While some are still hung up on Rihanna‘s personal life, as if they’re somehow involved, Mary J. Blige is giving her praise. MJB covers the latest issue of Vibe magazine, and had nothing but supportive words for the Bajan beauty. When asked of her feelings on the route that the R&B game has gone down (wait, is Rihanna R&B?), the New York native showed loved to America‘s favorite Rude Girl.“Maybe in 2012, in the middle, I was like, ‘What is going on? What is this? Things got worse before they got better. I think things are going in the right direction,” she said. “I am so proud of what Rihanna is doing. She is speaking to her generation, and she’s living her life in front of them. I don’t even think she’s purposely doing it. She’s such a beautiful girl, and I don’t think she knows she’s that beautiful. “They give her a hard time because she’s living her life. As long as she’s having fun and isn’t three minutes away from wanting to shoot herself, good! I want her to be happy.” In the male category, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul singled out Drake for his R&B efforts (guess he’s an R&B artists as well). Agree or disagree with Rihanna and her relationship with Chris Brown–which again has nothing to do with anyone but the two people involved–it’s good to hear Blige showing love to the new school.
Mary J. Blige was the special honoree at the Vibe magazine Impact Awards in Los Angeles Friday (Feb. 8). Blige was singled out for her longstanding music career as well as relationship with the publication, of which she has been on the cover of 10 times. Diddy, Queen Latifah, Big Sean and Jermaine Durpi were some of Blige’s industry friends who showed up to give her their support. A tribute video, featuring others close Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, was played at the ceremony. Oprah, Keri Hilson, Big Sean, Common, T.I., Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Anita Baker shared qualities that they love about Blige during the recording. Baker also spoke at the ceremony, crediting Blige with some of her career success. The night was also a celebration of Vibe magazine’s 20 years in the game, and kicked off a year-long list of similar events. For the last two decades, Vibe has worked its way to become one of the most successful brand names in Hip-Hop by staying on the cutting edge with its content. Malibu RED and Sole Impact sponsored the awards show, while guests dined on a three course meal, and complementary drinks from the company. Nick Cannon acted as DJ for the Impact Awards after party, which was attended by Prince, MC Lyte, Too $hort and more. See photos below.
Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), was reportedly arrested by the FBI today. The son of the late Civil Rights activist‘s second daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, was en route to Iran when he was taken into custody.
Iran’s television network, Press TV, reports:
Muslim civil activist Malcolm Shabazz was reportedly arrested before starting his scheduled visit to Tehran to attend a conference on Hollywoodism, sources outside the United States confirmed on Monday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to provide any information about his whereabouts. Tehran hosted the third Hollywoodism International Conference, on the sidelines of the 31st Fajr International Film Festival in the Iranian capital Tehran on Sunday. Many filmmakers, directors, actors, and movie critics as well as politicians and economists took part in the conference.
In 1997, it was Malcolm Shabazz who infamously started the fire in the home of his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, that caused her death. He was just 12-years-old at the time of the incident and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility after pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson. However, he would be in and out of jail (he was arrested for robbery and burglary in 2002) until his parole in 2006. Since his release, he has become and activist. Coincidentally, a film called Betty And Coretta starring Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige as Coretta Scott King (wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Betty Shabazz, respectively, aired this past weekend on the Lifetime network.
February 21 will be the 48th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination.
Seven Arts Music and United Media and Music Group will release Nate Dogg‘s last album in 2013. Nate Dogg’s final studio album Nate Dogg: It’s A Wonderful Life has been announced for release in the first half of 2013. According to AHH, the late crooner’s last LP will be released through Seven Arts Music and United Media and Music Group. The LP will feature unreleased material from Nate as well as contributions from Eminem, Dr. Dre,Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z. Nate’s most recent studio release was Nate Dogg, released on Elektra in 2003. For the project, he collaborated with Redman, Fabolous, Snoop Dogg,Xzibit and more.
The oft-delayed Nina Simon biopic is set to begin shooting this week and has added Mike Epps to the cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor-comedian will play Richard Pryoralongside Zoe Saldana, who will play the legendary singer and activist.
Saldana’s casting has been the subject of controversy in recent months amid claims that both her appearance and perspective are counter to that of Simone’s. Before Saldana joined Nina, the role had originally been given to Mary J. Blige. As for Epps, he had long wanted to play the iconic comedian and was close to in a separate biopic although that role was ultimately awarded to Marlon Wayans. That project, too, has faced several years of delays.
As for Epps’ function in the upcoming, Nina, THR reports:
In a supporting role, Epps will play Pryor, who opened for the singer when they two were starting out in the early 1960s. Pryor had terrible stage fright and Simone, in her autobiography, recalled how she regularly rocked him into calmness.
Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones are producing the movie, which starts shooting this week in Los Angeles. Ealing Studios is behind the movie and handling foreign sales.