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Ballin': L.A. Empire Comes Tumbling Down

The LA dynasty is dead. For Lakers Nation, that much became more and more abundantly clear throughout what heretofore will be known as the Dallas debacle. What remains gut-wrenchingly a mystery is if it all had to come to this now, if the empire could have somehow been better preserved?

Not many in the basketball universe--- even those named Dirk Nowitzki chief among them--- would have tried selling you on the notion that the Mavs were 36-points, or even four consecutive victories better than the two-time defending champs at the onslaught of this series. But that’s what it mercifully came to on national TV Sunday night, the team of the last decade reduced to spineless quitters and heartless cheap shot artists.

“I don’t know where we lost it, that certain drive, that bond we’ve had in the past, the cohesive drive in order to overcome adversity,” reflected a pensive Lamar Odom. “There was something missing for us.”

Can you say passion? The Lakers simply didn’t show much of it throughout this series, not when they lost a 16-point third quarter lead in the opener on their home floor nor when they squandered a late six-point fourth quarter lead during a must-win Game 3 meltdown.

Making things all the more ironic are rumors that at least of a measure of their dissolution could be directly traced to matters of the heart. Rumors of some sort of ongoing discord between the wife of Kobe Bryant and the girlfriend of Pau Gasol became so persistent during the series that Bryant felt the need to publicly dismiss them.

“They barely know each other,” Bryant told the Orange County Register. But ask yourself this: If Kobe Bryant, killer competitor that he is, felt the need to address such trivial matters on the eve of what could have been the last game he’s ever to play under the winningest coach of all time to convince all that there was nothing to it almost absolutely assure everyone that there was something to it?

Just how much of it we’ll ever really know remains as murky as the question of if any of it all had to be in the first place. Alas, it is what it is. -Glenn Minnis

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'Empire' Made History By Airing The First Black Gay Wedding On Network TV

Wedding bells have just made their way into the history books. Last night (April 25), FOX's Empire became the first network television show to air a black gay wedding. Jamal and his fiancé Kai (Jussie Smollett and Toby Onwumere, respectively) jump the broom and swap vows in the episode titled "Never Doubt I Love."

As an added treat, Empire even tapped the legendary Chaka Khan to perform at the fictional star-studded wedding (Mario and Wood Harris even showed up) which, as evidenced by the episode BTS video, was a moment for everyone right to the stars of the show themselves. “Today’s wedding is special and controversial,” Khan said of using her voice for this particular cameo. “But my answer to all that is just love is love.”

Cast members Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe agree that Jamal and Kai's wedding might have just become the best Empire wedding.

While this doesn't necessarily take away from the controversy still surrounding Smollett's case in Chicago, it was a cause for celebration regarding diversity and representation on television nonetheless. As Ms. Khan said, right here and right now, the most important thing to note is that love is love.

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Frankie Beverly Shares His Thoughts On Beyonce's Rendition Of "Before I Let Go"

In 1981, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly released a hit that's cemented its presence from cassette tapes to streaming services for your summertime cookout playlist. "Before I Let Go" found a home at the thirteenth spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart during its release, but now its melodies are being housed under a new rendition.

In mid-April, Beyonce gifted fans with her take on the aforementioned single, which debuted to fanfare with the release of her Netflix Homecoming documentary. The program displayed a behind-the-scenes look at the production of her 2018 Coachella performance.

In an interview with Billboard, Beverly said the "All Night" singer's team connected with him "a week or two age" to notify him of the remix. "When they played it, that's when I heard the first draft of it, and I was blown away. It's a blessing," he said. "It's amazing how she works, she's very smart. I'm caught off guard, but in a beautiful way...Then the way she just released it, it's off the chain. She's done so much, this is one of the high points of my life."

On the premise of the original song, Beverly said he reached a crossroads in a past relationship. "It was just up and down, and by the end of it, I wrote a song because I was feeling I needed to get out of it," he shared. "I was so into the girl, but it just wasn't working out. I was thinking, 'What am I gonna do?' and that thought inspired the song. I was going to try to do all of these things 'before I let go.' It was a situation I had to get out of, but I was in love."

The legendary artist also revealed that he never imagined "Before I Let Go" would persevere in this capacity. "It really changed everything for me," he said. "It was a huge song at the time, and it's one of those things this band will be able to carry on forever."

Beyonce's rendition also sparked a #BeforeILetGo challenge which she promoted via her Instagram Story.

finally ! Beyoncé used IG stories for the first time since the first time (once) last year! And this time she used it to share fan videos of the #BeforeILetGoChallenge ! Y’all better go make some videos while she’s blessing y’all on her page! and play the lotto if your featured pic.twitter.com/OdYF4txj4A

— 🇵🇸 FADIA KADER (@FADIA) April 23, 2019

Nobody:

Absolutely Nobody:

My arse: #BeforeILetGoChallenge take 22! Action! pic.twitter.com/kaOXf0QzOv

— SyllabusMag (@SyllabusMag) April 23, 2019

#Get it in, Granma!! This is some inter-generational love. 🖤#BeforeILetGoChallenege pic.twitter.com/CdeEfJXG3i

— AliyatLecky (@aliyatlecky) April 25, 2019

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13-Year-Old Texas Girl Dies After Being Jumped By Three Teens

A 13-year-old Texas girl was placed on life support after being jumped by three teenage girls last week, and the New York Daily News confirms the teen died.

Kashala Francis was walking home from Attucks Middle School Thursday (April 18) when she was jumped by two girls and kicked in the head by another. Cellphone recording of the incident shows the attackers laughing.

The girl's mother Mamie Jackson told reporters that Kashala came home with a bruise on her face, told her what happened but insisted she was fine. However, things quickly got worse.

On the following Saturday, Jackson says Kashala went to a family member's house and was told she became delusional but was able to gather her bearings. On Sunday (April 21), Kashala called her mother and complained she felt weak and had a painful headache before lying down.

Jackson said soon after she called the ambulance because Kashala was unconscious. While at Texas Children's Hospital, it was discovered she had a tumor in the back of her head and had fluid buildup in her brain.

On Wednesday morning (April 24) Kashala died. Pending an autopsy, it's unclear if the young girl had the tumor prior to the fight, or if being kicked in the head caused the tumor, which resulted in her death.

Until the autopsy can make the distinction, the case is being investigated as a homicide.

In an emailed sent to The Daily News, the school district stated it's offering students access to grief counselors.

"[The district] is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students. We extend our sincere condolences to the student’s family, friends, teachers, and classmates."

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