Actress Keke Palmer and rapper J. Cole have visited protesters in Ferguson, Missouri to show their support over a shooting controversy.
The city near St. Louis has been torn apart by unrest over the past week (begs09Aug14), as groups of campaigners have taken to the streets to express their outrage over the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a local police officer.
Heavily armed riot police descended on the city centre and used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the demonstration, and while the news has sparked outrage among many celebrities, who have taken to Twitter to voice their disgust, both Palmer and J. Cole decided to witness what the tense atmosphere is like first hand.
The 21-year-old actress had already been urging for unity and nonviolence during the protests on her various social media sites, but was spotted in Ferguson on Sunday (17Aug14). Citizens snapped photos of Palmer as she visited the protesters, and shared them on the microblogging site, with one user writing, "@KekePalmer thank you for showing love to my community," and another adding, ""Thank you for standing with the people of Ferguson."
Palmer also made an appearance at the Greater Grace Church in St. Louis, where she spoke at the podium. Meanwhile, rapper J. Cole, who recently released a tribute song, Be Free, in honour of Brown, was also in Ferguson on Sunday, first stopping by the scene of the crime where the teenager was shot.
Cole spoke to the activists about the unrest, and also stopped by a nearby gas station, where Brown was suspected of stealing a box of cigars. Fans and protesters shared photos and videos of Cole at the scene on social media.
Rapper J.cole has paid tribute to a black teenager killed by a police officer in Missouri by releasing a new song dedicated to him. Darren Wilson shot unarmed Michael Brown, who was suspected of stealing a box of cigars from a suburban St. Louis store, on 9 August (14), and the incident has sparked a series of tense protests between African-Americans and civil rights leaders and officials in the state.
As Governor Jay Nixon, President Barack Obama and Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson join forces in a bid to end days of violence, hip-hop star Cole has released Be Free to voice his frustrations with the deaths of African-American men in the U.S.
In a post on his website, Dreamvillain.com, he writes, "That coulda (sic) been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I'm tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don't give a f**k if it's by police or peers. This s**t is not normal. I made a song. This is how we feel."
Cole is not the only celebrity to speak out about the incident in Missouri - John Legend, Kerry Washington and Mark Ruffalo have voiced concerns over the treatment of protesters by police following the shooting.
Legend took to Twitter.com to voice his opinion, writing, "I believe these cops are intentionally trying to inflame the situation. They want an excuse. Recall the local cop telling those 'animals' to 'bring it' on (news channel) CNN... He wants a fight.
"Calling us 'animals' has been the language to justify slavery... Dehumanization and racism go together."
Meanwhile, R&B star Frank Ocean took to Tumblr.com to comment on an image of Governor Nixon standing in front of a black woman as he addressed the slaying of Brown and wrote, "You see that black woman standing up there? I wonder if she was called to stand behind the governor because she’s black. I wonder if i’m supposed to think Missouri’s gov’t is pro-black because of her being stood up there with those other black men being all black and everything. I wonder if she was off the clock while she stood up there... then i wonder if she was getting paid for her time off like the guy who shot Michael 8 times."
Rapper Drake closed out the 2014 edition of his annual OVO Fest in Toronto, Canada on Monday (04Aug14) by treating fans to surprise appearances from Lauryn Hill, Usher and 50 Cent. The Canadian hip-hop star served as the headliner for the second day of the event, but instead of delivering a solo show, he invited a slew of famous friends to give attendees a night to remember.
After an opening set by previously-announced performer Jhene Aiko, former Fugees star Hill was introduced to the stage, much to the crowd's delight, and delivered renditions of Killing Me Softly, Ooh la la la, Ready Or Not and Doo Wop (That Thing).
Drake then took over the show and launched into his back catalogue of songs, with guest appearances from R&B star Trey Songz, rapper J. Cole, singer PARTYNEXTDOOR, DJ Khaled, Tinashe and YG.
He also paid tribute to his sick mother, Sandi Graham, by having her brought out onstage in a wheelchair to greet the audience during the 5th Annual OVO Fest.
However, it was Usher who sent fans into a frenzy as he joined Drake in the spotlight and played a string of his popular tracks, including Climax, Lovers and Friends, Confessions Pt. II and U Don't Have to Call.
Drake also brought 50 Cent and his G-Unit group up onstage for renditions of Gangsta, I Get Money and In Da Club, before closing his two-and-a-half hour gig with Worst Behaviour and 0 to 100.
Reunited hip-hop duo Outkast had been the main attraction during Sunday's (03Aug14) festivities.
Kanye West will end the summer with a busy weekend, headlining both Budweiser Made In America festivals in Pennsylvania and Los Angeles. West was recently confirmed as the Saturday-night headliner at Jay Z's event in Philadelphia on 30 August (14), and now it has emerged he'll jet to the west coast after his set and perform his hits again in L.A. the following night (31Aug14).
Iggy Azalea has just been newly added to the inaugural Los Angeles event, which will also feature John Mayer, Juanes, Weezer and Rise Against.
Rapper YG will also appear at both festivals.
The Philadelphia Made in America event, now in its third year, will also feature The National, Steve Aoki, J. Cole and Chromeo.
Getty Images/Kevin Mazur
Hip-hop superstar Jay Z returned home on Saturday (12Jul14) to make a surprise appearance at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in New York. The music icon joined his rapper pal Jay Electronica on stage at the annual event and played Young, Gifted & Black, We Made It, Shiny Suit Theory and PSA, much to the delight of the audience. Electronica also introduced another Brooklyn native, Talib Kweli, to perform Just Begun with him, as well as Mac Miller and J. Cole. Jay Z followed up the guest appearance by racing to the MetLife Stadium in nearby New Jersey, where he later hit the stage with his wife Beyonce for their second consecutive night at the venue, as part of their joint On The Run tour.
Sam Smith's fans were left devastated on Saturday (21Jun14) when the pop sensation pulled out of the Capital Summertime Ball in London after losing his voice. The Stay With Me hitmaker was among the headliners set to thrill revellers at Wembley Stadium in the U.K. capital for the radio station's annual concert.
However, Smith cancelled his appearance just hours before he was due on stage after struggling with voice issues.
In a post on his official Facebook.com page, he writes, "Dear Capital FM & everyone attending the Capital Summertime Ball, I am so so sad to say I won't be performing today. I've just got off the plane and my voice has completely gone.
"This is the first show I've ever had to cancel and I am praying that it is the last. I really have to avoid any long term damage to my voice."
Miley Cyrus, Enrique Iglesias, Cheryl Cole, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J were among the performers who made it to the stage for the show.
Rockers The Strokes returned to the festival stage in their native New York City this weekend (06-08Jun14) for the first time in three years to headline 2014's Governors Ball event. Frontman Julian Casablancas basked in the evening sunshine on Saturday (07Jun14), as he led the band through a hits-packed set, belting out tracks like Heart in a Cage, Reptilia and Last Nite, much to the delight of the group's hometown crowd.
It marked Casablancas' second set in as many days - he also hit the stage with his band The Voidz on Friday (06Jun14), when top acts OutKast, Damon Albarn and Bastille also performed. Bastille surprised fans with a reworked cover of TLC's R&B hit No Scrubs.
Jack White headlined Saturday night's festivities, while rapper Childish Gambino teamed up with Chance the Rapper to perform their latest collaboration, The Worst Guys, and British dance duo Disclosure introduced AlunaGeorge to the stage for a performance of White Noise that superfan Madonna enjoyed. The pop superstar shared an Instagram.com photo of herself backstage with Disclosure, and joked, "Been promoted to head of security for Disclosure!"
Sunday's line-up includes rappers Tyler, the Creator and J. Cole, Foster The People, Interpol, Vampire Weekend and former Swedish House Mafia stars Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso.
Kanye West will perform one of his first shows as a married man when he headlines pal Jay Z's third annual Made in America festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August (14). The Stronger hitmaker, who is scheduled to wed fiancee Kim Kardashian this weekend (24May14), will return to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway venue over America's Labor Day weekend to entertain audiences, two years after he joined Jay Z as a special guest onstage at the inaugural two-day event in 2012.
Kings of Leon, Pharrell Williams, dance DJ Tiesto, The National, rap veterans De La Soul, Steve Aoki and J. Cole will also be part of the 2014 line-up.
This year's bash will also be celebrated simultaneously in Los Angeles for the first time. Performers for the west coast show are due to be unveiled later on Thursday (22May14).
Jay Z's superstar wife Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails topped the bill at last year's (13) festivities in Philadelphia.
Superstar couple Beyonce and Jay Z are set for a big night at the 2014 BET Awards with four nominations apiece. The Crazy in Love hitmakers will compete against each other in the Best Collaboration category, in which Beyonce's song Drunk in Love, which features her husband, will battle Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's Holy Grail. Drake and Majid Jordan's Hold On (We're Going Home), Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams' Blurred Lines, YG's My Hitta collaboration with Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan and I Luv This by August Alsina and Trinidad Jame$ are also up for the prize.
Meanwhile, rivals Jay Z and Drake will go toe to toe in the Best Male Hip Hop Artist category, alongside Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while Beyonce will battle Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna and Tamar Braxton for the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist title. Jay Z and Beyonce will also vie for the coveted Video of the Year award with the videos for Drunk in Love and Partition, respectively. Pharrell Williams' Happy, Chris Brown's Fine China and Drake's Worst Behavior are also nominated.
In the movie categories, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah Winfrey will fight for the Best Actress prize, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan are up for the Best Actor trophy. The Best Movie nominees are: 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, Fruitvale Station, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The 2014 BET Awards will be handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
The full list of nominees are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna, Tamar Braxton
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: August Alsina, Chris Brown, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams
Best Group A$AP Mob Daft Punk Macklemore & Ryan Lewis TGT Young Money
Best Collaboration August Alsina featuring Trinidad Jame$ - I Luv This Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Drake featuring Majid Jordan - Hold On (We're Going Home) Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Williams - Blurred Lines YG featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan - My Hitta
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Drake Future J. Cole Jay Z Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Angel Haze Charli Baltimore Eve Iggy Azalea Nicki Minaj Video of the Year Beyonce - Partition Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Chris Brown - Fine China Drake - Worst Behavior Pharrell Williams - Happy
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom Chris Brown Colin Tiley Director X Hype Williams
Best New Artist Ariana Grande August Alsina Mack Wilds Rich Homie Quan ScHoolboy Q
Best Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin Erica Campbell Hezekiah Walker Tamela Mann Tye Tribbett
Best Actress Angela Bassett Gabrielle Union Kerry Washington Lupita Nyong'o Oprah Winfrey
Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Forest Whitaker Idris Elba Kevin Hart Michael B. Jordan
YoungStars Award Gabrielle Douglas Jacob Latimore Jaden Smith KeKe Palmer Zendaya
Best Movie 12 Years a Slave The Best Man Holiday Fruitvale Station Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Lee Daniels' The Butler
Subway Sportswoman of the Year Brittney Griner Lolo Jones Serena Williams Skylar Diggins Venus Williams
Subway Sportsman of the Year Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kevin Durant LeBron James
Centric Award Aloe Blacc - The Man Jennifer Hudson featuring T.I. - I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" Jhene Aiko - The Worst LiV Warfield - Why Do You Lie? Wale featuring Sam Dew - LoveHate Thing
Best International Act: Africa Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Mafikizolo (South Africa) Sarkodie (Ghana) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Toofan (Togo)
Best International Act: UK Dizzee Rascal Ghetts Krept & Konan Laura Mvula Rita Ora Tinie Tempah
Editors at Forbes magazine have named rappers A$Ap Rocky, J.cole and Meek Mill among the Hip-Hop Cash Princes of 2014. The inaugural list was compiled by rapper and entrepreneur Bryan 'Birdman' Williams and Fab 5 Freddy and features artists who are up and comers in the genre.
Only artists under the age of 30 are eligible for the list.
Rounding out this year's countdown are Azealia Banks, Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, French Montana, Travis Scott, Tyga, Methodology and Wale.