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Legendary Olympian Tommie Smith Defends Colin Kaepernick's Protest

"He’s being vilified in how he brings the truth out."

In 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos made history when they stood on the winner's podium during the Summer Olympics and gave the Black Power salute, a silent gesture that ignited a firestorm of criticism, anger, and immense criticism from the American public. One half of the legendary icons, who are credited with "politicizing the Olympics," is speaking out in defense of San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem out of political protest in lieu of America's egregious injustices, according to USA Today.

"Colin is 28 years old and realizing that things are not quite like what 'they' said it would be," Smith observed. "He’s just speaking out (but) he used a platform that many Americans don’t agree with. He’s being vilified in how he brings the truth out. I support him because he’s bringing the truth out – regardless of how it's done."

Kaepernick defended his decision to sit during the national anthem earlier this week, stating that gesture is bigger than the NFL. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The Star Spangled Banner, written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, detailed the battle of Fort McHenry. Although Americans only sing the first verse, the third verse is particularly telling of Key's political and racial perspectives by mentioning enslavement. Key himself was a slave owner and publicly anti-abolitionist, viewing Black folks as inferior.

Kaepernick joins a legion of athletes who made strong political statements throughout their careers, promptly receiving backlash from the public. In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to serve in Vietnam, and was stripped of his heavyweight title. Jackie Robinson, the first black player in major league baseball, wrote in his autobiography, "I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world."

"The American ritual of the national anthem has always been a crucible for patriotism and protest," writes AJ Willingham of CNN. "It presents a particularly fraught dynamic for sports stars, since sports events are often so closely tied with the rhetoric of American pride. When a highly visible opinion comes up against a highly visible symbol, the result is always incendiary."

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Erykah Badu Denies Producers Contacted Her For 'Surviving R. Kelly'

Erykah Badu is hitting back against dream hampton after she claimed that producers of Surviving R. Kelly contacted the singer to appear in the Lifetime docuseries. Badu claims that she was never contacted, and would like hampton to provide the receipts or apologize.

It all started when a fan pointed out that Badu and R. Kelly worked with one another years ago, which is why she allegedly chose not to be apart of the docuseries. Erykah rejected that comment, stating that she had never worked with him on music or declined to appear in the documentary.

Hampton stepped in by claiming that a producer attempted to contact Badu, but did not receive a response. "I asked Producer T. Farris to contact @fatbellybella to be in doc because I wanted clarity on two things: 1) a quote attributed to her, 'No one has done more for Black people than R. Kelly' & 2) what she was thinking when she called him her "brother" at Soul Train Awards," dream tweeted.

Badu quickly responded: No ma’am. I WAS NOT EVER contacted by anyone to be in [email protected] You know that’s not true. I wasn’t a necessary component. You had all the right people, the ones close to the situation...But for now, produce this “producer’s” request or... APOLOGIZE. It’s simple."

Badu and hampton's latest back and forth comes only days after the neo-soul artist was criticized for seemingly defending R. Kelly amid his sexual abuse allegations at a concert in Chicago. She later clarified her remarks about the disgraced singer, saying that she did not approve of his actions, but believed he was deserving of love and assistance.

Check out Badu and hampton's exchange below.

I asked Producer T. Farris to contact @fatbellybella to be in doc because I wanted clarity on two things: 1) a quote attributed to her, "No one has done more for Black people than R. Kelly" & 2) what she was thinking when she called him her "brother" at Soul Train Awards. https://t.co/yYBvP8bBIj

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

No ma’am. I WAS NOT EVER contacted by anyone to be in [email protected] You know that’s not true. I wasn’t a necessary component. You had all the right people, the ones close to the situation...But for now, produce this “producer’s” request or... APOLOGIZE. It’s simple. https://t.co/cgBcpPePMI

— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) January 23, 2019

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MICHAEL CAMPANELLA

Judge Removes Tekashi 6ix9ine's Lawyer From Racketeering Case

Tekashi 6ix9ine is in need of new legal representation. A judge has reportedly removed one of 6ix9ine's lawyers from his racketeering case ahead of his trial, XXL reports. The decision was made during a pre-trial conference on Tuesday (Jan. 22).

The presiding Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that the 6ix9ine's lawyer, Lance Lazarro, would have to be removed from the case due to a potential conflict of interest. Lazarro reportedly represented Tekashi's co-defendants, Faheem "Crippy" Walter and Kifano "Shotti" Jordan before representing 6ix9ine in his racketeering case.

During the conference, Engelmayer stated that he was upset that Lazarro had not disclosed his relationship with the co-defendants previously. Lazarro reportedly represented Walter for a gang assault charge in Oct. 2018 and Jordan for numerous charges in 2009 and 2015. He explained that he didn't think the matter was important to mention.  Judge Engelmayer responded by noting that it wasn't the attorney's place to determine whether his previous work was significant.

Lazzaro will not be able to act as Tekashi's lawyer until he sends letters detailing the extent of his relationships with Walter and Jordan. If the judge finds no conflict of interest, Lazarro will be able to return as an acting attorney for Tekashi. Dawn Florio will continue as part of Tekashi's legal team.

As previously reported, the "Stoopid" artist, Walter, and Jordan are awaiting trial for a racketeering case. Tekashi pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in Nov. 2018. If convicted, he could face a life sentence in prison. His trial date is slated to begin on Sept. 4.

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Drake And Odell Backham Jr. Sued For Orchestrating Violent Attack On Man

Drake and NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are reportedly being sued for allegedly orchestrating a violent attack on a man in a West Hollywood club, TMZ reports. According to court docs obtained by the celeb site, Bennett Sipes is accusing Drake and Beckham of telling their entourage to beat him up after a brief confrontation.

Sipes claims the incident occurred in the VIP section of the Delilah nightclub after he began to argue with Drizzy, Beckham, Kourtney Kardashian's ex-boyfriend Younes Benjima, and the rest of their crew. A source close to the incident claims Sipes was "talking smack" at the time. When he attempted to exit the area, Sipes alleges that Drake gave him the "cut throat" gesture.

When the victim entered the bathroom, he was attack by Benjima and Drake and Beckham's friends. The whole fight was caught on video, showing Benjima throwing the first punch at Sipes. Drake and OBJ are also seen on camera watching from a distance.

Sipes reportedly filed a police report following the incident, but dropped it shortly after. He is suing OBJ, Drake, Delilah and others other for an undisclosed amount.

Check out footage from the attack below.

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