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Famed Director John Singleton dies at 51 (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Boyz n the Hood director and 90s urban film pioneer John Singleton has died at the age of 51.

He passed away today after his family took him off life support following a stroke he had on April 17. He was on a flight back to the U.S. from Costa Rica when he experienced weakness in his legs and was admitted into a hospital. It was originally reported that he suffered a “mild” stroke. However, his family would later release a statement that he indeed suffered a “massive” one and that he was also in a coma.

UPFRONT interviewing John Singleton and “Snowfall” star Damson Idris

Singleton made history in 1992 at the age of 24 when he became the youngest person to be nominated for the “Best Director” Oscar and the first African American. He would later go on to direct other classic black films such as Poetic Justice featuring Tupac and Janet Jackson, Higher Learning with Ice Cube and Tyra Banks as well as Baby Boy with Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson, Rosewood and Shaft featuring Samuel L. Jackson.

In addition to film, Singleton also directed projects for television including Fox’s Empire, BET’s Rebel and the hugely popular FX series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and Snowfall.

John Singleton at the New Orleans premiere of “Snowfall”

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Singleton during a promotional tour of American Crime Story at Morehouse College in 2016 and at the 2017 Essence Festival where he was promoting Snowfall with the series star Damson Idris. (Click here to listen at beginning at 18:24)

Check out what Boyz n the Hood star Morris Chestnut had to say about working with Mr. Singleton during a recent interview on TV One’s popular DL Hughley Show:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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‘True Blood’ actor Nelsan Ellis passes away

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

WOW! You just never know!

“True Blood” actor and “Get On Up” star, Nelsan Ellis, passed away on Saturday (July 8). According to EBONY, the 39-year-old entertainer died of complications with heart failure.

Ellis was best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the hugely popular HBO series. He also starred in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “The Help.” He just completed a new film opposite Vivica A. Fox, Columbus Short, Andra Fuller and Draya Michele titled “True to the Game.”

“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed,” said his attorney, Emily Gerson Saines to THR.

“True Blood” creator, Allan Ball said, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter/Emily Gerson Saines

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WATCH 2nd Trailer for Tupac Shakur Biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ (NSFW)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur‘s death, a new trailer has been released for his highly anticipated biopic, “All Eyez On Me.”

As previously reported, the film centers on the life of the charismatic yet controversial rapper, poet, actor and political activist, who shot to fame with “2Pacalypse Now.” His politically charged lyrics, inspired by his parents’ activism as Black Panthers in the 60s & early 70s, condemned governmental intrusion in black communities. Tupac’s increased participation in the East Coast-West Coast Rap rivalry became well documented and avidly followed by his fans. He was gunned down a street corner in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996 and died 6 days later. His murder was never solved.

“All Eyez on Me” stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac along with Danai Gurira as his mother Afeni Shakur. Kat Graham stars as Jada Pinkett, Dominic L. Santana portrays Suge Knight, Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls, Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, Lauren Cohan as Lelia Steinberg, Grace Gibson as Faith Evans and  Harold House Moore as Dr Dre. The film is directed by Benny Boom and is executive produced by Afeni, who passed away in May at the age of 69. The film expected to open in 2017.

Check it out below and tell us what you think!

https://youtu.be/3ZlXHAbX3TY

Photo Credit: Blog.screenweek.it

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‘Whitney Houston: Addicted to Love’ to debut on REELZ + ‘Gangsters’ and ‘Autopsy’ return

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

REELZ is starting the New Year off with a bang! The network announced this week the return of a few fan favorites like “Gangters: America’s Most Evil” and “Autopsy: The Last Hours of…”  In addition, they will debut a brand new documentary “Whitney Houston: Addicted to Love,” which explores the life and times of the late Grammy-winning music icon.

Check out full descriptions and dates below:

Gangsters: America’s Most Evil – Premieres Tuesday, January 19

From thugs to lethal beauties, outlaws to kingpins, each episode profiles these gangsters and reveals their ominous motives and the circumstances that eventually led to their downfall. The premiere episode on Tuesday, January 19 features a storyline that reads like a movie script for a blockbuster crime thriller. James Spencer Springette, known as “Jimmy the Juice”, went from selling juice to tourists on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to distributing thousands of kilos of cocaine into the United States. Find out how he found himself on the FBI’s top ten list of most wanted fugitives right next to Osama bin Laden.  This season will also explore the Black Mafia Family (BMF) as well as renowned human smuggler Cheng Chui Ping aka (Sister Ping). “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” is produced by Asylum Entertainment.

Whitney Houston: Addicted to Love – Premieres Saturday, January 23

Whitney Houston’s story of global celebrity had it all—massive success in music, a game-changing role in a blockbuster movie and volatile substance abuse. Intertwined was her mercurial relationship with husband Bobby Brown in addition to the complex dynamics of having close family members running her business affairs. Whitney Houston: Addicted to Love delves into the iconic singer’s public and private life through revealing insight from those who surrounded Whitney including her publicist Kenneth Reynolds, bodyguard Alan Jacobs and bandmates Wayne Linsey and Kirk Whalum, Arista Records’ Gerry Griffith and friend Jermaine Jackson who share their personal stories and thoughts on Whitney’s astonishing story of success and excess. “Whitney Houston: Addicted to Love” is produced by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Autopsy: The Last Hours of…- Premieres Saturday, January 30

Autopsy: The Last Hours of… reveals the truth behind the controversial deaths of global icons and people whose untimely deaths were surrounded by scandal and intense media attention. Fact and fiction are forever separated as renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter reconstructs their final hours using crucial medical evidence from the actual autopsies to explain how and why they died while interviews with friends and family shed light on the events that led to death—finally putting an end to the speculation. Celebrities explored include Phil Hartman, John Belushi, Maurice Gibb, Don Cornelius, Christopher Wallace (The Notorius B.I.G), Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Rodney King. Natalie Wood kicks off the season 1/30.

Photo Credit: NYDailyNews.com
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‘Fast 7’ Producer says, “Movie will have to wait…”

Photo Credit: apnatimepass.com

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

TMZ is reporting that Fast and Furious 7 producer Neal Moritz has put a temporary hold on shooting the film and urges his cast and crew to mourn the death of their deceased co-star, Paul Walker.

Walker and close friend, Roger Rodas died on Saturday when Rodas lost control of their two-seater Porsche and slammed into a tree, causing the car to go up in flames. Several eye witnesses tried to pull Walker from the car but were unsuccessful.

Reportedly, Walker was supposed to be a part of Fast 7  shooting this week in Atlanta. However, Moritz has put a hold on production citing, “There are more important things to worry about and will resume shooting later…”

Several cast members and other Hollywood stars have expressed their heartbreak and grief over Walker’s sudden death including co-star Tyrese, who was seen in tears at the scene of the accident.

Speaking of accident scene, police are asking that fans and mourners stay away. Reportedly, people are doing dangerous burn-outs, donuts and other high speed stunts as a tribute to the fallen movie star. According to TMZ, fans are paying tribute is a very weird way by burning rubber at the crime scene and authorities are afraid another accident will occur. If caught by authorities, offenders will be cited and their cars will be impounded.

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 Photo Credit: TMZ.com

What are your thoughts about fans burning rubber at the scene of the crime?

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Tami Roman mourns the passing of her mother…

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

5f9f1__TamisMom_png (600x597)“My pain runs deep, my heart aches, my soul mourns – I have NEVER felt  this way in my entire life. My mother is no longer with me and I may never be  the same. Jesus…be with me and my daughters.”  This is the personal message that was added with the posting below.

Basketball Wives cast member Tami Roman took to her Instagram account Tuesday to inform her followers and express her feelings about the passing of her Mother.

If you recall, Tami’s mother made an appearance on BBW season 4; on the episode Tami decided to have a heart-to-heart conversation with her mother and revealed she had been sexually assaulted twice.  Roman went years without telling her mother about what happened to her.

Below is Roman’s heartfelt posting:

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Earlier this year, Tami shared with fans that her mother was admitted to the hospital with a ‘severe illness.’

RC would like to offer our condolences to the family.

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Rapper Chris Kelly of ‘Kris Kross’ dead at 34

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The AJC is reporting that rapper Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly of the hip-hop duo, Kris Kross has died. He was found unresponsive in his Atlanta home. He was 34.

Kelly rose to fame with Chris Smith during early the 90’s as part of Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def musical family. Kris Kross was one of Dupri’s first signed acts and developed a huge following among teenagers. The boys were best known for wearing their clothes backwards and had a few hit records including, “Jump” and “Totally Krossed  Out.”

Kelly, was found unresponsive on Wednesday afternoon and was transported to Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Reportedly, his death is being investigated as a drug overdose with an autopsy planned for this morning.

Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte said in a statement:

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Chris Kelly with Chris Smith

“It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris – the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.”

Kelly reunited with Smith in February for the 20th Anniversary Concert for So So Def Records.

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Sherman Hemsley better known as ‘George Jefferson’ has died

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Veteran actor of stage and television, Sherman Hemsley has died.

According to TMZ, the actor best known for his television characters George Jefferson of “The Jefferson” and Deacon Ernest Frye of “Amen” died today at his home in El Paso, Texas of natural causes.

Hemsley began his acting career as a stage actor in his native Philadelphia. He would later make his Broadway debut in the 70’s with the musical Purlie and toured with that show for one year. During that time, television writer and producer Norman Lear asked Hemsley to join the cast of his new sitcom, “All in the Family.” It took Hemsley two years to join the cast but this role would change Hemsley life forever.

He was paired with actress Isabel Sanford to play the Black neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker, the two white lead characters for “All in the Family.” Hemsley and Sanford’s characters, George and Louise Jefferson were so well liked by television viewers, that Lear created a spin-off simply called The Jefferson. This show would go on to air for 11 seasons, becoming the longest-running sitcom with a predominately Black cast in the history of American television. Isabel Sanford would also become the first Black actress to win a Lead Actress Emmy Award for her role as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson in 1981.

After The Jeffersons, Hemsley appeared in another popular sitcom called “Amen” where he played the cantankerous Deacon Ernest Frye. This sitcom introduced him to another generation of television viewers and ran for five seasons ending in 1994.

In the late 90’s Hemsley appeared on television shows and commercials along with cast mate Isabel Sanford before her death in 2004.

Sherman Hemsley was not married and had no children. He was 74.

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Yvette Wilson, Former ‘Moesha’ Star Succumbs To Cancer at 48

Posted by | Tamara Ren’ee

Yvette Wilson, better known as Andell Wilkerson from the 90’s TV shows Moesha  and The Parkers  lost her battle with cervical cancer yesterday.  The public learned of her fight with Stage 4 cervical cancer just last month when Wilson’s friend and cancer survivor Jeffrey Wittle created a fundraising website to raise money for her treatment.  As of  June 9, $13,599 of the $25,000 sought had been raised.

In the days leading up to Wilson’s death, her best friend and former co-star Shar Jackson tweeted prayer requests for Wilson.  Shar’s last tweet read, “I wanna thank all my tweeties for their prayers but god has chosen to take my sister Yvette home.. … ”

R.I.P. Yvette Wilson

What was your favorite Andell moment?

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Whitney Houston died from drowning, cocaine and heart disease…

The autopsy report of singing-sensation Whitney Houston revealed that the singer died from drowning in a hotel bathtub and that traces of marijuana, Xanax, Benadryl and the muscle relaxant Flexeril were found in her system. Cocaine and it’s by products were also found in her system indicating that Houston was a chronic cocaine user.

Disclosure of Thursday’s report puts an end to the speculations and rumors of how the Grammy Award-winning singer-actress died. Houston, 48 was found on February 11th submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton Hotel room just hours before her mentor, Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy Party.

Patricia Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager released this statement to the Associated Press, “We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure.”

The toxicology report also showed that Houston had plaque build up in her arteries that could restrict blood flow – a condition commonly found in cocaine drug users.

“It just beats up their heart and they will go to use and they will have a heart attack” says Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter. It is not clear whether Houston died of a heart attack but chronic drug use and heart disease were definitely contributing factors in the singer’s death.

Houston is arguably one of the ‘greatest voices’ of our time. She skyrocketed to fame in the mid 80’s with a string of hit albums, popular movies and television specials and sold-out world tours.

Houston had just completed work on her last film, Sparkle when she died.

Source: ajc.com