Fast Company Grill – Day 2
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Phylicia Rashad Marks Broadway Directorial Debut With 'Blue'

"It affirms the importance of theater and its power to touch the human heart."

Phylicia Rashad plans to embark on a new career journey, and its base is Broadway. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the famed thespian will direct a forthcoming play titled Blue.

The production, originally scripted by Charles Randolph-Wright, will hit Broadway in 2020. It's based on a South Carolina family and their journey of self-exploration and the battle of un-hesitant trust in the midst of their wealth. "I am happy to be directing this play that brought me so much joy," Rashad said. "It affirms the importance of theater and its power to touch the human heart."

Randolph-Wright also expressed his elation in the play's resurgence. Rashad initially acted in the production's debut in 2000 and again in 2001. "Part of the inspiration for writing Blue was that I had never seen a family like mine on stage," he said. "I am thrilled that Blue will continue to open doors to a more diverse world, and also spread a little joy."

As she prepares for a new venture, Rashad has continued to showcase her one-of-a-kind talent in front of the camera. The 70-year-old actress recently guest-starred on NBC's This Is Us, a recurring role on FOX's Empire, and on the silver screen with Creed II.

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The Game Must Pay Accuser $7 Million After Losing Appeal In Sexual Assault Case

The Game is still ordered to pay a $7.1 million judgement after his attempt at a new trial in his sexual battery case was denied by an Illinois court on Thursday (Oct. 17). The Seventh Circuit Court upheld the lower court’s decision to deny the rapper’s attempt at having a trial continuance.

The 39-year-old rapper is accused of sexually assaulting Priscilla Rainey, a former contest on his VH1 reality dating show, She’s Got Game, during an “off-camera date” at a Chicago sports bar in May 2015. Rainey won her lawsuit in 2016.

U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Sykes called The Game’s behavior, “deeply reprehensible,” and outlined details of the sexual assault in a 19-page memo.

Rainey claims that the Grammy-nominated recording artist, whose birth name is Jayceon Taylor, was high on drugs during the incident where he “forcefully” reached inside her skirt and rubbed her private parts, and buttocks. Three days later, Rainey confronted The Game while they were on a tour bus “with other cast members, and a film crew caught the entire exchange on camera.” A “heated exchange ensued” between the two, and The Game threatened Rainey and told her to get off of the bus. She instead shared the details of the assault with the film crew.

Rainey sued for sexual battery in 2015. The Game responded by launching numerous public insults, and accusing her of suing because she was upset about being eliminated from the show.

Rainey won the lawsuit after The Game failed to show up to court during the trial, and his attempts to delay the proceedings were unsuccessful. The Game also lost a $20 million lawsuit that he filed against Viacom.

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A Tekashi 6ix9ine Documentary Series Is In The Works

Showtime is set to debut a new project about Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Supervillain, a three-part limited docuseries produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone  and Lightbox, will explore the rise of the New York native.

“The bizarre and complicated rise of Tekashi 6six9ine is a story of our times,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks. “Beyond becoming one of the most notorious hip hop artists of this generation, his story speaks volumes of the impact of social media and manufactured celebrity in our society. We’re excited to be partnering with such heavy hitters in the world of music and documentary to bring Supervillain to life.”

The series is inspired by the Rolling Stone article, Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip Hop Supervillain, released earlier in the year.

“Tekashi 6ix9ine is one of the most enigmatic music artists of a generation,” said Gus Wenner, President and COO of Rolling Stone. “Rolling Stone is thrilled to work with Showtime and our other partners to bring the gripping story of Tekashi’s meteoric rise to stardom and infamy to viewers around the world.”

Supervillain isn't the only Tekashi-inspired project on the way. Snapchat is working on a doc about the 23-year-old recording artist, and 50 Cent is reportedly producing a biopic about him.

Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, testified against former gang affiliates in federal court last month in exchange for a lowered prison sentence.  Though it’s unclear when he will be freed, the “FeFe” rapper -- who was facing up to life in prison -- recently signed a record deal worth a reported $10 million.

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Billboard And VIBE Host Second Annual R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players Event

Billboard and VIBE joined forces for the second annual R&B and Hip-Hop Power Players event on Thursday night (October 17). Held at New York City's Union City, the brands honored the 100 accomplished music executives, agents and more who made the third annual list for their outstanding contributions of driving, influencing and guiding the music industry and hip-hop culture today.

Billboard Executive Director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell and VP of Culture Media/VIBE Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas greeted guests at the invite-only reception saying, "Big shout to the team that puts this together, we just want everyone to know that this is a night of celebration. A lot of people have been working in the game for a long time - you are here tonight so you are all winning." He added, "We thank you for taking the time to celebrate your colleagues."

Shortly after, the hosts presented Steve Pamon with the Billboard Executives of the Year Award shared with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. As he accepted his award, the Parkwood Chief Operating Officer delivered a speech saying, “This award was given to myself and Beyoncé, but the award truly belongs to the team behind me. We live off respect and responsibility. A sincere thank you.” He went on to say, “We live off of respect and the responsibility of being around all of you. You are hip-hop. We are hip-hop. It’s not about us. It’s about us all.”

The late Nipsey Hussle was honored with the Billboard Impact Award for his contributions to breaking barriers of cultural appropriation, young professionals seeking educational resources in science, tech and mathematics spaces, and positivity in his community. Prior to Marathon Agency co-founder, Steve Carless, acceptance of the world on Hussle's behalf, there was a 30-second moment of silence.

In his emotional yet encouraging speech, Carless said, “I accept this on behalf of Nipsey, his family, and all his loved ones and his children. What this means to me, it’s a testament to his hard work and dedication." He added, "Congrats to everyone who made this year. It’s a huge honor...One thing I do want to say it, this award is about inspiration. Responsibility is to uplift each other mentor each other and lead each other. May all of us leave here and know we have a responsibility.”

As attendees enjoyed beverages and captured Instagram-worthy images at the Billboard and VIBE cover-inspired installations, rappers Casanova and Young M.A hit the stage, respectively, to perform their popular singles. Flip through photos and interviews from Thursday night's event down below.

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