Busta Rhymes Issues Statement On Bodyguard Shooting
Busta Rhymes has finally made a statement about the deadly shooting on the set of his video last Sunday that claimed the life of his 29-year-old bodyguard, Israel Ramirez. But despite pleas from the police to talk, Rhymes' comment was about his friendship with Ramirez, not a statement to authorities.

"I have sent my condolences to the Ramirez family during this time," Rhymes said in a statement issued by attorney Robert Kalina. Ramirez who was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest on the set of the video for Rhymes' remix of his song "Touch It."

Rhymes praised Ramirez in the statement, saying he was "one of the rare friends that you come across that you can trust with your life. ... The conversations I have had with Izzy's wife have all been focused on comforting her and helping her get through this. To that end, I've assured her that I will be taking responsibility in making sure that my friend, a devoted husband and a loving father, is laid to rest in a proper fashion."

After a family wake was held on Wednesday, Rhymes was one of the guests at a second wake for Ramirez on Thursday in New York. "He put out his condolences, and that's it," said Alex Echavarria, 34, a friend of Ramirez's, according to The Associated Press. Ramirez's funeral was scheduled for Friday (February 10). Also in attendance at the wake were other artists who were on the set of the video the night the bodyguard was shot, including Missy Elliot and G-Unit's Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks.

Police have said that they believe the violence was sparked by an argument between Yayo and a rival producer that spilled out onto the street outside the studio. Though Rhymes initially said he was inside the studio at the time of the shooting, police believe he was outside, near the murder scene. Yayo's lawyer told MTV News that his client has not, and will not, speak to police about the incident (see "Tony Yayo Won't Speak To Police About Shooting On Busta Video Set, Lawyer Says").

Citing the ongoing investigation, a New York Police Department spokesperson would not confirm who has spoken to investigators. While Missy Elliott has reportedly given a statement to police, Kalina would not comment on whether Rhymes has been contacted by or interviewed by authorities (see "Police Want To Question Busta Rhymes About Fatal Shooting At Video Set").

Earlier this week, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters that Rhymes had not made an effort to help identify the killer. "Let's put it this way: They're not knocking on our door to talk to us," Kelly said of potential witnesses, according to the AP. Police are still seeking to speak to a second bodyguard who may have been involved in the alleged scuffle between Yayo and the producer.

The police spokesperson confirmed that authorities are looking over videotape shot on the night of the murder for clues to help identify witnesses or the shooter. If none come forward, Kelly said some of the witnesses may be forced into court to testify.

"They'll either cooperate or perhaps a grand jury might be necessary," Kelly said.

After initially eliciting the anger of the family by not attending Wednesday's wake, Rhymes explained in his statement that he stayed away at first to protect the family's privacy.

"Out of respect for the family's desire for, and right to, privacy during this mourning period I made the decision to attend Izzy's wake on the second day rather than the first, knowing that my presence [on Wednesday] would have brought unnecessary media attention to a personal and private time of grieving," Rhymes said

Ramirez, who was on hand to guard Rhymes' jewelry during the shoot, was killed in a hail of gunfire that erupted outside the Brooklyn warehouse where the video was being filmed. Ramirez's sister said Rhymes kindly remembered her brother.

"He was very sincere. He talked about what my brother was like," said Rosie Rodriguez, according to the AP. "He said all the beautiful things that we already knew, but he said it in more detail." Ramirez's sister-in-law said the rapper told the family he would make sure the bodyguard's three children were taken care of.
Mariah And Kanye Win, But In The End U2 — And Curveballs — Rule Grammy Night
LOS ANGELES — If you were to believe various awards-show pundits (and yes, they do exist), there were only two storylines coming into the 48th annual Grammy Awards. First, would Mariah Carey top off an incredible 12 months by taking home
her first Grammy in more than 15 years? And second, would Kanye West be able to top last year's hijinks, which included an over-the-top performance (that ended with him decked out in a white suit and angel wings) and an acceptance speech that left many with a bad taste in their mouths?

The short answers? Yes and, oh, Lord, yes.

Carey ended her decade-and-a-half Grammy drought by winning three awards during the night, for Best R&B Song, Contemporary Album and Female Vocal Performance. And West surprised everyone — and no one — with his wardrobe (shirt open to his navel, wraparound shades, inexplicable driving gloves), his relatively humble acceptance speech and a high-stepping performance that was equal parts college pep rally and pyrotechnic arena-rock spectacle. (For more outrageous fashions, see "Alicia, Kanye Go For Plunging Necklines, Stars Rock White On Grammy Green Carpet.")

But if Carey and West were the two big stories heading into the Grammys, they certainly weren't coming out of them. Rather, it was the impressive number of curveballs thrown at us by the Recording Academy that'll more than likely have people talking tomorrow.

Like U2, who at the end of the night walked away with more awards — five, including the big one for Album of the Year — than anyone else. Or John Legend, who tied with Carey and West with eight nominations, and took home three gramophones, including one for Best New Artist. Kelly Clarkson scored two wins and pretty much proved herself the anti-Kanye with her humility and her blubbering, strangely sweet acceptance speeches. (Who did Kelly call to share her joy with? See "Christina's Lip-Licking, Adam Levine On Those Jessica Rumors: Grammys Behind The Scenes.") Or Green Day, who somehow took home the Record of the Year award for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

There were also unexpectedly somber (and great) performances from Bruce Springsteen, who concluded his acoustic version of "Devils & Dust" with a defiant "Bring 'em home" (a not-so-subtle plea to get our troops out of Iraq); and Legend, who brought the crowd to its feet with an orchestral version of his hit "Ordinary People."

But the biggest curveball of them all was the "will-he-or-won't-he" appearance by the reclusive Sly Stone. While the notoriously eccentric artist was receiving a musical tribute during the show for the groundbreaking music he made with Sly and the Family Stone in the 1960s and '70s — a dynamic fusion of rock, funk and soul that has informed and influenced all three genres ever since — his career largely dissipated in a whirl of substance abuse and erratic behavior. In fact, mere hours before the live telecast began, Grammy organizers weren't even sure he'd show. But when he did — dressed in a gold lamé suit and sporting a mile-high platinum Mohawk — and performed (er, sort of performed) alongside artists like Fantasia, Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, it was a weird, wonderful moment.

Of course, this being the Grammys, there were also some completely expected moments that delivered big time. Carey's soulful medley of her hits "We Belong Together" and "Fly Like a Bird" packed a powerful vocal wallop, increased 30-fold by the addition of a full-blown gospel choir. Linkin Park and Jay-Z were joined onstage by a somewhat bewildered Paul McCartney (who, in his unbuttoned dress shirt and white undershirt looked somewhat like a high schooler unwinding after his senior prom), and U2 and Mary J. Blige earned a much-deserved standing ovation with their version of "One."

And then there was Kanye.

Topping last year's death-and-resurrection performance/melodrama would be tough, but, joined by Jamie Foxx (and a marching band) for a medley of "Gold Digger" and "Touch the Sky," he managed to at least equal his previous effort. The whole thing was dubbed the "Grammy halftime show" and started off with West and Foxx — dressed as bandleaders representing "KW State" and "JFU," respectively — leading their bands onstage for a fabulous pep-rally/step-show that somehow managed to end in pyro (as all pep rally/step-shows ought to).

But at the end of the night, not even West's fiery performance and faux humility (earlier in the telecast, while accepting his Best Rap Album award, he produced his "first-ever" thank-you list — though the gesture was somewhat lessened by the fact that the list had "THANK YOU LIST" printed in giant letters on the back) could help him take home the much-coveted Best Album Grammy. When U2 were announced as the winners, West lowered his head into his hands, and when the Irish stalwarts stepped up to accept the award, they looked at him and promised him that "next year, it's yours."

And all Kanye could do was smile. After all, when an awards show is this unpredictable, there's not much else you can do besides grin and bear it.
Reese Witherspoon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, 'Crash' Take SAG Honors - 'Brokeback Mountain' cast was shut out at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
It was déjá vu all over again for the big winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night — and for the cast of "Brokeback Mountain," which was shut out after failing to score any acting trophies at the Golden

Reese Witherspoon took another trip to the podium for an Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role award for her work as June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line," and Philip Seymour Hoffman bagged an Actor trophy for his portrayal of author Truman Capote in "Capote."

"Oh my God, y'all. Sometimes I can't just shake the feeling that I'm just a little girl from Tennessee," Witherspoon said while accepting the award (this time without a hearty smack on the back from husband Ryan Phillippe). "I want to say my biggest inspiration for this movie obviously was June Carter. She was an incredible woman."

Like many of the speeches at the ceremony, Hoffman's was filled with praise and thanks for his fellow actors.

"It's important to say that actors can't act alone; it's impossible. What we have to do is support each other," Hoffman said. "Actors have to have each others' backs. The only way to act well is when you know the other actor has your back. And these actors had my back, and I hope they know I had theirs."

The ensemble that starred in the critically acclaimed drama "Crash" beat out the actors in "Brokeback Mountain" for the overall cast award.

"We believe that it really celebrates the definition of what an ensemble is all about. I mean there's 74 of us," "Crash" co-star Don Cheadle said of the film's huge cast.

Rachel Weisz equaled her Globes feat with another supporting actress win for "The Constant Gardener" (see "'Brokeback Mountain,' 'Walk The Line' Win Big At Golden Globes"). Paul Giamatti won the supporting actor statue for his role as manager Joe Gould in the boxing flick "Cinderella Man."

Though she lost out to Witherspoon in the best actress category for her role as a conflicted man on the verge of gender-reassignment surgery in "Transamerica," Felicity Huffman won an award for best actress in a TV comedy for "Desperate Housewives," which also took home the best comedy ensemble nod.

Huffman was typically breathless during her acceptance speech and, as always, full of praise for her husband, actor William H. Macy. "I love actors. I married one. OK, I married a fantastic one," Huffman said. "But even more than acting, I love the community of actors. I love the green room. I love the hair and makeup trailer. ... I'm so happy I can make a living at it, because I was never very good at math."

Sandra Oh matched her Globe win with another best actress in a TV drama statue for her work in "Grey's Anatomy" and Kiefer Sutherland won for his role in "24."

The cast of the plane-crash phenomenon "Lost" won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Co-star Terry O'Quinn, who plays the mysterious John Locke, spoke for the group when he said, "A friend of mine always says if you don't have something nice to say about someone, let's hear it. So about our cast, I'd like to say that this is the saddest collection of climbing, grasping, paranoid, backstabbing, screen-grabbing losers and schmoozers that you ever saw on your stage in your life. But we love each other very much."

Though it was shut out, "Brokeback" did get a shout out from "Will & Grace" actor Sean Hayes during his acceptance speech for best actor in a TV comedy for his role as the flamboyant Jack McFarland. "First of all, I would like to thank Ang Lee for taking a chance on me," said Hayes, who elicited a chuckle from Lee for his sly jab about the cowboy love story. "I know everyone in Hollywood knows it's such a risk to play a gay character."
News Archive: February 2006
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