Los Angeles, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Rapper 21 Savage believes immigrants like him who lived in America illegally as children should automatically become U.S. citizens.
The Grammy-nominated artist who this year was held in federal immigration detention told The Associated Press on Thursday night that such immigrants also shouldn’t have to endure the lengthy process to obtain visas. He spoke in an exclusive interview before receiving an award from the National Immigration Law Center.
“When you’re a child, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “Now, you grow up and got to figure it out. Can’t get a job. Can’t get a license. I’m one of the lucky ones who became successful. It’s a lot of people who can’t.”
NILC honored 21 Savage for being an advocate for immigrant justice. He was arrested in February in what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said was a targeted operation over his expired visa.
He spent 10 days in a detention center in south Georgia before being released.
The Atlanta-based rapper, whose given name is She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is a British citizen who moved to the U.S. when he was 7. His visa expired in 2006, but his lawyers had said that wasn’t his fault.
“When you ain’t got no choice, you should be exempt,” 21 Savage said. “It’s not like I was 30, woke up and moved over here. I’ve been here since I was like 7 or 8, probably younger than that. I didn’t know anything about visas and all that. I just knew we were moving to a new place.”
He said people in his shoes should be made citizens.
“I feel like we should be exempt,” he reiterated. “I feel like we should automatically become citizens."
Federal immigration officials have known 21 Savage’s status since at least 2017, when he applied for a new visa.
The 26-year-old rapper’s immigration case still remains pending a hearing before a new judge, according to his lawyer.
21 Savage said the process to apply for a visa discourages a lot of other immigrants who don’t have documents because it “hangs over your head forever.”
“They just lose hope,” he said. “I feel like kids who were brought here at young ages, they should automatically be like ‘Yeah, you good to stay here, work and go to college.’ It should be nipped in the bud before it gets to a point before you come of age.”
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors applauded 21 Savage for becoming an advocate for social justice and also shedding light on immigrant issues for black people.
“Up until the moment when he was arrested, there wasn’t a nationally or public conversation about black immigrants,” said Cullors, who introduced 21 Savage and handed him the Courageous Luminaries award. Her activist organization led a coalition to facilitate his release from ICE custody.
“The conversation primarily revolved around Latin immigrants,” she continued. “His detention really pushed a national conversation and it made us talk about what’s happening with black people who are undocumented. All the black people in America aren’t just citizens.”
21 Savage was thankful for the award, but said there are countless immigrants who are battling to stay in the U.S.
“We got a fight that we need to continue in this country,” he said. “It ain’t over yet. Even after everything is cool with me, we still have to fight and help people who can’t fight for themselves.”
Paris, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — The United Nations' cultural agency UNESCO has appointed Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio as its goodwill ambassador for indigenous peoples.
The 25-year-old actress made history as the first indigenous performer nominated for a best actress honor at the Academy Awards this year for her performance in the film “Roma”, in which she speaks in an indigenous language and in Spanish.
The Paris-based organization said Friday that Aparicio, who was born in the poor Mexican state of Oaxaca, was chosen for her commitment to fight racism and advocate for gender equality and indigenous rights.
She will help the UNESCO’s work alongside indigenous peoples across the world, including preserving their cultural heritage and environment knowledge and fighting for equal access to education.
Los Angeles, OCT 4 (AP/UNB) — Two actresses sued James Franco and the acting and film school he founded Thursday, saying he intimidated his students into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations far beyond those acceptable on Hollywood film sets.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, former students at the actor’s now-closed Studio 4, said in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that Franco pushed his students into performing in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting.”
Franco “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education,” the suit alleges.
The women say students were led to believe roles in Franco’s films would be available to those who went along.
The situations described in the suit arose during a master class in sex scenes that Franco taught at the school, which he opened in 2014 and closed in 2017.
The lawsuit, which also names Franco’s production company Rabbit Bandini and his partners as defendants, includes allegations Tither-Kaplan made publicly last year after Franco won a Golden Globe Award for “The Disaster Artist.”
Gaal is speaking out for the first time.
In an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” last year, Franco called the sexual misconduct stories about him inaccurate, but said, “If I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”
The 41-year-old actor’s attorney Michael Plonsker said the claims in the lawsuit are “ill-informed” and have “already been debunked.”
“James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit,” Plonsker said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges that to take Franco’s master class, students had to audition by simulating sex acts on film, which he watched to choose candidates.
It says the class began with “encouraging female student actors to appear topless, then perform in sex scenes, then orgies and gratuitous full nudity,” without the careful guidelines and closed sets that are the industry standard for shooting sex scenes.
The suit alleges that Gaal was kept out of the master class for questioning its exploitative nature.
Tither-Kaplan took the class and was subsequently cast in Rabbit Bandini films, “which she now recognizes was a direct result of her willingness to accept Franco’s exploitative behavior without complaint.”
The lawsuit seeks damages to be determined at trial, an apology from Franco and his partners, and the handover or destruction of video of the plaintiffs.
Attorneys for the women are looking for more plaintiffs to join, and for it to become a class action.
Tither-Kaplan previously recounted her experiences with Franco and the school as one of five women who talked to the Los Angeles Times about him early in 2018.
She was also among the women who spoke out against Franco on Twitter when he won his Golden Globe in January 2018 at a time when the #MeToo movement was surging.
Tither-Kaplan later told the LA Times that the Time’s Up anti-sexual harassment lapel pin Franco wore to the ceremony felt like “a slap in my face.”
The organization behind the pin, Time’s Up Now, said in a statement Thursday that “If these allegations are true, we hope the survivors, and all impacted by this behavior, receive some measure of justice.”
Since the allegations first emerged, Franco has made few publicity appearances, but work has not seemed to slow down for him on the big or small screen.
The HBO series “The Deuce,” which he executive produces and stars in, began its third and final season on Sept. 9.
Franco also appeared last year in the Coen brothers’ acclaimed Western anthology “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” which was nominated for three Oscars.
And this weekend he will have two films that he directed and stars in playing in theaters: “Zeroville,” an adaptation of Steve Erickson’s 2007 novel that was filmed in 2014 but faced delays in distribution, as well as “Pretenders,” with Brian Cox and Dennis Quaid.
“Zeroville,” which co-stars Seth Rogen, Megan Fox and Will Ferrell, is already a box office bomb and critical dud. This past weekend it played on 80 screens and made an average of $111 per screen. And “Pretenders,” which opens in limited release Friday, is not faring much better with critics.
New York, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Twitter has removed a tweet from President Donald Trump that featured an edited Nickelback music video clip that took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden.
The post was removed because of a copyright complaint. It featured a doctored version of the band’s 2005 music video “Photograph,” showing singer Chad Kroeger holding a photo of Biden, his son, a Ukrainian gas executive and another man.
Trump’s tweet came as the president has repeatedly criticized Democrats for launching an impeachment inquiry into his telephone call with Ukraine’s president in which Trump pressed for an investigation of his Democratic rival Biden and his son.
A Twitter spokeswoman said Thursday the company responded “to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.”
Nickelback representatives have not returned messages seeking comment.
Atlantic City, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Having played nearly every corner of the Earth in a nearly 50-year career, the rock band Kiss is taking its show to a new place _ under the sea, where they will perform for great white sharks and eight fans separated from them by a small submarine.
As part of a promotion by Airbnb, the fans and Kiss will travel Nov. 18 in separate boats off the coast of southern Australia. While Kiss stays above board on one vessel, the fans will be lowered beneath the surface of the water from a second boat into the viewing sub in an area known for shark activity.
Using underwater speakers, Kiss will begin playing, and the sound will be audible to the submerged fans and the sharks.
“I was a little taken aback by it, but they explained that sharks are attracted to low frequencies and so they’re attracted to rock ‘n’ roll,” singer and guitarist Paul Stanley told The Associated Press. “Since we’re going to be in Australia, it gives a whole new meaning to doing a concert down under.”
The first-come, first-served event costs $50, which is half the price of Kiss tickets in even the worst nosebleed seats in the last row at Madison Square Garden. Proceeds will go to charity, the company said. Reservations can be made starting at 6 p.m. EDT on airbnb.com/KISS on Oct. 14.
The event will take place in the Indian Ocean off Port Lincoln, South Australia. Kiss will be in full makeup and costumes for the performance, which will be at least four songs.
“I’m not sure how much of us the sharks can take,” Stanley said. “I’m hoping they know ‘Rock And Roll All Nite.’”
Stanley said Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has recovered after having some kidney stones removed recently, and should be ready to perform well before the shark show.
“I tend to think he just ate gravel,” Stanley joked.
The event is part of Airbnb Animal Experiences, and is designed to have people entertain animals instead of the other way around, the company said in a news release.
As strange as it sounds, underwater concerts are not new. The Underwater Music Festival has been held for the past 35 years in the Florida Keys.
The shark show has untapped potential if they want to do it again sometime. After all, what other concert could potentially bring together Great White and Air Supply?