Common speaks out after gang shooting
Grammy-award winning hip hop artist Common, who has openly worried about the violence in Chicago, was in his hometown Friday to help celebrate the city’s music scene when he was confronted with a brutal reminder of what he’s been talking about: a story about a hail of gunfire that wounded 13 people.
“It makes me think I got to do more; we got to do more,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press after giving a speech as the keynote speaker at the Chicago Music Summit, a conference to help local musicians and music professionals with their careers.
Police say Thursday night’s shooting appears to be gang related. For the 41-year-old Common, that underscores concerns that the edgy rap music of the generation of rappers that came behind him is not only providing the soundtrack for gangs, but might just be helping to fuel the fire of gang violence.
“To decide to take someone’s life, I don’t think they let a rap song determine that,” he said, adding that rap artists simply reflect the violence of the streets, and don’t cause it. At the same time, he said, fans of young rappers, whose music provides a window into a violent lifestyle, are “influenced by that energy and take it the wrong way.”
Guitar doubts shelve Jackson auction
With the authenticity of a guitar supposedly signed by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen called into question, authorities pulled the plug Friday on an online auction of personal belongings forfeited by Illinois’ prison-bound former congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr.
The U.S. Marshals Service began the auction earlier this week to recoup part of the $750,000 in campaign funds the former congressman and his wife illegally spent on memorabilia, furs, vacations and other personal items.
But the agency announced Friday that it was canceling the entire auction “out of an abundance of caution” because of questions about the guitar, which prosecutors say the former congressman bought with campaign money for $4,000.
The Marshals Service said once a review of the items is complete, it will decide whether to resume the sale of some or all of the items.
Jesse Jackson Jr., the 48-year-old son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a one-time golden boy of Democratic politics, was sentence last month to a 2 1/2-year prison term for scheming to spend campaign funds. The same judge imposed a yearlong sentence on his wife, Sandra.
The birthday bunch
Musician Don Felder is 66. Author Stephen King is 66. Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore is 64. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 63. Country singer Faith Hill is 46. Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake is 45. Actor Luke Wilson is 42. Actor Joseph Mazzello is 30. Actors Nikolas and Lorenzo Brino are 15.