Ushe covers 'Billboard' Ushe covers 'Billboard'

Usher Talks His Girlfriend, ‘UR Experience’ Tour & Justin Bieber In ‘Billboard’

Serving as Billboard’s latest cover star, Usher opens up about his 20-year career, Grace Miguel. Catching up with the singer as he prepares for his upcoming UR Experience tour, the cover story finds Ursh reflective, content, creative and seeing the world through “rose-colored glasses.”

Peep some highlights from Usher’s sit-down below:

On pushing back his UR album:
"I just ain't ready," he explains. "Meaning I have more that I want to say and more that I want to do. My process is pretty different. L.A. Reid will tell you, it takes two albums to make one with Usher."

On his upcoming “UR Experience” tour:
"Most tours cater to the specific launch of a project -- not this time," he says emphatically. "The focus this time is the music. Going all the way back to the beginning."

On fatherhood:
"I'm not a morning person, but I've become one as the result of having kids," he says, settling down at a large round table in the crew catering room. "The morning is my private time to spend with my boys. The music industry doesn't allow you to go to bed until five in the morning anyway. You have to just keep rolling."

On Justin Bieber:
"He's making his own decisions and it's important to show support. I can say I'm not happy with all the choices my friend has made, but I'm supportive of him. I try my hardest to give as much positive reinforcement as I can. I'll punch him in the f---ing chest when I need to, and give him a hug and kiss when I need to. It's more than just mentoring. I love the kid."

On Diddy and the Bad Boy family:
"I got to see performers like Tupac Shakur," he says. "Redman, Method Man, Ice Cube. I got to perform onstage with The Notorious B.I.G., be in sessions with him and Craig Mack. I got to be part of the driving force that was Bad Boy, that was Puff."

On his girlfriend, Grace Miguel:
"She's someone who has been able to support and understand all of who I am," he stresses. "Not just as a dancer or as a performer or as a singer, but as a humanitarian and a businessman and as a person."

Read Usher’s full interview with Billboard here.

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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Facebook Bans Maryland Artist For Turning 'MAGA' Hats Into Klan Hood And Swastika

A Maryland artist says her livelihood is in jeopardy after Facebook banned her page prohibiting her from contacting her followers of upcoming art shows. The offense? Turning Donald Trump's 'MAGA' hats into Ku Klux Klan hoods and Swastikas.

Kate Kretz says she rips apart the well-known red Make America Great Again hat and turns them into other divisive symbols. While speaking with WUSA 9, she said her art is meant to start a dialogue.

"The armband is actually titled, 'Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,' and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats because they’re afraid of violence," Kretz said. "It’s not really up to the wearer to say 'oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.' "

Kretz said she mostly received positive feedback, but about four or five days after an image of a reimagined Swastika band made from the red MAGA hat appeared, Facebook shut down her page citing it violated community standards. Kretz appealed the decision but says she hasn't heard anything.

The Mount Rainier, Md resident said she buys knock-off MAGA hats for her art. "I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting any money in [Trump’s] pocket,” Kretz said.

And while she knows art is subjective, as one of the many artists that help to make Facebook, she thinks Facebook should exercise more diplomacy.

"I understand doing things for the greater good," Kretz said. "However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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