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VIBE Cover Story: Django Unchained

Despite the site-unseen criticism of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film rebellion, Django Unchained isn’t a blaxploitation slavery flick. Jamie Foxx, who plays a gun-slinging slave on the warpath, reunites with Kerry Washington for the epic tale, while Leonardo DiCaprio finally puts on his black hat and goes dark. Gathered at a Manhattan studio, the big three explain how they mastered the art of telling this historically hot-button story. —Erik Parker

JAMIE FOXX knows what you're thinking when you see him as a shivering slave in the trailer for his latest film, Django Unchained. This is no Roots. It's not like he didn't know his role in Quentin Tarantino's latest backslap to Hollywood conventions would confuse some and infuriate others. He's smirking atop a horse in a powder blue costume while going all badass on white folks like some Dolomite slave fantasy for goodness sake. But according to Foxx, 45, and key members of the all-star cast–Leonardo DiCaprio and Kerry Washington–they half-expected the verbal lynching.

With Django Unchained, Tarantino adapts his familiar revenge themes (Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds) to the story of a slave gone rogue in the name of love. In this flick, the genre-splicing director tracks Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is recruited by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who happens to be hunting the men who sold Django's wife (Kerry Washington, 35) to the most wicked of all plantation owners, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

While Tarantino was awarded Screenwriter of the Year for Django by the Hollywood Film Awards in October, black Hollywood had a different take. Nate Parker (Red Tails, Red Hook Summer), who was also considered for the role of Django, called the script ‘‘upsetting.” Tyler Perry, who wrote the Madea series, raised questions about Tarantino's screenplay (more on this later). But the actors in the film, which also include Samuel L. Jackson, stuck to their guns.

‘‘I wanted to go in there and try to embody somebody and an attitude that is so foreign to me and go the distance,” says DiCaprio, 38, who had his own reservations about the language and imagery. While at the photo shoot for VIBE, the most revered actor of our time puffs neat circles of smoke from his electronic cigarette. Not look-at-me plumes. More an absentminded exercise to pass the time and focus his thoughts. ‘‘I think it took me to places I didn't even imagine,” he continued. ‘‘It really took on a life of its own.

When Foxx, DiCaprio and Washington finally sit for a chat about the film, the conversation also takes on a life of its own. Here is the story behind the story.

VIBE: Before Django was even completed, the screenplay and the trailer received criticism from black people who objected to the treatment of slavery, suggesting it is not serious. It is a spaghetti western not a heavy drama like, say, Roots or The Color Purple. Were you prepared for this type of scrutiny?

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: We knew there was going to be controversy. The question is: What is not a realistic depiction? I would argue that it is. It is Quentin's re-creation; this character doesn't exist. There's nobody that is documented to do what Jamie's character has done at the time. But the documentaries I saw went even further.

JAMIE FOXX: Put it this way: I completely understand what you're saying. 'Cause as black folks we're always sensitive. As a black person it's always racial. I come into this place to do a photo shoot and they got Ritz crackers and cheese. I'll be like, ain't this a bitch. Y'all didn't know black people was coming. What's with all this white shit? By the same token, if there is fried chicken and watermelon I'll say ain't this a bitch? So, no matter what we do as black people it's always gonna be that. Every single thing in my life is built around race. I don't necessarily speak it because you can't. But the minute I leave my house, I gotta put my other jacket on and say, ‘‘Hey, Thomas, Julian and Greg.” And I gotta be a certain person.

DICAPRIO: Thomas, Julian and Greg?

VIBE: Those are white people.

FOXX: No some of those people are black. But when I get home my other homies are like how was your day? Well, I only had to be white for at least eight hours today, [or] I only had to be white for four hours. Everything we do is that. When you're talking about the script, of course it's going to be controversy. I remember talking to Tyler Perry about it. [In Perry's very serious voice] ‘‘Ah man, the script, man. Have you read it?” When I finally read it, I called Tyler and we had a conversation. I said, ‘‘I got a different take on it than you did.” And we shared. And I called Tyler while we were shooting it. I said, ‘‘Do you know that Quentin Tarantino knows all of your shit on TV. I don't even watch all of your shit.” He said, ‘‘Really?” The difference is the Quentin Tarantino Effect. I ran into Spike Lee at the BET Awards. You know Spike, he'll let you have it whether it's good, bad or ugly. And he said, ‘‘I'm not going to say anything bad about this film. It looks like y'all are getting it

KERRY WASHINGTON: This is not a doc. This is a Quentin Tarantino film. But I remember there was this one moment in the script where Jamie's character was put in an awful crazy medieval metal mask. I said, ‘‘That's some sick thing Quentin thought up.” And when I went to the production office to meet about my wardrobe, I saw into the research office. Twenty photos of real masks like that. It made me sad. I realized as much as my degrees and everything I've read on slave narratives [should have informed me], I didn't even know that they wore masks like that, that people did that to us. It took a Tarantino movie for me to know that that's not some crazy thing out of his imagination. That's how it went down.

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Ed Sheeran Taps Cardi, 50 Cent, H.E.R. And More For New Album

Ed Sheeran is commissioning a star-studded roster for his upcoming album, No.6 Collaborations Project. 50 Cent, Cardi B, Khalid, Meek Mill, H.E.R., Travis Scott, Stormzy, Young Thug, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and PNB Rock are among the packed list of collaborations.

The British pop crooner released the track list last month, but debuted the full list of features via Instagram Tuesday (June 18).

Sheeran teams with Chance the Rapper and PNB Rock for the recently released single “Cross Me,” and Bieber on an acoustic offering of his new single, “I Don’t Care.”

“I’m a huge fan of all of the artists I worked with on the album,” the singer-songwriter said in a statement according to Rolling Stone. “Whether I’ve been following them since the beginning of their careers, or had their albums on repeat, they’re artists that inspire me and all bring something special to each track. Can’t wait for you to hear it!”

No. 6 Collaborations Project is due out July 6.

See the track list below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thanks to all the amazing artists I’ve worked with on this record for sharing your talent with me. No.6 Collaborations Project comes out on July 12, hope you like it as much as I do @travisscott @thegr8khalid @camila_cabello @iamcardib @chancetherapper @pnbrock @stormzy @yebbasmith @justinbieber @eminem @50cent @youngthug @theuglygram @ellamai @paulolondra @santandave @hermusicofficial @meekmill @artisthbtl @skrillex @brunomars @chrisstapleton

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on Jun 18, 2019 at 11:06am PDT

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XXXTentacion Documentary Trailer Released, Fans Mark One-Year Anniversary Of Rapper’s Death

Fans will soon get a behind-the-scenes looks at the life of XXXTentacion.  To commemorate the one-year anniversary of his death, the slain rapper’s estate announced a new documentary and forthcoming posthumous album, Spin reports.

The chilling documentary trailer released Tuesday (June 18), includes an eerie message from the Florida native born, Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy.

“There’s definitely a difference between Jahseh Onfroy and XXXTentacion,” he says in the clip. “This is the story, this is the full story. And this is the last time I will tell it.”

XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard,  marked the somber anniversary by sharing a photo of their final phone call, which took place hours before he was shot and killed.

 

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My hearts forever shattered 💔 6/18/18 last phone call.

A post shared by @ cleo_ohsojazzy on Jun 17, 2019 at 9:20pm PDT

Fans and fellow artists shared dedications to XXXTentacion on social media, and others flocked to the Florida  mausoleum where he’s buried.

One year ago 💔#LLJ #LLj🕊 #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/P6IT3sDGSu

— AssassinLord444🧛🏼‍♂️ (@AssassinLord44) June 17, 2019

tomorrow will mark the day , X life was taken from him. you miss you man.

I want to link up tomorrow @ a park in play music & smoke for jah ! if you in California! Pull up ! Let’s barbecue let’s have fun ! we miss you jah ! #xxxtentacion

— sincerely, tokyo 🎌 (@madeintyo) June 17, 2019

i can’t even begin to believe its been a year??? where the hell did time go? no, it can’t have been a year already😭 miss him so much. but i know he’s still with us. i really can feel it. his energy. his name will live FOREVER. also... here’s my fave edit... #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/DxC7dD2od9

— sabina!-🦋 (@fvcknxxx) June 18, 2019

The 20-year-old recording artist was gunned down in South Florida on June 18, 2018. Six months later, XXXTentacion’s estate released his third studio album, Skins. He went on to win a posthumous American Music Award and BET Award.

Watch the documentary trailer in the video above.

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Jerritt Clark

Meek Mill And Future Announce Tour With YG And Megan Thee Stallion

Meek Mill and Future are hitting the road this summer, and they're bringing along some talented guests for the ride.

The pair are reportedly gearing up to co-headline the Legendary Nights Tour featuring YG, DJ Mustard, and Megan Thee Stallion.

The tour will kick off on Aug. 28 at St. Louis' Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, hitting a total of 24 cities, including Chicago, Washington DC, and Atlanta. The Legendary Nights Tour will conclude on Oct. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Fans will be able to purchase presale tickets through Citi and Tidal on Tuesday (June 18). The general public can buy tickets on Friday, June 21 at 10 a.m. on LiveNation.com.

Check out the full tour schedule below.

The Legendary Nights Tour:

Wed Aug 28, St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino, Amphitheatre

Fri Aug 30, Indianapolis, IN, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center+

Sat Aug 3, Chicago, IL, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Sun Sep 01, Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre+

Tue Sep 03, Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center

Wed Sep 04, Cleveland, OH, Blossom Music Center

Fri Sep 06, Pittsburgh, PA, KeyBank Pavilion+

POST CONTINUES BELOW

Sun Sep 08, Boston, MA, Xfinity Center

Tue Sep 10, Hartford, CT, XFINITY Theatre

Wed Sep 11, Wantagh, NY, Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Fri Sep 13, Philadelphia, PA, BB&T Pavilion

Sat Sep 14, Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Sun Sep 15, Buffalo, NY, Darien Lake Amphitheater

Tue Sep 17, Washington, DC, Jiffy Lube Live

Thu Sep 19, Raleigh, NC, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

Fri Sep 20, Virginia Beach, VA, Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater*

Sun Sep 22, Atlanta, GA, Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood

Mon Sep 23, Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

Tue Sep 24, West Palm Beach, FL, Coral Sky Amphitheatre

Fri Sep 27, Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheater+

Sun Sep 29, Houston, TX, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Tue Oct 01, Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Amphitheater

Thu Oct 03, Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion

Sat Oct 05, Las Vegas, NV, Mandalay Bay Events Center+

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