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BRUCE WILLIS DENIES SELLING RIGHTS TO HIS FACE

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Movie Star and Two-time Emmy Winner, Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis’s agent has denied reports that the film star has sold the rights to his face.

Last week, it was widely reported that Willis, in the first deal of its kind, had sold his face to a deepfake company called Deepcake.

However, a spokesperson for the actor told the BBC that he had “no partnership or agreement” with the company.

And a representative of Deepcake said only Willis had the rights to his face.

Willis announced his retirement from acting in March after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that affects speech.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to create realistic videos – often of celebrities or politicians. For actors that can no longer act, the technology has the potential to be game-changing.

On 27 September, the Daily Mail reported that a deal had been struck between Willis and Deepcake.

“Two-time Emmy winner Bruce Willis can still appear in movies after selling his image rights to Deepcake,” the story reads.

The story was picked up by the Telegraph and a series of other media outlets.

“Bruce Willis has become the first Hollywood star to sell his rights to allow a ‘digital twin’ of himself to be created for use on screen.” said the Telegraph.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

What is true is that a deepfake of Bruce Willis was used to create an advert for Megafon, a Russian telecoms company, last year.

The tech used in the advert was created by Deepcake, which describes itself as an AI company specializing in deepfakes.

Deepcake told the BBC it had worked closely with Willis’ team on the advert.

“What he definitely did is that he gave us his consent (and a lot of materials) to make his Digital Twin,” they said.

The company says it has a unique library of high-resolution celebrities, influencers and historical figures.

On its website, Deepcake promotes its work with an apparent quote from Mr Willis: “I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time.

“The neural network was trained on content of Die Hard and Fifth Element, so my character is similar to the images of that time.”

However, Willis’s agent told the BBC, “Please know that Bruce has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake company.”

The BBC asked Willis’s agent whether he had ever worked with Deepcake, or whether the quote used by the company was accurate.

The BBC has not yet received a response.

In a statement from Deepcake, the company said reports that it had bought the rights to Bruce Willis’s face were inaccurate.

“The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” a representative for the company said.

The confusion highlights just how new this technology is – and the lack of clear rules around it.

AI replacement appears to be a growing trend. Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones has recently retired from playing the famous character, but his voice has carried on. Respeecher, another AI firm, has reportedly used archival materials and a proprietary algorithm to replicate the Vader vocals.

This summer, Disney released its latest Star Wars spinoff, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The show used Respeecher’s technology to reproduce Vader’s speech and even make him sound younger.

AI replacement, however, is controversial.

In April, Equity, the UK’s performing arts workers union, launched the campaign, Stop AI Stealing The Show. Some are concerned AI deep fakes could take work away from actors.

There are also concerns that actors could lose control of their faces and voices.

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MAVIN’S ‘OVERLOADING’, MOST TRENDING 2022 YOUTUBE MUSIC VIDEO

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Mavin Record Boss, Don Jazzy

YouTube has announced that Mavin Records’ ‘Overloading’ has emerged the most trending music video on Youtube for 2022.

Google’s Communications Manager for West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

Kola-Ogunlade said other music videos on the most trending list are Rema’s ‘Calm Down’, Kizz Daniel and Tekno’s ‘Buga’, Asake’s ‘Sungba’, Burna Boy’s ‘Last Last’ and Skiibii’s ‘Baddest Boy’.

He highlighted others as Fireboy’s ‘Bandana’ and Asake’s ‘Peace Be Unto You’.

“YouTube unveiled lists ranking the top trending videos, music videos, shorts, and creators in Nigeria today.

“This year’s lists are reflective of the most important moments to unfold in 2022 on and offline, such as the performance video for Mavins’ Crayon, Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Magixx and Boy Spyce’s song titled Overloading, episode 24 ‘Apocalypse of Selena Tested and Selina’, the Nollywood romantic comedy from Uduak Isong TV.

“Every year, the YouTube end-of-year top lists give us a glimpse into what people in Nigeria were most curious about.

“YouTube is the place where everyone comes to see what has and is happening in the world while participating in, and having an impact on today’s culture,” he said.

Kola-Ogunlade listed the top most trending videos as Selina Tested Selina, Best Friends in The World episode 1, Olukoti, 100 Days Building a Modern Underground Hunt with a Grass Roof and a Swimming Pool.

He identified others as Tegwolo and Mama Tegwolo Compilation Part 1, Cultists Clashes with OBO, Innocent Housemaid, Obsession and Cultists Number One.

Kola-Ogunlade stated that the most trending top shorts were ‘She Use Witchcraft to Take Our Money’, ‘Everyone Will Relate to This’, ‘Social Experiment’, ‘He Got His Daddy Back’, ‘Mummy GO addressed Tiwa Savage’ and ‘Granny Knocked in my Home’.

According to him, others include Kiss Daniel’s ‘Buga’, Traffic in Lagos Nigeria, Children Poor Prank and Amapiano Groovist.

“The top trending videos list is based on a range of factors beyond just views that indicate how ‘trending’ a video really is.

“The YouTube culture and trends team also consider engagement and looks at signals like shares and likes of a certain video.

“YouTube announced that YouTube Shorts are being watched by over 1.5B logged-in users every month and averaging over 30 billion daily views.

“YouTube paid more than $50billion to creators, artistes, and media companies in the three years before June 2022.

“More than two million people participate in YouTube’s partnerships programme around the world,” he said.

According to him, YouTube’s subscription services, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music, now have more than 80 million users, around the world.

Kola-Ogunlade listed the top most trending creators as Real OGB Recent, Oga Sabinus, Neptune3studio, Official Broda Shaggi, Brain Jotter Comedian, House of Ajebo, Taaooma’s Cabin, Kiekie TV, MSA and Officer Woos.

He said the most trending breakout creators on YouTube were Neptune3studio, Shank Comics, Double Ds Twins, Kiriku Official TV, Stylebyreme, Bimbo Ademoye TV, Adam W, The Geng, Nurses Lecture Room and Wakawaka_Doctor.

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I’M STILL UP-AND-COMING, WIZKID DECLARES

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Afrobeats star, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid

Despite garnering several local and international awards in over 10 years of his career, Afrobeats star, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, still considers himself an up-and-coming artiste.

In an interview with 10 Magazine published on Thursday, the hit maker spoke at length on his blooming music career and bigger steps he planned on taking in future.

The Grammy winner mentioned that he has plans to take his label, Starboy Entertainment, to the levels of Roc Nation, Ovo, Universal, Sony, and RCA.

When asked about things he still planned to achieve as an entertainer of his calibre, the self-acclaimed Big Wiz stated that he didn’t feel “accomplished” despite the heights he has attained.

“I’m an up-and-coming artist,” he replied. “I don’t think I will ever feel like an accomplished artist or person, because I see life so different, you know? I still have a lot of work to do.”

However, the singer did not hesitate to boast about the influence of the Afrobeats genre in the current global music scene, and also took a dig at rappers in the same breath.

To him, the rap genre is “dead” as most rappers release songs with the same sounds.

“Afrobeats is the new pop. I sold two million copies in America off of one song! Even some American artists don’t have a diamond record. If I’m being honest, I don’t listen to any other genre of music anymore.”

“I don’t listen to rap. That shit is boring to me. It’s dead now. It’s tired. These guys do the same shit, rap on the same beats, same flows.

“No disrespect to nobody. I don’t have anything against rap or any other type of music. I have a lot of rappers as friends, like a lot. So I’m probably the wrong person to say this,” he said.

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TOKE MAKINWA ROBBED IN LONDON

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Television host, Toke Makinwa

Television host, Toke Makinwa has revealed that she was robbed of her valuables in London.

The incident happened after she recently attended the white wedding of Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic and her husband, Fidelis Anosike, in North Yorkshire, England.

Toke revealed the robbery incident on her Snapchat page three days after the wedding.

She stated that the burglars had taken her belongings, adding that she was left confused and puzzled as to how such an incident could have happened to her.

She wrote: “Just got robbed in London… I’m speechless. All my valuables are gone. Gosh! How could this happen to me.”

Earlier this week, Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade, also bemoaned being robbed on her Instagram page after travelling to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to perform over the weekend.

She claimed the burglars broke into her hotel room, searched through her possessions, and stole every last dollar they could find.

She wrote: “A few minutes after I left my room, some unknown people decided to go through my things and steal all the money they could find, very good.”

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