Friday, January 10, 2014

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Posted: 08 Jan 2014 06:55 PM PST


Hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday sued the US Department of Justice and the FBI, accusing the two agencies of wrongly identifying the group's fanbase as a criminal gang, violating their free speech rights.

Members of the Michigan-based Insane Clown Posse paint their faces to look like clowns and are known for their "controversial, rebellious and provocative" music that often uses harsh themes and language, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in US District Court in Detroit, Michigan.

Many of the duo's estimated one million fans, known as "Juggalos", also paint their faces to look like clowns and display a logo of a hatchet man on their clothes and jewelry, according to the lawsuit. "Branding hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members based on the acts of a few individuals defies logic and violates our most cherished of constitutional rights," Michael Steinberg, ACLU's legal director in Michigan, said in a statement.

The gang designation has caused the Juggalos "significant harm, including repeated police harassment and denial of employment," according to the complaint. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four Juggalos and Insane Clown Posse singers Joseph Utsler and Joseph Bruce, who go by the names Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, respectively. It accuses the Justice Department and FBI of violating the fan's First Amendment rights and collecting information on the group without suspicion of criminal activity.

The suit refers to a 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, in which the Justice Department said Juggalos were a loosely organided hybrid gang. The government's assessment showed a photo of what appears to be a female Juggalo, with a painted clown face, aiming a pistol. The report said most crimes committed by Juggalos were sporadic and involved assault, drugs, theft and vandalism.

A small number of Juggalos were forming more organised subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies and drug sales, the assessment said.

One self-identified Juggalo, Brandon Bradley, 20, "has on numerous occasions been stopped and detained by law enforcement officers in California," the ACLU said in a statement. "Each time, the officer has wrongly accused Brandon of being in a gang and has interrogated him about being a Juggalo and his affiliated tattoos and clothing. Another client, Scott Gandy, was told he would not be accepted in the army because his ICP tattoo was a gang symbol."

The Insane Clown Posse, whose website shows photos of Utsler and Bruce in black-and-white-painted clown faces and sporting tattoos on their hands and forearms, said in a statement posted on their website that its legal counsel and the ACLU "think that the discrimination, profiling and harassment that Juggalos have been facing over the last few years in (sic) flat out WRONG and un-American The Justice Department in Detroit was not immediately available for comment. -- ReutersPosted: 07 Jan 2014 07:15 PM PST


The Pizza Underground, former child star Macaulay Culkin's Velvet Underground cover band that only sings about delicious cheese pizza, has released its first . It features the black-clad quintet performing a medley of songs, including Pizza Gal, Take A Bite Of The Wild Slice and All The Pizza Parties, while eating pizza or wearing a slice as a mask.

The New York-based band, which released its first demo in December, is embarking on a nationwide tour beginning on Jan 24 in Brooklyn, New York. Curious Californians can check out the acoustic tunes that march to the beat of a pizza-box drum when the band goes there in March. -- Reuters.

Posted: 07 Jan 2014 06:55 PM PST


Colombian singer Shakira and Barbadian singer Rihanna announced news of their collaboration - Can't Remember To Forget You - via Twitter on Jan 6. The track will be released on Jan 13.

The single, which had previously been confirmed for January, will be Shakira's first from her forthcoming studio album, due out in spring and set to be her first English-language album since She Wolf in 2009.

For Rihanna, it will be yet another high-profile collaboration following Eminem's Monster which has topped charts in recent weeks. -- AFP Relaxnews

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