Springsteen cancels North Carolina show over transgender law

(Reuters) – Rock star Bruce Springsteen today canceled a weekend concert in North Carolina to protest a new state law barring transgender people from choosing bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, as country music stars decried similar legislation proposed in Tennessee.

Country music star Merle Haggard dead at 79

Merle Haggard (Reuters) – Country musician Merle Haggard, who emerged from prison to become the poetic voice of the American working man with hits such as “Mama Tried” and “If We Make It Through December,” died on Wednesday, his 79th birthday, said manager Frank Mull.

“SOLD” brings brutality of child sex slavery to screen

NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When actress Gillian Anderson chose to appear in a new movie about a Nepali girl who is unwittingly sold by her impoverished parents to an Indian brothel, her decision had nothing to do with the part, she says.

‘Fifth Beatle’ George Martin dies aged 90

LOS ANGELES/LONDON (Reuters) – George Martin, known as “the fifth Beatle” for his work in shaping the band that became one of the world’s most influential music forces, has died at the age of 90.

Hulk Hogan ‘humiliated’ by sex tape as Gawker trial starts

PETERSBURG, Fla., (Reuters) – Hulk Hogan told a Florida jury on Monday he was “completely humiliated” by a secretly recorded sex tape published online by Gawker, as he seeks $100 million in damages from the website in a case testing celebrity privacy rights and freedom of the press in the digital age.

Rolling Stones announce plans to play free concert in Havana March 25

HAVANA, (Reuters) – The Rolling Stones will perform a free outdoor concert in Havana on March 25, the band’s publicist announced today, a milestone event in a country where the communist government once banned the group’s music as an “ideological deviation.” The Stones added the show – likely to be the biggest rock concert ever staged in Cuba – to a Latin American tour that had been due to end on March 17 in Mexico City.

Chris Rock transforms Oscars into biting racial commentary

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Comedian Chris Rock launched his return stint as Oscar host on Sunday by immediately and unabashedly confronting the racially charged elephant in the room – the furor over the all-white field of performers nominated for Hollywood’s highest honors.

Spotlight’ wins top Oscar prize on night of racial critique

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Catholic Church abuse movie “Spotlight” was named best picture, the top award at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, after an evening peppered with pointed punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

Meryl Streep clarifies ‘We’re all Africans’ remark

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep on Thursday said her “We’re all Africans” comment was taken out of context, writing in the Huffington Post about the controversy she sparked up amid Holly-wood’s ongoing diversity debate.

Producer Dr. Luke accuses Kesha supporters of ‘trial by Twitter’

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Pop star Kesha’s former music producer on Monday said allegations that he had raped the singer were lies, and hit back at a “trial by Twitter” backed by some of music’s biggest names over Kesha’s bid to extricate herself from a recording contract.