Articles on this Page
- 02/22/13--10:55: _Why Did Prince Harr...
- 02/22/13--12:00: _First look : Rose M...
- 02/22/13--12:01: _Nick Carter engaged...
- 02/22/13--12:01: _mia wasikowska in s...
- 02/22/13--12:01: _2007 throwback
- 02/22/13--12:02: _Daniel Knauf opens ...
- 02/22/13--12:02: _New pictures of the...
- 02/22/13--12:03: _Tia & Tamera at the...
- 02/22/13--12:45: _God speaks.
- 02/22/13--12:45: _Ethan Hawke: Oscars...
- 02/22/13--12:46: _Nigerian governor s...
- 02/22/13--12:48: _Madonna Leads Billb...
- 02/22/13--12:54: _Katie Holmes: Behin...
- 02/22/13--13:09: _Game Of Thrones Sea...
- 02/22/13--13:22: _Trailer for Driven ...
- 02/22/13--13:23: _Little Mix show off...
- 02/22/13--13:29: _Four Oscar Campaign...
- 02/23/13--09:50: _The Borgias S3 new ...
- 02/23/13--10:00: _Ash Stymest Photosh...
- 02/23/13--10:04: _Jensen and Danneel ...
- 02/22/13--10:55: Why Did Prince Harry and Cressida Come Out?
- 02/22/13--12:00: First look : Rose McGowan for Once Upon A Time
- 02/22/13--12:01: Nick Carter engaged? EDIT: it's official!
- 02/22/13--12:01: mia wasikowska in south korea
- 02/22/13--12:01: 2007 throwback
- 02/22/13--12:02: Daniel Knauf opens up about Carnivàle’s long, weird journey
- 02/22/13--12:02: New pictures of the Pretty Little Liars EW cover.
- 02/22/13--12:45: God speaks.
- 02/22/13--12:45: Ethan Hawke: Oscars Reward 'Stupid Movies,''Mediocre Performers'
- 02/22/13--12:48: Madonna Leads Billboard's 2013 Top 40 Money Makers
- 02/22/13--12:54: Katie Holmes: Behind the Scenes for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
- 02/22/13--13:09: Game Of Thrones Season 3 Teaser
- 02/22/13--13:22: Trailer for Driven To Extremes with Tom Hardy and his frozen beard
- 02/23/13--09:50: The Borgias S3 new promo
- 02/23/13--10:00: Ash Stymest Photoshoot by Damon Baker
- 02/23/13--10:04: Jensen and Danneel Ackles are having a girl!
Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’s decision to ‘come out’ as a couple by publicly embracing on the ski slopes of Verbier on Wednesday was a move that took the UK’s corps of royal journalists and palace insiders equally by surprise.
Harry has made no secret of his hatred of the press coverage of his and William’s personal life, so it seemed odd that he was willing to put the relationship – which up until now he has successfully kept unsubstantiated – in the headlines. Cressida now seems almost certain to be a fresh subject of fascination for the public, which means her life will change beyond all recognition.
So why did he do it?
It is unlikely, young London socialites who know Cressida, say, to have been as a result of pressure by her to come out. Desperation doesn’t play well at the court of this 21st century Prince Hal, and Cressida has won Harry’s heart by being incredibly laid-back about their relationship. It’s not in her nature to hassle him about anything.
Did Prince Harry just say that?
While spokesmen for the Prince went for an official ‘no comment’ when asked about the relationship yesterday, there was no mistaking the shock in the corridors of St James’s Palace that Harry and Cressida had apparently decided to out themselves, ending months of speculation begun when Harry and Cressie, attended a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in the summer last year (and spent most of the movie noisily chatting to each other).
They arrived and departed the event separately, but they then moved on to Le Salon nightclub in Mayfair together. In a clumsy attempt at subterfuge, Bonas left the club at around 4 a.m, and Harry left just two minutes after her.
The couple had met at a world music festival in the spring, introduced by Princess Eugenie, and throughout the summer, as Harry focused on his foreign tour and the Olympics, he did his best to keep the relationship under wraps.
Cressida even went as far as to tell pals that Harry was ‘not my type.’
However, Cressida was part of a group which traveled after the Olympics to Richard Branson’s Necker Island, and at this stage the relationship was known about to those in Harry’s inner circle.
The pair are well-suited. Cressida is known to have a wild side, and the week-long vacation in the Caribbean was a hedonistic affair. Photographs apparently of Harry passed out on the sand were posted on facebook by one of the travelers.
Although Harry was into Cressida, sources say that their relationship became much more serious after the Vegas picture scandal. Cressida stood by him, and was utterly unfazed by the fact he was playing strip billiards with blondes he just met in the casino downstairs. Harry wrote and emailed her frequently from Afghanistan.
Cressida's chilled-out approach to harry's naughty antics likely comes from her mother, 60s socialite Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon – MG for short - who famously posed naked and covered in engine oil on the cover of a 60s style magazine. MG has five children by three husbands.
So why, after a year of careful subterfuge, did Harry decide to publicly embrace Cressida on Wednesday morning?
There is a possibility that the move was driven by Harry’s old foe – alcohol.
Sources told the Daily Mail today that the night before the pictures were taken, the couple partied until the early hours at a Verbier nightclub.
The Mail says that by 3.30am Harry – shirtless and very drunk - climbed through a small rear window of the club in order to avoid waiting photographers spotting him with his girlfriend.
‘He was off his face by the time he even arrived here,’ a member of staff told the Mail. ‘They kept him in a booth in the nightclub and pulled a curtain around it but he kept trying to escape. He even took his shirt off.”
Although Harry undoubtedly knew there were photographers around, it seems likely that in his hungover state he momentarily dropped his guard and embraced Cressida.
A few clicks, and his not-particularly-well-kept secret was out.
It will be interesting to see if the couple now move forward with their relationship, although friends say that at just 24, Cressida has little interest in getting engaged, even to Prince Harry.
She looks like a British Lilo. Ew.
Once Upon a Time is going to show us just what happened between Rumpelstiltskin and the Miller’s Daughter, a young Cora played by Rose McGowan! Check out the first image released from the episode.
Former Charmed star Rose McGowan will be visiting fairytale land later this season when she guests as young Cora. This is a highly anticipated flashback because it’ll finally show us the original story of Rumpelstiltskin: how he struck a deal with the Miller’s Daughter (Cora).
Once Upon a Time 2×16 “The Miller’s Daughter” will air March 10 at 8/7c on ABC.
EDIT: IT'S PEOPLE-OFFICIAL.
Nick Carter has found his fire, his one desire.
"I had the ring in my pocket for two weeks," the Backstreet Boy tells PEOPLE exclusively of his engagement to fitness expert/actress Lauren Kitt.
"I was like, 'I don't want it anymore!' It was driving me insane. I just wanted to get it out of my hands and on to hers."
For the momentous occasion, Carter, 33, took his fiancée, 29, to the Florida Keys where he planned a romantic boat ride to a secluded island – but things did not go as smoothly as expected.
"My boat was in such bad condition because I hadn't used it for, like, six years. It took me five days literally on my hands and knees, scraping up my body [to fix it,]" Carter says. "The engine wasn't complete yet but we still decided to go out."
Despite the engine stalling a few times as they set out to sea Wednesday, Carter and Kitt – along with some close friends and Kitt's father – arrived at a small island Carter had spent time on as a child.
It was there, on the island the couple now refers to as "Engagement Island," that the Backstreet Boy dropped to one knee and presented his girlfriend of over four years with a seven-carat diamond ring from XIV KARATS.
"She said, 'Yes,' and I'm, like, 'I don't know what to do," Carter tells PEOPLE of the proposal. "She said, 'You're supposed to put it on my finger.' So I did. I was in shock."
The proposal came as a surprise to the bride-to-be as well.
"I wasn't expecting it. It just felt very surreal," explains Kitt. "We both are just so happy in love right now and on cloud nine."
And while the couple is excited for their wedding, there are a few other people they must consult before planning their impending nuptials – the band.
"Our first thought was, 'We need to contact the Backstreet Boys and find out when their schedule will permit,'" Kitt says of wedding planning while the band works on a new album and prepares for their sold-out fan cruise in October to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
"It's not up to us. It's up to the schedule. We're just excited and looking forward to the next chapter of our lives."
source:People, Nick Carter's twitter, and the official Backstreet Boys Facebook
Mia & Park Chan-Wook @
Stoker Press Conference [via]
Mia & Park Chan-Wook @
'Stoker' Red Carpet & VIP Press Screening
W KOREA MARCH 2013 [via]
Ph. Hong Chang Hyun
Lily Allen Makes First Post-Baby Appearance at Brit Awards Afterparty
Lily Allen makes us smile!
Only one month after giving birth, the British pop singer showed off her post-baby bod at the 2013 Brit Awards on Wednesday. Arriving in a multicolored Chanel tweed dress, Allen struck a fierce pose for the camera at an afterparty held at the Savoy Hotel.
Although she maneuvered the event with ease, apparently getting there was another story.
The 27-year-old mum announced on Twitter that she was running late to the show, but she had a very good reason.
"Dear BRITs 2013 I am running very late, please do start without me," the singer tweeted.
And then she further explained: "Was en route but despite numerous reminders forgot nipple pads, had to turn around. BRITs 2013 carry on."
Glad you made it (nipple pads and all), Ms. Allen!
OP's note: I wasn't aware of ONTD's policies regarding the AV Club until after I made this post so I'm deleting the article from the body and instead giving you the links below so you can check out the interview for yourself at the website. The interview was published over the course of two days in two parts and both are worth reading if you're a fan of the show.
More photos from Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, and Shay Mitchell’s Entertainment Weekly shoot have been released. The girls are on the cover of the newest issue.
Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery
On the dark and stormy set, Hale shimmered in a metallic Julia Clancey dress and Monika Chaing shoes. “Lucy was like ‘I’ve worked with you before!’” says Trask, who has styled other campaigns for the CW. “When I go out and start talking to showrooms and designers, I find out that a lot of them have dressed the girls, or they’ve worn their clothes on the show, so that helps a lot.”
Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin
Trask put Benson in a strapless dress by The Blondi and accessorized the actress with Loree Rodkin earrings, Deepa Gurnani bracelets, and cut-out booties from Gio Diev. How did the stylist make sure that no one got a case of outfit envy? “I came prepared with so much stuff, because I know what it’s like. I did Melrose Place and there were four young actresses. It was always a ‘first in gets [best] dressed’ type of thing. Luckily with this group, there was no mad rush to beat each other out,” Trask says. “And there were moments the girls would say, ‘I love this, but that would be better for [her]!’ [Each one] knows what works for her and for her character.”
Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields
Trask highlighted Shay’s gorgeous gams by outfitting the actress in Boohoo Boutique shorts, which she paired with a Georgine top, Danielle Michetti heels, a JNB ring, and Deepa Gurnani bracelets. “They all loved the accessories! They just kept piling them on,” remembers Trask. “That’s something they also do on the show. It’s a young, flirty look.”
Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings
Bellisario posed for the forest shoot wearing a gold and black mini-dress by the The Blondi, L.A.M.B heels, and a Fenton/Fallon bracelet. “They were really, really decisive and really quick, so we didn’t have to mess around. That’s how we got four different looks done,” Trask says of the girls’ lightning fast outfit changes at the four-hour shoot. “It was Golden Globes weekend, and they were all doing other things. To get four outfits done and have them all be happy with the final result is pretty killer.”
EW: The girls Answer Twitter Questions
Sources: 1 - 2 - 3
"This is my first time out on the red carpet since I had a baby and I wanted to show off my tummy, my new boobies," said a proud Tamera Mowry-Housely, 34, at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon on Thursday in Beverly Hills. Tamera and her husband Adam Housely welcomed son Aden to the world in November.
"I wanted to be that woman who just had a baby and is enjoying her figure."
Her sister and reality show co-star, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, was by her side and finishing many of her sentences as the two chattered happily.
Said Tia to Tamera, "What I respect about you is you're showing off your figure. A lot of women want to hide it and cover up after having a baby."
The actresses, who begin shooting the third season of Tia & Tamera on March 11, mentioned that Tamera recently took baby Aden on a plane and found that "all you have to do is feed them before you go, and stick a pacifier in their mouth for take off and landing."
She also shared a tip: "If your'e nursing, you put the breast milk right up under their nose." It's to help keep the baby from picking up any bad germs during the plane ride.
"A lot of people are like, 'Whaat?'" said Tia, "but it works."
As for any other advice they'd give to new moms, Tia said turned to Tamera. "What did I tell you? Sleep when the baby sleeps."
Tamera agreed. "If you don't you're screwed. No, you're effed!" she laughed.
Said Tia: "I know you want them on a schedule, but some days they're not going to follow that schedule. And it's OK."
Said Tamera: "It's not going to be perfect."
Said Tia: "Forgive yourself you're doing to fail sometimes. It's going to be OK."
And they brought up the body changes. Tamera shared that she was surprised by how "different" it is now. "You have stretch marks, curves you didn't used to have."
Still, she admitted that she's not bouncing back "as quick as I would like."
And she feels that pressure to be thin. "There's a lot of pressure, when you see people like Claire Danes and Megan Fox. And they're, wow. My body won't do that. And you're like, how are they on a beach in a bikini?"
Tia remembered thinking after she had son Cree in June 2011, "What's wrong with me?"
But, says Tamera, you can't beat yourself up about it. "My husband said happy girls are pretty girls. Be happy. Own who you are. Own your curves. Enjoy the phase that you're in. I'm enjoying this phase."
Oh, and about a recent episode of their Style Network show featuring Tia ate some of Tamera's placenta?
"We were in the womb together!" said Tia. "This is nothing!"
New interview with Nicolas Cage.
With “The Croods,” an animated family film from DreamWorks, premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival, lead voice actor Nicolas Cage was in town over the weekend, and we got to speak with him in a small group of journalists. About the experience of working on the film itself (“It’s like ‘Avatar’ meets ‘Yellow Submarine’ with these people who look like Neanderthals” he summed up) he had nothing but good things to say: “I feel like this is the best chance I’ve had to perform in an animated movie.” But he was also frank and forthcoming about other areas of his working life.
While some of his recent film choices have smacked of cash grabs necessitated by his fairly public financial troubles, the Cage we met was adamant that he stood by all his “experiments,” but also that, much to the anticipation of fans like us, he is right now steering his career in a new direction, that should hopefully see fewer derivative thrillers, and more work with the auteurs he admires. The conversation ranged far and wide, from future projects, real and potential, to an overview of his career to date (and it all does seem to have been part of a plan), to the actors who excite him today, to the films of his that he believes have been the most wilfully misunderstood. Here are a few things we learned.
His next film, David Gordon Green’s “Joe” marks a return to darker material after the family friendliness of “The Croods.”
Nicolas Cage: Last night I had dinner and David Gordon Green came by, and we just did something together called “Joe.” And there was Jeffrey Katzenberg [of DreamWorks] who has entertained the world with these very positive and artistic and colorful movies and there we are together and I said to Jeffrey, “I think David and I just made one of the darkest dramas that might come out next year.” And Jeffrey’s like “Oh, you went dark again?” I love that dichotomy, that diversity. I have been blessed to be able to play both sides of the coin.
When we spoke to David Gordon Green earlier this year, he described “Joe” as "Nicolas Cage in a movie that's not like anything Nicolas Cage has done before". What does Cage make of this?
NC: Well, I haven’t seen the movie yet. I hope it is, and I’m sure he is right, my feeling is that David is an original and he is free as an artist. I loved “Prince Avalanche” [which won DGG Best Director in Berlin]. I thought it was just a remarkable film with just two actors… and I sometimes I didn’t even know why I loved it so much I just did. I think David had a vision of me for this movie, and he’s a young, enthusiastic artist who knew what to do with me and I think he found a new way of reinventing me. So if he’s says it’s a Nicolas Cage movie that Nicolas Cage has never made before…I’m excited.
In fact, Cage believes youth and freshness are valuable commodities in a director.
NC: I love enthusiastic, adventuresome filmmakers, not that older filmmakers can’t be that -- they can. I think Werner [Herzog] and I worked well together on ‘Bad Lieutenant’ and I have some excitement about possibly doing something with some of my other heroes, but by and large the younger ones are the ones that haven’t had their dreams kicked out of them yet, and they’re still willing to take the chances.
[Director Paco Cabezas is] another young, enthusiastic filmmaker who isn’t afraid to take chances. The movie of his that I saw was very brave with the storytelling and the camerawork, and I think he has an original vision. What’s frustrating about the internet is they judge a movie before they even know what it’s about, but the thing is there are elements in [“Tokarev”] that are very relevant today, especially in my country, and I don’t want to get into that because it would give it away, but there is something about the movie that I think is relevant to society.
Cage’s erratic, eccentric career path has been a result of wanting tochallenge himself, and now he’s taking things in a new direction.
NC: If you look at the work carefully, there’s a ‘Bad Lieutenant’ and then there’s a “Knowing.” And there’s a “Lord of War” and a “National Treasure”…I’m always trying to make things eclectic. It’s just that now I want to really go back to my roots and reinvent myself again, and go back to “Leaving Las Vegas” or “Vampire’s Kiss” and do these smaller, independently spirited dramatic movies. That’s the direction I want to really zero in on right now.
I stand by my work, I like all my experiments, I like “Season of the Witch,” I like “Drive Angry,” these are all opportunities for me to explore and not get trapped in one style… But I do also like the dramatic work of the past and I want to go back to that too and maybe put that more at the forefront. A few years ago it was horror, and that’s what I wanted at the forefront, now I wanna go back. I’d like to do a Paul Schrader movie or another movie with Werner, I’d like to dig deep with David Gordon Green or Scott Walker of [the upcoming] "Frozen Ground." It would still be a reinvention anyway, even though it’s a return, because what would it be like now for me at 49?
One of the reasons why I frustrate critics is because they don’t know what to do with me. I don’t get stuck, I actively go against it. When I won the Oscar I made a point of actively going against that and doing adventure films like “Con Air” and “Gone in 60 Seconds,” not what would be expected….I’ve been very blessed to get the roles that I wanna play and to be in movies that coincide in some way with my interests.
Speaking of Herzog, a journalist mentions an interview in which Herzog claimed that, above Kinski, Cage was the best actor he ever worked with.
NC: Well, I think Werner and I did something magical together. And thank you for sharing that with me, I’ll listen to Werner Herzog before I’ll listen to Owen Gleiberman [of Entertainment Weekly]. But you know, hey, I’m a fan of Klaus Kinski…I think because of Klaus Kinski I was maybe going in that direction with Werner because I knew something special would happen if I sort of embraced the Kinskiattitude. I was very vocal on the set about my feelings… but I have so much respect for Werner. It was interesting because he sounds like my great grandmother, the voice, the accent, so that was powerful, just recalling how frustrated I was with her. But I have a love for Werner because of that. He’s a great man.
Herzog is not the only auteur he’s like to work with -- and he came close with William Friedkin on the now-defunct “I am Wrath”.
NC: Billy [Friedkin] knows how important he is to me. It didn’t work on that one, for whatever reason, but I’m hopeful that one day it’ll happen. “I Am Wrath” is not going ahead, but not because of Billy -- other issues came out of the whole process. But there are a lot of people I’d like to be reunited with: Paul Schrader, Werner, these are heroes that I know I’ve done good work with and I know I could again, and I have no doubt that Friedkin and I would get up to something special. I’d love to work with Tim [Burton] -- that didn’t work out on “Superman,” but is Tim one of my favorite directors? Absolutely.
For different reasons, he feels “The Wicker Man” and “Bringing out the Dead” are among the most unfairly overlooked or maligned films he has done.
NC: "Wicker Man" is probably the best example of a movie where people are mystified because they think for some reason that we did not know it was humorous, even though I am dressed in a bear suit, doing these ridiculous things with the matriarchcal society on the island -- how can you not know that Neil [LaBute] and I knew that this was absurdist humor? But okay, have at it. That was a misconception.
I think “Bringing Out the Dead” with Marty [Scorsese] is one of the better movies and this is another movie that, largely because of the way it was promoted and it was sandwiched between some of my action/adventure films, that people were expecting to see something on those lines. Whereas the truth is that movie critics understood it, but he public didn’t quite understand that this was more of an esoteric adventure into the imagination of this burned-out paramedic…this was an artistic adventure, but the public didn’t know how to gauge it.
Another frequently misunderstood aspect of Cage’s process is his “shamanic” approach to acting.
NC: The idea is that you don’t have to live the part and do the method thing. You don’t have to gain the fifty pounds, you don’t have to stay in character all the time and only be called by the characters’s name. You don’t have to do that because you have your imagination. And with the imagination, if you really invest yourself in it, if you stimulate it, if you listen to your dreams, whatever you need to do -- take a weekend and have a drink and channel something, whatever it is, or find an object or something that stimulates your imagination -- then you’re not really “acting” anymore, it’s not a lie anymore, it’s a truth. That’s what I’m trying to get to.
All actors originally were the shamen of the village. They don’t know that, though I would suspect that somebody like Joaquin Phoenix or Ryan Gosling knows exactly what I’m talking about. You are there -- believe it, believe in the imagination and lose yourself in the part. That’s all I’m trying to say.
He has a passion project with Roger Corman ready to go.
[It’s suggested to him that he takes the project to the newly reestablished Hammer Films shingle] They just sort of became new again, right? I should do that, that’s a good idea. I will.
But as to what he thinks about the lack of money around to make movies these days, he doesn’t believe the outlook is so very bleak.
NC: I love “The Master,” I love “Drive,” I think Ryan Gosling and Joaquin Phoenix are the most exciting actors out there -- I think [U.S. film is] in good shape.The problem is, because of the economy, and I know this better than anybody, nobody has any money. And it’s hard to get these little movies made. But the fact is they got made, it happened, “The Master” exists, “Drive” exists, David Gordon Green’s “Joe” exists -- it can be done. It’s just everyone has to be a little more creative about how to get it made. You gotta cut your price, you gotta pull together, but always good things have come out of that.
Look at “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari” -- the reason why they made those cardboard cutout sets and resorted to German Expressionism is they didn’t have the money to build the sets, so they had to be really creative about how to get it done. If you look at it historically, the more you have think about it and be creative about how you make the movie, chances are you might stumble onto something really imaginative. Gee, look at Anthony Burgess with “A Clockwork Orange.” He wrote that book because his wife was sick and he didn’t have any money, and he had to get her well, so he’s like, “well I’ll write a book” and he wrote one of the greatest books in fiction. It happens time and time again.
Actually a really fantastic interview tbh. As much as I love crack Nicolas Cage movies I'm excited to see him take on more serious roles again. And the possibility of a Roger Corman/Nicolas Cage movie is almost too much for me to handle.
Ethan Hawke has joined the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Anthony Hopkins in blasting the Oscars.
Hawke, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2002 ceremony for "Training Day" and also received an Adapted Screenplay nomination at the 2005 ceremony for "Before Sunset," took issue with the Academy Awards in a new interview with Gotham Magazine.
"People want to turn everything in this country into a competition," Hawke said. "It's so asinine ... if you look at how many forgettable, stupid movies have won Oscars and how many mediocre performers have Oscars above their fireplace. Making a priority of chasing these fake carrots and money and dubious accolades, I think it's really destructive."
Hawke's comments, including the remark about "fake carrots," are very similar to those made by Joaquin Phoenix last year.
"I think it's bulls--t," Phoenix said about the Oscars during an interview with Elvis Mitchell for Interview magazine. "I think it's total, utter bulls--t, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot. It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other ... It's the stupidest thing in the whole world." Phoenix is nominated at the Oscars 2013 ceremony for his role in "The Master."
Hopkins, meanwhile, found the concept of trying to win Academy Awards fairly abhorrent.
"People go out of their way to flatter the nominating body and I think it's kind of disgusting," Hopkins told HuffPost Entertainment. "That's always been against my nature."
SaharaReporters has uncovered a document indicating that a million dollars of Bayelsa State’s poverty alleviation fund was spent by then Governor Goodluck Jonathan on bringing American entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z to Nigeria in 2006.
In a letter stamped and signed by Bayelsa officials, N150 million (approximately a million dollars in 2006) was released from the state’s poverty alleviation fund for the first ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos.
The document came to light after a controversy was ignited over how much money American “reality TV” star Kim Kardashian was paid for a brief visit to Nigeria.
Ms. Kardashian, star of a US TV show about her idle rich family and who shot to international fame after a sex tape featuring her and her rapper boyfriend went viral, was reportedly paid half a million dollars for the 24-hour-visit last week.
The sources who provided the 2006 document for Beyonce and Jay Z’s visit told Saharareporters that there was a shady financial link between the producers of some high profile entertainment events and the governors and other officials who control budgets at the state and federal levels. Mr. Obaigbena’s newspaper, ThisDay, is a major sponsor of entertainment events that brings US music stars as well as top public figures for flying visits to Nigeria in exchange for gargantuan paychecks.
“Mr. Obaigbena often lines up financial bonanzas from numerous governors, ministers and other top government officials to finance his jamborees,” said one of the sources who is based in the UK and is knowledgeable about such deals.
SaharaReporters obtained a letter from Mr. Obaigbena to the Bayelsa State government soliciting funds from the oil-producing state ahead of Nigeria’s 46th independence celebrations in 2006. The publisher wrote, “We invite you to partner with us as co-hosts of the festival.” The letter added: “With a total budget of $10 million, the co-host is expected to contribute a minimum of $2.5 million (two million five hundred thousand USD).”
At the bottom of the letter, minuted by hand and signed by then Governor Jonathan’s aides as well as the Bayelsa State accountant general are the words, “Release N150,000,000.00 (One hundred and fifty million naira) only to be drawn from the poverty alleviation subhead.”
One source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obaigbena sent similar letters to other south-south states.
SaharaReporters could not ascertain how much of the released funds was paid directly to performers at the festival. There is no indication that Beyonce, one of the few entertainment stars internationally famous enough to only need one name, was aware that her performance was being subsidized by the poor people of Bayelsa.
But during Beyonce’s celebrated rendition of the Nigerian national anthem, pictures of Bayelsa State were projected onto the wall of the Lagos concert venue.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 47% of Bayelsans live in poverty. The World Bank says that per capita gross domestic product in the Niger Delta is significantly below the country’s average. According to the state’s own 2005 development strategy, 80% of rural communities have no access to safe drinking water, a key indicator in judging poverty. In Yenagoa, the state capital and Bayelsa’s largest urban area, an estimated two out of every five residents do not have access to safe drinking water.
In 2005, as part of its UN-approved strategy to combat poverty, the state promised to make a fund of N100 million available as soft loans and micro-credit to Bayelsans. The allocated fund was N50 million less than Mr. Jonathan approved for Mr. Obaigbena’s music festival. That promise was made in the Bayelsa State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, published by the United Nations Development Program and signed by then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. A civil rights activist in Yenogoa told SaharaReporters that the state “has been a woeful failure in its poverty reduction program.”
The letter from Mr. Obaigbena to then-governor Goodluck Jonathan said the concert was necessary to show that the news from Nigeria was “not just…HIV/AIDS, conflicts, poverty, kidnapping, strife and riots.”
The publisher added: “This is the longest ever period of democracy in Nigeria, over seven years and counting! And a stable democracy means more investment and economic prosperity for all.”
The publisher went on to give reasons why the state government should contribute to the concert.
The stars’ performances would “tell the world, through music, that Nigeria’s time has come,” Mr. Obaigbena wrote. The letter added, “And once the good news catches on with the young and upwardly mobile, music loving new generation it will catch on with the world of investments and bountiful opportunities.”
In 2006, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had just become governor of Bayelsa after his boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was impeached and convicted on corruption charges. Mr. Jonathan was then elevated to Vice President to then President Umaru Yar’Adua. Mr. Yar’Adua's death in 2010 enabled Mr. Jonathan, a zoologist whose PhD focused on tropical fish, to assume the presidency.
Since 2006, Mr. Obaigbena’s parent company, Leaders & Company, has produced a number of high-profile events that have seen such American stars as Rihanna, R Kelly, and Usher perform for Nigerians. The ticket prices for these concerts are usually out of reach of the “average” Nigerian. The events feature tickets that cost many tens of thousands of naira, usually reserved for “VIP access.” ThisDay has also hosted political luminaries like former US President Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to the Obama presidency, Lawrence Summers. At an Africa Rising concert in London, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell came on stage and danced to the popular Naija jam “Yahooze” by Olu Maintain.
A lot of white country men @ source
She looks AMAZING. Skin/face/hair/everything envy. SO glad to see the old Katie so much lately! Haters are Dawson/Joey lovers. DC appreciation post just because?
Oscar Tactic No. 1: Show your hunger.
Oscar Tactic No. 2: Be a beautiful woman.
tl;dr: Have a good PR agent, or have Harvey Weinstein kill people for you.
#4 (It's My Turn) at the Source!
Many thanks to goddlesssinner for finding this article!
I love them so much.