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Gladys Knight Defends Decision To Perform National Anthem At Super Bowl

"The distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

Glad Knight says she wants to “give the National Anthem back its voice.” The music legend released a new statement defending her decision to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, next month, amid criticism from fans.

Several artists turned down offers to perform at the Super Bowl in protest of the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Knight clarified that her choice to sing has nothing to do with Kaepernick, and she doesn't exactly agree with the anthem being "dragged into the debate."

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight said in a statement to Variety. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

The 74-year-old singer also noted that she has been at the forefront of social justice issues for much of her career. "I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words,” Knight said. “The way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good.

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it,” she continued. “I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Knight isn’t alone in catching heat for joining the Super Bowl lineup. Travis Scott and Big Boi, both of whom will perform with Maroon 5 at halftime, received backlash as well.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced claiming Scott had a meeting with Kaepernick that ended with “mutual respect” and “understanding.” Kaepernick’s girlfriend and Hot 97 DJ, Nessa Diab, denied the report tweeting, “There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying.”

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Watch Viola Davis And Chadwick Boseman In Trailer For ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The two-minute clip released on Monday (Oct. 19), gives viewers a sneak peek at Chadwick Boseman’s final film role. The 43-year-old actor portrays the ambitious and outspoken trumpet player, Levee.

Viola Davis transforms into Ma Rainey in the Denzel Washington-produced film, centered around a 1927 Chicago recording sessions of “Mother of the Blues.”

Speaking during Monday’s press preview, Davis praised Boseman’s passion and commitment to his art. “Not to compete with Chadwick’s mother, but he was my baby. Chadwick was an artist. That is just what he was… he loved it, he demanded it in every single way. For someone so young it was incredible to watch,” said Davis.

“We are in the business, that a lot of times people have business conversations that masquerade themselves as artistic conversations. They don’t understand the difference between getting on set and demanding their vegan food being brought to them or their vegetarian dishes, or the dietary concerns, having that car ready,” she added. “ They don’t know the difference between that and making choices as an actor and getting down and dirty and doing the work and leaving your ego and your vanity at the door. He [Boseman] loved it. He demanded it. He demanded it in every single way.”

The film, Davis said, gives a window into “what Black life was like” in the '20s and ”how it was informing our relationships.”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom debuts on Netflix on Dec. 18.Check above for the trailer.

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Rihanna, Big Sean, Jidenna And More Speak Out Against Violence In Nigeria

Rihanna, Big Sean, Jidenna and more recording artists are using their social media platforms to speak out against the ongoing violence in Nigeria in wake of the #EndSARS movement.

“I can’t bare to see this torture and brutalization that is continuing to affect nations across our planets! It’s such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by,” Rihanna wrote on Tuesday (Oct. 20). “My heart is broken for Nigeria man!!! It is unbearable to watch! I’m so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what’s rights!”

#ENDSARS 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/59lrs8JnDA

— Rihanna (@rihanna) October 20, 2020

Several demonstrators were killed protesting against police brutality, while others were left injured after soldiers opened fire at a protest site in the Lekki district of Lagos on Tuesday (Oct. 20). One witness said that soldiers “started firing ammunition toward the crowd.”

Thousands of demonstrators, many of them young people, have taken to the streets of Lagos and surrounding areas to call for an end to the Special Anti-Robber Squad (SARS). The squad was disbanded in early October but the violence against demonstrators and other innocent victims has continued. The civilian death tole is believed to be in the thousands.

A 24-hour curfew is being put in place for Lagos, the BBC reports. Nigeria’s most populous city is home to approximately 20 million residents.

Read more reactions to the massacre below.

Nigeria!!! Y’all on my heart! It’s horrific over there! So many people being murdered for peaceful protesting about being murdered! #EndSARS

— Sean Don (@BigSean) October 21, 2020

THEYRE KILLING OUR PEOPLEEEEEEEEE pic.twitter.com/1iGmoTIllf

— Davido (@davido) October 20, 2020

THEY ARE KILLING OUR PEOPLE. OUR HEARTS ARE HEAVY. #EndSARS

— SANTAN (@Santandave1) October 21, 2020

I’ll be making calls, sending texts, and praying for everyone affected by the #LekkiMassacre #EndSARS These clips are horrific and terrifying to watch. Bless everyone on the ground. I can only imagine what you feel rn.

— Jidenna (@Jidenna) October 21, 2020

people are loosing their lives man, this violence is evil and extremely corrupt #EndSARS

— Aminé (@heyamine) October 21, 2020

#EndSARS is global now, the world is watching, the leaders must listen before it's too late

— Malik Ofori (@malikofori) October 21, 2020

There is a massacre happening in Lekki. Firing squads mass murdering young people in Nigeria. The world needs to engage #endSARS

— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) October 20, 2020

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Chadwick Boseman Died Without Will, Wife Files To Become Administrator Of His Estate

Chadwick Boseman died without having a will in place. On Thursday (Oct. 15), Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed probate documents in a Los Angeles Superior Court to become administrator of his estate, which is reportedly valued at $939,000 in personal property and assets.

Boseman, a resident of California but a native of South Carolina, is survived by Ledward and his parents, who were listed on the documents along with his wife. Per California law, the spouse inherits community property and splits any separate property with the parents of the deceased. Boseman likely had additional assets in a separate trust.

The 43-year-old actor passed away in August, following a four-year battle with colon cancer, which he kept secret from mostly everyone around him with the exception of a few people in his circle. Boseman and Ledward were first linked in 2015, and tied the knot sometime this year.

The Black Panther star thanked Ledward during his acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild last year. “Simone, you're with me every day,” he said at the time. “I have to acknowledge you right now. Love you.”

 

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