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Solange shines at London’s Lovebox

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Solange largely stuck to material from her new album When I Get Home

Earlier this year, Solange cancelled a planned performance at America’s Coachella music festival, citing “major production delays”.

Who knows what the show would have entailed – although many expected it to rival her sister Beyonce’s celebration of black culture at the previous year’s Coachella.

But, judging by the star’s transcendent headline set at London’s Lovebox Festival, elaborate staging would have been superfluous anyway.

Over 60 minutes of otherworldly, socially-conscious soul, Solange performed with a sense of freedom and joy that elevated both the material and the audience.

The star concentrated largely on her recent fourth album, When I Get Home – a series of fleeting sketches of her hometown, Houston, Texas.

It’s an abstract, complex record, with none of the instant hooks of its predecessor, 2016’s A Seat At The Table. But the audience, instead of being alienated, seemed enraptured by the snaking, jazz-like arrangements, and Solange’s sunlit harmonies.

Wisely, the singer peppered the set with more-recognisable songs from her back catalogue – the street funk of Losing You, and the soaring ballad Cranes In The Sky – and threaded the new record’s most memorable earworm, Things I Imagined, throughout the set as a musical motif.

The band was crisp and clear, with a brass section that brought a fresh, New Orleans vibe to the material; highlighting Solange’s more political lyrics, without making them seem heavy-handed.

“If you’re supremely black and popping, make some noise tonight,” demanded the star, before playing another album highlight Almeda, in which she proudly and pointedly recited: “Black skin, black braids / Black baes, black days / These are black-owned things / Black faith still can’t be washed away.”

The audience may not have been as diverse as the singer is used to at home, but a sizeable amount chanted the song’s refrain: “blackberry the masses” (a play on the idiom, “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice”) with heartfelt conviction.

Medical problems

Anyone who has seen her videos will know Solange is a fan of cyclical movement – slow, deliberate choreography, with bodies falling in and out of sync. That was present on Friday night, too, as the star and her backing singers tossed their hair back and forth in intricate unison; and her dance troupe rippled with movement across the stage’s simple, stepped platform.

More engaging, though, were the unscripted moments: Solange lassoing her microphone around her head in the middle of Down With The Clique, or striding the audience barriers during FUBU (the audience responded by pressing their phones into her face, with total disregard for personal space).

Best of all, during the extended encore of Things I Imagined, the singer simply rolled onto her back and started performing bicycle kicks in the air.

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The singer was watched throughout the set by her 14-year-old son. “I keep telling him to go off stage because I keep getting distracted,” she laughed.

It was a moment of pure, spiritual bliss. One which, the singer explained, she nearly didn’t get to experience.

“It was actually at Lovebox two years ago I started to lose control of my body, I started go through some really crazy health issues,” said the 33-year-old, who was diagnosed in 2017 with an autonomic nerve disorder, which can affect everything from your heart rate to your cognitive functions.

“I remember being in the hospital that morning and them telling me I was not to perform or leave… and I remember bringing my black ass right here to Lovebox,” she added.

“Lovebox is the festival that I get to come and see all these black and brown faces and I ain’t missing that for nothing.

“Tonight, it feels so good.”

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Disney culls ‘Fox’ from 20th Century Fox in rebrand

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The 20th Century Fox logo will lose a word but retain the same look, according to reports

Disney executives have cut the word “Fox” from their 20th Century Fox film studio in an apparent bid to distance it from operations of the previous owner, Rupert Murdoch.

US media suggests Disney does not want to be associated with the media mogul’s highly partisan, right-wing Fox News network.

However, Disney has not clarified its reasons.

It bought the studio, with other media operations, in a $71bn deal last March.

20th Century Fox is known for producing some of the biggest films of all-time, including Avatar and Titanic.

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Variety magazine, which broke the news about the name change, said it had spoken to an unnamed Disney source, who said: “I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic.”

Hollywood is known for being liberal, unlike the Australian tycoon.

Disney has also renamed Fox Searchlight Pictures, the arthouse arm, as simply Searchlight Pictures.

Staff emails were changed on Friday, from @fox.com to @20thcenturystudios.com or @searchlight.com.

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Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News has been a cheerleader for Donald Trump

The original 20th Century Fox company was formed in 1935 following a merger.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought it in the mid-1980s, and the Fox News channel was created in 1996, growing to become most-watched in the US.

News Corporation was later split into News Corp and 21st Century Fox – which Disney acquired as the parent company of various film and television studios, including the renowned 20th Century Fox.

The Murdoch family retained the news outlets in a spin-off company, Fox Corporation, which is run by Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachland.

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Variety says the 20th Century Fox studio’s well-known fanfare theme and searchlight logo will be retained.

Disney also runs 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. Any changes to their names have not been announced.

Disney is already a dominant force in US news, as the owner of the ABC network. It is also hoping to challenge Netflix with its own streaming service Disney+, which launched in the US last year.



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Jack Reacher author Lee Child passes writing baton to brother

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Lee Child has written 24 Jack Reacher novels

The author of the best-selling Jack Reacher novels is handing over the writing duties to his younger brother.

Lee Child, 65, reportedly considered killing off the 6ft 5ins vigilante hero, who is played by actor Tom Cruise in film adaptations.

But the writer said: “I love my readers and know they want many, many more Reacher stories in the future.”

His brother Andrew Grant, 51, who will write under the pen name Andrew Child, is already an established author.

Child, whose real name is James Grant, said he felt he was “ageing out” of being able to produce more of the books.

He said: “So I have decided to pass the baton to someone who can.”

He described his younger sibling as the “best tough-guy writer I have read in years.”

“We share the same DNA, the same background, the same upbringing,” he said, adding: “He’s me, fifteen years ago, full of energy and ideas.”

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There have been two Jack Reacher films starring Tom Cruise

The Coventry-born author said they would work on the next few novels together “and then he’ll strike out on his own”.

Child started writing after being fired from his job as a presentation director at Granada Television in 1995.

His first Reacher novel, Killing Floor, was published in 1997.

He has since sold more than 100 million books and Amazon has announced it is adapting the series for TV.

The novels, which are set in the United States, have been translated into 40 languages and adapted into two movies starring Cruise.

The protagonist of the book series is a former major in the US Army military police who roams the US investigating suspicious and dangerous situations.

Grant said he had been “blown away” by his elder brother’s first Reacher novel.

He said: “The more time I spent with him in each new adventure, the more I craved the next. So I know what it’s like to wait for the new Reacher novel.”

He added: “I understand what Reacher fans want – because I am one. And I’ll do my best to deliver for them.

“I’ll have to. Because my big brother will be watching.”

The Sentinel, the 25th Jack Reacher novel, is due to be published on 29 October 2020.



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Jazz musician Rex Martey signs record deal aged 82

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An 82-year-old south-Londoner has had his lifetime ambition come true by getting a record deal.

Rex Martey suffers from prostate cancer and needs dialysis three times a week.

He wanted a deal so he could leave a legacy and has been signed by record company The Animal Farm.

One of the songs on his album is dedicated to the cancer nurse who’s treated him for the last few years.

He has pledged a quarter of all sales will go to Guys Hospital.



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