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    Celebs like Mike Epps, Kerry Washington, and Common were all about their business this weekend, but others like Nas focused on relaxing.

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    Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert commemorated their daughter Iman Tayla Shumpert‘s one-month birthday.

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    Solange hit up an actual record store in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

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    Mike Epps practiced getting Richard Pryor‘s mouth right for the biopic Nina.

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    Did Snoop Dogg tease a new animation project?

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    Kerry Washington had a full weekend. She stopped by the O.P.I. office for a photo shoot for her new nail color collection. And worked on a new HBO project.

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    “Little Man” Kevin Hart gave us a glimpse into his new workout — boxing.

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    While Queensbridge, NY turned to an ice box over the weekend, Queens-native Nas was somewhere in the world on a sunny beach.

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    Lil Kim hawked some Flat Tummy Tea on the ‘Gram.

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    Tracee Ellis Ross invited us into her home as she prepared for the Critics’ Choice Awards.

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    Common went back into the studio this weekend.

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    The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira revealed that she will play Afeni Shakur, Tupac‘s mother, in the biopic All Eyez On Me.

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    Lupita Nyong’o went backstage of The Color Purple to congratulate friend Danielle Brooks on her performance as Sofia.


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    UPTOWN_jamie_foxx

    Jamie Foxx has played an action hero on the big screen, but after rescuing a driver from a smoking car, he’s a hero in real life.

    Foxx reportedly sprung into action when he heard a violent wreck outside his gate in Hidden Valley, which is northwest of Los Angeles. He dialed 911. Then ran outside to find a male driver in distress and the vehicle flipped over and smoking. Worried the auto could explode, Foxx unbuckled the man’s seat belt and pulled him about 30 feet away from the wreck, reports New York Daily News.

    First responders arrived soon after and transported the injured victim to a hospital.

    It is believed the vehicle skidded on wet roads into a ditch and flipped over.

    RELATED: Jamie Lynn Spears Saves the Day & Other Heroic Celebrities

    [Image: Instagram]


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    UPTOWN_yasiin_bey

    Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, is addressing his arrest and detainment in South Africa for attempting to travel without proper immigration documents and has announced his retirement.

    Bey released his message exclusively via KanyeWest.com:

    Bey begins the voice recording begins with a freestyle, “No More Parties in SA,” in which he claims innocence and explains the situation from his perspective. Later in the recording, he says his treatment in South Africa was politically motivated and he was detained unlawfully. Now, Bey says, he’d just like to leave the country with his family for good.

    Finally, Bey announced that he is retiring from the music industry and Hollywood, as the institutions are presently constructed. Then he raps some more.

    It’s unclear whether this is a goodbye to Yasiin Bey the artist, or will he release music solely under his own parameters.

    Listen to Yasiin Bey’s complete message below.

    [Image: Facebook]

    Source


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    “It’s really interesting with Jennifer Lawrence being vocal. My perspective is different than hers because my gap is even behind hers. To hear that she’s feeling some of the same, and when I say ‘she,’ [I mean] women that aren’t of color feel the same thing … I have to be honest my trajectory has been different than probably a lot of these other actors and actresses because I’ve had representation that always saw me as an actor not a celebrity and not a Black actor or a Black celebrity … I don’t ever remember being told ‘you can be this some day.’ I just always remember being told ‘be whatever you want to be.’ You create what you want to be.”

    — Regina King explains in a recent interview with Larry King NOW the similarities and differences between her experience in Hollywood and that of other Black actresses and Jennifer Lawrence. King also discussed criticizing the Emmy Awards for lack of diversity and then winning her first Emmy in 2015 for her role as Aliyah Shaheed in American Crime.

    “I feel two things. One, when I pressed send on that piece I thought, ‘Well I’ll probably never get nominated, but that’s OK I feel like this needs to be said.’ So the fact that I was able to point out statistics, express how I felt, and still come around full circle and be celebrated by the Emmy organization that was an award within itself. I do feel like there is some change and some movement — forward movement. I don’t want to speak too soon. I want to see where things go.”


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    UPTOWN_losing_at_career

    Image: Shutterstock

    By David McKnight

    Former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter once said, “Your image isn’t your character. Character is what you are as a person.”

    True. But until someone invents a device that lets us instantly analyze “character,” image is the most powerful tool we have for communicating our inner-selves to the outside world. And as social psychiatrists are discovering, what we convey about ourselves (and to ourselves) through non-verbal communication -– appearance, posture, body language, eye contact -– often matters more than the words we choose, especially in the professional sphere.

    Whether you’re a medical, business, or creative professional, you project a unique image. The big question is: Are you crafting an image that will maximize your career prospects, or are you letting other people’s perceptions determine your trajectory? Are you purposely sculpting an appealing personal brand or silently sabotaging your career by ignoring the non-verbal universe?

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    Hard-Wired for Instant Judgments

    Like it or not, evolution has “hard-wired” humans to make snap judgments about each other’s intentions, personalities, desirability, and even capabilities. Although much of this “programming” is no longer needed, nobody uninstalled the old “software.” So as much as our internal dialogue might say, “Just because he’s short, overweight, and dresses like a scarecrow doesn’t mean he’s wrong for the job,” our instincts frequently override our more mature reasoning.

    Research backs this up. In a Tufts University study, participants watched soundless, 30-second clips of doctors interacting with patients. Their judgments of each physician’s “niceness” accurately predicted which doctors were likely to be sued for malpractice. At Princeton, respondents who watched a one-second clip of political candidates’ faces accurately predicted –- 70 percent of the time -– which ones would win election.

    So while “judge not lest ye be judged” is wonderful advice, a more practical approach is to consciously cultivate an image that will advance your career. And the process begins with a vigorous evaluation of your outward appearance.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_unprofessionally_dressed_woman

    Kathy was Killing Her Career

    When it comes to wardrobe, the most common “career killer” is failing to dress appropriately for the environment, audience and situation in which you find yourself -– or want to find yourself. While struggling young professionals can be forgiven for shopping at Target or Express, seasoned pros, especially those interested in senior-level positions, must invest in higher-quality wardrobes. Just as important, your clothing should be aligned with the culture of the organization and industry.

    When I first met her, “Kathy” was a poster child for how not to dress. An attractive, Harvard-educated financial services professional, Kathy spent several years interviewing for better positions without luck. Although her résumé opened the door for initial interviews, she never received second interviews until I helped overhaul her entire appearance.

    Kathy was projecting a very unpolished image to an image-conscious industry. Her jackets didn’t fit properly, the sleeves nearly covering her hands. Her shirts were wrinkled, her purse was threadbare, and she used plastic disposable pens among people who wouldn’t be caught dead without a designer fountain pen. By the time I finished a makeover, which included a new, high-quality wardrobe and complementary accessories, she was receiving regular compliments about her appearance. She also landed the very next job for which she interviewed.

    In retrospect, the solution to Kathy’s problem may seem obvious, but a wardrobe makeover is something many people never consider, much less address.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_anxious_woman

    Do You Project Self-Confidence or Self-Consciousness?

    Another common career killer is inappropriate body language. Typically, this takes the form of postures and gestures that communicate self-consciousness and indecisiveness, rather than self-confidence and power. I recently conducted an exit interview with a woman, “Jessica,” who sat slumped in her chair, head hunched, arms and legs wrapped around each other as if she were shielding herself from attack by making herself as small as possible.

    In addition to pointing out the meaning of her body language, I suggested Jessica correct her posture and practice some power poses that communicate strength and self-confidence. These include the “Wonder Woman pose,” standing up straight with hands on hips, resting your feet on the desk with arms crossed behind your head, and stretching your arms above your head in a V for victory pose. I do not recommend adopting these poses in the workplace, but research by social psychiatrist and professor Amy Cuddy reveals that practicing these poses a few minutes a day can raise your level of testosterone, the power hormone, and lower cortisone levels, the anxiety hormone.

    In sum, by practicing poses that convey power and self-confidence, you’ll not only project these qualities, you’ll actually start to acquire them. To paraphrase Prof. Cuddy: The idea is not to fake it ’til you make it, but to fake it ’til you become it.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_fashion_designer

    Building Your Personal Brand

    Dress. Grooming. Body language. Posture. Combined with your words and actions, these elements, over time, comprise the personal brand you present to the world.

    Of course, to build a positive brand you must first know what your current brand is. Start by asking friends, family members, and colleagues which attributes come to mind when they think of you. If there’s a disconnect between the brand you wish to convey and what you’re currently communicating, you’ll need to focus on the traits that can be fixed and managed. To help you assess and redesign your brand, you can consult any number of books or hire an image advisor.

    Whatever you do, keep in mind that brands can (and do) change -– for the better and sometimes for the worse (think Tiger Woods). To continuously project the best possible version of yourself to superiors, colleagues, and subordinates, be proactive about building and managing your brand. Ultimately, if you don’t manage your personal brand, the world will assign a brand to you, and you may not like what you get!

    David McKnight is the President and CEO of McKnight Image Lab, an image consulting and life-coaching firm based in New York City. The lab is a one-stop agency that offers a wide scope of services, ranging from wardrobe reviews and personal shopping to one-on-one life and career coaching via personal sessions or workshops and seminars. McKnight and his team work with aspiring individuals to transform their image and achieve personal and professional breakthroughs and ongoing success. Contact him on McKnightImageLab.com or find him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @McKnightImage.

    [Image: Shutterstock]


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  • 01/21/16--05:43: Kissing St. Kitts
  • UPTOWN_st_kitts1
    This West Indian paradise is meant for newlyweds.

    By Satchel B. Jester

    Now that your big day is behind you and your happily-ever-after is ahead, you and your dream bae must begin the fun work of keeping your relationship fresh, exciting and sexy. Take a quick jaunt to the lush lands of St. Kitts.The beaches boast powder-white to gray-black sand, intoxicating peaks and steel-blue waters that can all help in marking a new chapter in any couples’ fairy tale. Here’s how you kiss the sky Kittitian style.

    UPTOWN_st_kitts2

    Astonished At Arrival
    After choosing one of several airlines that fly non-stop to St. Kitts, plan to forego the pedestrian option for entry into the country by choosing the YU Lounge St. Kitts. Upon arrival, forget about your bags and zero in on the immaculate white Porsche Cayenne waiting on the tarmac to transfer you to the lounge where attendants, five-star fare and chilled champers await. As you relax and refresh, you are cleared through immigration, customs and all of the other dirty work without lifting one of your perfectly manicured hands. TIP: Avoid getting up close and personal with security by not over packing. It raises eyebrows. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

    UPTOWN_st_kitts3
    Marriott Meet Market
    One is a lonely number, unless you’re the toast of the town like the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino. The only branded property on the island, this open-air haven has hosted entertainment and sports royalty such as Lionel Richie, Toni Braxton, Charles Oakley and Thurman Thomas. Lodging, dining and experience options run the gamut: from 1–2 bedroom suites to formal dining options and a newly in-casino Sky Lounge; but, the ultimate experience comes through a special package, appropriately tagged #StKittsVIP. The package includes accommodations in Royal Ocean View and Presidential Suite categories, the aforementioned YU Lounge access, personal amenities and carte blanche concierge. Mix this with the golden sands of North Frigate Bay Beach, a championship golf course and the largest Vegas-style casino in the Caribbean and your honeymoon may just outdo your overpriced wedding cake!

    UPTOWN_st_kitts4
    Getting Down Around Town
    After an invigorating morning atop Timothy Hill, taking in the Caribbean Sea on your right and the Atlantic Ocean on your left, plot your day based on must-see offerings. Experience a chill walking the grounds of the reportedly haunted Brimstone Hill (a site built and fostered on the backs of local slaves) or soak in the fantastic blend of beauty and style at the Wingfield Estate. If adventure is your system of survival, experience the in-air zip-lining tour of the Kittitian rainforest canopy and enjoy a birds-eye-view of the island’s diverse terrain and wildlife. When the night falls, all roads lead to “the strip”, a gathering of joints, dives and clubs boasting tunes and tonics that are sure to bring out the best, or worst, in all who dare to indulge.

    Foodie Fancies
    From local kitchens to five-star Oceanside dining, a bevy of options await. Dine casually at Ballahoo, an eatery nestled in the heart of downtown Basseterre, overlooking the bustling capital city, where conch fritters and Rum Runners are the ultimate guests of honor. Feeling fancy? Up the ante and atmosphere at either Carambola on the pristine beach of South Friars or Spice Mill, featuring a well-curated menu that pays tribute to the region’s original Amerindian inhabitants.

    Must Sea Experience
    Before your smartphone notifies you of your return flight check-in, cap off your honeymoon with a catamaran sail to St. Kitts’ sister island, Nevis. Located along the island’s South East Peninsula coast on Leeward Island Charters’ day trip, this island exploration includes a snorkeling session in a nearby cove and a traditional, mouth-watering BBQ along the beach. Include a visit to Sunshine’s, home of the “Killer Bee” cocktail. I can’t say what’s in it, because it’s top-secret. But Oprah, Beyonce and Jay Z have all been stung. Cheers!


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  • 01/21/16--05:50: Peeling Back Panama
  • UPTOWN_peeling_back_panamaby Angela Bronner Helm | Photography by Matt Bell

    Some of my most savvy, well-traveled pals count Panama as their prime pastime paradise, and can effortlessly tick off the reasons why:

    Getting there is a breeze. The weather is a heavenly 82–90 degrees: year round. Their currency, the U.S. dollar, stretches like Spandex. (A local taxi will chauffeur you around the capital for less than $5.) And though Spanish is Panama’s official language, English is ubiquitous. The nightlife is beyond cosmopolitan, and the people—a diverse mix of Caribbean-Spanish, African and indigenous cultures— are friendly and beautiful.

    Rated the #1 Destination for 2012 by the The New York Times, Panama is virtually peerless in its charms. The country’s namesake capital and largest city is both a sultry metropolis with soaring skyscrapers and world-famous salsa clubs, as well as a hyperdiverse land of lush rain forests and ancient ruins. Neither overwrought nor overpriced, Panama maintains a pretty pluralism that any wanderluster would envy. Check out our list of can’t-miss offerings from a country that just may have it all.

    *Getting There: Copa Airlines is the national carrier of Panama, operating nonstop flights in 29 countries in North, South, and Central America. Founded in 1947, Copa flies nonstop to Panama City (PTY) from major U.S. cities including Miami, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Las Vegas. copaair.com

    PanamaTake Me to the Bridge

    Did you know that Panama is the one place on earth where you can swim two oceans in a day? The narrow landmass that is the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea millions of years ago, connecting North and South America and dividing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. You can learn all this and more at the BioMuseo (Biodiversity Museum), which aims to show the world why Panama is literally a bridge between continents, as well as highlight the country’s importance to the world’s natural wealth and evolution. The Seussical-shaped Frank Gehry–designed space opens Spring in 2013, but until then, group hard-hat tours in English are available. 507.314.0097. biomuseo.org

    Above: The photographer and writer after a day of sweet loafing on one of the many islands of San Blas.
    Native

    Go Native

    Interested in hanging out on a beautiful beach that feels like your own private island? Then plan a day trip to San Blas. Set about two and a half hours outside of Panama City, this archipelago of about 378 islands is mainly inhabited by the Kuna Yel, one of seven officially recognized tribes in Panama. To get to San Blas, pack your passport (you’ll need it for entrance) and charter a boat to any one of the islands—some of which are no larger than a city block; others require an all-terrain vehicle. Bring along a picnic basket for lunch or have one of the boatmen catch a spiny lobster for about $5. (For a few extra bucks, they’ll even prepare it for you.) Then, laze about, snorkel or swim in the crystal blue waters. Before you leave, be sure to stop at a vendor and check out the blouses emblazoned with brightly colored, intricate patterns called molas, created by the talented Kuna women.

    For another, equally amazing indigenous experience, journey to Embera Village, home of the Embera tribe. Unlike the Kuna Yel’s small islands, Embera’s home is the rain forest in several villages along the Chagres River. Ride in a motorized dug-out canoe, see monkeys high up in trees, swim under a waterfall or get a tattoo made from the juice of berries. (It will last for weeks!) One can also find the most delectable fried fish this side of heaven, served in a banana leaf and garnished with a flower. For fl at rates to San Blas or Embera Village, call Truly Panama Tours and ask for Venicio “Benny” Wilson when booking. 507.398.0541. trulypanama.com

    Above: One of the islands of San Blas, anchored on the Caribbean (Atlantic) side of Panama
    Faith

    Keep the Faith

    No matter your religion or spiritual belief, you owe it to yourself to experience the Bahá’í Temple. Perched atop a cliff in Panama City, the white domed house of worship is one of only seven in the world, roughly one for each continent. The round, open temple has no walls or corners and is encircled by manicured gardens with sweeping views of the city below. The Bahá’í meet every Sunday; because they believe in the unity of all faiths, scriptures are read from many holy books including the Bible, Qur’an and Torah. bahai.org

    Above: The interior of Panama City’s Baha’i Temple, a nine-sided open space, set high atop a hill.

    Fish MarketPrawn Shop

    Opening at 5 a.m. daily, Panama City’s Seafood Market is an open-air wonder packed with natives, tourists and vendors alike, along with rows and rows of bustling stalls filled with massive fresh prawns, crab and pulpo (octopus), all of which can be steamed onsite. There’s also a restaurant on the second floor that prepares seafood dishes including fried whole fish and shrimp stews with heaping sides of rice and beans, fried green plantains and cerveza (beer)! Like many South American countries, ceviche—chunks of raw fish marinated in lime juice, chili sauce and raw onion—is a national delicacy, and very popular in Central and South America. The fish market is the one place you can try this dish 99 ways!

    Above: The fruit of the fish market: ceviche and shrimp!
    Panama native
    A Man. A Plan. A Canal. Panama.

    The above phrase, also known as a palindrome (the same spelled forward and backward), references one of the country’s most famous landmarks. Built and controlled by the United States for almost 75 years, the 48-mile-long Panama Canal allows large vessels quick passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The best way to see the canal is at the Miraflores Visitors Center, a three-story observation deck (and restaurant) where visitors have a bird’s-eye view of the huge barges sailing into the locks before continuing on to the ocean. Be sure to check out the museum, which offers a sobering history of how men from all over the globe died to create this eighth wonder of the world. pancanal.com/eng

    Above: The Embera people live in the rainforest along the Chagres River.
    Vintage City
    Vintage City

    Just a stone’s throw from towering downtown Panama City lies Casco Viejo—the old city. Founded in 1673, this unique area is popular with artists and is where loosed cats keep watch over cobbled streets and settlements stand tall alongside new hotels and bars.

    There are endless delights to be found in Casco Viejo, including town squares (excellent to dance in and around), centuries-old churches, and quirky shops selling everything from salted caramel gelato to Panama hats. Coffeeshops and tapas restaurants are plentiful (Rene’s is a must, if only for the tres leches cake), and be sure to visit famous landmarks such as Presidential Palace and the National Theater.

    One of the neighborhood’s true jewels is the Tántalo Hotel Kitchen & Rooftop. Taking its name from the Greek god Tantalus (think tantalizing), Tántalo seeks to excite your senses, from sleek, modern furniture to romantic wraparound balconies. Hotelier Matt Blesso, known for developing eco-friendly and sustainable luxury properties, is insistent upon supporting local art: Each of the boutique hotel’s 12 rooms is decorated by a Panamanian artist in a distinct style and medium, from photography to graffiti. Rotating exhibits also appear in the common areas.

    Tántalo Kitchen, which is open to the public, offers a robust, reasonably priced and internationally tinged menu created by Panamanian chef Pierre DeJanon. Take a seat at one of the bar tables (made with wood from the Panama Canal), and enjoy standout appetizers such as balsamic eggplant with cashew/basil pesto, the Tántalo octopus and Tia Michelle’s jumbo shrimp with Cajun butter sauce. Top off your evening at Encima, Tantalo’s rooftop bar—indeed the only rooftop bar in Panama City— and sip a “Blondie Mary” (which replaces the classic with passion fruit juice) while taking in the panoramic vistas and enchanting music.

    Rates from $129–$169 from June–Nov.; $159–$219, Dec.–May. 507.262.4030. tantalohotel.com

    Above: A view of the skyscrapers of downtown Panama from Casco Viejo.


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    UPTOWN_storyville_questlove_vs_prince

    In honor of Questlove’s birthday, which was yesterday, Okayplayer released the second installment in the “Storyville” series, “Questlove VS. Prince.” In the Hectah-animated video, The Roots drummer recalls the time Prince fired him from a deejay set, during the Musicology tour, so the Purple One could watch Finding Nemo instead. Yes, Prince replaced DJ and drummer extraordinaire Questlove with an animated clownfish. And to make matters even worse, Questlove was on a date and had a ten-person entourage in tow at the time. Black Thought might be the lyricist of The Roots, but Questlove might be the best storyteller ever. Watch and see if you can complete Okayplayer’s challenge:

    “When our go-to genius of animation Hectah was done making movies out of Questo’s words, he had added, dare we say it? a whole other dimension to this perfect story. A few fun things you can do with this video: 1) See if you can spot 1 or 2 famous faces amongst the 10 people in Questo’s entourage 2) See if you can name the classic 1980s music video Hectah channels for Questlove’s blind date 3) Name the Philly-based movie that sets the scene for the face-off with Prince’s assistant. And 4) See if you can spot the Ellen DeGeneres cameo! Try to do that with a tweet.”


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    With a bevy of new projects, Deborah Cox is staging a New Year takeover.

    By Annika Harris

    UPTOWN_deborah_cox

    2016 will be a whirlwind year for Deborah Cox. The multiplatinum R&B recording artist and actress is set to take the Broadway stage in the role of Josephine Baker in Josephine (Asolo Rep-ertory Theatre, April 2016), a musical produced by two-time Tony Award-winner Kenneth Waissman; she will step into Whitney Houston’s shoes starring as Rachel Marron in the touring musical adaptation of The Bodyguard (Fall 2016); and the Grammy-nominated artist will release her first studio album in seven years: Work of Art (early-2016).

    Cox will portray Baker from a significant period in the legend’s life—1938 through 1945—and she wants to reveal her true nature. “A lot of people know [her] as the woman with the banana skirt, but they’ll get a chance to understand her complexities [and learn] that what she had to do to get there is fascinating.”

    Regarding the inevitable comparisons to Houston’s portrayal of Rachel Marron, the role the late entertainer made iconic in 1992’s The Bodyguard, Cox says she’s been dealing with comparisons to the late entertainer since she entered the industry and she’s not worried about that. Instead, the multi-hyphenate, who made her Broadway debut in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, is focused on the music and the story. “When people heard of me stepping into this role, there was extra excitement to be able to hear these songs live, in a musical setting and that part of it is exciting,” she explains.

    Fans of Cox’s sound will be pleased to hear that “classic Deborah Cox” will return for Work of Art, which she says will be all about the vocals. “I pride myself on being a vocalist that can pare down and be flat-footed and just sing!”

    [Image: Bob Metulus]


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    UPTOWN_brandy_beggin_and_pleadin

    If there is any confusion that Brandy is on a journey of self-empowerment and evolution, her new single “Beggin & Pleadin” will clear all of that up. The singer, whose first album Brandy was released in 1994, released a behind-the-scenes, in-studio video to reveal her inspiration for the emotional song.

    First, let’s flashback to April 2014 when Brandy and then-fiancé Ryan Press announced the dissolution of their coupling. Brandy took the end of their engagement hard, but found solace in working with co-writer Kirby Lauren on “Beggin & Pleadin,” which was released Jan. 5th to coincide with the premiere of Brandy’s BET sitcom Zoe Ever After. “I told her my story, just a bit about what I experienced and how I went through a really hard breakup, and I wasn’t able to just let it go and get over it so I was still in that place,” says Brandy in the video. “When I did the song, it felt real. It felt like a true apology. Everything I had in that moment, I gave it right there because of how I was feeling. It felt like the song was writing itself.”

    It seems “Beggin & Pleadin” has become an anthem of sorts for the R&B veteran and actress, who made her Broadway debut in Chicago in 2015. “I like the way it sounds when I hear it back. It feels like I’m listening to somebody else and not me. It’s like bitch, what? It makes me feel bossy,” Brandy explains. “Even if it’s for two minutes and 45 seconds, I feel empowered by the story, the vocal, the production. It sounds fearless to me.”

    Brandy will release an official video sometime in 2016, until then, get used to the new and exciting sound she’s dubbed “trap-blues.”

    [Image: Kat Morgan]


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    UPTOWN_whoopi_goldberg

    “[Black History Month is] not taught as it pertains to America. American history holds all of us — and [Stacey Dash] is right in that — but we’re not all treated like Americans. And one of the reasons there is a BET is because networks wouldn’t take a lot of the shows that have an all-Black cast.”

    — Whoopi Goldberg explains to Stacey Dash, who probably wasn’t listening, why Black History Month and BET are necessary and aren’t examples of segregation as the FOX News talking bimbo suggested when discussing the uproar at the Oscars’ lack of diversity. Watch Whoopi’s entire read below:

    BET also addressed Dash’s comments, calling out her hypocrisy in the process. Dash has  appeared in at least one episode of the network’s The Game.

    Instagram Photo


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    UPTOWN_rkelly

    “Well, my opinion on that is, I don’t know what happened. I’m a fan of Bill Cosby’s from the Bill Cosby show, of course—who’s not?—and for me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it’s true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago. And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there’s something strange about it. That’s my opinion. It’s just strange …

    It’s strange. Strange is strange. I can’t explain strange. That’s why strange is strange. Because it’s something we can’t explain …

    If God showed me that they were telling the truth, I would say that’s wrong. I don’t care if it was a zillion years ago. But God would have to do that, because God is the only one can show me that. No man can tell me that. No woman can tell me that. And when you wait 70 years, 50 years, 40 years, to say something that simple, it’s strange. You know why I say that is because it happened to me, and it wasn’t true.”

    — R. Kelly speaks to GQ in an articled titled “The Confessions of R. Kelly.” Kelly makes his feelings about the sexual assault allegations brought against Bill Cosby after introducing the embattled comedian as a symbol of a great father figure. This Chris Heath interview is a must-read and gives a fascinating and confusing impression of Kelly.

    [Image: Instagram]


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    Instagram Photo

    Maybe three times the charm for Mariah Carey and wedded bliss. The singer recently accepted her billionaire boyfriend James Packer‘s marriage proposal.

    Packer popped the question at Eleven Madison Park, where he had gathered Mariah’s closest friends for a dinner.

    The couple has dated since June 2015 and things heated up quickly thanks to a weeks-long holiday on Packer’s yacht during the summer.

    This will be Carey’s third marriage. She and Tommy Mottola were wedded from 1993-1998. She and Nick Cannon were married for slightly longer — 2008-2015 — and are parents to twins Monroe and Moroccan.

    This will also be Packer’s third marriage. He was married to model Jodhi Meares from 1999-2002. He and Australian singer and model were married from 2007-2013 and are parents to three children.


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    What Will Be The Top Stories of 2016 Relating to Black People and HIV?
    Find out at the Second Annual State of HIV in Black America Forum

    UPTOWN_nblca(January 20, 2016, New York, NY) – Looking back on the year, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) president and CEO C. Virginia Fields recently shared her choices for the top five stories involving black people and HIV in a column on Huffington Post Black Voices.

    She cited: lower HIV death rates among black people; State of HIV in Black America and State of HIV in Black LGBTQ People forums launched; National AIDS Strategy updated to 2020; HIV prevention treatment shown to be very effective; loss of HIV/AIDS prevention pioneer Dr. Beny J. Primm. Read why she chose these stories, and more details about them in the column, “Top 5 Stories Involving Black People and HIV in 2015,” on Huffington Post Black Voices.

    To find out what the top stories of 2016 are likely to be, join us on February 4, 2016, when NBLCA will reconvene the State of HIV in Black America Conference at the Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture in Manhattan (again livestreamed to events in Tampa Bay, FL; Detroit, MI; Albany, Buffalo, Nassau (Long Island), Syracuse and Rochester, NY; with other cities being added) to address the current science of HIV/AIDS and identify the steps needed to end the epidemic in line with 2020 action plans.

    Press should RSVP to Melissa Baker at mbaker@nblca.org; others may register for free for the New York City forum.

    To find out what NBLCA was up to in 2015, read our recap at NBLCA.org, A Look Back To The Stories Involving Blacks and HIV in 2015, Plus: 2016 Preview.

    The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc., (NBLCA) is a 501c3, not for profit organization with a mission to educate, mobilize, and empower Black leaders to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities. Founded in 1987, and headquartered in New York City, NBLCA is the largest nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States.


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    “A lot of what I was trying to do, as opposed to mimicry or an impersonation of him, was trying to find, and this may sound like esoteric [bullshit], I was really trying to pull him close to me. You know, reach out and find a place where we both connected, you know. I’m a musician, and I study and I play.”

    — Don Cheadle opens up to The Root about starring in, directing, co-writing, and co-producing Miles Ahead, a biopic of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis. Cheadle has even received accolades from Selma director Ava DuVernay, who watched Miles Ahead during the Sundance Film Festival, where it played in the Spotlight section. “It was a lovely performance from him,” DuVernay said to The Root. Miles Ahead opens in theaters April 1st.


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    Jennifer Lopez was all about her grind as she kicked off the first weekend of her residency in Las Vegas, but she wasn’t the only star who chronicled her weekend through Instagram. See what Dwayne Wade, Zendaya and more celebrities were up to.

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    Jennifer Lopez slid into her residency in Las Vegas … Um, Britney, who?

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    Solange shared Saint Heron vibes with the Standard Spa Miami Beach.

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    Zendaya proved she’s a style icon and a COVERGIRL.

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    RELATED: The Brown Beauties Of The Covergirl Club

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    Reality personality Draya Michele enjoyed a sober birthday, as she’s expecting her second child.

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    LeBron James reminded his followers that he has an amazing life.

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    Dwyane Wade revealed that he, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James will play in the NBA All-Star 2016 game in February.

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    LaLa Anthony and Naturi Naughton had some fun on the season three set of Power.

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    Although Gabrielle Union was at the Sundance Film Festival to support Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation, she had to stop for some grub with friends like Jussie Smollett.

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    Jussie Smollett took to the ‘Gram to stand in solidarity with the people of Flint, Mich.

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    Talib Kweli, Hi Tek, Waka Flocka Flame, and DJ Whookid were in Las Vegas for a Reflection Eternal performance.

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    UPTOWN_gainesville_police_department_shaquille_oneal

    A Gainesville, Fla. resident most likely didn’t realize calling the police on a group of children for playing basketball loudly would bring Shaquille O’Neal to their neighborhood.

    Last week, Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White was dispatched to the address where the children were, after the neighbor called the police. When he saw several kids playing, he joked with them about someone calling the cops on them and then started playing basketball with the group.

    On Thursday, the Gainesville Police Department posted a now-viral, dash-cam video of the fun with the message: “We’re going to let kids be kids. We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime.”

    But Officer White wasn’t done …

    Before he left, he told the kids that if they played everyday, then he’d return with reinforcements.

    On Saturday, Officer White was back, but he wasn’t alone. He had a whole crew of officers in tow.

    “Told you I was gonna bring some backup, right? You guys ready?” White asked the children. “Look at these big guys I brought. You sure you can take them?”

    That’s when all 85 inches of Shaquille O’Neal stepped out of an SUV, shocking the young basketball players.

    O’Neal and the officers played a game against the kids, who also enjoyed the opportunity to snap pics with the NBA great.

    The police department posted a video of the “Shaq surprise” on its Facebook page, writing: “These kids will never forget the day Shaq rolled up to their house to play ball.”

    Now, it’s pretty safe to assume that neighbor will be welcomed home by the thud of a basketball being dribbled indefinitely.

    Source

    [Image: Ben Tobias/Gainesville Police Department]


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    UPTOWN_blacklove

    By Annika Harris

    The FYI network is all about facing the challenges in love and dating, so much so that in July 2014 the network began airing the extreme experiment that is Married at First Sight. As the title suggests, the docuseries chronicles the lives of six individuals who agree to be matched by relationship experts and wed their partner seconds after meeting at the altar.

    The experiment was a success for two out of three of the couples in season one. Monet Bell and Vaughn Copeland‘s marriage, however, ended in divorce — a month later. When Essence asked Bell what she would have changed about her marriage, she replied: “The number one thing I would do different is starting off learning to be friends with each other as opposed to acting like a married couple or whatever we thought a married couple was. That was the biggest mistake made. We should have been trying to be friends as oppose to being a married couple.”

    Bell also identified the greatest lesson from the experiment: “I am going to take my time. I’m going to have patience and I’m going to be more specific in what I want and maybe explaining myself better for the things that I want out of the man.”

    Now fast forward to 2016, Bell and four other women are going to “relationship school” to learn about themselves and how to date — successfully — on FYI’s #BlackLove.

    I was instantly hooked on #BlackLove (title aside) because I too am facing some of the challenges of dating and falling in love in my thirties: Am I too successful? Do I intimidate? Do gentlemen still exist? Do I really have time for someone special? And then there’s the dreaded biological clock that’s trying to put a rush on love so baby can come.

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    [Image: Instagram]

    One of the cast members who intrigues me most is Jahmil “Jae” Eady. She dates both men and women. She’s looking for a partner with maturity and stability. She’s not sure if she wants to commit to her distinguished yet unidentified beau “Bentley.” And she’s not yet 30, but I dare you to imply she’s not a grown-ass woman. As a 26-year-old web developer, “Jae has always placed her career and independence before love and has remained single because of it,” according to her cast bio. Like myself, Eady’s professional life took precedence over her dating life and now she’s trying “flip those priorities.” And I’m happy she’s taking the FYI audience on this journey with her.

    I spoke with Eady about dating both men and women, flirting tips, how to avoid becoming a fetish, best date look, and more. Oh, and she gave a bit of the lowdown on her cast members …

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    Jahmil “Jae” Eady with relationship expert Jack A. Daniels [Image: FYI]

    UPTOWN: My issue with Married at First Sight was that the experts didn’t seem to understand certain aspects of dating as a Black woman. Why, from your perspective, was it important to have people of color serve as the experts for BlackLove?
    JE: There are a lot of universal truths when it comes to love and relationships however, as Black women we have a lot of challenges in romance that are specifically tied to our culture and history. For example, the gender role question about whether Black women are too intimidating or emasculating to men often comes up. This issue is connected to our history of having to be strong and independent outside of traditional family models. Having relationship experts who understand experiences like these are so important.

    U: You received some flack for being under 30 and dating older men. What understanding did you get when the other women labeled you as competition? How did you get them to understand your perspective?
    JE: When it comes to men, I tend to date older because I like the maturity, competence, and swagger of someone who’s settled in themselves. Sometimes when meeting people my age, they haven’t settled in themselves fully yet. So the characteristics I enjoy lead me to date older.

    We are all very different women, in search of very different things so we’re going to attract completely different kinds of people. Each of us is a great catch. There is no competition between women. I think that in hetero relationships, it should be the men who are competing for women. Once a woman settles down and has kids with someone, it’s a lot more difficult for her to start over or leave if things don’t work. Men do it all the time and without the same level of judgment that women get. Therefore, I think, it should be up to a man to prove to a woman that he means business, that he deserves her heart and could be trusted to commit.

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    U: You seemed more willing to get to know Nneka (above) for herself without knowing her financial status. Do you seek out women with means as much as men with means? Why or why not?
    JE: I’m always open to getting to know people for themselves. I don’t seek out people for their status. I seek out people who share the same values and personality traits that I do—intelligent, ambitious, adventurous, enterprising, and funny. I own a front-end web development company. I appreciate people who have their own professional goals and accomplishments. I enjoy travel, photography, and writing sci-fi short stories, so naturally I’m attracted to people who have the time and means to pursue their own hobbies too.

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    U: Did you know any of the other women before the show? Which of the other women do you most identify with? And why?
    JE: Some of us knew each other prior to the show but we’ve all formed a bond. What I love about the group of women is that we bring different things to the table and push each other to grow in different ways. I identify with parts of each lady. I love [Tennesha Wood’s] hilarious sense of humor and low-key obsession with rap music, [Laree Thomas’s] worldliness and adventurous spirit. I love [Monet Bell’s] warm heart and bomb wardrobe, [Cynthia Branch’s] spirituality and bravery. I think there are parts of each of us that the audience can relate to as well.

    U: Why did you choose not to identify “Bentley” on the show?
    JE: It was Bentley’s prerogative. He’s an executive and doesn’t want his romantic and business life to be the subject of a reality TV show. Bentley signed up to date me—not an audience and I respect his wishes to remain private.

    U: Why were you apprehensive to admit your past affects your future? And what advice would you give to someone who is in a similar situation?
    JE: I believe that your past definitely does affect your future. However, I’m also aware of the pitfalls that come with dwelling and living in the past. I believe that your present and what you focus on right now is most important. For years now, I have told myself ‘how I got here is less important than where I am going.’ I recognize that people should revisit old wounds if they want to heal and move on. That’s why I spent all of my teenage years and early twenties doing just that. The relationship experts and the audience enter into my story today and they’re like “Jae has so much healing work to do!” I’m thinking “Wait I’ve already been there and done that.” There’s so much more to me than my past. There are so many goals and dreams that drive me. I feel like at this point, I identify with those parts of myself more than anything.

    My advice to anybody who is in a similar situation is to find balance. Find a way to reflect on the past and if necessary, heal but don’t get stuck in that space. Focus on moving forward. I’m reminded of that Benjamin Dover quote, “It’s okay to look back at the past, just don’t stare.”

    U: You and Laree both mentioned not wanting to be a white man’s “Black fetish,” and I think that’s a concern for a lot of Black women before trying to date outside their race. What are some signs you’re going into fetish-territory? And how do you get over that concern to continue dating outside your race?
    JE: I’m not too concerned about being fetishized because I feel it’s very easy to spot those types from a mile away. The same way a woman of any race can tell when a man is only after that thing, it is clear when someone is looking to fetishize you. If someone doesn’t show any interest in you besides your sexual appeal or if someone only talks about your skin, hair, and other physical attributes, then it’s obvious they’re not interested in you for who you are.

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    U: Out of all the women, you seem comfortable with flirting? What are your top three tips to flirting?
    JE: Eye contact is key. Don’t stare like a stalker, but definitely hold eye contact for longer than you normally would. It works! If you want to hint that you’re interested in someone, catch their eye for 2 or 3 seconds, smile and then look away.

    Ask open-ended questions. They’re great for many reasons. First, they keep the conversation flowing. It gives you a chance to listen and learn who they are. And lastly, people need to feel noticed and appreciated. So when someone shares, you should show genuine interest by following up with another question or by making connection between what they say and your own life.

    Say yes to playful banter. Jokes and light teasing not only keeps you both laughing but it also shows off your wit and down to earth attitude. I’m a jokester and a cornball so if I’m cracking jokes and they’re not laughing or giving anything back, that lets me know it’s not going to work. We have to have a similar sense of humor.

    U: What’s the perfect first date look?
    JE: I prefer daytime first dates so my look is usually casual chic—a nice pair of heels, girlfriend jeans, a button down top and I’m ready to go. However, whether it’s a day or night date, the most important part is that you feel confident and sexy. Don’t wear anything that’s going to distract you or make you fidget during the date. If you have to keep pulling it down or checking to see if that double-sided tape is still holding strong, you probably should hold off on that look until at least the third date LOL.

    U: How do you feel about you and love after the #BlackLove experience?
    JE: I feel excited for my costars and I to find our ideal relationships in 2016!

    #BlackLove airs on FYI Tuesday night at 10:15/9:15c.


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  • 01/26/16--07:32: V. Bozeman Is Pure Soul
  • V. Bozeman is as authentic as they come. Can you handle it?

    By Satchel B. Jester

    UPTOWN_v_bozeman

    Bold and beautiful, striking and soulful: all are appropriate words for the vocal styling and unabashed beauty of V. Bozeman. Her gut-wrenching delivery of “What Is Love,” in the opening scene of the FOX phenomenon Empire, garnered more worldwide attention than the South Central resident had previously experienced. However, it was her melodically sensual collaboration, “Till The End of Time,” with two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Timothy Bloom, and her ditty, “Race Jones,” that nabbed the attention of mega-producer and Empire’s executive producer of music, Timbaland.

    “Timothy was already signed to Timbaland and ‘Til the End of Time’ catapulted my career,” she recalls. “I then showed Timbaland a video for ‘Race Jones’ and he immediately called (Empire creator) Lee Daniels and the rest was history.”

    Now, with her name dripping from the lips of soul music lovers, the sometimes-shy songstress is prepping for what is sure to be her most definitive moment yet: the debut of her first album, Music Is My Boyfriend. “Expect pure, young soul. Period,” she says. “I can’t ever recall not singing, it’s what’s truly in me. It’s all I know,” she says.

    Taking cues from her quadrant of influences, Whitney, Diana, Tina and Gladys, Bozeman is set to serve up a legendary, diva-like, sonic buffet with universal appeal. And don’t think she’s stopping there: theater and modeling are at the top of her to do list and more. “I’m going after everything.”

    Hail to the V.

    RELATED: Don’t Call It A Comeback: Deborah Cox Is Staging A 2016 Takeover


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    UPTOWN_celebrity_aquarius

    Celebrity Aquariuses are known for being unpredictable, detached, distracted, and inefficient. But they also have positive traits, like being just, curious, affectionate, frank, and imaginative, which explains why so many Aquariuses, including Kerry Washington, J. Cole, and Kelly Rowland, have found success and fame in their chosen field.

    Instagram Photo

    Stacey Dash
    Jan. 20, 1967

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    DJ Jazzy Jeff
    Jan. 22, 1965

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    Ray Rice
    Jan. 22, 1987

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    Kenya Moore
    Jan. 24, 1971

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    Tatyana Ali
    Jan. 24, 1979

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    Jenifer Lewis
    Jan. 25, 1957

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    Alicia Keys
    Jan. 25, 1981

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    Vincent Herbert
    Jan. 27, 1969

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    Rick Ross
    Jan. 28, 1976

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    J. Cole
    Jan. 28, 1985

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    Andre Iguodala
    Jan. 28, 1984

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    Rakim
    Jan. 28, 1968

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    Oprah Winfrey
    Jan. 29, 1954

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    Donnie Simpson
    Jan. 30, 1954

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    Kid Cudi
    Jan. 30, 1984

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    Jacque Reid
    Jan. 31, 1966

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    Kerry Washington
    Jan. 31, 1977

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    Garrett Morris
    Feb. 1, 1937

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    Big Boi
    Feb. 1, 1975

    UPTOWN_gucci_mane

    Gucci Mane
    Feb. 2, 1980

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    Sean Kingston
    Feb. 3, 1990

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    Hannibal Buress
    Feb. 4, 1983

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    Bobby Brown
    Feb. 5, 1969

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    Tinashe Kachingwe
    Feb. 6, 1993

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    Chris Rock
    Feb. 7, 1965

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    Alice Walker
    Feb. 9, 1944

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    Michael B. Jordan
    Feb. 9, 1987

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    Yara Shahidi
    Feb. 10, 2000

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    Brandy
    Feb. 11, 1979

    RELATED: First Look: Behind-The-Scenes Of Brandy’s ‘Beggin & Pleadin’

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    Kelly Rowland
    Feb. 11, 1981

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    Tracy Reese
    Feb. 12, 1964

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    Arsenio Hall
    Feb. 12, 1956

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    Danai Gurira
    Feb. 14, 1978

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    Selita Ebanks
    Feb. 15, 1983

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    Birdman
    Feb. 15, 1969

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    Amber Riley
    Feb. 15, 1986

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    The Weeknd
    Feb. 16, 1990

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    Ice T
    Feb. 16, 1958

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    Lupe Fiasco
    Feb. 16, 1982

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    Michael Jordan
    Feb. 17, 1963

    UPTOWN_toni_morrison

    Toni Morrison
    Feb. 18, 1931

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    Dr. Dre
    Feb. 18, 1965


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