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Acclaimed Filmmaker Spike Lee to Boycott Oscars

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Spike Lee at the premiere of his latest film, “Chi-Raq,” at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.                                                                                                                                                                        Credit Charles Sykes/Invision, via Associated Press

Legendary Director Spike Lee will not attend the Oscars. The filmmaker is the latest in a long line of entertainment industry power houses to voice an opinion of the Academy Awards not recognizing people of color.

The outcry over African-American actors being snubbed from this year’s Oscars hopefuls has reached a breaking point, especially on social media where the hashtag, “Oscars So White” has brought more attention to the omission of black actors for the awards show.

On Monday, the director announced that he would not be attending the ceremony on Feb. 28.

Via Instagram, Lee asked how it was possible that there were no nominations for black actors for the second year running. After revealing that he nor his wife would attend the esteemed awards show, Lee added, “Dr. King said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it’s right.”

The Hollywood legend accepted an honorary Oscar in November for his collective body of work. He did offer these words in the post, “I would like to thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Board of Governors of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for awarding me an Honorary Oscar this past November. I am most appreciative. However my wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee and I will not be attending the Oscar ceremony this coming February. We cannot support it and mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs and The Academy.”

 

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First lady Michelle Obama Celebrates 52nd Birthday

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BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR THE FIRST LADY

 

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Michelle Obama is celebrating her birthday today. There’s no word from the White House on how she plans to mark her 52nd birthday, but whatever she decides to do we know she’ll do it with poise and class.  The Obamas will leave the White House on Jan. 20, 2017 — Inauguration Day for the next president.

We celebrate Michelle and wish her a Happy Birthday!

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‘Ride Along 2’ rides to Number One Spot at Box Office

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“Ride Along 2” debuts strong at box office, amid outrage over black actor snubs for the Academy Awards. The urban film aimed mostly at African-American and Hispanic audiences, brought in $34 million in weekend ticket sales.

Starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, “Ride Along 2” kicked “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to the curb. The sequel landed in the No. 1 slot, making it the box office champ in North America. Although the numbers were not as strong as the first “Ride Along”  – which took in $41.5 million – the turnout was strong and moviegoers were happy with the finished product.

 

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Jada Pinkett Smith Speaks Out on Twitter regarding the Oscar Diversity Controversy

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Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will Smith, is not happy about the omission of diversity in this year’s upcoming 88th Academy Awards.

The Oscar Nominations have been a hot topic since their release on January 14.

Pinkett Smith (whose husband Will Smith could have been nominated for his lead role in Concussion but wasn’t) showed her distaste for this year’s all-white nominations by taking to Twitter to vent. The actress posted a series of tweets regarding the issue.

Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith)

In her first post, she stated, “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain” (pt.1)

In another post, she went on to say, “But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? (pt 2)

Lastly, in the series she wrote, “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment. J” (pt 3)

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[Photo: Getty]
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BeBe and CeCe Winans Honored at BMI Trailblazers of Gospel

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Gospel music superstar siblings, BeBe & CeCe Winans, were celebrated at the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Honors at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA. Hosted by former Trailblazer recipient and renowned gospel singer-songwriter, Yolanda Adams, this special night paid tribute to the best in the Gospel music community. This inspirational event will air nationwide on TV One on February 19 at 8pm ET.

The invitation-only event was a harmonious blend of awe-inspiring performances and worship featuring the brightest young stars and iconic figures in Gospel music today. In addition to honoring BeBe & CeCe Winans, BMI’s Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year, “Amazing” by Ricky Dillard & New G featuring Tiff Joy, was also recognized. The GRAMMY-nominated single spent an astounding 30 weeks at #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Airplay chart and catapulted Tiff Joy into the spotlight.

BMI also recognized the Ten Most Performed Songs of the Year (2015): “But God,” co-written by Isaac Carree, Philip Cornish and Eric Dawkins and performed by Carree featuring James Fortune; “Different,” written by Kirk Franklin and performed by Tasha Page-Lockhart; “Help,” co-written by Hasben Jones and Harold Lily and performed by Erica Campbell featuring Lecrae; “I Can Only Imagine,” co-written by Israel Houghton and Meleasa Houghton and performed by Tamela Mann; “I Will Trust,” co-written by Philip Feaster, Calvin Rodgers, and Fred Hammond, who is the performer; “No Greater Love,” written by Aaron Lindsey and performed by Smokie Norful; “This Place,” written by Darrell Blair and performed by Tamela Mann; “War,” written and performed by Charles Jenkins; “We Are Victorious,” written and performed by Donnie McClurkin featuring Tye Tribbett; and “You Alone,” written by Michael McDowell and performed by the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir.

The ceremony began with a breathtaking performance by Donald Lawrence of last year’s Song of the Year, “The Gift,” before moving to the evening’s musical tributes. Grammy–nominated singers Anita Wilson and Bryon Cage introduced the first Trailblazers of Gospel Music honorees, Mary Mary, followed by KeKe Wyatt’s explosive rendition of the duo’s “God in Me.” The tributes continued with uplifting performances by Y’Anna Crawley (“Heaven”), Tasha Cobbs and Kierra Sheard (“Can’t Give Up”), Tasha Page-Lockhart and Lisa Page-Brooks (“Go Get It”) and Tamela Mann (“Yesterday”) who all paid homage to the iconic sister act. After giving their acceptance speeches, Mary Mary rounded out the first half of the awards ceremony with an amazing performance of their pioneering debut hit single, “Shackles (Praise You),” to close out their tribute segment.

Actress Kim Fields introduced legendary sibling duo BeBe & CeCe Winans as the next Trailblazers of Gospel Music recipients. Their signature sound broke down barriers and paved the way for a whole new generation of Gospel artists. BeBe & CeCe’s tribute segment featured soulful performances by Tamia and Jonathan McReynolds (“Heaven/ It’s Ok”), Yolanda Adams and Brian Courtney Wilson (“Addictive Love”), Kelly Price (“In Return”), siblings Marvin and Debbie Winans (“Lost Without You”), and Deborah Cox and Fred Hammond (“Hold Up The Light”). BeBe & CeCe closed out their powerful tribute segment with a mesmerizing performance of their hit-single “Up Where We Belong” from their 1984 LP, Lord Lift Us Up.

Former Trailblazer recipient and renowned gospel singer-songwriter, Yolanda Adams, hosted the ceremony along with Mike O’Neill, BMI President and CEO and Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta.

BMI’s impressive roster of gospel songwriters includes Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Jessica Reedy, Marvin Sapp, Twinkie Clark, Donald Lawrence, Wess Morgan, Kim Burrell and many others.

Source: BMI

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Kendrick Lamar to receive ‘Key to the City’ of Compton

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Kendrick Lamar is having a great – life! The California-born rapper has been on fire and continues to dominate the charts and media headlines. Lamar, 28, who is a native of Compton will go down in history for receiving the “Key to the City.” The special presentation in his hometown is scheduled for February 13, 2016.

Compton’s Mayor Aja Brown announced the honor via Twitter:

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“He represents Compton with great pride and I am honored to present him with the Key to the City, which symbolizes our deep appreciation for his philanthropic work and commitment to our community,” the mayor said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Lamar’s achievements further Compton’s legacy of ingenuity and excellence.”

In a reply tweet, Lamar expressed his appreciation and included  “HUBLUV,” referencing Compton’s “Hub City” nickname for its central location within Los Angeles County.

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Lamar recently served as the 63rd grand marshall for the Compton Christmas Parade.

 

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‘Scream Queens’ gets renewed for second season

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“Scream Queens” has been renewed for a second season. Fox officially renewed the show with an announced Friday, Jan. 15 at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, according to Variety.

According to the website, season 2 will signal a big change for the series as it moves its setting from the campus to a hospital. The hospital is described as a facility where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation.

Prior to the show’s renewal, Lea Michele spoke with Variety about the future of the show, saying she knew what show creator Ryan Murphy is planning for season 2 and that it’s going to be “really fun.”

“It’s an homage to another classic horror film,” said the star about the upcoming season. “This year was ‘Heathers.’ Next season would take on another classic girl film.” The “Glee” alum added that she had a great time playing Hester, who was revealed to be the season one killer Red Devil, and that she is hoping to return for the next season.

For now, it is unclear who among the series’ stars will be returning for season 2, but Deadline reports that Jamie Lee Curtis is expected to return for the upcoming season to keep the franchise rooted to its origins, much like Jessica Lange did for Murphy’s other series, “American Horror Story.”

The website says that most of the main cast members of the show are said to have multi-year contract deals, and it is expected that Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Keke Palmer will be back for the new season.

At the announcement, Fox TV group chairman Dana Walden also revealed that Murphy “intends to bring some of the actors, I believe as the same characters.”

A premiere date has yet to be announced for season 2 of “Scream Queens.”