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    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.
  • 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.
  • Robert Forster, the handsome and omnipresent character actor who got a career resurgence and Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in 'Jackie Brown,' died Friday. He was 78. Publicist Kathie Berlin said Forster died of brain cancer following a brief illness. He was at home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, including his four children and partner Denise Grayson. Condolences poured in Friday night on social media. Bryan Cranston called Forster a 'lovely man and a consummate actor' in a tweet. The two met on the 1980 film 'Alligator' and then worked together again on the television show 'Breaking Bad' and its spinoff film, 'El Camino,' which launched Friday on Netflix. 'I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood,' Cranston wrote. His 'Jackie Brown' co-star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted that Forster was 'truly a class act/Actor!!' A native of Rochester, New York, Forster quite literally stumbled into acting when in college, intending to be a lawyer, he followed a fellow female student he was trying to talk to into an auditorium where 'Bye Bye Birdie' auditions were being held. He would be cast in that show, that fellow student would become his wife with whom he had three daughters, and it would start him on a new trajectory as an actor. A fortuitous role in the 1965 Broadway production 'Mrs. Dally Has a Lover' put him on the radar of Darryl Zanuck, who signed him to a studio contract. He would soon make his film debut in the 1967 John Huston film 'Reflections in a Golden Eye,' which starred Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Forster would go on to star in Haskell Wexler's documentary-style Chicago classic 'Medium Cool' and the detective television series 'Banyon.' It was an early high point that he would later say was the beginning of a '27-year slump.' He worked consistently throughout the 1970s and 1980s in mostly forgettable B-movies — ultimately appearing in over 100 films, many out of necessity. 'I had four kids, I took any job I could get,' he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year. 'Every time it reached a lower level I thought I could tolerate, it dropped some more, and then some more. Near the end, I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, no nothing. I was taking whatever fell through the cracks.' It was Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film 'Jackie Brown' that put him back on the map. Tarantino created the role of Max Cherry with Forster in mind — the actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for a part in 'Reservoir Dogs,' but the director promised not to forget him. In an interview with Fandor last year, Forster recalled that when presented with the script for 'Jackie Brown,' he told Tarantino, 'I'm sure they're not going to let you hire me.' Tarantino replied: 'I hire anybody I want.' 'And that's when I realized I was going to get another shot at a career,' Forster said. 'He gave me a career back and the last 14 years have been fabulous.' The performance opposite Pam Grier became one of the more heartwarming Hollywood comeback stories, earning him his first and only Academy Award nomination. He ultimately lost the golden statuette to Robin Williams, who won that year for 'Good Will Hunting.' After 'Jackie Brown,' he worked consistently and at a decidedly higher level than during the 'slump,' appearing in films like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive,' ''Me, Myself and Irene,' ''The Descendants,' ''Olympus Has Fallen,' and 'What They Had,' and in television shows like 'Breaking Bad' and the 'Twin Peaks' revival. He said he loved trying out comedy as Tim Allen's father in 'Last Man Standing.' He'll also appear later this year in the Steven Spielberg-produced Apple+ series 'Amazing Stories.' Even in his down days, Forster always considered himself lucky. 'You learn to take whatever jobs there are and make the best you can out of whatever you've got. And anyone in any walk of life, if they can figure that out, has a lot better finish than those who cannot stand to take a picture that doesn't pay you as much or isn't as good as the last one,' he told IndieWire in 2011. 'Attitude is everything.' Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and Grayson, his partner of 16 years.
  • Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, Awkwafina and more stars overcame a dysfunctional teleprompter to toast one another and their charities at a women's luncheon Friday in Beverly Hills. 'I'm fine but Jen (Aniston) is freaking it back there,' DeGeneres said as harried staff struggled to fix the broken screens that just a few minutes earlier had Awkwafina nervously winging it ('I can do a little tech support,' she offered) before calling someone to just bring up her phone so she could read her speech manually. But there's nothing like a few comedians to handle technological issues with grace and humor. Both had the crowd in stiches despite the minor chaos happening around them. The 11th annual Variety Power of Women luncheon honoring Aniston, Awkwafina, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, Brie Larson and Disney Television Studios chairman Dana Walden boasted a roster of A-list guests and presenters from DeGeneres, to Natalie Portman and Ryan Murphy who charmed and inspired the well-heeled crowd of entertainers and industry insiders with speeches about their charitable causes and their commitment to empowering women in the industry. Aniston was introduced by DeGeneres, who kept things light and didn't mention the recent social media uproar around her friendship with George W. Bush. 'What an honor it is for Jen Aniston to receive this from me,' DeGeneres said. 'In a world where people are angry and mean she is one of the nicest people I've ever met.' Aniston wiped tears away as she recalled meeting a young girl fighting cancer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 'Every child deserves to know that they are seen and heard,' she said, remembering a time when an adult told her, at 11, that she didn't have anything interesting to say. She said she carried that sentence with her into adulthood and often finds herself feeling like that 11-year-old at dinners. 'The Morning Show' star said her 'Friends' mom Marlo Thomas introduced her to the hospital, which she has been working with for 25 years. And she said the last two years in the industry, following the rise of #MeToo, has made her think a lot about the messages 'we send' young kids and girls. 'The things we say and do can either build them up or tear them down and make them feel like maybe their voices don't matter,' Aniston said. She admitted that she never, 'Actually thought about myself as powerful. Strong, yes, but not powerful...It's a distinction I've actually been thinking about a lot lately because that word 'power' and its counterpart, 'abuse of power,' keeps coming up in light of what is happening in our country and in our industry — a rebalancing of the scales.' Aniston's speech wasn't the only to touch on cancer. Ryan Murphy, who credited Walden with giving him a chance in television when no one else would, also thanked the Disney executive for being there when he found out his 18-month-old son had a tumor a few years ago. Walden has worked with the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center since her own mother was diagnosed a decade ago. Justice and empowerment were also on the minds of Carey, who spoke about how her own experiences at a performing arts camp helped inspire her to begin Camp Mariah 25 years ago, and Larson, who ceded part of her speech to Equal Justice Initiative operations director Eva Ansley, the woman she plays in the upcoming movie 'Just Mercy,' about the advocacy organization's founding. The event, which was put on with the help of presenters like Lifetime and sponsors like Audi, was tamer than in years past when celebrities used their platforms to talk about everything from politics and the patriarchy to Harvey Weinstein. But Carey managed to thrown in a little spice of her own in remembering how she had to learn how to gain control over her career over the men who wanted to dictate what she wore and who she worked with when she was just starting out. 'I want to thank each woman in this room and all the women who have come forward with their truths, their harrowing experiences, and above all their triumphs over the misogynistic society of corporate (expletives) that we deal with every day,' she said. --- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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  • A woman who shot and killed a popular street performer outside the H.E. Holmes MARTA station three years ago is headed to prison.  >> Read more trending news  Lucianna Fox, 44, fatally shot 54-year-old Leroy Midyette in Nov. 5, 2016, after running over the homeless man’s shopping cart twice. Midyette, who performed outside the train station, was affectionately known as “Tin Man” because of the silver paint he wore when he danced, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said Friday in a news release. The night of the shooting, Fox got mad at Midyette as he pushed his belongings across an access road that led into the parking lot of the Holmes station, authorities said. Fox told him to move his cart out of the road and Midyette motioned for the woman to drive around.Instead, Fox slammed into Midyette’s cart, threw her car in reverse and rammed it again before driving off. Upset, Midyette ran toward Fox’s car as she waited at a nearby stop sign and confronted her. Fox then got out of her car, drew a silver handgun and shot the homeless man in the chest from about 2 feet away, prosecutors said. She then set her weapon on the hood of her car and waited for police to arrive as Midyette died in the street. The entire incident was captured on MARTA’s surveillance cameras, and Fox was arrested at the scene, authorities said. She was convicted of murder and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and sentenced to life in prison plus five years. 
  • Court documents filed against an Indianapolis man accused of violently assaulting his mother with a cast iron frying pan last month give gruesome details of how badly the woman was beaten. Bobby Wayne Gibson Jr., 44, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, strangulation and auto theft, according to Marion County court records. A judge last week ordered him held in lieu of a $90,000 surety bond. Gibson was also ordered to stay away from his mother, for whom an order of protection was granted, court records show. >> Read more trending news  Gibson was arrested Sept. 25 after an anonymous tip led police to a vacant home, where he told officers his mother had given him her car, a silver Chevy Malibu, to sell for drugs, WRTV in Indianapolis reported. Fox 59 reported that a SWAT standoff earlier in the day, which included tear gas and flash grenades, had failed to turn up the fugitive. Gibson had been on the run since the day before, when police officers went to his mother’s home and found her unresponsive and covered in blood, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by WRTV. The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition. According to the affidavit, her injuries included “multiple skull and facial fractures, three lacerations in the head that penetrated to the skull, exposed brain matter due to a hole in the skull, four deep lacerations to the chest and a collapsed lung.” Her condition was not immediately available Friday afternoon. Detectives who went to her home found blood spattered throughout the kitchen and living room, along with “broken glass, broken kitchen utensils and a bloody cast-iron frying pan with a broken handle,” the document said. Blood was on the carpet, the telephone and the walls in both rooms. Gibson’s mother, who was able to speak to detectives at the hospital, told them an argument began when she spotted a bottle of vodka in her son’s pocket and told him he was not allowed to drink in her home, WRTV reported. She told police she poured the vodka out and told her son, who has a criminal record, “The court needs to do something with you.” “You wanna lock me up? I’m gonna give you something to lock me up,” she said Gibson responded, according to the affidavit. The victim told detectives Gibson attacked her, choking her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, he was beating and kicking her and hitting her with pots and pans from the kitchen, the news station reported. Gibson demanded her purse, so she told him where it was, and he left in her car, WRTV reported. A silver car could be seen in photos taken by a Fox 59 reporter during the Sept. 25 SWAT situation on the city’s south side. Authorities at the scene told the news station Gibson had forced his way into the home, where his wife was staying. She fled the house and called 911, Fox 59 reported. When the tear gas and flash grenades failed to get anyone to come outside, officers went in and found the house empty, the news station said. Gibson was taken into custody a few hours later.
  • A California man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the hammer killing of his former roommate, whose body was found stuffed into a wall in their former apartment six years after she was reported missing. Randolph Eric Garbutt, 47, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest last month to voluntary manslaughter in the 2009 slaying of Raven Joy Campbell, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to prison on Tuesday. Garbutt’s ex-girlfriend, Myesha Smith, testified at a December 2016 preliminary hearing in the case that Garbutt told her he’d hit Campbell, who family members said was developmentally disabled, in the head with a hammer. “He hit her one time and she kind of fought for her life, and he hit her again,” Smith testified, according to The Daily Breeze in Torrance. “He said, ‘God wanted her.’” >> Read more trending news  Garbutt has been in custody since his Feb. 4, 2016, murder arrest, so he will get credit for time already served, the Breeze reported. Campbell’s family on Tuesday pointed out the irony that Garbutt’s post-conviction prison time could end up being about the same amount of time her body remained hidden. “To place her in a wall, the irony is this man will probably only do about as much time as she was while she was in the wall,” Raven Campbell’s sister, Cynthia Campbell Kemp, said in court, according to the Breeze. “That’s the crime. The punishment is not just, but we’re just going to have to accept it.” Campbell, 31, was reported missing by her family in June 2009. According to authorities, she had last been seen leaving her apartment, Apartment 507 at Harbor Hills, a public housing complex in an unincorporated area of Lomita. She is survived by a son, Nicholas, who family members told the Breeze will turn 18 later this month. He was 7 when his mother vanished. “He’s just devastated by this,” Kemp told the newspaper. “I wish you could have let us know where she was so we didn’t have to keep searching,” another sister, Linda Campbell told Garbutt during his sentencing hearing. “Her son had to think his mom was alive for years.” Another of Campbell’s sisters, Malaikah Manasseh, told the Los Angeles Times in 2015 that Campbell lived in a group home before she moved into the housing project with a high school friend. The friend’s boyfriend also was a resident of record at the apartment in late 2008, when Campbell moved in, authorities said. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide Lt. Steve Jauch said during a news conference the day after Garbutt’s 2016 arrest that Campbell’s friend, identified during later court proceedings as Nicole Nelson, and her boyfriend invited Campbell to stay with them. “They brought her in to live at the residence so she could save some money,” Jauch said. Garbutt, a friend of the couple, was also staying at the apartment during the six months Campbell lived there, Jauch said. The lieutenant told reporters the roommates, including Garbutt, all became friends. Nathan and her boyfriend were interviewed at length and were not suspected in Campbell’s killing, the lieutenant said. Campbell’s family immediately suspected foul play when Campbell vanished because her purse was left behind, Manasseh told the Times. She said her sister always wore her purse strapped against her chest and would not have left home without it. A tip and a gruesome discovery  The case remained cold until late June 2015, when homicide investigators, acting on a tip, went to the unit but found no one home, Jauch said. They returned the next day with cadaver dogs and got the new tenants’ permission to search the apartment. The dogs alerted their handlers to the possible presence of human remains inside a closet under the two-story unit’s stairs. Investigators got permission from the Los Angeles County Housing Authority to knock down a portion of the wall, which had a visible patched-up hole, Jauch said. “Detectives removed the actual piece of paneling that was used to patch it up and there appeared to be something suspicious behind this wall, on the floor a good distance down in this closet area of the residence,” the lieutenant said. The following week, on July 2, 2015, homicide detectives and staff from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office exhumed Campbell’s remains. The medical examiner identified the body and determined Campbell had died of blunt force trauma to the head. The residents living in the apartment at the time were stunned, Jauch said. They were temporarily relocated when their home became a crime scene. “I think the natural reaction from anyone hearing information that there may be human remains where you’re living, I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t be taken aback by that information,” Jauch said, according to the Times. Campbell’s body was found in an empty space behind the closet. “It’s hollow and connects to the closet,” Candace Diggs, a resident in the housing complex told the newspaper. “These units are all built the same. They’re all concrete except for the wall behind the stairs.” Jauch explained that empty space under the stairs appeared to be an unusual design. “Typically, when you picture a hole in the wall, what most of us picture would be a hole in a wall with a floor directly at the base of the wall,” Jauch said, using the wall behind him to demonstrate. “That wasn’t the case here. “It was a configuration where the hole in the wall inside of the closet area … actually dropped down several feet to a dirt floor.” Watch Lt. Steve Jauch discuss the killing of Raven Campbell below. When detectives and crime scene technicians removed the patch job from the wall and looked down, they could see the bundle containing Campbell’s remains. According to KTLA, Campbell’s family members were certain the remains were hers as soon as they were found. At the time of the discovery, they blamed investigators for not doing a more thorough search of her home when she went missing. “We said bring the dogs, bring … everything we saw on ‘CSI.’ We wanted them to do that. They said, ‘No, we don’t find any reason,’” Campbell’s cousin, Linda Campbellhumphrey told the news station in 2015. “We, in our heart of hearts, know it’s her.” Jauch said during the 2016 news conference that homicide and missing persons detectives conducted significant legwork after Campbell disappeared. “Interviews were conducted, bank records were checked, phone records were checked,” Jauch said. “Ultimately, the case went cold.” Campbell’s family described her as a sweet, trusting woman. “She was such a wonderful spirit,” a third sister, Renee Campbell, told KTLA in 2015. The siblings’ mother, Joreena Johnson, pleaded for information about her daughter’s death at a vigil following the gruesome discovery. “Who did this to her? She didn’t deserve this,” a tearful Johnson said, according to the news station. “Y’all help me find out what happened to my baby, please.” Garbutt was arrested on a murder charge seven months after Campbell’s body was found. Jauch said the arrest was the result of tireless efforts by homicide detectives, who looked at anyone who had a connection to the apartment in the time frame Campbell lived there. “Over the last several months, really, the credo from our detectives was, ‘Let’s don’t do this in a hurry, let’s do it right,’” Jauch said. Garbutt was initially arrested on a traffic warrant, the lieutenant said in 2016. “After being released on the warrant, he was immediately booked for the murder of Raven Campbell,” Jauch said. He was rebooked into the Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. On Friday, Garbutt remained at the Los Angeles County jail system’s Pitchless Detention Center in Castaic, awaiting his transfer to state prison, jail records showed. A mistrial and a plea  Garbutt initially went on trial for Campbell’s slaying in 2018, but a mistrial was declared after information came to light about two witnesses neither prosecutors nor the defense team was aware of, the Breeze said. Two weeks of testimony prior to the mistrial revealed that Garbutt beat Campbell to death and enlisted Smith, the mother of his child, to help him push her body into the space behind the closet wall. Prosecutors said Smith began receiving Campbell’s mail, including her government checks, at her Inglewood home after Campbell vanished. The Breeze reported that police found Campbell’s identification in Smith’s possession a month after she went missing. It was unclear why Smith was not linked to Campbell’s disappearance at that time. The newspaper reported that Garbutt’s public defender, Rhonda Haymon, argued during last year’s trial that Smith, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against her ex-boyfriend, was the true killer and Garbutt took the blame so their child would not grow up without a mother. Garbutt told investigators Campbell, who had been drinking, fell and hit her head after returning from bingo with another roommate, the Breeze reported. He said he panicked, afraid he’d be blamed for her head injury, and suffocated her with a plastic grocery bag. No other motive besides the story Garbutt told authorities has ever been uncovered. Smith testified that it was she and Nathan who went to play bingo the night Campbell was killed. When they returned, she found Garbutt “sweeping and mopping” the floor, using bleach to clean it, the Breeze reported. Smith said she thought nothing of it because Nathan liked to keep the apartment clean. According to the Breeze, Smith said she fell asleep on the couch but awoke to the sound of drilling. Smith said she found Garbutt inside the closet under the stairs, cutting a hole in the wall. A body was lying on the closet floor, wrapped in plastic and a floral print blanket, Smith testified. Garbutt told her it was Campbell. Smith testified that Garbutt climbed into the hole and started dragging Campbell’s body into it before asking her for help. She said she pushed the lifeless form about 2 inches. “He just pushed the body in the wall,” Smith said. The Breeze reported that Garbutt told Smith to keep a lookout to ensure no one was coming near the closet. “I was pacing back and forth,” Smith said, according to the newspaper. “I was at the window, and I was looking at the closet and my nerves was all ragged.” Investigators testified at the preliminary hearing that Garbutt said he used a bowl to dig up some dirt to throw over Campbell. After climbing out of the hole, he tossed several bathroom air fresheners into the makeshift grave to help cover the smell. Smith testified she was scared Garbutt would harm her if she told anyone what he had done, because he “always threatened and always told her he could kill her and no one would care,” the Breeze reported. Campbell’s family members, seven of whom spoke at Garbutt’s sentencing hearing, told the newspaper they believe if Garbutt had again gone to trial, he would have been convicted of murder and faced life in prison. They expressed heartbreak over the plea deal and subsequent, much lighter sentence. “I would have rather had a jury tell me ‘not guilty’ than to hear he’s only going to be in there for another five years,” Renee Campbell told the Breeze after the hearing. “It’s not ideal, but at least we get some closure.” The Campbell family described Raven as kind, loving, good-natured and innocent. She loved talking to loved ones on the phone and it was the sudden halt in her phone calls in the summer of 2009 that told them something had happened to her. They viewed her developmental issues as a gift, the Breeze reported. “The way she viewed the world was a lot healthier than most of us,” her niece, Princess Manessah, said.
  • Protests are underway after a City of Jacksonville spokesperson confirms that Mayor Lenny Curry has signed a bill that would effectively shut down Internet cafes in the area.  WOKV told you earlier this week, when the Jacksonville City Council voted in favor of a bill that would shut the businesses down immediately. The council had previously voted back in May to close the businesses, but decided at that time to give the operators until February 2020 to close their doors.  The city has said internet cafes are a nuisance and draw crime into the city. Data collected in September 2018 showed that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received more than 28,000 calls to addresses tied to nearly 100 Internet cafes during a 5-year period.
  • A federal appellate court ruled Friday that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers continue to probe his possible conflicts of interest. >> Read more trending news  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in a 2-1 ruling that lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA. Trump and his attorneys have argued against releasing the records, claiming that lawmakers lack a 'legitimate legislative purpose' for seeking the documents. >> Read the full ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 'The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one,' Judge David Tatel wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Patricia Millett. 'Disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story.' Tatel was put on the appellate court by President Bill Clinton and Millett was put on the court by President Barack Obama, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. 'Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,' Tatel wrote. Trump could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a statement released Friday, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings heralded the ruling and called for Mazars to quickly release Trump's financial records to Congress. 'Today's ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for Congressional oversight, our Constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law,' Cummings said. 'After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the Committee's lawful subpoena. We must fulfill our stated legislative and oversight objectives and permit the American people to obtain answers about some of the deeply troubling questions regarding the President's adherence to Constitutional and statutory requirements to avoid conflicts of interest.' The ruling upheld a ruling issued by a lower court in support of lawmakers' right to subpoena Trump's financial records. Trump has been fighting off efforts by Congress to obtain his financial records since at least April, when the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the documents from Mazars. Among other records, lawmakers sought documents from 2011 to 2018 for investigation into the president's reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest. The list of subpoenaed documents did not include Trump's tax returns, which are being sought by the House Ways and Means Committee. The group sued the Trump administration earlier this year for access to the president's tax returns in a case that continues to wind its way through the courts. In a separate case in New York, Trump sued to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records. A judge ruled against him, and Trump appealed. The president is also trying in court to stop the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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