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Monthly Archives: March 2019

This relentlessly spare documentary confines itself to the testimony of how two boys were groomed

Another day, another slew of allegations, and another reckoning with the private behaviour and public legacy of a feted man previously considered untouchable.

In the wake of #MeToo, and the growing utterance of previously unspeakable truths, the mighty are falling fast.

Now its Michael Jacksons turn to come under scrutiny. The two-part, four-hour expos Leaving Neverland was built round the testimony of adults Wade Robson and James Safechuck who allege that they were abused as children by a man they worshipped. Like the participants in the recent documentary Surviving R Kelly, they have met with hostile incredulity from diehard fans who claim they are lying in the pursuit of compensation payouts. For non-diehard fans, it is hard to watch either documentary and not feel that it would be easier to make a buck in almost any other way imaginable.

Robson was an Australian dance prodigy and superfan who first met Jackson when he won a dance competition at the age of five. He says the abuse began two years later, after Jackson befriended the family to such an extent that his mother moved half the family to Los Angeles. To the boy, it was like having a magical best friend. After theyd finished playing with toys and watching movies in bed, what could be more natural than doing whatever his friend wanted, to demonstrate the special love they shared?

Leaving Neverlands director Dan Reed (centre), with Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Photograph: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Safechuck wasnt a Jackson superfan, but he and his family became devotees when he was cast in Jacksons 1987 Pepsi commercial. Like the Robsons, they found themselves swept up and seduced by the stars kindness, generosity, charm and glamour. Safechuck says his abuse started when he was 10. His hand shakes when he pulls out the box full of jewellery Jackson would give him in exchange, including the ring that was used in the mock wedding he says Jackson had them take part in. It barely fits over his fingertip now.

Both men describe their experiences at Neverland in private rooms behind several closed doors rigged with a warning system of bells in similar and similarly harrowing detail: that Jackson told them they would go to prison if anyone found out, and that parents, and especially women, were evil. Their accounts of what they were required to do, of the psychological processes at work (in the second part of the documentary especially, when Robson talks through his inability to tell the truth during the Jordan Chandler investigation or at Jacksons 2005 trial) and of their mental unravellings since, are so finely grained it is difficult to believe they are confected.

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Watch the trailer for Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me video

Journalistic and legal standards require neutrality be observed, but as a viewer its hard to escape the conclusion that the star who openly admitted he slept with boys in his bed, and was trailed by accusations of child molestation for the last 15 years of his life did exactly what these men say he did.

Whatever the truth, as a documentary it is an astonishing piece of work. Relentlessly spare and unsensationalist, it manages better than any other in its genre not to let its attention wander from the survivors testimony. Footage of Jackson is confined almost wholly to that of him with the boys themselves on stage, private calls between them and family snaps. He is never allowed to overwhelm the story. And the story the men tell is one familiar to anyone with any experience, direct or indirect, of child abuse; only the scale is different. Grooming comes with a gift of the Thriller jacket and entire theme parks booked for you, rather than bags of sweets or a longed-for toy. You are made to feel special by being played unreleased music by your hero, rather than being allowed to stay up late. But at its heart it is the same. And the heart is black and through its veins runs poison.

Let us hope Leaving Neverland, and the changing times that have created space for it, are part of a deep and lasting purge.

Leaving Neverland continues tomorrow at 9pm on Channel 4.

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Justin Bieber almost paid dearly for simply wearing a pair of designer sneakers. 

The “Sorry” singer told followers on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he was stopped by police for the tags on his Nike Off-White X Air Max 90 ‘Desert Ore’ sneakers.

The sneakers, designed by Virgil Abloh, come with a signature blue zip tie and a tag that, to the untrained eye, looks like a security tag from a store. 

“Virgil, my god, bro. You freaking — you’re killing me, man!” Bieber said, laughing as he spoke on Instagram. “I just had a cop come up to me and ask me why I still had the security tag on my shoe. What the?” 

“I had to tell him, ‘Bro, it’s just fashion,’” the 25-year-old added. “I don’t know. He’s like, ‘It sure looks like a security tag.’ I’m like, ‘Nah, bro, you can check it out.’ It looks like it though ― but you’re getting me in trouble!” 

A shot of the shoes in question. 

Last May, Abloh explained why he included the zip tie and tag on his shoes, as it’s “the fastest way to tell if they are real or not.” 

Police encounters aside, Bieber recently told fans that he is stepping away from music for a bit to focus on important issues he’s facing. 

“I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep rooted issues that I have as most of us have, so that I don’t fall apart,” the singer wrote in an Instagram caption.

“So that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be. Music is very important to me but Nothing comes before my family and my health,” he added. 

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It appears that Nick Jonas has eyes for another dark-haired beauty other than Priyanka Chopra – John Stamos. The pair have a bromance that began in the year 2018 and thing have been burnin’ up ever since. Stamos was the first one to catch the lovebug, flaunting his admiration for the band on numerous occasions and from there, things took off.

What started as some innocent fashion nods from one of their ‘biggest fans’ flourished into full-on trolling between the actor and the singer, who starred alongside each other in the T.V series Scream Queens. The most recent prank came from Nick Jonas and it shows this trolling war has levels, levels, levels, levels.

Singer Nick Jonas and Actor John Stamos may seem like an unlikely bromance but the two can’t stop adoringly trolling each other

Image credits: Stephen Lovekin

The Jonas Brothers announced that they were ending their six-year break this month and it sent a giant nostalgia wave throughout the twenty-something community, but Stamos has proved he is not one of those fair-weather fans and has been photographed repeatedly in his Jo-Bros merch.

Image credits: JonasConcerts

This photo caught by paparazzi started things off, where the former Full House star was caught in a vintage worn-out t-shirt of the band at a rehearsal for a 4th of July concert with The Beach Boys in Washington D.C. in 2018.  It’s safe to say he is pulling it off in a way most of us never could.

Image credits: Kevin Mazur

Here the 55-year-old actor took to the red carpet at the 2018 American Music Awards in October flaunting some more fan gear, dressed up with a black coat.

Image credits: nickjonas

Nick Jonas finally replied to Stamos on Instagram by posting a photo of himself sporting a hoodie with an image of the actor wearing a Jonas Brothers T-shirt, with the simple caption “It’s your move.”

Image credits: johnstamos

Naturally, Stamos wasn’t about to let things die down and posted a photo of him getting close to Jonas, with a customized pillow case that brought things to the fourth level of inception. He captioned it sweetly “I had the craziest dream last night…” and gave a shoutout to the bands new #1 single ‘Sucker.’

Image credits: nickjonas

In response to this dreamy inception photo, Jonas posted a photo of him tucked in with a giant Stamos-Jonas blanket to celebrate his song hitting the top of the charts. It’s safe to say we are all suckers for this duo and can’t wait to see what happens next, perhaps we will see Stamos in a Jo-Bros video? you never know.

People were impressed with the level of trolling

And hoped to see it continue

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(CNN)Even if you call yourself a “little monster,” you probably don’t know everything about Lady Gaga.

In honor of her 33rd birthday today, here are 33 fascinating facts about the singer.
1. Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
    2. Queen’s 1984 hit “Radio Ga Ga” was the inspiration behind her professional name.
    3. Beginning when she was four, her mother made her sit at the piano for an hour a day, whether she played or not.
    4. Her first performance was in her 1st-grade play. She made her own costume out of tinfoil and hangers.
    5. She has had the same vocal coach, Don Lawrence, since she was 11 years old.
    6. Lawrence’s nephew overheard her singing to herself in a New York boutique and connected her with his uncle.
    7. She attended the oldest independent girls’ school in Manhattan.
    8. Her fellow alumnae there include Caroline Kennedy as well as Paris and Nicky Hilton.
    9. Gaga was one of the only students with an after-school job, as a waitress at an Upper West Side diner.
    10. Her freshman year of high school she joined a cover band that played classic rock like Led Zeppelin and U2.
    11. She has many tattoos, but her first was a G clef on her lower back.
    12. Her first celebrity crush was actor Adrien Brody.
    13. When she was 15, she had a minor role in an episode of “The Sopranos.”
    14.She was one of 20 students accepted early into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, but she withdrew after her second semester.
    15. When she was in college, someone created a Facebook group called “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous.”
    16. She met Lady Starlight, a performance artist and Gaga collaborator, at a bar where Lady Starlight used to go-go dance. Gaga was dating the bar’s manager.
    17. Lady Gaga once was a go-go dancer herself, on New York’s Lower East Side.
    18. Akon pushed Lady Gaga’s solo career when he signed her to his label.
    19. She dyed her hair blonde after a British reporter mistook her for Amy Winehouse.
    20. She opened for New Kids on the Block when they toured in 2008.
    21. Her song “Telephone” was originally written for Britney Spears’ “Circus” album.
    22. Her younger sister Natali was in the music video for “Telephone.”
    23. Her father, president of GuestWifi, helped establish the spread of wireless internet access in hotels.
    24. She performs without pants because her grandmother, who has poor vision, can “make out the lighter parts like her skin and hair.”
    25. One of her middle names, Joanne, was given in memory of her aunt who died of Lupus.
    26. Joanne died at 19, 12 years before Gaga was born. The singer named her fifth album in her honor.
    27. Gaga is godmother to Elton John’s two sons.
    28. She prefers New York to Los Angeles.
    29. She has a framed letter from David Bowie on her mantel.
    30. Her song “Boys, boys, boys” was inspired by Mötley Crüe’s hit “Girls, girls, girls.”
    31. She suffers from fibromyalgia.
      32. Her fragrance “Fame” was the first in the world to change color from bottle to mist. It was described as “the most important innovation in the fragrance industry in the last 20 years.”
      33. Lady Gaga is the first woman to ever win an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe in the same year — all for “A Star is Born.”

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      Over the last two years, Cardi B has truly transformed from a random person on Love & Hip-Hop to one of the biggest stars in the world. This week, it was announced that she’ll be making her film debut, but that’s not the only business move she has in the works. I have a feeling some new merch is coming in the near future, because Cardi B has officially trademarked “Okurr.” She’s making money moves.

      The official trademark designation is for “Clothing, namely, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts, pants, shorts, jackets, footwear, headgear, namely, hats and caps, blouses, bodysuits, dresses, jumpsuits, leggings, skirts, sweaters, undergarments,” so we can definitely expect Cardi B to drop an OKURR clothing line any day now. This is very on brand for Cardi, and I’m sure she’ll sell millions of whatever she decides to make. I’m only a little salty about this, because she definitely wasn’t the first one to start saying this (I’m looking at you, drag queens).

      Okurr is far from the craziest thing that a celebrity has trademarked, and at least Cardi B isn’t claiming ownership of a real, everyday word. Here are some of the most hilarious celebrity trademarks:

      Taylor Swift

      I won’t dive into my personal feelings about Taylor Swift today, but she has a long history of trademarking her lyrics. Some of these are pretty specific, like “Look What You Made Me Do” or “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.” But Taylor has also gone after some trademarks that are honestly so questionable. In the past, she’s tried to trademark her album titles “Fearless” and “1989,” and I don’t get it. Fearless is a word. Like, it was fearless of me to push through my crippling hangover and make it to brunch last weekend. And 1989 IS A F*CKING YEAR. Taylor can have “this sick beat,” I don’t really care, but 1989 is too far.

      Kylie Jenner

      Out of all the dumb celebrity trademark drama, Kylie Jenner’s might be my favorite. Back in 2015, Kylie filed a trademark request to use “KYLIE” for “advertising and endorsement services.” Does Kylie really think she’s the only person in the world named Kylie? This turned into a major issue in early 2016, when legendary pop star Kylie Minogue filed her opposition. Behold, the most passive-aggressive tweet of all time:

      This case went back and forth for almost a full year, until Kylie Minogue withdrew her opposition. About a month later, the trademark office rejected Kylie Jenner’s claim. So sad! More recently, Kylie tried to trademark “Kylie Skin,” leading to speculation that she’s planning to launch a skin care branch of her cosmetics line. No news about this yet, but this is probably how Kylie will make her second billion dollars.


      Unsurprisingly, Beyoncé has lots of trademarks, and most of them are pretty n0rmal. There’s “Beyoncé,” “Beyhive,” and a few different fragrance names. The most intriguing thing is that Beyoncé has trademarked the names of all three of her children. The trademarks apply to basically ever kind of product imaginable, but it doesn’t actually seem like Bey has any plans to use them. More likely, she just wants to prevent other people from profiting off of her kids. Lol, this is such a famous person problem to have.

      Katy Perry

      After performing at the Super Bowl in 2015, Katy Perry moved to capitalize on a viral moment, and tried to trademark “left shark,” “right shark,” “drunk shark,” and “basking shark.” Wow, imagine a time when we cared this much about a dancing shark at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Katy’s trademark filings were initially denied, but eventually she appealed and got approved for them. Katy also has various spellings of “Katycat” trademarked, because apparently people are really dying to pretend to be Katy Perry fans these days.

      Kim Kardashian

      Kim Kardashian’s trademarks are really nothing out of the ordinary–mostly just variations of her name and initials. What’s more important is the company behind her trademark applications. All of these celebrities have like, fake companies that they use to apply for trademarks, and Kim’s is called KIMSAPRINCESS, INC. You guys, I am dying right now. For reference, Khloe’s is KHLOMONEY, INC., and Kourtney’s is called 2DIE4KOURT. I love this so much, you don’t even know. I feel like this is actual confirmation of what all the Kardashians’ AIM screen names were back in the day. I’ve never related to the Kardashians more.

      If you just can’t wait to get your hands on an “okurr” shirt, you’re in luck, because Shop Betches has “I Said Okurrrr” and “She Said Okurrrr” tanks available… for now.


      From left: Shop Betches She Said Okurrrr Tank; Shop Betches I Said Okurrrr Tank

      Images: Giphy; @Kylieminogue, @annacafolla / Twitter

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      Banksy’s largest-ever canvas is back on public display in his home city of Bristol in southwest England in anticipation of Brexit, Britain’s departure from the European Union.

      The anonymous street artist depicted U.K. lawmakers as chimpanzees in the House of Commons in the “Devolved Parliament” piece that returned to the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on Thursday.

      “I made this ten years ago,” Banksy wrote on Instagram of the canvas, which measures 4 meters by 2.5 meters. “Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.”

      Friday was supposed to mark the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, almost three years since the public referendum on the issue. However, the date has now been pushed back after members of Parliament failed to agree on a way forward.

      “Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge,” Banksy added in his caption, in what appeared to be a direct reference to the country’s current political stalemate.

      It is a tweaked version of a quote that adorned some of his earlier works:

      The Parliament-themed painting was first exhibited at the venue during the artist’s “Banksy Versus Bristol Museum” show in 2009.

      The artwork’s unidentified owner approached the museum with the idea of showing it again “just a few weeks ago,” reports the local Bristol Post newspaper.

      “It was great then and it’s great now,” museum trustee Yoma Smith told the BBC. “Ten years on, it’s so much more relevant now than as it was then. Is Banksy a visionary? Did he paint it thinking it would happen?”

      Banksy has commented on Brexit and the divisions within the U.K., either directly or indirectly, several times in recent years. In May 2017, he unveiled this Brexit-themed mural in Dover in southeast England:

      He shared this “Untied Kingdom” piece to Instagram the following month:

      In June 2018, he revealed how he’d entered “an early version” of his “Vote to Love” piece about the referendum into the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition using the pseudonym Bryan S Gaakman (an anagram of “Banksy Anagram”).

      It was refused by the judging panel. He was later invited to submit a piece. He sent in the same one and it was accepted.

      During the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, he showcased this “Fragile” flag ahead of England’s quarter-final tie against Sweden.

      And in August of last year, he posted this photo of a doctored road sign in Clevedon, southwest England, showing two elderly people being carried by children, which was interpreted as a critique on the Brexit vote.

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      Rapper Shavone is making sure the world knows the beauty and magic of black women during Women’s History Month.

      On Tuesday, Shavone released her debut video, “4C.” The title is based off of a tightly coiled hair type common among the diaspora. And though the natural hair movement is steadily debunking stereotypes that natural hair is unprofessional, undesirable and unkempt, this texture consistently goes underrepresented and dismissed. But more than just a celebration of hair, Shavone honors the wholeness and versatility of black women in her Curtis Taylor Jr.-directed video.

      “[4C] is for black women first and then it’s for everybody, because part of the point of the video is to show that we have spectrum, that we’re not all the same, we have nuance,” Shavone, who drew inspiration from the salon her mom owned, told HuffPost. “We’re specific, we’re unique, and even with all of our likeness and differences, we still can find room to stand together and hold each other up.”

      Shot in Brooklyn, primarily at hair stylist Susy Oludele’s salon, the classically trained artist highlighted various black women, well-known and lesser-known, and gave them the agency to showcase their authentic self, a privilege seldom afforded to us. Oludele appears in the video along with model Nestreya, actress Nnenna Ngwu, Art Hoe Collective curator Gabrielle Richardson and activist Blair Imani, among others.

      As much as it’s a celebration, it’s also a reminder of the resilience black women have as a result of the injustices and microaggressions we face. “They tried to bury us, but didn’t know we were seeds,” she raps. She added that it was important for her to include men in the video to emphasize the importance of men fighting for black women.

      “I really just had this vision of even uplifting black women and having our voices there but also having male allies in the visuals too,” she said. “I think it’s important to depend on our allies and us working in tandem with them for change, to support this change that we all know that we need to see.”

      With her music and the collective she founded, Magic In Her Melanin, Shavone is aiming to create room for black creatives to thrive. 

      “I think it’s so important for our stories to be told the way we want them to, with our voice, in our voice.”

       Watch “4C” above. 

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      Cameras were set up in hair dryer holders and wall sockets in 10 cities, say prosecutors

      Police in South Korea have arrested two men for secretly filming 1,600 hotel guests and streaming the footage live online, in the latest voyeurism scandal to hit the country.

      The suspects, who have not been named, set up secret cameras in 42 rooms at 30 hotels in 10 South Korean cities between November last year and the start of this month, media reports said.

      The arrests come a week after singer and TV celebrity Jung Joon-young admitted he had secretly filmed himself having sex with women and sharing the footage online without their consent.

      Jung said he had shared footage of several women in a group chatroom whose members allegedly included Seungri, a K-pop star who is facing allegations that he ran an illegal prostitution ring out of Seoul nightclubs. Seungri has retired and vowed to clear his name.

      The suspects in the latest case went to extraordinary lengths to install the cameras, the cyber investigation unit at the Seoul metropolitan police agency alleged.

      Mini-cameras with 1mm lenses were found in digital boxes, hair dryer holders and wall sockets. More than 800 illegally filmed videos were livestreamed via a server based overseas.

      By the time the site was taken down this month, the suspects had earned 7m won ($6,200 USD) from 97 people who paid a monthly fee to access the material, the Korea Herald said.

      Two other men are being investigated in connection with the allegations.

      Police said there was no evidence the hotels were aware that their guests were being filmed without their knowledge.

      South Korea is battling an epidemic of molka secretly filmed videos of a sexual nature that target women in public places such as toilets and changing rooms, but also in their own homes.

      The rise in cases prompted tens of thousands of women to take to the streets of Seoul last summer to demand longer sentences for perpetrators. The authorities responded by increasing patrols of the citys public toilets a measure campaigners say is ineffective.

      Police reported 6,470 cases of illegal filming in 2017, compared with 1,353 cases in 2012, the national police agency said. But many offenders are ordered to pay modest fines and in most cases the crime goes unpunished.

      The hotel spycam suspects face up to five years in prison and a heavy fine for distributing illegal videos. The police agency strictly deals with criminals who post and share illegal videos as they severely harm human dignity, a Seoul police agency official told the Korea Herald.

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      For a music festival whose history is rooted in peace and harmony, Woodstock 50 upset a lot of people after announcing the complete lineup via Twitter late Tuesday. The original Woodstock was dubbed 3 Days of Peace and Music—and this one offers Imagine Dragons.

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