Lionsgate Film And Tyler Perry Presents The Premiere Of "Peeples" - Red Carpet
Actress Diahann Carroll (L) and producer Tyler Perry arrive at the premiere of "Peeples" presented by Lionsgate Film and Tyler Perry at ArcLight Hollywood on May 8, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
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Tyler Perry Names Sound Stage At Atlanta Studio After Diahann Carroll

The opening of Tyler Perry's film studio in Atlanta over the weekend was a joyous but bittersweet occasion as the filmmaker intended to honor pioneering actress Diahann Carroll before her untimely passing.

Carroll died Friday (Oct 4) after a long battle with cancer. As tributes poured in from peers and admirers like Kerry Washington and Viola Davis, Perry shared his plans of naming his sound stage to the legendary entertainer.

"As I sat reviewing her video tribute, I got a request to call her daughter when she told me of her Mother’s passing," he said in a touching dedication on Instagram. As a push of grief overwhelmed him, Perry recalled a feeling of appreciation for Carroll and her legacy. The two worked together when Carroll starred in Perry's 2013 comedy Peeples.

"I was so thankful in my soul because I got to be on the planet at the same time as this barrier-breaking, race shattering, mythical beauty, that will forever be Diahann Carroll. Thank you, Ms. Carroll, for how you showed the world that black people are special, strong, beautiful and powerful," he continued. "I know you will live on in our hearts, but I’m so glad to know that your name will live on at Stage 5 at Tyler Perry Studios. Thank you for letting me honor you, and thank you for lending your legend to my studio to inspire generations to come."

 

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Perry's studio has 11 other sound stages named after legendary black people in the film industry. The director hosted a gala over the weekend to celebrate the official opening with guests like Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Cecily Tyson, Spike Lee, Tyrese. Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kelly Rowland, Bow Wow and Jay-Z.

Carroll's legacy is one many should study. She became the first African-American actress to star in a TV series by playing a non-stereotypical role (1968's Julia), was the first black woman to win a Tony award and starred in legendary films like Carmen Jones, Claudine alongside a young James Earl Jones;  and TV series like Dynasty, A Different World and the USA drama White Collar.

You can read our review of Claudine's soundtrack on 36 Best Black Movie Soundtracks You Should Know.

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Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama arrives on stage at an event at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School on December 03, 2018 in London, England. The former First Lady's memoir titled 'Becoming' has become the best selling book in the US of 2018 according to figures released by her publisher Penguin Random House.
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Michelle Obama To Release Guided Journal To Accompany Best-Selling Memoir 'Becoming'

After captivating the world with her best selling memoir Becoming, Former First Lady Michelle Obama has announced a guided journal for readers to pair with their personal journeys.

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, will serve as a self-help coach of sorts with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

With the journal, Obama hopes readers will be encouraged to find value in their own personal journeys of becoming.

“I hope you’ll use this journal to write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment…. We don’t have to remember everything," the intro reads. "But everything we remember has value.”

Released last year, Becoming was an instant hit with Obama's admires, reaching The New York Times Best Sellers List with over 11.5 million units sold worldwide. The release was also paired with a perfect world tour with Obama holding conversations around the memoir's elements with famous friends like Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey.

We also received the gift that is Obama stunting in golden Balenciaga boots.

Michelle Obama in thigh high, gold holographic Balenciaga boots. that's it. that's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/tOWgfDlKza

— Joppe DC (@joppe_dc) December 20, 2018

In an interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Obama shared how personal Becoming was by comparing it to the conversations she would share with close friends.

"I'm talking about me, all of me, in a way that I do with my friends, my girlfriends," said. "Now I'm talking about it with the world. It's not that I'm nervous about my story but I hope that it inspires people and it encourages people and it starts a conversation."

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice will be published Nov. 19 for U.S. and Canada residents.

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Jason Weaver attends the premiere Of Warner Bros. "Lottery Ticket" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 12, 2010 in Hollywood, California
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Jason Weaver Turned Down $2M In Exchange For Royalties For 'Lion King' Role

Jason Weaver knows the phrase "chess not checkers" very well. When the singer took part in Disney's The Lion King as a child, his mother made sure her child was set for life.

In an interview with VladTV, the actor/singer looked back on the role that taught him the importance of business in the entertainment industry. Weaver was Young Simba's singing voice, providing us with classics like "I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” from the 1994 film. During negotiations, Weaver says his mother refused a $2 million check and opted for a chance to get royalties instead.

"Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff. I think at that time they had put out Sleeping Beauty and some of their old catalog from when [Walt] Disney was alive," he said. "They were releasing that stuff when they were releasing the new Disney stuff, so she was able to see the playing field and go, ‘Wait a minute, this is going to make a lot of money over time, so what happens when my son turns 40? Is he going to be able to get a check for this when they eventually re-release this?’"

The $2 million offer was enticing, Weaver recalled. His mother could see the vision Disney had with The Lion King and wanted to be apart of it. "It was so we can play the long game. In her opinion, because that residual income that I generate is so helpful. I make sure I give my mother her just due to props because if she hadn't done that it would have been the biggest mistake off my business career."

Weaver noted how he's made well over $1.9 million since the release of the original film. In total, the film has grossed over $1 billion (including the 2002 IMAX re-release and the 2011 3D experience). The original songs were also re-recorded for the live-action version released this year. Weaver's recordings of the song were apart of the film's soundtrack which currently lives on streaming platforms.

Many have wondered why Weaver only provided the singing voice to Young Simba, but the actor explained to Shadow and Act this year how he had an opportunity to do the speaking voice.

"They actually did offer me the role and the director even called business affairs at Disney and was like 'Yo, did we close out our contract with Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Because I think we want to make the offer to Jason Weaver for the speaking roles,'" Weaver recalled. "And business affairs got back to him and was like 'Nah, we literally just closed the deal.'" At the time, Thomas starred in the comedy Home Improvement and was literally on the covers of every teen magazine out (RIP Tiger Beat.)

Weaver's film choices have landed him with the elite. Other roles include a young Michael Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream miniseries, Smart Guy, Lottery Ticket, ATL, Love For Sale, Drumline and Dysfunctional Friends. 

 

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We know that #JasonWeaver was the young singing voice for Simba in the original #TheLionKing, but why didn’t Disney give him the speaking role as well? @itsjasonweaver explained what happened to #ShadowAndAct. 👀 #jasonweaver #lionking #childactor #cast #animation #speakingrole

A post shared by Shadow And Act (@shadow_act) on Aug 9, 2019 at 1:08pm PDT

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Jussie Smollett's Alleged Fake Hate Crime Inspires New Episode Of 'Law & Order SVU'

No one is safe from dramatization on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Their recent season has pulled a bit of inspiration from today's very wild world of news–specifically Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime that took place earlier this year.

In a clip from this week's new episode, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the squad look into a case where mega pop star by the name of Mathis is assaulted in New York. But things don't add up leading to a bigger mystery for the team to solve.

As noted in the series, their plots are often "ripped from the headlines" with this being no exception. One can only think Jussie Smollett's alleged assault was brought up in the writer's room. Earlier this year, the former Empire actor claimed he was assaulted by two men in MAGA hats in Chicago. After an intense investigation by the Chicago police, it was revealed two associates of the actor's reportedly planned the attack with him. Smollet was charged with disorderly conduct but was later dropped in exchange for community service and a fine.

In the past, the series has borrowed other big moments from the headlines like Chris Brown's assault against Rihanna ("Funny Valentine," Season 14), the very insane case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard ("Pathological," Season 19), the trial of Casey Anthony ("Selfish," Season 10), the Brock Turner rape case ("Rape Interrupted," Season 18) and the mysterious murder of Jon Benet Ramsey ("Appearances," Season 4).

Watch the teaser below.

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