What’s Poppin: News on Ashanti, Ciara, Rihanna, Guy and Blackstreet

With an eye on an October release of her new disc Declaration, Ashanti’s “Switch” is the first single featuring boyfriend Nelly. Although she is still officially down with the Inc. Records, word is she made this album with no input from former executive producer Irv Gotti. “I feel like it’s a sense of freedom,” Ashanti tells MTV of the album title at last week’s BET Awards in Los Angeles. “With this album, I’m taking the lead with everything. I’m steering my own ship. I’m doing everything on my own. I have a label that I’m developing under Universal as well. It’s just a big year for me — I feel really, really excited about the album.” Producers Jermaine Dupri, L.T. Hutton, Babyface and Polow Da Don all worked with her on the project. As R&B singer Ciara exited the stage to dance in the crowd during her performance of “Like A Boy” at the 2007 BET Awards, a robe was thrown on her, with a #25 across the back. Some have said that, because Ciara is rumored to be dating 50 Cent, the 25 was a nod to their relationship. (25 means half of 50 Cent) Others have said that, since she has also been linked to NFL star Reggie Bush, she might have been wearing his #25. Ciara shut down all the rumors backstage and explained that “25” was her way of questioning her placement on BET’s Top 25 Dancers list, the network’s recent countdown of the greatest dancers of all time, where she landed in last place, at #25. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the Top 25 Dancers countdown on BET; I acknowledged that,” she admitted, quashing the other rumors. R&B superstar Rihanna is in seventh heaven after continuing her reign atop of the U.K. singles chart with summer hit “Umbrella.” The 19-year-old held off stiff competition from singer/songwriter Kate Nash who debuted at two with Foundations. Veteran crooners Guy & Blackstreet are coming to Spotlight 29 Casino (Cali) for an old school R&B concert. Blackstreet set the R&B standard with their big hits “Booti Call” and “No Diggity,” and Guy laid it down with the mega hits “Groove Me” and “Piece of My Love,” creating a cross-over sound that led to worldwide acclaim, multi-platinum sales and even a Grammy win. Show time for Guy & Blackstreet is 8 p.m. Tickets from $45 are available now at www.Spotlight29.com and at the Spotlight 29 Casino Gift Shop or by calling 800-585-3737.


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