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Today In Women's History Month: Creator Of 'Let's Stay Together' Talks Pitching To BET, Diversty On TV

Jacque Edmonds Cofer has years of experience as a TV writer and producer. She is currently the brains behind BET's popular Let's Stay Together but has brought other iconic shows to television like Moesha, Martin and Living Single. We caught up with her in honor of Women's History Month and got her to dish how she ended up pitching Let's Stay Together to BET, the key to creating a successful show and why it's still hard to find diversity on the tube.

How did Let’s Stay Together come about?

I had written what’s called a spec script a couple of years ago based on my relationships with my husband (a financial professional) and when I heard BET was open to scripted programming I submitted it and they loved the script and they wanted the characters to be a little bit younger and we made a couple of other changes and that’s what became let’s stay together.

You started out in the corporate world, so how did you make the transition to TV?

I was interested in a corporate job at Disney and when I did some research about it I heard about their writer’s fellowship program so I wrote the first script I ever wrote, submitted it and got accepted so it was just my destiny.

Why was it important for you to pitch a scripted show as opposed to going in the reality TV direction?

Because I like story telling, there are obviously some really good reality TV shows out there and when it’s a reality show it’s existing characters but when you create characters you get to create scenarios and you get to steer them in the direction you want them to go in and it’s fun.

Where there other networks considered besides BET?

We had some interest from a couple of other networks but it never really got that far I don’t think that they understood the concept and the meaning as much as BET did, particularly because it was about African American relationships and I think that BET wants to encourage families and partnerships and that sort of thing.

It’s interesting you say that about other networks not understanding functional African American relationships working on TV. It’s something Bill Cosby was vocal about having to deal with when he was pitching The Cosby Show. Why are black people still struggling when it comes to getting people to understand that we’re not a monolith and can work in various situations on TV?

You mentioned reality shows and most of those franchises thrive on assumptions, all the way to Intervention, which is clearly about dysfunction but a lot of the other reality shows⎯Teen Mom⎯that’s what they’re high lighting and we want to show the good side of that and that there are a lot of us who are thriving and successful and looking to build relationships.

Let’s Stay Together has been on for a while but talk about show for people who may have no idea.

It’s a romantic comedy and it’s about two couples, the women in the couples are sisters and one couple is engaged and first season they’re planning their wedding, and the other couple has been married for a few years, they have twins who are babies and they’re all at different stages of getting to know each other and we deal with not only the romantic couple relationships or the single women out there looking for a relationship, we also deal with the sisters’ family relationship.

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Kevin Hart Debuts Trailer For Netflix Comedy Special 'Irresponsible'

Kevin Hart's latest comedy special, Kevin Hart: Irresponsible, is set to stream on Netflix for all to see. The one-hour stand-up, which was filmed before 15,000 people at the O2 Arena in London, England, will be Hart's fifth comedy special to hit the streaming site.

Piggybacking off of the recent scandals and mayhem, this special will focus on the 39-year-old's friends, family, travel, and a year full of antics that made him "irresponsible."

April 2nd people.....MARK YOUR CALENDARS DAMN IT!!!!! Let’s gooooooooo #ComedicRockStarShit #Irresponsible #Netflix

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:38am PDT

The stand-up's taping derives from his most recent tour through North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia which kicked off in March 2018, according to Rolling Stone. The special will be available on Netflix on April 2.

The last time Hart was a trending topic was for past tweets that were deemed homophobic and resulted in him canceling his hosting position at the Oscars. Maybe his content will include this unfortunate situation.

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R. Kelly Is Seeking Permission To Perform Overseas In Order To Pay Child Support

R. Kelly's legal team is hoping a Cook County judge will grant the singer permission to travel overseas and perform in order to pay off his child support fees.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 52-year-old singer signed a contract prior to his recent arrest, which outlined Kelly would perform three to five shows in Dubai and travel by private jet. He's slated to meet the royal family and the concert promoter is paying the expenses. Since being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Kelly cannot leave Illinois and has handed over his passport.

The singer's lawyer argues Kelly isn't a flight risk and as an entertainer should be granted permission to still work in order to pay off his debt.

“Mr. Kelly has a job that requires he be allowed to travel,” Steven Greenberg argued in Wednesday's court filing. “He cannot work, and consequently cannot make a living if he is confined to Illinois or even the United States.”

Greenberg noted Kelly isn't a flight risk and appeared in court in 2008 when he faced child pornography charges. The singer was found not guilty in that case.

“Denying him the opportunity to work would be a hardship on his children,” Greenberg later wrote.

In January, Lifetime aired a searing docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed years of sexual assault allegations from several of his alleged victims including Lisa Van Allen and ex-wife Andrea Kelly.

Kelly reportedly owes $161,000 in child support and alleges to have fallen on hard times due to renewed attacks. Last month the Grammy-award winner was indicted on charges he abused three girls and one woman over the span of a decade. The singer vehemently denied the accusations and pled not guilty.

Greenberg also attacked State's Attorney Kim Foxx's intentions behind pursuing Kelly's 10 counts.

“Most if not all of these allegations were all investigated years ago, and charges were not brought,” Greenberg wrote. “There is little if anything that has changed other than State’s Attorney’s desire to thrust herself into the spotlight of the #metoo movement.”

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Tarana Burke Brings #MeToo Tour To HBCUs For Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Continuing her crusade against sexual assault, Tarana Burke will take her advocacy on a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country. Taking to Instagram to announce her #MeToo movement trek, the trip will begin in April.

"I’m so excited to finally announce this!! This has been a vision of mine for many, many years," Burke captioned the image. "Every year during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) college campuses around the country turn their focus towards dealing with sexual violence but very little activity happens on HBCU campuses during SAAM even though we know it’s happening."

I’m SO EXCITED to finally announce this!! This has been a vision of mine for many, many years. Every year during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) college campuses around the country turn their focus towards dealing with sexual violence but very little activity happens on HBCU campuses during SAAM even though we know it’s happening! I spoke at more than 70 schools in 2018 (I know, right! 😳) and only two HBCUs 😐 and I wanted to change that. This year I teamed up with my girl @fiyawata (the original @professionalblackgirl) to bring this right to the yard and provide a space for HBCU students to talk, vent, strategize and heal. 💕 Sponsored in part by @lifetimetv and @the.root #Repost @metoomvmt ・・・ We are so excited to announce that in exactly two weeks, we’ll be kicking off the ‘me too.’ HBCU Tour featuring ‘me too.’ founder Tarana Burke (@taranajaneen), scholar Dr. Yaba Blay (@fiyawata) and special guests! This multi-city initiative is centered around creating safety and accountability for students, faculty and administrators. We have partnered with some of the country’s finest institutions - Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), to have real conversations about sexual assault and consent on campus. Each tour stop includes a strategic convening, a workshop for male-identifying individuals, and a fireside chat featuring a special guest. To get updates about specific stops, register using the link in our bio. #metooHBCU #metoo #metoomvmt #believesurvivors

A post shared by Tarana J. Burke (@taranajaneen) on Mar 19, 2019 at 2:36pm PDT

Burke originally spoke at 70 college campuses during SAAM in 2018 but only visited two HBCUs. Partnering with Yaba Blay, the 45-year-old activist wants to "bring this right to the yard and provide a space for HBCU students to talk, vent, strategize and heal."

“While we are working in service to survivors of sexual violence from all walks of life,  it's always been about Black people, particularly Black women and girls. This tour is important because we know that Black women make up the majority of the student population at HBCUs," Burke said to Blavity. "The college tour is an extension of our work to center marginalized communities in the movement to end sexual violence wherever it exists.”

Each panel will include discussions, strategic sessions with campus leaders, and workshops for men, with a special conversation between Burke and Blay. The tour will be sponsored by The Root and Lifetime with free admission for the public. Howard University, the Atlanta University Center located at Clark Atlanta University, Alabama State University, North Carolina Central University, and Florida A&M University are among the locations.

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