|Tue, August 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Several weeks after announcing their intention to celebrate the life of Michael Jackson with an all-star concert called "Michael Jackson Forever," the initial lineup for the October 8 show at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, was revealed last week.
According to promoters, the Michael Forever show is slated to feature such stars as Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Motown legend Smokey Robinson, in addition to less globally popular talents, including Alexandra Burke, Pixie Lott, Leona Lewis, JLS, Craig David, Alien Ant Farm and a pair of Jackson-related groups, 3T and the Jackson Brothers.
The one thing the event does not have, however, is the approval of Jackson's powerful estate, which had kept silent about the show put together by parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson, along with siblings Jackie, Tito, Marlon, LaToya and Rebbie. Brothers Jermaine and Randy have not been involved in the plans and have publicly objected to the event because it falls in the middle of the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.
On Tuesday (August 16) a spokesperson for the estate â€" which has handled all of Jackson's affairs since his 2009 death â€" confirmed that estate lawyer Howard Weitzman sent a letter to concert organizers last week raising some pointed questions about the show.
"I represent the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. As the legal caretakers of Michael's intellectual property, we believe it is our duty to contact you directly regarding the growing number of questions that have been addressed to the Estate, as well as multiple concerns that have emerged in recent days," reads the letter.
After reminding organizers that the estate is the only entity that can sign off on the use of Jackson's image or his intellectual property â€" the concert's website is careful not to feature any images of the singer or samples of his music â€" the letter said the estate was "especially disappointed" by the announcement on Monday that greasepaint rockers Kiss have been added to the bill.
Specifically, the beef was that outspoken Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has made a number of disparaging comments about Jackson in the past. "It was extraordinarily embarrassing when no...click to continue reading
|Wed, February 16, 2011 at 8:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – For two years, it seemed the biopic of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, a.k.a. 2Pac, had met a similarly untimely death.
The project was long in development at production outfit Morgan Creek, which thought it had struck a deal with Afeni Shakur-Davis, Shakur's mother. Her Amaru Entertainment label was demanding broad creative approval before handing over the necessary life and music rights.
But in February 2009, Morgan Creek abruptly sued Amaru, claiming Shakur-Davis had closed a deal but "instead attempted to use the contract as a floor to pursue further negotiations."
Amaru quickly hired Hollywood litigator Skip Miller and countersued, arguing that there was no legally binding agreement and that Morgan Creek and its CEO, James Robinson, were interfering with Shakur-Davis' negotiations with other studios, including Fox and Paramount. The project then entered litigation purgatory: depositions were taken, lengthy motions were filed, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent preparing for a scheduled February 15 trial to determine whether Morgan Creek had the right to make the movie.
Behind the scenes, lawyers for both sides were trying to convince Shakur-Davis -- known as being especially protective of her son's legacy -- that a settlement would benefit both sides. Morgan Creek, after all, was one of the few companies willing to make a deal, given her required creative input.
On the eve of the trial, cooler heads prevailed. Sources say Shakur-Davis sat down with director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") and agreed with his vision of the film. A deal was soon negotiated that allows Morgan Creek to make the movie, with Shakur-Davis receiving an undisclosed flat fee, a chunk of any profits and an executive producer credit.
The studio said February 10 that the task of casting Shakur would begin immediately, with a shoot planned for late spring and Universal handling the film's release.
"This is certainly a better result for everyone involved," Miller says.
|Wed, March 17, 2010 at 8:09 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Rapper T.I. could end up in court again to defend himself against trademark allegations levied against his Akoo Clothing line.
Akoo International bills itself as the world's largest social music television network. The company filed a complaint against T.I. and Akoo in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, claiming trademark infringement.
According to the lawsuit, Akoo International has held the trademark for "Akoo" for years.
The federally registered trademark is sued by Akoo International, which delivers video programming to over 86 million monthly customers, via the Internet, shopping malls and universities in over 30 states.
Akoo International's technology allows viewers to interact with programming on large screen, networked HDTV's, using their mobile phones.
"Akoo has been recognized as a leading social TV platform for connecting brand advertisers with millions of our engaged viewers," said Akoo CEO Niko Drakoulis. "Our primary obligation and goal is to prevent confusion among our consumers, which is among the most basic objectives of trademark law. At the same time, Akoo has invested nearly a decade of effort and substantial capital to deploy its network and will do everything in its power to protect its brand."
Akoo International claims T.I.'s use of the name Akoo has mislead, deceived and confused consumers and potential clients.
The company also took action to...More T.I.
|Wed, March 04, 2009 at 3:40 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
New York City - VIBE magazine, the definitive voice of urban culture, will feature platinum, Grammy Award–winning rapper and actor T.I. on its April 2009 cover in a striking photo. The controversial star's feature is a prelude to his upcoming prison sentence where he will serve a year and a day for charges related to his illegal possession of firearms.
In an extensive report titled "Cell Therapy," VIBE Senior Editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram chronicles the superstar's history-making legal battle and gut-wrenching journey since his 2007 arrest for attempting to collect three unregistered machine guns and two silencers following his BET Hip Hop Awards performance rehearsal.
After the announcement on March 27, 2008 of what many felt was a shockingly light slap on the wrist for the serious charges, many responded by screaming, "Snitch!" However, authorities agreed to a groundbreaking plea deal negotiated by heavyweight Criminal Defense Attorney, Steve Sadow, who cited the star's ability to influence others by serving 1500 hours of community service.
US Attorney David Nahmias says, "What [the defense] proposed, and what I ultimately thought was reasonable, is that Mr. Harris has the ability to reach thousands, probably tens of thousands of people, particularly at-risk young people. And that out of the tens of thousands of people he could reach, he has the real possibility of getting at least a few of them not to commit the kinds of crimes we would prosecute."
T.I. bites back at rumors about how he scored this largely unprecedented deal by saying, "Ain't no such thing as a secret snitch...Pull up my agreement. It's public record."
In the thought-provoking feature, Meadows-Ingram meets with the rapper/actor in Washington, D.C., on the eve of President Barack Obama's inauguration, where T.I. accepted an award from the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network for his work with the "Respect My Vote" campaign. VIBE follows the rapper during some of his court-mandated speaking engagements and the filming of his MTV show, T.I's Road to Redemption, where the newly minted role model motivates and inspires at-risk youths. VIBE's feature story showcases remarkable photos of T.I. reenacting poses made famous by legendary cultural icons Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg.
In "Música de la Muerte," VIBE enlists award-winning author and journalist Sam Quinones to write an investigative piece on the unsolved drug-related murders of various pop sensations in Mexico. The feature delves deep into the dark and violent drug underworld, telling the tales of the famous music stars it has affected. Detailing the horrific and shocking stories and accompanied by equally brutal imagery, this story shines a spotlight on a neighboring foreign crisis that's already bleeding into U.S. soil.
In "The Big Idea," Chris Yuscavage, VIBE's Associate Editor breaks down the recent string of athletes involved in weapon related incidents, and poses the question of whether it is actually about protection. The article cites many instances of violence toward professional athletes and interviews an NBA executive, a pro football player, and a sports agent.
Also featured in April's issue are "The 51 Best Albums That Never Were," a list of the most hyped and anticipated albums that never made it onto store shelves; an in-depth report on dancehall king Mavado and his unlikely rise to fame following various entanglements titled; "The Real McKoy" by world-acclaimed Reggae authority, VIBE Editor-In-Large Rob Kenner; a feature on rapper Max B and his soured relationship with Dipset capo Jim Jones; a sneak peek from the International Consumer Electronics Show floor reported via Twitter by VIBE editors; a list of some of the best day spas for men & barbershops across the country i
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