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‘Harriet’ Director Kasi Lemmons Overlooked Cynthia Erivo Criticism for the Sake of Art

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Cynthia Erivo was hardly anyone’s first choice to assume the role of Black American icon Harriet Tubman. Yet, she was cast as the legend herself despite her reputation for disparaging remarks toward the Black American community. For the creation of “a piece of art”, Kasi Lemmons ignored the overwhelming criticisms facing Erivo. Now, the two are on a press tour struggling to save the film’s image.

Citing uncertainty of why Erivo’s backlash is so severe, Lemmons is naively claiming it’s because “she’s a woman.” Referencing other films like 12 Years A Slave and Selma, where British actors have held esteemed roles, Lemmons is overlooking the fact that the actors’ cast did not disrespect the Black American community while aspiring to portray one. Believing Cynthia Erivo was perfect for the part, Lemmons said despite understanding the criticism, she was more concerned with casting someone who would “inhabit the role.” Going so far as to say arguments against Erivo’s portrayal are “very unpleasant and ugly nationalistic” sentiments, Lemmons asserted the role belonged to her. Erivo has spoken out in her own defense several times. However, her attempts to clear the air have been called disingenuous.

Erivo recently stated in an interview with Variety that she knows she “hasn’t said anything that is derogatory toward any race.” She insists the screenshots against her are out of context to make her statements look demeaning. While acknowledging her comments were insensitive, Erivo understands people are still unsatisfied despite having “apologized, explained” and “displayed my intent.” The continued backlash led Lemmons to say despite her understanding of the importance of who gets to “bear the culture” Black Americans are “not seeing the forest for the damn trees.”

Lemmons felt Erivo’s casting was more appropriate because she is a brown-skinned Black woman with “recent ancestors that are West African”. Citing Tubman’s own lineage of being two generations removed from West Africa, Lemmons called the casting “beautiful.” However, she inadvertently used the very same ugly nationalistic sentiments she accuses Erivo’s detractors of wielding. Had a Black American been cast for the role, their ability to encapsulate the strength and resilience of Harriet Tubman would not be lost because of their diasporic experience.

With Harriet set to release November 1st, will you be watching in light of Erivo’s and Lemmons’ comments?

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Zaena x Jason Maek Pay Homage To ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ In “TikTok” Music Video

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In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the cult-classic show ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’, Chicago hip-hop duo Zaena x Jason Maek travel back in time for their new music video “TIkTok”. The self-directed adaptation features cameos from Danielle Cohn, Joey Klaasen, and 18 of your favorite TikTok stars with a combined reach of over 100 million followers.

The video highlights moments from the original show, including The Fresh Prince spinning on the throne, shooting some b-ball outside the school, and being chased by his grandmother. The 2 ½ -minute-long project is the largest collaboration between TikTok content creators. Appearances include Danielle Cohn, Joey Klaasen, Jiffpom, Enochtrue, Jasmine Gonzalez, Jake Maldonado, Ryan Shakes, Zayla Shakes, Tyler Brown, Justin Blake, Adam Sheey, Oliver Moy, Marcus Olin, Beasteater, Ayypatrick, Nicki Baber, Alex Holem, Damian K, and Harlem Globetrotter Crissa Ace.

Zaena x Jason Maek have a history of creating hilarious music videos. Putting a spin on ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ was a no-brainer for the duo.

“The Fresh Prince is my favorite show of all-time,” said Zaena. “We wanted to bring it to life for a new generation using faces they would recognize. Our goal was to recreate everything from the extended intro, including the airplane scene that was cut out later. There is a little ‘Parents Don’t Understand’ in there also.”

According to Jason Maek, “We had so much fun on set with everyone. We flew everyone out to Chicago and got the video done in two days. It was an ambitious project, but we wanted to kick the new year off right with something refreshing.”

There are also a few other key moments to spot. Athletic brand Wilson premiered their Fresh Prince inspired basketball in the video. MVMT watches and Vita Coco also debut new products in various scenes.

“TikTok” is the first single from Zaena x Jason Maek since completing their sold-out tour titled “The Freshman Tour”. The track is available on YouTube, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms.

For more on Zaena x Jason Maek visit:

www.instagram.com/zaenaworld

www.instagram.com/jasonmaek

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“Cardi B for Congress” Has Conservative Twitter PRESSED!

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Cardi B is contemplating a run for office according to a series of tweets published this past Sunday, January 12. Unsurprisingly enough, she is already battling hate from all across the aisle. 

“I think I want to be a politician. I really love government even tho I don’t agree with Government (sic),” the New York rapper said in a series of tweets. “Like I was watching war documentaries. No matter how many weapons a country have you need people! How are you trying to go against a country and possibly start a war when this country lacks patriotism? I barely see people claiming the LOVE being American.”

 

The rapper then went on to say she will have to explain more at a later date, possibly in a video. After publicly endorsing Vermont Senator and progressive Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2019, Cardi was lauded for showing us the “woke” side of her image. 

On Tuesday, the rapper found herself in numerous Twitter spats, especially with right-wing accounts. Mindy Robinson, a conservative political pundit, commented on Cardi’s post with several drawn-in grammatical corrections. Despite Cardi admitting on Sunday that she would need more schooling before she could seriously enter politics, Robinson ended her tweet with “you need more than that.” In a later comment, she declared that her “cat is more qualified to run for Congress than Cardi B.”

 

Cardi, whose given name is Belacalis Almánzar, is no stranger to Twitter beef and quickly had an answer for Robinson. “Leave me alone. I didn’t insulted your party or your believes so please don’t try me and let’s keep sweet OK….don’t want to dog walk you,” she replied before unleashing a savage string of jabs toward the internet personality. 

 

While a dog walk sounds like a peaceful way to spend quality time with your beloved pooch, for Cardi, it is a serious threat – one we’ve heard before. You will recall in January of 2019 she warned Tomi Lahren, another conservative pundit, to leave her alone, lest she gets dog walked. Just as in the feud with Robinson, Cardi was minding her own business on social media Tomi Lahren attacked her for her views. Her comments lit a fire in the rapper and the two engaged in a back and forth lasting several hours. 

 

Obviously Robinson did not get the message a year ago that Cardi B has the time to argue with internet trolls because she found herself in the same predicament as Lahren did – potentially discovering what it’s like to “dog walk” with Cardi. 

 

Check out the best of both feuds below and let us know what you think.

 

Cardi B vs. Tomi Lahren

 

Cardi B vs. Mindy Robinson

 

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NeNe, BScott & Snake Gate

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