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    Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood is bookmakers' favorite to win the coveted fiction trophy for a second time Monday for 'The Testaments,' her follow-up to dystopian saga 'The Handmaid's Tale.' Atwood, who won in 2000 for 'The Blind Assassin' is one of six finalists for the 50,000-pound ($63,000) prize, whose winner will be announced during a dinner ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall. Also in the running, according to British bookies, are British-Turkish author Elif Shafak for her Istanbul-set story '10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World' and U.S.-British writer Lucy Ellmann for her 1,000-page stream-of-consciousness novel 'Ducks, Newburyport.' Other contenders include India-born British writer Salman Rushdie — Booker winner in 1981 for 'Midnight's Children' — for 'Quichotte,' a modern-day retelling of 'Don Quixote' and Britain's Bernardine Evaristo for the kaleidoscopic 'Girl, Woman, Other.' Nigeria's Chigozie Obioma has also been tipped for 'An Orchestra of Minorities,' a saga of love and exile. Founded in 1969, the prize is open to English-language authors from around the world. The prize, which often delivers a big boost in sales and profile to the winner, was sponsored for 18 years by investment firm Man Group and known as the Man Booker Prize. This year it reverted to its original name, the Booker Prize, under a new sponsor: the Crankstart Foundation founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, writer Harriet Heyman.
  • From a humble start of leaving the world of finance to write a beauty blog, Huda Kattan now has become one of the most recognizable names in makeup around the world. The 36-year-old Iraqi-American now runs her eponymous empire Huda Beauty, a makeup line valued at $1.2 billion that has fast become a favorite among A-list celebrities and artists around the world. Her personality has been key in connecting to the public via social media, a major driver for her makeup known for its vibrant color and contouring popular among Arab women. She's part of a growing vanguard of lines built around personalities, an expanding business model as more-established brands face slower sales. 'I do think the idea of makeup as a form of self-expression will just grow even more,' Kattan told The Associated Press in Dubai. 'I don't think it's going to be about beautifying anymore.' Kattan reaches customers through a YouTube channel where she uploads all her makeup tutorials. Her brand's Instagram account boasts more than 39 million followers, along with her seven million followers on Facebook. Her beauty line has found success globally, and especially across the Mideast and Persian Gulf, where Huda's business model has been particularly successful. So-called 'beauty influencers' are seeing strong growth in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms home to Dubai. They also play an important role in showcasing beauty and personal care products in Saudi Arabia, which has the highest number of active users in the region on social media platforms. According to Euromonitor International, big brands in the UAE such as Mac, Bobbi Brown and Estee Lauder 'saw slight declines in their value shares in 2018, due to the stronger competition from smaller brands' like Huda Beauty, singer Rihanna's brand Fenty Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury. As makeup sales slow in Europe and the U.S., they continue to grow in the Mideast. From 2018 to 2023, Euromonitor predicts a 7.2% growth in the color cosmetics industry across the Mideast, with a 2.9% growth across the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This year alone, the color cosmetics market is valued at $2.3 billion in the Mideast, growing to $3.1 billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor. Kattan said her business remained strong because of her focus on the Mideast. Unlike in many Western countries where more natural makeup looks are in vogue, women across Arab Gulf countries often lean toward bright, eye-catching makeup trends and accessories that offset the utilitarianism of black veils and abayas. That complements the bold colors of Kattan's lines. 'I feel like it's very normal in a cosmetic business to go after the No. 1 beauty business or the industry, which is the U.S.,' she said. 'Of course, I do want to go for the U.S., but I still feel like there's so much to do in this part of the world.' That focus has served her well so far. With a net worth of more than $600 million, Kattan was named one of the '10 most powerful influencers in the world of beauty' in 2017 by Forbes magazine and was named by Time as one of the 25 most influential people on the internet. Kattan's makeup line includes lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, foundation and highlighters among other products. She now is expanding her empire with a newly launched perfume line headed by her business partner and sister, Mona. Huda Kattan has also started a reality web show on Facebook's Watch service. 'I think there's a buzz of the beauty brands that have boomed and created billion-dollar brands like Huda Beauty, Kylie, so many other brands. But in reality it's becoming super competitive and sales are dropping for almost every beauty brand out there,' said Mona Kattan while sitting beside Huda at their office in Dubai. 'And the only way you can survive is if you have a really purposeful mission and a strong identity and you're trying to be different and that's what we've always tried to do.' Huda Kattan also plans a soon-to-come skincare line. 'You know, I never really had great skin and I always wanted to feel comfortable not wearing makeup, and I finally feel like that for the first time in my life,' she said. 'So makeup shouldn't be a need, it should be like a want. Like men!' she added with a laugh. ___ Follow Malak Harb on Twitter at www.twitter.com/malakharb .
  • Music artist and actress Queen Latifah is among the honorees being recognized by Harvard University this year for their contributions to black history and culture. Harvard is set to award the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal to Queen Latifah and six other recipients on Oct. 22, according to the Cambridge, Massachusetts, school's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. Other honorees include poet and educator Elizabeth Alexander, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie Bunch III, poet Rita Dove, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television Sheila Johnson, artist Kerry James Marshall and Robert Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners. The award is named after Du Bois, a scholar, writer, editor, and civil rights pioneer who became the first black student to earn a doctorate from Harvard in 1895.
  • The first weekend was no fluke: 'Joker' is a hit. The R-rated comic book villain origin story had a phenomenal second weekend at the box office, topping the charts once more over newcomers such as the animated 'The Addams Family' and the Will Smith action pic 'Gemini Man.' Warner Bros. said Sunday that 'Joker' added an estimated $55 million from North American theaters this weekend, bringing its domestic total to $192.7 million. Not only are the pure grosses impressive, but 'Joker' also dropped only 43% from its record-breaking debut. For comic book films, which are often front-loaded and regularly see second weekend falls that are over 50%, it's a notably small dip. It's also a slightly lower drop than 'Wonder Woman' and 'Black Panther' — both of which had higher initial openings and went on to have long lives in theaters. 'These are incredible numbers and really reflect how interested and excited people were,' said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. The film had a rollercoaster ride to release, with highs like winning the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and lows when concerns about the film inciting violence made headlines and prompted increased security at many theaters across the country. But audiences have spoken with their dollars and 'were not going to be deterred,' Dergarabedian said. 'It shows that content wins. A great movie will rise up above all the noise over whatever controversy or security concerns there were,' he added. 'You're totally left out of the water cooler conversation if you haven't seen 'Joker.'' Internationally, 'Joker' added $123.7 million from 79 markets, bringing its global total to $543.9 million after just 12 days in theaters. 'Joker's' second weekend success played well alongside the counterprogramming of the kid-friendly 'Addams Family,' which exceeded expectations and came in a strong second with $30.3 million. United Artists Releasing distributed the film from MGM and BRON Creative that features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Bette Midler. 'The Addams Family' defied middling reviews (43% on Rotten Tomatoes) and benefited from a marketplace with relatively few family friendly options in theaters right now, aside from 'Abominable' which is now in its third weekend. The ambitious, star-driven 'Gemini Man' was not so lucky. The visual effects-heavy Ang Lee film about an assassin on the run from a younger version of himself (both played by Smith using state of the art de-aging technology) opened in third place with only $20.5 million. Even Smith's disastrous 'After Earth' had a better debut ($27.5 million). Reviews were overwhelmingly poor (it's currently at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes) but 'Gemini Man' also had the 'Joker' factor to contend with, which may have contributed to the disappointing opening, according to Dergarabedian. 'Gemini Man' was not a cheap endeavor either. The film from Paramount and Skydance cost a reported $140 million to make after rebates and will have a difficult time breaking even. Rounding out the top five were 'Abominable,' with $6.2 million, and 'Downton Abbey,' with $4.9 million. In limited release, Bong Joon-Ho's 'Parasite' had an extraordinary weekend, earning $376,264 from only 3 locations. Its $125,421 per theater average is a record for 2019. 'It's amazing how well ('Parasite') did. It's one of the biggest stories of the weekend,' Dergarabedian said. 'That per theater average means that those movie theaters were full. The demand far outweighed the supply.' Neon is distributing the class-conscious Korean thriller, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is already a massive hit internationally, with over $70.9 million from South Korea alone. With near-unanimous rave reviews, 'Parasite' is also expected to be an awards contender and will be expanding in North America in the coming weeks. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1.'Joker,' $55 million ($123.7 million international). 2.'The Addams Family,' $30.3 million. 3.'Gemini Man,' $20.5 million ($31.1 million international). 4.'Abominable,' $6.2 million ($15 million international). 5.'Downton Abbey,' $4.9 million ($4.1 million international). 6.'Hustlers,' $3.9 million ($3.9 million international). 7. 'Judy,' $3.3 million ($1.6 million international). 8.'It: Chapter Two,' $3.2 million ($2.3 million international). 9.'Jexi,' $3.1 million. 10.'Ad Astra,' $1.9 million ($2.9 million international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore: 1. 'Joker,' $123.7 million. 2. 'The Captain,' $33.4 million. 3. 'Gemini Man,' $31.1 million. 4. 'My People, My Country,' $23 million. 5. 'Abominable,' $15 million. 6. 'The Climbers,' $11 million. 7. 'Downton Abbey,' $4.1 million. 8. 'Hustlers,' $3.9 million. 9. 'The Most Ordinary Romance,' $3.7 million. 10. 'The Angry Birds Movie 2,' $3 million. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Martin Scorsese said Sunday he's keeping an open mind about the cinema 'revolution' sparked by the rise of video streaming services, as his Netflix-backed mafia epic 'The Irishman' closed the London Film Festival . The director said the rise of streaming platforms was 'an even bigger revolution than sound brought to cinema' because it 'opens up the original conception of what a film is' and how it should be seen. Scorsese told reporters he thought it was still important that movies be experienced communally. 'Homes are becoming theatres too but it's a major change and I think one has to keep an open mind,' he said. 'The Irishman' — about the reflections of a former Jimmy Hoffa associate and hitman — is due to have a theatrical run from Nov. 1 before its Nov. 27 release on Netflix. Scorsese took the project to Netflix after other studios turned it down, partly due to its length and the expensive de-aging digital effects used to make stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci appear decades younger. Scorsese said the CGI effects, which have come in for some criticism, were simply 'an evolution of makeup.' 'You accept certain norms in make-up — you know he's not that old, she's not that young,' he said. 'You accept the illusion.' The 209-minute film is Sunday's closing night gala for the 12-day London festival. On Saturday the festival awarded its best film prize to Colombian director Alejandro Landes' child soldier thriller 'Monos.' The first feature prize went to French director Mati Diop's Senegal-set drama 'Atlantics,' and the documentary award was won by Rubika Shah for 'White Riot,' the story of the 1970s British movement Rock Against Racism. 'Fault Line' by Iran's Soheil Amirsharifi won the short film trophy.
  • Organizers of a hip-hop festival taking place in New York this weekend said Saturday they have dropped five rappers from the lineup at the request of police. The New York Times reported that the performers were removed from the Rolling Loud festival after a New York Police Department official sent the organizers a letter citing safety concerns if the rappers took the stage. The traveling Rolling Loud festival was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Citi Field in Queens on Saturday and Sunday and included major acts like Wu-Tang Clan and Meek Mill. The performers who were dropped are 22Gz, Casanova, Pop Smoke, Sheff G and Don Q. The police letter said they 'have been affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide.' The Times said Rolling Loud confirmed receipt of the letter and said the artists would not perform. Each of the rappers cited by the police has had encounters with law enforcement, the Times said. Jeffrey Alexander, who performs as 22Gz, was charged with murder in Florida in 2017, but the charges were dropped after police identified another man as the gunman. Casanova, whose given name is Caswell Senior, has served prison time in New York on a robbery charge. The other three artists have faced weapons charges. Don Q blamed 'misinformation' for his removal from the festival lineup in a statement on Instagram . 'I love my city and I never been in any gang activities or had issues at any of my previous shows,' he wrote. Casanova added in the comments that the decision 'really hurts.' Tariq Cherif, a founder of the festival, wrote on Twitter that the canceled artists would be paid their full booking fees and invited to perform at future festival sites. ___ Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com
  • Sara Danius, the first woman to lead the Swedish institution that awards the Nobel Prize in literature, has died at age 57. Her family told Swedish news agency TT that Danius, a literary scholar, critic and author, passed away early Saturday following a long illness. Swedish media said she had breast cancer. Danius was elected to a lifetime position on the Swedish Academy's board in 2013 and because the body's first female permanent secretary in 2015. She resigned the position in 2018. The Stockholm University professor published a book last year about singer-songwriter Bob Dylan after playing a central role in the Swedish Academy's decision to make him a Nobel laureate in 2016. 'Everything she did was characterized by a rare strength and luminosity,' read a brief obituary on the Swedish Academy's website Saturday. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav said he was sad to hear of Danius' death. The monarch, who is the academy's patron, said they held regular meetings with 'interesting conversations' during her time there. 'A strong cultural figure has left us, way too early,' Carl XVI Gustav said in a statement. Danius resigned as head of the prestigious institution in early 2018 after an internal dispute grew into a sexual misconduct and financial crime scandal that aroused concerns in the king and brought criticism from the Nobel Foundation's board. Danius wasn't accused of personal wrongdoing. When she stepped down as permanent secretary, she said her academy colleagues had lost confidence in her leadership and acknowledged the internal turmoil had 'already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely.' The Swedish Academy didn't award the literature prize last year so named two winners - one for 2018 and one for 2019 - on Thursday.
  • Even as his U.S. career seemingly winds down amid accusations of sexual harassment, opera legend Placido Domingo remains on the bill of a host of European opera houses. But cracks, even if slight, are beginning to show in his support. The 78-year-old singer who rose to stardom as a tenor has been confirmed to sing the baritone title role in 'Nabucco' at the Zurich Opera House in Switzerland on Sunday. It will be Domingo's first performance since he stepped down Oct. 2 as general director of the Los Angeles Opera and withdrew from future performances at the company. The move left the star with no more U.S. dates on his public calendar, putting a question mark over his professional future in a country where he thrived artistically for decades. In addition to LA Opera, three U.S. musical companies already had canceled Domingo performances, and he also pulled out of a series of appearances at New York's Metropolitan Opera under pressure. The U.S. response has been relatively decisive in the wake of a pair of reports by The Associated Press in August and September based on interviews with more than 20 women who accused Domingo of sexual harassment or other inappropriate contact. Domingo has denied the allegations. In contrast to the United States, so far no theater in Europe, where the #MeToo movement has had little impact, has canceled any of the singer's planned performances on calendars running through the fall of 2020. In continuing the performances, European venues have cited an absence of allegations in their venues, the lack of a judicial case against him and the singer's well-known affability and undeniable popularity. No investigations have been announced in Europe, although some houses say they are awaiting the outcome of one being conducted at LA Opera, suggesting possible future action depending on the findings. Even as the Zurich Opera confirmed again last week that Domingo would sing the role of Nabucco in what it has been billed as 'a really special gala performance,' the Swiss venue emphasized that it continues to monitor the situation. 'We have given a lot of thought about the upcoming performance of Plácido Domingo as Nabucco on 13 October and we take the matter very seriously,' spokeswoman Bettina Auge said in an email. 'The Zurich Opera commits to establishing a work environment which is free of sexual harassment.' Auge added, 'For us the presumption of innocence is very important.' Even before Domingo removed himself from the Los Angeles opera, the opera critic for Britain's Guardian newspaper wrote that that singer's 'total withdrawal from the Metropolitan Opera in the wake of continuing sexual harassment allegations against him ought to mark a line in the sand for the operatic world.' 'The problem, however, is that when the world of opera is confronted with an expanse of sand, its instinct is to bury its head in it,' the Guardian's Martin Kettle wrote last month. The headline for Kettle's column said London's Royal Opera House 'is living in a dream world if it thinks Domingo should perform there still.' Domingo isn't scheduled to sing at the Royal Opera House until the July 2020 production of 'Don Carlo.' Cast to sing the baritone part of Rodrigo, it would mark his 28th role there since 1971. The opera house, called Covent Garden for short due to its location in the London district of that name, previously said it wasn't aware of any accusations from his earlier appearances there and expressed a 'zero tolerance policy towards harassment of any kind.' This week, the Royal Opera declined to comment further when asked if there were any changes in the calendar in the wake of the U.S. developments. 'It would not be appropriate for us to comment before the conclusion of the formal investigation into Placido Domingo in Los Angeles,' it said. In all, Domingo has been confirmed to appear in 17 European concerts or operas through November 2020, including a 50th anniversary concert at Milan's La Scala on Dec. 15 and four appearances at the Vienna State Opera House - three operas and a youth gala concert. And the Teatro Real in his native Madrid is sticking by him, reiterating an earlier statement that expressed no tolerance for violence against women and said such matters must be dealt with by a court. The singer's hometown theater added, 'We, as many people, think that Placido Domingo is an unquestionable artist with more than half a century of career as one of the most important voices in the lyrical genre.' ____ Jamey Keaten contributed from Geneva, Switzerland and Aritz Parra from Madrid.
  • Roger Bannister, 1954. Eliud Kipchoge, 2019? Like the sub-four minute mile, running a marathon in less than two hours had seemed impossible — until Saturday. But this time there's an asterisk: Olympic champion Kipchoge performed his feat under conditions so tightly controlled to maximize his success that it won't appear in the record books. The 34-year-old Kenyan completed the 42.195 kilometers (26.2 miles) in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40.2 seconds at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, an event set up for the attempt. Ahead of the event, Kipchoge even compared the feat to being 'like the first man on the moon.' Afterward, he drew comparisons to Bannister, the late Briton who 65 years ago became the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes. 'It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister,' Kipchoge said. 'I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours and I can tell people that no human is limited. I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.' With all variables tailored to his advantage, it was still the full marathon distance but it was no regular marathon race, which means his jaw-dropping finishing time will not be ratified by IAAF. Different to an ordinary race, event organizers had set a nine-day window to be flexible and stage the run in the best possible weather conditions. Also, Kipchoge was supported throughout his run by 36 pacemakers who accompanied him in alternating groups, with five athletes running ahead of him in a V-shape and two others closely following. Unlike a normal race, a timing car just in front of the pack also helped keep the scheduled pace, and was equipped with a laser beam, projecting the ideal position on the road, parts of which also had painted stripes to indicate the optimum running line. Furthermore, Kipchoge received drinks handed over by a cyclist to prevent him from having to slow down. Even though his attempt was never meant to set an official world record, Kipchoge was understandably delighted and twice punched his chest in celebration while smiling when he finished. 'That was the best moment of my life,' he said, before adding that he trained 4 ½ months for his extraordinary race against the clock. 'The pressure was very big on my shoulders. I got a phone call from the president of Kenya.' In a statement, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: 'Hearty congratulations, Eliud Kipchoge. You've done it, you've made history and made Kenya proud. Your win today will inspire future generations to dream big and aspire to greatness.' Kipchoge said his mission went beyond athletics. 'We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world,' he said. 'The positivity of sport. I want to make it a clean sport and an interesting sport.' Kipchoge was cheered by thousands along the course in Prater Park and there were celebrations in his home country before he had even finished. Hundreds of joyous Kenyans brought traffic to a standstill in the middle of the capital, Nairobi, as they gathered to watch the end of the run on a large screen. People pumped their fists, clapped and fell to their knees as Kipchoge cruised to the finish line. In Kenya's running mecca of Eldoret, called the home of champions, hundreds of people burst on to the streets in celebration. 'We should line up the entire road from the airport to Nairobi. Receive him like the hero he is,' prominent activist Boniface Mwangi said on Twitter. Running at an average pace of 2 minutes, 50 seconds per kilometer (around 4:33 per mile), Kipchoge was 11 seconds ahead of schedule halfway through his run. He then maintained his tempo until the pacemakers left him for the final 500 meters, where he sped up. 'I was really calm, I was just trying to maintain the pace,' said Kipchoge, adding he was never in doubt about breaking the barrier. 'For me it was not 50-50, it was 90%.' Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemicals company backing the attempt, exchanged high-fives with Kipchoge after the finish. 'He even accelerated in the final kilometer, he is a superhuman,' Ratcliffe said. 'I can't believe he's done it. He did the first half in less than an hour and then he's just done that again.' Organizers said normal anti-doping regulations were in place and that Kipchoge and all the pacemakers were being tested in and out of competition by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The team behind the event 'has ensured all athletes involved in the project are undergoing extensive intelligence-led testing that has been pioneered by the partnership between Abbott World Marathon Majors and the AIU,' they said in a statement to The Associated Press. The Prater Park in the Austrian capital offered long straights, protected from the wind by high trees, for most of the 9.6-kilometer course, which Kipchoge completed more than 4 times. It was his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier, after missing out by 26 seconds at a similar event on the Formula One track in Monza, Italy, in May 2017. Kipchoge, who took Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and has won 10 of his 11 marathons, holds the official world record of 2:01:39 since shattering the previous best mark by 78 seconds in Berlin last year. In the near-perfect circumstances at the meticulously planned attempt, Kipchoge shaved almost two minutes off that time. Long-time coach and mentor, Patrick Sang, a former Olympic and world steeplechase silver medalist, said it was 'really exciting.' 'I am happy for him and what he has achieved. He has inspired all of us that we can stretch our limits and that we can do more than we think we can do,' Sang added. Under Sang's guidance, Kipchoge won gold in the 5,000 meters at the world championship in 2003, the start of a distinguished track career which includes Olympic bronze and silver medals from 2004 and 2008. After missing out on qualification for the 2012 London Olympics on the track, Kipchoge switched to the marathon and has since been pushing the boundaries of the discipline. But he still faces one big challenge — to run under two hours in a regular marathon race. ___ Associated Press writer Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya contributed. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Jessye Norman's illustrious opera career and extraordinary artistry was honored at her public funeral. So was Jessye Norman the loyal friend, the humanitarian, the teacher and the person not only celebrated for her golden voice, but for her heart of gold. Several speakers at Saturday's four-hour service, from family members to close friends to former colleagues, recalled intimate dinners Norman held at her home — one friend called her cooking 'immaculate' — while others told stories about Jessye Norman, the goddess and diva who essentially walked on air. Norman also was recognized as a black pioneer in the arts world who was proud of her Georgia roots and spoke publicly about the challenges she faced in career and called out racism. The funeral took place in Norman's hometown of Augusta at the William B. Bell Auditorium. Laurence Fishburne, the Emmy- and Tony-winning actor who was born in Augusta, told the attendees as a struggling young actor looking for inspiration, he looked at photos of great artists, from Miles Davis to Zora Neale Hurston to Duke Ellington to Norman. 'It made me feel connected to something bigger than myself,' Fishburne said, adding that his black-and-white photo of Norman revealed someone energetic, whimsical and vulnerable. 'So I am here at the request of Jessye's family to grieve with you, to say thank you to God for sharing her with us and the world, to celebrate her life, her good words, her accomplishments, and to praise her for using her talents, her gift, her compassion, her intellect to lift all of us up a little higher.' Fishburne, 58, said he wasn't a close friend of Norman's, but said she would visit him when he performed onstage. 'I would always, always be incredibly grateful and humbled by her praise, and now I finally understand this feeling I couldn't describe then. It was something familial about the way that she spoke with me and dealt with me. I felt like she was one of my aunts. And so in fact I have learned since yesterday that in fact she is.' Norman died Sept. 30 at age 74. The trailblazing performer was one of the rare black singers to attain worldwide stardom in the opera world and her passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor. Several people spoke passionately onstage as they remembered Norman and honored her life. Georgetown University sociologist and author Michael Eric Dyson proudly said: '(Jessye) was black girl magic before the term ever existed. Before there was Oprah and before there was Beyoncé and before there was Michelle Obama, there was Jessye Norman.' 'When she arrived, when she made an entrance, we knew that God had blessed us with a majestic diva,' he continued. 'When she spoke it was tremendous. She spoke unafraid and unapologetic about being black in America, yet she attained the summit and the heights of ecstatic proclamation as one of the world's greatest singers — and yet she never forgot where she came from.' Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of New York's Carnegie Hall — where Norman was on the board — called the icon 'one of the greatest singers who ever lived, not just of our day'; Norman's goddaughter, Lydia Saylor, recalled stories of Norman giving her vocal lessons and said her godmother gave her her first job out of college; and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. May told the attendees, 'May we in the city of Augusta take this day and forever allow it to make us better because of the life of one Augusta daughter.' Other speakers included civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, childhood friends and Norman's brother, nephew, goddaughter and niece-in-law. Performers included Metropolitan Opera mezzo soprano J'Nai Bridges, jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, musical director and arranger Damien Sneed and the glee clubs at Morehouse College and Spelman College. Students of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, which Norman founded in 2003 in Augusta to provide a free fine arts education to disadvantaged children, sang Paul Simon's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' at the service, which was livestreamed. Norman was a wide-ranging performer who knew no limits. She sang at such revered houses as La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, performing title roles in works like 'Carmen,' ?Aida' and more. She sang the works of Wagner, but was not limited to opera or classical music, performing songs by Duke Ellington and others as well. In an interview she profoundly said, 'Pigeonholing is only interesting to pigeons.' Norman was born on Sept. 15, 1945, in Augusta in segregationist times. She studied at Howard University, the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan. She made her operatic debut in 1969 in Berlin, wowing audiences on stages in Milan, London and New York thanks to her shining vocals, no matter the language. The New York Times described her voice as 'a grand mansion of sound.' In 1997, at age 52, Norman became the youngest person ever to earn the Kennedy Center Honor in the organization's 20-year history at the time. She received her National Medal of Arts from then-President Barack Obama and has earned honorary doctorates from a number of prestigious schools, including Juilliard, Harvard and Yale. Hundreds paid their respects to Norman during visitation Thursday and Friday at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and Augusta named a street for her Friday just outside the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.