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R. Kelly Doc Series And TV Movie Greenlit By Lifetime

The news comes in the wake of the #MuteRKelly movement.

The R. Kelly scandal is getting the Lifetime treatment.

The network has ordered a new documentary series and feature-length movie aiming to tell the stories of women who have fallen under the toxic spell of the controversial R&B singer, whose alleged abuse of underage black women has come to light. The projects are apart of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, which consists of programs that bring awareness to abusive behaviors.

In both projects, women are emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices to share their stories. Dream Hampton, a cultural critic, filmmaker and activist, will executive produces the series, while Emmy Award winner Ilene Kahn Power (Gia, Who Killed Clark Rockefeller) will serve as an exec producer on the movie. Barbara Marshall will write the film script.

The untitled doc series will investigate R. Kelly, celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time until his genre-defining career and playboy lifestyle became riddled with rumors of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia. For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental and physical abuse.

The doc series and movie are executive produced by Joel Karsberg and Jesse Daniels of Kreativ Inc., which, as part of their production deal, is backed exclusively by Bunim/Murray Productions. In addition to Hampton, Brie Miranda Bryant from Lifetime is an exec producer on the doc series.

“What we’ve seen—in the last year in particular—is the tremendous power of women’s voices when given the opportunity to share their truth,” said Brie Miranda Bryant, svp of unscripted development and programming at Lifetime. “But there are important stories still untold, stories of bravery, resilience and defiance that demand to be heard. This is one of those stories.”

“Lifetime has always been an incredible platform not only for storytelling, but also a catalyst to inspire action and change,” added Tanya Lopez, evp of movies, limited series and original movie acquisitions at Lifetime.  “Now more than ever, we have the responsibility to make sure women are heard and supported.”

“We’ve been working for over a year to bring forth the stories of these women,” said Karsberg, executive producer and CEO of Kreativ Inc. “We are proud to team with Lifetime to shed light on these stories as well as an industry that has looked the other way for so many years.”

“Some very brave black women have trusted us with their stories, their truth and their trauma,” added Hampton. “They are survivors and I’m honored to share their stories with the world.”

This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.

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Esther Scott, the actress who appeared in Boyz n the Hood, Beverly Hills 90210, Full House, You Got Served and more, has passed away at age 66.

Scott died last Friday (Feb. 14), days after suffering an apparent heart attack. Her death was first reported on Tuesday (Feb. 18) by TMZ.

According to the site, Scott was found unconscious in her Santa Monica, Calif. home last Tuesday (Feb. 11) and remained hospitalized for several days before passing away on Valentine's Day surrounded by friends and family.

"She loved what she did. She would get stopped on the street often and people would recognize her -- but they didn't know her name," Scott's sister told the website. "Hopefully now people will remember her name, her work and the contributions she gave to the entertainment industry."

The Queens native began her career as a voice actress in the ‘80s series StarWars: Ewoks. Scott’s first credited feature film role was as grandmother to the character Tisha (played by Leonette Scott) in Boyz n the Hood.

Scott worked steadily throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, following up her appearance in Boyz n the Hood with roles in Encino Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Illegal Blue, Species, The Craft, and Out to Sea.

Scott found success in both TV and film appearing as a judge in Austin Powers in Goldmember, a grandmother in You Got Served, as well as roles in Dreamgirls, Transformers, Gangster Squad, and The Birth of a Nation, The Steve Harvey Show, Party of Five, Ellen, Hart of Dixie, and Sister, Sister.

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Malcolm X’s Assassination To Be Reinvestigated After Docuseries Raises Questions

A documentary on Malcolm X’s assassination has prompted authorities to reexamine the case. In Who Killed Malcolm X? historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad explores the many questions surrounding the death of one of history’s most pivotal figures. The six-part series originally aired on Fusion but has been gaining popularity since appearing on Netflix.

This February will mark the 55-year anniversary of Malcolm’s murder. The former Nation of Islam leader, who left the organization and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was gunned down inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. Three members of the NOI, Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, were convicted for the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

As noted by the Innocence Project, Aziz and Islam always maintained their innocence, while Halim confessed to partaking in the fatal shooting. In 1966, Halim testified that Aziz and Islam had “nothing to do” with the murder. In 1978, Halim identified four other men as co-conspirators. His confession was supported by FBI documents obtained by civil rights lawyer William Kunstler. Prosecutors in the original trial claimed to have been unaware of the documents and New York State Supreme Court Judge Harold Rothwax ultimately rejected a motion to vacate Aziz and Islam’s convictions. Rothwax died in 1997.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has since met with representatives from the Innocence Project “and associated counsel regarding the matter,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said in an emailed statement, per NPR.

Although Islam died in 2009, Aziz, now 81, continues to fight to clear his name. He was freed on parole in 1985. The Innocence Project joined forces with civil rights attorney David Shanies to re-investigate Azis’s conviction. “We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz. Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” the Innocence Project and Shanies said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working cooperatively with them to see that justice is done.”

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As noted by the Innocence Project, there was no physical evidence linking Aziz or Islam to Malcolm’s murder. In fact, Aziz wasn’t even at the venue. The day of the murder, Aziz had returned home after being treated for a leg injury. He heard about Malcolm's assassination while listening to the radio that day, and has doctors and witnesses, to corroborate his story.

Watch the trailer for Who Killed Malcolm X? below.

 

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In tribute to his birthday on August 15, the Emmy-award winning director shared a message on Twitter that expressed her gratitude for the interactions they had. "Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time," she wrote. "In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us."

For Nipsey. Ermias. Son. Brother. Partner. Friend. Artist. Champion. Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time. In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us. We miss you. Happy Birthday, Nip. xo pic.twitter.com/cNEZHUhiao

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 15, 2019

On March 31, 2019, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was fatally shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. His death rattled various communities and prompted supporters and new fans to take a look back at this trajectory within music and entrepreneurship.

According to Billboard, other streaming services in the mix included Apple and Amazon. Alongside Hussle's family, the entrepreneur's Marathon Films will also helm production duties.

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