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What’s The 411 Episode 107: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Tupac

Freddie Jackson gives an extended interview, Ridley Scott hopes Idris Elba will be James Bond, stars come out for Dress for Success and more

On this episode of What’s The 411, we are talking about former US First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and US Senator Bernie Sanders are coming to Brooklyn to give separate commencement addresses. Hillary Clinton will give a commencement address at Medgar Evers College, while Senator Bernie Sanders, who was born in Brooklyn, will speak at Brooklyn College’s graduation ceremony.

Minnesota courts have whittled down the number of heirs to the estate of the deceased pop star, Prince.

Film director, Ridley Scott, told BBC Radio One that he hopes that actor Idris Elba would be the next James Bond.

Ifeoma White-Thorpe, a senior at Rockaway High School in Morris Hills, New Jersey. Ms. White-Thorpe received acceptances to all eight Ivy League colleges and Stanford University.

Dress for Success, an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life, held its annual fundraising gala at Cipriani Wall Street.

Popular rapper, Snoop Dogg, gave a heartfelt tribute to deceased rapper Tupac Shakur who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

We also have an extended interview with R&B singer Freddie Jackson, who has a new album, LOVE SIGNALS, with an expected release date in June. The album’s first single, One Night, will be released on May 1st.

RnB Singer Freddie Jackson is Back, and He’s Sending "Love Signals"

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Freddie Jackson is gearing up for his One Night Tour, the name of the first single off of his new album, Love Signals

In this video interview recorded on April 11, 2017, award-winning RnB singer, Freddie Jackson, talks about growing up in Harlem, sneaking into the Apollo Theater, his start in the music industry, his first record deal, working with singer/actress Melba Moore, younger singers like Jennifer Hudson that are destined to have longevity, and of course, his new single, ONE NIGHT.

By way of background, Freddie Jackson mastered the art of chart domination during the mid-to-late 80s, and today continues proving his distinction as one of the Top 50 Greatest R&B Singers (Billboard 2017). Jackson’s Billboard chart resume that boasts 18 songs in the Top 10 with 10 songs rocketing to #1, a 3x Grammy Nominee, and an American Music Award winner. The Harlem native's star first appeared on the horizon in 1985, after releasing his debut album, Rock Me Tonight (Capitol Records).

While waiting his turn, Jackson worked a word processing job, did session work, and backup singing gigs throughout New York nightclubs. Then, while singing backup for Melba Moore, fellow church member and friend Paul Laurence at Hush Productions, decided enough was enough. Laurence, a talented record producer, and songwriter pulled Jackson from behind both the typewriter and other acts; penning him a hit with the title track for what would become Jackson's debut album, Rock me Tonight.

As we waited for Freddie Jackson to arrive for his interview, person after person, talked about how Jackson’s music was “music to love by” or “baby-making music,” evidenced by Keisha Wilson during the interview.

We agree with others that Jackson’s current album, Love Signals, offers longtime fans and new listeners alike, a melodic offering of love in a multitude of styles. From the orchestral openings to the instrumental driven collaborations with master musician Gerald Albright on Hold Me Tonight, each song is a pulse of passion and light. All I Wanna Do will surely become the new anniversary anthem, while his most global track to date, Save The Babies, asks this tumultuous era's most pertinent question, 'Who is going to save the child?'

Baby Boss orders you to go to the movie theater!

It’s bad enough that seven-year-old Tim has a new baby brother that completely saps his parents’ attention and energy, but Tim learns that his sibling is actually not at all who or what he appears to be. The infant, or Baby Boss as he is known, is a plant in their home with a scheme to undermine Tim’s parents’ business activities. Baby Boss sees cute pets as a threat to the appeal of kids. The parents’ employer, a pet selling enterprise, is about to introduce a little creature that is so adorable that tots will seem terrible in comparison. Tim and Baby Boss strike up a deal. Tim will help the little imposter get what he wants in exchange for the Boss wiping their parents’ memory of his ever being there and his returning to where babies come from.

Baby Boss is a thought-provoking story about sibling rivalries and how the fact that many people view their pets as their children impacts our society. However, the subject matter of Baby Boss is likely to go over the heads of the very young. But to keep them entertained, there are some bike chase scenes and toddlers engaging in toy-to-toy combat. Good films can and do entertain audiences at different levels of sophistication. Baby Boss does exactly that.

I am not sure what time period this is supposed to be, the vehicles look 20-years-old or more, and Tim records Baby Boss speaking like an adult on a cassette tape player. The film features music from many decades. There’s the classic from 1935 “Cheek to Cheek”; “What the World Needs Now " from 1965; LTD’s 1977 hit “Back in Love Again”, and from 1979, Kool and the Gang’s “Ladies Night”.

Voices for the characters include: Alec Baldwin as Baby Boss; Jimmy Kimmel speaks for Tim’s dad and Lisa Kudrow for his mom. The voices of Tim are Tobey Maguire as an adult and Miles Christopher Bakshi as a child.

Can an animated cartoon get a diversity rating? ABSOLUTELY! Baby Boss earns a “B”. There are a few babies of color in the Baby Boss’s playgroup.

Baby Boss is much more than a story about infants. You’ll enjoy it no matter what your age. Baby Boss earns a See It!

It’s rated PG for mild rude humor and is 97 minutes in length.

Ghost in the Shell is eerily bad

Set in the future, Ghost in the Shell follows a recently deceased young woman (Scarlett Johansson) who has her brain placed into the latest and most sophisticated robot. Believing that she was killed by terrorists, she targets a powerful and exceptionally deadly crime syndicate for revenge.

This is another one of those cases where a great movie concept, falls victim to inept execution. There are many creative options with a story about a human brain controlling a cutting-edge machine. But Ghost in the Shell is nothing more than a flat story. The screenwriters try to give shape to the film by using a lot of mindless violence and flashy special effects. Unfortunately, at points when this story is on the edge of being interesting, it reverts back to dullness.

The writers are also lazy in how they portray the future. For example, cars pretty much look and operate the same as they do today. However, self-driving cars are currently just a few years away. With all the advanced weaponry displayed in the film, a villain pulls out a knife to defend himself, which is reminiscent of a 1950 James Dean movie. Additionally, the dialogue offers no new words. The American vocabulary expands constantly, for example, blogs, unfriend, sexting, are all recent additions to the dictionary. Certainly, there will be terms used 20 years from now that are currently unknown.

Scarlett Johannsson does her best to carry this story. She has credibility as the mechanical crime fighter from her fit form down to her, I am going kick ass gait.

This film gets an “A” for cast diversity, featuring a wide range of human types and quite a few nonhumans as well.

Ultimately, it’s only fitting that Ghost in the Shell gets our Dead on Arrival rating. As I have said repeatedly, special effects are simply not enough. You need more than a phantom storyline.

Ghost in the Shell is PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content, and some disturbing scenes. Ghost in the Shell probably should have received an R rating for its violence. It’s just under 2 hours in length.

Movie Review: Life

The movie, Life, is Dead on Arrival 

Six astronauts find a life form on an internationally staffed expedition to Mars. They bring the specimen on board their space ship and it finds the conditions on the craft very much to its liking – and grows to be a threat to the crew.

This Life is Dead on Arrival. It simply lacks any originality. First choosing Mars as the destination shows no creativity. That planet has been the focus of film space travel for over 50 years. Then the organism looks and behaves like the ones from Alien. And it thrives on food, water, and oxygen. It must have taken the screenwriters hours, even days to come up with that theory.

Life features a star-studded cast including Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson. But their characters all look and sound like any other onscreen space shuttle crew.

The special effects are routine and unexceptional.

Life does boast a solidly diverse crew with a black actor (Ariyon Bakare) and a Japanese actor (Hiroyuki Sanada). Actor Samuel L. Jackson recently complained about Hollywood hiring black British performers to play black American characters. Bakare is British; but so is the person he plays in the film.

In the end, this Life doesn’t survive film critiquing scrutiny and gets our lowest rating, Dead on Arrival.

Life is rated R, for scary scenes and language and is 103 minutes.

MOVIE REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island

Only the special effects make this island worth visiting

It’s the 70s. The Cold War burns hotly. Bill Randa (John Goodman), a researcher and his assistant Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) use the, we have to do this before the Russian’s do argument to get the United States federal government to fund an expedition to a South Pacific island where strange images have been caught on camera. Not only do they receive the funding, they also get a military escort led by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). To round out their team, they need a tracker and outdoors' man and James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) fits the bill. When the expedition arrives at their destination via helicopters, they are created by a massive, towering ape who swats the whirlybirds away as if they were annoying mosquitos. The team quickly realizes that they are in for more than bargained for.

Kong: Skull Island is a weak story about boring characters, but it still gets a See It! rating because this film delivers the special effects viewers who are fans of this film genre want to see.

The plots are so anemic that you’ll just want another appearance by Kong or some other creature.

The characters all speak with the same tones and vocabulary. But what is a major failure of the screenwriters Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein is the absence of the rich '70s dialogue. Language that young soldiers would have undoubtedly used. There was not a single: Right On!, Funky, Hip, Can you Dig it? or Say, What?

And if you’re a film buff, you’ll definitely see scenes reminiscent of Jurassic Park and Avatar.

Shot in six months in Hawaii, Australia's Gold Coast, and in Vietnam, Kong: Skull Island’s cinematography is a treat for the eyes.

When it comes to casting diversity, King: Skull Island, gets a solid “A”. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asian performers have both major and supporting roles.

Kong: Skull Island is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action and for brief strong language. The film is 118 minutes in length. The special effects will not disappoint and that makes King: Skull Island a See It!

What's The 411Sports Episode 3: Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Johnny Manziel and more

VIDEO CONVERSATION: Johnny Manziel, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Pam Oliver and more

What's The 411Sports Episode 3 featured a discussion of the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers losing season; Phil Jackson coming to New York, Michael Jordan's earnings for 2013; the NFL contemplating allowing the use of medical marijuana; Michael Sam declining an invitation to the White House Correspondents Dinner; who's going to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship; and where will Johnny Manziel land in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The featured interview was with Fox Sports Analyst, Pam Oliver. The interview took place at Media Row during the NFL's Super Bowl media week.

What's The 411Sports is hosted by Bianca Peart and Glenn Gilliam.

Floyd Mayweather, Teddy Bridgewater, the Donald Sterling Saga, Rapper 50 Cent

VIDEO CONVERSATION: Teddy Bridgewater, NBA FINALS, Serena and Venus Williams, Deron Williams, Anthony Mackie, and more 

The DONALD STERLING saga: SHELLY STERLING sold THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS to former MICROSOFT CEO, STEVE BALMER

The NEW YORK RANGERS playing the LOS ANGELES KINGS for the STANLEY CUP

NBA FINALS: a repeat of the MIAMI HEAT V. THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS

LANCE STEPHENSON’S antics. Immaturity or much ado about nothing? Is STEPHENSON taking zeroes off of his next check?

BROOKLYN NETS GUARD DERON WILLIAMS underwent successful ankle surgery. BIANCA PEART gives a rundown of D-WILL’S recuperation period and his expected time to return to the team. GLENN GILLIAM asks did WILLIAMS get surgery on his heart. CHRIS GRAHAM says he’ll be back before DERRICK ROSE.

SERENA, VENUS, STEPHENSON, and FEDERER are out at the FRENCH OPEN. According to GLENN GILLIAM, the FRENCH OPEN commentators treat the foreigners better than the Americans; GLENN’S also disturbed that SERENA was in and out because she didn’t bring her a game. BIANCA added that SERENA was sitting courtside at GAME 6 of the MIAMI V. INDIANA PLAY-OFF GAME.

LOOKING AT WHAT’S FLYING UNDER RADAR

Eighteen-year-old tennis sensation TAYLOR TOWNSEND beat 21st-ranked ALIZE CORNET in the FRENCH OPEN.

The 205th-ranked TOWNSEND'S feat made her the youngest U.S. woman to advance to the third round at the FRENCH OPEN since 2003 -- is even more impressive considering just two years ago, the U.S. TENNIS ASSOCIATION attempted to keep her out of competition at the U.S. OPEN. It was suggested they would not restore their support until the teen, then the top-ranked junior player in the world lost weight.

RAPPER 50 CENT

It looks like TAYLOR TOWNSEND has better aim than 50 CENT. The rapper was on a publicity tour and displayed his poor pitching abilities at a recent METS game. He threw the ball very wide left; 50, stay in your lane!

WHO IS IN THE DOG HOUSE?

It’s DOG HOUSE time and it seems like by the end of the segment, GLENN GILLIAM put both FLOYD MAYWEATHER and T.I. in the DOG HOUSE for MAYWEATHER’S inappropriate relationship with T.I.’S wife, TINY and for telling T.I. that he needs to check his “BITCH.” T.I. seems to be in the DOG HOUSE for seemingly boasting that he went toe-to-toe with MAYWEATHER.

WHAT’S IN THE SPORTS PIPELINE:

Actor ANTHONY MACKIE is shopping a JESSE OWENS biopic.

ANTHONY MACKIE, of CAPTAIN AMERICA fame, is shopping around a JESSE OWENS biopic with WE ARE MARSHALL writer JAMIE LINDEN, ACCORDING TO DEADLINE. The would-be movie, which MACKIE would produce and star in, focuses on the lead-up to the 1936 BERLIN OLYMPICS, where OWENS won four gold medals in the shadow of HITLER'S REGIME.

The NBA DRAFT is on Thursday, June 26, 2014

FIFA WORLD CUP starts Thursday, June 12, 2014.

NOTE: What’s The 411TV hosts' comments are their own and not necessarily the opinion of What’s The 411 Networks.

Theatre Review: HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, The Music of Tupac Shakur

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is the Broadway musical based on the lyrics of the legendary rap artist, poet, and actor, TUPAC SHAKUR.

If you're looking for the Tupac story, this is not the one. HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is a social commentary on the plight of black men, particularly those from low-income communities. Tupac's lyrics and music undergirds the story.

When Tupac was alive he was revered by many and reviled by some. In HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, you get to see that Tupac Shakur was a rebel with a cause and HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME amplifies his message magnificently.

The principal cast members of HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME are: Saul Williams; Christopher Jackson; Saycon Sengbloh; Ben Thompson; John Earl Jelks; Joshua Boone; Dyllon Burnside; and Tonya Pinkins.

Kudos to director Kenny Leon. From the lead characters to the supporting cast and chorus, they bring their "A" game; you feel their passion and emotions. You will care about some of the characters, and dislike and feel sorry for others.

In HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, as in real life, we meet young men who are seeking guidance for ways to navigate the world. They are looking for direction from their peers and from older people whose navigational compass should be intact but has gone awry. This is evidenced by examples of the misguided use of sexuality and bravado masquerading as real manhood.

The music will have you at times wanting to dance in the aisles. If you're a purist and want to hear the lyrics as much as the music, well you might be disappointed on that score. The sound system periodically precludes you from hearing the clarity of the singer's voice.

As good as the production of HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is, there is one element missing.

Star power.

Sure, Broadway has transformed many unknowns into stars. However, when you have a production built on the music of a larger than life figure, the production deserves star power.

The book could have been written with a cameo appearance by a rapper that has street cred that we don't see or hear from every day. There are several rappers that fit this bill and any one of them would have gladly taken on the role. Hey for that matter, a long-standing hip-hop radio personality would have also worked and they could have helped with the marketing. Just ask the founders of FUBU and other urban clothing lines.

As for marketing, I'm still amazed at the number of people who don't know about HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME. It's clear that there were missed opportunities and marketing miscues unless of course, the producers were just trying to reach the traditional Broadway theater audience. The HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME logo is very unappealing. Although HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is not Tupac's biography, it is a perception of his life through his music. Consequently, the red carpet opening should have featured high-profile friends of Pac and those who worked with him and held him in high esteem, such as Jada Pinkett Smith, Snoop Lion, Malik Yoba, and director John Singleton; not to mention various hip-hop and urban radio and TV personalities, as well as influencers within the New York City urban community.

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME makes a profound statement and it would be sad if it were to leave the Broadway scene too soon because the marketing plan doesn't match the level of intensity coming from the cast and musicians.

Moreover, the legacy of Tupac Shakur deserves better.

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME!

Boxing, Mob Wives, Jason Kidd, and Love and the Small Print

VIDEO: Jason Kidd, Bernard Hopkins, The Mob Wives and more

This episode of What's The 411 features:

• Boxer Zab Judah (Interviewed by Andrew Rosario)
• Boxer Bernard Hopkins (Interviewed by Andrew Rosario)
DJ Enuff (Interviewed by Andrew Rosario)
Jason Kidd Press Conference (Interviewed by Andrew Rosario)
Ramona Rizzo, Mob Wives (Interviewed by Barbara Bullard)
Love Majewski, Mob Wives (Interviewed by Barbara Bullard)
Penny Karagiogis, Celebrity Hairstylist (Interviewed by Barbara Bullard)
• Filmmakers Ramfis Myrthil and Adam Lawrence; Love and the Small Print (interviewed T.A. Moreland)
• Throwback Interview: 90s R&B Duo Terri & Monica (Interviewed by Amelia Moore)

This episode is hosted by Kizzy Cox and Crystal Henderson.

The script was written by Donna Leslie and Ramona Miles.

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