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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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Watch Daniel Kaluuya As Fred Hampton In ‘Judas And The Black Messiah’ Trailer

Daniel Kaluuya transforms into Fred Hampton in the powerful new trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah. The nearly two-minute long clip shows Kaluyaa as the Black Panther Party leader delivering a powerful speech to a group of party members. Lakeith Stanfield, who portrays FBI informant William O’Neal, is also featured in the short teaser.

Directed by Chaka King and produced by Ryan Coogler, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the story of Hampton, who was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police in 1969, at the age of 21. Born in Chicago in 1948, Hampton mobilized a generation and became the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP. Hampton was so influential, that the FBI conspired to silence his voice. O’Neal was hired by the FBI to infiltrate the BPP, and rose up the ranks to become a sergeant in arms within the Party.

O’Neal became so close to Hampton that he provided the FBI with the floor plan to his apartment to carry out the fatal raid in 1969. He befriended Hampton only to betray him in the end. The film explores that dynamic and O’Neal’s fear that his cover will be blown.

After Hampton’s death, O’Neal went into infamy. He passed away in 1990o of a reported suicide.

Judas and the Black Messiah is slated to open next year.

Watch the trailer below.

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Keke Palmer To Host 2020 MTV VMAs, Joins ‘Proud Family’ Reboot

Booked and busy! Keke Palmer will be hosting this year’s MTV VMAs, she announced on Thursday (Aug. 6). The 26-year-old actress made the big reveal with a creative throwback to her character True Jackson.

“I heard y’all was tired of 2020, let’s go back to 2008,” Palmer captioned a video conversation featuring a split screen of herself in character as Jackson.

I heard y’all was tired of 2020, let’s go back to 2008 😩🤪🤩. Join me as I host the 2020 @vmas on August 30th on @MTV! #VMAs pic.twitter.com/cl5TcUrxnm

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) August 6, 2020

Also on Thursday, Disney announced that Palmer has joined the cast of the forthcoming reboot of The Proud Family. Palmer will voice a new character named Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins. “Dreams do come true,” she happily tweeted.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is slated to debut on Disney+ sometime soon. Show creator/executive producer, Bruce W. Smith and executive producer, Ralph Farquhar, are back on board, as well as original cast members, Kyla Pratt, Tommy Davidson, Paula Jai Parker, and Jo Marie Payton.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ DREAMS COME TRUE! https://t.co/vgwmibrurS

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) August 6, 2020

As for the 2020 VMAs, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande top the nominees' list with nine nominations, followed by The Weeknd and Billie Eilish with eight nods each.

The show airs from Brookyln's Barclay's Center on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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Issa Rae To Produce HBO Documentary Exploring History Of Black Television

A documentary on the history of Black television is headed to HBO with Issa Rae as one of its executive producers. Seen & Heard, a two-part documentary, will explore the history of Black TV as told by those who created, and starred in groundbreaking series from the past and present, the cable network announced on Wednesday (Aug. 5).

In addition to showcasing archival material, Seen & Heard will offer up cultural commentary on Black representation in storytelling, featuring interviews with writers, showrunners, actors, celebrities and other “notable influencers.”

The participants will reflect on their personal experiences with Black representation on television, and share insights into their current creative ventures, inspiration, and experiences.

Seen & Herd will be executive produced by Rae and Montrel McKay’s Issa Rae Productions along with award-winning teams from 3 Arts Entertainment and Ark Media, including Phil Bertelsen, the latter of whom will direct and produce the film. Bertelsen's credits include the hit Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X?, Madam President, and The Legacy of Barack Obama.

“Black people have such a rich, but often unacknowledged history in Hollywood," Rae said in a statement. “We have defined American culture and influenced generations time and time again across the globe. I'm honored to pair with Ark Media to center and celebrate the achievements of those who paved a way for so many of us to tell our stories on television.”

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