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Harry Belafonte Questions Timing Of Nate Parker Rape Trial: "What Are We Doing Here?"

The humanitarian and legendary actor praised Parker's upcoming film, Birth of a Nation and the motive behind the resurface of the 1999 trial. 

Legendary actor Harry Belafonte has questioned the timing of Nate Parker's 1999 rape case, resurfacing just a few months before the release of his highly anticipated film, Birth of a Nation. 

According to The Hollywood ReporterBelafonte admitted he didn't know all the details of the case which left Parker not guilty of raping a fellow Penn State classmate. The story was public knowledge since the start of the 36-year-old's career but gained extra traction just before the film's upcoming press tour. The anonymous victim committed suicide in 2012, with her family claiming she was traumatized behind the incident. Belafonte, 89, says the case was reviewed in a court of law and wondered why critics would investigate the incident just before the release of the Nate Turner rebellion drama.

"It's interesting because it's coming out the same time the film's coming out. Of all the stories you can tell, why are you telling this story? And if he was somebody who had committed a crime and got away with it, but he faced the justice system," said Belafonte."The fact that [the system] may have screwed up, the fact that it didn't really take care of justice, the fact that he should have been punished or whatever, is history," the singer added. "The fact is that he was confronted and then he did go through the process. Why are you bringing this up now? What has he done that requires this kind of animus?"

At the time of the case, Parker was a wrestler at Penn State. His roommate and co-writer of The Birth of a Nation Jean Celestin were both charged with the raping the student. They both claimed the sex was consensual and Parker was acquitted of the charge. Celestin's charge was later exonerated over alleged mishandles by his trial attorney, The Daily Beast reports.

Calling the film a winner, Belafonte says Birth of a Nation will touch the souls of the audience. He also wondered of other actors and directors will face the same fate of their pasts returning during career highs.

"How do I put it in a perspective that helps me with greater clarity understand why this is the consequence of something he's done by getting this high-profile, 'cause this film is touching a lot of consciousness. Why isn't that the story?" Belafonte asked."And is this going to be the price that young black women and men pay for making films of substance?" he continued. "Are they going to dig in and get dirt instead of fruit? What are we doing here? And where is the voice that defends him if he in fact is worthy of defending?"

Parker has spoken about case and says he was unaware of the victim's passing. Several of the victim's family members have also questioned the timing of the news. “We appreciate that after all this time, these men are being held accountable for their actions. However, we are dubious of the underlying motivations that bring this to present light after 17 years, and we will not take part in stoking its coals," the statement to The New York Times reads. "While we cannot protect the victim from this media storm, we can do our best to protect her son. For that reason, we ask for privacy for our family and do not wish to comment further.”

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A Chicago man who accused a retired cop of framing him for a murder he didn't commit has finally had the conviction overturned after spending 17 years in prison.

According to Buzzfeed News, Geraldo Iglesias was released from prison in 2010 for the 1993 murder of Monica Roman, who was shot and killed while sitting inside her car in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. However, Iglesias spent the last nine years fighting to have the conviction removed from his record because it prohibited his ability to get a job or find housing.

Iglesias is the 10th man to have a conviction overturned after being investigated by Reynaldo Guevara. Buzzfeed invested the former detective and found 50 men accused him of framing them for murders they allege they didn't commit.

At Iglesias' 1995 sentencing, he spoke directly to the victim's family and expressed his condolences while maintaining his innocence.

"I would like to say that I apologize and I’m sorry for what happened to the young lady and I send my condolences to the family but I would like to say I had nothing to do with it and the Lord knows I had nothing to do with it.”

Iglesias' conviction was sealed on the testimony of a jailhouse informant Francisco Vicente who alleged Islesias confessed to him about killing Roman. Vicente said Iglesias said, "I shot the bitch in the head.”

In the past Guevara and his partner, Ernest Halvorsen have used the 5th Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination. Buzzfeed reports at least 17 defendants who allege Guevara framed them are still behind bars.

 

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Leslie Jones Expresses Disdain Over Upcoming ‘Ghostbusters’ Film

Earlier this month, it was announced that Ghostbusters will be re-imagined. While the news sat well with fans of the mid-80s cult classic, it struck a nerve with others that are attached to the movie’s cinematic lineage.

Comedian Leslie Jones took to her Twitter account to air out her opinion, stating the all-women cast of 2016’s rendition of Ghostbusters, which she was a part of, were overlooked. “So insulting. Like f**k us. We dint count. It’s like something Trump would do. (Trump voice) ‘Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers’ ugh so annoying,” she tweeted. “Such a d**k move. And I don’t give f**k I’m saying something!!”

The Saturday Night Live cast member also displayed how the upcoming film, which is slated to be released in 2020, and its possible all male cast will diminish the box office success of a cast spearheaded by women. “...if they make this new one with all me and it does well which it will, it might feel that ‘boys are better.’ It makes my heart drop,” she said. “Maybe I could have use different words but I’m allowed to have my feelings just like them.”

So insulting. Like fuck us. We dint count. It’s like something trump would do. (Trump voice)”Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers” ugh so annoying. Such a dick move. And I don’t give fuck I’m saying something!!

— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) January 19, 2019

It’s very sad that this is response I get.When the point is if they make this new one with all men and it does well which it will. It might feel that “boys are better”it makes my heart drop. Maybe I could have use different words but I’m allowed to have my feelings just like them

— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) January 20, 2019

The all-women adaptation of Ghostbusters, which also starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Jones’ fellow SNL cast mate Kate McKinnon, netted $180 million at the worldwide box office at its time of release. While it was one of the most talked about films of that year, during the press run Jones received a wave of racist comments from social media users, a moment that led the entertainer to take a step away from the Twitter platform.

“You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out,” she said.

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Donald Trump Doesn't Have Any MLK Day Activities Planned

President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled for Dr. Martin Luther King day.

On Friday (Jan. 18) the president signed a proclamation in which encouraged “all Americans to recommit themselves to Dr. King’s dream by engaging in acts of service to others, to their community, and to our Nation.” The Daily Beast reports. However, Trump may not have included himself in the proclamation.

NEW: @realDonaldTrump won't be participating in any Martin Luther King Jr. Day service activities tomorrow. According to the White House schedule, he "has no public events scheduled."

— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 21, 2019

While the president's plans on the national day of service are unclear, Vice President Mike Pence compared Dr. King's legacy of peace to the current U.S. partial government shutdown. On CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday (Jan. 20) Pence quoted the late civil rights leader.

"One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,’” Pence said. "You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union...That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do: Come to the table in the spirit of good faith.

We’ll secure our border. We’ll reopen the government and we’ll move our nation forward as the president said yesterday to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead.”

As of Jan. 21, the United States government has been shut down for 31 days. More than 800,000 federal employees have gone without pay due to an impasse between the Democratic Congress and the White House. Donald Trump has asked for $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico wall, while the Democrats are refusing to budge.

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