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Cardi B pleads not guilty to assault

Cardi B has pleaded not guilty to assault following a fight at a New York strip club last year.

The rapper and two members of her team have been charged with 12 crimes each including assault, harassment and conspiracy.

Cardi, real name Belcalis Almanzar, is accused of ordering attacks on two bartenders on separate occasions.

She and her co-defendants should return to court in September. If convicted they face up to four years in prison.

Cardi B turned herself into police last October following the alleged assaults, which took place at the Angels Gentleman’s Club in Queens.

The bartenders who say they were attacked claim Cardi and her entourage threw glass bottles and alcohol at them, and one woman’s head was slammed into the bar.

The alleged victims are sisters, and the incidents were reportedly triggered after Cardi accused one of them of sleeping with her husband Offset.

Tawana “RemyRojaLaPerla” Jackson-Morel, 36, and Jeffrey “AstonMartinChuck” Bush, 34, are Cardi’s co-defendants.

Bush is accused of filming an attack by a woman who hasn’t been arrested or charged, on 15 August, as well as using his body to make sure nobody could intervene.

According to the acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan, Cardi and Jackson-Morel coordinated the day, time, location and victims of both attacks over a social media platform.

They also allegedly discussed money being exchanged for carrying out the assault.

All three defendants returned to the strip club on 29 August, according to the prosecutors, and attacked the sister of the previous alleged victim.

Jackson-Morel allegedly threw a cocktail into the 23-year-old woman’s face and Bush and Cardi B, as well as “several unapprehended others,” also threw drinks, glass bottles and various objects at the bartender, according to DA Ryan.

The victim suffered from “lacerations to her legs, bruising to her feet and the alcohol thrown in her face irritated her eyes,” the prosecutors say.

Cardi B rejected a plea deal in April which would have seen her given a conditional discharge – escaping a prison sentence unless she committed a further offense.

But her lawyer is confident she’ll be cleared.

“The rest of the defence team and most importantly our client know that through this system, ultimately there will be a favourable outcome in favour of Cardi,” Drew Findling said.

Cardi B’s not guilty plea comes a few days after she won best album and best female artist at the BET Awards, which follows on from winning best rap album at the Grammys earlier this year.

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Michelle Obama and Stephen Fry help drive audiobook boom

Money spent on audiobooks in the UK almost doubled in 2018, helped by the likes of Michelle Obama, Mel B and Stephen Fry.

Figures from The Publishers Association show audiobook sales were worth £69m, up by 43% on the previous year.

The top title with online book library Audible was Becoming by former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Elsewhere, digital book sales rose by 3% in 2018, while physical sales were down by 5%.

The latter bucks a three-year trend for physical books being on the rise. Digital growth, however, has driven the UK publishing industry to a total value of £6bn.

Talking titles by Adam Kay, Heather Morris, Anna Burns and Lily Allen came next in the 2018 Audible chart.

Publishers Association chief executive Stephen Lotinga said “investment in digital is paying off and driving growth”.

He added: “Audiobooks have grown phenomenally, as ever-increasing numbers of people opt to enjoy books in a way that suits new technologies and keeps pace with our busy lives.”

Mr Lotinga also urged the government “to act now to axe the unfair reading tax”, noting online titles have 20% VAT added, while their print equivalents do not.

And he warned against the “continuing squeeze on school budgets”, which he said had seen sales of school textbooks sales “take a hit” because “teachers simply can’t afford the learning resources children need”.

Sheryl Crow: Universal Studios fire destroyed all my master tapes

Sheryl Crow says the original tapes of albums including Tuesday Night Music Club and The Globe Sessions went up in flames in a fire at Universal Studios.

The singer told the BBC “all her masters” were destroyed when an archive in Los Angeles burnt down in 2008.

She only discovered the loss this month, after her name was mentioned in a New York Times report that uncovered the extent of the damage.

“It absolutely grieves me,” said Crow. “It feels a little apocalyptic.

“I can’t understand, first and foremost, how you could store anything in a vault that didn’t have sprinklers.

“And secondly, I can’t understand how you could make safeties [back-up copies] and have them in the same vault. I mean, what’s the point?

“And thirdly, I can’t understand how it’s been 11 years,” she added. “I mean, I don’t understand the cover-up.”

Crow, who had seven US top 10 albums between 1995 and 2008, is the first artist to confirm the loss of their recordings since the New York Times’ investigation was published two weeks ago.

It detailed how the fire, which was started by overnight maintenance work, had destroyed thousands of master tapes – the original recordings from which albums and singles are made – by some of the most famous names in music history, from Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry to Janet Jackson, Nirvana and Eminem.

It feels a little apocalyptic. It feels like we’re slowly erasing things that matter.

Although the fire was widely reported at the time, Universal Music downplayed the damage to its archives, saying many of the affected tapes had duplicates in separate storage facilities.

The company also disputed the New York Times’ investigation, citing unspecified “factual inaccuracies” in the reporting.

Their head archivist, Patrick Kraus, later said the extent of the losses had been “overstated”.

“Many of the masters that were highlighted [in the report] as destroyed, we actually have in our archives,” he told Billboard magazine.

But Crow, whose biggest hits include All I Wanna Do and If It Makes You Happy, confirmed her tapes had perished, taking with them dozens of alternate takes, demos and unreleased songs.

“There are many songs on my masters that haven’t come out,” she said. “My peace of mind in knowing I could come back someday and listen to them and mine those [sessions] for basement tapes and outtakes, are gone.

“But what grieves me more than any of that is the fact that Buddy Holly and Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington – all this important music has been erased.

“And it’s not just the music, it’s the dialogue between the music, it’s the takes that didn’t make it, it’s the versions we’ll never hear.

“It feels a little apocalyptic. Not to go down a weird path – but it feels like we’re slowly erasing things that matter.”

Legal action

A group of high-profile pop musicians are currently suing Universal Music for $100m (£78m) over the loss of their master recordings.

The case was filed last week in Los Angeles by the rock bands Soundgarden and Hole, singer-songwriter Steve Earle, the estate of Tupac Shakur and a former wife of Tom Petty – who accuse Universal of breaching its contracts with artists by failing to properly protect their tapes.

They are seeking class action status, which means other affected artists will be able to join the case at a later date.

Crow, who is not currently taking legal action, was speaking to BBC News ahead of her appearance at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend.

It’s her first return to Worthy Farm since 1997 – the infamous “year of the mud”, when torrential rain caused the Other Stage to start to sink into the ground.

The star recalled arriving on site at 6:30 in the morning after driving through the night, “and just stepping into knee-deep mud”.

She laughed: “It was like, ‘Welcome to Glastonbury!’

“It was a great show, though. That’s the thing I remember about it the most. People were covered in mud. Lots of rain slickers and just a great line-up. I remember waiting for Van Morrison to come out, and I remember seeing Beck. Just a great day.”

This time around, the singer will arrive prepared.

“As soon as I’m done here, I’m getting ready to go and find some wellies,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

The solution to humanity’s problem – Tuface Idibia

By Rotimi Agbana

In continuation of his 20-years on the stage anniversary celebration, acclaimed Nigerian Afro-pop music legend, Innocent Idibia, a.k.a Tuface, now fondly referred to as 2Baba, has released a new video titled ’20 Years A King’, starring award-winning veteran Nollywood actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo, a.k.a RMD.

What my 20-years music journey has taught me —Tuface Idibia

2019 makes it 20-years since 2Baba scored his first hit as a member of the now-defunct Plantashun Boiz, with their debut single ‘Knock Me Off‘ in 1999. To celebrate this illustrious run in music, a series of activities, projects and events for the year including a book launch, a documentary, an album launch, merchandises, fete, fundraiser, concert and parties.

While expressing appreciation to his fans, music lovers, specific individuals who have supported him over his two decades of prominence on the Nigerian/African music scene, the ‘Amaka’ crooner proffered a solution to the problem bedevilling humanity for many years.

BBNAIJA 2019: Winner to take home N60million grand prize

By Rotimi Agbana

With the new season of Big Brother Naija making its highly anticipated premiere on Sunday, June 30, 2019, MultiChoice Nigeria has upped the ante with the announcement of N60million worth of prizes for the winner.

Breakdown of the prizes for the winner includes; N30million cash prize; an SUV from Innoson Motors; a trip to Dubai for two, packaged by TravelBeta; a home make-over courtesy Scanfrost; a year’s supply of Pepsi and One Africa Fest VVIP experience; a year’s supply of Indomie Noodles and Munch It; and a brand new Oppo mobile smartphone. There’s also a bonus prize of two VIP Tickets to watch a European Football final game live, courtesy BET9ja.

This season’s grand prize is an increase from the previous edition, which saw Miracle Ikechukwu Igbokwe walking away with N45m worth of prizes.

Speaking on the increased prize money, the Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe said; “Each edition of Big Brother Naija significantly improves on all aspects of the previous season and this year is no different. The winner of season four will walk away from the house with a N30m cash prize and a top of the range SUV among many other exciting prizes. The Big Brother Naija winner will also emerge as the most popular and marketable personality on the continent, as the show is known to launch prominent careers in arts, entertainment and other supporting industries.”

Burna Boy deserved his BET award – Davido

By Rotimi Agbana

Afro-fusion music singer, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy emerged winner of the Best International Act award at the 2019 edition of BET Awards held on Sunday night.

He was nominated alongside Teni, Mr Eazi and other international acts in the category.

The award was received by Burna Boy’s mum, Bose Ogulu, who also doubles as his manager. In her acceptance speech, she said the message from Burna to every African home and abroad is to remember that they were first Africans before any other thing.

“Every black person should please remember that you were Africans before you were anything else”, she said.

With all the success Burna Boy has recently recorded and his strides with Star Lager Beer, a clearly excited Burna Boy has been celebrating the big win.

“God is great. Thank you to everyone that’s supporting, I wouldn’t have this without you. This one is for Africa”, the ‘Dangote’ crooner said excitedly.

Among top music shots who have been congratulating him on his win include Davido, Tuface Idibia, Kemi Adetiba, among others. While congratulating him, Davido noted that Burna Boy was actually deserving of the award.

“Congrats, you over deserve this brother, more to come”, said Davido.

For 2Baba, more wins were his wish for the self-styled ‘African Giant’. “Congrats Burna Boy more wins young don”, he said.