Photo Credit: Michelle Obama/Becoming book cover
Tyler Perry is stepping up in these turbulent times. The filmmaker and studio mogul is paying for the funeral of Rayshard Brooks. Brooks, a 27-year old husband and father of four, was killed by Atlanta Police after their interaction over a suspected drinking and driving violation. Brooks was asleep at a Wendy’s restaurant drive thru when police woke him and had him pull over. Brooks failed a breathalyzer and was being arrested when he tussled with and broke away from police after taking one of their tasers. Brooks was shot to death running away by police. The video shows he pointed a taser police while running, but the coroner found bullet wounds in Brooks’ back. At press time, the officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, was fired and his partner, Devin Brosnan was placed on leave as the investigation continues. This sparked outrage among the citizens of Atlanta leading to mass protests and ending with the Wendy’s restaurant being set on fire. Police have released a video of a white woman as their main suspect in that fire. As for Tyler Perry, along with paying for Brooks’ funeral services, he’s also paying for college for Brooks’ four children. The children range in age from 1 to 13.
An ABC News executive has been put on leave for alleged racial and unprofessional comments she made about Robin Roberts of Good Morning America (GMA) and Sunny Hostin of The View. Publish reports accuse ABC News Senior VP of Talent & Business Affairs Barbara Fedida of criticizing Robin Roberts during her negotiations for a raise by saying it’s not like we’re asking her to pick cotton. Fedida also called Sunny Hostin, the former prosecutor turned TV analyst/host, low rent. Other former and current staffers are reportedly coming forward with their own negative Barbara Fedida stories. After putting Fedida on leave, ABC released a statement that said it part the allegations don’t represent the values and culture at ABC News. Hard to imagine how Fedida could return to such a powerful position, particularly after you have so many politicians, executives and the like who publicly deny systematic racism yet stay quiet on issues like these.
Speaking of ABC, did you ever wonder why Michael Strahan left Live with Kelly & Michael and jumped into his current GMA job when the network offered him the opportunity? ABC recently hosted a townhall, and the NFL start turned new anchor says he felt more like a sidekick rather than a partner in Live. He wasn’t happy with how things were evolving with Co-host Kelly Ripa. Strahan says he didn’t speak up previously because he didn’t want to appear as the threatening black man. This isn’t a good look because now Strahan’s replacement Ryan Seacrest is battling back rumors he wants to stay in L.A. when the pandemic is over and not return with Kelly Ripa to New York. How bad are the problems in the show? Ripa began her tenure of Live with Regis Philbin. After leaving Live, Philbin who told Larry King he and Ripa didn’t talk much after he left the show. Philbin says Ripa seemed to take his decision to leave personally which Philbin says it was not personal.Hmmmmm!
Domestic violence charges have been dropped against Faith Evans. A couple weeks ago, the singer and one time First Lady of Bad Boy Records was arrested after police were called to the home she shares with husband Stevie J. Police found Stevie with numerous scars and marks, and then they arrested Evans. Well now comes word Stevie will not testify against his wife, so the charges have been dropped.
Director Antoine Fuqua is bouncing back from a scandal with a famous comedian’s ex to a new movie with Will Smith. Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to an Oscar in the movie Training Day. Recently Fuqua, who has been married to Actress Lela Rochon (Waiting To Exhale) for twenty years, got caught up in social media kissing Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife Nicole. When both denied an affair, their pasts caught up with them. All kinds of personal things came out about him, and then all kinds of personal things came out about Nicole. Actress Lisa Raye says her ex-husband had an affair with Nicole and blasted Nicole’s denials. For a minute, it was a mess. Now Fuqua is moving forward. He’s going to direct Will Smith in a true story set in 1883 called Emancipation. Smith plats Peter, a runaway slave who joins the army to fight the confederacy. Peter ran miles, barefoot through swamps, snakes, gators and fatigue to be free. Before he escaped, Peter’s back was so slashed and scared from being beaten as a slave, that his picture was taken and sent around the world to show the horrors of slavery. This movie won’t begin filming until next year after more progress is made against the pandemic.
Tony winner Audra McDonald will give voice to legendary civil rights icon Ida B. Wells. PBS is presenting a two-part documentary in July called The Vote. Wells dedicated her journalism career to focusing on the cruel and brutal treatment of African Americans in the south during the late 1800’s. She later became a leading voice in the women’s suffrage movement. McDonald will join Actresses Laura Linney, Mae Whitman, Patricia Clarkson and Kate Burton in The Vote airing on PBS July 6th and 7th.
Fresh off her exit from The Real, Actress/Comedienne Amanda Seales (Insecure) will host The 2020 BET Awards. Now of course because of the Pandemic, how will the awards roll out this year? At press time, that’s being kept close to the vest, but we do know it will be virtual. This year’s nominees are lead by Drake who copped six nominations. He’s followed by Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch who have five each, and Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Lizzo, DaBaby and Queen Bey herself, Beyonce, have four nominations apiece. This year the awards are marking its 20th anniversary, and the network itself is in the middle of its 40th anniversary celebration. CBS/Viacom now own BET, so this year the awards will air on CBS and Viacom’s other cable networks. That’ll be a big change as the show is known to get raunchy, but is a top rated event in an era where even The Academy Awards are struggling. There’s also all the unrest in the wake of the police protests. The BET Awards will air Sunday, June 28th at 8pm on BET, CBS and other affiliated cable networks.
The Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July celebration is going to be a televised and virtual event. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC 10 will air this year’s performers from The Met. There’ll be no live audience but Singer (and internet breaker) Jason Durulo and two time Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo are headlining on July 4th. There’ll also be traditional performances by The Philly POPS, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the U.S. Army’s Field Band, among others, stretched out throughout that week, but without a live audience. The entire celebration takes place from June 28th until July 4th and is being billed as 100% virtual to allow people to enjoy the festivities from the safety of home.
The 13th Annual Roots Picnic is also going viral as well and that includes teaming up with Michelle Obama. The Forever First Lady will co-host the annual event because the virtual concert is a partnership with Mrs. Obama’s non partisan, non-profit When We All Vote. Because of the two previous postponements due to the pandemic, the lineup has changed. This year’s performers now include H.E.R., D-Nice, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch and Kirk Franklin. Plus, there’ll be appearances from Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kerry Washington, Chris Paul, Tom Hanks and Janelle Monae. Questlove, Black Thought and Forever First Lady Michelle Obama host The 13th Annual Roots Picnic, which will stream on YouTube Saturday, June 27th at 8pm.
The NBA is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some conditions. The abbreviated season will begin Friday, July 31st with all games taking place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The season will feature 22 teams and no fans. 13 teams on the western conference and 9 on the eastern conference and the season will end October 12th.
Comedian George Lopez is coming to Netflix in June. It’s his first special for the streaming network. We’ll Do It For Half will cover everything from politics and race to gender reveal parties and life lessons to be learned from the Latino community. Perfect timing for Lopez because ordinarily in June, he’d be hosting the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, and has been doing it since he took over from Bill Cosby in 2013. The June 6th festival was cancelled amid the COVID-19 outbreak. So now you can catch Lopez on Netflix when We’ll Do It For Half begins streaming Tuesday, June 30th.
Naomi Campbell and Essence magazine mark two golden anniversaries in the new normal as both turn 50 in the month of May.
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