Tyra Banks (image credit: YouTube/ABC News)
The very popular online and TV franchise TMZ is under fire for accusations of sexism. A former staffer, Bernadette Zillo, has filed suit against TMZ and TooFab’s parent studio, Warner Bros., and has named TMZ honcho Harvey Levin as well as two TooFab executives in a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and retaliation. An example Zillo’s suit notes is speaking up when another TMZ staffer tried to compare Singer Rihanna’s bronchitis as an attack on her lungs just as Chris Brown attacked Rihanna. Zillo states her concerns about making light of domestic violence were dismissed. She also called the work environment a frat house and a boys club. Zillo says her two complaints to Warner Bros.’ Human Resources accomplished two negative things. With the first report came retaliation in the form of warnings about her workplace conduct and who she answers to (allegedly from Harvey Levin himself), and the second complaint to HR eventually led to her termination. Zillo reportedly didn’t sign the separation agreement. A spokesperson for TMZ and TooFab issued a statement saying in part this was an attempt at a monetary settlement by using bad publicity and inaccurate claims. The spokesperson also claims Zillo was dismissed for incidents of plagiarism and inaccuracies in her reporting. Late in 2019, popular TMZ Contributor Van Lathan was fired after an alleged incident with fellow Contributor Michael Babcock. Babcock kept his job and Lathan moved on to podcasts with The Ringer. Lathan has said on the record that personal biases have bleed through the reporting at TMZ, including being pro-Trump. Meanwhile, TMZ and TooFab’s spokesperson said of the Bernadette Zillo’s suit that TMZ & TooFab will vigorously defend themselves.
This Sunday, Keke Palmer will be hosting a very different MTV Video Music Awards ceremony from New York. There are still acts booked to do the show. Because of the pandemic, MTV is under strict rules with one notable exception. The visiting artists don’t have to quarantine for 14 days. This is in the same scope as visiting sports teams with special rules they must adhere to. Plus, many performances will be outside with social distancing and some will be virtual. Adriana Grande, Lady GaGa, The Weeknd, Miley Cyrus and The Black Eyed Peas are just some of the performers confirmed. At press time, J Balvin cancelled his appearance with no explanation although he confirmed two weeks ago he contracted COVID-19. Rapper Roddy Ricch also canceled citing the COVID compliance issues at the last minute left his team with no choice but to pull out for safety sake. The VMA’s were originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but that proved too difficult and MTV decided on outdoor locations throughout New York City. Keke Palmer will host the MTV Video Music Awards live from New York this Sunday at 8pm on MTV and other ViacomCBS cable outlets.
I told you before another The Real host has exited, but a new host will enter on September 21st. Actress/Producer/Model Garcelle Beauvais is the new member to the host panel, and she’s breaking the mold for the show. She’s in the 50 plus range and the mother of three. I was surprised the producers went mature, especially after all the talk got out in the media about how producers allegedly view certain issues and demographics. Beauvais, A Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills cast member, has an extensive resume that goes back to the mid 80’s with Miami Vice and The Cosby Show, a three year stint as a regular on NYPD Blue in the early 2000’s and she’s in the upcoming Coming To America II with Eddie Murphy (she was a rose bearer in the first one in 1988). But, she’s best known as Fancy, the love interest on The Jamie Foxx Show from 1996-2001. Beauvais replaces original Real Host Tamera Mowry who opted to leave to spend more time with her family and pursue other interest. Mowry had to beat back rumors it was because of a raise she didn’t get. Amanda Seales, who left The Real after six months, also had to debunk stories that she didn’t get along with her fellow Real co-hosts. Seales did call out the production on a lack of respect for her as a full black woman and her co-workers’ voices from people at the top. Anywho, Garcelle Beauvais will join Jeannie Mai, Adrienne Houghton and Loni Love when the 7th season of The Real debuts September 21st.
Tyler Perry is brings The Paynes and The Browns back in two new series on BET next month. As part of his overall deal with the BET Networks, the studio mogul is rebooting House Of Payne with the original cast of LaVan Davis, Cassi Davis Patton, Allen Payne, Lance Gross, Demetria McKinney, China Anne McClain, Larramie “Doc” Shaw and Keshia Knight Pulliam. The show will pick up five years later with Curtis, the retired fire chief, and Ella Payne. No word yet on how the events of the one season OWN spinoff The Paynes will be resolved here. Also, some of the original cast may have simultaneous projects going on such as China Anne McClain who appears in the CW series Black Lightning. Meanwhile, Assisted Living will also premiere on BET. Husband and wife David & Tamela Mann reprise their roles as Mr. Brown and Cora, but are now investors in a rundown home for the elderly and partner with a young family patriarch with teenaged children while dealing with the larger than life personalities of the residents. Na’im Lynn, Courtney Nichole, Tayler Buck, Alex Henderson and J. Anthony Brown are also starring. House Of Payne and Assisted Living both premiere on BET Wednesday, September 2nd beginning at 9pm.
Olympic Darling and international superstar Usain Bolt is in quarantine for COVID-19, and “My Nephew” Kevin Hart revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. Hart made the revelation while performing at Dave Chappelle’s outdoor comedy event. Hart says he couldn’t say anything because it was around the same time Tom Hanks revealed he tested positive. Hart joked since Hanks is more famous he had to stay quiet. Hart’s doing fine now as is his family. He and wife Eniko are expecting their second child together. They have a two-year old son, Kenzo, and Hart has two children, Heaven and Hendrix, from his first marriage. The Hart’s had a socially distant, drive by baby shower for wife Eniko. The Harts confirmed their expecting a daughter and, at press time, she’s due any day now.
Meanwhile, Usain Bolt is in the quarantine stage of his coronavirus saga. The 8-time gold medal track and field Olympian is in isolation in his native Jamaica for now. Apparently, last week there was a party held for Bolt’s 34th birthday. Now authorities are doing the contact tracing, and say no special treatment for anyone who broke rules during the pandemic. Bolt released a statement that he’s self quarantined in order to be responsible, and he urged others around him to do the same. Bolt also noted he’s asymptomatic. To date, Jamaica has had 1,600 cases and 16 deaths. Because of all the social media that covered Bolt’s party, authorities are investigating but they nor Bolt’s management are commenting to that extent so far. Get well soon Usain!
Jennifer Lopez is really serious about her upcoming skincare and makeup line. Eye shadows, highlighters, lip colors, soaps, gels, moisturizers, bronzers, serums, masks and body creams are all part of the line. J-Lo says she doesn’t want you to resort to surgery to keep skin youthful, or to keep your beauty or keeping skin tight. The Jennifer Lopez skincare line will debut in 2021.
It’s the Verzuz battle we’ve all been waiting for and these two ladies aim to deliver at Tyler Perry’s place! Brandy and Monica are two powerhouse singers who joined forces back in 1998 for the mega hit and Grammy winning duet The Boy Is Mine. The song hit number one and was featured on both their albums. Then the ladies archived separate number one singles from those same albums. Now the two divas are going the way of Snoop & DMX, of 2 Chainz & Rick Ross and of Alicia Keys & John Legend. The Brandy & Monica Verzuz will happen on IG Live and Apple Music and will take place from Tyler Perry’s Atlanta studios. Remember, Perry has his studio under strict quarantine guidelines against the pandemic and that’s allowed him to continue to keep the studios up and running. Brandy, her new album is called B7, and Monica will kick off the competition this Monday at 8pm.
Dancing With The Stars has a big shake up beginning September 14th. Tyra Banks is not only the new host but is also an executive producer. There’s a new look for the set. You’re going to have a brand new Dancing With The Stars when the new season kicks off. All the participants are living, temporarily, in a bubble. That’s because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the show is taking a page from the professional sports organizations to stay safe. Also, for the first time in the show’s history, the first African American female pro dancer will join the regulars and her name is Britt Stewart. Dancing With The Stars with Host/Executive Producer Tyra Banks returns to ABC on September 14th.
Pastor John Gray is being busted for cheating…..again, or is he the victim of a blackmail attempt? For the second time, the famous pastor has been caught with another woman or was he? Social media blew up Friday when a woman took to YouTube and claimed she’s been communicating with Gray. After the story gained traction, Gray’s attorneys released a statement, in part, calling these allegations of communication only and, by the woman’s own words, no physical contact. Gray is an associate pastor at Joel Olsteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston. Though at press time authorities have not commented, Gray’s attorneys say they’re turning over evidence of extortion to the Greenville County Solicitor’s office and the F.B.I. Because Gray was caught up in extramarital allegations before, is he repeating old habits or the victim of blackmailers taking advantage of his past reputation? At press time, Gray has not commented himself.
On the cover of O magazine is the late Breonna Taylor, the 26-year old Louisville EMS worker, who was shot and killed by police in her own home.
Breonna Taylor is also on the cover of the September issue of Vanity Fair magazine entitled the Great Fire.
TV Personality/Actress La La Anthony is on the cover of the new September/October edition of Essence magazine.
African American Artists Jordan Casteel and Kerry James Marshall created two original renderings for two separate covers of the September issue of Vogue themed Hope: A Special Issue.
Cardi B and her exclusive interview with Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden is the cover story for Elle magazine.
Rihanna is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
First Time Emmy Nominee Zendaya is on the cover of InStyle magazine’s September issue featuring the conversation between the actress and Black Lives Matter Co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
Janet Mock is on the cover of Marie Clair.
COVID-19 can’t stop some traditions, so Jasmine Sanders shares the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition with Kate Bock and Olivia Culpo. Sanders’ social media nickname is Golden Barbie, and she’s also a TV personality and actress.
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.