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Spike Lee Took 'Chi-raq' To Amazon Because "Everyone Said No"

Spike Lee talks about the getting passed up by other companies for upcoming film, 'Chi-raq.' 

In a sea of no's, Spike Lee says you only need one yes. And the director reveals that the theatrical release for his controversial film Chi-raq got that sole yes from Amazon.

It was recently revealed that Amazon would be making its first endeavor into major, blockbuster films with its theatrical release of the parody film on Dec. 4. Alongside its theater debut, the film will also be released exclusively to Amazon subscribers. Although it seems like a sweet deal, Spike Lee later leaked that it wasn't only because of Amazon's name and reputation. It was also because Amazon was the only one to support the film.

Chi-raq, which is a parody film that focuses on the gang violence in Chicago, has a raised a lot of bad reviews and backlash from the people of Chicago and the black community. Many have said that the film exploits the city's poor residents, while others simply don't like the title's connection to Iraq.

Despite all the negative feedback, Spike Lee has stood behind his latest project. And apparently his confidence in his film led him to keep searching until he found that one yes. "All it takes is one yes. You get a bunch of motherf**king no's, but all it takes is one yes," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

People will just have to wait until December to see if Amazon's yes was actually a good idea. In the mean time, check out some highlights form Spike Lee's interview with THR below.

How has independent filmmaking changed since you started?
That might as well have been a million years ago. Filmmakers like Jim [Jarmusch] and I, the only reason we went to film school was because of the equipment. We didn't care about the MFA. You went to film school to get the equipment. Now students look at the cost of going to schools and say, "I could use that money to buy my own camera and lighting kit." It's a new world.

Is there a project that never got made that you someday hope to go back to?
A lot of them. I was supposed to direct [a film about] Jackie Robinson. I was supposed to direct [one about] James Brown, too. It just didn't work out. I have a script I wrote with Budd Schulberg, about [boxers] Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. And unfortunately he died before we got it done. I made a promise, so one day we're getting this film done. We're doing it for Budd.

Your next film, 'Chi-Raq,' about Chicago gun violence, is going to be Amazon's first feature release Dec. 4.
They're a great company. And also everyone else said no.

Why did other companies pass?
They never give you a reason; they just say, "It's not for us." My co-writer Kevin Willmott and I wrote the script and went to Sundance and everybody was saying no, no, no, no, no. Amazon said yes. I tell my students, "All it takes is one yes. You get a bunch of motherf—ing nos, but all it takes is one yes."

'Chi-raq' is planned for an awards run. What's your goal with this film?
It's really not about awards. I'm going to save lives. There's people being shot on the streets of Chicago daily. It's not just Chicago, it's happening in cities all over America. It's happening in L.A., New York — what's Baltimore called? Bodymore, Murderland. What's Philadelphia called? Killadelphia. There's a major part of this film that's about guns in our country. What is it going to take for we as people, and supposedly the most civilized country on Earth, to stop this madness? The NRA is not bigger than the United States of America.

How can real change happen?
Legislation. How is it that somebody can go in our states, like Oregon, and buy — why is a store selling an assault weapon? You don't even hunt with an assault weapon. Why are they being sold?

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VICE CEO Doesn't Believe Desus And Mero's Brand Is Strong Enough For Showtime

Comedy duo Desus & Mero have kept their brand strong since joining forces in 2012 but the newly-appointed CEO of Vice believes their move to Showtime wasn't the best decision.

In an interview with Elle, Nancy Dubuc shared her plans to rebuild the outlet since reports of sexual harassment allegations, unlawful HR practices and the stepping down of Shane Smith came to light this year. Changing the bro culture has removed content and replacing it with more substantial content and finding gems that will also replace the gap left by Desus & Mero.

The guys brought high ratings to the network during their reign from August 2016 to June 2018, but Dubuc doesn't see this happening for their upcoming series at Showtime. “They’re going to a platform that their audience doesn’t pay for,” she said.  “I told them, ‘You can always come back.’”

In an interview with Bossip over the summer, the guys revealed their contracts were cut two months early after news about their deal with Showtime went public. They show consisted of the two commentating on the latest in politics and pop culture while interviewing big names like Gabrielle Union, Rachel Maddow, Diddy, Vic Mensa and Tracee Ellis Ross. They also opened up about their organic approach in comedy was nearly butchered when the network demanded them to work 24/7.

“We were carrying that network on our back, and we felt the weight,” Desus said. “They were talking about, ‘Do not take the weeks off because we don’t get ratings,’ and it’s like, 'Yo, we’re just two people.'”

“We were literally the LeBron of that network,” Mero added. “As a dad, you wanna be around for milestones for like graduations, birthdays…and it’s obnoxious to have to be like, ‘I can’t go to my kid’s graduation because we leave the studio at 3 o’clock and the graduation is at 4.’”

Mero believed the duo were undervalued and not appreciated by the network until it was too late. Their brand transcended platforms as the guys are still active on Twitter and their podcast roots, taking the brand to new heights.

“The channel wanted us to die for this f**king network,” Desus said at the time.  “We’re also the highest rated show on the network, put some respect on our name, have someone come massage my feet.”

We doubt the duo will go back to Vice as excitement for their series on Showtime continues to grow. The guys are already making strides by adding black women to their writing team and recently dropped a teaser for the show.

The brand is strong. #DESUSandMERO are bringing the culture to #Showtime beginning Thurs, Feb 21, at 11p/10c! #BodegaHive pic.twitter.com/3DwcWXgrEO

— Desus & Mero on SHOWTIME (@SHODesusAndMero) November 29, 2018

Desus and Mero will premiere on Showtime Feb. 21 at 11 pm ET.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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Cardi B Gets Driving Lesson, Performs For Senior Citizens During 'Carpool Karaoke' Segment

Cardi B was the latest guest on James Corden's Late Late Show segment, "Carpool Karaoke," and as expected, it was a helluva time.

The Grammy nominee ran through some of her hits with Corden, such as "Bodak Yellow," "Money," "Be Careful" and more. She discussed her transition from stripper to MC, which Corden attributed to "grinding and hustling for a long time.”

“A lot of these deejays was sleepin’ on me… they was frontin’ on the kid!” Cardi exclaimed. Cardi also discussed her childhood growing up in the Bronx, which included keeping a razor blade in her cheek just in case some crazy sh*t goes down, as well as her affinity for ASMR videos. She also performed at a senior citizens' home at the end of the clip to a rousing response.

Perhaps the best part of the segment was her attempt to drive. Facilitated by a conversation in which the two discussed her five luxury cars, Cardi hit a few cones and flags while trying to maneuver in and out during a lesson. She said that the car (a Range Rover) was a bit big for her, but her lack of driving skills period resulted in her hitting a camera during her attempt at parallel parking.

“I couldn’t rap about these cars because I didn’t own them,” she laughed before adding, "[Driving] is scary.”

Watch the entire segment above.

READ MORE: Cardi B's Upcoming 'Carpool Karaoke' Segment Looks As Eventful As We'd Hope

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Former ABC President Channing Dungey Joins Netflix As VP Of Original Content

Former ABC president, Channing Dungey, is heading to Neflix. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dungey will officially join the company early next year in a "newly created leadership role" as a vice president of original titles.

Dungey will work directly with fellow vp, Cindy Holland, and Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Saranados. Her position involves overseeing the streaming network's current deals, which include the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions company.

The move also re-teams Dungey with Shonda Rhimes’ and Black-Ish creator, Kenya Barriss, both of whom left ABC and signed with Netflix.

In addition, Dungey will oversee a group of executives who have worked on Narcos, House of Cards, and other big shows on the streaming network.

"I'm drawn to the forward-thinking, risk-taking and creative culture at Netflix, and the deeply talented people there, especially Ted and Cindy, with whom I’m excited to partner on setting the strategy for original content," Dungey said in a statement. "Given that ABC, the place I’ve called home for nearly 15 years, represents the gold standard of traditional broadcast, it feels like the perfect next step for me to join Netflix, the unparalleled leader in streaming. I'm invigorated by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to forge new relationships, and excited for the very welcome reunion with incredible talent."

In 2016, Dungey was named president of ABC, making her the first Black woman to lead any of the four major networks. She began her career with the company in 2004, and worked her way up to executive vice president of the network’s drama division developing hit shows such as Scandal, Quantico, Hot To Get Away with Murder and American Crime, before being promoted to network lead. Her exit from ABC came in November, shortly after firing Roseanne Barr for making racist comments.

READ MORE: The Obamas Sign A Multi-Year Production Deal With Netflix

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