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Beyonce: music’s golden girl

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Beyonce: music's golden girl

Beyonce, the music royal whose art has shifted the culture time and again, long ago cemented herself as one of the world’s seminal stars.

On Sunday, she made history again, becoming the winningest artist in Grammys history, surpassing the late classical conductor Georg Solti’s long-standing record of 31 lifetime trophies.

Speaking through tears, the regal artist donning a metallic Gucci corset gown with elbow-length black leather gloves thanked her family, including her three children and husband Jay-Z, who looked on from the crowd.

“I’m trying not to be too emotional. And I’m trying to just receive this night,” she said.

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She paid special tribute to the queer community, who she credited with inventing the genre she celebrated in her historically layered record that pays homage to pioneers of funk, soul, rap, house and disco.

But to the shock of everyone and the fury of fans on social media, Beyonce — whose tour announcement is virtually guaranteed to trigger a ticketing crash for the ages — missed out on the Album of the Year award.

This time, it went to British pop phenom Harry Styles, six years after she lost the award to Adele.

She has also never won Record of the Year, despite having the most nods ever for the category, with eight.

So the Beyonce paradox lives on: the same night she further burnished her GOAT — greatest of all time — status, the legendary artist also lengthened her streak as the Recording Academy’s most snubbed nominee.

Queen Bey

Born Beyonce Giselle Knowles in Houston, Texas, the now 41-year-old has been in the upper echelons of pop music since her teenage years.

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She initially rose to fame as part of the girl group Destiny’s Child — whose smash hits included “Survivor” AND “Say My Name” — before embarking on a wildly successful solo career.

From setting the standard for the overnight album drop to delivering her earth-shattering “Homecoming” show at Coachella in 2018, Beyonce has long bucked the industry’s conventional wisdom, and is simultaneously one of music’s most private and most-watched stars.

Her paradigm-shifting 2016 album “Lemonade,” which emphasized Black womanhood against the backdrop of America’s heritage of slavery and culture of oppression, remains one of the most venerated musical projects in recent memory.

Then she dropped the critically acclaimed song “Black Parade” in June 2020, amid nationwide protests ignited by the murder of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer.

“She’s arguably the most culturally important artist in the world,” Merck Mercuriadis, the music publishing mogul who was once Beyonce’s manager, told AFP at a pre-Grammy gala.

“Renaissance,” her house-tinged 2022 dance record, offered a pulsating, sweaty collection of club tracks.

Eminently danceable and rife with nods to disco and EDM history, the 16-song album was an instant hit and earned wide praise for its deep ambition.

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Prior to releasing her opus, Beyonce had dropped the single “Break My Soul” to acclaim, setting the tone for her house revival that highlighted the Black, queer and working-class artists and communities who molded the electronic dance genre, which first developed in Chicago in the 1980s.

Beyond her music, she is a fashion icon — she actually was named just that by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2016 — with her own athleisure line Ivy Park. She has appeared in a handful of films including “Dreamgirls.”

She sang Etta James classic “At Last” for Barack and Michelle Obama at an inaugural ball in 2009, and then belted out the national anthem at his second inauguration in 2013. She has twice performed at halftime of the Super Bowl.

According to Forbes, her net worth as of last year was $450 million.

‘Artist of our lives’

Despite losing the Album and Record of the Year Grammys for what feels like the umpteenth time, the outpouring of love from her peers on Sunday made clear it was still Beyonce’s night.

“You never know with this, you know, this stuff,” a sheepish Styles told journalists backstage, when asked if he had also expected a Beyonce triumph for top album.

“I don’t think you can look at any of the nominees and not feel like they deserve it.”

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And Lizzo, who bested Queen Bey for Record of the Year, delivered a heartfelt tribute to one of her idols, challenging the audience to keep their eyes dry.

“In the fifth grade, I skipped school to see you perform,” she said at the podium, speaking directly to a clearly touched Beyonce.

“You changed my life,” she continued, Beyonce’s eyes also welling up. “The way you make me feel, I was like, I want to make people feel this way with my music. So thank you so much.”

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

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R.E.M. delivers surprise performance at songwriting gala

 R.E.M. performed onstage together for the first time in well over a decade Thursday, reuniting to play their classic “Losing My Religion” as they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills broke up in 2011, and the last time all four members played onstage together — Bill Berry left in 1997 — was in 2007. But entrance into the who’s who of music that is the prestigious songwriting pantheon got the band back together.

“Songwriting is the very foundation of why we came together in the first place,” lead vocalist Michael Stipes told AFP. “We’re really proud.”

The band was inducted by Jason Isbell, who performed a cover of R.E.M’s “It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” at the event. “R.E.M. was greater than the sum of its parts. R.E.M. moved like a single instrument,” Isbell said.

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The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates its inductees with a festive dinner and intimate concert instead of a televised event.

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael — the duo known as The Bacon Brothers — opened the show with a foot-stomping rendition of “Footloose,” the Oscar-nominated title track of the hit 1984 film of the same name.

Bacon starred in the movie — but Dean Pitchford wrote it and much of its music, and was among the elite group inducted Thursday.

The writer of many hit film and musical tracks, Pitchford thanked the adoring audience “for hearing all these years, and above all, thank you for listening to me.”

Trey Anastasio of Phish inducted Steely Dan, while chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nile Rodgers — the beloved co-founder of Chic — bestowed SZA with a special award for songwriters “at an apex in their careers.”

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It’s “just beyond all of my wildest dreams,” SZA said, before performing an acoustic rendition of “Snooze.”

Rodgers took his moment onstage to emphasize that “there would be no music industry if there were no songs,” specifically calling out streaming platform Spotify to “acknowledge and make a point of songwriters being your priority.”

Hip hop, country, and Oscar royalty

None other than Missy Elliott had the crowd on its feet as she inducted Timbaland into the coveted class.

“In hip hop, there was certain ways that hip hop music sounds — Timbaland… literally changed the cadence,” she said, adding that the producer, rapper and singer whose hits include “Give It To Me” was a master at marrying sensibilities of rap and R&B.

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“Thank you for giving me a seat at the table,” Timbaland said in a lengthy acceptance speech, before conducting a house band through a medley of his hits and those he produced for the likes of Elliott, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban performed in honor of Hillary Lindsey, a Nashville songwriting star who’s written for artists including Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Shakira.

And Diane Warren — the songwriter who’s earned 15 Oscar nominations, including for “Because You Loved Me” performed by Celine Dion and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — received the night’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer award.

She, like all of the inductees, said being honored by her peers was particularly special. “It’s songwriters — what’s cooler than that?” she said. 

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King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

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King Charles' portrait defaced by animal rights protesters

King Charles’ first completed official portrait since his coronation in May 2023 has been defaced by animal rights activists in London.

On June 11, two supporters from the group Animal Rising approached the King’s dramatic portrait by Jonathan Yeo at the Philip Mould Gallery and affixed posters inspired by Wallace and Gromit to the image.

The protesters overlaid the King’s face with the character of Wallace, adding a speech bubble reading, “No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!”

The stunt was meant to draw attention to the findings of a new report by Animal Rising, which describes itself as a nonviolent organization working towards a more sustainable future “where humanity shares a positive relationship with animals and nature.”

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The report, published on June 9, claimed that “cruelty and suffering” were found across 45 randomly sampled farms affiliated with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (RSPCA) Assured program, a statement said.

The RSPCA Assured is the organization’s non-profit farm animal welfare assurance initiative, upholding higher farm animal welfare standards from birth to slaughter.

King Charles, 75, is the royal patron of the RSPCA, following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

“The lighthearted action played on the King’s love of Wallace and Gromit and his status as Royal Patron of the RSPCA,” Animal Rising said in the statement.

“Animal Rising has called on the King to suspend his support for the charity until they drop the Assured Scheme.”

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The activists defaced an image significant as the King’s first portrait since his ceremonial crowning last spring.

The fiery red portrait by Yeo was revealed at Buckingham Palace on May 14, unveiling a commission in the works for four years.
The artwork was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate Charles marking 50 years as a member of The Draper’s Company in 2022.

Yeo is considered to be one of the world’s leading portrait artists and joked on social media that the image “sparked a million memes” after it was unveiled.

Queen Camilla reportedly had a thoughtful reaction when she saw it for the first time, telling Yeo, “Yes, you’ve got him,” according to the BBC.

The piece measures about 8 ½ by 6 ½ feet, framed to fit in with the architecture of Drapers’ Hall, the hub of the historic guild. It has been displayed to the public for free at the Philip Mould Gallery in London since May 16 and was scheduled to be on view until June 21.

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent ‘controversial’ statements

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Behroze Sabzwari draws flak for his recent 'controversial' statements

Eminent TV host and actor Nadia Khan appearing on her show has taken famous veteran actor Behroze Sabzwari to task for his controversial statements about women and PIT founder Imran Khan.

Nadia Khan called out Behroze Sabzwari for his recent disputed statements.

Nadia Khan said, “I think it is okay if he only talks about himself, I have a problem when he passes statements on women.

In a recent podcast, he talked about his ex-daughter-in-law. Some time, he talks against other women. He criticises women for their dress. He keeps an eye on how women dress up.

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Sometimes, he talks against me. It has become a pattern now.”

On a show, Marina Khan said, “Actors are ambassadors as they represent themselves. They represent media fraternity and they should not talk against anyone.”

Behroze Sabzwari once had said Nadia Khan used to degrade her guests on her morning show.

Nadia Khan is a super gorgeous, famous and talented Pakistani television host & actor.

She has so far appeared in many notable television dramas which include Des Pardes, Bandhan, Kaisi Aurat Hoon Main, Dolly Darling, Aisi Hai Tanhai and Kamzarf.

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The talented host is happily married and has adorable kids. Nadia Khan is also known for her YouTube channel Out Style With Nadia.

She is currently appearing in the show Kia Drama Hai as co-host and reviewer. Nadia Khan is a fearless celebrity who always speaks her heart out.

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