June 27, 2019 

By City News Service

 

R&B/hip hop artist and actress Mary J. Blige has signed an exclusive first-look deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce television series under her newly launched production company, it was announced today.

 

The nine-time Grammy winner and Oscar nominee will also have the opportunity to create content across Lionsgate's other business platforms.

 

Blige, who received a lifetime achievement honor at the BET Awards last weekend, has released more than a dozen studio albums and appeared in the 2018 film “Mudbound,” which earned her dual Academy Award nominations in the supporting actress and best song categories.

 

She is currently starring in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy” and is going on tour with R&B artist Nas this summer.

 

“Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an incredible human being. We’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice,” said Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. “Every art she touches blossoms and we’re humbled she’s chosen us as her home. We look forward to all the exciting new content Mary and her Blue Butterfly banner will bring to our television slate and Lionsgate 360 orbit.”

 

Blige said she “couldn’t be more excited to be working with Lionsgate. They are incredible collaborators and have been natural partners from when we first started talking. I can’t wait to bring all of our projects to life.”

Category: Arts & Culture

June 27, 2019 

By MICHAEL R. SISAK 

Associated Press

 

A judge rejected Cuba Gooding Jr.’s bid to throw out his New York City groping case so he can continue working, saying Wednesday that she needed time to review written arguments and didn’t want to make a rash decision.

 

Judge Keisha Espinal said she wouldn’t rule on the actor’s request to dismiss the misdemeanor case until Aug. 14, dashing his and his lawyers’ hopes of swiftly scotching 2-week-old charges that he grabbed a woman’s breast at a Manhattan bar, which he denies.

 

The Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star’s upcoming film projects could be in jeopardy if the case drags on and he has to shuttle between his Hollywood home and a Manhattan courthouse for hearings and a trial, defense lawyer Mark Heller argued.

 

“Mr. Gooding’s life is put on hold. It’s on a pause button,” Heller told Espinal during the 10-minute hearing. “It’s urgent that this matter be dismissed as quickly as possible.”

 

Swarmed by cameras outside the courthouse, Gooding smiled and nodded when asked whether he thought the case would ultimately be dismissed. He did not comment on the proceedings. Espinal ordered him to return for the August hearing.

 

As Gooding waited for his ride, a passerby yelled out a remix of his most famous movie line, shouting: “Show us the money, Cuba!”

 

Gooding, 51, is accused of placing his hand on a 29-year-old woman’s breast and squeezing it without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square on June 9. The woman told police she believed Gooding was intoxicated.

 

Gooding was arrested four days later after turning himself in to police. He pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges at a night arraignment and was released on his own recognizance after about six hours in police custody.

 

He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

 

Gooding entered the courtroom Wednesday in dark sunglasses and a charcoal suit and stood between his lawyers in front of Espinal’s bench for the brief hearing.

 

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Long provided Espinal with a with a two-paragraph deposition in which the accuser affirmed the truth of the details in Gooding’s criminal complaint. The judge gave prosecutors until July 17 to file a written response to the defense’s dismissal motion.

 

The defense provided Espinal with a copy of security video from the bar the night of the alleged episode — footage he contends will exonerate Gooding. A former New York City police sex crimes detective whom Heller hired to analyze the video concluded it does not show Gooding putting his hand on the accuser’s breast.

 

The footage, which was obtained and published by TMZ the day of Gooding’s arrest, shows the star putting his hand on or near a woman’s leg and breast as they sit on a couch with his girlfriend between them.

 

Gooding is then seen pulling the woman’s hand to his lips, as if to kiss it, and leaning toward her before another man steps up and talks with them.

 

In his motion, Heller also took aim at the accuser’s credibility, saying blog posts she has written portray a woman with a “troubled mentality.”

 

Heller contends the woman, who has not been identified by prosecutors, wanted revenge after feeling rejected and rebuffed by Gooding and his girlfriend, who asked her to leave them alone after spotting her following them around.

 

“There are compelling reasons that are screaming out for the dismissal of this case at the earliest stage possible,” Heller told Espinal.

Category: Arts & Culture

June 27, 2019

Aries 

MAR 21 - APR 19 

Lies, scandal, and confusion might hit you like a ton of bricks this week. Venus, now in your communication sector, will square off with nebulous Neptune, now in the area of your chart connected to secrets and sorrow. Ohhhh Aries, sometimes love hurts. If you take a step back from your situation and become a witness to it, you may realize that very often the signs were there all along. Because your heart was invested in someone, however, you chose to turn a blind eye to something that was in front of you all along. This week you'll discover what it is.

 

Taurus 

APR 20 - MAY 20 

Someone doesn't want to come clean about a money situation this week, Taurus, and guess what ... it's you! You might choose to hide how much money you really have from your partner or, if you're newly dating someone, might not want to reveal the exact truth of your finances just yet. If you're single, you might feel more vulnerable and lonely this week. As a result, it may be tempting to spend a ton of money on a private matchmaking service or on a dating coach who makes grand promises. Buyer beware!

  

Gemini 

MAY 21 - JUN 20 

Why do fools fall in love? Ohhh Gemini, this week you might feel as if you've completely lost your balance when it comes to matters of the heart. If you're single, you might have a romantic encounter with someone that you realize is too good to be true. The bubble might burst when you find out that this person is hiding something. If you're in a relationship, your partner might disappoint you by not supporting your career dreams. He or she might even leave you feeling defeated -- as if you'll never achieve your goals. Don't give anyone else that kind of power over you, Gemini. Wake up!

  

Cancer 

JUN 21 - JUL 22 

You might find yourself hopelessly devoted to someone who simply doesn't deserve your love. This person might have tangled you up in a situation where you feel like you have to compromise your morals or personal integrity for love. Another possibility is that you are living on a wing and a prayer, hoping that someone you have feelings for will reciprocate them. And yet, the harder you try to push this romance out of the ethers and into reality, the more disappointed you become. The lesson? Let go. What is meant to be yours will not pass you by.

 

Leo 

JUL 23 - AUG 22 

You might allow a friend to confuse your love life this week. Although you have a fabulous and supportive social network, you're also likely to allow at least one of your pals to have more of a say in your current romantic situation than you should. This person might very well have your best interests at heart, but remember: they will only be able to form opinions and advice based on your side of the story. Whatever the details are, this week your side of the story might not be the complete story. As a result, your friend will not be able to offer complete advice.

 

Virgo 

AUG 23 - SEP 22 

You might not have the clarity you need in both career and matters of the heart this week. Venus, currently at the top of your chart, will be at a harsh square to confusing Neptune, now in your partnership sector. You might lack the support you wish you had from your mate as you attempt to make the most of the current opportunities that are coming your way. There might be two choices you have in your professional life, and while you may try to use your partner as a sounding board, all you'll get is radio silence. It could be disappointing.

  

Libra 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

Do yourself a favor, Libra, and this week, don't mix business and pleasure! You might think it's a good idea at the time, but you will definitely feel a sense of disappointment or regret once the bubble bursts and all of the circumstances around this situation become clear. Sure, someone at the office might be attracted to you, but that doesn't mean anything. You might start to flirt only to discover that he or she is dating another one (or two!) of your colleagues. After Wednesday, mingle with friends who have nothing to do with your job. Your romantic prospects will be much better in that direction.

  

Scorpio 

OCT 23 - NOV 21 

You and your partner might make an unexpected decision to try for a baby this week. Patch up any issues between you first. There's a chance that you might find yourself in a situation where there is a serious problem, but you both fool yourselves into believing that if you have a baby it will somehow fix things. That will never work. Alternatively, you might have a very healthy relationship, but financial constraints are somehow getting in the way of your shared dreams or a creative endeavor that you both want to pursue.

 

Sagittarius 

NOV 22 - DEC 21 

You've got so much potential for bliss in your relationship these days thanks to Venus moving through your partnership sector. This week, however, there will be a monkey wrench. On Monday, Venus will square off with Neptune, now in the part of your chart that deals with home and family. You might have a meddling relative who is trying to sabotage your relationship. Or, it's possible that you and your sweetheart will have a disappointing experience trying to set up house together. If you can't agree on whether or not, to move in together you may find the entire foundation of your relationship crumbles. This will only happen if it was built on quicksand.

 

Capricorn 

DEC 22 - JAN 19 

You might feel disappointed in your mate this week. Although you aren't the type who will complain about hard work, there might be something out of balance between you and your partner when it comes to the chores and routine of your shared life. Are you the one who is always running errands for the household or doing little nice things for your partner, like filling up his or her gas tank or picking up their dry cleaning? This week you might feel a bit let down when your mate doesn't reciprocate these kind gestures for you. Address it.

  

Aquarius 

JAN 20 - FEB 18 

If you are single and dating, it's possible that you're ready to narrow down your options and choose to be exclusive with one special person. What's interesting, however, is that you might not make your decision based on compatibility. Instead, you might base it on how much this person can do for you or how much he or she lifts your confidence. Another possibility is that you don't even make a choice, but one is made for you. Someone might lose interest in you.

  

Pisces 

FEB 19 - MAR 20 

Although you'll start out feeling muddled about your love life, as the week progresses, you'll start to realize that you've been the one limiting your options all along. If you're in a relationship that isn't going anywhere, you might have to confront whether or not the union is still viable. Yes, you might be attached and in love but ... is that enough? If you aren't on the same page when it comes to long-term goals, then it might not be. On Thursday you could have a sudden meeting with a brand-new person who sets your mind -- and body -- on fire!

Category: Arts & Culture

June 27, 2019 

By Gary Gerard Hamilton 

Associated Press 

 

Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez may be hosts of a late-night TV talk show that attracts A-list celebrities but they don’t feel like they’re competing with the likes of Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert.

 

The comedians, who go by Desus Nice & The Kid Mero, got their break in podcasts and they fill their Showtime slot with conversation, jokes, viral clips, celebrity slip-ups and offbeat local news stories. They call it “a hodgepodge of the full day’s topics.” It’s spontaneous and less gimmicky than their higher-profile rivals.

 

“Other guys – shout out to them – but they have a formula,” said Mero, the stage name of Martinez. “That’s not what we wanted to do. We wanted to come and do something totally different. And even the term ’late-night show’ – it applies to our show because it comes on late at night, but it’s not your typical late-night show.”

 

Fans will get a chance to see them up close in person this summer when they hit the road, visiting cities like Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and more. Tickets are currently on sale .

 

“The show is a live version of the podcast,” said Desus. “At the beginning of the day, it started with our podcast and at the end of the day, it’s going to be our podcast.”

 

They’re doing what they want on their own terms, the same traits that caught the eyes of Complex Media, which noticed their hysterical Twitter interaction and paired them up for a podcast that quickly turned to video.

 

Desus & Mero reveal how they're shaking up the late night talk show universe, how "Desus & Mero on ShowTime" resembles a Twitter feed, and why the program is ‘for the people.’ (June 26)

 

That led to their popular show on Viceland, and now Baker and Martinez host ”Desus & Mero on Showtime,” the premium network’s first late-night show.

 

“We’re not a bunch of pundits breaking stuff down. We’re just like, ‘This is weird. This is weird. This is not how America works. But wow! What’s going on?’” said Desus, the stage name of Baker.

 

Part of the charm of Desus & Mero is that they don’t hide their New York-ness. Most on-air talent eliminates clothing, accents or vernacular that could alienate different parts of the country. But Desus and Mero not only embrace it, but turn the dial up.

 

“When the revolution comes, we going to kill all the rich people and eat them,” Desus joked to an audience recently. “We’re not rich, though. We from the Bronx. Being rich in the Bronx is like, what, 40 thou?”

 

Although they might be newcomers to late-night, they haven’t shied from the action. While they shoot the breeze with everyone from actors to directors to recording artists, they’ve hit a sweet spot with politics.

 

They’ve toasted Kirsten Gillibrand at a bar, drank malt liquor in the park from bottles wrapped in brown paper bags with Pete Buttigieg and visited fellow Bronx resident Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her Washington, D.C. office – she was their first Showtime guest. (To remind her of the Bronx, they presented her with a Puerto Rican flag, a Fat Joe VHS tape and a Cardi B Fathead.)

 

“It’s like the opposite of what everybody else is trying to do. Not that it’s a goal that we set and said we’re going to be different just for the sake of being different, but it’s just that we’re different,” said Mero. “We’re not going to ask the same questions that the suit-and-tie guy on Fox News or MSNBC are going to ask.”

 

Also known as The Bodega Boys, the New York duo were influenced by the “looseness” of “The Arsenio Hall Show” in the ’90s, the music segments of Dave Chappelle’s “Chappelle’s Show” and elements of “The Eric Andre Show.”

 

“We definitely stand out, not only because we look different,” Desus remarked, referring to their place as the only people of color currently hosting a late-night show. “We might be a little grittier, a little edgier than the other shows, but they’re not really our competition.”

 

What also makes their show unique is its writers room, which features Ziwe Fumudoh and Heben Nigatu – two black women.

 

“Getting people that get you and come from your world is super-important, especially for us, just coming up and being now on the platform that we are now,” said Mero.

 

“You have women of color in the writer’s room because that’s a viewpoint that might not be represented at all in late-night,” continued Desus.

 

“So you get the full 360-view on things that wouldn’t even be on your radar. They’ll bring it to us like, ‘Did you see this?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh wow, this would never make it to my Twitter feed.’ But then we could put it on the show and everyone is like, ‘Oh wow, I didn’t even know about this.’”

Category: Arts & Culture

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