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Hype Williams Says JAY-Z's Name Popped Up During 'Belly's Casting

Interesting.

During a panel at ComplexCon on Sunday (Nov. 4), famed director/filmmaker Hype Williams shared a surprising tidbit on his film Belly. The cinematic excursion was released in 1998 and celebrated its 20 year anniversary over the weekend. Starring DMX as Tommy "Buns" Bundy and Nas as Sincere, the plot follows the catastrophic web of drugs and money that spans from New York City to Jamaica.

While discussing the movie alongside co-stars T-Boz and Nas, Williams said JAY-Z was considered for one of the starring roles. If DMX were unable to play the troubled Tommy, Williams revealed JAY-Z would've been a viable option.

"Back in time remember Hov didn't pop yet. He wasn't JAY Z, he was Jay Z, and if you know him, Hov is a real hustler," Williams said. "He comes from a real place. We were working with Def Jam and it was logical for it to be him." Still, JAY-Z's name was attached to Belly when two songs were featured on its soundtrack. Alongside Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek on "Crew Love" and "Sauce Money's "Pre-Game," the entertainment mogul's moniker still found its way to the project's final creation.

Def Jam also tweeted a thread of facts on Twitter to commemorate the movie's anniversary.

Belly starred Method Man, Taral Hicks, Louie Rankin, Ghostface Killah, AZ and more. It was co-written by Nas and Williams.

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FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Next month, Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with season two’s premiere. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), view the trailer above.

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Netflix's 'The Black Godfather' Follows The Story Of Legend Clarence Avant

Netflix is gearing up to release a documentary that dives into the history of a music legend. The forthcoming film, entitled, The Black Godfather, will tackle the legendary career and legacy of music industry executive, Clarence Avant.

The trailer debuted on Thursday (May 23), featuring a handful of all-star cameos. Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Barack Obama, Diddy, and more spoke about Avant's star power.

"There’s the power that needs the spotlight, but there’s also the power behind the scenes," Barack Obama says in the trailer.

Diddy also noted Avant's influence. "He became that mentor for us all, he became that godfather," he said.

Clarence Avant is a music executive, entrepreneur, and film producer. He is usually referred to as the "Godfather of Black Music" and was known to defy widespread racism in the 1960s and influence all aspects of the music industry.

The Black Godfather documentary will hit Netflix on June 7. Watch the trailer in the video above.

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Jussie Smollett's Criminal Case To Be Unsealed By Chicago Judge

When Jussie Smollett's criminal case – in which he was accused of staging his own attack in Chicago – was dropped, a judge agreed to seal all documents pertaining to the court proceeding. Now, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins has decided that the public has a right to see the documents regarding Smollet’s case and has ordered for it to be released, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The records were sealed in order to protect Smollett's privacy after the prosecution agreed to drop the case against him in March 2019. The decision was based on an Illinois law that allows a defendant’s court file to be sealed if charges against them were dropped or they were acquitted. The decision to unseal the case would allow the public to see why the prosecutor's office decided to drop the case.

In explaining his ruling, Judge Steven G. Watkins of the Circuit Court of Cook County wrote that Smollett’s request for privacy was not a good enough reason to keep the records sealed, considering that Mr. Smollett willingly spoke about the situation in detail on national television and in other venues.

Judge Watkins determined that Smollett chose to bring publicity to his own case and so should not be allowed the privacy of a sealed case file. "After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case," Judge Watkins wrote. "These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone."

As previously reported, Smollett was accused of staging a racist and homophobic assault against himself at the top of 2019. Brian Watson, a lawyer for Smollett, argued that the media had plenty of access to his client's case and that unsealing it would violate Mr. Smollett’s rights.

Cathy McNeil Stein, the lawyer representing the state, said outside the courtroom on Thursday (May 23) that the state’s attorney’s office planned to review its files and turn over documents that were previously sealed. It was unclear how quickly that would happen.

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