Reports: Police officials say Rihanna was victim
Los Angeles — Chris Brown’s ad campaign with Wrigley was suspended Monday until his criminal case is resolved, and reports surfaced that pop superstar Rihanna, his longtime girlfriend and a fellow no-show at the Grammy Awards, was the woman who accused him of assault.
The Los Angeles Times, citing law enforcement officials familiar with the case and other sources it did not name, reported that Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was the woman who told police that Brown had hurt her the night before the Grammy Awards.
A police statement released Sunday indicated an unidentified woman had been injured, but Brown was booked only on suspicion of making a criminal threat, a felony, after walking into a police station Sunday night. Authorities said the district attorney could choose to expand the charges.
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said he expects detectives to present their case to prosecutors in the next day or so.
Calif. artist sues AP over image of Obama
New York — An artist who created a famous image of Barack Obama before he became president sued The Associated Press on Monday, asking a judge to find that his use of an AP photo in creating the poster did not violate copyright law.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan said street artist Shepard Fairey did not violate the copyright of the April 2006 photograph because he dramatically changed the nature of the image.
The AP has said it is owed credit and compensation for the artist’s rendition of the picture, taken by Mannie Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.
Lawyers for Fairey acknowledged that the artist used the photograph. But they said he transformed the literal depiction into a “stunning, abstracted and idealized visual image that creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message.”
AP spokesman Paul Colford said the AP was “disappointed by the surprise filing.”
He said in a statement that the AP had agreed last week not to take legal action while it was in settlement talks, but that Fairey’s attorney broke off contact Friday.
Colford said the AP had indicated that any settlement would benefit a charitable fund that supports AP journalists worldwide who suffer personal loss from natural disasters and conflicts.
Usher’s wife recovering from surgery in Brazil
New York — A representative for Usher says the singer’s wife, Tameka Raymond, is recovering from surgery in Brazil.
Publicist Simone Smalls says Raymond “is in stable condition after suffering complications from routine surgery in Brazil. Her husband Usher is with her at the hospital.”
No further details were provided. In her statement, Smalls says “the family requests privacy at this difficult time.”
Raymond was being treated at the posh Sirio-Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed Monday. She did not give her name, per hospital rules.
Usher was supposed to be one of the performers at music mogul Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party Saturday night, but he had to back out for what Davis called a serious family illness.
The 30-year-old R&B; star and his wife were married in August 2007. They have two young sons, 2-year-old Usher Raymond V and 2-month-old Naveid Ely Raymond.
Van Morrison revisits ‘Astral Weeks’ album
Los Angeles — Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” rests high on critics’ lists of all-time best albums. Yet Morrison felt he never quite had the chance to get it right the first time.
So he has taken a second crack at it with “Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” recorded over two nights last November with musical arrangements closer to what he originally envisioned.
“I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to, because I didn’t have the support, and I didn’t have any money. I mean, basically, I was broke. I had bad management, a bad record company,” Morrison, 63, said in a phone interview from London. “I didn’t really have the freedom.”
Morrison decided it was time to pull out those tunes again and play the entire album live, with a full string section.
Morrison is following the album, due out Feb. 24 as the first release of his own Listen to the Lion label, with more live performances of “Astral Weeks” in New York in late February and early March.
Nick Cannon to host ’America’s Got Talent’
New York — America’s got Nick Cannon as the new host of “America’s Got Talent.”
The musician, comedian, actor and producer will preside over the NBC talent competition series when it returns for a fourth season this summer, the network announced Monday.
This variety show is the first of “multiple projects we are looking to do with Nick at NBC,” said network chief Ben Silverman.
The versatile Cannon, 28, had his breakthrough role while still a teen on the Nickelodeon series “All That,” then starred in his own MTV show, “Nick Cannon Presents Wild’n Out.” He has recorded with artists including Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and Diddy.