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2017 ACM Awards Performances List

A list of all of the performances at the 2017 ACM Awards.

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‘Get Out’ writer and director Jordan Peele honored with director of the year award

Jordan Peele, writer and director of the brilliant socially conscious horror film “Get Out,” is being honored as Director of the Year at CinemaCon, the gathering of the National Association of Theatre Owners, happening March 30 in Las Vegas.

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“With the phenomenon known as ‘Get Out,’ Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker,” CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser said in a statement. “He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”

Related: Jordan Peele's directorial debut 'Get Out' makes impressive box office gross

“Get Out,” his directorial debut, is quite a departure from “Keanu” or the acclaimed Comedy Central sketch comedy series “Key and Peele.” The movie starts out hitting the notes of a romantic comedy, with Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, who is black, and Rose, played by Allison Williams, who is white, headed to a weekend at her parents’ home outside of New York and in the countryside.

Related: Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” takes on the horrors of racism

“I wrote this movie in the Obama presidency. It felt like race was not being discussed in a way I felt like it deserved to be,” Peele said during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For the past couple of years and especially now, racial tension and racial conversation is front and center in this country.”

The movie captivated audiences and made history when Peele became the first African-American writer-director to earn $100 million with his debut movie. Yet he knows all too well the persistent sting of racism.

“I’ve been asked to hang up coats” while attending black-tie events, he said.

“We have to look within ourselves constantly,” Peele said. “Racism is always going to be present in this country, and racism is not a one-sided dynamic. This isn’t just a black horror movie, this is a movie everyone is meant to enjoy. It’s a way to promote that conversation in a way that’s fun.”

2017 ACM Awards Winners List

Congratulations to all of the 2017 ACM Awards winners!

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How A Man With Quadriplegia Moved His Arm Again

Researchers call it the first study of its kind.

#BlackWomenAtWork highlights daily challenge of race, gender

It began Tuesday morning with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly ridiculing veteran congresswoman Maxine Waters, referring to her hair as "a James Brown wig," after watching a video of the California Democrat criticizing Republican President Donald Trump's policies. Later that day, during a White House press briefing, American Urban Radio Network host April Ryan was admonished by press secretary Sean Spicer, who told her to "stop shaking your head" as he responded to her question.

After the exchanges, Black Lives Matter activist Brittany Packnett took to Twitter and urged her followers: "Share your Maxine and April moments, so people don't think this is rare. Use #BlackWomenAtWork."

Packnett added that black women meet at least three O'Reillys and five Spicers a day, and she went on to list her own examples — including a time when she was asked about her blue nail polish at a meeting and another when a college dean discouraged her from wearing braids.

Davia Lassiter saw the hashtag and felt inspired. She said that she watched the exchange between Ryan and Spicer and saw a black woman being treated like a child and that the O'Reilly remarks about Waters felt familiar.

"When he attacked her hair, we all felt that as black women," Lassiter said. "These women were doing their jobs, but instead of them doing their jobs, the men wanted to insult and chastise them."

The hashtag quickly became a Twitter trending topic. And according to TwitterCounter, which logs follower numbers periodically, Waters' follower count has increased by more than 77,000 since March 13, though it's unclear how much of that has come in the last few days. Similarly, Ryan has seen a significant increase in followers, from 58,100 on Saturday to 100,960 on Wednesday.

The hashtag was a reminder that black women have long had to steel themselves against such exchanges, highlighting the challenge of balancing race and gender, said Alexis McGill Johnson, executive director of the Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers, advocates and strategists focused on bias and discrimination.

"It helps us understand the lived experiences of black women every day," Johnson said. "It's a tool, a vehicle, for us to affirm and nod and raise our hand up and say, 'Yeah, me, too,' and, 'No, not today.'"

The hashtag attracted everyday women as well as women in politics and entertainment. By Tuesday night, Waters had joined the conversation, tweeting: "I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I'm not going anywhere."

Black women shared stories on Twitter of unwanted hair touching, having their ideas overlooked or taken, disrespect from subordinates, questioning of their academic credentials, accusations of being angry and criticism for wearing certain clothes drawing attention to curvier body types.

As the hashtag started trending, Packnett tweeted, "I sadly knew it would trend. Not because I'm special. Because I know how we get treated."

Lassiter, a marketing executive who lives in Austell, Georgia, said navigating such incidents is "this thing we've gotten used to putting up with."

"I'm not going to say we can't win. I feel like we win every day," Lassiter said. "But we have these moments where the only thing you can say is, 'Damn. I work my butt off, I have these accolades, but I still have to deal with this."

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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.

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Errin Haines Whack covers urban affairs for The Associated Press. Follow her work on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/emarvelous

Thomas Rhett and Home Team Tourmates Visit St. Jude Children's Hospital

Thomas Rhett and his Home Team tourmates Kelsea Ballerini, Ryan Hurd and Russell Dickerson made a pit stop between their three shows to visit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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Bob Dylan archives open in Oklahoma; public center planned

Part of music icon Bob Dylan's once-secret 6,000-piece archive, including thousands of hours of studio sessions, film reels and caches of unpublished lyrics, has opened in Oklahoma, curators announced this week.

More than 1,000 pieces spanning Dylan's six-decade career are available to scholars at the Gilcrease Museum's Helmerich Center for American Research in Tulsa.

The public will get a glimpse of some of the material when the Bob Dylan Center opens in the city's downtown Brady Arts District in about two years. The center will, fittingly, occupy another part of a building that houses a museum devoted to Oklahoma-born Woody Guthrie, one of Dylan's major influences.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa announced last year that the collection had been acquired from Dylan for an estimated $15 million to $20 million. The foundation also snapped up Guthrie's archives in 2011, paying $3 million. The Woody Guthrie Center opened two years later.

"A couple hundred books have been written about Bob Dylan, maybe equal to or more books than have been written about Abraham Lincoln, but none of the writers have had the access to any of this material," said Stanton Doyle, a senior program officer at the foundation. "I think people will get an insight into Dylan and his creative process that's never been released."

The archive is a goldmine for Dylan fans. There are pages of unrecorded verses — one for a song called "No Particular Length of Time"— lyrics scrawled across hotel stationary; pocket memo books of every shape and color, filled with notes on royalty rates and telephone numbers for notables like Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon. Faxes from former President Jimmy Carter and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and letters from former first lady Michelle Obama, director Martin Scorsese and Bono are also in the trove.

Then there are the audio recordings and film reels — enough so that it would take around 113 days to consecutively listen to and watch all of the available material, estimates curator Michael Chaiken.

"Nobody knew Bob held onto so much stuff," Chaiken said in an interview Wednesday. "The materials we are opening up have never been seen before by the public at large."

Chaiken found himself doing a deep dive on the sessions that would become the album titled "John Wesley Harding."

"To hear the alternate versions to 'All Along the Watchtower,' it was amazing," Chaiken said. "He's like a Miles Davis character when he goes into the studio, there's so much improvisation going on and moving things around, trying to find the rhythm."

When it was announced that the archive was coming to Tulsa last year, it raised a few highbrow eyebrows among those who wondered why it wasn't going to an Ivy League school, for example, or a much larger city like New York or Los Angeles, or even to Minnesota, where the singer is from. Curators explained then that the move was vintage Dylan —zigging when everybody else was zagging.

Dylan did it his way again last year when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but declined to attend the traditional Nobel Prize banquet in December, citing other commitments.

It was announced Wednesday that he'll accept his diploma and medal this weekend while performing concerts in Stockholm.

Bob Dylan archives open in Oklahoma; public center planned

Part of music icon Bob Dylan's once-secret 6,000-piece archive, including thousands of hours of studio sessions, film reels and caches of unpublished lyrics, has opened in Oklahoma, curators announced this week.

More than 1,000 pieces spanning Dylan's six-decade career are available to scholars at the Gilcrease Museum's Helmerich Center for American Research in Tulsa.

The public will get a glimpse of some of the material when the Bob Dylan Center opens in the city's downtown Brady Arts District in about two years. The center will, fittingly, occupy another part of a building that houses a museum devoted to Oklahoma-born Woody Guthrie, one of Dylan's major influences.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa announced last year that the collection had been acquired from Dylan for an estimated $15 million to $20 million. The foundation also snapped up Guthrie's archives in 2011, paying $3 million. The Woody Guthrie Center opened two years later.

"A couple hundred books have been written about Bob Dylan, maybe equal to or more books than have been written about Abraham Lincoln, but none of the writers have had the access to any of this material," said Stanton Doyle, a senior program officer at the foundation. "I think people will get an insight into Dylan and his creative process that's never been released."

The archive is a goldmine for Dylan fans. There are pages of unrecorded verses — one for a song called "No Particular Length of Time"— lyrics scrawled across hotel stationary; pocket memo books of every shape and color, filled with notes on royalty rates and telephone numbers for notables like Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon. Faxes from former President Jimmy Carter and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and letters from former first lady Michelle Obama, director Martin Scorsese and Bono are also in the trove.

Then there are the audio recordings and film reels — enough so that it would take around 113 days to consecutively listen to and watch all of the available material, estimates curator Michael Chaiken.

"Nobody knew Bob held onto so much stuff," Chaiken said in an interview Wednesday. "The materials we are opening up have never been seen before by the public at large."

Chaiken found himself doing a deep dive on the sessions that would become the album titled "John Wesley Harding."

"To hear the alternate versions to 'All Along the Watchtower,' it was amazing," Chaiken said. "He's like a Miles Davis character when he goes into the studio, there's so much improvisation going on and moving things around, trying to find the rhythm."

When it was announced that the archive was coming to Tulsa last year, it raised a few highbrow eyebrows among those who wondered why it wasn't going to an Ivy League school, for example, or a much larger city like New York or Los Angeles, or even to Minnesota, where the singer is from. Curators explained then that the move was vintage Dylan —zigging when everybody else was zagging.

Dylan did it his way again last year when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but declined to attend the traditional Nobel Prize banquet in December, citing other commitments.

It was announced Wednesday that he'll accept his diploma and medal this weekend while performing concerts in Stockholm.

3 Texas deaths underscore the dangers of storm chasing

As a powerful storm system swept across Texas, storm chasers raced to record its fury and witness a tornado. But one such pursuit ended tragically when three men were killed as their vehicles collided at a rural crossroads.

An SUV containing two storm chasers working under contract to The Weather Channel ran a stop sign Tuesday about 60 miles east of Lubbock and struck a Jeep driven by an amateur from Arizona, authorities said.

It was not the first time storm chasers were killed trying to document violent weather up close. In 2013, three researchers died when a twister packing winds up to 165 mph turned on them near El Reno, Oklahoma.

The latest tragedy just underscored the risks of speeding after storms to capture meteorological data and hair-raising video — a field that has become crowded in recent years with seasoned professionals, amateur weather enthusiasts and thrill-seekers who like getting their names and footage on TV.

Here are a few things to know about storm chasing:

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EARLIER TRAGEDY

The deaths in 2013 of longtime storm chasers Tim Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young were probably the first "storm intercept fatalities" among researchers, the National Weather Center said at the time. They died racing down a storm that killed 13 people in Oklahoma City and its suburbs.

Tim Samaras and his Twistex tornado chase team produced material for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and meteorological conferences.

Just before he died, Samaras tweeted a photo of clouds rising through a volatile atmosphere and noted: "Dangerous day ahead for OK stay weather savvy!"

An amateur storm chaser named Richard Charles Henderson died pursuing the same storm. He sent a friend a cellphone photo of the tornado that killed him minutes later.

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CROWDED FIELD

The father of storm chasing is widely considered to be David Hoadley, a retired U.S. government administrator who has recorded some 230 tornadoes over more than half a century of running down storms.

But the field has grown far more crowded because of the financial incentives, the rise of social media and entertainment such as the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" and the 1996 movie "Twister," starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt.

Tim Samaras told National Geographic shortly before his death that it's not uncommon for hundreds of storm chasers to line the roads as a storm develops. In fact, investigators learned of Tuesday's deadly crash from a fleet of other storm chasers who came across the wreckage.

Many amateurs are looking to capture terrifying video of a huge twister and cash in by selling the footage to TV stations or documentary filmmakers. News outlets generally pay up to $500 for such video. Sometimes the storm chasers are not even after money but the thrill of hearing their names read on the air.

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ENDURING FASCINATION

The awe-inspiring power of tornadoes has long fascinated people. In 1755, Benjamin Franklin described a tornado chase on horseback, according to the American Meteorological Society.

Attempts to set up instruments in the path of tornadoes have been made since the 1970s to map the winds and gather other information. Armored vehicles have been positioned inside twisters to collect data, and mobile radar has been used since the 1990s to track the winds in 3-D, along with precipitation and debris.

The society said in a 2014 report that professional storm chasers are highly mobile and aware of the hazards, and know to keep their distance. Also, because twisters are usually short-lived and not on the ground for very long, "the risks posed to storm chasers by tornadoes are relatively minor."

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Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

‘DWTS’ pro Cheryl Burke replaces Abby Lee Miller on ‘Dance Moms’

“Dance Moms” instructor Abbey Lee Miller blindsided fans when she announced she was quitting the Lifetime reality TV show Monday, but the network is moving on fast.

According to Entertainment Tonight, “Dancing with the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke will be on board with the show for the rest of the season.

“It's a go with or without Abby,”an unnamed source told ET. “It's been up in the air because the network said it's either all of the cast or they weren't doing any [more episodes).”

Related: ‘Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller says she's leaving show

People reported that Miller is not aware of the replacement. Her representative told the outlet: “We haven’t been told anything about Abby being replaced or released from the show other than seeing the stories run last night.”

Miller announced her departure in an Instagram post.

“I just have a problem with being manipulated, disrespected, and used day in and day out by men who never took a dance lesson in their lives and treat women like dirt,” she wrote in a caption.

Burke had been on “DWTS” for the first 19 seasons, until her contract expired and she left the show in 2014. She returned for season 23 in 2016.

Miller, who is facing a bankruptcy fraud case for attempting to hid income from her show during her bankruptcy proceedings, has starred in “Dance Moms” since it started in 2011 and has had multiple spin-offs shows on Lifetime.

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