Russell Simmons Accuser Criticizes ‘Breakfast Club’ for Giving Him a Platform

Following the debut of HBO Max’s sexual assault documentary On the Record — which features accounts from multiple women accusing Russell Simmons of rape — the hip-hop mogul was invited onto The Breakfast Club, where he once again denied the allegations against him.

“Back then, I thought it was a game…. There were no Black actresses that I didn’t date and they’re my friends today,” Simmons said on the long-running radio show. “They don’t have the experience of me being a monster the movie makes me out to be.”

He later added, “I can never say that someone doesn’t feel victimized. I can tell you that I don’t feel that I victimized them.”

Not long after the interview was posted online, Sil Lai Abrams — one of Russell’s accusers featured in On the Record — took to Twitter to criticize The Breakfast Club for giving her alleged abuser a platform. (Prior to this interview, Simmons had already vehemently denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.)

“Why do you carry water for this man?” tweeted Abrams, who claims Simmons raped her in 1994. “Why now? Why are you so tone deaf? You’re all complicit in ensuring that black women’s right to bodily autonomy continues to be denied. You’re also rape apologists.”

“I wrote about the rape in my first and second books. 2007 and 2016 respectively,” Abrams added, responding to a Twitter user questioning why she is “relitigating 30 year old stories.” She also wrote that Simmons receiving air time in 2020 makes her “feel sick.”

“The biggest radio show in the black community just gave a huge middle finger to black women and survivors of sexual assault,” Abrams wrote in another tweet. “Stunts like what @breakfastclubam is pulling this morning by having Russell Simmons on to talk about *social justice of all things* is why it took over 25 years for R. Kelly to start to be held accountable for his serial predation of Black women and girls.”

Simmons said in his interview that he has not yet watched On the Record, which also features accounts from Abrams’ fellow accusers Drew Dixon and Sheri Sher — women who have also leveled rape allegations against Simmons.

Although Time’s Up did not outwardly support the documentary, the organization responded to Simmons’ Breakfast Club interview with a statement defending the women who appeared in the film.

“Black survivors endure a number of historical, cultural, and systemic barriers to being heard, supported and believed,” the statement read in part. “Immediately before an emotional conversation about police brutality against Black women on The Breakfast Club this morning, Russell Simmons peddled numerous myths about sexual assault, stereotypes about Black women, and distortions of facts in denying the multiple sexual assault allegations against him.”

Oprah Winfrey in December was announced as an executive producer of On the Record. At the time, Simmons publicly questioned Winfrey’s involvement, writing on Instagram, “I have never been violent or forced myself on anyone.”

Just before its January premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Winfrey and distributor Apple TV+ left the project, with Winfrey citing creative differences with the filmmakers. “There is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured,” Winfrey said in part in a statement. “I want it to be known that I unequivocally believe and support the women.”

HBO Max picked up the documentary in February following its Sundance debut; and it is now available to stream on the new platform, which launched on May 27.

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Lil Baby’s ‘My Turn’ Aiming for No. 1 Return on Billboard 200 Chart

Next week, watch for Lil Baby’s My Turn to possibly return to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time since it debuted in the top slot in March. Industry forecasters suggest the set may earn over 60,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending June 11.

The album is poised to climb back to No. 1 after a sparse new release schedule on June 5. It’s likely no new albums will debut in the top 20 of next week’s chart (dated June 20).

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which comprises traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the June 20-dated Billboard 200 chart is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s website on Sunday, June 14.

My Turn debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated March 14, and then spent the next 13 straight weeks between Nos. 2-6 on the list. On the most recently published chart, dated June 13, the album sits at No. 3 with 62,000 units earned in the week ending June 4, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

If My Turn climbs back to No. 1, it will mark the longest gap between weeks at No. 1 for an album since Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack took a 17-week vacation from the top slot between its first three weeks at No. 1 (Oct. 20, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, 2018) and its fourth and final week at No. 1 (March 9, 2019). The album scored its fourth week at No. 1 in the wake of the film’s showcase on the 2019 Academy Awards, where the soundtrack’s Oscar-winning song “Shallow” was performed by Gaga and Cooper.

Speaking of Gaga, her new album Chromatica — which launched at No. 1 on last week’s Billboard 200 — is expected to fall to No. 2 on next week’s list. Forecasters suggest the set could tally around 55,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 11, down from its start of 274,000 units (according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data).

Watch HARU NEMURI’s Raw New Video Shot in Russia, ‘Trust Nothing but Love’

J-pop artist HARU NEMURI shared the new music video accompanying “Trust Nothing but Love,” a track on her latest album, LOVETHEISM.

To capture the 25-year-old singer-songwriter’s true character, the video was shot in a studio apartment in Russia using a single camera to shoot the continuous take with no editing.

The “Trust Nothing but Love” visuals follow the ones for “Fanfare” and “Riot” from her new set, which dropped digitally in March. A domestic CD of the album will be released Friday (June 12), while a 12-inch vinyl will be released in the U.S. and Europe on the same day.

HARU NEMURI has rescheduled her North American and European tours originally slated for March this year. The North American trek kicks off at the Knitting Factory in New York on Sept. 3. See the tour dates and LOVETHEISM vinyl track list below.


1. Fanfare
2. Trust Nothing but Love
3. Pink Unicorn
1. Lovetheism
2. Be Your Ocean
3. Riot
4. Apple Song

HARU NEMURI 2020 North American Tour Dates

9/3 Knitting Factory, New York
9/5 Sleeping Village, Chicago
9/6 Three Links, Dallas
9/8 The Echo, Los Angeles
9/11 DNA Lounge, San Francisco

Coachella, Stagecoach Music Festivals Pushed to 2021

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and country music festival Stagecoach will not take place this year due to county and state restrictions, Billboard can confirm.

The popular outdoor events, which were earlier postponed until October because of the coronavirus pandemic, “have been canceled for 2020,” reads a statement from Riverside County.

“I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” said Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser in the release issued Wednesday (June 10). Given the “projected circumstances and potential,” he continued, “I would not be comfortable moving forward. “These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. My first priority is the health of the community.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles TimesKaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step outline for re-opening the state as the reasoning behind the decision, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available.

“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted,” Kaiser says in the statement. “My first priority is the health of the community.”

Coachella was previously scheduled to take place April 10-12 and April 17-19 with headliners Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine. Due to the pandemic, it was then pushed back to the weekends of Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 and Stagecoach was moved to Oct. 23-25.

“After consulting with our public health officer and local leaders from the City of Indio and Goldenvoice, and with continued importance on public health,” noted Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor, “it was decided that postponing the concert series was appropriate and necessary.”

Next year dates for the festivals have yet to be announced, but sources tell Billboard officials at promoter Goldenvoice are determining whether to slate the two-weekend, 125,000-capacity Coachella at likely a limited-capacity return in April 2021 or stage a higher-capacity comeback in October 2021. The company is holding off on making a decision until they get more clarity on the pandemic’s long-term trajectory.

This will be the first year since 2000 that Coachella has not occurred. The festival previously took a gap year break after its 1999 debut and its 2001 return.

On Monday, Goldenvoice parent AEG announced it would be laying off 15% of its workforce, furloughing over 100 employees across several divisions and instituting 20-50% pay cuts due to the ongoing COVID-19 downturn that has devastated the live events industry. “It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman wrote in a note to employees in advance of the layoffs.


NMPA Annual Meeting Celebrates Continued Publishing Growth, Warns of Pre-Pandemic Threats

The National Music Publishers’ Association’s annual meeting was held virtually Wednesday (June 10) due to COVID-19, where president and CEO David Israelite reminded membership that music publishing is still facing pre-pandemic threats to its business. Namely digital streaming services’ Copyright Royalty Board appeal and the Department of Justice’s review of ASCAP and BMI consent decree — which could also be an opportunity, depending on how the DOJ rules.

“We are now 2.5% years into the new [rating] periods but we still don’t have certainty on our rates because Spotify and Amazon are still appealing,” Israelite said in his state of the industry address.

The Copyright Royalty Board had improved songwriter rates to increase the headline rate incrementally 10.5% to 15.1% over five years from 2018 to 2022. YouTube and Pandora also appealed that ruling and the four services are collectively fighting back to reduce the rate.

Israelite reminded songwriters and publishers, “Remember, whatever gestures they give out, they are still in court trying to cut what they pay songwriters by a third.”

He also said the industry was still waiting on the DOJ’s review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, still in place from 1941 when they were implemented to help the “fledgling broadcast industry…. Fast forward to today and those decrees are used to protect companies like Facebook and Google, which is ridiculous.”

The music publishing sector is asking the DOJ to amend the consent decrees to allow individual publishing companies to selectively withdraw their digital rights from blanket licenses so that they can negotiate direct deals with the digital services, but still enjoy the performance rights organizations’ blanket license for other music users.

Looking at 2019, Israelite pointed out the NMPA industry survey of its members found music publishing revenue grew 11.55% to $3.72 billion from $3.33 billion in the prior year.

That breaks out to performance revenue accounting for 52.3%, or $1.945 billion; synchronization 22.7% or $844 million; mechanical to 18.53% or $689 million; and other to 6.5%, or $241 million.

That compares with the prior year when performance was $1.8 billion, or 54.6%; synch was $696 million, or 21%; mechanical was $586 million, or 17.8%; and other was $217.5 million, or 6.6%.

Overall, that means that synch (which had been stagnating at around 21%) and mechanical (which had been steadily falling) are now “coming back” and growing again, according to Israelite.

So even as mechanical revenue from physical products and downloads are falling, that is being offset by revenue from things like the home fitness industry and micro-licensing, he said.

On another note, Israelite reported that so far this year, the NMPA has distributed $75.3 million from lawsuits and settlements, which represents a 573% return on the dues members pay to belong to the organization. Since 2005, the NMPA has returned $775.7 million to songwriters and publishers through its legal efforts.

Despite being a remote livestream, the annual meeting still featured many of the same elements typically showcased during an in-person event. These included a keynote question and answer session with the RIAA’s Mitch Glazier, a Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) update with CEO Kris Ahrend and a look at how the pandemic is impacting the music business as summarized by Nielsen Music/MRC Data senior vp analytics David Bakula. There were also interviews with songwriter and NMPA board member Ross Golan and Peloton music licensing executive Gwen Riley with trainer Emma Lovewell on how the brand incorporates music — which was notably friendly given that the NMPA and Peloton settled a $370 million lawsuit in February for Peloton’s use of unlicensed songs.

The organization presented its Icon Award to superstar Garth Brooks to close the event. Brooks discussed the importance of recognizing songwriters and showed appreciation for James Taylor by performing some of “Fire and Rain” and then his own hit, “The River,” which he said Taylor’s song influenced.

Discussing the MLC, Israelite reminded virtual attendees the collective will launch in January 2021. It will be the first time songwriters will be paid 100% of the licensee commission, since the services are paying for the MLC’s start-up costs and operating budget. Beyond that, he reminded attendees that the law will give publishers audit rights and transparency like they have never had before, thanks to having its own database. But he cautioned that the success of the payouts are dependent on having an accurate database, and reminded publishers and songwriters to make sure that their data is correct.

Looking ahead, even though the industry is still in an appeal over the CRB ruling for the current royalty term, it will soon start the process for the next term, which spans from 2023 to 2027. This time the songwriting industry will have a new benefit: It’s the first time that the CRB judges will set a new standard based on a fair market value, considering a willing buyer and a willing seller. That’s something the judges previously didn’t have to consider, and “that means the CRB judges have to try and figure out what would happen in a free market,” Israelite said.

“We are six months away from starting the next CRB process in January 2021,” Israelite said. “This will be the most important rate trial ever.”

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit Taps Lucinda Williams for Summer 2021 Tour

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit plan to hit the road with special guest Lucinda Williams next year for an unforgettable summer jaunt.

The whole squad’s first pit stop in their North American journey is in Vancouver, B.C. on July 19, while wrapping around the West Coast and southwest states before reaching the last two shows in Austin, Texas from Aug. 7-8. Tickets are on sale and available for purchase here.

Isbell and his band are touring in support of their latest studio album Reunions, which soared to the top of three Billboard charts (all tallies dated May 30) — making a 20-1 leap on the Top Rock Albums chart, jumping 17-1 on the Top Country Albums chart, and skipping one spot 2-1 on the Americana/Folk Albums chart.

Check out Williams’ tour announcement on Twitter and full list of dates below.

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit with Lucinda Williams 2021 tour dates:

07/19 — Vancouver, B.C. @ Orpheum Theatre
07/20 — Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
07/23 — San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
07/24 — San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
07/25 — Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
07/27 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek Theatre
07/28 — San Diego, CA @ Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
07/29 — Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Theatre
07/31 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Eccles Theater
08/01 — Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
08/03 — Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
08/04 — Little Rock, AR @ First Security Amphitheater
08/06 — Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory
08/07 — Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater
08/08 — Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Sugababes’ Keisha Buchanan Recalls ‘Trauma’ From Past Racist Experiences as Sole Black Member

Keisha Buchanan of the British girl group Sugababes remembered being perceived as an angry Black woman while performing as part of the platinum-selling trio in a new video.

In a 14-minute clip posted yesterday (June 9) on her YouTube account, Buchanan discerned fans’ comments and direct messages about the racial profiling she underwent in past Sugababes interviews that became more apparent in her “REACTING TO MY “SHADIEST/FUNNIEST ” MOMENTS |Sugababes Edition” video she uploaded two weeks prior.

“I used to think that racism was when someone directly looked at you and called you a racist word,” she said. “I didn’t realize that there was so many different ways that a person and that people can be racist or prejudiced.”

She later pulled up examples of interviews conducted with the rest of the group following her departure in 2009 and headlines that she claimed to assassinate her character — calling her “angry” and “aggressive,” labeling her as a “bi—” and “bully,” and describing how “scared” and “afraid” Jade Ewen, who ended up replacing Buchanan, was to bump into her.

“I didn’t realize that I would be having to go through therapy to help me to cope with some of the trauma that I’ve experienced while being in the Sugababes, or being in the public eye,” the 35-year-old singer-songwriter shakily said.

She dissected how the media picked up the fragments of the girl group’s childish fallouts to frame the narrative of their ever-changing line-up as Buchanan and fellow Sugababes founding member Mutya Buena looking “aggressive” and “like bullies.” Aside from her professional life, she detailed how her experiences with racism since she was 15 also seeped into her personal life, from people assuming she’d be horrible to work with because of her reputation to forcing herself to sign documents without consulting her lawyer first to avoid being perceived as “difficult.”

Buchanan, a “proud Londoner” with parents of Jamaican descent, remembered looking up to Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Brandy and more Black female artists as sources of representation for finding her voice. But she said she never believed the people around her, watching her pursue her dreams of being a pop star over the last two decades, could silence and misread her the way they did.

“But the [journalists] who were leading the wolfpack when I was a teenager did severe damage to my confidence…. When you feel that much scrutiny over your life, it then leads into depression,” Buchanan expressed. “And it’s that kind of depression… and all of that stems from lies that were told, injustices that were happening around me, injustices that are still happening to this day.”

The pop star expanded the conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement in America to her home country of England, New Zealand, Japan and other countries while displaying a montage of pictures from the international protests.

“I want people to see me for me, thoughts and all, shadiness and all, bossiness and all. I want people to see me for me and then make a judgement on that and not what they perceive me to be based upon the color of my skin,” she stated toward the end of the video.

Watch Buchanan’s whole confessional video below.