Vanessa Bryant Deliver Speech At Kobe Bryant Memorial Celebration
Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant arrives to speak during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant Tributes Kobe And Gianna Bryant At Memorial Service

"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together."

Vanessa Bryant, the wife of Kobe Bryant and mother of their children, gave a moving speech in memory of the legendary athlete, and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who passed away on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash. The memorial service was held at the Staples Center on Monday (Feb. 24), an arena where Kobe introduced a new style of playing and an unmatched sports mentality. His daughter followed in her father's footsteps and had plans of revolutionizing the way the world viewed women in sports, specifically starting with the WNBA.

"Gigi would've most likely become the best player in the WNBA," Vanessa Bryant stated. "She would've made a huge difference for women's basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports. She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and WNBA leagues wasn't fair. I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now because they knew Gigi's goal was to play in the WNBA."

The intelligent teen had dreams of attending UCONN and playing for the Huskies women's basketball team. After her passing, the university honored Gianna with a jersey featuring the No. 2, which she was known to sport during games.

"Gigi was very competitive like her daddy but Gianna had a sweet grace about her," she shared. "Her smile was like sunshine. Her smile took up her entire face like mine. Kobe always said she was me. She had my fire, my personality, and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious, it was pure and genuine."

In tribute to her husband, Vanessa revisited memories they both shared and how they envisioned their future as their family tree continued to grow. "I couldn't see him as a celebrity nor just an incredible basketball player," she said. "He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was my everything." Vanessa Bryant also mentioned that Kobe sought to have their eldest daughter, Natalia, take over his company, and looked toward being the "fun grandparents" to their children's future children.

"Kobe was the MVP of girl dads or MVD," Vanessa continued. "He never let the toilet seat up, he always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough."

In a statement that defines the bond Kobe and Gianna shared, Vanessa held back tears as she said, "God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together."

View the full live stream below.

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Jeezy Seemingly Challenges T.I. To A Verzuz Battle

An ATLien edition of Verzuz could be on the way. Jeezy appeared to challenge T.I. to a friendly battle after the Grand Hustle frontman “respectfully” shot down an offer from Busta Rhymes.

Without directly naming Tip, Jeezy posted a cryptic video message on Instagram on Wednesday (Oct. 21) subtly calling out his potential rival. “I don’t know what you’re avoiding me for. I’ll tell you what though, since it means that much to you put a date on it,” said Jeezy.

Tip jokingly replied in the comments, “Could this long time constituent of mine be referring to me???”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

PUT A DATE ON IT ☃️ @therealswizzz @timbaland @verzuztv

A post shared by @ jeezy on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:58pm PDT

The Verzuz battle isn’t confirmed just yet but fans are already excited at the thought of two of ATL’s finest going toe-to-toe. In the meantime, Swizzy and Timbaland are still prepping the lineup for Verzuz season two, and revealed that Busta threw his hat in the ring. “He’s ready for any type of Verzuz action coming his way,” Swizzy told Jimmy Fallon.

Busta also confirmed to Fat Joe that’s he's down to go up against T.I.

KING T.I. aka KING OF THE SOUTH aka @Tip aka MR. EXPEDITIOUSLY aka YOU SAID YOU WANTED THAT N.Y. ENERGY/SLASH NEW YORK SMOKE 💨? I’M HERE FOR YOU WITH OPEN ARMS... DON’T GET SHOOK NOW SHAWTY!!RESPECTFULLY (IN MY @RealSway voice) HARLEM!! @fatjoe #ITSTHESILENCEFORME @verzuzonline pic.twitter.com/O1fFmJYsYe

— Busta Rhymes (@BustaRhymes) October 21, 2020

But it doesn't look like the Verzuz showdown will be happening as Tip responded back citing a “generational gap” between him and Busta.

“I didn’t know we were reaching back through generations. That’s a huge generational gap there isnt it? I have a huge amount of respect for you,” noted Tip. “An exponential amount of respect.”

Watch his full response to Busta below.

TI declines Busta Rhymes’ #Verzuz Battle challenge due to generational gap 👀🤔👀 via: @hiphopdx pic.twitter.com/n9nLyNBF5c

— 935 KDAY (@935KDAY) October 22, 2020

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Beyonce Shows Solidarity With Nigeria Amid Protests Over Police Brutality

Beyonce is showing solidarity with Nigeria following Tuesday’s (Oct. 20) brutal massacre in the country’s capital city of Lagos. The Bey Good Foundation has been partnering with local youth organizations supporting the protests, and working with coalitions to provide food, shelter and healthcare to those in need, Beyonce revealed in a statement.

“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” she said. “There has to be an end to SARS (Special Anti-Robber Squad). We have been working in partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter.”

Bey added in closing, “To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”

A message from Beyoncé. pic.twitter.com/5Ng7JF2stf

— BeyGOOD (@BeyGood) October 21, 2020

The statement directs viewers to her website where they will find links to donate or get involved in the movement to end SARS. Graphic videos and images of the brutality in the Lekki region of Lagos, have been circulating the web, but despite overwhelming evidence of corrupt and violent government forces, kidnapping, murders, non-fatal shootings, and other violent attacks on peaceful protestors,  the Nigerian government continues to downplay the issue. Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu claimed only one fatality in the massacre, and roughly 25 people wounded.

The #EndSARS movement has been amplified across social media, and prompted numerous protests around the globe Wednesday (Oct. 21). Also on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence and expressed condolences to the families of the bereaved. Guterres encouraged Nigerian authorities to investigate instances of police brutality and “hold the perpetrators accountable.” Guterres went on to urge security forces to “act with maximum restraint,” and encouraged protestors to remain peaceful.

“While the number of casualties of yesterday’s shooting at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos is still not clear, there is little doubt that this was a case of excessive use of force, resulting in unlawful killings with live ammunition, by Nigerian armed forces,” said UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet. “Reports that CCTV cameras and lighting were deliberately disabled prior to the shooting are even more disturbing as, if confirmed, they suggest this deplorable attack on peaceful protestors was premeditated, planned and coordinated.”

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Watch Viola Davis And Chadwick Boseman In Trailer For ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The two-minute clip released on Monday (Oct. 19), gives viewers a sneak peek at Chadwick Boseman’s final film role. The 43-year-old actor portrays the ambitious and outspoken trumpet player, Levee.

Viola Davis transforms into Ma Rainey in the Denzel Washington-produced film, centered around a 1927 Chicago recording sessions of “Mother of the Blues.”

Speaking during Monday’s press preview, Davis praised Boseman’s passion and commitment to his art. “Not to compete with Chadwick’s mother, but he was my baby. Chadwick was an artist. That is just what he was… he loved it, he demanded it in every single way. For someone so young it was incredible to watch,” said Davis.

“We are in the business, that a lot of times people have business conversations that masquerade themselves as artistic conversations. They don’t understand the difference between getting on set and demanding their vegan food being brought to them or their vegetarian dishes, or the dietary concerns, having that car ready,” she added. “ They don’t know the difference between that and making choices as an actor and getting down and dirty and doing the work and leaving your ego and your vanity at the door. He [Boseman] loved it. He demanded it. He demanded it in every single way.”

The film, Davis said, gives a window into “what Black life was like” in the '20s and ”how it was informing our relationships.”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom debuts on Netflix on Dec. 18.Check above for the trailer.

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