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RLJ Entertainment

Director Of Nina Simone Documentary Calls Zoe Saldana Film "Ugly and Inaccurate"

Jeff L. Lieberman, the director of the 2015 release The Amazing Nina Simone has spoken out about another underlying problem in upcoming biopic Nina. 

Nearly everyone has spoken about the upcoming biopic Nina and the decision to cast Zoe Saldana for the role, but for director Jeff L. Lieberman, the issue is deeper than skin color.

In a special op-ed for The Hollywood ReporterLieberman describes the film as an "ugly and inaccurate portrayal" of Ms. Simone's life. Liberman was one of three directors who have released a film about the legendary singer and activist in the past year.

His 2015 release 'The Amazing Nina Simone' was arguably overshadowed by Liz Garbus' What Happened, Miss Simone? which was recently nominated for an academy award.

Liberman was not only pleased with Nina, he also debunked claims BET founder Robert Johnson made to THR on the film's backlash becoming a "black people against black people" on Saldana's blackness. "For Mr. Johnson to now claim that this is black people against black people is outrageous, and a desperate distraction," he said. "People of all colors are angered because Hollywood has a long history of casting lighter-skinned actors, and even today with a black president in the Oval Office, the Oscars overlooking black actors, and the Black Lives Matter movement at its tipping point, dark-skinned people are still passed over, even for the role of a woman whose story is defined by her proud blackness."

Liberman didn't share much detail on Saldana's performance as Ms. Simone, but he refused to call her a victim in the backlash. The director points out the actress and rest of team behind the Cynthia Mort-directed project haven't admitted the differences in appearance and instead, have chosen to ignore it all together.

"The creators of Nina had the option to say, "Zoe Saldana is the best actor for the role and we believe in color-blind casting, and even though Nina Simone fought her whole life against being 'too black,' we still feel Ms. Saldana will embody Nina Simone beyond the physical," he explained. "They did not do that."

One of the biggest takeaways from his stance on the project is the questionable highlight of Simone's darker days in the 90's instead of her proudest days which were three decades earlier during the Civil Rights movement.

"Having worked within the Hollywood system for many years, I am aware that scandal and sensation sells. The recent Netflix-funded documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? also opted for a stronger focus on Ms. Simone’s illness and domestic abuse. My recent documentary film, The Amazing Nina Simone, does not shy away from these facts. In a painful moment, Nina's youngest brother and longtime band member, Sam Waymon, shares the heartbreaking moment when he had to institutionalize his sister. But these moments are there to answer long-held questions and are balanced by a much larger focus on the way most people know Ms. Simone: through her music. Ms. Simone had six other decades of phenomenal musical accomplishments and civil rights stands, and she became an international symbol of freedom, pride, and artistry. To overlook this is not only an insult to Ms. Simone’s very rich and complex life but a blatant whitewashing of her achievements as a black woman in 20th century America."

Biopics of the past have often shown a wider range of the respected artist's work like Ray (Ray Charles), Walk The Line (Johnny Cash) and Ali (Muhammad Ali.) The move can be taken as a typical Hollywood tactic, but it does bring forward another layer blocking the public from learning the true artist and legend Ms. Simone was.

Check out the rest of Liberman's piece here.

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Gabrielle Union Slammed For Kissing Newborn Daughter

Filled with that new-mommy joy, Gabrielle Union's Instagram feed has been packed with baby pictures. But a new video with her showering her daughter in kisses is receiving backlash.

Captioned "Kissing Game, She's got my heart on a string," the short video is a less than 30 seconds of the mother-daughter combo kissing on the mouth. Still, some commenters felt that Union was harming the child.

 

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Kissing Game. She's got my ❤ on a string. @kaaviajames 💋💋💋

A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on Dec 6, 2018 at 6:38pm PST

"Kissing seems so harmless, but research suggests that you could spread oral bacteria called mutant streptococci through saliva if you have active tooth decay," said one commenter, giving an unwelcome dose of cyber parenting. "And this could increase your child's risk of tooth decay."

With hundreds of people giving unrequested advice, Union offered a response to the comments.

"Hey guys, I appreciate all the concern about kisses on the mouth and labored breathing,” the 46-year-old wrote. "I am blessed enough to have a nurse here with us while at work. Kaav is healthy and I don’t even touch her without washing and sanitizing myself and everything and everyone that comes into contact with her.”

A classy comeback, the actress stood her ground while defending her right to parent in her own way.

READ MORE: The Wades' Newest Addition, Kaavia James Union Wade, To Make TV Debut With Oprah

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50 Cent, Starz CEO Detail $150 Million Deal, 'Power' Spinoffs

50 Cent continues to flourish as a television producer as he spilled the tea to Business Insider during their Ignition conference this week on some projects he has coming in relation to his hit series Power.

In a sit-down interview, 50 along with Starz's CEO Chris Albrecht, told moderator Nathan McAlone that although he'll no longer appear on the Omari Hardwick-headed show, he'll be bringing three spin-offs from the show into on-air fruition.

One of the spin-offs will be a prequel revolving around 50's slain character Kanan. Meanwhile, all three spin-offs will be moving simultaneously, according to Albrecht.

"The prequel is my spin-off. I get the chance to come back. I'm dead," 50 said. "It's cool, though. It gives the chance to show the world where all of these characters grew in so you can see the defining moments that developed their imperfections that people are attracted to at the moment. It's exciting. It's TGE, the golden era."

Albrecht chimed in on 50's announcement, saying, "I'm happy to have them all work, but we're determined to have at least one.

"it's important because there's a lot of fans out there that want to see more of those characters and new stuff like BMF [Black Mafia Family], which is going to be amazing. Not easy, but amazing."

Black Mafia Family is another show that will be overseen by 50, about the infamous drug organization that ran rampant in the 1980s headed by Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory.

This news comes almost two months after the October announcement that 50 signed a multi-series deal with the network worth up to $150 million.

Check out the conversation below.

READ MORE: 50 Cent Says He Wouldn't Be Mad If His Son Got Hit By A Bus

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Kevin Winter

Snoop Dogg Advises Kevin Hart To Tell The Oscars To "Suck A D**k"

Kevin Hart has pulled out of hosting the Oscars after refusing to apologize for his resurfaced tweets that appeared to share homophobic views. The gig may have been Hart's dream job, but Snoop Dogg is telling him not to worry. Instead, he suggested the comedian should tell the Academy to "suck a d**k."

Snoop gave Kevin some advice in a video on Instagram on Friday (Dec. 7). "Don't trip, that ain't our kind of shit anyways. Oscars? Yeah right, come do the BET Awards," Snoop said in the video. "They don't care. You a comedian, crackin' jokes...really? Y'all want me to host it now? Nah, I don't think so. I got s**t to do, and I got way more customers before I get to you. Kevin Hart, smoke a blunt. Tell the Academy to suck a d**k or die trying. F**k 'em. We still love you, n***a."

As previously reported, Kevin Hart landed at the center of controversy after someone re-discovered his tweets from 2011. He reportedly claimed that he would hit his son if he was ever caught playing with dolls. The comedian stated that the Academy called him Thursday night (Dec. 6), and gave him an ultimatum: apologize or step aside. Hart decided to pass on the apology and later stepped down from his position. Amidst his exit, he also offered an apology to the LGBTQ+ community. "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past," he said.

The Academy hasn't announced a new host at this time. The 91st Oscars ceremony will kick off on Feb. 24, 2019. Check out Snoop's advice to Hart in the video below.

 

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P. S. A. @kevinhart4real 🎥👍🏿💙. 🏆 🥇 Oscar Meyer Weiner

A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Dec 7, 2018 at 7:14am PST

 

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