A$AP Rocky testifies at assault trial, released from custody in Sweden
A$AP Rocky told a Swedish court on Aug. 1 that he acted in self defense when he became involved in a physical altercation with another man in Stockholm in late June. The rapper, who's been jailed since early July, testified at his assault trial that Mustafa Jafari, 19, was following him and refused to leave him alone. "We pleaded and we begged and we said, 'Look man, we don't want to fight y'all. We don't want any more problems. We don't want to go to jail… Please stop following us,'" the Grammy nominee told the court. "After a while, my security guard started pushing [the guy] away, begging him to leave… I assumed that these guys were under the influence of some kind of drug." A$AP pleaded not guilty at the beginning of the trial and was released from custody the following the day. He's now free to leave Sweden — at least until a verdict is handed down on Aug. 14. TMZ reports that prosecutors are asking for a six-month jail term.
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Woodstock 50 festival called off
After months of back and forth, Woodstock 50 is officially off. Vendors and stakeholders were notified on July 31 that the music festival, initially scheduled for Aug. 16-18, would no longer take place, according to Variety. Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, confirmed the news on Aug. 1. "We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating… We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary. Due to conflicting radius issues in the [Washington] DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace." Artists who pulled out of the festival include Miley Cyrus, JAY-Z, Dead & Company, Santana, John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald.
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MTV considers removing Michael Jackson's name from VMA Video Vanguard Award
MTV executives are reportedly debating whether to remove Michael Jackson's name from the Video Vanguard Award that's traditionally handed out at the MTV Video Music Awards in light of sexual assault claims lodged against Michael by two men in the Emmy-nominated 2019 HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland." "There's a lot of heated discussion at the network about how to handle the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this year, and it's getting ugly," a source told Page Six on July 28. "There's talk about if they should change the name, or get rid of it altogether. [There's also talk] about who would present it and who would accept it. It's a mess." The prize has been given out at the VMAs since 1984, though not every year, and has carried the late King of Pop's name since 1991.
Childish Gambino performs song by Garth Brooks' alter ego Chris Gaines
Childish Gambino, also known as award-winning actor Donald Glover, is full of surprises. The rapper-actor covered the 1999 song "Lost in You," which was originally recorded by country star Garth Brooks' rock music alter ego Chris Gaines, at the Triple J public radio station in Australia on July 30. Childish recorded the soulful rendition for the station's "Like a Version" cover series.
Confederate Railroad frontman says the band's name "ain't gonna change"
Danny Shirley is sticking to his guns. The Confederate Railroad lead singer refuses to change the name of his band despite being dropped from two shows in July because of the music group's Confederate flag logo. "The name of my band ain't gonna change," he told Fox News on Aug. 1. "I am who I am. We do what we do. I've been performing for more than 43 years and hell, I've never seen anything like this."
Blue Ivy Carter makes Billboard Hot 100 debut with "Brown Skin Girl"
Blue Ivy Carter is coming for her mama's crown! The 7 year old earned her first Billboard Hot 100 entry during the first week in August when "Brown Skin Girl" debuted at No. 76 on the chart. The single, performed by Beyonce, Wizkid, and Saint Jhn, features a chorus sung by little Blue. She's also credited as one of the song's writers.
Rammstein bandmates share kiss on stage to protest Russia's anti-LGBTQ laws
Rammstein guitarists Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe locked lips on stage during their performance in Moscow on July 29 to protest the country's anti-LGBTQ laws. The German metal rockers briefly shared a kiss while performing their 2019 song "Ausländer" and later posted a photo of the moment on their Instagram page. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a law banning materials that "[present] distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships."
Lizzo rocks NPR's Tiny Desk concert
Lizzo is bringing the heat in 2019! The soulful singer gave a flawless three-song performance during her NPR Tiny Desk debut on July 29. She began the show with the track "Cuz I Love You" followed by her top 10 single "Truth Hurts." "Hallelujah! I don't know what's come over me, but I'm cryin' 'cause I love ya!" she said during her "Love You" performance. Lizzo finished the show with a fun redefinition of her funk-pop song "Juice."