Tupac Back to Life to Perform with Snoop, Afeni Shakur “thrilled”

Courtesy TMZ.com

Tupac‘s famously protective mother Afeni Shakur agrees with the rest of the planet — the rapper’s resurrection at Coachella this weekend … in the form of an incredibly lifelike hologram … was mind-blowingly awesome.

A rep for Afeni tells TMZ, she was absolutely positively THRILLED with Tupac’s virtual performance – when he appeared alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during the headlining show at Coachella last night … walking back and forth across the stage like he was actually present.

Afeni didn’t attend the performance — but we’re told she watched it unfold live on the Internet … but while it was thrilling, the entire experience was bittersweet.

The rep says Dr. Dre asked Afeni for approval to incorporate Pac into his performance — and she said yes. As a thank you, we’re told Dre made a donation to the rapper’s charity … The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

TMZ also spoke with Dre’s crewmate Daz Dillinger — who tells us, Nate Dogg was originally supposed to appear as a hologram as well, but the decision was made at the last minute not to use him. Nate got a video tribute instead.

Mary J. Blige — Burger King Chicken Ad Was Not What I Expected

 

 

Story Courtesy TMZ.com

Mary J. Blige says she never signed off on the controversial fried chicken ad that she shot for Burger King– at least not the version that was blasted on the Internet.

In a statement, Mary J. tells TMZ, “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip.”


The spot — which Burger King has since yanked from its YouTube site — features Mary singing about a new crispy chicken wrap. The ad drew tons of criticism on Twitter for playing off a stereotype about African-Americans and chicken.

Mary also says, “I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.”

Burger King confirms the ad was released prematurely … “before all of the licensing and final approvals were obtained.” The fast food giant also says, “We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final.”

Burger King says the final … approved version will be released soon.

 

Gladys Knight — The Secret White House Project

Story Courtesy TMZ.com

Gladys Knight is pulling double duty … ’cause in between training sessions for “Dancing with the Stars,” TMZ has learned Knight is also working on a top secret scripted TV show.

Sources close to production tell us … Knight has been cast to star in a show called “The First Family” … about a fictional President of the United States who’s juggling work with his family life. We’re told Gladys is playing the President’s mother.

Sources connected to Gladys tell TMZ … the Motown legend is working extremely hard to handle both gigs … and producers on both shows are being very flexible to accommodate the star.

We’re told the sitcom is already garnering interest from a major network … which has made it clear they want to rush production to capitalize on Knight’s “Dancing” momentum.

We spoke with Byron Allen — the Executive Producer of “First Family” – who tells us, “Gladys is truly an American treasure and we’re excited to work with her.”

TMZ: Whitney Houston — Not a Lot of Pills at Death Scene

Story courtesy TMZ.com

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … multiple prescription drug bottles were found in the Beverly Hills hotel room where Whitney Houston died … but we’re told there were NOT a lot of pills at the scene.

Among the prescriptions … ibuprofen (painkiller), Xanax (anti-depressant), Midol (for menstrual cramps), amoxicillin (for treating bacterial infections) … and more.

We’re told the amoxicillin was prescribed recently because Whitney had been suffering from a sore throat.

We’re told some of the prescriptions were old … some issued in 2011 … but some of the bottles were from 2012.  We’re told the pill bottles that were recovered at the scene did not contain a lot of pills.

Sources tell us … some of the prescriptions were filled at the infamous Mickey Fine pharmacy in Beverly Hills … where Michael Jackson had numerous prescriptions filled for Demerol and other drugs.

Law enforcement sources tell us … it’s possible Whitney suffered a heart attack caused by an adverse reaction to her medication, but it is simply too early to make an official call on the cause of death.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check http://www.tmz.com/videos for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)

NABJ: Major News Outlets Reject Black Talent in Prime Time

The Wire (NABJ)

In reaction to an ostensible trend in cable news to pass over African American talent for prime time programming, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) continued discussions this week with several civil rights organizations to address the matter and direct a definite course of action.

“We appreciate the support of like-minded organizations stepping up to affect change as black journalists are ignored and in turn, black communities get shortchanged in the coverage of important issues,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “We are dedicated to getting this issue resolved.”

Less than two weeks ago, Times released a letter to NABJ’s membership and supporters expressing her disappointment with CNN regarding yet another missed opportunity to diversify its nighttime lineup. The NAACP also released a statement that criticized the network’s stance. The forthcoming departure of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as host of two short-lived prime time shows for the network opened up a void that was ultimately filled by former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett – a move seen by some as more than coincidental.

“I don’t understand any major network’s rationale for not being as inclusive as possible,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “This lack of representation has been brought to the major networks’ attention repeatedly over the years. It is time for them to walk the walk of diversity at all levels, including prime time talent positions.”

Currently, there are no African American anchors hosting prime time news hours for any major cable network. While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion.

NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster also conveyed his frustration with CNN and other major news outlets for their apparent unresponsiveness.

“Our presence in the prime time slot makes a big difference in terms of shaping public opinion of each issue,” said Foster. “The suggestion that black journalists can’t do it just doesn’t cut the mustard. [Cable Networks] know the talent is there, they just don’t believe in them.”

Prominent civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have all pledged their support for a drastic course of action should this matter continue to be overlooked.

“We have a machine here poised to do a lot of things,” said Foster, speaking of the potential for these various groups to mobilize. “We are deeply serious about this.”

TMZ: T.I. — Rapper Talks Suicidal Jumper Off the Ledge

Exclusively from TMZ.com

T.I. played a key role in talking a suicidal man off the ledge of a 22-story building in Atlanta today … TMZ has learned.

It all went down earlier this afternoon — when cops responded to a 911 call about a man who was threatening to jump off a building in downtown Atlanta … the same building where the Ryan Cameron Radio Show is based.

We’re told T.I. heard about the jumper on the radio — and called Ryan Cameron to see if there was anything he could do to help out with the situation.

Ryan Cameron tells us … he told T.I. to roll over to the building, where the rapper met with police and recorded a heartfelt video message which cops then played for the man on the roof.

We’re told after the man saw T.I.’s video he agreed to step off the ledge … and met T.I. in the lobby, where the two were able to talk things out.

Ryan Cameron also tells us that cops informed the radio station that they will not be pressing charges against the man.

Calls to T.I.’s reps have not been returned.

DGA to Fox News: Time to Add Disclaimer after $1 million GOP Donation

Dallas South Newswire

Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, contacted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes today to demand that his news division add a formal disclaimer during segments about the 2010 election to inform viewers that Fox’s parent company provided an unprecedented $1 million contribution to defeat Democratic governors in 2010.

The letter goes on to state: “For the first time in history, your organization is openly and proudly supporting the defeat of Democratic governors with an unprecedented political contribution of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In fact, your company provided the single largest corporate contribution to our opposition…. As you are well aware, the stakes could not be higher in the 37 gubernatorial races this election cycle.”

Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
and VIA EMAIL

Dear Mr. Ailes,

For the first time in history, your organization is openly and proudly supporting the defeat of Democratic governors with an unprecedented political contribution of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In fact, your company provided the single largest corporate contribution to our opposition.

In the interest of some fairness and balance, I request that you add a formal disclaimer to your news coverage any time any of your programs cover governors or gubernatorial races between now and Election Day. I suggest that the disclaimer say: “News Corp., parent company of Fox News, provided $1 million to defeat Democratic governors in November.” If you do not add a disclaimer, I request that you and your staff members on the “fair and balanced” side of the network demand that the contribution be returned.

As you are well aware, the stakes could not be higher in the 37 gubernatorial races this election cycle. Your corporation and your allies know well that these races have grave and substantial implications for Congressional redistricting. In fact, your allies in the GOP hope to change our election map for decades by electing governors who will redraw 30 seats into Republican territory.

I look forward to hearing from you – or any of your programs – at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

nathan-daschle

Nathan Daschle

P.S. Many news outlets have covered this controversy, but your own news programs have been strangely silent. I am available to appear on any of your programs to discuss the case for Democratic governors – particularly why our governors best for business growth. Despite my efforts to immediately reach out to your news programs, more than a dozen requests were ignored.

Cc: Bret Baier
Carl Cameron
Gretchen Carlson
Neil Cavuto
Steve Doocy
Trace Gallagher
Major Garrett
Sean Hannity
Bill Hemmer
Brian Kilmeade
Megyn Kelly
Martha MacCallum
Bill O’Reilly
Jon Scott
Shepard Smith
Greta Van Susteren
Chris Wallace

TMZ: Joe Jackson Will File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Today

Originally posted by TMZ Staff (Courtesy Nicki Fertile)

Brian Oxman tells TMZ he is filing a wrongful death lawsuit today against Dr. Conrad Murray for unspecified damages in connection with the death of Michael Jackson.

The lawsuit does not name AEG, though Oxman has alleged the company that produced “This Is It” was at least partly responsible for Jackson’s death.

According to the suit, “Mr. Jackson believes there are other parties responsible for Michael Jackson’s death but has not yet gathered sufficient information regarding their potential liability or responsibility.”  The suit says the complaint will be amended when sufficient info is gathered.

TMZ obtained a copy of the complaint, which will be filed in federal court this morning. In the complaint, Joe alleges Dr. Murray withheld vital information from the doctors and EMTs who were trying to save Jackson’s life — information that he had administered Propofol.

The complaint — much like the intent to sue document TMZ first broke — states that Murray tried to “clean-up the scene” before EMTs arrived.

The complaint alleges Dr. Murray felt he could change his story — from Jackson had no drug problem, to Jackson was addicted to Propofol — because he kept no medical records, as required by California law.

The complaint alleges Joe Jackson has suffered more than $75,000 in damages, the minimum amount required to get jurisdiction in federal court.  The case was filed in federal — not California court — because Dr. Murray’s residence is outside the state.