Jussie Smollett has gone from victim to alleged perpetrator. The Empire actor was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct. Chicago police says that Smollett paid two men, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, to help orchestrate a fake attack and then he reported it to police because he was dissatisfied with his salary. Back in January,Smollett reported to authorities being the victim of a racial and homophobic attack, including having a noose put on his neck and bleach poured on him, in Chicago during a 2am food run he made. Among other claims, Smollett says the perpetrators yelled this is MAGA (Make America Great Again) Country N**ger. But, police say the actor paid two brothers who are black and of Nigerian descent, to purchase masks, the bleach and appear on the street with him in a phony hate crime attack. It was discovered that the brothers, who took a round trip to Nigeria and back shortly after the incident, were seen on video at a retail store buying the items Smollett described to police as part of the attack.The Osundairo brothers are reportedly cooperating with authorities and testifying against Smollett, who authorities say knows both men from the Empire set as one is an aspiring actor. How did this happen? How did this incident turn around and arrive at charges against Smollett. Chicago Police say details and evidence were not adding up for Smollett’s initial claims. Because the Osundario brothers are cooperating with authorities and it looks like they will be spared legal jeopardy. As for Smollett, his Empire scenes have been reportedly cut from the show with no further comment from the studio. The actor’s legal team reminded the public everyone enjoys the presumption of innocence and they plan to aggressively defend him. Smollett faces 1 to 3 years in prison if he’s convicted.
The Oscars may have lost Kevin Hart, but there’s a diverse line up to present for this weekend’s awards. Tyler Perry, Michael B. Jordan, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Trevor Noah, Maya Rudolph and Serena Williams have all been lined up to present in various categories. The 91st Annual Academy Awards, this year with no host, airs this Sunday, February 24th at 8pm on ABC.
In more Academy Awards news, Jay and his Queen Bey are hosting a Pre-Oscars party, but they have one important rule! The super couple earlier this month hosted a Pre-Grammy party and the place was packed with A-List celebrities. It was also a huge social media splash. Photo after photo of The Carters’ party hit the net fast and furious. The party wasn’t even over before hundred of pics were all over social media. For their Oscar soirée, the First Couple Of Hip Hop and R&B have banned all social media and photographs. Sources say this will respect both the privacy and the security of their guests and avoid embarrassing moments being out in cyberspace forever.
NBA Legend Alonzo Mourning and Social Activist Tracy Mourning have officially separated and reportedly headed for divorce. Despite the many charity projects they do together and having opened a high school, the power couple is still calling it quits. No word on the cause, but the Mournings have been married 22-years with three children.
Idris Elba will mark his first time hosting NBC’s Saturday Night Live with Musical Guest Khalid on March 9th. Elba also has his Netflix comedy series debuting next month as well. The reigning People magazine Sexiest Man Alive is the co-creator and co-executive producer of Turn Up Charlie. Elba plays Charlie, a bachelor and DJ who reluctantly becomes a “manny” to a friend’s problem child daughter Turn Up Charlie will begin streaming on Friday, March 15th. And, this summer, Elba will team up with Dwayne The Rock Johnson for The Fast And The Furious spinoff. Hobbs And Shaw is the first spinoff from this franchise, and Elba will play a villain. Hobbs And Shaw will hit theaters this July.
Basketball’s reigning King James will bring a long awaited sequel to the big screen. Space Jam starred NBA Legend Michael Jordan along with Warner Brothers classic cartoon characters, led by Bugs Bunny, taking on aliens in an intergalactic basketball showdown. The 1996 movie grossed $230 million. Now, LeBron James has confirmed that he has teamed up with Black Panther Writer/Director Ryan Coogler for Space Jam 2. James will star and Coogler will produce. Filming begins this summer.
Speaking of Ryan Coogler, he’s working on a Black Panther project, but not the one you’re thinking. Jesus Was My Homeboy is a film focusing on Civil Rights Activist Fred Hampton. Hampton, one of the most articulate and outspoken members of the Black Panthers, was assassinated at the age of 21. The Black Panthers was founded with the idea of being a civil rights group that favored self defense and arming its members exactly as the U.S. Constitution allows. Coogler is producing.Get Out Actors Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in talks to play, respectively, Hampton and the man who betrayed Hampton to the F.B.I., William O’Neal. At press time, no announced release date for Jesus Was My Homeboy.
Blair Underwood in his underwear?!!!! Yes! He’s Alfre Woodard’s leading man in her new Netflix movie Juanita. Woodard plays the title character and is fed up with her routine life of work and kids. She tries to escape to her fantasy world. That’s where an underwear-clad Underwood comes in. He’s part of Woodard’s (Juanita’s) fantasy, but before we can see what happens, the children pop her back into reality. This all leads Juanita to board a bus to see what life holds for her. Juanita begins streaming on Netflix March 8th.
R Kelly is moving…..out of his Chicago studio. The much accused singer/songwriter has run into a judge who put strict rules on the studio that Kelly rents. When authorities did a check on the facility, they reported some violations including an apparent conversion of the business facility into living quarters. The building is not zoned for that and a judge imposed time limits for R Kelly and his crew to be in that studio. Kelly reps insists he needs a 24 hour facility to work, and is now moving into a new studio that would accommodate those hours. Among the accusations of sexual misconduct, some point to Kelly’s studio as being a point place for many those alleged offenses. While investigations continue, there have been no arrests.
The three generations of The Red Table Talk cover the March issue of Essence magazine. For Women’s History Month, its Adrienne Banfield-Jones (grandmother), Jada Pinkett Smith (mother) and Willow Smith (daughter) all sharing the cover.
Motown/Universal is releasing a new album from Marvin Gaye that’s been on the shelf for four decades. You’re The Man was originally intended to be the follow up to Gaye’s massively successful 1971 concept album What’s Going On. You’re The Man was the intended album, and the title track was released as a single. But, when the single only saw moderate success, the album was shelved, and Gaye’s million selling 1972 Trouble Man soundtrack came next. You’re The Man will include some songs that have been previously released such as My Last Chance and I Want To Come Home For Christmas. You’re The Man will be released Friday, March 29th three days before the 35th anniversary of his death and four days before what would have been Gaye’s 80th birthday.
A Grammy Celebration For The Queen Of Soul, a CBS tribute special hosted by Tyler Perry. They’ll be appearances by President Barack Obama, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson. Performances include Sza & Alicia Keys on Daydreaming; Patti LaBelle on Call Me; Andra Day & Fantasia on (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman; and Franklin’s silver screen portrayer Jennifer Hudson (Respect: The Aretha Franklin Story) with Think. Aretha! A Grammy Celebration For The Queen Of Soul airs on CBS Sunday, March 10th.
Next, Smokey Robinson and Cedric The Entertainer (CBS’s The Neighborhood) will host a Grammy special entitled Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration. Performers include Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Boyz II Men, Chloe X Halle, Ne-Yo and Thelma Houston. The 60th Anniversary Motown special airs Sunday, April 21st at 8pm on CBS.
The 50th Anniversary of The NAACP Image Awards will be celebrated on TV One. Netflix garnered 22 nods followed by HBO with 20 nominations, ABC grabbed 18 and Marvel took 13. 14 nominations went to the billion dollar box office champion Black Panther. Writer/Director Ryan Coogler and Lead Actor Chadwick Boseman are not only nominated in their categories, but they’re also in the running for Entertainer Of The Year with Beyonce, Regina King and LeBron James. Donald Glover has five nominations spread amongst his work as Childish Gambino with his Grammy winner This Is America getting two nods, and as actor/producer/director getting three nominations for his F/X show Atlanta. Congresswoman Maxine Waters will receive the NAACP Chairman’s Award for public service. The Golden Anniversary Of The NAACP Image Awards will air on TV One Saturday, March 30th.
Speaking of Gabrielle Union, her Bad Boys spinoff, L.A.’s Finest, is coming to Spectrum Originals Network after the Being Mary Jane series finale airs on BET. L.A.’s Finest has Union reprising her role as Syd Burnett (Martin Lawrence’s sister and Will Smith love interest). Her character teams up with Nancy McKenna played by Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four). Both actresses are executive producers. First up is closing the Being Mary Jane drama afterfour seasons on BET. The series finale of Being Mary Jane will premiere Tuesday, April 16th on BET, and L.A.’s Finest premieres on Monday, May 13th on Spectrum Originals. Union also graces the cover of March’s Women’s Health magazine.
Lupita Nyong’o is on the covers of both US and Marie Claire magazines. The Oscar winner and her Black Panther Co-star Winston Duke head the cast of Oscar Winner Jordan Peele’s new film Us. Nyong’o and Duke play a married couple who take their two children to a beach house on vacation only to be confronted by the entire family’s look a likes (doppelgangers) who are also in the neighborhood. Us hits theaters Friday, March 22nd.
Tyler Perry inThe Madea Farewell Tour is coming to The Met Philly March 20th through the 24th. Meanwhile, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral, the character’s big screen farewell, co-stars Cassi Davis (The Paynes), Patrice Lovely (Love Thy Neighbor), Joel Rush (If Loving You Is Wrong), Rome Flynn (How To Get Away With Murder) Wrestler/Actor David Otunga, and Jen Harper (Greenleaf) and will hit theaters Friday, March 1st.
Sunday, March 3rd marks the return of Uncensored and UnSung on TV One. UnSung will feature Shirley Murdock, Adina Howard, The Jets, Crystal Waters, Lloyd, Kenny Lattimore, Gospel Artist Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and Glenn Jones. Meanwhile, Uncensored will feature Fantasia, Ne-Yo, Tasha Smith, Reality Star Tami Roman, Naturi Naughton, Jermaine Dupri and Kirk Franklin. Both shows’ season premieres air Sunday, March 3rd with Unsung premiering at 9pm and Uncensored at 10pm on TV One.
Check out who’s coming to town:
Saturday, March 9th – Tony Toni Tone’ & Jody Watley in concert at The Keswick Theater, Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com/events/all.
Saturday, March 16th – Comedian JB Smoove at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter.
Wednesday, March 20th – Sunday, March 24th– Madea’s Farewell starring Tyler Perry at The Met Philly, Broad & Poplar Streets. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Friday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 23rd– Lionel Richie in concert at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Log onto ticketmaster.com for tickets and information.
Saturday, March 30th– Mariah Carey in concert at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Log onto ticketmaster.com for tickets and information.
Friday, April 26th – The New Stylistics featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr., The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston and The Delfonics featuring William Hart in concert at The Keswick Theater, Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com/events/all.
Friday, May 3rd – Wayne Brady at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For Tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter
Friday, May 10th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring The Whispers & The Force MD’s at Caesar’s Circus Maximus Theater in Atlantic City. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 1st. For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, May 11th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Kem, Al B. Sure and Christopher Williams at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 1st. For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, May 12th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring After 7 and Dru Hill at Tropicana Showroom Theater in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now. For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.com.
Thursday, June 6th – One Nation Under A Groove-George Clinton’s Farewell Tour with Parliament-Funkadelic at the Franklin Music Hall, formerly The Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street. For more ticket information log onto ticketmaster.com
If you would like more info please email me at PattyJackson@iHeartMedia.com or check me out with my midday reports at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm during the day.