Category: Show Biz

Britney Spears Admits She’s ‘Very Nervous’ to Perform at MTV Video Music Awards 2016

Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Pink contribute to Orlando charity singleShe already has butterflies. Britney Spears admitted in a new interview that she still gets nervous at the MTV Video Music Awards despite her past iconic performances at the star-studded affair.

The 34-year-old pop princess — who is set to perform at the MTV ceremony for the first time in nearly a decade on Sunday, August 28 — opened up about her highly anticipated return during an interview on 103.5 KTU’s Cubby and Carolina In the Morning radio show.

“I think there’s something in the air at the VMAs. It’s like electric. I can’t really explain it,” Spears said on Friday, August 26. “Every time I’ve performed there, it’s always been one of those really big, nerve-wracking experiences, and the people that come — those celebrities — are just so much fun and different. … I still get very nervous.”

The “Toxic” singer is set to take the stage on Sunday night to perform “Make Me…,” the first single off her newly released ninth studio album, Glory. She’ll be performing with rapper G-Eazy, and although the details of Spears’ performance have been kept a secret, fans are anticipating a high-energy spectacle from the VMA staple.

Spears has had some of the most talked-about moments in music history on the VMAs stage, including her 2001 “I’m a Slave 4 U” performance, where she famously danced while carrying a python, and her controversial kiss with Madonna in 2003.

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Jennifer Lopez Posts Cryptic Pic Amid Casper Smart Split Rumors: ‘Protect Yo Heart’

Jennifer Lopez comes under fire for saying 'all lives matter' on TwitterSubliminal messages? Jennifer Lopez posted a cryptic Instagram picture of herself standing in front of graffiti reading “protect yo heart” on Friday, August 26, amid rumors that she and beau Casper Smart have split.

In the image, which she reposted from producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas’ account, Lopez, 47, wears loose slacks and a blazer with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows over a crisp white shirt, her uniform for her role as Harlee Santos on Shades of Blue.

PHOTOS: Jennifer Lopez’s Ageless Moments Through the Years!
“@egt239 I think this is what you meant to post… Ha,” the actress captioned the photo, adding the hashtags “#protectyourheart,” “#shadesofblue” and “#setlife.”

The original photo that Thomas posted featured the same images, but with a closer crop, so that the top of Lopez’s forehead, as well as the word “Protect,” are no longer in the frame.

Jennifer Lopez also used the hashtag in a photograph posted on Instagram on Monday. Photograph: Raymond Hall/GC Images

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Pink Floyd’s psychedelic revolution will rock the V&A

Museum to celebrate career of pioneers who transformed live music with their dazzling light shows

Pink Floyd’s psychedelic revolution will rock the V&A
The album cover of The Dark Side of The Moon, released by Harvest Records in 1973, was an all-time classic. Photograph: Jeff Morgan/Alamy

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s David Bowie exhibition in 2013 became the fastest to sell out in the museum’s history. Now curators are planning a celebration of another musical institution, Pink Floyd – in collaboration with surviving members of the band.

One of the defining forces behind 1960s psychedelia, Pink Floyd became one of the most influential and successful groups of all time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cites them “as the architects of two major music movements – psychedelic space-rock and blues-based progressive rock”. The band’s lyrics are described as offering “biting political, social and emotional commentary”.

Formed in 1965, Pink Floyd featured lead vocalist and guitarist Roger “Syd” Barrett, bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboard player Rick Wright. Guitarist David Gilmour joined shortly before Barrett’s departure in 1968. Barrett and Wright died in 2006 and 2008 respectively. The group sold more than 250 million albums, with The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall acknowledged as classics.

The V&A’s tribute will emphasise the groundbreaking originality of the band’s live concerts. Pioneering psychedelic light shows, spectacular special effects and elaborate stage constructions included a model plane that flew over the audience before crashing into the stage. For the concert production of The Wall, animations were projected on to a wall of cardboard bricks built between the band and audience.

Their album covers are now considered among the most influential ever created. The museum will showcase original artwork by their designers and photographers.

Pink Floyd’s psychedelic revolution will rock the V&A
Pink Floyd in their early days. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Redfern

Hipgnosis, the experimental design company co-founded by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson in 1968, created the rainbow-through-a-prism graphic for The Dark Side of the Moon, which became one of the most recognisable LP covers, playing a part in sales exceeding 40 million copies.

The exhibition will also pay tribute to the genius of Barrett, who taught himself guitar – mostly by playing along to records – and reached the heights of rock stardom, only to become a casualty of the late-1960s fascination with LSD. The Dark Side of the Moon is said to have been partly inspired by Barrett’s mental-health struggles.

Last month Royal Mail issued 10 stamps to celebrate the band’s worldwide influence, an honour previously granted to the Beatles. In 2014, the group released their final album, The Endless River. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine last year, Gilmour said that, after almost half a century together, there were no plans to reunite. He said that Pink Floyd had “run its course” and it would be “fakery” to reform with his two surviving bandmates.

Some of the ground work for the V&A show has already been done. In 2014, a Pink Floyd retrospective organised by one of Italy’s biggest music promoters was abandoned following a reported dispute over fees and intellectual property rights. A worldwide tour of hundreds of exhibits, including designs and recordings, had been planned. A giant inflatable pig, featured on the cover of Animals, and the stage sculpture of The Wall are among artefacts that are now likely to come to the V&A instead.

The museum will also include Pink Floyd in its major autumn exhibition: You Say You Want A Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966-70, which will explore the wide-reaching social and cultural changes that followed the austerity of the postwar years. London’s Carnaby Street will be portrayed as part of a “1960s streetscape”, along with the UFO nightclub on Tottenham Court Road, where Pink Floyd made their name.

The Revolution exhibition will also highlight figures such as Vidal Sassoon, who revolutionised hairdressing in the 1960s, creating geometric styles that came to define the decade. Stylists at a Sassoon Sunday Salon will offer haircuts to visitors.


1965 Formed by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright, later to be joined by David Gilmour in 1967.

1968 Barrett leaves due to mental health issues.

1973 The Dark Side of the Moon is released. It has since sold 45m copies.

1979 Double album The Wall is released, with single Another Brick in the Wall reaching number one for five weeks.

1985 Waters leaves, saying the band no longer exists without him. He goes to court to try to prevent his former bandmates from performing as Pink Floyd, but eventually loses his case.

2014 The band’s final album, The Endless River, is released, winning a Grammy.

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Several hurt as railing collapses at Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa gig

Partition separating fans from stage at New Jersey performance gives way sending dozens falling on to concrete below

Forty-two people were injured after a railing collapsed during an outdoor performance by rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa in New Jersey on Friday night.

A partition separating fans from the stage at the BB&T pavilion in Camden gave way, sending dozens falling several feet on to a concrete area below. The incident occurred about 10.30pm while both performers were on stage at the amphitheatre.

Officials said one person suffered a serious upper-body injury and remained in hospital in a stable condition. Numerous others were treated for broken bones, bruises and other injuries.

The railing was at the bottom of a sloping grassed area of the 25,000 capacity venue, which is managed by promoter Live Nation.

One concertgoer, Katie Colbridge, told NBC that Snoop and Khalifa had just got onto a secondary stage when the large section of railing collapsed.

One witness said the two performers were calling on the crowd to “stand up” when the barrier gave way.

The performance was stopped following the incident, with security staff ushering the rappers off the stage. The event was later cancelled by organisers.

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€10m fight to save James Baldwin’s Provençal home

The writer’s home was a regular haunt of African-American cultural giants

€10m fight to save James Baldwin’s Provençal home
James Baldwin in his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1979. Photograph: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images

In the Provençal town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the picturesque stone house beneath the medieval ramparts is known as “la maison de Jimmy”. The official records office lists it as the ancienne maison Baldwin.

Here in the hills behind the Côte d’Azur, the Harlem-born writer and social critic James Baldwin lived, composing his later works on a clackety old typewriter and entertaining friends including Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, Simone Signoret and Nina Simone. It was here he died of stomach cancer in 1987, aged 63.

For 17 years, the local people adopted the African American author as one of their own. He was often seen chatting in the bar of the local Colombe d’Or hotel, and the affection was reciprocal. Today campaigners are battling to secure the future of his 17th-century house and its grounds, which have been earmarked for development into 18 luxury €1m flats. Two wings of the property on the 10-acre plot have already been demolished, including one in which he wrote.

The Paris-based American novelist Shannon Cain, who is leading the fight to save the property, recently squatted in the surviving section of the house for 10 days in an attempt to stop further development. “Apart from his books, the house is all that remains of Baldwin’s physical presence,” she told the Observer. “It was his dream that the property should become an artists’ colony or residence, and it would be a tragedy to let it go.” Neighbour Hélène Roux remembers “Jimmy”, the kind, lively American who was a larger-than-life presence at Colombe d’Or, run by her late mother, Yvonne. “He was a big presence in my childhood. Jimmy used to write at night and pop up to the village each day around 4pm to come and sit and chat with my mum. Every day he would show up, so he was always there when I came back from school.

“At first he seemed intimidating, then you saw the life in his eyes and the smile that illuminated his face. And every day he would ask how my day at school had been. My mother held him in high esteem and vice versa. She was his great friend; it was a lovely relationship.” The pair were so close that Baldwin named the main character in his 13th novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, Clementine “Tish” Rivers; Clementine was Yvonne Roux’s middle name.

“It was no coincidence,” Roux said. “The degree of generosity and affection he showed with his time and incredible intelligence was wonderful. He followed us through childhood; through adolescence, the tribulations, boyfriends … Jimmy was there.”

Baldwin bought a one-way ticket to Paris at the age of 24, despairing of American prejudice against African-Americans and gay people, and was soon adopted into the cultural mêlée of the French capital’s Left Bank. In 1970 he settled in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where American painter Beauford Delaney, a regular guest, set up his easel in the garden, and Josephine Baker, Miles Davis and Ray Charles visited.

This is a passion project for me. I cannot let it go

Shannon Cain

In his autobiography, Miles Davis wrote that he and Baldwin would “get comfy in that beautiful, big house and he would tell us all sorts of stories … he was a great man”.

The town, a few minutes from the Côte d’Azur, has long been a magnet for the rich and famous. Picasso and Chagall worked here, Jacques Raverat and his wife Gwen – Charles Darwin’s granddaughter – lived here, Yves Montand and Lino Ventura visited, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman has a nearby property, and the actor Donald Pleasence died in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

After Baldwin’s death, there was a dispute over the ownership of the house. The Baldwin family fought a long legal battle, which it eventually lost. The house has since been sold three times.

Cain is now back in Paris after the developers took advantage of her absence from the house to remove her belongings to a nearby hotel (they paid for two nights) and brick up the doors and windows.

She wants to persuade France’s culture ministry to declare the house part of the country’s heritage and take it over. Failing that, she says she will try to raise more than €10m to buy it. “The plan is the same as it’s been from the outset – to work with the ministry of culture to seize the house on the grounds that historic preservation laws were violated, and if that plan fails to raise the money to purchase the house from the developer,” she states on the campaign website.

“The aim for this startup phase is to establish an organisation with the capacity to raise a significant amount of money – in the neighbourhood of €10m – to purchase and/or renovate this house, as well as to establish a permanent endowment that will support an artist residency in perpetuity.”

Baldwin’s literary estate has stopped Cain using his name for her campaign site and has been “like many literary estates … uncooperative and recalcitrant”, she says, but she is hoping to bring relatives on board and begin negotiations with the property developer next month. “This is a passion project for me. I cannot let it go.”

Hélène Roux says it would be a tragedy if Baldwin’s last home were lost. “This is where Jimmy wrote and lived and died. If this house is lost, there would be absolutely nothing left of James Baldwin in this village, a place where he was very happy and where we were happy to see him,” Roux told the Observer.

“It would be heartbreaking for it to disappear. What is really devastating is that very often my doorbell rings and people ask where they can find James Baldwin’s house, and I have to direct them to this devastating sight.”

€10m fight to save James Baldwin’s Provençal home
The house where James Baldwin lived, pictured in 2009. Photograph: Daniel Salomons

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death

Cohen’s letter to Marianne Ihlen said ‘our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon’

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death
Leonard Cohen wrote So Long, Marianne about Marianne Ihlen, whom he met on the Greek island of Hydra. Photograph: K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

Leonard Cohen penned a poignant final letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen, a longtime friend of hers revealed on Canadian radio.

Ihlen, whom Cohen wrote about in So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire, died in Norway on 29 July, aged 81.

Cohen met her on the Greek island Hydra in the 1960s and they became lovers. So Long, Marianne appeared on his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Her close friend Jan Christian Mollestad got in touch with Cohen to tell him Ihlen was dying.

“It took only two hours and in came this beautiful letter from Leonard to Marianne. We brought it to her the next day and she was fully conscious and she was so happy that he had already written something for her,” Mollestad said.

Mollestad, a documentary maker, read Cohen’s letter to her before she died. “It said well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Mollestad told CBC that when he read the line “stretch out your hand,” Ihlen stretched out her hand. “Only two days later she lost consciousness and slipped into death. I wrote a letter back to Leonard saying in her final moments I hummed Bird on a Wire because that was the song she felt closest to. And then I kissed her on the head and left the room, and said “so long, Marianne.”

Leonard Cohen’s Facebook page also marked Ihlen’s death. “The death last week of Marianne Ihlen, the woman immortalized in So Long, Marianne, has evoked an overwhelming response from those who knew Marianne well, those who knew her only as Leonard Cohen’s muse, and even those who previously didn’t know there was a real Marianne,” a post said.

Ihlen’s funeral was held in Oslo on Friday.

Dogg's dinner? Snoop and 'homegirl' Martha Stewart make dinner party TV

The rapper and the doyenne of domesticity will host new unscripted show for VH1, which will see the pair hosting dinners attended by celebrity guests

Dogg's dinner? Snoop and 'homegirl' Martha Stewart make dinner party TV
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg: joint dinner party – with joint being the operative word. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/AP

In what’s surely one of the unlikeliest pairings to ever grace the small screen, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg have been brought together to co-present VH1’s new unscripted series, Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party.

The weekly series, of which a full season has been commissioned, according to the Hollywood Reporter, will see the two throw a joint dinner party each episode with surprise celebrity guests.

VH1 describes the 10-episode series as a “half-baked evening of cocktails, cooking, conversation and fun where nothing is off limits”.

In a statement, Stewart also hinted that show will have a competitive element, saying that it “will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way”.

Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party marks the duo’s first collaboration, but the pair have been featured together before.

Most recently, they competed on ABC’s gameshow $100,000 Pyramid. The two also took turns mocking Justin Bieber on a Comedy Central’s roast, (“I taught Snoop that the most important thing in business is diversification,” Stewart joked during the show); while Snoop Dog once appeared as a guest on Stewart’s now defunct talk show, Martha.

“My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back,” said Snoop Dogg, in a statement.

The show is set to debut this fall. The guests have yet to be announced.

Fabric to close this weekend after drug-related deaths

London nightclub suspends operations amid investigation into recent deaths of two teenagers

Fabric to close this weekend after drug-related deaths
Fabric nightclub in Farringdon, London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The London nightclub Fabric is to close this weekend after the drug-related deaths of two teenagers.

The most recent incident took place on Saturday, when an 18-year-old male collapsed outside the venue at 8.20am and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Another 18-year-old died after he fell ill at the 2,500-capacity club in Farringdon on 25 June. Neither death is being treated as suspicious.

The club said on its website: “For the past two years Fabric has operated without incident, but tragically in the past nine weeks two 18-year-old boys have died as a consequence of drug overdoses.

“In order to understand how this has happened we have agreed with the police and other agencies to suspend our operation while we investigate. The club will therefore be closed this weekend.”

It said it would make a further statement next week and that all tickets for this weekend would be refunded.

Over the past three years, Fabric has struggled to maintain its licence amid increasing pressure from the Metropolitan police and Islington council over drug-related incidents.

In December 2014, the police requested the council “seriously consider” revoking the club’s licence, citing four deaths in the previous three years and eight other incidents in which clubbers collapsed.

Fabric was able to remain open, though the council imposed strict licensing conditions, including sniffer dogs and ID scans, but in December 2015 it won an appeal against these conditions, on the grounds that they undermined efforts to confiscate drugs at the door.

The news follows a growing number of cases in which people have died after taking ecstasy. One of the most recent cases was 22-year-old Will Moss, who died in July after collapsing outside the Chameleon nightclub in Southend.

In May, Faye Allen, 17, from Liverpool, died after taking ecstasy while at a nightclub in Manchester.

According to ONS statistics released last year, deaths caused by ecstasy or MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy also sold in powder form – rose from eight in 2010 to 50 in 2014. This follows a spike in the purity of the drug, which is at its strongest in years.

Harm reduction charities such as The Loop, which conducts drug testing and offers advice at festivals, has found pills containing up to 250mg of MDMA, more than double the average quantity found in pills during the late 90s.

Common harm reduction advice is for users to test their reaction to a pill by taking half, or a quarter, and waiting before taking more.

The Loop’s CrushDabWait campaign encourages users to consider the way they consume MDMA, advising those who want to take it to crush it into a fine powder, take a small finger dab and then wait one to two hours before considering taking more.

This article was amended on 12 August to correct a sentence that said Faye Allen died after taking ecstasy at a nightclub in Liverpool. The nightclub was in Manchester.

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Hip-hop artist Bow Wow to retire as he can't see himself rapping aged 30

Rapper, now 29-years-old started working aged 13, has made $20m and will turn his attention to acting and TV production

Hip-hop artist Bow Wow to retire as he can't see himself rapping aged 30
Rapper Bow Wow has said he will retire from music because it is time for a new adventure. Photograph: Danny Moloshok/Reuters

US rapper Bow Wow has announced he is retiring from music, saying he just doesn’t see himself rapping as a 30-year-old.

Bow Wow, 29, found fame at the age of 13 as Lil’ Bow Wow but has lately been going by his real name, Shad Moss.

He said in a series of posts to Twitter on Sunday and Monday that his final album will be the upcoming “NYLTH”. He did not give a date for the release.

“I always said I’d retire from music before 30,” the musician tweeted. “I just can’t see myself at 30 years old rapping.”

“Made over 20 million off rap. Why be greedy? Im good with everything I accomplished. I made it to the white house,” added the Ohio-born rapper.

As Lil’ Bow Wow, the musician released his first album Beware of the Dog in 2000. He has also launched a career as an actor, appearing in movies such as Madea’s Big Happy Family and the TV crime series CSI:Cyber.

He said on Twitter he planned to focus on acting in the future and is also producing two TV shows.

More than a decade on from his biggest hit (Like You with Ciara in October 2005), news of Moss’ retirement was met with indifference, amusement, and in some cases cruelty on social media.

Moss did not respond to the Guardian’s question, posed over Twitter: why can’t you be a successful rapper at 30?

But he did appear to have embraced family life.

“Nothing like landing 12 hours later on your way to surprise your daughter at camp and she has no clue,” he tweeted on Monday evening.

At 46, Jay-Z is likely the oldest most successful rapper, though he does seem to be putting more of his energy into business pursuits such as his streaming service, Tidal, than music. Kanye West turns 40 next year.

It’s possible the seed for Moss’ retirement could have been planted by Drake, the hugely popular Canadian rapper, who at 29 is the same age.

Drake rapped in a recent song that he intended to retire before 35.

“The most successful rapper 35 and under/I’m assumin’ everybody’s 35 and under/That’s when I plan to retire, man it’s already funded,” goes the lyric, in Weston Road Flows.

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Game of Thrones concert experience hits the road in 2017

Ramin Djawadi, composer of the score of the HBO hit, is leading an orchestra on an audiovisual tour of the US that promises to ‘bring the Seven Kingdoms to life’

Game of Thrones concert experience hits the road in 2017
Uplifting … Emilia Clarke as Daenerys in Games of Thrones. Photograph: HBO/PA

A live Game of Thrones concert experience has been announced. The 28-day tour, featuring music from the HBO television series, has been described as a “music and visual experience that will bring the Seven Kingdoms to life on a scale never seen before.”

Led by the show’s composer Ramin Djawadi, the North American tour will enlist a full orchestra, choir and themed visuals, to bring the TV show’s score to life. The music will also be accompanied by key scenes from the series and additional footage shot specifically for the live dates.

“The idea is to showcase how the music enhances those experiences for the audience,” Djawadi told Time magazine. “There’s some great, big exciting moments, like for example Mesa, which was when Daenerys frees all the slaves, and people will remember that very uplifting moment, but then we will perform some of these heartbreaking moments with real musicians. That’s always very special too, because when you see live musicians perform music they put their own emotion into it, and you see a violinist and how their body moves. I think that’s so powerful.”

The 360-degree set design will include LED screens and flaming towers, which will double up as a platform for the choir and orchestra.

The tour begins on 15 Feb 2017 in Kansas City, before taking in arenas and venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York, until May.

The Weeknd gives $250,000 to Black Lives Matter

Abel Tesfaye joins list of stars – including Beyoncé, Jay Z and Drake – who are making their support for the movement a matter of record

The Weeknd gives $250,000 to Black Lives Matter
The Weeknd … pledging his support. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for NARAS

R&B star the Weeknd has donated $250,000 (£193,000) to the Black Lives Matter network. The Fader reported the donation, which was later confirmed by his representatives, according to other US reports.

The Weeknd – 26-year-old Abel Tesfaye – had previously Tweeted his support for the movement. Last month he told his followers: “Enough is enough. It’s time to stand up for this. We can either sit and watch, or do something about it. The time is now.”

Earlier this month the musician, whose parents emigrated to Canada from Ethiopia, had donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto to establish an Ethiopic studies course.

The focus on US police violence against people of colour and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has become an increasingly important topic for some of US music’s biggest stars over the past year. Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly and Beyoncé’s Lemonade both addressed, with varying levels of directness, issues of black identity. Beyoncé also put the topic front and centre before the US’s biggest TV audience in February, when she performed her single Formation at the Super Bowl half-time show with dancers paying tribute to the Black Panthers.

Last month, both Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z responded to the shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Jay Z released a song called Spiritual, along with a quote from the 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

Beyoncé said in a statement posted online: “We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives … These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation. This is a fight for anyone who feels marginalised, who is struggling for freedom and human rights … The war on people of colour and all minorities needs to be over.”

At her concert in Glasgow in July, she called for a moment’s silence and used the giant screens on stage to display the names of black people killed by US police.

Drake, too, commented on the killings, posting a statement to Instagram in which he said: “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”

Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams

Artists, poets, film directors and musicians call on Brazilian government and European companies to recognise the rights of the Munduruku people

Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams
The Munduruku have welcomed a decision last week by Brazil’s environment protection agency to reject plans for what would have been one of the world’s largest-ever dams on the river. Photograph: Fábio Nascimento/Greenpeace

Some 48 musicians, poets, chefs, artists, film directors and other celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Mark Rylance have called on the Brazilian government and European companies to recognise the rights of an Amazonian group whose territory is threatened by a large complex of dams.

In a letter to the Guardian, the group says Brazil’s plan to build four large and many smaller dams on the Tapajós river and its tributaries could destroy thousands of square miles of forest and imperil the Munduruku indigenous people.

A delegation of Munduruku chiefs will arrive in Britain this week to seek a formal meeting with European technology giant Siemens, which has been part of a consortium bidding to win contracts to build the dams.

Chief Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku and his senior adviser will ask Siemens in Britain to publicly state that they will not participate in plans for new dams on their ancestral lands.

The Munduruku have welcomed a decision last week by Brazil’s environment protection agency to reject plans for what would have been one of the world’s largest-ever dams on the river. But they say that the complex of many smaller dams will devastate the forest and their people’s way of life.

“The Brazilian watchdog’s decision marked a turning point in the struggle to protect this corner of the Amazon, but the fight isn’t over yet. The cancelled dam is one of five planned for this highly sensitive area, and the environment agency’s powers to defend the rainforest are now under threat,” the signatories write.

A spokeswoman for Siemens said: “We’re talking with Greenpeace and other stakeholders, and we’re assessing the issues intensively – as we strive to help secure a sustainable, reliable and affordable supply of power for the people of Brazil.

“Should any representatives from the Amazon tribe wish to meet representatives from Siemens while they are in the UK we will welcome them to one of our sites. However Siemens UK is not involved in any hydroelectric power projects in Brazil.”

Greenpeace has been calling on the engineering giant to rule itself out of any further hydroelectric projects in the Amazon rainforest, but the company’s leaders have so far refused to do so.

The group of 48 include Anish Kapoor, Charlotte Church, Grayson Perry, Sir Roger Moore, Michael Palin, Lord David Puttnam and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Western celebrities have championed saving Amazonian forests ever since rock star Sting lobbied the president of Brazil in 1989 to stop goldminers decimating the Yanomamai tribe.

Since then, many A-listers including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sir Elton John, Prince Charles and Bill Clinton have added their voices. In the same period, around 350,000 square kilometres of forest has been destroyed.

Ozzy Osbourne sued by Bob Daisley in unpaid royalties dispute

The bassist/songwriter alleges Osbourne’s Blizzard Music ‘short-changed’ him in connection with hit song Crazy Train – a claim the company denies

Ozzy Osbourne sued by Bob Daisley in unpaid royalties dispute
Ozzy Osbourne performing in 2014. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ozzy Osbourne’s former bassist Bob Daisley has sued the musician and his company Blizzard Music Limited for unpaid royalties. The musician has accused Osbourne of withholding over $2m in unpaid royalties from the song Crazy Train.

Released in 1980, both Osbourne and Daisley are credited as the song’s writers along with late guitarist Randy Rhoads. According to documents released after the filing at a court in Nevada on 8 August, Daisley’s complaint alleges that an audit revealed Osbourne and Blizzard Music were “improperly deducting undisclosed fees before distributing royalties to Daisley and improperly withholding Daisley’s rightful share of royalties owed under the publishing agreements for the commercial exploitations of the songs”.

Ozzy Osbourne sued by Bob Daisley in unpaid royalties dispute
The Blizzard of Ozz lineup … from left, Randy Rhoads, Lee Kerslake, Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Daisley at Ridge Farm Studio, Surrey, in 1980. Photograph: Fin Costello/Redferns

Daisley performed with Osbourne on Blizzard of Ozz, the Black Sabbath singer’s first solo album in 1980, and was involved in 1981’s Diary of a Madman but was fired before its release. While Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake successfully sued for royalties and credit for their work on this album in 1986, allegations made in 2002 over alleged unpaid performance royalties were dismissed.

“While Mr Osbourne was benefiting from the songs co-authored by our client, the audit shows that he was systematically short-changing Mr Daisley,” said Daisley’s lawyer Alan Howard of the 2016 allegations. “Mr Daisley had no choice but to bring this action to secure his fair share of the proceeds those songs have generated.”

Osbourne has refuted the charges, and, in an email statement to Rolling Stone his representative said: “For the past 36 years, Mr Daisley has been receiving biannual royalty statements and checks from Blizzard Music, totalling in the millions of dollars, which have been routinely cashed.

“We understand that Mr Daisley is now in retirement and that these funds are his main source of income, so it is his right to be diligent with his money, but after 36 years, this is tantamount to harassment. We would have hoped that after 36 years that Mr Daisley would have lost his unhealthy personal obsession and resentment towards Mr Osbourne’s success. Blizzard Music and Mr Osbourne plan to vigorously defend these proceedings.”

Ed Sheeran sued for allegedly copying Marvin Gaye classic Let's Get It On

Sheeran’s Grammy-winning hit Thinking Out Loud copied the ‘heart’ of Gaye song, says its co-writer Ed Townsend as he sues British artist in New York

Ed Sheeran sued for allegedly copying Marvin Gaye classic Let's Get It On
Song of the year … Ed Sheeran accepts a Grammy for Thinking Out Loud in Los Angeles last February. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Ed Sheeran has been accused of copying elements of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On for his hit single Thinking Out Loud.

The track, which became the first to spend a full year in the UK top 40 and has been streamed more than 1 billion times on YouTube, became Sheeran’s first number one single, and went on to top charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovakia and South Africa. It also won song of the year at the 2016 Grammy awards.

An infringement lawsuit has now been filed by Ed Townsend, who composed and co-wrote the lyrics to Let’s Get It On in 1973, according to the complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York. Townsend has requested the suit is assessed at a jury trial, and alleges the harmonic progressions, melodic and rhythmic elements central to Gaye’s track formed the structure of Sheeran’s hit.

“The defendants copied the ‘heart’ of ‘Let’s’ and repeated it continuously throughout Thinking,” the lawsuit said according to Reuters. “The melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of Thinking are substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition of ‘Let’s.’”

A spokesperson for Sheeran has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Gaye’s family last year won $7.4m after successfully suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement over their single Blurred Lines. The attorney Richard Busch, who triumphed on behalf of Gaye’s family, is also representing Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard in another case surrounding Sheeran. The pop songwriters claim Sheeran’s Photograph “note-for-note” copies their 2009 song Amazing which was released as the third single by Matt Cardle, winner of the 2010 season of The X Factor. Sheeran has not publicly responded to that claim.

Viola Beach's debut album tops the UK charts

The four piece, who along with their manager died in a car accident in February, take No 1 slot with self-titled debut album

Viola Beach's debut album tops the UK charts
Remembered for their music … Viola Beach. Photograph: Twitter

Viola Beach, the band who tragically died in a car crash in Sweden, have reached No 1 with their debut album.

The band’s four members and their manager were killed in February when the car they were in fell from a highway bridge into a canal in Stockholm.

The families and friends of the group released a self-titled collection of nine songs as a tribute to vocalist Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bassist Tomas Lowe, drummer Jack Dakin and manager Craig Tarry.

In a statement, the families said: “The tragedy that ended Craig, Jack, Kris, River and Tom’s lives in Sweden and the pain and sense of loss will never leave us. By sending the Viola Beach album to Number 1 the public have sent out an important message to the world.

“The tragic circumstance that met Viola Beach and their manager Craig that fateful night in Sweden will not now define their lives. What will now define their lives and what they will be remembered for, forever, is the music they were so passionate about making together.”

At the time of the crash, Viola Beach were a rising guitar band steadily building a fanbase. The story of a group who never got the chance to realise their potential touched a nerve with many music fans, including Coldplay, who dedicated a section of their Glastonbury headline slot to them. Chris Martin told the crowd: “We’re going to create Viola Beach’s alternate future for them and let them headline Glastonbury with their song,” before playing Boys That Sing.

Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company, said: “It is hard to think of an album more people were rooting for than the Viola Beach release – nor a success which has felt so bittersweet. We’re delighted that it has taken the No 1 spot, but it is an awful tragedy that Jack, Kris, River, Tomas and Craig are not here to see themselves take a place in the annals of British music.”