Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin feels like a new woman one day after undergoing successful gastric bypass, aka weight loss surgery.

“The surgery was highly successful,” Aretha said in a statement to Access Hollywood following the procedure. “God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country. God bless you all for your prayers!”

Franklin, 68, had the surgery yesterday following a Prayer vigil organized by the City Council in her hometown of Detroit, MI.

Last month, Franklin cancelled all concert dates and personal appearances through May due to undisclosed medical reasons.

Guess who the little cutie on the left is? You probably won’t recognize her because through the years her skin has lightened considerably. She still has the cute little pixie smile and long hair though. Here’s a hint: she is 1/4 of one of the most successful female groups in R&B.

The caption under the picture said: “Good morning fam. I’m just getting up & my cousin’s wife just sent me this pic of us! Wow! We’re all mixed but so brown! I loved the pool$”

Click the link to see who it is!

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I can honestly say that I have never seen a NBA game quite like last night’s boo fest between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the Heat won 118-90.

It was the first time LeBron James had set foot on the court at the Quicken Loans Arena since his over-the-top announcement that he was going to the Miami Heat. The Cleveland fans who had waited months for this day to arrive, hurled abuse and objects onto the floor whenever LeBron touched the ball. The police presence was heavy-handed and we saw numerous tv shots of furious fans being escorted from the arena.

In typical narcissistic style, LeBron reveled in all the hostility — after all, it is still attention whether it’s good or bad.

Instead of reacting to the hatred like a normal person would — by ignoring it — LeBron responded by never missing a chance to taunt, tease and laugh at his former teammates on the bench. Even TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith were disturbed by his antics. They were also bothered by the fact that a few of the players showed love to LeBron.

“The home fans have tried to make him feel uncomfortable. By (the Cavaliers bench) talking, joking and laughing with him, they’ve made him feel comfortable,” said Smith.

“If ever fans needed a reminder that pro players care far more about each other than they do about them, this was it.”

VladTV.com caught this exchange between LeBron and his former assistant coach, who appears to say “shut the f*ck up” to LeBron.

Click link to watch the video

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A white man who carried out six brazen bank robberies wearing a silicone mask designed to resemble a black man, faces up to 35 years in prison when he is sentenced on January 7, 2011.

On Monday, Conrad Zdzierak, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and five counts of robbery in exchange for dismissal of 12 charges. The mask was so lifelike that police initially arrested a black man for the crimes.

From the DailyMail:

‘Conrad apologises to everyone, is sorry for any harm he has caused and accepts responsibility for his actions,’ his lawyer Christopher McDowell said.

Zdzierak stole about $15,000 in the robberies of four banks, a credit union and a pharmacy that occurred in March and April – crimes in which witnesses reported that the robber was black and surveillance video appeared to show a black man.

Zdzierak’s masked resemblance to the black man who was initially arrested was so similar that some witnesses even identified a photo of the black man as the one who robbed them, McDowell said.

The prosecutor’s office would not release the name of the wrongly accused man.

Zdzierak was arrested at a hotel after his girlfriend called police after seeing reports of the robberies and finding two masks and money stained by dye that is used to track robbers, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Did you know that incarcerated rapper T.I.’s album, No Mercy, drops in 5 days? You’re not alone.

T.I.’s 7th studio album, No Mercy, is set to be released on December 7. Guest artists include Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, chris brown, Eminem, and more. The tracks were culled from 80 songs recorded by the rapper after his release from prison to an Atlanta halfway house in December 2009.

A source close to T.I.’s camp says the father of 5 is taking his current confinement very hard. T.I. keeps in constant daily contact with his family and staff of his Grand Hustle Records via phone calls and emails.

His wife, Tameka Harris, visits him twice weekly as opposed to once a week like she did last year when he was locked up at the same Arkansas correctional institution.

In almost every communication with his camp, T.I. expresses deep sorrow and regret for any inconvenience his actions has caused them.

“I feel bad for Tip. He’s taking it hard,” said the source. He is so remorseful and determined to change his life when he gets out.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, T.I.’s release date is 09-17-2011.

You can write to him at the following address:

Clifford Harris Jr.
FCI Forrest City Low
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 9000
Forrest City, AR 72336

Watch Part 2 after the break.

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Rapper Eminem, newcomer Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga tops the 2011 Grammy nominations list released yesterday.

Last night I was on a conference call with 2 industry insiders who were tickled to death that good music is making a comeback. Pop star Rihanna earned 3 Grammy nods, while R&B Diva Monica received 2 nominations.

Canadian stars Justin Bieber and Drake are nominated for best new artist, along with U.K. acts Florence & the Machine and Mumford & Sons, and jazz artist Esperanza Spalding.

Surprisingly, troubled singer chris brown is nominated for 3 Grammys for Best Contemporary R&B Album (Graffiti), Best Rap Collaboration (“Deuces”) and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group (“Take My Time” with Tank). He won’t win but his Stans point to the 3 Grammy nods as proof that brown is back. We’ll see.

LL Cool J helped Stevie wonder announce the nominees at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live in LA yesterday.

Click link to read more

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Tennis star Serena Williams peers into rapper Lil’ Wayne’s eyes to make sure his pupils are equal and dilating normally during a game between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons in Miami on Tuesday, Nov. 30. She looks like she’s saying, “Are you sure you’re okay baby?” Weezy, who is known for his kush and syrup binges, recently dropped an album titled I Am Not Human.

(L-R) Gabourey Sidibe, Malaak Compton-Rock (Chris Rock’s wife), Christy Turlington Burns and Gabrielle Union attended the World AIDS Day event at Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York City yesterday. City landmarks were illuminated (Red) for World AIDS Day.

R&B sensation Monica and pop superstar Cee-Lo posed for Goodie Mob member Gipp Goodie backstage at the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! concert in LA last night.

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Singer Alicia Keys attended a screening of “Biutiful” hosted by the Cinema Society with Miuccia Prada, Sandra Brant & Ingrid Sischy at the Lighthouse Theater in New York City last night.

Keys was widely criticized by her followers on Twitter.com yesterday after she broke her own vow not to tweet until she had raised $1 million for AIDS research.

Other celebs such as Kim and Khloe Kardashian also broke their vows to stay off Twitter yesterday. Keys tweeted a number that her followers could text to “buy” her life back. But apparently, few of her followers cared if she came back to life or not. Keys deleted her tweets once her followers protested.

The poorly received ‘Dead Celebrities’ campaign, featuring stars such as Usher, Serena Williams and Ryan Seacrest lying in open caskets, has raised less than $100,000 so far.

Photos by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images North America

According to USA Today’s Best-selling books list, Jay Z’s biography slash memoir Decoded fell 3 spots from #18 to #21 one week after its debut.

Since hitting bookshelves on November 16, Decoded has sold 54,983 total copies in all 50 states.

The book scanned a measly 27,113 copies last week, just barely breaking the $1 million sales mark for total sales (based on Amazon.com’s list price of $18.88).

The USA Today‘s bestselling list is based on actual book sales rather than who you know over at the NY Times.

Decoded was ghostwritten by gifted author Dream Hampton, the former editor of VIBE magazine. It’s a narrative of Jay Z’s journey from common street hustler to corporate boardroom hustler told through a collection of his rhymes.

Former president George Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, tops the list scanning 189,386 copies last week for a total of 885,891 books sold.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Wireimage.com

Remember when I wrote about Kate Gosselin snapping on one of her kids and beating the child in front of paparazzi? Well, 2 of her brats have now been expelled from their private school and are being home schooled, according to online reports.

Naturally, mama Gosselin denies that her precious babies were expelled.

“The school would never use that word,” Gosselin, 35, assured People.com after news of two of her 6-year-old sextuplets supposedly being expelled. “[The school] did not feel like they could meet their needs anymore, so it was decided they should leave, for now.”

That’s a nice way of saying that Alexis and Collin are special needs children.

Kate tells People.com that the children are experiencing personal problems stemming from their parents’ divorce.

“They’ve been the ones to verbalize the most that they miss Daddy. I could see that they’re the ones struggling the most,” she said of Alexis and Collin.

Attention whore Raz B strikes again with a new video on WSHH, in which he secretly records his friend Ray J begging him to clarify a statement he made.

Apparently, Raz B dropped Ray J’s name during his ongoing gay smear campaign, insinuating that Ray J confirmed his gay accusations against Chris Stokes and Marques Houston.. In reality, Ray J was agitated about a bad business deal that had nothing to do with Stokes or Houston.

In the edited, 14-minute recording, Raz B promises Ray J to “clear that up real quick for you,” by releasing a brief statement. But his real intention all along was to put the video of the phone call up on WSHH.

I can’t believe Raz B still has friends in Hollywood. When will his homies catch a clue that Raz B is not their friend?

The former B2K member, who has built a career out of smearing his former friends with accusations of molestation, proves once again just how sleazy an opportunist he is.

He interrupts Ray J repeatedly to ask about a collabo for a mixtape he’s recording. At this point, Ray J, who doesn’t realize he’s being recorded for a WSHH video, is ready to promise Raz B anything.

“I can get you on Oprah, ni**a. You can even get your own a reality show,” says Ray J.

I’m telling you what I can do for you… I have ABC my ni**a, I got Sarah Palin, I got ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ VH1, I got everybody in my corner, ni**a. I can take your sh*t to the next level right now. I gotta call Gayle [King] and Oprah and ’em and try to set up the thing with you and Chris Stokes and Eddie Long, [and his accusers] and other victims.

Watch the video after the break.

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Remember last week when Kanye West bragged that his newly released CD My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was on pace to sell 600,000 copies? Well, Kanye’s critically acclaimed album didn’t even go gold!

That’s right, according to Soundscan and Billboard.com, MBDTF sold only 497,089 copies in the first week — and that’s including the so-called ‘Black Friday’ sales.

According to the RIAA, an album must sell 500,000 copies in order to receive a gold certification.

I hope Kanye has a strong support structure of friends and gold diggers around him to prop him up when he hears the news that his album didn’t even go gold. Brace yourselves for another round of finger pointing and accusations of racism by the troubled producer.

The music industry aggregate site HitsDailyDouble.com originally reported Kanye’s album selling 518,000 units. But their numbers are never reliable.

Meanwhile, newcomer rapper Nicki Minaj’s debut CD also came in below the early estimates. According to Soundscan, Nicki’s Pink Friday eked by with 375,973 units sold to grab the #2 spot.

British superstar Susan Boyle’s The Gift takes the #3 spot with 262,865 sold. While Taylor Swift’s nearly double platinum disc Speak Now (#4), and Britain’s wunderkinder, Jackie Evancho, round out the Top 5.

Ne-Yo’s Libra Scale, which was originally released in Europe last year, debuted on the U.S. charts this week at the #9 position with 112,533 sold. I would call that a flop for him.

Actress and socialite Meagan Good stopped to chat with a presumably homeless person before dining out with a friend in Los Angeles yesterday. Meagan was unaware of the fact that her fly was open as she smiled and waved at the paps.

The 29-year-old showed off her casual chic style, which included stretch designer jeans, thigh high suede boots and a Louis Vuitton pochette. I had no clue she smoked. She loses major style points for that.

Photos: Splash News Online

Music producer Pharrell Williams, aka Pharell, was spotted arriving at Art Basel in Miami Beach, FL, yesterday with yet another LSLH female who is being reported as his new girlfriend.

I know some of you don’t care about who Pharell sleeps with, but someone cares or the paparazzi wouldn’t be following the corny dude around.

Pharrell, 37, tried to shield the 20-something year old woman from the paparazzi, but we’re pretty sure she didn’t appreciate his efforts to conceal her identity. She’s not wearing that expensive Hermès bag for her health — she wants it to be seen by us common folk who can’t afford to splurge $25,000 on a handbag.

Pharrell got out of his car to chat with the photographers while the chick was escorted inside by a security guard. She was rocking a diamond ring on her left hand. Pharell looks great for 37, but he really needs to hit a gym to tone up his six-pack.

Photos: Splash News Online