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Killers of Ahmaud Arbery get Life imprisonment

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Three white men convicted of murder for chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison Friday, with a judge denying any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man.

Murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison under Georgia law unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, which they opted against for Arbery’s fatal shooting. For Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley, the main decision was whether to grant Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, an eventual chance to earn parole.

The judge ordered both McMichaels to serve life without parole. Bryan was granted a chance of parole but must first serve at least 30 years in prison.Georgia.jpg

Walmsley said Arbery left his home for a jog and ended up running for his life for five minutes as the men chased him in pickup trucks until they finally cornered him.

“Ahmaud Arbery was hunted down and shot, and he was killed because individuals here in the courtroom took the law into their own hands,” the judge said.

Before sentencing, Walmsley paused for a minute of silence to help give the scope of what those five minutes must have been like for Arbery.

“When I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles. I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores,” he said, mentioning the neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick where Arbery was killed.

During the sentencing hearing, Arbery’s family had asked the judge to show no lenience.

Arbery’s sister recalled his humor, describing him as a positive thinker with a big personality. She told the judge her brother had dark skin “that glistened in the sunlight,” thick, curly hair and an athletic build, factors that made him a target for the men who pursued him.

“These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase them with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflect a young man full of life and energy who looked like me and the people I loved,” Jasmine Arbery said.

Arbery’s mother said she suffered a personal, intense loss made worse by a trial where the men’s defense was that Arbery made bad choices that led to his death.

“This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community,” Wanda Cooper-Jones said. “And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare or intimidate him, they killed him.”

The judge’s sentences matched the recommendation of prosecutor Linda Dunikoski. She said all deserved that mandatory life sentence for showing “no empathy for the trapped and terrified Ahmaud Arbery.”

Contending the McMichaels still believed they didn’t do anything wrong, Dunikoski disclosed Friday that Greg McMichael gave cellphone video of the shooting recorded by Bryan to an attorney, who leaked it.

“He believed it was going to exonerate him,” the prosecutor said.

Robert Rubin, one of Travis McMichael’s defense attorneys, argued that his 35-year-old client deserved the possibility of parole. He said Travis McMichael opened fire only after “Mr. Arbery came at him and grabbed the gun.” But Rubin also acknowledged his client’s decisions to arm himself and chase Arbery were ”reckless” and “thoughtless.”

“They are not evidence of a soul so blackened as to deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Rubin said. “This was not a planned murder. This was a fight over a gun that led to Mr. Arbery’s death.”

Greg McMichael’s lawyer, Laura Hogue, said her client didn’t intend Arbery to die, never pulling his gun until his son fired his shotgun.

“Greg McMichael did not leave his home that day hoping to kill,” Hogue told the judge. “He did not view his son firing that shotgun with anything other than fear and sadness. What this jury found was this was an unintentional act.”

Bryan’s lawyer said he showed remorse and cooperated with police, turning over the cellphone video of the shooting to help them get to the truth.

“Mr. Bryan isn’t the one who brought a gun,” Kevin Gough said. “He was unarmed. And I think that reflects his intentions.”

Bryan is 52, raising the chances that he will spend the remainder of his life in prison even with the chance of parole after serving 30 years.

The guilty verdicts against the men handed down the day before Thanksgiving prompted a victory celebration outside the Glynn County courthouse for those who saw Arbery’s death as part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice.

All three men were also convicted of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Travis and Greg McMichael were each sentenced to an additional 20 years for aggravated assault.

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to chase Arbery after spotting him running in their neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael firing close-range shotgun blasts into Arbery as he threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.

The killing went largely unnoticed until two months later, when the graphic video was leaked online and touched off a national outcry. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police and soon arrested all three men.

Defense attorneys have said they plan to appeal the convictions. They have 30 days after sentencing to file them.

Next month, the McMichaels and Bryan face a second trial, this time in U.S. District Court on federal hate crime charges. A judge has set jury selection to begin Feb. 7. Prosecutors will argue that the three men violated Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because he was Black.

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Meghan Trainor Releases Remix Of Her Worldwide Smash “Made You Look feat. Kim Petras

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Meghan Trainor Releases Remix Of Her Worldwide Smash “Made You Look feat. Kim Petras

Today, GRAMMY® Award-winning, global superstar Meghan Trainor recharges, re-energizes, and revamps her global smash “Made You Look” with a brand new Official Remix featuring Kim Petras. Listen to “Made You Look (Feat. Kim Petras)” HERE. The original highlighted her acclaimed new album, Takin’ It Back, out now. Listen to Takin’ It Back HERE.

About the track, Petras commented, “I had ‘Made You Look’ stuck in my head for months. It’s just so catchy and I felt like the song was like a warm hug. So I loved it right away, and then when I got asked to jump on it, I was really, really excited. I think Meghan is such a great pop songwriter, so it was an incredible experience. I’ve never worked with an artist who wanted to track me and comp my vocals and do it all together. She really is like a little angel and such a treasure and deserves everything that’s coming her way with the song and I just feel so excited and honored to be a part of it. We collaborated in a really special way that I won’t forget.

This notably marks the first collaboration between Trainor and rising pop powerhouse Petras. Together, they lock into a bouncy call-and-response as Petras urges “Don’t be shy, just put your hands on me, as Trainor’s towering runs ring out. It adds a whole new dimension to the fan favorite.

On the collaboration, Trainor gushes, “Kim is an icon. I have been a fan for a very long time and I am so excited to have her on ‘Made You Look.’ We had such a fun time in the studio together and she added the perfect energy to the song. She is a queen and I cannot wait for everyone to hear her voice on this song! She really brought it to a whole new level.”

“Made You Look” has exploded as a runaway hit and a major moment for Trainor. It has tallied over 353 million global streams. Simultaneously, the music video has clocked north of 87 million YouTube views. At radio, it continues to hold strong in the Top 5 at Pop.

She continues to breathe new life into the track. In addition to the Joel Corry Remix, she capped off the holidays with “Made You Look (A Cappella).It gathered 6.2 million YouTube views on the accompanying video featuring friends Sri, Scott Hoying, Elyse Myers, and Chris Olsen.

So far, the song has soundtracked over 4 million TikTok videos and 308K YouTube Shorts. Apple Music touted it at #1 on its A LIST POP Playlist, and Spotify placed it on Today’s Top Hits Presents Best Hit Songs of 2022 and the Best Pop Songs of 2022. Billboard applauded it as “inescapable, and Entertainment Tonight chatted with her about the track.

It sets the stage for more to come from Meghan Trainor in 2023!

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Rae Sremmurd Drops New Track “Sucka Or Something”

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Clearly intent on making waves in 2023, iconic rap duo Rae Sremmurd releases “Sucka or Something.” Listen HERE via Eardrummer Records/Interscope Records. As usual, the Mississippi brothers employ their dizzying lyricism over innovative production to craft an unforgettable earworm. The track follows their New Year’s release “Torpedo” and is  accompanied by a vibrant D.I.Y.-themed music video. Watch it HERE.
“How you gonna try to play me like a sucka or something?” Swae Lee ponders over a bombastic beat. “How you gonna try to play me when I know what’s up? Feel like I’m 6’ 5” ‘cause the money is up.” Laid-back yet typically larger-than-life, “Sucka or Something” is a reminder that even though the duo has done it all—they still haven’t lost any of their creativity or fire that made them superstars.
 
The casual ambition of the song is reflected in the dynamic video. The grainy footage showcases the brothers’ performance skills, but it’s an eclectic, collaged concoction that ebbs and flows with the mellow track. The deftly edited imagery conveys Rae Sremmurd’sunique bond and nods at their humble beginnings. Watch the visual HERE.
Rae Sremmurd has established themselves as the preeminent melodicists in hip-hop, racking up hit singles from the moment they landed with 2014’s “No Flex Zone.”
The duo’s first two albums, 2015’s SremmLife and the following year’s SremmLife 2, were each certified Platinum, and the latter spawned the group’s first No. 1 hit, the Gucci Mane-assisted “Black Beatles.” SR3MM, from 2018, was groundbreaking in its own way, a triple-disc effort that saw each brother get his own LP’s worth of space to work solo, before tying them back together.
Most recently, Rae Sremmurd was announced as the headliner for this year’s NFL Pro Bowl taking place on February 5th at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The entire 7 minute performance will be televised across ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD. Fans can also catch the duo hitting the Coachella stage this April for the first time in 7 years.
 
Rae Sremmurd – “Sucka or Something”
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Amber Rose says she’s done dating, wants to be single for the rest of her life

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Amber Rose is no longer taking a dip in the dating pool. (more…)

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Ari Lennox Releases Video For Waste My Time

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Ari Lennox Releases Video For Waste My Time
Ari Lennox turns to therapy to solve her relationship questions in the new music video for her single “Waste My Time,” out today via Dreamville/Interscope Records. In the video, directed by Val Vega, the soul and R&B superstar ponders why she keeps falling for the same guys before the scene transforms to a steamy series of sets – Ari glistening in a pool, seducing in a gold and pink cloud, and embraced in a steamy romance. Does she get the answers she needs? Join Ari’s therapy journey and watch the full “Waste My Time” video HERE.
The “Waste My Time” video arrives on a big day for Ari Lennox’s career, as her age/sex/locationtour kicks off tonight at the famed House of Blues in Las Vegas. The 34-date trek runs through March 29 and hits several major markets – including concerts in New York City, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles and more –before it concludes with two shows in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Purchase your tickets for the age/sex/location Tour at www.arilennox.com
 
age/sex/location is Ari Lennox’s second studio album and was released in September to spectacular reviews. Pitchfork praised the album as “a bountiful exploration of what it truly means to be grown and sexy,” while Rolling Stone confirmed that the star “has delivered her best work to date” and VIBE featured the album on its list of the 25 Best R&B Albums of 2022. Standout tracks include “Queen Space,” with Summer Walker and “POF,” which President Obama placed at No. 3 on his annual favorite music series for 2022, and of course, the Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox-produced hit “Pressure.” The RIAA gold-certified hit has soared to over 640 million streams, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay and became her first solo Hot 100 single. “Waste My Time” extends Ari’s hitmaking streak at radio, with its No. 10 spot on Adult R&B Airplay. Thanks to those hits and more fan favorites, age/sex/location has already raced past 200 million streams in the U.S..
If that weren’t enough, Ari has continued to reap massive wins in recent months. In November, Ari delivered electric performances at both the American Music Awards and the Soul Train Awards, where she was nominated for six trophies, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. In December, she became the first-ever digital cover for HuffPost, with the publication proudly declaring the First Lady of Dreamville “a student of her craft and proof that R&B ain’t dead.”
age/sex/location is another win in Ari Lennox’s book, following her acclaimed 2019 debut, Shea Butter Baby, now officially certified gold by the RIAA. The project, now with over 1.5 billion global streams, spawned the RIAA platinum-certified title track, featuring Dreamville label head and marquee artist J. Cole, gold-certified singles “BMO” and “Whipped Cream,” and “Up Late.” Critical recognition capped off the debut era with nominations for a Grammy Award (for her contribution to Dreamville’s album, Revenge of the Dreamers III), three 2019 Soul Train Awards, and two 2020 NAACP Awards.
Ari Lennox – age/sex/location eAlbum
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Randy Gonzalez, dad of TikTok duo Enkyboys, dead at 35

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Randy Gonzalez passed away on Wednesday. (more…)

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Chris Brown shows off ‘department store’ he built to house his clothes

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Chris Brown is no stranger to the fashion industry. He’s already developed a clothing line, Black Pyramid. Now, he’s decided to sell some more swag. Yesterday (Jan. 24), the Grammy-winning artist went on his Instagram Story to inform his followers that he’s built a department store near the comfort of his home. (more…)

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