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Oprah Winfrey: Opportunist or Changed Heart?

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Oprah Winfrey has been called out after arranging an interview with Ava DuVernay and The Exonerated Five. Labeled an opportunist hypocrite, social media users were quick to remind Winfrey she has dirty hands. The once revered “Queen of All Media” was a part of the firestorm that vilified the young boys in the press.

It requires a certain level of maneuvering and comfort with exploitation to make gains in hoarding such wealth. When the tactics used in financial moves are often employed in all facets of their lives, billionaires never amass their wealth unsullied. We would be remiss to believe that Oprah Winfrey would be exempt from that cutthroat behavior and curious to see that ways it has snaked through her life. Having once supported the arrest of the five Black and Latino boys that were snatched from Harlem and convicted of the rape of a White woman in Central Park, Oprah has changed her stance. But this recent outpouring of support has left millions wondering if Oprah has an ulterior motive.

Interviewing The Central Park Jogger

In 2002, the April edition of O, The Oprah Magazine, featured an interview with none other than the Central Park Jogger herself. Assaulted in 1989, the investment banker who experienced the brutality of a serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes recounted the attack with Oprah. Shocked by her remarkable recovery, Oprah could not believe what the jogger had to say about how she came to terms with what she endured.

Central Park Jogger: “After reflecting on how amazing my recovery was, I thought, “There’s got to be something else going on here.” Another thing that may have helped my healing was that I didn’t harbor resentment toward the boys who attacked me.”

Oprah: “That seems impossible to me. I harbor resentment – and I just read about it in the paper.”

O, The Oprah Magazine, April 2002

If this interview had taken place in the months immediately following the trial and unjust conviction of the now Exonerated Five, it would be almost understandable. However, Oprah expresses that she was actively harboring resentment toward McCray, Richardson, Salaam, Santana, and Wise in 2002, just eight months before they would be exonerated. Oprah went on, repeating the details of the jogger’s assault, almost in an effort to convince her to be outraged, yet the survivor maintained her stance.

Central Park Jogger: “I focused on all the positives. And I realized I has seen both the best and the worst of humanity.”

Oprah: “After you were raped, sodomized, beaten with a pipe, dragged, and left for dead, you can honestly say you looked at those boys in the courtroom and harbored no resentment?”

Central Park Jogger: “Right.”

O, The Oprah Magazine, April 2002

Righting Wrongs?

So why, after holding such anger and resentment, would Oprah executive produce the Netflix limited series When They See Us? Calling her endorsement disingenuous, Oprah’s detractors say she’s just riding a wave. After being complicit in spreading malicious information surrounding the case, Oprah has suddenly decided to focus on the truth. But, until she owns her part in preaching the false narrative of The Exonerated Five’s guilt, many are unwilling to hear her speak. The pseudo-revolutionary act of amplifying the voices of the downtrodden 30 years after the damage has already been done is not worthy of applause.

Food for thought: Because people with wealth view each other with a different lense, is it possible Oprah’s change of heart is influenced by the net worth of The Exonerated Five? Does her decision to find value in their lives stem from their vindication and million-dollar payout for the gross injustice? Or has she just latched on because supporting the marginalized is “in” right now?

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Uncle Snoop Get Your Apology to Ari Lennox Ready

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Apparently, everyone’s favorite uncle likes apologizing. Fresh off of his apology tour for his controversial comments towards broadcast journalists Gayle King,  Snoop Dogg decided to comment on Ari Lennox’s Instagram live to instruct her to “grow your own hair.”

Yesterday, the Dreamville songbird took to Instagram Live in true Ari fashion to document her trying on a new lace front wig.  Not known for wearing wigs, she struggled with figuring out how much lace to cut and securing the hair as she entertained her followers with hilarious gestures and commentary.  

Eventually, a snippet of the video ended up on The Shade Room for everyone’s viewing pleasure.  

Moments later, Snoop was unnecessarily commenting under the video.

In no time, women were coming to Ari’s defense, reminding the legendary rapper that his wife and daughter are no strangers to wigs. 

You’d think men would know to leave their opinions to themselves when it comes to women’s hair, especially black women, but clearly, Uncle Snoop forgot to read that particular memo. 

Once Ari caught wind of Snoop’s comments, she delivered a lovely little shade tree, posting a photo of Snoop wearing a blonde wig with the caption, “Uncle I just…I just thought we had an understanding….”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-c0mCKh9-E/

Following the backlash that he’s currently receiving, I can already envision the apology that’s sure to follow.  Perhaps someone should remind Uncle Snoop that the best apology is changed behavior…

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DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands

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Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.

Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden. 

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I never would’ve imagined that the best party I would create and DJ would be from the comfort of my own home. Homeschool is a thing! Yesterday was absolutely insane. The amount of artists and friends that virtually partied with me far exceeded my expectations. I’m feeling nothing but gratitude. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Thanks to all of you that supported. This has been a great way to keep our spirits high. Blessings! Sending some love to my family. Shout out to all of my industry execs! Much love to all of the artists! JLo, Drake, Naomi Campbell, De La Soul, Black Thought, Diddy, Bun B., Keri Hilson, Will Packer, Gabrielle Union, H.E.R., America Ferrara, Donnie Wahlberg, Uncle Luke, Russell Simmons, Dapper Dan, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, T.I., Kelly Rowland, Common, Lance Gross, Queen Latifah, DJ Clark Kent, Rich Medina, DJ Tony Touch, Stretch Armstrong, Traci Ellis Ross, Ne-Yo, Usher, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, NO I.D., Yvette Noel Schure, Erykah Badu, Fat Joe, Jay Electronica, PNB Rock, Nile Rogers, Fonzworth Bentley, Marisa Tomei, Michelle Williams, Victor Cruz, Karruenche Tran, Ciara, Daymond John, Angie Martinez, Groove Theory’s Bryce, Tank, Cam’ron, Ludacris, Fabolous, Dorian Missick, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tasha Smith, Jadakiss, Kwamé, Chris Spencer, Royale Watkins, Estelle, Bresha Webb, Jermaine Dupri, Vanessa Williams, DJ Aktive, Lee Daniels, Affion Crockett, MC Lyte, Ro James, D-Dot Angelette, Kenny Burns, Tika Sumpter, Marlon Wayans, Lauren London, Loni Love, Dallas Austin, June Ambrose, April Walker, Just Blaze, Kangol Kid from UTFO, Omar Epps, Keisha Epps, Roland Martin, Big Tigger, DJ Trauma, Lil Jon, Dule Hill, Jazmyn Simon, DJ Cassidy, Marsai Martin, Lance Gross, Anthony Hamilton, Young Guru, Lalah Hathaway, Carl Payne, Damien Hall, Denyce Lawton, Lennox Lewis, Niecy Nash, Mashonda, Erick Sermon, Jairobi, DJ Envy, DJ Enuff, Miles Brown, Lamann Rucker, Mark Brown, DJ VLuv, and more. Wow! #DNiceHomeschool #DNicePhotography #SelfPortrait.

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During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room. 

“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”

While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected. 

Artwork by @chuckstyless

We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that! 

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Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults

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It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden. 

Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”

In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.

Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”

Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:

The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.

Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.

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