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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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Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
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Potential Suspects Arrested In Connection To Jussie Smollett Attack

A new development has been made in the investigation surrounding the Jan. 29 attack on Empire actor, Jussie Smollett. The Chicago Police have arrested two "potential suspects" by the names of Olabinjo and Abimola Osundairo. The Nigerian brothers are United States citizens, one of which has been an extra on Fox's Empire.

"Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues," the police said in a statement to ABC News.

Evidence was found in the Osundairo brothers' Chicago apartment when the cops raided their home on Thursday (Feb. 14). Among the list of evidence found in their home were bottles of bleach, which was mentioned in Smollett's report. The two potential suspects were detained at Chicago O'Hare Airport Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) following a flight from Nigeria and their attorney Gloria Schmidt, has since spoken out to clear their names.

"When they first learned what happened to him, they were horrified. This is someone they know, someone that they work with, so they don't want to see somebody go through that," Schmidt said in a statement to the Chicago CBS station WBBM. "They really don't understand how [police] even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they're not guilty of it."

Smollett has had to deal with rumors surrounding the fact that his attack may have been "staged" or a "hoax" by the actor himself. The 36-year-old actor appeared on Good Morning America to clear up the hearsay.

"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate," Smollet said to Robin Roberts. "And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more, and that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."

The Chicago Police also released a statement of their own on Thursday evening (Feb. 14).

"While we haven't found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax," Chicago police said to ABC News. "The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect."

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Tekashi 6ix9ine's Guilty Plea Sees Rapper Confess To Selling Drugs, Robbery And More

Since striking a deal with the U.S. government to evade a life sentence connected to a racketeering case that has left him in federal prison, Tekashi 6ix9ine has pled guilty to a plethora of violent crimes, Billboard reports.

Detailing his initiation into the Nine Trey Bloods, 69 reportedly became affiliated with the gang in 2017, which coincidently marks the launch of his rap career.

In order to complete the requirements of the deal, Tekashi, born Daniel Hernandez, also admitted to the firearms offense including the attempted murder of an individual on March 20, 2018, the documents state. Two other incidents have been added to the list of evidence stacked against the young rapper, including the infamous Cheif Keef shooting which took place in June in New York City.

If you recall, the Keef attack was the same shooting where Hernandez was recorded issuing the hit on his rival. VIBE previously reported Kintea "Kooda" McKenzie took $10,000 of the $20,000 offer to carry out the hit. McKenzie was arrested Feb. 8 in connection to this crime and is currently facing a possible life sentence with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

Among gun possession and contract killing, the "Gummo" rapper is pleading guilty to having "possessed [heroin] with the intention to distribute." Hernandez is currently behind bars, where he will remain until his sentencing on Jan 23, 2020.

 

 

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The Breakfast Club Debunks Kamala Harris "Lie"

"The Breakfast Club" radio hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne tha God were guests on MSNBC's "The Beat with Ari Melber" to discuss their radio show's influence on politics, and to debunk the lies surrounding presidential candidate Kamala Harris' recent interview.

The syndicated radio show is no stranger to high-stakes politics. They've interviewed former presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, in which the former Secretary of State had the opportunity to say that she always carries "hot sauce" in her bag.

With the 2016 election left in the past and the 2020 election just around the corner, Democratic candidates are once again making their interview rounds and "The Breakfast Club" has been one of the first stops for a couple of hopefuls. Sen. Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) both had their time on the show but it is the former's interview that has the press and Twitter talking.

A clip of Sen. Harris that has gone viral appears to show the Howard University graduate say that she listened to "Snoop, Tupac for sure" in undergrad. The press and Twitter took that part of the interview and ran with it, claiming that Harris lied since she was a student at Howard from 1981-1985 and Snoop Dogg and Tupac only released their debut albums in 1993 and 1991 respectively.

Unfortunately, her response was taken out of context. Seconds before her answer, Harris was asked two questions by DJ Envy and Charlamagne. Many viewers assumed she was answering the latter who asked her, "What were you listening to when you was high?" in relation to a former discussion about the senator smoking marijuana in college. In reality, she was responding to Envy's question, "What does Kamala Harris listen to?"

The radio hosts clarified the rumors and set the record straight. "I asked 'what she listens to?' and she said she listens to Snoop Dogg and Tupac. At the same time my co-host was still talking about the marijuana," Envy said. "It was just a funny exchange but she was actually answering me and people took it that she was answering Charlamagne and said she was lying, which is not true."

Charlamagne furthered stressed this sentiment, "I want everybody to know they're doing the work of Fox News. The Black Twitter people that are going in on Kamala because of this, y'all are doing the work of Fox News," he said. "Fox News got y'all."

Watch the interview above.

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