Florida Tech student fatally shot in armed confrontation with officers, police say


(FLORIDA) — A Florida Institute of Technology student who was reportedly wielding a knife at students on campus was fatally shot by officers Friday night, authorities said.

Police officers and school security responded shortly before 11 p.m. to reports of a man on the Melbourne campus “armed with a knife and assaulting students,” the Melbourne Police Department said.

The incident began at Roberts Hall, a freshman residence hall, according to school officials.

Officers confronted the man, identified by police as 18-year-old Alhaji Sow, in a campus building “armed with an edged weapon,” the department said.

Sow “lunged” at a police officer with his weapon during the confrontation, and the officer and a school security officer both fired their weapons, striking him, according to Melbourne police.

Officers attempted lifesaving measures but the student died at the scene, police said.

The Melbourne police officer who fired his weapon was injured during the incident, police said. No other injuries were reported.

Shortly after midnight, the school issued a shelter-in-place alert and advised people to avoid the area due to police activity on campus. The order was lifted around 3 a.m., though students were advised to avoid Roberts Hall and Campbell Hall, another residence hall, due to the investigation.

The shooting was an “isolated incident” and there is no further threat to the campus, police and school officials said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. The officer is a five-year veteran of the force, police said.

Sow, of Riverdale, Georgia, was a sophomore at the university studying aeronautical science, school officials said.

In a statement Saturday morning, Florida Tech said it “continues to collaborate with law enforcement’s ongoing investigation.”

The school said it is arranging support services Saturday for students and others in the community.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Member of ‘Jena Six’ speaks out on race and the justice system 15 years later


(LOUISIANA) — Bryant Purvis was just 17 when he became a part of the “Jena Six.”

He and five other Black teens were accused and later convicted of attacking a white student at a high school in Jena, Louisiana, a town with a large majority of white residents, after a series of racially charged incidents there.

The case against the teens became for many a symbol of racial discrimination in the justice system — attempted murder charges for what supporters called a schoolyard fight. The charges were later dramatically reduced.

Purvis, now 32, maintains he was not involved in the fight. He has since dedicated his time talking to students about racial injustice as a motivational speaker. He also authored the book, “My Story as a Jena 6,” in 2015, but is now focused on his future beyond the “Jena Six” label.

“At the time, it was just so much emotion,” Purvis, who now lives in Dallas and has a 9-year-old son, told ABC News.

“It was more extreme because I knew I didn’t commit the crime. So, once I found out the charges, knowing where I was in Jena, I just didn’t see it coming out good.”

15 years later

Dec. 4 marks the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Jena Six: Purvis, Carwin Jones, Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey Jr., Theo Shaw and Mychal Bell.

At the beginning of the 2006 school year, several Black students were sitting under a tree at Jena High School where white students usually congregated, according to the ACLU, which advocated on behalf of the Jena Six. A day later, three nooses were left hanging from a branch on the tree, and three white students were temporarily suspended, the ACLU reported, despite the principal’s recommendation to expel them.

Later that year, a white adult at a gas station pulled a shotgun on three Black teens, including Bailey, but the teens were the ones charged in the case — for taking the gun and bringing it to police, according to a 2009 Good Morning America report.

On Dec. 4, 2006, six Black teenagers, now known as the Jena Six were accused of beating up a fellow white student Justin Barker, who was hospitalized and suffered a swollen eye and a concussion, according to Barker’s family.

He said in interviews years later with The Associated Press that he didn’t know why he was attacked.

The Black teens were arrested and charged with second-degree battery, which was later upgraded to second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy to commit attempted murder, despite Barker returning to a school function hours later, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented one of the teens and helped arrange the defense for another.

Supporters argued the charges were far too serious for the severity of Barker’s injury, sparking a massive protest and litigation efforts to have the charges reduced, SPLC said.

Bell, then 16, was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty to second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit second-degree battery. However, his conviction was later overturned after a judge ruled he should have been tried as a juvenile. Bell still received an 18-month detention sentence.

The other five pleaded no contest in an agreement that reduced their charges to a misdemeanor simple battery and did not admit guilt or involvement. Each one of them was fined $500 and served a week of unsupervised probation.

“We recognize that the events of the past two and a half years have also caused Justin and his parents tremendous pain and suffering, much of which has gone unrecognized,” the teens said in a prepared statement read in court, according to SPLC. “We hope our actions today help to resolve this matter for Justin, Mr. and Mrs. Barker, and all others affected, including the Town of Jena.”

DA said race not a factor

The district attorney at the time, Reed Walters, claimed race wasn’t a factor in the charges.

“It is not and never has been about race,” Walters said, according to an AP report at the time. “It is about finding justice for an innocent victim and holding people accountable for their actions.”

Local activists disagreed.

“From racial profiling to unequal punishment in school to potential misconduct by authorities, the Jena Six case causes great concern,” Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said in a 2007 statement.

“It is time to fully examine the facts surrounding this case to determine if any racially motivated misdeeds have taken place. Considering the concerns that the Jena Six bring up, we must redouble our commitment to equal protection — not just in Jena, but across Louisiana and the rest of the country.”

Thousands came out to protest during their trials in 2007. Demonstrators were furious with disparities in the criminal justice system, which they said often resulted in harsher, more unjust charges and sentences for Black people compared with white people.

Trying to move on

Following the incident and their convictions, the other men too wanted to move on — some going to college, others entering the labor force. Shaw also maintained his innocence, claiming he was not involved in the fight.

Purvis said racial division and segregation had long been an issue in Jena, for as long as he could remember, but the experiences of the Jena Six shined a national spotlight on the tensions that were building up.

“I would say we kind of put pressure on the officials and everybody that run the town to make a change,” Purvis added. “We brought a lot of attention to the community … A lot of other things that happened leading up to that fight that really weren’t publicized.”

Years later, Purvis has a message for Black men about ongoing injustice in America: “Carry yourself in the right manner, and don’t let one situation define who you are.”

“Things are gonna happen to you,” he added, “but it’s not about what happened — it’s how you respond.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

With so many unknowns about omicron, when will we have answers?


(NEW YORK) — The latest COVID-19 variant of concern, omicron, first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa last week — and now detected throughout the U.S. — continues to worry many Americans with still much unknown about the virus.

Health authorities continue to urge calm as scientists across the globe search for answers.

“Right now, we’re really in a state of knowledge acquisition,” said Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts. “We really need to know more. We need to know how pathogenic it is. We need to know how transmissible it is and we need to know whether or not it evades antibody responses induced by the vaccines.”

Experts caution that answers to those questions may not come for months.

“What’s going to happen is our band of confidence is going to narrow over time as opposed to saying in this amount of time we will have an answer. And that’s what we have to recognize,” said John Brownstein, epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We just need to have some patience,” Brownstein added.

When will we know about omicron transmission?
Researchers, however, expect to have estimates for transmissibility “probably ahead of some of the other questions that we have,” said Brownstein.

In a press conference Wednesday, WHO COVID technical lead, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said there is some suggestion omicron may be more transmissible but it’s too early to say definitively. “We expect to have more information on transmission within days, not necessarily weeks,” Van Kerkhove said.

“Based on the data collected through surveillance, we have a rough estimation of the proportion of infections that relate to omicron where you can start to make basic estimates of transmissibility very quickly,” said Brownstein.

During the White House COVID-19 briefing on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, said as more omicron cases are detected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be able to model how the new variant will spread, similar to how quickly CDC predicted the delta variant would spread from the initial 3% to 4% of cases to nearly all cases.

“We really don’t know what’s going to happen, how well it is going to compete or not compete with delta, but we will know as more cases occur and what the doubling time of the relative percentage of omicron versus delta will be,” Fauci said.

When will we know how effective current COVID-19 vaccines are on omicron?
The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement on Tuesday it is working “as quickly as possible” to evaluate the potential impact of omicron on current treatments, vaccines and tests and said it expects to have answers in the next few weeks.

If a modification to current vaccines is necessary, vaccine manufacturers say they are prepared to make those modifications quickly.

In a statement on Sunday, Pfizer and BioNTech said they have been monitoring the effectiveness of their vaccine against emerging variants and if a “vaccine-escape variant emerges” they expect to be able to make a “tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval.”

Matt Barrows, Moderna’s senior director of manufacturing told ABC News that the company has the capacity to produce an omicron-specific booster vaccine within a month if it becomes necessary. He said experiments testing the efficacy of their current vaccine against omicron are ongoing and will take at least two to three weeks.

“Although we haven’t proven it yet, there’s every reason to believe that if you get vaccinated and boosted that you would have at least some degree of cross protection, very likely against severe disease, even against the Omicron variant,” said Fauci.

When will we know if omicron causes more serious illness?
Learning if this version of the virus is deadlier could take many months, experts say.

“We don’t even know if omicron will have the ability to overtake delta and we’re dealing with a delta surge right now. There’s a lot of ifs and a lot of open questions,” said Brownstein.

Currently, the delta variant is driving nearly all cases across the U.S., with 99.9% of cases in the country from the delta variant.

Health officials are encouraged by the mild symptoms the omicron cases are experiencing so far. According to health officials, the man who tested positive for omicron in Minnesota is fully vaccinated and had been boosted in early November. The woman identified in Colorado is also reported to be experiencing only mild symptoms and was fully vaccinated, however not boosted.

Early cases identified in South Africa have also reported no severe disease according to local officials. “Right now it does not look like there’s a big signal of a high degree of severity, but it’s too early to tell,” said Fauci, in an interview with CNN.

As of today, there are more than 400 confirmed cases of Omicron in over 30 countries across the globe, including in the US. As scientists work on getting more answers, experts are urging to not wait and get vaccinated or boosted if eligible.

“As it stands now with the information we have, you do the best with the information you have in front of you and that information says that you get an incredible advantage by getting that booster,” said Brownstein.

Barouch said that the only way to stop new variants is to vaccinate people across the globe.

On Friday, the White House announced that it’s shipping out 11 million more vaccines worldwide in an effort to increase vaccination around the world. The U.S. has shipped 291 million doses so far and President Joe Biden announced plans Thursday to provide 200 million more doses worldwide in the next 3 months.

“Currently, sub-Saharan Africa has less than a seven percent vaccination rate. And so it’s not a surprise that new variants are emerging in that part of the world,” Barouch said. “The only way to stop these variants is to have a widespread vaccination campaign that really reaches all four corners of the planet.”

Esra Demirel, M.D., is an OB-GYN resident physician at Northwell Health-North Shore University Hospital & LIJ Medical Center and is a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

As delta continues to surge in Pennsylvania, hospital officials urge vaccination


(PENNSYLVANIA) — Omicron has been making headlines as cases of the new COVID-19 variant continue to be detected in the United States. While the strain is concerning, health officials are heeding that delta continues to fuel widespread transmission and is a problem now.

That’s the current case in Pennsylvania, where the number of daily confirmed COVID-19 infections crossed 10,000 Friday for the first time since the state’s winter wave.

In the past week, the number of COVID-19 cases, case rates, hospitalizations and patients on ventilators have all gone up, according to state data. Amid its latest surge, Pennsylvania has one of the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the U.S.

“We continue to see a tremendous amount of COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Eugene Curley, the medical director of infectious disease for WellSpan Health, which has six acute care hospitals in south-central Pennsylvania, told ABC News.

One month ago, there were about 250 COVID-19 patients total being treated across the six hospitals; on Friday, that number was 310, Curley said. The peak, during last year’s winter surge, was around 430, he said.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which operates over 35 hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, has seen its second-highest number of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began, hospital officials said. As of Friday morning, there were 779 patients with active COVID-19 infections admitted across all UPMC facilities; the peak, in December 2020, was 1,250, UPMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Donald Yealy told ABC News.

“Across our system, we’re at about two-thirds to three-quarters of what that peak is,” he said. “So it is very, very brisk.”

The state’s current surge has been building since late summer, Yealy said. It reached a peak in late September before “there was the beginning of a pullback in activity,” Yealy said.

“That pullback no longer exists and we are back on essentially an upward trajectory,” he continued.

It’s hard to predict if Thanksgiving gatherings will have an impact on hospitalizations; holidays are a “wild card,” Curley said. But many people in the state have no protection against COVID-19, Yealy noted, which will help fuel transmission.

Statewide, around 41% of residents have still not gotten fully vaccinated, according to federal data. Within some counties, that percentage is in the 60s, state data shows.

Unvaccinated people continue to represent the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including those who are in intensive care units, state and hospital data shows.

For the 30 days ending Nov. 2, nearly 75% of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated, according to state data.

Across WellSpan’s six acute-care hospitals, over 90% of COVID-19 patients in the ICU and on ventilators since early September have been unvaccinated, the health system said this week.

“Those numbers just reinforce what we already know — is these vaccinations are safe and effective,” Curley said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has urged people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

“In Pennsylvania and around the country, the vaccine is still our strategy, so get your shot,” the governor said last week on KDKA-AM radio, according to The Associated Press.

A renewed push for vaccination and boosters has come amid the spread of omicron, which has concerned scientists due to its large number of mutations. The variant has been detected in at least 11 states — including Pennsylvania, where the state’s first case was identified Friday in a man from northwest Philadelphia, health officials said.

For Curley, if concerns around the omicron variant encourage people to get vaccinated, that’s a good thing. But he warned that delta “is here now.”

“People need to get vaccinated for that reason,” he said. “If you’re out there and you’re eligible to be vaccinated, get vaccinated now because of delta.”

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed that sentiment on Friday in an interview on CNN.

“We now have about 86,000 cases of COVID right now in the United States being diagnosed daily and 99.9% of them, the vast majority of them, continue to be delta,” she said. “And we know what we need to do against delta. And that is get vaccinated. Get boosted if you’re eligible and continue all of those prevention measures, including masking.”

It is too soon to tell if omicron will overtake delta as the predominant variant in the U.S., she said. Though either way, the actions will likely remain the same, experts say.

“The truth of the matter is, both delta, which is the predominant variant now, and omicron are easily transmitted. And so the concerns are really not changed all that much, and the actions that we all need to take remain exactly the same,” Yealy said. “Get vaccinated, wear a mask indoors and in crowds, keep a little distance and if you get sick, don’t go out with others and get tested as quickly as possible.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Imagine Dragons to perform during 2021 Game Awards

Credit: Eric Ray Davidson

Imagine Dragons will be performing during the 2021 Game Awards, which celebrate the year’s best in video games.

It wasn’t announced what Dan Reynolds and company will be playing, but it seems likely we’ll hear a rendition of “Enemy,” a song ID recorded for the Netflix animated series Arcane, which was inspired by the League of Legends video game.

A tweet from the Game Awards also promises that Imagine Dragons will be joined by “very special surprise guests.”

The 2021 Game Awards will be held December 9 in Los Angeles. For more info, visit TheGameAwards.com.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone to release new solo album in January; check out lead single, “Melting Snow”

Spirit of Unicorn Music

Longtime Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone will release his first solo album in nearly 50 years, Deeper than My Roots, on February 4.

The project was a true family affair, as Johnstone’s youngest son, Elliott, sings lead vocals on most of the album, his son Charlie recorded many of the basic tracks at his home in California and contributed keyboard and backing vocals, and his son Jesse played drums on some of the songs.

In addition, Davey collaborated with his oldest son, Tam, and Jesse to write, record and produce the two instrumental tracks that are featured on the album: “Black Scotland” and “Walt Dizney.”

Johnstone has premiered the lead single from Deeper than My Roots, the melancholy “Melting Snow,” which is sung by his son Elliott and features Davey’s longtime Elton John band mate Nigel Olsson on drums. The song is accompanied by a lyric video that debuted at the Spirit of Unicorn Music label’s official YouTube channel.

Former Paul McCartney and Wings drummer Denny Seiwell also lent his talents to three songs. The album includes a pair of bonus tracks, including a cover of The Beatles‘ “Here, There and Everywhere.”

Johnstone recorded Deeper than My Roots while Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour was forced off the road because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trek is scheduled to relaunch on January 19 in New Orleans.

Davey’s only other solo album, Smiling Face, was released in 1973. You can pre-order Deeper than My Roots on CD now at CherryRed.co.uk.

Here’s the album’s full track list:

“Go Easy on My Heart”
“One Look in Your Eyes”
“Meh Amour”
“Walt Dizney”
“Melting Snow”
“You Lied to Me”
“Boxer in the Corner”
“Black Scotland”
“The Final Quarter”

Bonus Tracks
“Here, There and Everywhere”
“All the Time in the World”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty, held on $500K bond each

Getty/Scott Olson

(MICHIGAN) — The parents charged in connection with this week’s deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan each pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter Saturday in their first hearing since being taken into custody in the middle of the night while hiding in Detroit.

The couple was captured early Saturday following an hourslong search after they did not turn themselves in for their scheduled arraignment Friday afternoon, according to law enforcement officials.

The attorney for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who could be seen fighting back tears during the arraignment, had said Friday they were returning to town for their court date after detectives announced they were trying to locate the couple. But the duo remained missing late Friday and the U.S. Marshals Service joined in on the search.

The couple was caught by the Detroit Police Department when a business owner called 911 after spotting the suspects’ car in their parking lot and Jennifer Crumbley standing next to it, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. She fled the area on foot, but the couple was located in a commercial building after an extensive search of the area. They were taken into custody “without incident,” Detroit Police Chief James White said at a 3 a.m. press conference, and were unarmed.

White said the duo was “aided in getting into the building” and some charges might be filed against the person who let them inside. He also said it was “very likely” they were trying to flee to Canada.

The Marshals Service had announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to their arrests.

At Saturday’s arraignment, the judge ordered they each be held on $500,000 with no 10% bond and will submit to drug testing and be fitted with a GPS monitor if they are able to meet bond. They were also asked to surrender any weapons to the sheriff’s office.

Shannon Smith, who is representing Jennifer Crumbley, repeatedly said her clients were not fleeing prosecution and planned to turn themselves in Saturday morning, a categorization that Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald disputed.

“While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message,” Smith and James Crumbley’s lawyer, Mariell Lehman, said in a statement Saturday. “The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.”

McDonald recommended the $500,000 bond, saying, “These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own.”

The parents were each charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly used his father’s semi-automatic handgun in the Tuesday shooting that killed four and injured seven.

“They could have stopped it and they had every reason to know he was dangerous,” McDonald said during the hearing Saturday.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the Crumbleys’ attorney would make arrangements for their arrest if charges were issued, and when the warrants were issued Friday, “detectives immediately moved to arrest the couple,” the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.
The attorney told police “she had made repeated attempts to reach them by phone and text without success,” the sheriff’s office said.

Bouchard said, “The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy.”

The couple’s attorneys then said in a statement: “The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement.”

In a response to the statement by the attorneys for Jennifer and James Crumbley, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said it was not aware that the couple was returning to be arraigned.

“If they are, it’s news to us,” Undersheriff Mike McCabe told ABC News, saying authorities still don’t know where the couple is located.

McDonald confirmed Saturday that the couple had withdrawn $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills on Friday morning before going missing.

Jennifer and James Crumbley are due back in court in Dec. 14.

Earlier on Friday, McDonald at a news conference outlined an alarming and violent note Ethan Crumbley allegedly drew hours before the shooting that prompted his parents to be called to the school. She also stressed the importance of responsible gun ownership.

“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to this, to the events on November 30, and it is my intention to hold them accountable,” McDonald said.

Ethan Crumbley was with his father when he bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer pistol on Nov. 26, McDonald said. The teen posted photos of the gun on social media, writing, “Just got my new beauty today,” she said. Jennifer Crumbley also posted online about testing the gun out with her son, McDonald said.

A teacher saw Ethan Crumbley researching ammunition in class days before the shooting, the prosecutor said. School officials contacted his parents, but they didn’t respond, McDonald said. However, according to the prosecutor, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, writing, “lol, I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught.”

According to McDonald, the morning of Tuesday’s shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s teacher saw an alarming note on his desk. McDonald described the note as “a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words, ‘The thoughts won’t stop, help me.’ In another section of the note was a drawing of a bullet with the following words above that bullet, ‘Blood everywhere.'”

“Between the drawing of the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding,” she said. “Below that figure is a drawing of a laughing emoji. Further down the drawing are the words, ‘My life is useless,’ and to the right of that are the words, ‘The world is dead.'”

Ethan Crumbley was removed from the classroom and his parents were called to the school, McDonald said. By the time a counselor obtained the drawing, the teen had allegedly altered it, McDonald said.

“At the meeting, James and Jennifer Crumbley were shown the drawing and were advised that they were required to get their son into counseling within 48 hours,” she said. “Both James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to ask their son if he had his gun with him or where his gun was located and failed to inspect his backpack for the presence of the gun, which he had with him.”

The parents left school while Ethan Crumbley returned to class, likely with the gun in his backpack, McDonald said.

Once news broke of a shooting at the school, McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, “Ethan, don’t do it.”

James Crumbley called 911 to report that a gun was missing from his house and said he believed his son may be the shooter, McDonald said.

Authorities determined James Crumbley’s semi-automatic handgun was stored unlocked in a drawer in his bedroom, McDonald said.

McDonald said involuntary manslaughter is “the strongest possible charge that we could prove” against the suspect’s parents.

“These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences,” she said.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death; four counts of first-degree murder; seven counts of assault with intent to murder; and 11 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

A judge entered a not guilty plea for Ethan Crumbley on Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin celebrate night six of ‘The Hanukkah Sessions’ by covering Billy Joel

Medios y Media/Getty Images

Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin have released a cover of Billy Joel‘s “Big Shot” for night six of their Hanukkah Sessions series.

“While he claims a secular Long Island upbringing (and has songs full of Catholic and Italian imagery), Billy Joel remains one of the great Jews of musical scripture,” Grohl says of the Piano Man.

You can watch the “Big Shot” cover streaming now on YouTube. Is there a kazoo solo? You’d better believe it!

Grohl and Kurstin launched The Hanukkah Sessions in 2020 with covers of eight different Jewish artists for each night of the holiday. This year’s series has so far included Lisa Loeb‘s “Stay (I Missed You),” the Ramones‘ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” Barry Manilow‘s “Copacabana,” Van Halen‘s “Jump” and Amy Winehouse‘s “Take the Box.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Halle Berry praises H.E.R.; ‘Harlem’ debuts starring Megan Good; and more


Bruised director and star Halle Berry recruited H.E.R. for the film’s all-female soundtrack, and the Oscar- and Grammy-winning music artist delivered the powerful track “Automatic Woman,” inspired by Halle’s character, Jackie Justice, who stops at nothing until she emerges victorious.

Berry says in a new episode of the Netlifx Playlist Showcase video feature that the 24-year-old singer’s 2016 song “Focus” changed her life and helped her ask for the focus she needed in a relationship.

“If this song, ‘Automatic Woman,’ could hit others like ‘Focus’ hit me, I feel like I’ve been part of creating something that’s really magical.”

H.E.R. comments that she was inspired by Halle’s gritty performance in Bruised. “I was so moved by ‘No matter what happens, I’m going to make it through,’” she says. “The idea of perseverance and, like, pushing through, fighting through … all those things you have to tell yourself to be able to fight through.”

In other news, Meagan Good stars as a Columbia University anthropology professor who is an expert on dating cultures around the world, yet has trouble navigating her own love life, in the 10-episode Harlem TV series that debuts Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

She told Ebony she’s never related more to a character in her 30-year career. “This is the first time I was like, ‘Oh, I know her. I understand her.’ So much of that is exactly me. I am very quirky and goofy, and nerdy. And as an actress, I haven’t had a chance to show that side of myself, and I didn’t know what might come out—and I was excited to explore that. ”

Finally, a 16-time Grammy winner stars with Demetria McKinney in the original holiday film, Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas, airing Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m / 7 p.m. Central on Lifetime.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“Hello, Sidney…” Paramount releases new promo pics starring the ‘Scream’ series’ original survivors

Paramount Pictures

Neve CampbellDavid Arquette, and Courteney Cox are featured in a trio of new posters for the upcoming fifth film in the Scream series.

The faces of Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, Arquette’s Dewey Riley, and Cox’s Gale Weathers are shown posing with the creepy mask of the Ghostface killer they’ve all managed to survive through multiple films. Below them is the movie’s tagline, “It’s Always Someone You Know.” 

As previously reported, the anticipated new film also stars some new blood: The Boys‘ Jack Quaid, 13 Reason Why‘s Dylan MinnetteMikey Madison from Once Upon a Time…In HollywoodYes Day‘s Jenna Ortega, and In The Heights‘ Melissa Barrera.

Scream debuts January 14.


A post shared by Scream (@screammovies)

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