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RZA Details the Making of 'The Man With The Iron Fists'

A toast to the God. Rza, the musical mastermind that created the Wu-Tang sound and inspired the majority of today's rappers/producers, has etched another unprecedented notch on his black belt. How ill is it that after being inspired by countless kung fu flicks (viewed mostly in grimy Times Square theaters), Bobby Digital gets to direct and co-star in his own vehicle, The Man With The Iron Fists. Rza being Rza though, he also had the audacity to score the film. And your favorite rapper is bragging about doing shit at the same damn time? --J. Pablo

What's good Bobby? What's the reaction been like from your peers in Hollywood? What about film critics?
Ridiculous. Everyone seems to be loving the film. I actually got sent some quotes from different periodicals and websites. I'd love to read the quotes because they're very positive but I know you don't have that much time. But yeah, the critics have loved it. Russell Crowe just saw the movie with me. He said it was very, very entertaining. He really doubled up like "very, very."

Speaking of Russell Crowe, how did you deal with the pressure of acting?
Well the great cast around me took a lot of pressure off. People haven't really seen my acting range. The past characters aren't me. If you know me like you come to my house type of relationship you would know I'm acting. Like my role in Californication. I said I'd never play a rapper type but I took that role because the character is so much unlike me. I think people see me in Funny People and assume I'm just playing me to a certain extent. But that's not the case.

Now that you got your feet wet, will you be directing again?
Oh, definitely. Even if I gotta do it with an iPhone I'll be filming again. It's something that I truly love. I do music everyday. I play my guitar, I play my piano. Even if the world doesn't ever hear it i make music daily. Music is in my DNA. Film on the other hand is something I have to work at. More importantly it's a craft I'm willing to work at. I like working 12 hours a day towards something.

That's admirable. Most people don't want to work hard at learning something new, especially after they're a master at something else.
Well, I study a lot and the Bible says "By the sweat of your brow you will have food to eat..." To me, the food tastes better and the water is colder and more refreshing after a hard days work.

What was the most important thing you learned during the making of TMWTIF?
Preparation is everything. There's always going to be obstacles that obstruct your path but if you're prepared you can deal with them and keep on your path. Like I said I study a lot and Buddhism teaches that exact [mindset]. There's a saying something to the effect of, Many men embark on the path but few are prepared for the path and thus fall to the wayside." You've got to be ready, mentally and physically for whatever your path will bring.

So how did you prep for such an immense undertaking?
Well I spent a lot of time on the Kill Bill set and I saw the hard work Quentin Tarantino was putting in. All we, as moviegoers, see is the final product. We don't know how many broken arms the stunt crew suffered or the malfunctions the explosives had or how many takes it took to get Denzel to have that perfect smile. It's not easy. I love doing it though because I love a challenge.

What was one of the bigger challenges you faced?
I did all this with an Asian crew so the language barrier was a big obstacle. What I learned though is that directing is like composing. There's an ebb and flow to it. Once I figured that out it got better. Russell came out after we were 40 days in and he told me that I was doing a great job. Usually by then the entire cast and crew is in shambles but he said I was running things pretty smoothly.

Do you like acting or directing better?
I like directing because you get to control the vision. Acting is more helping bring someone else's vision to life.

So you're so busy directing, scoring, acting, rapping... What's a day like for you when you're just chilling?
A day that I have to myself? Let's see... well I usually wake up on those days from a kiss from my son leaving for school. Then I wake up and train. My Sifu tells me all the time "If I don't train I don't eat." So I do that first thing. Then I make sure I study something everyday. Then my kids come home from school and I may teach them some things about the guitar or piano or we study together. At night I make music.

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FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Next month, Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with season two’s premiere. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), view the trailer above.

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Netflix's 'The Black Godfather' Follows The Story Of Legend Clarence Avant

Netflix is gearing up to release a documentary that dives into the history of a music legend. The forthcoming film, entitled, The Black Godfather, will tackle the legendary career and legacy of music industry executive, Clarence Avant.

The trailer debuted on Thursday (May 23), featuring a handful of all-star cameos. Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Barack Obama, Diddy, and more spoke about Avant's star power.

"There’s the power that needs the spotlight, but there’s also the power behind the scenes," Barack Obama says in the trailer.

Diddy also noted Avant's influence. "He became that mentor for us all, he became that godfather," he said.

Clarence Avant is a music executive, entrepreneur, and film producer. He is usually referred to as the "Godfather of Black Music" and was known to defy widespread racism in the 1960s and influence all aspects of the music industry.

The Black Godfather documentary will hit Netflix on June 7. Watch the trailer in the video above.

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Jussie Smollett's Criminal Case To Be Unsealed By Chicago Judge

When Jussie Smollett's criminal case – in which he was accused of staging his own attack in Chicago – was dropped, a judge agreed to seal all documents pertaining to the court proceeding. Now, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins has decided that the public has a right to see the documents regarding Smollet’s case and has ordered for it to be released, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The records were sealed in order to protect Smollett's privacy after the prosecution agreed to drop the case against him in March 2019. The decision was based on an Illinois law that allows a defendant’s court file to be sealed if charges against them were dropped or they were acquitted. The decision to unseal the case would allow the public to see why the prosecutor's office decided to drop the case.

In explaining his ruling, Judge Steven G. Watkins of the Circuit Court of Cook County wrote that Smollett’s request for privacy was not a good enough reason to keep the records sealed, considering that Mr. Smollett willingly spoke about the situation in detail on national television and in other venues.

Judge Watkins determined that Smollett chose to bring publicity to his own case and so should not be allowed the privacy of a sealed case file. "After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case," Judge Watkins wrote. "These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone."

As previously reported, Smollett was accused of staging a racist and homophobic assault against himself at the top of 2019. Brian Watson, a lawyer for Smollett, argued that the media had plenty of access to his client's case and that unsealing it would violate Mr. Smollett’s rights.

Cathy McNeil Stein, the lawyer representing the state, said outside the courtroom on Thursday (May 23) that the state’s attorney’s office planned to review its files and turn over documents that were previously sealed. It was unclear how quickly that would happen.

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