R. Kelly Arrested for Unpaid Child Support
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R. Kelly Former Girlfriend Details Abuse, Says He Doesn’t Belong In Jail

Dominique Gardner opened up about her relationship with the R&B singer. 

R. Kelly’s former girlfriend, Dominique Gardner, spoke out publicly for the first time since leaving the R&B singer. Gardner was featured in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary fleeing a hotel with her mother, Michelle Kramer.

In a New Yorker interview with Jim DeRogatis, the reporter who has been writing about the Kelly allegations for two decades, Gardner gave a peek into her conflicted and complex feelings towards the R&B singer.

“He is a giver, because when everything between me and him was good—oh, my God, it was, like, perfect,” Gardner shared. “But, as soon as he gets mad, he turns into a person like, oh, what up, the new Rob.”

Although Kelly is currently facing nearly a dozen federal counts of criminal sex abuse, Gardner doesn’t think he deserves jail time. Instead, Kelly should be on “house arrest in a music studio” and a live-in 24-hour  “therapist,” said Gardner. She sympathized with Kelly being a victim of child molestation (in an interview with Gayle King last week, Kelly professed his innocence and denied that the abuse that he endured as a child had an effect on him). Gardner didn’t watch his entire interview with King, but doesn't think that Kelly was being “genuine” during the sit-down.

“That’s the devil talking,” she said. “Talking about ‘I’m not Lucifer.’ Yes, you are.”

Gardner, who has two tattoos of Kelly's face on her body, rejected the sex “cult” allegations and denied being “brainwashed” by him. That said, the picture that she paints of their relationship is one of control and abuse.

“I am not just about to spread lies about him,” she said while describing their nine years together. “I wouldn’t even say [he played] ‘mind games.’ It was just the fact that he tried to break me. I couldn’t be broken. He wanted that control over me, and I wouldn’t give him that power. So, he figured, like, If I don’t give her food, she’ll come around. Nope. I’d rather die than come around and give you my soul.”

The 27-year-old Chicago native met Kelly in 2009, thanks to her friend Jerhonda Pace. Gardner said that she was 17-year-old (the age of consent in Illinois) when she began a sexual relationship with Kelly. She started seeing him while she lived at home in Chicago, but eventually dropped out of school and moved to Atlanta into a house with five of Kelly’s permanent “girlfriends,” along with other women. According to the interview, Kelly’s behavior “changed” when they got to Atlanta. Gardner also confirmed reports that Kelly made the women ask to do everything from using the bathroom, to getting something to drink. “That’s not living, that’s not normal,” she said.

Gardner added that Kelly’s current girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, can walk away whenever they want. The final straw for Gardner was Kelly refusing to let her to go to her brother’s graduation. “I’d still be there, but, when he told me ‘No’... I’m, like, ‘What is wrong with you?’ You don’t let people see their families, I guess, because we might realize how much freedom and happiness we have out there with our families.”

Among the group, Gardner saw herself as the rebel who was reprimanded in the form of physical attacks from Kelly, including being beaten with an extension chord and him pulling her hair out because she threw a carrot at him.

“Every time I looked in his eyes, I knew he was sorry. Like, when he hit us, hit me, he was, like, he apologized,” she recalled. “Like, he said, ‘I done did some things, and I apologize for it.’ But enough was enough. Yes, you did say, ‘I’m sorry.’..But, then again, you do it again when s**t don’t go your way.”

Gardner made it clear that she doesn’t wants to remain private and isn't  “playing victim” because she said that she’s not totally innocent. And she hasn’t watched the Lifetime documentary. “What’s the point of seeing it when I lived it?” said Gardner. “People are using it as entertainment, when it wasn’t entertainment for me.”

Read the full interview here.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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