Bits & Pieces

Denzel writes for charity, still sucks

    ATLANTA ?” Denzel Washington says his path to becoming an Academy Award-winning actor was paved by people like an English teacher and a barber he knew as a child.

    Washington’s new book, A Hand To Guide Me, gathers together essays by more than 70 entertainment, sports, business and political leaders who tell the stories of their own childhood mentors.

    ”It’s a celebration of the people behind the people – those who don’t get the recognition who influence the Bill Clintons or the Jimmy Carters or the George Steinbrenners of the world,” Washington said Thursday in a phone interview from New York, where he is promoting the book.

    Both former presidents and the New York Yankees owner are joined in the book by celebrities from rocker John Mellencamp to actress Whoopi Goldberg to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

    The book is a fundraiser for the Atlanta-based Boys and Girls Clubs of America.


Rapper with puzzling name sued by cops

    GREENSBORO, N.C. ?” Five Greensboro police officers involved in last year’s arrest of The Game have filed a defamation lawsuit against the rapper and his associates.

    Officers Hien Nguyen, Matthew Brown, Ryan Childrey, Romaine Watkins and David Gregory said they were libeled and slandered and had their images misappropriated, according to the lawsuit filed at the Guilford County Courthouse this week.

    The lawsuit stems from comments made to a TV interviewer by the rapper, whose real name is Jayceon Taylor, after his arrest at a shopping mall on Oct. 28, 2005, in which he compared his treatment to that of Rodney King and claimed he was arrested for signing autographs.

    It also takes issue with the distribution of a video of the officers during the arrest. A website promoting the DVD claims it shows Taylor “being wrongfully arrested and brutalized by the police in North Carolina.”

    The officers are each seeking more than $10,000 in damages. One officer says in the lawsuit that he lost $7,500 in off-duty pay because he was afraid of returning to work at the mall.


MTV claims Justin Timberlake makes good music

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark ?” Host Justin Timberlake grabbed the best pop and best male awards while the Red Hot Chili Peppers won best album Thursday at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

    Christina Aguilera was named best female artist and Kanye West took home the best hip-hop honor at the annual awards show, broadcast live in 17 countries from the Danish capital.

    British band Muse won the best alternative category, which they also grabbed two years ago. Depeche Mode, the 1980s veterans whose signature sound has influenced many other artists, earned the best group award.

    ”Wow, guys, this is totally unexpected,” said Rihanna as she received the best R&B award. In September, the 18-year-old music star won the same category in the Music of Black Origin award in London.

    The show was split between two venues: a convention hall on the city outskirts where Timberlake was in charge and an outdoor stage on Copenhagen’s main square where R&B songstress Kelis introduced the artists.

    Rapper Snoop Dogg, Australian band Jets and The Killers of Denmark had crowds jumping up and down in temperatures just above freezing at the outdoor venue.


?”The Associated Press