Sparkle Says Unedited Version Of Docu-series Should Be Released
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Sparkle Wishes Lifetime Would Release Her Unedited Interviews For 'Surviving R. Kelly'

The singer claims important aspects of her story were left on the cutting room floor. 

Lifetime's lengthy and detailed documentary Surviving R. Kelly seemed to highlight every aspect of the singer's disturbing sexual and emotional alleged abuse toward young black women, but according to singer-songwriter Sparkle, there were plenty of elements left on the cutting room floor.

The former protégé and collaborator to the shamed singer shared her suspicions about R. Kelly's behavior and his marriage to the late Aaliyah with SiriusXM's Clay Cane Tuesday (Jan. 8). Sparkle, born Stephanie Edwards, explained how she was also one of the first people to call the police once she was informed of sexual abuse from members of the singer's inner circle in the early aughts.

"I called the authorities and they came and they investigated my sister and brother-in-law, along with my niece and they stated that nothing was going on," she said. "I did that. And then fast forward to 2001, late 2001, when I saw the tape, you know, I called the authorities. I did what I was supposed to do and what was right. I didn't hesitate. Not a second. I was on the phone with them."

This was also something she shared in her interviews with Surviving producers, which she hopes will see the light of day soon.

"I sat there for four and a half, five hours speaking the truth, and you may see 10, 15 minutes of me in the documentary," she said. "And there were things left out. There [were] things spliced up, and ya know, I've wished that Lifetime would release the unedited versions of everything that I stated".

She also stated she was one of the first people to immediately question R. Kelly's friendship and later quick marriage to Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time. Sparkle was essentially a part of Kelly's creative camp when she provided vocals to Aaliyah's first album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number.

Sparkle shared how her recollections about the relationship didn't make it the documentary but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

"Who thought that was real? You know what I mean? Like I didn't even, I thought that was a hoax that that's not real, you know, you know, that was my naiveté of thinking that it wasn't real because like again, Barry Hankerson was there," the singer said about their relationship.

Because Aaliyah's uncle and former manager was involved in bringing Kelly and Aaliyah together, she believed it was safe for her then 12-year-old niece to meet the singer.

"This shouldn't and couldn't have happened. I'm thinking now this is a hoax. She's only 15. Oh, this is nothing. He can't marry a young girl. So, you know, didn't think anything of it."

Listen to the Sparkle's interview below.

READ MORE: Master P Thinks The Parents Are To Blame After Watching 'Surviving R. Kelly'

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‘Boyz N The Hood’ And ‘You Got Served’ Actress Esther Scott Dies At Age 66

Esther Scott, the actress who appeared in Boyz n the Hood, Beverly Hills 90210, Full House, You Got Served and more, has passed away at age 66.

Scott died last Friday (Feb. 14), days after suffering an apparent heart attack. Her death was first reported on Tuesday (Feb. 18) by TMZ.

According to the site, Scott was found unconscious in her Santa Monica, Calif. home last Tuesday (Feb. 11) and remained hospitalized for several days before passing away on Valentine's Day surrounded by friends and family.

"She loved what she did. She would get stopped on the street often and people would recognize her -- but they didn't know her name," Scott's sister told the website. "Hopefully now people will remember her name, her work and the contributions she gave to the entertainment industry."

The Queens native began her career as a voice actress in the ‘80s series StarWars: Ewoks. Scott’s first credited feature film role was as grandmother to the character Tisha (played by Leonette Scott) in Boyz n the Hood.

Scott worked steadily throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, following up her appearance in Boyz n the Hood with roles in Encino Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Illegal Blue, Species, The Craft, and Out to Sea.

Scott found success in both TV and film appearing as a judge in Austin Powers in Goldmember, a grandmother in You Got Served, as well as roles in Dreamgirls, Transformers, Gangster Squad, and The Birth of a Nation, The Steve Harvey Show, Party of Five, Ellen, Hart of Dixie, and Sister, Sister.

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Malcolm X’s Assassination To Be Reinvestigated After Docuseries Raises Questions

A documentary on Malcolm X’s assassination has prompted authorities to reexamine the case. In Who Killed Malcolm X? historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad explores the many questions surrounding the death of one of history’s most pivotal figures. The six-part series originally aired on Fusion but has been gaining popularity since appearing on Netflix.

This February will mark the 55-year anniversary of Malcolm’s murder. The former Nation of Islam leader, who left the organization and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was gunned down inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. Three members of the NOI, Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, were convicted for the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

As noted by the Innocence Project, Aziz and Islam always maintained their innocence, while Halim confessed to partaking in the fatal shooting. In 1966, Halim testified that Aziz and Islam had “nothing to do” with the murder. In 1978, Halim identified four other men as co-conspirators. His confession was supported by FBI documents obtained by civil rights lawyer William Kunstler. Prosecutors in the original trial claimed to have been unaware of the documents and New York State Supreme Court Judge Harold Rothwax ultimately rejected a motion to vacate Aziz and Islam’s convictions. Rothwax died in 1997.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has since met with representatives from the Innocence Project “and associated counsel regarding the matter,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said in an emailed statement, per NPR.

Although Islam died in 2009, Aziz, now 81, continues to fight to clear his name. He was freed on parole in 1985. The Innocence Project joined forces with civil rights attorney David Shanies to re-investigate Azis’s conviction. “We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz. Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” the Innocence Project and Shanies said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working cooperatively with them to see that justice is done.”

Casolaro worked on the case of the Exonerated Five and King is a member of the Conviction Integrity Program of the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

As noted by the Innocence Project, there was no physical evidence linking Aziz or Islam to Malcolm’s murder. In fact, Aziz wasn’t even at the venue. The day of the murder, Aziz had returned home after being treated for a leg injury. He heard about Malcolm's assassination while listening to the radio that day, and has doctors and witnesses, to corroborate his story.

Watch the trailer for Who Killed Malcolm X? below.

 

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Ava DuVernay Named Director Of Nipsey Hussle Documentary For Netflix

Ava DuVernay's next cinematic feat will center on a hometown legend. According to Deadline, the acclaimed director will lead a documentary on Nipsey Hussle for streaming giant Netflix.

The announcement was made on Monday (Feb. 10), two weeks since DuVernay presented a musical tribute to the late rapper at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Hussle won two gramophones that evening: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance.

In tribute to his birthday on August 15, the Emmy-award winning director shared a message on Twitter that expressed her gratitude for the interactions they had. "Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time," she wrote. "In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us."

For Nipsey. Ermias. Son. Brother. Partner. Friend. Artist. Champion. Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time. In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us. We miss you. Happy Birthday, Nip. xo pic.twitter.com/cNEZHUhiao

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 15, 2019

On March 31, 2019, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was fatally shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. His death rattled various communities and prompted supporters and new fans to take a look back at this trajectory within music and entrepreneurship.

According to Billboard, other streaming services in the mix included Apple and Amazon. Alongside Hussle's family, the entrepreneur's Marathon Films will also helm production duties.

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