy Central, so even Colbert had to bow to the suits' will.
But Colbert put on one heckuva replacement, recruiting Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Bryan Cranston to dance with him on Daft Punk's song-of-summer smash, "Get Lucky," and crashing the sets of Charlie Rose, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and America's Got Talent along the way. It begs the question...this replacement sketch required a lot of set-up, so when exactly did Colbert get word from Toffler that Daft Punk would be pulling out? It seems it must not have been a particularly last-minute decision, since he was also able to book Robin Thicke to perform "Blurred Lines" instead. Let the conspiracy theories begin! But no matter, here are 12 things we absolutely loved about Colbchella's retooling last night.
1. That the Colbchella logo replaced "with special guest Daft Punk" with "with special guest Stephen Colbert," making it the most Tyler Perry-esque concert name ever. 2. The Hyundai executives watching in stone-faced horror how their money was being misused. Also, that the silent y in Hyundai stands for "youth marketing." 3. That Colbert totally outed Daft Punk's "secret" VMA's performance. 4. The realization that Ashton Kutcher still wears trucker hats. 5. That Hugh Laurie can take a punch with the best of them. 6. Jeff Bridges’ oddly buttocks-centered dance moves. Would we call this "booty popping"? 7. The return of Tek Jansen! With Lady Nocturne! (But where was Porpy and his friend?) 8. An even more bearded Jon Stewart skyping in from an undisclosed location in the Middle East. 9. Henry Kissinger calling security and the realization that Henry Kissinger is still alive. 10. Bryan Cranston rightly pointing out that you can only wear a plaid suit if you have an accompanying red scarf. 11. Headphones with double antennae. 12. The idea of Matt Damon in a Matt Damon booth.
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Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. fears tragic teen Trayvon Martin may have been killed because he wasn't old enough to appreciate the fact he needed to "wear a different face" the night he was attacked and killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin's murder last month (Jul13), prompting protests across America from civil rights groups, who felt he had literally escaped from a lengthy murder sentence.
African-American celebrities have also spoken out about the controversial verdict and now Jerry Maguire star Gooding, Jr. has weighed in, explaining he has learned over time that he has to offer different faces in different situations.
He explains, "The Trayvon Martin thing sparked another reminder that we do need to wear certain faces that represent a mentality indicative of our surrounding. (The Butler co-star) Terrence Howard said if Trayvon had recognised the face he needed to wear at that moment it might've been a different outcome.
"We may wish it was different but we as African-Americans still deal with this very real situation of many faces that are required."
He adds, "There is that very aggressive aspect of my life that I have a specific face... When I'm in a boxing gym with predominantly black and Hispanic, aggressive men there's a different face that I put on. You have to watch what you say because you will be held accountable, so there's a certain face I wear there.
"Then there's a very different face that I wear with my children in these very expensive schools that I have them in. There's a very specific face I wear as a celebrity. The film (The Butler) is indicative of the many faces black men had to wear in this time specifically in the South as domesticated and professional people. The black men in the film wore a very different face around Martin Luther King than he did around (former U.S. President Richard) Nixon."
Rapper T.I. has applauded the parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin for their restraint, because he would be on trial now and facing prison time if Neighbourhood Watch vigilante George Zimmerman had killed his son. Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering the 17 year old in early July (13) - a verdict that sparked protests across America, and prompted many leading African-American human rights leaders and celebrities to speak out.
And now the What You Know hitmaker has revealed his reaction to the acquittal would have been very different to that of Martin's father.
He explains, "Man, it was some bulls**t. My hat goes off to the Martin family, because if it was me and my child, there wouldn't have been no trial...
"I'd have been on trial. It would've been the trial of the father who killed the man who killed (my child). That would have been my story. My hat goes off because (the Martin family) are much more clear and level-headed thinkers than (myself).
"It's just another harsh reminder the world that we live in is as imperfect as God promised us it would be."
Rapper Rick Ross has sampled a witness' testimony from the Trayvon Martin case in his new song I Wonder Why. The Hustlin' hitmaker's new track features the voice of Rachel Jeantel, who was the last person to talk to the unarmed black teenager before he was shot dead by Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February, 2012.
Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Martin during a trial earlier this month (Jul13) and the controversial verdict sparked protests across the U.S.
Now Ross has aired his thoughts about the slaying in a new track, in which he draws comparisons between his life and that of the 17 year old's.
He also makes it clear he's not a fan of America's controversial Stand Your Ground legislation, which allows an individual to use reasonable force to defend themselves without retreat - the reasoning Zimmerman used in his defence.
In the song, Ross raps, "Now I'm being followed by some creepy-a** c**cker/Now I'm being followed by some creepy-a** cr**cker/ Stand your ground, stand your ground/Stand your ground, you gotta stand your ground."