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Guest Editor Evelyn Lozada Talks New Book, "Basketball Wives" Finale and Love for Rihanna

It's certain that Basketball Wives Evelyn Lozada was created for this lifestyle. While many reality stars fade into the shadows of D-list fame, this feisty Latina from New York's gritty Bronx borough has expanded her TV limelight into a book deal ("Inner Circle: The Wives Association"), a spin-off show ("Ev & Chad") and one million Twitter followers. The first-time author is weeks away from releasing her Courtney Parker-assisted novel, which you can officially cop on June 12.

In the meantime, bottle-wielding Ev is calm, spending her time vacaying in Cabo, loving on fiance Chad Ochocinco and planning her much-anticipated wedding (and wedding special). As our Guest Editor for the day, she talks us through the controversial BBW season finale, why she has such a respect for strippers and her thoughts on Rihanna's wild ways. --Niki McGloster

Without giving too much away, what is the juiciest part of the book?
There’s a mistress in the book and she’s physically assaulted. I think the readers would be very surprised as to who physically assaulted her. She was a mistress of one of the players of the book. Towards the end, you’ll be like, 'Get the hell out of here,' because you're thinking it’s one person and it ends up being…well, you know.

How was the entire writing process for you? I know it stems from journals, but how did you go in and kind of write it to make it fiction?
I have an amazing co-writer, Courtney Parker, and we would have many conversations on the phone. It’s a little tough at times because you’re re-living and talking about things that happened 9, 10 years ago. Also in a weird way, it was a little therapeutic. You know, talking about it and getting excited about this book. She was very, very helpful, and she’s an amazing writer.

What is your reaction to the naysayers and haters who are wondering why you wrote a book?
I’ve learned, especially from Chad, that controversy is good. Nothing phases him and he’s like, 'Why do you care?' I’ve learned a lot of him: the more popular and more successful you become, the more haters and the more attorneys you need [laughs].

How do you develop a tough skin for that?
You can’t do this and be sensitive. For example, you know Suzie [Ketcham], she gets a lot of shit from the show. After she films the show, she doesn’t watch it or go on Twitter. She’s like, 'I don’t know how you deal with it.' I’ve accepted that this is a part of my life and apart of my world now. The more the show became popular, and I started dating Chad, and I got engaged to Chad, it’s been like chaos. I’m never going to hide and I’m always one of those people that say TV can be a gift and a curse, and at the same time it’s opened up a lot of doors for me that I never would have imagined. I can look at [the show] and say, Maybe I shouldn’t have handled it like that. Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown that bottle at Kenya, you know what I mean? If I’m blessed to be on TV for another five seasons, you won’t see Evelyn doing that. I’ve learned from that situation. Me and Tami do get a lot of heat because we are straight forward and in your face and controversial. It's not always positive, but I know we can look back and say, ‘You know what, bitch, that wasn’t cool.’

What other lessons have you learned from the show through watching yourself?
Just to probably listen. Everyone always says it on the show, 'Evelyn goes from 0-10.' And that’s how I’ve always been since I was 13. Where I grew up, most people wouldn’t say, Okay, let's have a conversation. That’s not the way things were dealt with where I grew up. You running your mouth? You talking shit? Things happen. There’s consequences for that. I’ve learned it’s not all about screaming and yelling and, 'Oh, you’re a fucking bitch.' Most of the time I don’t get my point across.

So Basketball Wives has been kind of like an anger management tool for you?
Yeah, it has. I was born and raised in the Bronx and went to public school in Manhattan. New York is a hustle and bustle type of place, you're in cab getting cursed out and everyone is so high-strung. You're always on defense mode. I love New York; I wouldn’t take anything back, but you become a little aggressive [Laughs].

How did you handle the reactions for your VIBE cover?
You know, you have those people that love you and think that everything you do is great then there are those who are like why did they put these girls on here they aren’t role models. I think that goes hand in hand with not really caring what people say. I would like to put a camera in your house for 2 months and see what I capture. People only know Evelyn from the show, they don’t know me fro outside the show, and that’s why I’m happy I was blessed with another opportunity because you get to see all of that. You get to see me with the family, Chad with the family, our kids, the issues we are having. It’s two totally different shows and two totally different things that the world will get to see when it comes to me. I wasn’t really to bothered, I kind of knew that it was going to happen, everybody has their opinion. But for me its been a good response, people love the cover and how the photos came out so that’s pretty cool.

In your last chat with Jen, a lot was said. Could you ever move forward into a space where you could at least be in the same room with her?
I think so. A lot was happening during that time. I’m one of those people, I said some things and I was just like, that was not cooI. I live by loyalty and I feel like at that point I broke the friend code. I should have never broken that code and I should have never stooped down to that level. Like, if she wants to do interviews and slick comments, it is what it is. I don’t hate her. People just get caught up in this industry; you do interviews and say certain things. I truly don’t wish her anything negative, we’ve gone through a lot together as friends from moving out, men drama, all types of stuff. It's just tough having to relive it then talk about it. You never have that time for healing. But now that the show is done and things are calming down, I’m not angry anymore about it and I don’t hate her at all. I don’t really hate anybody, I was just upset how things were handled.

Do you miss her or the friendship?
I miss her. We were friends for 10 years. I was in her wedding, so you know yeah, and your thinking you guys are going to do this show together, your BFF, and then your kind of like what happened? And we are mutual friends with a lot of people, so everything else became weird energy. It was tough.

Now, Shaunie's been taking a lot of heat too. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve had conversations with Shaunie, and she is in a tough place because she wears all hats, she’s Executive Producer, a cast mate, friend to us...it’s just tough because you're being pulled from every angle. I can honestly say that from season 1, Shaunie has been an advocate to find a balance. We filmed a charity event for kids with cancer and it was the most amazing charity event that I’ve ever went to. Even the camera men, grown men, were crying. But it didn’t make the cut and they chose to air the part with me calling someone a fucking bitch instead. She’s an Executive Producer, but she doesn’t know what tapes are being sent to VH1; she doesn’t know everything that is going on. But I can guarantee you that it will look different and not only because of all the controversy, but because she’s been working so hard to find a balance.

You just reached over a million Twitter followers, miss! Congrats! Were you blown away that you had that many?
It’s so weird. It’s not like I’m looking at my followers everyday, but my Twitter followers update me. Me and Chad joke like, 'Yeah, when I’m at a million, I’m dropping you” and he jokes around on Twitter about it. Out of all the [reality TV] people I had the most followers; that’s pretty cool.

So, currently you're filming your spin-off show and wedding special with Chad. Are you scared of the Kim Kardashian, 72-day marriage curse?
[Laughs] No, I’m not. Me and Chad have been together for two years. I feel like if anything is going to happen, it won't be because of the show. We’ve been together two years, so I think we’ll be okay.

Now, Rihanna is one of your good friends, but from a role model standpoint, how do you view her influence to younger people?
We became cool on Twitter [laughs], and she’s cool! She lives her life and does what the fuck she wants and I love that about her. It’s tough because all of a sudden your supposed to be perfect and a role model to everyone and not live your life and I think she does what she needs to do, she’s young and having fun. Growing up I didn’t necessarily say oh my god look at Madonna I want to be just like her, I just loved her music. I feel like people put so much pressure on these celebrities and it’s like I think parents should be role models and if you don’t want your kids watching these things then don’t. Like my daughter is almost 19 and she will tell you that growing up she had parental control for the TV, because of HBO etc. In my eyes, Rihanna can do no wrong, I think she’s an amazing artist. She’s gorgeous, handles her business, and lives her life with no apologies.

Does she come to you about... let's say, the drama that’s been happening with Meek Mill, Drake and Chris Brown?
We don’t discuss personal things like that. It’s just, if I happen to be in her city or she’s in mine, we’ll hang out.

You both do love the strip clubs, though!
Yeah...[smiles] my alter ego comes out when I'm at the strip club. If me and Chad go together, I totally forget about him [Laughs]. I love the strop club.

What is your alter ego's name?
Her name is Ginger. Listen, much respect to all strippers. That is a fuckin' talent! I don't give a fuck what nobody says. To be able to go all the way up on that pole and your butt is dangling from the ceiling! [Laughs] We bond. I don't judge none of those chicks; it is what it is. I love KOD, Onyx in Atlanta, G5 in Miami, but yeah... Chad was the first one to take me to KOD, and he looks at me like, 'Are you ready to go?' [Laughs]

Lastly, are you going to go by Evelyn Ochocinco or Evelyn Johnson?
I don't know. I’m going to keep Evelyn Lozada for now because it’s a brand that I’m building. It's my own little thing I got going on. We are still on the fence of that though, so we’ll see.

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Taraji P. Henson Criticized For Comparing R. Kelly And Harvey Weinstein

Taraji P. Henson is under fire after she appeared to compare the backlash and response surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein. Henson seemed to question why Kelly was being slammed more than Weinstein, and Twitter users were not happy about her argument to say the least.

Henson shared her thoughts on her Instagram Stories on Tuesday (Jan. 22). She shared a series of videos, first of her looking up the hashtag and fan pages under "Mute R. Kelly." To no surprise, she found a handful of pages advocating for the complete dismissal of R. Kelly.

I love me some Taraji but GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLLLAAAAAAAA. Make it make sense. pic.twitter.com/qBtYuwpio0

— sie (@NOPussBoys_) January 22, 2019

She then searched for similar tags and pages for Weinstein, but was unsuccessful. She also looked up pages under his full name to no avail. Henson then shared an emoji along with a simple "hmmm." The message suggested that she was confused as to why Weinstein and Kelly – both of whom have been accused of sexually abusing dozens of women through their career – were not receiving the same backlash. It appeared her argument regarding the discrepancy might have something to do with race.

Twitter users were not persuaded by Henson's thesis however. Surviving R. Kelly show-runner, dream hampton promptly responded to Henson's story, saying, "no idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more." Others criticized the actress for not acknowledging the black women and girls who had allegedly been abused by Kelly throughout the years.

While there may not be pages about muting Weinstein on Instagram, the Hollywood mogul is facing consequences for his heinous actions. Weinstein was forced to step down from his company, and he was arrested in May 2018 and charged with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women." He later made bail but was mandated to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.

Check out the Twitter reactions to Taraji P. Henson's comments below.

No idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more.

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

All of us watching Taraji’s instastory pic.twitter.com/VbcmMY3t7U

— Kayla Marie (@Maria_Giesela) January 22, 2019

TARAJI IS SO EMBARRASSING I HATE HER pic.twitter.com/tnm4HcMeAP

— fads (@azuIair) January 22, 2019

Yall.....Taraji P Henson done lost her entire mind....I... pic.twitter.com/8CuLCy19h2

— future librarian ♏️ (@blkbravado) January 22, 2019

Harvey Weinstein has been booked, charged, etc. the purpose of #MuteRKelly is to silence his music. For him to be held accountable for his actions. I really need taraji to know better. Unbelievable.

— Krissy Brierre-Davis (@krissys_kitchen) January 22, 2019

Taraji is dumb ass bricks. She really tried to compare mute R. Kelly hashtags to Mute Harvey Weinstein! News flash, Taraji, Harvey is about to go to trial. There are people willing to testify against him. His businesses and career are DONE! R. Kelly is still out here functioning!

— Where Is Yo Scoota? Where Is It?! (@AshleyShyMiller) January 22, 2019

Taraji, why? pic.twitter.com/6a4CenaNg3

— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) January 22, 2019

1. Why would “Mute” apply to people who aren’t in the music industry?2. Weinstein has several documentaries coming about his allegations. 3. Weinstein is also going to trial over his allegations. 4. Between Taraji and Erykah “What Men Want” is a no go. pic.twitter.com/DLzvq32VKy

— M’BlockU (@rodimusprime) January 22, 2019

I wanna have a conversation about women Taraji's/Erykah's age and their obsession with "being a man's peace/shield/sponge because society brings them down enough" but I've already hit my 1 thread a day limit.

— Mári 🇵🇷 (I'm Black. This isn't hard.) (@_ItsMarisWorld_) January 22, 2019

 

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Kelly Rowland Becomes Gladys Knight For 'American Soul'

Kelly Rowland will reprise a multi-episode role as Gladys Knight on BET's newest series, American Soul.

The forthcoming series explores Don Cornelius' journey to creating Soul Train, the first nationally-syndicated show centered around black music, chronicling the uphill battling with record labels and off-camera drama with dancers, artists and more. The '70s set also painted pictures of the racially charged issues that plagued that generation.

It's almost as if the black entertainment channel is creating a Destiny's Child reunion, because Michelle Williams has been announced as the series' Diana Ross.

In a first look clip provided to VIBE, Cornelius is seen pitching the idea to a seemingly uninterested Knight (Rowland). The Chi-town DJ wants to create a show centered around black singer, dancer and performers.

"I’m talking about a national television show written, produced, and owned by black folks. I’m talking about bringing us — not whitewashed, not toned down, but us — into millions of homes, like it or not,” Cornelius' character says to Knight. Non-spoiler alert: Knight would eventually go on to be the first guest on Soul Train if history is any indication.

American Soul will premiere Feb. 5 on BET at 9 pm ET/PT on BET. Watch Kelly Rowland bring Gladys Knight's character to life in American Soul above.

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Getty Images/ Carlos Alvarez

Spike Lee Earns Six Academy Award Nominations For 'BlacKkKlansman'

It’s been long overdue, but Spike Lee is finally an Oscar-nominated director for 2018’s acclaimed BlacKkKlansman. In addition to being nominated for Best Director, Lee earned six nominations in total, The Los Angeles Times reports.

According to CNN, the Brooklyn director will compete against Black Panther, Green Book, VICE, A Star Is Born and Netflix’s Roma for the Best Picture category. Adam Driver who stars in BlacKkKlansman alongside John David Washington is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The film is also being nominated for Best Adapted Screen Play, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score.

 

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6 NOMINATIONS 6 BOOMSHACKALACKAS BROOKLYN IN DA OSCARS YA DIG? SHO-NUFF

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Jan 22, 2019 at 7:00am PST

In 1990, Lee was nominated for Best Original Screenplay of his classic Do The Right Thing and in 1998 he was nominated for Best Documentary for 4 Little Girls. Previously, Lee has been critical of the Academy for its lack of diversity in their nominations. In 2016, when Hollywood experienced a boycott for the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Lee spoke about the conundrum with a grain of salt.

"We talk about the lack of diversity at the Oscars almost every year. Last year people were calling me about Selma and now they are calling me again," he told VIBE. "Every 10 years we get the nominations….but the other nine years we get a drought. But I had to learn the hard way. If your sh*t is good it’s going to stand the test of time. I have to draw up my own history with Do The Right Thing. You know what film won Best Picture in 1989?"

Lee also earned an honorary award at the Academy in 2015. The Oscars will take place on Feb. 24 at The Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

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