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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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Kevin Winter

A First Look At Will Smith's Genie In 'Aladdin' Live-Action Receives Mixed Reactions

As fans anxiously await the arrival of Disney's live-action film of Aladdin, Entertainment Weekly graciously revealed the first look of Will Smith as the beloved Genie. While Smith the actor may be a perfect fit for the comedic role, some fans aren't exactly sure about his costume and makeup.

Entertainment Weekly shared the first photos on the cover of their latest issue. Smith appears alongside Aladdin and Jasmine, played by Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott. But Smith isn't blue like the original character famously voiced by Robin Williams in 1992. He doesn't even appear to be altered by CGI technology.

Due to the drastic alterations from the original, Smith's look seemed to garner mixed reactions on Twitter. Some users weren't impressed, while others are still willing to give the movie a chance.

Not to worry though, Smith shared a photo from the EW shoot on Instagram and noted that he will be blue in the film. Even so, director Guy Ritchie hinted that he would be taking Genie and the live-action film in a different direction.

"The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual actor is, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on," Ritchie told EW.

We can show you the world... of Disney’s live-action #Aladdin! Get a shining, shimmering, splendid first look at the reimagined classic in our magical First Look issue: https://t.co/Kwkcdfen5v pic.twitter.com/7NbyiRRcLH

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) December 19, 2018

Okay, everyone can shut up now #Aladdin pic.twitter.com/Rxep7l5RLV

— 🍃 (@sheilaslalaland) December 19, 2018

Smith also stated that he had a tough time figuring out how to bring new energy to his character, especially after it had already been flawlessly executed by Robin Williams. "Whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying," Smith said. "The question is always: Where was there meat left on the bone? Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character.[Williams] infused the character with a timeless version of himself."

The award-winning actor added: "I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete."

Smith later suggested that his portrayal of Genie will be just as memorable and will come with a little "hip-hop flavor." "I think it'll stand out as unique even in the Disney world," he continued. "There hasn't been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history."

Disney's Aladdin hits theaters on May 24, 2019.Check out the first-look of the Genie above.

As a big fan of Disney animated movie I totally disapprove not having a blue, magical Genie, that's a shame! 😐

Will Smith is an actor I like but the movie shouldn't be about stardom!#Aladdin https://t.co/kgkAivprCf

— Ezereal 🌍 (@So_Ethereal) December 19, 2018

I'm not usually one to advocate for blueing people up (cough, Avatar, cough cough), but really Disney, you could have kept Will Smith as himself (live action) and gave him the hue of Robin Williams #Genie smh #Aladdin

— Tiffany Alice (@itsTiffanyAlice) December 19, 2018

will Smith’s genie isn’t blue and that hair....girl....2019 really isn’t gonna be any better will it

— Peter Williamson (@ptpwilliamson) December 19, 2018

I’m sorry but they need to make Will Smith’s genie a blue cloud dude this ain’t right

— DENNIS DEPRIMO (@DENNISDEPRIMO) December 19, 2018

Seeing the first look at Will Smith’s genie for the live action #Aladdin pic.twitter.com/uD30rt8yjd

— Joseph Estadt (@JosephEstadt) December 19, 2018

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Bill Pugliano

First-Ever Feature Film About Rosa Parks In The Works

A new biopic about Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks is reportedly in the works, Deadline reports. The first-ever feature film is tentatively entitled Rosa and will begin shooting in 2019.

The film will reportedly focus on the aftermath of Park's 1955 arrest, where she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the Montgomery bus. Parks' actions launched the Montgomery bus boycott, which ultimately aided in the progression of the Civil Rights Movement.

Film executives are reportedly consulting with Jeanne Theoharis, author of the 2013 biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Theoharis stated that she intends to show different facets of Parks that aren't taught in school.

"While most Americans have heard of Rosa Parks, the details of what happened that on the night she was arrested, and her lifetime of political courage and activism, are largely unknown," Theoharis told Deadline. "The real story of Rosa Parks is far different, and even more inspiring and relevant for our times than the tale most children learn in school."

Charlie Kessler will reportedly write the screenplay. "We are honored to be working alongside Professor Theoharis. Rosa Parks is an inspiration, and our goal is to be able to use this project to raise awareness for the Rosa and Raymond Park Institute for Self Development," Kessler said. "Ms. Parks did not have any children, so her institute is her legacy."

As previously stated, this is the first feature film chronicling Rosa Parks. CBS previously aired a TV movie entitled The Rosa Parks Story about the activist in 2002, starring Angela Bassett as Parks and Cicely Tyson as her mother.

Proceeds from the upcoming Rosa biopic will be donated to The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.

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Earl Gibson III

T-Pain Accused Of Plagiarizing Popular Bollywood Song

T-Pain wanted to gift fans with a final tune before the year's end, but instead of praises, the singer was reportedly hit with allegations of plagiarism. According to various claims made on Twitter, T-Pain has been accused of copying a popular Bollywood song.

T-Pain reportedly shared his new single "That's Yo Money" on social media on Dec. 15. Shortly after the music dropped, fans began pointing out the similarities between his song and "Tum Hi Ho," a track that was originally featured in the 2013 Bollywood picture Aashiqui 2.

Dunno why but this seems familiar 🙈🙈🙈 #aashiqui2 #tumhiho @TPAIN https://t.co/69NJvAujsT . It’s a melody from Mithun’s song buddy @Mithoon11 @raiisonai @itsBhushanKumar

— Mohit Suri (@mohit11481) December 15, 2018

Sir, the melody that you have used in your new song is my original work for a previously released Hindi film..The Label is looking into this.#tumhiho #Aashiqui2 https://t.co/5fnDf4sfg7

— Mithoon (@Mithoon11) December 15, 2018

The allegations only grew stronger after the song's creator Mithoon called out the artist on Twitter. "Sir, the melody that you have used in your new song is my original work for a previously released Hindi film..The Label is looking into this. #tumhiho #Aashiqui2," Mithoon reacted.

Filmmaker Mohit Suri also joined the discussion, tweeting, "dunno why but this seems familiar," Suri reacted.

T-Pain has not explicitly commented on the incident, but the song has been taken down from his Twitter and YouTube account with the unavailable song link citing "a copyright claim by a third party" as the reason for its disappearance. You can still hear a snippet on Pain's Instagram account below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

One more surprise before the year’s over 🙂 #ThatsYoMoney out now 💰 Still looking for 20 fans to #1UP and help out this holiday season..tag who you’re spending the holidays with and what’s on your wish list for a chance to win..picking winners by next Wednesday. Link in bio

A post shared by T-Pain (@tpain) on Dec 13, 2018 at 9:10pm PST

READ MORE: T-Pain's 'Everything Must Go Vol. 1' Mixtape: Stream Now

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