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'American Soul' Episode 4 Recap: Don, You In Danger, Boo

In this week’s episode, Don Cornelius tries to book an act on his own, JT is having a hard time, and a famed attorney makes a cameo.

We couldn’t help but focus on the men of American Soul during Episode 4.

The ladies are good, for the most part: Tessa found her footing, literally and figuratively, finally showing Flo and the Soul Train gang she ain’t nothin’ to play with on the dance floor, and checking Don for taking out his frustration on her with mixed messages and disrespect. Simone is still getting away with using a fake ID to chase her singing dreams in a jazz club and has emerged as a Soul Train fan favorite.

But the men are having a tough time.

JT avoided getting pinched for his role in the robbery and police shooting – but only because Chris (Trey Best) made sure the crime was pinned on someone else. Now we maybe understand why Benny (Kristopher Charles) was tearing up after giving info to the police last episode. He knew he was basically writing a death certificate. Chris has now told JT he won’t get any money from the heist, so all the stress and drama was for naught. Now his family’s finally being evicted. Just as it seems he can buy a little bit more time, Mr. Willard pushes JT past the breaking point with a comment about his mom’s “million-dollar mouth.” We knew this was coming; people been talking to JT crazy for 3 episodes now. JT knocks him out, and the family seeks shelter from Ma Mable (Elizabeth Omilami) in a storage room at the diner. JT wants to hide this from Simone and Kendall, even against Ma Mable’s grandmotherly advice, “Don’t lie to the people you love.”

Simone’s on a mission to save up enough money for Encore to cut a demo and gives JT the pooled cash to hold onto. She knows his mama’s a drug addict, why would she do that? We’ll bet $96 - the amount Simone passed to JT - that the money’s gone next episode. Also possibly gone next episode? JT’s mama. Soon he may have to cut her loose so he doesn’t drown along with her.

Kendall is still figuring out who he is in the absence of his father. Possibly still sorting his guilt for avoiding his father’s fate in the service, he’s trying patriotism on for size, hanging a gigantic American flag in his room. Simone reminds him their mom would not want it in the house, but he insists – to his sister’s amusement – that since he’s the “man of the house,” it’s his call. He’s also still juggling responsible fatherhood with chasing his dreams, bringing his son with him to an emergency show rehearsal. Our real worry, however, is that Flo now has Kendall in her sights. Kendall clearly isn’t a virgin, but Flo’s on another level. Pulling celebrities, locking people in rooms to get a look, on a make it by any means necessary level. Kendall’s not ready. Our hero (anti-hero?), Don, is going through it. He’s still not landing big enough acts for the show, and his primary sponsor is threatening to pull out. He’s taking it out on Tessa, the only other person working as hard on the show as he is, and she’s fed up. Motown, which moved to LA right before Soul Train, has shut him out because he was “difficult” with Gladys.

Don rolls through Club 100 Proof hoping he can again grab an act through Gerald, but Gerald makes it clear that the new BFF free trial period is over. “(The) first taste is hospitality, brotha,” he says. “Now you gotta pay to eat.” Eventually, the two businessmen come to a gentlemen’s agreement: Gerald will help Don land marquee acts for a 5% cut of the business. But what Don doesn’t know (that we do), is that Gerald is a for real gangster. Like killing people and then standing up to his gangster boss’ crew, gangster. Don, you in danger, boo.

Before settling on an arrangement with Gerald, Don tries one more time to land an act on his own. Following a tip that Ron Isley is performing at an NAACP fundraiser, Don crashes the event and runs into Motown’s Ilsa Dejarrnette (Shannon Kane). Isla and Don bond over a little coke (what’s a couple of lines between social acquaintances?) and Ilsa offers to help him navigate the black bourgeoisie and make an introduction to Diana Ross (Michelle Williams), who showed up in place of Isley.  Don, ever anxious and determined to do things his own way, charms Ross by knowing she sang Ray Charles’ “The Night Time is the Right Time” when she first auditioned for Berry Gordy. Diana, of course, is way too big of a star for a fledgling show, and she tells Don as much. Now, Don must get into Dejarnette’s good graces to get an in with Motown acts. Sounds like a scandalous tryst is on the horizon.

What this episode got right: Soul Train dancers indeed got paid in fried chicken. Members of the Soul Train Gang weren’t compensated, but there was free KFC on set every show taping for lunch.

What it could have done without: Johnnie Cochran showing up as the attorney for Dexter Brown might be a bit much. We appreciate incorporating black figures that we know and will recognize, and highlighting their backstory (Cochran made his name representing black victims in highly publicized police brutality cases), but the intersecting moments can feel forced.

What we absolutely don’t believe: That a record label’s legal representative is all up in lounges and parties, having final say on who performs where, and schmoozing with artists. Even at an everyone-wears-multiple-hats label like Motown. Ilsa is most likely based on long-time Motown senior executive Suzanne De Passe, but De Passe worked on all aspects of creative and artist development.

What we don’t understand: Why there wasn’t more of Janelle Monae’s Wondaland artist Roman GianArthur as Ernie Isley.

This wasn’t the strongest episode so far, but it was a necessary plot builder. Episode 5 looks lit, though. (Come through K. Michelle!)

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Matt Winkelmeyer

'The Chi's' Tiffany Boone Shamed Over Jason Mitchell Harassment Allegations

The Chi actress, Tiffany Boone, is being publicly shamed on social media after she accused her co-star, Jason Mitchell, of sexual harassment.

The offensive comments rang out in the comments section of her photo posts on Instagram. While we'd rather not highlight negative remarks shaming an alleged victim of sexual misconduct, it's safe to say that the comments are pretty tasteless.

Despite the negative feedback, Boone has also been swarmed by fans who are defending her. "The simple fact some people are attacking her is f**king ludicrous to me, one Instagram user wrote. "Some of y’all are asking, why did she get Jason Mitchell fired? Really? He got his own a** fired! If he would’ve conducted himself like he was supposed to, his a** would still be on the show!"

As previously reported, Boone, who plays Jerrika on the Lena Waithe-produced drama, accused Mitchell of making sexual advances toward her on set. Boone allegedly felt so "unsafe" that she asked her fiancé, actor Marque Richardson, to be on set with her when Mitchell was around, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Boone was not the only one to complain about the star. Multiple women have come forward to speak up about similar interactions with the actor. As a result of the recent reports, Mitchell has been dropped from The Chi along with his talent agent UTA, his management team and an upcoming role in Netflix’s movie Desperados.

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The Notorious B.I.G. To Be Honored With "Christopher Wallace Way" In Brooklyn

Tuesday (May 21) marks what would’ve been the late Notorious B.I.G.’s 47th birthday, and in efforts to commemorate the legendary rapper, The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation revealed that the intersection where Biggie called home will be named after him, Billboard reports.

The naming will take place on June 10 at a ceremony being held for the “Juicy” rapper. Wallace’s family is expected to attend the gathering, which will be held at the intersections of Gates Avenue and St. James Place. The crossroad will reportedly be named Christopher Wallace Way in the forthcoming month.

The news arrives days after Wu-Tang Clan's Staten Island street-naming ceremony. "I'm happy that NYC officials are finally giving the city's indigenous 'hip-hop' music the respect and recognition that it deserves," culture advocate LeRoy McCarthy told Gothamist in 2018. "It took a long time and lots of hard work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but ya know what, Hip Hop Don't Stop."

Biggie's upcoming ceremony will be open to the public and will start around 12 p.m. ET. His mother, Voletta Wallace, his children, and close friends will be present in his honor.

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Nessa Confronts Janelle Evans Over Kaepernick Slander At 'Teen Mom 2' Reunion

If one thing is for sure, don't talk about Nessa Diab's family. The media personality and activist used her platform for good when she schooled Teen Mom 2 star Janelle Evans about hateful comments she made towards Diab's partner, Colin Kaepernick. 

The incident, which was intended to be a healthy conversation between the two aired Monday (May 20) during the Teen Mom 2 reunion. Throughout the season, Evans was reportedly upset about Teen Mom OG star Amber Portwood speaking about her husband David Eason on social media. Surprisingly, Evans orchestrated the same behavior when she made a Facebook post about Kaepernick and his partnership with Nike. Evans reportedly slammed Nike for working with Kaepernick and allegedly burned Nike gear in protest of their decision.

While Nessa didn't break down everything Evans said, she shared the post on the screen behind them.“When I saw those comments, I did not attack you online, nor did I disrespect you over the years,” Nessa said. “My man uses his platform to peacefully protest police brutality against black people...that is the issue...I would’ve appreciated it if you contacted me.”

Nessa brought up the incident in an effort to show Evans how hypocritical she was being towards Portwood.

Evans denied doing the post and later accused MTV of using her. “I honestly have no idea who your boyfriend is...I would like to see [the comments] because what if it was an ad...was it an ad?” Jenelle asked. “I’m highly confused right now. I don’t know anything about your husband, and I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about. I swear to god, I’m done with this bulls**t. This is exactly why I didn’t want to f***ing come here,” she said. “This is about my storyline, and you want to bring up your issues? Okay. You got your show.”

As Evans stormed off stage, Nessa remained calm and detailed her working relationship with the mother of three.

“I’ve known Jenelle over the years, and I’ve always been fair and just to her," she said. "It wouldn’t have been authentic to who I am to be on this stage with someone who disrespected my family on social media.”

Shortly after the reunion aired, Evans continued to deny the allegations while her husband went on to attack Nessa and mock the death of slain rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle.

If the reunion wasn’t about David Jenelle then why is he already going off and attacking Nessa? The amount this chick lies is seriously beyond incredible 🤣. pic.twitter.com/uIouVOw98O

— Greenwalls4life (@Codybfan87) April 8, 2019

Fans of both women have defended their actions but Nessa has remained mum on what happened. Part 2 of the Teen Mom 2 finale will air next Monday on MTV. Watch the exchange up top.

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