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Will Smith Stands By Wife Jada, Boycotts Academy Awards

Will Smith speaks on the "systematic bias" of Hollywood and its diversity issue in an exclusive interview.

After wife Jada Pinkett-Smith vowed not to attend the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony due to the show's lack of ethnically diverse nominees, actor and two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith has vowed to do the very same.

"We're part of this community but at this current time, we're uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is OK."

The Concussion star, who many believe was snubbed for a Best Actor nomination for his role in the latter, spoke candidly to Good Morning America's Robin Roberts in an interview shown on Thursday (Jan. 21) about the serious issue that goes beyond Hollywood and the film industry.

"I think that diversity is the American superpower," Smith explained. "That's why we're great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo. You know, and for me... at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great."

But when he sees the nominees up for the acting awards in 2016, Smith says he does not see a reflection of the beauty he envisions.  This year, all of the nominees up for Best Actor/Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress wins are white.

"Everyone [nominated] is beautiful and deserving and is fantastic, but it feels like it’s going the wrong direction,” explained the Philly native on this year's nominees. “The nominations reflect the Academy. The Academy reflects the industry and then the industry reflects America...there is a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind. That’s not the industry, that’s not the America I want to leave behind."

Roberts then brought up Pinkett-Smith's video, in which she called for others to boycott the awards to elicit a change in the system. Will, who was unaware Jada would be doing a video due to being out of the country, is standing by his wife and her vocality.

“She’s deeply passionate, and when she is moved, she has to go," he said. "I heard her words, and I was knocked over. I was happy to be married to that woman. But I appreciated the push. There’s a position that we hold in this community, and if we’re not a part of the solution, we’re a part of the problem. It was her call to action for herself, for me and for our family to be a part of the solution."

Jada's video was met with both praise and criticism. Criticism came most notably from former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress, Janet Hubert. In a video response, Hubert says she believes Mrs. Smith only made a video about the lack of diversity because her husband did not receive a nomination this year.

"There's probably a part of that in there but, for Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she would have made the video anyway," Smith said of the controversy behind his wife's video. "We'd still be here having this conversation. This is so deeply not about me. This is about children that are going to sit down and they're going to watch this show and they're not going to see themselves represented."

What's next? Smith says that he will continue to fight, and will continue his mission of leaving the industry "in better shape" than it originally was. He and his wife would not be alone in their crusade- industry heavyweights such as Spike Lee, George Clooney and Lupita Nyong'o have also spoken out about this issue, which transcends color lines.

"Part of the beauty of this country is the ability to disagree. Part of what makes us great is, historically, the best answer tends to win," Smith said. "I say, let's keep debating. Let's do our best to keep it in love and keep it in light."

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Dr. Dre Released From Hospital, Will Receive 24-Hour Home Care

Dr. Dre was released from L.A. Cedars Sinai Medical Center on Friday (Jan. 15), nearly two weeks after he suffered a reported brain aneurysm. Ice T confirmed the news tweeting, “Just FaceTimed with @drdre. He just made it home. Safe and looking good.”

The 55-year-old music mogul will remain under 24-hour care for the next few weeks as medical professionals continue to monitor his progress. Doctors are still unclear on what caused the aneurysm.

Dre’s hospital release comes days after new details were revealed in his divorce from estranged wife, Nicole Young. According to court documents publicized this week, Nicole accuses Dre, birth name Andre Young, of putting a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. She also details other alleged abuse incidents in 1995 (before they were married) and in 2016, when he allegedly punched her in the face and kicked down her door.

The Grammy winner has denied Nicole’s abuse claims.

Nicole and Dre tied the knot in 1996. The pair share two adult children, Truice and Truly. Nicole filed for divorce last summer.

In addition to demanding that Dre cover her legal fees, Nicole wants the court to take the abuse allegations into account when “awarding support and fees.” Dre has already agreed to pay $500,000 of Nicole’s legal bills and $2 million in temporary spousal support.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Wendy Williams Reveals She Was Date Raped By ‘80s R&B Singer

Wendy Williams revealed that she was date raped by  ‘80s R&B singer, Sherrick, early in her radio career. The talk show host shared the story with reporters while promoting her Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams: The Movie on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

“He mesmerized me with his twinkling eyes,” she recalled. “He flipped the interview around to where he was interviewing me — I was just gaga over this man and he asked me to go to an album release party with him that night.

“Before the party, I was date raped by him,” said Williams.

Sherrick, born Lamotte Smith, was a member of the group Kagny, whose song is featured on The Last Dragon soundtrack. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1987 and scored a marginal hit with the single “Just Call” off his debut self-titled album. Sherrick struggled with sobriety but declared himself “drug-free” before dying of unknown causes in 1999.

Williams says that she was raped in Sherrick’s Washington D.C. hotel room and it, unfortunately, wasn’t her first time being sexually assaulted. The New Jersey native had been date raped in college. “Those types of things happen to girls all the time and they’ve been happening a lot, to a lot of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their great-great-grandmothers too.”

From the sounds of it, Sherrick's widow doesn't exactly believe Williams' story. She not only questioned Williams' account but wondered why she waited so long to go public, and why she didn't call police at the time of the incident.

“As I will never minimize or dismiss the horrid actions of sexual assault, I am saddened that Ms. Williams feels the need to publicly make these allegations when the man she is accusing is no longer on this earth to defend himself,” Lynne Conner Smith said in a statement to Page Six.  “Our family does not know Ms. Williams and are not aware of any relationship or encounter they may have had.”

The sexual assault will be chronicled in the film, as well as other details from Williams' life -- like her rise to talk show fame, her battle with drug addiction, and marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Lifetime on Jan. 30.

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