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Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Deny Actor Paid $3,500 To Orchestrate Attack

Sources close to the Jussie Smollett investigation have spoken with several media outlets and allege new evidence shows the Empire actor may have orchestrated the attack, and even paid men $3,500 to go through with it.

The two men who are brothers were arrested Wednesday and released Friday (Feb. 15) without charges. Both men are cooperating fully with Chicago police, and authorities found records they purchased a rope at a local hardware store, which was used during the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh, and Victor P. Henderson, quickly denied the claim made by authorities.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

On Jan. 29, Smollett was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant when the actor alleges to have been attacked by two men who beat him, poured bleach on him and tried to hang a rope around his neck. The 35-year-old entertainer, who identifies as gay, said one of the men shouted "This is MAGA country" as well as other racial and homophobic slurs.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said one of the men appeared on Empire and have past affiliation with Smollett.

During his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Thursday (Feb. 14), Smollett expressed frustration about not being believed. Sunday morning (Feb. 17) the hashtag 'JussieSmollettHoax' trended on Twitter. The Internet was split with many offering a digital "I told you so" due to the reports, while others, particularly members of the black LGBTQ community, questioning why many were quick to believe the word of law enforcement.

Us straight men waiting on the LGBT community to apologize after Jussie lied pic.twitter.com/0PDmNX4ykZ

— Flickens McCray (@Mickens__) February 17, 2019

https://twitter.com/angryblkhoemo/status/1096967004517515266

No idea what actually happened w/ Jussie Smollett. But do know that 4 years ago, Chicago PD spent 13 months justifying Laquan McDonald’s murder before releasing dashcam video showing he was walking away before being shot at 16x by an officer. Why are we just accepting their word?

— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) February 17, 2019

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Dapper Dan Defends Decision To Meet With Gucci

Gucci's latest initiatives to eliminate their cultural ignorance were helped brought together by Dapper Dan, a decision that has left the designer at throws of critics who aren't thrilled about the Harlem legend working with the luxury brand.

On Saturday (Feb. 16) Dan, born Daniel Day, explained why he met with Gucci's President and CEO Marco Bizzarri and what it could mean for the future of young black designers.

"We have to learn to earn," he said in a statement on Instagram. "What happened to all the Black fashion brands that failed since the '80s? Was it because they didn't get Black support, or was it because they didn't know the business? Do you expect our young Black designers to spend 30+ years mastering fashion by teaching themselves as I did? How do you expect them to compete with big brands if they don't really know the business? They need jobs and internships within these big brands so that they can learn and they branch out on their own."

 

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A post shared by Dapper Dan (@dapperdanharlem) on Feb 16, 2019 at 8:36am PST

Dan's history with Gucci has always been a complex one. Known for his custom designs for street legends like Alpo Martinez and rappers like Jay-Z, Eric B. and Rakim and Cam'ron, Dan is credited with bringing luxury to hip-hop culture. It took over two decades for Gucci and other brands to acknowledge his influence. In 2017, Dan partnered with the brand for a new menswear line and Harlem saw The Dapper Dan Atelier Studio as the first luxury house fashion store in 2018.

But it wasn't until figures like 50 Cent slammed the designer over his business ties with the brand which seemed like a victory just last year to the public. In his statement to his critics, Dan explained why the meeting was bigger than his brand and how Gucci's new initiative will benefit aspiring designers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt5aNxCnht4/

"Many young people think a t-shirt design with a logo is a fashion business when in reality the business of fashion is so much broader and more complex than that," he added. "I studied my a** off to master this business. Live your dream. Don't let other people's feelings stop you. Take advantage of the chance to learn. All you haters get out the way for young people. Embrace change. For those that want to continue to hate Gucci and boycott, you are entitled to do as you please. But if anyone should be boycotted it's the brands that won't give our young people an opportunity to learn."

Gucci's four new initiatives include hiring global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, setting up a multicultural design scholarship program, the launch of a diversity and inclusivity awareness program and launching a global exchange program.

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Dave Chappelle Personally Provides Tickets To Couple Who Were Scammed On Craigslist

One couple's Valentine's Day was made thanks to Dave Chappelle after they were scammed out of $500 dollars on Craigslist trying to buy the tickets to see the comedian.

Diedra and Eddie Dickens story was brought to light by WBTV on Wednesday (Feb. 13) when the couple shared how they were robbed online. In an effort to surprise her husband for Valentine's Day, Diedra attempted to buy tickets to see Chappelle on Valentine's Day after hearing he would perform in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. After she was unable to find tickets on Ticketmaster, she tried Craigslist where she found a perfect match for her and her husband, who would've needed a wheelchair accessible seat.

“They were seats one through four so those would be great because I could put my husband in seat one at the end of an aisle and that kind of good stuff,” she said.

But after sending $500 via Apple Pay to the seller, she never heard back. Diedra filed a police report after she was unable to get in touch with the seller.

“I was having good faith and it cost me $500,” she said. “You have no empathy or goodness, or I don’t know, maybe no soul."

After their story was shared on the local news, Chappelle's team caught wind of what happened and decided to surprise the couple on Thursday (Feb. 14), who decided to have dinner with friends.

Last night we told you this Charlotte couple was scammed out of hundreds of dollars trying to buy @DaveChappelle tickets on Craigslist. Tonight we were there as DAVE HIMSELF hand-delivered the group tickets! Awesome! @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/tHMElvDcZE

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Shocked and amazed, the couple was thrilled to meet the comedy legend who hand-delivered real tickets to his show. He chatted and took pictures with the couple while sharing the importance of buying tickets from credible platforms.

"Someone on my team called me, actually last night, and told me about this situation and we thought it'd be fun to do that for someone for Valentine's Day," he said to WBTV, who helped him find the couple. "I didn't expect to be on the news doing it but I'm glad, that's good. It's good that people know to always get your tickets from reliable sources and take every opportunity that's presented to you to be kind, especially if it's something that's easy to do."

Here’s a portion of our interview with @DaveChappelle. Great quote - “Take any opportunity that’s presented to you to be kind, especially if it’s something easy to do.” @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/3344hqrQ19

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Check out the good deed above.

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