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Paid Homage x Chris Brown Launch "FAME" T-Shirts, Explain Why Merchandising Is Necessary [Pg. 2]

Definitely, and this digital era is a perfect time to make a line like this successful. What artists do you most want to pay homage to that you haven’t yet?
Personally, we want to go with people like M.I.A. and Gaga because they’re really open and out there trying new things. I think that’d be another great avenue to take. Right now, we only have hip-hop artists, so I want to branch out and make sure we cover everybody.
My-Kel: Also, I want to start doing athletes that are just phenomenal.

Like, Derrick Rose!
All: Definitely! [Laughs]

[Laughs] Okay, so tell me a bit about this new line with Chris Brown and its direction.
The Chris Brown situation came about because Fli Stylz showed him a brand that I did called Collage, and Chris Brown went crazy over it. [Fli] was like, ’Why don’t you do something for Chris?’ So, I hit Fresh up, and Fresh always comes back with something that thee people are knocked onto the floor with. In less than 24 hours, we had a full layout, full concept broken down, stuff that really fit hit persona and he loved it. Loved it off the top! I made him some samples and he went to Australia, and on a video he was rocking that. There’s a Twitter link of him wearing the shirt, and we’re just going through the paperwork part to solidify the deal.

That’s going to be nuts! Chris Brown is a major stable in music culture right now.
The best thing about it is that he’s fully supportive of it. That just makes everything that happens from it even better, you know?

Exactly. It’s better than just putting artists’ faces on shirt without their input. What are your thoughts on the marriage between fashion and pop culture?
I think that’s the future. We live in a very fast-paced world and consumers want to be sold to. Right now, we’re in the age of instant everything. If a person knows that they can connect with their fan with something cool that fits their persona then it works. If you look on the twitter page where Breezy tweeted that picture, he didn’t even say anything about Paid Homage but he was wearing the shirt. The reaction to the shirt was authentic, and that was ever doper to me that people connected with that shirt off top. People were like, ‘Yo, where can I get that shirt,’ because if you can connect with your favorite star or whoever by what they’re wearing then you want to get into it. There are stars and people that put out stuff all the time, but it doesn’t necessarily connect with the fans. We’re actually seeing that the designs and the concepts and the ideas that we have are actually connecting with the fans of these artists. Even with Nicki, she saw what we did for her and loved it. Fresh has a very unique way of making things fit the aesthetic of that person to a T. Artists do 360 deals now that means merchandise, touring and your music, and you’ll make more money off your merchandise in the long haul. You have to give these consumers what they want, so pop culture and fashion is one and the same.

What do you feel, overall, about our culture and the direction we’re going in?
We’re going into a new generation. It’s all about good energy and working with your unit. It’s about teamwork , and I’ll collaborate with anybody. I’m open for whatever, and I’m into everything. There’s no reason why you can’t positively create with people. That’s the legacy I’m pushing towards; that’s the legacy I want to leave on my kids. It’s all about building pyramids with your people.
McFresh: Each person is necessary.


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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

— Flickens McCray (@Mickens__) February 17, 2019

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

— 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

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

Check out the good deed above.

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