Prince’s last days: Health scares, thrilling shows, purple pianos

At the height of his stardom, Prince was ubiquitous, a marquee star who sold out stadiums, stole the silver screen and slayed fans with his bare-chested sass and sexuality.

Then a dispute with his record company changed his worldview and he retreated from the public eye.

READ MORE: Prince dead at 57

Save for the occasional awards show, benefit or tour, Prince kept his private life private — no small feat in the age of social media.

As he fought to protect his brand in an industry known for its formulaic approach, he maintained a tight grip on his music, restricting it from YouTube and streaming services, and prohibiting any photos or videos from being taken at his shows.

All of which made his death Thursday that much more shocking. A look at the last few days of his life provides some clues in hindsight that all was not well, but it’s safe to assume that if Prince knew death was close, he did not want us to know.

April 7: Atlanta shows postponed

Fans were lined up outside Atlanta’s Fox Theatre when the news broke: Prince had to postpone two back-to-back shows scheduled that evening.

They were nearly inconsolable — not just because of the postponement, but the reason given by the venue: “the entertainer is battling the flu.”

Fans worried that a bigger health problem could be afoot; many expressed their anxiety in meme form.

April 14: The show goes on

A week later, the Purple One redeemed himself when he returned to the Fox to perform two concerts with 80-minute sets. It was short for Prince, but fans basked in his aura as lavender smoke filled the stage.

The backdrop swirled with kaleidoscopic graphics and pop-art images of the artist. As usual, Prince requested a no-cameras policy during the action; but images surfaced after his death showing that many people had trouble adhering to it.

As his royal silhouette appeared to kick off the 7 p.m. show, the crowd’s shrieks rivaled Darling Nikki’s.

Wearing Summer of Love-inspired bell bottoms, carrying a cane (he’d long suffered from a bad hip) and crowned by an Afro, he paused at the front of the stage to accept the adulation, according to accounts of the concert.

Taking his seat at his purple piano, he offered a melodic apology for the missed date, then roared into “Little Red Corvette,” which segued to a playful rendition of Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy.”

The medley was emblematic of Prince’s playful ingenuity.

Despite reports that he was recovering from the flu, illness was undetectable in his full-throated versions of “The Beautiful Ones” and “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

“Prince played the audience like a second instrument, bringing us to our feet for ‘I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man’ and virtually to our knees with his mournful take on Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You,'” CNN’s Melonyce McAfee said.

A second encore included an R&B-tinged version of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

“Little did we know the night’s second show would be Prince’s last public performance,” McAfee said. “Now it feels all the more poignant that for one final night, we lived our dream and sang in unison with one of our heroes.”

Prince apparently relished the moment.

“I am transformed,” he said on Twitter the next day. “I am still floating on a cloud of purple intoxication after last night’s Piano & A Microphone show in Atlanta.”

April 15: An unexpected detour

As he flew back to Minnesota after the performance, Prince made an unexpected stop — an emergency landing and a dash to a hospital in Moline, Illinois.

Afterward, his publicist reassured fans: “He is fine and at home,” a statement said, without explaining exactly what happened.

April 16: Paisley Park dance party

Ever the professional, Prince rebounded for a small gathering of fans at Paisley Park, his home and recording studio in suburban Minneapolis where he hosted late-night concerts and dance parties. Not only did he host but he also performed “to give thanks for the good weather and for all the love and support,” he said on Twitter.

Michael Holz, a DJ at many of those parties, was there Saturday. Prince made a passing reference to the emergency landing, he told WCCO.

“He basically said when you hear news, give it a few days before you waste any prayers,” Holz said.

The appearance seemed aimed at proving he was alive and well, Minneapolis Star-Tribune music critic Jon Bream wrote the next day.

“I have to leave it in the case, or I’ll be tempted to play it,” Prince told the crowd of a new guitar, according to Bream. “I can’t play the guitar at all these days, so I can keep my mind on this (the solo piano) and get better.”

Fans noted that he maintained high spirits even though he appeared frail.

“I just thought he looked really pale and thin, and kind of tired,” said Deanne Jensen, who attended Saturday’s party. “But he has been thin for a long time.”

Mike Rendahl, who was also at the party, said Prince appeared pale but kept the mood light as he unveiled his purple piano.

“He seemed like a kid doing show-and-tell,” Rendahl said. “You could tell he really liked it.”

Again, Prince relished the moment, thanking fans for their “extra time,” an apparent reference to his hit song, “Kiss.”

April 17: Feeling ‘rejuvenated’

The singer replied to a fan on Twitter who’d attended the Atlanta show with the hashtags #FeelingRejuvenated #FeelingInspired and #FeelingLoved.

April 19: Attending a concert

Prince attended a concert at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant in Minneapolis on Tuesday, according to staffer Lucas Harrington. He did not perform.

April 21: World loses a legend

A man called 911 at 9:43 a.m. Thursday from Prince’s estate after finding a person unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios.

“The person is dead here. … And the people are just distraught,” the man said as he struggled to find an address to give the dispatcher.

Emergency crews later discovered the man was Prince.

After paramedics’ desperate CPR attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Too much fish during pregnancy increases a child’s obesity risk, study says

Advice to pregnant women to not overdo it on fish is getting an endorsement from new research.

In a massive long-term study spanning 11 countries, researchers found that eating fish more than three times a week during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of childhood obesity, according to an article published online Monday by JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers also found that consuming fish more than three times a week was linked to rapid growth in the first two years if life.

The findings are in line with recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency that pregnant women should eat fish, but no more than two to three servings (8-12 ounces) per week.

Fish contains vital nutrients for developing fetuses and should not be avoided by pregnant mothers, the study says, but pregnant women should adhere to fish consumption advisories.

Fish consumption of more than one time but less than three times per week was not associated with increased risk of childhood overweight or obesity, said study author Leda Chatzi of the University of Crete, Greece.

Chatzi and her coauthors analyzed data from 26,184 pregnant women and their children in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. The researchers followed up with the children at two-year intervals from birth until age 6.

Pregnant women who ate fish more than three times per week gave birth to children with higher BMI values at 2, 4 and 6 years of age compared with women who ate fish less, the study found. Higher rates of fish intake during pregnancy also was associated with an increased risk of rapid growth from birth to age 2.

The magnitude of the effect of fish intake was greater in girls than boys, according to the study.

Prior studies and advisories focus on potential neurocognitive harm from exposure to methyl-mercury but not impact on growth, Chatzi said.

“Fish is generally considered an integral component of a healthy diet. However, it is a complex exposure,” she said.

On one hand, fish is a major dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are transferred across the placenta and have been found to reduce fat deposits by reducing production of fat cells, she said.

On the other hand, fish is a common source of human exposure to persistent organic pollutants, which may exert endocrine-disrupting properties and contribute to the development of obesity, she said.

“It is possible that at higher levels of fish consumption, the potential adverse effects of contaminants mask or outweigh the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids,” she said.

The study notes that while researchers collected information on consumption of different fish types, they did not have enough data to distinguish between species, cooking procedures or water source. This information would have afforded them the chance to take a closer look at the interplay between beneficial nutrients and environmental pollutants associated with fish intake.

“Hence, our hypothesis that fish-associated contaminant exposure may play a role in the observed associations remains speculative,” Chatzi said.

Raven-Symoné: ‘I am very discriminatory’ about some black names

— Various studies have found black people experience negative treatment based not only on the color of their skin, but even their names.

Those findings got an unexpected endorsement this week from a black celebrity with, as one columnist put it, “quite possibly the single blackest name in pop culture today.”

Critics are calling out “The View” co-host Raven-Symoné for saying she would never hire someone named “Watermelondrea,” a name she apparently pulled out of thin air to prove her point.

The host, whose given name is Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman, made the comment on the ABC show while discussing a study about racial bias toward “black-sounding” names.

The segment included a clip from the popular YouTube video, “Top 60 Ghetto Black Names.”

It’s not racist to treat people differently based on their names, it’s “discriminatory,” she maintained.

“And I am very discriminatory against words like the ones they were saying in those names,” she said, referring to examples of names in the video.

“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hire you.”

Her co-hosts had little to contribute, prompting Symoné to ask, “Is that mean?”

Co-host Joy Behar added that white people tend to name their children after food — Apple, Honey — prompting her to suggest to parents they stop naming their children when they’re hungry.

Symoné’s comments caught fire. On social media and in opinion columns, people were quick to say the comments from a black woman with an accented, hyphenated name smacked of hypocrisy.

In one such column, “Raven-Symoné Rips Black Names, But Forgot About Her Own,” EBONY senior writer Jamilah Lemieux pointed out the negative effects of dehumanizing people based on their name.

“The whole world is trying to tear us apart and you want to discount the value of some other black person because she, TOO, has a black name, Raven hyphen alternate spelling of ‘Simone’? You got the nerve,” Lemieux wrote.

“We can’t have a hierarchy of black names. You are either with your family, or you aren’t. Being named ‘Naima’ or ‘Aaliyah,’ Asha,’ or ‘Imani,’ doesn’t make you better or more sophisticated or more African than someone named ‘Shatasha,’ and the people who are dumping Shatasha’s resume in the trash because of her name are happy to throw yours in there too, boo.”

Adding insult to injury was her hypothetical name choice, “Watermelondrea,” contributing editor Damon Young said.

“Only a person who associates ‘blackness’ with ‘badness’ would choose to disparage black names and choose to throw a stereotypical reference in there, too. Which, again, is absurd, because neither having a ‘black’ name or enjoying watermelon while black are bad things!” he wrote in his column, “Raven-Symoné Doesn’t Like Black-Sounding Names? How Ironic.”

He also called attention to her “unique spelling of a common name” and “egregious use of unnecessary hyphens,” saying it made her guilty of the very behavior she was maligning.

“Thing is, these are not bad things at all. I think it’s awesome that Raven-Symoné’s parents added so many blackness tells to their child’s name,” he wrote.

“Yet, here was Raven-Symoné, on national TV, in all of her black-ass-named glory, gleefully expressing that she’d discriminate against other black people with black-ass names.”

Symoné did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Halloween costumes you can get away with

— We know, we know. It’s hard to come up with an original idea, especially when it comes to Halloween costumes.

You’re not feeling all that sexy this year. You’ve done “cereal killer” to death, thought about re-using your “dancing emoji” tights and leotard, even considered outfits you knew would be downright offensive.

But before ordering that Caitlyn Jenner wig or ISIS headscarf, why not consider tasteful alternatives more likely to earn respect than a reputation as the jerk at the party?

We went through some compelling arguments for avoiding insensitive costumes last year. This Halloween, we’re focusing on creative topical choices that will delight instead of offend.

Like what? Generally, humor and ideas that make people pause and think for a second.

Some exceptions notwithstanding, you can’t go wrong with recent newsmakers or cultural touchstones that most people will get. Broadly reviled individuals such as shooting suspects and mass murderers should be off limits, along with their victims and survivors. And, stay far away from any costume that leads you to believe you need to go blackface or whiteface, because there’s never a good reason for that.

Politicians, celebrities and public figures are fair game, especially if you infuse the costume with wit, elevating it to conversation piece. Amusing memes and emojis will make you look hip and with it.

To recap:

Dylann Roof? No.

Syrian refugees? No.

Pizza rat? Yes, but only if you bring some for everybody.

Donald Trump? Yes. Zombie Donald Trump? Even better.

Ariana Grande Latte? Perfezione.

Or, speaking of the pop star, you could seize on her recent mishap by putting your hair in a high ponytail and carrying around a doughnut.

Just be gentle. Feel free to borrow inspiration from the gallery above. Or, as a last resort, choose a different emoji.


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Army issues new breastfeeding policy

— The Army issued a service-wide breastfeeding policy this week, making it the last military branch to implement guidelines for supporting nursing service members.

The two-page policy, which applies to active, Guard and Reserve members, takes effect immediately. The policy says command must provide designated spaces for soldiers to pump breast milk, whether they’re on base or doing field and mobility exercises. It leaves it up to soldiers and commanders to work out a schedule that balances the mother’s needs and mission readiness.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jerome Pionk said the policy is not prescriptive by design to allow for flexibility.

“This directive was specifically designed so soldiers and command can work together to come up with a situation that will balance the needs of the mother with the needs of the mission,” he told CNN.

But breastfeeding advocates say without specific directives for duration and frequency of pumping breaks, it’s too vague to be useful.

“It’s a step forward and I’m glad they finally did something because they were the only ones who didn’t have anything on the books. But it’s not clear enough,” said U.S. Navy veteran Robyn Roche-Paull, who runs the Facebook group Breastfeeding in Combat Boots.

‘Much work to do’

Amid repeated calls for a formal policy, the Army announced in July it would review its practices to ensure they were in line with other military branches.

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Massachusetts, proposed legislation this year calling for the Army to create a comprehensive policy that, at minimum, designates a private, clean area with electrical outlets for expressing milk, and an allowance for breaks.

Tsongas’ legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed Thursday.

“As more doors open to servicewomen and a greater talent pool is tapped, the military must find ways to support all those who wear the uniform,” Tsongas said in a July column for Army Times. “There is much work to do but an Army breastfeeding policy symbolizes a step towards a more equitable military.”

Models of success

A viral photo of 10 soldiers from Fort Bliss breastfeeding in uniform renewed attention to challenges nursing soldiers face in balancing service with motherhood. The photo was taken to decorate the Fort Bliss lactation room, which was established as part of a comprehensive 22-page breastfeeding policy created by members of Fort Bliss and approved by Col. Richard Coffman, chief of staff, 1st Armored Division.

Roche-Paull cited the Fort Bliss policy as an example of a comprehensive model the Army could have followed. In addition to provisions for deferment from deployment (six months) and lactation room requirements (comfortable chair, table, electrical outlet), the Fort Bliss policy states breastfeeding soldiers should get breaks every two to three hours for 30 to 40 minutes at a time.

The broader Army policy does not include such specifics. It states soldiers who want to breastfeed upon return to duty must notify their chain of command to determine “how best to support them.” The Army policy says the amount time needed to express milk depends on factors including infant’s age, amount of milk produced, quality of pump and how far the lactation space is from the workplace. Lactation consultants will be on hand to help commanders and soldiers determine a schedule that balances “lactation support and readiness,” the policy says.

The policy also says commanders should designate a private space with access to an electrical outlet and water. If the designated space is in a bathroom, it must be a fully enclosed, separate area and not a toilet stall.

In contrast, the Air Force policy for breastfeeding and breast pumping grants breaks of 15 to 30 minutes every three to four hours. It also says “restrooms should not be considered an appropriate location for pumping,” similar to Navy and Marine Corps guidance, which say the pumping area should not be located in “a toilet space.”

Breastfeeding advocates would like to see policies closer to the Air Force’s to ensure the rights of nursing soldiers.

One line from the Army policy, “commanders and solders will balance lactation support and readiness,” could prove complicated, Roche-Paull said, by leaving it up to soldiers and their supervisors to work out a schedule.

“That pesky line about ‘readiness’ needs can pretty much trump anything Mom might need,” she said.

‘Operational reality’ a factor

While commending the Army for finally implementing a policy, followers of Breastfeeding in Combat Boots Facebook page echoed Roche-Paull’s concerns about lack of clarity.

“Agree, it’s shallow, leaves a lot to be questioned and too much wiggle room. But it is a start,” one Facebook follower wrote.

Others encouraged fellow service members to work with their commands to implement their own unit policies, as members of Fort Bliss did.

“It’s better than nothing, but ladies, this is where we take this and work on developing policies at our Divisions like the Fort Bliss ladies did that will be more specific and answer those vague areas! Keep the open dialog with your leadership and don’t give up!!!”

The broader Army policy was created with the “operational reality” of existing facilities in mind, Lt. Col. Pionk said.

As written, the policy lets individual units and commands determine the best approach to retrofitting facilities and creating lactation schedules, he said. Some garrisons are fully outfitted to American standards of comfort; conditions in facilities in foreign countries can be much more “austere,” he said.

“We needed to do something that would balance those considerations without putting too much of a cost burden on units,” he said. “Everything we’re trying to do is in reference to supporting all of our soldiers.”

Tsongas called the policy a “positive first step” but said more work lay ahead.

“This policy is a starting point from which we can continue to build to help dedicated American servicewomen to be the best soldiers and the best mothers that they can be.”

‘Empire’ fans sing their way into chance to appear in season

— Whether they’re Team Cookie or Team Boo-Boo Kitty, it’s no secret that fans love “Empire,” the hit Fox TV show breaking records and winning over critics with its blend of love, hip-hop and unvarnished family drama.

CNN Video

‘Empire’ holds auditions for cameo role

“Empire” fans are auditioning for a cameo role in the show’s second season. The show’s tour bus is stopping in 16 U.S. cities.

About 16.7 million viewers tuned in for the March 18 season finale, capping 10 weeks of consecutive audience growth, a rare television feat. It was also a huge hit on social media, generating 2.4 million tweets and 15.8 million likes, comments and shares on Facebook over the two-hour show.

The show, which features gay and lesbian characters, also contributed to the high marks Fox received from GLAAD on its annual Network Responsibility Index, recognizing diversity in media representations of the LGBT community.

It takes a special breed of fan to wait five hours outside a tour bus under the blazing Atlanta sun to experience a taste of “Empire.” It was the 10th stop on a 16-city tour offering fans a chance to audition to appear on the second season.

We’re not even talking about a chance to meet stars Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, aka Lucious and Cookie Lyon, or their dueling sons. Lucious is the patriarch bent on grooming an heir to his Empire Entertainment; Cookie is his ex-wife, an ex-convict who’s equal parts heroine and villain, often locking horns with Lucious’ girlfriend, Anika (Grace Gealey), whom she contemptuously calls “Boo-Boo Kitty.”

Instead, up for grabs: recording a song from the show’s original soundtrack to submit to Fox for a chance to appear as an artist in season 2, which begins September 23.

Sure, the aspiring artists could have just submitted their audition clips online and skipped the sweltering heat. But then they would have missed out on the complimentary “Empire” bags and cookies bearing Cookie’s visage, and the spontaneous freestyle sessions.

In a testament to the show’s devoted fan base, people began lining up about 10 a.m. on a recent Thursday outside the mobile recording studio parked in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. The line was cut off about noon. In two days, about 700 people entered the bus to record; 200 of them were selected for entry in the contest.

“I usually laugh at people who do this kind of stuff, but now I’m one of them,” said Angel Hines (who is Team Cookie, by the way), laughing as she inched her way to the front of the line.

“I wanted to be a part of this. I’m here for the experience. I watch the show religiously, so why not? Until I get my spot, this is as close as I’ll get.”

She would be singing “What is Love” by Veronica Bozeman, aka V., the song that opens the season premiere. It was one of five that contestants could choose from.

Jacqueline Jones felt she would make a better impression in person. Another Cookie fan, Jones says the show “hits home” for a lot of people.

“I can relate to it all,” she said, smiling as she waited on the tour bus for her turn to enter the recording studio.

“So many people live these situations. We know how many women go to jail to protect their man or take a bullet for their man. Or maybe you don’t have a Cookie in your family, but you may have a gay person or someone who suffers from mental illness,” she said, referring to the Lyon family drama.

“A lot of the show is fictitious, but the stories are real.”

And with that, she disappeared into the booth. Her song: “What is Love?”

Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran lead MTV Video Music Awards nominees

— The nominees are in for the MTV 2015 Video Music Awards, which will feature Miley Cyrus as host.

Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran lead the pack with three nominations each, including Video of the Year. In that category, they’ll face off against Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars for “Uptown Funk” and Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”

Kendrick Lamar earned five total nominations: two as a solo artist and three for his collaboration with Swift on “Bad Blood.”

But it matters little who wins; most people tune into the show for the musical performances and “unexpected” moments. And, if Cyrus’ past award show performances are any indication, there’s no telling who might get kissed or what wild costume she’ll wear (if any).

Judging by the photo she posted Monday on Instagram announcing the news, she’s pretty excited.

The show airs August 30 on MTV.


Beyoncé, “7/11”

Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”


Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

The Weeknd, “Earned It”

Nick Jonas, “Chains”


Beyoncé, “7/11”

Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”

Sia, “Elastic Heart”

Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”


Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

Big Sean feat. E-40, “IDFWU”


Beyoncé, “7/11”

Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Maroon 5, “Sugar”


Hozier, “Take Me To Church”

Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”

Florence + the Machine, “Ship to Wreck”

Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance”

Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”


Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Vance Joy, “Riptide”

George Ezra, “Budapest”

James Bay, “Hold Back The River”

FKA Twigs, “Pendulum”


Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd, “Love Me Harder”

Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”


Jennifer Hudson, “I Still Love You”

Colbie Caillat, “Try”

Big Sean feat. Kanye West and John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”

Rihanna, “American Oxygen”

Wale, “The White Shoes”

See more nominations at

Vanessa Williams marries fiance Jim Skrip

Entertainer Vanessa Williams tied the knot in a July Fourth ceremony with longtime beau Jim Skrip.

The couple wed in front of their family and friends, William’s rep told People magazine.

The “Ugly Betty” star and Grammy-nominated singer announced her engagement in September on “The Queen Latifah Show.”

The couple met on a Nile cruise in 2013. Williams, whose mother is from Buffalo, approached Skrip because he was a wearing a Buffalo Sabres shirt, she told the Buffalo News in 2013.

She asked him if he was from there, and the two hit it off.

This is the third marriage for Williams. She has four children with exes Ramon Hervey II and basketball player Rick Fox.

Fox and Williams divorced in 2004.

Kanye West gets ‘Kanye’d’ by onstage heckler at Glastonbury

— Now Kanye West knows how it feels to get upstaged, even if just for a few seconds.

A heckler invaded the stage Saturday night during West’s opening song at Glastonbury Festival.

It’s no secret that more than a few people were unhappy with the decision to make the American rapper the headlining act of the five-day British music festival. At least 15,000 signed a petition to cancel his slot.

When the petition went nowhere, British comedian Lee Nelson — whose real name is Simon Brodkin — took matters into his own hands. Wearing a shirt that said “Lee-Zus,” a parody of West’s nickname and self-titled album “Yeezus,” Nelson bounced across stage with a working microphone in hand.

He made it a few seconds before a guard pulled him offstage. West reportedly tried to continue before halting “Black Skinhead” and restarting, going on to perform a 30-song set.

Nelson claimed credit for the stunt on Twitter, boasting that he “Kanye’d Kanye,” a reference to all the times West has interrupted someone onstage — specifically, that time he interrupted Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards.

“Some people were saying Kanye shouldn’t headline Glastonbury so I thought I’d give him a hand,” Nelson tweeted. “I Kanye’d Kanye. That was for you @taylorswift13.”

High-profile pranks are Nelson’s thing. He made his way into a photograph with England’s football team before last year’s World Cup in Brazil.


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Lil Wayne: I just signed a deal with Jay Z

— Lil Wayne dropped a bombshell Saturday that left fans simultaneously celebrating and speculating over what it could mean.

“I just signed a deal with my motherf–king idol, Jay Z,” said the rapper, whose real name Dwayne Carter, as he took the stage at KMEL Summer Jam.

The crowd erupted in cheers and rumors started spreading through the internet: Did this mean Lil Wayne was signing with Jay Z’s Roc Nation label amid a long-running beef with his current label, Cash Money Records?

Not so, Lil Wayne’s manager told Billboard. Lil Wayne was referring to his involvement with Tidal, Jay Z’s music subscription service, Cortez Bryant said. Lil Wayne joined Tidal as a co-owner this month, according to Forbes, and dropped an exclusive new track “Glory” to celebrate.

“The Internet and blogs took his words out of context,” Bryant told Billboard. “When Wayne was speaking about the partnership with Jay Z, he was speaking about his new deal as an artist owner with Tidal.”

It’s not exactly the collaboration some fans might have been hoping for. But Lil Wayne teaming up with Jay Z in any capacity is a big deal for a number of reasons.

For one, they’re the two of the biggest names in hip-hop, responsible for dozens of Grammys and #1 hits between them. And, there’s no shortage of mutual adoration — despite that time Wayne once sang of kidnapping Beyonce. Lil Wayne told PEOPLE that Jay Z’s “Lucky Me” is his favorite song of all time, so much so that he has “Lucky Me” tattooed on his neck and a verse of that song tattooed on his leg.

Jay Z has long had his eye on Lil Wayne. The rapper said Cash Money co-founder and CEO Bryan “Birdman” Williams kiboshed efforts to sign Weezy to Roc-A-Fella years ago after Jay Z expressed interest in him.

“I felt it was only right to call him. I called him out of respect like, ‘Yo, I was talking to Wayne. Just to let you know,” Jay Z told Power 105.1 radio’s The Breakfast Club show.

He said he received a letter from Birdman’s lawyer alleging interference “and it all just went from there,” he said at the time. “I would rather lose that situation and do the right thing than the opposite. Cause I think I could have signed him. I could have signed him and then told him after. I did the right thing and I’m cool with that decision.”

And, let’s not forget Lil Wayne is technically signed to Cash Money Records, which has been his home since his 1993 recording, True Stories. But the relationship has soured in recent years, culminating in a $51 million lawsuit against the label in January over Carter’s contract and the delayed release of The Carter V.

Lil Wayne has not held back in expressing his displeasure with Cash Money “Birdman” Williams. He took to Twitter to blame them for the delay of his anticipated album, The Carter V, which was originally scheduled for release in 2014.

“I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy,” he said. “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity.”


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