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Teenage rap sensation XXXTentacion brutally murdered

US rapper, XXXTentacion, has been shot dead. He was born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy. The 20-year-old rapper was gunned down outside a motorcycle dealership

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US rapper, XXXTentacion, has been shot dead. He was born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy. The 20-year-old rapper was gunned down outside a motorcycle dealership.

XXXTentacion first began making music as a teenager, uploading his first track to SoundCloud in 2014, titled “Vice City.” He continued releasing music independently and collaborating with fellow rapper Ski Mask the Slump God.

On December 30, 2015, XXXTentacion released “Look at Me!,” which would eventually become his breakout hit—but not before the rapper was arrested in October 2016 on charges of false imprisonment, witness tampering and aggravated battery of a pregnant victim.

As XXXTentacion spent time behind bars, his popularity surged. On February 14, 2017, “Look at Me!” entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 95; the following week, XXX rereleased the song through Empire Distribution. The track would ultimately peak at No. 34 on the Hot 100 and help usher “SoundCloud rap”—a hyper-distorted, lo-fi subgenre—into the mainstream.

In March 2017, XXX was released from jail on probation. That May, he released his debut mixtape, Revenge, via Empire. Despite receiving little promotion, the collection still peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The rapper appeared on XXL’s 2017 Freshman Class cover the following month, winning the fan-voted “10th Spot” by a landslide. It foreshadowed the massive commercial success he would soon experience.

On August 25, 2017, XXXTentacion released his debut studio album, 17. The album was an immediate hit, debuting and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and earning praise from Kendrick Lamar. The following month, Pitchfork shared graphic excerpts of XXXTentacion’s ex-girlfriend’s testimony. She alleged multiple incidents of violence, including one where the rapper “head-butted her, punched her, stomped on her, and put her in the bathtub, where he continued hitting and kicking her.” His October 5 domestic abuse trial was postponed until December 11.

In December, XXXTentacion was jailed ahead of his trial; he was subsequently released and put on house arrest with permission from the judge to visit a local studio to fulfill his contractual obligations. The rapper kept a relatively low profile at the beginning of 2018, releasing his sophomore album, on March 16 through his own label, Bad Vibes Forever.

Last month, Spotify announced it would remove XXXTentacion’s music from its curated playlists as part of its new hate content and hateful conduct policy. The policy faced criticism from fans and other artists, who accused it of being too vague and selective. Spotify subsequently dropped the policy, and fans continued to stream XXXTentacion like crazy. His song “Jocelyn Flores” boasts more than 367 million Spotify streams, and “Sad!” has more than 270 million.

Over the course of his brief career, XXXTentacion continually defied music media’s traditional gatekeepers and attracted hordes of fans despite—or perhaps because of—the controversy surrounding him. In December, he said he planned to release three albums in 2018, titled, Skins and Bad Vibes Forever.

It is not yet known if the latter two albums will see a posthumous release.

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Ghanaian social media influencer Hajia4Reall pleads guilty in $2m romance scam case in US

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Ghanaian social media influencer, Mona Faiz Montrage, popularly known as Hajia4Reall, has pleaded guilty in a $2 million romance scam case in the United States.

The United States Attorney’s Office reported on Wednesday that Hajia4Reall who was arrested in the UK last year and extradited to the US, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to receive stolen money, and could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

The Attorney Office added that Hajia4Reall also agreed to forfeit the sum of $2,164,758.41, as well as make restitution in the same amount while her sentencing is scheduled to be conducted by U.S. District Judge, Paul A. Crotty, at a date yet to be stated.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, who addressed journalists after the court hearing on Wednesday, confirmed the socislite’s guilty plea which he said emphasized the seriousness of the crime.

Williams explained that the accused knowingly accepted money stolen from older Americans through romance scams, and as a consequence, she faces significant legal ramifications.

“This Office and our law enforcement partners are relentless in bringing fraudsters who target Americans to justice, no matter where they are,” the Attorney said.

He explained that Hajia4Reall, a socialite turned musician, was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom over her alleged involvement in a $2 million romance scam which is locally called ‘Sakawa’ in her native Ghana, targeting older, single Americans, in May 2023.

During the hearing, prosecutors said she was charged with conspiracy to commit and committing wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

The prosecution noted that Hajia4Reall received money from several victims of romance frauds whom members of the syndicate tricked into sending money.

“Among the false pretences used to induce victims to send money to Hajia4Reall were payments to transport gold to the U.S. from overseas payments to resolve a fake FBI investigation, and payments to assist a fake U.S. Army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan.

“In total, Hajia4Reall controlled bank accounts that received over $2 million in fraudulent funds from the fraud.

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Director of ‘Dahomey’ Mati Diop shines at Berlin Film Festival 2024

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Senegalese-French writer and and director of African documentary movie, “Dahomey,” Mati Diop, made history when her movie was selected for a special world premiere at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival.

She was joined by other directors of African descent including Gildas Adannou, Habib Ahandessi and Joséa Guedje at the premiere where Kenyan Hollywood actress, Lupita Nyong’o became the ever black person to head the festival’s jury.

“Dahomey” which is one of Africa’s entry in this year’s festival, is a documentary that explores colonization through the return of stolen artifacts plundered by French colonial troops and returned to Benin in West Africa.

Dahomey” follows the journey of plundered artifacts taken by French colonial troops in 1892, being sent from Paris to the Republic of Benin and the impact of their return.

Other African films selected for the festival include “Black Tea” by Mauritanian-born Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako, and “Who Do I Belong To” by Tunisian-Canadian director Meryam Joobeur.

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