A federal jury on Wednesday convicted R. Kelly of several child pornography and sex abuse charges in his hometown of Chicago, delivering another legal blow to a singer who used to be one of the biggest R&B stars in the world.
Kelly, 55, was found guilty on three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement.
But the jury acquitted him on a fourth pornography count as well as a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him of fixing his state child pornography trial in 2008. He was found not guilty on all three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography and for two further enticement charges.
His two co-defendants were found not guilty on all charges.
Jurors, who deliberated for 11 hours over two days, wrote several questions to the judge on Wednesday, at least one indicating the panellists were grappling with some of the case’s legal complexities.
One asked if they had to find Kelly both enticed and coerced minors, or that he either enticed or coerced them. Over objections from Kelly’s lawyer, the judge said they only need to find one.
At trial, prosecutors sought to paint a picture of Kelly as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to reel in star-stuck fans, some of them minors, to sexually abuse and discard them.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was desperate to recover child pornographic videos he made and lugged around in a gym bag, witnesses said. They said he offered up to $1 million to recover missing videos before his 2008 trial, knowing they would land him in legal peril. The conspiracy to hide his abuse ran from 2000 to 2020, prosecutors said.
Kelly associates Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown were co-defendants at the Chicago trial. Jurors acquitted McDavid, a longtime Kelly business manager, who was accused of conspiring with Kelly to rig the 2008 trial. Brown, a Kelly associate for years, was acquitted of receiving child pornography.
Kelly has already been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in New York and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In Chicago, a conviction of just one count of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, while receipt of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years. Judges can order that defendants sentenced earlier in separate cases serve their new sentence simultaneously with or only after the first term is fully served. Federal inmates must serve at least 85% of their sentences.
During closing arguments Tuesday, Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean likened the government’s testimony and evidence to a cockroach and its case to a bowl of soup.
If a cockroach falls into soup, she said, “you don’t just pull out the cockroach and eat the rest of the soup. You throw out the whole soup,” said told jurors.
“There are just too many cockroaches,” she said of the prosecution’s case.
The three defendants called only a handful of witnesses over four days. Co-defendant McDavid, who was on the stand for three days, may have damaged Kelly’s hopes for acquittal by saying that he now doubts Kelly was truthful when he denied abusing anyone after hearing the superstar’s accusers testify.
In her closing rebuttal, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng cited testimony that Kelly’s inner circle increasingly focused on doing what Kelly wanted as his fame boomed in the mid-1990s.
“And ladies and gentlemen, what R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” she said.
Four Kelly accusers testified, all referred to by pseudonyms or their first names: Jane, Nia, Pauline and Tracy. Some cried when describing the abuse but otherwise spoke calmly and with confidence. A fifth accuser, Brittany, did not testify.
Sitting nearby in a suit and face mask, Kelly often averted his eyes and looked down as his accusers spoke.
Some dozen die-hard Kelly fans regularly attended the trial. On at least one occasion during a break, several made hand signs of a heart at Kelly. He smiled back.
Jane, 37, was the government’s star witness and pivotal to the fixing charge, which accused Kelly of using threats and payoffs to get her to lie to a grand jury before his 2008 trial and to ensure she and her parents wouldn’t testify.
A single video, which state prosecutors said was Kelly abusing a girl of around 14, was the focal point of that trial.
On the witness stand for two days at the end of August, Jane paused, tugged at a necklace and dabbed her eyes with a tissue when she said publicly for the first time that the girl in the video was her aged 14 and that the man was Kelly, who would have been around 30.
Some jurors in the 2008 trial said they had to acquit Kelly because the girl in the video didn’t testify. At the federal trial in Chicago, Jane said she lied to a state grand jury in 2002 when she said it was not her in the video, saying part of her reason for lying was that she cared for Kelly and didn’t want to get him into trouble.
Jane told jurors she was 15 when they first had intercourse. Asked how many times they had sex before she turned 18, she answered quietly: “Uncountable times. … Hundreds.”
Jane, who belonged to a teenage singing group, first met Kelly in the late 1990s when she was in junior high school. She had visited Kelly’s Chicago recording studio with her aunt, a professional singer. Soon after that meeting, Jane told her parents Kelly was going to be her godfather.
Jane testified that when her parents confronted Kelly in the early 2000s he dropped to his knees and begged them for forgiveness. She said she implored her parents not to take action against Kelly because she loved him.
Defence attorneys suggested a desire for money and fame drove some government witnesses to accuse Kelly, and they accused several people of trying to blackmail him. They also suggested that at least one of his accusers was 17 — the age of consent in Illinois — when Kelly began pursuing her for sex.
Bonjean implored jurors not to accept the prosecution’s portrayal of her client as “a monster,” saying Kelly was forced to rely on others because of intellectual challenges, and that he was sometimes led astray.
“Mr. Kelly can also be a victim,” she said in her opening statement.
Prosecutors played jurors excerpts from three videos that Jane said featured her. Court officials set up opaque screens around the jurors so journalists and spectators couldn’t see the videos or the jurors’ reactions.
But the sound was audible. In one video, the girl is heard repeatedly calling the man “daddy.” At one point she asks: “Daddy, do you still love me?” The man gives her sexually explicit instructions.
Prosecutors have said Kelly shot the video that was also evidence in the 2008 trial in a log cabin-themed room at his North Side Chicago home around 1998.
Another accuser, Pauline, said Jane introduced her to Kelly when they were 14-year-old middle school classmates in 1998. At Kelly’s Chicago home later that year, Pauline described her shock when she said she first walked in on Kelly and a naked Jane. She said Kelly told her that everyone has secrets. “This is our secret,” she testified he said.
Pauline told jurors she still cares for Kelly. But, as a 37-year-old mom, she said she now has a different perspective.
“If somebody did something to my kids,” she said, “I’m killing ’em. Period.”
Queen Of Country Music Loretta Lynn Dies Aged 90
Loretta Lynn, who became a standard – bearer for women in country music with her songs of strength and independence,
died at the age of 90.
Her songs, most notably on the autobiographical Coal Miner’s Daughter, were rooted in real – life experience,
earning her the title “Queen of Country.”
Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’, Honky Tonk Girl, and the feminist anthem The Pill were also hits.
Lynn died on Tuesday at her home in Tennessee, according to her family.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, died peacefully in her sleep this morning, October 4th, at home in her beloved
ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the family said in a statement.
They requested privacy while they grieved and stated that a memorial would be announced later.
Loretta Webb was born in a one-room log cabin in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky in 1932. She was the second child of eight.
Her family eked out a living during the Depression, as she would later sing in Coal Miner’s Daughter, with her father earning
a “poor man’s dollar” by working all night in the coal mines and all day in the fields “a-hoein’ corn.”
Her family provided its own entertainment – her mother played guitar, with her father on banjo – and she grew up
listening to Carter Family songs.
“I was singing when I was born, I think,” she told the Associated Press in 2016. “Daddy used to come out on the porch where I would be singing and rocking the babies to sleep.
“He’d say, ‘Loretta, shut that big mouth. People all over this holler can hear you.’ And I said, ‘Daddy,
what difference does it make? They are all my cousins.’”
When she was 15, she went to a “pie social,” where local girls baked pies and men bid to win both the
food and a meeting with the cook.
Oliver Lynn, a 21-year-old solider who swept Loretta off her feet, won Loretta’s pie, which was baked with salt instead of sugar.
They married a month later and moved to Custer, Washington, where they raised four children.
Her husband, whom she referred to as “Doo” or “Doolittle,” encouraged her to sing professionally and
purchased her a $17 (£14.80) Sears guitar, with which she formed Loretta and the Trailblazers,
which included her brother Jay Lee Webb.
Success, her first Decca record, was released in 1962, kicking off an impressive run of hits that lasted until the 1990s.
Lynn’s first number one hit was Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) in 1966,
and she went on to top the US country charts 15 more times.
She released 60 albums in total and received 18 Grammy nominations, winning three.
Veteran Actor Ekow Blankson Passes On
Ekow Blankson, a veteran actor and GhanaWeb’s Commercial Manager, has died.
The news of his death was first announced on Facebook by Accra-based Hitz FM, and was later confirmed by a number of industry figures as well as colleagues at Ghanaweb.
The cause of his death is unknown.
Ekow Blankson held various leadership positions with four multinational corporations, including Ghana Breweries Limited, a Heineken subsidiary; Coca-Cola; Vodafone; and WaterHealth International.
He has also held positions as Managing Director, Director of Brands and Corporate Communications, and
General Manager (Luv FM and Nhyira FM) with media companies such as TV Africa, Media General Ghana Limited,
and Multimedia Broadcasting Company.
He was also the conglomerate Groupe Ideal’s Director of Strategy and Corporate Communications.
Ekow Blankson earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Ghana, Legon, as well as a marketing certificate
from Heineken University in Amsterdam and a Diploma in Theatre Arts (Drama) from the University of Ghana, Legon.
He also received extensive training in marketing, sales, management, and advertising. He is a full member of the
Ghana Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIMG).
Fuse ODG Also Cites GTA For Unauthorised Use Of His Content
In a statement obtained, the musician revealed that although he has sanctioned works in the past for government use most notably his 2018 record “Bra Fie” ft Damian Marley, which was used as the theme song for the Year of Return; which we launched via our TINA festival alongside the President, no such process was observed in relation to the recent video in question regarding our record “New African Girl”
He sympathized with Ayat who has also had to suffer this unfair treatment.
The statement reads;
“As a company, we feel that the last few days have exposed an issue in Ghana that goes beyond the office of the President: The lack of respect and understanding of intellectual property.
We have sanctioned works in the past for government use, most notably, our 2018 record “Bra Fie” ft Damian Marley, which was used as the theme song for the Year of Return; which we launched via our TINA festival alongside the President.
However, no such process was observed in relation to the recent video in question regarding our record “New African Girl”
We sympathise with Kirani Ayat. As creative persons, we sacrifice a lot to be able to put together a song let alone a whole video with high-quality production value.
As a company we have stayed true to our own mission, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote Ghana over the years off our own backs, which we will continue to do.
Clearly, mistakes have been made by the Government in this situation, but hopefully, they can simply hold their hand up and take corrective action to compensate accordingly.
Going forward, the solution must be to invest in more education around intellectual property. This is something the ministry can do both internally and for the creative sector as a whole. Ghana has always been an influential voice in music globally and a lot more can be done to support artists from an early stage.
In the meantime, our legal teams are in discussion with the ministry and their legal team in order to resolve this issue.“
— Fuse ODG (@FuseODG) September 29, 2022
On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, the president of Ghana shared a video as part of a campaign dubbed Visit Ghana. The video has portions of Fuse ODG’s 2018 released single New African Girl which featured Kuami Eugene and KiDi.
Beneath the deep blue sky, the Black Star is calling. Follow the stars and let them take you on a journey of our people. I invite everyone to the country at the centre of the world – #Ghana 🇬🇭. #VisitGhana2022 pic.twitter.com/2m5KC2QTkt
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) September 27, 2022
‘I Have Not Granted Any Agency The Right To Use My Work.’ – Kirani Ayat Responds To GTA
The dispute between Ghanaian musician Kirani Ayat and the Ghana Tourism Authority over copyright infringement does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
Yesterday, Kirani Ayat chastised the Presidency for using parts of his music video in an advertisement without his permission.
This came after Ghana’s President, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, shared a video promoting tourism in Ghana in honor of World
Tourism Day 2022.
According to Kirani Ayat, the President used a portion of his “Guda” video in the advertisement, despite the fact that he received
no response from the Ministry of Tourism after contacting them in the 2018/2019 fiscal year to request permission to use the video to
promote tourism in the north.
Some portions of Kirani Ayat’s music video for his hit song “Guda” can be seen in the video, which captures beautiful scenes of the country with a VoiceOver by the President.
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) responded today to the claims of copyright infringement made by Kirani Ayat.
According to a GTA statement, the footage was purchased from a creative agency three years ago and has been used for promotional purposes both locally and internationally.
The GTA, on the other hand, did not reveal the name of the agency that created the video, only stating that Kirani Ayat’s concerns had been forwarded to them.
In a statement issued in response to the Ghana Tourism Authority’s (GTA) statement, Kirani denied giving any agency rights to his intellectual property and threatened legal action against the authority.
See his statement below.
In response to the Ghana Tourism Authority statement.
I would like to state I and ONLY I (Kirani Ayat) owns the rights to the GUDA video. No agency has ANY rights or have been granted any rights to use my video for the visit Ghana Ad campaign. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/vswVjqTtHJ
— Kirani Ayat 🌍 (@KiraniAYAT) September 28, 2022
The Footage Was Obtained Legally – GTA Responds To Kirani Ayat
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has responded to a claim of intellectual property infringement made by Ghanaian musician Kirani Ayat.
The Authority stated in a statement released on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, that “the footage in question was acquired legitimately
from a bespoke creative agency as part of a project in 2019.”
It was also revealed that the aforementioned video had been played several times locally and internationally without incident in accordance with the terms agreed with the agency and not as alleged.
Read the full statement below.
Our attention has been drawn to a tweet by Kirani Ayat and a publication by GhanaWeb regarding a video produced by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), which has been shared on our platforms since 2019 and recently on the social media handles of the President.
For the record, the footage in question was acquired legitimately from a bespoke creative agency as part of a project in 2019.
This video has thus been played severally locally and internationally without any issue. The content was used in accordance with the terms agreed with the agency and not as being alleged.
According to Clause 2 (b) of the MOU signed with the Agency (Obligations: Responsibility of the Agency), the Agency was to “Deliver imaginative and impactful social strategies, such as content or documentaries for the use of GTA ‘as it so wishes’.
The agency delivered the content to the Authority, and the Authority used the content in accordance with the terms of the MOU.
The above notwithstanding, since the Authority became aware of the tweet from @kiraniayat, we have reached out to the Agency to deal with the matter. This is without prejudice to any legal options available to the Authority against the Artiste and/or Agency or vice versa.
The Authority has been very supportive of the Arts and has created platforms for engagement and performances for our Artistes, and we will continue to do so in our quest to make Ghana the preferred tourism destination.”
On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, Kirani Ayat called out the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo for sharing a campaign which used portions of his creative piece without any prior arrangements.
In a tweet, he wrote;
“The president of Ghana has used my video “GUDA” in this ad to promote Ghana. I was actively reaching out to the Ministry of Tourism in 2018/19 to use this video to push tourism in the North and got NO reply, yet today it’s in an ad and no one reached out to me for permission.”
The president of Ghana has used my video “GUDA” in this ad to promote Ghana. I was actively reaching out to the Ministry of Tourism in 2018/19 to use this video to push tourism in the North and got NO reply, yet today it’s in an ad and no one reached out to me for permission. 🤦♂️ https://t.co/vLnAP0bRqf
— Kirani Ayat 🌍 (@KiraniAYAT) September 27, 2022
Watch Guda by Kirani Ayat Below
Mmrantiehene Of Sompa FM Passes On
Singer-Songwriter Jesse Powell Dies At Age 51
The singer’s family shared a statement announcing his death.
R&B vocalist Jesse Powell has died, according to a statement released by his family. The Gary, Indiana, native was reportedly 51.
Powell’s sister Tamara Powell, who is also a singer, shared the statement in an Instagram post.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother and uncle Jesse Powell. He passed away peacefully in his Los Angeles home,” the statement said.
“The family asks for privacy at this time as we mourn the tremendous loss and celebrate his everlasting legacy.
Jesse loved music and he especially loved his fans who supported him throughout his career. We want you all to know that you meant the world to him.”
View this post on Instagram
Powell released his self-titled debut album in March 1996 via Silas Records/MCA. It included the singles “All I Need,” “Gloria” and “I Like It.”
Nestled within the album was “You,” a ballad that later became his signature song and appeared on his sophomore album, ‘Bout It.
Bout It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in June 1999 for selling more than 500,000 copies.
Powell went on to release two additional albums, JP (2001) and Jesse (2003). The former album included the lead single “If I,” another powerful yet underrated ballad.
Jesse marked Powell’s final album. Since that time, he has kept a relatively low profile from the public eye.
Source: Rate RnB
Philadelphia Rapper PnB Rock Shot Dead In Los Angeles
At an L.A. hospital, the “Selfish” rapper was declared dead. He was rushed to a nearby hospital just minutes after the shooting on Monday.
PnB Rock relocated to Los Angeles. Following the release of his debut mixtape in 2014, he
signed a record deal with Atlantic Records, Pastorius and Baynton, a street corner in the Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up,
inspired his stage name.
PnB Rock has worked with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Chance the Rapper, Wiz Khalifa,
2 Chainz, Kodak Black, Young Thug, and A Boogie wit da Hoodie over the years.
In addition to his numerous mixtapes, PnB Rock has released two studio albums: “Catch These
Vibes” in 2017 and “TrapStar Turnt PopStar” in 2019.
PnB Rock’s two daughters, Milan and Xuri, whom he shared with Steph, survive him.
He was only 30.
Francopat Needs To Stop Harassing Labianca
Egypt Cracks Down On Streaming Content
Egypt’s media regulatory body has said in a statement that it will require streaming platforms to abide by certain regulations in a bid to make them adhere to “societal values and traditions”.
The Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) said it would also require Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming platforms to apply for licences to be able to operate in the country.
“Necessary measures” would be taken against platforms that stream content which does not align with the society’s values, SCMR said.
The statement noted that subscriptions to streaming platforms in Egypt had witnessed “unprecedented and huge increases”, without providing specific figures.
The statement follows similar moves by media bodies in Gulf countries, urging Netflix to remove content they said contradicted Islamic values and traditions, including material “aimed for children”, in a seeming reference to LGBTQ+ content.
Black Sherif – The Villain I Never Was (Full Album)
Iconic DJ Drops ‘FOREVA TAPE’
BET Hip Hop Awards 2022 Winners: See The Full List Here
Full List Of 2022 Billboard Music Awards Nominees
Full Winners List For The 2022 Billboard Music Awards
Kweku Darlington Wins Best Collaboration Of The Year At The 2022 Ghana Music Awards France
Entertainment2 months ago
Kweku Darlington Wins Best Collaboration Of The Year At The 2022 Ghana Music Awards France
Music2 months ago
Mophty – Fa Study Ft J Michael x Ray Junior x Big Bwoy Oseikrom (Prod. Tiaso Music)
Music2 months ago
King Paluta Shakes the Rap Fraternity With New Song “Allegation”
Music1 week ago
Ajeezay Recruits Patapaa, King Paluta , Boggy Wenzday For His Most Anticipated ‘Sounds For The Feet’ EP
Music3 weeks ago
Sheriff Keita Recruits Rap Fada x Yao Verbz On New Single “Wonkoaa”
Music3 months ago
Sheriff Keita Sends A Message Through New Music ‘Don’t Mind Them’
Entertainment3 months ago
Pastor Wisdom Arthur-Paulus Readies ‘Ebe Ye Yie’
Music2 months ago
Sali – You Grind (Prod. By Larrymix)
Music3 months ago
Pastor Wisdom Arthur-Paulus – Ebe Ye Yie (Prod. By DIVmuzic)
News3 weeks ago
Mmrantiehene Of Sompa FM Passes On