Gwen Stefani Sues Forever 21; Plus 50 Cent, Nas, Fugees, Lily Allen, Pete Wentz, Ashlee Simpson, Avril Lavigne & More, In For The Record

50 tells Nas to stop reading; Pras says Fugees reunion CD ain't happening; Allen designs new kicks.

Gwen Stefani has filed a lawsuit against Forever 21, claiming the retail chain stole a design from her Harajuku Lovers line. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims that Forever 21 is marketing, promoting and selling products featuring a design that is “virtually indistinguishable” from the cutesy heart logo used by Stefani’s L.A.M.B. offshoot — with “Harajuku” simply changed to “Forever” and “Lovers” to “Love.” Since the small text change is “inconspicuous,” the lawsuit claims, it’s “unlikely to go unnoticed by a consumer” and is “confusingly similar.” Well, unless you look at the price, that is. Harajuku Lovers alleges false destination of origin, trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition against the chain, and seeks not only monetary damages but also Forever 21′s profits and gains, since the company claims the co-opting of design caused the originals to lessen in value. …

50 Cent has a few words of advice for Nas in the new issue of XXL: put down the book. When asked, “What percentage of MCs in hip-hop do you think are actually intelligent?” 50 replied: “You have different kinds of people. You have people that are extremely book-smart that lack common sense, so they don’t know what’s going to affect their audience. … For instance, Nas is a really smart guy. He reads books constantly. We were around him on the Nastradamus tour. He was almost weirder than me ’cause we would go to breakfast and he’d be there reading a book. Conceptually, I think that’s what made him drift away from what his initial audience enjoys from him and why he’s not hot right now.” In the interview, 50 also insisted Jim Jones should be running Dipset — he’s “a more credible artist than Cam’ron is,” 50 said — revealed that he’s been trying to hook up with M.O.P. and admitted that he doesn’t eat cookies because he’s looking after his weight. …

Pras tells Billboard.com the forever-delayed Fugees reunion CD is now off the table altogether — and he’s not afraid to point fingers, either. “We went in the studio and recorded a couple records that were incredible,” he said. “But, to put it nicely, it’s dead. Me and [Wyclef Jean], we on the same page, but Lauryn [Hill] is in her zone, and I’m fed up with that sh–. Here she is, blessed with a gift, with the opportunity to rock and give, and she’s running on some bullsh–? I’m a fan of Lauryn’s, but I can’t respect that.” … Time to kick off those kicks — Lily Allen‘s Nike Air Max 90 is on the way. The limited-edition shoe will be available through exclusive promotions in the U.S. this summer and be colored red, white and blue. She’s not the only one with new Nikes — underground rapper MF Doom has designed his own Dunk High Premium SB, which is on sale in very limited form. …

Crisis averted, Fall Out Boy fans: Looks like the rumors of an engagement between Pete Wentz and his girlfriend Ashlee Simpson aren’t true. And neither is the gossip that she’s pregnant. Initial, uh, “reports” had Wentz proposing to Simpson before FOB’s Live Earth gig at Giants Stadium (New Jersey = romance) and suggested that Ash was seen refusing to drink anything and rubbing her belly. But according to a spokesperson for Wentz, those reports are false. … Blood spatter left by deceased actress Lana Clarkson is once again being contended in the Phil Spector trial. On Wednesday (July 18), defense witness James Pex, a blood expert, challenged the prosecution’s claim that spatter can travel more than 3 feet, according to the Los Angeles Times. In other developments, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul ruled Tuesday that convicted Hollywood madam Jody “Babydol” Gibson’s testimony was “inadmissible and irrelevant” to the trial. …

Though Avril Lavigne didn’t directly address the plagiarism claims that have dogged her over her “Girlfriend” hit, she posted a message on her MySpace page on Tuesday thanking fans for their support and urging them to check out the new disc by her hubby’s band, Sum 41. “I wanted to take this time to thank you, my fans, for all your undying support,” Lavigne wrote. “You have been amazing and I can’t express how much I appreciate it. Thank you all so much. I am so proud of this record and grateful for the response it has been getting from all of my fans. You made it go [#] 1.” … The White Stripes promised to play a show in every Canadian province and territory on their current tour and, technically, they now have. After secret gigs in bowling alleys, buses, flour factories and parks, the duo wrapped up their unconventional Great North experiment with a blink-and-you-missed-it surprise afternoon gig in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Monday before playing a real show that night. Taking the stage in front of a few hundred fans, the pair plugged in, hit a single note and then took a bow, with Jack White grinning as he said, “We have now officially played in every province and territory in Canada.” According to reports, fans were clued into the gag. …

Zach Braff working for Dunkin’ Donuts? Wake up and smell the coffee — it’s really happening. The “Garden State” director has helmed two ads for the chain, one featuring Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley and another featuring Naomi Campbell. … Rilo Kiley‘s Under the Blacklight is still about a month away — it drops August 21, to be precise — but the band has already fleshed out a tour in support of the release. The indie-rockers hit the pavement September 6 in San Francisco and wind down the trek in their Los Angeles hometown on October 16. … The title of the upcoming book “Would Someone Please Explain? The Best of Duran Duran‘s Ask Katy” pretty much says it all, so long as you’re aware that “Ask Katy” is the fan-letter section of the band’s Web site. Due in November, the tome features what Duran Duran consider to be the most outstanding questions fans have sent in since the site’s inception 10 years ago, with answers from the band. …

Comedian Dave Chappelle was briefly hospitalized over the weekend for exhaustion, checking into an emergency room on Saturday and checking out a few hours later after receiving fluids and a meal. Chappelle’s publicist Carla Sims confirmed the ER visit to The Associated Press, saying the funnyman had been traveling and was suffering from exhaustion but is now “fine.” She did not specify what hospital Chappelle visited or give any other details about his condition. … Winona Ryder is finally speaking out about her shoplifting bust six years ago — and she says painkillers were the real culprit. “Two months prior to [the December 2001 incident], I broke my arm in two places and the doctor was giving me a lot of stuff and I was taking it at first to get through the pain,” she said. “And then there was this weird point when you don’t know if you are in pain but you’re taking it. … It isn’t a reckless [state], like you’re out of your head. It’s just confusion.” The actress added that she was especially embarrassed about the incident because it drew attention in the wake of 9/11.

07.17.07

That purported Britney Spears track floating around the Internet is the real deal, the song’s producer, Nate “Danjahandz” Hills, has confirmed to MTV News. In May, the producer revealed to MTV News that one song set to be featured on her upcoming LP sounded like it belonged in a video game, and “Get Back” matches that description. “It’s weird! It’s catchy, but it’s weird. It’s hot,” he said, adding that the hook and chorus made him laugh. But it isn’t all laughs for Spears these days — the Humane Society of the United States has fired off a stern letter to Spears after it caught wind that she had reportedly dropped $3,000 for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from Pets of Bel Air in California after spending less than 30 minutes in the shop, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” “Choosing a dog is a major lifestyle decision that should not be taken lightly,” HSUS Director of Outreach for Companion Animals Stephanie Shain said in a press statement. “We suggest that people take time to choose a member of their family and to be sure they are working with a reputable breeder … Ms. Spears is setting a damaging example to the public. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills — factory-like facilities, churning out purebred and ‘designer’ puppies in large numbers.” Brit also bought a Chihuahua puppy from Pets of Bel Air in January. According to “ET,” the store is adamant that it buys from top breeders, not puppy mills. …

The first benefit for the Kanye West Foundation will take place August 24 in the rapper/producer’s Chicago hometown. The $125-a-ticket show will rock the House of Blues with a theme encouraging kids to stay in school. … Snoop Dogg, Whodini and Missy Elliott are among the artists to be hailed at the fourth annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The show will be taped October 4 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom and premiere October 8 at 10 p.m. ET. On Monday, VH1.com will launch the online contest “The Score” — the winner will create and produce the score for the event. Those interested can post their minute-long beats for consideration right here.

Not everyone loves “The Simpsons.” In fact, England’s pagan community is madder than a dog with bees in its mouth over a giant painting of Homer Simpson brandishing a donut. The painting, made to promote “The Simpsons Movie,” was hung on a field in Dorset opposite a famous 17th century fertility symbol: the club-wielding, clearly excited Ceme Abbas. According to the Daily Mail, the giant underwear-clad Homer was painted with biodegradable paint that will dissolve when it rains, so some local pagans have vowed to unleash some “rain magic” to erase the drought. … A Los Angeles Police Department officer who videotaped the Game in a holding cell waving a wad of cash and throwing hand signs after the rapper’s arrest in May is under investigation by the department’s internal-affairs division. The Associated Press reports that the unnamed officer could face disciplinary action for making the video on his cell phone; the footage was posted on the TMZ.com web site on May 12. …

Smashing Pumpkins fans probably didn’t expect to find photos of Paris Hilton inside copies of the band’s Zeitgeist reunion CD, but just in case Billy Corgan didn’t confuse them enough, a shot of the heiress is also featured on the cover of the band’s new “Tarantula” U.K. single. So what gives? In an interview with Launch Radio, Corgan said he took the photos with Hilton, who he had met previously. “The original idea was we were gonna see if Lindsay, Britney and Paris would all shoot … [but] Paris I knew personally, and hung out with her a few times, and so I asked her. … And God bless her, she came, she showed up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, sat in the chair, got made up and [I] shot her.” Hilton recently told E! Online that she has been meeting with producer Scott Storch to hammer out plans for her second LP. …

Speaking of sophomore efforts, Carrie Underwood‘s forthcoming, yet-untitled album will street on October 23. The effort will succeed her 2005 debut, Some Hearts, which earned her a heap of awards. … Brandon Flowers is a dad, People reports. The Killers frontman and his wife Tana welcomed a boy over the weekend. … Producer Polow Da Don launched his Interscope Records imprint Zone 4 Inc. Monday night at Opera in Atlanta. The star-studded bash was presented by Zune and Universal Publishing, and featured performances by Polow’s artists Rich Boy, Keri Hilson and i15. Also in attendance were Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Young Jeezy, DJ Unk, Jim Jones, Soulja Boy, Jermaine Dupri and Ciara, who hosted the festivities. …

Asda — the British arm of Wal-Mart Stores — apologized Tuesday (July 17) for criticizing “Harry Potter” publisher Bloomsbury of “blatant profiteering” for charging the U.S. equivalent of roughly $36 for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Bloomsbury had nixed the delivery of a half-million copies of the book to the stores, but Asda says the volumes will be on its shelves after all. Also in the U.K., copies of the book will come with a photo of a missing 4-year-old girl and a yellow ribbon in an appeal to help find her, Agence France Presse reports. Author J.K. Rowling has also asked that bookstores in 200 countries receive posters of the girl, who went missing at a Portuguese resort in early May. And on Tuesday, Britain issued seven postage stamps featuring the covers of the books. Roughly 340,000 people had pre-ordered them, snapping the record of 300,000 pre-orders set by a set of Beatles stamps in January. Meanwhile, on U.S. shores, Barnes & Noble is holding copies of the volume at a secret warehouse somewhere in the Northeast, Reuters reports. Security is being maintained around the building 24/7. …

A friend of Lana Clarkson testified Monday in the Phil Spector murder trial that the actress had called her days before the shooting and said, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of [Hollywood]. I want out.” Punkin Irene Elizabeth Laughlin, who cried while recalling the exchange, was due to continue testifying Tuesday. … Michael Jackson must hand over more than $250,000 to a Southern California firm, a judge determined late last week, according to AP. Ayscough & Marar handled side issues for the singer during the 2005 child-molestation trial. … Ricky Martin will soon be all over Dominican TV and radio — but he won’t be singing. Instead, the artist will be issuing public-service announcements warning about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. … Sting and his wife Trudie Styler must fork over $51,000 to compensate a former chef for sexual discrimination, AP reports. Jane Martin, who had worked for the singer for eight years, had claimed she was fired after she became pregnant. …

The good news for concertgoers is that average ticket prices are only up about 50 cents (or 1 percent) over last year, according to mid-year numbers released by Pollstar. The scary news, though, is that tight-trousered ’70s icon Rod Stewart is the top draw so far this year, with $48.1 million in ticket sales, beating out Justin Timberlake, who landed just behind at $42.3 million. Reunited rockers the Police were #3 at $41.9 million and are expected to top the list by year’s end with a tour predicted to generated $100 million in North America. Christina Aguilera landed at #7 on the list with $30.6 million, just after former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters and before a Cirque du Soleil show. …

Iman has caused a stir or two with her graceful looks over the years, but if you ask the supermodel who she thinks is about to make a stir, she says it’s Lenny Kravitz/ Lisa Bonet offspring Zoe Kravitz. Iman raved about Zoe in the new issue of Trace, which is on newsstands this week — Iman guest-edited the magazine’s annual “Black Girls Rule” issue. (Check out pictures of Zoe in the mag.) “When I met her for the first time, with her dad and her late grandfather, I literally took her under my wings like she was my own daughter. Self-effacing, knowing and grounded is what makes her truly the new ‘It’ girl.” Zoe Kravitz, who is set to act alongside Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster in this fall’s “The Brave One,” opened up in the mag about her Hollywood ambitions and what it was like to work with Foster. “Every time we did a take I would check if it was OK,” Kravitz said. “[Jodie] would tell me to let go and just do it. She [just] taught me to be comfortable on set.”

[This story was originally published on 7.18.2007 at 1:45 p.m.]

07.17.07

That purported Britney Spears track floating around the Internet is the real deal, the song’s producer, Nate “Danjahandz” Hills, has confirmed to MTV News. In May, the producer revealed to MTV News that one song set to be featured on her upcoming LP sounded like it belonged in a video game, and “Get Back” matches that description. “It’s weird! It’s catchy, but it’s weird. It’s hot,” he said, adding that the hook and chorus made him laugh. But it isn’t all laughs for Spears these days — the Humane Society of the United States has fired off a stern letter to Spears after it caught wind that she had reportedly dropped $3,000 for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from Pets of Bel Air in California after spending less than 30 minutes in the shop, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” “Choosing a dog is a major lifestyle decision that should not be taken lightly,” HSUS Director of Outreach for Companion Animals Stephanie Shain said in a press statement. “We suggest that people take time to choose a member of their family and to be sure they are working with a reputable breeder … Ms. Spears is setting a damaging example to the public. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills — factory-like facilities, churning out purebred and ‘designer’ puppies in large numbers.” Brit also bought a Chihuahua puppy from Pets of Bel Air in January. According to “ET,” the store is adamant that it buys from top breeders, not puppy mills. …

The first benefit for the Kanye West Foundation will take place August 24 in the rapper/producer’s Chicago hometown. The $125-a-ticket show will rock the House of Blues with a theme encouraging kids to stay in school. … Snoop Dogg, Whodini and Missy Elliott are among the artists to be hailed at the fourth annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The show will be taped October 4 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom and premiere October 8 at 10 p.m. ET. On Monday, VH1.com will launch the online contest “The Score” — the winner will create and produce the score for the event. Those interested can post their minute-long beats for consideration right here.

Not everyone loves “The Simpsons.” In fact, England’s pagan community is madder than a dog with bees in its mouth over a giant painting of Homer Simpson brandishing a donut. The painting, made to promote “The Simpsons Movie,” was hung on a field in Dorset opposite a famous 17th century fertility symbol: the club-wielding, clearly excited Ceme Abbas. According to the Daily Mail, the giant underwear-clad Homer was painted with biodegradable paint that will dissolve when it rains, so some local pagans have vowed to unleash some “rain magic” to erase the drought. … A Los Angeles Police Department officer who videotaped the Game in a holding cell waving a wad of cash and throwing hand signs after the rapper’s arrest in May is under investigation by the department’s internal-affairs division. The Associated Press reports that the unnamed officer could face disciplinary action for making the video on his cell phone; the footage was posted on the TMZ.com web site on May 12. …

Smashing Pumpkins fans probably didn’t expect to find photos of Paris Hilton inside copies of the band’s Zeitgeist reunion CD, but just in case Billy Corgan didn’t confuse them enough, a shot of the heiress is also featured on the cover of the band’s new “Tarantula” U.K. single. So what gives? In an interview with Launch Radio, Corgan said he took the photos with Hilton, who he had met previously. “The original idea was we were gonna see if Lindsay, Britney and Paris would all shoot … [but] Paris I knew personally, and hung out with her a few times, and so I asked her. … And God bless her, she came, she showed up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, sat in the chair, got made up and [I] shot her.” Hilton recently told E! Online that she has been meeting with producer Scott Storch to hammer out plans for her second LP. …

Speaking of sophomore efforts, Carrie Underwood‘s forthcoming, yet-untitled album will street on October 23. The effort will succeed her 2005 debut, Some Hearts, which earned her a heap of awards. … Brandon Flowers is a dad, People reports. The Killers frontman and his wife Tana welcomed a boy over the weekend. … Producer Polow Da Don launched his Interscope Records imprint Zone 4 Inc. Monday night at Opera in Atlanta. The star-studded bash was presented by Zune and Universal Publishing, and featured performances by Polow’s artists Rich Boy, Keri Hilson and i15. Also in attendance were Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Young Jeezy, DJ Unk, Jim Jones, Soulja Boy, Jermaine Dupri and Ciara, who hosted the festivities. …

Asda — the British arm of Wal-Mart Stores — apologized Tuesday (July 17) for criticizing “Harry Potter” publisher Bloomsbury of “blatant profiteering” for charging the U.S. equivalent of roughly $36 for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Bloomsbury had nixed the delivery of a half-million copies of the book to the stores, but Asda says the volumes will be on its shelves after all. Also in the U.K., copies of the book will come with a photo of a missing 4-year-old girl and a yellow ribbon in an appeal to help find her, Agence France Presse reports. Author J.K. Rowling has also asked that bookstores in 200 countries receive posters of the girl, who went missing at a Portuguese resort in early May. And on Tuesday, Britain issued seven postage stamps featuring the covers of the books. Roughly 340,000 people had pre-ordered them, snapping the record of 300,000 pre-orders set by a set of Beatles stamps in January. Meanwhile, on U.S. shores, Barnes & Noble is holding copies of the volume at a secret warehouse somewhere in the Northeast, Reuters reports. Security is being maintained around the building 24/7. …

A friend of Lana Clarkson testified Monday in the Phil Spector murder trial that the actress had called her days before the shooting and said, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of [Hollywood]. I want out.” Punkin Irene Elizabeth Laughlin, who cried while recalling the exchange, was due to continue testifying Tuesday. … Michael Jackson must hand over more than $250,000 to a Southern California firm, a judge determined late last week, according to AP. Ayscough & Marar handled side issues for the singer during the 2005 child-molestation trial. … Ricky Martin will soon be all over Dominican TV and radio — but he won’t be singing. Instead, the artist will be issuing public-service announcements warning about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. … Sting and his wife Trudie Styler must fork over $51,000 to compensate a former chef for sexual discrimination, AP reports. Jane Martin, who had worked for the singer for eight years, had claimed she was fired after she became pregnant. …

The good news for concertgoers is that average ticket prices are only up about 50 cents (or 1 percent) over last year, according to mid-year numbers released by Pollstar. The scary news, though, is that tight-trousered ’70s icon Rod Stewart is the top draw so far this year, with $48.1 million in ticket sales, beating out Justin Timberlake, who landed just behind at $42.3 million. Reunited rockers the Police were #3 at $41.9 million and are expected to top the list by year’s end with a tour predicted to generated $100 million in North America. Christina Aguilera landed at #7 on the list with $30.6 million, just after former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters and before a Cirque du Soleil show. …

Iman has caused a stir or two with her graceful looks over the years, but if you ask the supermodel who she thinks is about to make a stir, she says it’s Lenny Kravitz/ Lisa Bonet offspring Zoe Kravitz. Iman raved about Zoe in the new issue of Trace, which is on newsstands this week — Iman guest-edited the magazine’s annual “Black Girls Rule” issue. (Check out pictures of Zoe in the mag.) “When I met her for the first time, with her dad and her late grandfather, I literally took her under my wings like she was my own daughter. Self-effacing, knowing and grounded is what makes her truly the new ‘It’ girl.” Zoe Kravitz, who is set to act alongside Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster in this fall’s “The Brave One,” opened up in the mag about her Hollywood ambitions and what it was like to work with Foster. “Every time we did a take I would check if it was OK,” Kravitz said. “[Jodie] would tell me to let go and just do it. She [just] taught me to be comfortable on set.”

[This story was originally published on 7.18.2007 at 1:45 p.m.]