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Today In Black History Month: Veteran Actor Leon Chats New Projects, Cynthia Bailey, Co-Parenting

You've seen Leon in various movies from The Five Heartbeats to The LIttle Richard Story but his latest foray ventured into the world in Internet television via Robert Townsend's new web series, Diary of a Single Mom. He also appeared recently on The Real Housewives of Atlanta where he visited his ex, Cynthia Bailey, and their daughter. And when he's not busy with acting, it's all about his reggae band, Leon and the Peoples. Here, the renaissance man chats with VIBE about new roles, his music career and making co-parenting work.

What is Diary of a Single Mom about?

Diary of a Single Mom is on PIC TV, which is the public internet channel, which is co-chaired by Obama, and it’s a web series that has a great cast—Monica Calhoun, Valery Ortiz, myself, Richard Roundtree and Billy Dee Williams. It’s real black Hollywood and Robert Townsend created it. It’s a real emotional story about these three women who live in this tenement just trying to get through with their kids and living in a world that’s hard to live in and trying to raise their kids right and all the struggles that go along with that. With the show being on PIC TV, it’s really interesting because what happens is that single moms watch the show through the Internet and they can connect with other single moms throughout the country or anywhere on issues they have, like childcare or how to balance their budget, or getting their GED and all kinds of things. One of the characters on the show has breast cancer and you can click on links on the site and find more information for breast cancer.

Talk about your character.

My character on the show is Mike, and I play the father of the beautiful daughter that I have with Valery Ortiz’s character, Lupe. It’s strange because I wanted to be part of the traditional family situation. I tried everything that I could but I couldn’t control her, she wasn’t doing the right thing and she had to leave him but I still care for my daughter and I still care for her so it kind of represents the facet that we don’t see in these stories—the baby daddy. We see the baby mama but sometimes every baby daddy doesn’t want to be a baby daddy, he wants to be a husband in the house but it’s not his choice. But the only time we usually hear about babydaddies is if they’re doing something wrong.

Aside from acting, you’re also quite active with your band, Leon and the Peoples. What steered you toward reggae?

My band is a mixture of reggae and soul music but my love for reggae started as a youth. The first time I heard Robert Nesta Marley coming out my friend’s window I just—it was the Mighty Dread album and I heard it and said, “Wow, what is this?” And from that moment on, I sought out every reggae singer I could. I just loved reggae. It was the music that actually made me want to sing.

Talk about your album out.

Our record came out a few years ago—The Road Less Traveled—and it got nominated for an international reggae and world music award for International Reggae Artist of the Year, so we were happy with our first effort and we headline the AIDS Walk concert in Central Park and have played all over.

You guys do all of this independently, right?

Yeah. We record out of Pulse Music, that’s our label. Next year, we’re gonna be putting out singles because in this environment it makes sense. The kids don’t sit around and listen to albums like they used to so if you come out with a great album with a good concept you’ll never get to hear it. It’s better to put out a single and promote that.

Your ex, Cynthia Bailey just wrapped Real Housewives of Atlanta. When you initially found out she was going to be on the show, were you apprehensive and how did you deal?

I wasn’t happy at first but at the end of the day, when we sat down and discussed it it’s not really about me it’s about Cynthia and that’s for her and anything that helps her move into another career or enhance her modeling or something like that. So, it’s something I have to do because we’re family.

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Oprah Responds To Viral Video Of Her Eating Unseasoned Chicken

A hilarious old video of Oprah Winfrey making an uncomfortable face as she dives into a piece of unseasoned chicken has been circulating the Internet all week. While these sort of silly videos wouldn't usually garner a response from the billionaire, Oprah surprised everyone when she shared a video explaining the chicken-eating experience and her initial reaction.

To give you some context, the video is a clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, in which O invited her guest Anna Ginsberg to make her award-winning chicken dish. After one bite, it became clear that Oprah wasn't too pleased with the chicken's bland taste. She even asked at the time if she could add a little seasoning.

I often think about the time Oprah did a cooking segment with a woman whose chicken recipe won $1 million, and Oprah's jaw dropped when she tasted it and realized the lady didn't even add seasoning pic.twitter.com/rfs7PS1Jc3

— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) December 9, 2018

Now, more than 10 years later, Oprah is setting the record straight. In her new video posted on Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 13), she noted that she likes to provide a pleasurable experience for her guests but also live in her truth. On that particular day, she was presented with a dilemma. "I was having a moment of trying to decide: Do I want her to have a great time? What is my real moment of truth?" she said. "Because the truth for me was that I'm used to having salt and pepper on my chicken. That's just the truth...That's what I was thinking, 'This chicken needs some salt and pepper.'"

So that's that; Oprah has spoken. She may have played it off at the time, but like many others, she would prefer her chicken with seasoning.

 

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Over the weekend, a 2006 video of @oprah tasting an *interesting* chicken dish made its rounds online. We asked the O of O, what REALLY went through her mind as the cameras were on her—and she answered. Swipe left if you haven’t seen the hysterical video! #tbt

A post shared by O, The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) on Dec 13, 2018 at 7:13am PST

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'Sesame Street' Praised For The Inclusion Of Homeless Character

Sesame Street continues its crusade to include statement-making characters on their block. This time around, families will be introduced to Lily, the show’s first homeless character.

According to USA Today, Lily- an adorable hot pink, red haired puppet- was first introduced to the show in 2011, but in new online clips, Lily opens up about being homeless and staying with friends.

"Now we don't have our own place to live, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home," she says to Elmo in one clip. In her initial appearances on the show, Lily discusses her family’s food insecurities, meaning they didn’t have much to eat.

“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma – the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop.

“We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future," she continues. "We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment – home is wherever the love lives.”

In recent years, Sesame Street has introduced a slew of ground-breaking new characters, including Julia, a puppet with autism, and Alex, a character whose father is incarcerated.

READ MORE: 'Sesame Street' Introduces A Character Who Has A Father In Jail

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Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.

 

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Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

READ MORE: Cardi B Buys Her Mother's House

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