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V Exclusive! Shaunie O'Neal Spills Deets On 'Basketball Wives' Movie

Some may dub Evelyn Lozada the H.B.I.C. of VH1's Basketball Wives, but executive producer Shaunie O'Neal is the boss calling the shots. News broke earlier this week that O'Neal and Jumping The Broom producer Tracey Edmonds were in the nascent stages of bringing Basketball Wives to the silver screen. Of course, fans and naysayers of the dramatic reality spot sounded off, puzzled by what the Fox Searchlight film would portray. Drink-throwing? Lunch bickering? Lawsuits? None of the above, says Shaunie. VIBE spoke with the media maven about the details of the b-ball idea brought to life. --Niki McGloster and Clover Hope

VIBE: There’ve been reports about a Basketball Wives movie in the works. Can you speak on that?
Shaunie: It’s fictional. It’s a movie, so it has nothing… I see people on Twitter saying, “Oh god, you guys gon’ take that and turn it into a movie?” You don’t take a reality show and make it a movie. At least I wouldn’t. It’s not a quote, unquote “basketball wives movie.” Even though it has to do with basketball life, it’s not actually taking Basketball Wives from TV and making it a movie. And it’s not about women sitting around arguing or lunching all the time. It’s an actual story. It’s a love story. It’s an empowering story. It’s funny. It’s life. It’s similar—we’ve taken a girl who’s just going into the NBA life and experiencing things and showing the whole story. She learns from the organization. She learns from other wives. And by the end of the story, it’s empowering for women and men. It’s so nothing like the TV show at all. No comparison.

Will the main character be Black? Hollywood could use more of that.
We haven’t casted yet, but I wouldn’t call it a Black woman’s story. It’s going to be a multiracial cast. Of course, there will be Black women ’cause most of the NBA seems to be. But it is going to be multiracial.

What stage are you at with it?
It’s really early. We literally just closed the deal Monday. Now we’re just getting all the next steps ready. Our writer is finishing the script and then we’ll be ready to do some auditions. This is a first for me and Tracy has been absolutely wonderful in taking me under her wing and making me her partner for this. She’s been awesome on this step by step. ’Cause I’m like, 'Okay what happens next? And how do we do this?' She’s done this a few times; she’s a veteran, so she knows what she’s doing. I’m enjoying putting in my in the whole process.

How did the initial idea come about? Did you bring it to Tracey Edmonds?
Yeah, I brought her the concept and the idea. It was important for me to have other outlets outside of Basketball Wives to represent myself and who I really am and what I really would like to put out there. Because, again, I did reality TV and I can’t control that. I can’t control how everybody acts and what everybody sees. This, I can control [laughs]. If I come and I say, "This is what I envision, this is what I feel, this is what I see," with the help of others, we sit around and collaborate on how this vision can come alive and how we can make it entertaining and how we can make people interested. And [Tracey] understood what I was saying. She got where I was coming from. We always wanted to work together on something, be it TV, movie or whatever. We sat around and talked about this for a couple months and I was so eager to make it happen because I needed some other ways to almost redeem myself. Like, this is not what I’m about people, [laughs] so let me show you. And it’s not my only way of showing but it’s a huge start. And it’s one that I know I’m gonna be 110 percent proud of.

With the TV show and now a movie, it seems like you’ve been going into uncharted territory. Are you nervous about the unknown?
It’s so funny because on the Hollywood side, people come at me on a production side. They come at me, like, "Wow you have a successful show. It’s possibly five seasons, that’s amazing. So proud of you." It’s reality TV so they take it for what it is: You came to the show, you sold an idea and you did a great job at it and it’s successful. So it’s almost not the unknown on the Hollywood side. I feel respected in the back of my mind. I’m like, I hope that they get that I’m not that person, and I’m proving myself that I’m not that person. It’s my own conscience that gets to me more so than anybody thinking about me. I think too much. The unknown isn’t really so bad for me.

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FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with the second season's premiere next month. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s time period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers' room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), watch the trailer above.

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Netflix's 'The Black Godfather' Follows The Story Of Legend Clarence Avant

Netflix is gearing up to release a documentary that dives into the history of a music legend. The forthcoming film, entitled, The Black Godfather, will tackle the legendary career and legacy of music industry executive, Clarence Avant.

The trailer debuted on Thursday (May 23), featuring a handful of all-star cameos. Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Barack Obama, Diddy, and more spoke about Avant's star power.

"There’s the power that needs the spotlight, but there’s also the power behind the scenes," Barack Obama says in the trailer.

Diddy also noted Avant's influence. "He became that mentor for us all, he became that godfather," he said.

Clarence Avant is a music executive, entrepreneur, and film producer. He is usually referred to as the "Godfather of Black Music" and was known to defy widespread racism in the 1960s and influence all aspects of the music industry.

The Black Godfather documentary will hit Netflix on June 7. Watch the trailer in the video above.

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Jussie Smollett's Criminal Case To Be Unsealed By Chicago Judge

When Jussie Smollett's criminal case – in which he was accused of staging his own attack in Chicago – was dropped, a judge agreed to seal all documents pertaining to the court proceeding. Now, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins has decided that the public has a right to see the documents regarding Smollet’s case and has ordered for it to be released, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The records were sealed in order to protect Smollett's privacy after the prosecution agreed to drop the case against him in March 2019. The decision was based on an Illinois law that allows a defendant’s court file to be sealed if charges against them were dropped or they were acquitted. The decision to unseal the case would allow the public to see why the prosecutor's office decided to drop the case.

In explaining his ruling, Judge Steven G. Watkins of the Circuit Court of Cook County wrote that Smollett’s request for privacy was not a good enough reason to keep the records sealed, considering that Mr. Smollett willingly spoke about the situation in detail on national television and in other venues.

Judge Watkins determined that Smollett chose to bring publicity to his own case and so should not be allowed the privacy of a sealed case file. "After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case," Judge Watkins wrote. "These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone."

As previously reported, Smollett was accused of staging a racist and homophobic assault against himself at the top of 2019. Brian Watson, a lawyer for Smollett, argued that the media had plenty of access to his client's case and that unsealing it would violate Mr. Smollett’s rights.

Cathy McNeil Stein, the lawyer representing the state, said outside the courtroom on Thursday (May 23) that the state’s attorney’s office planned to review its files and turn over documents that were previously sealed. It was unclear how quickly that would happen.

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