Erykah Badu Disrobes In Video To Promote Individualism


R&B singer Erykah Badu released her new album, New Amerykah, Part II: Return Of The Ankh, Tuesday. It is the follow up to her 2008 record, New Amerykah Part I, World War 4.

The album's first video, "Window Seat," premiered on Badu's website Sunday morning. In the video, Badu visits Dallas' Dealey Plaza, the site of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Inspired by Matt & Kim's "Lessons Learned" video where the group undresses in Times Square, Badu disrobes as she walks down a busy street midday. The passersby aren't video extras, but real life unassuming pedestrians who mainly ignore her, save for a man who picks up some of her clothes, and a woman who stares at her while holding the hand of a toddler boy.

By the time Badu reaches the infamous grassy knoll where Kennedy was killed, she is completely nude. A gunshot is heard, her head cocks back, and her limp body falls to the ground. The words "group think" bleed from her head in blue ink.

"Group think that's like a form of thinking that causes you to bury what you really feel inside to please the group so you won't be ostracized by the group," Badu told the Wall Street Journal. "It's a comfort zone that we create for ourselves, and I go outside of that comfort zone."

As Badu's body lies on the ground, she speaks in a narrative voice to explain the message. "They play it safe. Are quick to assassinate what they do not understand," Badu says in the voiceover. "This is what we have become. Afraid to respect the individual."

The reaction online has mostly been positive. "Erykah badu constantly causes one to question things...that's why she's amazing," RuthLovely commented on Twitter.

One viewer, however, considers Badu's public nudity indecent. "Obscene? No. Indecent? Definitely." Fred Sands wrote on Badu's fan site Erykah-Badu.com. "No permit to tape + ‘straight guerilla cam' + no consideration of kids at a tourist spot = extreme arrogance, ignorance and dishonoring the memory of a beloved President."

John Crawford, president of the nonprofit group Downtown Dallas, described the video as "in poor taste and in poor judgment," the Dallas Morning News reports.

After taping the video, Badu admitted feeling some anxiety. "There were children there," Badu said via her Twitter page Fatbellybella. "I prayed they wouldn't b traumatized." She did talk to her three children and their fathers beforehand and received their support.

"'Window Seat' is a song about being liberated from I think mostly ourselves," Badu told the Wall Street Journal. "In the video I shed a lot of emotion, a lot of baggage by way of shedding clothing. I do this in the middle of a busy street which is totally probably something that is not accepted in society, thus the definition of not conforming to what society would expect you to do."

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Justin Bieber show's a speedy sellout


Tickets for teen heart throb Justin Bieber's Sept. 4 concert at the Allentown Fair sold out Saturday about as fast as the 16-year-old's R&B/pop songs have risen on the charts -- arguably setting a record for the fastest fair grandstand sell-out.

The ''arguably'' part is that, while 8,500 of the 9,000 tickets the fair had to sell were gone in 28 minutes, it took more than an hour to sell the last 500 -- pushing the total sales time past the one hour in which country star Tim McGraw sold out in 2005.

Fair Marketing Director Bonnie Brosious said those final 500 tickets were single seats, and while country music fans may not mind sitting alone in a crowd, that's not an option for many of Bieber's target audience of 'tween and young teen girls. Brosious said Bieber reached the single-seats mark far faster than McGraw.

Fastest or not, Bieber gave Allentown Fair its first sellout of the year. Last year, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham was the only sell-out, and another act with the initials J.B. -- The Jonas Brothers -- did it in 2008.

''Bieber Nation was out in force in the Lehigh Valley today and everywhere else in the online universe,'' Brosious said. ''It was unbelievable, just unbelievable.''

The fair is catching Bieber at perhaps the height of his popularity. His sophomore disc, ''My World 2.0,'' hit stores Tuesday and is expected to top Billboard's album chart this week. The album's first single, ''Baby'' (featuring Ludacris), was Bieber's first Top 10 hit and is at No. 10 this week. Another single, ''U Smile,'' is this week's highest chart debut at No. 27, as the single ''Never Let You Go'' was two weeks ago at No. 21.

The fair show is the final date in Bieber's first tour and comes four days after he plays Madison Square Garden.

That popularity wasn't lost on 160 people -- some wrapped in blankets -- who braved nippy temperatures to wait in line at the fair box office Saturday. The crush for tickets resulted in a minor dust-up when Michele Gubish, 43, of Hellertown -- who had waited in line since Thursday night -- said a couple from Phillipsburg who declined to give their names stepped in front of her at the fair gate's opening.

The couple got three first-row tickets while Gubish settled for four second-row seats. The couple said they called to confirm the fair's no-overnight-waiting policy, and were unaware Gubish -- who slept in her car and moved to the fairgrounds at 10:30 p.m. Friday -- was in line when they queued up to buy tickets for their daughters, 13 and 16. Brosious said the fair has had a no-overnight rule for years.

Gubish bought tickets for her daughter, Kristen, 11. ''She just loves Justin Bieber,'' Gubish said. After she got the tickets, Kristen asked, ''Can I hold them?''

It was the same for Gubish's friend Jen German of Hellertown, who bought tickets for her daughters Emma, 9, and Hannah, 12, who said she likes Bieber '''cause he's cute and we love his music.''

Rich Bennock of Weissport traveled almost 30 miles to wait with his daughter Danielle and her friend Ismar Villafave, both 14. Bennock said he waited three days in the middle of winter in Pittsburgh 20 years ago for Grateful Dead tickets.

''This is nothing,'' he said.

Bennock wasn't unusual. ''We're getting a lot of dads calling,'' Brosious said. ''They want to be a hero.''

Helping the quick sell-out was the show's relatively low ticket prices -- $39 and $49 -- Brosious said. Using five sales windows, the fair handled all 160 people in 20 minutes, before only the single seats were left, though people continued to trickle in afterward.

Cynthia Delgado of Allentown, who was 150th in line, and her daughter Andrea, 11, got sixth-row grandstand seats after waiting less than a half hour.

After securing the tickets, mothers hugged and congratulated each other.

''Judging by the shrieks we heard, they were all happy and excited,'' Brosious said. ''It was fun, and that's really great.''

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Reports: Beyoncé’s Dad Has A Lovechild


After much media speculation--and a DNA test--TMZ has confirmed that Beyoncé's dad Mathew Knowles is the father of Alexsandra Wright’s baby boy, Nixon.

Wright, an L.A. resident, filed a paternity suit against Knowles last October, alleging that they were in a relationship for 18 months. Rumors of an affair swirled after a photo of her son baring a resemblance to Knowles surfaced on the Net.

Knowles' reps denied the claims, saying in a statement at the time: “We are not aware of the birth of a child. Mr. Knowles has never had a DNA test. These rumors are untrue.”

However, a DNA test reportedly proved the paternity, and now Knowles and Wright are working out terms of child support.

Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, filed for divorce from her husband last November after roughly 30 years of marriage.

Mathew has not released a statement about the paternity yet.

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Jessica Simpson searches world for beauty


In "Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty," the singer and sometimes actress travels the globe with two friends, hair stylist Ken Paves and former assistant Cacee Cobb, to examine people's efforts to measure up to their society's standard of beauty.

The show premiered Monday and episodes air throughout the week on VH1.

The goal is to empower women to accept themselves and ultimately understand that no one, not even celebrities, are perfect.

Simpson endured widespread chatter herself after gaining some weight. Paves points out that despite the scrutiny, Simpson continued performing and doing her job.

"Imagine if the whole world is talking about you," Paves said. "She still followed through, never stopped, and nobody ever said, 'That's a strong girl, that's a brave girl.' I was disappointed."

It wasn't always easy, Simpson said. "You can't walk anywhere without thinking, 'I wonder if they think I'm fat .... I wonder if they've read that story," Simpson said. "I couldn't help it. And I think that once I realized it wasn't going to stop, I had to find a way to accept it, and I had to find a way to use it."

On "Price of Beauty," the 29-year-old Simpson and her friends meet a woman in Thailand who burned herself permanently from bleaching her skin lighter. They talk with a former Paris model who starved herself to under 100 pounds to be thin.

Viewers witness a deeper side to Simpson than they saw on her former MTV reality show "Newlyweds" with then-husband Nick Lachey.

"I'm very vulnerable on the show. I'm very open. I don't have anything to hide," Simpson said. "I want people to know I am just a normal girl that faces normal issues just like everyone else."

But the show is not all life lessons and sadness. There are lighter moments, too, when Simpson and her pals try to immerse themselves in local culture.

"In Mumbai, we drank cow urine because it detoxes you and it's good for your skin," Simpson said. "I puked that up, like, all over the place."

Paves got a Brazilian wax when the three visited Brazil.

"I was screaming, cussing, kicking," he said. "I was in tears, red and raw, I couldn't walk."

Simpson said she's taking a break from music now to focus on the show, which she hopes will get picked up for another season. Next, she plans to start a foundation for girls to help with self-esteem.

She wants to empower young women to accept themselves and ultimately understand that no one, not even celebrities, are perfect.

"I don't look like the girl on the cover of the magazine," Simpson said. "My covers! They airbrush me."

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Lady Gaga Sued For $30.5 Million By Producer


A songwriter and music producer who claims he helped launch Lady Gaga's career filed a $30.5 million lawsuit against the pop superstar, The Associated Press reported Thursday (March 18).

Rob Fusari says he was squeezed out of Gaga's lucrative career after he co-wrote some of her songs, came up with her stage name and helped her get a record deal. Fusari's lawyer hadn't returned MTV News' calls for comment by press time; Gaga's rep also hadn't commented on the suit.

The producer said Gaga is his protégé and former girlfriend, and she ditched him as her career took off. "All business is personal," said the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan.

Fusari, who had worked on Will Smith's "Wild, Wild West" and Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" when he teamed up with the singer back in March 2006, said he persuaded her to trade in her rock music for dance beats.

As they co-wrote songs such as "Paparazzi" and "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich," which would appear on her debut album, The Fame, he transformed Stefani Germanotta into Lady Gaga, a name adapted from Queen's "Radio Ga Ga," the lawsuit claimed.

Lady Gaga told the AP in a 2009 interview that her "realization of Gaga was five years ago, but Gaga's always been who I am."

"I was Gaga from the time that I was 19 through my first record deal," the 23-year-old said of her over-the-top style. "I always dressed like that before people knew me as Lady Gaga. I was always that way. ... I stuck out like a sore thumb."

Per the lawsuit, Lady Gaga and Fusari's relationship turned romantic and then became a business partnership in May 2006, when they created a joint venture called Team Love Child LLC to promote her career. Fusari's share was 20 percent, it said.

Fusari says he introduced Lady Gaga to a record executive who ultimately shepherded her to Universal Music Group's Interscope Records, which released The Fame in 2008. While Fusari has a producing credit on the album, he said he has been denied a 20 percent song-royalties share and 15 percent of merchandising revenue. He acknowledges getting checks for about $611,000 but said that isn't his full share.

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Beyonce's Heat Fragrance Is Burning Up The Retail Counters


Pop diva, Beyonce, is one of the many celebrities who have decided that a fragrance was one of the ways they should monetize their brand. Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian and others of the same ilk are attempting to do the same thing. However, the big separator between Beyonce and the rest of the copy-cats is the MONEY! Beyonce's Heat fragrance has brought in over $3 Million in its first month of existence. According to one mag:

" Beyonce's first fragrance Heat, launched last month exclusively at Macy’s, has been setting sparks off the shelves with its scorching success. Not only did the signature scent nab the honor of being the number one brand at Macy’s, but it has already sold around $3 million in its first month out — 72,000 bottles alone in a single hour during an in-person N.Y.C. appearance by the star, according to WWD. The fragrance–a mix of magnolia, neroli and blush peach scents–retails for $39-$59. "


WOW! Beyonce's Heat is burning up. $3 Million here and another $3 Million there and soon you start making some real money :).

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Will a Ray LaMontagne cover get Alex Lambert in 'Trouble'?


Here's Alex Lambert, with Ray LaMontagne's Trouble, the song bank robber Matt Lawrence did so well in the audition episodes. Alex's finally looking like he's not going to throw up on stage, and, musically, this is a nice performance -- it's in his range, and it's suited to his style. If only he weren't singing about things like trouble and worry dogging his soul since the day he was born. Not much honest emotion in this one, but I guess it'll do for one of the guys this year.

Randy thinks it was a good song choice for him, "I just wasn't jumping up and down."

Now, Ellen thinks Alex's an overripe banana. She means that in the nicest possible way, of course: "Every single week, you get better and better and better." She loves his innocence, how real and vulnerable he is. "Don't become a cocky banana," she says. "Nobody likes that." Okay, Ellen -- sometimes a banana is just a banana. Time to drop the metaphor.

"The only thing standing between you and winning it is you right now," Kara says, by which she means he's still stiff and unsure of himself.

"You are so -- still -- concentrating on trying to deliver the performance, we've never ever seen you relax or having a good time," says Simon. He suggests imagining Randy in a bikini.

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Madonna, Lourdes to launch 'Material Girl' line


Madonna and her 13-year-old budding fashionista daughter Lourdes are to launch a new line in teen clothing called "Material Girl" in the US this August.

The mother-daughter collection, which will be exclusively available at Macy's stores, will focus on affordable back-to-school clothes but will include footwear, handbags and jewelry and aims to add a fragrance in 2011.

The line is a joint venture between Madonna and the Iconix Brand Group, which purchased the Badgley Mischka brand in 2004 and includes other leading labels such as Mossimo and Ed Hardy.

"The "Material Girl" collection was inspired and designed in collaboration with Madonna and her daughter Lourdes, along with Iconix Brand Group's in-house fashion department," a press release from Iconix said.

As part of the hook-up, Macy's will retain the right to launch additional brands with the MG (Material Girl) icon in the future.

"We are excited to announce the first in a series of new brands that will be developed under our partnership with Madonna," said Iconix CEO and chairman Neil Cole.

"'Material Girl' has a powerful retail partner in Macy's and we look forward to working together to deliver an innovative launch for our consumers."


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Mariah Carey sparks pregnancy reports at Oscars


While all eyes were on the winners at this year's Academy Awards, there was a excited buzz surrounding Mariah Carey, too.

Stunning in a blue Valentino gown, the Precious star caused quite a stir when she set foot on the red carpet on Sunday.

The radiant 39-year-old told reporters that "something special" was about to happen, but refused to elaborate further.

The comment has intrigued spectators who are assuming the Butterfly singer is expecting her first child with husband Nick Cannon.

The happy couple tied the knot in 2008.


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Oscars Red Carpet Standouts Include Miley Cyrus, Anna Kendrick


The Academy Awards red carpet was ruled by nude tones, with everyone from Miley Cyrus to "Up in the Air" star Anna Kendrick dressing in the muted color. However, other starlets opted for blues and purples with some even choosing tie-dye-like patterns.

2010 Oscars Red Carpet

Best Supporting Actress nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal arrived in Dries Van Noten and while the print resembled tie-dye from a distance, it was actually a take on Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night." Rachel McAdams also arrived in a Grecian gown with a floral tie-dye print and "Avatar" star Zoe Saldana's busy lavender gown resembled tie-dye toward the hemline.

Speaking of lavender, the color definitely dominated the carpet, with seemingly every other dress in a shade of the hue. Queen Latifah and Charlize Theron both wore the color and Jennifer Lopez's fun, flirty Armani Privé gown was on the lighter shade if the spectrum.

Along with Cyrus and Kendrick, Cameron Diaz embraced the nude trend with her super sparkly Oscar De La Renta gown.

"Twilight" stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner have definitely grown up — Stewart looked glamorous in her tailored, strapless black ruched gown and Lautner impressed in his ultra-glam tuxedo.

As for the rest of the guys, everyone from Efron to Chris Pine to Sam Worthington proved that the males of young Hollywood love fashion and have studied up on old-school Hollywood glam.

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Sugababes deny Mutya Buena name row


The current members of Sugababes say there is no row over who owns the name of their group.

Mutya Buena, who was a founder member of the group but left in 2005, has applied for ownership of the Sugababes' brand.

That would mean she would be able to put the name on things like CDs, DVDs and books.

But, speaking at the launch of Sugababes' new album Sweet 7 on Wednesday night, Heidi Range said she wasn't expecting it to come to anything.

"Our record company own the name Sugababes," she said. "So there's no conversations about who owns the name.

"I signed to Universal Records eight-and-a-half years ago with Mutya and Keisha as the Sugababes, so we've still got the name."

Mutya Buena, 24, has asked the European Trademarks Authority to rule on her case but a decision isn't expected for months.

But 26-year-old Heidi Range and former British Eurovision contestant Jade Ewen, 22, say they don't want to get caught up in it.

Heidi said: "I don't know whether it's just the press kicking up a bit of a fuss but nothing that we're aware of.

"It would be nice for it to be a bit more positive but it's to be expected," Jade added. "We can't even blame anybody for feeling the way they do."

The group signed to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation last April and were due to release their seventh studio album in November.

But after the departure of founding member Keisha Buchanan, 25, her vocals were re-recorded by Jade Ewen.


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Drake Premieres First Official Single 'Over'


After a nearly yearlong wait for his fans, Drake's first single from his debut album Thank Me Later is here. The song, "Over," deals with Drake coming to grips with fame. And just like Drizzy chose to stay with his home team, Young Money, when signing his record deal, he also chose to debut his first official record in his hometown, on Toronto radio station 93.5 the Flow. The song is also available for download on Drake's Web site.

"Bottles on me, long as someone drink it," the 23-year-old raps in a slow, aggressive flow. "Never drop the ball, f--- is y'all thinking?/ Making sure the Young Money ship is never sinking/ 'Bout to set it off in this bi---, Jada Pinkett/ You too fine to be laying down in bed alone/ I can teach you how to speak my language, Rosetta Stone."

The track was produced by Boi-1da and has an energetic feel.

" 'Bout to go Thriller, Mike Jackson on these n---as," Drake later raps. "All I need is a f---ing red jacket with some zippers."

Even with anticipation for the record through the roof, Drake said he's keeping everything in perspective.

"This is my first song," he told radio-show hosts Jus Red and Jwyze. "This is still my first single off my first album. This is still the beginning, as great as everything has gone."

"I know way too many people here right now that I didn't know last year," Drake sings on the hook. "Who the f--- are y'all?/ I swear it feels like the last few nights we been everywhere and back/ But I just can't remember it all/ What am I doing? What am I doing?/ Oh yeah, that's right/ I'm doing me, I'm doing me/ I'm living life right now, man, and this what I'mma do till it's over/ Till it's over/ But it's far from over."

"I went with 'Over' as the first look because of the words in the hook," he said. "The hook being the most repetitive part. I got a lot of great songs on my album. I got songs for women who wanna feel special. I got songs for dudes — if you ever thought my music was too soft, this is one you will enjoy. I got a lot of variety on there, but the biggest thing was that opening line on the hook: 'I know way too many people here right now that I didn't know last year.'

"I've just gone so many places in a short amount of time," he added. "This record sums up where I am right now in my career. I think it's a great first impression. The album is going to be a great body of work for you to get lost in. Right now I just wanna have some fun. When we're out partying, I want people to have some fun too, because this is the one."

The video for "Over" is scheduled to be filmed soon in Los Angeles.


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