Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Names and faces


Usher will headline the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show in Las Vegas, the NFL, Apple Music and Roc Nation announced Sunday. The Grammy winner said he’s looking forward to leading the halftime festivitie­s Feb. 11 from Allegiant Stadium. “It’s an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performanc­e off my bucket list,” Usher said in a statement. “I can’t wait to bring the world a show unlike anything else they’ve seen from me before.” Usher springboar­ded into superstard­om with “Confession­s,” which sold more than 10 million units in the U.S. and earned him three Grammys. In total, he’s released eight studio albums. Usher, 44, is headlining his “Usher: My Way” residency in Las Vegas, which has drawn sold-out shows and rave reviews. He’s expected to wrap up his residency in early December. Roc Nation and Emmy-winning producer Jesse Collins will serve as co-executive producers of the halftime show. Hamish Hamilton returns as director. It’s the second collaborat­ion between the NFL, Apple Music and Roc Nation. “Usher is an icon whose music has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape throughout his career,” said Seth Dudowsky, NFL Head of Music. m Russell Brand made his first public comments since he was accused of emotional and sexual abuse, though h e stopped

short of directly addressing the allegation­s. Instead, the British comedian alluded to the claims in a YouTube video Friday night while telling his 6.6 million subscriber­s about the topics he plans to discuss in the coming days, among them the pharmaceut­ical industry and media censorship. “I thank you very much for your support and for questionin­g the informatio­n that you’ve been presented with,” Brand said. It comes a week after the Times of London, The Sunday Times and U.K. Channel 4’s “Dispatches” published a joint investigat­ion in which several women accused Brand of sexual assault and rape between 2006-13. Since the initial accusation­s, even more women have come forward, including one who claims Brand exposed himself to her in an office building and later joked about the incident on his radio show. In the wake of the allegation­s, Brand’s live tour has been postponed, his shows have been pulled from BBC’s streaming platform and YouTube has demonetize­d his channel.

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