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Courtesy of Sony

'Black And Blue' Trailer Puts Body Cam Footage Front And Center

'Black and Blue' stars Naomie Harris a rookie cop who captures a murder on her bodycam.

Filmmaker Deon Taylor is making his petition known with his latest full-length feature, Black and Blue. Set in present-day New Orleans, rookie cop Alicia West (played by Oscar-nominated actress Naomie Harris) returns to her Nola roots in hopes to serve and protect. It doesn't take long, however, for West to realize being from the neighborhood means nothing when she's wearing her uniform or badge.

The trailer for the forthcoming thriller premiered Sunday night (June 23) during the 2019 BET Awards. In the three-minute spot, viewers follow West as she exits a squad car and enters an abandoned warehouse. Seconds later, she witnesses a corrupt cop (played by Frank Grillo) kill a local drug dealer.

West now becomes a target after realizing the murder was recorded on her body cam. Her problems are only compounded when local drug dealer Darius (Mike Colter, Luke Cage) is working in concert with the police and puts a bounty on West's head. Now West has a decision to make: either ignore the truth or expose it.

Dialing in from Los Angeles, Taylor spoke to VIBE about the premise of the Peter A Dowling script, the timeliness of the film and did he, in fact, give it all away in the trailer?

Why the name change from Exposure to Black and Blue?
Deon Taylor: In the film, Alicia West (Naomie Harris) kept being asked 'What side of the line are you on? Are you black or are you blue?' and what I thought was incredible throughout the movie was she's saying there is no side, we're here to serve the people. We wanted to lean into that. I thought it would be a great conversation piece and it's also about blending the worlds and creating a better place for people to live. So that's why we made the change.

Is the film as much entertainment as it is a political statement?
Yes. I'm going to answer yes to that. Right now, we're in a world where we don't want to feed people medicine. We want to put the medicine inside the candy. That's what I feel like this film is about.

Our first goal is to make sure you have a blast in the theater. You're getting all those elements you would get from Training Day. But, as a filmmaker, I'm also trying to drop some messages and some Easter eggs in the film. What I'm hoping is this film shows us what we need to do to be better as a people as we're fighting against what we're seeing in the news every day. What's so current is here's Alicia West, Naomie Harris playing this character saying 'Nah, we not doing that. Y'all are corrupt and I'm about to expose it. I don't care what side of the line I'm on.'


Why did you choose to film in New Orleans?

We filmed in New Orleans for New Orleans. New Orleans is interesting because as we began to put the movie together, I just loved being in the South where people are really homegrown. New Orleans was one of the places that had high corruption after [Hurricane] Katrina, and we just felt like New Orleans was raw and unfiltered. I love that Naomie Harris' character had those southern morals.  The backdrop of New Orleans is also beautiful. The music, the people, the culture itself. We featured a lot of B. Mike's artwork and the murals he's done as well.

Mike Colter went from being everyone's favorite black superhero in Luke Cage to this scary, menacing drug dealer. Why did you choose to reimagine Mike Colter this way?

What I love about being a director is I love playing people against type. In The Intruder it was Dennis Quad and the new thriller I did it's Hilary Swank. This movie is no different. For Mike Colter, when I thought about what character he's playing without giving it away, it would be easy to cast someone to be tough and beat people up and have that energy, but Colter's character in the movie, Darius, he's more complex. He's someone who's a product of the environment but also a cerebral thinker.

So for that, I needed to find an actor that was intimidating, but when he opens up his mouth and he talks, I needed someone who had the correct tone to be a more complicated villain. What I tried to do with the Darius character was build someone I know. Colter was able to reimagine the character that way in which you can see the tough exterior, but at the same time, he's calculated in how he thinks and how he moves.

My last question is in a lot of films, they give the best stuff away in the trailer. Have you done that? 
Nope! [Laughs]

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Courtesy of Inayah Lamis

Premiere: Inayah Lamis Busts The Windows Out Of Toxic Love In Visuals For "Best Thing"

Breakups are never easy but let Inayah Lamis heal your heart with her cheeky video for "Best Thing." Inspired by true events, the Houston native sings about bitter feelings about love gone astray.

The emotional ballad is simple in production thanks to the presence of an acoustic guitar, allowing Lamis to show off her vocal chops. Reminiscent of 2000s R&B gems like "I Wished You Loved Me" by Tynisha Keli and recent classics like Tink's "Treat Me Like Somebody," Lamis finds the right words that almost anyone can relate to.

"The track “Best Thing” was birthed from a realtime heartbreak," she tells VIBE. "I went into the lab and wrote it while I was ending a relationship that had a strong hold over me. I literally cried in the booth as I was singing it. My hopes are that every woman or man that has been emotionally broken and taken for granted by a lover will feel comfort in knowing that leaving was the best thing they ever did for themselves."

Thanks to her around the way aura, the video plays off her personality with the presence of "Smakie Lamis" taking Lamis out of her sad girl feels over her deceitful partner, allowing her to hop in the whip and bust out some car windows–even if it's not her beau's car. Directed by Michelle Parker, the video also plays up Lamis' Houston swag as she rides around town in a candy green whip.

The budding singer knows how important her songwriting plays a role in her relationship with fans. Lamis previously shared a bit of her writing style with Refinery29, while opening up about the importance of body positivity.

"Anytime something impacts my life, I write it down and make a song out of it," she said. In her previous visuals for "Suga Daddy," the singer turned up the sexy for a good reason. "I've displayed my confidence as a chunky girl in this video. So many people have things to say about curvy, bigger girls. I feel like we're in a space now where we're able to finally have a voice and be free, and still be sexy. Particularly with the wardrobe, I wanted to show some skin, to show those curves, those back rolls, those fat little pockets I got underneath my chin and shit. I wanted to make sure I displayed that and rocked the hell out of it, confidently."

Lamis is gearing up to release her debut EP S.O.L.A.R. (Storytelling Over Lyrics and Rhymes) on Dec. 13. The singer hopes to share more stories her fans will appreciate and the masses will adore. Her come-up is a digital grassroots movement thanks to her remake of Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up" in 2018 leading to her debut studio single  "N.A.S.," an acronym for "Ni**as ain't S**t."

 

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BEST THING CHALLENGE 🔥 -Stream/Download my new song BEST THING -DM me your videos -No instruments -No music -Just you & your voice -#Bestthingchallenge

A post shared by Aʅʅ I Nҽҽԃ Iʂ Oɳҽ Mιƈ... 🎤 (@inayah_lamis) on Nov 18, 2019 at 12:05am PST

Taking things up a notch, Lamis announced the #BestThingChallenge to welcome fellow sangers to show off their vocals.

Before diving into the challenge, enjoy the visuals for "Best Thing" below.

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Cardi B performs on day 1 of Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on September 14, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Scott Legato/Getty Images for Live Nation

Cardi B's Latest Freestyle Fuels Anticipation For Sophomore Album

Cardi B is sparking more anticipation for her next album thanks to her latest freestyle. On Monday (Nov. 19), the rapper dropped some bars on Instagram to hold fans over until the release of her sophomore project.

"Just a little something something... hair on healthy," she captioned the freestyle over Cam'ron's classic track, "357." Keeping it natural and raw, the Bronx native posts up in front of Cap'n Crunch and a Costco box full of Vienna sausages to drop her freestyle about the wins and losses she's taken this year.

"I be in the mansion, you be in my mentions / I came right out the trenches to the top of the charts / Lost friends on the way / This s***t is breaking my heart / 'Bout 30 seconds in I'm like where do I start / I don't act I'm a hustler just playing my part,"  she spits.

If anything, this can be a hint to fans that she's gravitating back towards her hip-hop roots, an element heavily heard on her debut album, Invasion of Privacy. In a recent interview with Billboard, Cardi talked about her new album and curiosities about its direction.

"There's certain music that I want to do, but I feel like, [are] people interested in that? I feel like things have changed. It's more like a twerk sound going on right now," she said. "It's just like, 'Should I just do my music around that?' But I cannot just go with what's hot. I still gotta go with what I want to do."

Cardi has no problem adapting to popular music. She's worked with the likes of Selena Gomez on DJ's Snake's "Taki Taki" with Ozuna in 2018 and took her guest spots to another level in 2019 by working with Ed Sheeran ("South of The Border"), Lil Nas X ("Rodeo") and French Montana ("Writings On The Wall"). She also dropped a show-stopping video for "Press" over the summer.

But at the end of the day, Cardi's new music is coming first. "My album is on my mind 24/7,"she said. "It's practically all I'm focusing on."

Enjoy her freestyle (and sleek blowout) below.

 

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Just alittle something something ......hair on healthy.

A post shared by Iamcardib (@iamcardib) on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:55pm PST

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Roc Nation Denies Jay Z's "Disappointment" In Colin Kaepernick's NFL Workout

Everyone has an opinion on Colin Kaepernick's current strife with the NFL but Jay Z isn't one of them.

Several reports over the weekend indicated how the mogul felt "disappointed" in Kaepernick, whose audition for the NFL turned into a very messy sideshow. Kapernick changed the location of his workout in Atlanta, which was oddly scheduled 24 hours before Sunday Night Football. “I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams,” Kaepernick’s agent Jeff Nalley told CBS. “I’ve reached out to them recently, and none of them have had any interest. I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout.”

The workout was scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. but was moved from the Falcons' practice facility to Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale by Kaepernick. It's not known when the workout was initially planned but it has happened just a few weeks after the NFL and Jay Z suffered backlash and criticism for their philanthropic partnership. The workout was reportedly intended to showcase Kapernick's abilities to showcase his skills to teams, showing he has the skills and mindset to play again.

Despite no one asking for the workout, it still happened with the presence of a waiver that included murky language that reportedly blocks the activist from taking legal action against the league in regard to his claims of collusion. Kaepernick previously filed an NFL Players Association grievance, calling out the league's collusion against him for protesting during the National Anthem. NBC Sports Mike Florio and Chris Simms discussed the ins and outs of the waiver which was also given Kaepernick's team just days before the workout.

All of this leads to Sunday's reports that Kaepernick supporter and Roc Nation honcho Jay Z was "disappointed with Colin's actions and believes he turned a legitimate workout into a publicity stunt." Oddly enough, the same quote was reported by Sports Illustrated, TMZ and XXL as original reporting (which is a mystery in itself). Nearly 24 hours later, Roc Nation released a statement by way of Twitter that said, "A source at Roc Nation tells us JAY-Z (@S_C_) hasn’t spoken to any sources."

A source at Roc Nation tells us JAY-Z (@S_C_) hasn’t spoken to any sources.

— Roc Nation (@RocNation) November 18, 2019

In somewhat positive news, Kaepernick's workout tape was sent to all 32 teams despite him refusing to sign the mystery waiver. In a matter of days, the narrative quickly shifted from the NFL and Kaepernick to the Jay Z and Kaepernick, allowing the league to slide away from the nightmare they seemingly created.

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You can read the waiver below.

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