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RECORDING ARTIST TAKES ON BIN LADEN; VIRGIN BRITNEY; SHARON FIGHTS BACK;
RECORDING ARTIST TAKES ON BIN LADEN; VIRGIN BRITNEY; SHARON FIGHTS BACK; LENNY AND PINKY; MESSTIKAL.
Tue, 30 Jul 2002 23:08:44
JULY 30, 2002 FEATURED NEWS ITEMS:
1. RECORDING ARTIST TAKES ON BIN LADEN
2. SHARON TAKES IT IN STRIDE; OZZY SHAKEN
3. MYSTIKAL IN A MESS
4. LENNY'S PINK POOLS
RECORDING ARTIST TAKES ON BIN LADEN
LOS ANGELES, California-
Osama bin Laden is upset at Americans...again. Apparently, not every American
this time, just one. And it's not Dubya. His name is Johnny Virgil and he's an
independent recording artist. Huh? That's what we said.
Virgil, who just released his solo debut CD through Los Angeles-based indie
record label enTerTainTmenT, inc., recently received some surprisingly polite
E-mail complaints from people claiming to be "representatives of Islam, bin
Laden, and his Al-Qa'edah organization," as well as from a few bin Laden
sympathizers. In all, the label received a total of five transmissions thus
far. What are they complaining about? It seems they don't approve of humorous
Internet banner ads Virgil's label used to promote his new CD, which feature a
photo of bin Laden in two and a photo of an unknown Afghani man in another.
Said one enTerTainTmenT, inc. label executive who asked to remain anonymous,
"The ads were done in fun, and obviously not at all in support of bin Laden if
you saw them. Anyone who is truly American or who despises the man would find
the ads funny and entertaining, and that's who we're marketing the CD to. Our
target demographic does not include Muslim extremists or members of (bin
Laden's) family. We're not entirely sure the E-mails are legit, but they could
The two main ads in question feature bin Laden's face next to the captions,
"'If you buy Johnny Virgil CD, I would be very most upset, so please don't buy.
Thank you.' -Osama bin Laden" and "Do not buy Johnny Virgil CD. He sing better
than me, and...he's American. Thank you.' -Osama Bin Laden." The third ad shows
an unknown Afghani man (who looks a little like George W. Bush) saying,
"Listen, in my country, people KILL for Johnny Virgil CD...and I mean KILL! We
don't have luxury like mice that make clicking sound." And if your mouse
happened to click on the ads, you would then be taken directly to CD Street,
Virgil's Internet music vendor.
Paid to run on eight websites, along with four other similarly clever ads to
promote the artist's CD, only these three brought any kind of "negative"
feedback. Virgil's label exec added, "We actually received a ton of
complimentary mail regarding the ads."
One Internet analyst made a distinction between these ads and the massive
amount of humorous anti-bin Laden material easily accessible on the Internet
since 9/11. "The difference between all that straightforward I hate bin Laden'
material out there and the Virgil thing is that bin Laden's image is actually
being used to promote something here, but not as an endorsement. I think it's
hysterical and a brilliant way to flash bin Laden the middle finger. Artists
like Eminem use Osama bin Laden look-alikes in videos to heighten the appeal of
the music by tapping into the anti-bin Laden sentiment that's so universal
today. It helps people get out their frustrations about events like September
11 through laughter. In this case, it may help to sell more records."
Sell, indeed. Every controversy or headline inevitably seems to help sales, and
this is not Virgil's first. Just last week, Internet and obscenity watchgroups
placed their complaints with enTerTainTmenT, inc., regarding what they
considered to be "racy" artwork in Virgil's new CD, "Fade." The label ended up
slightly altering the artwork, but didn't do a recall of any product already
distributed. Prior to that, the headline "Virgin does Virgil?" appeared in
gossip magazines, linking him to Britney Spears, as well as Carmen Electra,
which apparently fueled a short but thorny exchange of words between Electra
and the Virgin Britney at an industry function earlier this year. Last year,
another magazine connected him to Alanis Morrisette, and it goes on.
All this publicity is definitely a good thing, as Virgil was reportedly
contacted to write and produce tracks for Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones,
Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith, and Lenny
Kravitz shortly after his debut CD "Fade" started circulating last month.
Around the same time, Virgil entered a partnership with file-sharing mega
network KaZaa, making ripples in the industry by becoming one of the most
downloaded and sought after musical artists on the Internet this month. And if
that weren't enough, his new album has already been named one of 2002's best
independently-released CDs so far, probably by people who wouldn't have even
heard of Virgil had it not been for all the ruckus. Not bad for the son of a
fashion model and an absentee pilot father who has created a sound described by
one music critic as "U2 meets Bowie meets The Stones with Marvin Gaye on vocals
and Van Halen on guitar."
Now that word has started to get around about the singer who has taken on bin
Laden, the eight websites paid by Virgil's label to advertise his CD have been
getting a lot more traffic than usual. Although we can't mention them here, all
of Virgil's ads have just been posted on his website for viewing at,
His label adds that their web promotion contracts have just been extended
indefinitely for no extra charge by these eight websites, as they seem to
benefit more than the label from the relationship, receiving thousands of hits
per day above average ever since the ads first appeared. Other websites are now
jumping on the bandwagon and requesting the ads.
Said the Internet analyst, "Supporting (Virgil) and making him successful would
be one way of getting back' at bin Laden. In a way, it's really just using
brains over barbarianism. Obviously, the Americans possess the brains."
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Virgil revealed that he's planning to
donate part of his CD revenues to aid the families of the September 11th
victims, as well as to specific cancer-related charities. "I have to use this
opportunity to do some good. I lost a friend on 9/11, and another separately
to cancer last year, so I'm making these donations in their memory."
Virgil's CD is currently only available through his website,
SHARON TAKES IT IN STRIDE; OZZY SHAKEN
LOS ANGELES , California-
Sharon Osbourne's cancer has spread beyond her colon and the wife of the
anarchic British rock star Ozzy Osbourne will start a three-month course of
chemotherapy at the end of July, she told People magazine in a recent
interview. Osbourne, 49, who has become a TV star with most of the rest of the
family thanks to the hit MTV reality series "The Osbournes", said her prognosis
was "very, very good" but that Ozzy Osbourne was "hysterical" when first told
Sharon Osbourne, credited with reviving her husband's career after he was fired
from heavy metal band Black Sabbath in 1979, underwent colon cancer surgery on
July 3 and her publicist said at the time she was expected to make a full
recovery. However, Osbourne told People that one of two nearby lymph nodes
removed during the procedure had since tested positive for cancerous cells,
indicating the cancer had spread beyond her colon.
"It was not the best news," she told People. "You think nothing will ever
happen to you. You're invincible. Then after you get over the shock and panic
you realize how lucky you are to be alive. That's where I am right now. I
simply have to take care of this thing," she said.
Osbourne said she would start three months of chemotherapy on July 29, and that
she planned to allow MTV to film the treatment when shooting resumes for the
second season of "The Osbournes"-the show that follows the chaotic daily
exploits of the foul-mouthed family.
"People will see me having chemo. It'll be interesting," she said. "We need to
get a different vibe going. I think I'll bring some music, introduce myself,
maybe we can sing some songs and cheer the place up."
Osbourne said Ozzy, her husband of 20 years, "was hysterical, just terrified,"
when she told him the news, adding, "The doctor had to come over and sedate
him." Ozzy told People the couple planned to renew their marriage vows on
Sharon's 50th birthday on October 9. "I've always had a plan that I'd get sick
before she did, that I'd die before she did. But my plan didn't work out." he
MYSTIKAL IN A MESS
BATON ROUGE, Lousiana-
As Mystikal's lawyers declared his innocence on charges of rape and extortion
on July 19, authorities revealed they confiscated a video of the alleged sexual
assaults from the rapper's Baton Rouge home. The tape, which has been placed
into evidence, allegedly shows Mystikal and two other men, Leland Ellis and
Vercy Carter, threatening the rapper's 40-year-old hair stylist and forcing her
to have sex with them, according to Cpl. Mary Ann Godawa, a spokesperson for
the Baton Rouge Police Department.
The men allegedly told the woman they would turn her in to authorities for
cashing unauthorized checks from the rapper's bank account if she did not have
sex with them. According to a copy of the arrest warrant obtained on Friday,
the woman visited Mystikal's house on July 3 to braid his hair. Afterwards, he
confronted her about the checks and ordered her to "get into the bedroom and
take your clothes off."
The warrant states that Mystikal called his associates to come to his residence
while he was engaged in oral sex with the victim. When they arrived, the rapper
allegedly ordered Ellis to get his video camera and film him having sex with
the woman. After the camera was turned off, Mystikal allegedly sodomized her.
The warrant claims that the camera was turned back on to film the woman having
sex with both Carter and Ellis, after which she was ordered to leave.
After the woman contacted authorities on July 4, police searched Mystikal's
apartment and detained a video camera and a safe. On July 9, authorities opened
the safe and found the videotape.
That same day, detectives were forwarded an affidavit signed by the victim from
Mystikal's attorney, Gary Harvey. In it, the woman stated that she had
consensual intercourse with the three men.
On July 10, however, the woman met with detectives and said Harvey misled her
to believe "the case had been jeopardized, therefore making her feel compelled
to sign the affidavit," the arrest warrant states. She said she was confused
when she signed the affidavit and still wished to pursue the case.
On Friday, Harvey's co-counsel Michael Guy issued a statement reading, "I am
extremely confident that [Mystikal] will be exonerated of all charges that are
currently pending against him." He added that all of the rapper's scheduled
appearances for July and August would go on as planned.
A spokesperson for Jive Records, the rapper's label, said they would not be
issuing a statement with regard to the arrest. Mystikal, whose real name is
Michael Tyler, was released Thursday afternoon on $250,000 bond. If convicted
on the rape charge, he would face a mandatory life sentence. Extortion carries
a prison term of one to 15 years.
Bond has not been set for Ellis or Carter. The Baton Rouge District Attorney's
office said the rapper's arraignment will be scheduled in four to six weeks.
LENNY'S PINK POOLS?
Virgin recording artist, Lenny Kravitz is wowing audiences across North America
in support of his latest album,"Lenny." Opening for Kravitz are sexy party girl
Pink and the new synth-based smash, Abandoned Pools, the brainchild of former
Eels bassist, Tommy Walter. Inside sources report the Pink entourage is quite
the wild bunch on the road and after the shows. We heard someone on that tour
has a video camera...
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