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On Trial: Inside The Kwame Kilpatrick Case ( Blog #5 )

This week in other Detroit sex scandal news, the chief of police, Ralph Godbee is expected to give his resignation to Mayor Dave Bing after an affair with a female officer went public on twitter. Both officers are married and had been involved in sexual relations for months. After tweeting an image of herself giving a blow job to a gun, Officer Angelica Robinson quickly became the scorned other woman, outing their relationship to the world. Oddly enough, Mayor Bing put Godbee in place just 2 years ago after firing the former Police Chief Warren Evans over a sex scandal that involved a woman later revealed to be creeping with Godbee as well. With all the hoopla of another man of power in the hot seat, this week’s testimonies for the Kilpatrick US federal trial on corruption were more nostalgic than current news.

At the beginning of week two of testimonies, images and reflections of a much younger Kilpatrick were on the screen and in conversation. More of Kilpatrick’s security and drivers team were on the stand, specifically this week to discuss the mayor’s relationships and often visits from Emma Bell. Bell testified that she considered herself to be Kilpatrick’s second mom, knowing him way before the flavored gators and styled suits, when we was a political protégée. Prosecutors bought the witness, Emma Bell on the stand Thursday morning to prove that she constantly gave Kilpatrick loads of bills in his office and at his residence. She even testified to carry large sums of money in her bra. There were time during her testimony that she paused for long period of times and even teared up to convey her love and admiration for her “son,” Kwame. Bell was paid more than $900,000 while raising money for Kilpatrick's campaign fund and a separate nonprofit fund for five years. She testified to kicking back more than $200,000 to him for his own use, typically in amounts of less than $10,000. This was cash from campaign funds and his non-profit Civic Fund, ran by Bobby Ferguson. Bell was hired as a fundraiser, raise the money then 10-15 percent kicking some back to the mayor, she testified.

One of the most infamous exchanges in court went something like this.

"I don't want to get indelicate here," Kilpatrick’s defense attorney James Thomas said on cross-examination. "But are you telling the jury you took the money out of your bra in that closed room and gave it to him?"

Emma Bell replied: "I would take money out of my bra in front of my son, sir."

By the end of the week, the prosecutors played a video of Kilpatrick during a campaign speech from 2001. An idealistic campaigner, Kilpatrick told an electric audience that not “one penny” of his non-profile money was spent campaign. Why? “Because it would be illegal,” recorded Kilpatrick. Back then, the young mayor looked plump and young, now more refined and chiseled, some might say, richer.

Here are the facts:

A powerful witness on the prosecutors side was Daniel Gotoff who testified his firm, Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates was hired by Bob Berg, a member of Kilpatrick’s media team, to conduct a survey of likely Detroit voters in spring 2001. The 20-minute survey probed people’s feelings about Kilpatrick and his re-election for mayor. Gotoff said all of their invoices were paid by the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. Checks were entered into evidence of the transactions.

Kwame Kilpatrick took to Twitter on Thursday night to vent about his trial. “If this case was in another State, not paid for by taxpayers, & my life was not on the line, this ish would be laughable.”

What went down this week that was powerful.

Jurors has normally been paid $40 per day to serve during this lengthy trial, this week Judge Edmonds raised their pay to $50 bucks per day plus mileage. They have a 15- to 20-minute break each session. A female juror was told not to return because she had been caught sleeping during trial.

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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