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    Four Tops Singer Sues Hospital Over Being Put in Restraints

    The lawsuit by Alexander Morris, who joined the group six years ago, said the staff thought he was “delusional” when he told them he was in the Motown band.A singer who joined the storied Motown group the Four Tops in 2018 sued a Michigan hospital on Monday, accusing its staff of placing him in restraints and ordering a psychological evaluation because they did not believe he was part of the band.The singer, Alexander Morris, who is Black, filed a lawsuit accusing Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital of racial discrimination and two employees of negligence for an incident in April 2023, when he was taken there by ambulance with chest pain and difficulty breathing.When Mr. Morris, 53, told hospital staff that he was a member of the Four Tops — which helped define the Motown Sound in the 1960s with hits such as “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” — the staff “wrongfully assumed he was mentally ill” and a security guard was instructed to put him in restraints, the lawsuit alleges.When Mr. Morris offered to show his identification card, the lawsuit said, the security guard, who is white, told him to “sit his Black ass down.”“None of the nursing staff intervened to stop the racial discrimination and mistreatment,” said the lawsuit, which accused the staff of taking Mr. Morris, who had a history of heart problems, off oxygen while they pursued a psychiatric evaluation.The nonprofit health system that oversees the hospital, Ascension, released a statement in which it declined to comment on the pending litigation but said, “We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind.”The Four Tops has seen a rotation of replacement singers since its heyday. Its only surviving original member, Abdul Fakir, invited Mr. Morris to join the group in 2018 and he has been performing with them since 2019. At the time of Mr. Morris’s hospital visit last year, the lawsuit said, the Four Tops had been touring with another Motown jewel, the Temptations, and the group had recently performed at a Grammys charity event honoring Berry Gordy, Motown’s founder.Seeking to convince the hospital that he was not “delusional,” Mr. Morris’s lawsuit said, he showed a nurse a video of him performing at the Grammys event. Then the staff canceled the psychiatric evaluation, removed the restraints — which the suit said had been in place for about 90 minutes — and placed him back on oxygen.The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, said that after the ordeal, Mr. Morris was offered a $25 gift card to a supermarket, which he said he refused to accept.“The hospital denied my identity and my basic human dignity and then offered me a gift card,” Mr. Morris said in a statement provided by his lawyers. More

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    A Show That Makes Young Japanese Pine for the ‘Inappropriate’ 1980s

    A surprise television hit, now on Netflix, has people talking about what Japan has lost with today’s changed sensibilities.The younger generation has frequently called out Japan’s entrenched elders for their casual sexism, excessive work expectations and unwillingness to give up power.But a surprise television hit has people talking about whether the oldsters might have gotten a few things right, especially as some in Japan — like their counterparts in the United States and Europe — question the heightened sensitivities associated with “wokeness.”The show, “Extremely Inappropriate!,” features a foul-talking, crotchety physical education teacher and widowed father who boards a public bus in 1986 Japan and finds himself whisked to 2024.He leaves an era when it was perfectly acceptable to spank students with baseball bats, smoke on public transit and treat women like second-class citizens. Landing in the present, he discovers a country transformed by cellphones, social media and a workplace environment where managers obsessively monitor employees for signs of harassment.The show was one of the country’s most popular when its 10 episodes aired at the beginning of the year on TBS, one of Japan’s main television networks. It is also streaming on Netflix, where it spent four weeks as the platform’s No. 1 show in Japan.“Extremely Inappropriate!” compares the Showa era, which stretched from 1926 to 1989, the reign of Japan’s wartime emperor, Hirohito, to the current era, which is known as Reiwa and began in 2019, when the current emperor, Naruhito, took the throne.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Ahmed Best, the Actor Behind Jar Jar Binks, Is Proud of His ‘Star Wars’ Legacy

    Ahmed Best recalls the painful backlash to the “Phantom Menace” character that was considered a racial stereotype at the time, but is now embraced by fans.Ahmed Best is a futurist, an educator, a martial artist, a writer-director and the actor behind Jar Jar Binks, the most hated character in the “Star Wars” universe.Long-eared Jar Jar is a bipedal amphibianlike creature with an ungainly walk and a winning attitude. The groundbreaking, computer-generated goofball debuted in the first installment of George Lucas’s prequel trilogy, “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” and instantly set off widespread criticism from both fans and the press.“It took almost a mortal toll on me. It was too much,” Best recently recalled. “It was the first time in my life where I couldn’t see the future. I didn’t see any hope. Here I was at 26 years old, living my dream, and my dream was over.”Now 50, Best is the picture of panache who could easily be mistaken for an off-duty rock star. He arrived at our interview riding a motorcycle and wearing a blue denim jacket, black jeans and stylish shades.Best has continued to play Jar Jar Binks in animated “Star Wars” shows and video games. “It’s big and it tends to overtake your life,” he said.Daniel Dorsa for The New York TimesIn the presence of Best’s self-assured demeanor, it’s even more shocking to learn that back in 1999 the vitriol fans flung at Jar Jar, and in turn at him, ravaged his mental health. But he revisited these memories a few weeks before the movie’s return to theaters on Friday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its release.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Pennsylvania School Board Reinstates Gay Author’s Speech Amid Backlash

    The Cumberland Valley School Board reversed its decision to cancel Maulik Pancholy’s speech at a middle school next month after many community members said the actor had been discriminated against because of his sexuality.Less than two weeks after a Pennsylvania school board unanimously voted to cancel a gay author’s anti-bullying speech at a middle school, the board voted Wednesday night to reverse its decision and reinstate the event amid pressure from parents, students and administrators.The 5-to-4 vote by the Cumberland Valley School District’s board came in front of scores of community members who packed a high school auditorium and, for several hours, chastised the board for having canceled the event featuring the actor and author Maulik Pancholy over what they said were homophobic concerns.Bud Shaffner, a board member who had come under fire for introducing the motion at the April 15 meeting to cancel the speech, apologized for his comments about Mr. Pancholy’s “lifestyle.” He later introduced the motion to reinstate the speech and voted for it.“I will accept the blame because of the insensitive word I spoke on April 15,” he said at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting. “I fully understand the interpretation of my poor word choice.”Many community members who spoke during the public comment period of Wednesday’s meeting rejected the contention by some board members that Mr. Pancholy’s speech had been canceled over concerns about what they called his “political activism.”“To claim that Maulik Pancholy is a political activist and use that as a justification to cancel his event is an excuse that the public sees through,” one person told the board.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Margaret Tynes, Soprano Who Soared in Verdi and Strauss, Dies at 104

    Because there were few opportunities for Black singers in the U.S., she became a powerhouse in Europe, performing in operas like “Tosca” and “Carmen.”Margaret Tynes, an American soprano who was acclaimed in Europe but neglected in the United States at a time when Black singers were newly breaking into the operatic world, died on March 7 in Silver Spring, Md. She was 104.The death was confirmed by her nephew Richard Roberts, who said Ms. Tynes died in a nursing home.In the 1960s and ’70s Ms. Tynes, with her incendiary, full-throated voice, in roles like Aida and Salomé, sang at opera houses in Vienna, Prague and Budapest, earning high praise on the continent — “an exceptional voice, intense in every coloring, vibrant and dramatic,” Milan’s Corriere della Sera newspaper wrote — even while U.S. critics were cooler. The Süddeutsche Zeitung of Munich wrote of her performance in Benjamin Britten’s “The War Requiem” that “What Britten expects of a woman’s voice can only be achieved by a singer of Margaret Tynes’s caliber.”But she did not make her Metropolitan Opera debut until 1974, when she was 55, in a run of three performances as the title role in Janacek’s “Jenufa” that began and ended her career there.Ms. Tynes, right, in 1957 with Joya Sherrill and Duke Ellington when they recorded “A Drum Is a Woman,” for which Ms. Tynes gained a measure of American fame.Everette CollectionMs. Tynes grew up in the segregated South and gained a measure of American fame in the 1950s, recording “A Drum Is a Woman” with Duke Ellington, singing heartfelt renditions of “Negro Spirituals” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and appearing with Harry Belafonte in the musical “Sing, Man, Sing.” She also sang at the funeral of the musician W.C. Handy and toured the U.S.S.R. with Mr. Sullivan’s show in 1958.Her breakthrough in opera, the genre that defined her career, came in Europe in 1961, when she sang Salomé in Luchino Visconti’s production at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Time magazine described her as “moving about the stage with catlike grace, her rich, ringing voice zooming with ease through the high, precarious lines,” and as a “girl with veins of fire.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Ye Is Sued for Hostile Work Environment at Donda Academy and Yeezy

    A former employee sued the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, claiming a hostile work environment at Yeezy, his fashion brand, and Donda Academy, his private school.Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was sued Tuesday by a former employee who accused him of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment by calling Adolf Hitler “great,” disparaging Jews and saying that “gay people are not true Christians.”The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Trevor Phillips, who says he was hired in November 2022, around the time a series of antisemitic remarks publicly made by Ye lost the artist his major-label record deal and put his businesses in jeopardy.Phillips was initially hired to oversee “projects related to growing cotton” and other plants in an effort to make Yeezy, Ye’s fashion brand, “self-sustainable,” the lawsuit said, and then went on to work for Donda Academy, Ye’s private school in Southern California.Phillips’s lawsuit claims that Ye made antisemitic comments in front of staff members at Donda Academy, including, “the Jews are out to get me” and “the Jews are stealing all my money.” After Adidas ended its decade-long partnership with Ye over his public remarks, the lawsuit claimed, the rapper told Phillips: “The Jews are working with Adidas to freeze up my money to try and make me broke!”The lawsuit claims that Ye treated Black employees at Donda Academy, including Phillips, “considerably worse than white employees.”Representatives for Ye and Donda Academy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Insooni Breaks Racial Barrier to Become Beloved Singer in South Korea

    Born to a South Korean mother and a Black American soldier, she rose to a pioneering stardom in a country that has long discriminated against biracial children.When she took the stage to perform at Carnegie Hall in front of 107 Korean War veterans, the singer Kim Insoon was thinking of her father, an American soldier stationed in South Korea during the postwar decades whom she had never met or even seen.“You are my fathers,” she told the soldiers in the audience before singing “Father,” one of her Korean-language hits.“To me, the United States has always been my father’s country,” Ms. Kim said in a recent interview, recalling that 2010 performance. “It was also the first place where I wanted to show how successful I had become — without him and in spite of him.”Ms. Kim, born in 1957, is better known as Insooni in South Korea, where she is a household name. For over four decades, she has won fans across generations with her passionate and powerful singing style and genre-crossing performances. Fathered by a Black American soldier, she also broke the racial barrier in a country deeply prejudiced against biracial people, especially those born to Korean women and African-American G.I.s.Insooni at a concert in Seoul in March.Woohae Cho for The New York TimesHer enduring and pioneering presence in South Korea’s pop scene helped pave the way for future K-pop groups to globalize with multiethnic lineups.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Missing the Gay Best Friend

    In film and on TV, he was a sign of cultural progress. Then he was a tired stereotype. Then he disappeared. So why do we want him back?SOMETIMES, YOU DON’T know how much you’ve been missing something, or even that you’ve been missing it, until you have it back. That may explain the unexpected nostalgic pang I felt while watching Nathan Lane connive and conspire with an array of imperiously behatted women on the second season of Max’s real housewives of New York costume drama “The Gilded Age.” Or the similar pang I felt while watching Mario Cantone reprise his role as the embittered confidant Anthony Marentino on the second season of Max’s other real housewives of New York costume drama “And Just Like That …” In both instances, it seemed suddenly clear that, for a long time now, popular culture has been moving forward without a once-essential style accessory: the Gay Best Friend. We’re not supposed to mourn his absence; we’re not supposed to want him back. But I kind of do.Listen to this article, read by Ron ButlerOpen this article in the New York Times Audio app on iOS.Sardonic and supportive, caustic and self-deprecating, alternately the angel and the devil on the shoulders of countless heroines, the Gay Best Friend — always free, always available, there when he’s needed and invisible the minute he isn’t — had been a staple of women-driven, gay-friendly movies and television shows since I was a teenager in the early 1980s, at the dawn of the representation-matters era. As our designated representative, the homosexual confidant wasn’t ideal, but he was better than nothing. He could serve as a pet, a provocateur or a sob sister; a servile, wince-inducing stereotype or a sly underminer of various heterosexual norms. For gay audiences, his existence, rarely in the thick of the action but rather just next door to it, offered, at its best, a brief glimpse into a universe of possibilities — a universe that mainstream culture was still unwilling to enter more immersively. Over the next couple of decades, the Gay Best Friend’s development could be traced alongside the overall arc of gay culture as it bent toward justice.And then, seemingly without anybody noticing, he ghosted, disappearing from the scene with barely an acknowledgment that he’d been there at all. (The momentary appearance of Earring Magic Ken in 2023’s biggest film hit, “Barbie,” is the last known sighting.) Was the cultural demise of the Gay Best Friend a defeat, or was it a sign of progress? And either way, whatever happened to that guy? He was fun to have around and, all in all, good company.IT MAKES SENSE that, in the 2020s, the Gay Best Friend is not only virtually extinct but even frowned upon as démodé, a quaint form of minstrelsy. In an era in which everybody is determined to live life as the star of their own show, the G.B.F., a member of a sexual minority who accepts that his destiny is to serve as a tangential character rather than a central figure, feels self-abnegating in a way that renders him politically suspect. Why would any self-respecting gay man choose to define himself primarily as a woman’s ornamentation? The trope is by now so familiar that it can be spoofed: A 2023 “Saturday Night Live” sketch, “Straight Male Friend,” shrewdly posits that being the Gay Best Friend (as embodied by Bowen Yang) is essentially uncompensated emotional labor, and that after a long day (or at least a long brunch) of listening and supporting and encouraging, what gay men really need is a dude-bro buddy with virtually no emotional intelligence who just wants to hang.Has the character simply outlived its questionable-in-the-first-place value? The inverse of the Gay Best Friend is the Fag Hag, and the minefields of that particular stereotype announce themselves right in the label (twice in just six letters). Forever bemoaning her rejection by the straight world, often the first to announce that she considers herself overweight or unattractive and viewed by her gay friends as a kind of rescue case, the Fag Hag character can be predicated on affection, condescension or both, but the general sense is that her time has passed. The character has also come under fire for reasons that lie outside of popular culture, as frustration has increased over the minimization of the role of women, both straight and lesbian, in the struggles and movements that have defined the past 60 years of gay history.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More