NEW YORK — Singer Mary J. Blige says the Burger King commercial that caused major backlash for her was a "mistake."
The clip was released in April and featured Blige singing about the fast-food chain's new chicken snack wraps. It immediately went viral, and some in the black community said it was stereotypical. Burger King pulled it after one day and said it was unfinished.
In an interview with radio station Hot 97 this week, Blige said Burger King "made me look ridiculous." She said she thought she "would be shot in an iconic way."
Says Blige: "I wanted to crawl under the bed."
She said she initially did the commercial because she thought it would be a "great branding opportunity."
Burger King didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday. -- (AP)
ORLANDO, Fla. — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been named 70th president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Nutter assumed the post Saturday June 16 at the organization's annual meeting in Orlando and gave his inaugural address entitled "Moving America's Cities Forward."
Nutter said cities now have less money and fewer people to provide services, and he called that "our new normal in America."
He cited innovative efforts by cities across the country to address the challenges, including Philadelphia rethinking how it uses water.
And he cited the "Cities United" effort to combat urban violence that he said "is wiping out a generation of young, African-American men.
But Nutter said cities are the "future of America" as centers of new ideas, hubs of culture and art, and places "where people want to live and work." -- (AP)
COATESVILLE, Pa. — Lincoln University says it's opening a second campus in Chester County.
The historically Black institution will begin offering classes in Coatesville next year. The city is about 15 miles northeast of Lincoln's main campus in Oxford.
University President Robert Jennings announced the move on Wednesday at an economic forum in Coatesville.
Jennings says the Coatesville campus initially will house programs in nursing, business and entrepreneurship, and hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
Classes will be taught in a building currently used by the Coatesville school district for alternative education. The first classes are expected to be offered in January.
Acting City Manager Kirby Hudson says the campus could help revitalize downtown Coatesville.
Lincoln is a state-related university serving about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. -- (AP)
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles team president Joe Banner is stepping aside from the team's day-to-day operations and taking on an advisory role.
Banner will be succeeded as president by chief operating officer Don Smolenski. Both Banner and owner Jeffery Lurie said it was a mutual decision, disputing any suggestion that Banner was pushed out in a power struggle with general manager Howie Roseman and coach Andy Reid.
"It has been my privilege to work with Jeffrey Lurie over all these years," Banner said in a statement released Thursday. "Together we have built a talented front office team that is now ready to assume leadership of this extraordinary franchise. I plan to pursue a major new opportunity within the sports field — one that will enable me to apply all that I have learned as the Eagles president. I could never thank Jeff enough for the opportunity and support he has afforded me."
Banner has occupied a leadership role with the team since it was purchased in 1994 by Lurie, his longtime friend. He'll stay on as an adviser to Lurie.
"There is no better executive in sports than Joe Banner," Lurie said. "We are making this announcement today because he is looking for a greater challenge, and in Don Smolenski I have a highly regarded, very worthy successor as president of this team. Joe and I have achieved a great deal since I acquired the team. From building Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex, to driving the work of the Eagles Youth Partnership and, of course, our successes on the field, Joe has been an integral part of everything we have done."
Smolenski joined the Eagles in 1998 as vice president and chief financial officer before being chosen chief operating officer in 2010. He was previously the CFO of the International Hockey League.
"Joe has been a great friend, teacher and mentor," Smolenski said. "His support and confidence have been instrumental to my growth and development in the organization. As the Eagles new president, I'm excited to build on the work we've done together over the years."
Banner was considered an expert in mastering the salary cap. But he often was the target of strong criticism by fans for some of his public comments. The Eagles reached the NFC championship game five times and the Super Bowl once during Banner's tenure, but the franchise hasn't won a title since 1960. -- (AP)
LeRoy Ellis, who played 14 years in the NBA after a standout career at St. John’s, had died of prostate cancer. He was 72.
St. John’s announced on Sunday that Ellis died Saturday in Portland, Ore., after a long battle with cancer.
Ellis was a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, and played at St. John’s from 1959 to 1962. He still holds the school single-season record for rebounding with an average of 16.5 in his junior year, and the record for most rebounds in a game with 30 against NYU on Dec. 30, 1961.
“For a big guy, he was awfully quick. You can never catch him,” St. John’s Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca said. “He had a soft touch and was a good rebounder. He was a quiet guy, you never knew he was around. But when he was on the court, you always knew.”
He was drafted sixth overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1962 draft.
Ellis appeared in 1,048 NBA games with the Lakers, Baltimore, Portland and Philadelphia. He posted career averages of 9.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, and was a member of Los Angeles’ 1972 championship team.
He was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers in their first season in 1970–71 and led the team in rebounds (12.3) and ranked third in scoring (15.9). It was his only season in Portland.
“LeRoy Ellis was a very important member of the first Trail Blazers team and was a very high-class individual,” said Trail Blazers Founder and President Emeritus Harry Glickman. “We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.” — (AP)