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Rapper, 2 in taxi meet violent end in Vegas crash PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:16

This April 2011 photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Kenneth Cherry Jr., also known as rapper

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kenny Cherry was an aspiring rapper who moved from the Bay Area to Las Vegas to pursue his career. His music videos online show him cruising the Strip in a Maserati.

Taxi driver Michael Boldon was a family man who hailed from Michigan; and his passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, came from a loving Washington state family and was well regarded in her community.

The three lives ended early Thursday in violence normally seen only in movies: gunfire, a fiery crash and an explosion before dawn on the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip.

Police continued Saturday trying to find the gunman in a black Range Rover SUV who triggered the shocking chain of events, while families and friends in Las Vegas, California, Michigan and Washington tried to grasp the blink-of-an-eye finality of it all.

"Right now my heart is breaking," said Cherry's great aunt, Patricia Sims, of Oakland, Calif. "This has really been a tragedy. Kenny was just a delightful kid."

Sims, 75, said Cherry moved to Las Vegas from Northern California, though she didn't know her nephew was a rapper using the name Kenny Clutch.

Cherry's parents were in Las Vegas on Saturday to claim his body. The 27-year-old, whose full name is Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., was driving a Maserati that was peppered by gunfire before it sped through a red light and smashed into Boldon's taxi. The coroner said he died of a gunshot to the chest.

The taxi exploded into flames, killing Boldon and Sutton-Wasmund, and four other vehicles crashed like pinballs at an intersection overlooked by some of Las Vegas' most famous hotel-casinos: Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Bally's and the Flamingo.

Police think an argument at the valet area of the upscale Aria resort-casino led to the shooting, but they haven't shared details. The shooting happened the same night that Morocco-born rapper French Montana was playing at Aria's signature nightclub, Haze.

"What the original disagreement was is crucial to the ongoing investigation and the identification of the suspects," said Las Vegas police officer Bill Cassell.

He said investigators were examining surveillance video and enlisting help from federal authorities and agencies in neighboring states to look for the distinctive Range Rover. It had blackout windows and custom black rims and was last seen speeding away from the fiery scene around 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police said a passenger in the Maserati was wounded in the arm but was treated at a hospital and released. He was reported to be cooperating with investigators, and his name wasn't made public.

Cherry's father, Kenneth Cherry Sr., of Emeryville, Calif., said he was struggling to handle his grief.

He said his son started a music career in Oakland after attending two Catholic high schools. According to his father, Cherry was recognized by other rappers within a West Coast hip-hop strain called hyphy.

Cherry was not well-known in wider music circles, according to Chuck Creekmur, CEO of AllHipHop.com.

"I had never heard his name before," Creekmur said.

Kenny Clutch's YouTube music video, "Stay Schemin," shows scenes of hotels along the Strip as he sings about paying $120,000 for his Maserati.

"One mistake change lives all in one night," he raps in one verse.

Cherry Sr. said he didn't know how his son made money or if he had any other jobs.

"I want to make it clear that my son was no gangster or nothing like that," he told The Associated Press. "He moved to Vegas about six year ago and he was writing music and rap."

Court records show Cherry had no criminal cases or convictions in Las Vegas, and Cassell said there was no record of arrests.

The police spokesman wouldn't say whether investigators determined if Cherry owned, rented or borrowed the Maserati. Cassell called that information "integral to the investigation."

Meanwhile, Boldon's family struggled to cope with his death.

"It's very devastating for us, for my family," said Tehran Boldon, 50, younger brother of the 62-year-old taxi driver. "Our family has no history of violence or gang membership that would predict losing a family member to such an event."

Boldon's sister, Carolyn Jean Trimble, said Boldon was a father, a grandfather and a car enthusiast. He was one of five children born and raised in Michigan, where he took care of his ailing father, who fought cancer, before moving to Las Vegas to be with his 93-year-old mother.

Bolden had owned a clothing store in Detroit and worked at a car dealership, his sister said. He began driving taxis after moving to Las Vegas about 1 1/2 years ago.

Boldon loved watching IndyCar and NASCAR races and drove a Mercedes when he wasn't in a cab. An avid car enthusiast, he tried to persuade Trimble to buy a Bentley, she said.

"Everybody just loved him," the older sister said. "When that car hit that cab, Mike had to be in there talking and laughing."

The irony that a man with a taste for beautiful cars was killed by a sports car wasn't lost on Trimble.

"He would be tickled to death: 'Damn, of all things, a Maserati hit me, took me out like that,'" she said. "I'm happy he didn't suffer."

The Clark County coroner said both Boldon and his passenger, Sutton-Wasmund, died of blunt force injuries and ruled their deaths as homicides. Sutton-Wasmund, 48, was from Maple Valley, Wash.

Sutton-Wasmund co-owned a dress shop called The Dazzled Dame and had been in Las Vegas attending a trade show with her partner in the shop, said Debbie Tvedt, the office manager for a Maple Valley plumbing company, All Service Plumbing, that Sutton-Wasmund started with her husband, James Wasmund.

"It's a big loss," Tvedt said tearfully in a telephone interview with AP. "This woman was everything to this community.

"Sandi was very, very, very active with the Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce and our entire community," she said.

The Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce website said Sutton-Wasmund was a board member from 2004 to 2011 before becoming a marketing representative.

Tvedt said her friend was a mother of three — a 17-year-old son, a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.

"Sandi was a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister. Her innocent and tragic loss will be felt by all of those who knew and loved her and by the community at large," said a statement provided to KING-TV in Seattle on behalf of the woman's family.

A phone message left for James Wasmund was not immediately returned.

Besides Cherry's passenger, police said five people were treated for injuries after the six-vehicle crash. No one was said to face life-threatening injuries.

Jogger Eric Lackey snapped a cellphone photo of the blazing scene moments after the crash. Black smoke billowed from the flaming taxi, amid popping sounds from the fire.

The famously glowing, always-open Las Vegas Strip was closed for some 15 hours before reopening Thursday night. One Nevada Highway Patrol sergeant recalled a similarly long closure after the 1996 drive-by slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur.

That shooting — involving assailants opening fire on Shakur's luxury sedan from a vehicle on Flamingo Road — happened about a block away from Thursday's crash.

The Shakur killing has never been solved.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:28
 
Tupac Shakur's Mother Promises To Release His 'Entire Body Of Work' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 03:54

Tupac Shakur's Mother

Tupac Shakur's mother has vowed to release the late rapper's "entire body of work" so new generations of fans can experience his previously unheard music.

The hip-hop star was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, aged 25 and his mother, Afeni Shakur, is head of his estate and founder of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which helps underprivileged children receive education and training.

Shakur has now handed over her son's estate to Jampol Artist Management (JAM) and indicates there is more music to be released.

She says in a statement, "I believe it is our responsibility to make sure that Tupac's entire body of work is made available for his fans. My son left many incomplete pieces and even more unfinished ideas. Using the blueprints he gave us, I am committed to fulfilling this duty."


Tupac ShakurJAM founder and president Jeffrey Jampol says, "It's our responsibility, and our privilege, to ensure that new generations of fans experience the power of Tupac's music, his ideas and his storytelling."

JAM is adding Tupac to a roster which includes The Doors, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, according to Billboard.com.

 

Read More

Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 11:20
 
Temptations singer Otis "Damon" Harris dead at 62 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Friday, 22 February 2013 22:53

(Reuters) - Otis "Damon" Harris, a former member of The Temptations who sang on the group's 1972 hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," has died at the age 62, the Baltimore Sun reported on Friday.

Harris, a native of Baltimore, auditioned to join the Temptations in 1971 at the age of 21 after the departure of Eddie Kendricks, one of the original lead singers of the group.

Harris died at the Joseph Richey Hospice on Monday after fighting prostate cancer for 14 years, according to the Sun.

As a teenager, Harris grew up admiring the Temptations, one of the top male singing groups of the 1960s and early 1970s, and formed a band with three high school friends named the Young Tempts that sang Temptations cover songs.

Harris sang with the Temptations until 1975, helping the group win three Grammy awards and lending his voice to hits including "Take a Look Around" and "Masterpiece."

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Jackie Frank)

 
MC Hammer arrested in obstructing officer case PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elwyn Lopez and Phil Gast, CNN   
Saturday, 23 February 2013 23:18


(CNN)
-- Rapper MC Hammer launched a string of tweets Saturday with his side of the story two days after he was arrested in northern California for allegedly obstructing an officer.

Among his tweets, Hammer said, apparently referring to the arresting officer, that he was asked whether he was on parole or probation before the man tried to pull him out of his vehicle Thursday night.

Police in Dublin, east of Oakland, said Hammer was in a vehicle with expired registration and he was not the registered owner.

"After asking Hammer who the registered owner was he became very argumentative and refused to answer the officer's questions," police spokesman Herb Walters wrote Saturday evening in an e-mail to CNN.

Read More:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/23/showbiz/california-mc-hammer-arrest/index.html?eref=rss_mostpopular

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 February 2013 01:56
 
BREAKING NEWS!! 2nd Annual Black History Month Parade Atlanta DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Friday, 22 February 2013 14:23

BREAKING NEWS!!

Rain Date Announed:
SUNDAY 2/24/2013 @ 2PM
2nd Annual Black History Month Parade Atlanta
Line up starts Sunday at 1PM on the corner of Bell Street & Auburn Ave.

Plan: Activate Black History Month Parade rain/ shine

Route: The 2013 Black History Month Parade will start on the corner of Bell Street & Auburn Avenue at 2:00PM on 2.24.2013. The parade route will begin by heading west on Auburn Avenue and turning left on Park Place. The parade will continue on Park Place to the corner of Pryor Street and Upper Alabama Street at Underground Atlanta.

Read more: http://www.blackhistorymonthparade.com/

Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 14:26
 
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