Raphael Saadiq Speaks On Tony! Toni! Toné! Reunion

Raphael Saadiq is a renaissance man. When the respected singer-songwriter-producer isn’t on the road performing his latest material, such as the critically acclaimed, ‘60s soul inspired album The Way I See It, he is overseeing his video game development company IllFonic. And then there’s his role as an executive producer of an upcoming sitcom pilot called Love That Girl! starring The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Tatyana Ali.

But when Saadiq, who has worked with everyone from Whitney Houston and Erykah Badu to Snoop Dogg and Ludacris, talks about music, it’s obvious where his true passion remains. “I just felt like as an artist you always do what you like first,” he says of the continued positive response to Way I See It, which was released in September of 2008. “You build that fan base that would like to see you do different things. That ‘60’s music was the soundtrack to my life. I didn’t want to try to completely fit into what’s going on right now even though I like some of the newer stuff out right now. I felt like the music of the ‘60s was all around the world.”

Still, Saadiq says he is proud of his past work as a member of the influential late ‘80s/early ‘90s R&B act Tony! Toni! Toné!. The band, which went on to release one gold (starting with 1988’s Who?) and three platinum plus albums (The Revival, Sons of Soul, and their last project 1997’s House of Music) was a product of the New Jack Swing era sparked by Teddy Riley.

“Back in the day, when it was Guy, Keith Sweat, and Tony! Toni! Toné!, the black music executives were just getting their new jobs,” he recalls. “They were putting a lot of people on so a lot of music was coming out of New York. Everything was so brand new. If you wasn’t a strong band, artist or producer it was up to you to live on your own.”

But the question Saadiq continues to get on a regular bases is will there ever be a Tony! Toni! Toné! reunion? “For me it’s been a struggle,” he says of the possibilities of re-grouping. “I love the Tony’s. People always ask me would I ever do it again. But after three albums of putting my records together like I am now, I don’t think so.”

Saadiq is set to perform at SXSW music festival at the AOL Spinner Music on March 19. —Keith Murphy 



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Dr. Dre Released From Hospital, Will Receive 24-Hour Home Care

Dr. Dre was released from L.A. Cedars Sinai Medical Center on Friday (Jan. 15), nearly two weeks after he suffered a reported brain aneurysm. Ice T confirmed the news tweeting, “Just FaceTimed with @drdre. He just made it home. Safe and looking good.”

The 55-year-old music mogul will remain under 24-hour care for the next few weeks as medical professionals continue to monitor his progress. Doctors are still unclear on what caused the aneurysm.

Dre’s hospital release comes days after new details were revealed in his divorce from estranged wife, Nicole Young. According to court documents publicized this week, Nicole accuses Dre, birth name Andre Young, of putting a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. She also details other alleged abuse incidents in 1995 (before they were married) and in 2016, when he allegedly punched her in the face and kicked down her door.

The Grammy winner has denied Nicole’s abuse claims.

Nicole and Dre tied the knot in 1996. The pair share two adult children, Truice and Truly. Nicole filed for divorce last summer.

In addition to demanding that Dre cover her legal fees, Nicole wants the court to take the abuse allegations into account when “awarding support and fees.” Dre has already agreed to pay $500,000 of Nicole’s legal bills and $2 million in temporary spousal support.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Wendy Williams Reveals She Was Date Raped By ‘80s R&B Singer

Wendy Williams revealed that she was date raped by  ‘80s R&B singer, Sherrick, early in her radio career. The talk show host shared the story with reporters while promoting her Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams: The Movie on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

“He mesmerized me with his twinkling eyes,” she recalled. “He flipped the interview around to where he was interviewing me — I was just gaga over this man and he asked me to go to an album release party with him that night.

“Before the party, I was date raped by him,” said Williams.

Sherrick, born Lamotte Smith, was a member of the group Kagny, whose song is featured on The Last Dragon soundtrack. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1987 and scored a marginal hit with the single “Just Call” off his debut self-titled album. Sherrick struggled with sobriety but declared himself “drug-free” before dying of unknown causes in 1999.

Williams says that she was raped in Sherrick’s Washington D.C. hotel room and it, unfortunately, wasn’t her first time being sexually assaulted. The New Jersey native had been date raped in college. “Those types of things happen to girls all the time and they’ve been happening a lot, to a lot of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their great-great-grandmothers too.”

From the sounds of it, Sherrick's widow doesn't exactly believe Williams' story. She not only questioned Williams' account but wondered why she waited so long to go public, and why she didn't call police at the time of the incident.

“As I will never minimize or dismiss the horrid actions of sexual assault, I am saddened that Ms. Williams feels the need to publicly make these allegations when the man she is accusing is no longer on this earth to defend himself,” Lynne Conner Smith said in a statement to Page Six.  “Our family does not know Ms. Williams and are not aware of any relationship or encounter they may have had.”

The sexual assault will be chronicled in the film, as well as other details from Williams' life -- like her rise to talk show fame, her battle with drug addiction, and marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Lifetime on Jan. 30.

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