July 25, 2019 

Aries 

MAR 21 - APR 19 

This week signals a time to enjoy the rays of happiness that are possible when you shift into a place of "yes" in love. Venus moves into your romance sector on Saturday and remains here through August 21. If you're single, this will be an extremely auspicious time to meet someone who has the ability to truly sweep you off your feet. Your ruler, Mars, is also in the same area of your chart and, on Thursday, will be at a gorgeous angle to Jupiter. Big love is yours for the taking. Grab it!

 

Taurus 

APR 20 - MAY 20 

A decision or important conversation between you and your sweetheart on Wednesday about a family or domestic matter will lead you to love each other even more than you already do. You might feel happier than you have in a long time when it comes to your living situation. If you and your partner already live together, then there's a glorious vibe of joy between the two of you as you truly enjoy each other's company at home. If you're dating someone, then you might start to "play house," only to realize that you're both playing for keeps.

 

Gemini 

MAY 21 - JUN 20 

You're all lit up mentally when it comes to love. In fact, romance is probably all you can think about these days! Not only do you have both cosmic lovers (Venus and Mars) in your communication sector starting Saturday, but on Thursday you'll enjoy a gorgeous link between Mars and Jupiter (now in your partnership sector). This will stimulate a joyous conversation between you and your mate about love, sex, and whatever motivates the both of you to get even closer. Single? You'll have no problem striking up conversation with anyone who makes your heart beat a little faster.

  

Cancer 

JUN 21 - JUL 22 

The beautiful thing about this week's energy is that you aren't seeking validation from anyone else. Whether you're single or in a relationship, you appear confident and filled with so much self-worth and self-love that your only focus is expressing your creative self and giving that love out to others. Because you're not worried about any lack of love in your life, you simply won't experience one. It's nice to be in such a healthy emotional place that you don't need to rely on anyone else to confirm just how awesome you are. And yeah ... you are totally awesome!

  

Leo 

JUL 23 - AUG 22 

Is your love life bad for your health?You couldn't be more in the spotlight if you tried, Leo! Not only is Mars already in your sign, but on Monday, the Sun enters Leo and by Saturday, Venus joins the Leo party. Having Mars in your sign will feel especially magnificent this week in terms of sexy romantic vibes. On Thursday he'll be at a perfect angle to lucky Jupiter, now in your true love sector. This is an aspect that speaks to abundant lovemaking potential. Someone out there just can't seem to get enough of you. And that makes you very happy.

 

Virgo 

AUG 23 - SEP 22 

When it comes to love, there is plenty of action happening and you appear to be extremely happy about the developments. At the same time, however, it will be almost impossible for anyone in your life to even know that you have a love life this week -- it will seem invisible to the outside world. Fortunately for you, this dynamic not only works perfectly but adds to the romance and passion between you and someone close. Everything that happens is behind closed doors ... and that's the way you like it.

 

Libra 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

There is no shortage of romantic opportunity flying your way these days, but sometimes, either consciously or unconsciously, you tend to shut it out before anything can get off the ground. Why? On some level you might not believe you truly deserve the kind of magnificent love story that you see unfold in other people's lives. This week, if that has been your mindset, you'll be happy to know that you're shifting the narrative you tell yourself. Spoiler alert: it includes a happy ending. Yes!

 

Scorpio 

OCT 23 - NOV 21 

You're so in love with someone that you're ready to scream it out from the rooftop with a megaphone! Yes, you! It will be impossible to keep your feelings inside this week and honestly, Scorpio, for you that is a good thing. For once you won't be so concerned about vulnerability and, because of this, your guarded nature will relax just enough to experience the joy of carefree romance in a way that is typically foreign to your nature. You might make a public declaration of love or, someone might make this gesture toward you. You'll embrace it.

 

Sagittarius 

NOV 22 - DEC 21 

A happy-go-lucky attitude permeates your week and will surely extend to romance. You can't help but be all "half glass full" with Jupiter in your sign. What makes it even more delicious is the fact that on Thursday, Mars will be at a positive trine to Jupiter, stimulating all kinds of goodness. You'll be full of positivity and this will be extremely attractive to others. If you're single, you might meet someone you find to be inspiring and uplifting -- a true kindred spirit. Attached? No negatively is allowed in your love life. It just doesn't exist.

 

Capricorn 

DEC 22 - JAN 19 

The depth of connection between you and your partner is about to reach a level you've always yearned for, but somehow were too afraid to allow. So much energy is infusing your 8th House of Shared Resources now, which includes sexual and emotional resources. This week, you'll find it easy to open yourself up to your blind spots in love and intimacy and really let love fill in the darkness. If you're in a relationship, you might have the most transcendental romantic encounter with your lover. You'll feel like you've come home.

  

Aquarius 

JAN 20 - FEB 18 

Opening your heart to love will feel like the most natural state -- even though it is typically more in your comfort zone to have a sense of healthy detachment from too much intimacy. With an infusion of planets in your partnership sector, however, making a genuine and open-hearted connection will become your greatest priority. If you're in a relationship, then you and your sweetheart will experience a growth spurt that is laced with romance and genuine mutual enjoyment of one another's company. Single? Wednesday and Thursday are prime days to meet someone while you're out and about just doing you.

 

Pisces 

FEB 19 - MAR 20 

You can't be blind to the fact that there is something going on between you and a colleague or someone you employ. Mars, the planet of sexual energy, is already in the area of your chart connected to work and health. This Saturday his counterpart, Venus, joins the same area of your chart. With the cosmic lovers together, there will be no denying a sexy romantic connection between you and someone you spend a great deal of time with. This person might also be someone you've hired to do work around your house. One way or another, you're discovering how much fun you can have with someone who helps you out in a significant way. This person is important to you. And the attraction is real.

Category: Arts & Culture

July 25, 2019 

By Lapacazo Sandoval 

Contributing Writer 

 

At first glance, IFC’s “Sher­man’s Showcase” created by comedy duo Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, might seem like a traditional sketch comedy show but it’s much more.  At its core is extraordinary music which makes sense since John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and RadicalMedia serve as executive producers. This is best-in-show and if you like to laugh then “Sherman’s Showcase” is going to bring you buckets and buckets of mirth. 

 

Bashir and Diallo have a take no prisoners approach to comedy and the series features a who’s who of movies, music, sports, and entertainment, including two EGOT winners, and multiple award-winning artists, actors and entertainers including Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor, Common, Morris Day, Tiffany Haddish, Lil Rel Howery, Quincy Jones, Mike Judge, Kenny and Keith Lucas, Nigel Lythgoe, Curt Menefee, Vic Mensa, Tawny Newsome, Ne-Yo, Ray Parker, Jr., Mario Van Peebles, Damon Wayans, Jr., Marlon Wayans and Bresha Webb.

 

Premiering on IFC on Wednesday, July 31 at 10/9c, the series is inspired from classic shows like “Solid Gold,” “Soul Train” and “Laugh-In.” Taking a deep dive into comedy gold, Sherman’s Showcase travels through time via well-produced music segments and clips drawn from the forty-year library of a legendary (fictional) musical variety show. Each week, the vault opens for viewers to experience the chaotic comedy and amazing musical numbers from the forty-year (made-up) history of the show. Whether it’s a real artist playing a fake character, or a comedian playing a real artist, it’s always unconventional, irreverent, and most of all, hilarious.

 

The premiere episode, “Meet Sherman” introduces Sherman McDaniels, host of “Sherman's Showcase” as John Legend walks us through a history of The Showcase — from Sherman's parentage, to the origin of the show, with highlights throughout the show’s run from 1972 to present day.

 

Emmy-nominated Bashir Salahuddin was born and raised on the south side of Chicago as one of eight kids. He met his writing partner Diallo Riddle when they were both students at Harvard University. His other credits include the new comedy “South Side” which he co-created and is executive producing with his writing partner Riddle. As an actor, Bashir has starred in Lionsgate’s “A Simple Favor,” 20th Century’s “Snatched,” as well as the SAG-nominated Netflix series “GLOW.”

 

On the writing side, Salahuddin and Riddle previously were consulting producers on TBS’S “The Last OG” and developed their pilot “Brothers in Atlanta” with Broadway Video at HBO.  They began their careers as staff writers on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where they wrote such notable pieces as “Slow Jam the News with Barack Obama” and “The History of Hip-Hop with Justin Timberlake.”

 

Here is an edited excerpt from a phone call with Bashir Salahuddin co-creator of IFC’s “Sherman’s Showcase.”

 

L.A. Watts Times: Hey there, cats and kittens!

 

Bashir Salahuddin: What?

 

LAWT: Hey there, cats and kittens. That’s the greeting Sherman McDaniels, host of Sherman's Showcase delivers in your very funny show — Sherman’s Showcase which debuts on IFC, July 31.  

 

BS: It sure is. 

 

LAWT: I love your series. 

 

BS: That’s so good to hear.

 

LAWT: Stop acting modestly. I’m sure you’re hearing this with all your press interviews. I bet not one person said, hell—I didn’t laugh once.

 

BS: Hell no. We’re comedy scientists. We know the laughs are there. This is the first time something like this is happening so I’m just wide-eyed and just trying to take it all in and not say something stupid. That’s my main goal, not to say something stupid.

 

LAWT: Unless and until you’ve been commissioned to write something “stupid” and then you just run to the bank.

 

BS: Hell, yes.

 

LAWT: I decided to take a few notes on the numerous jokes that run through your show but then I started laughing and I could not finish. I just had to sit back and enjoy—and here comes the plug— “Sherman’s Showcase” on IFC.  Can I push in?

 

BS: (laughing) Go ahead.

 

LAWT: In the show, you had a character say: “Wrong, wrong, wrong as the night is long” — that’s funny.

 

BS: (laughing) Brother, you’re wrong, wrong and the night is long and it rhymed.

 

LAWT: My favorite episode is your homage to Prince when he sings his arrangement for “Take Me Out to The Ball Game.” It’s comically and musically perfect! I can’t believe you said that many theologians said it was “the rapture” — an instant classic.

 

BS: You know, I love that episode so much. I was just talking to someone about that episode.  It's our way to pay tribute to a great artist. Diallo and I are music fans, and I don’t know if you can tell from the show, but all the music is written by musicians.

 

LAWT: Wait. All of the music in “Sherman’s Showcase” is written by musicians? That’s why I was shaking my head and singing along? Got it. It’s not like other sketch comedy shows. Well done, brother, well done.

 

BS: Thank you. We certainly helped create the melodies but the creative process was all but into the hands of great music producers.  Back to your favorite episode, as music fans, we never felt like we had a proper goodbye to Prince Roger Nelson. So, we decided to dedicate a whole episode to him. The actor we hired looks just like him particularly when he gets dolled up. We loved the idea that we were able to do early Prince, when he had the afro. Super-hot Prince, when he barely had to move and he would just show up and everybody would go crazy—like the fish would stop swimming. Finally, when he sings “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” it was our way of saying goodbye to somebody who meant so much to us for so much of our lives.  We could not have been happier to do that.

 

LAWT: Bashir when I heard his rendition of the song I thought the arrangement was tight. It works.

 

BS: Yes, it’s amazing. It does work. It’s also good that the song is in public domain. It’s interesting. It’s one thing to have an idea and actually like do it, and then go and do it.  When you’re dealing with music there are a lot of legal restrictions. An example you can’t post a Youtube video of you and your kids if a Beyoncé song is being played in the background. The next day that thing will be gone. Do you know what I’m saying?

 

LAWT: Understood.  Is that why it’s important for you to work with professional musicians?

 

BS: Correct. A lot of comedy will do music but clearly, the writers don’t care about it because it’s all about the jokes.  We decided with this show that we must elevate. While working for Jimmy Fallon, it was really easy to write a sketch with music in it when you can just walk downstairs and walk into a room and there is Questlove. So, I think that kind of spoiled us a little bit, but that inspired us to get the right people that know music and that’s what we did.

 

LAWT: Now I know why this show — your show— “Sherman’s Showcase” hit me in the gut.  The execution of humor, flawless. The execution of music, stylish and not to be missed.  Last words?

 

BS: We create checkpoints for ourselves to make sure that the stuff is good.  We sort of make it harder on ourselves, but by doing that, the show is better. We didn’t cut any corners whatsoever.  We weren’t just in the writer's room we were also in the studio.

Category: Arts & Culture

July 25, 2019 

By Lapacazo Sandoval 

Contributing Writer 

 

First impression, Walter Mosley, author and consulting producer/ writer on FX’s “Snowfall” for the past two seasons, has a distinctive and comforting voice. His cadence reminded me of jazz.  He confessed that he doesn’t like his voice suggesting that it’s nothing special. I will agree to disagree.

 

But it was exactly Walter Mosley’s voice—on the page—that the late John Singleton wanted when he first approached him to be a part of the writing team of FX’s “SnowFall.”

 

Walter Mosley is simply one of the most versatile and admired writers in America. Always in motion to create new work he’s the author of more than 50 critically-acclaimed books including his novel “John Woman,’’ “Down the River” and “Unto the Sea,” which is an Edgar Award finalist for Best Novel as well as the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. Mosley has a global following and his work has been translated into 25 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times and The Nation, among other publications. In 2013, he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame and is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

 

Based in New York and Los Angeles as a consulting producer and writer, Singleton wanted him to be his expertise to the show which chronicles the true story of the crack epidemic. Winding the clock back, it’s the summer of 1984, and it’s snowing in Los Angeles.  In season three of FX’s “Snowfall,” crack cocaine is spreading like wildfire through South Central and like a wildfire, it continues its path of destruction, changing the culture forever. As addicts grow and bodies drop, the police are finally waking up to this growing epidemic, and Sergeant Andre Wright, played by Marcus Henderson, has set his sights on budding kingpin and next-door neighbor Franklin Saint, who is played by Damson Idris.  While local law enforcement fights to stem the tide, Teddy McDonald, played by Carter Hudson, and the CIA are working hard to make sure the flow of cocaine into L.A. doesn’t stop. To continue funding the war against communism in Central America, Teddy will need to find new routes into the United States using Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and what's left of the Villanueva family.  As the stakes and losses continue to mount, our players truly begin to understand the destructive force they have set in motion and must reexamine their motivations and the cost of continuing forward from here.

 

Here is an edited phone conversation with author and consulting producer Walter Mosley.

 

L.A. Watts Times: You have a great voice, Mr. Mosley.

 

Walter Mosley: Really? I will accept that. I don’t think that.

 

LAWT: What is your role as a consulting producer on FX’s ‘Snowfall?’ I understand from press notes that you wrote episode three, which I screened, and half of episode nine which, I’m told, is being edited. How did this journey begin for you?

 

WM: Four years ago, John Singleton called me and told me that he was doing this show and it’s about the advent of crack between 1983 and 1988 in Los Angeles and how these Black people were dealing with the CIA and how the CIA was using that money to pay for the war in Nicaragua. I said so what do you want?

 

LAWT: And what did John want?

 

WM: He said that he wanted me to come in and sit in the room and I want you to respond to things that are happening. I need you to be my other side basically in the room.  For a couple of years, I did that. The first year, we were just thinking about the show. By the second year, the show existed. The third year, I was doing the same work, but on top of that someone said, well Walter, as long as you’re here and you are a writer, why don’t you write. So, I wrote an episode in the second season and I wrote an episode and a half in the third season. So, it’s gone like that.

 

LAWT: You wrote episode three in the third season called ‘Cash and Carry.’ Can you share how you shaped that episode?

 

WM: That’s hard to answer. You asking that question is like asking a whole bunch of different questions. What’s so interesting is that all writer rooms work differently. I was in a writers’ room where there were eight or nine people and we would sit around and discuss the arc of the whole season. Like, the whole season is a big story.  And then, what are the independent stories? And along the way you get assigned a story, like, ‘you’re going to do number three’. I said, ok, that’s fine.’

 

LAWT: So that’s what happened in FX’s ‘Snowfall’ writers’ room? It begins with conversation.

 

WM: We’re talking about it. How Franklin is going to Panama City and then to Mexico and then to Costa Rico and then there is the Nicaragua connection. And there’s stuff going on in America and pretty much we outline what the story is going to look like. The interesting thing about it is this is that even once the story is outlined and once you give it to the writer—which was me in this case—the writer writes all kinds of stuff. There is a kind of identity, a signature of the writer in any episode. But on the other hand, I’m also following what the other eight or nine writers are thinking about that episode.

 

LAWT: Can you push in a little bit about the signature of a writer in any episode?

 

WM: It’s really easy to tell my writing versus other people’s, because I write differently.  But at the same time, I have to follow the story of the whole 10 episodes to make sure that everything fits and not only because of the aesthetics, but also there is a story that we’re trying to tell, and we don’t want to mess that up.  Was that a good answer or did I go a different way?

 

LAWT: You gave me a Walter Mosley answer and a sneak peek into “Snowfall’s” writers’ room, so thank you.  As a novelist, you write alone. How does it feel being in a writers’ room?

 

WM: It’s just different and working on a show like this, we are very much together and I like both things. It was great with John.  You know John was a great guy.

 

LAWT: I heard that.

 

WM: He’s kind of wonderful and he was working hard to express what it was like to live his life in South Central and he was so committed to that. So, when he asked me to do it, I had to say yes because John was a major guy. I did love it.

 

LAWT: Director Dallas Jackson shared some great stories on how John helped him get his film career going.

 

WM: John was like that almost every day of his life. There are hundreds of people whom he made their careers. Hundreds not dozens.

 

LAWT: Hundreds? That’s amazing.

 

WM: One of the hard things about being Black in America is the pressure. If you’re Black in America you have all kinds of pressure on you but John said it was his job to help his people. His job.

 

LAWT: His job.

 

WM: In talking with him he would say to me it’s our job to help our people.

 

LAWT: Our job is to help our people. I agree.

 

WM: Those are the two things that he would say to me: it’s mine or it’s ours. 

 

If you could not do it, if you failed, if you messed up, well then you did, and that was ok, but he was committed to giving you a chance. I know so many people who have major careers that were started by John. He was a great man.

 

LAWT: You know where FX’s ‘Snowfall’ is going can you share?

 

WM: (laughing) And you do too, all you have to do is look it up. There was crack. There were Black people and they were selling crack. They made millions of dollars. It made lives. It destroyed lives but it was also underneath supported by the CIA and Ronald Regan and all those people. And John said, I just want to tell the truth.

 

FX’s “Snowfall” episode 3 entitled “Cash and Carry” airs on July 24.

Category: Arts & Culture

July 18, 2019 

By MARYCLAIRE DALE 

Associated Press 

 

Lawyers for Meek Mill will ask an appeals court Tuesday to overturn a 2008 drug and gun conviction that has kept the rapper on probation for a decade and made him a celebrity crusader for criminal justice reform.

 

Defense lawyers believe the city judge who has overseen his case and sent him to prison in 2017 over minor parole violation has become overly involved in the performer's life – once checking on his community service efforts at a homeless shelter – and lost her impartiality.

 

And, they say, the only prosecution witness at the nonjury trial was a drug squad officer whose credibility is now in doubt.

 

“When a trial judge injects herself into a probationer's personal and professional life and creates an appearance of bias and, on top of that, makes multiple legally erroneous rulings, the whole judicial system suffers,” appellate lawyer Peter Goldberger wrote in a defense brief filed in advance of Tuesday's arguments before Pennsylvania Superior Court .

 

The retired officer, Reginald Graham, is on an internal do-not-call list of police officers District Attorney Larry Krasner won't use in court because of credibility concerns, according to a brief Krasner's office filed in support of the new trial bid.

 

“Although he was not charged federally with the other officers in the narcotics unit, Graham resigned from the police department prior to being formally dismissed,” Krasner’s office wrote, referring to a 2015 police corruption trial that ended with the acquittal of six officers. “The Commonwealth cannot call a witness whose credibility it mistrusts.”

 

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, became a champion for criminal justice reform after Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced him in 2017 to two to four years in prison for minor probation violations. He spent five months in prison before a court ordered him released last year.

 

He has hired a large team of top criminal lawyers to fight his conviction and probation issues, prompting the judge herself to hire a high-profile city lawyer to defend her actions.

 

“She's a tough judge across the board,” said the judge’s lawyer, A. Charles Peruto Jr. “When you have this kind of money and fame you use it to your advantage to try to show she’s prejudiced against him. If he wins, it just demonstrates that he’s above the law.”

 

At the 2008 trial, Graham testified that the 19-year-old Williams pointed a gun at him during the arrest outside his southwest Philadelphia home. Williams has acknowledged having a gun but denied pointing it at police. Brinkley found him guilty and sentenced him to concurrent jail terms of just under one year and two years, followed by 10 years of probation.

 

Williams, now 32, has frequently tangled with the judge over terms of the parole, especially over reporting requirements and travel rules that he says conflicts with his soaring music career.

 

Brinkley, after a 2015 hearing that included testimony from Williams' then-girlfriend, superstar Nicki Minaj, said she “has done nothing but try to help the defendant.”

 

Williams, whose top-selling albums include the 2015 ``Dreams Worth More Than Money'' and last year's ``Championships,'' is a fixture at NBA games in Philadelphia and has the support of many high-profile celebrities and athletes.

 

He appeared in last month’s season finale of “Saturday Night Live,” performing beside DJ Khaled, John Legend, SZA and other artists in a tribute to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.

 

A documentary on his legal travails, produced by music mogul Jay-Z, is set to be released next month.

Category: Arts & Culture

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