Lil Mama On Her Style Evolution; Nicki Minaj & Being A Curse-Free Rapper (Pg. 2)

Interesting thing is that leftfield style is actually becoming more of the norm. How do you react to folks saying your biting Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga?
Come on, let's be real okay. You have all these people wearing different colored hair. At the end of the day I'm a bombshell, so I'm going to do me. If I want to go platinum, I'm going platinum. Let's not forget that we have had people doing these things way before the people who are doing it now and let's also not forget that the black community sometimes we really hang ourselves because every time another black female gets up there and does something that may be current, we criticize each other and try to put each other down, but when Katy Perry and Lady Gaga do it, they all eat. But I'm not going to be a part of that. I'm going to do me, regardless.

Very valid point… I think the biggest style criticism was thrown at you this past MTV Movie Awards. Bunch of people thought you jacked Nicki’s haircut.
But my cut is blunt and futuristic and Nicki Minaj started wearing that bob on her head after she came to my show, so at the end of the day I know what I do and I know what I possess and I know who I am. I'm a trendsetter. The biggest form of flattery is imitation so I'm flattered. I understand the universal law. I'm not confused, I don't feel like a follower. I started so many things that new artists are doing now anyway –my style, the way I'm aggressive on a track, the way I come through, the way my beat bangs. There are so many things that were borrowed, that I influenced that's happening in music right, so I'm far from discouraged.

Well there you go. Wait, Nicki through to one went to one of your shows?
Yeah, she was a guest on America's Best Dance Crew and immediately afterwards, everywhere she went, she was wearing the haircut, the same exact way. But that doesn't make me feel like ‘Oh she's trying to be down’ like how I said about our culture. I'm actually flattered because she imitated me and it felt like something that I was doing was cute and in time for the fashion and for the season, so it's like let's live, let's do it.

When I first interviewed you back in the day, you mentioned how other female rappers didn’t embrace you much. Has that changed or stayed the same?
It hasn't really changed. You know what, let me catch myself. MC Lyte definitely embraces me. Jada Pinkett Smith embraces me. Those are two people that I can call and get advice. Those are two people that will call me to see what I'm doing. I think that everybody else that's still on the radar like Missy and [Lil] Kim, feel so challenged right now. The root of female rap now is all about your swag and doing things independently. Everything is just boosted up to where these females who created the platform for us feel imitated. The kind of in that position right now where they feel like ‘Don't get it twisted because I will drag you…’

Ha! Were you and Nicki at least able to chop it up after her episode of ABDC?
We didn't really get a chance to vibe out like that after the show. It was just business. It was a level of respect though. Despite of what anybody might hear or have to say through the web, internet, music, subliminals, or whatever, when people see me in this industry I am respected and I will be respected. Anything else goes under the rug so I don't see it. Whoever it may be, it's always a level of respect because I respect myself and I will be respected.

Word. I know your thing back in the day was being very mindful of your younger fans. Should we expect to hear some 21+ lyrics now?
I guess my sound has changed a little bit; I'm evolving. Lauryn Hill might have cursed a couple of times in her music and Missy Elliot definitely just doesn't care. I'm really more inspired by their creativity more so than just the cursing. I’m really impressed by clean music. I have a thing for it, but if I have to go there, I think I'm going to go there. It has to be something that you want to do. It can't be peer pressure. You have to be yourself… and that’s what I do best. 

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Maryland Judge Overturns Jury's Decision To Award Korryn Gaines Family $37 Million

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury's decision to award the surviving family of Korryn Gaines $37 million. The 23-year-old was shot twice, along with her 5-year-old son Kodi, during an hour-long standoff in August 2016. The child survived Gaines did not.

According to CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman stated in an opinion Cpl Royce Ruby's conduct was "entitled to qualified immunity," which translates as Ruby was well within his rights as a member of law enforcement and is "shielded from liability for civil damages."

Norman's opinion states Ruby acted within the margins of the law. "This court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."

However, Norman states the damages Gaines' surviving family was seeking were "excessive and shocks the conscience."

The jury awarded $32.85 million to Gaines' son Kodi, $23, 542 for his medical bills and $4.53 million to Gaines' daughter Karsyn Courtney. The jury also found it fit to award Gaines' mother Rhanda Dormeus $307,000 and $300,000 to her father Ryan Gaines.

Judge Norman said the court would grant a new civil trial on account of this new opinion.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Gaines' family lawyer said the family is disappointed but not "defeated nor deterred from doing what must be done now."

"We have great appellate issues and an excellent opportunity to have reviewed not just the recent decision but some of the earlier decisions in the case that were disfavorable," Gordon said. "Nobody told us the road would be easy. I don't believe God brought us this far to leave us. This case is by no means over. We will fight to the finish to preserve the jury's verdict and restore justice to the family."

Baltimore County police spokesperson confirmed that Cpl Royce Ruby is still a member of the department.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Deny Actor Paid $3,500 To Orchestrate Attack

Sources close to the Jussie Smollett investigation have spoken with several media outlets and allege new evidence shows the Empire actor may have orchestrated the attack, and even paid men $3,500 to go through with it.

The two men who are brothers were arrested Wednesday and released Friday (Feb. 15) without charges. Both men are cooperating fully with Chicago police, and authorities found records they purchased a rope at a local hardware store, which was used during the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh, and Victor P. Henderson, quickly denied the claim made by authorities.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

On Jan. 29, Smollett was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant when the actor alleges to have been attacked by two men who beat him, poured bleach on him and tried to hang a rope around his neck. The 35-year-old entertainer, who identifies as gay, said one of the men shouted "This is MAGA country" as well as other racial and homophobic slurs.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said one of the men appeared on Empire and have past affiliation with Smollett.

During his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Thursday (Feb. 14), Smollett expressed frustration about not being believed. Sunday morning (Feb. 17) the hashtag 'JussieSmollettHoax' trended on Twitter. The Internet was split with many offering a digital "I told you so" due to the reports, while others, particularly members of the black LGBTQ community, questioning why many were quick to believe the word of law enforcement.

Us straight men waiting on the LGBT community to apologize after Jussie lied pic.twitter.com/0PDmNX4ykZ

— Flickens McCray (@Mickens__) February 17, 2019

https://twitter.com/angryblkhoemo/status/1096967004517515266

No idea what actually happened w/ Jussie Smollett. But do know that 4 years ago, Chicago PD spent 13 months justifying Laquan McDonald’s murder before releasing dashcam video showing he was walking away before being shot at 16x by an officer. Why are we just accepting their word?

— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) February 17, 2019

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Dave Chappelle Personally Provides Tickets To Couple Who Were Scammed On Craigslist

One couple's Valentine's Day was made thanks to Dave Chappelle after they were scammed out of $500 dollars on Craigslist trying to buy the tickets to see the comedian.

Diedra and Eddie Dickens story was brought to light by WBTV on Wednesday (Feb. 13) when the couple shared how they were robbed online. In an effort to surprise her husband for Valentine's Day, Diedra attempted to buy tickets to see Chappelle on Valentine's Day after hearing he would perform in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. After she was unable to find tickets on Ticketmaster, she tried Craigslist where she found a perfect match for her and her husband, who would've needed a wheelchair accessible seat.

“They were seats one through four so those would be great because I could put my husband in seat one at the end of an aisle and that kind of good stuff,” she said.

But after sending $500 via Apple Pay to the seller, she never heard back. Diedra filed a police report after she was unable to get in touch with the seller.

“I was having good faith and it cost me $500,” she said. “You have no empathy or goodness, or I don’t know, maybe no soul."

After their story was shared on the local news, Chappelle's team caught wind of what happened and decided to surprise the couple on Thursday (Feb. 14), who decided to have dinner with friends.

Last night we told you this Charlotte couple was scammed out of hundreds of dollars trying to buy @DaveChappelle tickets on Craigslist. Tonight we were there as DAVE HIMSELF hand-delivered the group tickets! Awesome! @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/tHMElvDcZE

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Shocked and amazed, the couple was thrilled to meet the comedy legend who hand-delivered real tickets to his show. He chatted and took pictures with the couple while sharing the importance of buying tickets from credible platforms.

"Someone on my team called me, actually last night, and told me about this situation and we thought it'd be fun to do that for someone for Valentine's Day," he said to WBTV, who helped him find the couple. "I didn't expect to be on the news doing it but I'm glad, that's good. It's good that people know to always get your tickets from reliable sources and take every opportunity that's presented to you to be kind, especially if it's something that's easy to do."

Here’s a portion of our interview with @DaveChappelle. Great quote - “Take any opportunity that’s presented to you to be kind, especially if it’s something easy to do.” @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/3344hqrQ19

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Check out the good deed above.

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