Author Harris dies at age 54

LOS ANGELES - E. Lynn Harris, a pioneer of gay black fiction and a literary entrepreneur who rose from self-publishing to best-selling status, has died, his publicist said Friday. He was 54.

Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.

Jay-Z to sub for Beastie Boys

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Jay-Z will make his U.S. festival debut when he replaces the Beastie Boys at the All Points West Music & Arts Festival in New Jersey.

The Grammy winner stepped in after the Beastie Boys were forced to cancel their opening-night appearance July 31. The trio scrapped their current schedule because member Adam Yauch must undergo surgery and treatment for a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland.

The three-day festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City also features Tool, Coldplay and more than 65 artists.

Winehouse acquitted of assault

LONDON - A British judge acquitted Amy Winehouse on Friday of assaulting a fan who asked to take her picture, a dose of good news in the beehived soul diva's tumultuous life.

District Judge Timothy Workman found the 25-year-old singer not guilty of punching dancer Sherene Flash in the eye after the fan asked to take her picture following a charity ball in September.

Prosecutors claimed it was a deliberate assault. But Winehouse said she had merely pushed Flash because she felt intimidated.