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Ghetto Brothers Frontman And Puerto Rican Nationalist Benjy Melendez Dead At 65

Ghetto Brothers gang leader, Puerto Rican nationalist and Rubble Kings subject, Benjamin “Yellow Benjy” Melendez, passes away at 65—according to his wife Wanda Melendez.

“He died of natural causes,” author Amir Said tells HipHopDX. “He had kidney failure and had been waiting for a kidney transplant. His condition had gotten much worse over the last couple of years. I was told by his wife that yesterday (May 28) he fell and cut his arm badly. He was then rushed to the hospital. But given the complications of his kidney failure, sadly, he did not make it.”

RIP to Yellow Benjy. Sad to hear about his passing but in light of this being Memorial Day it makes perfect sense to pay homage to a brother that fought for OUR people and OUR fight. Well over half a million Boricuas have served in the US army and fought battles against people who did nothing to us but Benji fought for our people, our identity, our struggle. He educated, united and organized for our people, Brown and black alike. Never had the honor to meet him but in him a found a kindred soul who stood for the things I stand for and I thank him for that. And that's not even taking into account the beautiful music he made with his Ghetto Brothers. Descansa en paz Benji, se que Betances y Albizu te recibirán con los brazos abiertos. Check the wonderful documentary @rubblekings by Shan Nicholson if you get a chance. It covers the story of the Ghetto Brothers and Benji amongst other souls in NY. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shan on my radio show when the doc first came out and I want to thank him again for covering that chapter of NY history. Trust me it's a must see. Video on post was hacked from my bro @christianmartir #YellowBenji #GhettoBrothers #Music #Freedom #Borinken #Boricua #nuevayork #Soul #Funk #Latino #Despierta

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Melendez, who is also celebrated for negotiating a gang truce between Harlem and the Bronx in 1971, is the subject of Rubble Kings, the 2015 documentary that centers the era of gang violence and drug epidemic in 1970s New York City.

“Benjy was one of the most transformative figures I’ve ever known,” Said added. “He went from street gang leader to social activist and inspired everyone around him. He stood as a social activist, a musician, and a friend to many in the 1970s South Bronx — what was then the worst urban area in the United States."

Our condolences go out to Benjy's family. May he rest in power.

Rest In Peace #YellowBenjy #GhettoBROTHERS #HipHop #Nostalgia #BRONX #BenjaminMelendez #Legend

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Regardless of the unknown, it looks like fans weren't all the way tuned-in to what may have very well have been Smollett's last episode on the show. Per Variety, Jamal's groundbreaking wedding episode garnered low ratings for the Fox series.

"The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 3.8 million total viewers," reports the site. "Those numbers are a tick up on the 1.07 rating of the previous two weeks, but are still down on the season 5 average, which currently sits at around 1.4."

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Recently, his Empire family penned a letter of support for their cast member, urging the show's producers to allow him to come back for the unannounced sixth season.

"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter says. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."

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SWV Reacts To Female R&B Artists H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, And More

SWV recently sat down for BuzzFeed's "Cocoa Butter" video series to react to the new generation of female, R&B vocalists, and the veteran trio's facial expressions said it all.

The first singer the ladies reacted to was H.E.R. "I'm partial because I just love H.E.R. So she could sing dookie on a stick, and I'll still be like, oh she sounds nice," Tamara Johnson-George said.

"I wanna hear her do something different though," Coko chimed in, adding that she should experiment with more upbeat tempos.

Another notable reaction was given to Chloe x Halle. While the women agreed that the duo sounded a lot like their mentor, Beyonce, they felt that they hadn't heard any songs that "pop."

SWV didn't jump up and down for everyone, but they collectively loved Teyana Taylor. "She's going to be around for a minute," Leanne "Lelee" Lyons says.

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SWV Reacts To Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, H.E.R. & more! pic.twitter.com/vF4CQNZlTq

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Cardi B Wants People To Be Educated About 2020 Presidential Candidates

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Cardi B, who has been open in the past about her affinity for history and politics, is urging her fans to make sure they are educating themselves about the potential candidates and their policies.

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Earlier this year, Cardi spoke on the lengthy government shutdown and her thoughts on the underlying reason it was enacted.

"This sh*t is really f**kin' serious, bro," she stated in a viral Instagram video. "This sh*t is crazy. Like, our country is in a hellhole right now. All for a f**kin' wall."

 

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Post I love to see !These are the democratic nominees.I can’t front I only hurd and read on about six of them .Im going to research these names on my flight ! LETS START LEARNING AND ENCOURAGING VOTING NOW ! Not when is popular to do so and it’s only like four nominees left.

A post shared by MOSTHATEDCARDI (@iamcardib) on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:45pm PDT

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