Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin Dead at 76

The legendary Aretha Franklin has passed away.

She was 76.

According to reports, Aretha had been quietly battling pancreatic cancer and was down to 86 pounds at the time of her death.

via TMZ:

Aretha passed away in her Detroit home wherei she was under hospice care. She’d been in failing health for many months and she was down to 86 pounds. One source told us he was informed more than a week ago that Aretha could go at any time.

She was surrounded by friends and family when she passed. Her family released a statement, saying, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

RIP.

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Ja Rule feat. Ashanti – Encore 

Yall cant even front and act like didnt kill it in the early 2000s— So im so happy its 2018 and Ja Rule and Ashanti have reunited for a new track called “Encore.”

Earlier this year, it was confirmed by both Ja and Ashanti that a joint album is in the works.

 “I think we should do one of these joint albums,” Ja said in a tweet after getting inspired from Jay-Z & Beyonce’s Everything is Love album.

While speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Ashanti said that after playing around with the idea for years that they’re finally ready to make it happen.

 “Listen, me and Rule, it’s so funny because we’ve been talking about that for so long, but I think now he’s like, ‘OK, now it’s time to do it’. So we’re going to carve out the time and make it happen,” she said.

Im not if “Encore” is their first official single, but you can listen to the song in full below.

https://clyp.it/stbduvrq

Take Trip Down Memory Lane Below

Their chemistry is and has always been AMAZING. Im here for it 💙💙💙

LeBron James’ I Promise School In Akron Opens And Welcomes Students 

LeBron James is the epitome of greatness on and off the court as the doors of his I Promise School opened on Monday and welcomed new students.

The jitters before the first day of school were very real !!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School.

This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams…big dreams for the kids in Akron to give them everything they could need to find their passion, give back to our community and change the world!!

This school is that. The people are that. Akron is that.

@LJFamFoundation we’ve always done it big and it doesn’t get bigger than opening day tomorrow (until the next thing we dream of )

I’m so unbelievably proud and excited to see my kids, my home, and the 330 tomorrow. THANK YOU! Let’s get it. Let’s go  @IPROMISESchool #WeAreFamily #IPROMISE

Now this is what you do when you get 154 million. This man is the goat on and off the count

Beyoncé Given Full Control Over Her September ‘Vogue’ Shoot, Hired the First Black Cover Photographer in the Mag’s 126 Year History

Beyoncé is changing the live of a young Black photographer.

According to the Huffington Post, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour gave Beyoncé unprecedented control over the cover + editorial for her upcoming September issue.

via HuffPo:

As part of her power, Bey reportedly hired the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the publication’s 126-year history.

His name is Tyler Mitchell and he’s just 23 years old.

The publication is contractually obligated to give Beyoncé full control over the cover, the photos of her inside the magazine and the captions, which she has written herself and are in long-form, according to two sources who are familiar with the agreement between Vogue and Beyoncé but aren’t authorized to speak to the press.

Beyoncé chose Tyler Mitchell, 23, to be her photographer.

“I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way,” Mitchell, who has already made a splash by shooting campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, told The New York Times in December. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.”

Wintour has always exerted complete control over the fashion bible, including selecting the outfits worn by cover models. Cover subjects are usually given little to no say in their photos and are sent the cover in the week ahead of publication, a source familiar with the editorial process at the publication told HuffPost.

The cover is also likely to be Wintour’s last September issue, according to four sources familiar with her plans. Vogue parent company Condé Nast repeatedly has said the editor is not leaving the magazine.

Octavia Spencer Set To Play Madam C.J. Walker for Upcoming Netflix Series

Octavia Spencer is set to play America’s first black, self-made female millionaire — Madam C.J. Walker —  in an upcoming Netflix series.

via NYDN:

Walker, whose real name was Sarah Breedlove, was born in Louisiana to former slaves in 1867. She was orphaned by age 7, earned money washing clothes by age 10 and was married at 14. She was a widow six years later.

After spending more than 20 years toiling for $1.50 a week, Walker created a hair care formula that she turned into a multimillion-dollar business. Walker, who died in 1919 and is buried in the Bronx, also devoted her life to philanthropy and activism

The eight-episode series is based on the 2002 biography “On Her Own Ground,” written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles.

Spencer was named best supporting actress for 2011’s “The Help” and received back-to-back nominations for “Hidden Figures” in 2016 and “The Shape of Water” last year.

Basketball star LeBron James, through his Springhill Production company, will serve as an executive producer on the project.

This is simply Amazing. Cant Wait

‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Officially Leaves ABC

It looks like all the rumors were true. ‘Black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris is officially leaving ABC Studios.

According to sources, Kenya is looking at a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix.

via THR:

“I’m very grateful to Patrick Moran and his team at ABC Studios, who have supported me every step of the way as I created the worlds of Black-ish, Grown-ish and now Besties. It has been an incredible ride including a Peabody and Golden Globe win, Emmy nominations, and many other accolades. But most importantly, they’ve allowed me to realize my dream of creating my own shows and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together,” Barris said in a statement Friday. “No matter what, the studio has never wavered in their support of my creative vision. Leaving is bittersweet, but between my series on the air and projects currently in development, I know I’ll continue to work with ABC Studios for a long time.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9325642b)
Karey Burke and Kenya Barris
Freeform Summit, Panel, Los Angeles, USA – 18 Jan 2018

Barris’ likely move to Netflix comes as the prolific showrunner, as exclusively reported by THR, had been actively trying to get out of his overall deal with ABC Studios, his creative home since 2015. Barris, who earned a Peabody and two best comedy Emmy nominations for his ABC comedy Black-ish, had three years remaining on the lucrative four-year deal he signed in 2017. Sources say other studios, including Warner Bros. Television, courted Barris with nine-figure offers as well. Barris, like Shonda Rhimes when she departed ABC Studios, will remain an executive producer on all of his shows. Kenny Smith has been promoted to co-showrunner alongside Jonathan Groff on Black-ish. Julie Bean continues to serve as showrunner on the Freeform spinoff Grown-ish. Groff, Smith and Bean all have overall deals with ABC Studios. The news comes months after Freeform handed out a straight-to-series order for Barris comedy Besties, which will remain on track.

Barris is a logical fit for Netflix, which is seeking what chief content officer Ted Sarandos has called a “rare class of creator” who can deliver hits that are both critically and commercially successful. Barris has proved the ability to deliver that on both the film and TV side. Also of interest to the streaming service, which is looking to satisfy its 117 million subscribers: prolific producers of content. Again, Barris delivered, overseeing a show and a spinoff (Freeform’s Grown-ish) while also developing aggressively on TV and in film.The Netflix deal follows a series of tough breaks at ABC. In March, for instance, it yanked a politically themed episode of Black-ish following creative differences between the network and Barris. At the time, ABC called the decision to scrap it a mutual one between the network and Barris, though sources say otherwise. The episode was poised to feature star Anthony Anderson’s Dre relaying his concerns about the current state of the country to his son. “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said at the time. “Black-ish is a show that has spoken to all different types of people and brought them closer as a community and I’m so proud of the series.”

First Shonda, now Kenya — ABC Studios out here losing!