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Ne-Yo's Compound Foundation and George Lucas: "Fostering A Legacy" Benefit

A beautiful mansion as a part of the glorious, commodious arena that is East Hampton was host to the 1st Annual Compound Foundation's "Fostering A Legacy Benefit," which was presented by Porsche Cars (North America). The Compound Foundation has been in effect since 2007 from Ne-Yo and his business partner Reynell Hay, with the crooner's mother Loraine Smith as the President. Compound is an earnest, altruistic effort to support the dreams and conditions of children in foster care and group placement, and the foundation has produced various youth development and empowerment programs, and scholarships.

On July 14, charitable individuals including some familiar faces such as Russell Simmons, Elise Neal, Rosci Diaz, Jason Kidd, Adrienne Bailon and Ravaughn from Empire Girls—and a discreet Paula Abdul attended the fundrasier benefit and award ceremony.

The latest comeback kid, comedic star Arsenio Hall, co-hosted the event with Ne-Yo, and two other major icons were also within reach. A revolutionary for his ideas in film; the other, an exemplary figure of an ordinary person that did an extraordinary act. George Lucas, the creator of the renown Stars Wars and Indiana Jones series, was one of two honorees of the night.

Lucas exclaimed during the acceptance speech of his Compound award that he made films to "inspire kids" and to remind them that a "real future was out there for them". As the father of three adopted children, he jokingly stated that at the end of the day, "It all comes down to the black mother" which was met with hearty laughter and a round of applause, and was in reference to his (literally) blushing fiancee who was in the audience. Roscoe Brown who was an original member of the Tuskegee Airmen (the first U.S. black military aviators, in WWII) was also there, as Lucas masterminded the film Red Tails about the Airmen released earlier this year (as he had famously used $93 million of own money to finance the film which Hollywood had been resisting for years). The other honoree was The Coca-Cola Company for their impressive contribution of $19 million towards educational initiatives, participation in volunteer work, and apprenticeships, with a staff of the company happily accepting the award on the popular beverage company's behalf.

When asked about how the film Red Tails directly connects to The Compound Foundation, in a baseball-styled cap that donned the film's title, Brown said: "The Compound is about ambition, overcoming obstacles because of prejudice, which Red Tails was all about. We had to strive for excellence. Both are encouraging kids to be as good as anybody at anything." Ne-Yo concurred Brown's statement by adding, "Your circumstances have nothing to do with how far you can go. The sky is not the limit." As the affable host, when he spoke of Ne-Yo and Compound, Hall had nothing but praise, which he pronounced in his distinctive chatterbox excitement: "I was first approached by doing something for the program back at the premiere of Death at a Funeral, and I was talking with Chris Rock. You know Ne-Yo...is a classy guy, and I just had to tell him that. And I'm glad when people say he's not the black Sinatra because he's very special. He's giving hope to those that really need it."

As Hall went on to recall the hilarious memories of his reaction to his cameo in the film Ghost, Rosci urged the press to "vote Obama" during a photo op, and Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE receiving two thumbs up from Ne-Yo, it was a jovial afternoon that turned into a calm breeze of a night with donations for the organization at a great high. It all concluded with Ne-Yo performing a medley of his hits like "Sexy Love" and "Give Me Everything" to a ready to dance crowd. The benefit was graciously held at the mansion of philanthropists Bill and Michele Nuti, and theme of the night stayed strong on passing on the desire to create an admirable legacy, the importance of believing in yourself, and the simple yet meaningful kindness of helping others.

To learn more, please check out www.compoundfoundation.org

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Cardi B Awarded Crossover Artist Of The Year At 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards

2019 has been a pretty successful year for Cardi B. In February, Cardi won a Grammy Award for "Best Rap Album," and as of Thursday (April 26), the Bronx beauty was awarded Crossover Artist of the year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The 26-year-old beat out Demi Lovato, DJ Snake and Drake in the category. Cardi's been featured on some of the hottest Latin records that have ruled both 2018 and 2019. She has her hit song "I Like It" with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, and she's featured in the tracks "Taki Taki" and "La Modelo" as well.

Cardi's win makes her the first female rapper to ever win a Billboard Latin Music Award. The MC took to her Instagram stories to thank the publication for the award, a move that comes after a recent squabble she had with gossip page "The Shade Room."

On Wednesday, in a series of now-deleted Instagram videos, Cardi slammed the gossip page for posts she felt harmed her husband Offset's image. In the video, Cardi called out TSR for allegedly only sharing negative news about her label mates at Quality Management, rather than uplifting them and the rest of the black community.

“Everybody that they know that I’m cool with, they always try to get them set up for people to talk sh*t,” she said. "Offset donated 25K to the Ellen foundation for the kids in Africa. Did The Shade Room post it? No… are they posting any positive sh*t and investment talk that he’s been talking about in his interviews? No. But they sure post the way he had drama with his baby mom. They sure posting about his court cases, right?"

Congrats to Cardi on her win.

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Jussie Smollett's Potentially Final 'Empire' Episode Draws Low Viewership

It hasn't been revealed whether Empire will return for a sixth season. However, if the show returns, there's no word on if Jussie Smollett will reprise his role as Jamal Lyon.

Regardless of the unknown, it looks like fans weren't all the way tuned-in to what may have very well have been Smollett's last episode on the show. Per Variety, Jamal's groundbreaking wedding episode garnered low ratings for the Fox series.

"The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 3.8 million total viewers," reports the site. "Those numbers are a tick up on the 1.07 rating of the previous two weeks, but are still down on the season 5 average, which currently sits at around 1.4."

Smollett's character was written out of the last two episodes of the fifth season, due to his highly-publicized arrest in February for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that he was attacked physically and verbally in Chicago. All 16 charges against him were dropped in March.

Recently, his Empire family penned a letter of support for their cast member, urging the show's producers to allow him to come back for the unannounced sixth season.

"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter says. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."

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SWV Reacts To Female R&B Artists H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, And More

SWV recently sat down for BuzzFeed's "Cocoa Butter" video series to react to the new generation of female, R&B vocalists, and the veteran trio's facial expressions said it all.

The first singer the ladies reacted to was H.E.R. "I'm partial because I just love H.E.R. So she could sing dookie on a stick, and I'll still be like, oh she sounds nice," Tamara Johnson-George said.

"I wanna hear her do something different though," Coko chimed in, adding that she should experiment with more upbeat tempos.

Another notable reaction was given to Chloe x Halle. While the women agreed that the duo sounded a lot like their mentor, Beyonce, they felt that they hadn't heard any songs that "pop."

SWV didn't jump up and down for everyone, but they collectively loved Teyana Taylor. "She's going to be around for a minute," Leanne "Lelee" Lyons says.

The trio started to really dive in and dissect the artists when they moved on to Queen Naija. Although two-thirds of the group said they like Queen, Coko's facial expressions said something else. "You heard her sing live?" She askd. "I just like to hear them sing live because nowadays these girls sound like a computer."

SWV also reacted to Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, and Syd. See their reactions below.

SWV Reacts To Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, H.E.R. & more! pic.twitter.com/vF4CQNZlTq

— Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) April 25, 2019

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