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Usher: The Oct/Nov Vibe Magazine Cover Story (Pg 2)

Did you fear that Raymond v Raymond would flop?

Absolutely not. I knew how dedicated I was to the process. I learned a lot about people in making Here I Stand... People felt like because of where I was in my life, and maybe them not understanding who I am, they viewed it as a failure. But it isn’t.

That was a drastic transition from confessions, where you’re talking about infidelity.

I was talking about infidelity on Here I Stand as well. I think that the personal choice of marriage, children, was a different Usher that people weren’t accustomed to seeing. I can’t explain or apologize for it. Whatever artist you may enjoy listening to, there’s a full range in terms of the arc of their story. There were many chapters to Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, many chapters to their story.

Did marriage make you lose your edge?

Nah, I don’t think so. I think it taught me. I think it made me better, to be honest.

The song “papers” was written before you and Tameka split up [in June 2009]. How long were you thinking about divorce?

During our disagreements, that’s when I really began to contemplate marriage and if this is someone whom I’m compatible with. Anytime we had a disagreement or an argument, I began to contemplate: Wow, is this really gonna work out? I’m going through hell right now, given the fact that people have an opinion about our relationship. I can’t be unhappy at home and fighting the wars or the opinions outside... “You should’ve handled things this way,” “I wish you would’ve said this,” “You’re handling me wrong,” “I don’t like the way I’m feeling about this”—it could be anything, man.

Why not stay together for the kids?

Because they would only be looking at a product of something that I’m tolerating or she’s tolerating. I don’t wanna be tolerated. I wanna be loved. I don’t want to tolerate someone. I wanna love them. And I can love Tameka for who she is, but I don’t have to necessarily be in a relationship with her.

Is it unfair for somebody on your level to speak on the divorce when she doesn’t really have a voice?

 I think that artists speak about what they go through, and that’s really the only way that they can articulate themselves to their audiences, right? I think people have definitely been unfair in giving her the shorter end of the stick because maybe she wasn’t ideal. She wasn’t the type of woman that people maybe wanted for me.

Did you recognize that ahead of time?

I knew that there would be some issues in relation to me making the decision to be married. Because I was a single man and my audience is primarily women. I hoped that they would be under- standing that the fantasy ain’t done. I’m not taking myself away from you to the point where we don’t have our connection. Our connection is through mu- sic. I still have a job [laughs], and my job is to entertain. But yeah, I definitely feel like people give her a much harder time than they should.

I kept reading about her being controlling and un- attractive. having this woman that you’re proud of but people don’t see that, how did that make you feel as a man?

I hated that people weren’t accepting of my marriage. I hated it, yeah. But I think it’s a deeper conversation. Because as a Black man looking at other Black women be mad at a Black woman, that definitely hurt me.

Why didn’t your mom support you getting married?

Uh... I don’t know.

You’ve never talked about it?

My mother, uh, I guess she has her own reasons. But that wasn’t for me to worry about. This is my life, and

I think that parents should be able to have unconditional love for their children and their decisions, regardless of how they feel. Of course they may not be necessarily supportive, but it’s not their life. At that point they have to take their hands off.

Did you feel like her love wasn’t unconditional?

I never questioned my mother’s passion for me; maybe [her] passion for my decision—and that’s obvious. She didn’t show up at my wedding.

How did you feel about that?

I was very disappointed. I wouldn’t do that to my child. Me and my mother are very close, and have al- ways been. I couldn’t think of a greater time to show support, ’cause it’s a very hard decision, period, to take that walk.

 

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”

 

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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