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Rochelle Aytes: Role Play

From gorgeous mastermind behind TLC in VH1's upcoming biopic Crazy, Sexy, Cool to assertive side piece in Mistresses, premiering on ABC June 3, Rochelle Aytes' reel redefines upcoming attraction

It took a bitch fit for Rochelle Aytes to realize her passion. After the former dance student dabbled in Broadway theater for the Elton John and Tim Rice smash Aida, she nailed a breakthrough performance during a 10-minute improv called "I'm So Pissed" in one of her acting classes. "Ironically, it was the perfect time for me to take the class because I was hurt by an ex-boyfriend who cheated," she recalls of the moment she decided to consider acting as a career. "You face the wall and then you wait until you're at a heightened 10 emotionally, turn and yell out whatever you want to say to the person. There's so much you can draw from that."

A hot and scorned woman is a recurring theme for Aytes, who returns to small screens as the widowed single mother April Malloy who discovers her dead husband has a secret family on ABC's Mistresses this June. She was also tapped for the role of TLC's founder Perri "Pebbles" Reid in VH1's Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story - a biopic on the R&B/rap girl troupe set for release later this year. While the dancing actress admits to lacking pipes, her Harlem roots helped level out her character's street mentality. "Pebbles told it like it was and was a little hood She's from Oakland, Calif. and because I'm from Harlem, I got to bring a little bit of that cool, homegirl fun to her," says Aytes, who stars alongside rapper Lil Mama, singers Drew Sidora and Keke Palmer. "This situation was far from me in that I'm not a singer, but I have an assertive side. This is how [Pebbles] was. Sometimes, I like to be in control."

The self-professed boss lady makes that clear with her career path. After her mother enrolled her at the Ruth Williams dance studio in New York at an early age, Aytes would shake her tutu in ballet class and then perfect her shoulder-pop to Janet Jackson's "Control" at home. The in-house choreography proved valuable during her education at the LaGuardia School of Arts—alma mater of Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks—where she earned her degree in fine arts. She even clocked in at KFC for two months during high school before swapping fried chicken for sandwiches as a classroom assistant while still showing up for her acting and dancing classes. "I didn't grow up hand-fed things," she says. "I made a living at my craft from a very early age, which is why I am where I am today."

Now, the 5'6'' caramel beauty, whose cinematic debut as Denise Porter in the Wayans Bros. funny flick White Chicks and her crime-solving prowess as detective Grace Russell in the TV thriller The Forgotten has landed her plenty of face-time, continues to look to greater heights on-camera, even in the air. Her character Lisa Breaux's bad romance in the 2006 Tyler Perry bawl fest Madea's Family Reunion earned her a thank-you note on the plane from a woman who'd just left an abusive relationship. But the 36-year-old good girl insists changing the world isn't always on the agenda. While she admits to blocking a hater on Twitter, she says her best impressions are up to the audience. "There may not be a huge lesson in everything," she says of the roles she takes, "but if there's supposed to be, I want to do the best that I can."

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Nicki Minaj Cancels Tour Stop Due To Technical Difficulties

Nicki Minaj is feeling “gutted” and “heartbroken” after she was forced to cancel a tour stop in show in Bratislava, Slovakia Friday (Feb. 22) due to technical difficulties, the “Barbie Dreams” rapper said on Instagram.

“I can’t believe my fans sometimes,” Minaj captioned a cascade of videos of her on stage breaking the bad news to fans. “After waiting for hours & hours, they still tried to be understanding.”

The venue didn’t have the electrical capabilities to support a major “technical aspect” of the show and lost power several times in the process, TMZ reports.

“Production was told the building does not have the power to facilitate my lifts,” Minaj explained. “They’d get the show powered up then the breaker would basically trip after a few mins.”

XL Promotion, the company promoting the show in Slovakia, shared a different story on Facebook. “The Winter Stadium of Andrew Nepelu meets all the technical standards and the agency XL Promotion respected all the conditions sent by the production of Nicki Minaj,” reads the post.

The company blamed Minaj for deciding to cancel, and added that they have done a number of “large world productions” for musical acts including Depeche Mode, Lenny Kravitz, One Republic and “many others.” XL Promotion vowed to refund all ticket holders.

Some of Minaj’s loyal Barbz waited up to seven hours before being told that the show was cancelled, according to comments on her Instagram post and tweets from fans.

Minaj said that she felt “horrible” about the whole thing. The Young Money rhymer also promised to “figure out a way,” to come back and make up for the missed performance, which was the second stop on the European leg of her Nicki WRLD Tour featuring Juice WRLD. The jaunt kicked off in Germany Thursday and rolls into Poland on Feb. 24.

Read Minaj's full Instagram post below.

 

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Gutted. Heart broken. I can’t believe my fans sometimes. After waiting for hours & hours, they still tried to be understanding. Production was told the building does not have the power to facilitate my lifts (which don’t only move me below & very VERY high above the stage, but also move all our props, furniture, dancers, band, etc.), our lighting rig, fog, cryo, confetti, movies/visuals. They’d get the show powered up then the breaker would basically trip after a few mins. Juice WRLD & I waited while they did this over & over for 3 hours. Some of my fans came from Austria, Nigeria, etc. I met w/a lot of them & they had the best, sweetest energy. I’m so disappointed. Slovakia, I love you so much & I’ll do everything in my power to get back to you as soon as I can. I think the venue/promo team probably didn’t expect a rap show to have such over the top production. We run the risk of someone getting hurt if we start the show & smthng malfunctions mid-show. Sorry we couldn’t have a great night together. We’ll be in Poland on Sunday @ a building that can facilitate our show. ♥️🙏🏽

A post shared by Barbie® (@nickiminaj) on Feb 22, 2019 at 4:49pm PST

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R. Kelly Turns Himself In To Chicago Police On Sexual Abuse Charges

R. Kelly turned himself in to authorities in Chicago Friday (Feb. 22), hours after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Kelly, 52, was met by a flood of cameras when he arrived at the precinct. Officers quickly led him away in handcuffs.

The Grammy winner, whose birth name is Robert Kelly, is expected to remain in custody overnight before appearing in court Saturday for a bond hearing, reports the Chicago Tribute.

Earlier in the day, Cook County State Attorney’s Kim Foxx announced charges against the singer who is accused abusing four victims, three of whom are between the ages of 13 and 17, according to a grand jury indictment. Cook County Judge Dennis Porter authorized an arrest warrant for Kelly with no bail amount.

Kelly has claimed innocence for years, amid numerous allegations dating back more than a decade.

Steve Greenberg, Kelly's lawyer, maintained Friday that his client is an "innocent man," and that all of his accusers are "lying."  Greenberg tweeted earlier in the day, that Kelly would be surrendering between 11 p.m. and midnight, at the Area South location.

If convicted on all charges, Kelly faces up to 70 years in prison. See video of his surrender below.

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DESUS & MERO Bring the Brand to Showtime in Their Series Premiere

"Bodega Boys in the building!" That's how Desus Nice and The Kid Mero started the first episode of their new half hour show on Showtime. The "Bodega Boys," as Desus and Mero like to be called, took their comedic talents from Viceland and secured a slot for their talk show on the network. After airing on Thursday night, they posted the full episode on YouTube to give fans and a new live studio audience a look at what they have to offer.

The first episode of their new series did not disappoint. The two comedians represented their roots in the Bronx to the fullest by incorporating the class bodega backdrop as well as inviting none other than Bronx native, and United States Representative for New York,  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as their first guest. The TV personalities greeted the politician with their now famous "yerrr" and managed to keep things light by bonding over the memes they receive from Twitter users while also managing to keep things serious as they talked about AOC's come up.

In the debut of the show, Ocasio-Cortez made the trip back to the Bronx to chat with the former Guy Code cast members, but the "Bodega Boys" also made a trip down to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. During the trip to D.C. Desus and Mero presented the member of the Democratic Party with a flag of Puerto Rico, representing her roots, and they also were able to meet representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashan Tlaib of Minnesota and Michigan, respectively.

"Am I a gentrifier?" Ocasio-Cortez asked. "No! How are you a gentrifier? You moved from the Bronx to D.C.!" Mero responded.

Ocasio-Cortez's presence on the show wasn't the only highlight of the first episode. Desus and Mero have added a new element to their talk show, which are skits. The skit the two debuted on their talk show poked fun at the controversial Oscar-nominated film, Green Book. Before presenting the skit, Desus described the film as being, "basically just Friday with racism."

The skit features Mero playing the role of the white driver, Tony Lip, while Desus plays the role of the Black pianist. Throughout the entirety of the skit, Desus and Mero show how they feel "Green Book" was made to make white people feel as if they weren't racist in a time where racism was quite obviously prevalent.

"Wait, there's another one of these movies? What is wrong with you people? Please leave us alone. It's not our job to make white people feel better about race stuff," was a fake quote about the movie included in the skit.

Catch DESUS & MERO on Showtime every Thursday night at 11! You won't want to miss out.

 

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