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France's Macron meets Rihanna at the Elysee Palace

French President Emmanuel Macron met singer Rihanna at the Elysee Palace Wednesday after the pop star appealed to him on Twitter for France to contribute to her education fund for developing countries.

Rihanna first was welcomed by first lady Brigitte Macron on the steps of the presidential palace in Paris before she went inside to speak with the couple now living there for more than an hour.

"I've just had the most incredible meeting with the president and the first lady", Rihanna told reporters in the Elysee's courtyard. "They were incredibly welcoming to us."

The popular singer, who was named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year, said the talks "focused on the topic of education from a global aspect." She didn't reveal whether Macron had made a pledge to her fund, but said she was "so inspired and impressed" with his leadership.

The Macrons met Barbados-born Rihanna in her role as head and founder of the Clara Lionel charity foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds education and health programs for impoverished communities across the globe.

The 29-year-old is also an ambassador for Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen, two humanitarian funds with which her foundation has partnered on a multi-year initiative to support education, notably in conflict and crisis areas.

"We're going to make a very big announcement this coming September," Rihanna said without elaborating. She added "we're going to do even more work this October in Africa."

Macron didn't join his wife with Rihanna in front of photographers. Neither the president nor his office commented on the meeting.

Last month, Rihanna, who has more than 75 million Twitter followers, tweeted the newly elected French president: "bonjour @EmmanuelMacron, will France commit to #FundEducation?"

Earlier this week, Macron received pop singer and philanthropist Bono at the Elysee Palace for talks about poverty and educating girls and women in Africa.

Taraji P. Henson to host Black Girls Rock honoring Issa Rae

Taraji P. Henson will host BET's 2017 Black Girls Rock Awards honoring "Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae and others.

BET said the Oscar nominee and "Empire" actress will host the Aug. 5 event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Rae, who is the also the writer behind "Insecure," will receive the Star Power Award. The HBO show launched its second season this week.

Other honorees include singer Roberta Flack (Living Legend Award); "black-ish" actress Yara Shahidi (Young Gifted and Black Award); financier Suzanne Shank (Shot Caller Award); and community organizers Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson of The Black & Missing Foundation (Community Change Agent Award).

The event will air on BET on Aug. 20.

Beyonce wax figure touched up after fans say it's too white

A wax figure of Beyonce at Madame Tussauds in New York has been given a makeover after fans of the megastar said the figure was too white.

The wax Beyonce sported wavy blond hair and appeared to be thinner and lighter-skinned than the "Lemonade" singer in real life.

Fans complained on Twitter that the figure looked more like Lindsay Lohan or Shakira than Beyonce.

The New York Times reported that the figure was off the floor Thursday.

Madame Tussauds said in a statement Friday that the wax Beyonce was back on display after adjustments to "the styling and lighting of her figure."

A spokeswoman for the museum declined to specify what changes were made.

A representative for Beyonce did not return an email seeking comment.

Beyonce introduces newborn twins Sir Carter and Rumi

The singer posted a picture of herself holding the babies on Instagram late Thursday night and wrote in the caption, "Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today." She didn't mention the babies' genders, but Beyonce's mother wrote on Instagram that the pop star had given birth to a boy and a girl.

Beyonce is wearing a flowing garment with a long veil in the photo and standing in front a flowered arch with the sea behind her.

It gained millions of likes in a matter of hours and already is among the most-liked Instagram photos of all time. Beyonce already holds that crown with her Instagram pregnancy announcement in February.

Rumors have swirled about the twins' birth in recent weeks, but her representatives had declined comment. Sir Carter and Rumi join 5-year-old big sister Blue Ivy.

Celebrities congratulated Beyonce on social media Friday, including Nicki Minaj, who posted happy emoji's under Beyonce's post.

Grammy-nominated R&B singer Tamar Braxton wrote to Beyonce that she is "happy and so honored that God would choose you sis for these type of blessings! Let him continue to guide you."

Jay-Z's new album is now on Apple Music, but not Spotify

A week after releasing his new album on his streaming service, Tidal, Jay-Z has made "4:44" available on multiple streaming platforms, including iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music.

Jay-Z released the album last week exclusively on Tidal, which he co-owns with Beyonce, Rihanna, Madonna and other artists.

"4:44" has yet to appear on Spotify. Pandora, which offers free and paid subscriptions, said the album will be available on the platform sometime Friday.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced Wednesday that "4:44" had reached platinum status based off streams and downloads given to Sprint users by the phone company. (Sprint bought a 33 percent stake in Tidal earlier this year.) RIAA's platinum certification was once the equivalent of selling a million albums but has changed since the company began incorporating streaming from YouTube, Spotify and other digital music services.

"4:44" includes personal songs about Jay-Z's marriage with Beyonce and his life as an entrepreneur.

Candy Crush addicts get new outlet as video game comes to TV

Candy Crush addicts, and you know who you are, put down your mobile device immediately. Then you can watch "Candy Crush," the TV game show.

Expect breezy, energetic fun from the CBS series debuting 9 p.m. EDT Sunday with host Mario Lopez, said executive producer Matt Kunitz, whose credits include "Wipeout" and "Fear Factor."

Nearly 200 billion game rounds were played in the Candy Crush Saga last year, according to its maker, King. To entice people to watch it on TV, "Candy Crush" supersizes the visuals and the action.

Two specially designed video walls, each made up of 55 monitors and measuring more than 20-by-25 feet, require contestants to physically scramble as they compete for the weekly $100,000 prize.

One wall is placed horizontally on the stage floor, the other is perpendicular to it, and players in safety harnesses scoot across and up and down the screens. They make candy matches by, natch, swiping squares a la the mobile game.

The stunt team that handled Lady Gaga's rig during her airborne entrance to this year's Super Bowl halftime show did the same for "Candy Crush," with the same injury-free success, Kunitz and CBS said. Taping is completed.

When the show was pitched to the network, Kunitz said, they asked CBS executives to imagine "if you were playing on your phone and got sucked through and were in a Candy Crush arena."

The video walls were key, he said.

Their surfaces needed to withstand running, jumping and sliding and respond only to the swipe of contestants' hands. Producers ended up going with a company, MultiTaction, that had created a 44-monitor wall for the Australia's Queensland University of Technology.

That was the world's biggest, Kunitz said, until "Candy Crush" came along — and he points to a Guinness World Records citation attesting to that. Each monitor has 32 cameras to record the flurry of hand swipes.

Many video games have been translated to the movie screen, from "Super Mario Brothers" to "Tomb Raider" to "The Angry Birds Movie," but it's rare, if not unprecedented, for a game to come to television, said Sebastian Knutsson, a King executive who helped develop Candy Crush.

The game's simplicity "actually translates very well" to TV, he said, and the audience's perspective allows them to see opportunities more readily than the contestants who are so close to the oversized boards.

How protective did he feel of his baby during its TV adaptation?

"It's been very important to us that this stay true to the core of how you play the game, and that it wouldn't break what we think of as the core rules of Candy Crush," Knutsson said from Stockholm.

That doesn't mean the TV show had carte blanche.

King shared a Candy Crush style guide with details on the color and size of each candy character, Kunitz said. It was so precise that it dictated the dimension of the line around each character and their size in relation to each other.

It was understood that some things might change slightly on TV, Kunitz said, and, in turn, he appreciated what was at stake.

"There's a huge expectation from the audience of what this show should be, because hundreds of millions of people play the game," he said. "I wanted to make it bigger and more spectacular and prime-time. That's a fine balance. You don't want to mess up the brand. And it is a brand, a massive brand."

Nearly two-dozen different challenges for players help make each episode feel unique, he said.

While great effort went into the production, Kunitz said he hopes that viewers will be unaware of all the work and simply enjoy the show.

"It's just fun. That's all it is," he said. "We're not grossing anyone out, no one's wiping out, no one's 300 feet in the air hanging from a helicopter. It's just pure summer fun."

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Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .

Teen musicians to take soulful Memphis Sound anew to Europe

The roster of American musicians was impressive: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Booker T. and the MGs. They arrived in Europe in 1967, bringing with them the powerful, soulful Memphis Sound. Ahead was a tour with stops in London, Paris and elsewhere.

These artists from the Stax Records music studio captivated audiences with their music born from blues and gospel — a mesmerizing sound created from the black experience in the U.S. last century.

Fifty years later, a group of young musicians educated at Stax Music Academy are newly bringing the music of Memphis back to Europe. They are set to perform at festivals and music halls in England, France and Ireland from July 9 until July 22, joining Stax legends Mavis Staples and William Bell for a couple of shows.

The teenage musicians are eager to follow in the footsteps of their influential predecessors. Created in 2000, their academy is an after-school program for youngsters from some of Memphis' poorest neighborhoods who learn how to dance, sing and play instruments. They pay nothing to attend.

"Just to be able to say that I was part of this upcoming overseas tour, being able to sing songs by Otis Redding and William Bell, it's monumental not only for Memphis, but for Stax," said Johnathon Lee, a 17-year-old academy vocalist. "To know that Stax music is still relevant today, and to know that was done in 1967, that's monumental as well."

Before it went bankrupt, Stax Records in Memphis generated some of America's most memorable soul music of the 1960s and 1970s, including songs like Redding's "Dock of the Bay," Sam & Dave's "Soul Man," Floyd's "Knock on Wood," and Booker T. and the MGs' "Green Onions." Driven by tight horn and rhythm sections and strong-voiced singers, the Memphis Sound had a raw, emotional quality to it. Some Stax songs were energetic and raucous, others smooth and sexy.

Stax had a sister record label called Volt, so when they put together the 1967 trip, it was called the Stax/Volt European Tour.

The tour came at a time when Stax was having trouble getting its music aired on larger U.S. radio stations because of racial issues during the civil rights era, said Al Bell, who at the time was the music label's national promotions director. So, when the Stax musicians hopped off a plane in London, they were surprised by the welcome they received.

"It stunned us. We didn't know how to act," Bell said. "All these white people in the airport and everywhere, hollering about Stax, calling the artists' names."

In Paris, fans "were going crazy" over the Stax musicians, especially Redding, Bell said.

"If there was ever a question in my mind about our music being acceptable to the masses and to whites, Paris, France, removed that completely from my mind," he said.

Bell said Europeans told him that they viewed the music as an art form that comes from the African-American culture.

"And I'm saying, what?" Bell said, laughing. "We hadn't even thought about having a 'culture,' let alone our music being considered an art form because it came out of slavery."

When they returned to Memphis, the Stax artists used the momentum from the successful tour to churn out hits.

"When we came out of Europe, you couldn't tell us nothing," Bell said. "Writers got to writing, producers got to producing. You couldn't get the musicians out of the studio."

Some of the momentum stalled when Redding was killed in a plane crash in December 1967.

Bell later ran Stax before the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 1975. Bell was indicted on bank fraud charges related to the company's demise, but was acquitted.

The glory days of Stax Records are gone, but the Stax Music Academy is going strong. About a dozen teenagers ranging in age from 15 to 18 will be on the Europe tour, and they've spent hours rehearsing in the academy's studios.

It will be the first time Lee will travel out of the country, and he's looking forward to staying in new places and eating foreign foods. He called the trip "a big deal."

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm excited," Lee said. "I'm ready to venture out."

India.Arie returns to the Essence Festival with new music

India.Arie's soulful, spirit-filled voice returns to the Essence Festival, stronger than ever and she says she's ready for another "SongVersation."

The neo-soul singer-songwriter on Friday dropped an EP entitled "SongVersation: Medicine," which includes three new songs, two re-releases and two acoustic remakes of songs on her 2013 release with a similar name.

The new project showcases her feelings as someone close to her fought through cancer treatment.

"My whole career has been to spread love, healing, peace and joy through my words and music," she told The Associated Press. "Things are so crazy right now. I look at this as soul medicine for the pain."

India.Arie said she also developed companion pieces "SongVersation Performance" and "SongVersation Practice," which she described as "the process of getting yourself in the state where the work you're doing emerges from you instead of trying to make it work" and a journal/workbook that helps "get you to where you're not judging yourself and shows you how to not force things."

"The songs go with the practices, which include stretching, breathing, prayer, meditation. It's all interactive," she said.

India.Arie is scheduled to appear Friday on the festival's main concert stage inside the Superdome before Diana Ross, who is making her first festival appearance. India.Arie has played Essence several times.

"I like the concept of the Essence Festival," she said. "Just on the first night alone, it's me, it's John Legend, it's Di-An-Nuh Ross! Who does that? I also like to see the shows, I'm able to pop in and see a little bit of this and that."

India.Arie said her synergy with Essence is one reason she sang two songs for Thursday's private salute to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was praised for helping the festival grow and keeping it in the city. More than 450,000 people attended the 2016 festival, which organizers said has an annual $250 million economic impact over the holiday weekend.

India.Arie said she believes Essence is a perfect match for her.

"Sometimes when I perform I have to prime the room because it's not set up for me or for what I do," she said. "So when that happens, I have to spend a lot of energy to pull you into my world for three minutes. But Essence is like the world I belong in. Whenever they call, I don't even think about it, I say 'yes.'"

India.Arie also is scheduled to appear Saturday and Sunday at free, fan-friendly events and workshops. Later this summer, she will join Oprah Winfrey aboard the "Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska" for a "SongVersation Performance."

A full-length album entitled "Worthy" is scheduled for release in March.

Mariah Carey pays tribute at Manchester bomb victim funeral

Mariah Carey sent a video message and the stars of the long-running British TV show "Coronation Street" were among the mourners at a funeral for Manchester concert bombing victim Martyn Hett.

The music-loving 29-year-old was a self-professed "superfan" of the Manchester-set soap opera.

Hett was one of 22 people killed May 22 when a suicide bomber struck concertgoers leaving an Ariana Grande show in the city in northwest England.

Hett's "Coronation Street"-themed coffin was taken to Stockport Town Hall in Greater Manchester by horse-drawn carriage Friday for his funeral. A producer and several actors from "Coronation Street" were among hundreds of mourners at the service, whose dress code was "black and fabulous."

In a video message, Carey said "I know you're shining down on us from heaven."

Hett's father, Paul Hett, told the gathering that his son "was inspirational and this in turn inspired everyone around him."

"In a very nice way, Martyn loved being in the limelight and the center of attention," he said. "He would be loving every minute of this fantastic celebration of his life."

Jay-Z gets personal and deep on new album '4:44'

Jay-Z gets personal and deep on his new album, opening up about his relationship with Beyonce, the elevator fight with Solange and his children.

The icon released "4:44" on Friday, and it quickly became a trending topic online and on social media. On the title track, he apologizes to Beyonce for some of his past decisions.

"You matured faster than me, I wasn't ready, so I apologize, I seen the innocence leave your eyes, I still mourn this death, I apologize for all the stillborns 'cause I wasn't present your body wouldn't accept it," he said.

On "Kill Jay Z," the album's opening track, the rapper addresses the elevator fight from 2014, where Beyonce's sister was caught attacking the rapper.

"You egged Solange on, knowing all along, all you had to say you was wrong," Jay-Z raps.

He also muses on the track that he almost "went Eric Benet" by letting "the baddest girl in the world get away." The line is a reference to R&B singer Eric Benet, who was divorced from actress Halle Berry after he acknowledged cheating on her. Benet responded on Twitter on Friday, writing that his current wife is "the baddest girl in the world."

Blue Ivy's voice is heard on the final track, "Legacy," and Jay-Z discusses his mother, who he says is a lesbian, on the song "Smile." She closes the track with raw and real words, ending with: "Love who you love, because life isn't guaranteed, smile."

"4:44" is Jay-Z's first since 2013's "Magna Carta... Holy Grail." The 47-year-old references his twins on several tracks, though neither he nor Beyonce have officially commented on the births.

Beyonce has writing credit on the song "Family Feud" where Jay-Z raps: "Yeah, I'll (mess) up a good thing if you let me, let me alone, Becky." It's a playoff of "Becky with the good hair" from Beyonce's hit "Sorry," from her infamous "Lemonade" album.

Jay-Z also addresses Kanye West on "Kill Jay Z," saying: "But you ain't the same, this ain't kumbaya, but you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye, you gave him 20 million without blinking, he gave you 20 minutes onstage, (what) was he thinking?" At concerts on his tour last year, West said his kids and Blue Ivy "ain't never even played together." West also said he wanted Jay-Z to call him and "talk to me like a man."

"4:44" was produced by No I.D., who has worked with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Common and others.

On "Caught Their Eyes," Jay-Z raps about Prince and said he spoke to The Purple One before he died. The track also features Frank Ocean and was co-written by the R&B singer, while Damian Marley is appears on the song, "Bam."

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Associated Press Writer Patrick Mairs contributed to this report.

Song from Prince's father being released on his 101st b'day

A new song from Prince's late father, produced at Paisley Park, is being released Thursday to celebrate what would have been his 101st birthday.

Prince's half-sister, Sharon Nelson, produced the jazzy "Heart of Mine" by John L. Nelson and said it is the first single from the album, "Don't Play With Love, The John L. Nelson Project," to be released Oct. 27.

The new song will be available for streaming and for sale at digital retailers on Thursday.

John Nelson, a jazz pianist who performed with the Prince Rogers Trio, died in 2001 at age 85. He co-wrote some songs with Prince, including "Computer Blue" from "Purple Rain."

"We are making his music available for the world to hear," Sharon Nelson said in a statement Wednesday. "Contrary to what has been written about our dad, he was a loving, caring, hardworking father, and a prolific jazz musician most notably known as the father of the musical genius, our brother Prince."

Sharon Nelson produced the album in January at Paisley Park from her father's sheet music. Prince, who died last year, had no creative role in the new music.

"Our dad wrote and composed many songs, but they were never recorded until now. He was Prince's musical inspiration, and this project is very special because it was recorded in Paisley Park," Sharon Nelson said. "This music was destined to come out and we are sure you will enjoy the masterful works of John L. Nelson."

The album will be released on Sharon Nelson's company, Maken It Music. Earlier this year a judge confirmed Prince's six siblings to be his rightful heirs, including his sister Tyka Nelson and five half-siblings — Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John R. Nelson, Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson.

Sharon Nelson released an album in 2009 called "57th Street Sound" and co-produced an EP featuring her father in 1994.

U2 bassist thanks band for helping him through addiction

In a frank and heartfelt speech, U2 bassist Adam Clayton thanked his bandmates of four decades for their support during his treatment and recovery for alcohol abuse years ago, and then joined them for a rollicking rendition of a few hits.

"We have a pact with each other," said Clayton, 57, who was receiving an award from MusiCares, the charity arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. "In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise, and letting me be in your band."

He ended by quoting lyrics that Bono, U2's frontman, had written when the band was starting out: "If you walk away, walk away, I will follow." At that, his bandmates came out to join him, performing "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," ''Vertigo" and, fittingly, "I Will Follow."

The evening at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square also featured performances by rapper Michael Franti, Jack Garratt, reggae singer Chronixx, Macy Gray, and The Lumineers, who are currently appearing with U2 on their "Joshua Tree" tour.

Clayton was introduced by British record producer Chris Blackwell as someone who "lived through addiction and came out the other side, and has been courageous enough to admit it."

Taking the stage, the bassist quipped: "I'm not used to achieving anything on my own."

Turning serious, he said: "I'm an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have. It's just that I couldn't take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential."

He said part of the reason he had a hard time quitting drinking was that, "I didn't think you could be in a band and not drink. It is so much a part of our culture."

It was Eric Clapton, he said, who finally told him he needed help.

"He didn't sugarcoat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn't regret it," Clayton said. He credited another friend, The Who's Pete Townshend, for visiting him in rehab, where he "put steel on my back."

As for his bandmates, Clayton said, "I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failing. Bono, The Edge, and Larry (Mullen) truly supported me before and after I entered recovery, and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support."

Clayton received the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, which offers musicians access to addiction recovery treatment.

Arriving at the theater earlier, he told reporters the fund was especially important given the current epidemic of opioid addiction. "MusiCares ... really provides funding for a lot of people to look into those things and find help," he said.

He added that his bandmates had been supporting him for 40 years.

"You know, I guess they loved me before I knew how to love myself," he said. "So it's really important that they share this with me."

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John Carucci in New York contributed to this report.

Detroit studio gets historic marker after facing demolition

A legendary recording studio in Detroit that once welcomed artists such as Aretha Franklin and Miles Davis has received a historic marker just four years after being targeted for demolition.

United Sound Systems installed the approximately $5,000 sign last week after the Detroit Sound Conservancy helped it acquire a historic designation, MLive (http://bit.ly/2sKbOvZ ) reported.

The studio was founded by Italian violinist and recording engineer James "Jimmie" Siracuse and holds bragging rights over the first single for Tamla Records — the label that would later become Barry Gordy's Motown Records. But it shuttered its doors in the mid-2000s, and the building was targeted for demolition in 2013 under a plan to widen I-94.

Federal authorities sought to seize the property last year. Court records show that investigators believe it was purchased in 2009 with money from cocaine trafficking.

A trial for Dwayne Richards, who authorities say bankrolled the building's purchase for $20,000, is set for October.

State transportation authorities have backed off from demolition plans.

Detroit Sound Conservancy works to protect Detroit's sonic history by hosting club and studio tours, preserving old recordings and restoring artifacts important to the Motor City music scene.

Conservancy founder Carleton Gholz said the studio's story is not only a tale of great entertainment but also the narrative of two unique Detroit entrepreneurs.

"One was an Italian immigrant living the American dream, and the other was an African American Detroiter living the American dream," Gholz said. "I would honestly say that a lot of people don't know (the history of United Sound Systems). That's our role at the DSC, to explore how deep all this stuff is. We can't take that for granted."

Remy Ma beats Nicki Minaj at BET Awards; '90s R&B shines

Ma, who was released from prison in 2014, won best female hip hop artist Sunday in Los Angeles, an award Minaj has won since 2010. Ma last won the prize in 2005, and was sentenced to prison three years later after she shot a former friend after accusing her of theft.

"I wanna thank God first and foremost," said Ma, who named two correctional facilities in her speech and thanked her mentor Fat Joe and husband-rapper Papoose. "You can make mistakes and come back."

In March, Ma released the hostile diss track "Shether," which earned praised from critics and rap fans. Minaj never officially responded to the song.

At the live show at the Microsoft Theater, '90s R&B favorites New Edition and Xscape were the most welcomed performers of the night.

New Edition, whose three-part biopic was a white-hot ratings success for BET earlier this year, earned the lifetime achievement award and received a lengthy tribute. It started with the child actors from the movie singing "Candy Girl," later followed by the older actors for some of the band's hits apart from the group, including Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" and Ralph Tresvant's "Sensitivity."

The real group then hit to stage to sing "Can You Stand the Rain" and "Mr. Telephone Man." The actors later joined New Edition for "If It Isn't Love."

Girl group Xscape, set to launch a new reality show on Bravo, reunited at the BET Awards and sang the popular hits "Just Kickin' It," ''Understanding" and "Who Can I Run To?" The crowd was in awe, singing along and filming the performance with their phones.

Bruno Mars, whose new album was heavily inspired by '90s R&B, also shined Sunday. He and Beyonce tied for video of the year — the top prize but not televised — with their hits "24K Magic" and "Sorry." Mars also won best male R&B/pop artist and kicked off the show with a fun and funky performance of the song, "Perm."

"To the fans, you know I love you. My first BET Award," he screamed.

Kendrick Lamar surprised the audience when he performed with Future and won best male hip hop artist. He gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Chance the Rapper, who earned the humanitarian award at the age of 24. Chance also won best new artist and best collaboration.

In a taped message, Michelle Obama honored Chance, who has raised $2 million dollars for Chicago public schools. The former First Lady said she and Barack Obama knew Chance "since he was a baby rapper."

"Chance is showing our young people that they matter," she said. "Because of you, countless young people will grow up believing in themselves."

Beyonce, who reportedly had her twins earlier this month though she hasn't commented on the topic, was the top nominee with seven. When it was announced that she won the viewer's choice award, Chloe x Halle — the young duo signed to Beyonce — recited a speech given to them from the pop star. Queen Bey was the big winner with five, also taking home album of the year for "Lemonade," best female R&B/pop artist and video director of the year for "Sorry."

Solange, Beyonce's younger sister, also had a big night: She won the Centric award and called Sunday "the best birthday ever" (she turned 31 on Saturday).

"My arm pits are sweating so much right now," said Solange, who thanked BET for showing her "queens" like Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu and others during her teenage years.

Solange held a moment of silence later on, and the show also honored some of the minorities who died at the hands of police officers, including Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and others.

Other winners included gospel rapper Lecrae and Migos, who took home best group. The hip-hop trio also won over the audience with its performances of the hits "Bad and Boujee," ''T-Shirt" and "Congratulations," with Post Malone. Chance the Rapper, and his mom, danced during the long set; as did Queen Latifah, Cardi B., "Stranger Things" actor Caleb McLaughlin and "black-ish" actress Yara Shahidi, who won the YoungStars award.

Though most of the performances were upbeat, others charmed with slower songs: Tamar Braxton and Maxwell gave vocally impressive performances, and Mary J. Blige sang songs from "Strength of a Woman," her recent album that includes emotional tunes about her divorce.

"Mary J. got that break up body. Whoa," screamed Jamie Foxx, who presented an award after Blige's performance.

Leslie Jones of "Saturday Night Live" hosted the four-hour show. El DeBarge and Kamasi Washignton performed "Careless Whisper" in honor George Michael, who died last year on Christmas Day, while Janelle Monae collaborator Roman GianArthur excitedly sang "Johnny B. Goode" in tribute to Chuck Berry, who died in March.

New York rapper Prodigy, who died last week, was remembered in words by his Mobb Deep partner Havoc and Lil Kim, who appeared on the remix of the memorable Mobb Deep hit, "Quiet Storm."

Former BET executive Stephen Hill, who the network said was stepping down in March, was praised throughout the night with kind words from Mars and Bobby Brown.

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Online:

http://www.bet.com/shows/bet-awards/

Winners at Sunday night's BET Awards in Los Angeles

A list of winners of the 2017 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:

— Video of the year: Bruno Mars, "24K Magic"; Beyonce, "Sorry"

— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars

— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce

— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar

— Best female hip hop artist: Remy Ma

— Best new artist: Chance the Rapper

— Album of the year: Beyonce, "Lemonade"

— Best group: Migos

— Best gospel/inspirational award: Lecrae

— Best collaboration: Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, "No Problem"; Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert, "Bad and Boujee"

— YoungStars award: Yara Shahidi

— Viewers' choice award: Beyonce, "Sorry"

— Centric award: Solange, "Cranes In the Sky"

— Video director of the year: Beyonce and Kahlil Joseph, "Sorry"

— Best actor: Mahershala Ali

— Best actress: Taraji P. Henson

— Best movie: "Hidden Figures"

— Sportswoman of the year: Serena Williams

— Sportsman of the year: Stephen Curry

— Humanitarian award: Chance the Rapper

— Lifetime achievement award: New Edition

— Best international act, Europe: Stormzy, England

— Best international act, Africa: Wizkid, Nigeria

The Latest: Remy Ma beats Minaj for BET's hip hop honor

The Latest on the BET Awards being presented from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles (all times local):

9:10 p.m.

Remy Ma has ended Nicki Minaj's seven year winning streak for best female hip hop artist at the BET Awards.

Ma's win Sunday was the final award handed out in the show that ran late at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and easily one of the most anticipated of the night.

Ma, who returned from jail in 2014, thanked God and named two correctional facilities in her speech and told others that they can come back.

"It's hard but you can do it," Ma said. "You can make mistakes and come back."

In March, Ma released the diss track "Shether," which was hostile toward Minaj and earned praised from critics and rap fans. Minaj never officially responded to the song.

Ma ended by quoting from one of her songs with Fat Joe and walked away with the award high in her hands.

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7:45 p.m.

At the tender age of 24, Chance the Rapper has accepted the humanitarian award during the BET Awards on Sunday for his work in his hometown of Chicago, winning over fans for both his musical talents and his philanthropic efforts.

One of his biggest fans, former First Lady Michelle Obama, delivered a taped message for the rapper, saying he was an "outstanding role model" who shined his big light on young people in the community.

Chance acknowledged that the honor felt early in his young career, but said, "My God doesn't make mistakes."

The rapper said he didn't prepare a speech. When the crowd cheered at one point, he urged them on, telling them to "Please, gas me up!" The cheers grew louder, and he shifted his remarks from his own feelings about the award to other topics.

His wide-ranging speech called out several institutions, including the federal government, the Chicago public school system and the judicial system. But he ended by saying he was a good man, and he wanted to be better.

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6:35 p.m.

Bruno Mars has won the BET Award for best male R&B pop artist — his first award from a network that he credits with catapulting him to stardom.

Mars said Sunday that BET aired the first award he won — a Soul Train honor for his single with B.o.B. "Nothin' on You." He thanked several executives for showing him what he called "nothing but love and support of my career."

Mars beat out Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Trey Songz and Usher for the award.

It was a big night at the awards ceremony for Mars — he kicked off the show with a high energy yet playful performance of his song "Perm."

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5:25 p.m.

Bruno Mars has opened the 2017 BET Award dancing and playing in synchronization with his band the Hooligans to a performance of "Perm."

The pop star paused his performance Sunday to fake-chastise the crowd for not being excited enough and playing around on Instagram during his performance at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Host and comedian Leslie Jones, sporting a knee brace and pacing the stage while toweling herself off like an NBA player, brought her high energy, breathless delivery to the opening monologue. She said she injured herself playing basketball but said she wasn't going to hide the brace, declaring, "That's when you know that you're getting old, 'cause you just don't care."

The hip-hop trio Migos won the night's first honor — the best group award.

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11 a.m.

The "B'' in BET Awards could stand for Beyonce or Bruno Mars.

Both pop stars are the top nominees at Sunday's show, where they will compete in four of the same categories, including video of the year.

Beyonce, who dominated last year's show with multiple wins and a show-stopping performance, is up for seven honors. Mars, who will open the show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, is nominated for five awards.

Mars and Beyonce will also compete for album of the year, video director of the year and the viewer's choice award.

Leslie Jones of "Saturday Night Live" will host the show, which is set to feature performances by Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown and DJ Khaled.

Solange, Migos and Big Sean are also nominated for video of the year.

John Legend: Singer, songwriter, spelling bee champ

John Legend's work has won Grammys, an Oscar and a Tony, but years before achieving global fame, the Legend-to-be took home another prize: spelling bee champ.

A 1989 story in The Springfield News-Sun (http://bit.ly/2sQ6VSD ) proclaimed, "Product of home teaching wins bee." The newspaper noted the future R&B singer's sharp attire, his steady gaze and crisp enunciation, saying the 10-year-old Legend "came to win ... and win he did."

Legend, born John Roger Stephens in Springfield in 1978, credited his mother, Phyllis Stephens, and a tutor with helping him study for the contest. He and his siblings were home schooled.

The newspaper says he took a no-nonsense approach, not cracking a smile during the competition until his tutor cried out with joy when he correctly spelled the winning word: "prejudice."

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Information from: Springfield News-Sun, http://www.springfieldnewssun.com

Rita Ora on London fire, paying for her tour and 'Boy Band'

For British singer Rita Ora, this week is both emotional and exciting.

Ora is one of the 50 artists singing Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a charity music single to help the victims of the fire at Grenfell Tower that killed at least 79 people last week. The song was released Wednesday, just a day before Ora's new show, "Boy Band," premieres and she drops the video for her new single, "Your Song," co-written by Ed Sheeran.

The 26-year-old, who is from London and grew up near Grenfell Tower, said she cried while recording her vocals for the song.

"It's an amazing thing that we're doing because it's a very touchy subject for me because that's my neighborhood ... you know, I played in that block and my friends who grew up in that block who still lived in that block that we still can't find — it's a tragedy," she said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It was hard for me to even sing it."

The song is produced by Simon Cowell and includes vocals by Robbie Williams, Jessie J and Liam Payne.

Ora's week will get busier with Thursday's video release of "Your Song," her debut single on Atlantic Records (a full album, her first in America, is planned for the fall). Her 2012 debut album, "Ora," was a success internationally but it did not get a U.S. release. Despite that, she toured U.S. cities but had to pay for it herself.

"My team at the time thought it wasn't a good idea and it would be a waste of time. I thought differently because my online presence grew really dramatically ... And so the team ... they're like, 'Well we're not helping you, we can't do it. We're not going to put money into it.' I said, 'Well fine! I'll put my own money into it.' And so I did," said Ora, who was previously signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation and Columbia Records.

"And I phoned up Iggy (Azalea) ... she came on the road. It was so, like, small tour bus. I think we, at one point, shared one microphone. ...And you know what, every single show was sold out."

Ora said she will tour properly when her album — expected to feature 2 Chainz, Charli XCX, production duo Stargate and hit songwriter Julia Michaels — drops in November.

In between music, the fashion-forward entertainer has been flexing her hosting chops. After hosting "America's Next Top Model" last year, she will host the new show "Boy Band," which debuts Thursday on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT. The show also features mega-producer Timbaland, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls' Emma Bunton.

"I think hosting is one of the funnest things I've done so far ... I love talking and you really kind of communicate with the viewers at home, which is my fav," said Ora, who has also appeared on the U.K. versions of "The Voice" and "The X Factor."

"('Boy Band' is) a good gig 'cause I don't have to be the one to deliver the bad news."

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Online:

http://www.ritaora.com/

http://abc.go.com/shows/boy-band

Chappelle to host Rihanna Diamond Ball; Kendrick to perform

Dave Chappelle will host Rihanna's annual charity event in September and Kendrick Lamar will perform.

The singer's organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation, will hold its third Diamond Ball on Sept. 14 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Rihanna said in a statement Tuesday she's "thrilled that the incomparable Dave Chappelle will kick things off as the official host" and said Lamar, whom she has collaborated with, "will take the stage for an unforgettable performance."

The Grammy-winning pop star founded The Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012 in honor of her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. It promotes education and arts globally.

Past Diamond Ball participants include Brad Pitt, Kevin Hart and Lionel Richie.

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Online:

http://claralionelfoundation.org/

Memphis officials to help save Aretha Franklin's birthplace

The Memphis mayor's office is pitching in to help figure out the future of the dilapidated house where soul singer Aretha Franklin was born, a lawyer said Thursday.

Alan Crone, special counsel to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, told a judge that a working group from the mayor's office plans to assist other stakeholders concerned about the preservation and future use of the historic home.

Crone said the group would seek funding sources to preserve the house, which has become a symbol of Memphis' massive blight problem. He said the city has been contacted by "serious people" who are interested in saving the house: It sits in a neighborhood dealing with abandoned houses, vacant lots and crime.

Crone said it's time for the Memphis community to "step up."

"If we can get one house right, no matter where it is, that's a victory," Crone told Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter during a hearing. "But this is a historic property, and it's part of our heritage as Memphians that all kinds of music was literally born here."

Franklin, known as the "Queen of Soul," was born in the house in 1942. Her family moved away from Memphis about two years later.

The house has been vacant for years, and there's no historical marker indicating its significance.

Lawyers, community leaders and Potter have been trying to find ways to save the house, which sits empty with its windows boarded up. Potter had ordered the house demolished, but he put that order on hold last year after volunteers stabilized the crumbling structure.

The house has been placed in a receivership, headed by Jeffrey Higgs, president of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation. Higgs told Potter last month that he has been in discussions with a producer at the DIY Network on a plan to repair and move the house to another location for one of its programs.

Higgs said Thursday those discussions were ongoing. He added that work to fix the roof could start by the end of March.

Some would like to see the house moved to a safer location, to make it more attractive for visitors, including out-of-town tourists. Potter said Thursday that he would prefer to see the house rescued by local entities, but if the DIY Network or other outside groups are willing to help, then that's fine too.

"I'll go out and help them," Potter said. "I'm not going to be nailing up anything because it would be crooked if I nailed it up. I'm not a carpenter. But I'm serious about the fact that I want that building rehabbed."

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