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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    Comic-Con ended just over a week ago, but that's already ancient history for the masses currently converging on Anaheim for VidCon. Like other fan conventions, VidCon is a utopia for those interested in a particular subculture -- in this case, YouTube and its myriad well-known personalities. Unlike other fan conventions, its devotees are overwhelmingly teen- and tweenage.


    "Vlogbrothers" John and Hank Green conceived of and hosted the first VidCon in 2010, and since then, the event has grown from 1,400 attendees to an estimated 18,000. Though Internet videos may sometimes seem like time-killing diversions, the influence of online content creators is no joke. According to a 2014 study, millennials spend an average of 11.3 hours per week watching online videos.


    Check out the latest photos and videos from VidCon 2015 here:







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    It seems that everyone has taken a side following Tuesday's Twitter drama between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, even actress Camilla Belle. 


    Katy Perry got involved in the feud between the "Bad Blood" singer and the rapper  on Wednesday. Without directly mentioning Swift or Minaj, Perry tweeted about the irony of one woman taking down another while also criticizing pitting women against each other in general. Belle hopped into the conversation on Thursday to side with Perry. Swift fans will recall that the singer's 2010 song "Better Than Revenge" is rumored to be about Belle, who dated Joe Jonas after Swift.





    All the drama started on Tuesday when Minaj wrote a series of tweets criticizing the MTV VMAs for not nominating her "Anaconda" video for Video of the Year and Best Choreography. Then Swift tweeted at Minaj, assuming that the rapper was directly calling her out, which Minaj soon clarified she wasn't.


    Eventually, the "Style" singer apologized to Minaj for igniting the drama. On Thursday, Swift tweeted, "I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke."




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    Every celebrity under the sun -- Chrissy Teigen, Cindy Crawford, Emily Ratajkowski -- seems to be on vacation right now, which means the Internet is filled with plenty of envy-inducing Instagram pics. 


    The latest star to share a holiday snap is Britney Spears, who's currently on vacation with her adorable sons in Hawaii. The 33-year-old music icon posted a photo of the three of them wading in the water on Thursday, with the caption, "Aloha." 



    A photo posted by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on



    Brit looks amazing in the shot as she rocks a tiny purple bikini that matches her lavender locks. The "Toxic" singer revealed her new 'do on Wednesday before catching her flight, and went on to share a cute snap of herself and youngest son Jayden James on the plane. 



    A photo posted by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on



    Just adorable.  


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    When he "shakes it off," he actually shakes.


    He mainly only has "bad blood" with Severus Snape.


    He is Doug the Pug, and Taylor Swift would be forgiven for not knowing he was trouble when he walked into Mashable's office this week, then parodied some of the pop superstar's Instagram photos:



    We sincerely hope the two get back together for more collaborations, despite there being an admittedly poor precedent.


    And if you're looking for more from the Doug the Pug/T-Swift shoot, here's a behind-the-scenes video:



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    We got asked to interview Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, so we asked them the questions that nobody else would...#realtalk #sorryboutit #illuminati #exists #evidence #proof #truthbomb #secretsociety #occult #ritual #blueroom #twitterAU

    Posted by Bondi Hipsters on Thursday, July 23, 2015

    That Amy Schumer sure has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, huh? If we didn't believe that she's a unique voice in the comedy world with a singular ability to skewer gender relations, it'd almost be a little ... suspicious. Almost as if she and "Trainwreck" co-star Bill Hader have been lent a shadowy helping hand by the organization that's totally responsible for every major cultural and financial decision on the planet. 


    In an interview with The Bondi Hipsters, an Australian duo who host a web series of the same name, Schumer and Hader were immediately accused of being part of the Illuminati. There is a tense pause before the comedians vehemently deny their involvement, claiming to know nothing about any Satanic ritual involving Judd Apatow, a circle of Hollywood executives wearing goat masks and a squirrel.


    "But I'm dating a squirrel, OK, so I am not in a thing with the queen, the Vatican, the Rothchilds and the Colonel Sanders," Schumer explains, too conveniently, before Hader looks aggressively straight at the camera and begins speaking in tongues.


    If you need more proof, take one look at the "Trainwreck" poster, where Schumer unabashedly makes a triangular formation with her hands. We see you, Amy. 


    H/T Junkee  


     


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    It’s been almost a year since Seattle-based singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas, who performs under the stage name Perfume Genius, took perhaps the biggest risk of his career to date.


    Following two critically-acclaimed albums of down-tempo, piano-centric confessional indie pop -- 2010’s “Learning” and 2012’s “Put Your Back N 2 It” -- Hadreas took a different approach with his latest release, “Too Bright.”


    While the songs on “Too Bright” still explore deeply personal themes that often relate back to Hadreas’ gay identity, the production has been turned up several notches. With high-profile collaborators like Adrian Utley (Portishead) and John Parish (PJ Harvey) on board, elements like Suicide-esque synths and Goblin-flavored percussion entered the equation, all topped off with a heavy dose of Freddie Mercury flourish.


    The end result is thrilling, particularly when presented in a live context. Hadreas played Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival last weekend was no exception. 


    Hadreas took the stage and shared that someone had told him to remove his lipstick during his walk to the stage, to which he responded, "No, I could have told him 'no' forever." Then, he launched into the raw, bruising “My Body.” The song sees the singer channelling Harvey at her grittiest, delivering blunt declarations like “I wear my body like a rotted peach / You can have it if you handle the stink,” while strutting across the stage in a style that screams "deal with it.” 


    While all that might come as a surprise to fans more familiar with Perfume Genius’ quieter, stripped-down songs from his early work, the progression feels natural to Hadreas, who wrote the newer songs with the intention of pushing him beyond what may have felt more comfortable.


    It wasn’t immediately easy to translate the new songs onto the stage, Hadreas admitted in an interview backstage.


    “I tried to sing notes I’m scared to try to reach and I tried to ‘act as if’ a little bit,” Hadreas told The Huffington Post. “The first couple shows were a little shaky as far as not knowing how to move or if sound was going to come out when I screamed, but now I feel like a lot of those things are second nature to me. But I’m not, like, the super 100-percent confident front man. I phase in and out of bravado.”


    The more aggressive approach is also reflected in the videos released for “Too Bright” singles “Queen” and “Grid,” both of which present stirring and disturbing interpretations of the songs’ content. In “Grid,” Hadreas is surrounded by faceless, pulsating bodies wearing silver bodysuits while he admires himself in a hand mirror and opens his legs wide to the pulsating beat. It’s a video so strange Kate Bush would be proud.


    He plans to aim higher with more visual projects in the future. 




    “I love the videos I’ve made but it’d be nice to up it a little more and do something longer-form,” Hadreas explained. “One of my favorite movies of the last five or 10 years is called ‘Dogtooth’ by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. If I made a movie I would want it to be something like that. Everything’s in there, really disturbing moments, really laugh-out-loud moments and there’s touching moments. I like things that have everything all at once.”


    It is perhaps that feeling-all-the-feelings, work-in-progress vibe that makes Hadreas’ music both so unusual and so appealing, particularly to those who relate to feeling like an outsider.


    Though Hadreas freely admits he doesn’t have it all figured out yet, he’s happy to be taking his fans along for the journey. 


    “I keep making the music I do because I feel very purposeful about making things that would be helpful or quell some loneliness in people,” Hadreas said. “I really needed that when I listened to music growing up and even now so I don’t mind that sense of duty.”


    Hadreas’ own journey began in the suburbs of Seattle, where he first came out as gay to himself around the age of 12, and to family and friends after that. One singer in particular played a big role as he came to terms with his sexual identity.


    “Liz Phair I think was the first music I listened to that really hit that specific note,” Hadreas said. “I heard her music and she unashamedly singing about blow jobs and sexuality, things I hadn’t even had the confidence to Google yet. … I had never heard that word sung or said let alone by a woman and singing it such a powerful, strong way. That was the closest thing I had to hearing my kind of ‘shame’ being told shamelessly.”


    He was the only out gay person in his high school and, sick of being tormented, ended up dropping out during his senior year. He eventually wound up in New York City, where he began drinking in excess and doing “a Chinese buffet” of drugs. It wasn’t until after he returned back home to the Seattle area and checked himself into rehab that he wrote his first song, “Learning.”




    He posted that song and the others that followed to a Myspace page beginning in 2008 and eventually caught the eye of Matador Records, his musical home ever since. 


    Though the life of a musician touring the world is not the most conducive to sobriety -- and the majority of  artists who end up in rehab do so after their big break, not before -- Hadreas says he “wouldn’t have it any other way.” 


    “I’m glad I did it backwards because I wouldn’t have made it to my shows or made the second album I think if I was still drinking and doing drugs," he said. "Not everyone is like that, but, for me, personally, nothing came from me -- no music, no going to work on time -- out of doing that.”


    Hadreas presses on with his music and, after a marathon of concerts and festival appearances, he’s ready to head home to get back to writing new music, spending time with his mom and his dog and -- one would hope -- maintaining his always-entertaining social media presence, including Twitter commentary on marriage equality, Internet trolls and pop culture.


    In addition to having what he calls a Ben Affleck “obsession,” he’s also, it turns out, something of a dedicated Netflix reviewer:


    “There was one time I flagged every ‘Brokeback Mountain’ review on Netflix that was negative, I was like ‘not helpful’ and I spent like an hour doing it and I wrote a really serious review about it,” Hadreas said. “It's hard for me not to get really sensitive. I don’t brush things off like that very easily. I think my music kind of gives that [defensiveness] a direction and a point to it, not just directionless anger at something.”

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    Bono pulled Jimmy Fallon on stage to surprise the crowd at MSG on Wednesday, but on Thursday Fallon revealed the Irish singer almost didn't find what he was looking for.


     "The Tonight Show" host says that, despite it being U2's idea, Bono almost forgot to pull Fallon out of the crowd, grabbing another fan out of the audience instead. 


    Fallon was left holding a sign Bono was supposed to pick out, and got yelled at by fans to take it down. The comedian actually thought he might get kicked out before The Edge eventually reminded Bono about the bit.


    In the end, Fallon finally got on stage and killed his surprise performance of "Desire," but getting kicked out of the concert would've been just as cool.


    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC. 


    Also on HuffPost:



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    MANILA, Philippines - A politically influential and secretive Christian church that's involved in a legal dispute with American R&B singer ChrisBrown has been caught in a rising tide of its own legal troubles.


    The Philippine government on Friday opened an investigation into allegations that the advisory Council of Iglesia ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, was responsible for abducting ministers critical of some church leaders and misusing funds. The announcement by the Justice Department caps months of swirling rumors about corruption and internal feuds in the church, which has been controlled by the Manalo family for two generations.


    Brown gave a concert in Manila this week but was delayed from leaving because of a fraud complaint filed by a corporation run by the church. It claims it had paid Brown and a promoter $1 million in advance for a New Year's Eve concert at its 55,000-seat arena outside Manila, which he canceled without paying the money back. He left Manila late Friday after obtaining clearance.





    The church's potential troubles with the law are apparently unrelated to its tiff with Brown, but could be far more damaging to its reputation by exposing the depth of internal squabbles in the 101-year-old movement. It is also likely to unmask the strong grip the church has on its 2.3 million members.


    The feud within the close-knit church became public this week when the mother and a brother of the group's head, Eduardo Manalo, were expelled after they sought help from other members in a YouTube message, saying they were in danger and that several ministers had gone missing. 


    The brother, Felix Nathaniel Manalo, spoke out on Thursday against what he said were various anomalies in the church's operations, saying funds "are being used up in all sorts of projects which we don't even need."


    One of the projects, he said, was the Philippine Arena, claimed to be the world's biggest indoor stadium where Brown was to have performed last New Year's Eve and where the 100th anniversary of the movement was celebrated last year. The centennial celebrations will end on Sunday.


    "We have been threatened by the Council ... because they say we are opposing the leader," he said. "We love our brother, but the problem is those around him."



     Another mysterious expense by the church, which was not mentioned by Felix Nathaniel, was its purchase of the U.S. ghost town of Scenic, South Dakota, for less than $800,000, the same year that construction of the arena began. The church has not disclosed its plan for the abandoned town.


    Separately, Isaias Samson, a minister and former editor-in-chief of the Iglesia newspaper, told reporters that he, his wife and son were held under "house arrest" by armed guards allegedly on orders of the church Council for a week before they escaped early Thursday.


    "It is very difficult to talk about things that we know will damage the Iglesia because of the actions of some people," he said, adding that about 10 ministers have been abducted.


    With the controversy building up, the Justice Department announced it has opened an investigation into the church.


    The government cannot intervene in Iglesia's squabbles but abductions are crimes that the National Bureau of Investigation will probe, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters.


    The church believes that Jesus is the son of God, but it does not believe in the Holy Trinity as do Roman Catholics - the predominant religion in the Southeast Asian nation. Still, the church commands political influence because its members vote as a bloc in national elections, making them highly sought after by politicians, especially presidential aspirants.



     The movement's founder, Felix Manalo, broke away from the Catholic Church and is regarded by his followers as a prophet. He died in 1963, and was succeeded by his son, Erano Manalo, until his de ath in 2009, when another Manalo son took over as "executive minister."


    Bienvenido Santiago, Iglesia's General Evangelist, on Thursday denied allegations of abductions and said the church is "not a family corporation."


    Brown, the Grammy award-winning singer, has found himself caught in the fringes of the imbroglio. On Friday, he defended himself on Twitter, saying "I have done nothing wrong."


    "This is a very serious situation and someone needs to be held accountable for mixing up name in all this," he tweeted, referring to the fraud complaint against him. That message and others in which he defended himself on social media were later deleted.


    The fraud complaint required Brown to obtain an emigration clearance to leave the country. He obtained it late Friday, Immigration Bureau spokeswoman Elaine Tan said.


    Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Brown's presence at a preliminary investigation into the fraud complaint can be waived. Charges will be filed in court if prosecutors find probable cause to charge him and his promoter.


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    Is it an "Avengers" romance? 


    Co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston were photographed together while leaving the Wolseley in London Thursday. The actress attempted to hide her face by covering it with a scarf, but paparazzi managed to capture some shots of her as she entered a taxi with Hiddleston. 


    Back in May, Us Weekly first reported the two are romantically involved, although neither has confirmed the relationship. They were also the first to report Olsen broke off her engagement to Boyd Holbrook in January. 





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    On Thursday, Kim Kardashian took to Twitter where she made the unusual choice to use her position as a celebrity to shine a light on the troubling, unclear circumstances surrounding the death of Sandra Bland, a black woman whom authorities claim hanged herself in her jail cell on July 13.  The 28-year-old had been arrested three days prior to her death for allegedly assaulting a state trooper during a traffic stop


    Many people want answers as to how the incident, which has made national news, occurred. Her friends and family are eager to know how a traffic violation could lead to her death. Many have taken to social media to express their feelings using hashtags such as #JusticeForSandy.


    Kardashian, too, it turns out wants answers. She tweeted to her 33.8 million followers:









    Read more on Sandra Bland at the links below:


    The Transcript Of Sandra Bland's Arrest Is As Revealing As The Video


    Sandra Bland's Arrest Wasn't Racism; It Was Something Even Worse


    Sandra Bland Should Have Never Been In Jail In The First Place


    Here's What Cops And Their Supporters Are Saying About The Sandra Bland Arrest Video



     


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    Thomas and his fellow Gladers may have escaped the maze, but in "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" they're up against even scarier obstacles.


    The sequel to 2014's "The Maze Runner" and adaptation of the second book in James Dashner's titular YA triology, follows Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) as he and the other survivors try to uncover clues about the powerful organization WCKD. In the new trailer for "The Scorch Trials," we see "Game of Thrones" star Aiden Gillen as villain Janson, aka Rat-Man. Former "Thrones" actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster also returns to reprise his role at Newt. It's like a "GoT" reunion ... sorta. Check out the trailer for all the intense action. "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" opens Sept. 18.


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    In international news you might have missed: Earlier this week, "Frozen" co-princesses Anna and Elsa coronated a third royal of Arendelle.


    Actress Kristen Bell left an in-character voicemail for Avery Huffman, a 6-year-old "Frozen" fanatic who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a type of inoperable brain tumor, less than a month ago. As Anna, Bell told Avery that she'd heard about her incredible bravery and that her sister, Queen Elsa, had declared her an honorary princess of Arendelle.


    "Thanks to a friend ... who has a connection to Kristen Bell, Avery got a message that made her day/week/life," her father, Brandon Huffman, wrote in a journal entry on the family's CaringBridge page.


    Brandon posted a video of Avery listening to the message on YouTube, where it has racked up more than 65,000 views. He and other friends and family members have also been Tweeting about Avery's battle, using the hashtag "#AveryStrong."


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    Caitlyn Jenner's style game has been on point over the past couple of weeks -- so much so that she is actually teaching other women some pretty valuable fashion lessons every time she steps out. 


    We picked out six of Jenner's best outfits to date, and laid out the style tips we can all glean from her. It looks like she might be giving the Kardashians a run for their money.  


     


    1. Ruching at the waist is universally flattering.



    2. Heels don't need to be four inches to lengthen your legs and dress up an outfit. 



    3. Break up a busy pattern by throwing on a solid-colored jacket.



    4. If you don't normally wear a ton of prints, but want to invest in a pattern, go for an animal print -- it never goes out of style and you can treat it like a neutral, making matching much easier.



    5. When in doubt, wear a black dress and pearl earrings -- they are a fool-proof combination. 



    6. A good blowout can dress up a casual outfit. 



    A photo posted by Caitlyn Jenner (@caitlynjenner) on



     Also on HuffPost:


     


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    Welcome to New York, where multi-million-dollar, completely unattainable penthouses are waiting for you. One of them, however, already belongs to Taylor Swift. 


    New Yorkers are known to pay high rents for comparatively tiny apartments. And though Swift seems like the average girl next door, her apartment is anything but typical. The $20 million pad in NYC's Tribeca neighborhood is a dazzling dream to look at. 


    Swift moved into her 7-bedroom, 5-and-a-half-bath escape last fall, and she's been making memories there -- with friends like Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Lena Dunham -- ever since. 


    Visitors say Swift has added touches like a pool table, a piano and a fish tank of vintage baseballs to the space. Instagram photos show evidence of a Christmas tree and guitar cases galore. And the penthouse looks just as spectacular in its StreetEasy real estate listing as it does with a squad of models inside:



     


    The kitchen combines exposed wood beams, stainless-steel appliances and marble countertops...



     


    ...which are perfect for making cookies with buds like model Martha Hunt.


     



    A photo posted by Martha Hunt (@marhunt) on



     


    The living room has a fireplace...



     


    ...but things get even hotter when the blondetourage stops by.


     



    A photo posted by @karliekloss on



     


    Up the luxe wood staircase...



     


    ...you'll likely find Taylor's bedroom. 


     



    A photo posted by Jaime King (@jaime_king) on



     


    And her cat, Meredith! Mee-ow, this apartment is awesome. Can we be neighbors?


     



    A video posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on



     


     


    Also on HuffPost:


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    2015-07-23-1437685127-3213182-Nicki_Minaj_The_Pink_Print_fan_made_cover.png


    When it comes to choosing which concerts to attend, I am very deliberate. There's a lot to contend with when it comes to investing time and money into live music: paying absurd ticketing fees, finding someone with similar music taste to serve as a partner in concert crime, schlepping to an (often) inconvenient location and then struggling with the inevitable mob of other fans.

    So, if I can't get no satisfaction from the various terrors of concert going, I need to be 1000 percent sure that the artist I'm paying (financially, physically, emotionally) to see is worth it.

    Who makes the cut this week? Nicki Minaj. Who doesn't? Taylor Swift.

    I have had to endure hearing people -- namely mothers of children I used to babysit -- rave about Taylor's live performances, but I refuse to be fooled by her high-waisted short theatrics.

    I'm much more interested in her failed feminist twitter theatrics from Tuesday night, in which she took Nicki Minaj's thoughtful -- and actually feminist -- comments on the VMA nominations and made them all about her.






    It was to the third tweet that TSwift responded:

    So much for "shaking it off." Let's break down all the problems in this character-constrained misfire:

    1. There is no evidence Nicki was targeting Taylor in any of those tweets.

    2. Even if Nicki was targeting Taylor, the "let's not pit women against each other" trope is rather antiquated and uninformed, because, as Nicki is attempting to point out, not all women are equal, whether it's because of race, body type, religion or myriad other reasons. Unfortunate, but true.

    3. Men? Who was talking about men? Nicki surely wasn't.

    4. As Taylor says herself, "Haters gonna hate" Even though she's expressing "love" and "support," Taylor seems to be hating, if not on Nicki herself, at least on her tweets.


    Naturally, this tweet frustrates me to no end, but I also find it validating.

    Ever since Taylor's "feminist awakening," I've grown increasingly frustrated with her and the devotees who insist she is a shining beacon of feminism ("OK -- But have you seen the 'Bad Blood' video? She is such a feminist!" -- my male cousin).

    I am also fed up with how often I find myself defending Nicki Minaj as a feminist. The mere fact that anyone would suggest that a woman who has said, "Women should be allowed to be as hardcore and sexual as we want, because men do it all the time," (V Magazine) isn't a feminist is simply absurd.

    It is even more preposterous how often I have encountered people pointing to the sexuality in her songs and videos as reasons why she isn't a feminist. To those people: The train to the 1950s is leaving in five minutes, thank you.

    This little Twitter feud sums up that cauldron of frustration. But now I finally have hard (digital) evidence of Taylor's not-quite-up-to-snuff feminism. I was not a fan of Taylor before her crossover to the feminist light side because I didn't like the fairy-tale messages of her songs.

    But even now that she has struck a different chord, I can't help but be irritated by the general population's tendency to celebrate this mainstream feminist neophyte and ignore, or worse, lambaste, Nicki Minaj, who has proven herself a well-informed feminist and articulate representative for women of color and (as Taylor would want it) women in general.

    I am not criticizing Taylor Swift for being a feminist. That would be very non-feminist of me. I am instead critiquing her feminism because, as this tweet proves, she (and pretty much all feminists) have a lot to learn. Her second tweet to Nicki demonstrates this fact again:

    Taylor's sentiments are lovely, but they are idealistic. Nicki was not looking for an invitation to the stage. Her tweets were not a cry for sisterhood, but instead a succinct and pointed set of comments on the music industry's (and society's) deep-seated biases against the type of woman Nicki Minaj is and the women she represents.

    The fact of the matter is, Nicki is not invited to any stage Taylor is on, because Taylor enjoys a specific set of privileges that have helped propel her to those platforms. Nicki is not hating on Taylor in her tweets -- She is hating on those privileges and the absurdity of their continued existence in 2015.

    That woman, that feminist -- the one who uses her high-profile status to put the spotlight on real contemporary issues in feminism like prejudices against women of color -- is the one I'm paying good money to see this week. Having witnessed this feud, I am even more excited to see Nicki Minaj take to the stage, for it is her own, well-earned stage, and it is one she uses for the greater feminist good. She doesn't need Taylor Swift up there with her to do that.

    Image credit: By Jhonnnnnnnnnnnnnn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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    Stepping onto the advocacy stage in 2012 after producing the documentary "The House I Live In", John Legend visited U.S. prisons, Portugal, and launched #FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture campaign to change the national conversation about our country's "indecent" and "unconscionable" policies and transform America's criminal justice system.



    In last week's article penned for TIME magazine, "Mass Incarceration Is Destroying America", Legend said, "We haven't always been this way: Just 40 years ago, our incarceration rates were much lower, and on par with our peer nations. Since then, however, our prison population has ballooned by about 700%. What happened four decades ago that led to such a steep climb? We launched the so-called War on Drugs."



    Applauding President Obama's recent visit of a federal prison and his commutation of 46 low-level drug offenders as "steps" in the right direction, Legend went on to say, "Our state and local governments must follow the president's lead and transform our destructive 'War on Drugs' into the public-health campaign it always should have been."



    Treating addiction and low-level drug possession in the public health system was courageouslyintroduced in Portugal in 2001. While Obama visited Oklahoma's federal penitentiary, Legend was conducting a different kind of tour at one of Portugal's correctional facilities.



    "Their correctional conditions are the exact opposite of ours; they are humane and tranquil," he noted. "Some might be surprised to learn that Portugal has not fallen apart after 14 years of this humane, public-health-oriented approach. Quite the opposite, in fact: Portugal has seen drug-use rates, as well as drug-induced deaths, markedly decline."



    One of the first superstar celebrities to hold up Portugal and all-drug decriminalization as a model for the direction of U.S. drug policies, Legend is moved to advocate for change by not only wanting to correct the grave injustices and over-policing of communities of color, but also, Legend is driven by having experienced his mother struggle with addiction. He plainly states what his family needed: "My mother didn't need punishment; she needed help. Criminalizing drug abuse only further shatters people and families that are already in pieces."



    Mass incarceration destroys communities, families and individuals. While some reform is taking hold at local and state levels like the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program in Seattle, and President Obama's recent speeches and commutations, it is not enough.



    John Legend called on ordinary people to speak up and step out to end mass incarceration, and says, "The 46 people whose sentences the president commuted last Monday are just a drop in an ocean of lives that have been torn apart by the War on Drugs and the era of mass incarceration. It's time to stop warring and start healing."



    To get involved with Legend's #FREEAMERICA campaign, visit the website and follow onTwitter.



    Melissa Franqui is the communications coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.



    This Piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog: http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/award-winning-music-artist-john-legend-gives-his-all-end-mass-incarceration

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    John Stamos is out of rehab.


    On Friday, the "Grandfathered" actor tweeted, "I'm back!" and announced he has finished his month-long stay in rehab. The actor said he is feeling "healthy" and "grateful" for the support of his friends and family.





    Earlier this month, Stamos checked into rehab for substance abuse following his DUI arrest in Los Angeles. In June, the "Full House" actor was arrested and briefly hospitalized for driving under the influence. His time in rehab prevented him from co-hosting the 2015 Emmy Award nominations announcement, but Stamos is still expected to reprise his role as Uncle Jesse in Netflix's upcoming "Fuller House."



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    Nicki Minaj stopped by "Good Morning America" on Friday and said that all the drama Taylor Swift started when she made the rapper's beef with MTV about herself has been resolved. 


    After Swift apologized for "missing the point" via Twitter on Thursday, Minaj revealed the tiff is over. 


    "We spoke for a long time. We were cracking up laughing on the phone. It’s over you guys,” Minaj said on “GMA.”


    Minaj added, “She was, you know, super, super sweet and she apologized.  She said, ‘You know, look I didn’t understand the big picture of what you were saying but now I get it.’ We're all good.” 


    Now that the stars cleared the air, Minaj said there's no reason the two couldn't work together, should the opportunity ever arise. "I’m sure we can. You know why, because it takes a big person to do what Taylor did," she said. 


     Minaj went to explain she's taken MTV to task over the fact that the video for "Anaconda" wasn't nominated for Video of the Year or Best Choreography. 


    “‘Anaconda’ had such a huge cultural impact and, on top of that, we broke the Vimeo record ...," she said. "I do think if it was one of the pop girls, there would have many nominations for it."


    Minaj had tweeted, "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year," which prompted Swift, whose video for "Bad Blood" is nominated for Video of the Year, to chime in trying to defend herself.


    But as Minaj previously explained, it had nothing to do with Swift specifically, and was addressing bigger issues. 


    “I think that we just have to have both images for girls,” she said on Friday. “We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.”


    So you got all that? Swift and Minaj are "all good" now, but we're pretty sure the bad blood still runs deep between Swift and Katy Perry. 



     


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    NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City jury has found that rapper 50 Cent must pay an additional $2 million in punitive damages to a woman featured in a sex tape posted to the Internet.


    The jurors' decision Friday came two weeks after they ordered the multiplatinum-selling artist to pay $5 million to Lastonia Leviston.


    Leviston's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit argues that 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson III, posted online a crudely narrated 13-minute sex-tape she made with a boyfriend in 2008. In the video, he taunts rival rapper Rick Ross, who isn't featured in the video but has a child with Leviston.


    After the jury's verdict, Jackson filed for bankruptcy protection in Connecticut.


    A lawyer for Leviston had urged jurors to award her $15 million. Jackson's attorney had asked them to order he pay $700,000.


     


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    Here’s a fun game: You’re a woman — maybe a famous comedian. (Maybe a blonde one who’s had a banner year, I don’t know, not getting specific.) You’re writing an “unconventional” romantic comedy that you will also star in and in that process, you have been given the keys to the casting castle — you can dream up any sort of romantic lead you want to act opposite you.

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