Emmett Till's family rejected the apology of Lil Wayne for lyrics offensive to the civil rights martyr and demanded a meeting with him and representatives of PepsiCo, which has a partnership with the rapper.
Late afternoon Friday, PepsiCo dropped Wayne as spokesman for its Mountain Dew soda brand. In a statement, the company said Wayne's "offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand." No details were provided about whether the company will continue airing ads featuring Wayne.
A publicist for Lil Wayne, Sarah Cunningham, told USA Today that the partnership ended amicably because of "creative differences."
Wayne came under fire in February when he released the song "Karate Chop" with the lyrics, "Pop a lot of pain pills, 'bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels, beat that (expletive) up like Emmett Till."
A black teenager from Chicago, Till was visiting family in Mississippi in 1955 when he was severely beaten, shot in the head, tied to a cotton gin fan and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for allegedly whistling at a white woman. An all-white jury acquitted two white men, one of them the woman's husband. Till's mother had an open-casket funeral for her son, which became a pivotal point in the civil rights movement.
Wayne sent the family a letter in which he expressed empathy and offered corrective measures regarding the song lyrics but never actually apologized. The letter, which came 75 days after the song's release on the Internet, appeared online before the family received it.
"I was not impressed," Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Till's, told the Associated Press. "I think that he's kind of been pressured or he's been admonished to make a statement to the family because of the ongoing negative publicity and attention and the pressure we've put onto his endorsement with Mountain Dew. I feel like it was an acknowledgment. He has finally, publicly acknowledged the ongoing outcry. It was not an apology."
Epic Records chairman LA Reid issued an apology, and the company promised the reference would not appear in the official version of the song. Wayne agreed in his letter to remove the song from his catalog and not perform it live.
Lohan back in Betty Ford Center
We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Lindsay Lohan is officially in rehab. At least for now.
Facing the threat of an arrest warrant, Lohan begged former attorney Shawn Holley to take her back as a client, TMZ reports. In turn, Holley negotiated a deal with Santa Monica City Attorney Terry White to have Lohan enter the Betty Ford Center rehab facility in Rancho Mirage.
The fine folks at the Betty Ford Center are to be commended for taking Lohan back. It was at this very facility in 2010 where a staff member was fired for publicly revealing Lohan's out-of-control behavior and drinking. (Is it any wonder why Lohan wanted a repeat stint at Betty Ford?)
Betty Ford wasn't Lohan's initial rehab destination. After balking at one facility because it didn't allow smoking, Lohan reportedly arrived at Morningside Recovery but quickly left. Turns out prosecutors hadn't approved the facility, which has its license revoked in November 2011.
A judge ruled that Lohan could stay at Morningside until lawyers sorted out the situation, but the actress reportedly left anyway, prompting prosecutors to threaten issuing an arrest warrant.
But wait, we're not done yet.
With Lohan ticked at attorney Mark Heller for the Morningside fiasco, TMZ reports, the actress somehow convinced Holley to take her back as a client. (Has anyone else noticed how Lohan goes through lawyers faster than Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends?) This is actually the most remarkable turn of events in the latest Lohan saga -- several reports claim Lohan still owes Holley $150,000 for past legal fees.
Lohan agreed to a 90-day stay in rehab, 18 months in psychotherapy and 30 days of community service after pleading no contest for lying to police following a June 8 car accident.
Dash-cam video shows Reese Witherspoon's arrest
"Crazy things," indeed.
That's how Reese Witherspoon described on "Good Morning America" the statements she made while being arrested last month -- and a dash-cam video of that arrest backs her up.
TMZ obtained the video from law enforcement officials and released it Friday morning. In it, Witherspoon repeatedly disobeyed orders from a Georgia state trooper to sit down while he arrested her husband, Jim Toth, for DUI on April 19.
Her refusal to obey -- and repeated in-your-face comments -- prompted the officer to arrest her for disorderly conduct. Not to diminish the seriousness of the situation, but the ensuing exchange between Witherspoon and the officer is quite entertaining.
We could give you the play-by-play here, but it's far more fun to just watch the video (above).
Witherspoon pleaded no contest and was fined $213. Toth pleaded guilty to DUI and will perform community service and attend an alcohol education program.
Which ex-wife has Charlie Sheen's twins?
Thank goodness Charlie Sheen has one responsible ex-wife to watch his children.
Social workers removed Sheen's 3-year-old twin sons from the home of ex-wife Brooke Mueller on Thursday and granted temporary custody of the boys, Bob and Max, to ex-wife Denise Richards, reports E! News. It's the second time Richards has ridden to the rescue; in December she also cared for the boys while Mueller was in rehab.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services reportedly had investigated Mueller's home for a year before finally deeming it unsafe. TMZ reports the reason is Mueller's continued use of drugs. E! News says the removal was because Mueller is frequently absent for long periods of time.
One source told E! News that Mueller "hasn't lived in her house for a few weeks. They don't know where she's at. It's been so bad."
A court hearing is expected next week to determine a more permanent custody arrangement.
Sources close to Sheen confirmed that the twins are with Richards, who is the mother of his two youngest daughters. No official word was given as to why Sheen was not granted temporary custody. But really, is anyone surprised considering his history of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence arrest, wild parties and general crazy behavior?
AraabMuzik 'currently alive'
Hip-hop producer AraabMuzik is alive, and his team is making sure everyone knows it.
Abraham Orellana -- better known as AraabMuzik -- is hospitalized with a gunshot wound after an attempted robbery in his hometown of Providence, R.I.
Manager DukeDaGod posted a photo of AraabMuzik in his hospital bed, surrounded by friends. "Everyone wish my brother @arabbmuzik a healthy & pleasant recovery!!!!" the post read.
How exactly does one have a "pleasant recovery" from a gunshot wound?
It gets even better. The producer's team issued a statement to Billboard, saying, "Rumors have begun to circulate and first and foremost, we want to let everyone know that AraabMuzik is currently alive and well."
"He was out in his neighborhood (Wednesday) night with friends and unfortunately the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," the statement continued. "He is recovering now and police are investigating the crime. We appreciate all the concern and fan support and Araab is looking forward to a speedy recovery and returning to the stage as soon as he can."
AraabMuzik was supposed to perform at Bard College in New York on Saturday. The latest tweet on his account says he will next play the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas from July 18 to 25.
May 4 in History
Saturday, May 4, is the 124th day of 2013. There are 241 days left in the year.
1626: Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.
1776: Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
1862: After a monthlong siege, Union forces prepared to unleash a massive bombardment against Confederate troops at Yorktown, Va., only to discover the Confederates had slipped away during the night.
1886: At Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an 8-hour work day turned into a deadly riot when a bomb exploded.
1904: The United States took over construction of the Panama Canal.
1916: Responding to a demand from President Woodrow Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare. (However, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare the following year.)
1932: Mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. (Capone was later transferred to Alcatraz Island.)
1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began in the Pacific during World War II. (The outcome was considered a tactical victory for Imperial Japan, but ultimately a strategic one for the Allies.)
1959: The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Domenico Modugno won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"; Henry Mancini won Album of the Year for "The Music from Peter Gunn."
1961: The first group of "Freedom Riders" left Washington, D.C., to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.
1970: Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.
1980: Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.
1998: Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, Calif., under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.
2003: Tornadoes swept across the Central Plains and Midwest, resulting in 38 deaths and causing a wide swath of destruction. Police in Iraq's capital returned to work in force. Pope John Paul II proclaimed five new saints before a crowd of 1 million people in Madrid. Two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut landed nearly 300 miles off course after returning from the international space station.
2008: President George W. Bush visited Greensburg, Kan., where he hailed the resilience of the town and its tiny high school graduating class, one year after a tornado barreled through with astonishing fury. A river boat sank in a remote Amazon region in northern Brazil, killing at least 48 people. Iraq's first lady (Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed) escaped unharmed from a bomb attack in downtown Baghdad that struck her motorcade.
2012: The U.S. and China outlined a tentative deal to send Chen Guangcheng (chehn gwahng-chung), a blind legal activist, to America for study and potentially bring a face-saving end to a delicate diplomatic crisis. (Chen left China on May 19, 2012.) Adam Yauch, 47, the gravelly-voiced rapper who helped make The Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop, died in New York. Game show producer Bob Stewart, 91, died in Los Angeles.
Former president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak (85), opera singer Roberta Peters (83), Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson musical family, (83), jazz musician Ron Carter (76), rock musician Dick Dale (76), pop singer Peggy Santiglia (69), actor Richard Jenkins (66), country singer Stella Parton (64), actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks (63), Irish musician Darryl Hunt (63), singer Jackie Jackson (62), singer-actress Pia Zadora (61). rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams (60), rhythm-and-blues singer Sharon Jones (57), country singer Randy Travis (54), actress Mary McDonough (52), comedian Ana Gasteyer (46), actor Will Arnett (43), rock musician Mike Dirnt (41), contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin (41). TV personality and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons (38), rock musician Jose Castellanos (36), singer Lance Bass (34), actor Alexander Gould (19), actress Amara Miller (13).