Usher To Become A Dad; Plus Screamfest, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Fall Out Boy, Fergie, Andre 3000 & More, In For The Record

Tour to kick off August 3 in New Orleans; Senator Barack Obama has Jay, B in his iPod; FOB, Fergie to perform at Fashion Rocks concert.

Usher has more than just a new album on his plate — he’s about to become a father for the first time. In a statement the singer and his fiancee Tameka Foster issued to The Associated Press on Wednesday (June 27), the couple said: “We are extremely excited at this point in our lives planning our wedding and the joy that comes with expecting our first child together. We hope people will be happy for us and respect our privacy during this happy period in our lives.” The baby, which is due in the fall, will be the fourth child for recently divorced stylist Foster. …

Ready to Scream? Dates have been announced for this year’s Screamfest, which will feature T.I., Ciara, Yung Joc, Lloyd and T-Pain. The jaunt begins August 3 in New Orleans, continues through the rest of the month and ends with a pair of shows September 1-2 at Universal City, California’s Gibson Amphitheatre. …

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama phoned in to New York hip-hop radio station Hot 97 on Wednesday to chat it up with jock Angie Martinez on her afternoon show. Although the Illinois politician didn’t waver too far from his campaign platform — better education, better health care and more jobs — he did reveal his musical playlist. “I’m old-school and generally I’m more of a jazz guy,” he told Martinez. “But having said that, I’m current enough that on my iPod I got a little bit of Jay-Z, a little bit of Beyoncé. A little bit. I don’t want to pretend I know as much as my [children]. I’m falling behind rapidly.” …

Fall Out Boy, Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, and Usher will perform at the fourth annual Fashion Rocks concert, which is scheduled for September 6 at Radio City Music Hall as part of New York Fashion Week. “Entourage” star Jeremy Piven will host the event, which will also feature appearances by Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, Ludacris and more. … Andre 3000 is dropping a batch of songs Tuesday — but don’t expect to hear him singing all of them. The Outkast member picked 14 songs he wrote and produced for “Class of 3000″ — the Cartoon Network show that revolves around Sunny Bridges, a character he voices — and bundled them for the soundtrack. The tracks feature the voices of kids and characters from the series, including Bridges. …

It was diva night Tuesday at the BET Awards, where “Dreamgirls” co-stars Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson each took home two trophies. B won Best Female R&B Artist and Video of the Year for “Irreplaceable,” and Hudson snagged Best New Artist and Best Female Actress. Ne-Yo won Best Male R&B Artist, Gnarls Barkley got Best Group, T.I. again won Best Hip-Hop Artist and “The Last King of Scotland” star Forest Whitaker won Best Male Actor. Other winners included Ludacris (for his collabo with Mary J. Blige, “Runaway Love”), Birdman and Lil Wayne (Viewer’s Choice for “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”) and Diana Ross (Lifetime Achievement). The show also featured tributes to James Brown and Gerald Levert, as well as performances by Hudson (with Jennifer Holliday), Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland with Eve and 50 Cent. …

The sheriff who was criticized for briefly allowing Paris Hilton to leave jail for house arrest explained his actions just hours after Hilton was released from jail on Tuesday. According to a Reuters report, Sheriff Lee Baca suggested that he made the controversial move because he feared for Hilton’s life. While he did not explicitly say Hilton had been in danger of harming herself, Baca said, “I think we all in this room know something about suicide. As the sheriff of this county, I’m not going to let any inmate die in our jails if I know something that can be done that solves the medical problem. … What’s worth more? Serving time in the county jail for driving on a suspended driver’s license or a person losing their life?” A spokesperson for Hilton would not comment on Baca’s remarks. …

A former medical examiner testifying for Phil Spector‘s defense said Wednesday that Lana Clarkson was an aging actress who was out of work and battling depression and health problems — and that after studying her e-mails, medical records and other evidence, he concluded her death was a suicide. Vincent DiMaio said Clarkson had broken her wrists in an accident in 2002; that she had been taking Vicodin; that she wrote to one of her doctors that she “was at the end of her rope and could not function”; and that she noted in an August 21, 2002, day planner entry, “First sober day.” DiMaio also debated the prosecution’s reconstruction of Clarkson’s death on Wednesday. He disagreed with the contention that bruises on her tongue were caused by a gun being forced into her mouth, saying expanding gases from the gunshot were the likely cause. He also refuted the notion that Clarkson’s body had been moved, presumably by Spector; DiMaio argued that the pressure of gunshot gases can cause a body to move after death. …

The lineup for the free Live Earth show on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will include Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell, Macy Gray and a host of homegrown talent. Meanwhile, the gig planned for Istanbul, Turkey, has been axed, reportedly due to a lack of interest and too few sponsors. One of the event’s co-founders, former Vice President Al Gore, has announced that he will attend the New Jersey leg of the worldwide environmental awareness event on July 7. … Shadows Fall will be playing a not-so-secret MySpace Secret Show Thursday at Pearl Street in Northampton, Massachusetts. The bill also features the Probates, the Uncomfortables and Hot Black. …

Morrissey has canceled concerts this week in Northampton, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia due to a throat infection. A half-hour into his show in Boston Tuesday night the singer was unable to continue performing — he had already explained to the crowd that he was ill, saying, “Unfortunately it will not just be the emotions cracking tonight but my voice as well.” His tour is scheduled to resume Saturday night in New York. … In addition to a slate of U.S. dates in support of his self-titled 2006 album, Ben Kweller has announced a three-night run at Southpaw, in Brooklyn, New York, during which he’ll play a different record straight through each night. It will be Sha Sha on July 30, On My Way on July 31 and Ben Kweller on August 1. …

Foxy Brown, who was cited for missing a probation meeting on Friday, showed up four hours late for a probation meeting Tuesday. According to New York’s Daily News, the rapper arrived with five bodyguards and, in a move that riled other ex-cons, was hustled in and out by security guards helping her avoid photographers. … Don’t go to your doctor saying you have “video game addiction” symptoms just yet. On Wednesday, the American Medical Association chose a milder measure over a previously prepared report that would have encouraged the term to be included in a manual of psychiatric witnesses, according to AP. “While more study is needed on the addictive potential of video games, the AMA remains concerned about the behavioral, health and societal effects of video game and Internet overuse,” AMA President Dr. Ronald Davis said. “We urge parents to closely monitor children’s use of video games and the Internet.”

06.26.2007

Despite police confirming Foxy Brown had indeed filed a robbery report, the rapper’s management team is now claiming she was not stripped of valuable possessions — including a hearing aid and credit cards — over the weekend in Brooklyn, New York, but rather that she simply “lost” her bag. According to New York’s Daily News, Chaz Williams of Black Hand Entertainment displayed the stolen Louis Vuitton bag and several other items to the newspaper to prove his claim and also stated Brown does not need to cooperate with authorities any longer regarding the incident. Brown may also be heading for more hot water, as the News also reported she missed a scheduled probation meeting Friday, which resulted in a stern letter probation officials posted on the door of her home. …

Dina Lohan told the Daily News that her daughter Lindsay voluntarily chose to extend her stay at the Promises Malibu Alcohol and Drug Rehab Treatment Facility in Malibu, California. “She’s going to be dong extended care,” she said. “It was her choice.” The singer/actress entered the treatment center after a tumultuous Memorial Day weekend. Also, a New York judge on Tuesday (June 26) ordered Dina Lohan and her husband Michael Lohan to undergo family therapy, although it’s not yet determined if they’ll be attending the sessions together, according to The Associated Press.

The last installment of the “Harry Potter” series is going to have fans dancing in the streets — for real. Scholastic is throwing a “Deathly Hallows” celebration at its New York headquarters that will feature magicians, jugglers, face-painting, wand-making and a giant Muggle board on which fans can leave personal messages. What’s being dubbed “Harry Potter Place” will be open to the public on July 20 from 5 p.m.-11 p.m., with a big clock counting down to the 12:01 a.m. release of the book the following day. …

Phil Spector‘s defense called its first witness, a forensics expert, to the stand Tuesday. Dr. Vincent DiMaio testified that he believed actress Lana Clarkson probably committed suicide in light of the blood spatter and gunshot residue evidence. “She’s got blood on her hands, she’s got gunshot residue — that’s 99 percent suicide,” he said. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler recessed trial for the day before the prosecution could begin cross-examining DiMaio. While the defense began calling witnesses Tuesday, the prosecution still wants Spector’s ex-attorney Sara Caplan to take the stand about a missing piece of evidence. …

Avenged Sevenfold are looking to give one lucky fan the chance to produce the band’s forthcoming LP for a day. Those interested must upload a short video (less than two minutes long) to either YouTube, DailyMotion or another sponsoring Web site explaining why they would be the best pick to get into the studio and work with the band. Entries must also be sent to a7xproducerforaday@yahoo.com, and the winner will be chosen on Monday. Technical know-how in the recording studio is not required. … The Smashing Pumpkins have announced the lineup of opening acts for their upcoming sold-out residency tour. Among the groups scheduled to share the stage with the band for its first full U.S. tour since 2000 are: Celebration, Scissors for Lefty, Deerhunter, the Films, Gliss, Fair to Midland, War Tapes, Test Your Reflex, Idiot Pilot, Moving Units, Stars Of Track and Field, Black Angels and the 88. … Swizz Beatz, Bryan Michael-Cox and Polow Da Don collaborated over the weekend, but not for a new song — rather, the trio teamed up to host the Producers Ball Sunday night at Los Angeles’ Wilshire Royale Hotel. DJs Gomez Warren and Trauma spun tracks as Bow Wow, Jermaine Dupri, Johnta Austin and Kim Kardashian danced along. …

Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson detailed his relationship with Jay-Z in a recent interview with The Kansas City Star. The Pro Bowl star, who sports a Roc-A-Fella necklace like Jay, called the rapper and executive a mentor of his. “He definitely didn’t want me to do that Fantasia video ['When I See U'],” Johnson explained. “I definitely got cussed out for that one. He told me there were a lot of things he wanted to do, but he couldn’t do them. He said, ‘You gotta be able to look at yourself as a business, as stock, and the less things you do, the more people will have interest in you. The more things you do, you water down your value.’ ” … “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle will travel to Zambia on Thursday with first lady Laura Bush and the group Malaria No More for a mission that will include the distribution of 500,000 bed nets funded by this year’s “Idol Gives Back” charity special. A press release announcing the four-day trip said Doolittle will see the impact of malaria firsthand as she helps deliver the first installment of the $70 million raised during the “Idol” telethon to help aid children in the U.S. and Africa. …

Buff “300″ star Gerard Butler will join Ludacris in Guy Ritchie‘s upcoming crime caper “RocknRolla.” The film, written and directed by Ritchie, is slated to begin production in London soon, according to Variety magazine. It revolves around a Russian mobster who orchestrates a crooked land deal, putting millions of dollars up for grabs and attracting London’s criminal underworld. … Henry Rollins has signed on to front the Ruts — the reggae-influenced British punk band that split up following the 1980 overdose death of charismatic frontman Malcolm Owen — for a benefit gig in London next month. Proceeds from the July 16 show, to be held at London’s Carling Academy, will benefit guitarist Paul Fox — who is suffering from untreatable lung cancer — and various cancer charities. Rollins will take the place of Owen during the reunion concert. …

Thrice have parted ways with their label, Island Records. In a statement from the band, the boys claim that, “over the past couple of years, we’ve realized that we have different visions for the band’s future and we both agree that we’d be better off going our separate ways at this point. We’re very grateful for all the help and support they’ve given us for the past four years. Thankfully, they’ve been generous enough to let us keep the record we’re currently recording, and we’re hopeful that this change in plans won’t delay its release.” Thrice are now looking for a new label home and plan to continue working on the follow-up to 2005′s Vheissu, which might be out before year’s end. … Staind singer Aaron Lewis has announced the dates for his latest string of solo acoustic shows. The band’s Web site reports that the Have Guitar, Will Travel gigs will kick off July 27 at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and be staged at theaters around the country through an August 29 date at the Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Staind will play a few weeks of shows before Lewis’ solo dates, opening for Nickelback in early July and headlining a handful of shows on the East Coast. …

In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, the release of the first volume of Neil Young‘s oft-delayed collection, The Archives Vol. 01, has been bumped to 2008. The notoriously perfectionist Young has reportedly been working on the massive eight-CD/two-DVD set (which spans 1963-72 and includes a truckload of rare, unreleased and live audio and video material) for more than a decade — and that’s just the first volume. The set, described as “the definitive audiobiography,” is now slated to arrive early next year, but don’t hold your breath. Check the collection’s site for more info.Joss Stone has been in the news in recent months after a controversial appearance at the Brit Awards, but it seems the soul singer is actually turning the tables and making news now. Stone donned a blazer and glasses for a parody news broadcast poking fun at infamous blogger Perez Hilton. “I’m sure he-slash-she tries,” Stone said in the YouTube clip. “[But] the torrent of lies spew forth from a mouth that is so spoiled it make never be cleansed without your help.” The clip then throws to a link for HelpPerezHilton.com, which is registered but currently without any content. …

Disgraced former boy band impresario Lou Pearlman is back in the United States after arriving in Los Angeles on Monday, according to AP. Pearlman had been under arrest on one charge of bank fraud in the U.S. territory of Guam after his expulsion from Indonesia earlier this month. He is accused of fraudulently securing $20 million in loans for himself and his companies using faked financial documents from a bogus accounting firm. … Hundreds of Internet radio webcasters participated in a Day of Silence on Tuesday (June 26) to protest the recent hike in fees that they will have to pay to stream radio stations online. Among the broadcasters protesting the new royalty rates — slated to go into effect on July 15 and retroactive to January 1, 2006 — are Rhapsody, Pandora, Live365, WOXY.com, Soma FM, KCRW, MTV Radio and Radio Paradise. Many of the broadcasters have warned that they could be forced out of business if the rates go into effect, because they would result in annual fees of nearly $1 billion for a marginal industry that struggled to pay $20 million in fees last year. …

A woman who successfully defended herself against a lawsuit by the Recording Industry Association of America has turned around and filed suit against the music industry trade group, a host of major labels and the company that helps the RIAA investigate alleged copyright infringers. According to Wired.com, after defending herself for two years against a financially debilitating suit by the RIAA, Tanya Andersen filed suit on Monday against Atlantic Recording Corporation, Priority Records, Capitol Records, UMG Recordings, BMG Music, the RIAA, MediaSentry and Settlement Support Center, claiming that the RIAA’s methods are criminal and that its lawyers are needlessly harsh in pursuing defendants. It also claims that MediaSentry’s investigations, which have allegedly been the “sole” basis of tens of thousands of copyright infringement lawsuits filed by the RIAA, are “illegal, flawed and negligent.”