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Lee Daniels On Defending Jussie Smollett: “I’m Beyond Embarrassed”

Lee Daniels opened up about Jussie Smollett in a new interview expressing his embarrassment for defending the Empire star after he was attacked in Chicago in January only to be accused of orchestrating the incident.

“I’m beyond embarrassed,” Daniels told Vulture when asked of how he felt about rushing to Smollett’s defense. “I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.”

Still, Daniels doesn’t exactly believe that Smollett planned the attack as he has been accused of doing by Chicago Police. The 36-year-old actor initially faced felony disorderly conduct charges stemming from the incident.

Charges against Smollett have since been dropped but Daniels admitted that it would feel like a huge betrayal, “If it turned out that he did it, was guilty, and all of it’s accurate.”

“Of course, there’s some doubt,” Daniels continued. “I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now, because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story. That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”

The Empire creator said that he bypassed all of the Chicago Tribune’s detailed reporting on the incident because he was busy “putting out fires,” and maintains that no one knows the real truth.

“We weren’t there. I can’t judge him. That’s only for the f**king lady or man with that black robe and God. I had to detach myself and stop calling [Smollett], because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything.”

Despite being unsure if Smollett had anything to do with the assault Daniels pointed out that, “If he didn’t do it, he’d be Martin Luther King right now. He’d be some sort of god.”

Daniels went on to confirm that the attention from the Smollett incident played a “major part” in Fox’s decision to cancel Empire after the upcoming sixth season. Elsewhere in the interview, Daniels talked about wrapping up Empire's final season, and refused to comment when asked if Terrence Howard should have been booted off the show due to previous accusations of domestic violence.

Click here for the full interview

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XXXTentacion Documentary Trailer Released, Fans Mark One-Year Anniversary Of Rapper’s Death

Fans will soon get a behind-the-scenes looks at the life of XXXTentacion.  To commemorate the one-year anniversary of his death, the slain rapper’s estate announced a new documentary and forthcoming posthumous album, Spin reports.

The chilling documentary trailer released Tuesday (June 18), includes an eerie message from the Florida native born, Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy.

“There’s definitely a difference between Jahseh Onfroy and XXXTentacion,” he says in the clip. “This is the story, this is the full story. And this is the last time I will tell it.”

XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard,  marked the somber anniversary by sharing a photo of their final phone call, which took place hours before he was shot and killed.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

My hearts forever shattered 💔 6/18/18 last phone call.

A post shared by @ cleo_ohsojazzy on Jun 17, 2019 at 9:20pm PDT

Fans and fellow artists shared dedications to XXXTentacion on social media, and others flocked to the Florida  mausoleum where he’s buried.

One year ago 💔#LLJ #LLj🕊 #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/P6IT3sDGSu

— AssassinLord444🧛🏼‍♂️ (@AssassinLord44) June 17, 2019

tomorrow will mark the day , X life was taken from him. you miss you man.

I want to link up tomorrow @ a park in play music & smoke for jah ! if you in California! Pull up ! Let’s barbecue let’s have fun ! we miss you jah ! #xxxtentacion

— sincerely, tokyo 🎌 (@madeintyo) June 17, 2019

i can’t even begin to believe its been a year??? where the hell did time go? no, it can’t have been a year already😭 miss him so much. but i know he’s still with us. i really can feel it. his energy. his name will live FOREVER. also... here’s my fave edit... #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/DxC7dD2od9

— sabina!-🦋 (@fvcknxxx) June 18, 2019

The 20-year-old recording artist was gunned down in South Florida on June 18, 2018. Six months later, XXXTentacion’s estate released his third studio album, Skins. He went on to win a posthumous American Music Award and BET Award.

Watch the documentary trailer in the video above.

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Manhattan District Attorney Won't Reopen Linda Fairstein's Old Cases

After the release of Ava DuVernay's four-part series When They See Us, which chronicled the lives of five boys black and brown boys wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger, former New York prosecutor turned crime author Linda Fairstein merited the ire of all those who watched.

Fairstein stepped down from many positions including the board at Vassar College and Columbia Law school. However, supporters of the exonerated five--Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam,--demanded a magnifying glass be taken to all her old cases.

CNN reports the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance responded in a letter that he does not plan to reopen Fairstein's old cases. Fairstein acted as the chief over the sex crimes unit from 1976 to 2002.

"I do not intend to take either action at this time. Instead, I seek your help in publicizing to New Yorkers the availability of my Office's Conviction Integrity Program process," Vance wrote in a letter Friday.

After Vance revealed Fairstein's cases would remain as is, advocate Jumaane Williams said Vance is potentially denying innocent men and women a  second chance at life.

"Justice delayed is justice denied, but here, Cy Vance is even denying justice has been delayed. It shouldn't take another 30 years for us to find out why DA Vance refuses to correct these injustices of the past," Williams tweeted.

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'Surviving R. Kelly' Wins Best Doc At 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Viewers were glued to their screens at the beginning of the year when Lifetime debuted the jaw-dropping documentary series Surviving R. Kelly in January. It was no shock that series took home the award for Best Documentary at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards Monday night (June 17).

Executive producer Brie Miranda Bryant accepted the award with her other executive producers Tamra Simmons, Jesse Daniels, and Joel Karsberg. She was also joined on stage by survivors Asante McGee, Faith Rodgers, Lisa VanAllen, and Lizzette Martinez.

Bryant and her production team successfully raised attention to speculation of the sexual abuse and assault accusations of R&B artist R. Kelly, as 54 individuals shed light on their experiences and encounters with the shamed entertainer.

Her speech gave a little more insight as to what it took share such a chilling narrative. "Entire production teams assembled their shields to tell this story," she said. "Survivors walked through the fire and then stood again to tell this story, and parents shared the hell that they still stand in to tell this story." The documentary series averaged 2.1 million viewers during its three-day six-hour series.

At the Heart of Gold: Inside with USA Gymnastics Scandal, McQueen, Minding the Gap, and RBG, were among the other 2019 MTV Movie & TV Award documentary nominations. 

Kelly has plead not guilty to all charges.

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