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Mona Scott Young Talks Erica Mena's Love & Hip Hop Debut, Somaya Reece's Absence, and More

We caught up with Love & Hip Hop's executive producer Mona Scott Young for another Twitterchat and she spoke on all the show's happenings. From Erica Mena's big debut to Somaya's lack of appearance, check out Mona's message and response to the questions below:

So glad to be back with an all new episode and from the feedback I'm getting I already know you guys enjoyed it! This has been a crazy season but again, I thank you guys for all the support and feedback. It really means alot.

As I wind down this year and look forward to 2012, I want to thank #TeamMonami-my partner in crime and Love & Hip Hop Supervising Producer Stephanie Gayle, Exec Assistant Michael Nittolo, Brand Manager Jean Chouteau, Information Manager & PR Super Guru Maricarmen (MC) Lopez, my Producing partners Stefan and Toby of NFGTV, the entire crew and staff of L&HH, our Genius network Exec Jim Ackerman and of course, the cast who made this all possible. Thank you to @DamnAnthony and @DayDog at VIBE.com also! Wishing every one of you a joyous and prosperous New Year!

Twitterchat Questions:

1. What was the bet that Jim lost to Juelz?
Hmmmm....good question. Will find out from Jim and get back to u guys on that. LoL!

2. Any reason Somaya Reece is MIA? Will she be featured in upcoming episodes?

With 6 cast members to follow it sometimes becomes difficult to get everyone in every episode so what we do is try to follow the stories that are happening as they are happening. It would not be smart storytelling to focus on a cast member just to make sure they're represented in an episode when there is a great story unfolding with another cast member that needs coverage. There is only so much time per episode to cover story and we have to make tough choices every day but rest assured, Somaya is definitely still very much part of the cast and will make appearances in coming episodes. The #TeamSomaya lynch mob warriors can stand down! LOL!

3. Did you expect Erica to kick things off with a bang like that and what really happened between her and Kimbella before to make them fight like that?

Absolutely NOT! I was watching that unfold like WTF??!! Where the heck did all of that come from?! That definitely took us all by surprise. According to them both, they had never had any interaction although they both maintain that they've
traveled in the same circle in Miami and have some mutual acquaintances. ACCORDING TO ERICA (need to make it clear that these are her thoughts NOT mine! LOL!) it may not have been anything specific that Kim did but the fact that she represented some of the women in the video modeling game that Erica had encountered...

4. Is Kimbella married to Juelz? If not, any news of wedding bells to soon come? Will Kimbella and Juelz's relationship be shown more In the show?

Kim and Juelz are probably better suited to answer this than I am. What I do know is that they have a beautiful son that they are raising together.

5. Erica came on as Yandy's new client...does that cause tension with Kimbella and Yandy?

As a manager, Yandy is always on the lookout for new talent. Erica was someone she met with to discuss the potential of doing things together but as far as I know they had not come to any final decisions about the state of their business relationship. Also I don't believe Yandy was aware of how strongly Erica felt about Kim (again, none of us were!) or she would have never had a part in bringing them around each other. Kim knows Yandy well enough to know this and they have not allowed this incident to negatively impact their friendship.

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Lee Daniels Details 'Empire' Cast's Feelings About Jussie Smollett Case

The cast of Empire is currently in the process of healing in the aftermath of Jussie Smollet's hate crime scandal. In a new interview with Extra, series creator, Lee Daniels detailed how the actors and crew feel about Jussie and the whole debacle.

"The cast is upset," he admitted. "It is a sad time and we are slowly healing."

Daniels did not reveal whether the cast believes Smollett staged his alleged hate crime earlier this year, but he said that he will not judge him. "What I am learning right now is that I can’t judge," he explained. "That that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with a gavel and God. I can only support him because he is like my son, he is my son, so I am with him. I can only support him and I can only give him compassion."

As previously reported, the actor, who stars as Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox drama, told Chicago police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on Jan. 29. As the investigation continued, the attention turned to Smollett. He was arrested on Feb. 20, and indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report and allegedly staging the incident. Those charges were subsequently dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for $130,000 for the time spent investigating the matter.

Check out Lee Daniels interview with Extra in the video above.

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Police Conducted Welfare Check On Wendy Williams Over Alleged Poisoning

Police reportedly conducted a wellness check on Wendy Williams at her New Jersey home earlier this year after an anonymous caller claimed the TV personality's husband, Kevin Winter was poisoning her, People reports.

The incident reportedly occurred during Williams' television hiatus in Jan. 2019. According to the police report obtained by People, police arrived at Williams' residence shortly after the call was made. Hunter reportedly answered the door, claiming his wife was recovering from an illness.

Authorities noted that Hunter was "hesitant" to let the police inside the house but eventually did. There, they found Williams in bed with a "blanket covering her from neck to toe." Williams told the cops she was recovering from a broken shoulder.

Williams reportedly "became tearful" when they asked if there was any truth to the poisoning allegation, but she ultimately denied that any wrongdoing was taking place. Police said Hunter "then responded saying something to the effect of there had never been any calls to his house regarding domestic violence."

While the couple might not have received calls to the house, there have been rumors of domestic abuse. Many assumed that was one of many reasons why Williams filed for divorce against Hunter earlier this month. Even so, the Williams maintained that she was leaving on good terms.

"I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs,” he said a recent episode of her self-titled show. "No matter what the outcome is or what the future holds, we are still The Hunter Family and I will continue to work with and fully support my wife in this business and through any and all obstacles she may face living her new life of sobriety, while I also work on mine."

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'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 3 Shows The Effects Of Childhoods Being Stolen By Adults

A child can die and still grow up. A child can die from growing up. In The Chi, where humanity is hustled and children face their mortality, childhood is a luxury few are lucky enough to keep let alone enjoy. Adults traffic in stolen youths, trading in childhoods that never belonged to them. Some use them to make their lives easier, others use them to advance their careers, but they all snatch away the childhoods of young black boys and girls in order for them to navigate adulthood better.

On the insidious side, Ronnie’s lawyer Kimberly Hendricks (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) uses Kevin’s youth to both intimidate and discredit the only eye witness to Ronnie’s murder of Coogie Johnson in Season One. She orchestrates this by employing a white man with a purported history of dealing with black youths testifying in court to tell Kevin’s family about the untold dangers that can arise from his testimony against Ronnie in the courthouse. All the while, Hendricks sits nearby surveying the scene of her own making, knowing the preservation of Kevin’s precious youth would be his mothers’ first thoughts when hearing of these “consequences” and force them to not have Kevin testify.

Not too long after that, Hendricks calls into question the validity of the 12-year-old eyewitness account, since she claims the accounts of adults are typically unreliable and Kevin having experienced trauma from shooting Ronnie makes his account even more shaky. Soon after, we find out Hendricks’ motive for using Kevin’s young age to get a murderer out of jail is not based in some warped view of justice, but instead in her desire to advance her own law career by making partner at her law firm.

The Chi drives home the severity of what Hendricks’ actions could do to the future of a child like Kevin. Before Kevin and his family are intimidated by Hendricks’ flunkie in the courthouse, Kevin mentions how some of his knowledge of the criminal justice system comes from long-running TV drama Law & Order. Mere seconds later, a young black boy, who looks no older than Kevin, is escorted in handcuffs by police officers while wearing grey prison garbs. This idea of adults snatching away black boys’ youth through the legal system is an all too common reality in a city such as Chicago, where judges go against local ordinances banning the detention of children under 12 years of age at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Beyond Chicago, adults within the American legal system have had transactional relationships with black youths. Between 2000-2007, judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania received financial compensation from the owners of juvenile detention centers for filling their detention centers with young offenders through excessive sentencing for minor infractions. The ordeal is referred to as the “kids for cash” scandal, a title that could easily be the name of an episode of The Chi.

But, just like in episode two, where Jerrika appeared to sell out of her blackness for the advancement of her career, nothing is ever clearly good or bad in The Chi. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes in the early part of the season, Kevin discovers his classmate Maisha (Genesis Denise Hale) hasn’t been coming to school because she has to watch her siblings while her mother works. Her mother is robbing her daughter of a traditional childhood by having her assume parental roles over her siblings versus focusing on school. As Kevin sits in her living room surrounded by her siblings and their toys, Maisha’s usual calm but condescending demeanor is replaced with irritable fatigue. You can see her face struggle to contort into a smile when joking with Kevin.

Neither Maisha nor Kevin make any mention of Maisha’s father, so it’s safe to assume she lives in a one-parent household, like more than 11 million other American households, according to 2016 Census data. Of those more than 11 million households, more than 80 percent of them are headed by mothers. Those same mothers have to spend upwards of 70 percent of their annual income on child care. Without Maisha sacrificing a piece of her childhood, her siblings may not have one of their own.

When Maisha somberly asks Kevin if she’ll see him tomorrow after school—she’d asked him to bring her each day’s homework—the look in her eyes is one crying out for a connection to her peers’ leisurely, carefree lives. That’s what people see when they look at him: the purity of childhood. It’s the reason why Jake wouldn’t let Kevin be part of his illegal candy resale scheme in episode two. So much of The Chi involves making sure this one black boy doesn’t get swallowed by the streets.

Despondent themes aside, the episode is not without its silver lining. There is a humorous side to children growing up too quickly in The Chi. Papa, Kevin’s best friend and the most mature kid in the show, participates in the school’s candy drive in order to win a flat screen TV for his man cave. But instead of a “man cave,” he calls it a “Papa cave.” Humorous displays of otherwise depressing topics, such as black youths growing up much faster than they should, gives The Chi’s commentary a bit more realism, showing that there’s good in the bad, and vice versa.

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