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'The Chi' Recap: In Ep. 4, Bad Decisions Become Black Clouds That Follow You Forever

In the latest episode of 'The Chi,' Ronnie deals with the harsh new reality of beating his murder charge and others stand firmer in the decisions they’ve made.

In The Chi, respect is everything because reputation precedes everyone. That reputation can either be in front of you as a shield, protecting you from unruliness of the streets, or as a bullseye, inviting any and everyone to target practice. This season of The Chi has placed viewers in the unforgiving streets, showed how the manipulation of black women and children is the basis for a lot of the show’s depravity, and the latest episode demonstrates how all of those decisions are forever attached to the people who make them, no matter how unfair that fact is.

Sometimes the black cloud that follows young black men are of their own making. After Jake says he plans to throw up gang signs for picture day, Papa asks him if he wants that image of gang affiliation to follow him forever. Jake’s reply that he’s “63rd Street for life” (even though, earlier in the season, he admitted to Kevin he thinks the gang life is stupid) is painful to watch, especially seconds later when he reveals his gang logo tattooed on his arm. Before he graduates from middle school, Jake is deciding, against his better judgement, to make gang life inextricable from the identity he presents the world, a decision that has plagued thousands of black men long after the fact.

For decades, the Chicago Police Department compiled a controversial database of more than 160,000 people identified as gang members, including more than 33,000 juveniles, according a 2018 Chicago Tribune report. Outside of people admitting their gang affiliation, people could land on that list for any number of reasons, including getting a gang tattoo like Jake did. Local Chicagoans railed against the list, partly on the basis that many people were still on the list decades after they had been part of any gang activity.

Chicago’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson told the Tribune that being placed on the list can preclude those from employment and educational opportunities, showing how a decision as a teen probably ruined many Chicagoans’ lives as adults. Jake’s eyes looked devoid of all emotions when he told Papa and Kevin that he’s with his gang for life, as if the possibility of ruining his chances at a normal life as an adult is not only absent from his mind, but not a concern for him if it does follow him for the rest of his life. As reprehensible as Jake’s decision to join a gang is, there’s something inherently heartbreaking about watching him make this decision, knowing this pre-teen may have ruined his adult future for a decision he made in middle school.

We get a glimpse into the shadow his gang affiliation can cast on his life later in the episode. His brother Reg’s decision to rob a rival gang earlier in the season made Jake a target for the younger brothers of members from that rival gang. That tension only resulted in a food fight, but you can easily imagine how the hail of milk cartons and lunch meat could easily be a hail of gunfire and blood. Tattoos weren’t the only way young gang members were unwittingly bringing unwanted attention themselves throughout the episode.

Reg also chastises his younger gang members for posting videos on social media of their gang activity because he thinks that’s how the police have been following them. In today’s age, social media is a maker of self-incrimination, often being a repository of people’s worst decisions. Nineteen-year-old Lamanta Reese of the South Side of Chicago was murdered in May 2017 by Quinton Gates after taunting rival gangs on YouTube and sending disrespectful emojis on Facebook. Social media-fueled murders such as this one prompted the CPD to spend millions of dollars on the Dunami software to monitor Chicago residents’ social media accounts. That is the same software used by the FBI to scan for radicalization in America. Young men can be, and have been, viewed by the government the same way they view terrorist organizations simply based on a few social media posts.

Then there’s Ronnie, newly released from prison after beating the case against him over the murder of Coogie Johnson. But, once he made the decision to kill Coogie, that murder became permanently attached to him like Jake’s tattoo, dictating how the world sees him. Ronnie can’t go to the hospital to tend to his injured grandmother without her aide, Jada Washington (Yolonda Ross), peering into his soul as if she’s trying to find the humanity in a monster. He can’t even go to the store without a random black woman spitting in his face because she, too, had a son murdered by a killer that wasn’t imprisoned. From now on, it seems Ronnie is forever a killer and everyone knows it.

With The Chi firmly making a stance that past decisions can influence future episodes, it’ll be interesting to see what decisions us viewers may have overlooked from previous episodes that define the characters in future ones.

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Will Smith Is Working On A ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Spin-Off Series: Report

An updated installment of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air could be making its way to TV with Will Smith in the driver's seat. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, Smith is working on a spin-off series based on the '90s sitcom.

The series will be developed through Westbrook Inc., a cross-platform holding company launched last year by Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. According to the company’s website, Westbrook's mission is to “be the leader in global family entertainment.”

THR's story outlines how Smith, 51,  used social media to revamp his career, and whether or not his digital popularity has directly improved his box office stats. The feature details a number of Smith's upcoming projects, as well as other business ventures, which include his and Jaden Smith's JUST Water brand.

It's unclear if the Fresh Prince spin-off has a projected premiere date, but next year may be the perfect time to premiere it since the original series will celebrate its 30-year anniversary in 2020.

Last week, Smith announced a new Fresh Prince-inspired clothing line. Bel-Air athletics line — which is named after the fictional school that his character attended on the show —  includes hoodies, tees, sweatpants, socks, and a reversible track jacket.

The items are for sale on willsmith.com until Oct. 14.

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Fan-Made Trailer Imagines Aunt Viv's Return To Bel-Air In 'Auntie'

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has been the center of various fan-made movie plots with its most recent one gaining the attention of its star Will Smith. Now, another visionary is taking a chance at promoting a new take that centers on the original Aunt Vivian Banks.

According to Shadow And Act, the trailer is shot from the inspiration of Jordan Peele's Us and Get Out, placing Aunt Viv as the central character who returns to Bel-Air, Los Angeles after a stint at a mental facility. Created by Bobby Huntley, Auntie takes a look at the aforementioned character's life after their role has been recast.

"Our goal isn't to pit the two real-life actresses against each," Huntley said. "They both did an amazing job bringing that character to life in their own unique way. We love every actor and actress affiliated with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It's just human nature to contrast and compare.

"For people to still debate over 25 years later is really a testament to their talents and longevity. We are just simply asking the question, 'What If?'" Originally played by Janet Hubert, her role was later filled by Daphne Reid.

Upon Aunt Viv's return home, she realizes her family has no idea who she is "and every evidence of her existence has been erased. She must find out who was behind the hostile takeover before it is too late to reclaim her family and her home," the plot outlines.

Other storylines that are featured include Claire Kyle from My Wife and Kids, and Family Matters' Judy and Harriet Winslow. 

Watch the trailer above.

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Lil Kim performs onstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2019 at Cobb Energy Center on October 5, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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BET Hip Hop Awards 2019: Watch All The Performances Here

There were awards given out at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards, but this year's festivities were all about the performances. Hip-hop's biggest up and comers (Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, YBN Cordae, Saweetie), more established names, (Rick Ross, Rapsody, Chance The Rapper), and flat out legends (Lil Kim) all blessed the stage.

This year also saw the return of the annual Cyphers and connected with URL to integrate battles into the show for the first time. Look below for the performances from the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards.

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Lil Kim Performs Medley Of Hits with Junior M.A.F.I.A., O.T. Genasis, and Musiq Soulchild Megan Thee Stallion And DaBaby Perform "Hot Girl Summer" And "Cash Shit" Lil Duval, TOM. G, And KaMillion Team Up For City Boys Performance YBN Cordae And Anderson .Paak Perform "RPN" Saweetie Performs "My Type" With Lil Jon And Petey Pablo Rapsody Performs "Nina" And "Serena" Chance The Rapper Performs "Sun Come Down" DaBaby Performs "Intro" And "Baby Sitter" With Offset Rick Ross and T-Pain Perform Medley Lil Baby and DaBaby Perform "Baby" T-TOP Vs. Shotgun Suge – Battle DNA vs. Geechi Gotti – Battle
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