NEWSMAKERS


NEWSMAKERS

Oscar host, producer, others honor black women in Hollywood

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.

Oscar host Chris Rock, producer Reginald Hudlin and film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took an afternoon off from Academy Awards preparations to celebrate black women in Hollywood.

Rock, Hudlin and Boone Isaacs were among the guests at Essence Magazine’s ninth annual awards luncheon Thursday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Hudlin took the stage to present an award to legendary entertainer Debbie Allen.

The annual Essence event celebrates the achievements of black women in entertainment. Actress Tracee Ellis Ross and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw were also recognized.

Oprah Winfrey opened the program, which will air Saturday on OWN.

In a year when Hollywood’s lack of inclusion has overwhelmed the Oscar race, Winfrey said, “it’s a beautiful thing that we have the good sense to do this for ourselves.”

Students: Cancel Don McLean’s concert

BARNSTABLE, Mass.

Massachusetts high-school students are calling for the cancellation of a concert by “American Pie” singer Don McLean because of a domestic-violence charge against him in Maine.

The Cape Cod Times reports student presidents of violence prevention programs at four high schools in Cape Cod recently sent a letter to the interim schools superintendent in Barnstable to request the April show at Barnstable High School be cancelled. The letter says McLean is a “bad role model.”

Interim Superintendent William Butler says school officials are in talks with McLean’s management company over whether the concert should take place.

McLean is from Camden, Maine. He denies the domestic-violence allegations. His wife requested a protection order after his arrest last month, but they later announced the order was dismissed.

Chesney, Underwood to sing at ACM Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line and Cam will perform at the 51st annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

The awards show will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3 on CBS, ACM and Dick Clark Productions announced Thursday. The ceremony will be co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.

Singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton leads the awards with seven nominations, followed by Eric Church and new singer Cam with six nominations each.

More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Cosby drops lawsuit against supermodel

LOS ANGELES

Bill Cosby has dropped a defamation lawsuit against supermodel Beverly Johnson, who accused the comedian of drugging her in the 1980s.

Court records show Cosby’s lawyers dropped the suit last Friday.

His attorney Monique Pressley wrote in an email Thursday that Cosby made the move to focus on his defense in a criminal case in Pennsylvania.

Cosby is charged there with drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has denied the allegations.

Pressley wrote that Cosby plans to re-file the case against Johnson before the statute of limitations expires.

The supermodel repeatedly a has ccused Cosby of slipping a drug into her cappuccino in his New York home before he let her go after she angrily rebuffed his advances.

Cosby had been seeking an injunction preventing Johnson from repeating the story. His lawyers have said the comedian was never alone with Johnson.

Associated Press

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