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Drake collects Grammy win for best rap song, blasts weight of awards

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  • Drake surprised many of his fans by showing up to collect his Grammy Award for best rap song on Sunday — but he had a few choice words for organizers of the glitzy event.

    The hitmaker, born Aubrey Graham, held his golden trophy in one hand while he acknowledged his turbulent relationship with the Grammys.

    “This is like the first time in Grammy history where I actually am who I thought I was for a second, so I like that, that’s really nice,” he said as he accepted his award for the chart-topping song “God’s Plan.”

    “I definitely did not think I was winning anything.”

    Drake, who walked into the event with seven nominations, second only to Kendrick Lamar, wasn’t necessarily expected to show up to collect any wins. He often shuns appearances at awards shows and boycotted last year’s Grammys by not submitting anything from his previous release, “More Life.”

    He’s also chose to forgo consideration at the Juno Awards again this year with his latest album “Scorpion.” Tensions have lingered after he hosted the 2011 show but was shut out of all of his five nominations.

    As he accepted his Grammy, Drake added that working in the music industry is like “playing in an opinion-based sport, not a factual based sport.”

    “It’s not the NBA where at the end of the year you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions and won the games,” he said.

    “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or anybody else.”

    He added that an artist has already won if “you have people who are singing your songs word for word” and “if you’re a hero in your hometown.” 

    Drake continued speaking but was cut off as the Grammys went to a commercial break.

     

    Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

    David Friend, The Canadian Press


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    National Entertainment

    Avenatti says he has new video evidence against R. Kelly

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  • CHICAGO — Attorney Michael Avenatti said Thursday that he has given Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of R&B star R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

    Avenatti said the video is not the same evidence used in Kelly’s 2008 trial, when he was acquitted on child pornography charges. CNN, which said it had viewed the footage, reported that the nearly 45-minute VHS tape shows a man who appears to be Kelly performing sex acts with a girl who refers to her body parts as 14 years old.

    Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, would not confirm or deny that the office is investigating.

    Kelly and his attorney have for years denied allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on the latest allegations.

    Avenatti is best known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump. He said his office was retained in April 2018 by multiple people regarding allegations of sexual assault of minors by Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly.

    Avenatti said the video surfaced during a 10-month investigation that included witness interviews and examination of documents and evidence throughout the U.S. He told The Associated Press the person who provided the tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video. He also said he did not know where the person had kept the video or why it had not previously been provided to law enforcement.

    Both Kelly and the victim are “clearly visible” throughout the recording, as is an identifying mole on Kelly’s back, and both of them refer multiple times to the girl being 14, Avenatti said in a statement.

    Kelly can be heard on the tape directing the girl to perform sex acts, the statement said. The singer also “takes great pains” to adjust the camera to ensure that the acts are recorded “with specificity and at a limited distance,” according to the statement.

    Foxx asked potential victims to come forward last month after Lifetime aired the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisited the allegations against Kelly and put a spotlight on new ones.

    Activists from the #MeToo and #MuteRKelly social media movements used the renewed attention to call for streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. They also held protests outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

    Kelly denied all the allegations, and his lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said Kelly was the victim of a TV hit piece . He said Kelly “never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”

    Avenatti said his office is co-operating with Foxx’s office. He called Kelly a predator who has preyed on “young, vulnerable girls” for too long.

    “The time has come for him to finally be held accountable for his actions,” he said.

    Avenatti did not say when the video was recorded but said the acts depicted in it are within the Illinois statute of limitations for criminal charges.

    Illinois lawmakers in 2017 eliminated all time limits for felony criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children. The new law was prompted in part by decades-old sex abuse allegations against former Rep. Dennis Hastert, who was charged with banking violations because under Illinois law victims of sex abuse had 20 years from their 18th birthday to report the crime so it could be prosecuted.

    ___

    More of The Associated Press’ coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly can be found at: https://www.apnews.com/RKelly .

    Sara Burnett, The Associated Press


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    National Entertainment

    Film academy issues statement amid backlash to changes

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  • LOS ANGELES — Responding to widespread backlash to the fact that four Oscars will be presented during commercial breaks at the 91st Academy Awards, the film academy has issued a statement saying that all Academy Award winners will still be included in the broadcast on Feb. 24.

    A joint statement from the film academy’s board of governors on Wednesday criticized “inaccurate reporting” and social media posts for what they described as a “chain of misinformation” that has angered film academy members. Critics of the changes include directors Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese.

    The cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling and live-action shorts awards will be presented during the commercial breaks this year in an effort to shorten the broadcast to three hours. Their speeches will be edited into the show.

    The Associated Press


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