WorldStarHipHop EXPOSED: The Truth Behind The Controversial Site

 

 

Tuesday nights are cracking at Greenhouse, a club on the west side of lower Manhattan. The establishment was featured in Fabolous’ video for “Lights Out,” and this evening patrons re-create the ambiance. Beneath a sea of crystalline rods that hang from the ceiling, a swarm of rappers, athletes, hustlers and hot girls toast Rosé and bounce to DJ Clue’s sound selections. Of course Fabolous is there, along with players from the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Giants and New York Jets. Then there are the others blending in among the highfliers, the people who lurk in the shadows of celebrity. Characters like Lee “Q” O’Denat, the man behind controversial video site WorldStarHipHop.com, has two tables stocked with champagne, Patrón and women. When an argument between two girls breaks out nearby, Q’s bodyguard leaps in the way, while Q parties on, unfazed. Later in the evening, a member of the G-Unit camp—a tough-looking customer with gold teeth and an impassive face—whispers in Q’s ear. When the G-Unit soldier departs, Q recounts the conversation. “He wanted me to come by the G-Unit office,” he says with an incredulous laugh. “Fuck that! We’ll meet at a Starbucks or something.”

Q has a good reason to proceed with caution. Tension between 50 Cent and Q had been simmering since the previous day. After WorldStarHipHop (commonly referred to as WorldStar) had gone temporarily offline, 50 Cent claimed responsibility on Twitter. “I put Worldstar to bed, you don’t believe try me I will shut your shit down,” he wrote. It seemed plausible, since 50 had sued Q for trademark infringement in 2009 (Q believes the lawsuit was retribution for posting Rick Ross’ diss songs against 50 Cent). The news burned across the Web like a brush fire, and both World Star and 50’s Web site ThisIs50 became trending topics on Twitter. A few hours later, Angie Martinez, of New York’s Hot 97, interviewed 50 Cent on-air. He played it coy, neglecting to say World Star’s issues were specifically his handiwork. Eventually, Q was patched into the conversation, and 50 snapped into attack mode: “I should black ya eye,” he snarled. “Tell ’em how you were on my tour bus in 2003, you punk! And you created a area where everybody could try to hate on me!” Q stammered to get out a word, but was mostly quiet.

In truth, 50 Cent had nothing to do with World Star’s technical difficulties. The real culprit was an Internet video creator who calls himself IShatOnU. After WorldStar refused to add attribution to one of his videos, which showed ChatRoulette reactions to a faked suicide, IShatOnU filed a copyright complaint with the site’s server, a complaint Q says he never received. When WorldStar neglected to remove the offending video, the server took action. Some furious fans learned IShatOnU’s identity, and bombarded him with threatening e-mails and phone calls. One wrote, “Y da fuk u took down worldstar for? If I knew where you lived id murk u.” Another read, “Snich ass white faggot. fuck you in your fat face.” IShatOnU says it was only bored kids lashing out, but takes exception to World Star’s policies. “It’s a grimy site, man,” he says via phone from Chicago. “They’re making a shitload of money off other motherfuckers without compensation.”

To be sure, World Star’s poaching of content is not unique: The Huffington Post, a Web site purchased in February by AOL for $315 million, has faced similar criticism for its use of aggregating content. But Q’s approach is notably brazen. When a video goes up, it’s plastered with the WSHH logo, shoehorned into a media player and stripped of links to the source. Eric and Jeff Rosenthal, brothers who create online comedy sketches to ItsTheReal.com, have seen several of their videos uploaded to World Star without credit. The only identifying text on the video read “Courtesy of Mahad,” a World Star employee. “I don’t know who Mahad is or what he does, but I do know that he’s not a Rosenthal,” says Jeff in an e-mail. “World Star absolutely violates rules of Internet connectivity.”

According to Q, his strategy pays off with “roughly” 2 million unique visitors a day. Alexa, a Web analytics company, ranks the site 225th in site traffic in the United States and the 900th in the world. By comparison, MTV.com notches 222nd and Travelocity.com at 232nd. Alexa says World Star’s visitors tend to be Black males under the age of 35 who are “moderately educated.” As a result of all this activity, Q says the site is valued “in the millions.”

CLICK BELOW TO READ THE REST

From the Web

More on Vibe

Lars Niki/Getty Images for New York Women in Film & Television

Watch The Trailer For Lifetime’s Wendy Williams Biopic

Wendy Williams is putting it all out there for her Lifetime biopic. The trailer Wendy Williams: The Movie, arrived on Thursday (Dec. 3) showcasing the New Jersey native’s rise from radio shock jock to daytime talk show host, plus her marriage troubles and drug addiction.

William's infamous fainting spell during a live Halloween show in 2017 is also featured in the teaser.

Ciera Payton stars as Williams, and Morocco Omari portrays her ex-husband, Kevin Hunter, in the film, which is produced by Front Street for Lifetime and executive produced by Williams.

Darren Grant directed the film. The script was penned by Leigh Davenport and Scarlett Lacey.

Lifetime will air a documentary special titled, The Wendy Williams Story…What A Mess, directly after the biopic. Wendy Williams: The Movie airs on Lifetime on Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. EST.

Watch the trailer below.

Continue Reading
Prince Williams/Filmmagic

Casanova Surrenders To FBI In Federal Racketeering Case

Casanova turned himself in to the FBI on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The rapper, born Caswell Senior, is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prior to surrendering to authorities, Casanova recorded a video message professing his innocence. “As you already know, I’m fighting serious charges right now but I’m innocent, that’s one. Two, I’ve been fighting my whole life so I can do this.”

He was the last to be arrested out of 18 defendants accused in a massive gang bust. The 34-year-old recording artist suggested that his legal predicament was the result of being a rapper. “We are a target. Be careful out there. Watch who you associate with. Watch who people bring y’all around. I’ll see y’all soon, God willing.”

Casanova breaks his silence and says he’s innocent pic.twitter.com/lHYNpwZNTn

— XXL Magazine (@XXL) December 3, 2020

According to the federal indictment, the alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Nation gang are charged with several crimes including racketeering, murder, and narcotics offenses.

On Tuesday, the FBI's New York office announced that Casanova was wanted by the feds. Attorney, James Kousouros, denied that Casanova was attempting to evade authorities.

“From the moment I was contacted, my client's clear intention was to surrender himself, he never intended to evade the judicial process,” Kousouros said. “Over the last 48 hours I was in contact with the government arranging a peaceful surrender. He just wanted a peaceful surrender. Mr. Senior is fully confident that he'll be exonerated when all the facts are brought forth.”

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Barack Obama Says He Doesn't Like The Term “Defund The Police”

Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.

Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done.”

He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”

The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Read some of the reactions to his comments below.

With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.

It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020

Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.

Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.

— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020

obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them

— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020

What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020

The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.

The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.

— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020

Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.

— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020

obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police

— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020

No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.

The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.

— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020

I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.

Defund. The. Police.

We are keeping it. We are demanding it.

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020

We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020

Continue Reading

Top Stories