Los Angeles, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) - Taylor Swift kicked off her week with a rare political post on social media, and at the American Music Awards she continued the conversation by encouraging fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
Swift won artist of the year at the fan-voted show on Tuesday in Los Angeles, beating out Drake, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Post Malone for the top prize.
"This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people," she said, "the midterm elections on November 6."
Swift announced on Sunday that she was voting for Tennessee's Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, breaking her long-standing refusal to discuss anything politics.
Voting was a hot topic at the AMAs. Host and Golden Globe-winning "black-ish" actress Tracee Ellis Ross wore a shirt that said, "I am a voter," and comedian-actor Billy Eichner told the audience, "The biggest election of our lifetime is happening."
"Please grab your friends and tell them to vote. Now is the time. If you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community. If you believe that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it," he said onstage before presenting an award.
"And you can go to Vote.org like Taylor Swift told you to," he added.
Swift kicked off the AMAs with a performance of "I Did Something Bad," while Cardi B picked up the night's first award, favorite hip-hop/rap artist, which she dedicated to her daughter.
"I really want to thank my daughter," said Cardi B, who gave birth to Kulture Kiari Cephus in July. "I gotta prove people wrong. They said I wasn't going to make it after I had a baby."
The rapper hit the stage to give a festive and colorful performance of her No. 1 hit, "I Like It," where she was joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny, who was wheeled onstage inside a shopping cart. Cardi B's husband, Offset of the rap trio Migos, danced along in the audience with group member Quavo as Cardi B worked the stage with vibrant dance moves, including the salsa.
Cardi B returned the favor, screaming happily when Migos was named favorite pop/rock duo or group, beating out Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons, later in the show.
"We did not know we was winning this at all," said Quavo, also giving a shout-out to group member Takeoff, who didn't attend the AMAs.
"I want to thank you sexy lady," Offset said, pointing to Cardi B.
Like Cardi B's performance, rising newcomer Ella Mai also won over the crowd when she sang the year's biggest R&B hit, "Boo'd Up," starting the performance as she walked down the aisle of the Microsoft Theater. Khalid, Quavo and Offset were some of the audience members dancing along, while others sang and some even filmed her with their phones.
Others who shined onstage included R&B singer Ciara, who showed off her skilled dance moves and was joined by a fierce Missy Elliott. Carrie Underwood was in perfect form vocally, and Camila Cabello — who won new artist of the year — gave a heartful, touching and vocally impressive performance of the ballad "Consequences," earning her a standing ovation.
The three-hour show closed with a rousing tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died in August. Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans were among the musicians who paid tribute to the Queen of Soul's gospel roots and her iconic album, "Amazing Grace."
Rapper-singer XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in June, was also honored: He won favorite soul/R&B album for his 2017 debut, "17." It was days after he was named best new artist at the BET Hip-Hop Awards.
His mother, Cleopatra Bernard, said she was honored to accept the award on behalf of her son. "I'm so nervous," Bernard said as the audience cheered her on.
Post Malone, who wore a baby blue suit and performed, won favorite pop/rock male artist, Underwood was named favorite country female artist, Khalid picked up favorite soul/R&B male artist, and Kane Brown won favorite country male artist.
Other performers included Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes and twenty one pilots.
Albuquerque, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — Netflix has chosen New Mexico as the site of a new U.S. production hub and is in final negotiations to buy an existing multimillion-dollar studio complex on the edge of the state's largest city, government and corporate leaders announced Monday.
It's the company's first purchase of such a property, and upcoming production work in Albuquerque and at other spots around New Mexico is forecast to result in $1 billion in spending over the next decade.
More than $14 million in state and local economic development funding is being tapped to bring Netflix to New Mexico. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, touted the investment and said lengthy efforts to put New Mexico on the movie-making map are paying off.
"This is awesome," the governor told dozens of people gathered inside a cavernous sound stage at ABQ Studios. "This massive investment will have a huge impact of course on New Mexico and continue our efforts to grow and diversify the economy."
Martinez acknowledged the state's reliance on federal funding and oil and gas development, saying more needs to be done to encourage diverse ventures such as Netflix as the private sector is the backbone of the American economy.
Keller said the city has laid the groundwork to make sure the film industry is part of its economic development plan. He called landing Netflix a "transformative victory" for the city.
Netflix projects produced in New Mexico include the Emmy Award-winning limited series "Godless" and "Longmire." Company officials said previous experience working in the state inspired them to jump at the opportunity to establish a new production hub in Albuquerque.
Netflix earlier this year announced it was establishing its first European production hub in Spain. That operation is expected to help the online video entertainment platform expand its Spanish-language content.
It also has a production hub in Los Angeles and it's possible the company's footprint will continue to expand, given the amount of content the online entertainment provider is aiming to create.
"We will look at each place on its merits — the same kind of decision-making that went into the impending purchase of this studio," said Ty Warren, Netflix's vice president for physical production. "The combination of great crews, existing infrastructure, financial incentives — it was all part of it."
Netflix has about 130 million subscribers worldwide.
Officials did not release details about the sales price of the studio complex in New Mexico. The property includes several sound stages, production offices, mill space and a back lot.
Martinez, whose second and final term ends this year, initially talked about trying to rein in New Mexico's film incentive program and an annual $50 million cap was instituted.
As the state dug its way out of the recession, she said it was important to avoid cuts to critical programs such as education, health care and public infrastructure. She was criticized by many who thought the cap would stifle the growth of the film industry.
In 2013, she signed the "Breaking Bad bill," named after the Emmy-winning TV drama that filmed primarily in Albuquerque during its five seasons. The legislation enhanced incentives for television productions.
Martinez said the industry has since marked three consecutive record-breaking years in New Mexico and it is lining up to be another monumental year.
The industry has drawn more in-state direct spending from film and TV productions each year since 2014, topping out at $505 million last fiscal year, according to the state film office.
Nashville, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Music superstar Taylor Swift announced Sunday she's voting for Tennessee's Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, breaking her long-standing refusal to discuss anything politics.
"In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now," Swift wrote in an Instagram post .
Swift has faced criticism for not speaking about political issues despite having a global platform. Yet in 2017, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of the "silence breakers" for her countersuit against a radio DJ who was fired after allegedly groping her before a concert. Swift won the lawsuit in a verdict that awarded her $1, which according to the suit served as "an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."
The pop star — who spent later years growing up in Tennessee — also slammed Republican candidate and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in her lengthy post on Sunday, citing Blackburn's opposition to certain LGBTQ rights and voting against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.
"As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me," Swift wrote.
Blackburn's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Swift said she's not only voting for the former Tennessee governor for Senate, but also Democrat Jim Cooper for the House.
However, Swift didn't acknowledge Bredesen's recent endorsement of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but said people may never find a candidate or party with whom they agree completely on every issue.
"Thank you for the kind words ... I'm honored to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We're ready for it," Bredesen tweeted Sunday in response to Swift's post.
New York, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — The Sony comic-book movie "Venom" has shrugged off bad reviews to shatter the October box-office record with an $80 million debut, while Bradley Cooper's "A Star Is Born" soared to $42.6 million.
According to estimates Sunday, the two very different films fueled an unusually robust October weekend at the North American box office. Despite a 32 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the anti-hero "Spider-Man" spinoff "Venom" opened with $205.2 million globally.
The previous best October opening was $55.7 million for "Gravity" in 2013.
Cooper's "A Star Is Born" remake, also starring Lady Gaga, has been hailed by critics and pegged as an Oscar front-runner. It drew an audience that was 66 percent female and 68 percent older than 35.
London, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — Tina Turner has revealed that she underwent a kidney transplant with an organ donated by her husband.
The 78-year-old singer says in an upcoming autobiography that she has suffered from kidney disease, and by 2016 her kidneys were at "20 percent and plunging rapidly."
She says her husband, Erwin Bach, "shocked me by saying that he wanted to give me one of his kidneys." Turner says she was "overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer."
Turner writes that afterward she felt "happy, overwhelmed and relieved that we'd come through this alive."
Turner, whose hits include "Proud Mary" and "What's Love Got to do With It?," married German music executive Bach in 2013 after a long relationship.
Extracts from "Tina Turner: My Love Story" were published Saturday in the Daily Mail newspaper and released by its U.K. publisher Penguin Random House. The book is published in Britain and North America later this month.
In the book, Turner encourages people to sign up to donate organs in order to save lives.