From royal splits to PR crises, Queen Elizabeth had a rough 2020. But the pandemic gave her renewed relevance.

By Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

London (CNN) — 2020 was a tumultuous year for most people, and that’s no less true for Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s monarch has long occupied two roles — one as the head of the state and nation, the other as the head of her own family — and over the past 12 months she has been forced to confront crises on both fronts.

Here’s a look back at one of the Queen’s most challenging years to date.

A rocky start

The new year was barely underway when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan announced to the world — and the rest of the family — they were quitting their roles as senior royals.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a bombshell statement on their official Instagram account on January 8 they hoped to continue supporting the monarch but wanted to seek financial autonomy. The pair credited the Queen with providing the encouragement “particularly over the last few years” that led them to make such a dramatic announcement.

But CNN understands conversations over the couple’s future were already underway and the Queen was “disappointed” that her grandson had opted to reveal as much publicly. The monarch had explicitly told Harry to continue negotiations privately and was said to been left “upset.”

Prince Harry and Meghan depart Canada House on January 7 in London, England.”

Prince Harry and Meghan depart Canada House on January 7 in London, England.

Harry and Meghan had hoped to carve out a role the establishment had never seen before, a hybrid position where they would choose which formal positions they would keep and which they would leave behind while they developed their own private income streams and independence. It’s clear they also felt unsupported and unprotected by the palace machinery against what they felt was a constant barrage of media abuse and lies.

Related: Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back has been on the cards for some time

But royal roles are in the gift of the monarch, and the Sussexes’ “half-in, half-out” model wasn’t seen as workable. The Queen was left in the uncomfortable predicament of trying to give her beloved grandson what he wanted without compromising the institution. It was perhaps the most delicate moment for the British monarchy since the aftermath of Diana’s death in 1997.

The situation culminated in a crisis summit at her Sandringham residence where she was joined by the heir to the throne Prince Charles, his elder son Prince William and Harry. In a statement after the meeting, the Queen said Harry, Meghan and their son Archie would “always be much loved members of my family.”

“I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” she said. “I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.”

The terms of the split stipulated that while the pair would always remain part of the family, they would no longer use their HRH titles; they would receive financial assistance from Charles, and could supplement their income with appropriate opportunities.

Harry’s frustration over the result was evident. “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” he told a charity event in London in late January.

“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”

By the end of March, Harry and Meghan’s transition out of their royal roles was complete. The current arrangements are due to be reviewed by the Sussexes and the rest of the family in March.

It was a dramatic start to the year, but arguably left the monarchy in a stronger position. The Crown can modernize as much as it likes, but ultimately it’s built on a hierarchy, and the direct line of succession — Elizabeth, Charles and William — showed a united front.

Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s media empire expands with Spotify podcast deal

Charles catches Covid-19

Having settled the family drama, the Queen was immediately presented with one the biggest crises she’s ever faced as head of nation — keeping everyone united as the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the country went into an uncomfortable lockdown.

As Covid-19 spread through the UK, she was prevented from doing what she does best when her busy diary of public engagements was suddenly curtailed. She made the decision to relocate from Buckingham Palace in London to form a bubble in Windsor with Prince Philip and key staff “as a sensible precaution.”

Prince Charles is seen on a monitor as he speaks during the opening of the “NHS Nightingale” field hospital, at the ExCeL London exhibition center, in London on April 3.

Those words rang true days later, when Prince Charles announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Prince of Wales was said to have had only mild symptoms and is otherwise in good health, but the mere fact that the 71-year-old was unwell emphasized to all how the virus did not discriminate.

William also caught Covid-19 in the spring, but only revealed it later in the year, telling an “observer” that he opted not to go public with his diagnosis because “there were important things going on and I didn’t want to worry anyone.” His decision to initially withhold news of his illness from the public sparked some criticism.

Related: Why wasn’t the UK public told about Prince William’s Covid diagnosis?

Royal resilience

As cases and deaths from the virus across the UK started to spiral in April, so too did criticism of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic. In co-ordination with Downing Street, the Queen agreed to address the nation in a televised speech.

“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all,” the Queen said in early April.

The Queen seldom makes national addresses, save for Christmas and when a new Parliament is installed. The moment was a somber but reassuring acknowledgment of the hardships society was facing. News channels the world over — including CNN — broke in as the pre-recorded video was broadcast to the UK and the 54 nations of the Commonwealth.

In the speech, she drew on her first broadcast alongside her sister Princess Margaret in 1940 to relay that the nation and those watching would overcome the current crisis.

“We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do,” she said, while also thanking frontline healthcare professionals.

Royal expert and historian Kate Williams said the speech sounded a note of hope that many Britons needed to hear in that moment.

“It’s so rare that she gives an address [and] the address she gave was so striking,” Williams said. “It was dark days when everyone was very isolated, [and] couldn’t go out at all … it was a quite brilliantly delivered speech.”

That optimistic sentiment — which she would echo in other 2020 speeches marking events like Easter and the 75th anniversary of VE Day — reasserted her role as a hands-on leader and set the tone for how she and her family would conduct themselves for the remainder of the year. After imploring the public to remain at home, the royal family transitioned from walkabouts to video calls, embracing a new work-from-home life like millions of other Britons.

“We all knew Brexit was coming, but Covid is what we didn’t see coming … the Queen feels it’s her job to lead by example and to hold leaders to account,” Williams said. “I don’t think it’s been easy for her not being able to have face-to-face meetings with the Prime Minister — that’s what she prefers.

“This is one of the great crises of recent British history. More people have died than in the Blitz. It is like the war. I don’t think that she thought she was going to have a quiet few years in her 90s but … a lot of what she’s seen are political crises and diplomatic conflicts and conflicts, and this is very different. It cannot be solved by getting people together around a table.”

A new normal

The Queen would not reopen the royal diary of engagements until July 17, when she knighted Captain Thomas Moore — the 100-year-old World War II veteran who had raised millions for the UK’s National Health Service. Hours earlier, she had attended a private wedding ceremony for her granddaughter Princess Beatrice. And as the spring wave finally abated, members of the royal family resumed socially distanced engagements with the public at foodbanks, hospitals and businesses hit by the pandemic.

Williams said it has always been very important to the Queen to be there for the public and it will have been hard for her that Covid has limited her movements. She says the Queen knows for monarchy to work “it needs to be seen.”

“It’s part of the contract it has with the people. It doesn’t work if you just sit in the palace,” she added. “Monarchy has had to completely reinvent in the same way that businesses have had to.”

It hasn’t been a year entirely untainted by scandal: lingering questions remain over Prince Andrew’s relationship with the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein. The Queen never said anything publicly about the matter, but she made a major statement in accepting what was billed as Andrew’s decision to step back from public duties. The move came in the wake of Andrew’s disastrous interview with the BBC in late 2019, when he denied having sex with an underage girl and said he had seen nothing suspicious when he was around Epstein, a convicted pedophile. It would have been a painful decision for both Andrew and his mother but ultimately one that again she felt was right for the institution.

The latter part of the year also saw the family face several other challenges.

In October, the Queen undertook her first public engagement since the spring lockdown — a visit to Porton Down science park in southern England with William. But she was criticized by some for not wearing a mask despite a resurgence in the virus. In response, Buckingham Palace said the Queen had chosen to forego a mask after consulting her own medics and scientists at the military research facility. Social distancing guidelines were in place at the event and everyone the British monarch met had tested negative for the virus. A month later, she appeared in a mask for the first time at a commemorative ceremony in London.

The Queen during a ceremony in Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior on November 4.

The latest installment of “The Crown” brought a fresh flurry of international interest to palace gates in November. The fourth season of the Netflix drama heralded the arrival of Princess Diana, and painted Charles as a petulant prince and cruel husband. Critics said the portrayal of Charles — along with a number of other scenes — was inaccurate, and it prompted a call from one UK government official for Netflix to tack an extra disclaimer onto each episode of series.

“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the UK’s Mail on Sunday. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.” Netflix refused to add the warning to the show.

And in December, several family members were accused of breaking coronavirus regulations. In pictures published by The Mail Online, William and his family appeared to be walking alongside his uncle Prince Edward and his family during an outing to a Christmas-themed woodland walk. The photographs seemingly contravened England virus rules, which limits outdoor gatherings to just six people.

The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle on December 8.

Like millions of Britons, the monarch sacrificed the traditional holiday festivities with her family at Sandringham. Instead, for the first time in 33 years, she remained at Windsor with 99-year-old Prince Philip.

The situation is a fitting way to end the year, according to royal historian Williams. “It’s unprecedented for them to be spending it just the two of them. Even in the war, [Christmas] was a big family time,” she said.

The Queen acknowledged what a sad and unusual festive season it would be for many in her annual Christmas speech, assuring those missing out on time with loved ones, and whose only wish was for “a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand,” that “you are not alone.”

This year has seen the world grapple with something nobody could have predicted 12 months ago. For the Queen’s part, she has reaffirmed her position as the unifier-in-chief for family, and for nation.

At a time in her life when she might be expected to step back, the Queen has shown she is still in charge, even as she delegates more duties to Charles and William. Any rumors that she plans to abdicate and handover the crown have been quashed for another year.

Vanessa Bryant, her mother’s lawsuit and the value of childcare

By Ashitha Nagesh, BBC News

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant, has found herself at the centre of a torrid domestic drama, within a year of the death of her husband and daughter.

She is being sued by her mother.

In the lawsuit Sofia Laine argues that she should be paid $5 million in back-pay for, as she puts it, being her daughter’s “longtime personal assistant and nanny” to her grandchildren. She also claims Kobe Bryant promised to financially take care of her indefinitely.

“Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant’s promise did not see the light of day as he is now deceased and Vanessa Bryant took each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe’s promises,” she alleges in the 48-page lawsuit.

Ms Laine’s legal action attracted a swift and significant backlash, not least for coming just 11 months after the death of Bryant’s husband and teenage daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash. One well-known journalist called the lawsuit “repulsive”, for example, in a tweet that at the time of writing has been “liked” more than 28,000 times.

The strongest response has come from Bryant herself. In a statement, she denied her mother’s claims that she was a nanny and assistant, and instead accused her of attempting to “extort a financial windfall” from her. “This lawsuit is frivolous, disgraceful, and unimaginably hurtful,” she added.

With both sides contradicting each other, there is little way of wading through the right and wrongs of what is a messy, complicated and – ultimately – deeply personal family affair.

Regardless of the individual merits of this case, Ms Laine’s basic argument is not without precedent. Usually for much smaller amounts and in entirely different circumstances, the question of whether parents and grandparents should receive a wage for childcare within the family has been asked repeatedly for at least half a century.

Whether grandparents should be paid for babysitting frequently comes up on online forums. Last year two separate scenarios, posted on Mumsnet and the (unrelated) Netmums respectively, posed the same question from two different perspectives.

On Mumsnet, an anonymous mother wrote that her parents had asked for £50 a week to look after her young children when she returned to work after maternity leave. In the Netmums post, a grandmother said she was looking after her young grandchildren for around 10 hours a day; she and her daughter had agreed on a fee of £40 a week, she said, but she had “somehow ended up doing it for nothing”.

In both cases, the responses were split pretty evenly between those who believed it was the grandparents’ right to insist on payment, and those who felt that grandparents should help their children out without expecting to be compensated.

“In reality, she only occasionally babysat my older girls when they were toddlers,” Vanessa Bryant has claimed in response to her mother’s lawsuit. She points out that she herself was a stay-at-home mother who looked after her own children.

Her mother counters: “She is using my grandchildren to punish me for exercising my rights.” The language marries up her rights and her grandchildren. It’s not an unfamiliar argument, historically.

The history of wanting wages for housework

In the early 1970s, a global coalition of radical feminists launched the Wages for Housework campaign, which argued for families’ primary caretakers – predominantly women – to be paid regular wages for doing the household and childcare duties that were expected of them.

In its manifesto released at the time, the campaign wrote of women’s “life sentence of housework at home and outside, servicing men, children and other women, in order to produce and reproduce the working class. For this work we are never paid a wage”.

“Our destiny and the roots of our exploitation — our wageless work in the home — are the same in every country of the world, and so is our struggle against it.”

The coalition held demonstrations around the world, such as this one in Boston in 1977

But the campaign’s motivation was to highlight the value of housework in a language that the majority of the public would understand.

Their ideas came from the radical left theories of Friedrich Engels who in 1884 argued that while men were in charge of the “means of production”, by producing goods, women were responsible for the “means of reproduction” – which referred to child-rearing.

This idea of the “means of reproduction” being an equally valid form of work directly influenced the Wages for Housework campaign and others like it.

Where are we now?

According to a 2016 report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), women are still overwhelmingly tasked with unwaged work in the home – which, the organisation adds, is “holding back women and girls from advancing in other areas of their lives”.

On average, it adds, women spend 45 minutes more than men per day on paid and unpaid work, or about 5.7 weeks more per year. In the most unequal countries, this goes up to two hours a day.

Margaret Prescod, co-founder of Black Women for Wages for Housework, leading a demonstration in LA in the mid-1970s

But the housework gender gap has been brought to the fore in 2020. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), women in the EU already spent 13 hours more than men per week on unpaid care and housework before the pandemic – which only went up when schools in multiple countries were closed, and older relatives fell ill.

According to Selma James, one of the co-founders of the Wages for Housework movement, little has changed.

Writing in the Independent earlier this year, Ms James said that in 1972 she campaigned specifically for child benefits in the UK – then known as “family allowance” – to be retained. Women, she said, told her at the time that this small payment was “the only money I can call my own”, and was more liberating for women than encouraging them to take on low-wage work.

With an estimated worth of $600m, Vanessa Bryant – and even her own mother – aren’t the primary concern of these campaigns.

But within this family drama – regardless of its rights and wrongs – is the familiar language of rights and compensation when it come to childcare.

Instagram model Joselyn Cano ‘dies aged 29 after a botched butt-lift surgery’ in Colombia

By Lydia Catling, Mailonline

An Instagram model, dubbed the Mexican Kim Kardashian, is reported to have died at the age of 29 after a botched butt-lift surgery in Colombia. 

Joselyn Cano from Newport Beach, California, is claimed to have died on December 7 and a livestream of what is believed to be her funeral was shared on Youtube this week.

Influencer Lira Mercer broke the news of the model’s death on Twitter yesterday, writing: ‘Omg Joselyn Cano died in Colombia getting surgery. That’s wild.’

Cano’s death is yet to be confirmed by her family but people have been taking to social media to share their condolences.  

Joselyn Cano is reported to have died after a botched Brazilian butt-lift procedure in Colombia on December 7. Pictured: The model’s last Instagram post on December 7

The death of the 29 year old model (pictured) from Newport Beach, California, was shared on social media by fellow influencer Lira Mercer

A three-hour livestream of what is believed to be her funeral was shown on Youtube, which saw loved ones paying their respects to Joselyn Cano.

Cano (pictured on November 9) poses in a bikini in the bathroom. Her Instagram page, which is typically updated at least once a week has not been updated since December 7

Cano was a model, social media influencer, building a following of more than 12million, and a fashion designer. Her LinkedIn profile also states she studied Microbiology at San Diego State University.   

A three-hour livestream of what is believed to be her funeral was shown on Youtube, which saw loved ones paying their respects to the young woman in a casket beside a large picture of her. 

A short message on the stream read: ‘Joselyn entered this life on Wednesday, March 14, 1990. She entered into Eternal Life on Monday, December 07, 2020.’

For Brazilian butt lift procedures, fat is taken from various parts of the body and put with the buttocks

Cano was a model, social media influencer, building a following of more than 12million, and a fashion designer Pictured: Joselyn poses in New York last year

She studied Microbiology at San Diego State University. Pictured: Cano shares a candid selfie

While reports of her death still remain unconfirmed, her Instagram page, which is typically updated at least once a week has not been updated since December 7.  

Taking to Twitter after the news of her death, one person wrote: ‘Rip Joselyn Cano so young and so beautiful.’

Another said: ‘What the f**k? Joselyn cano died from getting a [Brazilian butt lift]? That s**t is crazy.’

Funeral of Instagram model who died after botched butt-lift surgery

Through her Instagram modelling Cano (pictured) gained a following of more than 12million

During the livestream of what is believed to Cano’s funeral people approach her casket which sits next to a picture of her

For Brazilian butt lift procedures, fat is taken from various parts of the body and put with the buttocks.

It has grown increasingly popular in the United States, becoming the fastest-growing type of plastic surgery, according to 2015 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The rate of buttock lift procedures rose 252 percent from 2000 to 2015. The total went from 1,356 to 4,767 procedures over the course of that time.

Injecting fat into the butt can lead to problems if done improperly, including fat embolism – which is when fat enters the bloodstream and blocks a blood vessel.

The estimated death rate for BBL is 1 in 3000, according to PlasticSurgery.org. 

Billy Porter to join New Year’s Eve show from Times Square

Associated Press – Last New Year’s Eve, Billy Porter was working in New Orleans. This year he’ll still be working — but in New York City.

The “Pose” star will join Ryan Seacrest and Lucy Hale on ABC in Times Square on Dec. 31 for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020.” The broadcast is closed to the public due to the pandemic.

“2020 has been a trying year for the world and I’m thrilled to have Billy and Lucy join me in ushering in a new year with fresh beginnings,” said Seacrest in a statement. “We look forward to making sure it’s a night for everyone to remember.”

Porter made his debut on the program last year, taking over from Hale as co-host in New Orleans and performing several songs. As with last year, Ciara will once again oversee the Los Angeles festivities.

Last year, Porter became the first openly gay man to win an Emmy Award for best actor in a drama series for his role in “Pose.” He also has a Grammy and a Tony for his work on the musical “Kinky Boots.”

Drake Bell Is Apparently A Pop Star In Mexico & Absolutely No One Knew

By Jordyn Tilchen, Bustle

In what is likely the most bizarre news you’ve heard all week, we’re here to report that Drake & Josh star Drake Bell has apparently changed his name, moved to Mexico, and is now releasing Spanish-language music. Fans of the nostalgic Nickelodeon series flooded Twitter after a visit to Bell’s social accounts revealed a total rebrand. He’s now “Drake Campana,” and if you’re wondering, “Campana” does translate to “Bell.”

While his social media handles remain @drakebell at the moment, his display names on both Twitter and Instagram do not. And all of his recent photos on IG? Well, they almost exclusively promote his new music — most of which is in Spanish. Of course, fans on Twitter are shocked that Bell has seemingly decided to pack it up, move to another country, and give his music career another shot. However, he’s actually been posting about Mexico on Instagram for roughly a year now.

In addition to sharing memes about leaving the United States behind for our southern neighbor, Bell shared what appeared to be his Mexican ID on the photo-sharing app last November. The document shows his photo, his correct birthday, and his month and year of registration, which seems to be May 2019.

While it’s unclear why Bell decided to start anew somewhere else, people on Twitter certainly have some ideas. “I still can’t stop laughing over the fact that Drake Bell changed his name [to] Drake Campana, moved to Mexico, and now produces Spanish music all because he is more popular in Mexico than he was in the US,” one person tweeted. Several others echoed that sentiment, suggesting that Bell has a larger fan base in Latin America than he does in the States. Bell even memed his interest in Mexico on Instagram in November 2019:

Other people, however, aren’t fully convinced that Bell’s move was for career growth. In August 2020, the actor was reportedly accused of verbal and physical abuse by ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt. According to People, Lingafelt made the accusations on TikTok, but Bell refuted her claims. “[I] never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video,” he told the magazine. Per the outlet, the two began dating in 2006 and the relationship lasted for two years.

Regardless of why he’s seemingly changed his identity and decided to plant new roots elsewhere, what’s clear is that people on the internet are in absolute disbelief over the news.

TL;DR, we don’t quite know what prompted Bell to try his hand at becoming a pop star in Latin America, but after this year’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping debacle, absolutely nothing is shocking. We have reached out to Bell’s rep for comment and will provide an update if we hear back.

Sia, after being criticized for ableism, defends portrayal of autism in new film

By DAVID OLIVER, USA Today

Sia has been promoted from mother to grandmother a year after adopting two sons.

During her Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe, the “Chandelier” songstress revealed she is already a grandma after adopting two 18-year-old boys who were aging out of the foster care system last year.

“My youngest son just had two babies,” Sia said in the interview Tuesday. “I’m a (expletive) grandma! I know, right?”

Sia, who is 44, confirmed she adopted two children in 2019 during a Sirius XM interview in May.

“I’m just immediately horrified,” the singer continued to Lowe. “No, I’m cool. They call me ‘Nana.’ I’m trying to get them to call me ‘Lovey,’ like Kris Kardashian. I’m like, ‘Call me Lovey.’ “

Sia also opened up about becoming “a little bit jaded” after learning more about the foster care system.

“It’s completely corrupt. It’s failing us,” she said, adding that her sons have “been in 18 different locations in their 18 years.”

According to the singer, becoming a mom to these two young men has been “a pretty massive roller-coaster.”

“I just kept really strong boundaries,” she said. “And I would say, ‘You could do this, or you could go back to where you came from, which is not a nice life. It’s not a good life,’ and I’d say, ‘I’m doing this because I’m your mother. I love you. I have no other agenda other than the fact that I love you.’ “

Sia confirms she adopted two teenage sons that were ‘aging out of the foster care system’

She added that both of her sons have been through trauma programs since she adopted them.

“The youngest right now is in trauma processing,” she said, “and I really pray that he can manage, because it took me until I was 41, I think, to deal with my early developmental trauma. And I don’t want that for them, but you can’t force anyone. Trauma has to come out when you’re in a safe environment, when you’re ready, psychologically ready. So, I’m just trying to do my best for them.”

Ladies’ night at Latin Grammys: Lafourcade, Rosalía win big

By MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A year after Rosalía made history by becoming the first solo female performer in 13 years to win the top prize at the Latin Grammys, Natalia Lafourcade followed in her footsteps with a big win at the 2020 show.

The Mexican singer won album of the year — a category dominated by male acts — on Thursday night with “Un Canto Por México, Vol. 1.” Lafourcade won three awards at the show, tying Rosalía and Carlos Vives for most wins.

Lafourcade didn’t attend the Latin Grammys, which aired live on Univision and featured a number of performances, most of them pre-taped due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show did not have a live audience or a red carpet, and some of the performances featured band members and dancers sporting masks as they entertained onstage.

Lafourcade’s wins included best alternative song for “En Cantos,” her collaboration with iLe, and best regional song for “Mi Religión.” Rosalía won her awards during the pre-telecast, including best urban song and best urban fusion performance for the hit “Yo X Ti, Tu X Mi,” sharing both wins with her song’s co-star, Ozuna. She also won best short form music video for “TKN,” which features Travis Scott and helped the rapper win a Latin Grammy before winning a traditional Grammy.

Before Rosalía’s win for album of the year, Shakira was the last solo female to win the prize in 2006 with “Fijación Oral Vol. 1.”

Residente — the most decorated act in the history of the Latin Grammys — continued his winning streak by taking home song of the year for “René” and best rap/hip-hop song for “Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe.” Fito Páez was also a double winner Thursday.

But the acts poised to make history after receiving 13 and nine nominations each — J Balvin and Bad Bunny — both walked away with just one win. Bad Bunny won best reggaeton performance for “Yo Perreo Sola” and Balvin picked up best urban music album for “Colores.”

Despite his 13 nominations, Balvin only had a chance of winning eight honors since he competed against himself in multiple categories. Bad Bunny had a similar issue at the show.

Balvin was a winner onstage, though.

Before his performance, footage of current events such as the Black Lives Matter protests – including an image of George Floyd — and more appeared onscreen. Balvin began performing his song “Rojo” (“Red”) under two large praying hands in a white suit, ending the song with fake blood running down his hands and clothes.

Pitbull also moved the needle with his performance, where he was joined by frontline workers onstage – some playing guitar, some singing background, one on drums. Together, they performed “I Believe That We Will Win” (World Anthem),” an upbeat song Pitbull released earlier this year during the pandemic to inspire others.

“They dreamed of being rock stars playing full stadiums, they represent a large group of individuals all around the world who day after day sacrifice their lives for a safer world,” Pitbull said. “We gonna live it tonight.”

“WE WILL WIN” appeared onscreen behind the performers at the end of the song as Pitbull saluted the musicians.

Karol G — who was nominated for four awards but walked away empty handed — performed alongside classical musicians to give a new edge to her global hit “Tusa,” which features Nicki Minaj rapping in Spanish and English. Karol G shout-outed the rapper during the performance.

Karol G’s fiance, Puerto Rican rapper-singer Anuel AA, had seven nominations but didn’t win a single award. He lost best new artist to Colombian singer Mike Bahía.

Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda kicked off the Latin Grammys with a strong message about Latin music. Speaking in Spanish and English, he said Latin music “unites all of us and makes us human.”

“This is our night,” he added.

That was followed by an all-star performance featuring Ricardo Montaner, Victor Manuelle, Jesús Navarro, Ivy Queen, Rauw Alejandro and Sergio George.

Other winners Thursday included Alejandro Sanz, who won record of the year for a second consecutive time thanks to “Contigo,” his tribute song to Joaquín Sabina; Ricky Martin won best pop vocal album for “Pausa”; and Chiquis — the daughter of late singer Jenni Rivera — won best banda album with “Playlist.”

The Latin Grammys was hosted by Oscar-nominated actor Yalitza Aparicio, actor-singer Ana Brenda Contreras and salsa singer Victor Manuelle, who replaced singer Carlos Rivera after he said he was exposed to the coronavirus.

___

Associated Press Writer Sigal Ratner-Arias contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/article/latin-grammy-awards-j-balvin-maluma-hip-hop-and-rap-coronavirus-pandemic-448c04b96ba67729f42defa2c487bece

George Clooney once gave 14 friends $1 million each — in cash

By Scottie Andrew, CNN

(CNN) — George Clooney’s a family man now. He mostly stays off screen, opting to spend time with his young children and his wife, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

But before he settled down, he squeezed in one more outrageous, if generous, caper when he visited a warehouse in an undisclosed location to pick up $14 million in cash to surprise his 14 closest friends with.

He shared the anecdote in an interview with GQ, which crowned Clooney its Icon of the Year, among other honorees like Megan Thee Stallion and Trevor Noah. It’s the first time he’s confirmed the big-dollar story — and even expanded upon it — since his friend Rande Gerber shared it on MSNBC in 2017.

Clooney sets the scene in his interview. He was appearing in “Gravity,” a thriller set in space costarring Sandra Bullock. The film wasn’t expected to be a hit when it was released in 2013, so Clooney said he was given “percentages of the movie” in lieu of a salary.

The astronaut thriller ended up being a hit anyway, so Clooney walked away with a few million dollars. He didn’t have a family then, and he wasn’t yet married. So, instead of saving it, he opted to give it away — in cash — to his closest friends.

“And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this,” he said of his friends. “And we’re all really close, and I just thought, basically, if I get hit by a bus, they’re all in the will. So why the f**k am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”

As Clooney tells GQ’s Zach Baron, he drove an old van to a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles where “they have giant pallets of cash,” filled luggage with $14 million worth and called his friends over to his home.

“And I just held up a map and I just pointed to all the places I got to go in the world and all the things I’ve gotten to see because of them,” he told GQ. “And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?'”

It’s one of several personal tidbits Clooney shares in the expansive interview, in which he also discusses how he learned the art of acting on “ER,” the time he fell and spinal fluid leaked from his nose on a film set and the motorcycle accident from which he miraculously emerged relatively unscathed.

People magazine names Michael B. Jordan as Sexiest Man Alive

By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr., Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Michael B. Jordan has been crowned as 2020′s Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. 

Jordan, known for his critically-acclaimed performances in “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and “Black Panther,” was revealed as this year’s winner Tuesday night on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” 

The actor appeared on the late-night talk show dressed in a yellow biohazard suit. He revealed his identity after removing his helmet, which had a smiley face. He said he learned about the honor during a call from his publicist while driving with a friend. 

Jordan tells the magazine in an issue out Friday that the honor is a “cool feeling.” 

“You know, everybody always made that joke, like, ‘Mike, this is the one thing you’re probably not going to get,’” he said. “But it’s a good club to be a part of.”

Other recent winners include John Legend, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Adam Levine, Channing Tatum and David Beckham.

The 33-year-old Jordan said the women in his family are “definitely proud of this one.” He credits his entire family for supporting him throughout the years.

“When my grandmother was alive, it was something that she collected, and then my mom naturally reads it a lot and my aunts as well,” Jordan said. “This is one that they’re definitely going to have a special place for.”

Jordan’s steady rise has come through strong performances on television on series “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights.” He made his mark in film as police shooting victim Oscar Grant in “Fruitvale Station,” boxer Adonis Creed in the “Rocky” sequels “Creed” and “Creed II” along with his stellar work as Erik Killmonger in the record-breaking “Black Panther.”

Along with his acting endeavors, Jordan has championed change behind the scenes in Hollywood. He started his own production company, Outlier Society Productions, which was among the first to embrace the inclusion rider, adopting the pledge to seek diverse casts and crews. 

Jordan has been active in the Black Lives Matter movement and vocal about early voting registration for this year’s election.

“I think there’s a time and a place for everything,” he told People. “I’ve been picking my moments to make the most impact. We can all take action — big or small — to help create the change we want to see.”

In 10 years, Jordan hopes to direct and produce more than taking on acting roles.

“Just growing, whatever the next evolution of me is,” said the actor, who will star as a former Navy SEAL-turned-CIA operative in Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” “Hopefully a family by then, I’m going to throw that in the universe. I want to make an impact all over the world and not just through the roles that I play.”

Cardi B, Dolly Parton, Dua Lipa to be honored by Billboard

By MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Cardi B has only released one major single this year — the hit “WAP” — but it’s enough for Billboard to name her Woman of the Year.

Billboard announced the honor Wednesday and the Grammy-winning rapper will be celebrated at the music brand’s 15th Annual Women in Music Event, which will stream live on Dec. 10 at billboardwomeninmusic.com at 8 p.m. EDT.

Jennifer Lopez will receive the Icon Award at the event and Dolly Parton will earn the Powerhouse Award. Other honorees include pop star Dua Lipa (Powerhouse Award), R&B sister duo Chloe x Halle (Rising Star Award) and singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez (Impact Award). Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas of Atlantic Records — who led #TheShowMustBePaused campaign in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year — will receive the Executive of the Year Award.

Outside of “WAP” — which co-stars Megan Thee Stallion and spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — this year Cardi B appeared on K-pop girl group BLACKPINK’s “Bet You Wanna” and Brazilian singer Anitta’s “Me Gusta”; she jumped on the remix for the Latin trap track “La Bebe”with Anuel AA, Black Jonas Point, Secreto and Liro Shaq; and her rant about the coronavirus was remixed by iMarkkeyz and became a social media smash, even charting on Billboard’s rap and R&B digital songs sales chart.