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Nate Parker Opens Up About College Rape Trial: "I Am Open To The Scrutiny"

And the Internet is ready to deliver.

Nate Parker's past is under heavy surveillance as a rape trial from his college days threatens to interrupt the buzz of his highly anticipated film Birth of a Nation.

While enrolled at Penn State University in 1999, Parker and his roommate Jean Celestin, who has since co-written the Oscar contender, were charged with raping a 20-year-old female student in their apartment. The woman claimed she was unconscious after a night of drinking and did not agree to have sex with either Parker or Celestin. She also accused both men of stalking and harassing her after she reported the incident to authorities.

Following the charge, Parker, then a student athlete, lost his spot on the wrestling team and transferred to another college in Oklahoma. He eventually was acquitted in a 2001 trial based on testimony that he and his accuser previously engaged in consensual intercourse. Although Celestin was found guilty, Parker's former roommate successfully appealed his six month prison sentence after the victim chose not to testify again in a 2005 trial.

“Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life. It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that," Parker told Variety in an exclusive interview. "Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is” — he took a long silence — “I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.”

Despite his effort to bury the past, Parker understands his personal life will be up for grabs as he moves forward with press runs for his film centered on Nat Turner's 1831 slave revolt. The actor, who has already been criticized about his marriage to a white woman, says he's bracing himself for what more is to come with his burgeoning fame.

"My life will be examined and put under the microscope in ways that it never has. There are numerous things that are surfacing," he continued. "But I’ve always been an open book. I’m an advocate of justice. I’m an older man. I’ve matured a lot. I’ve had many obstacles in my life. I grew up very poor. My father passed away. There are so many things that happened. At the same time, I am the man that I am. I am open to the scrutiny. I will never hide anything from my past.”

Fox Searchlight, who acquired the rights for Parker's Sundance smash in a $17.5 million deal, has chosen to maintain their support in the wake of the resurrected ordeal. “Fox Searchlight is aware of the incident that occurred while Nate Parker was at Penn State. We also know that he was found innocent and cleared of all charges. We stand behind Nate and are proud to help bring this important and powerful story to the screen.”

The Internet, on the other hand, isn't ready to forgive and forget.

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J. Prince Gets YBN Almighty Jay’s Stolen Rap-A-Lot-Records Chain Back

YBN Almighty Jay can thank J. Prince for stepping in to get his stolen chain back. The Rap-A-Lot Records boss secured the return of the jewelry days after his teenage protégé was beaten and robbed in New York City.

French Montana, and rapper Hocus 45th, met with Prince in Los Angeles on Monday (March 18) night to return the chain, and accompanying pendant. French played middleman to get J. Prince and Hocus 45th in the same room, TMZ reports.

J Prince shared a photo from the meeting on Instagram. “Real recognizes real in every hood and has a way of connecting in spite of clowns and squares,” he captioned the post. “The homies from the Bronx, KT, @hocus45th and @frenchmontana kept it real with me and my son @jprincejr.”

The Houston native added that French and Hocus are officially welcomed into his #MobTies movement, and that he looks forward to “doing business in the future together.”

Peep the full post below.

 

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Real recognizes real in every hood and has a way of connecting in spite of clowns and squares. - - The homies from the Bronx, KT, @hocus45th and @frenchmontana kept it real with me and my son @jprincejr - - Tho it was never about the chain, it was about the name that was built off of blood sweat and tears. - - I welcome these brothers to our #MobTies movement and look forward to us doing business in the future together. - - There’s power in numbers and when strong brothers from the streets align themselves with one another, suckas tremble. So I can only imagine how some of you are feeling right now! - - I’ve invited these homies to #htown for @jprincejr birthday celebration March 28-31, 2019 and I look forward to coming to the Bronx soon. - - The big picture here is the same as I stated in my first post, to not allow moment thinkers to muddy the waters over the movement. - - To @ybnalmightyjay I’ll be returning your jewelry soon Lil homie. - - To be continued... #TheArtAndScienceOfRespect

A post shared by J Prince (@jprincerespect) on Mar 19, 2019 at 10:16am PDT

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8-Year-Old Nigerian Chess Champion's Big Win Helps His Family Out Of Homelessness

An 8-year-old Nigerian chess prodigy is helping his family out of homelessness. Tanitoluwa “ Tani” Adewumi, won the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship last week, beating out more than 70 of the state’s top young chess players, all while living in a homeless shelter.

Tani, who was recently profiled in the New York Times, and his family fled Nigeria in 2017, reportedly out of fear of being targeted by Boko Haram. The family applied for asylum, and have since been living in a New York shelter.

The third grader learned to play chess a year ago at his elementary school, P.S. 116. Tani’s coach, Russell Makofsky marveled at his ability to learn chess so quickly. "His intellect, his aptitude, his capacity to learn chess is off the charts,” Makofsky said. “From not playing to beating the best of the best in one year is unheard of, all while living in a homeless shelter.”

Tani has been getting a lot of attention for his big win. A GoFundMe page launched on March 15 with a goal of raising $50,000 to help Tani’s family “secure a home where he can continue his journey,” has raised more than $182,000. An attorney has also agreed to work on the family’s asylum case for free, CBS News reports.

The family now plans to move into an apartment, and posted an update on the GoFundMe page Tuesday (March 19) sharing their gratitude for the donations, Tani’s chess coach, and the media for publicizing the story. “Our big shout out to the whole WORLD for all your support financially, morally, spiritually and many more can't [be] mentioned. You are all awesome. God bless you all.”

According to the post, proceeds from the crowdfunding effort will be donated to a new foundation that the family will be starting in Tani's name.

See more on his story below.

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Janelle Monae, Lil Wayne To Perform At Lollapalooza 2019

Janelle Monae, Lil Wayne, Team Imapala, Slash, and J. Balvin are among the artists who will be taking the stage for Lollapalooza 2019, festival organizers revealed Tuesday (March 19).

Lolla's partial performance list was unveiled in a nearly 14:00-minute interactive video featuring dogs up for adoption at PAWS Chicago. The pups move around in a makeshift playpen filled with plastic balls that reveal the images of the acts billed to perform at this year’s festival. The list also includes, Lil Baby and his “Close Friends” collaborator, Gunna, along with Lil Skies, French artist Madeon, Spanish singer ROSALÍA, electronic act Yaeji, and Australian dance group Rufus Du Sol.

Lollapalooza returns to Chicago’s Grant Park Aug. 1-4. It’s unclear when the full list of performers will be announced. As for tickets, 4-day general admission passes are on sale for $360 a pop, while VIP tickets will run music fans $2,200. One-day general admission passes haven't gone on sale yet but will cost $130 each, and a single-day VIP ticket comes with a $650 price tag.

Click here for ticketing info. Watch video of the lineup unveil below.

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