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Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions

Charlie Daniels has always been outspoken about his political beliefs. So it comes as no surprise that he is sharing his opinions on the recent movement to remove Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces in the U.S.

>> Watch the interview here

In a new interview with cable network Newsmax TV, the 80-year-old country music icon was asked whether or not he thought Confederate statues should be taken down.

>> On Rare Country: Blake Shelton weighs in on the Charlottesville tragedy

He simply answered, “No.”

“If you don’t like it, don’t look at it,” Daniels explained. “I walk past movie posters that I don’t like. There’s all kinds of symbolism in this country that I don’t like, but I’m not going to go tear them down. I just don’t look at them. These statues aren’t preaching or shouting out some kind of crazy epithets or something. They’re just sitting there. So just turn around and don’t look at them.”

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

Daniels, who seemed more concerned with preserving the history and culture of America, also compared the current debate over the removal of Confederate statues to situations going on with ISIS.

>> Read more trending news

“There were pieces of history that they didn’t like. [So] they were taking them down,” he said before echoing words that President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet, “Where does it stop? Is it going to be Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, or are we headed into Jefferson, Washington, who were both slave owners? How deep into history are we going to go?

“You don’t have to condone what happened in the Civil War,” he added, “but they’re statues of people who are part of our history.”

>> On Rare Country: Charlie Daniels honors America with his latest video

Plans to remove several Confederate statues around the U.S. come just days after a white nationalist rally to protect a Statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly. According to CNN, Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama are just some of the many states pushing to remove Confederate monuments.

'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman killed on set was first black woman road racer

Joi “SJ” Harris, known as the first African-American woman road racer, died on the Vancouver set of “Deadpool 2” after a motorcycle crash. 

The pioneer grew up in Brooklyn but didn’t catch wind of the motorcycle racing industry until adulthood. 

>> Joi ‘SJ’ Harris identified as ‘Deadpool 2’ stuntwoman who died after motorcycle crash on set

Determined to learn how to ride, she headed to New Jersey Motorsports Park, a track three hours away from her home, to figure out the basics. That was in 2009, and just five years later, she was licensed and gearing up for her first race. 

However, it didn’t come without its challenges.

“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” she told Black Girls Ride. “I was alone for most of the [first] day, scared and in tears. I had no one to talk to, and I didn’t know what I needed.”

>> Ryan Reynolds speaks out after stuntwoman dies on set of ‘Deadpool 2’

But pretty soon, she found her footing, accumulating a slew of sponsors and earning the nickname “SJ Sidewayz.”

Billing herself as “the first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in sanctioned motorcycle road racing events,” she was an incredible competitor. She participated in races such as the GP Moto Cup and the Championship Cup Series, where she placed first earlier this year. 

A medical professional by day, she didn’t keep her secrets of success to herself. Harris aimed to shed light on the field at conferences and expositions so more women of color could learn about it.

“Sisters on the track are few and far in between. I want to show them that there’s more for them to be exposed to. I want to get the kids interested through experience,” she told Black Girls Ride. 

>> Read more trending news

She was excited for the opportunity to do just that when she got the call from the producers of “Deadpool 2.” She was hired to be a stuntwoman for Zazie Beetz, known for playing Vanessa on FX’s “Atlanta.” It was her first movie job. 

"The opportunity of a lifetime came along. We had just booked her on the film, and was sworn to secrecy, and then she was off to Canada to make her mark on the world,” Porshce Taylor, one of her friends, said in a Facebook post

She died while performing a stunt, which she had done successfully four times prior, when she went airborne and crashed through the glass of a building. 

Since her death, fans and colleagues have paid tribute to the star through social media, including “Deadpool 2” star Ryan Reynolds. 

Sparkling Ice 08/19/17

 

Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors

The White House announced in a statement Saturday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend this year's Kennedy Center Honors.

The statement said that the president made the decision to not participate to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” The statement said the president and first lady “extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”

>> Read more trending news

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual tradition. Past presidents and first ladies host a reception for honorees at the White House before the Kennedy Center gala and attend the televised event. 

One of this year's honorees, television writer and producer Norman Lear, had announced he was skipping the White House reception due to Trump, and other honorees also planned to boycott the reception, the Washington Post reported.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

New biography about David Bowie reveals details of his wild life

An upcoming biography of David Bowie reveals new details about the singer’s life, including some strange propositions, NME reported.

>> Read more trending news

“David Bowie: A Life” will be released Sept. 12. Written by Dylan Jones, the biography is described as “intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn” about Bowie, who died Jan. 11, 2016, after an 18-month battle with cancer.

In the book, groupie Josette Caruso describes the time Bowie was offered a “warm, deady body” to have sex with while on tour in Philadelphia in September 1972, NME reported.

According to the Daily Mail, Caruso told how Bowie’s bodyguard answered the door and then called for the singer, looking “white as a sheet.”

“He obviously looked like such a freak that some sick people thought he might be into necrophilia,” Caruso said.

“Who on earth do they think I am? Why would they think I’d be interested in something like that?” Bowie reportedly said.

Other details from the book, according to the Daily Mail:

  • Bowie’s sex addiction drove him to sleep with 13-year-old groupies, engage in orgies and declare he was bisexual.

  • Because of his brother's schizophrenia, he did not like LSD but developed a cocaine habit.

  • Born David Jones, he changed his last name to Bowie -- like the Bowie Knife -- after British media nicknamed Mick Jagger, 'Jagger Dagger' 

The book also gives a detailed insight into the singer’s life from his childhood in Brixton, through his wild and successful music career, to his relatively calm last few years with wife Iman, NME reported.by

“David Bowie was his very own creation, his very own work of art,” Dylan Jones writes.“This was the boy from postwar Brixton with his sights set on the world.”

 

Taylor Swift wipes social media accounts; website goes dark

Taylor Swift has wiped her social media accounts clean, and fans of the singer are trying to figure out why, Billboard reported.

>> Read more trending news

On average, Swift has put out a new album every two years since her debut in 2006. Her last album, however -- “1989” -- was released in October 2014.

Friday morning, fans noticed that Swift had deleted her Twitter avatar and header, along with blanking out her Facebook page. All of her posts on Tumblr also were deleted, Billboard reported.

Swift has more than 102 million followers on Instagram, but that site also has been wiped clean, Billboard reported. Her official website is blacked out.

What does it all mean? Have her sites been hacked, or is she gearing up for a comeback. Several Twitter followers speculated about both scenarios. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the singer could not be reached for comment, Billboard reported.

On Monday, a jury ruled in favor of Swift in her countersuit against former radio host David Mueller for alleged assault and battery.

Former Yankees star Derek Jeter, wife welcome first child 

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was called “The Captain” during his major-league career.

>> Read more trending news

Now he can be called a dad.

Jeter’s wife Hannah gave birth to a girl, Bella Raine Jeter, on Thursday, according to the verified Twitter account of The Players’ Tribune, which was founded by Jeter in 2014.

The Jeters were married in July 2016, and Hannah Jeter announced her pregnancy via a February essay in The Players’ Tribune, Newsday reported.

Jeter, 43, retired from the Yankees in 2014 after a 20-year career. He finished with a franchise-record 3,465 hits and a .310 batting average while leading the Yankees to seven World Series and five titles.

Shawn Mendes to headline return of ‘MTV Unplugged’

“MTV Unplugged” is returning to television, and Shawn Mendes will be the first singer to appear on the show, Variety reported.

>> Read more trending news

Mendes will appear in the season premiere in a performance shot at Los Angeles’ Theater at Ace Hotel. The show will air on Sept. 8, Variety reported.

Mendes currently holds the No. 1 spot in Top 40 radio with his single, “Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.”

“MTV Unplugged” ran on the music video station from 1989 to 2009 and featured artists playing acoustic versions of their songs. Past performers included Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Eric Clapton.

Mendes told Variety he was excited to be a part of the show after seeing Pearl Jam’s 1992 session.

“It wasn't so much about the commercial, showman side of it; It was really about the music,” he said.

Spotify pulls white supremacist music from the service

Spotify pulled more than three dozen artists and bands from the streaming music service after they were identified as supporting ideas of white supremacy in a post on a music news site.

>> Read more trending news 

The post, published Monday on DigitalMusicNews.com, identified dozens of musicians and groups on the streaming music platform that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had named “hate bands” in a 2014 list

According to Digital Music News, the SPLC compiled the list in an effort to urge Apple to remove the bands’ music from its platform.

The music news site found at least eight other related bands on Spotify with help from its algorithm for recommended music and artists.

“In the wake of violent clashes in Charlottesville and an increasingly vocal, post-Trump white supremacy voice, the presence of white supremacy music on Spotify takes on a different light,” Digital Music News writer Paul Resnikoff wrote in an effort to call attention to Spotify’s musical offering.

Less than 24 hours after the article was published, Spotify scrapped the music from its platform.

“Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us,” a Spotify spokesperson said. “Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention. We are glad to have been alerted to this content and have already removed many of the bands identified ... whilst urgently reviewing the remainder.”

According to CNN, Spotify uses government lists of offensive music and bands to help police its platform. 

The streaming service said it would review any content “that is in clear violation of (Spotify’s) internal guidelines which includes content that clearly incites hatred or violence,” CNN reported.

Read more at DigitalMusicNews.comCNN and Billboard.

LeToya Luckett engaged a year after divorce

Former Destiny’s Child member LeToya Luckett has a lot to celebrate.

A year after ending her marriage to relationship expert Rob Hill Sr., she is engaged to a new man she has quietly been dating.

Essence reported that, according to photos and videos posted on Instagram, the original member of Destiny’s Child became engaged to Dallas entrepreneur Tommicus Walker after throwing him a surprise birthday party.

Luckett confirmed the news on her own Instagram page early Thursday.

“I said , ‘Yes yeeeesssss’ on his Burfday!” she captioned the photo.

In August 2016, TMZ reported that the “In the Name of Love” singer quietly got  a divorce after getting married in January “but split after just 2 months and change.”

Ebony reported that Luckett’s brother, Gavin Luckett, posted a video of the proposal on his Instagram page hours after Luckett confirmed the news.

From the video, it’s clear Luckett got a hefty-looking sparkler that she was happy to show off. 

Congrats to the couple!

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