Backpage CEO Backpage CEO
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CEO Of Backpage Arrested On Sex-Trafficking Charges

Known for their escort ads, the arrest comes after a three-year long investigation led by California State Attorney Kamala Harris. 

Backpage, an alternative classified site known widely for their escorting ads, faced a company shakedown on Thursday (Oct. 6) after CEO Carl Ferrer and two of the site's shareholders were arrested on felony pimping charges.

The LA Times  reports the three-year investigation was led by state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who have criticized the site for spearheading online brothels with women and children. Ferrer was taken into custody in Houston after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam. The investigation uncovered Ferrer profited millions from escort ads that appeared on the site. Those promoted in the ads were child sex trafficking victims. You might remember Backpage being a focal point in the story of Zola's viral Twitter tale in 2015 where she created an ad for "Jess" during her spring break trip gone terribly wrong.

Founded in Dallas back in 2004, Ferrer and shareholders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, are collectively facing charges of conspiracy to commit pimping. In addition to the felony charge, Ferrer is also facing multiple accounts of pimping a minor. Court documents showed undercover agents found workers, many of them teenagers from California, were either using the site by force from pimps to advertise themselves.

The posts featured nude photos of teens with sexual price lists in coded languages. Backpage gained 15% ($55 million) of its revenue from the state last year. As shareholders, Lacey and Larkin received bonuses totaling $10 million each in 2014. Between January 2013 to March 2015, nearly all of Backpage’s worldwide income was generated from the site's “adult” channel, not their vehicle or renting sections.

"Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” Harris said. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”

Other sites have closed its doors to adult content, with Craigslist ending their erotic service ads in 2010 and federal officials terminating the prostitution site myRedbook.com in 2015. Ferrer was also accused to "cross-publishing" the adult ads on BigCity.com and EvilEmpire.com, allowing more profit for the company.

If convicted of the charges, Ferrer will face up to 22 years in prison. A court date hasn't been announced.

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Malcolm X’s Daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, Speaks On His Legacy And Netflix Docuseries

In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of his assassination, Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, spoke out on her father’s legacy and the popular Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X? 

Speaking with Democracy Now on Friday (Feb. 21), Ilyasah praised the filmmakers behind the six-part docuseries for their work in attempting to uncover, “Who killed our father? Who took the life of a very young man who challenged the moral compass of world nations.”

Ilyasah was just two years old when her father was assassinated in front of her, three of her sisters and her mother, Betty Shabazz, who was pregnant with twins at the time. A week before Malcolm’s murder, the family’s home was firebombed.

Ilyasah has no memory of her father’s assassination which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, inside Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. Malcolm was preparing to give a speech in the venue and invited his family to sit in the front row.

“I’m really grateful that I don’t have memory as my older sisters I’m sure can recollect, being 6 years old and 4 years old, the trauma and chaos and understanding that our father never came home,” she said. “And especially to my mother who was a young woman that actually saw bullets just tear my father’s body apart.”

The interview details the days leading up to Malcolm's death, including France banning him from entry into the country three weeks before his assassination. Malcolm who was only 39 years old when he died, traveled to Europe during the first week of February in 1965. He was turned away at the airport in France without explanation and subsequently forced to fly back to London where he delivered what would become one of his final speeches at the London School of Economics.

“He realized this was bigger than the Nation of Islam,” Ilyasah explained of Malcolm being banned from France. “The Nation of Islam itself did not have the power to keep him [out of France] and France did not want history to include that Malcolm was assassinated on their land. And so that speaks volumes, and my father understood that his life was not just challenged by the Nation of Islam. It was much bigger than that.

“It’s important to look at the work that he was doing,” she added. “Challenging world powers, challenging world nations for taking control of an [unequal] distribution of the world’s wealth.”

Ilyasah also dismantles the notion that her father “miraculously became Malcolm X” after he went to prison by detailing how his upbringing shaped his interest in political activism.

“He was always a leader,” she said. “He was always compassionate, he was always a learned young man. His parents instilled specific values in him and his siblings. The importance of self love, compassion, [and] care.”

Watch the full interview in the video above (Ilyasah’s portion begins at 12:17).

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Gregg DeGuire

Jhene Aiko Reveals Release Date For ‘Chilombo’ Album

Jhene Aiko announced the release date for her third studio album and what appears to be the album artwork on Friday (Feb. 21). The album titled, Chilombo, after Aiko’s sur name, is slated to drop on March 6 and promises to be some of her “realest” work to date.

“Just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO #phew realest s**t I ever wrote,” the Grammy-nominated tweeted on Monday (Feb. 17). Aiko described the album as an compilation of her previous work. “If sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO.”

just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO 👏🏼 #phew realest shit i ever wrote....

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

if sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO 🌋

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

Last month, Aiko dropped the track “P*$$Y Fairy (OTW),” which is expected to be on the album. Aiko’s last album, Trip, was released in 2017.

See the Aiko's latest album artwork below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

"Chilombo" March 6th 🌋

A post shared by Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo 🌋 (@jheneaiko) on Feb 21, 2020 at 6:00pm PST

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Jojo Announces ‘Good To Know’ Album And Tour

Jojo has a new album, Good to Know, dropping this spring and will be hitting the road for a headlining tour kicking off in April, the singer announced on Friday (Feb, 21).

The album title encompasses all that Jojo has learned “in the past few years,” she explained in a statement. “Every piece of feedback, criticism (internal or external), whatever it is — it’s all just information. And it’s all good! I’ve been lucky to have the space to reflect on my own journey up to now, and I hope people can take comfort in the fact that I am not anywhere near perfect, and I will never sugarcoat anything. We're all constantly living and learning and that’s what makes this life fun.”

The 'Good to Know' tour launches at Seattle’s The Showbox on April 21, and wraps May 30, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Presale tickets will be available beginning Monday, Feb, 24. Additional tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 28.

Click here for more information.

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