NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Z, whose wife Beyonce is expecting twins soon, was absent from the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame, where he was inducted by a charismatic longtime fan: former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Obama, appearing in a taped video, told the audience Thursday that he’s been listening to Jay Z since he was a “young and hungry state senator” and compared himself to the New York rapper.
“Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today. You know what it’s like not to have a father around, you know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did. So we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well,” Obama said, earning an applause from the audience in New York City.
“Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s going to have me beat once those two twins show up. And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are,” he added.
Jay Z became the first rapper inducted into the prestigious organization and was the first hip-hop act nominated for the honor. The icon, who rarely tweets, posted multiple messages on Twitter around the time the ceremony took place, naming rappers who he admires, from veterans like Rakim and Nas to contemporaries such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.
“Thank you to all the people that have inspired me,” Jay Z, born Shawn Carter, tweeted. “Salute to anybody who made a song to feed their family or just vent.”
The 2017 Songwriters Hall class also included Motown founder Berry Gordy; R&B maestro Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds; songwriting duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis; pop music great Max Martin; and members of Chicago.
Jon Bon Jovi kicked off the multi-hour event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel with “It’s My Life,” his band’s 2000 hit that Martin co-wrote. Bon Jovi said that Martin, who has written monster hits for Taylor Swift, the Backstreet Boys and other pop stars, had been a part of 22 No. 1s, placing him only behind John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Martin, who rarely does interviews or appears in public, called the induction “unbelievable.”
Johnny Gill, the New Edition member and solo singer, earned the night’s loudest applause when he performed “My, My, My,” one of many hits written by Babyface. Gill worked the stage from left to right, and even jumped down to the audience to scream the song’s groovy lyrics, bringing them to life.
Babyface, who wrote hits for Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and others, said he’s amazed that “I, Kenny Edmonds, this little black kid from Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote a song and somebody in … Kansas is singing the words to right now.”
Pat Monahan of Train sang in honor of Robert Lamm and James Pankow of Chicago, while Rhonda Ross Kendrick, Gordy’s daughter with Diana Ross, performed for her father.
“Most people think I got this award many years ago,” said Gordy, who has written songs for Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. “Songwriting was my first love.”
Usher performed a medley to pay homage to Jam and Lewis, the duo behind countless hits for Janet Jackson as well as George Michael, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.
“Without us the music doesn’t exist,” Jam said of songwriters.
Ed Sheeran, who performed his hit “Castle on the Hill,” was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award. The English singer, who writes his own music and has also written for Justin Bieber and One Direction, said the “happiest moments of my life” are when he’s writing songs.
“There’s nothing like that moment,” he added.
Pitbull closed the show with a performance and earned the Global Ambassador Award.
Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police are investigating an unprovoked sucker-punch attack on an intellectually disabled man that was captured on a video .
Gerald Andrews Sr. says he saw the slow-motion video after someone else posted it, so he shared it on his Facebook page to call attention to the attack. Andrews says the victim is a co-worker at a supermarket in Cheltenham.
The video shows one youth punching the man in the jaw while the victim is looking into the camera and smiling, apparently distracted. Another youth then chases the victim and punches him again in the head while a younger boy or teen is seen laughing.
Andrews called the attack “heartbreaking.”
Police Sgt. Eric Gripp says investigators hope someone with information about the video contacts police.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Video from a Florida jail shows a barefoot and handcuffed Tiger Woods performing two breath tests after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
In video released Friday by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Woods uses the slurred speech and unsteadiness described by Jupiter Police who arrested him early Monday.
Woods mumbles responses to an officer’s questions, describing his hair as “mostly brown and fading.”
Woods asks what the case is about and repeatedly needs instructions to blow into the breath machine. The officer and breath-test technician laugh when Woods says he “can’t unlock my two bracelets.”
While seated and handcuffed, Wood agrees to a urine test but asks, “How am I going to hold it?”
The breath tests registered a 0.0 blood-alcohol level. Woods has blamed “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — His speech slow and slurred, Tiger Woods couldn’t follow simple instructions or keep his balance during a dazed and disoriented encounter with police before he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The video images came from dashcam footage that Jupiter police released Wednesday night, and they show Woods with little capacity to stand still without swaying, repeat simple instruction or put one foot in front of the other.
The footage came from his arrest Monday in the dark of early morning when Jupiter police noticed his Mercedes parked on the side of a six-lane road, part of it in the road and part of it in the bicycle lane.
Police found the Woods sound asleep behind the wheel, according to an incident report. The engine was running, the brake lights were on and the right turn signal was blinking. Police also released photos of his car that showed both tires flat and minor damage around the bumpers.
When the officer asks Woods where he had been, the 14-time major champion says, “LA.” He says he was headed down to Orange County.
The 1 hour, 39-minute video starts with Jupiter police approaching Woods’ car and ends with the cruiser pulling into the Palm Beach County jail, with Woods in handcuffs behind his back and sitting in the back seat.
Woods told the officers he had not been drinking, and two breath tests at the jail registered a 0.0 blood-alcohol level. Woods issued a statement nearly 10 hours after he was released from jail on Monday that alcohol was not involved.
“What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications,” Woods said in his statement. “I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
He told police he was taking prescription medicine. When asked what kind, he gave an answer that was redacted from the videotape. The arrest affidavit listed four medications, including Vicodin, that Woods reported taking.
Woods is to be arraigned July 5 in Palm Beach County Court.
The video brings to life the troubling images contained in an incident report from the four police officers who were at the scene.
His speech is slurred from his first words. When the officer points out that Woods’ shoe is untied, Woods places his right foot on the front of the police car and starts to fiddle with the laces.
“It’s your other shoe that’s untied,” the officer says as Woods unties the laces.
“Now that one is, too,” the officer adds.
When Woods is unable to tie the left shoe, the officer tells him he can take them off. Woods then tells the officer he doesn’t remember what happened or being asleep in his car when police approached.
The field sobriety test was a failure from the start.
Woods struggled to simply put his feet together. When he did, he leaned forward after losing his balance.
He couldn’t follow a red light the officer moved from side to side. When asked to walk a straight line by going heel-to-toe nine times, Woods staggered from the starting position. He never connected heel-to-toe. He often strayed outside the white line and occasionally lost his balance.
Woods couldn’t raise one leg 6 inches off the ground.
On his third try of understanding instructions to recite the alphabet, he made it from A to Z.
The next instruction from the officer was to place his hands behind his back as they cuffed him and told him he was being arrested.
Woods, who had his fourth back surgery in three years on April 20, has not played since Feb. 2 in Dubai when he withdrew after the first round because of back spasms. The surgery means he is out for the rest of the PGA Tour season.
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