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    UPTOWN_richest_black_women
    Forbes recently released its 2015 Forbes Billionaire list, detailing the fortunes of the richest people on the planet. Bill Gates, once again, topped the list with a net worth of $79.2 billion. He has been the richest person in the world for 16 of the last 21 years.

    There were 290 newcomers to the billionaire list, including basketball legend Michael Jordan. That probably helped to contribute to the bump in overall wealth. The Forbes article read, “For our 29th annual guide to the globe’s richest, we found a record 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion a year ago.”

    Another record they noted was the influx of young money. The list included 46 billionaires under the age of 40.

    What about Black women, specifically? Well, we have compiled a list of the 10 richest Black women in the world. Not all of these ladies are billionaires, but all deserve praise for being multimillionaires, despite the double stigma of being women and people of color.


    Uptown_IsabelDosSantos

    Isabel dos Santos, $3.3 billion

    The 41-year-old daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos does not like to discuss the nature by which she amassed her fortune. Although her first business venture was a restaurant at the age of 24, the billionaire was gifted with stakes in several Angolan companies from her well-connected father. These include holdings in oil and gas companies, a cable TV network, and a telecommunications company.

    UPTOWN Oprah Winfrey
    Oprah Winfrey, $3 billion

    Oprah amassed her fortune by leveraging her media imprint to spin off into a television network, solid acting career, movie production company, thriving real estate acquisitions, a lucrative self-help tour, and countless other endeavors. She recently consolidated Harpo Studios with her OWN studio in Los Angeles. Oprah has often said she has come to the place she is because she always believed that she would be in her position. “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe,” she has said.

    Folorunsho-Alakija

    Folorunsho Alakija, $1.9 billion

    The 63-year-old Nigerian native began on her path to wealth with her successful 1980s clothing line Supreme Stitches. She invested her money from that venture into an oil-exploration license. This investment proved to be extremely profitable as it earned her a 60 percent stake in a profitable oil block.

    Uptown_NginaKenyatta
    Ngina Kenyatta, Exact Net Worth Unknown

    Better known as Mama Ngina, Kenyatta is the widow of Jomo Kenyatta, who was the first president of Kenya after its independence in 1963. After her husband passed, the now 82 year old took over the family business, which has holdings in real estate, banking, hospitality, farming, and manufacturing. She is a major stakeholder in one of Kenya’s privately owned banks and a bunch of chain hotels.

    Uptown_Shagaya
    Hajia Bola Shagaya, Exact Net Worth Unknown

    Shagaya, 55,  is at the head of a Nigerian conglomerate that has holdings in oil, banking, real estate, communications, and photography companies. Her exact net worth is actually unknown, but it’s been cited that one of her rental properties charges tenants $180,000 a year to be residents. She also owns property in the United States and Europe.

    UptownBeyonce
    Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, $450 million 

    The wildly successful entertainer has been working towards her fortune since she was 9-years-old. Outside of her musical accomplishments, which earn her big bucks when she does sold out world tours, she has a multimillion dollar endorsement deal with Pepsi, a fragrance line through Tommy Hilfiger, and her clothing line, House of Dereon. She’s also currently developing an athletic wear line with Top Shop. However, the Queen Bey has said that her most impressive accomplishment is creating her management and production company Parkwood Entertainment. All of her videos and television specials are produced through this imprint and a few of the movies she’s starred in have been as well.

    Uptown_SheilaJohnson
    Sheila Johnson, $400 million 

    The ex-wife of Bob Johnson, Sheila co-founded the BET network in 1980. The company was sold to Viacom in 2001 for $3 billion. After their divorce, Sheila took her share and began to manage her own investment portfolio, which now includes investment in luxury resorts, a hockey team, an NBA, and a WNBA team.

    Uptown_WendyApplebaum
    Wendy Applebaum, $260 million

    Applebaum was a director of Liberty Investors, her billionaire father’s insurance and real estate company in South Africa. She sold her shares and invested in other ventures that brought her even mere money. Applebaum also purchased equity in a wine estate. She became deputy chairman of an investment company owned and operated by Black women called Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited and also does philanthropic work.

    Uptown_BridgetteRadebe
    Bridgette Radebe, $100 million

    Radebe, 55, is the founder of a South African mining firm that specializes in gold, platinum, uranium, and coal. She gained her experience through managing some of South Africa’s most successful mining companies.


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    UPTOWN_grace_gealy_the_real

    Every show needs heroes and villains, and Grace Gealey plays the sassy-conniving Anika Gibbons on FOX’s breakout hit Empire.

    Gealey, who was born in the United States but grew up in the Cayman Islands, chatted with the hosts of The Real on Wednesday about the culture shock of returning to the States, being bi-racial and her role as fan-favorite Cookie Lyon’s rival.

    “There was [a culture shock], apart from driving on the other side of the street and small things like, Walmart and Target, that was really weird. I think the biggest thing for me is back home they don’t really look at color; we look at culture. I’m bi-racial, half Black, half White. When I got to America, people would say, ‘Oh you look different. Are you Black? Are you White?’ I’m like, ‘I’m both,’ but ‘What do you identify with?’ I was like, ‘Wow, do I have to pick? It was hard fitting in right away, looking different, sounding different.”

    On being intimidated working with Hollywood superstars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard:

    “I felt invigorated, actually, to work with someone like Lee [Daniels] directing everything and I remember him telling me before we even originated her character to go for it, don’t hold back, she’s a different energy. There’s heroes and villains and both are fun to play! And you need them both.”


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    obama ferguson

    Looking to save face, President Obama just pulled off four politically masterful stunts to keep his Blackness intact while making sure he didn’t scare off White America while at it.

    But how else could the Obama administration have done it?  How much more could an outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder do, presumably a couple of weeks away from permanent vacation once his replacement Loretta Lynch is confirmed by the Senate?  The White House for the past few weeks found itself, once again, circled by Republican wagons on multiple fronts: Lynch’s nomination indefinitely postponed; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech before a quarter empty Congress and gets a rousing standing ovation from American legislators as if the real President of the United States – only blocks away – doesn’t exist; the Department of Homeland Security almost shutdown amid rising terrorist threats; the fate of President Obama’s immigration reform executive order in serious doubt after predictable rejection from a federal court in Texas.

    So, from the president’s perspective, why upset the political apple cart with an aggressive stand on Ferguson? Yet, somewhere in the chaos, he must split the difference somehow.  Quickly find equal ground with Republicans on something, give and take.  Look like you’re taking a concerned black man stand, but don’t look too black in the process.

    It’s all about deciding which legacy you want to leave as president with a little less than two years to go. And if you’re this president, you don’t want it defined by too close an affiliation with a politically toothless, yet burgeoning protest movement that’s unpopular in the polls and still unable to find its permanent footing.

    Hence, coming right up on the 50th Anniversary of that historic “Bloody Sunday” Selma march – now immortalized by an Oscar-less movie – the president skillfully gives the impression that he’s on it when he’s not.  The optics play well, the timing impeccable since Black America will be so nostalgically caught up in memorializing civil rights icons and events that it will barely notice or respond adequately to what didn’t happen.

    The task force – known in Washington as the graveyard of little done – is convened, meets and hurriedly issues a number of police reform proclamations that will remain uncertain given the gridlocked Congress and the lame duck president.  Everything sounds good on paper, the president bangs the table and looks in control with a few police chiefs nearby. But, there’s no clear path or no clear sense that anything is actually changing from that moment forward.

    A day later, the Justice Department (which had been fastidiously leaking morsels of information in the run up to big announcements) drops word of a completed probe on the Ferguson police department, “racist” emails and all. The usual outrage follows, we hear more about what we already knew, protesters get spit-on-the-ground angry again at a, still, largely white local police department.  And once the rage passes, we look up and notice, seven months after tragedy and unrest gripped the St. Louis suburb, that the same Ferguson leadership is in place: the same white Republican mayor, the same white police chief, the same nearly all-white city council. The same desperate majority black town. No one fired – at least for brazen mismanagement of the protest response.  Everyone in charge still keeps their jobs, nothing changed. There are whispers the police department may actually avoid prosecution and federal lawsuits altogether by simply shutting down.

    And, like clockwork, another announcement the next day: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, un-indicted and semi-retired, will not face federal civil rights charges in the killing of Michael Brown. Again: there’s the impression of accountability – but, no one held accountable. Those responsible simply walk off as if none of this ever happened.

    By week’s end, President Obama travels to Selma, Alabama to give what we all expect will be a well-crafted speech full of platitudes and teary-eyed references to those before us.  In the end, it will be the perfect ending to a carefully scripted week of political weaving and dodging that simply found the least disruptive middle and left the rest of us to figure out the future for ourselves.  The president can move on to bigger issues and limited distractions.  The whole point is to keep it quiet, keep it moving. The Senate can confirm a new attorney general.  The House will buck up and cry foul, but it will just accept the wasted debate and that Homeland Security still got funded for another nine months. Blood is spilled, but all Washington does – can do – is clean up the sidewalk. By Saturday afternoon it will all sound good to some of you. But, the next day, a hangover of dashed expectations will hit us all very hard.

    CHARLES D. ELLISON is a veteran political strategist and Chief Political Correspondent for UPTOWN Magazine. He is also Washington Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune, politics contributor to The Root, a frequent panelist on MSNBC’s Hardball and the weekly Washington Insider for WDAS-FM (Philly). He can be reached @ellisonreport.

     

     


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    Uptown_Paula-Patton-Robin-Roberts-Interview

    The breakup of Robin Thicke and Paula Patton certainly shocked the world, since the former married couple had been together for almost two decades, starting as high school sweethearts. Dealing with the fallout of their relationship publicly, must not have been easy for them, and while his fans got an entire album from Robin in the aftermath, Paula has kept things a little more quiet. However, a year later, she’s starting to open up.

    The 39-year-old actress recently appeared on Good Morning America to talk to Robin Roberts about the split, and how she’s dealt with it all. She told the host about their son, Julian, played a huge role in her healing.

    “The thing is you can’t wallow in sadness or stay in bed when you have a child, and they’re so full of life and wonder,” she said. “He brings me so much joy.”

    gty_paula_patton_robin_thicke_kb_140224_16x9_992

    Paula even gave some advice to those who are getting over heartbreak themselves and negativity, saying that “usually the positive in your life outweighs that, and you have to just be thankful for what you have right now.”

    So how is Paula, as well as her son, really doing after the divorce? “I’m doing really well,” she said. “I mean, the honest truth is it has been challenging, but it’s been a year of growth…learning about all new things. My son’s happy and I’m very…you know. I feel like everything happens for a reason, and then you have to move on and grow from there.” You can catch Paula in the new ABC show Runner, which pilot episode premieres in the near future.

    See Paula’s full interview here.


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    Uptown_Sheree-Whitfield-Reality-Television-LovesSheree Whitfield is a hard-working woman, as she balances her career and family life, but she’s barely had time to find the right person to share her life with. The former Real Housewives of Atlanta star is making her big return to reality television after a three-year hiatus, and it’s all for her to find true love.

    Sheree is going to make an appearance on The Millionaire Matchmaker, so that she can be paired up with someone who is perfect for her.

    “I want somebody that I can grow old with,” she said during the audition interview, before sharing what she misses most about being in a relationship after all these years.

    “What I miss most about true love is definitely the companionship and…great sex,” said Sheree whose co-parenting efforts with her former NFL husband were chronicled on the show. He and Sheree have since appeared on Iyanla Vanzant’s “Fix My Life.”

    Patti Stanger hosts the show, and plays matchmaker, and will be working with Sheree to find her the perfect man during her episode. The show airs this Sunday at 10 PM on Bravo.

    Watch a preview of Sheree discussing what she wants in a man here.

     


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    uptown_nick_gordon_2015

    Bobby Brown‘s relations aren’t the only ones taking their family drama and Bobby Kristina Brown mentions to televisionDr. Phil McGraw recently filmed a surprise intervention with Bobbi Kristina’s distressed boyfriend, Nick Gordon.

    Reportedly, Gordon’s family contacted Dr. Phil for help after noticing his bizarre behavior ever since Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive in her bathtub on Jan. 31. While she has been on life support, Gordon has been barred from seeing her. Bobby’s lawyer has said that the 25 year old will not be able to visit his client’s daughter, because Gordon refuses to disclose any facts about what happened the day that Bobbi Kristina was found.

    Gordon has sent several social media posts targeting his anger and frustrations toward Bobby and has recently began posting messages about hurting himself.

    uptown_nick_gordon_twitter_2015

    Dr. Phil agreed to meet with Gordon and flew to Atlanta Wednesday on Bobbi Kristina’s birthday. Gordon was reportedly told that he would have a sit-down with Dr. Phil to express his side of the story involving his relationship with Bobbi Kristina, but instead, he found himself in a room with not only the television psychologist, but also his biological mother, Michelle.

    Michelle spoke about not only her concern for her son, but also how devastated Gordon was when he discovered Bobbi Kristina’s mother, superstar Whitney Houston, dead in her bathtub in 2012.

    “As we sit here right now, my son’s life hangs in the balance,” Michelle told Dr. Phil. “When Whitney was found, he administered CPR to her and called me as he was standing in front of her saying, ‘Mom, why couldn’t I do it? I couldn’t get air into her lungs,'” the mother shared. “He won’t let go of the guilt.”

    The unexpected intervention weighed heavy on Gordon’s emotions. He was apparently babbling and breaking down through parts of the session. At one point, overwhelmed with his feelings, he abruptly walked out of the room.

    “Nicholas is at breaking point. He cannot take too much more of not being able to see Krissi. He blames himself,”  said Michelle, who claimed she speaks to Gordon daily.

    According to Daily Mail, Gordon checked into rehab after his meeting with Dr. Phil.

    The emotionally-intense “Dr. Phil” episode will air on March 11.


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    Uptown_Nicki-Minaj-Birdman-Lil-Wayne

    Ever since Lil Wayne filed an official lawsuit against his boss and father figure Birdman, fans have been wondering what is going to happen to the Young Money label. With rumors circulating that Weezy is going to try and take Young Money the independent route, there’s no say as to what will happen with his biggest artists, Nicki Minaj and Drake. The female MC recently spoke out about the beef between the two CEOs.

    “People know I love Wayne and that I have loyalty towards him but I love Baby [Birdman] too,” she told BBC Radio 1. “I am very close to Baby and I don’t think people know that. I am banking on the fact that they will work this out like family. They’ve gone through things before, just like family does. It is what it is. They’re going to get through it. I’m not even going to think that way.”

    While the two label heads are battling it out, Nicki also faced a subliminal confrontation from her label mate Tyga, as he spoke about not getting along with her during an interview with VIBE last October. More recently, the “Rack City” rapper revealed that their issues were the result of the song “Truffle Butter,” which is now a hit track on Nicki’s album The Pinkprint. She spoke on the tensions between them, explaining, “We don’t know how, but it magically ended up in Tyga’s hands. I told him, I was like, ‘You know that’s my song.’”

    nicki-pinkprint-movie
    She also went into detail about their relationship over the years. “I had always done stuff with him, took him on tour with me, and I thought it was disrespectful because I am the queen of Young Money,” she laughed.

    Apparently, things seem to be in a better place between them now, as he did text her with an apology.

    “He apologized. He said ‘you were always there for me’ and I respected him for that. I’m a very forgiving person. As long as you can come to your senses after the fact and remember who was there and who supports you, then it’s all good. He’s entitled to make a mistake every now and then, and we handled it as such.”

    Listen to the full phone interview with BBC Radio 1 here.


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    robin-thicke-marvin-gaye

    Robin Thicke and his record label are currently tangled up in a lawsuit from Marvin Gaye’s family over the copyright for the 2014 hit single ‘Blurred Lines’ featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams. The late R&B legend’s children Frankie and Nona Gaye allege that Thicke ripped off the melody and composition from their dad’s song “Got To Give It Up.” If the jury rules in favor of Gaye’s estate, Thicke and his record company could have to fork over as much as $25 million in damages.

    Legal reps from the Gaye family and Thicke presented their closing arguments on Thursday. Attorney Richard Busch presented on behalf of the Gayes and urged the jury to see Thicke and his cohorts for what they are: thieves.

    “What it boils down to is, ‘Yes, we copied. Yes, we took it. Yes, we lied about it. Yes, we changed our story every time,'” he said. “It boils down to this: Who do you believe?” He told the jury. “Are you going to believe Robin Thicke, who told us all he’s not an honest person?”
    Robin Thicke Says He Was High During The Conception of 'Blurred Lines'

    Thicke and Williams’ attorney Howard King rebutted by asking the jury, “Why would Mr. Williams need to copy anyone to create a hit? Why would Mr. Thicke and Mr. Williams endure a proceeding like this, where their personal financial details are revealed to the world?”

    Williams, who produced the song, has denied carbon copying Marvin Gaye for this record, but admits to “channeling” his ’70’s style groove during production. If the verdict favors the Gaye children, the $25 million would be paid to cover publishing profits from the song, recording overhead to record the song and licensing. Court findings revealed that both Thicke and Williams earned over $5 million from the single. T.I. will most likely not be brought into the mix, since his verse was added post-recording.

     


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    uptown_jennifer_thompson_bill_cosby

    After 35 women have come forward accusing Bill Cosby of rape and sexual abuse, one of the women who was once anonymous has revealed her identity. Jennifer ‘Kayla’ Thompson, 44, is coming forward after she was identified as ‘Jane Doe #2′ 10 years ago when she supported Andrea Constand in her assault lawsuit against Cosby in 2005.

    Twelve other women who also claimed Cosby abused them anonymously supported the plaintiff at that time.  Constand settled out of court.

    “I am so very grateful for the Jane Doe who came before me in the lawsuit 10 years ago,” Jennifer Thompson told People. “My mother and I were very eager to give our support via testimony at that time — however, not to the general public. I was not quite strong enough then.”

    Thompson’s story was published last year when accounts of the TV dad engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior came to light. Martin Singer, Cosby’s attorney, called the publishing of her story “absurd” because she was basically still anonymous since she had only revealed her first name and last initial, therefore making her story “unsubstantiated.”

    Because her story’s credibility was diminished by her anonymity, she decided that she needed to reveal herself in order to tell her truth.

    “It’s come to my understanding that there’s greater credibility for my testimony with a full name and an image,” said Thompson.

    Thompson said that she had an encounter with Cosby almost 30 years ago in 1988 when she was 17-years-old.  She had met with him in New York, where her modeling agency was stationed.  She says Cosby told her parents that he could help make her a star.

    Thompson alleges that while at Cosby’s home, the comedian intimidated her with sexual advances to the point where she felt that she was forced into performing sexual acts on him.

    “He put his leg between my two legs, but I wasn’t excited,” said Thompson. “But I knew that that was the point — I had to get him excited …The whole thing was like — I just knew that I gave him a hand job.”

    Cosby allegedly gave her $700 before she left his house.

    “I’m like a robot, and that is what I became, and that is what I did for him,” Thompson added.

    The accuser explains what she hopes will come out of her revealing her identity and lending support to all of the women who have spoken out against Cosby recently:

    “I hope to feel relief. There are great costs to this kind of experience. This is why I came forward as a Jane Doe in 2005 as well. It redeemed me somehow inside to know that I was standing up for the truth.My ultimate hope would be for him to ‘come clean,’ admit his weakness, attempt to rectify where he has harmed so very many (within himself first, of course), and maybe even have a chance for redeeming his own soul/karma as well.”

    Cosby has not been charged with any crime as of yet.  His legal team continues to maintain his innocence in all accusations.


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    uptown_delta_plane_crash_2015

    A Delta plane skidded off an airport runway Thursday morning and came to a halt extremely close to the Flushing Bay waters.

    Delta Flight 1086 had arrived from Atlanta and landed in New York at LaGuardia Airport at about 11:10 a.m. Traveling in blizzard conditions, the plane skidded approximately 5,000 feet down the runway before swerving off and heading toward Flushing Bay. It crashed into a fence before stopping at the edge of the rocks.

    About 127 passengers were on board, along with five crew members. It took 30 minutes for everyone to evacuate the plane via an emergency exit slide.

    “Customers deplaned via aircraft slides and have moved to the terminal on buses,” Delta said in an issued statement.

    The crash reportedly caused a massive oil leak and damage to a wing. The FDNY rushed onto the scene to stop the oil leak.

    About 24 people were injured, but only a few people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening trauma, according to the FDNY.

    LaGuardia Airport was immediately shut down. Outgoing flights were grounded, while incoming flights had to be diverted. The airport reportedly reopened at 2 p.m. with limited service.

    “Our priority is ensuring our customers and crew members are safe. Delta will work with all authorities and stakeholders to look into what happened in this incident,” Delta’s statement continued.

    Some are speculating that weather conditions may not have been safe enough for planes to fly. The runway is said to have been plowed before the plane landed, but there were three inches of snow accumulation at the airport Thursday.

    One passenger, Mark Clafter, said that everyone was calm during the scary situation, even after the power went out following the plane coming to a stop.

    “No one was screaming, no one was freaking out, and when we came to a dead stop people were actually really calm,” he said.

    Jamie Primak, who stars in the Bravo reality show Jersey Belle, was on-board and posted on Twitter, “We have all been evacuated. Everyone is safe. Thank you for your prayers. God is good.”

    Larry Donnell, a New York Giants tight end, was also on the plane and posted an Instagram video after the experience and said, “Look at this sh*t! Knew I shoulda stayed my ass at home.”

    Source


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    tina-and-teddy-campbell
    Mary Mary’s self-titled reality show is back for a 4th season and Tina Campbell has dropped some tea about what’s in store.

    Last season, viewers watched as Tina struggled to deal with the betrayal of her husband’s numerous affairs, and now they’ll get to see the two work to repair their marriage.

    “It was God’s perfect plan to allow me not to be overly devastated. One week before the show premiered, my husband and I watched all 12 episodes and high-fived each other and said, ‘We made it through.’ Now it doesn’t hurt me to reflect on it or see it and when I look at it I think, ‘Wow. I can’t believe that was actually my life and I actually get to see it.'”

    Judging by episode 1 of season 4, it took quite a bit of venting for Tina to reach this place of peace. She decided that even though the good Lord wouldn’t approve, she was going to get revenge by shooting up her husband’s most beloved possession – his car.  In the below clip, the Campbell family decides to ship the car away along with its bad memories.

    Tina also claims that while viewers may not agree with her decision to stay in the marriage, she has no regrets. “At the end of the day I love my husband and I believe him to be better than what he did to me. I’m no doormat. I put my husband through hell the first year after this happened and guess what? I didn’t like hurting him because I love him. My head told me to hurt him but my heart didn’t. Whoever thinks it’s stupid, I don’t care what they think. I just wanted to be free and I’m free now. I’m happy now.”

    Season 4 of “Mary Mary” airs every Thursdays at 10/9c on WeTV.

    Source: Cocoa Fab


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    mike brown

    Many people believe the legal system has yet to deliver justice for the killing of Michael Brown, but the family isn’t giving up the fight. Michael’s parents are planning to file a wrongful death suit against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, MO police officer acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Brown.

    Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden did not give a direct statement to the press, but their legal reps said that the Justice Department’s decision Wednesday was difficult for the family to hear.“They don’t accept this self-defense theory,” said Brown family attorney Daryl Parks.

    The Department of Justice ruled in favor of Wilson, deciding that there was not enough evidence in the case to prove he violated any civil rights in the killing of Brown. While the DOJ’s Wilson decision might be discouraging to Brown’s family, experts say they may have a leg up this time around, given a new investigation revealing a deep-seated history of racism and misconduct within the Ferguson police force.

    “We get to set the stage [with this suit], and we plan to do just that,” Parks said.


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    celebrity pisces 2015

    Known as the water sign – illustrated by two fish swimming in opposite directions – those born under the Pisces sign are believed to be dreamy, intuitive and compassionate. Without question many of the actors and musicians we know and love are profoundly creative as is the case with these celebrity Pisces celebrating another year.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces1_Lupita_Nyongo

    Lupita Nyong’o

    March 1st
    The Academy Award winning actress who is the first Mexican and Kenyan to win the award has received endless kudos, from being crowned People Magazine’s, “Most Beautiful Woman” to Glamour magazine’s “Woman of The Year”. The Yale School of Drama graduate is a Piscean who worked diligently from being part of the production crew in the beginning of her career to a favorite on the big screen.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces11_Jackie__Joyner_Kersee

    Jackie Joyner-Kersee

    March 3rd

    Although Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a retired athlete, the 53 year-old Olympic Gold medalist is dedicated to raising awareness regarding the importance of the health and physical fitness among young children. She actively meets this objective through her Get Fit initiative.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces7_K_Michelle

    K. Michelle

    March 4th

    The Soul Train Music award and NAACP Image award winner has been doing her thing, proving to the world and her haters that she in fact is here to stay. Currently on tour, K. Michelle will be returning to the upcoming season of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces5_Bow_Wow

    Shad Moss (formerly known as Bow Wow)

    March 9th

    From his rap days, to his days of being a host on BET and now a co-star on CSI: Cyber, Shad has certainly evolved.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces6_Timberland

    Timbaland

    March 10th

    Just about every beat he makes catches our ears. As a matter of fact, many of the tunes you hear while watching Empire were written and produced by Timbaland himself. Folks are waiting patiently for his new music with Missy Elliott to drop, which is sure to be fire.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces2_Common

    Lonnie Rashid Lynn aka Common

    March 13th

    The Academy Award winning musician and actor who refers to himself as a dreamer and a believer, shows the beauty of an accomplishment when both principles are aligned.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces4_will_i_am

    Will.I.Am

    March 15th

    Did you know that will.i.am is the first recording artist to have sent a song to Mars in conjunction with NASA’s Curiosity Mars Space Lab? The musician, director, producer and advocate for education works with a host of companies in effort to positively influence the lives of others. In addition to his i.am Angel Foundation, he has collaborated with Coca-Cola to create a fashion line of fashion, accessories and sporting goods that were created with elements of recycled bottles.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces9_Jhene_Aiko

    Jhene’ Aiko

    March 16th

    The Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter is the face of Pepsi’s new Out of The Blue campaign. As an alternative- R&B star, Jhene’ Aiko reaches her fans through truthful, heart hitting lyrics based on many of her personal experiences.

    Uptown_Celeb_Pisces8_Tamar_Braxton

    Tamar Braxton

    March 17th

    The singer, reality star and television host has recently given birth to a fashion line called, the Tamar Collection. In case you haven’t seen it yet, you should know ‘she did that’ and at an affordable price point.

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    Quincy Jones

    March 14th

    Quincy Jones is a music legend who has received 27 Grammy awards. Thoughout his six decade career he has founded a magazine, produced, recorded, and composed a hefty number of hits and produced film and television projects.  He was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.

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    Queen Latifah

    March 18th

    With Spring just around the corner, that means just one thing – Queen Latifah’s new movie role in the HBO film, Bessie, airing May 16th.

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    Smokey Robinson

    February 19th

    Rock & Roll Hall of Fame crooner Smokey Robinson, has blessed many generations with some of the greatest hits of all time. Currently, he is on tour singing his best tunes to audiences of all ages.

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    Seal

    February 19th

    English-born Grammy award winning artist Seal was heavily influenced by ’70s soul music, which influenced his sound. He has since gone on to record several international hits and sell over 30 million albums worldwide.

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    Charles Barkley

    February 19th

    One never knows what’s going to come out of Charles Barkley’s mouth. The retired professional NBA player has been known to raise more than a few eyebrows with his commentary.

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    Rihanna

    February 20th

    There doesn’t seem to be a risk that she won’t take. From fashion to her music, Rihanna certainly makes an impression with any thing that she creates. In some cases, she does what others wish they had the guts to do and says what others are to shy to say. After all, I’m sure you hummed the tune to Four Five seconds this week.

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    Sidney Poitier

    Febraury 20th

    The actor, diplomat, author and film director is the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

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    Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

    February 24th

    Currently, he holds the title of an undefeated professional as a five-division world champion. Come May 2 boxing spectators will eagerly await to see if he walks away undefeated, yet again.

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    Rashida Jones

    February 25th

    The executive producer and actress hails from Hollywood royalty, as the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. But, she etches her own name in stone as a shining star, and has a new comedy show slated for the summer that’s expected to air on TBS called Angie Tribeca.

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    Sanya Richards-Ross

    February 26th

    The Olympic winning track and field athlete also happens to be a budding entrepreneur. She’s launched a comprehensive sports clinic and is the co-founder of a hair extensions line, Rich Hair Collection.

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    Erykah Badu

    Febraury 26th

    Having watched Erykah Badu perform cartwheels years ago while at least six months pregnant do cartwheels, my standards of show performances were set pretty high. She is by far one of the most mesmorizing performers ever. Aside from touring within the next couple of months, she’s on the bill for a few upcoming BET Experience shows.

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    Rozanda ‘Chilli’ Thomas

    February 27

    How excited are you that both Chilli and TBoz will record their fifth and final album? We certainly are and cannot wait.

     

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    Tasha Smith

    February 28th

    Just about any role Tasha plays is one that’s memorable, case in point her roles as Angela in both the original and sequel of Why Did I Get Married. Now, she’s serving up another fiery character in Empire as Cookie’s younger sister, who wreaks havoc when needed.


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    When it comes to Black-produced content in the entertainment sphere, you would be hard pressed to find music, movies, or TV shows that aren’t heavily critiqued for the social impact of their creative content. It’s a blessing and a burden that Black creatives must deal with, one that seemingly does not exist in other communities. If art passes the “does this shit strengthen or weaken the perception of Black people” test, then it will live in perpetual adoration such as TV programs like The Cosby Show, films like Love Jones, and albums like Bob Marley‘s Exodus. But, if the content has even the slightest modicum of “problematic material,” it will face an uphill battle trying to convince the Black community, at large, that it shouldn’t be wholly rejected with extreme prejudice, regardless of the quality of the art or the public response. And it’s this unfortunate dynamic that is driving the success and backlash of FOX’s new monster hit Empire.

    Despite the show’s massive ratings success and actual creative importance of a predominantly African-American cast, we must discuss whether Black folks should tune in because of the possible irreparable damage that will be done to our minds. This is the most intellectually lazy, ahistorical, respectability politics-pushing bullshit I’ve ever heard. It’s time to chop this stupid fable that Empire is damaging the Black community by not showing enough statistically representative or wholly positive images of our real, everyday lives.

    Here are five real reasons the Empire backlash is predicated on a lot of BS.

    1. Diversity Means Showing All Stories

    I want positive Black programming on air because it is important for children and adults to be informed, educated, and entertained by all different types of stories. I would love to see a major film with Black men and women as kings and queens in Africa. I would love to see a TV show about Black scientists trying to figure out the cure to a plague that is decimating the world’s population. I would love to hear a rap album talking about the Black Lives Matter movement. But, when I say I want diversity, that also means I want to consume different types of content, whether it be movies like Juice, or albums like Mobb Deep‘s The Infamous. We consume different types of art for different reasons at different times, so while I believe there is more than a place for positive Black programming, there is also a place for Empire‘s brand of hyperbolic urban soap opera.

    2. Black Folks Gain Nothing By Replacing or Trimming Our Already Small Market Influence

    Not only do we need diversity in the programs aimed at our community, but we need more shows on TV and more creatives on screen, period. Despite the overwhelming abundance of talent in our community, studies show that only 10.5 percent of films have a minority in the lead role, and minorities are underrepresented as film directors and vastly underrepresented as film writers by a scale of 5 to 1. As far as TV is concerned, 95 percent of lead roles go to white folks, while 96 percent of show creators are white. Empire, which is credited with a Black creator, Lee Daniels, as well as a white one, Danny Strong, is a strong step toward nurturing talent. You may not enjoy the show, but you cannot deny the talent on screen that can become the lead writer of another show tomorrow, or the creator of a program that can advance the discussion of Blackness in our society. Being unemployed does not benefit anyone. We don’t need to replace our shows, we need to cultivate more shows, and that isn’t done by ignoring opportunity’s like these.

    3. Black People Are Smart Enough To Enjoy Fiction Too

    I fully comprehend the argument that watching potentially negative stereotypes of Black people can affect the mentality of African-Americans. But, what people often overlook is Black folks’ ability to understand and comprehend what we are consuming, and our ability to act accordingly. When I was young, my friends and I used to watch movies like Menace II Society and reenact the scenes with crazy-ass O-Dog. You want to know how many of us went out into the real world and tried to hold up a Korean convenience store? None.

    It is incredibly insulting and reductive for Black folks to use the “if you show it, we will become it” idea when dissecting Black pathology and the effects of major media because that is nowhere near to being statistically accurate. Everyone keeps parroting this bullshit talking point without any real facts. The same idiots like Geraldo Rivera who say utter bullshit such as “hip-hop has hurt Black people more than racism ever has” can’t explain how hip-hop has blown up in popular society in the last twenty years while crime rates have significantly and simultaneously dropped. Modern intelligent Black minds like Ta-Nehisi Coates have taken in just as much Nasir Jones as they have James Baldwin. Most Black people are so far from being easily manipulated that we can consume a show like Empire, go to sleep, wake up, and go to our jobs without storming into our boss’ office talking ’bout “you gon’ gimme HALF of this company!”

    4. Black Art Is Not Responsible For Reversing Racism

    I don’t ever, as long as I’m alive, want to hear another Black person tell me that we need positive imagery on television to change white folks’ perception of us as a people. How dare you assert the idea that it is a Black artist’s job to reverse the inherent racism that lies in the soul of any man or woman on this planet. If a work of Black art can reveal different layers of a community to someone who would have been previously ignorant to it then that’s great, but putting the burden of ending racism on the backs of show creators and musicians is ridiculously corny. Respectability politics deems that I live my life through the lens of putting white folks at ease, but I wholly reject that notion. Empire, for all it’s bombastic representations of Blackness, does not need to change in order for any white folks to rearrange their prejudiced attitudes. For all it’s non-aggressive, positive labeling of Black folks, The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air never seemed to erase that whole discrimination thing. Hmm, maybe that’s because systemic racism and prejudice are bigger than what we watch on TV.

    5. Black Artists’ Lives Resonate More Than Their Art

    When I think about Denzel Washington, I think about an accomplished Black actor, not the scary crooked cop from Training Day. When I think about Ice Cube, I think about an accomplished rapper, actor, and producer, not the dude who rapped “AK-47 is the tool/Don’t make me act the motherfuckin fool.” Many people of all color don’t seem to understand that artists of all types influence great minds, not just with their content, but with their success as well. Although no one knows what the cast of Empire will do when the show wraps, I can definitively assert that limiting their collective careers would have a more deleterious effect than allowing them to flourish in their current roles and move on to other projects.

    Look, if you want to dislike Empire because you don’t enjoy the plot, then cool. If you believe that it steers too close to Power and you’d prefer to watch that show instead, then cool. Hell, if you think the web series Money & Violence has a far grittier and compelling storyline, that’s cool too. But we need to STOP believing that every single Black-produced program on television must represent some flawless, light, and friendly depiction of straight-forward positivity. Do we need more of that? Of course. But that doesn’t mean that every single show that comes on air must follow that rule to be deemed watchable. Empire is a show that many people obviously find compelling, and it’s up to us to use it as a conduit to empower more versions of our stories on air. However, slapping a big quarantine sign on the show doesn’t help Black folks as a collective in any real way.

    LAB

    Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site ThisIsYourConscience.com, he’s an author of the book “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer” and a weekly contributor for UPTOWN Magazine. He can be reached via Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at This Is Your Conscience.


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    After much speculation on the sexuality of Jussie Smollett, star of the the hit Fox drama Empire,” he has now publicly stated that he’s not in the closet. Many agree that he is insinuating that he’s gay.

    The breakout actor and singer sat down with Ellen DeGeneres after he appeared on her talk show to discuss rumors that have been buzzing about his sexual orientation.

    “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” Smollett told DeGeneres. “I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet … But I have a home and that is my responsibility, to protect that home.”

    The 31 year old, who has recently been signed to Columbia Records, went on about how much he admires DeGeneres for her own role in the LGBT community.

    “What you’ve done within the LGBT community is very much, in my opinion, kind of like what Michael Jackson did with the black community, just that you are who you are,” Smollett told DeGeneres. “You’re just Ellen. So it was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet.”

    “There is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in,” he continued. “And I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world.”

    Discussions over Smollett’s sexuality heightened when his Empire cast mate Malik Yobaouted” him during an interview. Yoba said, “Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community.” Yoba later denied outing Smollett and insisted that he was only talking about the gay character the singer plays on the show, Jamal.


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    It’s been 18 years since the tragic death of The Notorious B.I.G., but the loss is still fresh for many fans in the hip-hop community. If anyone has been hit by the legendary rapper’s death hardest, it’s been his loved ones, including his widow Faith Evans.

    The R&B singer recently sat down with Nessa from Hot 97 radio, and talked about some of the romantic, funny, and adorable moments that the couple shared back in the day.

    Faith told the story of how she was able to convince Biggie to get on a roller coaster, and coached him the whole way through, as he was a good sport. She also, apparently, had him get on a water ride at Busch Gardens, while he was still sporting his Coogi sweater and ensemble, as well as his gold chains.
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    She also shared a crazier moment from when she visited Virginia, and ended up getting into a fight with a girl who Notorious B.I.G. was sleeping with. It’s the same fight that was captured in the Biggie biopic, Notorious. This resulted in Big immediately heading back to NYC to search for her, and he had everyone he knew searching for her, including Jacob The Jeweler. She revealed that this was one of the sweetest moments she shared with him.

     


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    The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma has been the subject of severe scrutiny since this weekend when a video surfaced  of the group on a bus singing a song with racist lyrics. The footage was allegedly recorded Saturday.  Black activist organization Unheard initially posted the footage.

    “You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me/There will never be a nigger in SAE,” the White frat brothers are heard singing.  Members of Delta Delta Delta sorority were also spotted in the video and joining in the chant.

    University of Oklahoma President David Boren has banned the frat from campus.  He told the club members to vacate the frat house by midnight Tuesday.  Students were seen Monday morning quickly moving their belongings into U-Haul trucks. The SAE building is now in the process of being torn down.

    “Effective immediately, all ties and affiliations between this University and the local SAE are hereby severed. I direct that the house be closed and that members will remove their personal belongings from the house by midnight tomorrow,” Boren said.

    The president mentioned that although the students will no longer be a part of SAE, he would also like to see them leave the school entirely.

    “We will look at all possible punishment and what is available to us under the law. Under the civil rights law it may be possible for us to take action against certain individuals,” he said. “Would I be happy if they left voluntarily? Yes. We don’t have room for racists and bigots here.”

    ” I’ll pay the bus fare to get them out. They’re not coming back,” he added.

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    Before the news of the chapter being shut down broke, rapper Waka Flocka Flame tweeted that he was cancelling his upcoming appearance scheduled for SAE members:

    “When I first started doing shows it was all hood spots and all black people. Then I had mainstream success and did some EDM and it was all white people at my shows for awhile. Now it’s white, black and brown people at my shows. All races partying having a good time and enjoying themselves together peacefully. That’s what Waka Flocka is all about. For that reason I must say I’m disgusted and disappointed in the actions of the SAE fraternity at University of Oklahoma and I will be canceling my scheduled performance for them next month. Racism is something I will not tolerate. -WFF”

    Hundreds of students from the University of Oklahoma marched on campus in protest of the hateful SAE comments. Many of them stood in silence with tape over their mouths that read “Unheard.”

    The SAE official headquarters released a statement condemning the SAE students’ actions and announcing repercussions:

    “Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters has closed its Oklahoma Kappa chapter at the University of Oklahoma following the discovery of an inappropriate video.

    In addition, all of the members have been suspended, and those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently.

    We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way.

    Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.”

    Source


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    The saga of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s coma and the events leading up to it seem to, unfortunately, be far from over. Bobby Brown’s sister, Leolah Brown has likely exacerbated the feud between her family and Nick Gordon after revealing that he is under investigation for the unexplained incident that left Bobbi Kristina in a coma.

    Leolah wrote an open letter to Dr. Phil McGraw requesting that he not provide Gordon with a platform since he may be criminally involved with the situation. McGraw recently taped a segment with the 25-year old Gordon.

    “With all due respect, Nick Gordon is under investigation for attempted murder of my niece Bobbi Kristina Brown,” read the letter, posted on her Facebook page. “Until this investigation is completed by law enforcement, I would ask that you or anyone else not provide this individual a platform to spin this situation to his benefit,” she wrote.

    Gordon was invited to the “Dr. Phil” show under the pretense of an interview, but the taping was actually a staged intervention. His mother, who was present, told McGraw that Gordon was abusing alcohol and Xanax.

    In a preview for the segment, McGraw tells Gordon’s mother, “Your son, left to his own devices, will be dead inside a week.”

    TMZ reported that Gordon was extremely high at the time and punched two of McGraw’s security staff before agreeing to enter rehab. Officials have said that they are investigating the circumstances surrounding Bobbi Kristina’s near-drowning in her home’s bathtub, but never indicated that Gordon was under investigation.

    Gordon’s reluctance to speak about the situation has caused conflict with Bobbi Kristina’s family. As a result, he has been barred from seeing his girlfriend in the hospital, which has likely contributed to his substance abuse issues.


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    Leaders of the Madison Police in Wisconsin have vowed that their response to the shooting of unarmed teen Tony Robinson will not mirror the occurrences in Ferguson, Missouri. Thus far, they’re proving that to be true.

    Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, explained on Monday that his officers have a strong relationship with the community.

    “I think it’s very clear that Madison, Wisconsin, is not Ferguson, Missouri,” said Palmer.

    Robinson, 19, was unarmed when a white police officer shot him on Friday night. Police responded to a call around 6:30 p.m. of a man jumping into traffic. A second call reported that the man was “responsible for a battery.” The officer reportedly forced his way into an apartment after hearing a disturbance. Robinson is alleged to have assaulted the officer before he was shot. It is not known, yet, how many shots were fired.

    Madison Police Chief Mike Koval has handled the situation with a lot more delicacy and transparency than in the Darren Wilson fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Within hours of the shooting, Koval visited the home of Robinson’s mother. Although she refused to see him, he prayed in the driveway with Robinson’s grandparents. They reportedly suggested that he wait a bit because emotions were too high.

    “We need to start as any healing or any reconciliation should with an ‘I’m sorry,’ and I’ve done that privately, and I’m attempting to do that publicly and that’s the only way we can sort of begin the healing or the rift that may take years if at all to mend,” the police chief said.

    He stressed the need for decisive action.

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    Madison Police Chief Mike Koval

     

    “We have to acknowledge it, we have to own it, we have to say we are sorry at the outset for it and then we have to show affirmative steps in moving forward to bring community back into the fold, as it were,” Koval continued.

    One factor that helps this cause is Wisconsin’s law requires any police-involved shooting to be investigated by an outside agency. For Madison, that agency is the Division of Criminal Investigation.

    On Monday, Gov. Scott Walker issued a statement saying that the Wisconsin Department of Justice will also conduct an independent investigation. This is required of all deaths involving an officer.

    It may be for this reason that Chief Koval has been swift about revealing the name of the officer involved. Within hours of the incident, his department named 12-year veteran Mark Kenny as the officer who killed Robinson. Koval was also forthcoming about the fact that Kenny shot and killed a man in 2007, although he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. Kenny, who Koval said suffered a blow to the head in the incident with Robinson, is currently on paid administrative leave.

    Perhaps most commendable and the most crucial difference between Madison and Ferguson is police officials’ portrayal of the victims. Ferguson officials were quick to release video of a convenience store robbery that allegedly involved Brown, helping to paint a negative light in the media. Koval has explicitly avoided discussing Robinson’s past, despite the teen pleading guilty in December for an armed robbery that occurred in April.

    “I could but I choose not to,” the chief said. “I frankly think it is, for our purposes today, wholly inappropriate and I am not going to blemish anyone’s character, particularly someone’s as young as his.”

    Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is also expressed his dedication to handling this situation fairly.

    We all deserve to know the facts in this case,” he said. “Tony Robinson’s family deserves that, our community deserves that, and the Madison Police deserve that. When the answers come, we will be open and transparent in communicating them.”

    Source


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    Uptown_Nick-Gordon-Dr-Phil

    While many are keeping Bobbi Kristina in their prayers as she fights for her life in a coma at a Georgia hospital, her alleged husband Nick Gordon sat down with Dr. Phil to tell his side of the story. Although he was able to share his thoughts on what’s going on with the daughter of Whitney Houston, things took a turn for the worse when he stormed off set, and allegedly punched two employees of the show.

    Sobbing for majority of the interview, as well as raising his voice, one of the most controversial quotes from the interview was Nick exclaiming, “I hate Bobby Brown!” He also broke down in tears when speaking about missing Krissi and Whitney. According to Nick’s real mother, her son feels guilt over after Whitney’s death.

    Recent reports indicate that Bobby Brown has refused to allow Nick to visit Bobbi during her hospitalization, as Nick is rumored to be under investigation in connection with Bobbi’s apparent drug overdose.

    Dr. Phil, likely reacting to Nick’s emotions, pointed out that Nick appeared to have been drinking before the interview, which led to Nick storming out of the room. Reports say he then punched two workers from the set in the face, but did go to rehab later on, after the host’s suggestions.

    Before stressing rehab to Nick, Dr. Phil told his mother separately that her son would be dead within a week if he kept up his substance habits. Nick also admitted to attempting suicide twice through overdosing on alcohol, xanax, and sleeping pills.

    The episode featuring Nick and his mother, airs Wednesday. Check your local listings for show times, and get a preview below.


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