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Aretha Franklin Reportedly "gravely ill"

Aretha Franklin 'gravely ill': reports

The "Queen of Soul," legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, is gravely ill, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Family members confirmed the news Monday to WDIV-TV after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed Franklin, 76, was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit.

Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio host and friend of Franklin’s, said Monday that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, according to The Detroit News.

Celebrities, friends and fans took to social media with well-wishes for Franklin:

Franklin had announced plans to retire from touring in February 2017 to focus on her family and a few select projects, the News reported.

"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin told WDIV in 2017. “I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either.”

Franklin has canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.”

She performed  in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper.

>> Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported.

Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis.

Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records.

Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”

Check back for updates to this developing story.

  Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years
  Aretha Franklin’s long version of national anthem goes viral
  Aretha Franklin announces retirement
  Detroit gives Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin a little ‘Respect,’ naming street in her honor
  Jennifer Hudson to play Aretha Franklin in upcoming biopic

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Trump denies using racial slur during 'Celebrity Apprentice'

President Donald Trump slammed former White House aide and “Apprentice” alum Omarosa Manigault Newman on Monday after she released audio clips that she claims were recorded during interactions with President Donald Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 9:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: According to the Associated Press, Trump said he received a phone call from Mark Burnett, the producer of “The Apprentice” assuring him that no tapes exist of him using the N-word, as former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman claims.

Manigault Newman writes in her new memoir that she’d heard such tapes existed. She now says she listened to one after the book closed.

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: Trump took to Twitter Monday morning to blame the media for his attacks on Manigault Newman, writing that “the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible.”

Manigault Newman served as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison until January, when reports surfaced that she was "physically dragged" from the White House. Secret Service officials later denied Manigault Newman was physically removed from the premises. 

>> Omarosa’s book promises 'jaw-dropping' account on White House from Trump insider

She was one of Trump's most prominent African-American supporters. The president thanked her in February during an event for African-American History Month, saying that she was "very special."

"I want to thank my television star over here," Trump said at the Feb. 1 event, referencing Manigault Newman's time on his reality show competition, "The Apprentice."

Update 10 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: Trump slammed “Wacky Omarosa” Monday morning after the former White House aide released audio clips of calls she said were made with Trump and Kelly.

>> Omarosa tell-all on Trump White House called 'Unhinged' to be released in August 

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time,” the president said Monday in a tweet. “She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things.”

Update 7:28 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: “Apprentice” alum Omarosa Manigault Newman has released an audio clip that she says was taken during a phone call with President Donald Trump the day after she was fired from her White House job in December.

According to NBC News, the recording seems to indicate that Trump did not know White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had fired Newman the day before.

>> Omarosa says she wouldn’t vote for Trump again ‘in a million years’

“Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?” a man, purportedly Trump, says in the clip.

He later adds: “Nobody even told me about it. You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. [Expletive] it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”

>> Listen to the clip here (WARNING: Audio includes profanity.)

Original report: "Apprentice" alum Omarosa Manigault Newman claims that she taped the moment she was fired from her job as an adviser to President Donald Trump – and released the audio to NBC's "Meet the Press."

>> Listen to the audio here

On Sunday, the news show aired the clips, which Newman said were taken in the White House Situation Room as Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her in December.

"It's come to my attention over the last few months that there's been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues," a man, purportedly Kelly, can be heard saying in the recording.

>> Omarosa on Trump White House: ‘It’s gonna not be OK’

He later adds: "I think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure ... you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation."

Newman told "Meet the Press" that she believed the latter was a threat.

"He goes on to say that 'things can get ugly for you,'" said Newman, whose book, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," hits stores Tuesday. "The chief of staff of the United States, under the direction of the president of the United States, threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly for me – that's downright criminal."

>> Watch the clip here

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Sunday night condemning Newman's actions.

"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security – and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee," Sanders said.

>> Read more trending news 

CNN reported that electronic devices such as cellphones are not allowed in the Situation Room.

White House officials are exploring "legal options" to prevent Newman from sharing more audio, ABC News reported Sunday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to these reports

  Omarosa tell-all on Trump White House called 'Unhinged' to be released in August
  Omarosa’s book promises 'jaw-dropping' account on White House from Trump insider
 

Kevin Hart surprises 18 students with HBCU scholarships

Kevin Hart surprised 18 students with a scholarship aimed at supporting historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and the students who attend them.

The honor is part of a $600,000 scholarship program from the United Negro College Fund launched in partnership with Hart’s Help From The Hart Charity and the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, public charter schools. The scholarship was announced Aug. 7.

The award is based on students’ academic and personal achievements.

>> Read more trending news 

“Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need,” United Negro College Fund CEO and president Michael L. Lomax said in a statement. “Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Related: Listen to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s ‘HBCU Journeys’ podcast

The students receiving the Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship graduated from KIPP public charter schools in West Helena, Arkansas, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. They are attending Spelman College, Xavier University, Florida Memorial University, Morehouse College, Bethune-Cookman University, Fisk University, Tuskegee University, Lincoln University, Clark Atlanta University, Philander Smith College and Dillard University.

Hart held a surprise event for the winners in Los Angeles on Monday and took a photo with them, posting it to Instagram and giving a special shout out to students from his hometown of Philadelphia.

“Education and knowledge are powerful,” Hart said in a statement. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”

This is Hart’s second time making a donation to the United Negro College Fund. In 2015, the comedian gave UNCF $100,000 to support four students’ college educations.

Aretha Franklin 'gravely ill': reports

The "Queen of Soul," legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, is gravely ill, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Family members confirmed the news Monday to WDIV-TV after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed Franklin, 76, was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit.

Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio host and friend of Franklin’s, said Monday that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, according to The Detroit News.

Celebrities, friends and fans took to social media with well-wishes for Franklin:

Franklin had announced plans to retire from touring in February 2017 to focus on her family and a few select projects, the News reported.

"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin told WDIV in 2017. “I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either.”

Franklin has canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.”

She performed  in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper.

>> Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported.

Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis.

Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records.

Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”

Check back for updates to this developing story.

  Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years
  Aretha Franklin’s long version of national anthem goes viral
  Aretha Franklin announces retirement
  Detroit gives Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin a little ‘Respect,’ naming street in her honor
  Jennifer Hudson to play Aretha Franklin in upcoming biopic

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