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Janelle Monae attends the 22nd Annual Hollywood Film Awards.
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Janelle Monae Discusses Creative Freedom, Her Relationship With Diddy In New 'Billboard' Interview

The Wondaland artist will receive the "Trailblazer Award" at tonight's Billboard Women In Music ceremony.

In a new interview with Billboard in anticipation for the publication's Women In Music ceremony, Janelle Monae sat down to discuss her beginnings as a musician and her transition into the ground-breaking, unapologetic artist we see today. The Wondaland artist will receive the "Trailblazer Award" at tonight's ceremony (Dec. 6).

When discussing her critically-acclaimed album Dirty Computer, Monae divulged that her intention when making the project was to ensure that many groups felt seen and heard. Two of the groups highlighted in the body of work were the LGBT community and black women, both of which Monae is a part of.

"I felt a big responsibility to create a community with this album, my concerts and my film [the “emotion picture” paired with the album]," she explained. "It felt like people I care about and groups I’m in — from the LGBT community to being a black woman to being from working-class parents — were being pushed to the margins of society. With songs like 'Django Jane' and 'Make Me Feel' and 'PYNK,' I wanted to be as bold as possible in making statements around agency, around women’s bodies and rights — us taking back the mic and letting you know that you don’t own us and we won’t be controlled."

Monae also explains that her desire to maintain "imagination in a world full of cynics"  is one of the keys to her success, stating that she never compromised her creativity to sell records.

"Even when I was an independent artist selling CDs out of my trunk and working for my cousin doing taxes or at Office Depot and Sam’s Club, I was still saying 'no,'" she details. "There were opportunities that even some of my closest family members and friends would look at me like, 'Girl, you are crazy. You need to get in that music video. Be an extra in this film. You need to become famous.' But I have always kept at my core the ability to have creative control."

Her creative freedom and independence have gained her fans and admirers the world over, including Diddy. Monae explains that the mogul was an early supporter, and although she could have been one of his protégées, she said he was respectful of her creative vision, and allowed her to fly on her own.

"I was scared to be partnering with a major label after a few years of being independent," she notes. "I met Puff at a time I had decided to live frugally. Like a lot of people, I thought, 'OK, he’s going to have a conversation around how he can groom me into being another sort of artist.' But when I spoke to him, his words were, 'I love what you and Wondaland are doing. I don’t want to be creatively involved. I just want people to know who you are and what you guys are doing. You guys are down here in this basement in Atlanta, and the rest of the world deserves to hear you.' It was so humbling and beautiful. We’re still close."

Read the entire feature here.

READ MORE: Janelle Monae To Be Honored With Trailblazer Award At Billboard's Women In Music

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Dr. King's Childhood Home Sold For $1.9 Million To The National Park Service

The two-story Atlanta home that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spent his formidable years has been sold. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the yellow and brown house on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta was sold for $1.9 million to the National Park Service.

Will Shafroth, CEO of the National Park Foundation said it was hard to place a dollar amount on the location where a lot of Dr. King's character was molded.

"It is difficult to value something this significant in our nation’s history. It is a priceless asset. It is one of the most important places to tell the story of America,” Shafroth said.

Bernice King, daughter of late the civil rights leader, said the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change had been considering selling the home since the passing of their mother Coretta Scott, in 2006. King said the center will focus on nonviolent educational and training programs.

“We are working on creating more robust, nonviolence training,” King said. “Our society is desperately in need of Dr. King’s nonviolent teachings right now in order to create a just, humane and peaceful world. That is what we are trying to put our energy in.”

The home was reportedly built by a white firefighter in 1895 and then purchased by Dr. King's maternal grandfather, Rev. Adam Daniel Williams, who was pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church for $3,500. When King's mother and father wed in 1927, they moved. All of King's siblings including himself were born in the home.

Elizabeth Paradis Stern, spokeswoman for the National Park Service said the preservation of the home will not falter now that it's out of the family's possession.

“The most important thing about this is that this property will be protected and preserved permanently as one of our most important properties,” Stern said. “It is part of the American fabric.”

READ MORE: New Book Details Dr. King's Teenage Years And His Alleged White Girlfriend

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Donnie McClurkin Sent To Hospital Following Car Accident

Gospel legend Donnie McClurkin couldn't be more grateful after surviving a car accident this past Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The "We Fall Down" singer was driving on the road in the earlier part of the day when he passed out and began weaving into traffic. He reportedly struck the middle concrete island.

Following the incident, he posted a selfie of him on the hospital bed in scrubs on Facebook. Along with the photo, he explained that he woke up from the accident with stitches on his left thumb, on top of having a sprained wrist, and hurt knee. His car was also completely totaled.

"I AM ALIVE!!!! Somewhat mangled, stitches on left thumb, sprained wrist, hurt knee, but I’m still here! God and two angels saved my life!," the Grammy-winning artist wrote.

He also mentioned that two "angels" pulled him out the car to safety and medical attention. "I owe them...I am still here by the grace of God! Thank you, Lord...thank you!" he added.

On Friday (Dec. 14), McClurkin posted to his Facebook page again, sharing several photos of his destroyed car. "This is the totaled car that two angels rescued me from ....after passing out while driving I don’t remember most of what happened a day and a half ago...but God," he wrote. "I overrode doctors and sisters advice and flew to KENYA today for ministry Saturday @ TWO RIVERS. and home on this Sunday to celebrate life."

In happier news, McClurkin also took time to plug in his new Christmas single titled "My Favorite Things." Check out McClurkin's posts on social media and stream his new song below.

READ MORE: Big K.R.I.T. Drops Surprise Gospel-Influenced 'Thrice X' EP

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Nicki Minaj's Boyfriend Kenneth Petty Received 18 Violations During Prison Stint

Nicki Minaj's new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty has a very troubled past.

On Friday (Dec. 14), TMZ revealed court documents disclosing Petty's history of disciplinary actions while he was an inmate in New York for manslaughter from 2006 to 2013.

When he entered the correctional facility, he was reportedly written up for creating a disturbance. Later during his stint, he was hit with a slew of disciplinary actions following a series of violent actions that included fighting, making terroristic threats, and "disobeying a direct order."

In 2009, prison faculty placed him in solitary confinement for four months as part of being reprimanded for nine different violations. Petty lost privileges that included the usage of the inmate telephone service, recreational activity, and the prison canteen.

In addition to his prison violations, Petty is a convicted sex offender. At the age of 16, he was tried as an adult served a four-year sentence for attempted rape of a minor.

Petty, who hails from the same borough as Nicki, Queens, knew the platinum-selling rap star since she was a teenager. They dated for a short period years prior to reuniting.

Minaj posted various photos of her and Petty going on a vacation getaway earlier this month. Sources close to Minaj told the celebrity gossip website that the 36-year-old hip-hop artist is  "happier than she's been in years" with Petty.

 

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READ MORE: Nicki Minaj Plans To Sue 'Daily Mail' TV Host Jesse Palmer

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