Gabby Douglas continues to clarify previous victim shaming statements by also revealing she has experienced sexual abuse. Douglas joins over 100 other women accusing former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual misconduct.
Days after facing heavy backlash for suggesting it was a woman’s responsibility to “dress modestly and be classy” in response to teammate Aly Raisman’s allegations against Nassar, Douglas spoke out about her own experience with Nassar in a written statement on Tuesday (Nov. 21).
She wrote in part:
“I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar.
“I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.”
The three-time Olympic gold medalist again apologized for previous comments and also explained that was trying to be a role model with her word choices. “I admit there are times that I fall short,” she admitted.
“I understand that many of you didn’t know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else.
“…I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, strength, being courageous and doing good instead of evil. I have learned from this and I’m determined to be even better.”
Though Raisman never commented on Douglas’ victim shaming comments, she did support her teammate for sharing her experience with Nassar.
On Wednesday (Nov. 22), Larry Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault in a Michigan court. He is expected to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison. Sentencing will take place January 12th and his victims will be able to speak.
More than 130 women, including Douglas, Raisman, and their 2012 Olympic teammate McKayla Maroney, have accused Nassar of sexual assault which occurred during his three-decade tenure with USA Gymnastics.
In July, Nassar was charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He also pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and that hearing is scheduled for next week.
USA Gymnastics stands behind Douglas, Raisman, and every other gymnast who has accused Nassar.
We admire the strength shown by Gabby and her teammates in speaking out publicly to hold a predator accountable.
The organization has taken specific and concrete steps to prevent future abuse by adopting the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy. pic.twitter.com/MzgtWfHBvA
“Black Ink Crew Chicago” Season 3 Episode 16 aired on VH1 Wednesday night (Nov. 22).
The crew hatches a plan to get Kat to come back to 9Mag; Ashley throws a tantrum at her gender-reveal party; Charmaine’s dreams of movie stardom hang in the balance; and Kat confronts Ryan over what happened at the lake house.
Lil Peep, the 21-year-old New York-based rapper who died as the result of an apparent drug overdose, took a nap right before his concert last Wednesday (Nov. 15) in Tucson, Arizona, and never woke up out of his sleep, a police report has revealed.
According to TMZ, Peep’s manager said she saw him early Wednesday on this tour bus and he looked fine. She said Peep took a nap around 5:45 PM PST and when she checked on him a little while later, he was snoring and breathing normally. After she was unable to wake him out of his deep slumber, she decided to just let him sleep.
When another manager went to check on Peep a third time, at around 8:50 PM, the rapper was no longer breathing and was “completely unresponsive,” TMZ reported, at which point Peep’s team began to administer CPR, which, obviously, was unsuccessful.
A medical examiner for the Arizona county of Pima has ruled Peep’s death as a suspected overdose. Law enforcement sources told TMZ there was drug paraphernalia around him and he had likely taken Xanax, though a full toxicology report, which would reveal exactly what was in his system when he died, won’t be released for another several weeks.
A video showing Peep right before he was found dead on his tour has been heavily circulated online. The footage was recorded by his best friend, fellow rapper and tourmate, Bexey. The clip was initially shared on Bexey’s Instagram story, but was deleted after he found out his friend, who he considered a brother, had died.
“My brother just died in my arms, man,” Bexey said in a subsequent video posted on his Instagram page. “I’m done with this sh*t, man, forever. F**k this sh*t.”
After receiving backlash from fans for showing his friend’s final moments, Bexey wrote in a profanity-laced post on Instagram that he had no idea he was recording Peep’s final moments alive.
“THAT VIDEO I POSTED.. I WOULD SEE PEEP WITH HIS MOUTH OPEN AND HEAD BACK ASLEEP LIKE THAT NEARLY EVERYDAY.. I WAS RECORDING HIM ASLEEP. IF YOU SERIOUSLY THINK I WOULD RECORD MY BROTHERS DEAD BODY AND MAKE A JOKE ABOUT IT YOU ARE SICK IN THE MIND.. F**K YOU.”
The woman with “several jobs” shamefully lost one earlier this year, but it seems Phaedra Parks has quickly snatched another and it’s a bit of an odd career path. Phaedra is ready to walk in Naomi Campbell’s shoes and become a supermodel.
The former Real Housewives of Atlanta star announced today (Nov. 21) that she has signed with Wilhelmina Models. The 44-year-old, standing at 5’1, said she has partnered with the agency to inspire women of all ages to follow their dreams.
“I think I’m the face of ‘yes you can.’ I’m a small-town girl who has followed her dreams,” she tells Us magazine. “Yes, you can be a mom, yes you can be a lawyer and yes you can be a model.”
Phaedra says she jumped at the chance to try her hand at modeling.
“When the opportunity presented itself, some people asked me ‘Why?’ and I said ‘Why not?’ A supermodel started this company and she wanted to give power back to the women and I think I stand for the same things. I have the opportunity to show people that beauty can come in every size, shade, color and age. It’s exciting and an adventure!”
Phaedra says that supermodel Naomi Campbell is one of her inspirations. “She is everything, so fierce.” She also name-dropped Nicki Minaj, who is also signed to Wilhelmina and is a “big supporter” of Phaedra’s, so she claims.
However, don’t expect Phaedra to be walking the runways in Paris or Milan anytime soon. She hopes to promote skin care products, not apparel. “I would love to be the face of a skincare brand. I have great skin,” she says. “I love makeup, but I love to be able to take off the makeup and have beautiful skin.”
I’m not one to knock someone’s dreams, so good luck with that, Phaedra!
The lawyer/former reality star/model hopeful also gave Us an update on her mortuary side hustle. She’s very excited for the “peak season” which ironically follows Halloween.
“Being a mortician is a passion of mine and everything I’m passionate about I just dive right in. This is our peak season actually, the peak season from deaths is from Halloween to around Valentine’s Day, so we’re very busy — people are going to glory pretty regularly. I’m directing a few funerals this weekend. I know it’s morbid, but I love being the final party planner.”
Click here to read Phaedra Parks’ full Q&A interview with Us magazine’s “Stylish.”
Twitter went crazy over reports that former NBA player Ray Allen is a victim of a catfishing scheme in the year 2017. Like… how though?! You never FaceTimed “her,” bro?!
On Monday (Nov. 20), a man named Bryant Coleman told a Florida court that he was being stalked by Ray Allen, and today (Tues, Nov. 21), Allen responded with an emergency motion saying that he was the one being stalked by Coleman.
Allen admitted that he’d unwittingly exchanged a bunch of flirty and sometimes explicit text messages with Coleman, who he believed was a woman. Turns out, Ray Allen (who has been married for almost 10 years, btw) was being Catfished by a man pretending to be “a number of attractive women,” he said.
Allen’s court motion states:
When Ray realized he was the victim of this impersonation, he terminated these communications. Mr. Coleman, who had become obsessed with Ray even though they had never met in person and even though Ray wanted nothing to do with him, refused to accept an end to their communications.
Coleman continued to post about Ray using various online accounts. Coleman did not limit these posts to Ray. He posted about Ray’s wife, Ray’s children, Ray’s dog, Ray’s homes, Ray’s wife’s restaurant, and numerous other personal items. Coleman not only posted about these things, he would actually post while physically located inside Ray’s wife’s restaurant in Orlando. And he would make sure they knew it, tagging Ray and his wife on those posts.
Allen claimed in the court documents that Coleman threatened to expose their online interactions, the Associated Press reported, and the two eventually “struck a deal to keep everything private.”
However, Allen said that Coleman has reneged on their deal by continuing to harass him and his family via social media in what the 10-time NBA All-Star’s motion described as “cyber-stalking.”
“Ray has not made any contact with Coleman, and most assuredly is not stalking him either in person or online … Ray wants nothing to do with Coleman and merely wishes to be left alone,” the motion read.
“Ray regrets ever engaging with this person online and is thankful they never met in person,” Allen’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, said. “This experience has negatively impacted Ray, and he hopes that others might use his mistake to learn the dangers of communicating online with strangers.”
When Ray Allen’s catfishing scandal hit the internet, people flocked to Twitter to collectively ask “WTF?!” with a bunch of jokes and memes.
Model Eva Marcille certainly has something to extra thankful for this Thanksgiving. The new Real Housewives of Atlanta star revealed she is expecting baby No. 2!
Marcille exclusively revealed to People magazine that she is five months pregnant with a baby boy. This is her second child, but her first with her boyfriend, Atlanta mayoral candidate Michael Sterling.
Eva’s first baby daddy is singer/songwriter Kevin McCall, who was dragged on social media earlier this year for threatening Sterling, saying, “I hope you are ready to meet me face to face. It won’t be much talking… U will be dealt with quick and brief.
The America’s Next Top Model winner admits her new bundle of joy was a surprise for her and Michael.
“My body felt super weird. I didn’t know what was going on. I went to the doctor and because of my symptoms, he decided to do an ultrasound to see if I had any cysts or tumors or fibroids or things of that nature.
“He did an ultrasound and lo and behold, we were seven and a half weeks pregnant, I was like, ‘What?!’ I was expecting the worst only to find out I was carrying a life. It was crazy. I was shocked and terrified all at the same time.”
She also candidly revealed that it took Sterling a few days to adjust to the news given that he was in the middle of a political campaign and an unexpected pregnancy was “not part of the agenda,” she said.
“When I initially told him, he was like, ‘Oh, okay,’ and I could tell he was surprised and didn’t want to overreact or react in a way that he would regret or that would scare me.”
“A few days later, like the lawyer he is, he took an opportunity to assess the situation and think it through and analyze. We talked about it again, and he was excited. Which was a huge relief to me — excitement is what we want.”
The couple already has a name picked out: Michael Todd Sterling Jr. “We have a junior, which is kind of terrifying to me because Michael is the most ambitious person I’ve ever met,” Marcille noted.
“So, for our son to now have to live up to his dad, it lets me know that there is a great promise on his life, but it’s also terrifying because he has so much to live up to,” she added.
It’s also a good thing that she’s having a boy because Marcille’s 3-year-old daughter, Marley, was not feeling a baby sister. “Make it a brother,” the little girl told her mother when she was told she was going to have a new sibling.
“I thought that was adorable, but at the time, I had no idea what I was having, so my fear [about] this extremely expressive and outgoing young girl [was] if this baby came out to be a little girl, that might not be a great situation for Marley. However, I found out soon after that I was having a boy, and I felt like she willed it in her favor.”
Eva Marcille joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta for its 10th season, though she has yet to make her debut. It’s unknown if her pregnancy will also be revealed on the show. RHOA airs Sundays on Bravo.
A number of celebrities and social justice activists are rallying around a former child sex slave who is currently serving a life prison sentence at the Tennessee Prison for Women for shooting and killing her abuser in 2014 when she was just 16 years old.
When she was a teen, Cyntoia Brown ran away from home and met a young nicknamed “Kutthroat,” who forced her into drugs and prostitution. Kutthroat introduced Brown to a 43-year-old real estate agent named Johnny Allen. She said she was afraid of Allen, and he was acting weird before she fatally shot him in 2004 in Nashville, according to the Associated Press.
In 2011, Brown and her case were extensively covered in a documentary by Filmmaker Dan Birman, who documented the case for seven years. In the film, Brown explained her abuse and how it made her paranoid. “She was picked up by a 43-year-old man,” Birman said. “Cyntoia was 16 years old.”
Brown’s case, which was tried in adult court, has recently been highlighted in an investigation by Nashville’s Fox 17 and, as a result, has garnered a ton of publicity and national media attention. The now 29-year-old is being called a sex trafficking victim and many say that due to changes in the way cases like hers are prosecuted these days, she wouldn’t be sentenced to life behind bars.
Here’s what you need to know about Cyntoia Brown and her case:
Cyntoia Brown said she was frightened by Allen’s “strange behavior,” and she shot him to escape.
Cyntoia Brown was living with a man nicknamed “Cut-throat” who she said forced her prostitution. Cut-throat was physically and verbally abusive to Cyntoia and threatened to find her if she ever tried to leave him.
In August 2004 Cut-throat told Brown to go out and make some money. A man named Johnny Mitchell Allen picked her up on the street, bought her some food and asked her to go back to his house.
According to AP, this is what happened that day:
He drove her back to his house where his strange behavior frightened her and made her want to escape. When she couldn’t sneak away, she said she wanted to nap. He lay down with her but didn’t fall asleep. He kept getting up and standing over her. She became more panicked, convinced something was going to happen to her. Finally, she shrugged off his advances and, as he rolled over, she took a gun from her purse and shot him once in the head.
According to Fox 17 Nashville, in her court testimony, she said Allen “was a sharpshooter in the Army.” She said, “I’m sitting here thinking if he does something, what am I going to do?”
Brown has never denied her crime and admitted that she shot and killed Allen. “I shot him,” she said shortly after the crime. “I executed him.”
She said she was used to being beaten, choked and having a gun pointed at her, and that affected her judgment. Even though what Brown did could be considered self-defense, a jury convicted her of first-degree murder and she was sentenced to life in prison in 2006.
Her case has since brought attention to child sex and prostitution. In 2011, laws in Tennessee were changed, prohibiting anyone aged 18 or younger to be charged with prostitution.
“She was being sex trafficked. The pimp’s name was Kutthroat,” Davidson County Juvenile Court Administrator Kathryn Sinback told Fox 17.
“She did kill someone, she deeply regrets it, but she was a child and she was being exploited,” End of Slavery TN founder Derri Smith told Fox 17. “[There’s] no such thing as a child prostitute or a teen prostitute, I think we’ve had to have a cultural mind shift.”
Brown has since appealed her guilty verdict, but so far, unfortunately, those appeals haven’t been successful.
Read official court documents from Brown’s case below:
A documentary called “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story” has helped bring attention to Brown’s case.
In 2011, PBS’s Independent Lens series released a documentary highlighting Cyntoia Brown’s case called “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story,” which was produced and directed by Daniel Birman.
In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for murder. There was no question that a 43-year-old man is dead and that she killed him. What mystified filmmaker Daniel Birman was just how common violence among youth is, and just how rarely we stop to question our assumptions about it. He wondered in this case what led a girl — who grew up in a reasonable home environment — to this tragic end?
Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story explores Cyntoia’s history and her future. Without attempting to excuse her crime as youthful indiscretion nor to vilify her as an example of a generation gone off the rails, Birman simply follows Cyntoia through six years of her life after the crime, and searches for answers to persistent questions.
Birman told Fox 17 Nashville that Brown came from a family of women who were victims of sexual violence. Both her grandmother and mother were raped. “We started the conversation, this is a young girl who’s at the tail end of three generations of violence against women,” Birman said. “She had no chance.”
Adding to the tragedy of the case, Brown, who was given up for adoption by her biological mother Georgina Mitchell when she was two years old, is also a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. Georgina admitted to abusing alcohol while she was pregnant with Brown.
Effects of fetal alcohol syndrome include intellectual disabilities that affect a person’s ability to think rationally and understand the consequences of her actions, as well as neurological, emotional, and behavioral issues.
According to AP, Richard Adler, a clinical and forensic psychologist, testified in 2012 that despite Brown’s high IQ, she was functioning at the age of a 13 or 14-year-old when she killed her rapist.
In addition to abusing alcohol while pregnant, Brown’s mother also started using crack cocaine when Cyntoia was eight months old and she gave Cyntoia up for adoption to a woman named Ellenette Brown.
The film shows that even though Ellenette Brown provided a generally stable home for Cyntoia, she hadn’t had sufficient stability in her life for proper emotional development, and as a young teenager, she began abusing alcohol and drugs.
Brown had become a runaway by 2004, and by the time she met Cut-throat, she had already been the victim of several rapes and physical abuse.
Brown earned an Associate’s Degree from Lipscomb University while she was in prison and has worked in the juvenile justice system mentoring women.
While she was in prison, Cyntoia Brown worked towards obtaining a degree from Lipscomb University. Brown graduated from the school in December 2015 with an associate’s degree she earned while in prison, and she’s currently working towards completing her bachelor’s degree.
Preston Shipp, a former prosecutor turned criminal justice advocate who taught Brown, told Nashville Scene that she was his star student and said that he thinks she would make a good litigator herself. Last year, Shipp wrote in an op-ed for The Huffington Post that Brown is a victim who shouldn’t have been convicted of murder:
Cyntoia’s story is tragic, but it is by no means unique. Numbers are hard to estimate, given the hidden nature of human trafficking, but as many as 300,000 children are trafficked for commercial sex each year in the United States. The crisis is immense and complex. There are no easy answers or quick fixes. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the victims of trafficking are, in fact, victims.
Cyntoia, a child, was a victim of cruel exploitation before she pulled the trigger, and she did not cease to be a victim thereafter. Recent scientific data has confirmed what common sense has always taught us: children are different from adults. Children, even children who are sixteen and seventeen years old, are not yet physiologically and psychologically formed. Cyntoia is not the same person that she was when she was sixteen. She has overcome her awful past, is compassionate and caring, has a quick wit, and is a straight-A college student. Imprisoning her for the rest of her life constitutes a failure on the part of society to treat children as children and victims as victims.
As we commemorate Human Trafficking Awareness month, we should be especially concerned with healing victims of the kind of trauma caused by being trafficked for sex, even if those victims have acted out violently.
We must invest in programs that bring about lasting change because we know that people, especially young people like Cyntoia, have great potential to grow and transform into something profound and wholesome and altogether different from their traumatic past. Toward that end, I am grateful that my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, recently announced the creation of a Human Trafficking Court, the goals of which are to identify victims of human trafficking and assist them by providing drug or mental health treatment, job and life skills training, or access to housing. Nashville will be just the fifth city in the country to implement such a court. In so doing, the city implicitly recognizes that people who are forced into sex should be treated as victims, not as criminal defendants.
In spite of everything that has happened to her, Cyntoia has managed to persevere. Had she been a recipient of intervention, counseling, drug treatment, and not merely decades of punishment, there is no telling what she could have achieved.
During her time behind bars, in addition to earning her degree, Brown has mentored women while working as an unpaid consultant for the juvenile justice system. “I myself can create opportunities to help people [behind bars],” Brown said.
Kathryn Sinback, Davidson County’s Juvenile Court administrator, told Fox 17, “She has used her experience to be able to make things better, juvenile justice, human trafficking and safety and security for youth and so I think what she has to offer is invaluable.”
Sinback, who was Brown’s public defender, told The Tennessean, “We are still working collaboratively to try and work towards changing the laws for juveniles sentenced to life and life without true parole.”
Kim Kardashian tweeted about Cyntoia’s case and said she’s contacted her attorneys to try to help her. Rihanna and LeBron James have also spoken out about the case and slammed the U.S. justice system.
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrownpic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u
Kim Kardashian tweeted about Cyntoia Brown’s case Tuesday (Nov. 21) to her 57 million+ followers and asked for her case to be reviewed. Kim also said she has reached out to her personal attorneys to see if they can help Cyntoia get a new trial and reverse her conviction.
“The system has failed,” she tweeted. “It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown”
Other celebs have also joined the effort, including Rihanna, who wrote on Instagram, “did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? cause….. Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child’s sentence I hope to God you don’t have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already! #FREECYNTOIABROWN #HowManyMore”
LeBron James has also spoken out against Cyntoia’s case, writing on Instagram, “What’s really going on here man!?!? Like seriously though. Guess she didn’t have the RIGHT to finally defend herself huh?!? GTFOH. Cyntoia should be getting a award, medal of courage of sort instead of being locked up. But not only locked up, convicted as an adult and won’t be eligible for parole til 69 years of age!! She’s 29 now!”
The posts have led to the hashtag #FreeCyntoniaBrown to be a global trend across various social media platforms, including Twitter.
A petition on MoveOn.org has been set up to help bring awareness to Cyntoia Brown’s case. The petition, which has so far collected more than 100,000 signatures, asks for “love and compassion.”
Please view and share this with everyone you know and if you have a heart of mercy and compassion; please sign the petition. Misguided and lost children is an epidemic that we as adults should be responsible for; not the child. Although murder was committed in this case; adults have committed murder and received a lesser than a life sentence. This woman (who is now 25) was only a child at 16 years of age at the time of the incident when her 42 year old victim (a grown man who had lived his life) solicited sex with this child; He had the upper-hand being the adult and should have made the decision to help her seek a better way instead of co-signing on her destruction by soliciting sex. She received life in prison for her victims murder. As of today; she has already served 9 years in prison.
You can write Cyntoia Brown at:
3881 Stewart’s Lane
Nashville, TN 37218
or via Twitter at:
Recent U.S. Supreme court rulings on life sentences for teens have had no impact on Brown’s case, and she won’t be eligible for parole until she’s 67 years old.
In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has issued rulings that require states to review life without parole jail sentences. According to The Tennessean, since 2014, at least 24 states have passed laws that require an automatic review of life sentences for teenagers after they have served a certain number of years.
But the decision has no effect on Brown’s case and others like it because it applies only to life sentences where there is no possibility of parole or automatic review of a sentence after a period of time.
Nearly 200 people are serving life sentences in Tennessee for crimes they committed when they were teens, and The Supreme Court’s rulings have had no impact because state law already includes a mandatory review after 51 years, which social justice advocates call a “virtual life sentence.”
“A life sentence in Tennessee is basically life without parole,” Kathy Sinback said.
Along with pushing reform that led to the change in Tennessee law banning prostitution charges against people under the age of 18, Brown’s case has also been cited by legislators who hope to pass a bill that will give teens serving life sentences a second chance. Such a law would require a review of teen lifers’ sentences after 15 or 20 years, which would give 29-year-old Brown a second chance at life when she reaches 31 or 36 years old.
In 2006, Sinback was appointed to represent Brown and has since helped lead efforts in Tennessee to change the law.
“You are basically taking a kid at age 14 or 15 or 16 and making a decision about the rest of their life based on who they are at that age, and they’re not developed human beings at that time,” Sinback said. “You have kids at their peak of poor judgment, impulsivity and lack of development and we’re taking that one thing that they do and locking them into sentences that are going to last for the rest of their lives.”
The bill has been introduced by Tennessee lawmakers and advocates twice, including an attempt in 2016, but they have been unsuccessful getting it passed.
With icons like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Prince gone, we have to protect our remaining living legends at all costs, which is why Twitter is going crazy over rumors that Aretha Franklin has died (or is dying) of cancer.
Well, the good news is that those rumors are 100% false. Aretha Franklin is NOT dead, nor is she dying, contrary to the latest death hoax that has hit social media.
It all started with a tweet from this fake azz account (which has less than 50 followers):
At first glance, the tweet appears to be believable, but if you look closely, you can clearly tell that is a fake account. While the name on the account reads “Aretha Franklin,” the username says “@ArethaFranklinn” (with two n’s). Aretha Franklin’s real twitter account is here, and hasn’t been updated in well over two years.
Making matters worse, Fameolous, a somewhat credible Instagram blog, seems to be perpetuating the rumors with this post:
Aretha Franklin not doing good and may pass soon. Celebrities are at the hospital saying goodbye. Aretha has been battling cancer for a while now we are told. We have a source inside the hospital where Ms. Franklin is currently being held & will keep you guys updated.
According to NewsOne, Aretha Franklin, 75, has been a victim of declining health rumors for the past several years. It seems that every few months, there’s a new story about Franklin having cancer.
The 75-year-old legendary soul singer has been dogged by rumors of cancer since at least 2011, which is likely fueling what seems to be resuscitated rumor and innuendo.
Rumors of the diva’s health problems resurfaced in May, when she announced to an audience that she was battling an “upper respiratory viral infection.” Still, she managed to sing at the event honoring Clive Davis, the New York Post reported at the time.
That same month, the National Enquirer published reports of Franklin having lost more than 100 pounds because of a “cancer relapse,” an anonymous source told the news outlet known for gossip. “She was due to have radical chemotherapy treatments, and was told by doctors she needed to lose weight if she wanted to survive.”
The following month, she canceled a concert in Toronto scheduled for July because of “doctors orders,” according to the Daily Mail.
However, Franklin seems to be doing fine these days. The Detroit News reported that she made an appearance at Elton John’s gala in New York City on November 8th. According to the report, Franklin “closed the event with a collection of songs,” and the gala was successful in raising over $4 million for AIDS research. Additionally, the report didn’t mention anything about any apparent health concerns.
On top of that, entertainment reporter Shaun Robinson has taken to Twitter to quell any concerns regarding Franklin’s health.
“Good Morning, Everyone. I just spoke to one of Ms. Franklin’s family friends in my hometown of Detroit,” Robinson tweeted Tuesday morning (Nov. 21). “They spoke to Aretha moments ago and asked me to tell you please don’t believe this news that was trending. Have a good day.”
Good Morning, Everyone. I just spoke to one of Ms. Franklin’s family friends in my hometown Detroit. They spoke to Aretha moments ago and asked me to tell you please don’t believe this news that was trending. Have a good day. https://t.co/3LTyD4UlEH
In 2011, when stories surfaced that she was battling pancreatic cancer, Franklin told Robinson in an interview, “I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from. I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody.”
Nonetheless, she did acknowledge that she was experiencing some health issues. The month prior, she released a statement via the Associated Press commenting on a surgery she underwent that was “highly successful,” though she did not say what she was being treated for. “God is still in control,” she said. “I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country.”
Aretha Franklin has had an illustrious career in the music industry, which has spanned over a period of nearly six decades. In February 2017, she shocked fans by announcing that she was retiring after this year. She later clarified, however, that she still planned to record music, but she would no longer be touring, which, at her age, is completely understandable.
Franklin also revealed that she plans to open up an intimate club called Aretha’s, which would be located in downtown Detroit (her hometown). “From time to time I would sing,” she explained to the Detroit Free Press, “and of course, I would have special artists come in to perform for the city that people in Detroit like — Detroit favorites.”
“Love & Hip Hop (New York)” Season 8 Episode 4 aired on VH1 Monday night (Nov. 20).
Lil Mo suggests that Karl take a lie-detector test; Yandy pops up on Judy’s date; ex-friends Jonathan and Anais agree to meet up, but it turns sour very quickly; things go left when Dreamdoll’s dislike of Sophia leads to a smoothie throwdown.