Aretha honoured at her father’s Baptist Church in Detroit

SOURCE- AFP – Congregants celebrated the life of Aretha Franklin at her father’s Baptist church in Detroit at the first Sunday service since her death, with her powerful voice again ringing out within its walls in tribute to her spectacular career.
Civil rights activist and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, now frail himself, was given a standing ovation after stepping up to the microphone to eulogize his old friend, the Queen of Soul.

The New Bethel Baptist Church — located in a down-at-heel, quiet neighborhood of Detroit — has been the focus of tributes to Franklin, who passed away from advanced pancreatic cancer on Thursday at age 76.
“It’s a happy day and a sad day,” Pastor Robert Smith Jr said at the start of the service.
“We are sad that Aretha has gone,” he said. “We’re happy that she’s free from the shackles of time.”
The high-energy service opened with an impassioned dance performance from a girl in a red skirt to a recording of Franklin singing “Precious Lord (Take My Hand)” — the same gospel song she delivered at Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral.
Franklin recorded the album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism at the church, where she also served dinners to worshippers and the homeless at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Ralph Godbee, a former Detroit police chief turned pastor, led the congregation in a rousing hand clap for Franklin.
Godbee recalled how she had once telephoned him to complain about a relative who had been mistreated by the police department, telling him that no one — regardless of their family — should be treated in such a way.
“There’s something about when the queen calls,” he said. “I’ve never been as excited in my life to be cursed out by somebody.”
Godbee hailed her as a “freedom fighter” and credited her with the revival of the Motor City — the home of the US auto industry that has turned a corner after years of economic depression and high crime.
Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin, was a prominent Baptist preacher and civil rights activist, who in June 1963 helped King organize the Walk to Freedom through downtown Detroit, only two months before King’s historic March on Washington and I Have a Dream speech.
– ‘Full of light’ –
Outside the imposing, pale brick church, mourners have hung helium balloons reading “You’re special,” bouquets of flowers, teddy bears and hand-written tributes to her legendary singing.
“Aretha Will Always be My Queen. Nothing But Respect!!” read one home-made poster adored with cut-out, black-and-white newspaper pictures of the musical icon in her prime.
“Aretha, thank you for making this city, this country, and this world a better place. Your music makes me feel full of light,” said one message signed “love Anna.”
“You will always be in my heart,” said another. “Your voice will always ring in my heart and soul. I hear it all of the time, soothing me.” Agence France-Presse

Former Barbados Gov’t Minister caught in laundering scandal

FORMER MINISTER of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development in Barbados Donville Inniss, has been indicted in the United States for allegedly laundering over US$36,000 in bribes.

The bribes are said to have been accepted when he was a public official, dating back to 2015 and 2016 from an unnamed Barbadian insurance company.

Innis who resided in Tampa, Florida and Barbados during the time of the charged conspiracy, was arrested last Friday but has subsequently been released on a US$50,000 bond.

The 52-year-old allegedly engaged in a scheme to accept US$36,536.73 in bribes from high-level executives of an insurance company headquartered in Barbados and laundered that money through the United States.

In exchange for the bribes, Inniss renewed two contracts with the insurance company. One contract was reportedly for US$16,536.73 and the other was US$20,000.

The United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said: “As charged in the indictment, Inniss abused his position of trust as a government official by taking bribes from a Barbadian company, then laundered the illicit funds through a bank and a dental company located in the Eastern District of New York.”

He continued: “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable corrupt government officials here or abroad who use the U.S. financial system to facilitate their criminal conduct.”

Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Brian Benczkowski said Inniss allegedly used the US financial system to launder bribes he received while serving as a government official.

“These charges demonstrate the commitment of the Department and our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who seeks to use our financial system to promote or launder the corrupt proceeds of their crimes,” Benczkowski said. SOURCE :

Akala receives honorary doctorate

RAPPER AND social entrepreneur Akala has received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brooke’s University.

The BAFTA winner announced the news on social media, posting images of at the ceremony.

On Instagram, Akala said: “Man is officially Dr Akala! Lol
Today I got an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brooke’s University, was a good vibes and congrats to all the people that were *actually* graduating.

“As someone who never went Uni I have always been slightly envious of those that did/do go but the things I learned with the man dem and then in business and life were also invaluable.

“I’d like to thank the entire Caribbean pan-African community that helped me through school and encouraged an intellectual curiosity and self development from a very young age. Safe.”

This is just the latest in positive moves for Akala who recently released a new book entitled Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, which explores issues of race and class . SOURCE :

Kendrick Lamar made his acting debut on ‘Power’

KENDRICK LAMAR’S talent knows no bounds. From rapper to performer, the Pulitzer-prize winning artist is one of the best in the game – and now he’s venturing into the acting world.

Lamar made his television debut on gritty TV series Power.

In the show, the Damn hitmaker played “a drug addict” named Laces, who assist Kana (50 Cent) and handles some dirty work for his rivals.

Power executive producer Courtney Kemp said: “Here’s an artist that we respect and he wants to play in our sandbox.” He also added that the Compton MC “showed up to win” for his scripted small screen debut.

Whether Lamar’s Laces will be an ongoing presence on Power looks to be an open question itself. “I can’t tell you that,” Kemp replied to laughter when asked if the rapper could return for more Power. source :