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Stevie Wonder takes 'both knees' after Trump slams NFL stars' national anthem protests

After a weekend marked by President Donald Trump’s public spats with Steph Curry, Colin Kaepernick and professional athletes who protest during the national anthem, singer Stevie Wonder knelt in support of several causes before his set at the Global Citizens Festival on Saturday in New York City.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

>> See the clip here

>> WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

With the help of an assistant, Wonder got down on both knees and told the audience, “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America. Not just one knee, but both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future and our leaders of the world. Amen. I wanted to say that prayer before I served you my musical meal.”

>> Read more trending news

According to CNN, Wonder also pleaded with his audience to confront hate, racism and sexism during the set, telling the crowd, “I didn’t come here to preach, but I’m telling you, our spirit must be in the right place … You need to interrupt hate, stand down bigotry, condemn sexism and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters every day.”

Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

On Sunday, singer Jennifer Lopez appeared alongside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press conference to announce that she will be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Lopez, 48, spoke first in Spanish and then in English in a speech that was live-streamed on Twitter.

>> Read more trending news

“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all of our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez said.

>> On Rare.us: Alex Rodriguez bashfully addresses Jennifer Lopez engagement rumors

“I’ve been so moved by the initial responses … They have been overwhelming,” she said. “Nobody has said no. Anybody we’ve have called is right there asking what they can do. They’re all very eager to help.”

Lopez also confirmed that she still hasn’t heard from all of her family members in Puerto Rico. “My cousin and I and our family still haven’t been able to hear from all of our family over there, and we are concerned for them and for everybody on the island,” she said.

>> Watch the video here

J-Lo, other stars add pleas for relief to Puerto Rico

Jennifer Lopez said Thursday night that she still hasn’t heard from her family in Puerto Rico – two days after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island and left millions without power, People reported. Maria’s 155-mph winds ripped trees from the ground, tore roofs from buildings, and caused massive flooding.

>> Read more trending news

Lopez, 48, is one of several celebrities with ties to Puerto Rico. She was born in the Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents. She is making pleas for donations to help residents recover from the hurricane.

Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony and Rosie Perez are also making appeals, People reported, using their star power to help raise awareness and money for Puerto Rico.

“What’s on my mind is what’s going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief,” Lopez said in an Instagram post. “Me and my cousin still haven’t been able to hear from our families over there.

“What’s foremost on my mind and many others is trying to figure out the best way to help,” she said. “Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Areizaga. Together we can help rebuild our island, and the Caribbean.”

Martin, who was born in San Juan, posted a similar plea for help on Instagram, People reported. Puerto Rico’s capital city was hit hard by the hurricane.

“Puerto Rico needs you at the moment. Just go to youcaring.com/rickymartin and help us,” Martin said in an emotional video. “Donate whatever you can, just one dollar would make a difference. If everyone would give me a dollar, my goodness. Puerto Rico is in a precarious position at the moment. We can’t do it alone. We need you.”

As of early Saturday, Martin’s site alone had raised more than $228,000.

Daddy Yankee, 40, asked his fans to bring donations to his concert in New York City on Thursday and shared a video of volunteers loading up trucks, People reported. He’s asking the same for those attending his Chicago concert on Friday.

Anthony, 49, posted a similar video to Lopez and Martin’s, while Perez 53 — who also has family in Puerto Rico she is still attempting to contact — tweeted out links to aid groups FRMA and Politica.

Chester Bennington's widow shares video of singer that shows the many faces of depression

To portray the many faces of depression, Talinda Bennington — the widow of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington — shared a video on Twitter showing her husband playing a game with his children hours before his death.

The 41-year-old singer died of suicide in July.

>> On Rare.us: Chester Bennington is all smiles in a heartbreaking family photo taken before his death

In the video, Chester eats a “rotten eggs”-flavored jelly bean, which he immediately spits out. He chuckles as he tries to get the gross taste out of his mouth, much to the amusement of those around him.

>> Click here to watch

"This is what depression looked like to us just 36 hrs b4 his death," Talinda Bennington tweeted. "He loved us SO much & we loved him."

>> Read more trending news

Since her husband’s death, Talinda Bennington has been actively updating her social media feed with messages of support for those who struggle with mental illness, often adding the hashtag #MakeChesterProud. 

Nicki Minaj, Nas fuel dating rumors at rapper’s birthday party

Are Nicki Minaj and Nas an item? It certainly looked that way Thursday night when the two were photographed with their arms around each other during Nas’ 44th birthday party, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Nas celebrated his birthday during a private dinner at The Pool Lounge in New York. Minaj, 34, posted a picture of her and Nas on her Instagram account. She has her arm around Nas while they stand next to Alicia Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz, People reported.

In a video from the event, a man Minaj identified as “Nasir” was spotted creeping up behind Minaj and kissing her on the cheek. Many fans have speculated the man was indeed Nas, whose given name is Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones.

The Shade Room also posted a video of Minaj and Nas together that night. In the video, Nas had his arm wrapped around Minaj’s shoulder as Minaj had her hand placed on his chest while the rapper was presented with his birthday cake.

Rumors of the pair dating began to circulate when Manaj posted a picture of them cuddling to her Instagram account.

Then in May, Minaj told television host Ellen DeGeneres that she had plenty of respect for the rapper.

“He is the king of Queens, and I like to think I’m the queen of Queens,” Minaj said. “He’s a rap legend. Let’s just say that I have a lot of respect for him, and you know, he’s kind of cute, too.”

But Minaj stressed that the relationship with Nas was not intimate, People reported.

“I’m just chillin’ right now. I’m celibate. I wanted to go a year without dating any men. I hate men,” Minaj told DeGeneres. “I might make an exception to the rule for him, because he’s so dope.”

Don Barnes of .38 Special talks about his new solo album

Kaedy spoke to her friend Don Barnes of .38 Special, as his long-awaited “Ride the Storm” solo album is finally available wherever you buy music! .38 Special will be performing some of Don’s new/old songs when they play The Amphitheatre at Adamson Square in Carrollton on October 7, 2017.

 

NTSB report: Mechanical problems caused Troy Gentry’s fatal helicopter crash

Mechanical problems are the cause for the fatal helicopter crash on September 8 in New Jersey that claimed the life of Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentry.

>> Read more trending news

According to the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot reported he couldn’t control the RPM of the engine just a few minutes after takeoff. He discussed options for landing with two flight instructors on the ground, and they decided he would stop the engine and perform something called an autorotation. It was a maneuver the experienced pilot had performed several times before.

>> Troy Gentry killed in helicopter crash

>> Country music community reacts

The report\ reads, “During the descent, the rotor rpm decayed to the point where the instructor could see the individual rotor blades. The helicopter descended from view prior to reaching the runway threshold and the sounds of impact were heard.”

The pilot was also killed in the crash. The listed reason for the flight was “to provide an orientation/pleasure flight to the passenger who was scheduled to perform in a concert on the airport later that evening.”

Montgomery Gentry was to play a concert at the Flying W Airport & Resort that night.

Troy Gentry will be remembered with a celebration of life service at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET. The service will be livestreamed at Opry.com/Troy-Gentry.

Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and more to play Harvey benefit concert in Texas

Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians are heading up “Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas: A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Harvey Relief,” an all-star event and telethon set for Sept. 22 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

>> Read more trending news

Tickets to the four-hour concert, which runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will air live on TEGNA stations, go on sale at 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday via RebuildTX.org for $30 to $199.

Billed as “the largest live concert benefit in Texas” for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, the event follows Tuesday night’s “Hand in Hand” national telethon event that included performances by George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and others.

Others scheduled to appear at the Erwin Center event include Matthew McConaughey, Dan Rather, Renee Zellweger, Luke Wilson, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo. Additional musical performers include Ryan Bingham, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and the Mexican pop duo Ha*Ash.

The concert will feature “exclusive performances and rare collaborations,” according to a press release announcing the event. Asleep at the Wheel will be the house band, and Charlie Sexton will serve as music director.

Proceeds will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation. According to the Rebuild Texas website, the fund “will support community partners in four focus areas — health and housing; schools and child care; workforce and transportation; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.” The concert is part of the Dell Foundation’s effort to raise $100 million toward hurricane recovery efforts.

“This fund was created to help rebuild all of the communities, big and small, that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” Houston native Michael Dell said in the event’s press release. “We will be rebuilding for years to come.” His wife, native Texan Susan Dell, added, “For us, this is personal.”

The telecast will air without commercials. In addition, an hour of the event will stream internationally on YouTube.com/TexasStrong from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. Google will match $500,000 in telethon donations, with volunteers from Google’s Austin office and employees of TEGNA working the telethon phone banks. Donations also will be accepted at the RebuildTX.org website.

“The outpouring of support from the local community and communities across the nation is a testament to the spirit, grit and determination of the people of Texas,” said TEGNA president/CEO Dave Lougee.

The concert is the biggest fundraiser to be held at the Erwin Center since a 2011 benefit for victims of Bastrop wildfires that included performances by Nelson, Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Lovett and others.

Others who have donated “efforts and services” to the event, according to the press release, include the Erwin Center, Springboard Productions, Solomon Group, Big House Sounds, Soundcheck Austin, Hotel Van Zandt, Sodexo, GSD&M, Andy Langer, the Texas Music Office and the City of Austin. TEGNA is producing the broadcast in partnership with Debra Davis Productions. Austin company C3 Presents is producing the live event and also is donating all its services.

Country’s ‘Gentle Giant,’ Don Williams, dead at 78

Country music is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic singer-songwriters and a major influence on many of today’s country hitmakers.

>> Read more trending news 

Don Williams, the “Gentle Giant,” has died at the age of 78 after a brief illness.

RELATEDChris Stapleton honors country music’s gentle giant with this stripped-down performance

Known for his gently rumbling baritone, as well as his tall, lanky frame, Williams’ career yielded a catalog of timeless hit songs, including 21 No. 1 chart toppers, that remain popular today. Songs such as“Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” positioned him as a gifted songwriter, while his signature vocal style made him appreciated as a storyteller whose breathtaking renditions of songs such as “Tulsa Time,” “Amanda,” “Good Ol’ Boys Like Me” and “I Believe In Love” gave an incomparable voice to these now-classics.

Keith Urban has been one of the most outspoken fans of Williams’ work. Earlier this year, he told CMT that Williams’ recordings “influence the way I make records ... They’re the masters of recorded simplicity and honoring a song in a way that I cannot think of other records that hit that spot of extraordinary craftsmanship. It’s about achieving that.”

RELATEDKeith Urban reveals how his father’s death has inspired his new music

Urban, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss were all part of Williams’ 2012 album, “And So it Goes.”

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and, in 1978, earned the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award.

Don Was talks about Gregg Allman’s last album

Kaedy spoke with Don Was who produced Gregg Allman’s last studio album, Southern Blood, released posthumously September 8, 2017. Hear about Don’s experience working with the Allman Brother during his last days – “He was making an extremely crafted farewell statement.”

Read the liner notes for the last Gregg Allman album written by Don Was below.

In Sept 2011, Gregg received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. I was playing bass for him in Buddy Miller's house band and was totally blown away when he swaggered onstage for our afternoon soundcheck. Dressed in black jeans, t shirt and boots, covered in tats and jewelry, long blond hair askew, he was as cool as a motherfu*#er and manifested the essence of a natural born rock 'n roll star. His combination of charisma, soulful singing and poetic songwriting was not an 'act' that one studies and perfects over the years - it was a profound gift that only a handful of folks in each generation are lucky enough to be born with. Offstage, he radiated that same presence but you could quickly see that, at his core, he was utterly without pretension - a humble, shy, self-effacing and well-mannered southern gentleman. We struck up a friendship that night which ultimately led to my involvement in this - his farewell album.  He wasn't partial to aimless small talk and, outside of what he expressed in music, kept his feelings pretty much private. Although I became aware of his irreversibly failing health as we got into making the record, we never once got around to discussing the fact that he was living-out his final chapter. The choice of songs for this record said everything that needed to be said...it's the musical last testament of one of the greatest artists of our time. Everything you need to know about Gregg and how he felt at the end of his life is contained in the lyrics to these 10 songs and in the raw and expressive approach he brings to these last performances.   Like the hero in Bob's “Going Going Gone,” he found himself at the 'top of the end' - closing the book on the pages and text and urging those behind him to follow their hearts. His heart led him, in the words of Willie Dixon, to live the life he loved and to love the life he lived. In Gregg's autobiographical “My One True Friend,” he tells us how he'd spent his life on the road and was most alive and happy when he was onstage playing music. Like the truck driver in Little Feat's “Willin',” he'd been kicked by the wind and robbed by the sleet but was still willin' to stay on his bus and keep moving till the end. In Tim Buckley's “Once I Was,” he wonders if, just for a while, he will be remembered. Is he singing to an ex-lover? Is he singing to all of us and referring to the deep, indescribable bond between a performer and his fans?  The moment that gets to me every time is the ending of the last verse of Jackson's beautiful and haunting “Song For Adam.” Gregg always loved this song because it reminded him of his brother Duane. When he gets to the line "still it seems that he stopped singing in the middle of his song" you can hear him choke up and falter. We decided to stop for the day, and Gregg never got the chance to actually sing those next two lines. Leaving them open seemed like a poignant and poetic way for him to make his exit.  Gregg Allman cared deeply about this final album. He had very specific ideas about what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. He spent his final night listening to the latest mixes and closed his eyes for the last time knowing that his vision had been realized. Everyone involved in the making of this record hopes that it moves you and brings you great comfort in the years to come.  Viva Gregg!
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