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HTGAWM's Lauren Vélez Says Working With Viola Davis Is "A Dream Come True"

The Boricua actor is winning as the new face on 'How to Get Away with Murder'.  

Lauren Luna Vélez, most notably known for her roles as María LaGuerta on Showtime's Dexter and Detective Nina Moreno on Fox's New York Undercover, is a major recurring face in the new season of How to Get Away with Murder. The Boricua actor is introduced as the President of Middleton University, where Viola Davis (Annalise Keating) works as a professor—when she’s not covering up murders with her own pupils, of course.

The original casting breakdown described Vélez's character as "self-assured, friendly, warm and diplomatic." Vélez, now a few episodes in, likens her character to a political animal with a troublesome past.

"Soraya [Hargrove] believes that you can draw more bees with honey than with vinegar," she says to Remezcla. "She’s a consummate politician. She tries to do everything with a smile and really just works everything from a very different angle. She’s a good girl. She’s a nice girl. She’s a class valedictorian. She’s that sort of person and as the show progresses, we find out her deep, dark secrets…"

The Brooklyn native also delves into how she landed her new role on the Shonda Rhimes-produced mystery series, finding herself fangirling over Davis' brilliance and thespian flair.

"I kept speaking to my manager about it and kept saying that there’s going to be something where I’d get to work with Viola and we’re gonna be able to jam together on screen. Sometime in July I went out to L.A. for a meeting and I got a phone call and they said “Do you want to come on the show?” Yes, of course! I was very excited. I met with the showrunner, Peter Nowalk, who’s just wonderful. He said, “Look, it’s gonna be a very slow burn. We really want to move with the character slow and let it grow into whatever it’s going to be in the show,” which has been a really great process. As the storyline unfolds it’s become something I can really sink my teeth into," she explains, before admitting that working opposite of the Emmy Award-winning actor is nothing short of magical. "And most of my scenes have been with Viola so, how’s that for a dream coming true?"

Vélez, however, has worked previously with the Doubt actor, in a play at the Roundabout Theater called Intimate Apparel. It was after that experience that Vélez, 51, made it a goal to work again with Davis—on screen.

 

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

READ MORE: DJ Collective WeAreHouse78 Are Making The Best Party Ever...At 9AM

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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