These photos are not what they seem. That's because they are all Photoshopped.

Initially, I began merging photos together as a way to illustrate my posts -- and because I couldn't find decent photos of those artists together.

Take for instance, this photo of Tameka, Usher and Chilli. This photo was lifted from my blog and reposted -- uncredited -- on numerous blogs and message boards and even on a news site as a legitimate news photo. But the photo is fake. I Photoshopped Tameka Foster into the photo with Usher and Chilli.

A few sharp eyed readers among you guessed that the above photo of Jay Z and Selita Ebanks was a phony. So I had to step my game up after that one. :)

But no one guessed that I inserted Jay Z into this infamous pic of Beyonce. Or that I juxtaposed Rocko and his mic into the pic below with his fiancee Monica.

Beware if you lift a photo from my blog this year -- it just might end up in my Best Photoshopped Photos of 2009. :lolol:

Michelle and Barack Obama hug their daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, goodbye as they leave their hotel to begin their first day of school in D.C. The Obama's were forced to live in a hotel near the White House when Bush refused to give up the White House guest quarters.

Sasha peers out the window after the Secret Service motorcade dropped off her sister Malia at the Sidwell Friends School in D.C. Sasha is in 4th grade at another Sidwell campus across town.

The motorcade bearing Sasha and Michelle Obama leaves the Sidwell Friends school Monday morning after dropping off Malia Obama.

Photos: Reuters

I wonder how Barack Obama sleeps at night, what with all his friends regularly going under the wheels of his bus and all.

Reports are that Obama's newly nominated secretary of Commerce, Gov. Bill Richardson, has withdrawn his name for the position. Something about a pending investigation for kickbacks he made to a company that donated campaign funds to him.

"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," Richardson said Sunday in a report by NBC News. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process." (LINK)

Hmmm... we wonder how Richardson was able to get nominated at all with this scandal all over the news such as it was? Of course Obama's team denied that those entrusted with the task of vetting Richardson missed something.

Also in Obama news, Jermaine Dupri who writes a column for the right wing blog, The Huffington Post, is over there now complaining bitterly about the raw deal he feels Obama has gotten so far. (LINK)

Personally I think the media is letting Obama off easy considering all those friends he's got piling up under his bus -- and he isn't even president yet.

At the risk of sounding negative (which I promised my loyal readers I would not do in the '09), I have good news and bad news related to the music industry.

The good news is: Sony/BMG has just signed a promising new singer/songwriter. The bad news is: she fits the standard cookie cutter image established by the other females of color already on Sony's roster -- including Leona Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Alicia Keys, and the standard bearer, Beyonce.

When I finally publish my last post ever on Sandrarose.com (in a decade or so), I want to be remembered as the blogger who coined the term "Beyoncification" to describe the music industry's current obsession with female artists of color who posses decidedly European features.

I spotted this video on AtlantaUrbanMix last week. It's a video blog by Sony's newly signed artist who goes by the name of Nikki Jean. You can feel Nikki's excitement as she video blogs while giddily signing every page of her bulky recording contract with Sony BMG/ Columbia Records.

I went to Nikki's Myspace page hoping to hear some of her work in order to dismiss my nagging suspicion that Nikki was signed based on physical appearance only.

Again, so as not to come off as negative, I will reserve my opinion on her musical talent. Apparently, Nikki's claim to fame is singing the hook on Lupe Fiasco's 2007 track "Hip Hop saved My Life" which she also co-wrote.

On a positive note, what Nikki lacks in melanin and soul, she more than makes up for with her bubbly personality -- a quality that her label mate Beyonce does not possess.

The Beyoncification of the music industry continues.

Rapper T.I.'s New Year's Eve performance at the Gansevoort hotel in South Beach didn't go off as planned according to Page Six:

Promoters sold revelers poolside tables for a whopping $10,000, but when partiers got there expecting to see the concert, they were told T.I. would be performing inside the hotel's small ballroom instead. "The city wouldn't allow him to perform outside," a Gansevoort rep said. Even worse, before T.I. could take the stage, the hotel had to get DJ Cassidy off it. "Cassidy thinks he's a celebrity now," a spy said. "He refused to stop playing, and then he wanted his assistant and girlfriend to stay on stage with him. It was a mess. He finally shut everything down and stormed off." The countdown was saved by T.I. doing an a cappella version of his hit, "Live Your Life," while DJ Jus Ske stepped in to finish the night off. (Source)

According to sources, T.I. demands and gets a minimum of $100,000 for club appearances and even more if he performs. So I'm sure the mix up didn't phase him much.

As I told you in a previous post, T.I. and his longtime girlfriend, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, rang in the New Year together on South Beach. Over the weekend, I received word that information contained in that previous post was causing some confusion. So I would like to clear that up.

I told you that Tiny arrived at Rocko Da Don's birthday party last weekend at Straits and was seated in the upstairs VIP dining room. I also wrote that rapper Shawty Lo, with whom T.I. has been beefing for months, arrived sometime later and he and his wife were seated next to Tiny.

Here's what I want to clear up: Tiny and her friend were seated at the table first. At that time Shawty Lo was not in the room. I'm told that Monica made the seating arrangements and she seated Tiny.

In my previous post, I indicated that "Tiny could have easily been seated anywhere else in the room besides right next to T.I.’s arch enemy" since it was a large table.

But some of Tiny's friends mistook that to mean Tiny chose to sit near Shawty Lo and his wife. That is incorrect. My point was Shawty Lo could have been seated anywhere else in the room instead of near Tiny. Especially when you consider the fact that Lo and Tiny's man have had words in the past.

Everyone is questioning the seating arrangement which was: Shawty Lo, his wife, Tiny's friend, then Tiny along with about 15 other couples at a big table. That should not have happened.

T.I. had every right to get his lady up out of there when he found out that she was seated two seats away from a man who has disrespected Tiny in the past.

The ideal situation should have been not to invite two warring rappers to the same event. T.I. got the heads up early on and decided not to attend the party to cut down on the drama.

But some people within the industry invite drama to bring attention to their events. They do this by inviting enemies to their events and hoping some drama pops off.

T.I. and Tiny already have enough problems without having to deal with intentional set ups.

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T.I. will begin serving a year sentence in prison on weapons charges in March.

Photos: Wireimage/Getty

Despite the tough economic times we're in, I think this old school song is appropriate for my first Throwback video of the new year.

This song certainly captures the mood I'm in right now: I wanna be rich! At the same time, I am well aware that money isn't everything.

An investor who lost more than $1.4 billion to Bernard Madoff's elaborate Ponzi scheme took his own life the day after Christmas (LINK). The man's brother called his suicide "an act of honor."

At the risk of sounding too opinionated, I think valuing money over a man's life is preposterous.

I interrupt my vacay to bring you new music from Ciara: this is the "official" first single off Ciara's overhauled CD Fantasy Ride. The song is titled "Never Ever" featuring Young Jeezy. "Never Ever" is produced by Polow Da Don and goes to radio tomorrow (1/5).

My loyal readers demand less negativity from me in 2009 and I plan to comply with their wishes. As Gandhi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

So I won't give my usual negative opinion on this track. But I know Philana Wiliams has to be somewhere laughing! :lolol:

Thanks Charles aka, BrandyKluxKlan!

I'm just poking my head in for a minute to wish you a Happy and joyous New Year, and to thank you for continuing to visit Sandrarose.com!

I'm taking today and the rest of the weekend off for a much needed rest. While I'm off I'll be thinking about changes I can make so my blog will be bigger and better for you this year.

Below is a poll listing some of the changes I'm contemplating.

Tell me what you think. You can select more than one answer. I'll be checking in throughout the day on my laptop.

Have a great weekend!