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Revisiting MJ in 'The Wiz': Michael Jackson's Only Feature Film Role

In honor of what would have been his 52nd birthday on Sunday, August 29th, VIBE remembers Michael Jackson's unforgettable performance in The Wiz.

Michael Jackson’s only feature film role in Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz (1978) is a rare, cinematic treat— it’s an intimate viewing experience that’s become an even more treasured moment to behold since Michael’s passing a year ago.

In The Wiz, you witness that brief young adult window in Michael’s life and career before he became the sexy R&B, suited up and bow-tied prince of 1979's Off The Wall or bore the weight of the music world on his crown as The King of Pop (1982-2009). Jackson the actor, then age 20, was a natural; his gentle, understated portrayal of 'The Scarecrow' is a quiet revelation. In every scene Michael exudes a child-like wonderment, innocence and infectious joy that is contagious. Of course, as the premier song and dance man he doesn’t disappoint either. Jackson’s bluesy expressive interpretation of “You Can’t Win” is a joy to listen to, because you can actually hear his voice playfully dancing throughout every syllable of the lyrics while his carefree tenor bobs and weaves in and out of the melody (this was also before MJ’s angry signature grunts and spitting adlibs).

Michael Jackson's performance in The Wiz also allows you to take a sneak peak at those classic signature MJ freestyle dance moves and bottle top spins before they became apart of a Moonwalk. You get to see mentee, lead the mentor, as Michael lovingly helped The Boss, Miss Diana Ross find her footing and get on the good foot the first time the pair “Ease On Down The Road" (the duo also share a warm, easy-going onscreen chemistry which is palpable.) And it’s really a special treat to watch Jackson inconspicuously outdance the Louis Johnson Dance Company during the all-cast musical finale of “A Brand New Day.” If you haven’t notice anything I’ve described, then you should definitely rewatch The Wiz again to bear witness to it. Michael's only starring film performance is a unique opportunity to experience our man-child genius in the rough and on the verge.

Perhaps the only ironic thing about Jackson in The Wiz is that even though it's probably his most honest and revealing moment captured on film, his then surgically unaltered face is hidden for the length of  movie’s entire 133-minute running time by Academy Award winning makeup artist Stan Winston’s handiwork.  So even though we feel like we’re really seeing Michael, we actually never do. And that he would spend the next 30 years after The Wiz, masking his face from a combination of involuntarily— vitilago, and voluntary sources— plastic surgery and skin bleaching creams is also another sad reality not lost on audiences who’ve followed him through the decades. But in the end it never really mattered. True Michael Jackson fans could always look past all the masks theatrical and surgical, real and imagined and see Michael, as he truly was—a consummate performer and groundbreaking spirit. His lifelong work on records, in countless concerts and TV appearances, in music videos and in his only feature film role, is undeniable proof of his timeless genius and artistry. Unlike a human’s life it will never die, but like a boundless force of creative energy it will continue to dazzle and yes, 'thrill' audiences for generations to come.—Ronke Idowu Reeves


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Eminem Continues To Fire Shots At MGK During Australia Concert

It looks like Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly's beef is still going strong. During Eminem's latest concert in Australia, the rapper called MGK a "c*cksucker."

It all started when Em's fans began chanting for him to play his 2018 diss record, "Killshot." Instead of performing the track however, the Detroit native said: "I would but I don't want to give that cocksucker any more fucking light."

"Make some noise for your f**kin' selves and make nothing for MGK," he added before continuing with his set.

Em's latest comments come months after his feud with MGK exploded in 2018. The beef ignited after Em addressed Machine Gun on his Kamikaze album, which prompted the Houston artist to return with "Rap Devil." Fans thought the beef had died down, but was later resurged with Eminem's "Killshot."

Check out Eminem's latest diss in the video below.


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“I would, but I can’t give that c**ksucker anymore light” 😂

A post shared by HotNewHipHop® (@hotnewhiphop) on Feb 20, 2019 at 8:26am PST

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Courtesy of NBC

The Viral Covington Catholic High School Teen Is Suing The Washington Post

Nicholas Sandmann, the 16-year-old Kentucky teen who went viral after footage showed him wearing a MAGA hat starring at a Native American man, has launched a lawsuit against The Washington Post to the tune of $250 million.

According to reports, Sandmann's lawyers filed a complaint Tuesday (Feb. 19) and argued the newspaper neglected to add context to the video, which resulted in damage to the teen's reputation, as well as him allegedly being bullied and harassed.

"[The Post] intended to harm Nicholas because he was a white, Catholic boy wearing a MAGA hat, and consciously ignored the threats of harm that it knew would inevitably ensue, in favor of its political agenda," the complaint outlines.

Nicholas and veteran Nathan Phillips crossed paths in January at the March For Life protest in Washington, D. C. While at the Lincoln Memorial, Philips was singing and playing a drum after the Indigenous Peoples March. Scenes from the video show teens in the background making tomahawk chopping gestures with their hands as Philips moves through the crowd, as Nicholas is seen smiling directly in his face.

Longer videos, however, provide more background. Black Hebrew Israelites were shouting and a confrontation ensued between Native Americans and tourists. BuzzFeed News spoke with Hunter Hooligan another attendee of the Indigenous People's March and described Nicholas' behavior as "mob mentality."


"What made me feel scared was the mob mentality of the situation," Hooligan said. "That type of tactic of instilling fear and intimidation and overpowering and outnumbering has been a consistent weapon of white supremacy against indigenous people."

The lawsuit claims Nicholas was singled out by the paper's coverage of the incident and was motivated by their own political agenda.

"The Post must be dealt with the same way every bully is dealt with, and that is hold the bully fully accountable for its wrongdoing in a manner which effectively deters the bully from again bullying other children."

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, The Post is planning to "mount a vigorous defense."

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Barack Obama Talks The Damaging Effects Of Toxic Masculinity

Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warrior Steph Curry spoke about the importance of creating vulnerable spaces for young boys and men, specifically of color, at the annual My Brother's Keeper summit in Oakland.

“The notion that somehow defining yourself as a man is dependent on, are you able to put somebody else down… able to dominate… that is an old view,” Obama said.

The initiative, which was launched in 2014, is aimed at closing the opportunity gap for boys of color by connecting them with mentors in their desired fields.

Obama, who introduced himself as "Michelle's Husband" and referred to Curry as "Ayesha's Husband," was surrounded on stage by several young men who traveled from Yonkers, New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.

The former president also spoke on how racism plays a factor in why young men feel the need to use aggression to "prove" themselves.

“Racism historically in this society sends a message that you are ‘less than,’ ” Obama said. “We feel we have to compensate by exaggerating stereotypical ways men are supposed to act. And that’s a trap.”

Along with racism, Obama spoke on how some hip-hop songs perpetuate a negative stereotype of black men as well.

“Ironically, that shows the vulnerability you feel,” Obama said. “If you were very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking… you seem stressed that you gotta be acting that way.”

“I got one woman who I’m very happy with,” he added."

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