Archive for September, 2017

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The star says she will donate proceeds to humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean, Mexico and Puerto Rico

Beyonce has added her voice to a new version of Mi Gente, the global hit single by J Balvin and Willy William.

The star sings in Spanish, French and English on the song – which is being released for charity.

“I am donating my proceeds from this song to hurricane relief charities for Puerto Rico, Mexico and the other affected Caribbean islands,” wrote Beyonce on her Instagram page.

The song clocked up more than 100,000 views on YouTube in just 30 minutes.

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I am donating my proceeds from this song to hurricane relief charities for Puerto Rico, Mexico and the other affected Caribbean islands. To help go to

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Beyonce mentions the victims of the recent earthquake and hurricanes in the lyrics, singing: “Lift up your people/ From Texas to Puerto Rico/ Dem islands to Mexico.”

But she also takes a moment to address the pressing topic of her own awesomeness: “I can be a beast or I can give you emotion / But please don’t question my devotion / I been giving birth on these haters ’cause I’m fertile.”

Mi Gente (My People) has already been a smash hit around the world, reaching the top five in the UK earlier this month.

Even before the humanitarian crisis in Mexico and the Caribbean, the song was a rallying call for unity in a time of division.

In the remix, Colombian star J Balvin retains his original lyric “Mi musica no discrimina a nadie” (my music doesn’t discriminate against anyone).

“Music has to be a tool to unite people, to get people together,” he told the BBC in August. “It doesn’t matter the race, the language, the culture. So that’s what I’m saying when I sing that line.”

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J Balvin is one of the biggest stars in Latin America

Many pop stars have reached out to help victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquake in Mexico.

Rapper Pitbull was praised for sending his private plane to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico to transport cancer patients to the US mainland; while Jennifer Lopez has joined forces with her ex-husband Marc Anthony to create Somos Una Voz (We Are A Voice), “an alliance of artists working together to rush food, shelter, medicine, power and communications to those in need.”

Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z will join Chris Brown, Cardi B, Daddy Yankee, DJ Khaled, Jennifer Lopez, A$AP Ferg, Fifth Harmony, Iggy Azalea and others at a benefit concert in Brooklyn on 17 October.

And Bruce Springsteen has released a special edition live album, with all proceeds benefiting MusiCares Hurricane Relief fund, which will aid those affected by the hurricanes in Houston and Florida.

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Alanna BakerImage copyright
Alanna Baker

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Baker began practising gymnastics at the age of five

“You wouldn’t fuel a car with the wrong gas. So if you give your body the right fuel, food, the right exercise, you can do whatever you want.”

Ahead of the British debut of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, performer and choreographer Alanna Baker is telling BBC News that discipline is the key to surviving the show’s intensive touring schedule.

“To me your body is a work of art,” she says. “You should love your body, treat it how you want to be treated. It’s what you have to live in.”

To most of us, having such a carefully regimented diet and exercise plan would be a bit of a chore, but Alanna actively embraces it – as her Instagram feed will tell you.

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Fitness is not about looking like someone else, it’s not about beating someone, it’s not even about proving someone wrong.. Fitness is about being the best version of YOU. Do something for yourself, you deserve to feel amazing

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James Cameron did say he thought Wonder Woman was “a good film”

Avatar director James Cameron has launched more criticism at the recent Wonder Woman reboot, saying: “She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground.”

He told Hollywood Reporter: “She was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting.

“They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s.”

He said in August that its star Gal Gadot played “an objectified icon”.

But the film’s director Patty Jenkins hit back, saying “there is no right or wrong kind of powerful woman”.

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Jenkins (left, with Gal Gadot) is also directing the next Wonder Woman film

She pointed out the film’s “massive female audience who made the film a hit… can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress.”

Wonder Woman is the highest-ever grossing live action film directed by a woman. The highest grossing film with a female director is Frozen, which was co-directed by Jennifer Lee.

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Hamilton went through a rigorous training regime before reprising the role of Sarah Connor

Cameron told the Hollywood Reporter that Wonder Woman could be compared with Linda Hamilton in his 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

“Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character.

“It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated.

“She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film,” the director said.

It’s rumoured that Hamilton is set to return to the Terminator franchise, with Cameron at the helm.

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Gal Gadot takes the leading role in Patty Jenkins’ film

“As much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman,” Cameron continued.

“Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is”.

But he did concede that he thought Wonder Woman was “good” and said: “I like the fact that, sexually, [Gadot] had the upper hand with the male character [played by Chris Pine], which I thought was fun.”

Analysis – Emma Jones, editor of the Electra media website, which is “dedicated to women in film and changing the narrative”

When James Cameron made his Wonder Woman comments earlier this year, it was easy to superficially dismiss them as sour grapes against female directors. After all, his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow beat him to the best film Oscar for The Hurt Locker over Avatar.

But Cameron does have a point. While Wonder Woman did great box-office business, I have spoken to many who watched it, men and women, concerned at the “perfection” of the Wonder Woman character.

Yes, she speaks several languages and is a fantastic role model for girls in many ways, but her beauty and allure are central and she is certainly designed to be an object of desire. It could be argued her perfection just heaps more pressure on young girls.

Cameron is also right about the 1980s and ’90s, when action heroines such as Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton weren’t necessarily noticed first for being attractive.

Ultimately, Cameron is pointing out a depressing truth. In a modern, risk averse, sanitised Hollywood, central characters (and this often applies to men too) have to be ultra good-looking.

That sexism has been so pervasive that Hollywood did indeed “let” a woman direct a superhero franchise.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, 17 SeptemberImage copyright

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Ms Louis-Dreyfus won another Emmy earlier this month

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the award-winning star of US TV comedy series Veep, has announced she has breast cancer, in a message posted on social media.

“1 in 8 women get breast cancer,” she wrote. “Today I’m the one.”

“The good news”, she added, was she had a “glorious group” of family and friends supporting her and “fantastic” insurance through her union.

The actress, 56, has also featured in Saturday Night Live, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld.

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Earlier this month, Louis-Dreyfus picked up a record-breaking sixth Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a row for her role in HBO series Veep.

In Veep, she plays an ineffectual US vice-president whose attempts to expand her role are continually thwarted.

Veep star ‘would relish’ drama roles

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Playboy magazine: More than just naked women, apparently

No-one ever really believed any man who used the old excuse for buying Playboy magazine – “for the articles”, as opposed to for the photos of nude women.

The nude women were the main attraction.

Yet the magazine does have a long and proud literary tradition, publishing stories by authors like John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Arthur C Clarke, Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who has died at the age of 91, once joked with a group of centrefolds at a magazine anniversary party: “Ladies, it’s been a wonderful 25 years, and I owe it all to you. Without you, I would have had nothing but a literary magazine.”

Former Playboy literary editor Amy Grace Loyd summed up the magazine’s formula in 2009: “You’ve got things drawing a man’s eye, then you’ve got things that are enriching his intellectual and spiritual life.”

Plenty of authors refused to write for Playboy “on principle or because of disapproving wives or daughters”, she said. But plenty agreed.

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Hugh Hefner said he would print stories other magazines wouldn’t

“We can reach so many more people than anybody else, and we’re also reaching people who don’t read fiction generally, or at least literary fiction,” she explained.

Playboy also gave authors an outlet for stories with uncensored, adult and controversial themes, and paid its writers well.

“We were willing to publish things that other people wouldn’t publish, and writers were very happy about that,” Hefner said. “And very quickly we had the largest circulation in the men’s field so we were able to pay more money.”

Here are 11 of the notable authors whose work appeared in the pages of Playboy.

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Roald Dahl

The children’s author toyed with darker fantasies in four short stories published between 1965-74. They were tales of unscrupulous and ill-fated seduction, two of which featured an Uncle Oswald, “the greatest fornicator of all time”. They were compiled in a book, Switch Bitch, in 1974.

Jack Kerouac

Two years after publishing his beat-generation classic On the Road in 1957, Kerouac penned a short prequel for Playboy titled Before the Road. The typed manuscript was the top seller when Playboy held an auction in 2003, fetching $71,700.

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Margaret Atwood

Although she’s a feminist icon, Atwood penned several stories for Playboy. They included The Bog Man, about an archaeology student who goes on a field trip to be with her married professor lover and discovers a preserved 2,000-year-old corpse.

Perhaps she drew on the magazine for inspiration when writing her poem Miss July Grows Older (NB not published in Playboy), in which a former pin-up realises she can no longer trade on her looks now she is getting older and “there are more of me” to take her place.

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Ursula Le Guin

Another feminist author, Le Guin had Nine Lives, a sci-fi story of love, clones and extraterrestrial mining, printed in 1969. But it was under the byline UK Le Guin because a Playboy editor said “many of our readers are frightened by stories by women authors”.

She later said it was the one and only time she encountered prejudice as a female writer, “but it is surprising to me to realise how thoughtlessly I went along with them”.

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Ian Fleming

The James Bond creator wrote several stories for Playboy and his novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was serialised in the magazine in 1963. The film version of the same story, which came out six years later, featured a scene in which Bond actor George Lazenby read a copy of Playboy.

Ray Bradbury

When Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, about a totalitarian world in which books are burned, was published in 1953, it wasn’t instantly recognised as a classic. In one of Hefner’s early literary coups, he reportedly paid $400 for the rights to serialise it the following year – taking it to a mass audience.

Arthur C Clarke

The science fiction master had a long association with Playboy, but perhaps his most influential story was 1964′s Dial F For Frankenstein, about an ever-more-interconnected telephone network that takes over the world. A young Tim Berners-Lee happened to be reading (for the articles, obviously), and has credited it as one of the inspirations for the world wide web.

Vladimir Nabokov

The Lolita author published two complete novels in the pages of Playboy as well as a number of stories. In 2009, Playboy scored a coup when the magazine won the rights to his unfinished last novel The Original of Laura, and published a 5,000-word extract.

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Colombian literary giant is among the Nobel laureates to have been in Playboy. His story The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World appeared in 1968 and told the story of a tiny South American fishing village that tries to solve the mystery of an enchanting corpse.

Norman Mailer

Playboy spent a six-figure sum to send one of the 20th Century’s journalistic pioneers to write about the legendary Rumble in the Jungle – the 1974 boxing bout between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. The two-part article was later expanded into a book titled The Fight.

Alice Denham

After writing her novel The Deal, about a young woman who agrees to sleep with an aged gambler for $1,000, Denham did what no other author did – she posed for Playboy to support herself.

Both the story and photos were published in 1956. But the magazine was said to have rejected two further stories, saying it didn’t intend to have any more women’s bylines.

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Hugh Hefner and his then fiancee, Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris, in 2011Image copyright

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Hefner is survived by his third wife, Crystal Harris

Hugh Hefner, American founder of the international adult magazine Playboy, has died at the age of 91.

Playboy Enterprises Inc said he passed away peacefully at home in Los Angeles, from natural causes.

Hefner began publishing Playboy in his kitchen in 1953. It became the largest-selling men’s magazine in the world, shifting seven million copies a month at its peak.

Cooper Hefner, his son, said he would be “greatly missed by many”.

He paid tribute to his father’s “exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer,” and called him an advocate for free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.

Hefner’s trailblazing magazine helped make nudity respectable in mainstream publications, despite emerging at a time when US states could legally ban contraceptives.

It also made him a multi-millionaire, spawning a business empire that included casinos and nightclubs.

The first edition featured a set of nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe that Hefner had bought for $200. They had originally been shot for a 1949 calendar.

The silk pyjama-clad mogul became famous for his hedonism, dating and marrying Playboy models. In his later years he threw decadent parties at the luxurious Playboy mansion in Los Angeles.

Sexual revolutionary or dirty old man?

By James Cook, BBC Los Angeles Correspondent

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Hugh Hefner – silk pyjamas and all – was a character who divided America.

Was he really the godfather of the sexual revolution, or just a dirty old man?

A louche purveyor of corrupting smut, or an enlightened publisher of contemporary literature?

Feminists, and others, accused him of reducing women to sexual objects – if not de facto prostitutes – at the Playboy mansion.

But then there was also his support for racial integration and gay rights, along with a hefty dollop of great writing and agenda-setting interviews.

In short, he was a character more complex than tabloid editors allowed.

And in terms of sexual mores his early permissiveness – daring or shocking depending on your taste – now seems, if not quite quaint, then certainly not unusual.

In that respect Hugh Hefner was ahead of his time, for good or ill.

He claimed to have slept with more than 1,000 women, and credited the impotence drug Viagra with maintaining his libido.

“I am a kid in a candy store,” Hefner famously said. “I dreamed impossible dreams, and the dreams turned out beyond anything I could possibly imagine. I’m the luckiest cat on the planet.”

From 2005-10, a reality TV show called “The Girls Next Door” showcased Hefner’s libertine lifestyle – and the harem of young blonde women who shared it.

In 2012, aged 86, he married his third wife Crystal Harris – who was 60 years his junior.

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Playboy “bunnies” model the brand’s world-famous silhouette

Though critics saw Playboy as a byword for sleaze, its founder – who was born into a strict Methodist family – never shared that view.

“I’ve never thought of Playboy quite frankly as a sex magazine,” Hefner told CNN in 2002. “I always thought of it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.”

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Hefner faced obscenity charges in 1963 for publishing and distributing Playboy, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The magazine’s most significant interviewees included civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, Beatle John Lennon, and Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

Its huge sales were certainly driven by glossy colour pictures of nude “playmates”, but it also developed a reputation for fine writing, with Norman Mailer, Kingsley Amis, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Vladimir Nabokov, Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury among its contributors.

Their contributions allowed men to say they did not buy the magazine only for the pictures.

US President Donald Trump appeared on the cover in March 1990, with the tag-line: “Nice magazine, want to sell it?”

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The notorious Playboy mansion in Beverly Hills

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Hefner and his playmates travelled on Playboy’s “Big Bunny” jet during the magazine’s 1970s heyday

In the 1980s, competition from publications carrying more explicit photos saw Playboy’s circulation decline, and Hefner himself suffered a stroke in 1985.

His daughter Christie took over Playboy Enterprises four years later, and Hefner retreated to his mansion, living with a bevy of women. Cooper Hefner took on a major role in the company in 2014 after Christie stepped down in 2009.

The magazine decided to scrap nudity in March 2016, but reversed its decision earlier this year.

A neighbour of Hefner’s in August last year bought the Playboy mansion for $100m, but agreed Hefner could continue to live there until he died.

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Hefner pictured in 1970

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IbeyiImage copyright
David Uzochukwu

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Lisa-Kainde Diaz (left) and her twin sister Naomi make up Ibeyi

Lisa-Kainde Diaz, one half of French-Cuban duo Ibeyi, has an inadvisable habit.

Every time she puts music on YouTube, she waits half an hour then checks the comments.

“It’s my little ritual,” she says. “I always look at the first 15, then I stop because, well… you know!”

Recently she uploaded a song called Deathless, whose lyrics tackle police brutality and racism.

Given the sometimes toxic atmosphere of YouTube’s comments section, Lisa-Kainde might have expected to see a stream of hatred. But one message stopped her in her tracks.

“This girl wrote something that really touched me,” she tells the BBC. “‘They buried us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’”

The quote comes from poet Dinos Christianopoulos, who was sidelined by the Greek literary community in the 1970s because he was gay.

But it could easily be a lyric from Deathless, a cathartic response to Lisa-Kainde’s wrongful arrest, at the age of 16, in Paris.

The performer says she was on the Metro going to a piano class when a policeman started asking her if she drank, smoked or took drugs.

When she replied “no” the officer got “quite rough”, making her remove her shoes and tipping the contents of her schoolbag on the ground.

“It was clearly racist,” says the singer. “The only reason they stopped me was the fact that I had an afro. They thought, ‘Oh, for sure, she’s selling crack.’”

The gendarme only relented when he saw her textbooks and musical scores lying on the ground. “He froze,” she says.

“I think he thought, ‘She might have a little intelligence.’ So he gave me my bag and left.”

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“We’re so proud to mix Yoruba sounds into our music,” says Lisa-Kainde

Lisa-Kainde says she “buried” the incident for years. “At the end of the day, it was nothing. They didn’t touch me, they didn’t push me, they didn’t try to hurt me that way.”

It was only when stories of police brutality started to crop up with increasing regularity in the news that Ibeyi’s producer, Richard Russell, suggested she address it in her lyrics.

“I remember saying, ‘Why would I write a song about it? My story is nothing compared to what is happening to people every day.’

“Then Naomi said something quite incredible. She said: ‘Lisa, you don’t need to be raped or be killed for it to be wrong. What happened to you was already wrong.’”

Lisa-Kainde decided Deathless should be a rallying cry for people who feel helpless in the face of oppression.

“I was like, ‘Let’s do something!’” she says. “And what we can do, even if it’s small, is write a song for everybody to believe, truly believe, for three minutes that we are beyond death.

“That we are so powerful. That we are large. That there is no end to the power we have together.

“We can make people sing ‘We are deathless’, every night like a mantra. And that’s our little anthem.”

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Beyonce asked the band to appear in the film accompanying her album Lemonade

Ibeyi was formed in 2013 by Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz – non-identical twins who say they have almost nothing in common outside music.

“Our mother used to say that if she went to the park and set us down, one would run to the left and the other would run to the right!” laughs Lisa-Kainde, the band’s bubbly and effervescent lead singer.

“We’re complete opposites,” laughs Naomi, the more softly-spoken sister and a spitting image of her father, Cuban conga master Miguel ‘Anga’ Diaz.

“I listen to a lot of hip-hop, and Lisa listens to a lot of jazz. So we can bring what we are, and what we like, into the middle to make Ibeyi.

“We have to go out of our comfort zone.”

Media captionRiver, from Ibeyi’s debut album, performed live at The Quay Sessions

The result sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard, fusing the rhythms of Kendrick Lamar with traditional Latin percussion. (Naomi, like her father, plays the cajon and bata.)

The sisters’ harmonies, meanwhile, draw on Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and the rich Yoruba culture imported to Cuba via slave ships from Nigeria and Benin.

“Yoruba songs are quite magical,” says Lisa. “You don’t need to know a lot about Yoruba music to just feel it.

“We were afraid people would feel it wasn’t genuine, but it was inevitable for us because it’s part of our culture. It’s not to be commercial or underground, or cool.”

As soon as Ibeyi recorded their first EP, the band were snapped up by Adele’s record label XL. Owner Richard Russell was so enamoured he offered to produce the band’s first album.

That debut, also called Ibeyi (the Yoruba word for twins), was a meditation on family, love and history, addressing the twins’ late father (Think of You) and also their older sister (Yanira), who died in 2013 from a stroke.

Touring the record forced the band to relive those losses, night after night, for almost two years. So it’s no surprise they were ready for a change on its follow-up, called Ash.

“We wanted people to dance and sing more,” says Lisa-Kainde. “We wanted it to be more physical. As soon as we realised that, our writing changed.”

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XL Recordings

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The sisters’ joy in making music is evident in the video for Away Away

That’s exemplified on Ash’s ebullient first single Away Away, the carefree video for which sees the duo dance and pull faces in the recording studio.

The slinky Me Voy, meanwhile, is sung entirely in Spanish, to make it “more sensual”.

Yet the band found themselves drawn to more serious subjects too while recording Ash in the midst of last year’s US presidential election.

No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms, for example, samples Michelle Obama’s response to obscene comments Donald Trump was recorded making in 2005 (“the measure of any society is how it treats its women“).

Transmission, meanwhile, quotes Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, a book-length poem about race in America.

“I don’t think we knew we were going to talk that much about what is happening into the world,” says Lisa-Kainde.

“But it was a wonderful surprise to realise we were ready to express ourselves about what we feel is wrong or right.

“We don’t have the truth. We’re not preaching. But we realised we wanted to express it publicly, so it was quite powerful.”

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The sisters’ father died when they were just 11 years old

Across the album, Ibeyi also reference painters like Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat, while guest musicians include jazz star Kamasi Washington and Spanish hip-hop artist Mala Rodriguez.

It’s infused with an eyes-wide, everyone-welcome sense of wonder, from a band who admit they’re constantly hungry for new influences.

“It’s funny,” says Lisa-Kainde. “People think that musicians, when they run out of inspiration, should listen to music. I don’t believe in that.

“The day you don’t have inspiration, you should read a book, you should look at Frida Kahlo’s paintings, you should watch a [John] Cassavetes film or just walk around your city looking at architecture.

“There’s so much incredible art that could give you the inspiration back. That’s what will keep you going.”

Ash is released on 29 September by XL Recordings.

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Celebs Go Dating contestants September 2017Image copyright
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This year’s contestants are Georgia Toffolo (bottm left), Bobby Norris (centre left), Sarah-Jane Crawford (centre), James Argent (top left), Charlotte Dawson (centre right), Frankie Cocozza (top right) and Calum Best

We’ve all wondered what it’s like to date a celebrity – the fancy restaurants, paparazzi and exclusive events.

For the daters on E4′s Celebs Go Dating show, this has become a reality.

Members of the public get to date the people they’ve seen on shows like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex.

We spoke to the show’s agents and daters about what it’s like to go out with a celebrity.

Celebrity dating agents Eden Blackman and Nadia Essex have been guiding celebrities since the show first started in September 2016.

This series’ contestants are Georgia Toffolo, Bobby Norris, Sarah-Jane Crawford, James Argent, Charlotte Dawson, Frankie Cocozza and Calum Best, who have appeared on shows like The Only Way is Essex (Towie), Ex on the Beach, The X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother.

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Celebrity dating agents Eden Blackman and Nadia Essex use their expertise to find the perfect match for celebrities

Eden’s expertise comes from his online dating website, which he set up to stop people “catfishing”, meaning they lie about who they really are on social media in order lure people in.

He says from working on the show he’s been able to work out who genuinely wants to date a celeb and who just wants the fame.

“We can tell from the daters’ social media if they’re in it for real reasons or to be on TV for their 15 minutes of fame,” he tells the BBC.

“The show has a huge team that interviews the daters and we have a conversation with them, asking all sorts of questions.

“When we sit down with the daters we ask first, why a celebrity dating agency?

“They say it’s to try something different, it’s a different kind of life, that celebrities are very organised, very driven people.

“Some people just want to see or they just fancy Joey Essex and that’s why they want to come on the show.

“There’s an element of fun, as we’ve seen from Love Island, the perks of being the face that makes it through are enormous.”

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Bobby Norris, from The Only Way is Essex, is the show’s first gay contestant

Paul Godfrey, 29, dated Bobby Norris from The Only Way is Essex on the show and says his life has changed since then.

“I work in fashion styling and events and I’ve dated people in the public eye before.

“I meet people in the field I’m in and it just depends if we get on, I like to look at the person, not the job title.

“With Bobby I was lucky to meet someone honest and genuine, we had a lot in common and that was a good ice breaker.

“Your life does change when you date someone famous, people followed mine and Bobby’s story as we were the first LGBT couple on the show.

“I get stopped most days on the street, my followers have gone up on social media but I’ve not had one bad comment.”

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Victoria dated Calum Best on the show

Victoria Winterford, 25, got to date two contestants on the show, Calum Best and Towie star James “Arg” Argent and says her dates proved public perceptions were wrong.

“I’ve watched Towie before and Arg has always come across as a nice person – he was really lovely, funny and welcoming.

“With Calum I had heard about his past reputation but he proved himself to be a proper gentleman, he has been shown in a bad light and has really changed.

“I thought it would be a funny show and a good experience, it would be a bit different as I’d never dated a celebrity before.

“I’m a personal trainer and for me it’s been a good platform and I’ve had good feedback on Twitter.

“For me it’s not about fame or promoting teeth whitening, people are over 15 minutes of fame as it doesn’t last long.”

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Eden Blackman has been with the show since it started in 2016 and also runs a dating website that stops fake accounts being made

Celebs Go Dating was a surprise hit when it first came to screens last year and is now in its third series.

Eden believes this is down to the stars who take part, defending the show amid recent criticism that the contestants aren’t really celebrities.

“When the first series of Celebs Go Dating started, we had no idea how this was going to work out.

“We needed to fill a certain amount of places and people like Steph Pratt (Made in Chelsea) and Joey Essex (Towie) were great additions.

“This show is still in its infancy, so give us a year to get the celebs people consider celebs.

“I’m getting asked on Twitter by celebs how they can be a part of it.

“They have to invest in the process and listen to me and Nadia without five managers telling them what to do.”

Celebs Go Dating is on E4 every weekday evening at 10pm.

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Pitbull was born in Miami and is of Cuban parentage

Rapper Pitbull has been praised after sending his private plane to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico to transport cancer patients to the US mainland.

His good deed came to light after Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s representative in Washington, thanked him on Twitter.

The Miami-born star – real name Armando Perez – told the New York Daily News he was “just doing [his] part.”

“Thank God we’re blessed to help,” he was quoted as saying.

Much of the US island territory has lost its power after being ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Almost half of its 3.5 million residents are without clean drinking water, while hospitals are running short of the diesel needed to power their life support systems.

At least 16 people are known to have died from the effects of the most recent hurricane.

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Puerto Rico suffered extensive damage in this month’s hurricanes

Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda urged people to donate to the recovery effort.

“Puerto Ricans need supplies and resources just as badly as their fellow Americans in Texas and Florida,” wrote the composer and performer.

Daddy Yankee, singer of worldwide hit Despacito, has also called for donations, as have Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Jennifer Lopez, meanwhile, has joined forces with her ex-husband Marc Anthony to create Somos Una Voz (We Are A Voice), “an alliance of artists working together to rush food, shelter, medicine, power and communications to those in need.”

Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Edward Norton and Jada Pinkett Smith are among those who have so far signed up to the initiative, which aims to bring relief to all those affected by “recent natural disasters”.

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Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling co-star in the belated Blade Runner sequel

Expectations are running high for Blade Runner 2049, the eagerly awaited – and belated – sequel to Sir Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi.

The film sees Harrison Ford reprise his role as Rick Deckard, the futuristic detective whose adventures made such an impression 35 years ago.

Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto and Robin Wright also have roles in the follow-up, directed not by Scott but by Canada’s Denis Villeneuve.

So, what better time then to look back at the original Blade Runner and remind ourselves what all the fuss was about?

Here are five things you need to know about the first film before checking out the latest instalment.

1) It’s set in Los Angeles…

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The original film evoked a stunning vision of a futuristic city

…but not just any Los Angeles. The metropolis we see in the first Blade Runner is a grimy, rainy dystopia that many people have abandoned in favour of off-world colonies.

Ridley Scott used the industrial landscape of his native Teesside as the inspiration for the film’s iconic opening shot of a nocturnal cityscape illuminated by hellish spumes of fire.

Set in the year 2019, the original film conceives LA as a city of flying cars, gigantic neon advertising hoardings and immense skyscrapers.

At ground level it’s a different story, Scott imagining a grim conurbation of food stands, clogged streets and noisy, oppressive chaos.

2) It’s got robots in it…

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Rutger Hauer played formidable replicant Roy Batty

…only they’re not called robots. The proper name is replicant, so named because they’ve evolved to a point where they are virtually identical to humans.

Essentially slave labour used to explore and colonise other planets, replicants have a four-year life span and are forbidden from setting foot on earth.

Blade Runners like Deckard detect replicants through a polygraph-like examination – known as the ‘Voight-Kampff test’ – that measures emotional responses.

They also have the discretion to execute – sorry, “retire” any replicant who is found to be trespassing.

3) It’s based on a novel

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The K in Dick’s name stood for Kindred

Blade Runner is loosely based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a 1968 novel by Philip K Dick.

The American, who died the same year Scott’s film was released, was a hugely influential writer and thinker whose work has often been adapted for cinema and television.

Total Recall, Minority Report and The Man in the High Castle were all inspired by his writings, as was Channel 4′s current anthology series Electric Dreams.

Dick only saw the first 20 minutes of Blade Runner before his death but was extremely impressed by what he saw.

4) There’s more than one version

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Scott was joined by members of his cast when his “final cut” screened at the Venice Film Festival

Few films have gone through as many iterations as Blade Runner, with as many as eight different versions known to exist or have existed.

The most widely seen is the original theatrical version, which came with an explanatory voiceover from Ford and a happy ending that saw him and replicant Rachael (Sean Young) retreat into the countryside.

A 1992 director’s cut excised the voiceover and the happy ending. It also included a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest.

A digitally remastered “final cut” followed in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.

5) Deckard may be an android

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Will Deckard’s true nature finally be confirmed in Blade Runner 2049?

The insertion of the unicorn dream sequence prompted speculation that Deckard was himself a creation of the all-powerful Tyrell Corporation.

Yet the question remains one shrouded in mystery due to Scott and Ford’s differing responses to any requests for clarification.

Scott has stated on the record that Deckard is “definitely” a replicant. Ford, though, seems reluctant to agree with him, preferring to maintain the character’s ambiguity.

With Deckard returning in Blade Runner 2049, fans will be hoping the mystery is finally resolved to the satisfaction of all.

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