Queen Aretha back at work


Nicki Minaj says she wants to make clothes that she would want to wear. (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.

Aretha Franklin says "the side effects were rough" from her treatment for an undisclosed condition.

The 71-year-old singer sat at a piano recently inside a Westin hotel in the Detroit suburb of Southfield. She sang Etta James' "At Last" and told reporters she's "glad to be back in it" — a reference to her music.

The Detroit News reports she's starting on a new album with producers Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Don Was.

Franklin says she and Edmonds were supposed to team up in July, but couldn't because of her medical treatments. She says it was music executive Clive Davis who suggested she collaborate with Was, known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson.

Franklin canceled several concerts earlier this year for health reasons.

Black Girls Rock!

Patti Labelle is a known diva and Queen Latifah does not consider herself one, but both will be among those honored as part of the Black Girls Rock! awards show on BET.

Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond announced the show's honorees recently in a statement. Other honorees include tennis champion Venus Williams, screenwriter-producer Mara Brock Akil, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, community organizer Ameena Matthews and children's rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman.

Actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King will return as hosts of the ceremony, which will air Sunday. It was taped in late October at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.

Black Girls Rock! is a nonprofit organization that mentors young black girls and works to fight negative images of black women in the media.

Ebony Power 100

Ebony magazine's celebration of its "Power 100" list will have a Motown vibe — Berry Gordy is being honored with a lifetime achievement award, the Jacksons will perform in his honor, and the cast of "Motown The Musical" is due to appear, as well.

The Jacksons will pay tribute to the Motown founder at a gala event on Monday at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Gordy signed the brothers when they were known as the Jackson 5, led by pre-teen Michael Jackson.

The event will also honor those who made the list of power brokers in the black community, including President Barack Obama, Kerry Washington, "Fruitvale" actor Michael B. Jordan, Harry Belafonte and others.

Nick Cannon is slated to host the event.

Minaj fashions

Nicki Minaj knows celebrities-turned-designers aren't always taken seriously in the fashion world, but she doesn't mind.

At a launch event recently for her Kmart collection, Minaj said skepticism of stars lacking formal design training is "understandable," but she insists it's "not about being a designer."

The "Starships" rapper says her intention is simply to make clothes that she would love to wear.

The line for Kmart and shopyourway.com features midriff-baring tops, patterned leggings and curve-hugging dresses, as well as jewelry, clutches and bejeweled caps.

There's also a pink velour track suit and a faux fur trapper hat.

Minaj says Chanel, Versace and Herve Leger were among her inspirations.

Prices range from $3.99 for a studded bracelet to $37.99 for a light wash, denim jacket.

Soul Train Awards

Kendrick Lamar is the top nominee for the Soul Train Awards.

The rapper is up for six awards, including album of the year for "good kid, m.A.A.d city" and song and video of the year for "Poetic Justice." R&B singers Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown and Tamar Braxton follow with five nominations each.

The latest albums from Lamar, Timberlake and Miguel will battle efforts from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Fantasia for album of the year. Lamar's other nominations include best new artist, hip-hop song of the year and collaboration.

The Soul Train Awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The awards will air Dec. 1 on BET and Centric.

Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson will host the show.

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