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Tokyo 2020: Olympics opening ceremony director sacked over historical Holocaust jokes

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The show director of the Olympics opening ceremony has been dismissed, one day before the event is due to be held.
Footage of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s recently emerged in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust.
Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed “painful facts of history”.
The dismissal is the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Games.

Tokyo 2020 – postponed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has constantly threatened to derail the event – has seen three men forced to step down since the start of 2021.
Earlier this week, a composer quit the team creating the ceremony after it emerged he had bullied classmates with disabilities at school
In March, Olympics’ creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki quit after suggesting that plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe could appear as an “Olympig”. He later apologised
And in February, Yoshiro Mori was forced to step down as the head of the organising committee after he made remarks about women that were criticised as “inappropriate”. Mr Mori was quoted as saying women talked too much and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”
This latest scandal has seen former comedian Mr Kobayashi strongly criticised for a sketch he performed 23 years ago, in which he and another comedian pretend to be children’s entertainers.

In the sketch Mr Kobayashi turns to his colleague, referring to some paper dolls, saying they are “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust'”, according to AFP news agency.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga described the comments as “outrageous and unacceptable”, while Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the US-based Holocaust research body Simon Wiesenthal Center, said: “Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide.”

Mr Kobayashi also issued a statement responding to his dismissal.
“Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable. I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it,” it said.

Friday’s ceremony, which Mr Suga said should proceed as planned, will officially kick off two weeks of competition.
However, after the removal of Mr Kobayashi, organisers are now reassessing how to hold Friday’s event – which will only be watched by about 950 people in the stadium, in order to minimise risks.

“With the opening ceremony being so imminent, we apologise for causing concern to those involved in the Olympics, to the citizens of Tokyo and the Japanese public,” Ms Hashimoto said in a statement.

The scandals have done little to stop massive unease about the Games, which were postponed from last year due to the pandemic. The head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee admitted this week that he has not ruled out cancellation, even at this late stage.

Despite concerns, the first events are under way – opening on Wednesday with a softball match between Japan and Mexico

A recent poll found some 55% of people in Japan were opposed to holding the Games, amid fears it could become a coronavirus super-spreader event, Reuters news agency reported.

Already, organisers are dealing with rising Covid case numbers among athletes and officials. On Thursday, they said 91 people accredited for the Games have now tested positive for the virus.
Does Japan have Covid under control?
What Covid means for the Tokyo Olympic Games
An increase in cases among Japan’s population – only of a third of whom have been vaccinated – has also led to a state of emergency being declared for the duration of the Games.
However, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus congratulated organisers on Wednesday for having so far “done your best”, telling them a “zero risk” Games was not possible.
“The mark of success in the coming fortnight is not zero cases,” he added. “The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible.”

The first events of Tokyo 2020 have already begun, with the hosts Japan winning their softball match on Wednesday.

SOURCE: BBC

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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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