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'All Eyez On Me' Does Better Than Expected With $27 Million Debut

The film took third place at the box office. 

Tupac Shakur’s fans stepped up to show support for All Eyez on Me. The highly anticipated biopic depicting the life and career of the late rap legend, earned a respectable $27 million in its opening weekend.

The Benny Boom-directed film, starring newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr., was expected to bring in $17 to $20 million.

Despite surpassing expectations, All Eyez on Me landed in third place at the box-office after Cars 3 raced away with $53 million, while Wonder Woman earned an additional $40.7 million.

Meanwhile, opening weekend wasn't without a little controversy for All Eyez on Me. Jada Pinkett-Smith released a statement on social media calling the film "hurtful" for "reimagining" her relationship with Shakur.

L.T. Hutton, the film's producer, expressed disappointment over Pinkett-Smith's critique. He also clarified that scenes in the film were depicted from "actual dialogue" between Pac and the actress.

“I’m kind of disappointed and just hurt by the accusations that it wasn’t depicted or I can’t remember the exact words she said,” Hutton told TMZ Live. “But it all came from the truth and places of moments of her actual dialogue and ideas that Pac actually had.”

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'Black And Blue' Trailer Puts Body Cam Footage Front And Center

Filmmaker Deon Taylor is making his petition known with his latest full-length feature, Black and Blue. Set in present-day New Orleans, rookie cop Alicia West (played by Oscar-nominated actress Naomie Harris) returns to her Nola roots in hopes to serve and protect. It doesn't take long, however, for West to realize being from the neighborhood means nothing when she's wearing her uniform or badge.

The trailer for the forthcoming thriller premiered Sunday night (June 23) during the 2019 BET Awards. In the three-minute spot, viewers follow West as she exits a squad car and enters an abandoned warehouse. Seconds later, she witnesses a corrupt cop (played by Frank Grillo) kill a local drug dealer.

West now becomes a target after realizing the murder was recorded on her body cam. Her problems are only compounded when local drug dealer Darius (Mike Colter, Luke Cage) is working in concert with the police and puts a bounty on West's head. Now West has a decision to make: either ignore the truth or expose it.

Dialing in from Los Angeles, Taylor spoke to VIBE about the premise of the Peter A Dowling script, the timeliness of the film and did he, in fact, give it all away in the trailer?

Why the name change from Exposure to Black and Blue? Deon Taylor: In the film, Alicia West (Naomie Harris) kept being asked 'What side of the line are you on? Are you black or are you blue?' and what I thought was incredible throughout the movie was she's saying there is no side, we're here to serve the people. We wanted to lean into that. I thought it would be a great conversation piece and it's also about blending the worlds and creating a better place for people to live. So that's why we made the change.

Is the film as much entertainment as it is a political statement? Yes. I'm going to answer yes to that. Right now, we're in a world where we don't want to feed people medicine. We want to put the medicine inside the candy. That's what I feel like this film is about.

Our first goal is to make sure you have a blast in the theater. You're getting all those elements you would get from Training Day. But, as a filmmaker, I'm also trying to drop some messages and some Easter eggs in the film. What I'm hoping is this film shows us what we need to do to be better as a people as we're fighting against what we're seeing in the news every day. What's so current is here's Alicia West, Naomie Harris playing this character saying 'Nah, we not doing that. Y'all are corrupt and I'm about to expose it. I don't care what side of the line I'm on.'

Why did you choose to film in New Orleans? We filmed in New Orleans for New Orleans. New Orleans is interesting because as we began to put the movie together, I just loved being in the South where people are really homegrown. New Orleans was one of the places that had high corruption after [Hurricane] Katrina, and we just felt like New Orleans was raw and unfiltered. I love that Naomie Harris' character had those southern morals.  The backdrop of New Orleans is also beautiful. The music, the people, the culture itself. We featured a lot of B. Mike's artwork and the murals he's done as well. Mike Colter went from being everyone's favorite black superhero in Luke Cage to this scary, menacing drug dealer. Why did you choose to reimagine Mike Colter this way? What I love about being a director is I love playing people against type. In The Intruder it was Dennis Quad and the new thriller I did it's Hilary Swank. This movie is no different. For Mike Colter, when I thought about what character he's playing without giving it away, it would be easy to cast someone to be tough and beat people up and have that energy, but Colter's character in the movie, Darius, he's more complex. He's someone who's a product of the environment but also a cerebral thinker.

So for that, I needed to find an actor that was intimidating, but when he opens up his mouth and he talks, I needed someone who had the correct tone to be a more complicated villain. What I tried to do with the Darius character was build someone I know. Colter was able to reimagine the character that way in which you can see the tough exterior, but at the same time, he's calculated in how he thinks and how he moves.

My last question is in a lot of films, they give the best stuff away in the trailer. Have you done that?  Nope! [Laughs]

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The Exonerated Five Receive A Standing Ovation At The 2019 BET Awards

Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Yusef Salaam had their childhoods ripped from them after being falsely accused of rape in 1989. Thirty years later, the men known as the Central Park Five have earned a new title: The Exonerated Five.

With Ava DuVernay's directed Netflix series fresh in people's minds, the now middle-aged men --who had their sentences vacated after the real rapist confessed--have merited empathy and an outpouring of love from many.

On Sunday night (June 23) they took to the stage at 19th annual BET Awards and earned a standing ovation from the crowd.

THE EXONERATED FIVE at the #BETAwards pic.twitter.com/DSxVTLGJPW

— 106 KMEL (@106KMEL) June 24, 2019

The men were on hand to introduce singer-songwriter H.E.R. Yet, before the Grammy-Award winner performed, they spoke about how their worlds collided three decades prior.

“We are all on an individual journey in life. We don’t know where our journeys will take us or how they will collide with others,” the men said. “I didn’t know that one day would bond me to these men for the rest of our lives. But I know that in telling our truth, our lives have been changed forever. Your truth is the foundation your legacy will be built upon. Your truth will be the memories people keep long after you’re gone.”

On May 31st, Netflix premiered When They See Us. The four-part series depicted the lives of all five boys prior to being arrested, illegally interrogated, tried and convicted of the beating and rape of a white female Central Park jogger. Most of the men served seven years in prison. Wise, who was 16 at the time, was sent to Rikers Island and served 14 grueling years behind bars.

In 2001, Matias Reyes confessed to the rape, which resulted in Wise's release and the rest of the group's sentence being vacated. In 2014, the men were awarded $41 million from New York City, however, a public apology was never issued.

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Amazon's 'Free Meek' Docuseries Receives Premiere Date

Meek Mill says he has dedicated himself to criminal justice reform since his last charge for probation violation, and now the Philadelphia native is prepared to revisit that journey in a new docuseries. Set to premiere on Aug. 9 with Amazon Prime Video, Free Meek will feature commentary from Jay-Z, Van Jones, and more on their views of Mill's experience and millions of others like him who've become plagued by the criminal justice system.

Soundtracked by Mill's current songs off his Championships album, "What's Free?" and "Trauma," viewers witness a string of past and present footage that documents the 32-year-old's experience. The Roc Nation and The Intellectual Property Corporation-produced feature will also place a magnifying glass on the probation system and the fight for reformation.

On Twitter, Mill said he hopes his past will inspire people to join the movement. "Make me feel like all that pain was worth it if I can inspire people from it!" he tweeted. When announcing the launch of his REFORM Alliance initiative earlier this year, Mill also shared how his plight altered his career. "I got caught up in the system and every time I started to further my life with the music industry — from traveling the world, performing worldwide and actually making money to be able to provide for my family and take them out of their ruthless environment, every year or two was something that always brought me back to ground zero and it was probation and I always wondered what happened to people in situations worse than mine," he said.

Watch the full trailer below.

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