GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Tampa, Florida
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Trump Administration Denies Freaking Out Over Inauguration Performers

Meanwhile, Ne-Yo says his comments about performing for the president-elect were just jokes. 

As the inevitable celebration also known as the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump approaches, inaugural committee members are reportedly having difficulty locking in notable performers.

Insiders opened up to The Wrap this week about their concerns, pressing the administration is willing to pay six-figures to have the event go off without any glitches. “They are willing to pay anything,”  the source said. “They told me, ‘We’ll pay their fees.’ Most of these artists’ fees are in the six to seven figures.” The insider said the Trump negotiator also offered to pay him for delivering top talent, saying, “Name your price.”

Except, payment to talent has never been a rule for the presidential event. Beyonce and Aretha Franklin were not paid for their respective inauguration performances, with the exception of travel and production costs. Another source familar with the process told the site, “I’ve never heard of talent being compensated nor have I heard of talent recruiters being compensated.”

Trump's camp denied the claims but didn't say if any names were confirmed to perform. "No one with any official position at, or official relationship with, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, is engaging in the conduct described,” said Boris Epshteyn, spokesman for Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. “We are focused on organizing an exciting and uniting celebration of freedom and democracy while following all rules, regulations and appropriate standards of conduct.”?

Artists who have spoken out against Trump's rhetoric include YG, Nipsey Hussle, Metro Boomin, John Legend and Elton John, who denied he was setting foot at the inauguration. Ne-Yo also took to social media Friday (Dec. 9) to also deny reports he would sing for the president-elect.

After running into TMZ photographers Thursday (Dec. 7), the singer joked about attending the event. "I wouldn't go 'cause I support Donald Trump," he said, "I'd go 'cause it's a dope party."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BN0uXQlhH6Z/

Maybe a Beatles cover band will suffice.

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Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Sentenced To Life In Supermax Prison Plus 30 Years

After a three-month trial period, a Manhattan judge sentenced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison plus 30 years on Wednesday (July 17), CNN reports. The Mexico native faced 10 charges stemming from narcotic dealings that stretched into the United States, to other criminal activities including money laundering and murder conspiracy. He was once deemed the captain of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.

Guzman will reportedly carry out his sentence in Colorado’s Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility, a place that the news site deemed “the highest-security federal prison” in the United States. According to The Washington Post, Guzman believes justice wasn’t served in his trial. “When extradited, I expected to have a fair trial where justice was blind and my fame would not be a factor, but what happened was actually the opposite,” he said. “The government of the United States will send me to a prison where my name will never be heard again. I will take this opportunity to say there was no justice here.”

According to CBS News, Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for New York’s Eastern District, said in February that the possibility of parole was unlikely for Guzman. “his conviction is a victory for the American people who have suffered so long and so much while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border." Guzman's attorney Mariel Colon said the legal team plans to appeal the ruling.

The government is also demanding that Guzman turn over $112.6 billion while a restitution fee will be solidified at a different point in time. The verdict arrives nearly two-and-a-half years since he was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico. While detained in the latter country, Guzman escaped from prison on two separate occasions before landing in captivity in the states.

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Beyonce Speaks On Experimenting With A New Genre For ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ Album

Beyonce is gearing up to share a new project with fans, serving as her second output of musical content since the Emmy-nominated Homecoming documentary premiered on Netflix in April. In an interview with Good Morning America, the award-winning artist shared her vision behind The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, which she executive produced.

“We’ve kind of created our own genre and I feel like the soundtrack is the first soundtrack where it becomes visual in your mind. The soundscape is more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film.” The compilation will arrive in tandem with the movie’s release on Friday (July 19).

On Tuesday (July 16), the tracklist was made public, featuring the vocals of Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Mr. Eazi, Jessie Reyez, Tiwa Savage, and Beyonce’s first born, Blue Ivy Carter who stars in the music video for “Spirit.”

Beyonce's statement on making the songs feel tangible rings true for Donald Glover, who voices the persona of adult Simba. The Grammy Award-winning artist said one resounding song in particular put into perspective his reality of being a father and seeing his own dad within himself. “I think the ‘Circle of Life’ as a child you hear that and you’re like it’s a good song and you understand it,” he said. “But I think as a father, I was holding my son the other day and walked past the mirror and I had my glasses on and I was like, ‘I look just like my dad.’”

For director Jon Favreau, experiencing the masses' reaction to just the film's trailer was an eye-opening experience. “You know you’re working in these dark rooms and it’s out there in the world. Millions of people have access to this and you feel people come together through that and it’s the best feeling in the world,” he said.

The Lion King live-action remake plans to dominate the weekend box office beginning July 19.

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Suspect Arrested For Death Of Activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph

On Tuesday (July 16), Baton Rouge law enforcement arrested a man in connection to activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s death. NPR reports Ronn Jermaine Bell is suspected of murdering the 75-year-old and is believed to be a tenant in a building owned by Roberts-Joseph. Bell was overdue on $1,200 in rent. The Advocate also reports on the same day of her death (July 12), Roberts-Joseph made plans to reach out to Bell to discuss the outstanding rent.

Bell’s history within the criminal justice system dates back to 2006 when he was arrested for sexually battery of a minor. The registered sex offender, 38, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was arrested again after his release for failure to pay a court fee.

Roberts-Joseph’s body was found in the trunk of her car and her death was initially ruled as a homicide. Authorities deemed the beloved patron passed from traumatic asphyxia, partly the result of suffocation. During the investigation, police officials discovered Bell’s DNA on Roberts-Joseph’s body and he was seen near the vehicle on video surveillance footage.

In 2001, Roberts-Jospeh established the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American Museum. She also founded the Community Against Drugs and Violence outlet and was deemed a “cultural legend” by the NAACP’s Baton Rouge branch. Angela Machen, Roberts-Joseph's daughter, said she hopes her mother's vision for the community and beyond continues to persevere. "All my mother ever wanted was for this community to come together," she said. "It's ironic that that happened in death. What she wanted to happen in life came to fruition in death. However, we will see to it that her legacy continues."

Bell now faces a first-degree murder charge.

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