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The Curious Case Of Britney Spears: 5 Reasons Why The Princess of Pop Rules

Dissecting the unstoppable force that is Britney Spears is a complex and daunting task. Throughout her nearly 15-year career, there have been superior talents and performers (Christina Aguilera, Pink and Beyonce can easily sing the thin-voiced Spears under the table); cooler trend setters (stylish it-girl Rihanna); and more dynamic artists (The piano-tinkling Lady Gaga and the bubbly Katy Perry frequently write their own material, a skill set that Spears has yet to fully master).

Indeed, despite such modest talent, a litany of scandals, and changing musical tastes, Britney’s fame and influence towers over them all to the tune of over 100 million records sold worldwide.

This makes the eighth best-selling female music artist’s ongoing world-beating success all the more intriguing. If you were a betting individual in 2007, the sure money would have been on Britney becoming a cautionary pop music casualty. During that epic meltdown of a year, America’s Louisiana-born Sweetheart (way before Kanye West transformed future country megastar Taylor Swift into a modern day Joan of Ark) checked into a drug rehabilitation center; shaved her hair completely bald; physically threatened paparazzi with an umbrella; lost physical custody of her children to freeloading ex-husband Kevin Federline due to what was reported as mental instability; and was universally panned following an embarrassing zombie-like performance on the MTV Video Music Awards.

By January of 2008, the wheels had completely fallen off for the former teen-idol who once led the frenzied pop revival a decade earlier with her mammoth 1997 debut …Baby One More Time—an album that went on to amass 25 million copies across the globe. For her troubles, Britney was placed under involuntary psychiatric hold as the courts gave her father James Spears complete conservatorship over his troubled daughter.

Such a devastating freefall would have put a swift end to the careers of most mere music mortals. But just as everyone was scrambling to write her epitaph, the troubled singer was enjoying some of the most jubilant reviews of her roller coaster time in the spotlight with her fifth studio release Blackout. Rolling Stone gave the project a gaudy four-star rating, later calling the set, “Possibly the most influential pop album of the last five years.” The Observer proclaimed, “Britney has delivered the best album of her career.” Other glowing reviews followed as Blackout would go on to push over 3 million units, an astonishing feat for an act who had become a tabloid wet dream.

Following 2008’s acclaimed follow-up Circus and a $131 million grossing tour in 2009, it’s clear that the world’s endearing and somewhat strange love affair with Britney won’t be ending anytime soon. Her latest single, the tongue-wagging techno-pop romp “Hold It Against Me,” has shot to no. 1 on the Billboard charts. And her upcoming release Femme Fatale, due out March 29, is already breaking records, as it recently landed in the all-time top 10 on Twitter’s longest running trending topics. Not to mention the news is still swirling on whether or not blondie will be performing at this year's Grammy Awards come Sunday (Her reps have shot down the idea...but with Brit-Brit, you never know.)

So how does she do it? VIBE rounded up PopEater’s John Mitchell, Newsday’s Risa Dixon, pop and R&B songwriter/artist Keri Hilson and influential celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to find out why the controversial Spears continues to win. It’s Britney, bitches.--Keith Murphy

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Rihanna Calls Donald Glover "A True Gem To The Culture"

Rihanna and Donald Glover's short film, Guava Island debuted at Coachella after Glover's set at the music festival last weekend. It was subsequently released on Amazon Prime to reach the non-attendees of the annual event and now since its premiere, RiRi is speaking out on it.

On Wednesday night (April 17), the "Diamonds" singer took to her Instagram page to express her gratitude to Glover and thanked her fans for their responses. "So happy you guys felt the beauty in this film," she wrote. "@childishgambino you are a true gem to the culture. I'm so proud of you and the work you put into making this film. I felt how close this was to you and your entire team."

Guava Island tells the story of Deni and Kofi, played by Glover and Rihanna, respectively, and how Deni as a musician hopes to liberate the people of the country by holding a festival. Glover and RiRi play love interests in the film that also features Black Panther's Letitia Wright and Nonso Anozie of Game of Thrones.

 

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wow! the response to #GuavaIsland has been quite overwhelming. So happy you guys felt the beauty in this film! @childishgambino you are a true gem to the culture. I’m so proud of you and the work you put into making this film. I felt how close this was to you and your entire team! Thank you for trusting me with this role! It was the greatest experience being in Cuba, phones off, present with life and art! It was humbling! I loved watching every second of it! Go to @amazonprimevideo to watch if you haven’t already! #GuavaIsland

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Apr 17, 2019 at 4:01pm PDT

The short film, written by Glover's brother Stephen Glover, has received a Rotten Tomatoes audience score rating of 87 percent, additionally spawning memes on social media from fans requesting the soundtrack to the movie, to poking fun at the Atlanta actor's dancing.

me hearing die with you and saturday in guava island pic.twitter.com/SBu2ipWzb3

— naked brothers band stan (@sorryimlikealex) April 14, 2019

guava island is 55 minutes of this pic.twitter.com/xoFzdvMY4w

— im baby (@thursdaygirIie) April 15, 2019

childish gambino: rihanna: pic.twitter.com/ULtEqIKGdr

— B7 ✨ (@M_eazyyyy) April 14, 2019

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Idris Elba Is The Black Superman In The New 'Hobbs And Shaw'

The Fast & Furious enterprise is known for gravity-defying stunts, larger-than-life explosives, a few expensive cars going way over the speed limit and fight scenes so intricate and lethal, they look like poetry.

All that and more are on display in the second full-length trailer for the forthcoming Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw. Slated for a summer release, Dwayne Johnson plays Hobbs who must work with his nemesis Shaw (Jason Statham) to take down Brixton Lore, (Idris Elba) a genetically enhanced fighter who fancies himself the black Superman.

Shaw's sister, played by The Crown's Vanessa Kirby, stole a chemical from Lore that can wipe out half the population, and now Lore and his team of ruthless mercenaries are on a vicious hunt to retrieve it.

While Fast & Furious fans are curious to see if Johnson can carry a franchise film on his own, not everyone was supportive of the spinoff.  Tyrese Gibson seemingly took issue when rumors of the film were swirling. Johnson, however, didn't care and reportedly called  Gibson and Vin Diesel a bunch of "candy-asses."

The first Fast & Furious hit theaters on June 18, 2001, and was made with a $38 million budget. The film earned more than $200 million domestically setting it up to be one of Hollywood's most successful franchises. The series went onto have eight films, the last being The Fate of The Furious. It's been dubbed the final film since Paul Walker's 2013 death.

Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW - Official Trailer #2 Are you ready, we’re back with our SECOND WORLDWIDE @HobbsAndShaw trailer🔥THIS SUMMER AUGUST 2ND👀#HobbsAndShawpic.twitter.com/n8YHfa5SET

— Idris Elba (@idriselba) April 18, 2019

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Ahmed Best's 'Star Wars' Character, Jar Jar Binks, Is George Lucas' Favorite

Actor Ahmed Best is mainly known for his role as Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars saga. His role brought unto him a ton of backlash and criticism as many felt his alien character lived up to racist stereotypes. Since his portrayal in the 1999 and 2002 installments of the film, Best struggled to find more roles and dealt with mental health issues as a result of it.

However, the 45-year-old actor now says that he's on a "really strong path to healing" after the franchise's creator, George Lucas, called Jar Jar Binks his "favorite character."

Lucas called into a fan event that marked the 20th anniversary of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and surprised enthusiasts with his remarks. "Thank you for coming to the celebration. It's one of my favorite movies," Lucas said. "Of course Jar Jar is my favorite character. Ahmed, he did a fantastic job. It was very, very hard."

Lucas' words inspired Best to speak with TMZ and share his thoughts on the filmmaker's comments. "I hope that George saying this, that it was his favorite character will help people look deeper into the work and what we did as filmmakers, and what we did as collaborators and what we did as artists," he said. "And look at how we influence the next generation of not only filmmaking but filmmakers."

Best previously stated that he contemplated suicide due to the character's backlash. We wish him a speedy road back to recovery.

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