Lil Baby Receives Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award 

Lil Baby Quincy Jones Award

In just a few short years, Lil Baby has contributed a lot to the hip-hop community. However, he has also contributed a lot to the community in his hometown of Atlanta and was recently recognized for these efforts.

Lil Baby, whose real name is Dominique Armani Jones, received the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the 2nd annual Music in Action Awards Gala, an event that benefits the Black Music Action Coalition. The award is given to a recipient for their efforts in promoting social and racial justice.

The “Drip too Hard” artist received the award from his multiple community efforts in Atlanta. His annual “Back to School Fest,” was held at Atlanta’s West End Mall in partnership with Goodr. Over 3,000 local school children attended the event, which had music, games, food, and even carnival rides. Attendees also received backpacks, school supplies, and haircuts. He also partnered with Atlanta restaurateur Lemont Bradley to offer 100 jobs to young adults in the Atlanta community while establishing the $150,000 “My Turn” scholarship program, designed to provide scholarships to students at his former high school.

Upon accepting the award at the event, Lil Baby made the following statement: ““I honestly didn’t know what a humanitarian was, but as I looked into it and started reading, I understand that I’m actually humanitarian.” He added, “I just want to say that I appreciate everybody in here because nothing that we are doing or trying to do can be done by one person. It’s gonna take all of us to stick together and stay together.”

An Instagram post uploaded by the artist shows him dressed for the black tie event standing in his driveway with a caption that reads: “Thank You To The @bma_coalition For Honoring Me With The @quincyjones Humanitarian Award! 🙏🏽 #universityofthehood.”

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6ix9ine Travels to Russia, says “F*** Brittney Griner” 

King Von Has a Strong Opinion of Women Who Listen to Tekashi 6ix9ine

While most Americans (and other citizens of the world) have heeded their government’s advice and avoided travel to Russia, rapper 6ix9ine has done the opposite, causing quite the controversy not just with his actions, but his words as well.

The “Gummo” artist shared a video of himself in a Moscow city square clad in all black and oversized sunglasses, saying “Yo yo, you know we out here….sh** is crazy,” while looking around the square. He then leans into the camera and says “F*** Brittney Griner” before the cameraman says “I got the t-shirt for you bud” before the video cuts off.

Griner was arrested and detained in Russia for over six months after Russian officials found hashish oil in her luggage at an airport. She was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges. Many celebrities, politicians, and citizens have been calling for her release. While other celebrities such as Dennis Rodman have offered to go to Russia to try to negotiate on her behalf, ultimately they were advised not to by government officials due to Russia’s politically volatile situation. 

6ix9ine, who has faced his own legal troubles in the US, has apparently brought his bad boy ways with him across the ocean. He also recently started a fight with a DJ at Soho Garden in Dubai because the DJ was reportedly not playing his music.

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Rihanna & A$AP Rocky’s Studio Session Sparks New Music Rumors 

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Rihanna and A$AP Rocky have been seen hitting the recording studio recently.  The couple has been spotted several times at a Los Angeles studio in the past few weeks, adding to the rumors that Rihanna may release a new album. It’s been six years since Rihanna dropped her last album ANTI.

 The Grammy-winning singer gave birth to her and Rocky’s son back in May, and fans have shared their surprise and excitement that she could already be making music again.  

READ MORE: Rihanna is Expanding Her Empire With Fenty Hair

Meanwhile, Rocky is facing felony firearms charges and a civil suit, which he and his lawyer call an extortion attempt from a former member of ASAP Rocky’s crew.

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NY Correctional Officers Plead Guilty of Smuggling Contraband Into Rikers for Bloods Gang 

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On Tuesday, two New York City corrections officers pled guilty to smuggling contraband into Rikers Island. 

According to the Department of Justice, prosecutors say Krystle Burrell and Katrina Patterson accepted a total of $44,000 to bring narcotics and cellphones into the facility.  The duo was reportedly taking bribes from bloods gang members, with Burrell helping one inmate facilitate business. 

Krystle Burrell, 35, pleaded guilty to bribery, admitting that she accepted nearly $10,000 in bribe payments from her co-defendant Terrae Hinds in exchange for smuggling unauthorized cell phones into the Anna M. Kross Center at Rikers. She also facilitated Hinds’ sale of narcotics and other contraband items at the facility.

READ MORE: 46 Georgia DOC Officers Arrested In Drug Trafficking Sting

 Katrina Patterson, 31, had previously admitted to accepting $34,000 in bribes when indicted on Aug. 16. Patterson was smuggling contraband into the Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers Island for her co-defendant Michael Ross. Ross, who is a Bloods gang member, has also pleaded guilty to a bribery offense and is awaiting sentencing.

“The defendants threw in their lot with Bloods gang members and betrayed their sworn duty to maintain the safety of incarcerated individuals and other correction officers at Rikers Island by smuggling cell phones and drugs into the jail,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace.  “This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out corruption at Rikers Island.”

“When correction officers betray their oath to serve and protect, the public is put at risk and the entire law enforcement community is tarnished,” stated NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “We have zero tolerance for such misconduct. With today’s guilty plea, Ms. Burrell joins Ms. Patterson in publicly acknowledging that their actions were immoral, unethical, and without integrity – diametrically opposed to the core requirements of our profession.”

When sentenced, Burrell faces up to ten years in prison and Patterson faces up to five years. Charges against Hinds remain pending. 

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Tiffany Haddish Says She’s Jobless But Relieved After Lawsuit Settlement 

Tiffany Haddish to Launch She Ready Internship Program

Actress Tiffany Haddish says she lost all her jobs after a recent lawsuit was filed against her.  Along with Aries Spears, the two comedians were accused of grooming and coercing two siblings “Jane” and “John Doe”, aged 7 and 14 at the time, to take part in sexually explicit skits on two separate occasions.

On Wednesday Haddish told reporters the lawsuit cost her everything, including all her jobs, but that she feels relieved now that the whole thing is behind her. 

 According to reports, Haddish worked out a settlement agreement, privately with the two accusers and in return, the “Jane Doe” has now dismissed the lawsuit entirely.  

READ MORE: Tiffany Haddish Reaches Settlement with Alleged Sexual Assault Victims

The Girls Trip actress said she “deeply regrets” agreeing to act in the comedy sketch six years ago alongside comedian Aries Spears. 

She’s also distancing herself from Aries Spears, and said she doesn’t affiliate with him anymore.  

Continue the conversation on social media.

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SOURCE SPORTS: Suns/Mercury Owner Robert Sarver To Sell Both Franchises 

NBA Suspends Phoenix Suns Owner Robert Sarver from Organization Based on Violations of Workplace Standards

Owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Mercury, Robert Sarver announced he’s started the process to sell both franchises. 

In a statement, Sarver said in “our unforgiving climate,” it’s clear that whatever good he could do in the future is outweighed by things he’s said in the past.  

This comes after Sarver was suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA after an independent investigation into the Suns’ and Mercury’s workplace.  The investigation found he used racist language and conducted unequal treatment of female employees as well as harsh treatment of employees that was related to bullying.  

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he “fully supports the decision” by Sarver to sell both teams. “This is the right next step for the organization and community,” Silver said.

READ MORE: SOURCE SPORTS: LeBron James Speaks Against NBA’s Handling of Robert Sarvar Punishment

Sarver said in the meantime, he’ll continue working on becoming a better person and helping his community in helpful ways.

Continue the conversation on social media.

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Court Upholds Texas Law That Would Force Tech Companies To Allow Hate Speech, Abuse, and... 

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On September 16, 2022, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s decision that had blocked a highly controversial Texas law prohibiting tech companies from moderating content based on viewpoint.  

In September 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed bill HB20 into law, claiming it would stop “a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas.”  Under this law, “[a] social media platform may not censor a user, a user’s expression, or a user’s ability to receive the expression of another person based on: (1) the viewpoint of the user or another person; (2) the viewpoint represented in the user’s expression or another person’s expression; or (3) a user’s geographic location in this state or any part of this state.”  The law defines “censor” as to “block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression.”

The Texas law has been heavily criticized because it prevents tech companies from regulating hate speech, abuse and misinformation on their own platforms, and forces them to allow viewpoints and content that they may not want to have associated with their business.  Moreover, the law’s enforcement may lead to further consequences, such as making email spam filters illegal because they are used by tech companies to “block” political speech.   

The Texas legislature excluded conservative social media services Parler and Gab from the new law by limiting it to services that have 50 million users or more, and rejecting any attempts to lower this threshold.

On December 1, 2021, a federal district judge in Texas blocked the law, finding that it “compels social media platforms to disseminate objectionable content and impermissibly restricts their editorial discretion” under the First Amendment.   On May 11, 2022, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the district court’s order, allowing the law to take effect while the case continued in the district court.  The ruling was not unanimous, and did not include the judges’ reasoning.  This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which issued a decision on May 30, 2022 which did not address the issue directly, but vacated the Fifth Circuit’s May 11 Order and blocked the implementation of the law pending resolution of the district court case.  

Now that the Court of Appeals has again allowed the law to move forward, it will almost certainly be appealed again to the Supreme Court.  Additionally, the parties challenging the law may first seek a hearing before all the judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Either way, the dispute over the Texas law is far from being resolved.

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Governor of California Signs Ten Cannabis Bills Into Law 

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On September 18, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law ten cannabis-related legislative bills in a comprehensive update of California’s cannabis laws.  

The most well-known of these is SB 1326, which would allow for interstate cannabis commerce between California and other states that have legalized cannabis cultivation, production, and distribution.  SB 1326’s author, Senator Anna Caballero, stated that the new law “provides a relief valve for the oversupply of cannabis, an opportunity to grow California’s brand and market share, support job creation, and gives the state a competitive advantage as federal policy develops” and is “an essential step to ensure that California can fully capitalize on, and remain a leader in, the forthcoming national cannabis market.”  However, since production and sale of cannabis is still prohibited under federal law, and SB 1326 is explicitly directed to interstate commerce involving cannabis, this law would likely not be implemented until cannabis has been federally decriminalized.

The other bills signed into law by Governor Newsom also work to strengthen the state’s cannabis laws and expand the market for cannabis products. For example:

AB 2188:  Makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person in employment circumstances for their off-duty, off-site cannabis use, and bans employment-based THC testing, with certain exceptions such as federal employees and the building and construction trades.

SB 1186:  Prohibiting regulations that prohibit the delivery of medicinal cannabis to medicinal cannabis patients

AB 1706:  Sealing of court records for eligible cannabis arrests and convictions 

AB 1885:  Regulating the production standards for cannabis intended for use in therapeutic applications for animals; and prohibiting agency discipline of veterinarians who recommend cannabis use for animals

AB 1894:  Requiring packaging of cannabis cartridges and integrated cannabis vaporizers to prominently display a message that they must be disposed of as hazardous waste 

AB 2568:  Providing that it is not illegal to provide insurance to persons licensed to engage in commercial production and sale of cannabis. 

California has taken the lead in enacting laws and policies intended to fully integrate the legalization of cannabis and allow it to bring economic benefits to the state.  It is hoped that other states that have already, or will soon legalize cannabis will look to California’s example.

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Company’s Attempt to Trademark “Purple Rain” for Energy Drinks Denied 

Prince's Estate Valued at $156.4 Million | The Source

The Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB) has rejected a trademark application to register the mark PURPLE RAIN, finding that such a mark would create the false suggestion of a connection with the late iconic recording artist Prince Rogers Nelson.   Where a party seeks to register a new trademark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, that registration may be opposed by other parties for specific reasons, including where the registration would cause consumer confusion or where it would create a false suggestion of a connection with another party.

JHO Intellectual Property Holdings sought to register the mark PURPLE RAIN for dietary and supplemental energy drinks and for “Energy drinks; Isotonic drinks; Non-alcoholic drinks, namely, energy shots, ‘Sports drinks.’”  The registration of the mark was opposed by Paisley Park Enterprises, LLC and NPG Records, LLC, who, between them claimed registered and common law rights in the mark, as well as rights to Prince’s image, name, and likeness. 

Paisley Park and NPG presented evidence showing that the term “Purple Rain” was associated with and often synonymous with Prince, including that PURPLE RAIN was a 13X platinum album selling millions of copies worldwide and was the title of an Academy-award-winning movie scored by and starring Prince. 

In concluding that JHO’s mark created a false suggestion of a connection with Prince, the TTAB found that: (i) JHO’s PURPLE RAIN mark was a close approximation of Prince’s identity; (ii) that PURPLE RAIN pointed uniquely and unmistakably to Prince, based in part of a survey showing 66.3% of the general public recognized “Purple Rain” as a reference to Prince; (iii) that there was no connection between Paisley Park/NPG and JHO’s goods using the mark; and (iv) that consumers would presume a connection to Prince because Paisley Park and NPG marketed a variety of goods under the PURPLE RAIN mark (even though they did not sell energy drinks or supplements specifically).  

In a statement, L. Londell McMillan, Managing Member of Prince Legacy, LLC, the co-manager of the Prince estate and assets, said, “as stewards of Prince’s legacy, we are pleased that the Board recognized the direct association that ‘Purple Rain’ has with Prince, and the strong likelihood that any third party use of ‘Purple Rain’ will create a false suggestion of a connection with Prince.”

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UK Teenager Arrested in Grand Theft Auto VI Leak 

Rockstar Games

On September 23, London City Police announced that they had arrested a 17-year-old from Oxfordshire on suspicion of hacking.  It has been reported that the teenager was arrested in connection with the recent Grand Theft Auto VI leaks and is being held on numerous charges related to the breach of two different computer systems.

Last weekend one of the largest video game leaks in history occurred when Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive, developers of the Grand Theft Auto video game series, had their servers hacked.  Ninety files showcasing the early development of a new Grand Theft Auto game were posted in the GTA Forums by a person calling themselves “teapotuberhacker” or “Tea Pot” and subsequently spread across the internet.   On September 19, Rockstar confirmed that it had “suffered a network intrusion in which an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information . . . including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.” 

“Tea Pot” subsequently attempted to sell certain of Rockstar’s confidential business information online, offering the source code for Grand Theft Auto V for five bitcoin ($95,703.00 as of this writing).  At the same time, “Tea Pot” was attempting to contact Rockstar and Take Two to negotiate a deal.  As this unfolded, a cottage industry of “Tea Pot” impersonators sprang up online, seeking to profit independently.

It is believed that the individual arrested in Oxfordshire is connected to the hacker group “Laspus$,” which has allegedly been involved in high-profile hacks of other large companies, including Uber, Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, Nvidia, and Okta.   The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have been working with both Rockstar and Uber in connection with these intrusions, and these investigations led to the arrest of the teenager in Oxfordshire.  It is unknown whether the teenager will be tried in the U.K. or the U.S.; sources with knowledge have said that additional suspects may be arrested soon.

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