NY governor pardons rapper 'Slick Rick'
Albany, N.Y. - Pioneering rapper Ricky "Slick Rick" Walters, who spent more than five years in prison on a 1991 attempted murder conviction and faced threats of deportation years after rehabilitating his life, was granted a full and unconditional pardon Friday by New York Gov. David Paterson.
Walters, 43, has been under threat of being sent back to his native United Kingdom, although he has lived in the United States since he was a child. In a statement, he expressed gratitude to Paterson and his lawyers, and hoped that he could finally put the turmoil behind him.
"This has been a long and difficult road and I am happy for this to be settled once and for all," Walters said. "I look forward to enjoying this time with my family and friends and to continue leading an honest and productive life."
In announcing the decision, Paterson noted Walters' commitment to helping young people.
The eye patch-wearing star behind '80s rap classics like "La-Di-Da-Di" and "Children's Story" was a successful rapper when he was convicted of shooting his cousin and another man in 1991. Both survived.
Morton, Watson share film, mistaken identity
Cannes, France - Samantha Morton says people sometimes confuse her with fellow British actress Emily Watson. Fans will be even more confused after seeing their first film together.
Morton, 31, and Watson, 41, co-star as variations of the same character in "Synecdoche, New York," which premiered Friday at the Cannes Film Festival.
"It's really weird. Over the years, I've been in situations where people ... have mistaken me for her" or complimented her for "Breaking the Waves," Morton said.
"And I went, 'Oh, I wish,"' she said of the 1996 film that gave Watson her breakthrough role and earned her an Academy Award nomination. "And apparently, she's had a similar thing herself with me, so the casting was incredible."
Morton, an Oscar nominee for "Sweet and Lowdown" and "In America," plays an assistant who has a lifelong flirtation with a theater director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in "Synecdoche," the directing debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich").
Tila Tequila guarded in second 'Shot at Love'
Los Angeles - Tila Tequila blames the media and her paramour's interest in self-promotion for her breakup, and says she was much more guarded during her second "Shot at Love" on MTV.
Tequila told The Associated Press in a recent interview that first-season winner Bobby Banhart never met her parents and the two steadily fell out of touch. She announced their breakup last December.
"I felt like he was starting to get caught up more in the Hollywood world," said the diminutive MySpace and reality star. "Because when we were talking, he was just talking about meeting with agents and getting his own reality show, and meeting with managers. Of course I was happy for him, but at the same time I thought that was really weird. Because if that's what you were doing, then why didn't you mention that while we were shooting? It was just odd to me. Unfortunately it didn't work out."
Madonna to show film at Moore's festival
Traverse City, Mich. - Madonna's new film on the impoverished nation of Malawi has wowed another maker of documentaries: Michael Moore.
Moore announced Thursday that Madonna, like himself a Michigan native, will appear for a screening of "I Am Because We Are" during the Traverse City Film Festival on Aug. 2.
"She's sort of entered my realm," Moore said. "When I saw it, I thought, 'Wow, it's like she's been making these films for years."'
Madonna produced and narrated the documentary after traveling to Malawi, where she met the toddler David Banda. She and husband Guy Ritchie are adopting the child.
"I Am Because We Are" illustrates the poverty that children of the southern African country face, how the AIDS crisis is claiming lives, and the conditions that cause disease and other misery there. But the film urges people to volunteer and tries to offer hope.
"She takes the viewer through a very personal journey and tries to connect us, living here in the U.S., giving us a window into the way it is for other people in the world," Moore said.
Judge vacates rapper DMX's lawsuit award
Upper Marlboro, Md. - A judge has vacated a $1.5 million judgment awarded to a woman who filed a defamation suit against rapper DMX after he alleged that she raped him.
Prince George's County Circuit Judge Thomas Smith ruled last week that DMX (real name: Earl Simmons) was not properly served with court papers in the case filed against him by Monique Wayne.
Wayne became pregnant after an August 2003 encounter with Simmons in a Washington hotel room. She gave birth to a boy in April 2004 and DNA tests showed it was Simmons' son.
But in a 2006 magazine interview, Simmons, without referring to Wayne by name, said she "raped" him while he slept. Wayne denied the claim, and said in a court hearing this year that she awoke to find Simmons on top of her, which led to consensual sex. She said she filed the lawsuit because "he lied to the whole world on me" about what happened.