Rashida Jones and Kenya Barris credit: youtube/Netflix
First Jimmy Fallon and now Jimmy Kimmel offers his apology for past blackface performances. Kimmel released a statement that began saying he was reluctant to apologize because it’s to the advantage of those who see apologies as weakness and root for racial division. Nonetheless, the ABC-TV late night talk show host was called out for his past TV sketches and radio performances in which he imitated celebrity African Americans including Oprah Winfrey, former NBA Player Karl “The Mailman” Malone and Snoop Dogg. While doing a Snoop Dogg rap parody, Kimmel used the N-word for which he also apologized for in his statement. Earlier this year, Kimmel’s late night competitor Jimmy Fallon has to apologize after a Saturday Night Live sketch of Fallon’s blackface impression of Chris Rock resurfaced. Kimmel is taking the summer off since the coronavirus (COVID-19) has shutdown his TV show’s taping, but will return in September to the show and return as host of The Emmys on ABC, September 20th.
Speaking of award shows, The Golden Globes and The Oscars are sliding their dates down the calendar because of COVID-19. The Golden Globe Awards make an ironic change by taking the date of Sunday, February 28th, 2021 on NBC. Why is that ironic? It’s because that was the original date of The 2021 Academy Awards, but now the Oscars will air April 25th, 2021 on ABC. The Golden Globes, which will have returning hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, are usually are a barometer to the Oscars nominations. The Oscars may also go again with no host as it helped speed along last year’s show and helped avoid controversy. Last year, former Oscar Hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock took to the stage together for the opening monologue. My vote: I still thought Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph did such a funny presentation a couple year’s back, that they should host together.
Kenya Barris’ #blackAF series just got renewed for a second season by Netflix. Barris co-stars with TV wife Rashida Jones, who’s also an executive producer, and Iman Benson, Justin Claiborne, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Richard Gardenhire, Jr., Scarlet Spencer and Genneya Walton playing their children. The show expands on the Black-ish concept which is the ABC sitcom Barris created with Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. In #blackAF, a successful couple pivot through relationships, childrearing, career friendships and family with an unashamedly pro-black outlook, even if it’s politically incorrect. Much like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Barris plays an exaggerated version of himself. The show has drawn both praise and its critics sighting everything from language, it is on Netflix after all, to accusations of colorism. As of press time, no second season stream date has been announced.
Bill Cosby will get his day at the State Supreme Court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has granted Cosby a hearing in his attempt to throw out his conviction of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Cosby had previously lost his appeal to do the same in Pennsylvania Superior Court, but now his appeal has been granted in the state’s top court. There are only two issues to be examined for this appeal. First, the deal his defense team insists he made with former Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Castor that Cosby never be prosecuted which lead to Cosby’s deposition that was used in criminal case. Second is the trail judge’s decision to allow five other prior bad act witnesses testify at the criminal trial. The office of the current Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele, who prosecuted Cosby, issued a statement they are confident previous decisions to dismiss Cosby’s appeal will be upheld. Andrea Constand issued a statement asking the court to not to allow Cosby’s wealth and fame to win him escape. At press time, no hearing date has been set by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.
Will Smith and Venus & Serena’s Daddy are getting sued?!!! A lawsuit has been filed over the movie King Richard. Will Smith is playing Richard Williams, the father/trainer of Tennis Champs Venus and Serena Williams, on the big screen. The lawsuit was filed by Power Movie Multi Media and TW3 Entertainment against Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Chavoita Lesean and Richard Williams, himself, among others. Power and TW3 suit claims they bought the rights to Richard Williams’ book from Lesean years ago. They have since shared ideas with Lesean, who was involved in the initial draft of the King Richard movie script, and those ideas have made it into the movie. The suit alleges breach of contract. King Richard’s filming was shutdown because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Congratulations to Raven Symone'. The 34-year old star of That’s So Raven, The Cosby Show and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper has taken a wife. Symone’ shared on social media her nuptials in a beautiful backyard ceremony to 32-year old Miranda Pearman-Maday. By the way, the backyard was that of Actress/Producer/Director Debbie Allen. Allen goes way back with Symone’ to working with her on A Different World and That’s So Raven.
The Hollywood Walk Of Fame has announced its Class of 2021. Nick Cannon, Zac Efron, Don Cheadle, The Chi-Lites, Missy Elliot and Salt N’ Pepa have all made the cut. No word on exact dates as officials deal with public gathering restrictions in the midst of COVID-19, but congrats to the newest inductees into the Walk.
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 this 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 this Saturday night, 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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