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Jury selection begins in R. Kelly sex abuse trial

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After several delays, jury selection has begun in R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly began questioning hundreds of potential jurors in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday (Aug. 9) about whether they can keep an open mind about the 54-year-old singer, who is accused of abusing women and girls for two decades. The judge reminded them that Kelly was presumed innocent and that they should not allow bad publicity to influence their judgement.

The 12 jurors and six alternates selected will be the only members of the public with an in-person view of the criminal trial. They will be required to wear masks and will be spread out among the gallery where media and members of the public generally sit.

In what CNN describes an “an unusual move for a trial of this magnitude,” the public and press will be unable to watch the trial in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the media will be restricted to overflow courtrooms with video feeds.

In Monday’s court filing, lawyers for Kelly asked the judge to dismiss charges related to the singer giving two accusers herpes, saying it’s not against New York law.

Kelly has been behind bars in Chicago since he was detained in July 2019. He was moved last month to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to face trial for racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

Opening arguments are expected to begin Aug. 18 and the trial may last between six and eight weeks. Kelly, who has denied the charges, faces decades in prison if convicted.

Kelly is also facing criminal trial in Chicago, including recent allegations that he sexually abused a 17-year-old boy he met at a McDonald’s

Source: Rap Up

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Squid Game is Netflix’s ‘biggest ever’ series launched

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Netflix says “Squid Game” is its biggest series launch of all time. (more…)

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Tyga accused of domestic violence by ex-girlfriend Camaryn Swanson

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Tyga is facing accusations of domestic violence from his ex-girlfriend. (more…)

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Demi Lovato claims the word ‘alien’ is offensive to extraterrestrials

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Demi Lovato thinks the word “alien” is offensive to extraterrestrials. (more…)

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WATCH: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson makes rap debut

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Dwayne The Rock Johnson made his rap debut with Tech Nine’s new single “Face Off”. (more…)

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Nardo Wick recruits Lil Durk, 21 Savage & G Herbo for “Who Want Smoke??”

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Nardo Wick has just dropped the highly-anticipated new version of his smash-hit “Who Want Smoke??” featuring Lil Durk, 21 Savage, & G Herbo. The track includes a show-stopping verse from Durk, displaying the depths of his fiery and confrontational style, a noteworthy inclusion from 21 Savage reminiscent of his earliest days on the mic, and G Herbo delivering the thrilling and seasoned bars he’s renowned for. The song not only capitalizes on the virality of “Who Want Smoke?”, but also serves as a masterclass in collaborating from some of the most prominent artists in the game. Each verse builds on the next, with the superstar additions sticking to theme that Nardo laid out on the original “Who Want Smoke?”, signaling the unwavering faith that Durk, 21, and Herb have in the 19-year old Jacksonville emcee. This collaboration comes on the heels of Durk & Lil Babybringing Nardo to perform the viral record at their tour stop in Orlando, receiving an electrifying response from the Floridan crowd. Though the original song has already amassed a whopping 60 million streams and counting, these carefully curated contributions only further solidify “Who Want Smoke??” as one of the biggest records of the year.

“This next chapter of my career is to give every project I work on my full attention. If I want to be proud of all the videos I work on, then I must never rush the process. I want it to be a great viewing experience every time. The goal is to create timeless quality art that inspires and motivates me, and hopefully it can inspire and motivate those beyond me as well. I view the “Who Want Smoke??” video as the opening page of this new chapter.”
Cole Bennett

Nardo Wick bursted onto the scene in mid-2020 with a string of releases, including “Lolli”, “Slide”, and “Came Up.” Music gave the shy teen an outlet to channel his angst and was accompanied by a fast-following. Though he’s soft-spoken off the mic, when Nardo enters the booth, the raps he produces are dynamic and haunting––a reflection of Jacksonville’s turbulent hip-hop scene. In 2021, Wick transitioned from making buzzing records to inescapable anthems. “Who Want Smoke?” became a widespread hit, achieving over 60 million streams as well as placements on Rap Caviar and Hip Hop Hits. The song reflected a menacing teen with a no-nonsense approach to life and music balancing between being captivating and fearsome. “Who Want Smoke?” is a frequent soundtrack to viral content on social media, with the most recent inclusion being Florida A&M’s marching band, the Marching 100, doing a live-rendition of the hit song during the halftime show for their game against Alabama State University. Hit-producer Cardo Got Wings laced Nardo for a last-minute request to appear on February’s Judas And The Black Messiah: The Inspired Album. That album topped the charts upon release, putting Nardo Wick alongside the biggest stars of Hip-Hop and R&B. Wick followed this with the Nick Mira-produced “Pull Up” in July. In August, Nardo released “I Be Chillin”, an exciting addition to his growing discography. Throughout the run, the budding rapper has received praise from Passion of the Weiss, Lyrical Lemonade, and DJ Booth, who included him in a recent “10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now” list. Recently COMPLEXnamed Nardo among their list of “Best Jacksonville Rappers.”

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James Bond star Daniel Craig gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

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Daniel Craig has capped the launch week of his final James Bond movie by becoming the 2,704th celebrity to be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. (more…)

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