Rihanna Declared World’s Richest Female Musician

Singer, makeup entrepreneur, lingerie designer and now the first black woman to head a top luxury fashion house –Rihanna has racked up a $600 million fortune to become the world’s richest female musician, Forbes said on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old — born Robyn Rihanna Fentyin Barbados — has amassed wealth exceeding that of Madonna ($570 million), Celine Dion ($450 million) and Beyonce ($400 million), whose husband Jay-Z was just named the world’s first billionaire rap star.

Rihanna’s ranking puts into fresh perspective one of her signature lyrics — “work, work, work, work, work,” which opened her 2016 dancehall smash “Work.”

READ ALSO: Jay-Z Becomes Hip-Hops First Billionaire

Since bursting onto the scene in 2003, she has spun her triumphs in music into entrepreneurial gold, launching her makeup brand Fenty Beauty — co-owned by French luxury giant LVMH — in September 2017 online and with Sephora.

The line found success not least thanks to Rihanna’s fame both on and offline, with some $570 million in revenue last year after just 15 months of business.

She makes the majority of her money from touring and musical releases, according to Forbes, but also co-owns her Savage X Fenty lingerie line.

In May, Rihanna launched a groundbreaking partnership with LVMH to launch a luxury fashion brand based in Paris that will make ready-to-wear clothes, shoes, and accessories.

A new large-scale luxury label — especially one led by a black woman — is a huge development in the fashion world, with Rihanna’s line Fenty sitting alongside legacy brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Givenchy at the conglomerate headed by Bernard Arnault.

“I just want to see things from my perspective. I’m a young black woman who loves and embraces all of the young people’s ideas and energies — I’m so about that,” she told AFP in Paris recently.

“It is about turning all of that into something luxurious for this fashion house.”

The singer’s explosive rise to music mega-star and global fashion icon did not come without tribulations, including her father’s bids to profit off her name and a highly publicized domestic violence case that saw her then-boyfriend Chris Brown charged in 2009 with assaulting her.

In addition to her venture into luxury fashion, Rihanna has hinted at dropping a new reggae album this year.

“I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working,” she told The New York Times’ T Magazine in May.

“Money is happening along the way, but I’m working out of what I love to do, what I’m passionate about.”

AFP

Music World Mourns Aretha Franklin At MTV Video Awards

Madonna speaks onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. PHOTOS: Theo Wargo/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

 

“Queen of Pop” Madonna led an impassioned tribute to “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin on Monday as the music world paid its R-E-S-P-E-C-Ts to the superstar at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The show came four days after 76-year-old Franklin died of pancreatic cancer and the industry used the telecast to send Franklin off in style.

“She led me to where I am today, and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight,” said Madonna, who turned 60 last Thursday — the day Franklin died.

Franklin has influenced generations of singers with iconic hits including “Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”

But “Respect” (1967) was her signature tune and the broadcast ended with a recording of Aretha belting out the Otis Redding cover as the audience danced wildly.

“I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the Queen,” Madonna added.

Fast-rising rapper Cardi B — who recently became a mother — was expected to launch the show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall with a song but instead turned heads by simulating breastfeeding onstage.

She left performing duties to Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes, who treated fans to his acclaimed single “In My Blood,” which chronicles his struggle with anxiety disorder.

Whips, masks, conical breasts

Cardi B started the show as a frontrunner, narrowly taking more nominations than Jay-Z and Beyonce, who ended the evening with just one award — best cinematography — for their Louvre-shot video “Apeshit.”

But artist and video of the year — for “Havana” — went to former Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello, who earlier had to endure comedian Tiffany Haddish struggling to pronounce her name before joking awkwardly: “I only speak English.”

Unlike the industry-led Grammys, the VMAs prides itself on outrageous made-for-television moments with less focus on who wins the awards.

As ever, the industry’s most controversial stars strutted the red carpet in outrageous awards garb featuring whips, masks and, in model Amber Rose’s case, conical breasts.

All big awards show these days are political and accordingly MTV debuted a new campaign, “+1 the vote” to encourage young people to go to the polls for November’s midterm elections.

Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” which racked up more than 100 million views in its first week on YouTube with its powerful take on gun violence and racism, won best video with a message, choreography and direction.

Gold was an unofficial motif for the night and former child star Ariana Grande, 25, was dressed accordingly in gilded sequins as she sung “God Is a Woman,” her newly mature track about the delights of sex.

 ‘We are all human’

Rapper Logic and Ryan Tedder offered one of the night’s first big emotional moments when they performed their collaboration “One Day.”

Tedder was onstage as Logic entered the venue with dozens of immigrant children following him, wearing T-shirts that said, “We are all human beings” and holding candles.

There was a hometown takeover from Jennifer Lopez, who sizzled in a sequined bodysuit with a medley of some of her biggest hits, including “Ain’t Your Mama,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” and “Get Right.”

There was a change of costume and tone — not to mention fake falling snow — as she sang “Jenny From the Block” and was joined by Ja Rule for “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny.”

It was a first appearance since 2001 for the bilingual, New York-born diva, who won best collaboration alongside DJ Khaled and Cardi B, for “Dinero.”

“There’s so much more to do and I know in my heart the future is even brighter,” she said as she received the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award for her lifetime contributions to pop culture.

Cardi B, who in little more than a year has become one of the most prominent women in the male-dominated world of hip-hop, also took best new artist.

“A couple of months ago, a lot of people were saying, ‘You are gambling your career, you are having a baby’… but I had the baby and now I still win an award,” she told the crowd.

AFP

Madonna Celebrates Turning 60 In Morocco

File photo of Madonna

Madonna, the Queen of Pop, appears to have travelled to the former imperial city of Marrakech in western Morocco to celebrate her 60th birthday on Thursday.

“Walking thru the Labyrinth of the Medina during the Call to Prayer,” the American singer wrote on her Facebook and Instagram accounts on the eve of the big day.

She posted a “birthday, magic, adventure” video shot at night in the labyrinthine alleys of the city’s ancient market.

On Tuesday, she posted a portrait of herself wearing a fez decorated with berber jewelry, along with a caption reading: “Today I am wearing C A K E on my head!”

Celebrity watchers in Marrakech said Moroccan police were keeping journalists and photographers at bay, while speculation was rife over the venue and guest list for the star’s birthday celebrations.

To mark the day, Madonna has launched a collection for the charity “Raising Malawi” which supports orphans and vulnerable children.

“For my birthday, I can think of no better gift than connecting my global family with this beautiful country and the children who need our help most,” Madonna, who has adopted four Malawian children, wrote on Facebook.

AFP

Rihanna, Boseman, Others Get ‘Holy’ At New York Met Gala

Rihanna, Chadwick Boseman and Madonna attend Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. PHOTO: John Lamparski/Getty Images/AFP

 

Madonna and Rihanna stunned as fashion high priestesses on the red carpet at New York’s Met Gala on Monday, headlining the most sought-after invitation in the celebrity universe.

Madge, the Catholic girl from Michigan and queen of pop whose 1989 hit “Like a Prayer” remains a dance-floor classic 30 years later, presided over the “Sunday Best” theme dressed head to toe in Jean Paul Gaultier.

The 59-year-old mother of six balanced a golden crown studded with crucifixes on her head, shrouded her face in a black fishnet mantilla and donned a very flouncy, very full and very black gown.

Held every year on the first Monday in May, the black-tie extravaganza is the chief source of income for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, reportedly raising more than $12 million in 2017.

The gathering of A-list models, musicians and movie stars, dubbed “the Oscars of the East Coast,” saw Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace join Vogue supremo Anna Wintour as this year’s co-chairs.

Tickets are said to cost $30,000 each or $275,000 for a table, but all guests must be invited, ruling out all but the most elite Hollywood actors, music superstars, top models and fashion designers.

If A-listers have shunned the theme in the past, this year’s “Sunday Best,” a nod to the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” exhibition at The Costume Institute, proved popular.

 Wing and a prayer

Rihanna, the Barbadian superstar and one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, proved her red carpet pulling power in a jewel-encrusted gown from John Galliano’s Maison Margiela and bejeweled bishop’s hat.

There were celestial crowns like a Virgin Mary icon, lashings of cardinal red, virginal white and New York’s de rigueur clerical black.

Katy Perry dressed as an angel with enormous feathered white wings that towered over her petite frame and trailed the floor, a Versace chain-mail gold mini-dress and thigh-high stilettoed gold boots

Clooney, the international human rights lawyer and this month’s Vogue cover star, wore the pants as she arrived on the arm of her movie star husband George, dressed in blue cigarette trousers with a strapless bustier and voluminous skirt by up-and-coming Briton, Richard Quinn.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, the celebrity couple of the moment, also stepped out, the “Jenny from the Block” songstress in a beaded and feathered gown with a giant mosaic crucifix on the front.

Sarah Jessica Parker, a doyenne of New York high society and the “Sex and the City” fashionista, walked the red carpet in full-length gold brocade by Dolce and Gabbana and an astonishing headpiece.

But for all the glitz, the event has also been dogged by rumors that once inside, it can be intimidating and unfriendly.

Tina Fey once called it a “jerk parade,” complaining to David Letterman that: “If you had a million arms and all the people you would punch in the whole world, they’re all there.”

AFP

Madonna Moves To Lisbon As Son Joins Football Academy

US pop star Madonna has moved to Lisbon so her 11-year-old son David can join the youth academy at top football club Benfica, local media reported Thursday.

“Madonna is no longer a tourist, she now lives in Lisbon,” the weekly magazine Visao said, republishing several pictures taken from her Instagram account of the 59-year-old singer visiting Portugal over the last couple of months.

Madonna has been staying in a Lisbon hotel after buying a house in the bucolic village of Sintra, 30 kilometres northwest of the Portuguese capital.

The 19th century building was put up for sale for 7.5 million euros ($9 million) and could take about six months to renovate, according to Visao.

 

David Banda, who Madonna adopted from Malawi in 2006, has joined the Benfica training centre in the Lisbon suburb of Seixal, Correio da Manha reported.

The club accepted the boy after his first test in the spring and he will stay at the academy until he starts the school year at a French high school in Lisbon, Correio da Manha said, citing a source close to Benfica.

Rumours about a possible move began when Madonna was spotted at the school in May.

Banda is one of four children Madonna has adopted from Malawi after she adopted twin girls in February. She has also has two biological children.

Madonna is not the first international celebrity to move, or have a second home, in the Portuguese capital. Movie stars John Malkovich, Monica Bellucci and Michael Fassbender have all had homes in Lisbon.

AFP

Madonna Seeks To Stop NY Auction Of Tupac Break-Up Letter

Madonna attempted on Tuesday to stop an upcoming auction of a prison break-up letter from rapper Tupac Shakur and a note in which she called singer Whitney Houston and actress Sharon Stone “horribly mediocre.”

The “Rebel Heart” singer filed a request in New York Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order against New York auction house Gotta Have It Collectibles to halt the sale, due to start on Wednesday.

Madonna said in court documents that she was not aware until reading press reports that many of the items listed for auction, including the letter from her former boyfriend Shakur, were no longer in her possession.

The items were consigned to auction by Darlene Lutz, whom Madonna described in court documents as a former friend and art consultant and said she had “betrayed my trust in an outrageous effort to obtain my possessions without my knowledge or consent.”

A representative for the auction house and Lutz said in an emailed statement that Madonna’s effort to stop the sale was “a completely baseless and meritless action,” and they would challenge her claims in court.

“We believe that her intent is nothing more than to besmirch the good reputations of the auction house and Ms Lutz,” the statement said.

In a letter dated January 1995 and written to Madonna by Shakur while he was in prison for sexual assault, the rapper said he ended their romance because he felt that dating a white woman could jeopardize his career.

“I felt due to my ‘image’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you,” he said.

Shakur was killed at age 25 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996.

In another letter from the early 1990’s, Madonna voiced her frustration at not having a music career like Houston or film career like Stone.

“Not because I want to be these women – because I’d rather die, but they’re so horribly mediocre and they’re always being held up as paragons of virtue or some sort of measuring stick to humiliate me,” she said in the letter.

Houston drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub in 2012.

 

Paediatric Unit: Malawian President Lauds American Singer Madonna

Paediatric Unit: Malawian President Lauds American Singer Madonna
American Singer Madonna

Madonna was hailed as a “symbol of a motherly spirit” by Malawi President Peter Mutharika after the American singer opened a children’s hospital named after her adopted daughter Mercy James.

The Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care located in Blantyre, Malawi’s second-largest city, is the first of such facility built in the country by Madonna’s charity ‘Raising Malawi’.

“We will ensure that not only will it be a world-class children’s hospital, but also a superior centre of learning. This is as much about healing as it is about empowerment,” Madonna said at the hospital’s official opening.

The singer adopted Malawian children David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009 respectively, and twins Esther and Stella Mwale earlier in 2017. She has two other children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.

Speaking at the event, Mercy James drew applause from the crowd during her speech. “It is a great honour to know that this hospital is named after me. What’s more important is that it will heal many kids and save many lives,” she told the audience.

Madonna established the non-profit Raising Malawi charity in 2006 to provide health and education, particularly for girls. The charity has built 10 schools in Malawi, according to its website.

The American singer, however, criticised Malawi’s slow pace of law reform, saying it nearly prevented her from adopting Mercy James.

Performers At Grammys 2015 Are…

GrammysThe melancholic singer of ‘In The Lonely Hour’, Sam Smith and the “Happy” Williams Pharrell have been announced as some of the artistes to perform at the Grammys, next month.

The Recording Academy announced Wednesday , that Usher and Miranda Lambert also will take the stage at the Feb. 8 show in Los Angeles, while Common and John Legend will perform their Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated song, “Glory,” from the movie “Selma.”

Smith, Pharrell and Beyonce are the Grammy leaders with six nominations apiece. They will battle Beck and Ed Sheeran for the top prize, Album of the Year.

More stars have been announced as performers for the night and it looks like it is going to be a full house with Sam Smith, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Miranda Lambert, Usher, Ariana Grande, Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Eric Church and many more.

 

 

Photo Credit: Billboard

 

Madonna Wins Highest-Earning Celebrity

MadonnaPop star Madonna was the world’s top-earning celebrity over the past year, trumping the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

The 55-year-old Material Girl made an estimated $125m (£80m) thanks to her MDNA tour, clothing and fragrance lines, according to Forbes.

Popular director Steven Spielberg was at number two with $100m (£64m). Most of his earnings came from his back catalogue of film hits such as ET and Jurassic Park – which has just been released in 3D to mark its 20th anniversary – as well as last year’s Oscar winning Lincoln. The director also takes a cut of all ticket sales at Universal Studios theme parks.

Third place was a three-way tie between 50 Shades of Grey author EL James, Simon Cowell and shock jock Howard Stern, with earnings of $95m (£61m).

Thriller writer James Patterson follows with $91m (£58.5m), while TV and radio host Glenn Beck earned $90m (£57.8m).

Others in the top 10 included Transformers director Michael Bay ($82m, £52.7m) producer Jerry Bruckheimer ($80m, £51.4m) and pop star Lady Gaga ($80m) who featured 10th on the list.

Forbes compiles its annual list of celebrity earnings using input from agents, managers, producers and others to calculate its estimates for each celebrity’s entertainment-related earnings.

The figures do not reflect tax deductions, agent fees or “the other expenses of being a celebrity”.

 

Madonna Auctions Painting To Raise $7Million For Girls’ Education

Madonna sold an abstract painting by French artist Fernand Leger for $7.16 million on Tuesday to raise funds for girls’ education projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

The 1921 painting, “Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge,” which carried a pre-sale estimate of up to $7 million, was purchased by an unidentified buyer at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York, according to the auction house’s website.

The pop singer said in April that she bought the painting in 1990 and that selling it would combine her passions for art and education by raising funds for the Ray of Light Foundation, a non-profit organization offering vocational training for street children and poor farmers.

“I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools. We don’t have time to be complacent,” Madonna said in a statement last month.

“I want to trade something valuable for something invaluable – Educating Girls!”

Madonna has adopted two children from Malawi in southern Africa and plans to build 10 schools there.

NUC suspends licences of Madonna and six other varsities

The body regulating the activities of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the National Universities Commission (NUC), has suspended the operational licences of seven private universities for allegedly violating its guidelines in physical facilities and academic programmes.

Lead City, Caritas, Joseph Ayo Babalola, Tansian, Madonna, Achievers and Obong are the affected institutions.

The Director of Press and Public Relations of NUC, Mallam Ibrahim Yakassai, confirmed this in a telephone interview with a national daily.

A top source, who pleaded anonymity, said the decision to suspend the operational licences of the affected universities was due to their non-compliance with the regulations guiding the operations of universities in the country as stipulated by the NUC.

“The operators of the universities affected know their offences because so many times, we have informed them about their failings but they did not take necessary steps to address their shortcomings. Anyway, It’s just a suspension and it will be lifted as soon as they do the correct things,” the source said.

This suspension comes weeks after the suspension of part time programmes in tertiary institutions all over the country.