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Essence magazine to honor Missy Elliott at pre-Grammy event

Essence magazine will honor Missy Elliott at a pre-Grammy Award event next year.

Essence says Thursday that Elliott, a hitmaking rapper, singer, producer and songwriter, will be honored at the magazine's annual "Black Women in Music" event. It will be held Jan. 25 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City.

The 60th annual Grammys will take place three days later at Madison Square Garden.

Elliott has won multiple Grammys and launched many hits since releasing her debut album in 1997. Her well-known songs include "Work It," ''Get Ur Freak On" and "Lose Control."

Elliott, also known for her work with megaproducer Timbaland, has lent her musical talent to other artists, producing songs for Aaliyah, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Monica, Mary J. Blige, TLC and others.

Dio Guitarist Discusses Hologram Disagreements

Dio guitarist Craig Goldy has once again spoken up in defense of the world tour featuring a hologram of late singer Ronnie James Dio.

Continue reading…

The Latest: Omarosa: Trump's senior staff has no blacks left

The Latest on Omarosa Manigault Newman and her departure from the White House staff (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Former "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman says her departure from the White House means President Donald Trump will have no African-Americans on his senior staff.

Manigault Newman tells ABC's "Nightline" for its program airing early Friday that most of the other senior advisers are white and had never worked with minorities and didn't know how to interact with them.

She says she resigned from her job and denies reports that she was fired or made a scene while being escorted from White House grounds.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted earlier Thursday that the White House team is diverse "across the board."

Manigault Newman has known Trump since appearing on the first season of "The Apprentice." She says he learned of her departure by watching the news.

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8:30 a.m.

Former "Apprentice" star Omarosa Manigault Newman denies reports that she was fired from her job in the White House.

Manigault Newman also denies reports that she made a scene while being escorted from the White House grounds. She tells ABC's "Good Morning America" in a Thursday interview the reports are "100 percent false."

Manigault Newman says she resigned after speaking with White House chief of staff John Kelly about some of her concerns. She says she remains on staff until Jan. 20, the administration's one-year mark.

Manigault Newman has known Trump for more than a decade, since she first appeared as a contestant on his reality TV show "The Apprentice."

She says reports that she tried to enter the White House residence are "ridiculous" and "absurd."

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3:55 a.m.

True to form, former "Apprentice" star Omarosa is ending her time at the White House with a dose of drama.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, one of President Donald Trump's most prominent African-American supporters, was escorted off the White House grounds after resigning her post as a presidential adviser, according to two White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Manigault Newman's resignation is effective Jan. 20, one year after Trump's inauguration. "We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service," Sanders said.

The president also bid her farewell, tweeting: "Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success."

Manigault Newman was an assistant to the president and director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, working on outreach to various constituency groups.

New book compiles online annals of Trump presidency

Political activist Amy Siskind has been keeping a list.

She has a book deal based on the widely read list she compiled online that tallies alleged threats to Democratic norms during Republican Donald Trump's administration.

Bloomsbury tells The Associated Press on Thursday that Siskind's book is called "The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump's First Year" and will be released in April. She plans to donate a portion of profits to charities involved in the anti-Trump resistance.

Siskind began what she calls The Weekly List soon after Trump's election. Entries have ranged from a cabinet meeting during which members effusively praised Trump to the president's insults on Twitter.

She is co-founder and president of the women's advocacy group The New Agenda and a former Wall Street executive.

George Clooney once gave 14 of his best friends $1 million each, pal reveals

George Clooney is charitable, but one of his pals just revealed it pays to be his friend, too.

Rande Gerber told a never-before-heard story about how the Hollywood heavyweight once gave 14 of his closest pals suitcases filled with $1 million each.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Gerber — Cindy Crawford’s husband — opened up about his friend’s amazing generosity on a recent episode of MSNBC’s “Headliners.” According to the entertainment executive, in 2013, Clooney invited 14 of his crew — nicknamed “The Boys” — over for dinner where he presented them with the massive payload and a heartfelt message, reported E! News.

“George begins to say, ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life. I came to L.A., I slept on your couch,” Gerber related. “I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you, and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you.'”

“We’re in shock. Like, what is this? He goes, ‘I know we’ve all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it. You don’t have to worry about your kids, you don’t have to worry about, you know, school, you don’t have to worry about paying your mortgage.'”

Going above and beyond, Clooney told his inner circle that he’d paid all the taxes on the cash, so each of them had the money — in the form of stacks of $20 bills — free and clear.

Gerber, a co-owner of Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila company and wealthy in his own right, tried to turn down his share of the cash.

>> Read more trending news

“I pull him aside and said, ‘I absolutely am not taking this million dollars,'” Gerber said. “Immediately George goes, ‘I’m just going to make one announcement. If Rande doesn’t take the million dollars, nobody gets it.'” According to Gerber, he donated his million to charity, but he remains in awe of his friend’s gesture. “One was working at a bar in Texas at the airport, trying just to support his family,” Gerber said. “Rides a bicycle to work every day. I mean these are guys that took care of George, and now he’s giving it all back.”

He continued, “This is who George is. That was Sept. 27, 2013. Now Sept. 27, 2014, he marries Amal. Now that’s good karma right there.”

Considering the Clooneys recently welcomed twins, it looks like the karma is going to keep on coming!

Kim Kardashian West's KKW Beauty open casting call for women sparks criticism

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West's KKW Beauty line sparked criticism this week with a tweet about an open casting call for women in Los Angeles, Teen Vogue reports.

>> Read more trending news

"Calling all faces!" the ad reads. "We are excited to announce an open model casting call in the LA area for several upcoming KKW beauty campaigns."

The ad continues: "The call is open to all women 18+."

>> See the tweet here

But the tweet didn't fly with everyone. In a now-deleted tweet, beauty blogger James Charles wrote: "Sister @KimKardashian! There are thousands of boys in cosmetics who love you & I'm sure would be honored to slay a photo shoot for you! This is disappointing."

He added that Kardashian West "is a legend" and one of his "role models."

Others made similar comments. Check out some of them below:

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal, including film and television studios, cable and international TV businesses as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.

The entertainment business is going through big changes. Tech companies are building video divisions. Advertisers are following consumer attention to the internet. And Disney is launching new streaming services, which could be helped with the addition of the Fox assets.

Spurlock on sexual harassment: 'I am part of the problem'

Declaring "I am part of the problem," documentarian Morgan Spurlock confessed in an online post to sexual harassment and infidelity, and said a woman accused him of rape in college.

In the post, which he linked to from his verified Twitter account, Spurlock wrote that as he watches other influential men brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, "I don't sit by and wonder 'who will be next?' I wonder, 'when will they come for me?'"

Spurlock recounted a sexual encounter in college which he said he thought was consensual, but said the woman believed it was rape.

"I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better," Spurlock wrote. "I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped. That's why I'm part of the problem."

Spurlock also said he paid a settlement to a female assistant who worked at his office and whom he called "hot pants" or "sex pants." In the post, Spurlock says he thought the nickname was funny but later realized he was demeaning her.

"So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn't pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone," he wrote. "Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid."

Spurlock also wrote that he has "been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had."

"Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs," Spurlock wrote.

Spurlock wrote that he will do better and will be more honest with others and with himself. He ends the post by saying: "I've talked enough in my life. ... I'm finally ready to listen."

The New York Times reported that Spurlock stepped down from his production company Thursday. Warrior Poets, which Spurlock co-founded, said in an emailed statement that the move was effective immediately but did not indicate whether it would be permanent.

Spurlock is best known for his Oscar-nominated 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" on the fast-food industry, in which he ate nothing but McDonald's food to show the health effects of the industry. He has produced dozens of other documentaries and TV shows and completed a sequel to "Super Size Me" this year.

In response to Spurlock's confession, LeBron James' production company announced Thursday that it will cancel its production agreement with Spurlock's company, which it had hired to produce a series about the NBA star's school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Kirsten Dunst and fiancé Jesse Plemons are expecting their first child

Former “Friday Night Lights” star Jesse Plemons and his famous fiancée, Kirsten Dunst, are expecting their first child together, according to a report in Us Weekly.

In 2014, Dunst spoke to the U.K.’s Red Magazine about her desire to have kids soon.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m in baby mode, because two of my really good friends are pregnant right now. One of them is pretty chilled, and the other’s like, ‘I can’t wait to have a glass of wine!'” Dunst said. “I love it though. We’ve already picked her girl’s name; it’s done! I think 33 is a good age to have your first baby.”

Us Weekly also reports that Dunst, 35, and Plemons, 29 – who began dating after working together on the FX series “Fargo,” in which they played a married couple – will get hitched in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 2018.

“It was a gift,” Plemons said when the pair began working together. “I loved Kirsten’s work for a long time, and I was really excited once I’d met her, and she’s a great person. We’re both actors that just … have fun with the material.”

It was revealed that Dunst and Plemons were dating in May 2016, when paparazzi caught them kissing behind a fence. At the time, Dunst had only recently ended her relationship with long-term partner Garrett Hedlund. The “Bring It On” star had spoken to InStyle UK about her plans to marry Hedlund, but that obviously did not happen.

“I am someone who wants to get married,” she told the magazine.

>> ‘Full House’ star John Stamos announces he’s finally going to be dad in real life

”If it happens in my mid-to-late 30s, it’s going to be intimate. Courthouse, dinner party and DJ with friends and family. I’ll treat it like it would be my 40th birthday.”

Plemons and Dunst aren’t the only expecting celebrity couple. “Full House” star John Stamos recently revealed to People that he and fiancée Caitlin McHugh are expecting a child.

The 54-year-old actor shared that he and his soon-to-be bride had been considering a baby for a while, and the timing was just right.

“We have the same morals and the same values that all clicked nicely. So we said, ‘Oh, well, maybe we should have a family,’” Stamos said.

He revealed that his fiancée jokingly thought they should have a baby before getting married “because [he’s] old.”

Ex-'Apprentice' star Omarosa to tell all about White House

Former "Apprentice" star Omarosa is putting the White House on notice as she makes her exit: She has "quite a story to tell" about her time in President Donald Trump's administration and "the world will want to hear it."

Accustomed to the spotlight, Omarosa Manigault Newman appeared on national television Thursday to push back against reports that she was fired from her job as a Trump assistant and director of communications for a White House office that deals with constituent groups.

She also denied reports that she made a spectacle of herself while being escorted from the White House grounds, calling the stories "100 percent false" and questioning why photos or video of her alleged misbehavior had yet to surface.

Better known by just her first name, Manigault Newman told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she resigned this week after discussing some of her concerns with White House chief of staff John Kelly. The Secret Service said it had deactivated a pass granting her access to the White House complex, though White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Manigault Newman would be on staff through the administration's one-year mark.

Before her resignation, Kelly had advised Manigault Newman that changes were forthcoming — including her dismissal, according to two White House officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters.

Manigault Newman was also expected to be at the White House on Thursday, Huckabee Sanders said. She declined to say for what purpose or to explain why the former reality TV contestant will collect a salary through Jan. 20, citing a policy of declining extensive comment on personnel matters.

"The president likes Omarosa, thanked her for her service," Sanders told reporters. "And, again, she'll be here later this afternoon, so she's resigned from her position, but there's really nothing else to add on that front."

Trump himself sang her praises when he was asked at an unrelated White House event about the resignation.

"I like Omarosa. Omarosa's a good person," he said.

Manigault Newman described her conversation with Kelly as being "very candid." A newlywed, she said she had a goal to make it to the administration's one-year mark and then "get back to my life."

Her life now seems destined to include writing a tell-all book about her time at the White House.

"When I have a chance to tell my story ... quite a story to tell, as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people," she said. "And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear."

Sanders said Thursday was the first time she'd heard such comments from Manigault Newman.

Her resignation — she was Trump's most visible African-American adviser — immediately raised questions about diversity in the senior ranks of the White House. Manigault Newman said in a separate interview with ABC's "Nightline" that it was challenging being the only black woman in the senior staff.

She said most of the other senior advisers are white, had never worked with minorities and didn't know how to interact with them. She added that her departure will leave Trump without any African-American representation on his senior staff.

"There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge," she told the network for its program airing early Friday.

Sanders insisted at her briefing Thursday that the White House team is diverse "across the board."

Manigault Newman, who drew a top salary of $179,700, was a high-profile Trump supporter during the presidential campaign and the transition.

Since her stint as a contestant on the first season of Trump's former reality TV show, "The Apprentice," in 2004, Manigault Newman has enjoyed a close relationship with the New York businessman, even after he uttered his "You're fired" catchphrase and booted her from the program. She was portrayed as a cut-throat contestant during the season. She returned to Trump's "Apprentice" franchise several times and appeared on other reality TV shows.

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Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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