All posts by Moderator

Vic Mensa Released From Custody After D.C. Airport Bust: ‘What a Trip’

Vic Mensa has been released from custody after he was reportedly busted at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport with a stash of LSD and a variety of psychedelic mushrooms.

The Chicago emcee (born Victor Kewsi Mensah) was charged with felony narcotics possession charges on Saturday (Jan. 15) following his return to the U.S. from Ghana.

In his first comment since his arrest, Mensa wrote on Twitter, “Wow what a trip.” And in a followup tweet, “I’m freeeeeee. Love you all god works in mysterious ways.”

As previously reported, Customs and Border Protection officers claimed that an examination of Mensa’s luggage found 41 grams of liquid LSD, around 124 grams of psilocybin (mushroom) capsules, 178 grams of psilocybin gummies and six grams of psilocybin mushrooms.

It remains unclear what obligations he still has with D.C. law enforcement following the incident.

The 28-year-old MC had been chronicling his trip to Africa with Chance the Rapper with a string of social media posts over recent weeks, including snaps with Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The rapper’s most recent single, “UNIFIED,” a collaboration with Kami and Joey Purp, arrived Jan. 11.

Hilary Duff Says She Wants to Get Back in the Studio & ‘Stretch the Muscles a Little Bit’

It’s been nearly seven years since the 2015 release of Hilary Duff‘s fifth album, Breathe In, Breathe Out — and the star is ready to make some music again.

Duff chatted with Cosmopolitan about her role in Hulu’s How I Met Your Father, and was asked about the possibility of a new album. “I’m not working on music right now but I have been talking to my husband [fellow artist Matthew Koma] about getting into the studio and starting to stretch the muscles a little bit,” she revealed. “I really want to, but I need time to figure out what I’m saying, what kind of record I’m making, and who it’s for. But, yes, I want to.”

She continued, “You know how annoying it is to go to a concert, and they don’t play the hits? I want to serve people what they want, but I also want it to be authentic to who I am now, and that’s very complicated.”

As for her extensive, decades-spanning discography, Duff shared a cute anecdote about how much her three-year-old daughter Banks loves her 2015 hit “Sparks.”

“I can’t get away from [“Sparks”] because someone exposed my three-year-old to it,” she told the publication. “We get in the car, and I have to listen to my own music because my daughter’s screaming, ‘I want ‘parks, I want ‘parks.’ I’m rolling up to her preschool, and every time I turn it way down she’s like, ‘Why do you turn it off? Why you turn it off?’ Like, girl. I’m not rolling up to your preschool blasting my own s—. So embarrassing.”

The first two episodes of How I Met Your Fathers starring Duff as Sophie arrived on Hulu Tuesday (Jan. 18). The sequel to How I Met Your Mother flips the narrative of its predecessor by focusing on a woman telling her son the story of how she met his father.

How I Met Your Mother is streaming exclusively on Hulu, but if you’re not subscribed, join today, and watch the series and any other content on the platform for free (for the first month). Hulu’s cheapest, and most popular, subscription plan starts at $6.99 a month after a free 30-day trial.


A$AP Rocky Drops Latest Collaboration With Pacsun

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A$AP Rocky is excited for fans to get their hands on his flame-friendly new line of apparel and sneakers.

The 33-year-old rapper joined forces with Pacsun for a third and final collaboration with Vans, the Los Angeles-based surf and lifestyle brand announced last Friday (Jan. 14). “Vans have always been a closet staple,” Rocky said in a statement. “The new drop adds a fresh spin on a classic and I’m excited for everyone to style them in their own unique way.”

The nostalgic but forward-thinking collection is the Harlem’s rapper’s latest fashion drop since taking on the role as Pacsun’s Guest Artistic Director. Featured in the collaboration are reworked versions of the classic Vans slip-on sneakers and Van’s slip-on mules, which are available in black and white colorways and multi-color flame designs.

The Vans x ASAP Rocky Classic Slip-on Shoes retails for $80 and are available in black and white, and black and red designs. The mules, which are slightly cheaper at $75, come in white and red and black and red colorways.

Vans x A$AP Worldwide Classic Slip-On Shoes

Vans x A$AP Worldwide Classic Slip-On Shoes

Vans x A$AP Worldwide Classic Slip-On Mule Shoes

Vans x A$AP Worldwide Classic Slip-On Mule Shoes

The latest installment of Rocky’s Pacsun collaboration includes Russell Athletics logo T-shirts ($60) with matching valley shorts ($60) and graphic hoodies ($90) with matching, drawstring sweatpants ($80). The hoodies feature skull print with contrasted stitching, a kangaroo pocket and a chenille “Russell” graphic across the front. The sweatpants and hoodies are available green, black and red, blue, rust and white and brown.

“We are continuously impressed by Rocky’s fresh takes on classic styles,” noted Pacsun Co-CEO Alfred Chang. “We are excited to introduce the newest iteration as part of his collaborative effort with Pacsun, to kick off the new year.”

The line arrives just over a month after Rocky made a surprise appearance at Pacsun’s flagship store in Soho, where fans were treated to exclusive pairs of sneakers before the collection officially dropped.

Rocky and Pacsun announced their partnership last year. The “Sandman” rapper was the Southern California brand’s first ever Guest Artistic Director but it’s unclear what else they could be cooking up in the future. Last summer, Rocky revealed last year that he and Pacsun would be releasing “several limited-edition collections” together.

Pacsun’s previous collaborations include North Face, Adidas, Champion, Fear of God, J. Galt and Guess.

UTA Names Lindsay Wagner Chief Diversity Officer

UTA is bolstering its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives with the hire of Lindsay Wagner, who has been hired as the company’s new chief diversity officer.

“As UTA grows, we must continue to cultivate a more diverse, multifaceted and inclusive culture,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a release. “Lindsay has a proven track record of pushing the envelope and leading with a fresh and unique perspective. I am confident that she will bring ingenuity to this new role and will be a great steward for the cause.”

In the newly created position, Wagner will amplify UTA’s existing values and commitments to the creative and business community. This includes the company’s previously announced pledge of $1 million to social justice causes, which accompanied a series of internal initiatives — from raising pay for entry-level positions to unconscious bias training for all employees and promoting senior agents of color to the UTA Board and Partnership, among other actions. Additionally, she will counsel the company’s clients and devise and execute tactics that align with UTA’s dedication to upholding diverse perspectives and projects.

“Entertainment sits at the cross-section of culture, storytelling and influence and therefore it’s critical that we collectively continue to identify and amplify authentic representation inside and outside of the organization,” said Wagner in a statement. “I am honored to join UTA and contribute to this purpose-led team focused on building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community and industry now and for generations to come.”

Prior to joining UTA, Wagner served as senior vp and head of diversity, equity and inclusion, North America at the global communications consulting firm Ketchum. During her tenure, she developed and executed a community-centered DEI strategy and structure that included auditing the firm’s existing programs to positively impact the recruitment, retention and engagement of diverse talent. She also led the company’s partnership with the HBCU Week Foundation and worked across parent company Omnicom’s wider network to help establish the first-ever global town hall for Black employees.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Lindsay to the UTA family. With her wide-ranging experience and expertise, we know that she will elevate our mission to foster an inclusive environment, which allows for our colleagues to thrive and will attract the most inspiring and dynamic people to our company,” said UTA partner and chief people officer Jean-Rene Zetrenne in a release.

Wagner is a member of Justice League NYC & CA — a task force for The Gathering For Justice — which organizes large-scale direct action dedicated to ending racial inequality in the criminal justice system. She has also served as executive director of the New York City chapter of ColorComm, the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity and inclusion across the communications and media industries.

At UTA, Wagner will be based in Los Angeles and report jointly to Zimmer and Zetrenne.

Mick Fleetwood Teams With Fox for Musical Drama ‘13 Songs’

Mick Fleetwood is teaming with Fox for a musical drama called 13 Songs.

The Fleetwood Mac co-founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will serve as an executive producer and contribute creative ideas and music for the drama, which has received a script order at the broadcast network.

From writers Will Reiser (50/50) and Jonathan Prince (Four Weddings and a Funeral), 13 Songs revolves around rock legend Jasper Jones, who with his band, The Grift, once made music that spoke to a generation of Americans. Decades later, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jasper is given only a few months to live. As a final love letter to his fans, Jasper reconnects with his band to write and record 13 final songs and leave his mark on the world forever.

The drama hails from Lionsgate, Polygram Entertainment, Thruline Entertainment and Megamix. Fleetwood exec produces alongside Thruline’s Willie Mercer and Ron West; Megamix’s Gillian Bohrer and Polygram’s David Blackman.

13 Songs arrives as Fox continues to look to musical-driven scripted originals for its primetime roster. The broadcast network recently pushed Monarch to fall in a bid to have the serialized country music drama air without interruption.

In success, music-driven scripted fare generates ancillary revenue from music and album sales. Such was the case with Fox’s Empire and Glee, the latter of which became a massive franchise thanks in part to global tours, downloads and merchandising.

Fleetwood is repped by CAA; Reiser is with UTA, Thruline and Jamie Feldman; Prince is with Thruline, Rothman Brecher and Brad Small; Levine is with CAA and Carlos Goodman.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

Fans Wish They Were as Cool as Blue Ivy During Her NFL Date With Dad

Blue Ivy Carter was serving looks on Monday (Jan. 17), when she and her dad Jay-Z attended the NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals.

Beyoncé and her twin children, Rumi and Sir, were seemingly not in attendance, as a snap circulated the Internet of just the father-daughter duo, sitting side by side and watching the match.

All eyes, however, were not on the “Can’t Knock the Hustle” rapper, but instead, on 10-year-old Blue Ivy herself, who rocked a sleek graphic t-shirt with a snap back, clear-framed glasses and lots of gold accessories.

Twitter went wild over Blue’s undeniable swag, pointing out everything from her oozing cool factor to jokingly pointing out how she’s the real celebrity in the father-daughter photo.

See some tweets gushing over Blue’s style below.

The Weeknd’s New ‘Dawn FM’ Tops Charts Around The World, Showing His ‘Undeniable Global Appeal’

The Weeknd‘s Dawn FM album made a worldwide splash with its debut this week, asserting his global success by topping the charts in 10 countries around the globe after its release on Jan. 7, just days after it was announced.

The album, which follows as a companion piece of sorts to 2020’s blockbuster After Hours, bowed atop the Official U.K. Albums Chart — as well as, according to The Weeknd’s label, Republic Records, the official charts of Canada, Australia, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. In addition, two of the set’s tracks made the top 10 of Billboard‘s Global 200 chart, tracking the biggest songs in the world each week — led by the No. 2 debut of “Sacrifice,” which accounts for a mighty 53.5 million global streams this week, according to MRC Data.

The album has a lot of room to grow, too, as one of the year’s first superstar releases. While in the U.S., the album trailed Atlanta rapper Gunna‘s DS4Ever on the Billboard 200 albums chart, landing at No. 2 on the tally dated Jan. 22, The Weeknd still has CD and vinyl releases planned that could push the album up the charts if it sustains streaming interest. And, meanwhile, he’s preparing for his long-postponed After Hours ‘Til Dawn Stadium Tour that’s now due to kick off this summer with dates across across multiple continents and maintain fans’ interest in the album and mark one of the world’s biggest tours since concerts shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The impact of Dawn FM speaks to The Weeknd’s undeniable global appeal and further reinforces the healing power of music,” says Monte Lipman, Republic Records founder and CEO, in a statement. “The non-traditional rollout represents Abel’s pure dedication to his fans by making new music available in real time. This body of work has captured the imagination of both the creative community and the overall marketplace.”

Since his pop breakthrough in the mid-’10s, The Weeknd has been a steady presence at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. His three most recent albums before this year, 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness, 2016’s Starboy and 2020’s After Hours, all debuted atop the listing — with After Hours marking arguably the biggest success of his career to date, earning 444,000 equivalent album units in its first week — as did his 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy. But Dawn FM was edged out by DS4Ever (which, like Dawn FM, was released on Jan. 7 and officially announced the Monday before) in a particularly close race: DS4Ever bowed at No. 1 with 150,300 equivalent album units, while Dawn FM finished just a couple thousand short of that with 148,000 units.

While the initial performance for Dawn FM may seem modest compared to The Weeknd’s After Hours start, it requires some additional context. The first factor of importance is that After Hours‘ lofty first-week number, posted in April 2020, was boosted by a number of advantages that Dawn FM lacks. After Hours was released when Billboard still counted ticket- and merch-bundled album sales towards its totals — and The Weeknd offered both ticket bundles with CD purchases and merch bundles with digital purchases of After Hours, as well as a direct-to-consumer combination physical and digital album bundle, which could be reported as a sale that week even when the physical album would not ship for months to come. It all helped the album reach 274,000 in first-week sales, and over 100,000 in physical sales alone.

None of that is available for Dawn FM. In addition to bundles having been disallowed from contributing towards chart totals in October 2020, Dawn FM has no physical release to speak of yet — something the singer-songwriter (born Abel Tesfaye) himself acknowledged on Twitter would hurt his first-week numbers. “This doesn’t matter to me,” Tesfaye posted, in a tweet that was later deleted. “what matters is getting to experience the album together with the fans during these times.”

After Hours also benefited from a long and successful pre-release rollout — largely centered around the set’s two pre-release singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” which dropped within a couple days of one another the prior November, and which would both top the Hot 100 by the time After Hours itself debuted atop the Billboard 200. By contrast, the only song to be released in advance from Dawn FM — which was officially announced just days before the album’s Friday debut — was “Take My Breath,” which notched a solid Hot 100 debut at No. 6 the prior August, but failed to build much momentum from there and was not a major needle-mover by the time of Dawn‘s release five months later.

And Dawn FM just ended up facing some pretty considerable competition. Gunna was no chart lightweight going into 2022 — his prior set Wunna also debuted atop the Billboard 200 in May 2020, with a 111,000-unit first-week performance. But the 150,300-unit bow of DS4Ever is obviously a step up for the rapper, a testament to his long-building streaming dominance (as particularly boosted by the No. 7-debuting Hot 100 hit “Pushin P,” with Future and featuring Young Thug). While the black-lit disco of Dawn FM is likely to get a much warmer embrace on top 40 radio, the woozy trap of DS4Ever is streaming a bit stronger in the U.S. right now, and that was able to give Gunna the slight edge in that department (193.5 million streams for DS4Ever, 173.04 million for Dawn FM — though the former also had the advantage of a slightly longer tracklist).

While it’s become increasingly rare in the 2020s for albums to climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after a lower debut, some superstar acts have been using delayed physical format releases to their advantage to climb back up the charts and engage fans again. Pop stars like Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo were able to return their respective 2021 albums to the top of the chart months after the albums’ initial release with later releases of physical copies of the sets — a boost The Weeknd could replicate when Dawn FM receives its physical release, first on CD on Jan. 28 and then on vinyl and cassette on April 29.

Much of what has defined The Weeknd’s stardom in recent years is not just his big numbers out of the gate, but his endurance. Nearly a year after the compilation’s release last February, his The Highlights sits at No. 8 on the chart this week — a testament to the continued streaming performance of Tesfaye’s older hits, led of course by the unkillable “Blinding Lights.” If Dawn FM can spin off hits anywhere near as big or long-lasting as “Lights” (or “Save Your Tears,” No. 2 on Billboard‘s 2021 Year-End Hot 100 chart), it should also be able to hang around near the top of the albums chart — and maybe even take the lead.