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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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Eva Marcille Tears Up As She Recalls Kevin McCall’s Alleged Abuse

Eva Marcille is opening up about her allegedly abusive relationship with ex, Kevin McCall, in light of the rapper’s recent arrest for domestic violence. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star stopped by The Rickey Smiley Show on Thursday (April 18), where she discussed the abuse she endured during and after her first pregnancy.

“It took me a lot of time to even be able to get up the courage to talk about it because it’s embarrassing,” she said. “Coming from where I come from and being as astute and courageous as I am, you always feel like, ‘it can never be me.’”

Marcille explained that she and McCall were not “really in love” before she became pregnant with their daughter, Marley. “It wasn’t a relationship that lasted long enough for me to really even know him,” she noted. Even so, it wasn’t long before their romance took a violent turn.

“[The abuse] didn’t start for me until I was pregnant with Marley. And then about a month after having Marley, it didn’t stop; it got worse,” she tearfully recalled. “And it got worse with her. The final straw was when Marley was actually in my arms once. And I was like, ‘I can’t do this no more.”

Marcille has since married someone else (she married Michael Sterling in Oct. 2018), but she suggested that her history with McCall is both triggering and relevant to this day.

As previously noted, McCall was arrested on Monday (April 15) for domestic violence against his current partner, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirms. The “Deuces” artist was charged with one felony of injuring a spouse or cohabitant. According to jail records, McCall was released on Tuesday (April 16) after posting a $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.

In regards to his latest case, Eva said that her sympathy lies with the alleged victim. “I feel sorry for that girl… I feel bad for women who have to deal with that,” she said. “It’s actually not a laughable matter. It’s something that makes you feel so little… I hope that they keep his ass in jail.”

Watch the clips from Eva Marcille’s latest interview below.

 

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#PressPlay: #EvaMarcille gets emotional detailing her abuse and speaks on her ex #KevinMcCall’s recent domestic violence arrest (SWIPE) Via @rickeysmileyofficial

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Idris Elba Is The Black Superman In The New 'Hobbs And Shaw'

The Fast & Furious enterprise is known for gravity-defying stunts, larger-than-life explosives, a few expensive cars going way over the speed limit and fight scenes so intricate and lethal, they look like poetry.

All that and more are on display in the second full-length trailer for the forthcoming Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw. Slated for a summer release, Dwayne Johnson plays Hobbs who must work with his nemesis Shaw (Jason Statham) to take down Brixton Lore, (Idris Elba) a genetically enhanced fighter who fancies himself the black Superman.

Shaw's sister, played by The Crown's Vanessa Kirby, stole a chemical from Lore that can wipe out half the population, and now Lore and his team of ruthless mercenaries are on a vicious hunt to retrieve it.

While Fast & Furious fans are curious to see if Johnson can carry a franchise film on his own, not everyone was supportive of the spinoff.  Tyrese Gibson seemingly took issue when rumors of the film were swirling. Johnson, however, didn't care and reportedly called  Gibson and Vin Diesel a bunch of "candy-asses."

The first Fast & Furious hit theaters on June 18, 2001, and was made with a $38 million budget. The film earned more than $200 million domestically setting it up to be one of Hollywood's most successful franchises. The series went onto have eight films, the last being The Fate of The Furious. It's been dubbed the final film since Paul Walker's 2013 death.

https://twitter.com/idriselba/status/1118859384971583491

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Jussie Smollett Cut From Forthcoming Broadway Play

Jussie Smollett has lost a starring role in a forthcoming Broadway play in the wake of his hate crime scandal. The actor was reportedly nipped from the Broadway reboot of the Tony-winning play, Take Me Out, the Daily Mail reports.

Smollett was originally cast to play the main character Darren Lemming, an interracial baseball player who comes out a gay at the height of his career. Ironically, the character also suffers a racial and homophobic attack by a teammate.

The actor previously read for the role only one day before his alleged attack in Chicago in Jan. 2019. A source close to Broadway told the British newspaper that Smollett and his co-star Zachary Quinto's castings were going to be announced in Mar. 2019, but "everything shifted" after Smollett was arrested and charged on the suspicion of staging his own hate crime and stalling a police investigation.

Smollett's disorderly conduct case has since been dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for $130,000 for the time wasted on his extensive investigation. Jussie didn't appear in the last two episodes of Empire's fifth season, but he is expected to return to the hit Fox series in the upcoming season.

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