12-08-2023  8:18 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Future of Lloyd Center Includes Teardown, But Keeping the Ice Rink

New owners submit plans for mixed-use and open spaces, residences and promenades, to city.

Atmospheric River Brings Heavy Rain, Flooding and Warm Winter Temperatures to the Pacific Northwest

The National Weather Service reported that rainfall records were shattered in some areas of the Olympic Peninsula. Washington and Oregon officials have urged drivers to use caution as standing water and flooding affect roadways. 

Oldest Black Church in Oregon Will Tear Down, Rebuild To Better Serve Community

As physical attendance dwindles, First African Methodist Episcopal Zion is joining the growing trend of churches that are re-imagining how best to use their facilities.

Cities Crack Down on Homeless Encampments. Advocates Say That’s Not the Answer

Homeless people and their advocates say encampment sweeps are cruel and costly, and there aren't enough shelter beds or treatment for everyone. But government officials say it's unacceptable to let encampments fester and people need to accept offers of shelter or treatment, if they have a severe mental illness or addiction.

NEWS BRIEFS

Letitia Carson Traveling Exhibit at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute

Letitia Carson was one of the first Black women to settle in Oregon. ...

OHCS Announces Homeowner Assistance Fund Application Portal to Close on December 20

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is closing the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program to most new applicants to...

2024 Rose Festival Court Applications Are Open

Applications for the 2024 Rose Festival Court Program presented by Unitus Community Credit Union are now available on the Rose...

Talk A Mile Event Connects Young Black Leaders with Portland Police Bureau Trainees

Talk A Mile operates on the idea that conversation bridges gaps and builds empathy, which can promote understanding between Black...

Turkey Rules the Table. But an AP-NORC Poll Finds Disagreement Over Other Thanksgiving Classics

Thanksgiving may be a time for Americans to come together, but opinion is divided over what's on the crowded dinner table. We mostly...

Mormon church selects British man who converted to the faith as an adult for top governing body

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday that a man raised in England who converted to the faith as an adult will be the newest member of its top governing body, filling a vacancy created when a member died last month. Patrick Kearon,...

Centenarian survivors of Pearl Harbor attack return to honor those who perished 82 years ago

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — Ira “Ike” Schab had just showered, put on a clean sailor's uniform and closed his locker aboard the USS Dobbin when he heard a call for a fire rescue party. He went topside to see the USS Utah capsizing and Japanese planes in the air. He scurried...

Missouri visits No. 2 Kansas after McCullar's 25-point game

Missouri Tigers (7-2) at Kansas Jayhawks (8-1) Lawrence, Kansas; Saturday, 5:15 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: No. 2 Kansas hosts the Missouri Tigers after Kevin McCullar scored 25 points in Kansas' 88-69 victory against the UMKC Kangaroos. The Jayhawks have gone...

Missouri RB Cody Schrader wins Burlsworth Trophy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Missouri running back Cody Schrader has won the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the nation's best player who started his Division I career as a a walk-on. Schrader, who walked on two years ago after transferring from Division II Truman State, leads Division I...

OPINION

Why Are Bullies So Mean? A Youth Psychology Expert Explains What’s Behind Their Harmful Behavior

Bullied children and teens are at risk for anxiety, depression, dropping out of school, peer rejection, social isolation and self-harm. ...

Federal Agencies Issue $23 Million Fine Against TransUnion and Subsidiary

FTC and CFPB say actions harmed renters and violated fair credit laws ...

First One to Commit to Nonviolence Wins

Every time gains towards nonviolence looked promising, someone from the most aggrieved and trauma-warped groups made sure to be spoilers by committing some atrocity and resetting the hate and violence. ...

Boxes

What is patently obvious to all Americans right now is the adolescent dysfunction of Congress. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arkansas man sentenced to 5 1/2 years for firebombing police cars during 2020 protests

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The ringleader of a group who admitted to firebombing several police cars in Arkansas during the 2020 protests over the killing of George Floyd has been sentenced to five and a half years in federal prison, while three of his co-defendants were sentenced to 18 months...

3 Alabama officers fired in connection to fatal shooting of Black man at his home

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama city has fired three police officers connected to the fatal shooting of a Black man in front of his own home during a dispute with a tow truck driver. Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling announced the decision Thursday night after the conclusion of personnel...

Wisconsin university system reaches deal with Republicans that would scale back diversity positions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Faced with a demand from Republican lawmakers to axe diversity initiatives or go without raises and other funding, Universities of Wisconsin officials announced Friday that they've agreed to freeze hiring for diversity positions, drop an affirmative action faculty hiring...

ENTERTAINMENT

Illinois appeals court affirms actor Jussie Smollett's convictions and jail sentence

An appeals court upheld the disorderly conduct convictions Friday of actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself in 2019 and lying about it to Chicago police. Smollett, who appeared in the TV show “Empire,” challenged the role of a...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Dec. 10-16

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Dec. 10-16: Dec. 10: Actor Fionnula Flanagan (“Waking Ned Devine”) is 82. Actor-singer Gloria Loring is 77. Drummer Walter “Clyde” Orange of The Commodores is 77. Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 72. Actor Susan Dey is 71. Musician Paul...

Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ is No. 1 at the box office with million debut

Beyoncé ruled the box office this weekend. Her concert picture, “ Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” opened in first place with million in North American ticket sales, according to estimates from AMC Theatres Sunday. The post-Thanksgiving, early December box...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Solid US hiring lowers unemployment rate in latest sign of a still-sturdy job market

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a healthy 199,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell, fresh...

FDA approves 2 gene therapies for sickle cell. One is the first to use the editing tool CRISPR

Regulators on Friday approved two gene therapies for sickle cell disease that doctors hope can cure the painful,...

Pope Francis makes his first public appearances since being stricken by bronchitis

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Friday made his first public appearance outdoors since being stricken by bronchitis...

AP PHOTOS: 2023 images show violence and vibrance in Latin America

A little girl perches on the shoulder of her mom, whose eyes fill with trepidation as she wades through waist-deep...

South Korea defense chief threatens strikes on 'heart and head' of North Korea if provoked

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s defense minister on Friday threatened massive retaliatory missile...

The UN secretary-general invoked 'Article 99' to push for a Gaza cease-fire. What exactly is it?

It's called “Article 99.” And it hasn't been used for decades. Until this week. With an...

John Legend and Ryan Gosling
By Kam Williams | The Skanner News

Ohio-born John Legend is an award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter. His work has garnered him ten Grammy Awards, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, among others. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied English and African American literature, John participated in a wide range of musical activities while in college.

During that period, he was introduced to Lauryn Hill, who hired him to play piano on her track "Everything Is Everything." Shortly thereafter, he began to play shows around the Philadelphia area, eventually expanding his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

After college, he was introduced to an up-and-coming hip hop artist named Kanye West. Kanye quickly signed John to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint and had him sing vocal hooks on some of his tunes.

John's career started gaining momentum through a series of similar collaborations with established artists. He added vocals to an impressive list of chart-topping hits including Kanye's "All of the Lights," Jay-Z's "Encore" and backup vocals on Alicia Keys' 2003 song, "You Don't Know My Name."

John’s debut album, Get Lifted, was released to critical acclaim in December of 2004 by Columbia Records. The album landed multiple Grammys, including Best R&B Album, Best New Artist and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. And earlier this year, John won his first Academy Award for “Glory,” a song he wrote and performed with Common for the film Selma.

Throughout his career, John has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an initiative that focuses on education as a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

He's received the 2010 BET Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2009 CARE

Humanitarian Award for Global Change, the 2009 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award from Africare, and the 2011 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award. Furthermore, John sits on the boards of The Education Equality Project, Teach for America, Stand for Children and the Harlem Village Academies.

Here, he shares his thoughts about playing his first, major movie role opposite Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land, a picture which he also executive produced. And he talks about his philanthropic work and his new album, Darkness and Light, too.

Kam Williams: Hi John. Thanks so much for the time.

John Legend: My pleasure, Kam.

KW: I've tried to land an interview with you for years, so I'm honored to finally have this opportunity to speak with you.

JL: I'm excited, too.

KW: Let me start by asking what made you decide to do this film with Damien [writer/director Damien Chazelle]?

JL: Well, it really started with meeting him as a filmmaker in my capacity as a producer, because my company, Get Lifted Film Company, has done a few movies and a couple of television shows now. We love meeting with up-and-coming directors who are doing great things. And, obviously, upon the success of “Whiplash,” Damien was someone we'd love to collaborate with. My producing partner [Mike Jackson] suggested we connect with him very early on, after we saw a screener of “Whiplash.”

We finally got a chance to sit down and discuss something creative when he was in the process of preparing to shoot “La La Land.” The script was finished, and they were already in talks with Ryan and Emma to star in it. Damien wanted to see if we were interested in getting involved. He was originally thinking in terms of executive producing and in terms of the music for the character, Keith, and his band, The Messengers. But eventually, he asked me if I wanted to play Keith. I said, "Yeah, let's do it!" I hadn't done anything like it before. I hadn't had a major speaking role in a film before. But I guess he felt that I could pull it off, because the character had some similarities to my own background as a musician. Damien thought I could relate to the character, and I felt the same way. So, it made sense for me to do it, since I was already a fan of his work. And then, when I found out that Ryan and Emma had come aboard, it seemed like a no-brainer for us to get involved.

KW: After watching the film, I was surprised to see that you have so few acting credits, because you did a phenomenal job.

JL: Thank you! I'd spent my whole career focused on music. Acting wasn't something I was really pursuing, even though we were doing film and TV behind the camera as producers, because music takes up so much of my creative energy. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with such great people.

KW: After Damien released his first movie, “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” I wrote: "Appreciate Damien Chazelle now and avoid the rush!"

JL: Yeah, he's brilliant! You can tell, just by virtue of the fact that he made “Whiplash” and “La La Land” before turning 32. That's not even fair. [Chuckles]

KW: What did you think of Justin Hurwitz's score for “La La Land”? Did he compose the songs you played in the movie?

JL: We wrote those together. He, Marius [de Vries], Angelique [Cinelu] and I. The four of us just sat in a room and played, and figured it out. Justin, obviously, was the composer for the rest of the film, and he's wonderful. But since I always feel comfortable singing, that particular song ["Start a Fire"] worked, and made sense for the character I was playing. Yet, it posed an interesting challenge, because you wanted the song to be good and represent a viable creative path, but you also wanted it to be a song Ryan's character, Sebastian, wouldn't want to play, given the storyline. So, it called for an interesting balance of making it a good, jazz-influenced tune you could hear on the radio while also making it something that represented too much of a departure for Sebastian.

KW: Early in your career, were you a musical purist like Sebastian, who had a reverence for the classics?

JL: No, I never looked at myself as a purist in the sense of simply wanting to recreate old music that I'd grown up listening to. I never struggled with that conundrum. But I think every artist is influenced by certain traditions and the artists they grew up listening to. For Taylor Swift, it was country music. For me, it was gospel and soul. Other artists grew up listening to folk, classic rock or whatever else it was for them. But no matter what your early influences are, you have to decide how much you're just recreating the feelings those artists gave you, recreating their styles, or doing something fresh and new that's influenced by them. I think we all deal with that. There's always the push and pull in our careers of how much we go traditional and how much we try to change it up and do something new.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: Like many people, I think that you are a great artist and I consider you like the young Stevie Wonder. I saw you in Montreal when you opened for Alicia Keys on one of her tours. Given that your new film is about jazz, please name a few of your favorite jazz musicians.

JL: Honestly, I don't consider myself much of a jazz aficionado. When I was growing up, my dad used to play a lot of vocalists like Billie Holiday, Ella [Fitzgerald], Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Nat King Cole. So, I grew up loving some of the great standards singers and jazz vocalists. Also Nina Simone, who cut across a few different genres. Those are a few of my bigger influences, but i wouldn't say I was much of a jazz expert.

KW: Patricia also notes that you consider yourself a feminist. She would like to know why men should feel as concerned as women about female issues and how men can advance women's causes?

JL: First of all, because it’s the right thing to do. It's fair. You have women in your family, women you work with and women who are your friends. Why shouldn't they have the same possibilities and opportunities as you? Why shouldn't they live in a world where they are valued for what they contribute, and valued as much as men are for the same thing? Who wouldn't want to live in that world? It doesn't hurt men for women to do well, because it just makes the planet a better place. There's more innovation, more creativity and more productivity in the world. All of our lives are improved when women have power, influence and opportunity.

KW: I'd like to congratulate you on your new album, “Darkness and Light,” which I've been listening to. It's terrific!

JL: Thank you. I'm really proud of it. It's funny being in “La La Land” mode today, since I've been in Darkness and Light mode for the past month, and I'll be back into it for the next year or so. It's exciting to support this really beautiful film and to have a new album out at the same time.

KW: I've always been impressed by your incredible commitment to charity work. What has inspired you to do that?

JL: I've always thought that if I were successful in this career, I would have a lot of resources and a lot of influence, and that I would would want to use them to make the world a better place. Part of my making the world better involves creating great art, and part involves my being an activist and contributing directly to causes that improve people's lives with my time, my money and my influence. I think that's part of who I am and of who I always will be.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

JL: What’s in my wallet? [Laughs] Credit cards... insurance cards... membership cards... I got my Academy membership renewed this year.

KW: Congratulations on the Best Song Oscar for "Glory" last year. And it looks like you'll be back in contention, since it looks like “La La Land” is going to be nominated for a lot of Academy Awards.

JL: Well, I don't know whether I'll personally be nominated, but I'm going to be rooting for the whole team. We have some wonderful contenders in a wide range of categories.

KW: Well, thanks again, John, and best of luck with both “La La Land” and “Darkness and Light.”

JL: Thank you very much, Kam.

To see a trailer for La La Land, click here.

To order a copy of John's new CD, Darkness and Light, click here