- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama kin cashes in

Another Obama relative has a book deal.

A memoir by George Obama, the president’s half-brother and a resident of Huruma, Kenya, will be published by Simon & Schuster in January, Associated Press reports.

George Obama, 27, shares the same father with his famous, older half-brother, although George and Barack Obama - 20 years apart in age - did not grow up together and did not meet as children.

George is the youngest of Barack Obama Sr.’s seven children and was born six months before his father died in 1982.

Little is known about George Obama. The book, tentatively titled “Homeland” and to be written with author-journalist Damien Lewis, will tell of George Obama’s fall into crime and poverty as a teenager and his eventual embrace of community organizing - a passion shared by the president.

Financial terms for the book were not disclosed, but an official with knowledge of the negotiations said the deal was worth six figures, AP says.

Other Obama relatives also are working on books, including the president’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng; and the brother of first lady Michelle Obama, Craig Robinson. Duke University Press also is releasing the doctoral dissertation of the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who died in 1995.

President Obama has written a pair of million-selling books, “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams from My Father,” in which he describes George Obama as “a handsome, roundheaded boy with a wary gaze.”

Fall of house of Usher

When R&B star Usher filed for divorce Friday from his wife, Tameka Foster Raymond, few people in the singer’s inner circle were shocked.

“No one I’ve spoken to is surprised,” an unnamed source close to the couple tells People. com. “As bad as this is gonna sound, it was never a matter of ‘I wonder if they’ll divorce,’ but more like ‘I wonder when they’ll divorce.’ ”

Several sources also paint a picture of a troubled marriage that started unraveling even before the couple’s wedding in September 2007.

“They peaked before they even got married,” a friend of Mrs. Raymond was quoted as saying. “[Usher] just wasn’t ready to settle down, at least not with her.”

The source, who also tells People that there was no third party behind the spilt, says that Usher still lived like a bachelor. “He just wasn’t used to calling her if he was going to be out late,” the source says. “He didn’t treat her bad. He just took her for granted.”

Meanwhile, the lawyer who opposed rapper T.I. and boxer Evander Holyfield in child-support cases is representing Mrs. Raymond in the divorce, Associated Press reports.

Sports and entertainment family lawyer Randy Kessler said Monday that his 38-year-old client was a “faithful wife and loving mother.” He declined to comment on Usher’s conduct during the marriage.

Mr. Kessler also represented rapper Mack 10 in his divorce from R&B singer T-Boz of TLC.

Cole sets return

Natalie Cole is preparing for her comeback performance less than a month after a successful kidney transplant.

The Grammy-winning singer says she’ll perform Sept. 9 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Associated Press reports.

Miss Cole, 59, had the surgery in Los Angeles last month. She had been scheduled to start a tour on June 5 with a performance at the Capital Jazz Fest in Columbia, Md. Tour dates are being rescheduled.

Miss Cole is also thanking fans for their support. Her sister Carole Cole died May 19, the same day the singer had her surgery.

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

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