MTV's 2017 College Signing Day With Michelle Obama - Inside
Mike Coppola

Questlove Explains Why He Didn't Participate In R. Kelly Docuseries

"I always thought Kels was trash."

Lifetime's new docuseries Surviving R. Kelly will air tonight (Jan. 3) on the network. Ahead of its premiere, reports claimed a handful of musicians declined to participate in the docuseries due to the controversy surrounding R. Kelly and his sex abuse allegations. Questlove, who was on the list of declining artists, has now responded to the report, explaining why he backed out of the project.

Questlove responded on social media to the mild backlash concerning his decision not to appear on the series. "I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the RKelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the 'good times' portion of the doc, like stanning for his 'genius,'" he wrote on Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 3). "I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him"

He also reiterated that he was in no way protecting or advocating for R. Kelly.  "Just wanna make that abundantly clear in a non 'he doth protest too much' way. That [dream hampton] quote makes it look like I'm protecting him," he added. "I'm thinking 'damn I don't wanna be the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest.' So make ZERO mistake on my positioning."

Questlove's now-deleted tweets come after the series executive-producer, dream hampton told Shadow and Act  that musicians including Questlove, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, and more did not want to be involved in the series. "John Legend was the only one [who particapted]," hampton told the publication. "I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle [...] I mean, most people just don't want to touch it. I remember Ahmir ['Questlove' Thompson] was like, 'I would do anything for you but I can't do this.' It's not because they support him, it's because it's so messy and muddy. It's that turning away that has allowed this to go on."

Check out Questlove's full comments below, and check out Surviving R. Kelly on Lifetime at 9/8C.

https://twitter.com/FunkButcher/status/1080972631787163648

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Mark Makela

Bill Cosby Receives Backlash For "America's Dad" Father's Day Post

Bill Cosby caused quite the frenzy on social media this past Father's Day (June 16). Although the comedian and actor is currently sitting behind bars, he managed to make a number of people upset with his latest Twitter message.

"Hey, Hey, Hey…It’s America’s Dad," he tweeted. "I know it’s late, but to all of the Dads… It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose —strengthening our families and communities. #HappyFathersDay #RenewedOathToOurFamily"

Many Twitter users took issue with Cosby labeling himself, "America's Dad." While he has previously been considered as such due to his pivotal role on The Cosby Show, many felt it was inappropriate due to the countless accusations of rape and sexual assault made by more than 60 women throughout his career. Furthermore, Cosby is currently serving a three to 10-year prison sentence for three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

So, between Cosby's Father's Day post and O.J. Simpson's newly-launched account, it's turning out to be a weird month for Twitter. Check out Cosby's full message and the reactions below.

Hey, Hey, Hey...It’s America’s Dad...I know it’s late, but to all of the Dads... It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose —strengthening our families and communities.#HappyFathersDay#RenewedOathToOurFamily pic.twitter.com/6EGrF87t6G

— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) June 17, 2019

Bill Cosby, disgraced father and husband, still in denial that he got busted. Maybe he and OJ could get a shared account.

— Fif de Florence (@DrFifiRx) June 17, 2019

https://twitter.com/kevonareed/status/1140607803855384576

https://twitter.com/wannahiketheat/status/1140607451722596354

pic.twitter.com/DJD397emHl

— Michael Peters (@peteydallas) June 17, 2019

pic.twitter.com/PWkqBiMZ9p

— Posa (@justposa) June 17, 2019

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Mike Coppola

The Cast Of 'SHAFT' Talk Family Traditions, Power And The Film's Legacy

Back in 1971, Richard Roundtree became the face of the legendary crime/blaxploitation film SHAFT. His influence in the role paved the way for a new generation of black detectives filled with a gluttonous amount of swag, clever one-liners, and action-packed scenes. Samuel L. Jackson followed suit in the franchise’s 2000 installment as he took over the streets of Uptown Manhattan and Harlem filling in for Roundtree’s original character.

Fast forward to 2019, and SHAFT’s legacy has risen to higher heights, incorporating Roundtree and Jackson together with an extension of their detective prowess. Director Tim Story created a familial driven movie centered around three different generations of SHAFT men. Roundtree plays the grandfather; Jackson plays the dad—and Jessie T. Usher plays the son. All three embark on a mission that’s laced with dirty politics, Islamophobia, and highflying action in efforts to solve a seemingly homicidal death.

The dynamics between all three are hilarious and dotted with lessons learned from past paternal influences. On a recent sunny Friday afternoon at Harlem's Red Rooster, the trio shared some of the traditions and virtues the paternal figures in real life have taught them. Most of the influence passed down to them was centered on working hard.

“People say to me, ‘Why do you work so much?’” Jackson said. “Well, all the grown people went to work every day when I got up. I figured that’s what we’re supposed to be doing—get up, pay a bill, and take care of everything that’s supposed to be taken care of.”

“For my family, it was cleanliness and masculinity,” Usher added. “The guys in my family were always well put together, very responsible especially my dad.”

In spite of the SHAFT men's power, the film's story wouldn’t be what it is without Regina Hall and Alexandra Shipp’s characters. They both play strong women caught in the middle of the mayhem created by the men they care about. Both are conscious of the power they exhibit as black women off and on screen, yet are aware of the dichotomy of how that strength is perceived in the world.

“It’s very interesting because I think a lot of times as powerful black women we are seen as angry black women,” Shipp says. “So it’s hard to have that voice and that opinion because a lot of times when we voice it; it becomes a negative rather than a positive. In order to hold that power, it has to be poised. It has to be with grace, I think there is strength in a strong but graceful black woman.”

“People have an idea of what strength is and how you do it and sometimes it’s the subtleties,” Regina adds. “Sometimes our influence is so powerful and it doesn’t always have to be loud I think a lot of times how we navigate is with conviction and patience.”

VIBE chatted with the cast of SHAFT about holding power, their red flags when it comes to dating, and why the SHAFT legacy continues to live on. Watch the interviews below.

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Birdman and Benny Boom To Produce Indie Nigerian Film 'Tazmanian Devil'

Benny Boom's extension into feature films continues with help from the Cash Money honcho Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams with the two producing Nigerian drama, Tazmanian Devil. 

According to Deadline, the project comes from Solomon Onita, Jr. The budding filmmaker previously submitted a pitch for his film to BET's ProjectCre8 Filmmaking Contest. While it didn't take the winning prize, the film will still see the light of day thanks to financial funding by Boom’s Groundwurk Studios and Williams’ Cash Money Films. Boom previously directed All Eyez On Me and episodes of Empire, Black Lighting and Tales.

The indie film centers on a young man who moves to America from Nigeria with his estranged father but the two are at odds over the student's decision to join a college fraternity. The coming of age drama will highlight the cultural differences between black lives and how fraternities are seen from unique perspectives.

Birdman expressed his excitement over the film and working with longtime collaborator Boom. "Benny and I have often discussed making films together and this project presented us with the perfect opportunity to produce a great movie," he said. The duo has worked together on other projects circling music dating back to the early 2000s, they have also collaborated on music videos for Hot Boyz, Juvenile, Big Tymers, Lil Wayne; recently Jacquees, Nicki Minaj and Drake.

"I have been creating visuals for Cash Money artists for decades and I am excited about this next phase of our collaboration," says Boom.

Groundbreaking actors/actress Abraham Attah (Beats of No Nation), Adepero Oduye (When They See Us), Ntare Gunna Mbaho Mwine (The Chi) and Kwesi Boakye (Claws) are cast to star in the film.

Birdman's first film was the documentary entitled, Before Anythang: The Cash Money Story. The film was produced out of Cash Money Film's division of Cash Money Records.

Onita Jr. also has produced two short films, Two Hand Touch (2017) and Witch Hunt (2016). He was the writer for the short film Joy (2015).

Tazmanian Devil is currently in post-production with no official release date.

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