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    UPTOWN_aisha_hinds_harriet_tubman_undeground

    The Underground season one finale ended with Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) being smuggled back into the South presumably by Harriet Tubman in order to assist in freeing more slaves, especially her kin, as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman played such a powerful role in history that many have been waiting with anticipation to see who would step into the role, and now we know …

    WGN America announced yesterday that Aisha Hinds (True Blood, Under the Dome) will play the abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union Army spy during season 2.

    Fringe‘s Jasika Nicole is also joining the cast as Georgia, “an abolitionist with a covert station along the Underground whose quiet confidence hides secrets of her own,” according to a press release. Other season two cast additions are Michael Trotter (Rosewood) as Biographer, “an astute observer of people who lives through the lives of others often fearful of taking chances”; and Jesse Luken (42) as Smoke, slave catcher Patty Cannon’s second in command.

    Also, breakout star Amirah Vann, who plays Ernestine, has been upgraded to series regular in season 2 of Underground.

    Production of the second season will begin in Savannah, GA on Monday, Aug. 29th.


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    THE SECOND ANNUAL
    OFFICIAL LATINO SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
    In the Heart of East Harlem

    Kicking off Hispanic Heritage month from September 16-17, 2016

    UPTOWN_official_latino_film_festival

    The Official Latino Short Film Festival is a two-day event from Sept. 16-17, taking place at the Poet’s Den Theater in East Harlem, New York from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

    This year’s theme is LATINO UNITY.

    The festival will showcase 86 short films written, directed and produced by U.S. Latino filmmakers from all over the United States and 8 films from the international community.

    The event’s mission aims to assist in recognizing and supporting Latino’s in all facets of content creation. From Short Films to Webisodes, American Latinos are creating the content and telling the stories they want to see. “We are tired of the same characters that Hollywood offers about us. Its always the Maid, the Gardener, the Janitor, the Thug… etc. It’s like these hollywood writers and producers don’t know any other types of Latinos. I surround my self with Latino Professionals, Business Owners, Professors, Doctors, Fathers, Mothers… Where are these characters in film? Well, you are going to find them in the OFFICIAL LATINO SHORT FILM FESTIVAL.” – Danny Hastings

    The festival will also feature a panel discussion on how shorts films can be instrumental in developing your career as an Actor, Director or Producer. The panelist will be Actor, Director, Producer Victor Cruz has performed in several Hollywood films but that doesn’t stop him from directing and producing his own short films to help his career advance even further in the entertainment world. The Panel will be hosted by Louis E. Perego Moreno from Prime Latino Media, a champion for Latinos in media.

    Danny Hastings of Atomicus Films is the presenter the Official Latino Film Festival. Hastings a renowned photographer, music video and film director with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry; intends for the festival to be a creative platform where American Latino Filmmakers get to share and support one another, all while gaining recognition for their work.

    I’m really excited about this years festival, we have curated several blocks of content including an “All Latina Filmmakers” block with films directed by Latinas. That’s going to be a special one – LAS JEFAS BLOCK!!! – Danny Hastings

    For more information on attending the showcase please visit: OfficialLatino.com

    For media inquiries please contact:
    Jayleen Chapero / info@officiallatino.com
    718.413.6256


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    UPTOWN_aly_raisman_simone_biles_leslie_jones

    Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles with Leslie Jones

    The FBI is on the case of who hacked Leslie Jones’s iCloud and cell phone Wednesday.

    The law enforcement agency is developing a strategy to catch the hackers who violated the comedian’s privacy and posted nude photos of personal information on her website, reports TMZ.

    It’s not known whether agents from Los Angeles or New York are handling the case. Jones has homes in both cities, and this was cyber crime. What is clear is that neither the NYPD nor the LAPD is involved in the case, according to the entertainment site.

    Jones has been the victim of racist and body-shaming cyber-bullying in recent months, which caused her to deactivate her Twitter account only to rejoin shortly after. That was a good thing because her hilarious tweets about the Rio 2016 Olympics earned her an invitation to the global sports competition.

    Jones’s following nearly doubled during the Olympics, growing by 217,434 followers. She now has 570,000 followers

    Hopefully, whoever is targeting Jones will turn their cowardice elsewhere soon.

    [Image: Instagram]


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    UPTOWN_darwin_derren_sorrells

    Darwin Sorrells Jr. and Derren Sorrells

    Chicago police charged two brothers with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder in the shooting death of Dwyane Wade‘s cousin Nykea Aldridge.

    The brothers are Darwin Sorrells Jr., 26, and Derren Sorrells, 22.

    Police said Darwin Sorrells was also charged with a count of criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor, reports CNN.

    According to police, both men are gang members who were on parole for gun convictions when they killed Aldridge Friday afternoon on Chicago’s south side. The mother of four was caught in the crossfire of a shooting while pushing her three-week-old infant in a stroller near Dulles School of Excellence. Aldridge’s baby wasn’t injured.

    CNN describes the impetus for the shooting:

    The Sorrells brothers started shooting after one of them “exchanged looks” with a man who was dropping off women he’d picked up in the suburbs and driven into Chicago, Brendan Deenihan, commander of area central detectives for Chicago police, said Sunday.
    The man was not an Uber driver, as had been previously reported, Deenihan said.
    The Sorrells knew the man was not from the neighborhood and thought he might have been armed, Deenihan said.
    “When he comes out to his vehicle now there are two offenders armed with handguns who began chasing him down and attempting to kill him and they miss and kill the female,” Deenihan said.

    Aldridge died about 45 minutes after she was shot in the head and arm.

    Twelve-time NBA All-Star Wade expressed his sorrow on Twitter.

    Both Darwin Sorrells and Derren Sorrells are being held without bond.

    During a vigil for Nykea Aldridge, in which the theme was forgiveness, her mother Diane Aldridge described her daughter. “Nykea was an awesome kid, she had her own flavor. She wrote poetry, she was writing a book just to tell everybody about her soul, her trials and tribulations. She wanted to help others who are trying to overcome obstacles that they might have going on in their own private world,” Diane Aldridge said. “She was an awesome daughter who loved her kids, it’s so heartbreaking to know that she won’t be here to raise her kids. She just wanted a better life for her and her kids. I thank God for allowing her to be in our lives for as long as he did.”


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    UPTOWN_kim_kardashian_kanye_west

    “I am Kanye West. And that feels really good to say, especially this year. I came here to present my new video, but before I do that, I’ma talk.

    “Later tonight, ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyoncé, but I can’t be mad—I’m always wishing for Beyoncé to win.

    “But for people to understand just how blessed we are, it was an expression of our now. Our fame right now. Us on the inside of the TV. Just the audacity to put Anna Wintour next to Donald Trump. I mean, like, I put Ray J in there, bro! This is fame, bro.

    “I see you, Amber.

    “My wife is a G, not a lot of people’s wives would let them say that.

    “We came over in the same boat, now we all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats.

    “If you think about, last week there were 22 people murdered in Chicago. People come up to me like, ‘Man, that’s right, take Taylor down,’— Bro, I love all of y’all. That’s why I called her.

    “So I was speaking at the Art Institute last year, and one kid came up to me and he said ‘three of my friends died and I don’t know if I’m going to be the next.’ You have to think, when you’re a senior and it’s the last week and you just don’t feel like doing any more work, if you’re seeing people dying next to you, you might feel like, ‘What’s the point?’ Life could start to feel worthless, in a way.

    I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older, rich people, a.k.a. white. And they tell me, ‘Don’t compare yourself to Steve Jobs, don’t compare yourself to Walt Disney.’ And my friend Zakaya told me — ay bruh bruh — They tell me, ‘Don’t compare yourself to these people,’ right? My friend told me, one of the keys, there’s three keys to keeping people impoverished. That’s taking away their esteem, taking away their resources, and taking away their role models. My role models are artists, merchants. There’s less than ten that I can name in history.

    Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs. West.

    Bro. Brooooooooo. Tonight, we here to have fun. I’m standing in front of my idol, Puff Daddy. I’m standing in front of my wife, Kim Kardashian-West, I’m standing in front of Future, Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz, Jaden Smith. Bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders.”

    — Kanye West stroked his own ego, as usual, during a nearly seven minutes-long speech at Sunday’s 2016 MTV VMAs. West also debuted his “Fade” music video which featured Teyana Taylor.

    [Image: Aaron J./RedCarpetImages.net]

    Source


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    "Soul City" Trailer from monica berra on Vimeo.

    Synopsis:

    Soul City tells the story of a group of civil rights activists and city slickers who attempt to build a multiracial utopia in the heart of Klan Country, North Carolina in the 1970s. Their pioneering efforts to jump-start this Black-owned, Black-built town run up against tenacious enemies that still face idealists and dreamers today–ingrained racism, public skepticism, and unwillingness on the part of the government to think outside the box to solve social problems. As this group of dreamers try to bring together unlikely allies to support black power and economic development, they are forced to balance their soaring idealism with the hostile reality of the times.

    Director biography:

    Monica, SheRea, and Gini have been working together for over two years as part of their studies with Wake Forest University’s Documentary Film Program. Their mix of different viewpoints, life experiences, and strengths has proven them to be a formidable and award-winning team. Their previous films have screened at film festivals, sold-out museum screenings, and to standing-room only audiences. Soul City has received funding from the University Film and Video Association and the Cucalorus Film Foundation, and also successfully completed a $10K Kickstarter campaign.

    Director statement:

    We are a trifecta of filmmakers passionate about bringing forgotten moments of history to life. Inspired by the stories of those who have lived through and made history, we see our documentary film subjects as collaborators in the process of telling their stories, approaching them with respect and mindfulness of their experiences. We’re motivated to tell stories about racism, classism, the American Dream, and the things that bring us together and divide us.

    Soul City will premiere at the 2nd Annual Official Latino Short Film Festival In East Harlem on September 17th at 12:45 p.m.


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    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb13

    One of seven terraces and swimming pool

    When you’ve got money oozing from your pores you have no concerns about the #AirbnbWhileBlack problem. The green did the talking when Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West handed over $25 million for an Airbnb in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood.

    The 7,200 square foot penthouse apartment will be home to the West gang — the parents along with children North and Saint — while Kanye embarks on “The Saint Pablo Tour.” There will be plenty of space for the kids to play and for Kim to snap selfies, as the home boasts five bedrooms and six bathrooms, a rooftop pool, an outdoor kitchen (they’ll likely hire a chef), a sauna, an indoor fireplace and a home gym. There are also seven, yes seven, terraces spanning 4,400 feet.

    While the apartment is conducive to Kim chronicling her life via SnapChat and the ‘Gram, it’s unlikely the Keeping Up with the Kardashians‘ cameras will capture the families stay. According to the Airbnb listing, the building prohibits commercial film, video, television, or photographic shoots. And they won’t be able to throw any parties either because those are against “house rules.”

    Let’s take a tour of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s $25M Airbnb …

    [Images: Airbnb]

    Terraces

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb2

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb5

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb1

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb12

    Living Room

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb6

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb7

    Dining Room

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb10

    Kitchen

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb8

    Home Gym

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb3

    Master Bedroom

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb14

    Master Bathroom

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb11

    Walk-In Closet

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb9

    Bedrooms

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb15

    UPTOWN_kimye_airbnb4

    Source


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    UPTOWN_the_write_fit1

    It’s not everyday we come across a T-shirt that sums up how awesome we Black folks are in a few words, but Joshlyn Turner‘s The Write Fit has a whole collection of Tees that do just that. From shirts that express your mood or goals — whether that be traveling more or building an empire, The Write Fit has a T-shirt that, well, fits your life.

    UPTOWN_the_write_fit2

    We have our eyes on the latest shirts to hit the e-commerce site, crewnecks ($30), sweatshirts ($34), and crop tops ($26) emblazoned with the message “Black Girls Got the Juice” But what exactly is “the juice”? It’s akin to #BlackGirlMagic and defines the presence, power, prestige, and excellence every Black woman possesses. Wearing the T-shirt also instilled in me a confidence I hadn’t felt in awhile, because it did all the talking. All I had to do was follow up with “the juice.”

    UPTOWN_the_write_fit3

    UPTOWN Digital Content Director Annika Harris; Follow her travel and style escapades here.

    UPTOWN_the_write_fit4

    The Write Fit also has shirts for dudes and the kiddies. The “Progress Over Perfection” crewneck ($30) is a favorite from the men’s line because it reminds us that perseverance is the goal, not perfection. The children’s line features T-shirts that remind our youth of their greatness, even when society says otherwise. Every child needs a “Be Kind to Me I Am the Future” sweatshirt ($20) or a “Future Creative Genius” T-shirt ($10) or a “No Matter What Society Says I’m Beautiful” sweatshirt ($20) in their wardrobe.

    Whatever your goals or mood, The Write Fit has a T-shirt for you. Warning: You may want to buy one of each T-shirt after checking out ShopTheWriteFit.com. Follow The Write Fit on Instagram here.


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    UPTOWN_tyga_ferrari_repossessed

    Oh, the irony! While shopping Tuesday for a new Bentley with on-again, off-again girlfriend Kylie Jenner, Tyga had another incident with the repo man.

    Tyga drove his fire-engine red Ferrari to the Bentley dealership in Calabasas, Calif. As he and Jenner were checking out the luxury vehicles, his Ferrari was getting repossessed, reports TMZ.

    The repossession was easy because the repo man had a spare key for the sports car. He hopped in and drove towards the nearest freeway, according to TMZ sources.

    Instagram Photo

    Tyga allegedly missed a few car payments.

    He didn’t drive off the lot with a new Bentley, though. He and Jenner got a ride from his homie.

    Tyga’s money is more than a little funny. He’s been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by landlords and jewelers. Earlier this year, his Lamborghini and Bentley Mulsanne were allegedly repossessed too.


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    UPTOWN_rihanna_drake_vma

    If you’re one of the fans who was excited for a Drake and Rihanna album after the website DrakeAndRihanna.com went live with a countdown clock Tuesday, we have some bad news for you. It was all a hoax perpetrated by Joanne the Scammer.

    Branden Miller, who plays the character Joanne the Scammer, says the fake site was a revenge scheme. He was angry that Drake didn’t take an usie with Joanne at the 2016 MTV VMAs. Miller says security blocked his chances of snapping a pic, so he plotted his revenge.

    Instagram Photo

    It cost Miller $3,000 to create DrakeAndRihanna.com, which quickly went viral, stirring up rumors of a Drake/Rihanna collaboration.

    When fans learned the site was a fake, Miller decided to reveal his motivation.

    He says he still upset and may use the site to prank Drake again.

    Source

    [Main image: Instagram]


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    UPTOWN_ona_ceo_garry_thaniel

    ONA Designs International was created in 2010 to provide photographers and other creative professionals with fine leather and waxed canvas bags and accessories to carry and safeguard their equipment. Each bag contains a closed-cell foam interior. However, these totes, backpacks, messenger bags, briefcases, and cross-body bags are now the chosen carry-alls of everyday people who desire sophisticated and classic style while on the go. Today, ONA is sold in more than 70 stores within the U.S. and on its e-commerce site. ONA also works with eight international distributors to bring its handcrafted premium bags to retail outlets worldwide.

    Garry Thaniel is at the helm of ONA, which is based in New York City, and as such he is fast becoming to ONA what Jenna Lyons is to J.Crew. He oversees every aspect of production — from design to execution — while also letting his team of young creatives express themselves. Thaniel is also instrumental in ensuring that ONA has its finger on the pulse of current trends and what the customer wants and needs in regards to style and protecting their essentials.

    UPTOWN_ona_bags_black_collection

    ONA’s The Black Collection

    I met with Thaniel at New York City’s swanky Gansevoort Park Rooftop to learn more about the new vision and direction of ONA. He also introduced me to the upcoming Black Collection, which features five of the brand’s most popular silhouettes in black leather, including The Leather Clifton ($499), The Leather Prince Street ($389), The Leather Bowery ($249), The Leather Brixton ($439), and my favorite The Leather Kingston ($319). Thaniel also gave me a sneak peek at the limited edition camouflage The Bowery bag ($189), the first and only ONA bag with a patterned exterior.

    During our discussion, the Baltimore native also explained how he got started in the retail industry, his goals for ONA, his commitment to giving back to his community. We also discussed the gentleman’s return to dapper dressing, and Thaniel’s travel essentials and the accessories every man should own.

    Annika Harris: How did you get your start in retail?
    Garry Thaniel: I started off as an intern at Lord & Taylor department stores in 2003. After graduating from Bucknell [University in Lewisburg, PA], I accepted a full-time offer to join the Executive Trainee Program at Lord & Taylor, where I started off as an assistant buyer in women’s ready-to-wear.

    AH: What did the experience of working in the women’s retail sector teach you?
    GT: It taught me to really know my customer and understand what the customer needs, and what will motivate them to make a purchase. I think people can rely on their personal taste to make product decisions, but when your customer doesn’t look like you and has different needs, you have to study and get to know about their lives and how your product fits into their life.

    AH: Why was it important to get your MBA, even though your merchandising career had already taken off?
    GT: I always wanted to get an MBA, because I knew the way that it would position me for success in and outside of the retail sector. Even though my career was on a solid trajectory, I knew an MBA would help me more easily transition into another industry, if I ever wanted to make a switch. Once I was accepted into Harvard Business School it was also important to show young people from Baltimore and similar environments what faith and hard work can help you achieve.

    AH: How did you make the transition to ONA?
    GT: At the time I was working for Macy’s, in a strategy function, and though it was going well, I really wanted a smaller and more entrepreneurial [experience] where I could leave my mark. When the opportunity arose at ONA, it felt like the perfect fit, at the exact moment I was ready for the next challenge.

    UPTOWN_ona_camo_bowery_bag

    ONA’s The Bowery in Camouflage

    AH: What are some of the challenges and triumphs you’ve experienced as CEO of an established brand?
    GT: The biggest challenge has been time management and making sure that I am doing all I can to position my team for success. On any given day, you have countless things that you could be doing to drive the business and ensure things are operating properly, so it’s very important to prioritize and use time wisely. I have an amazing team that works very hard to make ONA great; I have really learned to leverage them as much as possible and put them in a position to “run.” As a first-time CEO, there is no way you can do everything on your own, so hiring the right people and letting them do what they do best has really helped me with the transition. Some of the wins have been some of our recent product releases, which have helped us resonate with our core customer—photographers—and customers one or two degrees away, like entrepreneurs, stylists, and designers. We also are finalizing a global distribution partnership with one of the top camera brands in the world.

    AH: What are some of your goals for ONA?
    GT: My primary goal for ONA is to cement the brand as the choice bag of the 21st century creative professionals. I believe we have done that already for photographers. In a market saturated with bags that prioritize function over style, we’re able to accomplish both with timeless products in every sense of the word — functionality, craftsmanship, quality, and style. I love that our bags allow photographers to transition seamlessly between what they do professionally and personally. In fact, more and more we’re seeing that separation disappear in our community. So we’re excited to bridge that gap for new communities outside of the photographers we currently work with.

    AH: Why is it important to you to be active in your community?
    GT: Giving back is something that was instilled in me at a young age. Being active and volunteering in the community and church, has been something that started in my middle school and high school years. It’s important to me because I grew up with two amazing parents, a supportive extended family, and an awesome church family. I can truly say a lot of people invested me as a young man, which is one of the main reasons I am able to live this awesome life. I recognize my blessings, and want to pay it forward and be a resource for the next group of young professionals and students. Sometimes it takes seeing someone you relate to help you understand what is possible, and I think being active in my community gives me the opportunity to be that role model for those younger than myself.

    AH: Why do you think men are leaning more towards dapper dressing?
    GT: I think men are realizing that style/dapper dressing are forms of expression and send a message to people that you might not have a chance to speak. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so with more cameras, iPhones, and social media, I think men want to look good to ensure they’re making the most of their “thousand words.” Personally, I have always been into fashion and have developed my own sense of style over the years. I grew up in a church where dapper dressing was a norm and something that you needed do every Sunday so I learned from some of the best.

    I think for men, dapper dressing has spilled over into arenas that previously weren’t associated with fashion, like sports and music. When you look at LeBron, D-Wade, Melo, and Cam Newton, you see guys who are influential athletes, but also style icons, and though you had athletes in previous generations that were stylish, it’s definitely been turned up to another level with this era of athletes. Similarly, with artist and musicians, you see guys like A$AP Rocky, Black Thought, Kanye, and Jay Z that are very dapper. You always had R&B dudes that were smooth and dressed dapper, but now you have rappers that are as likely to wear a tailored suit as they are to wear jeans and Jordans.

    AH: What are your top travel essentials?
    GT:

    • Leather duffle bag
    • Headphones
    • iPad
    • Dopp kit with all the necessities
    • Business card holder
    • Notebook and pen
    • My ONA Leather Clifton backpack or Brixton messenger bag

    AH: As men seem to be embracing accessories and paying more attention to the bags they carry, what are the five to seven accessories every man should own?
    GT:

    • A nice wrist watch
    • Cashmere scarf
    • Leather gloves
    • Wallet
    • Leather belt
    • Sunglasses
    • Cufflinks
    • ONA Camera Bag … of course

    AH: Since you travel a lot for ONA, what are your favorite places to unwind, eat, play, shop, and sleep while traveling?
    GT: Regardless of where I travel, I try to find a gym or spa to get a good workout and unwind. One of my favorite places is Los Angeles. I love the shops on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach; they have awesome brand stores and boutiques. I also really like the overall vibe. I also love traveling to New Orleans. Commander’s Palace is one of my favorite places to eat. The food and drinks are amazing, and the service is superb. For trade shows, my travels sometimes take me to Vegas, and I love to stay at the Wynn or Encore. The rooms are comfortable, nice service, and there are great places to dine in the hotel.

    Keep up with ONA, pronounced o’na in Swahili and means “to feel,” “to believe,” and “to experience with the eyes,” via @ONABags on Instagram. And follow the style and travel escapades of UPTOWN Digital Content Director Annika Harris here.


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    UPTOWN_drake_rihanna_shark_tattoo

    If there was any remaining doubt that Rihanna and Drake are indeed a couple, they just permanently commemorated their relationship with tattoos.

    Following Drake’s concert in Miami Wednesday night, Rihanna reportedly had celebrity tattoo artist Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy ink a shark on her left ankle.

    The shark symbolizes the couple’s date in August to an aquarium in Toronto, where he bought her a stuffed shark toy at the gift shop.

    Instagram Photo

    Drake reportedly got some ink as well, but there’s no word on what his new tattoo is. He’s super excited about RiRi’s tattoo, though.

    [Shark tattoo image: TMZ]

    RELATED: DrakeAndRihanna.com Is A Hoax Perpetrated By Joanne The Scammer


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    UPTOWN_beyonce_mtv_vmas

    [Image: Instagram]

    All Beyoncé does is win! Her latest victory is a judge throwing out a lawsuit that claimed Queen Bey copied filmmaker Matthew Fulks‘s film for her visual album Lemonade trailer.

    Back in June, we reported that Fulks was suing Bey and Columbia Music because he claimed 39 seconds of the Lemonade trailer was ripped from his 2014 short film Palinoia. The images he took issue with were characters in front of graffiti-covered walls, dimly lit parking garages, close-up shots of grass, and red tinted images.

    UPTOWN_palinoia_lemonade_comparison

    [Image: TMZ]

    Beyoncé argued that Lemonade depicted a strong Black woman, not a depressed white man like in Palinoia.

    The judge hasn’t revealed why he tossed Fulks’s lawsuit, but said he would provide details at a later date.

    Source


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    UPTOWN_colin_kaepernick_nessa_diab

    NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Hot 97 DJ and MTV host Nessa Diab opened their wallets in order to donate $60,000-worth of new backpacks to students in Harlem and the South Bronx.

    The couple, who began dating in July 2015, realized the financial burden purchasing a new backpack puts on parents and provided Nike backpacks to the students.

    “Having a new backpack to start off the new school year helps give each student a fresh start,” said Diab in a press release. “When we looked at everything when it comes to supplies, we found backpacks were an investment for most parents. As for the student, we wanted to ensure we found one that could last for more than a year, and that was sturdy, durable and versatile for students to use for books, sports equipment or art materials, and traveling.”

    Instagram Photo

    Kaepernick and Diab worked in conjunction with Harlem RBI‘s DREAM Charter School and South Bronx RBI, which is an extension of the Harlem organization. Backpacks were distributed last week at the DREAM middle school and during New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Patterson Houses Family Day in the South Bronx.

    Instagram Photo

    Kaepernick is away at football camp and was unable to attend the distribution events. However, he did video chat with the students and offered them words of encouragement.

    “We must invest in our youth because they are the future leaders of our community,” said Kaepernick in a press release. “I want them to know that we appreciate and care for them. In doing so, we must provide all the necessary tools for them to succeed and I will do whatever I can to ensure we do that as a community.”

    Kaepernick has made headlines recently for protesting the treatment of Black Americans by refusing to stand during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner during NFL games.

    [Images: Instagram/Instagram]


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    Press release:

    Oprah Winfrey says it’s important to put out images that just aren’t positive, but are really reflective on Black Hollywood Live!

    UPTOWN_oprah_greenleaf

    Oprah Winfrey as Mavis McCready in Greenleaf

    (Hollywood, CA) Oprah Winfrey, executive producer and star of OWN’s hit series Greenleaf breaks down the season finale and her vision of the show with Black Hollywood Live. When asked about black imaging on TV, Winfrey said “Early on into the script it was very important for me and our network Own to put out images that just aren’t positive, but are really reflective”.

    Greenleaf is an American television drama series, created by Craig Wright and Lionsgate Television Clement Virgo also serves as an executive producer and director. Greenleaf premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network on June 21, 2016. Greenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies, and their sprawling Memphis mega church with predominantly African-American members. The series is headed by Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf, and Lynn Whitfield as his wife and matriarch of the family, Lady Mae Greenleaf. Merle Dandridge plays the series’s protagonist, Grace Greenleaf, their estranged daughter who has returned home after 20 years following the mysterious death of her sister, Faith.

    The show has received positive reviews from critics, with most praising Dandridge, Whitfield, and David’s performances. The series premiere drew 3.04 million viewers, making it the No. 1 series debut in OWN history. On April 21, 2016, the series was renewed for a second season ahead of television premiere.

    During Winfrey’s guest appearance on the Greenleaf season finale recap on Black Hollywood Live, she discussed her loyalty to the fans of the show, “I always felt empowered by the viewer, because I always felt the viewer was included on the couch and on the sofa with the microphone along with me.”

    Black Hollywood Lives’ President Derrial Christon, added his excitement about Winfrey’s support for the network. “When co-founder Keven Undegaro and I found out Ms. Winfrey was going to call into our Greenleaf season finale, we both instantly felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. The fact that she took the time from her busy schedule to talk with our hosts about the finale, shows how incredible she is as a person and supporter of her fans.”

    Undergaro added, “Oprah is the best at what she does and we love working with her team. Own has always supported BHL from day one and we look forward to featuring more of their shows and talent on the network.”

    BHL delivers informative interviews and insightful commentary with top celebrities and industry influencers. Some of past guests on the network include: Spike Lee, Oprah, Steve Harvey, Mara Brock Akil, Terrence Howard, Mel B, Jamie Foxx, Donald Trump, Will Packer, Kym Whitley, Nia Long, Iyanla Vanzant, Taraji P. Henson, Beverly Johnson, Shemar Moore, Wayne Brady, and Rick Fox.

    When Oprah was asked how she would describe her character on Greenleaf, she quickly said “I think Mavis is to stoic.”

    The season finale for Greenleaf appeared on OWN on Tuesday, August 31st. Catch the series finale recap on Black Hollywood Live with hosts: Stacy Ike, Shaka Strong, and Mr. Carter.

    Link: http://www.blackhollywoodlive.com/2016/08/31/greenleaf-season-1-oprah-winfrey-guests-on-what-are-you-doing-here-episode-13-review-and-aftershow-black-hollywood-lives-greenleaf-aftershow/

    ABOUT BLACK HOLLYWOOD LIVE:
    Black Hollywood Live is the 1st online broadcast network dedicated to African Americans in Entertainment. For more information about Black Hollywood Live, check out www.blackhollywoodlive.com, or reach directly at derrial.christon@blackhollywoodlive.com. BHL delivers informative interviews and insightful commentary with top celebrities and industry influencers.

    ABOUT OWN:
    The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), named for the former daytime talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, is an American television channel produced by Harpo Productions and Discovery Communications. It debuted on January 1, 2011, in approximately 80 million homes.

    [Image: OWN]


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    Gabourey Sidibe is not the type of actress to cave to societal and Hollywood pressure to be thin. She has accepted her body since her breakout role in Precious. Sidibe explained how she learned to accept her body to Oprah Winfrey in 2009: “My first diet started when I was six-years-old. I’ve never been a small girl. One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body … I got tired of feeling bad all the time. I got tired of hating myself.”

    While we don’t know the impetus behind Sidibe’s recent weight loss, what’s most important is that she’s happy. We definitely love her at any size. Now, watch her twerk …

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    “Twenty-four years ago I was raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working. Two years ago I signed on to a brilliant script called “The Birth of a Nation,” to play a woman who was raped. One month ago I was sent a story about Nate Parker, the very talented writer, director and star of this film. Seventeen years ago Nate Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault. Four years ago the woman who accused him committed suicide.

    “Different roads circling one brutal, permeating stain on our society. A stain that is finely etched into my own history. Rape is a wound that throbs long after it heals. And for some of us the throbbing gets too loud. Post traumatic stress syndrome is very real and chips away at the soul and sanity of so many of us who have survived sexual violence.

    “Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular. I knew I could walk out of our movie and speak to the audience about what it feels like to be a survivor …

    “As important and ground-breaking as [The Birth of a Nation] is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said ‘no,’ silence certainly does not equal ‘yes.’ Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a ‘no’ as a ‘yes’ is problematic at least, criminal at worst. That’s why education on this issue is so vital …

    “Regardless of what I think may have happened that night 17 years ago, after reading all 700 pages of the trial transcript, I still don’t actually know. Nor does anyone who was not in that room. But I believe that the film is an opportunity to inform and educate so that these situations cease to occur on college campuses, in dorm rooms, in fraternities, in apartments or anywhere else young people get together to socialize.

    I took this part in this film to talk about sexual violence. To talk about this stain that lives on in our psyches. I know these conversations are uncomfortable and difficult and painful. But they are necessary. Addressing misogyny, toxic masculinity, and rape culture is necessary. Addressing what should and should not be deemed consent is necessary.”

    — Gabrielle Union, who is a rape survivor and plays a silent character who is sexually assaulted in The Birth of a Nation, addresses the rape allegations against the film’s writer, director, and star Nate Parker, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. She explains that she took the non-speaking role because she related to the character and wanted to give the character a voice and the “countless Black women who have been and continue to be violated.” Union also explains her “confusion” and that she doesn’t know what exactly happened between Parker and the woman who claimed he raped her. She writes that she now understands that she and husband Dwyane Wade need to teach his sons about sexual consent. They must “hear ‘yes,'” she continues. Union also writes that she remains committed to The Birth of a Nation, and hopes the film will function as a teaching tool in order to cease “these situations cease to occur on college campuses, in dorm rooms, in fraternities, in apartments or anywhere else young people get together to socialize.”

    Union’s entire op-ed is worth a read and discussion. Continue here

    [Image: Instagram/Fox Searchlight]


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    Serena Williams broke Roger Federer‘s Grand Slam record Monday afternoon when she won her 308th match, during the 2016 U.S. Open.

    The No. 1 player in the world and six-time Open champion is now the winningest player in Grand Slam history.

    Williams equaled the achievements of Martina Navratilova (306) and Federer (307) earlier in the tournament.

    It was her 6-2, 6-3 victory over Yaroslava Shvedova that secured her the historical record and earned her a spot in the quarterfinals.

    She’ll face No. 5 seed Simone Halep in the quarterfinals. The match is expected to be a stern test, as Halep won the Rogers Cup in Montreal during the summer. Williams has a 7-1 head-to-head lead on her.

    Williams may have made history with her 308th Slam win, but she’s focused on winning her 311th during this U.S. Open, which would mean she would win the tournament, “earning her a record 23rd major (and break her tie with Steffi Graf at 22) as well as maintain her No. 1 ranking, which is in jeopardy over the next few days,” reports USA Today.

    “I just feel like I’m going out there doing what I need to do,” Williams told reporters. “I’m not overplaying, I’m not underplaying. I’m just trying to play my way into this tournament.”

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    Beyoncé took it back to the 1970s for her 35th birthday Soul Train-themed party at New York’s NoMad Hotel rooftop space Monday, Sept. 5th.

    The “Hold Up” singer was in perfect ’70s formation, rocking a cleavage-baring yellow blouse, gold hot pants, and fishnet stockings. Later in the night, she changed into a sequin, one-legged ensemble.

    Jay Z also went along with the party theme, arriving to the soiree in a paisley-print button-down shirt, black pants, and several thick gold chains. He also made a costume change later. He channeled Jimi Hendrix with an Afro wig, a bandanna, and a military jacket.

    The guest list for Beyoncé’s birthday party was predictably bananas.

    Swizz Beatz deejayed the fete. Fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams boogied down in disco attire. Solange Knowles and husband Alan Ferguson, and son Daniel Julez Smith, Jr. partied it up with Bey too. Usher and wife Grace Miguel, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Serena Williams, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Cassie, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Chanel Iman, Carmelo and La La Anthony, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, The Dream, June Ambrose, and Chloe x Halle also attended the star-studded shindig.

    Many of the guests took to social media to chronicle the night. Keep clicking for the images that will make you wish you were invited to Beyoncé’s Soul Train-themed birthday party.

    [Image: AKM-GSI]

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    One of our favorite airlines is making its return to one of our favorite cities after an absence of more than 13 years. JetBlue has announced plans to begin flying into Boston from Atlanta‘s Hartsfield-Jackson international airport on March 30, 2017.

    There will be five daily flights from Atlanta to JetBlue’s hub in Boston on Airbus A320 aircraft. The airliner also has plans to add additional service between Atlanta and its bases at New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando. However, JetBlue didn’t announce a start date for those routes.

    JetBlue put the focus on its hub in Boston, where it’s the largest carrier, even while announcing its return to Atlanta. It has plans to increase its schedule there from about 140 peak day departures to 200,” reports USA Today. The carrier also revealed plans to expand existing service on three other routes out of Boston.

    Atlanta will be JetBlue’s 63rd nonstop destination from Boston. JetBlue expects its new Atlanta flights to “bring low fares and award-winning service (to) a city that is dominated by two of the Big Four airlines.”

    [Image: Instagram]


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