News Blurbs Archive
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Indy Spirit Awards

Angelina Jolie Speaks on Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq: “We Can’t Squander Progress Made”

Angelina Jolie, the twins, and Brad Pitt made the rounds last week at the Indy Spirit Awards - looking every bit the movie stars they are. Angelina Jolie is fresh off a trip to Iraq, where she went to get a first hand look at what she calls a humanitarian crisis: two million people have been displaced in the fighting over there. Angelina Jolie’s concern is the lives of ordinary Iraqis caught up in the mix.

She spoke to CNN earlier this month and wrote an editorial in today’s Washington Post “Staying to Help in Iraq”, continuing the push for awareness on the issue, but it could also play a part in who people choose in the election.

Iraq is a big problem going forward: financially it’s unsustainable for the United States; at the same time, pulling out rapidly as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are talking about seems risky. It’s one thing I’m currently waiting for Obama to clear his position on further - John McCain isn’t an option (he doesn’t have any domestic policies that veer off the Bush path) so it won’t change my vote.

Rolling Stone - Myth of the Surge

Rolling Stone says the surge isn’t working: “The Myth of The Surge.”

John McCain says it is; and Angelina Jolie seems to agree.

She hasn’t endorsed anyone yet, but the editorial in no way gives the feeling she thinks a pull out of Iraq is a good idea.

Today’s humanitarian crisis in Iraq—and the potential consequences for our national security—are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money—but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Erykah Badu and Q-Tip

Erykah Badu and Q-Tip on the Cover of Trace Magazine

Erykah Badu and Q-Tip are on the cover of the new Trace magazine. “Art and Soul” says it all; the two of them embody the words and those two brown bodies leap off the page. I’ve yet to pick up a copy or I’d scope the article for Trace’s meaning of “Art and Soul.” I tell you, I look at this and can’t help but think back to the days when they were the chart topping artists of the time. Today they represent what has become an oddity in music - truth.

Erykah Badu and Q-Tip on the cover of Trace magazine

I’ll grab Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah in a few minutes (going the 1 click, digital album route) and Q-Tip’s new album The Renaissance is due (hopefully) in a few months. Maybe we’ll get a Steam Meter rating up for Erykah’s disc - that would be miraculous. smile

Oh yeah, before you think Erykah Badu’s found a new man to lay her freak touch to, it’s more of an artistic coupling than anything else - Erykah’s been linked to this guy named, Jay Electronica. THEY are on..

Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica on the cover of Urb magazine

the cover the new Urb magazine.

Q-Tip and Erykah have been hanging out recently at little promo events - I think that would be an interesting match and the best ‘career move’ relationship they could both get into.
Images: (Soulbounce for the Trace cover)

Kerry Washington and Usher

Kerry Washington and Usher Hit the Campaign Trail for Barack Obama

It seems celebrities only get their close-up in the public’s eye during their worst moments. Yeah, it makes for great gossip (I read it and talk about it) but sometimes it’s nice seeing them involved in things outside of la’ nonsense. Usher and Kerry Washington are doing just that: as official surrogates, they stumped for Barack Obama in South Carolina.

Last week, Kerry Washington was at the Essence Oscar gathering; asked by Inside Edition how and why she was involved with Barack Obama’s campaign, Kerry was ready with the goods (thanks to blacktreemedia).

Kerry Washington interviewed at the Essence Oscar bash

“I’m an official surrogate for the Barack Obama campaign. Next week I’ll be in Ohio and Texas and those will be the eight and ninth states I’m visiting. I’m really committed to the campaign.

I really believe that he is the next best human being to run this country, regardless of race, regardless of gender, I think he really is the change that we need because he’s not going to be the President of the United.. you know, Corporate States, or the United Most Powerful Lobbyists, or the United Top Ten Percent. He wants to be the President of the United States of America and it’s time that we had a representational government, that represents us.”

Here’s what she/they do during those campaign stops.

Kerry Washington and Usher at South Carolina State University

*You can stop after Usher. If you haven’t heard this part of Barack Obama’s stump speech, do some searching; you need more than this clip.*

Snoop in Seuxal Seduction

Snoop on a Player’s Progress and Letting His Marvin Gaye Rock

You’d be excused for thinking Snoop’s latest single “Sexual Seduction” was recorded by T-Pain. There are more than a few people that made that mistake. Last year someone posted a YouTube clip that showed how easy it was to duplicate T-Pain’s sound using auto-tune magic.

Teddy Riley was the first of the new jack generation to use voice effects with Guy. Teddy Riley is part of the new triple threat production team QDT (DJ Quik, Snoop, Teddy Riley) that executive produced Snoop’s new album Ego Trippin, due March 11. Call me out, I’m suggesting they saw what T-Pain was doing and said, “If he’s getting way with it.. “

No disrespect to the Dogg. I like the song and the old school R&B feel of songs on Snoop’s “Welcome to tha Chuuch” compilation albums. It’s a sound he hasn’t fully committed to on his own albums.
With “Sexual Seduction” and what he had to say to Billboard this week, Ego Trippin might be the album he makes the jump to hard bottom shoes for 15 tracks.

“I’m the nicest rapper in the world. But at the same time I’ve got that bad boy persona and I didn’t really want to approach it like that this time. I wanted to make a record that felt good the whole way through as opposed to trying to make a record that was so gangsta, so hard or so ‘hood-appealing.

I looked at people before me to see how they went through different decades with their music. Curtis and Marvin lasted, making their same kind of music even after disco came in and then played out. With my career lasting this long, I had to start looking at the changes in music and the changes in me, seeing what’s needed to stay here.

I’m not trying to be a real R&B singer, holding notes and going for dramatic moments. It’s just great songs with good melodies that I can hold but it’s still within the world of Snoop Dogg.”

Snoop in Sexual Seduction mode

He went on to talk about a calendar full of projects in film, TV, and concerts here and overseas (got his VISA back). Which is why - leashed women aside - his definition of pimp makes sense: PIMP = Player Into Making Progress.

“That is what that word has always meant to me.
You may think it’s a man sending a woman to a corner or someone taking something from someone else. That’s the misconception. You’ve got to know how to pimp the game and not get pimped. Use situations to your advantage and flip the script like I did.”

Barack Obama

Barack Obama Talks Favorite Movies + Will Smith for President

In an Entertainment Tonight segment, Barack Obama said his favorite movies are of the Corleone variety: The Godfather, Godfather 2, and Lawrence of Arabia. Since Barack Obama has a great chance at making history, he was asked who would play him in a movie about his life.

He said he would tap Will Smith, for a not so obvious reason.

Will Smith

“Will and I have talked about this because he has the ears!”

Hah. That’s a match.

We could also talk about who would play Will Smith in his movie?

During the I Am Legend press run, Will Smith talked to the UK Daily Mail about one of his future ambitions.

“I always wanted to be the first black president, but Barack Obama stole my idea. That’s OK with me. Barack can go first and then I’ll take my turn.”

Will Smith has publicly endorsed Barack Obama and contributed money to his campaign.

What could we expect in this, umm.. Will Smith administration?

“The basis of human sanity is physical survival, right? So I’d start with universal healthcare and shelter. I can’t see that happening under Bush. Too many bad things have happened under his presidency. I don’t believe he is an evil man, I just think he has an unevolved perspective. It’s a good thing he’s served his time. Now it’s time for Barack Obama.”

Then it’s time for Big Willie. wink