Colors: Red Color

Grace Moore, a 12-year old girl from New York, has made history as one of the youngest composers to join the New York City Philharmonic Orchestra.

Moore, who is a seventh-grade student at Poly Prep in Dyker Heights, is also enrolled in the organization’s Very Young Composers program. There, participants from the age of 8 are taught to create music.

The composition that Moore created for the program made a world premiere in a live performance by the NY Philharmonic in October.

Moore, who started showing her passion for music at the age of 2 when her mother gave her a piano, has showcased extraordinary talent.

Moreover, Moore hopes that as a woman of color, she can inspire others to create and appreciate music.

“I hope everyone follows their hobbies and do what they love,” Moore said.

 

Comedian, singer and TV host Des O'Connor died following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire, in England.

 

A former schoolboy footballer at Northampton Town, he became known for hosting his own chat show, as well as Take Your Pick and Countdown he was also known for his friendship with Morecambe and Wise after completing his national service in the Royal Air Force.

 

London-born O'Connor presented his own prime-time TV shows for more than 45 years but also had success as a singer. His friendship with comedy duo Morecambe and Wise saw him mocked for his singing ability in sketches despite a successful career which included four Top 10 hits and more than 30 albums.

O'Connor appeared on stages around the world including hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

 

His fame soared when he was hired to host The Des O'Connor Show, which ran on ITV from 1963 to 1971. In 1977 he began hosting Des O'Connor tonight, which started on BBC Two before moving to ITV, where it stayed until it ended in 2002.

 

He later hosted the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown alongside Carol Vorderman, with the pair bowing out together in 2008, and was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in that year's birthday honours.

 

Melanie Sykes, who hosted TV show ‘Today With Des And Mel’ alongside O'Connor, said it was an "education and a privilege to work with him". She wrote on Instagram: "He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule. He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague."

 

Broadcaster Tony Blackburn said "he was a great entertainer and more importantly a very nice person", and TV presenter Gyles Brandreth described him as "the ultimate professional".

 

Speaking about his sketches with Morecambe and Wise, comedian David Baddiel said: "RIP Des O' Connor. It's worth remembering how brilliant he is at his own expense in these sketches."

 

Northampton Town Football Club also joined the tributes to their former reserve player saying: "We are very sorry to learn of the passing of Des O'Connor. Des famously played for our reserve team on a few occasions just after World War Two. Our thoughts are with all who knew Des."

 

Married four times, he had four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina from his previous marriages, in 2007, he married long-term girlfriend Jodie Brooke Wilson, who was 37 years his junior and gave birth to their son Adam when O'Connor was 72.

 

He was 88.

 

 

Two years ago, Ivorian Doll was telling outrageous stories and talking about scandalous topics on her YouTube channel. Now, with the same cheeky energy and quick wit, she's bulldozed her way into the drill music scene.

 

Real name Vanessa Mahi, the 22-year-old artist talks about the "mad transition". The Ivorian Doll YouTube channel contained unfiltered stories about being cheated on or having fights.

 

It was "the kind of stuff people talk about with their friends" and brought her hundreds of thousands of viewers. But it wasn't without drama. Vanessa was always involved in some sort of high-profile argument.

 

"I would always cause controversy on YouTube because anything I'd say would be all over Twitter."

 

But it just so happens that heated feuds can lead to the best drill tracks.

Vanessa's first song, The Situation, was a tongue-in-cheek send released as part of a duo with fellow rapper, Abigail Asante. After she proceeded in her own lane, things started to accelerate.

 

It's important to Vanessa that her personality shines through in her music.

 

She says: "I needed people to know I'm the same person (from the YouTube videos)”.

 

Her single Rumours came out in April. "Everyone was saying to me that song was going to be big, but I didn't believe it," she explains.

 

The teaser posted online before the song release went viral, but Vanessa was still dubious. She told herself "social media hype isn't real", and that the views on the full song wouldn't match up.

 

Almost 5 million YouTube views and 4 million Spotify streams later, she realised she could "really do this.

 

"I thought 'I can't take this as a joke anymore'." Although she kept her raffish charm and outrageous cheek, the song was an effort to shake off the drama that seemed to follow her.

 

"Even though it might sound hard to believe, I always try to run away from drama," she says. "I decided I'd leave it after Rumours. That's why at the end of it I say 'I said what I said'."

 

The song addressed rumours people had thrown at her. On it, she raps with a unique flow and clever lyricism - confronting accusations about her personal and sex life head on.

 

"Boys always get to say how they feel; I want to be the girl to do it as well. If a boy said 'I had sex with four girls' everyone would just be like 'wow, you get girls'.

 

"If I say it, it's 'oh my God! How could she?'." Vanessa's quick to declare she's a feminist.

 

"I'm for the females. We're going to be equal by force. I think some men feel intimidated by that."

 

This headstrong attitude is needed in a genre sparsely populated by women. She's only the second female artist to have appeared on Link Up TV's Daily Duppy freestyle in the past seven years. The video amassed one million views in just one week But Vanessa's used to holding her ground.

 

"In school, we were always going back and forth rapping with the boys," she says. "I was always the one writing everyone's lyrics for them." She was not only rapping in the playground at school, but an A* English student too.

 

"I love Shakespeare. I've always loved writing and rhymes."

 

You can see how she ended up landing a feature on Headie One's chart topping album Edna.

 

"I was just minding my business and he DMed me and said 'let's do a song'. I couldn't believe it, I've always supported Headie.

 

"I don't even know if he knows this but I was at his first headline show." She's grateful for the "huge co-sign", being featured among names including Drake and Skepta, on the album, which came out in October.

 

"I tell him all the time. I think he's a bit annoyed with me always thanking him now, but I don't care." Although Vanessa admits her quick rise to success "doesn't make sense" to her, she has no plans to slow down.

 

Despite live music being very limited at the moment, she lights up as she speaks about performances being her next focus. She sees it as an opportunity to prove herself, "where people judge if you're an actual artist".

 

"And that's another thing where girls have to go harder than boys," she says, referring to choreography and stage presence. I see the way female artists perform - they would never just stand there. So I know I need to do that.

 

"I want to be an international artist."

 

 

 

Award-winning filmmaker Tyler Perry has announced that he will be adding new directors and writers to his team. The announcement comes following his reveal earlier this year that he had no writers' room and that he was the only writer for all of his films and television shows.

 

While some fans praised Perry for writing many scripts all by himself, a lot of people also expressed criticism towards, with some saying that his characters and storylines have become one-dimensional.

 

The 51-year old filmmaker initially defended his actions but later decided to take a few steps back and let "fresh, exciting talent" take over the writing and directing reins. Michelle Sneed, President of Production and Development at Tyler Perry Studios, who has worked with Perry since 2009, says that they are looking forward to the change.

 

Sneed said: "We're super excited about the young, up-and-coming filmmakers and new writers that we're working with.

 

"Tyler has solidified his place in the industry; his brand is amazing, and we'll continue to grow that. Then, on the other side, we're working on promoting, providing a platform, and advocating for this new talent, both in front of and behind the camera."

 

Meanwhile, some people on social media already showed their interest in working with Perry as a member of his crew.

 

 

 

Working with The University of Birmingham India Institute, Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage has created an exclusive digital concert, ‘Spirit Of Diwali’, bringing Diwali celebrations from around the world to audiences, with the message of Diwali: Tamaso ma Jyotirgamayo – lead me to light from darkness.The concert is narrated by Reena Tailor (Bollywood and Kathak dancer and Artistic Director of Bollywood Dreams Dance Academy), Vimal Korpal (stage, television and film actor and radio presenter) and Dharmesh Rajput (Lecturer in Media Production, Birmingham City University and Head of Cinema, Birmingham Indian Film Festival). The programme includes a feast of spectacular dance, music and performances from a host of leading international artists.With work ranging from rock, authentic classical and fusion music, contemporary music director Amit Trivedi shares a joyous welcome song featuring artists from all over the world, choreographed by the renowned Shampa Gopikrishna and Bertwin D’Souza, and celebrating the happiness and prosperity from Lord Ganesha’s blessings. Bringing together the best musicians and dancers across 60 international cities to collaborate on music videos viewed by millions of people globally, IndianRaga present Aadu Pambe – a Bharatanatyam dance about the mystical snake filmed amidst the sands and camels of the Arabian Desert!Internationally renowned for his Kathak dancing, Ludhiana’s Kumar Sharma teams up with this year’s Russia’s Got Talent semi-finalist Svetlana Tulasi and the inimitable Kathak Rockers to bring us their electrifying interpretation of Justin Bieber’s smash-hit song Despacito.

 

Having won audiences worldwide with their globally popular Balcony Concert series filmed during lockdown, Pune-based sisters Antara and Ankita Nandy share some of their music that has gone viral as the Nandy Sisters, performing songs in Assamese, Malyalam and Rajbongshi.Award-winning sitarist, composer and producer, Jasdeep Singh Degun was awarded a Sky Academy Scholarship to work on his debut album of contemporary and classical music, Anomaly, and has played at prestigious venues around the world. He is set to perform music in his signature versatile style, with a dedication to the classical tradition. Got TalentEspaña semi-finalist Sneha Mistri is a dancer, choreographer and performer from the UK currently based in Madrid. In the Spirit Of Diwali, she brings us a duet with the acclaimed Mumbai choreographer and Bollywood dancer, Devesh Mirchandani.Having founded the first British Gujarati folk dance movement, Raas Rebellion, dancer and performer Parle Patel was awarded the 2015 Asian Media Award for the Best Online Channel for his hugely popular YouTube platform. British born, internationally recognised Gujarati folk singer, Pritee Varsani has released several albums following her debut Om Shiv Omkara and has performed with artists worldwide from Lalita Ghodadra to Imran Khan.

 

Together Parle and Pritee perform their Gujarati song Ranjaniyu Reloaded, packed with colour, charisma and a whole lot of character. The Ananda Dancers – Amritha, Chiinthu, Sushmitha, Anaya Vasudha and Pranita – perform a special piece illustrating how dance has filed their lives.Winner of the 2011 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution towards Creative and Experimental Dance, internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer Tanusree Shankar presents her choreographed performance We the Living, based on a Sanskrit Hymn which celebrates life in harmony with nature. The concert also includes an invocation to the lord of dance Shiva Shambho, choreographed and performed by Swathi Isha and Sophia, as well as an Indian version of Ed Sheeran’s hit Shape of You, performed by Aditya Rao, Vinod Krishnan and Mahesh Raghavan.In association with Indian Raga London, the concert includes Bharatanatyam, performed by Swathi, Isha and Sophia, as well as an Indian version of Ed Sheeran’s hit Shape of You, performed by Aditya Rao, Vinod Krishnan and Mahesh Raghavan. The Ananda Dancers – Amritha, Chiinthu, Sushmitha, Anaya Vasudha and Pranita – also perform a special piece illustrating how dance has filed their lives.Piali Ray, Sampad Director says: “We are delighted to share the enjoyment and positive energy of this festive season with you all. Let the illumination of the Diwali lights provide true enlightenment for us all to look ahead with happiness, compassion and optimism.”Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) and Director of the India Institute commented: “We are living through challenging times and, in the spirit of Diwali, we invite people around the world to join our special online concert celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.


“We are a civic university with a global outlook and there is a special bond between Birmingham and India, stretching back to the arrival of our first Indian students in 1909. We’re proud of our research and education partnerships in India which reflect the country’s importance as an emerging global economic powerhouse.”Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by faiths throughout the Indian community to mark different historical events and stories but with all of them symbolising the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. It is celebrated by lighting lamps and candles in doors and windows of the home, around temples and other buildings, along with fireworks.Dr. Shashank Vikram, Consul General India, commented: “On this auspicious occasion, I would like to convey a very happy and prosperous Diwali to the Chancellor Lord Bilimoria, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Robin Mason and everyone at the University of Birmingham and beyond. ‘Diwali’ is about building bonds, sharing joy, happiness and celebrating ‘unity in diversity’. “I would like to extend best wishes to the University of Birmingham for their endeavour in keeping the spirit of Diwali high even in this testing time. Cultural festivals are the powerhouse of our society. They strengthen sentiments of community, they re-connect us to our heritage, foster a deeper understanding of our modern cultural plurality and at times of crisis, provides a lifeline to the isolated and the vulnerable. “The celebrations of Diwali have its roots in the triumph of light over darkness. This year that message has a particular relevance as we have seen the world change significantly over the last 12 months, and we have all faced challenges that we could never have expected. But Diwali’s message is a timely reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel and the collective strength of unity.”Spirit Of Diwali will be streamed on Sampad’s YouTube channel from Wednesday 11 November and The University of Birmingham’s YouTube channel from 7pm on Saturday, 14 November.

 

Nigerian Afro-fusion pioneer, Burna Boy has announced that he will perform an immersive livestreamed show, available exclusively on MelodyVR.
 
This special virtual event, ‘Live from London’, is billed to take place on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8pm GMT live from O2 Academy Brixton, one of London’s most iconic venues. It will boast jaw-dropping production and visuals, and a setlist filled with the African giant's hits like ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Real Life’, and newer tracks from his huge summer album Twice as Tall.
 
The BRITs-nominated, Grammy-nominated, EMA and two-time BET Best African Act has given fans a wave of new material to look forward to. Just last month, he reinvented his musical style with his critically acclaimed 'Real Life' video, featuring international rapper, Stormzy; and has recently released a powerful new song ‘20:10:20’.
 
For Burna Boy's ‘Live from London’ performance, a global at-home audience will be able to experience the show virtually on smartphones and VR headsets via the MelodyVR app - choosing from multiple camera angles to get up close to the action as it happens - or on a browser via the MelodyVR web player.
 
Fusing dancehall, reggae, Afrobeat and pop, Burna Boy emerged in 2010 as one of Nigeria's fastest-rising stars. He has since solidified his place in Nigeria and the world with his globally accepted Afrofusion sound, achieving phenomenal international success with hits such as ‘Ye’, 'Gbona', 'Monsters You Made' featuring Coldplay's Chris Martin, ‘20 10 20’ and ‘Own It’ (with Stormzy and Ed Sheeran), to mention a few.
 
Having released formidable widely-acclaimed albums, Burna Boy says: “I can’t wait to come at you, live from London with MelodyVR. This virtual show will be from the heart to my friends around the world. It’ll be twice as close, twice as realistic and twice as tall.”
 

 

Comedian Al Murray and Historian James Holland issue plea to battle Covid mental health crisis with launch of Walking Home For Christmas

 

Comedian Al Murray and WW2 Historian James Holland have challenged the UK public to supply their best military jokes and banter to help support Walking With The Wounded’s ‘Walking Home For Christmas’ campaign – to support ex-military facing mental health battles.

 

The major fundraising drive is the Charity’s only event this year. It challenges the general public to step out of their comfort zone and to walk somewhere important to them in support of Britain’s ex-military. Taking place from Thursday 10th to Sunday 20th December, the challenge is the perfect way to beat lockdown blues while obeying local Covid-19 restrictions.

 

The pair who run the We Have Ways of Making You Talk podcast (which discusses all things Second World War), have both come on-board this year to support those who served and to lend a hand in overcoming the new Covid-19 battlefield that is adding extra pressure mentally and physically throughout the UK.   

 

They will be taking on their own epic walk in December that will involve one of the most therapeutic remedies for mental health - banter! Walking and talking is good for the soul, but add a bit of military banter into the mix and you are laughing!

 

Over the past six years, thousands of people have done their own memorable, solo and team walks - to raise vital funds for those who have served. They have walked home, to a war memorial, to their old barracks and even carried a Christmas tree to a friend. The charity’s Grenadier Walk of Oman expedition team, comprised of 5 ex-military and one currently serving, will also be walking in December in their own locations (after the expedition was postponed until early 2021), to bring attention to the struggles that military veterans face in their day-to-day lives, and how a simple laugh and a joke can brighten the spirits of those who need it most.

 

This year, we've been locked down, but we can get up again. Walking Home For Christmas encourages us all to get out, embrace the spirit of Christmas and serve those who served us.

 

In light of the dark Covid-19 environment, this year’s campaign theme has been given a comedy twist and Al and James are calling out to the public for the best banter the military and ex-military have to offer to keep them entertained on their walk. They would love you to get involved and share any jokes that will help the mental toils of 2020. You can share your jokes in the comment section of the video below.

 

They have called on Brits across the country to put their best foot forward to raise much-needed cash to help veterans and their families – simply by going for a walk.

 

Al Murray said “I would love for the British public to join me and walk. Yes, walk, it’s as simple as that. Joining Walking Home for Christmas and doing a sponsored walk will help in raising money for ex-military and their families dealing with mental health issues that have been even more challenging, with the strange Covid-19 times we find ourselves in. Myself and WW2 historian James Holland would love to hear your military jokes, stories and banter that we can read out on our walk together on our We Have Ways of Making You Talk podcast. The challenge is yours, between Thurs 10 and Sun 20 Dec for Walking With The Wounded. Sign up below. Good luck and get walking.

 

James Holland added, “It’s an honour to be involved with Walking Home For Christmas this year and it’s extremely important to shine a spotlight on the importance of our mental health as well as our military veterans. I’m a big fan of walking the ground and I’m hoping that the military jokes and banter you provide will put a smile on my face, as well as Al’s! With another lockdown being implemented, getting out and walking is a great way to unwind and clear your head. So, do it for a good cause and support Walking Home For Christmas.

 

The campaign invites anyone to register for free, receive a branded Santa hat and facemask and do a sponsored walk home, somewhere important to them anytime between 10th -20th December.

 

The event is aiming to support 200 ex-servicemen and women who are socially isolated, struggling with their mental health, homeless or caught in police custody as a result of poor mental health – and get them back into employment and independence.

 

Carolyn, WWTW’s Clinical Lead says “There has been lots of research that backs up the message that exercise is good for us and studies have shown that exercise and physical activity can in fact treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication – it’s good for our mental health and wellbeing! 

 

“Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood as well as improving self-esteem. Taking part in group activities can improve this even further bringing individuals together to achieve a common goal.  Being part a group of your peers can instill a sense of comradery which many ex-servicemen and women miss and will attest to the fact that the associated banter can give a little respite from the day to day difficulties that can be experienced by many.  Having a laugh, socializing with others and taking part in some physical activity is a recipe for improving our wellbeing and rebalances the nervous system – allowing us to put the brakes on any stressful situations we may be going through,”

 

Signing up for Walking Home For Christmas is easy and free

 


Following the release of their eighth studio album Encore, last year to critical acclaim, the band comprising Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, hit the road again.The genius of the Specials is that they are observers, not commentators and they know that pop music is influential, important and exhilarating. They are a band embedded in this country's DNA, and especially in the DNA of Coventry, City of Culture 2021.

 

It is impossible to envisage the musical landscape without them, from the startling, angular Gangsters in 1979, to their swan song, the epoch-making Ghost Town in 1981. They infuse ska with punk and homegrown political anxiety with wider issues.

 

The skill of re-contextualising what has gone before and writing new songs that fuse this heritage with all that is current. Throughout the decades the Special's influence has never gone away. And we need it."I'm aware our work has been out there for forty years and I'm so grateful for what we've done, I pinch myself sometimes," says Lynval.

 

"I can pat myself on the back now, and say 'Well done,' because that what my father says to me. As a band, making this record, it was the closest we'd ever been.""That's the thing with the Specials," says Horace.

 

"We are three very different people, but you put us together and we become the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world, as far as I'm concerned. Something remarkable happens."

 

Something remarkable will happen at the Ricoh Arena in 2021, when The Specials walk out onto the stage at the Ricoh Indoor Arena, Coventry on September 11th.

 

Comedian and actor John Sessions has died.

 

Best known as a panellist on 1980s and 90s improvisation TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and for Stella Street, Spitting Image and QI, with acting credits included TV dramas Porterhouse Blue and Victoria, and Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film of Henry V, comedian Ronni Ancona described him as "a genius", while Helen Lederer remembered him as "such an original force of clever wit and talent". Rory Bremner said Sessions was "just the best, he'd blow everyone away on Whose Line with his speed of thought & breadth of reference". He added: "A flash of brilliance just went out."

 

During his career, he provided voices on Spitting Image in the 1980s - the only person to both provide impressions and be featured as a puppet on the satirical show.

 

The programme was among the trailblazers of alternative comedy, he told BBC Radio Scotland in September. "You really felt you were at the cutting edge of comedy," he said.

 

His impressions were also at the heart of Stella Street, a spoof soap opera about megastars like Keith Richards, Joe Pesci and Roger Moore who lived on the same suburban road, which launched in 1997.

 

Sessions recalled meeting Richards and the other members of the Rolling Stones. "They watched the show," he told Radio Scotland. "Keith said he really enjoys it and he's thinking of getting a little corner shop."

 

Paying tribute, comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar said Sessions was "always warm and fun company and amazing improv ability". Meera Syal remembered himbeing "always the funniest and kindest man in the room", while Jack Dee described him as "a delightful, funny, generous and hugely gifted man" and Sally Phillips said he was "unpredictable, dangerous, adorable".

 

Sessions appeared on the first ever episode of QI, and the team behind the panel show said: "His incredible wit and encyclopaedic knowledge played a huge part in the show's history and everyone at QI is deeply saddened to learn of his passing."

 

Broadcaster Danny Baker remembered him as "terrific company always and a true talent", and Michael Spicer described him as "a character actor with such extraordinary range and so very, very funny".

 

Sessions was born John Marshall in Largs, Scotland, in 1953, and moved to Bedfordshire with his family when he was three. He was accepted by Rada at the age of 26 in 1979. Eight years later, his one-man theatre show The Life of Napoleon transferred to the West End. "He is like nobody else," The Times' critic wrote. "He uses language like a poet; he can jump from the raft at Tilsit to Huck Finn on the Mississippi and make the metaphor work."

 

Soon after, he made his acting breakthrough on screen in Channel 4's Porterhouse Blue, before showing his surreal and cerebral comic energy on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

 

"When I left Rada, my plan was to try and do two careers at once - to be a comedian and an actor," he told The Guardian in 2014. "For some years, I managed to juggle the two, but I never felt I joined either club." He went on to star in a string of his own BBC TV shows, such as a self-titled solo improvisation series in the late 1980s, followed by John Sessions's Tall Tales and John Sessions's Likely Stories. But he never quite achieved the stardom of his friends Branagh and Stephen Fry. He said he "ran out of steam" when he turned 40. "As I was getting older, I wasn't getting more confident, I was getting less confident," he told The Guardian. "I lost my way."

 

His other TV credits included Victoria, The Loch, Just William, Tom Jones, and Gormenghast; and he had film roles in The Good Shepherd, The Merchant of Venice and The Bounty.

 

His knack for impersonating politicians was put to use in dramas too - playing former prime minister Edward Heath in the 2011 film The Iron Lady; another ex-premier, Harold Wilson, in 2010's Made in Dagenham; and former chancellor Geoffrey Howe in the 2009 Thatcher biopic Margaret. But he told The Telegraph in 2013: "I don't think I was very good at managing my career. You need to carve your own path and not just bob along."

 

Recently, he had narrated a 10-part radio adaptation of children's book series The Adventures of Captain Bobo.

 

In a statement, his agent Alex Irwin said: "It is with great sadness we can confirm that on Monday 2nd November, the actor John Sessions died at his home in South London. He will be hugely missed."

 

The Ayrshire-born star died from a heart condition, his agent said.

 

He was 67.

 

 

 

 

Over $110,000 (£85,000) was raised in support of an unwitting star of Sacha Baron Cohen's new mockumentary, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

 

Jeanise Jones, 62, was recruited for the film that sees Kazakh journalist Borat playing pranks on US citizens. She features in several scenes after being asked to babysit the fictional daughter of Cohen's infamous character. Following the film's release last week, her church pastor set up a crowdfunding page for fans "to say thank you".

 

Pastor Derrick Scobey said Ms Jones, who was hired from the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, had recently lost her job of 32 years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

On the crowdfunding page, Mr Scobey said the movie's producers had asked for a "black grandmother for a small role in a documentary". During filming, Ms Jones was tasked with looking after Borat's daughter, Tutar, who was played by actress Maria Bakalova.

 

In a number of scenes, Ms Jones deflects misogynistic comments made by Mr Cohen's character, encourages Tutar to "be happy" and tells her to "use your brain, because your daddy is a liar".

 

"This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart," said Mr Scobey. "She is one of the most authentic people I've ever met."

 

In an interview with the New York Post, Ms Jones said of her appearance in the film that she was "trying to give the best advice I know".

 

"In that kind of situation, you can't help but have patience because you're trying to help somebody - at least, that's what I thought," she said. She further that said she was yet to watch the film. She was paid $3,600 for her role in the movie, which drew millions of viewers during its opening weekend on Amazon Prime.

 

Ms Jones said that, since filming, she had been concerned about Tutar's welfare. But after a friend showed her a trailer for the movie earlier this month, she has looked back on the experience with good humour.

 

"I'm glad to know that Ms Bakalova's not really in that situation," she said. "Mr Cohen, I don't know.

 

“It wasn't real, so I would shake his hand and say, 'You got me.'"

 

Some of the biggest names in music are performing at a special McDonald's festival this weekend.

 

With Craig David, Lewis Capaldi, Olly Murs and Stormzy announced to take part in I'm Lovin' it Live music fans can attend the virtual festival via the McDonald's app throughout the weekend.

 

If the line-up wasn't enough to excite you, McDonald's are also helping music fans get into the festival spirit with their own limited edition clothing.

 

Not only that, you can get the Lovin’ it Live’ hoodies, bucket hats and golden wellies for free.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough products for everyone so McDonald's are running a competition where you could win some of the limited edition products.

 

The competition is being run on McDonald's official Facebook page, and you must be at least 16-years-old and living in England, Scotland and Wales to take part.

 

McDonald's I'm Lovin' it Live is a virtual three-day event featuring some of the biggest names in music.

 

Former The X Factor runner-up Olly Murs was named as one of the top names to take part and his features alongside the biggest names in the music industry, including rapper Stormzy and R&B legend Craig David.

 

The virtual performances can be accessed by downloading the My McDonald's app.

Once downloaded, you have to set up and register an account before you get access to the video footage. After you have registered, click on the link at the scheduled performance time to gain access to I'm Lovin' it Live.

 

Other stars who are set to perform over the weekend include; Stormzy, Becky Hill, Jess Glynne, Kaiser Chiefs and Lewis Capaldi.

 

Following the sold-out performances of ‘Lazuli Sky’, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre have announced a specially adapted production of the classic Christmas fairytale ‘The Nutcracker’, which will run at The REP from 14 – 22 December 2020.

 

This new adaptation of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s much-loved production will bring the family favourite to The REP for the very first time. In a COVID-safe environment including socially distanced seating allocated to household or bubble groups only, they are able to tell The Nutcracker story in a way that is equally safe for the performers and production crew, on and off stage.

 

This Christmas, the full-length production will be shortened to an 80-minute magical experience that will retain all of the most enchanting moments and characters from the classic full-length show. 

 

‘The Nutcracker’at The REP will whisk audiences from the heartwarming Christmas Eve party where Fritz and Clara meet the magician Drosselmeyer, to the rousing battle between King Rat and the toy soldiers, through a flurry of Snowflakes and onto a journey to the Kingdom of Sweets where Clara meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince - all accompanied by the cherished Tchaikovsky score performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. This special series of shows will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s original Birmingham Hippodrome production being created as a gift for the City in 1990.

 

The Nutcracker will also be performed the Royal Albert Hall this Christmas (30 Dec 2020 - 2 Jan 2021).

 

Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta said: “Following the fantastic experience of staging our first shows since lockdown at The REP, we are so happy to continue our collaboration with this very special version of The Nutcracker so that audiences in Birmingham and the West Midlands can have something to look forward to this Christmas.

 

“The Nutcracker is an essential part of our annual season and we can’t wait to welcome audiences back to The REP in December for this celebration.”

 

The REP’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley added; “It was wonderful to collaborate with Carlos Acosta and Birmingham Royal Ballet for the World Premiere performances of Will Tuckett’s Lazuli Sky - and a particular thrill to welcome audiences safely back to The REP for the first time in seven months. We are just as excited to reveal the next stage in our ongoing creative partnership as we bring a special version of The Nutcracker to The REP for the very first time. A visit to theatre is an on-going Christmas tradition, and we can’t wait to share this magical experience with our audiences this festive season.”

 

This enchanting version of a Christmas favourite will be a fitting tribute to the company’s 30-year history, and one that looks to the future with hope and celebration. It is the quintessential Christmas treat for all the family.

 

 

 

 

Kazakhstan's tourism board has adopted the Borat catchphrase "very nice" in its new advertising campaign. The phrase is used by the film character Borat, a fictional journalist from Kazakhstan.

 

The first Borat film caused outrage in the country, and authorities threatened to sue creator Sacha Baron Cohen. But the country's tourism board has now embraced Borat as a perfect marketing tool - particularly as a second Borat film has just been released.

 

It has released a number of short advertisements that highlight the country's scenery and culture. The people in the video then use Borat's catchphrase "very nice".

 

"Kazakhstan's nature is very nice. Its food is very nice. And its people, despite Borat's jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world," Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said in a statement.

 

The tourism board were persuaded to use the catchphrase by American Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov. They pitched the idea and produced the advertisements, according to the New York Times.

 

The response from social media users has been positive with many saying the advertisements capitalise on the film and send a positive message. One said: "Well done. Great way to take the publicity created by a comedian and turn it to a positive message." The second film itself has had a mixed reception. The Kazakh American Association has slammed the film for promoting "racism, cultural appropriation and xenophobia".

 

In a letter sent to Amazon, which has distribution rights to the film, the group asked: "Why is our small nation fair game for public ridicule?" In Kazakhstan, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding a cancellation of the film after a trailer was released.

 

"They completely desecrate and humiliate Kazakhstan and the dignity of the Kazakh nation," the petition said. Others on social media branded the film as a "stupid American comedy".

 

When the first Borat film was released in 2006, authorities banned the film and release of it on DVD and people were blocked from visiting its website. Officials felt the movie portrayed Kazakhstan as a racist, sexist and primitive country.

 

In the film Borat bragged about incest and rape. He also joked that the former Soviet nation had the cleanest prostitutes in the world. The film also caused outrage in Romania where an entire village said they were "humiliated" by the film.

 

The village was used as the backdrop for Borat's house. Residents said they were told the film was going to be a documentary, but instead were portrayed as backward people and criminals. Years later, however, the Kazakhstan government thanked Sacha Baron Cohen for boosting tourism in the country.

 

In 2012, the foreign minister at the time, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, said he was "grateful" to Borat for "helping attract tourists" to the country, adding that 10 times more people were applying for visas to go there.

 

 

 

 

Ireland’s rising talent Flynn has released just two solo tracks in 2020, but they’ve quickly placed him in prime position for greater things. ‘One of Us’ and ‘B-Side’ have introduced him as an artist with global potential, with numerous Spotify New Music Friday playlists plus The Pop List (Spotify) and New Pop Hits (Apple) helping to introduce him to a whole new audience. His surging status has also been spotlighted with a quick succession of tips from influential tastemakers including The Line of Best Fit, Wonderland, Fault and Clash.
 
While those two songs have delivered a snapshot of Flynn’s talents, his debut EP, also titled ‘One Of Us’, will show that there’s much more to come – out now via Jive Germany / Sony, Flynn launches the EP with the focus track ‘Selling Me Love’.  ‘Selling Me Love’ proves that Flynn is impossible to pigeonhole after the alt-pop of ‘One of Us’ and a modern update on the sounds of Stax with ‘B-Side’. ‘Selling Me Love’ is supremely larger-than-life, taking flight from understated opening verse into a dynamic chorus that melds hip-hop energy and chart-bound immediacy with a dash of muscular funk. The trait that shines through all three songs is Flynn himself, with a voice of seasoned maturity emerging from the young artist.
 
“This is my first EP release so I just really wanted to put my life so far into words and touch on all the little experiences I’ve encountered along the way. It feels so surreal to be able to finally share all these stories with everyone, I loved the whole process of making this EP and I’m really proud of it. I hope it resonates with people and they can take something away from it.” says Flynn.
 
In addition to the three recent singles, the ‘One of Us’ EP will be completed by the piano ballad ‘I Don’t Wanna Love You’ and the tropical soul of ‘Young’. 
 
Flynn co-wrote all five of the EP’s tracks with collaborations including producers Toby Scott (Cashmere Cat, JC Stewart, Kaiser Chiefs) and Blair MacKichan (Sia, Lily Allen). 
 
Flynn’s big breakthrough came when he featured on Lost Frequencies’ ‘Recognise’, which has since reached 42 million streams. He recently continued his connection with the renowned producer and DJ by featuring alongside Love Harder on ‘You’, from Lost Frequencies’ current EP ‘Cup of Beats’.
 
Despite that huge opportunity, Flynn is anything but an overnight sensation. He was raised in Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland before relocating to Bristol to focus on a career in music. It certainly demanded some sacrifices - in any given week, he might be found busking in Bristol then writing in London before heading home to work shifts in a local restaurant. That combination of talent and tenacity is now paying off.
 

Rapper/actor Chris Bridges, more popularly known as Ludacris, is set to produce a new animated series called ‘Karma’s World’ inspired by his eldest daughter Karma Bridges. The series will be released on Netflix soon.

Ludacris’ production company Karma’s World Entertainment is one of the producers of the coming-of-age story that will follow the life of 10-year old girl Karma Grant, an aspiring musical artist, rapper, and songwriter, who wanted to use her music to be able to change the world.

The 40-episode series with 11-minutes screentime each will feature original music scoring created and supervised by Ludacris himself in collaboration with James Bennett Jr. and produced by Gerald Keys. The compositions tackle the issues young children are facing from friendship, creativity, emotions to self-esteem, and discrimination.

Karma’s World Entertainment is partnering with 9 Story Media Group, Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, and Emmy Award-winning Creative Affairs Group to produce the new series. Ludacris is hoping the series will get to inspire young children and empower young girls.

“I’ve had a lot of accomplishments in my life, but everything that I’ve experienced seems to have led up to this point to where I can leave a legacy for all my daughters,” Bridges said.

“Karma’s World is one of those legacies. I hope this series will show kids that there are many ways to overcome difficult situations. This show is going to move hip hop culture forward and show young girls that they have the power to change the world. This project has been a long time in the making, and I can’t wait to bring Karma’s World to the entire world.”

 

The funeral for the founding fathers of reggae music, Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, was stalled on eve of the planned service after no could find the burial permit as the body made its way to the Dovecot Memorial Gardens in St. Catherine, in Jamaica.

 

It followed concerns from family members who were disappointed at him being laid to rest outside his hometown. Hibbert’s daughter Jenieve Bailey, previously announced the decision to have her father’s body to be laid to rest in May Pen, in Clarendon, where other family members were buried.

 

Toots’ nephew, Wilbert, said: “The whole family agreed for him to come back home to where his mother, father, three brothers and sister are buried. He needs to take the country road back to the place where he belongs. You don’t need anything plainer than that.”

 

But just days before the planned date of burial, the announcement was made about a change in the place of rest.

 

In defending his stance he went on: “He sings about the country road in one of his biggest songs, and he is always visiting us down here. He never left us out.”

 

He went on: “From the time Miss Doreen (Toots’ widow) and some of the children came down here and chose the land, we didn’t hear a word. No grave digging was going on down here and everybody — my mother, sisters and aunt — were asking me what is happening?”

 

The day of the burial saw the planned procession, with a private service for close family members which took place at Perry’s Funeral Home chapel.

 

Hibbert’s body was transported to Dovecot Memorial Gardens, but no one in attendance possessed the burial certificate, which is usually provided by the Registrar General Department when receiving a signed death certificate.

 

Without a signed burial order, the body cannot be placed in the grave.

 

Following the family being unable to provide the relevant documents, Toots’ body was returned to the funeral home.

 

The reggae legend, 77, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies after reporting concerns with his breathing before later passing away as a result of challenges brought on by COVID-19 last month.