"America's Got Talent" Season 14 Finale Red Carpet
Gabrielle Union attends "America's Got Talent" Season 14 Finale Red Carpet at Dolby Theatre on September 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
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SAG-AFTRA To Investigate Gabrielle Union's Exit From 'America's Got Talent'

Gabrielle Union's exit from America's Got Talent is now under the scope of SAG-AFTRA after it was reported that the actress/author was fired for speaking out against questionable practices at NBC.

SAG-AFTRA, also known as the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists labor union for media professionals, announced their investigation Monday (Dec. 2) following reports that Union's firing from the program was rooted in several types of bias. After it was announced that Union and fellow new judge Julianne Hough would not be returning for another season, Love B Scott reported that Union wasn't asked back due to her constantly calling out the problematic behavior by producers and producer Simon Cowell to NBC. Vulture also spoke to sources close to the show who shared several instances where producers displayed racial bias.

When it came to the talent on the show, producers were allegedly irked by Union when she asked the preferred pronouns of those who performed in drag. Union also shared concerns over the treatment of talent of color. One case involved 10-year-old black rapper Dylan Gilmer who was a hit with the audience. Despite this, the judges were told to pick an act “that America can get behind.” In the same meeting about Gilmer, co-host Howie Mandel suggested a South African choir who took part in the competition could sing “something from The Lion King."

One of the most notable incidents that happened on the AGT set occurred when Jay Leno made a racist joke towards Koreans. After viewing a painting of Cowell and his five dogs, Leno said the images “looked like something on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” Union urged producers to report the joke to human resources but the notion fell on deaf ears. The joke was ultimately cut out of the episode.

Lastly, Union was allegedly told that her rotating hairstyles were “too black” for the AGT audience. A source says both Union and Hough received complaints about their hair, but Union was told dozens that her hairstyles were "too black." The actress wore various of styles on the show like cornrows, sleek bobs and ponytails.

 

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A spokesperson from SAG-AFTRA confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter the investigation. "We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously," they said. "We immediately reached out to Ms. Union's representatives when these reports came to light. It is our practice to work closely with members who reach out to us and their representatives in instances like this, as that usually affords the best protection and best resolution for the affected member."

The statement continues, "For certain matters, our investigation and enforcement needs to happen independently and we are prepared to handle this issue accordingly, as warranted. Our enforcement action is usually handled confidentially to protect the member involved, and we typically do not publicize these matters unless the member requests that we do so. While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now."

Vulture previously reported that Union and Cowell had a meeting to work out the kinks of their working relationship. Since both of them are repped by CAA, the actress was "pushed" into having the private meeting in an effort to smooth things over. The show then went into hiatus and she was fired shortly after.

Union has been met with support from her husband Dwyane Wade as well as the Time's Up organization and fellow actresses like Megan Good, Debra Messing, Patricia Arquette and Grey's Anatomy actress and activist Ellen Pompeo.

See some of the messages to Union below.

https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande/status/1200083218407546880

https://twitter.com/jameelajamil/status/1200148630360903681

https://twitter.com/tamronhall/status/1201312780529340417

 

 

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Ashanti Joins Omarion's Millennium Tour

Our prayers for a female presence on Omarion's Millenium Tour have been answered with one of the most talented singers in R&B.

On Thursday (Dec. 5), Omarion announced singer-songwriter Ashanti as a special guest for the upcoming tour. "So excited to announce that Ashanti will be joining The Millennium Tour lineup!" he said in an Instagram post. The singer announced the follow-up show last week to what was perceived as a B2K reunion tour featuring Mario, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Chingy, Bobby Valentino and the Ying Yang Twins earlier this year.

Hailed as The "Millenium Tour 2020," the new bill features Soulja Boy and Sammie, with the Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky and Lloyd returning to the mix. The tour will also include Bow Wow, who has several jams (and an album) with Omarion like "Let Me Hold You" and "Girlfriend."

Before joining the tour, Ashanti was a special guest during Lloyd's performances of their 2004 hit, "Southside." With such a large and memorable discography, fans will be thrilled to hear some of the Grammy-winner's biggest hits like "Foolish," "Only U," and recent releases like "Say Less" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and "Pretty Little Thing" featuring Afro B.

This will more than likely be a another big financial boost to the tour. The inaugural Millennium Tour grossed $6.7 million from its first eight reports, according to Billboard and set a career-high for B2K. They also went on to earn $5 million from three additional dates at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (April 13-14), State Farm Arena in Atlanta (April 4-5), and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (April 12).

 

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Fabolous Clarifies Comments About Shiggy And Paid Promotional Posts

Fabolous is all about his friends–including Shiggy–making their bread. The rapper cleared up an assumed incident between himself and the comedian during an interview with Ebro in The Morning after he was criticized for slamming Shiggy for demanding a check for promoted social posts.

Earlier this week, an exchange between Fab, Casanova and Shiggy about the matter was seen on Instagram Live after Shiggy explained why he doesn't create "challenge" dances for free. In light of his new single "Choosy," he asked his pal for a #ChoosyChallenge dance post to support it. Shiggy said he would be down to do it–but had to receive a check first.

Shiggy's profile has skyrocketed since he created the #InMyFeelings challenge in 2018. The challenge helped boost Drake's single and led to the comedian going on tour with him. He's also found himself in some awkward situations with rappers nearly bullying him into providing his influence for their music. During Shiggy's exchange with Casanova and Fab, it seemed that Shiggy's request was frowned upon.

Speaking to Ebro, Laura Stylez and Peter Rosenberg, Fab says his criticism of Shiggy was a joke and he's well aware that the comedian should receive a check for his services.

"It was all a play to play with Shiggy," he said. "Shiggy is a joking person, so you joke back with him. So my joke to him was, this first time I'm seeing him, he was at my show, and just like, 'Wow, look at Shiggy.' So I hit Shiggy just because we was starting the challenge of it and just because I know him personally. We have a cool relationship.  So I was just like, 'Yo man, it'd be cool if you do something for the new joint, for 'Choosy.'' And he's like, 'Yeah, yeah, see if you get me a check or something.' And even when he said it, I didn't take no offense to it, because I even see now, social media and the social media influencers, record labels do that. But me personally, I don't personally pay people, you know what I'm saying? I even told him like, 'I'mma see if Def Jam can get you a check. Let me figure it out.'"

Shiggy hasn't responded to the drama but he did say in his Instagram stories, "I didn't change, I just learned my lesson."

Check out the rest of Fab's interview below.

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Miniseries Based On Uptown Records Heads To BET

In the age of documenting some of music's most pivotal entities, BET is stepping into that ring again with its latest series addition. The network gave the green light to a three-part miniseries that'll tell the story of Uptown Records.

Founded in the late 80s by longstanding music industry executive Andre Harrell, the label helped shape and promote the careers of Mary J. Blige, Al B. Sure, Heavy D & the Boyz, Jodeci, The Notorious B.I.G., and served as a springboard for Diddy to launch his own imprint, Bad Boy Records. The program will be executive produced by Jesse Collins who worked behind-the-scenes on the network's hit biopics The New Edition Story, and The Bobby Brown Story.

"I am thrilled to partner with BET Networks and Jesse Collins Entertainment to share my story, the rise of Uptown Records and successful black entrepreneurship, and the management and cultivation of some of the most iconic artists to come out of the late '80s and '90s hip-hop, R&B and soul music era," Harrell said in a statement.

In a 2012 interview with Mega Diversities, Harrell shared what encouraged him to embark on a journey in the music business.

In 1985, I was the road manager for LL Cool J.  We did a show in New Jersey.  At the time, his first album Radio was released and had critical acclaim with its hip-hop ballads and hybrid sounds.  It appealed to a younger music audience who were instrumental in the LP’s success.  I thought it was interesting that he became one of the first rappers to crossover.  The album went platinum. The record helped establish both with Def Jam as a label (with a distribution deal with Columbia Records the following year) and LL Cool J as a rapper.  Seeing the commercial success of the LP made me realize the benefits of being in the business side of the industry.  In addition, Radio contributed to the displacement of the old school hip-hop by the new school genre (where artists tended to compose shorter with a self-assertive style). This pivotal moment in the history and the culture of rap made me see that it was time to go behind the camera and find a new style for my future artists.

Uptown will premiere in 2020.

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