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Police Violence Will Be Highlighted On New Season Of 'Orange Is The New Black'

In the new season of Orange is the New Black, the show highlights police brutality and injustice within the prison system in regards to women of color, a creative turn that undoubtedly can be traced to the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, as told by The Hollywood Reporter.

"During the show's fourth season, creator Jenji Kohan and her team of writers will continue to use Piper, commonly referred to as her "Trojan horse," as a lens to tell untold stories of all the incarcerated women at Litchfield. The Hollywood Reporter has watched all of season four and, without spoiling specific events, the storyline will reflect Black Lives Matter after an unprecedented culture war breaks out in the overpopulated prison. The new and inexperienced guards employ levels of brutality and racial injustice that ultimately evoke the movement in an event that will impact all of the inmates."

The incorporation of heavy political and social themes is timely. In the United States, black women (who make up the growing incarceration rate for women overall) are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence by law enforcement and prison guards, as the prison system is often a site of racial and sexual violence.

Black transgender women are regularly profiled by law enforcement, and almost half of black transgender people have been incarcerated at some point in their lives. With the creation of #SayHerName, a campaign designed to bring attention to state violence against black women and girls, the new season is poised to add to the conversation.

Actress Selenis Levya told the publication, "Danger is the underlying theme: racial tension and danger. This season is definitely going to start up conversations that we’re dealing with now. That’s the beauty of what Jenji does, with the writers. They really take things that are happening, that are current events, and deal with topics that people are afraid to really dive into. And we’re going to go there this season, especially with the prison system."

The new season begins on June 17 on Netflix.

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'Empire' Makes History By Airing First Black Gay Wedding On Network TV

Wedding bells have just made their way into the history books. Last night (April 25), FOX's Empire became the first network television show to air a black gay wedding. Jamal and his fiancé Kai (Jussie Smollett and Toby Onwumere, respectively) jump the broom and swap vows in the episode titled "Never Doubt I Love."

As an added treat, Empire even tapped the legendary Chaka Khan to perform at the fictional star-studded wedding (Mario and Wood Harris even showed up) which, as evidenced by the episode BTS video, was a moment for everyone right to the stars of the show themselves. “Today’s wedding is special and controversial,” Khan said of using her voice for this particular cameo. “But my answer to all that is just love is love.”

Cast members Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe agree that Jamal and Kai's wedding might have just become the best Empire wedding.

While this doesn't necessarily take away from the controversy still surrounding Smollett's case in Chicago, it was a cause for celebration regarding diversity and representation on television nonetheless. As Ms. Khan said, right here and right now, the most important thing to note is that love is love.

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Lizzo Will Appear In 'Hustlers' Alongside Cardi B And Jennifer Lopez

Lizzo continues to make waves as a musician, instrumentalist, body-positivity icon and booty-shaker extraordinaire. The artist– whose major-label debut Cuz I Love You is receiving praise from listeners and critics alike– will have a chance to put her twerking skills to the test.

According to reports, the Minnesota transplant is set to join the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B and Keke Palmer in the already-stacked lineup for the upcoming film, Hustlers. Deadline reports that this is Lizzo’s first live-action film, and her second film overall. She’ll be voicing a character in the upcoming animated musical film, Uglydolls.

Hustlers, which is set to be released by September 2019, is inspired by an article published in New York Magazine in 2016, which “follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.”

Additional actresses set to appear in the film include Fresh Off The Boat’s Constance Wu, Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart, Julia Stiles, Transparent’s Trace Lysette, Mercedes Ruehl, dancer Mette Towley and Orange Is The New Black’s Madeline Brewer.

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Lee Daniels Details 'Empire' Cast's Feelings About Jussie Smollett Case

The cast of Empire is currently in the process of healing in the aftermath of Jussie Smollet's hate crime scandal. In a new interview with Extra, series creator, Lee Daniels detailed how the actors and crew feel about Jussie and the whole debacle.

"The cast is upset," he admitted. "It is a sad time and we are slowly healing."

Daniels did not reveal whether the cast believes Smollett staged his alleged hate crime earlier this year, but he said that he will not judge him. "What I am learning right now is that I can’t judge," he explained. "That that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with a gavel and God. I can only support him because he is like my son, he is my son, so I am with him. I can only support him and I can only give him compassion."

As previously reported, the actor, who stars as Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox drama, told Chicago police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on Jan. 29. As the investigation continued, the attention turned to Smollett. He was arrested on Feb. 20, and indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report and allegedly staging the incident. Those charges were subsequently dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for $130,000 for the time spent investigating the matter.

Check out Lee Daniels interview with Extra in the video above.

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