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Usher, Tyrese, Jeezy, Future And Ludacris Donate $25K Each During Annual UNCF Gala

The Atlanta Mayor's Masked Ball raised over a $1 million. 

The United Negro College Fund's 33rd annual Atlanta Mayor's Masked Ball on Saturday (Dec. 17), was a major success. Future, Usher, Tyrese, and Jeezy, were among the night’s donors, giving $25,000 a piece to the long-running organization, Complex reports.

The “premiere fundraising gala” seeks to bring awareness to the “needs and benefits” of higher education, and“ the students UNCF serves and the contributions of historically black colleges and universities.”

Future donated $25,000 through his Free Wishes Foundation, while Tyrese's $25,000 donation (on behalf of UNICEF) was quickly matched by his music peers, including Ludacris.

"Last night in conjunction with UNICEF, I proudly jumped out there and donated [$25,000] and my brother Usher didn't even blink and marched it," Tyrese wrote on Instagram. "Then my guy @jeezy jumped out there [$25,000] and everyone else in the room felt like that had to step it up!!!! Then I got a text message from my brother @ludacris who jumped out there and matched us at [$25,000] it was just amazing ."

Aside from bringing over $1 million, this year's gala brought together a mix of celebrities, civic leaders, dignitaries, UNCF alumni and more.

See photos below.

Tonight @future and our foundation donated $25,000 to @uncf at the 33rd Annual Mayor's Masked Ball! #FreeWishesFoundation

A photo posted by FreeWishesFoundation (@freewishesfoundation) on

Black Excellence 👑

A photo posted by @jeezy on

The Mayors ball with @gabunion and @themichaelealy

A photo posted by Jermaine Dupri (@jermainedupri) on

33rd Annual UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball @usher #Usher #MayorsBall #Atlanta #UNCF

A photo posted by EVTG • Usher Raymond IV (@everythingusher) on

Just wanna send some love to the Mayor of Atlanta who I don't think will ever ever understand how much he means to me and those who he ALWAYS goes out of his way to support and show love to.... The good word says GIVE and shall be given unto you..... As much as you give and look out and continue to show up for others last night we wanted to show up for you!!! We raised MILLION at the Atlanta Masquerade #MAYORSBALL last night in conjunction with UNICEF I proudly jumped out there and donated 25,000 and my brother Usher didn't even blink and marched it.... 25,000 then my guy @jeezy jumped out there 25,000 and everyone else in the room felt like that had to step it up!!!! Then I got a text message from my brother @ludacris who jumped out there and matched us at 25,000 it was just amazing and MILLIONS OF DOLLARS was raised and we're going to put our angles through college......... I did it for the kids, @kasimreed keep doing WHAT you do good brother when I say I got your back it's not just words!!!!!! We're supposed to be inspired by our friends and you inspire me...... You represent what's possible if you work hard and weather storms..... To everyone in the room you guys are ANGELS for being willing to reach in your pockets and give your hard earned money to those who needed it the most!!!!!! "The mind is a terrible thing to waste"...... @unicef @unicefusa some folks just do it for the Gram.... We all stepped UP and did it for real.!!!! To God be all the glory......

A photo posted by TYRESE (@tyrese) on

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Jay Z Is Allegedly In Talks To Sell Tidal

TIDAL could be shopping around for a new owner.

Square Inc., the mobile payment app led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, might end up acquiring TIDAL, according to Bloomberg. Dorsey and Jay Z have reportedly discussed a possible sale, but it is unclear if the alleged negotiations will actually result in an acquisition.

The rumored sale may have something to do with why Jay put his discography back to Spotify for his  50th birthday last year.

Hov acquired TIDAL for $56 million from Norwegian company, Aspiro, in 2015. The subscription-based music streaming company has been touted as a better option for artists in that it offers higher royalties than competitors like Spotify and Apple Music.

The company has however been accused of not paying artists, and settled an $84 million class action lawsuit last year amid claims of “fraudulently” persuading customers to subscribe by claiming that Kanye West’s Life of Pablo album was an exclusive release.

Despite a star-studded 2015 launch event attended by West, Beyoncé, J. Cole, Usher, Rihanna, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and more, TIDAL has had a rocky few years — especially when it comes to corporate leadership. The company went through four CEO’s in two years, the most recent of which, Richard Sanders, was appointed to run TIDAL in 2017.

That year, Sprint purchased a 33% stake in TIDAL for $200 million.

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Ashanti And Keyshia Cole Sign On For Verzuz Battle

Season 2 of Verzuz is already off to a good start. Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are next in line for a Verzuz battle, it was confirmed on Friday (Dec. 4).

The R&B stars will go up against each other for a “celebration of women empowerment” next Saturday, Dec. 12. The “Legendary Ladies Night” will be streamed on IG Live and Apple Music.

Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN 🚨🚨 It’s a legendary Ladies Night on Saturday, December 12th with @Ashanti and @KeyshiaCole.

Which Libra you got?!

Saturday, December 12th, 5PM PT / 8PM ET. Watch on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic.

Drinks by @Ciroc Merch by @NTWRKLIVE pic.twitter.com/UCWJvaEl0y

— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) December 4, 2020

Both multi-platinum selling singers have impressive stats. Ashanti’s catalog of solo hits include “Foolish,” “Rock wit U,” “Rain On Me,” “Happy,” and “Baby.” On the collaborative tip, the Grammy winner joined Ja Rule on singles like, “What’s Love?” and “Always on Time.”

She was also featured on Lloyd’s debut single “Southside,” “Into You” by Fabolous, and “Body on Me” with Nelly. And she of course wrote songs for Jennifer Lopez and more.

Cole’s breakout single, “I Changed My Mind,” dropped in 2004 and her career took off from there. The Oakland native boasts a slew of classic R&B singles like “(I Just Want It) To Be Over,” “I Should Have Cheated,” “Let It Go,” “I Remember,” “Heaven Sent,” “Love,” and “Trust.” As a featured artist, Cole appeared on Sean Paul’s “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me,” Young Jeezy’s “Dreaming,” and Diddy’s 2006 single “Last Night,” to name a few.

Although they’re technically going up against each other for Verzuz, there’s no beef between the two artists who previously collaborated for the title track off Cole’s 2012 album, Woman to Woman.

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Casanova Wanted By FBI In Connection With Racketeering Case

Rapper Casanova is wanted by federal investigators in connection with a sweeping indictment charging 18 alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation Gang with various racketeering, murder, drugs, guns, and fraud offenses, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday (Dec. 1).

The FBI New York tweeted a photo of Casanova and encouraged anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the bureau. “We are still looking for Caswell Senior, aka Casanova, in connection with this case.”

The 34-year-old rapper is named in the indictment which was unsealed in a White Plains federal court Tuesday. Casanova is the only one out of 18 defendants who has yet to be arrested, the indictment states.

He faces single cont of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“As alleged in the Indictment, members of Gorilla Stone committed terrible acts of violence, trafficked in narcotics, and even engaged in brazen fraud by exploiting benefits programs meant to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Because of that, communities across the Southern District – from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill to New York City – suffered.”

“Most shocking, as alleged in the indictment, a minor was murdered in furtherance of the gang’s activities,” continued Strauss. “Because of the extraordinary work of our law enforcement partners, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes.”

The indictment outlines a string of crimes that took place between Jan. 2018 and Sept. 2020.

Alleged gang member Brandon “Stacks” Soto has been charged in connection with the murder of a 15-year-old victim in Poughkeepsie, New York, in September.

In July, Stephen “Chino” Hugh allegedly shot at rival gang members in New Rochelle to allegedly “maintain and increase his position” in the gang’s “racketeering enterprise.” A month earlier, suspects Naya “Baby”Austin, Dezon “Blakk” Washington, and Jordan “Flow” Ingram committed armed robbery of a rival drug dealer, the indictment alleges.

Austin and another suspect, Shanay “Easy” Outlaw, were also charged with filing fraudulent documents to receive COVID-19 related unemployment benefits

The indictment goes on to allege that Brinae “Luxury” Thornton shot a rival gang member in Brooklyn in 2018 in an attempt to “maintain and increase her position” in the gang. That year, another alleged gang member, Robert “Blakk Rob” Woods, supposedly slashed a victim in the face.

Also named in the indictment were Dwight “Dick Wolf” Reid, Christopher “Beagle” Erskine, Walter “Shells” Luster, Deshawn “Don” Thomas, Brandon “Untouchable Dot” Nieves, Ahmed “Ammo” Walker, Isaiah “Zay” Santos, and Robert “Trouble” Sligh, all of whom have been arrested and accused of being members of Gorilla Stone.

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