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Ava DuVernay and Harpo Collaborate on a Deal with Netflix

VIDEO DISCUSSION: DuVernay’s Central Park Five to be a Netflix limited series; Blue Ivy Carter is getting a lot of attention; Blac Chyna takes Rob to Court

What's The 411 Episode 113 consists of QUICK TAKES of topical news about Ava DuVernay; Chrissy Teigen, RYSE TV, Blue Ivy's Boom Shakalaka and lively discussions about Tupac and Madonna, Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian, and Japanese men who are turning to life-sized anatomically-correct dolls for companionship.

QUICK TAKES:

Film director Ava DuVernay is tackling another tough subject affecting African-Americans. Using the Central Park Five case, DuVernay will explore the subject of social and criminal injustice. Central Park Five, a five-part miniseries will debut on Netflix in 2019.

Chrissy Teigen would like you to stop sending her photos of babies that look like John Legend. She’s sick of it already, so just stop it!

Be on the lookout for RYSE TV. What started out as a magazine is growing into a VOD streaming entertainment platform and mobile app. Based in Atlanta, RYSE, which stands for “Recognizing the Young Successful and Empowered,” will soon become a multimedia group, offering the magazine, TV content, and an app.

Rapper and business mogul, Jay Z’s new album, 4:44 is out and when the confessional album dropped, it had the world talking. But, when the world heard five-year-old Blue Ivy's Boom Shakalaka freestyle, let’s just say that the little rumble you heard was the Internet breaking yet again with people signing up for #IvyLeague!

Pictures of Khloe Kardashian, North West, and Tristan Thompson surfaced online and the Tristan Thompson haters did not hold back, from wondering why he’s not with his own child to God is going to punish him, to hoping the Cleveland Cavaliers dump him.

Kendall and Kylie Jenner's T-Shirt Debacle

The lawsuits keep piling up for Kylie and Kendall Jenner over their T-shirts infused with pictures of themselves and iconic rappers Tupac and Biggie. First, Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mom, hit fast and furiously, and now according to Billboard, photographer Michael Miller is suing the sisters for copyright infringement over the use of photos he took of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

WHAT’S POPPIN – AMERICAN CULTURE

A letter that rapper/actor Tupac Shakur wrote to pop star Madonna breaking off their relationship is going up for auction July 19th through the 28th on the Gotta Have Rock and Roll website, with bids starting at $100,000. The letter shows Tupac as very sensitive, thoughtful, and well-educated. Tupac seemed to have broken off the relationship with Madonna because of what half of his fans would think of him dating a white woman. However, he was hurt by a comment in the press that she was “off to rehabilitate all the rappers and basketball players”. Prior to reading that comment, Tupac thought he was the first rapper Madonna dated.

Q. What are your thoughts about this revelation of the Tupac letter to Madonna?

WHAT’S POPPIN – RELATIONSHIPS

In more Kardashian news, it looks like Rob Kardashian has gotten himself into a whole lot of hot water. In a series of extremely graphic and expletive-ridden posts, which have since been taken down, Kardashian blasted his ex-girlfriend and mother of his only child, Blac Chyna. Chyna responded to the onslaught of messages in a since-deleted Snapchat post, alleging that Kardashian hit her. She has also lawyered up. Famed attorney Lisa Bloom is now representing Blac Chyna and it is not looking good for Rob Kardashian. In fact, Kardashian now has a temporary restraining order against him.

A source close to Blac Chyna told People magazine that Chyna is the victim in this situation: “She’s had to have a new phone number every month and constantly has to change her number. While everyone is writing stories and thinking it’s fun gossip, it’s actually dangerous.”

Q. Does Rob need psychological help? Are we being sucked into the marketing machine of a new season of Rob and Chyna?

WHAT’S POPPIN – RELATIONSHIPS

The NY Post had an article about a new trend in Japan. It seems that Japanese men are turning to life-sized anatomically-correct dolls for companionship because they feel that their wives are neglecting them.

What happened to the notion that women are supposed to do whatever their husbands want?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the week is a photo of Madonna and Tupac hanging out at the club.

THE 411onBOOKS INTRO

Coming up next, Troy Johnson, CEO, and webmaster of AALBC.com and Ruth Morrison are giving a shout out to Go On Girl Book Club for the way it gives back to the community.

And, they can help you to find a good book to read!

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Our Motivational Quote of the Week is:

Success belongs to those who chase it.

This is a quote from Chris Louis. Chris posted his quote in the comments section in one of our YouTube videos. So, keep posting motivational quotes and you never know where we’ll find your quote.

CARIBBEAN COOK-UP

ONIKA: And now….here’s Ms. Kizzy with her Caribbean cook up. What’s in the pot, gal!?

KIZZY: Now, Fay Ann Lyons might have made the song famous, but this is what I call "Heavy T Bumper!" Soca artist Destra invited a man from Belize onto the stage and had him lay down. Destra dropped herself butt first onto his groin area. That did not go well, she burst the man’s bladder and he sued Destra for medical fees, 2 months of missed work as well as pain and suffering. A Belizean judge ordered Destra to pay the man just over $55,000 TT dollars which amount to less than 10,000 USD.

Tupac Break-up Letter with Madonna

Tupac’s letter to Madonna was a head-scratcher, how did we miss this relationship?

A letter that rapper/actor Tupac Shakur wrote to pop star Madonna breaking off their relationship shocked the world.

The now famous letter is going up for auction July 19th through the 28th on the Gotta Have Rock and Roll website, with bids starting at $100,000.

 

What’s The 411 Ep. 112: John Singleton starts feud over Tupac Movie

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Benny Boom claps back at John Singleton; Katy Perry attempts to mend fences with Taylor Swift; Mary J. Blige has to pay up; and more!

This episode of What’s The 411 consists of QUICK TAKES of topical news about Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige. Next, there are lively discussions focused on what would you do if a marriage proposal was accompanied by a $35.00 engagement ring; colleges declining promising students because of their social media activity, and; film director Benny Boom claps back at director John Singleton over the Tupac movie. Rounding out the episode are the following segments: Photo of the Week; The 411 on Books with AALBC.com president and webmaster, Troy Johnson, and Ruth J. Morrison; a Motivational Quote provided by Denise Hurley; and upcoming events in Brooklyn.

 

QUICK TAKES: Patti LaBelle, Kirk Franklin, Demetrius Shipp Jr. and more

VIDEO: What's The 411 QUICK TAKES: Ryan Seacrest reportedly not happy with the monetary offer from American Idol; Khloe Kardashian facing a lawsuit

The National Museum of African-American Music celebrated Black Music Month with the 2017 My Music Matters: A Celebration of Legends Luncheon. The banquet, held at City Winery in Nashville, was hosted by David Mann and featured honorees Patti LaBelle, Teddy Riley, Kirk Franklin, and David Porter.

Actor Demetrius Shipp Jr. has everyone doing double takes. Shipp is playing the legendary rapper Tupac in the upcoming movie, All Eyez on Me. Looking at Demetrius Shipp, no wonder people are saying Tupac is still alive.

Ryan Seacrest has yet to sign on to host American Idol after he reportedly said he would do so. It turns out that Seacrest is fuming that Katy Perry will be paid more than him to be a judge on the show when he built American Idol.

Singer Ray J said his sister, singer/actress Brandy, is fine; she was suffering from exhaustion when she was recently taken off a plane by ambulance to go to a nearby hospital in Los Angeles.

Three-Time Grammy Award-Winner MAXWELL is the Brand Ambassador of HUE For Every Man. The founders of HUE, Jessica Estrada, and Kyle Frazier chose to partner with Maxwell not only to represent their brand but also as a partner in the company because he embodies all of the qualities and values the brand stands for: successful, fashionable, well-groomed, traditional and most importantly philanthropic.

Designer Destiney Bleu, the woman behind dbleudazzled, which specializes in custom crystallized clothing, says Khloe Kardashian ripped off her work.

The website, YBF.COM, is reporting that First Lady Melania Trump has been romantically linked to a Tiffany executive for well over a year. And, that #45 knows the deal and agreed that Melania could get a divorce if he lost the election. Perhaps, this explains another reason for Melania staying behind in NYC, why she doesn’t like PDA with #45, and why they both met with Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral just prior to the election.

The Artists That Have Influenced Blushhh Music May Surprise You

MC Lyte, Missy Elliott, Destiny's Child, Left Eye, Kanye West, and the Flatbush Zombies are among the musical influences of Blushhh Music

In music, everyone is influenced by someone. As a trio, Blushhh Music's sound is their own. However, as individuals, you can hear their musical influences.

Growing up, Sunnie's influences were MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, Tupac, and Queen Latifah. Fast forward, her current influences are Drake, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole.

As a vocalist, Tali's influences come from the R&B/Pop side of the ledger. Michael Jackson's "You are Not Alone" was the first song she sang at 3-years-old. Like many kids who were influenced by their parents' musical preferences, Tali followed her mother's path and became a fan of Janet Jackson and The Jacksons. Tali later became a fan of Destiny's Child, Sade, Shakira, and Selena. Since she has been

Since Tali has been raponizing, Tali's hip-hop influences include NWA, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Chance The Rapper.

Check out this video, Blushhh Music gives a sample of raponizing.

Just listening to Bunni Ray, you can tell her influences are Left Eye (TLC), DaBrat, and Lil' Kim. What is surprising is that she is influenced by modern day Kanye West and the Flatbush Zombies.

In their debut single, Old School Back, Blushhh Music's musical influences are on display, but in a way that is distinctly their own.

We got a little taste of Blushhh Music's raponizing, which is a blend of rapping with a Capella harmonizing.

Pick up Blushhh Music's debut single, Old School Back, on iTunes and follow these ladies on social media @BlushhhMusic

Exclusive Interview: Meet Blushhh Music, Mathew Knowles' New Hip Hop Trio

Sunnie, Tali, and Bunni Ray of Blushhh Music are bringing Old School Back

The newest group from Mathew Knowles' Music World Entertainment is more than a girl group they are a hip-hop trio consisting of rappers Sunnie and Bunni Ray, and vocalist, Tali, better known as Blushhh Music.

What's The 411 had an opportunity to talk exclusively with Blushhh Music about how the group came together; their raponizing art form; the people who influenced them; meeting Mathew Knowles; and Kelly Rowland's impact on Tali; and their first single, Old School Back, which can be purchased on iTunes.

How Blushhh Music Came Together

We all like to know how groups come together. So starting from the beginning, it all started with the help of digital technology. More specifically, Blushhh Music came together with the help of social media.

Group member Sunnie was part of a duo searching for a singer to complete the group. During an Internet search of singers in Houston, she found Tali on Facebook. Fortunately for Tali, she branded herself well with a profile name on Facebook, TaliBestSingerlastname. Additionally, Tali's photos represented her well and the way she responded to the inquiry were the icing on the cake that gave her an invite to audition to be part of the group.

Five years later, the original group of Sunnie, Tali, and another rapper met Mathew Knowles at a showcase and were signed to an artist development contract. Two months into the contract, the other rapper dropped out and consequently there was a need to find another group member. Sunnie and Tali found Bunni Ray on Instagram. Mr. Knowles gave Sunnie and Tali complete creative control over the selection of Bunni Ray, because, at the end of the day, it was their "sisterhood" that was important.

So, can these ladies sing and rap? Well, in a word, yes! They gave us a taste of their "raponizing" aka a Capella rapping harmony.

Musical Influences

In music, everyone is influenced by someone. As a trio, Blushhh Music's sound is their own. However, as individuals, you can hear their influences.

Growing up, Sunnie's musical influences were MC Lyte, Lauren Hill, Tupac, and Queen Latifah. Fast forward, her current influences are Drake, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole.

As a vocalist, Tali's influences come from the R&B/Pop side of the ledger. Michael Jackson's, "You are Not Alone," is the first song she sang at 3-years-old. Like many kids who were influenced by their parents' musical preferences, Tali followed her mother's path and became a fan of Janet Jackson and The Jacksons. Tali later became a fan of Destiny's Child, Sade, Shakira, and Selena. Since she has been raponizing, Tali's hip-hop influences include NWA, Bone Thugs n' Harmony, and Chance The Rapper.

Just listening to Bunni Ray, you can tell her influences are Left Eye (TLC), DaBrat, and Lil' Kim. What is surprising is that she is influenced by modern day Kanye West and the Flatbush Zombies. With What's The 411 being based in Brooklyn, shout out to the Flatbush Zombies! If we had known in advance of the interview, perhaps we could have arranged a meetup!

Blushhh Music's Defining Fashion Style

What's The 411 host and beauty expert, Courtney Rashon, is always focused on beauty and style. Courtney says when she first saw Blushhh Music, she saw their style as glam hip-hop, "Destiny's Child meets TLC, meets like a Run DMC."

"We do match, as you can see," responded Sunnie. "We're big on matching."

Their look is cohesive, a tip they learned from Mathew Knowles. When people see them, they should know that they are in a group even if they are not standing right next to each other.

Although there is cohesiveness, "we do have individual things about ourselves that you're always going to notice, Sunnie continued. "You're always going to notice Sunnie with the braids and a hat. Tali with the big blond hair."

"Artistic," Bunni Ray chimed in. "...she's super artsy with what she wears."

"I'm likely to draw on something or rip it up," added Tali.

"It is never going to be how she bought it in the store," says Bunni Ray.

Tali, who has a sexy style of her own, says that Bunni Ray brings the sex appeal, with Bunni Ray, "you're going to see thighs and boobs, you're going to see, sex appeal," said Tali with a finger snap.

Working With Mathew Knowles

What's The 411 host Onika McLean asked the question that many people want to know.

"How's it working with him (Mr. Knowles)...tell us something we don't know."

"He's not as intimidating as he looks; he's not as mean. We thought he hated us. Oh, he don't like us; I didn't even want to sing," responded Tali.

"If he's hard on you, it is because you have potential," added Sunnie.

"If he tells you that you're good, you might want to work," Tali said.

"Because you're never done growing," Sunnie continued. "Even with his daughter, he says all the time, Beyonce, every show, she's looking at something to improve. Every show, he's looking at something to improve. If you ever feel satisfied, and there's nothing in your mind that you feel you should work on, then he says you should just stop it here because you're not going to prosper. "

"He's funny," said Tali. "He's very funny, he has jokes, so smart. He knows what punch lines to say, what to make the topic of the day. Watch this be the headline because I said it."

"He's a marketing a genius." Sunni interrupted.

Kelly Rowland Makes a Great Impression on Blushhh Music

Aside from Mr. Knowles, who is the most interesting person that they have met since they became a group, Onika asked Blushhh Music

"Kelly Rowland!," Tali responded without hesitation. "Kelly Rowland to me; she played a big part when I was growing up period, in my high school days. When Sunni found me, I was telling Sunni about it, so Sunni was like, okay, okay. So when we got signed with Mr. Knowles, it was weird. So we just had the Atlanta Car Show, the car and bike show that we did, and she (Kelly Rowland) has June's Diary and they were there and they performed. So we got to meet Kelly, and when she saw us across the room, she ran over to us, and she was like 'hey I'm so happy to see you, great job.' So I finally got a chance to introduce her, and they were like, 'hey I heard so much about you.' She's just so sweet. She took a picture with us. She gave us great advice and that is something that we just took with us. It was like meeting the entire Destiny's Child group. It's really like we are Music Entertainment World family.

The Wrap-up

In answering Onika's question regarding what each member of the group would like for the audience to know about the group, Tali didn't hesitate to swoop in before Sunnie and say "original," which is Sunnie's line. After a laugh, Tali told Sunnie to "steal" her line, and she obliged.

"Always be you because no one can be you better than you in the words of Tali," offered Sunnie.

These ladies are so talented, humble, and focused!

Download Old School Back by Blushhh Music on iTunes and follow Blushhh Music on all social media at @BlushhhMusic.

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!

  • Published in Theatre

Actor Malik Yoba Supports The Valley

VIDEO INTERVIEW: MALIK YOBA

Actor Malik Yoba checks in with What's The 411 hosts Roceania and Amelia Moore at an event to benefit The Valley, a nonprofit organization servicing adolescents in upper Manhattan.

Yoba talks about the success of the hit Fox television show, New York Undercover, the expectation of the public, his relationship with Tupac Shakur, entrepreneurial aspirations, and his community service activities.

Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo made television history, as the New York Undercover series was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in the starring roles.

This interview was recorded around 1994-95.

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