On Trial: Inside The Kwame Kilpatrick Case ( Blog #4 )

Despite what the comments on local news sights like that paint Kwame Kilpatrick as the antichrist who put Detroit in the sad state it’s in today; some city residents are actually rooting for the former mayor. I ran into a Political Science professor at Oakland University that actually thought “They’re railroading him because he helped his friends and family.” Even a few of the witnesses that were called at the beginning of the US Attorney’s testimonies thought of Kilpatrick as a friend. Two long time employees from the bank that he had a personal loan testified that Kilpatrick spoke to all of the tellers and bankers when he’d visit their branch. Although prosecutors bought these witnesses on the stand to talk about the amounts of cash the mayor deposited on a weekly basis. More testimonies from veteran Detroit police officers who worked on his personal security detail, talked of private jets and trips to the Super Bowl but they also spoke of a man that played hard yet worked even harder.

On Tuesday, a longtime friend of Kilpatrick who introduced him to his wife Carlita back in college at FAMU, Mahlon Clift testified that he took a bag of cash from co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson meant for the mayor. His confession read like a Godfather remake “… because of the love that he has for the Kilpatrick family, he decided to take the money.” By Thursday the focus turned solely to Bobby Ferguson, a long-time comrade of Kilpatrick since matriculating at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. When Kilpatrick was in the Michigan state legislature, he pushed hard for a state grant worth a quarter of a million dollars for a company called Detroit 3D, run by Ferguson. Allegedly, Ferguson gave $100,000 of that money to Carlita's newly-formed company, U.N.I.T.E. For the money, Mrs. Kilpatrick was to provide resolution and character building for children at Detroit public schools. Prosecutors claim the money was spent on the purchase of a home and to feed the pockets of Kilpatrick enterprise.

Here are the facts:
Carlita has been at the center of controversy ever since 2001 when it was alleged that she assaulted Tamara Greene, the exotic dancer that performed at a long rumored wild party at the Manoogian Mansion, where the mayor of Detroit and his family resides during their tenure. However, it has never been proven that the party actually happened. Greene was murdered months after the alleged party and her killers have never been brought to justice. An investigation done by Attorney General Mike Cox determined that the party was an "urban legend."

Carlita Kilpatricak again stepped into the spotlight when she stood by her husband’s side as he took the role of Chief executive office for the city of Detroit. She seemed to enjoy the status and was often found speaking to organizations in Detroit that applauded the Kilpatrick leadership. Even in 2008 when the text message scandal put a dark cloud over Kilpatrick’s political future, Carlita held her man’s hand as he apologized to Detroiters for his infidelity. He resigned in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide, Christine Beatty.

When Kilpatrick went to jail for perjury in court over the affair, Carlita left Detroit and took her twin boys to Texas where some say she lives the highlife in a suburb of Dallas.

What went down this week that was powerful.
Michigan's former state budget director, Mary Lannoye, told jurors Thursday that she was "angry" when she learned that public grants approved in 2000 at the urging of Kwame Kilpatrick ended up in the hands of the former mayor's wife. She said Kwame Kilpatrick requested a meeting when officials were holding up more money for the group that had given money to his wife."He said he didn't do anything wrong. He was nonchalant," Lannoye said. "I was upset. I was angry at him. These grants were meant to help a local community. ... It's his wife. It gives the appearance of impropriety." When asked why the state didn’t try to recover the money, budget analyst, Lisa Shoemaker who took the stand for a grueling three-hour testimony, said officials felt there was little chance of getting the money back. Instead, the state refused to give the nonprofit the second installment of $250,000.

Until next week, @DarralynnHutson

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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