NEWS

  • 2 Chicago mothers working to stop gun violence shot dead

    Two women involved with a group called Mothers Against Senseless Killings were shot dead Friday on a South Side Chicago block where moms gather to help curb gun violence. Police say they don't believe the two young mothers were the intended targets.

    The deaths of Chantel Grant, 25, and Andrea Stoudemire, 35, in the Englewood neighborhood served as a grim reminder of the kind of violence that led them to participate in neighborhood activities organized by Mothers Against Senseless Killings. The anti-violence group launched five years ago following the shooting death of another young mother at the same corner. The group began with moms "occupying" the corner, reports the Chicago Sun-Times — hanging out and offering food and counseling for youth in response to violence in the community.

    "That's why we're out here seven days a week ... trying to create a safe place where people can learn to be neighbors and not kill each other," said the group's founder, Tamar Manasseh.

    The gunfire on Friday night was meant for a man who is affiliated with a Chicago street gang and recently got out of prison, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. 

    The 58-year-old man, who was struck in the arm in the shooting and whose name hasn't been released, is not cooperating with police, Guglielmi said.

    "We have no information to suggest they were the intended targets," he said Tuesday, adding that police are still seeking leads in the case. No arrests have been made.

    Manasseh said she's not willing to accept the notion that Grant, a mother of four, and Stoudemire, who had three children, were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

    "They killed mothers on a corner where mothers sit every day," Manasseh said. "You don't have mothers killed in a place that is sacred to mothers and not take that as a message."

    The drive-by shooting followed what has become a familiar pattern in Chicago, where more people are fatally shot than in any other city in the U.S. Though homicides have decreased in recent years and are on a pace to drop again this year, police statistics show there have been 281 in 2019 as of July 28. And during the weekend in which the two women died, 48 people were shot in the city, nine of them fatally, reports CBS Chicago. The dead reportedly included a three-year-old child who was killed in an apparent gun accident.

    A 23-year-old woman was shot in the leg, back and face on June 25 by someone in a black vehicle in the same block where Grant and Stoudemire were gunned down, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.The woman survived, and police said there is no indication that shooting was connected to the one that killed the two mothers.

    Grant and Stoudemire were found lying on the sidewalk after a spray of bullets came from inside a blue SUV, police said.

    Manasseh said the women had been on the corner for hours Friday handing out food to other mothers and keeping watch over a vacant lot the group has turned into a play area for neighborhood children. She said Grant and Stoudemire had finished up for the day and had begun walking to a store to get food for themselves and their children when they were shot.
     
    "They can't even walk to the store without getting killed," said Manasseh. "They were killed for parenting."

    Manasseh called the women's deaths "terrifying" and "heartbreaking."

    "I haven't slept because I am trying to figure out how we can stop this," Manasseh told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Who's next? I just keep thinking, 'Who's next?' 

    The group has started a GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise $5,000 for a reward for information in the case. By Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $16,000.

    "The murder of a woman brought us to our corner on 75th & Stewart so there's no way we're going to let the murder of more moms drive us away," the fundraising page says. "We deserve to live without fear and the young women, Chantel Grant and Andrea Stoudemire who were torn from their children families tonight, deserve justice."   

    This story has been updated to clarify the women's role with Mothers Against Senseless Killings. 

     

     

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  • Woman jailed for murdering daughters who 'got in way' of her sex life

    Louise Porton described as ‘evil’ and ‘calculated’ for killing three-year-old and 17-month-old girls

    A mother who murdered her two young daughters 18 days apart after they “got in the way” of her living the life she wanted has been jailed for at least 32 years.

    Louise Porton, 23, killed Lexi Draper, three, and 17-month old Scarlett Vaughan last year. Both deaths were consistent with deliberate airway obstruction, and doctors could not find “any natural reason why either, let alone both, should have died”, prosecutors said.

    She suffocated Lexi in the early hours of 15 January, and was heard “laughing” at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett on 1 February.

    A jury heard that Porton, who described herself on a dating app as a model, accepted 41 friend requests from men the day after Lexi’s death.

    After Scarlett’s death, she had delayed calling an ambulance, even filling up with petrol as the toddler lay dead or dying in her car, and was described as being “calm and emotionless.”.

    Her children “got in the way of her doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted,” Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said.

    Porton, of Skiddaw, Rugby, Warwickshire, denied killing the girls, but was unanimously convicted following a five-week trial.

    Jailing her for life with a minimum term of 32 years the judge, Mrs Justice Yip, described Porton’s actions as “evil” and “calculated”.

    “One way or another you squeezed the life out of each of your daughters, only calling the emergency services when you knew they were dead. I am sure at the time of the deaths, you intended to kill each of your daughters. Why you did so, only you will know.”

    Evidence pointed to Porton having made two previous unsuccessful attempts on Lexi’s life. She had twice been taken to hospital but was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection.

    The judge said she was sure Porton had been responsible for events leading to Lexi’s earlier admissions to hospital on 2 January and on 4 January when her life was saved by skilled resuscitation by paramedics.

    Porton had made “sinister” internet searches at the time about death and breathing and drowning. She had researched how long it took for body parts to go cold, Birmingham crown court heard.

    The crown alleged Lexi had been dead for some time before a 999 call was made. Of Lexi’s death, the judge said: “I am left in no doubt that you delayed calling for an ambulance until you were sure she was dead and could not be resuscitated.” Scarlett “had signs of prior airway obstruction”, the judge said.

    When Lexi was ill in hospital, Porton took topless photos in the hospital toilets and was arranging to perform sex acts for money with a man she had met through a website, the jury heard.

    After Lexi’s death, it appeared to the funeral arranger present that Porton was “using FaceTime and that she was speaking to a man.”.

    Porton’s former landlady, when she lived at an address in Willenhall, near Walsall, told police she spent “more and more time” caring for Lexi and Scarlett while their mother was “doing social things” instead of looking after them. Porton would do “whatever she could not to have them with her”, she said.

    Porton had denied wrongdoing throughout, telling police in a prepared statement: “My children were never an inconvenience to me and I accommodated my lifestyle and personal life around them. I still don’t know how my daughters died, or what caused it.”

    The judge said she had carried out the “grossest abuse of trust” against her girls. “Those who loved Lexi and Scarlett have been left bewildered as to how and why you could have done something so evil.”

    The children’s father, Chris Draper, who never met Scarlett, said in an impact statement he felt “broken” with “nothing to live for”.

    “I sit and think, day and night, and I can’t understand why my two little girls were taken away because Louise wanted to sleep around. Maybe if social services had listened to me, my girls would still be alive today.”

    Det Supt Pete Hill, of Warwickshire police, said: “I will never be able to understand why Louise Porton murdered her children; Lexi and Scarlett. Not content with killing one of her children, she did exactly the same to her other daughter.”

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  • Meek Mill Partners With Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to Launch Dream Chasers Label

    Jay-Z and Meek Mill launch new record label

     

    Jay-Z and Meek Mill are partnering to bring Meek’s Dream Chasers label into the Roc Nation fold. The two signed papers Tuesday in New York City in front of a small media gathering at Roc Nation’s midtown headquarters.

    Holding the title of president of Dream Chasers, a joint venture with Roc Nation, Meek will oversee the label and build a staff to sign and develop artists. The label will also handle its own operations, creative strategy, marketing and business affairs. Meek is also planning to open a recording studio for use by the label’s artists.

    Said Jay-Z, whose 11-year-old Roc Nation has had Meek as a management client: “Everything he has done leading up to this point shows he is ready to [lead] the next generation. We look at the big picture — this is way beyond signing artists and having hot records.”

    Meek will continue to record for Maybach/Atlantic and he plans to release some “new content” prior to the Aug. 28 start of his Legendary Nights tour with Future.

    A Philadelphian  — the Eagles used his “Dreams and Nightmares” as their entrance music during their Super Bowl-winning season — Meek created the Dream Chasers imprint in 2012, though its handful of releases have been limited to mixtapes.

    Noting that it’s given him “seven years of experience,” Meek added, “I think it’s time for me to dive into the business. I’m 32 years old, I’m in a nice spot in the music business and I can help artists.”

    The label has no artists signed yet and no time frame to get started. He’s jumping into the label business after having a string of major success — three of his four Maybach/Atlantic albums have gone platinum and two have gone to No. 1. His 2018 track with Drake, “Going Bad,” peaked at No. 6 this year and is two times platinum.

    His goal is to sign artists with staying power rather than ones who might enjoy a month of success via social media channels. Jay-Z noted that Meek has been forwarding him plenty of music: “He has a super keen eye.”

    Meek Mill’s rise in the music world, though, has run concurrent with lingering legal issues stemming from drug and gun possession charges. Upon his most recent release from incarceration, he and Jay-Z created the REFORM Alliance to lobby for changes in laws and policies concerning parole and probation.

    “Coming out of prison, I felt I had a responsibility to lead the culture as much as I can,” Meek said. “Jay-Z and others that came before me were like the snow plow that made it easier for me and others. I want to be the snow plow of the next generation, taking on those responsibilities, trying to move forward and push the culture forward.”

    On the business side, Meek recently acquired an ownership stake in the sports apparel retailer Lids and has joined the ownership groups of Ethika Underwear and Milano di Rouge.

    All of that plays into what Jay-Z’s view of what Roc Nation represents. “When Meek and I connected, we connected on a level beyond him being a great rapper,” he said. “Just who he is, his honesty, his sense of responsibility. He just came out of a situation and pulled people together. He turned a negative thing into something positive.

    “I know he can make music  — you’ve heard it. I think he cannot only make music, but make stars. Not only make stars but make films. What we lacked for so long was opportunity. We didn’t own our businesses.  We’ve never been in this position before, never had this sort of power. Hip-hop is 40-something years old so we’ve just now gotten to the point where we can really affect change. The music and culture we created — we’ve given it away for so long. It’s understandable. You have to clean the floors before you own the building.”

     

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  • Man riding jet ski busted for using Tinder by his girlfriend

    'We're out here on vacation and you're getting Tinder messages?' Hilarious video shows the moment a man accidentally reveals to his girlfriend he is STILL on the dating app - while the pair are on a jet ski

    A man appears to be in hot water after his girlfriend realized he was still on Tinder in the middle of recording a video while they were jet skiing.

    The video, which was obtained by Jam Press, starts with the couple bobbing up and down on the waves while the jet ski slowly moves through the water. 

    The girlfriend, seated behind the man, can be seen holding onto his shoulders, giggling and mugging for the camera as the man speaks directly into the camera, which is off-screen.  

    After a couple seconds, the girlfriend stares at the camera, which is presumably attached to a cell phone, and her expression drops. 

    'Wait. Is that Tinder?' she asks. 

    'What are you talking about?' the man asks, shifting his eyes away from the camera and back to it, while revving the jet ski's engine. 

    'I thought you deleted that,' she says. 'Who is that? Why are they messaging you?' 

    When the man says that he did delete the dating app and tries to come up with an excuse for what his girlfriend is seeing, she interrupts him and says, 'We're out here on vacation and you're getting Tinder messages? Are you messaging them back? What the f**k is this?' 

    The man doesn't come up with an answer quick enough. 

    'Give me your phone,' the girlfriend demands, tapping the side of the man's head when he doesn't comply. 'Park this!' she says, referring to the jet ski.  

    'I'm going to park this,' the man says, before flooring the gas, sending the jet ski roaring through the water, in an apparent effort to cut off the impending fight. 

    The video ends as the girlfriend shrieks and laughs, telling her boyfriend, 'I'm not playing with you!' 

    Inexplicably, the man continued to shoot the video even after he had seemingly been caught out. Even more strange, he posted the confrontation online - so it remains to be seen if the video is genuine or an piece of theater for hits.

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  • Royalty meets royalty: Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan, Beyonce and Jay-Z meet at 'The Lion King'

    British royalty met American royalty at the European premiere of "The Lion King."

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were photographed chatting with Queen Bey and Jay-Z on the London red carpet Sunday, and we had no idea so many icons could fit together in one picture. 

    Duchess Meghan wore a black Jason Wu dress with sheer sleeves along with white diamond Nikos Koulis earrings and a Gucci clutch. Beyoncé wore a custom gold Cong Tri gown with a thigh-high slit. 

    The Duchess hugged Beyoncé and Jay-Z before Harry walked over to join the trio. 

    "You guys are busy," Prince Harry could be heard saying to the couple in a video. 

    "No more busy than you," Queen Bey responded. 

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