Stevie Nicks Calls for Gun Control & ‘Empathy’ Following Uvalde Elementary School Shooting

Stevie Nicks joined the countless Democratic politicians, gun control advocates and fellow musicians in the fight to end gun violence and strengthen gun laws in the United States on Wednesday (June 1), sharing a statement in response to the devastating mass shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed 19 children and 2 adults.

“My hope for this country is that the lawmakers just find a way to make buying an assault rifle ~ more difficult,” the Fleetwood Mac singer wrote in a lengthy message posted to Twitter. “There is just no reason to have a gun that would disintegrate a deer~ or a small animal, if you are, indeed, an honorable hunter. When those guns go into the hands of obviously disturbed people, it gives them a sense of unbelievable power that they have never felt before. Power, used in a bad way, is the opposite of ‘power’ used in a good way. Once people have felt the power of those guns, they are never the same. They are addicted. And then there is no turning back.”

She urged lawmakers to “make it really hard for them to get that gun,” adding, “No one is trying to take away guns from people who get them for a good reason. Guns are not toys. Background checks are not that hard.”

Nicks went on to share that she’s “dying inside” for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. “So, I ask you; do you want to go down in the history books as being responsible for these school shootings that will inevitably continue, or do you want to be remembered as the people who finally gathered together in unity and empathy ~ as the people who stopped it,” she wrote.

The “Edge of Seventeen” singer then revealed her father’s favorite quote, which was “Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do~ and sometimes the right thing to do ~ is the hardest thing to do.”

“And then he would say~ Be brave, Stevie, always. Do the right thing. Never compromise your beliefs,” she wrote. “If I had gone to school one day when I was ten~ and been shot; my little body destroyed, I think my father would have done the same thing that that lovely teacher’s husband did. Gone home, sat down in a chair~ and died… of a broken heart.”

“I am just so sad….” Nicks concluded.

The massacre of innocent children on May 24 came 10 days after an heavily armed 18-year-old white supremacist opened fire and allegedly killed 10 people in a Buffalo, New York supermarket where he reportedly went to specifically target and murder Black shoppers.

On the same day as Nicks’ post, multiple people were killed in a shooting on a hospital campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Authorities responded to a call about a man who was armed with a rifle at the Natalie Medical Building, according to a Facebook post from the Tulsa Police Department and as reported by CNN.

Jack Harlow & Drake Head to the Races for ‘Churchill Downs’ Video

Louisville native Jack Harlow headed back to his home state of Kentucky for the “Churchill Downs” music video released on Wednesday (June 1), and brought his collaborator Drake along for a big win at the Kentucky Derby.

In the clip, the well-dressed rap duo hold their sizable bets in hand as as their horses race across the finish line at the Churchill Downs Racetrack. Throughout the video, Bryson Tiller, Boi1-da, DJ Drama, and Druski make cameos, and Harlow’s mother even makes an appearance while Drizzy raps to her.

Last month, the duo were seen filming the video at the annual horse race, where Drake dropped in on an unexpected interview with Harlow during a live NBC broadcast. “I had to show up. I’m so proud of this guy,” Drake said, before adding “And we’re drunk. He’s sober. I’m drunk.”

“Churchill Downs” appears on Harlow’s freshly released studio album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, which also features high-profile collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Lil Wayne. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart dated May 12. Come Home follows Harlow’s previous album, Thats What They All Say, which peaked at No. 2 on the list in December 2020. Prior to that, his EP Sweet Action reached a No. 14 best in July 2020.

Watch the “Churchill Downs” music video below.

Kelly Clarkson Delivers Soulful Rendition of Ronnie Milsap’s ‘Smoky Mountain Rain’

Kelly Clarkson thumbed her way from LA back to Knoxville for the latest “Kellyoke” installment on her talk show Wednesday (June 1), delivering a heartfelt cover of Ronnie Milsap’s 1980 hit, “Smoky Mountain Rain.”

“I’ll keep on searching / I can’t go on hurting this way / She’s somewhere in the Smoky Mountain rain,” she sings, adding some soul with her powerful vocals to the country classic. The song was written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan. In 2010, the song became Tennessee’s eighth official state song.

“Smoky Mountain Rain” also saw success on the Billboard charts upon its release. The song peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart dated February 28, 1981. The track is also one of Milsap’s 35 No. 1 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart, topping the tally dated December 6, 1980.

Last week, Clarkson shared the news that she’ll be releasing her long-requested Kellyoke EP on June 9. Arriving via Atlantic Records, the six-song project features her take on Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” as its lead single and will also include covers of hits by Linda Ronstadt (“Blue Bayou”), The Weeknd (“Call Out My Name”), Whitney Houston (“Queen of the Night”) and more.

Watch Kelly Clarkson’s cover of Milsap’s “Smoky Mountain Rain” below.

Cardi B Thinks Her Lookalike Dolls With Offset Are a Total ‘Mood’

Cardi B took to social media on Wednesday (June 1) to show fans a pair of dolls rendered to look exactly like herself and husband Offset.

“Okay then ….MOOD,” the “WAP” rapper captioned the photos of the toys using a laugh-crying emoji. In the snaps, the doll version of Cardi wears a lacy red lingerie set with gold chain details, while Offset-as-Ken wraps his impressive arms around her in a white muscle tank and layers of silver jewelry. The best detail, however, might just be the massive gold rings taking up the near entirety of the Migos member’s plastic fingers.

Members of the Bardi Gang were split, however, on just how much the dolls resembled the golden couple of hip-hop. “Okay I see you! I don’t see OffSet tho,” one fan commented, while another wrote, “The level of detail for you but not offset is cracking me tf up.” Several also saw a striking resemblance not to Offset, but to Travis Scott in the male doll, while one Twitter user hilariously nicknamed the plastic pair “Bardi c and onset.”

Earlier this week, Cardi stunned her followers by sharing a video on social media of a yacht sinking into the ocean while she was on vacation with Offset. (“There ain’t no big boat that can save it,” she remarked while narrating the clip.)

She also used her platform to speak out against political “agendas” in the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last week.

Check out Cardi and Offset in doll form below.

Facebook’s Longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg Steps Down

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sheryl Sandberg, the No. 2 executive at Facebook owner Meta, is stepping down. Sandberg has served as chief operating officer at the social media giant for 14 years. She joined from Google in 2008, four years before Facebook went public.

“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” Sandberg wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday.

Sandberg has led Facebook — now Meta’s — advertising business and was responsible for nurturing it from its infancy into an over $100 billion-a-year powerhouse. She’s leaving Meta in the fall and will continue to serve on the company’s board.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in his own Facebook post that Javier Olivan will serve as Meta’s new COO, although it will be a different job than the one Sandberg held for the past 14 years.

“It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous,” Zuckerberg wrote.

While Sandberg has long been Zuckerberg’s No. 2, even sitting next to him — pre-pandemic, at least — in the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, she also had a very public-facing job, meeting with lawmakers, holding focus groups and speaking out on issues such as women in the workplace and, most recently, abortion.

“I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Sandberg, who lost her husband Dave Goldberg suddenly in 2015, said she is “not entirely sure what the future will bring.”

“But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women,” she wrote, adding that she is also getting married this summer, and that parenting their expanded family of five children will also be a part of this future.


Sandberg, 52, first helped Google build what quickly became the internet’s biggest — and most lucrative — advertising network before leaving that company to take on the challenge of transforming Facebook’s freewheeling social network into a money-making business while also helping to mentor Zuckerberg.

She proved to be exactly what the then-immature Zuckerberg and the company needed at the right time, helping to pave the way to Facebook’s highly anticipated initial public offering of stock a decade ago.

While Zuckerberg remained Facebook’s visionary and controlling shareholder, Sandberg became the engine of a business fueled by a rapidly growing digital ad business that has become nearly as successful as the one that she helped cobbled together around Google’s dominant search engine.

Just like Google’s ad empire, Facebook’s business thrived on its ability to keep its users coming back for more of its free service while leveraging its social networking services to learn more about people’s interests, habits, and whereabouts — a nosy model that has repeatedly entangled the company into debates about whether a right to personal privacy still exists in an increasingly digital age.

As one of the top female executives in technology, Sandberg has at times has been held up as an inspiration for working women — a role she seemed to embrace with a best-selling 2013 book called Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead.

But Lean In received immediate criticism. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Sandberg a “PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots,” and critics suggested she is the wrong person to lead a women’s movement.

She addressed some of that criticism in a subsequent book that addressed the death of her husband, Dave Goldberg. In 2015 she became a symbol of heartbreaking grief when Goldberg, died during an accident while working out on vacation, widowing her with her two children as she continued to help run one of the world’s best-known companies.


In more recent years, Sandberg became a polarizing figure amid revelations of how some of her business decisions for Facebook helped propagate misinformation and hate speech. Critics and a company whistleblower contend that the consequences have undermined democracy and caused severe emotional problems for teens, particularly girls.

The author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff, said Sandberg is as responsible as anyone for what Zuboff considers one of Big Tech’s most insidious invention: the collection and organization of data on social media users’ behavior and preferences. That data was shared with advertisers — who might also sell it to data brokers — and proved immensely profitable. Sandberg did it, wrote Zuboff, “through the artful manipulation of Facebook’s culture of intimacy and sharing.”

Zuboff calls Sandberg the “Typhoid Mary” of surveillance capitalism.

“Sandberg may fancy herself a feminist, but under her leadership Facebook has become a right-wing playground where misogyny, racism, disinformation, violent organizing, and hateful conspiracy theories grow and spread,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, a gender justice advocacy organization, in an April 22 email calling for Sandberg’s resignation. “For years, Sandberg has been in an optimal position to make Facebook safer for women, but like CEO Mark Zuckerberg, she has consistently failed to take action.”

Sandberg has had some public missteps at the company, including her attempt to deflect blame from Facebook for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In an interview later that month that was streamed by Reuters, she said she thought the events of the day were “largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency.”

That turned out to be untrue. Internal documents, revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen later that year, showed that Facebook’s own employees were concerned about the company’s halting and often reversed response to rising extremism in the U.S.

“Haven’t we had enough time to figure out how to manage discourse without enabling violence?” one employee wrote on an internal message board at the height of the Jan. 6 turmoil. “We’ve been fueling this fire for a long time and we shouldn’t be surprised it’s now out of control.”


AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this story.

Sevenn Files Copyright Claims Against Alok in Brazilian Court

Dance music producers Sean and Kevin Brauer are formally pursuing copyright claims for 19 songs they say they worked on for the Brazilian DJ Alok over five years, for which they say they were denied proper credit.

In a filing in a São Paulo civil court last month, the Brauer brothers, who have performed as the dance duo Sevenn, say they want the court to initiate a technical review of the authorship of the releases, which include some of Alok’s better-known songs, including “Favela” featuring Ina Wroldson, Alok and his brother Bhaskar’s “Fuego,” and a remix of Mick Jagger’s “Gotta Get A Grip.”

The songs were produced while the Brauers — who are Brazilian-American dual nationals — were living mostly in Brazil, but their Rio de Janeiro-based attorney Eduardo Senna says that the brothers could decide to shift their copyright claims to a U.S. court as most of Alok’s recorded music earnings come from the U.S. “I am not ruling out taking this case to U.S. jurisdiction,” says Senna.

The filing on May 5, which is an “Action for the Advance Production of Evidence,” a legal step to pursue a copyright claim under Brazilian civil law, asks the court to direct Alok to provide “technical expert evidence in the field of musicology” related to the authorship of the compositions.

The Brauers, Senna says, “participated in some way in all of the songs.”

Kevin and Sean Brauer, who were raised in a walled compound outside Rio as members of the religious movement Children of God, previously told Billboard that from 2016 to 2020 they worked on at least 14 tracks with Alok as unpaid and uncredited producers – and that they were largely responsible for creating the Brazilian Bass sound that Alok named and popularized.

Over those years, Alok emerged as the biggest electronic music act in South America, in terms of his touring fees, social media reach and streaming hits like “Hear Me Now” with Bruno Martini featuring Zeeba.

Senna says that after studying their music production files the Brauer brothers decided to push for an investigation into more tracks than Billboard’s probe pointed to in January.

Included in the discovery action are 13 of 14 songs analyzed by Billboard; “United” by Armin van Buuren, Vini Vici and Alok featuring Zafrir, is not among the 19. (The Brauers previously claimed to Billboard they deserved at least 10% songwriting credit for the track.) Additional compositions include 2020’s “Alive (It Feels Like)” and Alok’s remix of “Piece of Your Heart” by Meduza featuring Goodboys.

The Brauers’ discovery filing also contains the remix of “BYOB,” Alok and Sevenn’s initial collaboration, for which both acts are credited. Senna says it was included “to determine the true percentage of each one’s participation.” Kevin Brauer tells Billboard he wanted it to be considered in “the broader picture of Sevenn ghost producing for Alok” as this “was another case of Alok stamping his name on basically finished work.”

While the court filing contains no estimates about royalties owed, Billboard‘s analysis of Spotify data for 12 of the 14 tracks the Brauers say they received no compensation for showed they would have earned about $263,000 as of January — $223,000 in publishing royalties and another $40,000 in producer’s fees — on Spotify alone. The estimate could grow to more than $1.3 million when royalties from plays at other digital services and radio are taken into account, not to mention global sales.

At the end of the preliminary discovery process in São Paulo, the Brauers will decide which songs to sue Alok for copyright infringement, the lawyer says. The number could end up being less than the 19 listed in the court document. “One of the objectives of this preparatory phase of the process is to avoid making inconsequential, irresponsible demands,” Senna says.

Alok, who has been touring in the U.S. the past two weeks – with shows in Chicago, Brooklyn and at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas — has yet to be served with the lawsuit and his legal team has yet to file a response in court, Senna says. The Brazilian DJ has broadly denied the Brauers’ claims, telling Billboard that the brothers were “spinning a false narrative” and “trying to portray themselves as victims.”

Alok has not agreed to be interviewed by Billboard. Instead, following publication of the initial article he appeared on Instagram Stories, where he has 27 million followers, for more than 10 minutes to defend his authorship of some songs while refuting claims that he had failed to compensate or credit the Brauers’ properly.

Alok and his lawyer, Robson Cunha, did not respond to request for comment on Wednesday (June 1) about the Brauers’ legal action. In a response to Billboard in April, before the suit was filed, Cunha said “there is no evidence” against Alok and said he had instructed his client not to respond to “these frivolous and baseless attacks.”

The DJ is signed to Warner Music Group’s Spinnin’ Records for recorded music and to Universal Music Publishing Group (as of November). A Warner spokesperson declined to comment on Wednesday.

Alok has portrayed Billboard’s original investigation as an orchestrated effort by Sevenn and his estranged former manager, Marcos “Marquinhos” Araújo, to disparage his image. Araújo, who denies the claim, has since taken over the management of Kevin Brauer, who now tours solo as Sevenn; he also signed a three-year deal in November with William Morris Endeavor for global touring representation. (Alok is also repped by WME.)

Alok says the Brazilian Bass subgenre, though not in name, dates to 2010 — not to Sean Brauer’s initial efforts in 2015 — and that he “championed” the sound in 2012. He also claims Sean’s bass sounds were created using a publicly available preset in music-production software Ableton.

Alok Drops Counter Claim

The Brauers’ copyright action came after Alok in February quietly dropped a counter claim for five tracks he says Sevenn owes him credit and compensation, including “BOOM,” a collaboration with Tiësto, and “BYOB.”

Cunha told the civil court in São Paulo that Alok expected to add the authorship claims for the songs to a pending case in Goiânia, where the two sides have been litigating the rights to “Un Ratito,” a collaboration with Alok, Latin artists Luis Fonsi, Lunay and Lenny Tavárez; and Brazilian singer-actress Juliette.

That has yet to happen. The two sides have been battling over jurisdiction, with Kevin Brauer arguing that the cases should be decided in São Paulo where his action is based on copyright law. Meanwhile, Alok, who lives in São Paulo, has pushed for Goiânia, a city based in Brazil’s interior, where his “Un Ratito” claim revolves around Brazil’s Civil Rights Framework for the Internet, a law passed in 2014 that essentially created a bill or rights for internet users, guaranteeing net neutrality, free expression online and the right to privacy.

After Alok released “Un Ratito” in January, Kevin Brauer claimed he was denied producing credit despite authoring the earliest versions of the song, and that Alok did not consult him about specific publishing splits. Alok, who credited Kevin Brauer as one of 14 songwriters, denies Kevin Brauer was the main author of the final released version of the song and says he replaced musical parts, including Kevin Brauer’s original guitar, with other musicians. Alok’s own legal action against Kevin Brauer asks the court to recognize him as sole creator of “Un Ratito” and award him damages totaling just over 1 million reais ($210,000).

After Kevin Brauer requested takedowns of “Un Ratito” on the major streaming services, YouTube complied initially, before a Brazilian judge ordered the video streamer to allow it to be restored.

In their filing last month, the Brauers say that in the days leading up to the publication of Billboard’s initial investigation, Alok’s legal team filed two actions, including the copyright counter suit and another involving a contract dispute with artist management company Artist Factory, essentially to try to blunt the impact of the coming Billboard story.

On May 13, a week after their legal filing, the Brauers’ mother, Jodie Brauer, who raised eight of her nine children in the cult-like religious community in Rio, died “peacefully in her sleep” from pancreatic cancer in Paso Robles, Calif., listening to Radiohead and The Beatles, with eight of her children “holding her hand,” Kevin Brauer says.

Kevin has since taken to the road as Sevenn and is touring in Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico. Alok also has a full touring schedule over the next two months, including a weekly residency at Hï nightclub in Ibiza starting in July and a slot at Tomorrowland in Belgium.

“Our goal now is to come to a fair agreement and to have an official response to the allegations Alok made against Sevenn, which are still circulating even though he backed them up with not much more than a charming smile,” says Kevin.