Widespread Seasonal Flu Cases Jump To 25 States
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Mother Of Two Dies From Flu Caught From Children

A GoFundMe page was established to to help with funeral expenses and provide for Alani Martinez's sons.

During Thanksgiving weekend, Alani "Joie" Murrieta came down with flu-like symptoms. According to family member, Stephanie Gonzalez, almost everyone that was present for the gathering in Phoenix, Ariz., contracted different levels of the cold.

The Washington Post reports that the adults caught the sickness from the children. Murrieta was the only adult whose health deteriorated a couple of days after catching the flu. Experiencing constant bouts of coughing, even spitting up blood, Murrieta was diagnosed with pneumonia as a result of the flu.

The 20-year-old also experienced problems with her breathing and checked into a hospital again. She was connected to a ventilator but suddenly stopped breathing. This was two days after her diagnosis. She was also previously prescribed the anti-virus medication Tamiflu.

She's survived by her two sons - one is 2 years old, the other is 6 months old. CBS News notes that Murrieta did not get a flu shot, according to her family. "We were all together for Thanksgiving, and the little kids got sick, then the adults got sick," Gonzalez said to CBS. "It traveled through our family. Everybody kind of got over it. Everybody was fine."

A GoFundMe page was established to to help with funeral expenses and provide for her sons.

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Cyntoia Brown Talks Redemption In First Interview After Prison

In her first TV interview since being released from prison, Cyntoia Brown sat down with NBC News to open up about her incarceration, the moment that she was finally freed, and the feeling of redemption.

“It's an honor that God has put me in this position. I feel like it's a great opportunity,” Brown told NBC's Lester Holt. “I fully intend to step into that and to share my experiences as often as I can, with whoever I can, in the hopes that it can bring about more understanding about what goes on in the system with young girls who find themselves in the situation that I did.”

Brown, 31, spent 15 years in prison on a murder conviction. A victim of child sex trafficking, Brown was granted clemency after her story caught worldwide attention, which included rallying for her release from the likes of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and other celebrity figures.

In the interview, Brown admitted that she had grown to expect violence from men. Brown, who survived multiple rapes, detailed the deadly encounter with Johnny Allen, a 45-year-old man who solicited her for sex. Brown was convicted of Allen’s murder in 2004. “I'm so much more than the worst thing that I've done. I'm so much more than that moment,” Brown told Holt.

Despite being forced into prostitution by an ex-boyfriend and pimp nicknamed “Kut-Throat,” Brown didn’t initially see herself as a sex trafficking victim. “You meet these young girls who are in these situations, and they don't view themselves as being pimped. They don't view their trafficker as their trafficker. They think, ‘This is my boyfriend.’ And that's exactly what I thought with Kut,” she explained. “I thought, ‘This is my boyfriend. I'm in a relationship. I'm his Bonnie, he's my Clyde.’”

Brown pointed out that her story is not unique. “There's nothing special about me. I can't tell you how many Cyntoia Browns still in prison. The women who helped me get to this point, they're still in prison for 51 years and up with ridiculous sentences. And they don’t have hope right now.”

While in prison, Brown received two college degrees. The Nashville native also recently tied the knot with Jamie Long, a Christian recording artist and entrepreneur.

Brown has been making the media rounds in promotion of her memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, released on Oct. 15.

Watch her full interview below.

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Gina Rodriguez Apologizes After Getting Backlash For Using N-Word

Gina Rodriguez is saying sorry after receiving backlash for using the n-word in a video where she raps along to the Fugees song, “Ready or Not.” The Jane the Virgin star deleted the controversial recording from her Instagram stories on Tuesday (Oct. 15), and replaced it with an apology video.

“I just wanted to reach out and apologize. I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to the Fugees,” Rodriguez said, before adding that she grew up on the song and loves Lauryn Hill. “I really am sorry if I offended you.”

The deleted clip features Rodriguez getting her hair and makeup done while reciting the line, “frontin’ ni**as give me heebie-jeebies” from Hill’s verse on the Fugees track.

MY JAW IS ON THE FLOOR pic.twitter.com/jYIYOwTbbm

— sandman (@ceciIiaparikh) October 15, 2019

The viral video brought up more claims of anti-blackness, which Rodriguez has faced in the past. In 2018 interview with Sway in the Morning, Rodriguez said being called anti-black was, “devastating,” but it's doubtful that her latest antics have helped change any opinions. The recent backlash also drove the 35-year-old actress to temporarily disable the comments on her Instagram account.

Read a few of the reactions to Rodriguez using the n-word, and her apology attempt below.

“I’m sorry IF I offended anyone”.

“By singing along to the Fugees”.

This is an example of someone being deliberately obtuse. Gina Rodriguez KNOWS she offended people, not for singing a song but for saying the N-word. If the apology is going to be insincere, just keep quiet. https://t.co/tCjVenvcTs

— TONI TONE (@t0nit0ne) October 15, 2019

Alllllll of the parts of that song and THATS the part Gina Rodriguez decided to pull out her phone, open her IG, open her IG story, and record herself singing.

THEEEEN most likely rewatched it to see how she looked and pressed “your story”.

— yeah nvm (@MadeInHawaii___) October 15, 2019

Nobody, And I do mean nobody, Loves saying “n*gga” more than a person who will never be called one or protect one.

Gina Rodriguez probably says it 3 times and clicks her heels before every interview. The anti-Black jumped out!

— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) October 15, 2019

Whew. Gina Rodriguez steps in it every chance she gets.

— roxane gay (@rgay) October 15, 2019

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Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in court to face new sexual misconduct charges, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in New York. The new charges involve an alleged incident in October 2018. Gooding Jr. pleaded not guilty. The defense paints it as a shakedown attempt.
Alec Tabak/New York Daily News Pool via AP

Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Not Guilty In Groping Case As 12 Other Women Accuse Him Of Groping At Bars

Cuba Gooding Jr. is reportedly "dumbfounded" at new information that delayed his sexual misconduct trial in New York. The 51-year-old actor has been accused by 14 women of groping them at bars and clubs over the years.

According to the Associated Press, the actor pleaded not guilty to an arraignment on four misdemeanor counts of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse stemming from an incident at a bar in Times Square over the summer. The case was initially delayed in light of the prosecution's attempt to showcase an alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior for Gooding.

Prosecutor Jenna Long then presented 12 allegations from the 12 other women who claimed they either groped, bit or pinched by Gooding Jr. in an intimate area. The incidents reportedly happened as far back as 2001 in various cities like Las Vegas, Dallas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prosecutors plan to have the women testify against the actor.

“The defendant’s past behavior shows that he routinely approaches women while at bars or nightclubs with whom he has limited or no prior interaction, and touches them inappropriately,” wrote assistant district attorney Jenna Long.

Some of the allegations include Gooding at the Cafe Habana in Malibu, where he allegedly reached under a woman's skirt and touched her vagina over her underwear. The woman saw the actor recently and attacked him over the incident. Another woman claimed in 2006, Gooding approached her from behind at Chi in Hollywood and bit her shoulder.

Variety reports the woman turned around to ask the actor if he did the act but he shrugged his shoulders. After doing it again, the actor allegedly pulled up her skirt and dry humped her leg.

The actor is expected back in court Dec. 13.

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