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Ad Astra doesn’t add up. [Movie Review]

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to outer space to figuratively kill two birds with one stone - or one trip. There are electronic waves coming from the heavens threatening earth and this phenomenon leads scientist and high-level government officials to believe that there’s a connection between the waves and a space voyage 30 years earlier led by McBride’s father (Tommy Lee Jones) from which his father never returned.

Despite Brad Pitt’s stellar performance, Ad Astra never really takes off and it gets a Rent It rating. Screenwriters James Gray and Ethan Gross layout the story effectively and clearly. There’s the threat to destroy the world which is likely connected with the McBride’s father space journey decades earlier. But other than that, this story moseys through a series of modestly interesting scenes serving as little more than filler until McBride reaches his final destination.

And those of you who expect Star Wars-type battles and scenes, you’ll be disappointed. Many of the scenes are serene and calm – which probably better represents what outer space is really like. There’s a mildly amusing portion: The film is set in the future where passengers can take commercial flights to the moon. Those wanting the comfort of an on-flight blanket pay a cool, $125!

Again, Brad Pitt does all he can to propel this story into an entertainment sphere. And the cinematography is out of this world, with creative angles and vantage points. However, those features are not enough.

Ad Astra gets a “B” for cast diversity. This is very much a white male-dominated cast. However, Ruth Negga has a major supporting role. Kimberly Elise plays an astronaut, but with very little to say. There are other people of color with visible but minor roles.

Ad Astra is rated PG-13 for some violence and bloody images coupled with brief strong language. At 124 minutes, it’s too long.

In the end, Pitt’s performance coupled with the visually stimulating scenes is what gives this film some entertainment value. But don’t see it now. Wait and Rent It

50 Cent is Feuding with Paris Jackson, Rosie Perez to Receive Latinavator Award

VIDEO CONVERSATION: Nicki Minaj says she is retiring and the Barbz says not so fast; is there a Real Housewives of Chicago on the drawing board?

In this episode of What's The 411's Quick Takes, award-winning journalist, Kizzy Cox, and; comedian Onika McLean are talking about Demi Lovato’s Instagram post of a picture of herself exposing cellulite with the caption, Cellulit! and Mike Johnson of Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise fame’s positive response.

R. Kelly is now in the general population and his trial for sexual misconduct is set to start on April 27, 2020; meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein’s trial date is set for January 6, 2020.

What is a 50 Cent story without a feud with someone? This time, 50 is feuding with Paris Jackson over his belief that singer/songwriter Chris Brown is better than Michael Jackson. 

Popular actress Rosie Perez, who is from Brooklyn, will receive the Latinavator Award from John Leguizamo’s NGL Collective. 

Nicki Minaj says she is retiring to start a family and many say they will believe it when they see it.

The US House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee will begin a Congressional Impeachment Probe/Inquiry into Donald Trump’s unconstitutional and alleged illegal activities.

And, rumor has it that Bravo producer Andy Cohen is considering a “Real Housewives” show for the Midwest, Real Housewives of Chicago.

Malik Yoba is Accused of Soliciting Sex from Trans Teen | What's The 411 Ep. 149

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Azealia Banks receives backlash from Lizzo's fans after making "insulting" comments about Lizzo, Cardi B, and Lil Nas X

In this episode of What's The 411, award-winning journalist, Kizzy Cox, and comedian Onika McLean, are discussing news items Malik Yoba, Azealia Banks, Lizzo, Cardi B, Lil Nas X, Kandi Burruss' daughter Riley crowdsourcing money for her birthday, parents making their children feel indebted for being born, and a white woman named LaKeisha.

What’s Poppin’ – CULTURE

Actor Malik Yoba, best known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J. C. Williams on the Fox police drama New York Undercover, and more recently in the television program, Empire, stepped into a hailstorm after making a comment in support of transgender women. Mariah Lopez Ebony, a former transgender prostitute turned activist, claims Yoba paid for sexual favors from child sex workers. The Sigma Beta Club program, which provides counseling and guidance for pre-teen boys and teenage males dropped Yoba as its spokesperson. The program is a service offered by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Q. Have you ever heard any whispers about Malik Yoba and can he survive the allegations?

What’s Poppin’ - MUSIC

Azealia Banks, a rapper who hasn't had a hit record in several years, spewed a few words after the singer, Lizzo’s, record Truth Hurts, ascended to No.1 on the Billboard 100 list. Banks wrote a scorching post on Twitter going after Lizzo stating:

“The song is not good, nor is the dumpy fat girl spectacle live set she does. Saddest bit is that the girl is legit talented and truly only being allowed to shine so long as she allows herself to be this millennial mammy of sorts.”

And, Banks didn’t stop there, she went on to say:

“Like illiterate Cardi then fat Lizzo. They are really choosing the worst of the black womens crop to advertise America with. I guess they saw us moving too fast with it because if you realize, after Beyoncé became political in ways they didn’t like, the elite stopped giving her that top top spot and started cycling out these lessers like Cardi and Lizzo (even Lil Nas X trash ass buckbreak mountain anthem) giving them Beyoncé level accolades while both being nowhere near the level of black female excellence she is.”

Q. One could say, Azealia Banks, is at it again. Or, you could say, there is some truth in her statement. What do you think?

What's Poppin' - Real Housewives of Atlanta

Recently, Kandi Burruss’ daughter, Riley Burruss, landed in hot water for an Instagram post on her birthday asking her fans to send her money. Some RHOA fans asked her to stop because her mother’s a millionaire and she shouldn’t be online asking people for money, while others came to her defense.

Q. Do you think this was a wise move on Riley’s part? Were some of her fans right that she shouldn’t be asking for money online?

What's Poppin' - Family Matters

Recently, there was a great article in MadameNoire, titled, Stop Making Your Children Feel Indebted To You For Being Born.

Q. Do you think this is a thing? If so, why do you think most parents do this?

What’s Poppin’ –POP CULTURE

We have talked about cultural appropriation on this show quite often. What do you think it's like to be a white woman with the name LaKiesha?

 

Jeffrey Epstein found dead in his cell; Marlon Wayans on the Cancel Culture | What’s The 411 Ep. 148

VIDEO CONVERSATION: Cassie is engaged to be married, what’s next for Diddy? Porsha Williams takes back Dennis McKinley

In this episode, the hosts, award-winning journalist, Kizzy Cox; comedian, Onika McLean, and; Keisha Wilson are talking about the death of Jeffrey Epstein; Wendy Williams considering friendship with her estranged husband, Kevin Hunter; Cassie Ventura's engagement to Alex Fine may be having an effect on Diddy, why else would he be dating Lori Harvey; RHOA's Porsha Williams and Dennis McKinley are engaged for a second time, and; Marlon Wayans has his say on the Cancel Culture in Comedy

Katrina Walker is Unbreakable | What's The 411 Ep. 147

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Katrina Walker rises from poverty, 5 husbands, and homelessness to become a self-made millionaire

Katrina Walker's story is very inspiring. She went from poverty, four husbands, including an abusive relationship to becoming an author, self-made millionaire, playwright, and TV producer. In addition to this interview, you can get more details in Ms. Walker's new book, Unbreakable: 5 Husbands, Homeless to Self-Made Millionaire the Katrina Walker Story.

 

 

Ready or Not is Gruesome [MOVIE REVIEW]

One of the days many women dream about from childhood is their wedding day. Grace (Samara Weaving) can’t hide her excitement about marrying Alex (Mark O’Brien). They have been blissfully happy together for years. And today, they both are thrilled to formalize their love before family and friends. However, the night after the wedding, Grace, and Alex join in a ritual that has been a part of Alex’s family for generations: selecting a game to play. When Grace pulls the hide-and-seek card as the selected activity, her dream day turns into a nightmare.

Ready or Not is bloody, violent, bloody, morbid, bloody, intriguing, and bloody. If you’re a horror film fan, you’ll love it. And it gets a See It! rating. The screenwriters' layout of this story, detail by detail. Viewers know what’s going on and why. Every character plays a valuable role in the development of this movie.

Samara Weaving is a sympathetic protagonist as the young, trusting, and very much in love bride ultimately relying on her wits to win this life or death game she never imagined playing. Without her strong performance, this film doesn’t work.

The directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett visually highlight the macabre results of every act of violence. You’re not human if don’t wince a few times watching this film.

It’s hard to give Ready or Not, a cast diversity rating because it centers on the (Caucasian) groom’s few family members. I guess they could have had a person of color as part of that group which in this day and age wouldn’t have been uncommon. But they don’t. However, at Grace’s and Alex’s wedding earlier that day, the guests include several people of diverse races.

Ready or Not is 95 minutes in length and rated “R” for violence, bloody images, language throughout, and some drug use. Ready or Not is an exceptional production and again, gets a See It! rating.

Jay Z Causes an Uproar with NFL Partnership Announcement

Jay-Z in talks with NFL to buy a share of one of the league’s flagship franchises, report says

Rapper and business mogul, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, caused an uproar when he announced that he is partnering with the NFL. Even Colin Kaepernick, who was essentially kicked out of the NFL for kneeling during the US National Anthem, isn’t pleased with this development.

The rapper’s decision to do business with the NFL has caused an uproar among some of Jay-Z’s biggest fans as it’s seen as a slight to former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and his movement.

Social justice advocates see Jay-Z's coziness with the NFL as a slap in the face to the movement Kaepernick started with kneeling during the National Anthem before the start of NFL football games. Kaepernick has always stated that his kneeling was to shed light on police brutality and the oppression of minorities throughout the country.

According to a  press release issued by the NFL, Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by rapper and businessman Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, is entering into a multiyear partnership with the NFL to enhance the NFL's live game experiences and to amplify the league's social justice efforts.

As part of the agreement, Roc Nation will advise on the selection of artists for major NFL performances like the Super Bowl. A major component of the partnership will be to nurture and strengthen community through football and music, including through the NFL's Inspire Change initiative.

The NFL formally launched the Inspire Change initiative in early 2019, after more than two years of work with NFL players, with the goal of creating positive change in communities across the country. Through this initiative, NFL teams and the league office work with the Players Coalition and other NFL players to support programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a focus on three priority areas: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform.

"With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country," Carter said in a press release. "Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas -- instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America."

Carter added during an August 14, 2019, Q&A with select media, "I'm really into action -- I'm into real work. I'm not into how it looks. How it looks only lasts for a couple months until we start doing the work. I've been in this position many times. Take Tidal as a great example from five years ago. Now, people look at it today, people have a different outlook on it. But at the time, people didn't see what was going on. So I've been in this position many times. I just show up and do the work, I'm not interested in how things look on the outside. If protesting on the field is the most effective way, then protest on the field. But, if you have a vehicle that you can inspire change and you can speak to the masses and educate at the same time."
Carter said the platform that the NFL provides speaks to the work in the community that the league and Roc Nation can do together.

"Inspire Change is already happening (with Roc Nation) and the NFL has a huge platform," he said. "We can use that huge platform, and we've seen it happen. Like with J.J. Watt, when he brought the aid to everyone in Houston, everybody forgot about the turmoil that was in the NFL. If you can use this platform to do that in different areas, that's a home run. That's how I would view a success. That's success for me."

Roc Nation also will work with the NFL to create and distribute content across multiple music streaming services for a variety of initiatives.

"Every conversation I've had with Jay has been inspiring," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Not just on his perspective on the process of how we do the entertainment, but what we should try to achieve. We always say we should get better and we should evolve. We think we should partner with the best, and that's why we're sitting here. We believe we're partnering with the best. So, his perspective is going to drive us."

Q. Is this a good move for Jay Z and the NFL, and what do you think Jay Z hopes to accomplish in addition to making money?

 

Marlon Wayans is Disturbed by the Cancel Culture for Comedians

Comedian Marlon Wayans has a few words for social media trigger fingers

Marlon Wayans is on the press junket circuit promoting his upcoming film, Sextuplets, and Wayans recently spoke out against the "cancel culture" in comedy.

The cancel culture is when those who get amped up in a negative way about jokes and take to social media to start a petition to cancel the comedian. Wayans believes these very actions are leading to a “cancel culture” in comedy.

“Social media alerts the media, which then tells the message that everybody should be as sensitive about every topic, but that’s not true,” Wayans told BuzzFeed News' Twitter morning show, AM to DM. “Comedians, we’re supposed to speak our voice and we’re supposed to find what’s funny. That’s my job. It’s like telling a fireman, ‘You can’t go into that burning building.’ Well, how am I gonna save lives?”

“My job is to talk about all the things people are scared to say,” Wayans explained. “My job is to go into these dark topics and go in these dark caves and come out with this elixir called ‘the laugh.’”

 Question for you, Onika. You are a comedian, what are your thoughts about this recent phenomenon of comedians getting canceled that starts with a person who was offended by a joke and then creates a petition on social media to get the comedian canceled.

The Porsha Williams and Dennis McKinley Story Takes Another Turn

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Porsha Williams accepts Dennis McKinley's explanation and his marriage proposal, but was the marriage really off? 

The Real Housewives of Atlanta stars were at Caribana in Toronto and Tanya Sam threw a party for the “housewives” and lo and behold, Dennis McKinley is the surprise guest.

At the party, Dennis proposes to Porsha Williams and she accepts his proposal.

A few weeks ago, there was an elaborate story about Dennis’ cheating on Porsha.

Although at the time, Porsha only had few words to say about Dennis’ supposed cheating, she stopped following him on social media.

Fast-forward a few weeks, now Porsha and Dennis are re-engaged.

Do you think the cheating story was real?

If you think the story’s not real, let's take it a step further, do you think Porsha only knew Dennis for one month before she got pregnant?

Is Diddy Trying to Save Face Now That Cassie is Engaged?

Diddy meets up with 21-year-old Lori Harvey, and her parents, Marjorie and Steve Harvey

As you know, Cassie used to date Diddy. She finally got tired of his non-committal behavior, and now is engaged to marry Alex Fine and they have a baby on the way.

Many observers acknowledge that Diddy was blind-sided by Cassie and Alex's announcement.

Perhaps, not to be outdone, recently, Diddy was spotted having dinner in Italy with 21-year-old Lori Harvey, and her parents, Marjorie and Steve Harvey.

Now, almost everyone has been abuzz about Diddy having dinner with Lori and her parents including dating and/or proposal rumors.

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