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We Need to Confront Kobe’s Troubling Legacy

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How do we navigate respecting the legacy of deceased public figures while acknowledging some truly unsettling aspects of their lives? That is the question many find themselves asking as the nation still grapples with the sudden death of former NBA player and basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. 

Following the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others, the world saw men like Lebron James, Doc Rivers, and Tracy McGrady brought to tears over the accident. For hours Kobe was the number one trending topic on Twitter with heartfelt messages pouring in from all across the globe, but as the memories came in, many remembered the rape case of 2003 that divided his fans and forever complicated his legacy.

That year, he was charged with felony sexual assault following a 19-year-old woman’s accusation of a nonconsensual encounter between the two at a Colorado hotel. Initially, Bryant denied having any sexual contact with the woman, but as the case evolved, he eventually admitted to “the mistake of adultery” at a highly publicized press conference.

The District Attorney for his case said at the time, “it is alleged that he caused sexual penetration or intrusion, and he caused the submission of the victim through actual physical force.” While Bryant stuck with his first story of “nothing happened,” the victim has his semen inside her, vaginal lacerations, and bruising. Only when his attorney, who relentlessly shamed the woman, informed him of the evidence, did the basketball star admit having had contact with her. As a result of the brutal attacks not only by the attorney but also by the media, the victim stopped cooperating with police and refused to testify at trial causing the criminal case to be dropped. She later won a civil suit against Bryant. 

Many on the internet reminded the world of this troubling time in Kobe’s life. Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted a link to the 2016 article titled “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession” before being placed on suspension by the news outlet. Others declined to mourn Kobe’s death at all citing a sense of duty to the woman and to sexual assault victims everywhere.

Of course, death threats were hurled and comments of “it’s too soon” were inserted into the conversation. However, as the country still tries to make sense of his death, it is entirely appropriate to review his life as he himself chose to live it for the good and the bad. One reporter aptly said, “Nobody is telling you how to mourn or that you can’t feel sorry for the fact that he died or that it was a tragedy, because it is. But that should not therefore dictate the way others choose to remember him or what we want to say about his death.”

Those who loved Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly continue to grieve their loss, but can they reconcile doing so at the cost of the victim?

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Amanda Seales is Not the One

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Earlier this week, the ladies of “The Real” celebrated their 1,000th episode. Hosts Loni Love, Tamera Mowry, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai, and Amanda Seales happily celebrated the momentous occasion with laughs, tears and a bottle of champagne. 

The celebration continued as the ladies were interviewed by “Extra” correspondent Jenn Lahmers.

During the interview, things became a bit awkward when Lahmers referred to Seales as the “newbie” and began to insinuate that she and fellow co-host, Mai, had “butted heads on a couple of topics.”

Immediately, Seales cut her off saying, “Have we? Stop!” She followed that up by stating emphatically, “That’s’ not the territory we’re coming from. We’re not butting heads. And I think it’s very, very important, especially at a table of diverse women to very clearly delineate the difference between having a difference of opinion than butting heads. You’ll know when I’m butting heads because when I butt heads, there’s only going to be one head standing and as you can see, we’re still here,” as she embraced Mai.

Mai and Seales followed up the quick read with a toast as the other ladies chimed in, fully supporting everything Seales had expressed. 

Earlier today, Seales posted a snippet of the exchange via her personal Instagram page with the caption, “To Gather.

She tried it. Don’t come for me unless I send for you. I am not hostile. I’m passionate. Happy Black History Month ❤️✊🏽”

Seales made her debut as the newest co-host of “The Real” on January 6th.

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Watch Premiere of Fat Joe & Dre’s “Hands on You” Ft. Bryson Tiller & Jeremih Exclusively on TIDAL

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Today, Fat Joe & Dre are teaming up with TIDAL to exclusively release the music video for “Hands on You” featuring Bryson Tiller and Jeremih. The song is the latest single from the duo’s joint album, “Family Ties,” which was released in December 2019 and included guest appearances from Cardi B, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Remy Ma, Anuel AA, Ty Dolla $ign.

Boi-1da and Rich Paul (LeBron James’ business partner) co-produced “Hands on You”, which features Joe and Dre rhyming over a sample of LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl.” Directed by entrepreneur and executive Irv Gotti, the music video takes place at LIV nightclub in Miami and includes a touching tribute to Big Pun, Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant.

 TIDAL members can watch on TIDAL.com/FatJoe

Fat Joe has previously collaborated with TIDAL on a variety of initiatives, including TIDAL X: Puerto Rico and TIDAL X: Brooklyn, as well as music video premieres for “Deep,” “Pullin,” “Money Showers,” and more. 

The premiere of Fat Joe & Dre’s “Hands on You” track adds to the growing list of exclusive music video content that TIDAL offers – cementing the platform as a premium destination for fans to connect with their favorite musicians. TIDAL is a pioneer in delivering exclusive premier access to its subscribers with high-profile music, videos, original content, livestreams, tickets, merchandise and live experiences fans cannot find anywhere else.

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SZA, Megan Thee Stallion and Normani on the Cover of Rolling Stone’s Women Shaping the Future Issue

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Rolling Stone magazine hit us with a trifecta of talent for their second annual, Women Shaping the Future issue, out March 3. 

On the cover, sweet-faced Normani, brash in your face Megan Thee Stallion and innocent, doe-eyed SZA are each clad in leather ensembles that match the unique persona’s we’ve come to love. 

SZA burst onto the scene in 2014 with her ep debut, Z. Since then, the singer/songwriter has been featured on chart-topping songs with Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and Rihanna. 

Megan Thee Stallion grabbed our attention with her summer anthem, Hot Girl Summer, and has been giving us “Hot Girl” vibes all year long with no signs of slowing down.

As for Normani, formerly a member of Fifth Harmony, she’s given us plenty to celebrate as she embarked on her solo career. Just last year, the sultry vocalist collaborated with DJ Calvin Harris and released her first single, Motivation, along with a viral music video.

As we approach Women’s History Month, we’re excited to learn more about how each of these ladies plans to shape the future. 

According to Rolling Stone, “In addition to revealing, in-depth profiles of these three artists, the issue also contains exclusive interviews with Regina King, Stacey Abrams, Natasha Lyonne, and other prominent women in entertainment, sports, politics, and culture.”

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