Why Janelle Monae is ‘standing up to bullies’ on her new album

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae has rarely avoided the opportunity to address inequality.

The R&B star’s first three albums form a pointed dialogue about freedom, class, and acceptance – albeit in a futuristic, sci-fi setting.

Her latest record, though, is firmly rooted in the present day, with the star responding to the political and social upheavals in the US.

“There were a lot of times I would stop recording [and] I would be deeply upset, angry,” she told BBC Radio 1.

“Living over in America and feeling like the people I love were pushed to the margins of society by the leader of the free world and that regime.

“You do have to stand up for those who can’t often stand up for themselves – so I do feel a responsibility to knock the hell out of the bully.”

‘We are on a shift change’

The star set out her stall with the album’s first single, Django Jane, a bold, street-smart banger packed with political and feminist discourse.

They been trying hard just to make us all vanish,” she raps at one point. “I suggest they put a flag on a whole ‘nother planet“.

The star said she’d recorded the song as a “response to the sting of feeling like my rights as a young black woman… are constantly being trampled on”.

“I’m angry at many of the things that I hear coming out of the mouths of people in the position of power,” she told Annie Mac. “I’m tired of the abuse of power. I’m tired of so many things.

“But at the end of the day, I do believe that we are on a shift change. Women are uniting, we’re realising we’re stronger together, we’re more powerful together, that we really can get [things] done when we are aligned – and so Django Jane was important to say that.”

The star isn’t just making these statements in her lyrics. Django Jane feels like a companion piece to her recent screen roles in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, while Monae’s Fem The Future movement predates both Me Too and Time’s Up.

The star also addressed sexual inequality with an impassioned speech at this year’s Grammy Awards, telling the gathered executives: “We come in peace, but we mean business.”

Looking back on the moment, she remembers feeling “nervous but eager” about taking a stand.

But her speech was quickly overshadowed by Grammy chief Neil Portnow who, asked about the lack of female winners at the ceremony, commented that women “need to step up”.

Monae counters that the industry needs “systemic” and “structural” changes to promote and protect women.

‘Men need to stand up’

“It’s not like we don’t have the talent to be music producers or engineers or run record labels,” she told Radio 1.

“It’s the lack of opportunity, it’s the lack of hiring, it’s the lack of having women present in these rooms helping make these decisions.

“Statistics already show that when women are in positions of power, sexual harassment go down immensely.

“We really are going to have to have conversations – not just as women, but the men are going to have to have these conversations with us,

“They’re going to have to ally up with us, they’re going to have to check each other in these boys’ club rooms, they’re going to have to stand up for us in ways that I don’t think they have.

“And this is not to group all men together – ’cause not every man is the problem – but you need to recognise the problem and be unafraid to check the problem.”

Katie Boyle: Former TV personality dies aged 91

Former Eurovision Song Contest host Katie Boyle has died at her home aged 91, her agent has said.

Lady Saunders, a TV personality and game show panellist, began her 60-year career as a model before becoming an actress and a BBC continuity announcer.

She hosted Eurovision four times between 1960 and 1974 and she also hosted the Ivor Novello music awards.

She also had a radio show “Katie and Friends”, on BBC Radio 2 and an agony aunt column for the TV Times magazine.

Her later life was devoted to support for animal charities and she was a committee member of Battersea Dogs Home for more than 25 years.

Fellow TV host Jonathan Ross paid tribute.

Obituary

Katie Boyle once said that she was famous for being famous.

But her glamour and ebullience carried her through more than half a century in the public eye, especially as a regular hostess of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Her multilingual outings on these occasions reflected her glamorous but turbulent upbringing.

She was born Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali de Principi di Francavilla on 29 May 1926 in a Florentine palace that had once belonged to the Italian royal family.

Ringo Starr receives knighthood: ‘I’ll wear it at breakfast’

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has been knighted for his services to music.

The Duke of Cambridge bestowed the honour on the Liverpool-born star at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

“It means a lot actually,” the musician told the BBC. “It means recognition for the things we’ve done. I was really pleased to accept this.”

The honour comes 53 years after the Beatles were all awarded the MBE – and Starr said he had missed his bandmates’ companionship this time round.

“I was a bit shaky today on my own,” he said.

Ringo Starr with his medal

When The Beatles received their MBEs in October 1965, the occasion was not without controversy.

Rock and roll was still viewed with suspicion by the establishment and several previous honourees returned their medals in disgust.

John Lennon later claimed that the Beatles were so nervous at the idea of meeting the Queen they sneaked into a bathroom at Buckingham Palace for a cigarette.

“Who said that?” laughed the drummer after Tuesday’s ceremony. “I’m not keeping that rumour going.”

The Beatles at Buckingham Palace in 1965

He arrived at the investiture with his wife, Barbara Bach, offering his trademark peace sign for fans and photographers.

Asked whether he wanted to be known as Sir Ringo, the musician, whose real name is Richard Starkey, replied: “I don’t know yet. It’s new and I don’t know how you use it properly.”

Turning to BBC reporter Colin Paterson, he added: “But I expect you to use it.”

The 77-year-old added he knew exactly what he’d do with his medal.

“I’ll be wearing it at breakfast,” he joked.

Morpurgo honoured

His honour comes 21 years after fellow Beatle Paul McCartney was knighted.

Starr said the pair had met for dinner last week in Los Angeles, and Sir Paul had offered him some advice for the ceremony: “Keep smiling.”

Other people receiving honours at Tuesday’s ceremony included authors Jilly Cooper and Michael Morpurgo, former Scottish rugby player John “Ian” McLauchlan, Welsh rugby player Sam Warburton and foster carer Anne Shaw.

The Crown stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith get apology over pay

The Crown

The makers of Netflix show The Crown have apologised to its stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith after it emerged that she was paid less than him.

Production company Left Bank Pictures said the actors “have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own”.

A statement said: “We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends.”

Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in the drama alongside Smith as Prince Philip.

The producers’ statement added: “As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.

“We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate.”

The company added that it was “engaged in conversations” with ERA 50:50, which lobbies for equal representation for actresses, and was “keen to talk” to the Time’s Up movement.

The pay gap between Foy and Smith was revealed last week, when the producers said Smith was worth more because of his higher profile from his days in Doctor Who.

Foy was reportedly paid $40,000 (£28,000) per episode for the first two series of The Crown. It is unclear what Smith was paid.

According to Variety, co-producer Suzanne Mackie last week said that in the future, the lead actress would not be paid less.

“Going forward, no-one gets paid more than the queen,” she said.

Olivia Colman will play the monarch in the third series. The identity of the actor playing the Duke of Edinburgh hasn’t been revealed.

‘Jeopardy’ champ comes from behind to win by $1

Lisa Mueller was a returning champ, having won $16,800 on Monday's episode.

Is Lisa a mind reader?

That was the question “Jeopardy” watchers were asking after the game show’s reigning champ came from behind to beat her challenger by a single George Washington.

Technical services librarian Lisa Mueller was trailing retired high school English teacher John Bizal with $14,200 to his $22,400. (Just for the record, customer solutions advisor AJ Freeman was hanging around with $8,000, too.) The Final Jeopardy category was Roman History, and the clue:

“Of this battle in 31 B.C., Virgil wrote, ‘Neptune’s fields grow red with fresh slaughter.’”

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Technical services librarian Lisa Mueller was trailing retired high school English teacher John Bizal with $14,200 to his $22,400.  (ABC)

Easy one, right?

Third-place AJ went first and was way off with “Rome,” dropping him to $1,000 after wagering and losing $7,000.

“Of this battle in 31 B.C., Virgil wrote, ‘Neptune’s fields grow red with fresh slaughter.’”

– The Final Jeopardy question

Second-place Lisa was next, and got the answer right, “The Battle of Acium,” wagering $2,200, and bringing her total to $16,400, still well behind John.

All John had to do was get this right, and he would be back tomorrow. His answer was … Salerno. Wrong!

But his wager would be even more crushing.

John bet $6,001, taking him down to $16,399

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All John had to do was get this right, and he would be back tomorrow. His answer was … Salerno. Wrong! But his wager would be even more crushing.  (ABC)

One dollar less than Lisa.

“Way to go young lady!” host Alex Trebek exhorted, as Lisa stared in disbelief — and John began the rest of his retired high school teacher days wondering what might have been.

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‘This Is Us’ star Chrissy Metz says stepfather beat her, forced her to do weigh-ins as teen

“This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz revealed in a new memoir her stepfather beat her and forced her to do weigh-ins when she was a teenager.

Metz, 37, detailed the physical and emotional abuse caused by her stepfather, Trigger, in her new memoir “This Is Me.” In an excerpt published by People, the actress recalled how much her stepfather loved his biological children he had with Metz’s mother, Denise — but didn’t like her the same way.

“My mom married Trigger at the courthouse,” Metz wrote. “Soon she was pregnant again, with another girl, Abigail. Trigger loved his two biological children, and was even welcoming to Morgana. Me, not so much. My mother was always at work, so she didn’t see how he treated me.”

Metz wrote her body seemed to “offend” Trigger.

“My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator. We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness,” Metz recalled.

The abuse eventually turned physical, according to Metz.

“I don’t remember why Trigger hit me the first time. He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much. He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm,” she wrote. “He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot.”

When Metz was a teenager, she was forced to step on a scale for embarrassing weigh-ins that caused her to believe she was “gigantic.”

24th Screen Actors Guild Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 21/01/2018 – Actress Chrissy Metz. REUTERS/Monica Almeida - HP1EE1M00QF9I

Chrissy Metz said she was forced to do weigh-ins as a teenager.  (Reuters)

“He’d get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor. ‘Well, get on the damn thing!’ Trigger would yell. ‘This is what you need to know,’” Metz wrote in the memoir. “He sat in a chair next to the scale as I got on. ‘Good God almighty!’ he yelled every single time. The number then was about 140 or 130. Most of my friends weighed about ninety pounds. ‘Why are you getting fatter?’ he demanded.”

She said the physical abuse worsened over time.

“By then the beating had escalated. One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you,” Metz said.

The actress said she began eating in the middle of the night or in the bathroom so her stepfather wouldn’t see. She ate food that could be quickly consumed, including cookies and chips. She added that the food gave her a “brief bliss of numbness.”

Metz wrote that she was conflicted because she loved her stepfather, who was the male figure in her life after her biological father left when she was 8.

“This man did more for me than my father ever did. He was smart, and I was allowed to quietly join him in watching the Ken Burns ‘Civil War’ documentaries on television. I clung to [these points of connection] because I needed to figure out why this person could do right by me as a provider, but be unable to love me.”

Despite enduring years of physical and emotional abuse, Metz said has a relationship with her stepfather and still cares for him.

“We all go through stuff. But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I’ve learned] some beautiful lessons,” she said.

‘American Chopper’s’ Paul Teutel Sr. owes $22G in taxes, report says

Americans are no strangers to earning an honest living through working with their hands. Fox's 'American Roots' focuses on proud Americans who make a living doing just that, and is kicking it off with 'American Chopper' star and Orange County Choppers' Lead Designer Jason Pohl.

Paul Teutul Sr. is in more financial trouble.

Page Six confirmed with the Orange County clerk’s office on Wednesday that the “American Chopper” star owes $22,364.60 in state taxes for his Newburgh, N.Y. based restaurant, Orange County Choppers Cafe.

The restaurant’s contact person told Page Six they were not aware of the state tax warrant and Teutul did not list the amount as a separate entity on his bankruptcy filing from February.

Teutul, 68, is also facing foreclosure on his home at 95 Judson Road in Montgomery, New York.  The reality star’s legal problems don’t end there, as he is in the midst a fraud suit for allegedly sabotaging a TV project that cost his business partner millions of dollars.

Teutul rose to fame on the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” from 2003 to 2010. The show returned earlier this month.

Tina Turner forgave ex Ike for years of abuse but still has dreams about ‘the anger’

Tina Turner has opened up about forgiving her ex-husband, Ike Turner, after years of abuse during the infamous couple’s rise to fame.

In a new interview with The Times the star revealed that it took decades for her to forgive her former husband after years of mistreatment.

“As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him,” she told The Times. “He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ Ike wasn’t someone you could forgive and allow him back in.”

Though Ike passed away in 2007, the singer admitted that she still has dreams about the music producer, but questions what the dreams mean.

“It’s all gone, all forgotten. I don’t know what the dreams are about. The dreams are still there — not the violence, the anger,” she clarified. “I wonder if I’m still holding something in.”

Ike Turner poses with his Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album for 'Risin With the Blues' at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 11, 2007.     REUTERS/Mike Blake    (UNITED STATES) - GM1DUPAOJCAA

Ike Turner at the 2004 Grammys.  (Reuters)

In 1990, Ike talked about his abusive behavior towards Turner in an interview with People Magazine.

“All the fights Tina and I had were about her being sad about something,” he said. “I get real emotional if you’re worrying and don’t tell me what it is. Then I can’t about nothing else. So I’d slap her or something like that.”

Turner detailed the beginning of her relationship with Ike to The Times, explaining that she met Ike when she was 16 -years-old and was quickly coaxed into joining his band. Not too long after, the singer explained that Ike seduced her, leading the young singer to believe that she had no other option but to date him.

“I felt awful. I didn’t know how to say no because I needed the work,” she said of meeting Ike in the beginning. “I think I wasn’t educated to handle that.”

U.S. singer Tina Turner performs at the O2 Arena in London March 3, 2009.   REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN) - GM1E5340EQF01

Tina Turner performing in the O2 Arena in London in 2009.  (Reuters)

The two eventually married in 1962 and continued to collaborate on music together, producing and recording iconic songs like  “River Deep – Mountain High” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”

But despite a successful music relationship, the couple’s romance turned violent.

“There was violence because he had this fear that I was going to leave him,” Turner said while admitting that Ike was the one who carried out numerous affairs. “The other women, because I didn’t love him that way… the other women weren’t so bad, but it was the constant, constant ill-treatment.”

U.S. pop singer Tina Turner pose with her husband Erwin Bach before Giorgio Armani's fashion show to celebrate 40th anniversary of his career and to mark the opening of the Expo 2015 in Milan, April 30, 2015. The Milan Expo will open in the city on May 1, following the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Officials are counting on some 20 million visitors to the six month-long exhibition of products and technologies from around the world. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
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Turner with husband Erwin Bach.  (Reuters)

The couple remained married for 14 years, but the famed singer finally decided to leave her husband in 1796 after a brutal fight that took place in a Las Vegas limo, which the star described in her 1986 autobiography, “I, Tina.”

Today, Turner currently lives in Switzerland with husband Erwin Bach. They married in 2013 after more than 25 years together.

Some betting Kid Rock will talk Trump at NHL All-Star Game

Kid Rock tells CMT why he thinks Al Franken should not have resigned from Senate.

It probably won’t just be hockey and music fans paying attention Sunday when Kid Rock performs at the NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, Fla.

Gamblers will likely be watching, too.

That’s because a European sports book called Bookmaker.eu has been taking bets on whether Rock will mention President Donald Trump during his set between the game’s second and third periods, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

As of Friday, most wagerers were guessing that Rock would not mention the president, the newspaper reported.

But history shows that Rock – who has supported Trump and even visited him at the White House — hasn’t been shy about expressing his political views.

Most recently, Rock told “CMT Hot 20 Countdown” that he doesn’t think Democrat Al Franken should have resigned from the U.S. Senate – even though he doesn’t share Franken’s political views.

The singer said he thought people overreacted to the photo in which Franken was shown pretending to grope a sleeping Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in Franken’s pre-Senate days.

“He’s a comedian, he’s making a joke,” Rock said.

Earlier this month, Rock donated about $122,000 to CRNC Action, an affiliate of the College Republican National Committee that did voter registration work at his concerts last year.

Rock had raised the money through merchandise touting his parody U.S. Senate campaign.

“Man, it scared the crap out of the Democrats,” Rock told CMT.

Some speculated that Rock might even run for a Senate seat against Eminem, his fellow Michigander and recording artist.

Like Rock, Eminem also doesn’t hesitate to talk politics.

In an interview last week in Billboard magazine, Eminem continued to speak against the president.

“A (expletive) turd would have been better as a president,” he told the magazine.

In the same interview, Eminem said he wouldn’t care if his views alienated the people who buy his music and concert tickets.

“At the end of the day, if I did lose half my fan base, then so be it,” he said, “because I feel like I stood up for what was right and I’m on the right side of this.”

If he’s willing to bet on that, perhaps a wagering site in Europe would want to hear from him.

Anti-Trump celebs plan ‘People’s State of the Union’

Actor Mark Ruffalo, center, is among the celebrities participating in an evening of speeches and music in New York City on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, a day before President Trump's State of the Union address.

A group of Hollywood elites, progressive groups and social activists are planning a “People’s State of the Union” as a “public alternative” on the eve of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

Notable participants in Monday’s scheduled event in New York City include filmmaker Michael Moore, actors Mark Ruffalo, Alyssa Milano, Rosie Perez and Whoopi Goldberg.

They’ll congregate at the Town Hall in Manhattan, the venue where suffragists met in the 1920s. Singer Andra Day and rapper Common will be performing the song, “Stand Up for Something,” from the biopic film “Marshall,” about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Tickets were still available Saturday at $47 each.

The event, coordinated by unions, organizers of the Women’s March and Planned Parenthood, is being marketed as a celebration of the “resistance,” closer to “the people’s point of view,” USA Today reported.

Ruffalo, an inveterate progressive and vocal critic of President Trump, told People magazine, “I think it’s important because we have a president who has a difficult time with the truth, who has a radical, divisive agenda, and spends an enormous amount of time focusing on the negative and hopelessness and despair.”

Monday’s event also will serve as a platform for the launch of “We Stand United,” the lead organizing group of the “People’s State of the Union.”

The group’s campaign director, Julia Walsh, said, “We’re all going to work together across all different movements to make sure that we win back Congress in 2018 and hold this president in check.”

“It’s the mother of all movements,” Ruffalo said.

The event will be livestreamed online at peoplessotu.org.