Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as Henri de Saint-Simon (French: 17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825), was a French political and economic theorist and businessperson whose thought played a substantial role in influencing politics, economics, sociology, and the philosophy of science.

He created a political and economic ideology known as industrialism that claimed that the needs of an industrial class that he also referred to as the working class needed to be recognized and fulfilled to have an effective society and an efficient economy. Unlike later conceptions by others of a working class being manual labourers alone, Saint-Simon's conception of this class included all people engaged in productive work that contributed to society, that included businesspeople, managers, scientists, bankers, along with manual labourers amongst others. He said the primary threat to the needs of the industrial class was another class he referred to as the idling class, that included able people who preferred to be parasitic and benefit from the work of others while seeking to avoid doing work. Saint-Simon stressed the need for recognition of the merit of the individual and the need for hierarchy of merit in society and in the economy, such as society having hierarchical merit-based organizations of managers and scientists to be the decision-makers in government. He strongly criticized any expansion of government intervention into the economy beyond ensuring no hindrances to productive work and reducing idleness in society, regarding intervention beyond these as intruding into the economy.

This ideology soon inspired and influenced utopian socialism, liberal political theorist John Stuart Mill, anarchism through its founder Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who was inspired by Saint-Simon's thought and Marxism with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels identifying Saint-Simon as an inspiration to their ideas and identifying him among the utopian socialists. However historian Alan Ryan regards certain followers of Saint-Simon, rather than Saint-Simon himself, as being responsible for the rise of utopian socialism that based itself upon Saint-Simon's ideas. He also regards strong differences as existing between Saint-Simon's conceptions and Marxism's as Saint-Simon did not promote class conflict as a solution to societal problems nor did he adhere to the narrower definition of the working class as manual labourers as defined by Marxists. Saint-Simon unlike Marx did not regard the prevalent form of ownership as being paramount issue in the economy but rather the form of management. Furthermore, Saint-Simon held no opposition to capitalists as a whole unlike Marx and he regarded them as an important component of the industrial class. Later Saint-Simon's views influenced sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen, including Veblen's creation of institutional economics that has included prominent economists as adherents. Historian Alan Ryan states that by the 1950s it was clear that Saint-Simon had invented the modern understanding of industrial society and its organization.

Saint-Simon and his secretary Auguste Comte developed what Comte would complete as sociology.




Early years

Henri de Saint-Simon was born in Paris as a French aristocrat. He belonged to a younger branch of the family of the duc de Saint-Simon. "When he was a young man, being of a restless disposition...he went to America where he entered into American service and took part in the siege of Yorktown under General Washington."

From his youth, Saint-Simon was highly ambitious. He ordered his valet to wake him every morning with, "Remember, monsieur le comte, that you have great things to do." Among his early schemes was one to connect the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans by a canal, and another to construct a canal from Madrid to the sea.

At the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, Saint-Simon quickly endorsed the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. In the early years of the revolution, Saint-Simon devoted himself to organizing a large industrial structure in order to found a scientific school of improvement. He needed to raise some funds to achieve his objectives, which he did by land speculation. This was only possible in the first few years of the revolution because of the growing instability of the political situation in France, which prevented him from continuing his financial activities and indeed put his life at risk. During The Terror period, Saint-Simon was imprisoned on suspicion of engaging in counter-revolution activities. He was released in 1794 at the end of the Reign of Terror. After he recovered his freedom, Saint-Simon found himself immensely rich due to currency depreciation, but his fortune was subsequently stolen by his business partner. Thenceforth he decided to devote himself to political studies and research.


Life as a working adult

When he was nearly 40 he went through a varied course of study and experiment to enlarge and clarify his view of things. One of these experiments was an unhappy marriage in 1801 to Alexandrine-Sophie Goury de Champgrand, undertaken so that he might have a salon. After a year's duration the marriage was dissolved by mutual consent. The result of his experiments was that he found himself completely impoverished, and lived in penury for the remainder of his life. The first of his numerous writings, mostly scientific and political, was Lettres d'un habitant de Genève, which appeared in 1802. In 1817 he began in a treatise entitled L'Industrie to propound his socialist views, which he further developed in L'Organisateur (1819), a periodical on which Augustin Thierry and Auguste Comte collaborated.

The first publication caused a sensation, though one that brought few converts. A couple of years later in his writing career, Saint-Simon found himself ruined, and was forced to work for a living. After a few attempts to recover his money from his partner, he received financial support from Diard, a former employee, and was able to publish his second book in 1807: Introduction aux travaux scientifiques du XIX siècle. Diard died in 1810 and Saint-Simon found himself poor again, and this time also in poor health. He was sent to a sanatorium in 1813, but with financial help from relatives he had time to recover his health and gain some intellectual recognition in Europe. In 1821 Du système industriel appeared, and in 1823–1824 Catéchisme des industriels.


Death and legacy

In 1823, disappointed by the lack of results of his writing (he had hoped they would guide society towards social improvement), he attempted suicide in despair. Remarkably, he shot himself in the head six times without succeeding, losing his sight in one eye. Finally, very late in his career, he did link up with a few ardent disciples. The last and most important expression of his views is Nouveau Christianisme (1825), which he left unfinished.

He was buried in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.





In 1817 Saint-Simon published a manifesto called the "Declaration of Principles" in his work titled L'Industrie ("The Industry"). The Declaration was about the principles of an ideology called industrialism that called for the creation of an industrial society led by people within what he defined as the industrial class. The industrial class, also referred to as the working class, was defined as including all people engaged in productive work that contributed to society, including businesspeople, managers, scientists, bankers, manual workers, and others. He said the primary threat to the needs of the industrial class was another class he referred to as the idling class, that included able people who preferred to be parasitic and benefit from the work of others while seeking to avoid doing work. He regarded the origins of this parasitic activity by idlers as being associated with what he regarded as the natural laziness of humanity. He regarded the principal economic roles of government as insuring that productive activity in the economy is unhindered and reducing idleness in society. In the Declaration he strongly criticized any expansion of government intervention into the economy beyond these two principal economic roles, saying that when the government goes beyond these roles, it becomes a "tyrannical enemy of industry" and that the industrial economy will decline as a consequence of such excessive government intervention. Saint-Simon stressed the need for recognition of the merit of the individual and the need for hierarchy of merit in society and in the economy, such as society having hierarchical merit-based organizations of managers and scientists to be the decision-makers in government.

Heavily influenced by the absence of social privilege he saw in the early United States, Saint-Simon renounced his aristocratic title and came to favor a form of meritocracy, becoming convinced that science was the key to progress and that it would be possible to develop a society based on objective scientific principles. He claimed that feudal society in France and elsewhere needed to be dissolved and transformed into an industrial society. As such, he invented the conception of the industrial society.

Saint-Simon's economic views and ideas were influenced by Adam Smith whom Saint-Simon deeply admired, and referred to him in praise as "the immortal Adam Smith". He shared with Smith the belief that taxes needed to be much reduced from what they were then in order to have a more just industrial system. Saint-Simon desired the minimization of government intervention into the economy to prevent disruption of productive work. He emphasized more emphatically than Smith that state administration of the economy was generally parasitic and hostile to the needs of production. Like Adam Smith, Saint-Simon's model of society emulated the scientific methods of astronomy, and said "The astronomers only accepted those facts which were verified by observation; they chose the system which linked them best, and since that time, they have never led science astray.".

Saint-Simon reviewed the French Revolution and regarded it as an upheaval driven by economic change and class conflict. In his analysis he believed that the solution to the problems that led to the French Revolution would be the creation of an industrial society where hierarchy of merit and respect for productive work would be the basis of society, while ranks of hereditary and military hierarchy would lessen in importance in society because they were not capable to lead a productive society.

Karl Marx identified Saint-Simon as being among whom he called the "utopian socialists", though historian Alan Ryan regards certain followers of Saint-Simon, rather than Saint-Simon himself, as being responsible for the rise of utopian socialism that based itself upon Saint-Simon's ideas.


Feudalism and aristocracy

In opposition to the feudal and military system—the former aspect of which had been strengthened by the restoration—he advocated a form of technocratic socialism, an arrangement whereby industrial chiefs should control society. In place of the medieval church, spiritual direction of society should fall to the men of science. Men who are fitted to organize society for productive labour are entitled to rule it. The conflict between labour and capital emphasized by later socialism is not present in Saint-Simon's work, but it is assumed that the industrial chiefs, to whom the control of production is to fall, shall rule in the interest of society. Later on, the cause of the poor receives greater attention, until in his greatest work, The New Christianity, it takes on the form of a religion. This development of his ideas occasioned his final quarrel with Comte.


Religious views

Prior to the publication of the Nouveau Christianisme, Saint-Simon had not concerned himself with theology. In this work he starts from a belief in God, and his object in the treatise is to reduce Christianity to its simple and essential elements. He does this by clearing it of the dogmas and other excrescences and defects that he says gathered round the Catholic and Protestant forms of it. He propounds as the comprehensive formula of the new Christianity this precept: "The whole of society ought to strive towards the amelioration of the moral and physical existence of the poorest class; society ought to organize itself in the way best adapted for attaining this end." This principle became the watchword of the entire Saint-Simon school of thought.



During his lifetime the views of Saint-Simon had very little influence; he left only a few devoted disciples who continued to advocate the doctrines of their master, whom they revered as a prophet . The most important were Olinde Rodrigues, the favoured disciple of Saint-Simon, and Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin who together had received Saint-Simon's last instructions. Their first step was to establish a journal, Le Producteur, but it was discontinued in 1826. The sect had begun to grow, and before the end of 1828 had meetings not only in Paris but in many provincial towns.

An important departure was made in 1828 by Amand Bazard, who gave a "complete exposition of the Saint-Simonian faith" in a long course of lectures in Paris, which was well attended. His Exposition de la doctrine de St Simon (2 vols., 1828–1830), which is by far the best account of it, won more adherents. The second volume was chiefly by Enfantin, who along with Bazard stood at the head of the society, but who was superior in philosophical acumen and was prone to push his deductions to extremities. The revolution of July (1830) brought a new freedom to the socialist reformers. A proclamation was issued demanding the community of goods, the abolition of the right of inheritance and the enfranchisement of women.

Early next year the school obtained possession of the Globe through Pierre Leroux, who had joined the school. The school now numbered some of the ablest and most promising young men in France, many of the pupils of the École Polytechnique having caught its enthusiasm. The members formed themselves into an association arranged in three grades, and constituting a society or family, which lived out of a common purse in the Rue Monsigny. Before long dissensions began to arise in the sect. Bazard, a man of stolid temperament, could no longer work in harmony with Enfantin, who desired to establish an arrogant and fantastic sacerdotalism with lax notions as to marriage and the relations between the sexes.

After a time Bazard seceded and many of the strongest supporters of the school followed his example. A series of extravagant entertainments given by the society during the winter of 1832 reduced its financial resources and greatly discredited it in character. They moved to Ménilmontant, to a property of Enfantin, where they lived in a communalistic society, distinguished by a peculiar dress. Shortly after, the chiefs were tried and condemned for proceedings prejudicial to the social order and the sect was entirely broken up in 1832. Many of its members became famous as engineers, economists and men of business.

French feminist and socialist writer Flora Tristan (1803–1844) claimed that Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, anticipated Saint-Simon's ideas by a generation.

In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Possessed, 'Saint-Simonist' and 'Fourierist' are used as derogatory insults of others by many of the politically active characters.



An edition of the works of Saint-Simon and Enfantin was published by the survivors of the sect (47 vols., Paris, 1865–1878).

Greg Sams

Gregory Sams (born 1948, Los Angeles, California) is a UK-based, American-born, fractal artist, social thinker, author, publisher, inventor, macrobioticist and creator of the veggie burger.


Life and works

Greg moved to London and, aged 19, opened SEED, a macrobiotic restaurant in Paddington with his brother Craig Sams in 1968.

SEED Restaurant soon became popular with the 1960s London psychedelic scene, and was frequented by John Lennon among others, who drew a cartoon about his experiences at SEED.

The Sams brothers opened a specialised macrobiotic foodshop, Ceres Grain, the following year. To spread the word about Ceres and SEED, Greg published three editions of a specialised magazine called 'Harmony'. During the 1970s, Greg, his brother Craig and their father Ken edited and published a magazine called 'Seed, the Journal of Organic Living' over a seven-year period.

In 1970 Greg and Craig set up Harmony Foods, which eventually became known as Whole Earth Foods.

In 1982, Greg left Whole Earth Foods with his brother who went on to become chairperson of the Soil Association, and develop Green & Blacks organic chocolate with his partner. Greg went on to invent the first veggie burger, which he christened VegeBurger, which became a worldwide success.

In 1990, Greg opened in London Strange Attractions, the only shop in the world dedicated to the chaos theory. He became famous for his fractal art, his designs adorning postcards, t-shirts and textiles all over the world.

An enthusiast of the counterculture movement, such as the non-violent direct action street reclaiming events in the UK and elsewhere such as Reclaim the Streets, Greg Sams began writing books that were promoted at these events, as well as during various trance music, psytrance and acid techno raves and free parties around the UK. Uncommon Sense - the State is Out of Date was published in 1998 to great acclaim, showing the importance of chaos theory in the way we live - and should live - our lives. In 2006 he completed a new book, Sun of gOd - Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything.

Greg has been a regular on the world music festival scene ever since he provided the macrobiotic catering at the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970. A regular of events such as Pendragon at the now defunct Tyssen Street Theatre Factory, he still travels to worldwide music festivals, solar eclipses, and festivals such as The Glade. He was interviewed on the Liquid Crystal Vision film which has been viewed at many festivals worldwide.

Greg has been a wheelchair user since falling from a tree whilst a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley.


  • Uncommon Sense - the State is Out of Date, CHAOS WORKS; 3rd edition 1998, ISBN 095313010X
  • Sun of gOd - Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything Spring 2009, Weiser Books, Graham Hancock (Foreword), ISBN 1578634547

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nicki Minaj

Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York, Minaj earned public attention after releasing three mixtapes between 2007–2009. She signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009.

Minaj's debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010), peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and spawned the top-three single "Super Bass". During that time, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Her second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), also topped the chart and its lead single, "Starships", peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Minaj's third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014), was preceded by its second single, "Anaconda", which peaked at number two on the Hot 100 and is her highest-charting single in the United States to date. Minaj made her film debut in the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift, and also had a supporting role in the 2014 film The Other Woman. In 2013, she was a main judge on the twelfth season of American Idol.

Minaj was the first female artist included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List, with The New York Times saying that some consider her "the most influential female rapper of all time". Her rapping is distinctive for its fast flow and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney. Minaj's colorful costumes, wigs and clothing have given her recognition as a fashion icon. In April 2013, Minaj became the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Minaj has endorsed Adidas, MAC Cosmetics and Pepsi. She has won four American Music Awards, eight BET Awards, two MTV Music Awards, two MTV Europe Music Award, five Billboard Music Awards and Billboard's 2011 Rising Star award.

Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1982. Her parents are Robert Maraj, a financial executive of half Indo-Trinidadian and half Afro-Trinidadian ancestry, and Carol Maraj, who is of Afro-Trinidadian heritage, and held a variety of jobs including an accounting clerk, foreign-exchange teller and gospel singer. Minaj's father was addicted to alcohol and other drugs, had a violent temper; he attempted to kill her mother by setting their house on fire. She has two siblings.

As a small child, Minaj lived with her grandmother in Saint James and was occasionally visited by her mother, with whom she moved with to Queens, New York, at age five. Minaj said that her upbringing lacked discipline, which made her "seek out and practice self-discipline". She attended PS 45 (the Clarence Witherspoon School) and Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210, where she played the clarinet, for her elementary education. Minaj successfully auditioned for admission to LaGuardia High School in Manhattan, which focuses on visual and performing arts, where she studied acting. After graduation, Minaj wanted to become an actress, and she was cast in the Off-Broadway play In Case You Forget in 2001. When her acting career failed to take off, at age 19 she worked as a waitress at Red Lobster in the Bronx, but was fired for discourtesy to customers. She said she was fired from "at least fifteen jobs" for similar reasons. She also worked as an administrative assistant, in customer service and as an office manager for a Wall Street business.

Minaj briefly signed with Brooklyn group Full Force, in which she rapped in a quartet called "The Hoodstars" composed of Lou$tar (son of "Bowlegged Lou"), Scaff Beezy and 7even Up. In 2004 the group recorded the entrance song for WWE Diva Victoria, "Don't Mess With", which was featured on the compilation album ThemeAddict: WWE The Music, Vol.6. Minaj left Full Force and uploaded songs on her Myspace profile, sending several of her songs to people in the music industry. At the time, she was managed by Debra Antney. Fendi, CEO of Brooklyn label Dirty Money Entertainment, signed Minaj to his label in 2007 under a 180-day contract. Originally adopting the stage name "Nicki Maraj", she changed it to Nicki Minaj stating that "My real name is Maraj. Fendi flipped it when he met me because I had such a nasty flow! I eat bitches!"

Minaj released her first mixtape, Playtime is Over, on Dirty Money Records on July 5, 2007 and her second, Sucka Free, on April 12, 2008. That year, she was named Female Artist of the Year at the 2008 Underground Music Awards. In 2009 Minaj was involved in a conflict with ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme winner Rece Steele, who was annoyed when Minaj interrupted her interview and put a sign behind Steele's head; Minaj hung up on interviewers from Spate magazine when they asked about the incident. She released her third mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, on April 18, 2009 and it received favorable coverage on BET and MTV. One of its tracks, "I Get Crazy", reached number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart and number 37 on the magazine's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

After Minaj was discovered by fellow rapper Lil Wayne, in August 2009 it was reported that she signed a recording contract with his Young Money Entertainment. That November, she appeared with Gucci Mane and Trina on the remix of "5 Star Bitch" by Yo Gotti. Minaj also appeared on "BedRock" and "Roger That" on the compilation album, We Are Young Money (2009). The singles peaked at numbers 2 and 56, respectively, on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; their parent album reached number nine on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Minaj was featured on Mariah Carey's "Up Out My Face", which reached number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100. At Jay-Z's suggestion, that February Robin Thicke featured Minaj on "Shakin' It 4 Daddy".

Minaj released the intended lead single from her upcoming debut album, "Massive Attack" on March 29, 2010. Plans for the single were scrapped after an underwhelming commercial performance. As a result, "Your Love" was released as the album's lead single on June 1, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Rap Songs chart. In August Minaj announced that the album would be entitled Pink Friday, a play on "Black Friday". The following month she released "Check It Out" and "Right Thru Me" as follow-up singles. In October, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously and the first woman to appear on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List.

Pink Friday was released on November 19, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 375,000 copies. "Moment 4 Life" was released as the fourth single shortly after. The album was certified platinum in December, and eventually reached number one in the United States in February 2011. Minaj performed "Right Thru Me" and "Moment 4 Life" as the musical guest on the January 29 episode of Saturday Night Live. "Super Bass", the album's fifth single, was released in April 2011. The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified octuple-platinum in the U.S. Minaj credited the song's initial exposure to its mention by Taylor Swift. Minaj was one of the opening acts on Britney Spears' June 16 – August 13 Femme Fatale Tour. She and Kesha appeared on the remix of Spears' "Till the World Ends", which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. On August 7, 2011, Nicki experienced a "nip slip" during a live performance on Good Morning America. Minaj was criticized for wearing the low-cut shirt during her performance which led to the brief exposure of her breast on a live telecast. ABC apologized for incident. Minaj, while interviewed on ABC's Nightline show, apologized for the incident and denied that she intentionally sought to expose herself on live television as a publicity stunt. The incident soaked protest from the Parents Television Council. President of the PTC president Tim Winter stated, "the Parents Television Council has something to say about Nicki Minaj’s wardrobe malfunction this morning. For the umpteenth time in recent memory a morning news show has included inappropriate content for children and families." Winter called out Good Morning America for not using the five-second delay to prevent the broadcast of the exposure.

Since her breakout with Pink Friday, Minaj has been involved in a feud with rapper Lil' Kim, who accused Minaj of copying her style. Although Minaj's "Roman's Revenge" was thought to be directed at Kim, she said the song was "everyone who has been in interviews talking" because "no one is worth having their name mentioned out of my mouth and they never will get that." Kim escalated the feud with her mixtape, Black Friday (2011), whose title and artwork mimic Pink Friday; a fragment from Minaj's diss track, "Tragedy", previewed that April. Their conflict sparked a feud between Minaj and rapper Foxy Brown, who said Minaj misrepresented their conversation about Kim. Brown released the diss tracks "Hold Yuh" and "Massacre" (directed at Kim and Minaj) in November 2010 and January 2011, respectively, but Brown and Minaj settled their dispute in June 2012.

Minaj released her second studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded in April 2012. The album was preceded by the promotional singles "Roman in Moscow" and "Stupid Hoe". Critics suggested that the latter song was directed at Lil' Kim, who said: "If you have to make a song called 'Stupid Hoe,' you must be a stupid hoe." Minaj and rapper M.I.A. joined Madonna to perform their single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'", on the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show on February 6, 2012. She was the first solo female rapper to perform at the Grammy Awards, premiering "Roman Holiday" during the 2012 ceremony on February 12. Her exorcism-themed performance was controversial, with the American Catholic League criticizing Minaj for bringing a fake "Pope" to escort her on the red carpet. The "exorcism" scene that was performed during her appearance was criticized as well. According to the Catholic League president Bill Donohue "Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer. Finally, 'Come All Ye Faithful' was sung while a man posing as a bishop walked on stage; Minaj was shown levitating."

"Starships" was released in February 2012 as the lead single from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. The song reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the fifth best-selling single of 2012. Minaj was sued by Chicago artist Clive Tanaka in September 2013 for its alleged copyright infringement. Follow-up singles "Beez in the Trap" and "Right by My Side" were released shortly after. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released on April 2, two months later than planned. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 253,000 copies, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in June 2012. However, its mix of hip-hop songs and mainstream pop material received mixed reviews from music critics. "Pound the Alarm" and "Va Va Voom" were released as the final singles from the album. Minaj began her headlining Pink Friday Tour on May 16, 2012, which was followed by the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour beginning October 14. Although she was scheduled to headline the June 3 Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, at the request of Lil Wayne she canceled her appearance the day of the show after Peter Rosenberg of the station called "Starships" not "real hip-hop". The following month, Minaj voiced Steffie in the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). She won awards for Best Female Video (for "Starships") at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards and Best Hip-Hop at the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards. An expanded version of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, subtitled The Re-Up, was released on November 19. That month, Minaj was the subject of a three-part E! documentary titled Nicki Minaj: My Truth. She announced plans for her own record label after signing Parker Ighile, Brinx, Keisha and Blackout Movement.

In September Minaj joined the judges' panel for the twelfth season of American Idol with fellow new judges Mariah Carey and Keith Urban and the returning Randy Jackson. That October a leaked video circulated, with Minaj and Carey in a heated argument during auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carey accused Minaj of saying, "If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch", but Minaj denied the allegation. Carey said that Minaj created an "unsafe work environment", increasing her security as a result. Tensions escalated after Carey said that Minaj did not have a number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 during a live broadcast in May 2013, to which Minaj responded in a series of "extremely harsh" tweets directed at the singer. Minaj and Carey left the series that month, at the end of the season. That year Minaj was the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, with 44 entries. Her seven nominations led those for rap musicians at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, and she was the first rapper to win the BET Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Award four consecutive times.

Minaj's first live-action theatrical film The Other Woman was filmed in spring 2013 and premiered on April 25, 2014. She played Lydia, assistant to Carly (played by Cameron Diaz). In 2013, Minaj described her then-forthcoming third album, The Pinkprint as "a continuation of The Re-Up with a lot more" and said it would focus on her "hip-hop roots". During an MTV interview, she said that her third album would be "next level" and have "much to talk about": "I'm really excited and the people that have been working with me now, have been people that I haven't worked with before so it's like they're bringing a new sound to the album that I've never experimented with." "Pills n Potions" was released as the lead single from The Pinkprint in May 2014. "Anaconda" was released in August as the second single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her highest-charting single in the U.S. to date. The video set a 24-hour Vevo record, accumulating 19.6 million views on its first day of release, breaking the record previously held by Miley Cyrus for "Wrecking Ball". The album was officially released on December 15, 2014, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. In support of the album, Minaj embarked on her third international concert tour entitled The Pinkprint Tour.

On June 29, Minaj became the only artist to win the BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist for five consecutive years, while also tying Missy Elliott for the most wins with five. In November 2014, Minaj released a lyric video for her third single "Only", with visualizations inspired by the Nazi Regime and the work of Leni Riefenstahl. There was immediate backlash from fans, calling the video anti-semitic and insensitive. The Anti Defamation League stated that it was "troubling that no one among Minaj's group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release." The ADL called the "Only" video "insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era. The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews and all those who can recall the sacrifices Americans and many others had to make as a result of Hitler's Nazi juggernaut."

Minaj performed at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on August 24, 2014. On November 9, 2014, Minaj hosted the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards at the The SSE Hydro, Glasgow,Scotland. She also won an award for Best Hip-Hop. In December, Minaj received two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song for "Anaconda" and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Bang Bang" with Jessie J & Ariana Grande,at the 2015 Grammy Awards. In March 2015, Minaj made history as the first female artist to chart four songs simultaneously in the top 10 of Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart.

Minaj is the only woman to be featured on the Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings list. She made her first appearance on the list in 2011, earning U.S. $6.5 million from May 2010 to May 2011. In 2012, she placed eighth on the list, earning U.S. $15.5 million from May 2011 to May 2012. Minaj rose to the fourth position on the list in 2013, earning U.S. $29 million from June 2012 to June 2013. She made her fourth consecutive appearance on the list in 2014, earning U.S. $14 million from June 2013 to June 2014. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Minaj donated $15,000 to the Food Bank For New York City and held a turkey drive at her alma mater, PS 45.

Minaj is a Christian, and has stated that after her father went to rehab and began attending church, "he got saved and started changing his life". In July 2011, Minaj's cousin, Nicholas Telemaque, was murdered near his home in Brooklyn, which she references in her songs "Champion": "Cause they killed my little cousin, Nicholas/ But my memory's only happy images", and "All Things Go": "I lost my little cousin to a senseless act of violence". In late 2014, Minaj separated from her longtime boyfriend Safaree Samuels. Several tracks on The Pinkprint are believed to have been inspired by the end of their relationship. She also revealed she had an abortion as a teenager in her song "All Things Go". Minaj began dating rapper Meek Mill, after rumors of a relationship circulated after her breakup, Mills confirmed the relationship on April 12, 2015. They announced their engagement on April 16, 2015.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Candice Accola

Candice Rene Accola (born May 13, 1987) is an American actress, singer and songwriter, known for portraying the role of Caroline Forbes on The CW's hit show, The Vampire Diaries.

Accola was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Carolyn (Clark), who was an environmental engineer before becoming a homemaker, and Kevin Accola, a cardiothoracic surgeon. She has English, Romansh-Swiss, French, and Norwegian ancestry. She grew up in Edgewood, Florida and attended Lake Highland Preparatory School. Both her parents are active members of the local Republican political party. She has one younger brother, Kree Thomas Accola.

In December 2006, Accola released her debut album, It's Always the Innocent Ones, independently in the United States. Accola co-wrote thirteen of the fourteen tracks on the record. The remaining track was a cover of 'Til Tuesday's hit "Voices Carry." In 2008 the album was re-released in Japan and achieved greater success. Accola toured as a backing singer for Miley Cyrus's Best of Both Worlds Tour. Accola appeared as herself in the 2008 3D concert film Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. In February 2011, Accola performed a cover of "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles on The Vampire Diaries.

Accola had guest appearances in a number of television series such as How I Met Your Mother, Supernatural and Drop Dead Diva. In July 2009 Accola starred in the independent horror film Deadgirl which centers on two high school boys who discover an immortal woman in an abandoned asylum. That same year again Accola had a bit-role in The Hannah Montana Movie. In 2009 Accola was cast in The CW television series The Vampire Diaries as Caroline Forbes, a teenage vampire. The series was an immediate success with the series premiere reaching 4.91 million viewers. Critical reception was positive. In June 2012 Accola joined the dramedy YouTube series Dating Rules From My Future Self as Chloe Cunningham a 26-year-old girl who believes love does not exist. The series centers on a girl receiving romance advice from herself ten years in the future via text message. The first season of the series went on to receive over 14 million views.

Accola began dating musician Joe King of The Fray after they met at a Super Bowl event in February 2011. They became engaged in May 2013, and married on October 18, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Upon her marriage, Accola became a stepmother to King's two daughters from his first marriage, Ava and Elise.

Along with her The Vampire Diaries co-stars Michael Trevino and Ian Somerhalder, Accola is a supporter of the It Gets Better Project, which aims to prevent suicide among LGBT youth. Though her parents are Republicans, Candice herself has shown support for President Barack Obama, and supports gay rights.

Whitney Able

Whitney Nees Able (born February 6, 1982) is an American actress and model. She is best known for her roles in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and Monsters, and has been featured in Maxim magazine.

Able's acting career started with a role in the low-budget film Age of Kali in 2005. Able then portrayed Eve in the film Dead Lenny, which was released direct-to-DVD in 2006. Able then gained a role in pilot episode of the TV show Secrets of a Small Town; however the show was not picked up by American Broadcasting Company. Able also had a role on the ABC show Rodney.

Able's breakout role was in the 2006 horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, portraying the bitchy but also sympathetic cheerleader Chloe. The film co-starred Amber Heard and received mixed reviews from critics. Able then appeared in guest roles in television series including CSI: New York, Cold Case. Able's next film role came in Emmanuelle Vaugier's horror vehicle Unearthed, in which Able plays Ally. The film was one of the 8 films to die for at horrorfest and received poor reviews from critics. Able also starred in the direct-to-DVD releases Love and Mary and Remarkable Power.

Able appeared in a number of independent films before landing the leading role in the 2010 film Monsters, a low-budget sci-fi horror film. The movie was critically praised. In the same year, Able had a role in Tales of an Ancient Empire. She ranked #83 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.

Able married her Monsters co-star Scoot McNairy in June 2010.

Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy is an American actor, producer, director and writer.

Abernathy was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. The Abernathy Children along with the King children integrated Spring Street Elementary School and began Mass Integration in the South. Abernathy briefly attended the Northside High School for the Performing Arts, before attended and graduated from the George School, a Quaker Prep School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her father was Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Co-Founder of the American Civil Rights Movement and an influential civil rights leader. She was able to join her father, her mother Juanita Jones Abernathy and witness first-hand many significant events of the Civil Rights Movement. Her family was very close to that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another prominent figure of the Civil Rights Movement. The Abernathy and King children went to school together, performed extracurricular activities together, spent Sunday Dinners together, vacations and various holidays together. According to Abernathy herself, children from both families would hold performances for their parents on these occasions with Yolanda King, one of King's daughter, acting as the director and Dr. King filming the performances. Abernathy acknowledges that "that's really when started acting."

After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, Abernathy moved to New York. She landed her first job after auditioning for a role with the Off Off Broadway production. Since then, Abernathy has a played major roles in many different movies and T.V. series. One of her more well-known roles is in the historical drama "Gods and Generals," in which she portrays a slave by the name of Martha. Although the film itself was not critically well-received, Abernathy was praised for her part. One reviewer states that "Abernathy's image of Martha combines strength with glamour." She starred for four years as a Series Regular on Lifetime's "Any Day Now. As a child of the South, Abernathy was heavily influenced by the civil rights movement. As a result, she was able to connect with the role on a personal level.

Rose Abdoo

Rose Mary Abdoo (born November 28, 1962) is an American actress and comedian, known for her roles as Stars Hollow's local mechanic, Gypsy, on Gilmore Girls and as Spanish teacher Señorita Rodriguez on That's So Raven.

Abdoo was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is of Lebanese and Dominican descent.

Abdoo's career began in Chicago, where she performed at various improvisational theaters, including the Improv Institute and four years with The Second City; she went on to develop her own one-woman shows, Who Does She Think She Is? and Get to the Part About Me. She also did a short-lived variety program with Bob Odenkirk and Conan O'Brien called Happy Happy Good Show.

Abdoo has a bachelor's degree in communications from Michigan State University, where she was cast in several college theater roles and encouraged by a professor to study improvisation. She went on to move to Chicago, where she joined Second City, performing first in their national touring shows and moving on their E.T.C. troupe. As a part of E.T.C., Abdoo won a Joseph Jefferson Award as "Best Actress in a Revue" in 1991 for her role in the production We Made a Mesopotamia, Now You Clean It Up, playing what the Chicago Tribune called "the show's meatiest part: an obnoxious, know-it-all tour bus rider." She went on to co-host the awards ceremony in 1994.

She was nominated alongside her castmates for a Best Ensemble Screen Actors Guild award for Good Night, and Good Luck.

In March 2008, Abdoo co-starred in the web series The Writers Room on Crackle.