Frank Lucas
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Frank Lucas, Former Harlem Drug Kingpin, Dead At 88

Frank Lucas, the former Harlem drug kingpin who was famously portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2007 film, American Gangster, died Thursday (May 30). He was 88.

Lucas, who was confined to a wheelchair due to a previous car accident, passed away in New Jersey while being transported to the hospital for an unknown health issue, his brother reportedly told TMZ.

Born in La Grange, N.C. in 1930, Lucas rose to prominence as a drug trafficker in the late ’60s and early ’70s. His foray into crime was apparently fueled after witnessing the Ku Klux Klan murder his 12-year-old cousin for looking at a white woman.

After a fight with a former employer, Lucas later relocated from North Carolina to Harlem at the suggestion of his mother. He started out in petty crime before moving into smuggling heroine, which he claimed made him $1 million a day at the height of his drug trafficking days. Lucas became a popular figure in Harlem, rubbing shoulders with the likes of entertainers and sports stars including James Brown, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali.

In addition to paying police $200,000 a week to look the other way as he ran his drug enterprise, Lucas used his riches to buy property all over the country. He also helped those in need, including paying off one of Louis’ tax liens after the heavyweight boxer went broke due to bad business deals.

In the mid ‘70s, Lucas was convicted of drug violations and sentenced to 70 years in prison, but he only served five years. His sentence was reduced to time served, and a lifetime of parole, after he worked as a government informant. Lucas was arrested again in 1984 for attempting to sell heroin and cocaine. He was released in 1991.

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Courtesy of Kumasi J. Barnett

Kumasi J. Barnett Flips Classic Comic Books To Highlight An Heroic Black Experience

Marvel and DC movies are raking in millions in the box office telling the stories of Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, Spiderman, Batman, The Flash, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Superman, just to name a few. These daring and striking films stem from the ever so popular classic comics, and a new spin on the tales comes from a Brooklyn-based artist Kumasi J. Barnett.

Lowell Ryan Projects presents Barnett's The Amazing Black-Man exhibit which kicked off July 13 in Los Angeles. The series features two hundred hand-painted comic books from the DC and Marvel world.

Barnett, however, has painted over these vintage covers to give a very black presence. Replacing all familiar faces with new characters including The Amazing Black-Man, The Media's Thug, Whitedevil, and Police-Man, the narrative for the comics instantaneously change.

He replaces Spider-Man's unforgettable bodysuit to a hoodie and jeans, Superman's logo with stars and bars of the Confederate flag, and turns all of the supervillains into the controversial nemesis –the police.

While flipping the Good v. Evil narrative, Barnett addresses real-world issues and works to resolve the strain of racism in American history and the justice system.

His re-creations pose the questions: What kind of superhero is The Amazing Black-Man? In a society built on systemic racism, does his brown mask hide his identity or define it? Is his costume actually a costume?

The exhibition runs through August 17.

Check out some of our favorite images from his collection below.

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Netflix Releases 'Dear White People' Season 3 Trailer

Loose ends are finally tied, while other storylines and character arcs are more defined in the third season of Netflix's Dear White People. The Justin Simien comedy released its trailer Friday (July 19).

Shadow And Act report a few scenes that season three will deliver includes Sam (Logan Browning) parting ways with her radio show, Troy (Brandon Bell) experiencing a parody or pastiche, and Lionel (DeRon Horton) continuing to live in his identity.

The campus' secret society, The Order of X, also reappears after being discovered in season 2 by Sam and Lionel. Depicting a lighter and easing going tone is a shift from the gloom and murk from previous seasons while still giving a satirical sense of style. As the series moves through its characters dealing with microaggressions and evident racism at Winchester University, the script addresses a range of controversial issues.

Yvette Nicole Brown (Avengers: Endgame), Blair Underwood (When They See Us), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), and the show's creator Simien are set to make guest appearances throughout the season, according to IndieWire. 

Season 3 will premiere on Aug. 2.

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Nas Officially Drops 'The Lost Tapes 2' Album

Nas' music industry spotlight has intensified thanks to his newest project The Lost Tapes 2. The pioneering influential dropped the soundscape on Friday (July 19).

The album features unreleased tracks from his last four studio albums: Hip Hop Is Dead, Untitled, Life is Good, and Nasir. The Lost Tapes 2 comes as a sequel to 2002's The Lost Tapes 11-track compilation.

Hypebeast reports the latest installment introduces the Queens native rapping over instrumentals crafted by the likings of Kanye West, Pharrell, RZA, Swizz Beats, The Alchemist, and more. Ten years of material collected well-produced beats, wordsmith pierced verses and inclusive range of rhythm.

"Tanasia" and "Highly Favored" were produced by RZA giving off the classic Nas sounds fans have become accustomed to as he spits about his housing projects in Queensbridge. Other exclusive tracks include "Vernon Family" at the hands of Pharrell, and Swizz Beats' "No Bad Energy." Yeezus and Nas also give a less instrumental-forward sound emphasizing the ever-so clever rhymes from The Lost Tapes 2 mastermind on "You Mean the World to Me."

 

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THE LOST TAPES 2 OUT NOW

A post shared by Nasir Jones (@nas) on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:24pm PDT

In an interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the hip-hop artist spoke about how his project is somewhat of a guessing game when figuring out when the tracks were actually created. "You just play them. You kind of got to guess like, 'What year did he make this one?'" he said. "Some of the songs are, like, ten years old, 12 years old, and some of them are, like, as early as, like a year and a half ago."

He also teased to a partnership with the creation of the Hip-Hop Museum that's slated to come to the Bronx by 2022.

Check out the full interview below and stream the project below.

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