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Mary J. Blige Believes Ex-Husband Was A "Con-Artist" Obsessed With Her Fortune

"I have to keep smiling and keep my spirits up because this is designed to kill me.”

Mary J. Blige is doing better these days but in the wake of her divorce to former manager Kendu Issacs, the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" can't help be reflective of what she's been through. During a recent press run for her Sundance-beloved film Mudbound, the singer was honest and frank on how she used her real-life grief in the period drama centered around race and love.

Speaking to Varietythe singer gushed about the Dee Rees-directed film (Bessie, Pariah) while being blunt about realizations of her 12-year marriage. “I’m doing OK,” she said. “I’m living. I’m not happy about a lot of things. I thought someone loved me, right? Turns out, he was a con artist and he didn’t, and now he’s coming after me for all my money."

During the release of her latest album, Strength of a Woman, the singer dealt with a legal battle with Issacs. A judge ordered Blige to shell out $30,000 a month for spousal support. Issacs initially requested $100,000 to uphold his lifestyle and charitable efforts. Blige says her troubled marriage helped her with the role of Florence Jackson. It also helped her come to terms with some painful truths.

"When you come out of something like that, you realize you were never the one," she said. "There was someone else that was his queen. I got played. I got suckered. I have to keep smiling and keep my spirits up because this is designed to kill me.”

But it wasn't all about love and relationships for Blige. The entertainer says she was able to uncover another layer of self-love in the role. "I just had all the heaviness of not feeling right, not feeling good. I gave it to Florence," she said.

Rees also had a no-weave or wig requirement on set that helped Blige tap into her character and at times, her insecurities. “For a long time, I didn’t want people to see my hair. I don’t know why,” she said. “I’m not as vain. That’s the thing about Florence that I love. I got the chance to be pure.”

Check out the full interview here and a trailer for Mudbound below. The film will be released on Netflix and in select theaters November 17.

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Actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Chicago, IL.
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Jussie Smollett Released On $100K Bail

Jussie Smollett was reportedly released from Chicago police custody on Thursday (Feb. 21), after posting $100,000 bail, CNN confirms.

Police and prosecutors held a press conference, in which they listed a series of evidence that would corroborate their claim that Smollett staged the homophobic and racist attack that occurred against him in Jan. 2019.

The prosecutors confirmed a chronology of the events leading up to and after the attack. They cited phone and credit card records from both Smollett and the Osundairo brothers who were reportedly paid $3,500 to act out the incident.

As previously reported, the Empire actor was arrested and taken into custody in Chicago earlier this morning on one count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The police claimed the actor staged the attack because he was upset about his low salary.

"Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said. "Why would anyone especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? ... How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?"

If convicted of the charge, Smollett could serve one to three years in prison.

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'Boomerang' Episode 3 Recap: Stand In Your Power

As the aptly-named episode of BET’s Boomerang kicks off, Bryson is in a deep sleep when his sexual fantasy of Simone riding him like an Amtrak is abruptly cut short after she pulls out a strap-on (um, y’all are grown). Let’s just say, she’s not a football player but she rams. Despite his obvious initial thought, this isn’t a conflict of sexual identity. It’s that feeling of loss of power whenever he’s around the two most important women in his life: Simone and his mother Jacqueline who (FUN FACT) was played by the Queen, Robin Givens in the series’ 1992 film inspiration. First of her name. Mother of no BS. Protector of her pockets. Goddess of You Got the Wrong One. We stan.

While diving deeper into his familial issues, we realize that Jacqueline wasn’t just a ball-buster to Marcus back in the day. A therapy breakthrough reveals that mommy dearest isn’t too affectionate to young Bryson either.  Although she did pull her strings to land Bryson a solid role at the Graham agency, she didn’t make family a priority and that kind of thing sticks with you, ya know? Don’t feel too bad for Bryson just yet because at this point, he will no longer be a “yes, man,” no matter how bomb Simone always looks in her bob.

Just as Bryson decides to boss up, he unexpectedly runs into Simone back at the office who is helping herself to some supplies for her "home office." In a sudden “I can make moves, too” moment, Bryson shares with Simone that her idea (that he’s been persistently pitching)  has finally been greenlit and naturally, sis is annoyed. Marketing an avant-garde black film, such as the project in the episode, “Woke,” has always been a passion of hers.

Within two seconds into listening to his “plan of strategy” to market the movie, it’s obvious that Bryson can’t possibly be Big Bad Bry for too long without asking for Simone’s help. And Simone knows that. At this point, he’s still strong enough to not ask Simone for it but the Hustle Hungry protege takes it upon herself to force it anyway. It’s simple to her. Bryson needs black talent to promote the film and Simone has just the client- Tia. Granted, homegirl can’t sing a note to save her life, but Simone has some tricks and this is way too big of an opportunity to pass up.

Once again at the board meeting, a clearly annoyed Victoria is still over Bryson for previously messing up by being a sucker for love, but she hasn’t lost faith just yet. He still has a shot to prove himself. At an afternoon meeting at their swanky loft, the twin directors of “Woke” try to explain the direction they want for their movie. Although poor Bryson is lost (mainly because their responses barely answer his questions) he hasn’t reached a place of uncertainty to where he feels as if he has to agree with all of Simone’s suggestions. He’s holding it down as Boss Man Bry and he proves that when he reaches the studio. Simone has Tia record two different versions of the track, confident that Bryson would like hers better.

After listening to both, unbeknownst of who is responsible for which, Bryson chooses Tia’s track. He almost even backtracks when he finds out that wasn’t Simone’s vision, but he decides to man up instead and stand his ground, instead.  Yes, he said what he said. Operation Stand in Your Power is in full effect. Simone’s grip on Bryson’s heart slowly slipping. Maybe now she’ll retire from the Rams. *wink, wink*

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Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, And More To Appear On LeBron James' 'The Shop'

HBO Sports' The Shop starring LeBron James and Maverick Carter is coming back this Mar. 2019. Season two of the series will feature appearances from Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, and more.

James will also be joined by Jamie Foxx, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis and stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael.

Ahead of the air date, LeBron shared a clip of his chat with 2 Chainz on Instagram. "Can’t wait for y’all to hear the continues evolution of his profound skills from his mind to the booth to the records itself. Proud of you homie and the people will be as well when this hits," he wrote in the caption on Instagram.

The show initially premiered in Aug. 2018. It created quite the buzz on social media due to its unfiltered conversations surrounding race, politics and sports. The show's episode with Drake went viral after the OVO artist commented on his beef with Kanye West and Pusha-T.

The 2019 season premiere is filmed in Charlotte, NC, home of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend. The first episode of The Shop will air on HBO on Friday, Mar. 1, at 10:30pm ET.

 

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Had to pleasure of working on my first music project from start to finish with my guy @2chainz “Rap or Go To The League” coming to y’all 3/1. Can’t wait for y’all to hear the continues evolution of his profound skills from his mind to the booth to the records itself. Proud of you homie and the people will be as well when this hits! 🙏🏾✊🏾💪🏾 #ARBron #RaporGoToTheLeague🤷🏾‍♂️

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 19, 2019 at 9:13am PST

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