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BET Tales

Irv Gotti Targets Reverse Racism And Police Brutality In The First Episode Of BET's 'Tales'

Irv Gotti explores reverse racism, and aims to make a change with the issue of police bruality coupled with racism in America. 

In Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo’s new show on BET, Tales, he takes an array of different hip hop songs, and makes a movie out of them attempting to convey the record's message on screen. The process is a lot more rigorous than a music video, but still possess a creative story line inspired simply by the music.

At this year’s American Black Film Festival in Miami, a room full of journalists, filmmakers and fans got a chance to see a portion of its premiere episode, “F**k Tha Police,” inside South Beach’s Colony Theater. The rap mogul and founder of Murder I.N.C took N.W.A.’s iconic song, and morphed it into a battle of race relations and police brutality. Yet in doing so, Gotti makes an interesting twist. Instead of following the usual white cop kills a young African-American man narrative; the roles here are reversed.

Everything that was shown for the first 45 minutes of the scheduled two-hour premiere tonight (June 27) , is a contrived litmus test for TV ratings and a seemingly powerful depiction of the exact same thing black America has endured from white authorities for decades. There was Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner and many more—but in Irv’s story the victim is a young white man, whose murder by a black cop was witnessed by Brody Wilson (Matthew Noska).

There is a prejudice black TV host (Clifton Powell) who claims young white men bring their respective killings upon themselves; for reasons that aren’t justified, but seem to fit a certain stereotype, which then makes black cops trigger-happy. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Amid the madness, a black prosecutor (played by Boris Kodjoe)  aims to sympathize with the marginalized white community, in hopes of trying to solve the case. All the white people in the film live in a housing project infested with poverty in an area called “The Jungle.” There are scenes of racial profiling by black cops, and white rage fueled by the injustices placed upon unarmed white men. Yet there is hope with an interracial relationship among Noska and actress Nafessa Williams, who plays a young trophy wife.

Seeing the roles in reverse on screen makes you wonder what would life and our justice system really be like if the oppressors become the oppressed? Would the flip spur some sort of change? Gotti aims to answer this. “With the race reversal theme I just wanted to put a mirror up to society, and let them see a glimpse of how we feel as black people,” he said to attendees at the screening. “And maybe if they see it as horrifying as it is in this fictitious tale, maybe they’ll change things when another black person gets killed senselessly.”

While Irv’s admission is simple and genuine, part of his final product is unfortunately troubling and complex. There’s Chet Hanks (Tom Hank’s son) who plays the cool street savvy brother. Yet there's something about him and his impoverished white friends that doesn’t fit. Aesthetically, their style and demeanor seems to mirror a heavy dose of cultural misappropriation, which mimics urban style. There’s dark lipstick, cornrows, bandanas and door-knocker earrings that adorn Eurocentric white Anglo Saxon faces. The image feels like scrolling through Instagram and seeing Kendall, Kylie, Kim and Khloe sporting bantu knots, cornrows and French braids—and then be credited as trendsetters by mainstream fashion magazines for wearing a hairstyle that black women have sported for decades.

Tales feels like it’s message would have resonated stronger if the characters were made with no trace of perpetuating a false stereotype, which is really the big cause of the problem in real life. But Gotti doesn’t plan on being so political in the episodes that follow. There will be other films based on songs like “Cold Hearted” by Meek Mill and the legendary “I Got a Story to Tell,” by Notorious B.I.G., which follow a more concrete hip hop story- telling narrative about life and beef in the rap game. There is also “Trap Queen” by FettyWap, which seems promising, “It’s really one of the best episodes,” Irv revealed. “It’s about a woman who has a man, and things happen with her boyfriend, and she takes control.”

The new hip-hop anthology will premiere tonight on BET at 8pm EST. Watch the trailer for its premiere episode, “F**ck Tha Police,” below.

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Gladys Knight To Sing National Anthem At Super Bowl LIII

As reported by the National Football Leauge (NFL) and CBS, Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem at the 53rd Super Bowl event. The Motown legend will usher in the final game of the season in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

"I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta," Knight said. "The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year."

In more recent years, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Natalie Cole, and many more have performed the anthem on this stage.

Alongside Knight, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), will have a performer and deaf activist by the name of Aaron Loggins sign the National Anthem and "America The Beautiful."

Super Bowl LIII will take place Feb. 3 at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The playoffs are currently underway.

Atlanta, I’m coming home! #NFL #SBLIII pic.twitter.com/8rH0O5OAAo

— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019

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Courtesy of Hulu

Stream: Hulu's 'FYRE Fraud' Doc Examines The Festival That Scammed Thousands

In 2017, rumors of an exclusive festival taking place in the Bahamas took over social media. Organized by Billy McFarland and promoted by Ja Rule, the FYRE Festival was the new, cool kid on the festival block and quickly put other more seasoned festivals to shame.

But all that glitters isn't gold.

FYRE FRAUD, the new documentary streaming on Hulu, takes an intimate look at the scam that left thousands stranded on the island. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason, the dark-comedy interviews whistleblowers, victims, and the convicted con-man himself, McFarland.

In a press release, Fraust and Nason said the goal isn't to make light of those who were scammed.

"Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

"We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor - but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant - to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole."

FYRE FRAUD is now streaming on Hulu.

 

 

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Romain Maurice

They Don't Want You To Win: D.J. Khaled Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel

D.J. Khaled knows they don't want you to win, but that hasn't stopped the producer and performer from doing just that.

Variety reports Asahd's father will star alongside Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the forthcoming action-comedy Bad Boys For Life. It's unclear at this time what role Khaled will play.

Also joining the cast is Vanessa Hudgins, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano reprises his role as the irritable Captain Howard.

Smith and Lawrence play detectives Mike Lowery, and Marcus Burnett respectively. While Lowery shoots first and asks questions later, Burnett, the family man, tries desperately to incorporate a more pragmatic approach.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will helm the film and Jerry Bruckheimer returns as the franchise producer. The first Bad Boys was released in 1995 with a $23 million budget and earned $141 million in the box office. Bad Boys II released in 2003 had a $130 million budget and earned $273 million.

The third installment of the buddy-cop film revolves around a new specialized unit that clashes with Lowery and Burnett's old-school tactics when a new criminal threat emerges in Miami.

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