Nipsey Hussle: Thousands remember rapper in Los Angeles

Nipsey Hussle memorial: One person killed at procession

A person has been killed during a memorial procession for rapper Nipsey Hussle, with three others injured.

Shots were fired as the crowd walked through Los Angeles in commemoration of the 33-year-old, who was killed in LA last month.

“We must stop this senseless violence,” LAPD Chief Michael Moore said.

Thousands of fans came out to celebrate the life of the Grammy-nominated musician, with Barack Obama among the people who wrote letters in tribute.

The suspects fired from a grey Hyundai as the four victims paid tribute to the musician, according to police.

The victims are described as three black men and one black woman between the ages of 30 and 50.

Jay Z, who Nipsey worked with through his Roc Nation label, attended the memorial service at the Staples Center along with Beyonce.

Snoop Dogg, Meek Mill and Diddy were also there to pay respect.

Photos shown at Nipsey Hussle's memorial service
Pictures from Nipsey Hussle’s life were shown at the service

A letter from former President Barack Obama, addressed to Nipsey’s friends and family, was read out at the service.

He praised Nipsey for his community work.

“His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it – to build a skills training centre and a co-working space in Crenshaw; to lift up the Eritrean-American community; to set an example for young people to follow – is a legacy worth celebration,” he wrote.

Fellow West Coast rapper and collaborator Kendrick Lamar also penned an emotional letter calling him a “true king”.

“His charisma and way with words was powerful,” he wrote. “But his integrity as a person made me even more enthused.”

Nipsey’s girlfriend Lauren London was joined at the service by the couple’s two-year-old son Kross and her older son Kameron, whose dad is Lil Wayne.

“I’d like to say something to my city Los Angeles. This pain is ours – we know what Nip meant to us.

“We lost an incredible soul to us and we lost someone very rare.

“We lost a real one.”

Nipsey Hussle memorial: One person killed at procession
Nipsey Hussle’s girlfriend Lauren London speaks at a memorial service for the rapper

Jussie Smollett: City of Chicago to sue actor over alleged attack

Jussie Smollett will be sued by the City of Chicago after “refusing to reimburse” the cost of investigating an alleged assault on him in the city.

Prosecutors say a homophobic and racist attack was staged to boost the actor’s career, but Smollett has always maintained his innocence.

The 36-year-old was given seven days to pay $130,000 (£99,000) to cover the investigation’s cost.

The deadline passed on Thursday and now a civil complaint will be filed.

The City of Chicago’s law department said it will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed”, adding in a statement that the lawsuit will be filed “in the near future”.

After initially being treated as a victim Smollett was accused of staging the attack and became the subject of the police investigation, but the charges against the actor were dropped last week.

Prosecutors say they still believe the Empire star faked the attack.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says: “At the end of the day, it is Mr Smollett who committed this hoax”

The charges were dropped because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 (£7,600) bond payment and carried out community service, according to Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called it a “a whitewash of justice” and claimed Smollett had dragged the city’s reputation “through the mud”.

In the initial letter demanding $130,000, which includes overtime hours police used on the case, the City of Chicago said: “As part of the investigation, Chicago police reviewed video and physical evidence and conducted several interviews, expending resources that could have been used for other investigations.

“Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.”

A new Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, was elected on Wednesday and will be sworn in on 20 May.

She told MSNBC following her victory that there needs to be a “much more fulsome explanation” as to why the charges against Smollett were dropped.

“We cannot create the perception that if you’re rich or famous or both that you get one set of justice, and for everybody else it’s something much harsher,” she said.

“That won’t do and we need to make sure that we have a criminal justice system that has integrity.”

New Chicago mayor’s message on race, love… and height

Newsbeat has contacted representatives for Jussie Smollett for comment.

Shareen's mum Lorraine passed away recently

My first Mother’s Day without my mum

“I wish Mother’s Day wasn’t happening,” says Shareen Dussard from London.

It is 10 weeks since her mum Lorraine passed away and she is not looking forward to it.

Mother’s Day takes on a different meaning if you have lost your mum.

At a time when you might still be coming to terms with your loss, social media is flooded with posts about mothers that can be hard to avoid.

There are constant reminders in the shops with cards, flowers and gifts aimed at celebrating the one person you can’t be with.

Lorraine and Shareen

“Knowing this day has been coming up has been hard, along with planning what to do and thinking about avoiding social media,” Shareen says.

The 28-year-old says she’s aware a lot of people have avoided talking about Mother’s Day with her.

She tells Radio 1 Newsbeat that she’d actually like it if friends sent her a message, acknowledging the day instead.

“The most important thing is that people check in and make sure I’m okay, I will need that,” she says.

“My mum loved steak, so we’ll definitely be cooking that. It’s a day to reflect and remember but I’ll be trying not to get upset.”

Christie Ford and her mother Mandy
Christie and her mum Mandy

A few weeks ago Christie Ford’s mum died unexpectedly. She says she is finding it hard to be surrounded with all the cards and presents in the shops.

“Usually I get her a card every single year, some kind of jokey card. I never buy her anything soppy.

“You see loads of Mothering Sunday cards and gifts and you’re just like ‘oh wait, actually, she’s just not here anymore.'”

Christie has actually found social media helpful though: “There are a few people on there I know that have lost their mothers recently so it has made it a bit easier.”

What she doesn’t want is other people to hide their own happiness because of her grief.

“Don’t avoid the subject because you’ve got your own mum. Enjoy yourself. I don’t want others to be miserable.”

Mother's Day cakes

Sara Bennett is from Balloons, a charity that helps children, young people and their families with their grief.

She says: “If it’s the first Mother’s Day without mum then everything has changed. When mum dies then families are left uncertain about what to do on this day.

“Some will make it a memorial day and celebrate their mum’s legacy, others won’t want to mark it at all.

“It’s important to acknowledge that it is a hard milestone, and that families and friends are able to talk about how they are feeling and that their worries are validated.

“Sit and listen. It hurts and that’s okay. Losing your mum is painful.”

Maria, Andrea and Raphael
Andrea with her mum Maria and her son Raphael

For Andrea Toth, the best way to cope is to surround herself with friends. Her mum Maria died in October last year.

“I’ve had knots in my stomach. Just seeing ads for afternoon teas and all the cards in the shops is difficult, so I have organised to go to the pub with some friends.”

Andrea confesses she spends a lot of time on social media, but will be switching off today.

“I know there will be lot of Mother’s Day content online and I just don’t need that constant reminder,” she says.

Jussie Smollett: Donald Trump says case is ’embarrassment’

Donald Trump has called the Jussie Smollett case “outrageous” and an “embarrassment to the nation”.

All charges against the Empire star were dropped on Tuesday – he had been accused of arranging a fake racist and homophobic attack on himself.

The US president says the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now be investigating the case.

Separately, Jussie’s lawyer has accused authorities of “continuing their campaign” against the actor.

The mayor of Chicago – the city where the alleged attack happened – said dropping the charges was “a whitewash of justice”.

Jussie’s lawyer says “the case is closed” and “no public official has the right to violate” her client’s rights.

Patricia Brown Holmes says the 36-year-old star “is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law”.

She said: “We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office.

“The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”

Jussie Smollett claims two men beat him up and put a noose around his neck on 29 January.

In February he was charged with filing a false police report.

In yet another twist to the case, all the charges against him were dropped on 26 March.

But since then Chicago police and the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, have been publicly very critical of the actor.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: “Smollett dragged city’s reputation through mud”

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Jussie had dragged Chicago’s reputation “through the mud”.

While Rahm Emanuel maintains that Jussie has lied about the alleged attack for “self promotion”.

Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats said the charges were dropped because Jussie forfeited a $10,000 (£7,600) bond payment and carried out community service.

Mr Magats said Jussie “is not a victim of a hate crime”.

Jussie Smollett: Mayor says case makes Chicago look foolish

Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel says the sudden move to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett over a hoax attack has made a fool of the city.

The state’s attorney’s office maintains Mr Smollett has not been exonerated, while Mr Smollett’s lawyers say his record has been wiped clean.

“They better get their stories straight because this is actually making a fool of all of us,” the mayor told ABC News.

Police maintain Mr Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack.

Mr Smollett has insisted throughout that he is innocent of all these allegations.

Speaking on Good Morning America on Wednesday, Mr Emanuel pilloried the Empire actor, saying he “abused the city of Chicago”.

“You have the state’s attorney’s office saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax. He’s saying he’s innocent and his words aren’t true.”

Mr Emanuel says he wants the court records unsealed so that all the evidence gathered by Chicago Police could be seen.

He said he also wants prosecutors to explain why they made such a sudden reversal.

The two sides in the Jussie Smollett case

The mayor said police had evidence that Mr Smollett had made up claims that he was attacked on 29 January in downtown Chicago by two masked men who he claimed shouted racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and put a rope round his neck.

So what are prosecutors saying?

Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats made the decision to drop charges against the TV actor on Tuesday in a move that blindsided police – but he maintains that Mr Smollett is guilty.

“Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence,” Mr Magats told CBS News. “Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”

He added that community service and a fine is a common outcome for such a case. When asked if those penalties were sufficient for Mr Smollett, he said: “I feel that it is.”

Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney, told NBC News that prosecutors “did not exonerate Mr Smollett”, but offered an agreement available “to any defendant with similar circumstances”.

“The charges were dropped in return for Mr Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.

“Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.”

Police, however, have disagreed, with Supt Eddie Johnson saying if Mr Smollett “wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence”.

A Chicago police union on Tuesday renewed calls for a federal inquiry looking into what role the state’s prosecutor Kimberly Foxx, who recused herself, played in the case.

In a statement to NBC, the Fraternal Order of Police said they are “outraged…but not surprised”.

The union said Ms Foxx had “transformed the prosecutor’s office to a political arm of the anti-police movement”.

The Fraternal Order of Police said their demand was based on reports of texts between Ms Foxx and a former Obama aide about the case.

Kimberly M. Foxx State's Attorney, Cook County State's Attorney's Office
Kimberly Foxx, the top Cook County prosecutor, had recused herself from the Smollett case

What’s this about a former Obama aide?

State’s Attorney Ms Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case last month, citing a conflict of interest “based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case”.

According to local media, attorney Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, connected Ms Foxx with Mr Smollett’s family in the days following the alleged attack.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this month that Ms Tchen had texted Ms Foxx on 1 February that the actor’s family had “concerns about the investigation”.

Ms Foxx later told the Sun-Times that those worries were regarding leaked information about the case from “police sources”, and that the family felt the FBI would keep a “tighter lid on the information”.

Days after the attack, Ms Foxx said she discussed transferring the case to the FBI with Supt Johnson, who she said seemed open to the idea.

She then contacted Ms Tchen and Mr Smollett’s relative to inform them about her call with the superintendent, according to records viewed by the newspaper.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” she wrote to Ms Tchen in an email. “I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get to me shortly.”

After Ms Foxx sent the relative a similar message, they replied: “OMG this would be a huge victory.”

Ms Foxx’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from the BBC.

Read our full timeline here.

Jussie Smollett: Timeline of the actor’s alleged attack and arrest

All charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett – of staging a racist and homophobic attack – have been dropped.

The story has taken quite a few twists and turns since he first claimed he was set upon by two men.

Here’s a full timeline of what’s happened since January.

29 January 2019: The alleged incident takes place

Jussie Smollett's booking photo
The police photo of Jussie Smollett from 21 February 2019

Chicago police say they’re investigating a suspected racist and homophobic attack of Jussie – real name Justin – Smollett by two masked men which happened at about 2am.

They say the actor was punched in the face, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck.

Jussie Smollett tells police the two attackers also made reference to MAGA (make America great again) – the slogan often used by President Donald Trump and his supporters.

He goes to a doctor and police describe his condition as “good”.

30 January: An outpouring of support from celebrities

Attacked actor ‘has tasted brutality of hatred’

Stars including Viola Davis, Janelle Monae and TI come out with messagesof support for the actor.

His Empire co-stars including Grace Byers and Naomi Campbell also show support.

Grace Byers says: “This despicable act only shamefully reveals how deeply the diseases of hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country’s veins.”

Empire creator Lee Daniels posts and emotional video on Instagram, syaing: “Hold your head up Jussie. I’m with you.”

Comedian Steve Harvey says: “This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred and racism and bigotry.”

31 January: Refusing to hand over his phone

Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett refuses to hand over his phone to police investigating the attack.

They wanted it to confirm details – including the MAGA references made – as the actor says he was on the phone to his manager at the time.

A day later, the police say: “He’s a victim. We don’t treat him like a criminal.”

They say they won’t demand the phone.

1 February: Jussie Smollett speaks for the first time

People holding signs saying: "Black queer lives matter" and "Justice 4 Jussie".
1 February: People come out in support of Jussie Smollett

The actor says he’s “OK” after the incident.

In a statement, he says: “The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”

He adds: “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level.”

Chicago police also release pictures of two “people of interest” they want to speak to.

Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi says “detectives are taking this development seriously”.

2 February: ‘I’m the gay Tupac’

At a concert that had been planned for a long time, Jussie Smollett makes some more comments on the incident.

“I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to,” he says reading from a piece of paper.

“Just because there has been a lot of stuff said about me that’s absolutely not true.”

Glancing at the balcony, he adds: “I’m sure my lawyer’s sitting up there like ‘No, Jussie, no’.”

He says: “Above all, I fought… back.”

“I’m the gay Tupac,” he finishes, without explaining what he means.

11 February: Phone records submitted

Jussie Smollett gives police a PDF file of his phone records, after they had originally asked for his phone and he’d refused.

But the files are redacted – some bits have been covered up.

The police says there’s no reason to suspect any wrongdoing from Jussie Smollett and are “not even looking at charges regarding filing a false report”.

14 February: ‘Persons of interest’ arrested by police

The two people of interest are arrested and interviewed by the police, but not charged and not treated as suspects.

They are Obabinjo (Ola) and Abimbola (Abel) Osundairo, brothers originally from Nigeria.

They had worked as Empire extras, sometimes going to the gym with the actor, their lawyer says.

Some of the items seized from a police raid of their home include a blackface mask, an Empire script, phone, receipts, a red hat and bleach.

Warning: Third party content may contain adverts

On the same day, an interview with Jussie Smollett is shown on Good Morning America.

He suggests the alleged attackers were white, saying: “If I had said [the attackers] was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more.”

On his refusal to hand over his phone, he says: “I have private pictures and videos and numbers… my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos.”

And speaking through tears, he says gay people should “learn to fight” these kinds of attacks.

Chicago police says they have “no evidence to support” reports that the attack was staged.

17 February: ‘Trajectory of the investigation’ has shifted

Chicago police say there have been “some developments in this investigation,” a day after they releasethe Osundairo brothers without charge.

They say they want to speak to “the individual who reported the incident” – Jussie Smollett.

The actor’s lawyers says in a statement: “Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.”

They add it’s “impossible to believe” that the Osundairos “could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity”.

20 February: Jussie Smollett is charged by police

Chicago police say the actor is chargedwith “disorderly conduct/filing a false police report”.

Earlier in the day, a reporter in the US obtains footage appearing to show the brothers buying materials, including ski masks, that had allegedly been worn by the people who attacked the actor.

Mr Smollett’s lawyers say they will “conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defence”.

The rapper 50 Cent, who had previously come out in support of Jussie Smollett, posts a picture on Instagram referencing the actor’s “gay Tupac” comment.

In the picture, he’s put Jussie Smollett’s face over Tupac’s on the album cover for All Eyez On Me – and changed the album name to “all liez on me”.

21 February: Jussie Smollett is arrested

Jussie Smollett hands himself into police and is arrested.

At a press conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.

He adds that the actor did it because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”.

Police claim he also had sent a racist letter to himself at a Fox studio and paid the Osundairo brothers a cheque for $3,500 (£2,600) to stage the attack.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: “Smollett dragged city’s reputation through mud”

Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox, the makers of Empire, issue a statement regarding the future of Jussie Smollett on the show.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

President Donald Trump tweets about the incident, calling the actor’s comments “racist and dangerous”.

When asked about the alleged attack previously, the president had said: “I think that’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.”

Later that day in court, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke says that the “most vile” part of the incident was the use of a noose.

Smollett’s lawyers issue a strongly-worded statement after the hearing, calling it an “organised law enforcement spectacle”.

Jussie Smollett emerges from the Cook County Court complex after posting 10 percent of a $100,000 bond in Chicago
Jussie Smollett emerges from the Cook County Court complex after posting 10% of a $100,000 bond in Chicago

22 February: Jussie Smollett is suspended from Empire

The TV show’s executive producers release a statement saying the actor won’t be in the final two episodes of the latest series.

They add that the allegations against him are “disturbing”.

25 February: Cheque called into question

Reporters in the US get hold of a copy of the $3,500 cheque allegedly paid to Abel Osundairo for the attack.

It’s dated 23 January and says: “5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don’t Go).”

ABC News reports that Don’t Go is the name of a music video Smollett was planning to shoot – which is why he paid the brothers to get him in shape.

1 March: Osundairo brothers ‘regret’ getting involved

Gloria Schmidt
Gloria Schmidt, the lawyer for the Osundairo brothers

statement from the brothers’ lawyer Gloria Schmidt says they have “tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation”.

It adds: “They understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves.”

13 March: Empire returns

The first new episode of Empire is aired since the alleged attack.

Jussie Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon features in the episode, which is down in the ratings, according to Variety.

He is scheduled to appear in seven of the remaining nine episodes of season five.

14 March: Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty

March 2019: Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty in court

Jussie Smollett appears in court charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct and pleads not guilty.

He must tell the court if he plans to leave the state of Illinois and is due back in court in mid-April.

20 March: Empire creator speaks out

Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, speaks about the “pain and anger and sadness and frustration” he and his cast have gone through over the saga.

In an Instagram video, he adds that he and his team “really don’t know how to deal with it.”

He adds that Empire “was made to bring America together” and to “talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets.”

26 March: Smollett cleared of all charges

After an emergency court appearance, all charges against Jussie Smollett are dropped.

In a statement, his lawyer says: “He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator.”

They add that his record “has been wiped clean.”

But Chicago Police and the city’s mayor stand by their case against Jussie Smollett, criticising the latest development in a joint news conference.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson says: “At the end of the day, it is Mr Smollett who committed this hoax, period.

“If he wanted to clear his name, the way to do that is in a court of law so that everyone can see the evidence… I stand by the facts of what we produced.”

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel says Jussie was “let off scot-free, with no sense of accountability for the moral and ethical wrong of his actions”.

Police call handler awarded for saving suicidal teen

Police call handler Megan Brunt was on her way home from work when she noticed a suicidal teenager on a motorway bridge.

Earlier during her shift, she’d taken a call about a young missing woman who had been to hospital after self-harming.

Megan, 20, stopped and started talking to the distressed teenager until back-up could arrive to take her to safety.

It was during their chat that she realised she’d just helped the same person who she’d taken the call about while at work.

“I get calls like this quite often with people who are in distress or who are feeling suicidal, but I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve been with it face-to-face,” Megan tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“It was quite weird especially as it was coincidental that I took the call about her as well.”

Megan, who works for Avon and Somerset Police, has been recognised for her brave actions with two awards.

She was given a Royal Humane Society Certificate of Commendation and the award for bravery and courage at the Control Room Awards earlier this month.

Megan, from Weston-super-Mare, says she didn’t tell the teenager that she already knew who she was but instead tried to comfort her.

“I did tell her I worked for the police which seemed to reassure her and made her feel a bit better.

“I was comforting her the best I could and telling her it wasn’t the best thing to do. I had my arm around her but I didn’t tell her I knew her.”

Megan, who has worked as a call handler for two-and-a-half years, says she hasn’t been able to speak to the teenager again but hopes she is okay.

She says she enjoys her job because “every day is different” and she feels “proud” to have been given a bravery award.

“There are some calls like this that do stay with you and do upset you. It can be quite difficult but you just have to remain as professional as possible.”

Avon and Somerset Police said: “Megan saved the life of this young girl through courage, composure and a great deal of caring.”

Lupita Nyong’o: Horror film Us took an emotional toll on me

Lupita Nyong’o says her latest film Us took an “emotional” toll on her and it was “exhausting” playing two different versions of the same character.

“This movie stretched me, it bent me, it cost me a whole lot,” she told Dotty on the Radio 1Xtra breakfast show.

Us is a horror film written and directed by Oscar-winner Jordan Peele – the man behind Get Out.

In the movie a family of four – the Wilsons – are confronted by monster versions of themselves.

Lupita plays mum-of-two Adelaide Wilson and a scarier version of the character called Red.

The Wilson family dopplegangers in the film US
The Wilson family is confronted by these evil dopplegangers in the film which is released on Friday

To make Red sound distinctive, Lupita says she mimicked a voice condition called spasmodic dysphonia .

“It’s a condition that’s brought about by trauma, sometimes emotional, sometimes physical and sometimes inexplicable,” she said.

“It’s where your vocal cords start to spasm and they create this irregular abrupt pattern of air.

“So I had experienced someone speaking with that condition and I got curious about it.”

‘I was told to gargle salt water’

'Spasmodic dysphonia makes it's difficult to say certain sounds'
‘Spasmodic dysphonia makes it’s difficult to say certain sounds’

Lynda Clark, from Nottingham, has the condition and told Radio 1 Newsbeat she first noticed it when she was at university.

“I started to find it was really hard to speak during the discussions, I had to put in a lot of effort to get my voice out.”

She says it took her a while to get diagnosed because the condition usually affects people who are a lot older.

“I was told to gargle salt water and to drink hot water by doctors, but eventually a junior doctor said it sounds like something neurological and not something to do with your throat.”

Lynda says she has Botox injections every three months to help her voice.

“I’ve got the type that makes your voice sound breathy rather than sound strangled and sometimes I have to put in a lot of effort in to speak.”

Lupita Nyongo, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Winston Duke at the Us premiere
Lupita stars alongside Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Winston Duke in Us

For the film, Lupita says she met people with the condition and worked with a voice therapist – to make sure she didn’t damage her vocal cords.

The star also says she decided to stay in character when playing Red on set.

“I went a little more method than I usually do where I stayed in the vocal posture for the whole day and I would remain isolated in a room festering.”

The actress is no stranger to taking on complex roles – she won an Oscar for playing the character Patsey in the film 12 Years a Slave.

But she says she had to let out her “inner monster” while making Us and reached “breaking point”.

“It was technically very challenging. We’re playing against ourselves. The way in which things had to play out was so specific.

“It took its emotional toll on me. I definitely had a moment of rupture while making this movie.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: "Smollett dragged city's reputation through mud"

Jussie Smollett: Empire star ‘staged hoax attack over salary’

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: “Smollett dragged city’s reputation through mud”

US actor Jussie Smollett staged a fake attack on himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”, Chicago police say.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.

Mr Smollett is charged with filing a false police report after he said he was the victim of a homophobic attack.

Police say he also had sent a racist letter to himself at a Fox studio.

The 36-year-old star of the TV series Empire is suspected of paying two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack. They are both co-operating with the investigation, police say.

On Wednesday his lawyers said they would “mount an aggressive defence”.

What do police say?

In a scathing news conference on Thursday, Supt Johnson accused the actor of committing a crime “to further his own profile”.

He said Mr Smollett had betrayed the city of Chicago, and said “this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve”.

The “hoax”, he said, “received national attention for weeks,” and may deter future hate crime victims from coming forward for fear that their allegations may be met with skepticism.

He called upon the actor “to apologise to this city that he smeared”.

Mr Smollett turned himself into police on Thursday

Mr Smollett turned himself into police on Thursday

“Celebrities, news commentators, and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,” he said, with palpable anger as he spoke.

“I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” he said, describing Mr Smollett’s actions as a “slap in the face” to Chicagoans.

How did the case unfold?

Suspicion over the actor’s allegations started to grow after police said they could not find any video footage of the alleged incident from over 50 surveillance cameras they reviewed. There were also no witnesses.

But investigators managed to track and identify two men who appeared on video footage near where the actor said he had been attacked through a ride-sharing app.

The men – Ola and Abel Osundairo – had left the US following the alleged attack and were held for nearly 48 hours after they returned last week.

They were released without charges after providing information that “shifted the trajectory of the investigation”, police said.

One of the brothers is Mr Smollett’s personal trainer and both have worked as extras on Empire, a hit Fox show that depicts the lives of a music mogul and his family in Chicago.

Images of two "people of interest" released by Chicago Police investigating the Jussie Smollett case

CCTV image released earlier by Chicago police

Police say they have a cheque that Mr Smollett signed and that he had agreed to pay $3,500 (£2,700) for the brothers’ participation.

Supt Johnson said that he had told at least one of the brothers that he was “dissatisfied” with his salary from Fox.

He added that Mr Smollett first “attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language” to Fox studios.

Police had confirmed in early February that a letter containing a white powder – later identified as aspirin – was included in the threatening letter that authorities now believe was now sent by the actor himself.

On Wednesday, CBS Chicago obtained footage which appeared to show two people buying materials, including ski masks, that had allegedly been worn by the actor’s attackers.

Mr Smollett turned himself in early on Thursday and is in custody of Chicago police.

He will appear before a judge for a bond hearing later on Thursday.

Rallies were held after Mr Smollett first announced the alleged "attack"

Rallies were held after Mr Smollett first announced the alleged “attack”

What does Smollett say happened?

The actor, who is gay, said he had gone out to buy food late at night in downtown Chicago when two white men hurled racial and homophobic insults at him.

They allegedly punched the actor, poured a chemical substance over him and put a rope around his neck.

Police said on Thursday that some minor scrapes on his face were probably self-inflicted.

“I’m left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?” said Supt Johnson.

“How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?”

Mr Smollett also claimed the men had told him “this is Maga country”, apparently referring to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The president tweeted his condemnation after the police news conference, slamming Mr Smollett’s “racist and dangerous comments”.

The actor said he had been “forever changed” by the alleged incident.

An outpouring of support followed including from Oscar winner Viola Davis and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

50 Cent: Claims police told to ‘shoot’ rapper investigated”:

Police in New York are investigating claims a senior officer told members of his team to “shoot” the rapper 50 Cent.

It’s alleged Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez made the remark in June last year at a police roll-call for a boxing match which the star was due to attend.

50 Cent said on Sunday he was taking the threat “very seriously” and was consulting with his lawyers.

The New York Police Department told Radio 1 Newsbeat the matter “is under internal review”.

The New York Daily News reported that Deputy Inspector Gonzalez told his officers to shoot the rapper “on sight” but later tried to pass it off as a joke.

It’s claimed at least one other person at the event reported the comment to the NYPD internal affairs department.

One month before, Dect Insp Gonzalez reportedly filed an aggravated harassment complaint against 50 Cent.

He said the rapper had threatened him on Instagram – in response to claims that Dect Insp Gonzalez had unfairly investigated one of 50 Cent’s favourite nightclubs.

50 mocked the complaint in posts online, suggesting the police get “back to fighting crime”.

Writing on social media following news of the internal NYPD investigation into Dect Insp Gonzalez, 50 Cent said he was concerned that he was “not previously advised of this threat by the NYPD”.

He described Dept Insp Gonzalez as a “gangster with a badge” but told his Twitter followers: “Keep in mind there are some good people working in law enforcement.

“Like the officers that reported what he said to them.”

Jussie Smollett had no role in own attack, lawyers say

Jussie Smollett’s lawyers said the actor felt “victimised” by reports he was involved

Lawyers for the US actor Jussie Smollett have denied he had any role in an assault last month he alleges was carried out by two white men.

Their statement came after sources told US media that police believed he may have paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack on 29 January.

The brothers, who worked as extras on Empire, the show Smollett starred in, have been questioned by Chicago police.

Police have only said the “trajectory of the investigation” has shifted.

What have Smollett’s lawyers said?

“Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” a statement from lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said.

“He has now been further victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

One of the brothers is Smollett’s personal trainer, and the lawyers said it was “impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity”.

And the police?

They had questioned the two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, last week but the pair were released on Friday and are said to be still co-operating with the investigation.

The brothers had left the US after the alleged attack and were arrested on their return last Wednesday.

Images of two "people of interest" released by Chicago Police investigating the Jussie Smollett case

Chicago police released this CCTV image of two “people of interest” in the case

Police sources told US media the pair had bought rope used in the attack at a nearby hardware store.

Police searching their flat found ropes, masks and bleach, CBS reported.

On Saturday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation.

“We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

Ola and Abel Osundairo have both appeared as extras on Empire, a drama about a hip-hop mogul and his family. In this Instagram post, Ola Osundairo (R) is seen alongside Empire creator Lee Daniels (C).

What has Smollett himself said about the alleged attack?

He said two white men hurled racial and homophobic insults as they punched him, poured a chemical substance over him and put a rope around his neck.

“This is Maga country,” he says they told him, referring to President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.

The actor said he had been “forever changed” by the incident.

Jussie Smollett had no role in own attack, lawyers say
Attacked actor “has tasted brutality of hatred”

Rapper Cadet dies in car crash on his way to a gig”:

Cadet has died in a car crash on the way to a gig in Staffordshire.

The rapper’s family shared the news on his official Instagram account.

“We the family of Blaine Cameron Johnson otherwise known as Cadet (Underrated Legend) would like to share the sad news that during the early hours of 9th February 2019 he passed away.”

In a statement to Radio 1 Newsbeat, his management said the 28-year-old was a passenger in a taxi.

Cadet’s cousin Krept led the tributes online, saying he was “heartbroken”.

Staffordshire Police confirmed Cadet died in the crash in Betley in the early hours of Saturday morning.

In a statement, the force said: “Blaine Cameron Johnson, 28, of London, died after the Toyota Prius he was travelling in was involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Combo van at 1.30am.

“He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

A previous statement said that the drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospital with serious injuries and three others were also being treated in hospital.

Cadet was on his way to Keele University where he was due to perform.

This year was set to be massive for Cadet

by Nick Bright, Radio 1Xtra DJ

For us at 1Xtra he was a huge artist.

Lots of his tracks were on the playlist last year, and even as we speak at the moment one of them is on the A-list, so it’s one of the tunes that gets played the most.

To see this happen to an artist just as he’s about to break through is a really sad thing.

He’s consistently being putting out music. The Commitment and the Commitment 2 are probably two of the most known pieces of work he’d put out.

He got so much recognition from those projects alone and lots more people have been paying attention to his music.

He’s worked with Krept and Konan, two of the biggest rappers in the UK and Deno Driz on Advice.

It’s quite a small scene so when something like this happens everybody within this industry knows it’s happened.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he would have been playing at so many different places this summer because he’s got so many big songs out at the moment and loads in the pipeline.

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Cadet regularly appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra performing at MistaJam’s Christmas Party last year.

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Cadet was due to perform at Wireless in July.

In a statement on the festival’s website, it said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans, of Cadet.

“Such sad news.

“We’ll be keeping his Wireless performance as a time to reflect on the memory of Blaine.”

Listen to Newsbeat liveat 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here .

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Empire's Jussie Smollett: Stars show support after attack

Empire’s Jussie Smollett: Stars show support after attack


Hollywood stars are showing their support for Jussie Smollett after he was attacked.

Police in the US say they’re investigating it as a suspected homophobic and racist attack after “two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs”.

The Empire actor needed hospital treatment after the men punched him in the face, poured a chemical substance on him and tied a rope around his neck.

Oscar winner Viola Davis and supermodel Naomi Campbell are among those sharing their support.


Naomi Campbell, who starred in the first two seasons of the musical show about a hip-hop mogul whose sons and ex-wife fight over his business, said that one of the most beautiful things to happen to her when working on Empire was meeting Jussie Smollett.

Alongside a picture of the two of them, she called on the Mayor of Chicago to catch the “despicable people” who have committed this “act of hate”.

Oscar winner Viola Davis shared a photo of Jussie on her Instagram page.

Jussie, who plays Jamal Lyon, in Empire, came out on US TV show Ellen in 2015.

It’s after he faced scrutiny in his personal life when his character on the show came out as being gay.

At the time he told Ellen “there is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in and I just wanted to make that clear”.

The TV host tweeted her support for him and his family.

Jussie’s co-star, Grace Byers, is among those expressing their horror at the attack.

“This despicable act only shamefully reveals how deeply the diseases of hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country’s veins,” she said.

Singer and actress Janelle Monae also shared a photo of herself with Jussie.

“It is still a risk daily to be a BLACK, OUT and PROUD human being,” she wrote.

Jada Pinkett Smith also posted a news report about the attack.

Some media reports say that the actor had bleach poured on him but that’s not been confirmed yet.

According to the American website TMZ, Jussie has now been discharged from hospital.

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Recent Topics

There is huge support for Huawei and its senior management from people in China

Huawei: A simple guide to why the company is in so much trouble


A lot of people are talking about Huawei – and not just because they make really well reviewed, top-end phones.

The Chinese company is in pretty hot water in various places, because certain people believe they are using their tech to spy on people – something the company totally denies.

There’s a court case against Huawei taking place in the US right now.

And other countries all over the world are losing faith in this tech giant due to security fears.

But although it can be quite hard to care about the ins and outs of a technology company on the other side of the planet – you might be worried about your handset or whether to buy a new Huawei.

So here’s a quick explanation of what’s going on.

What is Huawei?

First of all, it’s pronounced “Wah-way” and Huawei sells more mobile phones across the world than Apple.

Samsung sell the most, with Huawei clocking in as the second most popular.

In the UK, there was a huge jump in sales of Huawei handsets in 2018 when they released their P20 Pro.

Huawei P20 at launch event
Huawei released the P20 and the P20 Pro (pictured) in 2018 to glowing reviews

According to many reviewers Huawei’s P20 Pro, which was released in 2018, is a real contender to the other big hitters – a Samsung or an iPhone.

But as well as the phones we’ve got in our pockets, Huawei also provide technology to other companies to make their own handsets and wi-fi networks.

Basically, Huawei is everywhere.

Why is everyone talking about Huawei?

There are some worries about what Huawei has been doing with the millions of mobile phones it’s sold and all that tech kit.

Some countries fear Huawei is being used by the Chinese government to spy on people.

The man who founded Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, was an engineer in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the early 1980s – a fact which has worried businesses and governments already distrustful of China’s political leaders.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is the armed force of the Communist Party of China, which has ruled the People’s Republic of China since 1921.

Ren Zhengfei
Ren Zhengfei was involved in China’s ruling communist party nearly 40 years ago

Huawei says it has no links to the government and insists it is an independent company.

But there have been warnings in the US since 2012 that Huawei pose a security threat.

And in the UK, a report in 2018 said it had “only limited assurance” that Huawei’s broadband and mobile equipment wasn’t a threat to national security – which isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement.

OK, who else is involved?

It’s not just the US and UK who are starting to get a bit concerned.

In 2018, both Australia and New Zealand excluded Huawei from involvement in it’s future 5G network – again because they think the company might be trying to spy on them.

In January 2019, Vodafone “paused” the use of Huawei equipment in Europe  (specifically Spain) because they had the same worries.

What’s happening now?

There is a court case taking place in America in which Huawei is accused of bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology from rival T-Mobile – so nothing to do with spying on people.

Some of these allegations relate to deals reportedly done by Huawei with Iran – and Donald Trump has said that companies who trade with Iran cannot also trade with America.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, has been arrested by US officials for her involvement in evading President Trump’s sanctions against Iran.

Huawei deny all the charges.

Huawei supporter protesting in America
There is huge support for Huawei and its senior management from people in China

What does this mean if you’re reading this on a Huawei?

Most of the worries about Huawei relate to their involvement in other companies’ networks, not digging through the personal details of people who’ve snapped up a P20.

And it’s important to remember there are no spying charges against the company, even in the case that’s happening in the US right now – and no-one has been found guilty of anything.

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Recent Topics

Michael Jackson doc Leaving Neverland is ‘disturbing and devastating’

Michael Jackson gave a young boy jewellery in exchange for sexual acts, according to new documentary Leaving Neverland.

The “devasting and disturbing” film has been shown at The Sundance Film festival in Utah, America.

It focuses on two men who claim Michael Jackson had abused them as children.

His estate deny the claims saying it’s “an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in” on the singer, who died in 2009.

USA Today reporter Patrick Ryan was at the world premiere on Friday.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck say they were aged seven and 10 when the singer befriended them and their families.

Now in their 30s, they claim they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson.

He always denied the allegations when he was alive.

Police raided his Neverland Ranch in California in 2003 while investigating claims he had molested a 13-year-old boy.

The case went to trial and Wade Robson was a main witness for him. He said under oath that the singer never abused him and Michael Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005.

Wade Robson
Wade Robson used to perform alongside Michael Jackson when he was a child

Since then Wade Robson has become a father and in an interview he said after two nervous breakdowns he finally revealed to his therapist the dark secret he’d been hiding.

“It was just pain and disgust and anger, the idea something like that could happen to my son.”

In 2013 he filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s estate claiming he had been sexually abused by the singer, but a judge ruled he’d waited too long to seek legal action.

‘Credible filmmaking’

The two-part film is directed by Dan Reed and the synopsis reads: “Through gut-wrenching interviews with the now-adult men and their families, Leaving Neverland crafts a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception.”

Dan Reed
British filmmaker Dan Reed also made Terror in Mumbai and The Paedophile Hunter

Reporter Adam B Vary watched it and posted afterwards: “A deeply emotional Wade Robson and James Safechuck receive a standing ovation after the screening of Leaving Neverland. There will be a lot to say later, but I can say this: This is a thorough, devastating, deeply credible piece of filmmaking.”

Keith Turnan, a film critic for the LA Times posted: “A #sundancefilmfestival first: introducing the screening of the disturbing “Leaving Neverland” Michael Jackson documentary, fest topper John Cooper announced “there will be health care professionals” in the Egyptian Theater lobby if needed. This is one intense film.”

And film critic for US Weekly Mara Reinstein put: “Shaking. Wow. We were all wrong when we cheered for Michael Jackson.”

Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch
Fans turned the entrance to Neverland into a shrine after the singer died

Because of Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s previous support of Michael Jackson and claims that he never molested them, his fans have asked the festival to pull it, while his own estate has hit back at the project in a statement: “The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact.

“The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers.”

They go on to say that because the filmmaker purposefully decided not to interview anyone else other than the two men and their families he “neglected fact checking so he could craft a narrative so blatantly one-sided that viewers never get anything close to a balanced portrait.”

The documentary will be shown on Channel 4 in Spring 2019.

Michael Jackson always denied any abuse allegations while he was alive.

He died on 25 June 2009 aged 50 after receiving a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol.

Recent Topics


Kim Porter, mother to three of Diddy’s children, died from pneumonia

Kim Porter

Kim Porter, mother of Diddy’s three children, died after contracting pneumonia, a coroner has confirmed.

The 47-year-old model and actress died unexpectedly in November 2018.

After tests, the LA County Coroner has ruled shedied from natural causes from lobar pneumonia.

When she died the American rapper, whose real name is Sean Combs, released a statement last year saying he and his former partner were “more than soulmates”.

Kim Porter and Diddy
Kim and Diddy were together on and off for 13 years

Kim dated Diddy on and off from 1994 to 2007 and they had three children together: twins Jessie James and D’Lila, 12, and son Christian, 20.

The Porter and Combs families said in a statement in November: “God broke the mould when he made Kim, there was truly no other woman like her.

“Although her time here on earth was far too short, she lived a life full of purpose and meaning.

“She was a loving mother and devoted friend. She was the epitome of kindness and grace.

“There wasn’t a person she met whose soul she did not touch. Kim was the type of woman who changed lives for the better.”

Kim also had a 27-year-old son, Quincy, from a previous marriage.

She appeared in films including 2001’s The Brothers and in the US TV show Wicked Wicked Games.

Recent Topics

Skengdo and AM were sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for two years

Rappers Skengdo and AM breached injunction by performing drill music

By mr ben rory

Two rappers have been given suspended sentences for performing drill music which incited violence against rival gang members.

Skengdo, real name Terrell Doyley, and AM, real name Joshua Malinga, pleaded guilty to breaching a gang injunction at Croydon County Court, police say.

The injunction was made against the pair last year because they were members of a gang in south London.

They were sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for two years.

The Metropolitan Police says Skengdo and AM, both 21, breached an interim gang injunction which was made in August last year.

“It was breached when they performed drill music that incited and encouraged violence against rival gang members and then posted it on social media,” it said in a statement.

Their manager TK told the Press Association the musicians were not involved in gang violence.

He said they pleaded guilty after a video of one of their live performances was uploaded to the internet without their knowledge.

Cressida Dick
The Met’s top officer Cressida Dick previously linked drill music to an increase in violence in London

The interim injunction was made against the rappers because they were members of a gang in Lambeth, south London – and were linked to rising violence in the borough, police said on Friday.

The injunction was brought into full force during hearings held on 10 and 14 January. It will last for two years.

Detective Inspector Luke Williams, of Lambeth and Southwark’s Gangs Unit, said: “I am pleased with the sentences passed in these cases which reflect that the police and courts are unwilling to accept behaviour leading to serious violence.

“The court found that violence in drill music can, and did in this case, amount to gang-related violence.”

TK, the director of Finesse Foreva, said the last time either of the rappers “might have had a run-ins with the law was when they were 16 and 17”.

He said at a hearing in January, police had tried to link Skengdo and AM to the history of crime in Brixton – which is in the Lambeth borough.

“They didn’t find nothing on them in terms of violence because they don’t have nothing on them.”

He added: “Why the Met’s probably done that is because they want to affect their lives, scare big venue owners off.”

Skengdo and AM have performed at Reading and Leeds festivals and have appeared on 1Xtra.

They performed on Kenny Allstar’s 1Xtra show on 11 January – he described them as “one of the hottest duos in UK drill music”.

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Charlie Sloth joins Apple Music's Beats 1 radio station

Charlie Sloth joins Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station

Charlie Sloth has announced that he’s joining Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station.

The DJ left Radio 1 and 1Xtra at the end of last year after almost 10 years.

In an interview with fellow former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Charlie described Apple Music as a platform that’s “future-proof”: “For me, I was like I need to be where the future is, because I am the future.”

The Charlie Sloth Rap Show will air on Saturday nights in the UK.

Charlie said that UK music “is in a place that it’s never been” during his career.

“I feel like it’s desired in a way it never has been globally.

“With the Apple Music and Beats 1 platform I feel that I offer something to these artists in the UK that no other platform can offer at the moment,” he said.

The DJ said that since his departure from Radio 1 and 1Xtra, where he hosted The 8th and The Rap Show, he’s been “trying to keep a low profile”.

“It’s hard walking down the street and people are like, ‘Yo, Sloth, what’s happening?’

“I kind of isolated myself from the world apart from doing shows – I still had to do gigs.”

Charlie didn’t see out the final 10 radio shows he was scheduled to do on the BBC after storming the stage and delivering a sweary rant at an awards show in October – after which he apologised.

Charlie, who’s won radio DJ of the year at the GRM Daily Rated Awards every time it’s been a category, said he was seeking a “new challenge” when he left the BBC.

And he told Zane Lowe he’s been “itching” to get started.

“I just felt the way people were consuming content was changing, it’s changed forever.

“And I feel that Apple Music and Beats 1, they provide a service that caters for the new consumption of content,” he said.

Charlie thinks musicians now “only care” about the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

“The artists, especially the younger generation, don’t care if their record is getting played on the TV. They don’t care if their record is getting played on the radio. They only care what playlists they’re sitting on on the streaming providers.

“These kids who are 18, 19, they’ve grown up in a totally different era.

“They’ve grown up knowing streaming and YouTube. They’re the only two assets that matter to the modern day artist.”

Charlie’s popular Fire In The Booth freestyle segment, which has been running for more than 10 years and racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, will be following Charlie to Apple.

He’s promised “a few returning heroes” and “a few big names”.

Last year, he managed to get Drake on the show – telling Newsbeat at the time that it was “four or five years” in the making.

Tiffany Calver is the new host of The Rap Show on Radio 1 – becoming the first woman to host the Saturday night 9pm slot when she took over at the beginning of 2019.

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Latest News

Enes Kanter: ‘I don’t feel safe in the UK’


By Nomia IqbalNewsbeat reporter

Turkish-born Enes Kanter is the centre for the New York Knicks

NBA star Enes Kanter should be looking forward to coming to play basketball in London next week.

Instead, he says he’ll be staying in the USA – for fear of assassination in the UK.

The 26-year-old New York Knicks centre explained to Radio 1 Newsbeat why he’s cancelled his appearance at the O2 arena on 17 January.

“The Turkish government is obsessed with me,” he said over the phone from his New York base.

“I speak out against [President] Erdogan, and so I don’t feel safe.

“It’s sad as I love Harry Potter, and wanted to come see all of London so badly, but I can’t take the risk.”

As things stand, Kanter’s Knicks team will go ahead and play their regular season game against the Washington Wizards without him.

Their game in London is part of an NBA strategy to bring the sport to the world – but ironically it can’t bring one of the world’s best players.

Kanter is an outspoken critic of the President of his native Turkey, Recep Tayyp Erdogan.

The sportsman has referred to the politician as “the Hitler of our century”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey’s President Erdogan has been accused of creeping authoritarianism

“I’m not saying that Erdogan’s going to do an operation [against me] in London but it’s more there are lots of crazy supporters of his.

“You can say that I’m paranoid but I don’t want to take the risk.

“My team’s security said to me ‘If you go, you can’t leave your room or do any activities for the time you’re in London’.

“I’m getting more death threats, hundreds in the last few days. But I won’t stop being outspoken I want the whole world to know what’s going on in Turkey.

“It’s bigger than basketball, it’s bigger than the NBA.”

Kanter is caught up in a Turkish political conflict which has spread beyond his home country’s borders.

President Erdogan has accused Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Turkish cleric, of masterminding a failed 2016 military coup against him. Mr Gülen denies the charge.

Kanter, who was educated at one of Mr Gülen’s network of schools in Turkey, has taken the cleric’s side.

A Turkish protester holds up a banner with pictures of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen during an anti-government demonstration
An anti-government protester in Turkey holds a picture of President Erdogan and exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen

The basketball player regularly visits Mr Gülen at the cleric’s home in Pennsylvania.

Kanter’s moves have come at personal cost.

In 2017, the sportsman’s fatherMehmet was arrested in Turkeyand charged with membership of a terrorist group.

Kanter suspects this was in order to put pressure on him.

“It’s very sad,” he said. “I haven’t talked to my parents for a long time. I tried bringing them here but the Turkish government wouldn’t let them.”

In 2017, the Turkish government cancelled Kanter’s passport,forcing him to cut short a planned trip to Romania and return to the US, where he is a permanent resident and due to get citizenship in two years.

Mike Bass, a spokesman for the NBA, told the BBC: “The NBA has played hundreds of games outside of the US and this is a very unique and unprecedented situation.”

The New York Knicks say Kanter’s decision not to travel to London is based on visa issues, not security.

Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter says he won’t stop being outspoken about his political views, despite the risks

But Kanter is emphatic.

“It’s not a visa issue. They [the Knicks] are not going to come out and say ‘Enes Kanter may get killed’ – they just want to say visa issues so there is no negative energy on my team mates.

“I genuinely am worried about my safety and so are my [security] team. It’d be helpful I guess if the Knicks came out and said it.”

The Knicks haven’t respond to Kanter’s denials that this isn’t related to documentation.

The UK’s Home Office says that it won’t comment on individual cases.

But Kanter urges the authorities in the UK to make a clear promise to protect him.

“If I hear any reassurance from the British government, maybe I’ll talk to my team again.”

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Latest News

Lord Lester resigns from House of Lords

UK Politics

Lord Lester

An 82-year-old peer accused of sexual harassment 12 years ago has resigned from the House of Lords.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill was suspended from the Liberal Democrats this year following the allegations, which he has called “completely untrue”.

A party spokesman said Lord Lester had made “the right decision”.

Last month a report by the privileges and conduct committee upheld a complaint of sexual harassment against the peer, received in November 2017.

The report had originally recommended that Lord Lester should be expelled from the Lords but this was later reduced to a recommended suspension until 2022.

The complaint claimed that Lord Lester “had sexually harassed the complainant, had offered her a corrupt inducement to have sexual relations with her, and had warned her of unspecified consequences if she did not accept his offer”.

Lord Lester denied all the allegations, stating that he had “produced evidence which clearly demonstrated that what I was said to have done 12 years ago did not happen”.

Following a debate last month, peers voted to send the case back to the committee to look at it again.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman welcomed the peer’s resignation on Tuesday.

“Lord Lester has made the right decision in retiring from the House of Lords.

“The leadership of the Liberal Democrats supported the original report from the Privileges Committee that had recommended his suspension from the House.

“We hope that Lord Lester’s decision now draws a line under this situation.”

Lord Lester is a veteran human rights lawyer who worked for several decades on gender equality and race relations. He joined the Lords in 1993.


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