Quick Hits: Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, The Black Keys, Whitney Houston, Silversun Pickups, Tom Keifer, Scott McKenzie
August 20, 2012

Madonna has been sued by a group of Russian anti-gay activists for $10 million. According to multiple reports, the group claimed the Pop icon insulted them by speaking up in favor of gay rights at a concert in St. Petersburg earlier this month. On stage, Madonna spoke out against a recent Russian law against spreading "homosexual propaganda." Madonna has also voiced her opinion on last week's jail sentence for Russian Punk group Pussy Riot. In a statement, she said, "I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40-second performance extolling their political opinions. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on all of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."
     In other Madonna news, she and her personal trainer have teamed up for a new series of workout videos, titled Addicted To Sweat. According to The New York Daily News, the four-DVD set is due out September 5.

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj canceled her set over the weekend at the V Festival in the UK, after the rapper strained her vocal cords. A representative for Minaj told MTV News that "despite doctor's orders, she performed on a bruised vocal [cord] in NY on August 14. As a result, the [cord] has gotten worse. After her most recent xray the doctor advises she rest her voice for a few more days."
     Meanwhile, Us Weekly is reporting that Minaj's name is the latest being thrown into the American Idol rumor mill. Sources tell the magazine Minaj could join the Fox show as its newest judge this season.

Rihanna's much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on the OWN network Sunday night. The Pop star discussed her relationship with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, and the infamous Grammy-weekend incident from 2009. Rihanna told Oprah that after Brown beat her up that night, "Everything I knew switched in a night and I couldn't control that. It was hard for me to even pay attention to my mind and figure things out because now it became a circus and I felt protective." She added that her and Brown are "working on our friendship again," she explained. "We've built a trust again. We love each other and we probably always will and that's not anything that we're gonna try to change. That's not something you can shut off if you've ever been in love. We've worked on it little by little. It's not easy. The main thing for me is that he's at peace."

Representatives for Pizza Hut and The Home Depot have denied ripping off songs from The Black Keys for their recent ad campaigns. The Keys sued the companies earlier this year, claiming commercials from the two companies used elements of "Lonely Boy" and "Gold On The Ceiling." The two companied denied the band's allegations in court filings last week.

Whitney Houston's final film Sparkle made $12 million in its opening weekend in theaters. Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 musical movie, co-stars Jordin Sparks and Cee Lo Green and came in fifth place at the box office.

Silversun Pickups have announced a new run of East Coast tour dates in support of their latest album, Neck Of The Woods. The rockers have added eight new shows, starting in Atlanta on October 9. Cloud Nothings and Atlas Genius will open all dates.

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tom Keifer will release his long-awaited solo album in the Spring of 2013 after entering into a partnership with Merovee Records (a joint venture with Worldwide Pants, Inc.). Learn more about Keifer at facebook.com/TomKeiferOfficial.

Singer-songwriter Scott McKenzie has passed away at the age of 73. McKenzie was best known for the '60s anthem "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)," a tune written by John Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas. McKenzie also co-wrote The Beach Boys' '80s hit single "Kokomo."

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Manny Simon
VP/Adult Formats,
Republic Records

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