Richard Phillips
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Man Exonerated After Serving 45 Years Forced To Sell Prison Artwork For Money

Richard Phillips has yet to be compensated for the wrongful conviction.

A Detroit man who served 45 years behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit, is forced to sell his personal collection of artwork that he made in prison. Richard Phillips, 72, doesn’t have steady income at the moment, and his lawyer is currently battling the state of Michigan to get him compensated for the wrongful conviction that stole his freedom.

"I don't have an income right now," said Phillips while showing off his paintings to Fox 2 Detroit. "This is my income."

In the early 1970s, Phillips was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Gregory Harris. He was sentenced to life in prison but always maintained his innocence. “I would rather died in prison than admit to a crime I didn’t do,” Philips said.

Phillips was convicted through an eyewitness account implicating him and a second man, Richard Palombo. In 2010, Palombo admitted that Phillips had no involvement in the murder and that he didn’t even know him. A new investigation was launched in 2014, nearly 20 years later Phillips appealed his murder conviction.

Last March, Wayne County Prosecutors Kym Worthy dropped all charges against Phillips, officially freeing him from prison. “There’s nothing that I can say to bring back 40 years of his life. The system failed him. There’s no question about it,” Worthy said at the time. “This is a true exoneration. Justice is indeed being done today, but there’s nothing that we can do ... to bring back those years of his life.”

Art played a big part in helping maintain his sanity through the sentence. Though he remained optimistic, Phillips admitted that he never truly believed he would be released. To pass the time, he began painting. He pulled inspiration from everywhere: his favorite artists, photos and even tapped into some of the loneliness that he felt in prison. "It was created in a harsh environment. But it goes to show you that beauty can come from something ugly."

Last year, Detroit's Demond Ricks was awarded $1 million for spending 25 years in prison on a wrongful conviction. As it stands, Phillips is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted former prisoner in U.S. history.

Phillips' artwork will be on display at Michigan's Ferndale's Level One gallery beginning Jan. 18.

See more on his artwork in the video below.

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J. Cole Says He’s “Working On” Getting ‘The Warm Up’ And ‘Friday Night Lights’ On Streaming Services

On June 15, 2009, J. Cole released his second mixtape, The Warm Up, which helped to catalyze his rise in the hip-hop genre.

“10 years ago The Warm Up dropped,” he began. “Thanks 2 all that have listened 2 the foundation of my whole journey. My catalogue on streaming services don’t even look right until this & FNL are up. Workin on it. Decade later and I’m still dreaming and tryna get better. God Bless.”

Spanning 22 tracks, The Warm Up boasts melodies like “Lights Please,” “Losing My Balance,” “The Badness” with Dreamville cohort Omen, and “Grown Simba.” With "Lights Please," Cole credited that melody with landing him a Roc Nation contract. "The best part about it is, when he’s feeling something, when there’s a line that he likes, he gives you that, 'Wooooooo!’ and he’ll let you know that he’s feeling it," he said in a 2009 interview with Complex. "It’s a three-hour meeting and we only played five songs, so the rest of the time, we’re talking and building, you know, talking about Obama and sh*t. Then three weeks later I got the confirmation text that said he wanted to do the deal. And we just went from there."

In May 2019, Cole celebrated another milestone when his third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, went triple platinum. The feat also publicized the fact that every album Cole has released (five albums thus far) turned platinum.

10 years ago The Warm Up dropped. Thanks 2 all that have listened 2 the foundation of my whole journey.

My catalogue on streaming services don’t even look right until this & FNL are up. workin on it.

Decade later and I’m still dreamin and tryna get better. God Bless

— J. Cole (@JColeNC) June 15, 2019

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Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water

Diddy Sends Well Wishes To Cassie On Pregnancy Announcement

Earlier this week (June 13), Cassie announced that she’s expecting her first child. “Can’t wait to meet out baby girl,” the “Me And You” singer captioned a photo of her and her boyfriend Alex Fine. “Love you always & forever.”

Following the announcement, Diddy, who was in a relationship with Cassie for a reported 10 years, posted his well wishes on Instagram. “Congratulations @Cassie and Alex,” Diddy wrote. “I wish you all nothing but love and happiness. God bless. LOVE.”

The pair separated earlier this year after an on-and-off relationship. Once they went their separate ways, Cassie and fitness professional Fine began dating.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Congratulations @Cassie and Alex. I wish you all nothing but love and happiness. God bless ❤️❤️❤️ L O V E

A post shared by Diddy (@diddy) on Jun 14, 2019 at 12:15pm PDT

 

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Can’t wait to meet our baby girl 💗 Love You Always & Forever 📸: @mikemillerphoto

A post shared by Casandra (@cassie) on Jun 12, 2019 at 9:31pm PDT

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NYPD

Justice For Junior: Five Convicted In Brutal Murder Of Bronx Teen

Five men were convicted in the brutal murder of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz. A Bronx jury handed down the verdict on Friday (June 14), nearly a year to the day since the 15-year-old victim was chased down by a group of gang members, dragged out of a local bodega and viciously stabbed to death.

Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz and Manuel Rivera, were found guilty on all four charges, according to CBS News. The group faced first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree gang assault.

Jurors reviewed video of Guzman-Feliz’s murder and reportedly began crying while looking at autopsy photos of the teen, described by his father as a “really good kid” who was doing well in school, and aspired to be an NYPD detective.

The five convicted murderers belonged to the Trinitarios gang, prosecutors said. Guzman-Feliz was killed after he was mistaken for a member of a rival gang. Surveillance footage from the night of the heinous murder showed Guzman-Feliz attempting to run to safety inside a Bronx bodega before being caught by the men.

Guzman-Feliz was stabbed multiple times with knives and machetes, and collapsed on his way to a nearby hospital. His death caused outrage around the globe, and launched the viral #JusticeForJunior campaign. A Go Fund Me account opened to raise money for the high schooler’s family brought in more than $340,000 in donations.

“I want to say thank you, Jesus,” the slain teen’s mother, Leandra Feliz, said after the verdict.

“I’m not going to have my son back. But those killers, those murderers, they won’t be outside killing another kid.”

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