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A Short Convo With...Common

Common is a veteran when it comes to rapping, but his movie career is just beginning. In 2007, he shirked his reputation as a lyrical Casanova by starring in his first movie, Smokin Aces, where he played ruthless assassin. He fell into a pattern of playing tough guy characters in his subsequent films (Wanted, Terminator Salvation) but on May 14, his first lead role takes him back into the realm of debonair, as Scott McKnight, Queen Latifah’s love interest in Just Wright.

Just Wright tells the story of Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) a physical therapist who gets her dream job working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight. All is going well until Leslie falls for Scott who is infatuated by Leslie's cousin Morgan (Paula Patton), a gold digger who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife.

It’s a complicated love triangle but Common’s real life is anything but difficult. He’s a productive actor and musician who never stops working. VIBE caught up with him to find out how he dealt with a love triangle in real life and to get an update about his forthcoming album, The Believer. ?Starrene Rhett

VIBE: This is a different type of role for you. What attracted you to the script?
Common: When I read the script, I thought the material was quality and it had heart. The story felt so universal that I wanted to do it.

There’s a scene in the movie where you hit it off with Leslie Wright at a gas station when she helps you pump gas into your car. McKnight’s character invited her to his house party that weekend but has something like that ever happened to you in real life?
I definitely meet cool people in my course of doing every day things in life. Some people strike you and you feel familiar with them. That’s what the dynamic was between Leslie and Scott McKinght. With me, I may invite them to a show or something because I have met cool people [and] sometimes you just feel like hooking people up. But it’s rare that you might invite somebody to you home, but who knows, crazier things have happened.

Have you ever been in a situation like in the movie where you were dating someone but the dynamic shifted and you ended up falling for their close friend or relative?
Yeah. I dated a girl who?we didn’t have sex but we had our own intimate moments but eventually me and her cousin started liking each other and ended up having more of a dating experience.

How can someone avoid a sticky situation like that?
My advice would be if it’s real then all parties involved have to be honest with everyone. It would be difficult for me to be with someone if it’s one of my good buddies and they’re really feeling her. In that case I won’t even see her in that way. But let’s just say that nothing really transpired and you and that person have a real chemistry, then you have to just tell your friend. Honesty is key.

EXTRA, EXTRA: CELEBRITIES IN NEWSBOY CAPS [PHOTOS]

What are some qualities of Leslie Wright that remind you of Serena?
A strong woman?mentally strong; fun person; funny; a softness about her that you wouldn’t necessarily think that she has. But the more you get to know her you would see that she is a gentle woman.

You dropped a mixtape inspired by Just Wright but what’s going on with The Believer?
It’s still in the beginning stages because I’ve been working on other projects but The Believer is an important project and idea [and] I’m ready to get it going. I have some songs for it now. I’ve been working with No ID and Kanye West to conceptualize things. We’ve been working on and off so it’s coming along. I think I’ll have it ready to come out in the fall. This will be my ninth studio album, which is a blessing.

Are you working with Kanye on his album as well?
Nah. I been around Kanye for what he’s been working on but I haven’t worked on it. He can produce, write, he does it all so he doesn’t need much help. I like when we’re around each other creating because I think we inspire each other. Kanye is definitely going to come with something powerful and I’m definitely coming with something that’s powerful and soulful, just the essence of what hip-hop feels like, just good music.

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Fans Tweet About Erykah Badu's Defense Of R. Kelly At A Chicago Show

Erykah Badu has remained silent after Lifetime aired the six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. The singer and entertainer who once referred to Kelly as her "brother" while hosting the Soul Train Awards and has kept a low profile during the series.

Badu has finally broken her silence during a show at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom in which attendees say the Grammy-award winning singer defended Kelly and instructed others to "keep their opinions to themselves."

Erykah Badu came to Chicago and told us all she finna love R Kelly anyway & we can keep our opinion to ourselves. Mad disrespectful to our city and a shitty use of her platform. Crusty ass bitch.

— hot headed yam (@tomapapito) January 20, 2019

Another attendee tweeted Badu attempt at trying to bring light to the hypocrisy in the public outcry against Kelly.

“what if one of the people who was assaulted by R Kelly becomes an offender? we gonna crucify them too?” -erykah badu at her chicago concert

— IG: @boydonavin (@boyDonavin) January 20, 2019

Many in attendance were hurt by Badu's actions and left conflicted.

I really want to say how much i loved Erykah Badu’s concert tonight.

But i can’t get over how she tried to justify and defend R. Kelly’s actions and reputation during her set... I’m so disappointed...

— jacque (@jacquemarquez_) January 20, 2019

I really don’t want to believe Erykah Badu is sacrificing her music legacy for R. Kelly. I don’t. everyone has their ignorance and places that deeply disappoint me, including my favorite artists (and myself), but supporting child predators is such a nefarious thing to do.

— Myles E. Johnson (@hausmuva) January 20, 2019

This isn't the first time Badu has come under fire for what many deem to be problematic commentary. In April 2016, Badu agreed with a school district that was making it mandatory for girls to wear longer skirts as a way to not "distract" the boys.

Erykah Badu's defense of R. Kelly prompted Twitter to dig up old tweets.

erykah badu already told y’all she doesn’t believe GIRLS when it comes to matters of sexual assault, harassment, rape, etc. so why y’all shocked now? pic.twitter.com/Eogzatc9aO

— ALEXIS$ 🧚🏾‍♀️ (@lexxdadon) January 20, 2019

Erykah Badu said she empathizes with Hitler because he was a beautiful painter. Why are y'all surprised?

— Experiment 625 (@Mariah__Cara) January 20, 2019

Writer and director dream hampton said Badu was one of many celebrities she contacted to be in the series but denied her request.

Does Erykah Badu's defense of R. Kelly make you think twice about the singer? Will you continue to listen to Badu's music, or does the defense of R. Kelly mean she's now an enabler? Sound off in the comments.

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Michael Steele

Drake's "In My Feelings" Received The Kidz Bop Treatment

After the release of Drake's chart-topping Scorpion album, his single "In My Feelings" skyrocketed to number one, so it's no surprise the City Girls assisted track received the Kidz Bop treatment.

Since 2000, the compilation LP has sold about 17 million copies and over the weekend, Kidz Bop released its 39th installment offering the world a G-rated and tween-friendly version of today's biggest hits.

Once Twitter learned Kidz Bop laid its prepubescent hands on Drake's song, there was a mixed bag of feelings. Some went along with it and commented positively, while others were frankly offended.

I just saw a Kidz Bop commercial with the Kidz Bop version of In My Feelings and I feel like a curse has been placed on me

— Jeremy (@TacticalRPG) January 10, 2019

That Kidz Bop version of In My Feelings lets me know that hell is a real place.

— Nappy Head Nietzsche (@AugustCulture) January 19, 2019

This #KidzBop version of "In My Feelings" is SENDING me! 😂 pic.twitter.com/EQzTwdbfb6

— Nicholas D. (@Creat1ve) January 18, 2019

This isn't the first time Drake's music has been Kidz Bopped. For Kidz Bop 31, "Hotline Bling" was also featured. The new 18-track album also features Cardi B's "I Like It" as well as Khalid and Normani's "Love Lies."

The lyrics to the hook received a slight change.

KiKi do you love me/are you with me/say you'll never ever leave from beside me/cause I want ya/and I need ya/and I'm down for ya always

And when it came time for the City Girls portion of the song, they turned that down as well.

all of us kids and we hangin' in the rain/hangin' in rain/I need a black card with the code to the safe/code to the safe.

Hey, kids need love too. Watch the Kidz Bop version of Drake's "In My Feelings" below.

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Sarah Duncan

South Carolina High School Students May Soon Take A Personal Finance Class

High school students in South Carolina may now have to pass a personal finance class in order to receive their diploma.

According to reports, Republican lawmakers Luke Rankin and Horry County Senator have filed a pre-bill that will require high school students to take a class that will aim to help students learn how to better budget their money.

"You can really put yourself in a really bad hole that you're gonna be digging yourself out of the rest of your life," financial planner Dr. Christopher St. John said.

The course will cover insurance, taxes, retirement planning, budgeting, banking, and how to avoid too much debt.

Finance website Make Lemonade reports there are more than 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt within the United States. Student loan debt has become the second highest debt among consumers followed by mortgage debt.

The class of 2016, reportedly has $37,172 in student loan debt.

If the bill is passed, it would go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. The course would be required and student who take a test at the end of the year prior to graduation.

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