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Variety

Queen Latifah Covers 'Variety' And Talks Boss Moves And Her Journey To "Bessie"

If you've been keeping tabs, black women have been covering the September issue of many high-profile publications.

Ciara showed off her trim figure for Shape magazine, while Kerry Washington put her dancer's physique on display for Self. Serena Williams almost broke the Internet when her pictures for her New York Magazine spread began to surface and Beyonce became the first black woman to cover Vogue's September issue, while Misty Copeland sparkled on Essence.

READ: Kerry Washington Serves Fit and Fab On The Cover of 'Self'

Following suit is Queen Latifah as she covers Variety and discusses the many bold moves she's made in her career. The Academy Award nominated rapper/actress/mogul attributes her success to being hands on and never backing down.

"I've always been a bit of a fighter,” she says. “I’ve always had an opinion about things.”

The New Jersey native who has successfully created a brand, knew she was going to always be in charge, but also knew she'd make mistakes along the way.

READ: Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige Sign On For "The Wiz Live"

“And when I saw the positive ways it could be used, I was like, OK. Just know every once in a while I’m going to eff up," the 45 year old said.

One of the best nuggets of unknown information about Queen Latifah was her journey to her HBO film Bessie, which began early on in her career. Producers Lili and Richard Zanuck asked Latifah to audition for the film when she was just 22 year old.

“She hadn’t done much yet, but she screen-tested and she was incredible,” Lili Zanuck recalls. “At a very young age, she had this gravitas and incredible pride. And Bessie is not a victim in any way. This woman was like a rock ’n’ roller of her time; she drank, she did drugs, she was bisexual. She was so empowered.”

To read more about Queen Latifah rise from humble beginnings to Hollywood stardom, CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Second Man Convicted In The 1998 Death Of James Byrd Jr To Be Executed

In 1998, Jasper, Texas became the epicenter of the nation when James Byrd Jr's dismembered body was found outside of a predominately black church. The rest of his body was found about a mile and a half away.

Byrd was beaten by three white supremacists men and tied to the back of a pick-up truck and reportedly dragged three miles. All men were found guilty for his brutal murder. One was sentenced to life in prison, one was executed in 20111 and another will be put to death today (April 24).

According to CNN, Jon William King, 44 who's been on death row for 20 years, will die by lethal injection.

King has long maintained coconspirator Shawn Berry was solely responsible for Byrd's death. King has appealed his conviction, alleging ineffectiveness from his defense team. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case last October.

In 2011, Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed and Shawn Berry was sentenced to life. While murders are devastating, Byrd's dragging death placed a blinding spotlight on the racial tension in America. The fallout from the case helped to pass the nation's hate crime bill, named after both Byrd and Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen who was viciously beaten to death.

Byrd's family, however, have opposed the death penalty and made it clear they would prefer that King be sentenced to life in prison. Byrd's son Ross has been quoting saying, "You cannot fight murder with murder."

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Charles Eckert

Chanel Lewis Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Of Queens Jogger

A New York judge sentenced the man accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a Queens jogger to life in prison Tuesday, (April 23) despite there being accusations of a coerced confession and jury misconduct.

Cheers broke out inside a courtroom when 22-year-old Chanel Lewis learned his fate. He spoke briefly in court apologizing to the victim's family. “I’m innocent,” Lewis said. “I’m sorry for the family’s loss, but I didn’t do this.”

The victim, Karina Vetrano, 30, went jogging on a park trail in Howard Beach, Queens in August 2016 when prosecutors say she was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered. Her body was discovered in August 2016 by her father.

Lewis' sentencing was initially postponed amid accusations of jury misconduct. However, Judge Michael Aloise decided Monday to move forward with the sentencing. Lewis' first trial resulted in a hung jury and his defense team stated that a desire to swiftly put the case away led to Tuesday's sentencing.

“While there is no denying that Karina Vetrano’s death is tragic and that her family and friends suffered a great loss, every aspect of this case – from the police investigation to jury deliberations – was propelled by a desire to convict at all costs,” The Legal Aid Society, which represents Lewis, said in a statement.

Lewis' defense argued his two-taped confessions were coerced and there wasn't enough DNA evidence linking him to the crime. During the confession, Lewis reportedly said he was upset at his neighbor for playing loud music and when he saw Vetrano he "lost it."

He said he strangled the jogger but didn't sexually assault her. His defense team argued the DNA evidence wasn't gathered properly and didn't match the victim's injuries.

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Muhammed Selim Korkutata

Alabama Deputy On Leave After Comments About Gay Teen's Suicide

An Alabama deputy has been placed on leave after making insensitive comments on social media about a teen who committed suicide after allegedly being bullied for his sexual orientation.

According to reports, the officer has been with the Madison County Sheriff's Office in Huntsville for 12 years and sparked backlash for referring to LGBTQ qualms as "a fake movement which requires no special attention but by persons with an altered ego and fake agenda."

"Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ. I’m seriously offended that there is such a thing such as this movement," the deputy allegedly wrote in a Facebook post. "Society cannot and should not accept this behavior. I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention but by persons with an altered ego and fake agenda.”

The law enforcement officer defended his statement as freedom of speech before it was taken down. It was made in reference to 15-year-old Nigel Shelby who took his own life Thursday (April 18) after being bullied for being gay.

In a statement, Monday, the Madison County Sheriff's Office revealed a deputy had been placed on leave, while Local sheriff Kevin Turner offered kind words to the friends and family of Nigel Shelby.

Turner said: “Bullying of any group or person in or outside of schools is unacceptable, and I welcome any and all efforts to raise awareness to bullying and bring bullying to a stop. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the community support and engagement we have received over the years, and we look forward to growing those community partnerships.”

 

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