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NOTORIOUS Writer Cheo Hodari Coker Talks About Biggie's Last Interview, His Legacy and the Man Behind the Music

There are only a handful of journalists who were lucky enough to develop personal relationships with The Notorious B.I.G. Fifteen years after his tragic passing, the heart of hip-hop still mourns over the loss of one of its prodigal sons and he remains a rap legend that will never truly die. Biggie’s legacy been has been continuously immortalized in countless documentaries, short films, books, records and of course the big screen film, NOTORIOUS. To obtain a closer look into the life of the beloved rhyme innovator, also known as Biggie Smalls, VIBE tapped one of the writers from his biopic, an accomplished journalist/writer/producer by the name of Cheo Hodari Coker. We wanted to gain insight into who BIG was as a human being. Cheo conducted countless interviews with Biggie from the time his debut album hit record store shelves to days before his murder. Read on to discover what really made The Notorious B.I.G. an unforgettable figure.

Purchase: UNBELIEVABLE The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G.


VIBE: Let’s start at the very beginning. Do you recall the first time you met Biggie face-to-face?
Cheo Hodari Coker: The first time that I met BIG was in 1994, summer of '94, I believe it was August. I think it was right after Ready to Die came out. I was doing a piece for Spin that never got published. The reason it never got published was because they were mad that I wrote a Ready To Die record review for Rolling Stone and they were so competitive at the time, and mad cause I wrote the Rolling Stone record review that they killed my piece. My best friend Rob Marriott ended up writing that piece.

Anyway, I got to meet him for the first time, and I actually met him on St. James in Brooklyn. He was just a laid-back but compelling interview. It was funny because like every car driving by was playing a different song from Ready to Die.

Years later I ended up writing the first solo screenplay assignment I ever got, which was the Bob Marley story for Warner Brothers. There’s interesting parallels between Biggie’s life and Bob Marley’s life, besides both of them dying incredibly young and of course both of them being Jamaican [Laughs]. What was interesting is when Bob Marley lived at Hope road and would basically come outside to gatherings of people waiting for him. It was the same thing with Biggie, everybody knew where St. James was. Everybody knew where he was on the corners near the train stop. If you wanted find Bob you would just go right to 56 Hope Road, for Biggie you went to Fulton. Literally from the time when he started rhyming and selling weed and what not in front of that train, everyone from Dream Hampton and Bonz Malone would come through there. If you wanted to find Big you knew exactly where to go, it was almost like going to the neighborhood barber shop.

He was just like this person you would see, and when he immediately became a star that didn't change. It was funny because I asked him about it, about leaving Brooklyn, and he said he was afraid honestly to leave his block because he didn't know how he could and what he would rhyme about. Big said his environment was waking up smelling Chinese food and hearing his record playing around the block, and that was just kind of how he was. He talked about his daughters, Faith and him and just got married and he was already having a little bit of drama. He was hilarious and we tried to capture that in the film but if you really knew him he was so much fun to be around. His personality was completely different than his image was.

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Oprah Responds To Viral Video Of Her Eating Unseasoned Chicken

A hilarious old video of Oprah Winfrey making an uncomfortable face as she dives into a piece of unseasoned chicken has been circulating the Internet all week. While these sort of silly videos wouldn't usually garner a response from the billionaire, Oprah surprised everyone when she shared a video explaining the chicken-eating experience and her initial reaction.

To give you some context, the video is a clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, in which O invited her guest Anna Ginsberg to make her award-winning chicken dish. After one bite, it became clear that Oprah wasn't too pleased with the chicken's bland taste. She even asked at the time if she could add a little seasoning.

I often think about the time Oprah did a cooking segment with a woman whose chicken recipe won $1 million, and Oprah's jaw dropped when she tasted it and realized the lady didn't even add seasoning

— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) December 9, 2018

Now, more than 10 years later, Oprah is setting the record straight. In her new video posted on Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 13), she noted that she likes to provide a pleasurable experience for her guests but also live in her truth. On that particular day, she was presented with a dilemma. "I was having a moment of trying to decide: Do I want her to have a great time? What is my real moment of truth?" she said. "Because the truth for me was that I'm used to having salt and pepper on my chicken. That's just the truth...That's what I was thinking, 'This chicken needs some salt and pepper.'"

So that's that; Oprah has spoken. She may have played it off at the time, but like many others, she would prefer her chicken with seasoning.


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Over the weekend, a 2006 video of @oprah tasting an *interesting* chicken dish made its rounds online. We asked the O of O, what REALLY went through her mind as the cameras were on her—and she answered. Swipe left if you haven’t seen the hysterical video! #tbt

A post shared by O, The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) on Dec 13, 2018 at 7:13am PST

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'Sesame Street' Praised For The Inclusion Of Homeless Character

Sesame Street continues its crusade to include statement-making characters on their block. This time around, families will be introduced to Lily, the show’s first homeless character.

According to USA Today, Lily- an adorable hot pink, red haired puppet- was first introduced to the show in 2011, but in new online clips, Lily opens up about being homeless and staying with friends.

"Now we don't have our own place to live, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home," she says to Elmo in one clip. In her initial appearances on the show, Lily discusses her family’s food insecurities, meaning they didn’t have much to eat.

“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma – the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop.

“We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future," she continues. "We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment – home is wherever the love lives.”

In recent years, Sesame Street has introduced a slew of ground-breaking new characters, including Julia, a puppet with autism, and Alex, a character whose father is incarcerated.

READ MORE: 'Sesame Street' Introduces A Character Who Has A Father In Jail

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Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.


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Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

READ MORE: Cardi B Buys Her Mother's House

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