Farewell to Chris Lighty. The hip-hop mogul died Aug. 30 after apparently shooting himself in the head following an argument with his estranged wife, Veronica. Lighty was found on the basement patio of his three-story brownstone in the posh Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx. A gun was next to him. While there are reports that claim Chris owed the IRS $5 million, the Associated Press reported that he had paid off most of what he owed by selling a Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million in October. Sources say he was worth an estimated $30 million despite recently being sued by City National Bank for not paying them after he had overdrawn his account by $53,584.
Through the years, Lighty managed some of the greatest names in hip-hop, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey and 50 Cent, for whom he negotiated a multimillion dollar deal with Vitamin Water. Lighty was currently managing new hip-hop standout Diggy Simmons, the son of Run DMC’s Rev. Run and nephew of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons. Lighty was the father of several children. He and Veronica had two children, who were at a park nearby at the time of his alleged suicide. He also had two children with another woman, and twins with a woman who left Shaquille O’Neal for Lighty after he bought her a Jaguar and many other luxury items. Unfortunately, sources say that once he found out she was pregnant, he never communicated with her or the children again.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and business partner Chris Lighty,” 50 Cent said in a statement. “Chris has been an important part of my business and personal growth for a decade. He was a good friend and adviser who helped me develop as an artist and businessman. My prayers are with his family. He will be greatly missed.” RIP.
The worst-kept secret in morning television was revealed on Tuesday when Kelly Ripa announced that Michael Strahan is her new co-host on ABC’s “Live.” Said the former New York Giants defensive end, “I’m so happy to be part of this. You know how they say, it’s a dream come true. I truly can’t say that because I didn’t know I could even dream this.” Although Strahan’s primary residence is in Los Angeles, the transition won’t be difficult because he and his fiancee, Nicole Murphy, have an apartment in Tribeca.
He comes off as one bad dude on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta,” but Harlem-bred hip-hop trio BBOD says that Stevie J is the sweetest guy on earth. The ladies, Ms. Moe Money, Boss Lady and Sexxy Lexxy, who are promoting their new cut, “Get Money” on iTunes, met the music producer in Atlanta. He was so impressed with them that he put the raptresses in the studio the next day.
Word is Rihanna’s television career has gotten off to a rocky start after ratings for her much-hyped new British fashion series fell to just 79,000 viewers. Thousands have turned off “Styled to Rock,” exclusively produced by the Barbadian beauty and featuring wannabe designers competing to create a festival outfit for her. The show started out with an overnight viewing figure of just 95,000, down from the channel’s usual audience of 153,000. It fell to 79,000 for the second episode before moving up a bit to 110,000 for the latest installment on Aug. 27.
Forbes named Oprah Winfrey as the highest-paid celebrity for the fourth year in a row, earning $165 million–$125 million less than last year. Forbes reported that much of Oprah’s wealth was amassed through her other business ventures, including O: The Oprah Magazine, “The Dr. Oz Show” and her radio deal with Sirius. It was also noted that the billionaire does not earn a salary at OWN. Dr. Dre was also on the list, earning $100 million, and Tyler Perry landed at No. 6, earning $105 million.