- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2004

Keisha’s crushes

San Francisco Chronicle

Oscar-nominated teen actress Keisha Castle-Hughes has a huge crush on screen heartthrobs Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp.

The 13-year-old New Zealand native, who has been nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her efforts in “Whale Rider,” admits the actors rank highly on her list of favored leading men.

She gushes, “My favorite actor at the moment — I’ve got seven crushes right now — is Orlando Bloom.

“Johnny Depp is really exciting, too. I’m dying to meet him at the Oscars. But I’m scared that I’ll be really starstruck and speechless.”

Jackson honored

Los Angeles Daily News

In her first public appearance since her breast was exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show, Janet Jackson received an award for her humanitarian and charitable contributions.

Behind the Bench, an association of wives of NBA players, honored Miss Jackson at their annual fund-raiser Friday at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“She has done a wonderful job giving back to communities across America. That fact has not changed,” Behind the Bench spokesman Vince McCaskill said. “She was on board with this seven months ago. We never even considered her not being here.”

Miss Jackson had not appeared in public since singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of her costume, exposing her breast, during a performance in front of some 90 million television viewers. The stunt prompted a Federal Communications Commission investigation, and Miss Jackson released a videotaped apology. Mr. Timberlake also apologized.

Behind the Bench, formed in 1995, has raised nearly $1 million for charities in Los Angeles, the host city of this year’s NBA All-Star game. Previous award recipients include Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Dorothy Height, Alonzo Mourning and David Robinson.

CBS: ‘We’re sorry’

Reuters News Agency

CBS television on Friday apologized for any offense given by the Indian-motif Grammy Awards performance of the hip-hop group OutKast that some Indians have condemned as racist.

The San Francisco-based Native American Cultural Center (NACC) posted a notice on its Web site calling for a boycott of CBS; OutKast’s label, Arista Records; and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which sponsors the Grammys.

“It was the most disgusting set of racial stereotypes aimed at American Indians that I have ever seen on TV,” NACC board member Sean Freitas said in the online statement. “It was on par with white people dancing sexually in black face, or yarmulkes … I am shocked and outraged.”

“We are very sorry if anyone was offended,” CBS spokeswoman Nancy Carr said when asked about the NACC boycott. She declined to comment further.

The performance in question came near the end of the Feb. 8 Grammy telecast, as OutKast singer Andre “3000” Benjamin, dressed as an Indian, led a show-stopping dance number built around the hit song “Hey Ya!”

The piece opened with the sound of drums and smoke wafting from a tepee-shaped structure before a group of female dancers emerged to bump and grind in skimpy, fringed costumes, braided hair and feathered headdresses. They were accompanied on stage by members of a university marching band. Mr. Benjamin told reporters backstage afterward that the number was meant as an Indian-inspired performance.

OutKast went home with three Grammys, including the coveted prize of best album for its hit double-CD release “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”

No. 2 for Badu?

San Francisco Chronicle

R&B; star Erykah Badu is reportedly pregnant with her second child.

According to reports on New York radio station WHQT, the singer, who has a 6-year-old son, Seven, with OutKast star Andre 3000, is five months pregnant by rapper the D.O.C.

The D.O.C. released his critically acclaimed platinum debut, “No One Can Do It Better,” in 1989 but suffered a near-fatal car accident soon afterward that crushed his larynx and severely damaged his voice.

Miss Badu ended her romance with rapper Common last fall.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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