Rap mogul Russell Simmons has fired back at "do nothing negroes" who are refusing to let him move on from the mistake of sharing a parody sex tape video about African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on his YouTube.com page. The Def Jam Recordings co-founder removed the clip, which featured an actress as Tubman having sex with her white 'master', hours after it debuted last month (Aug13), and apologised for putting it up on All Def Digital in the first place after realising it had offended many people who saw it, including members of Tubman's family.
Taking to his GlobalGrind.com blog, he wrote, "I'm a very liberal person with thick skin. My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there's still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me.
"I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry."
But over a month later, he's still receiving hate mail about his error of judgment.
Appearing on America's The Arsenio Hall Show on Thursday (19Sep13), Simmons said, "I pulled it down and I didn't get any calls from any civil rights leaders or any people. They just said, 'We accept your apology,' because before they even knew about this, I had apologised.
"But a lot of these do-nothing negroes, they were very angry and kept talking, so it's been very tough for me... I wanna move past that."
Simmons reveals he's now hoping to make a movie about Harriett Tubman's life, adding, "(Actress) Viola Davis gave me this wonderful script."
I’m conflicted. You see, I am very much a Liz Lemon — an alarmist cynic, predisposed to think all social norms are backwards and detrimental, filled with a constantly regenerating contempt for our sluggish propagation of traditional gender roles. In less obnoxious terms: I hate things. Lots of ‘em. Mostly just because they’re there. I employ a Mallorian attitude when it comes to my derision. And Liz, bless her wonderful rule-loving, snack-scarfing, workaholic heart, is of the same variety. She’s diametrically opposed to everything that surrounds her, especially on the theme of women — Liz, since we met her in 30 Rock’s pilot oh so many years ago, has represented a voice against the ongoing subjugation of women in our society.
Highlighted with irony by the That Girl send-up playing behind her very first onscreen taking-a-stand moment (“Don’t buy all the hotdogs,” pleaded the good-hearted coward Pete), Tina Fey’s heroine was a stalwart contrast from the television leading ladies of past. She was uncouth, unpleasant, unbalanced — she wasn’t out to win anybody over. Liz would much rather be feared than loved, right than happy. And most of all — an endeavor with which many women in mainstream fiction still struggle — she wasn’t defined by anybody but herself. Throughout the years, we’ve seen embark upon many different styles of love: unrequited, toxic, almost-perfect-but-just-not-quite-because-Floyd-missed-Cleveland, and now with Criss, healthy… or at least that’s what we’re led to understand.
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See, I’ve always had difficulty engaging with Liz and Criss as a couple, mainly because their story has barely been told. We met Criss when he was already Liz’s boyfriend. We’ve seen them enjoy a pleasant, functional relationship. There haven’t been any dark dips or grand peaks. And as far as I’m concerned, the sort of gap-filling role that Criss is playing seems itself to be a little bit of a veer from 30 Rock’s Lemonistic plight. It should be just any good-looking nice guy worthy of Liz Lemon’s love. We should know that he has earned it — that he is truly the sort of interesting, unique, one-of-a-kind man that she deserves. And that, had it been striven for from the time the character was introduced, would make me happy.
No, actually, it wouldn’t. Because no matter what sort of man you give to Liz Lemon, I’d take issue with the suggestion that she needs a man to be happy. That the traditional romance society has always threatened to enforce upon her was any more a valid way to live than her standing lifestyle as a single workaholic kook. That becoming a wife and mother would be the conclusion Liz needed — she doesn’t need to be those things, and she shouldn’t need to want them.
But there is something that this week’s episode of 30 Rock aims to teach us: it’s okay if she does. For, we Lemonists, those who scowl at the mention of any social institute, have to admit the simple truth that propagating aversion to constructs like “traditional” marriage and family is just as bad as propagating favor of them. The only real victory is individuality. The idea that whatever you truly want — whether it is to work, raise a child, or both — is what you should feel free to pursue. On this week’s episode, Liz and Criss opt to get married in order to have a baby. They rush the whole thing, as Liz insists the idea of marriage, of a special wedding, of feeling like "a princess" as she puts it, is not important to her. She whisks Criss down to City Hall, nary of witnesses or fancy attire, only to endure a systematic breakdown at the idea that (here’s the kicker) a real wedding is important to her. She does want to feel special on her special day. It’s a sentiment she resents and suppresses until Criss explains to her that she has no reason to feel shame over it. It’s a simple human desire to which she is entitled.
Therein lies the conflict. On the one hand, the sentiment is true: a woman who values a nice, special wedding should not be made to feel a traitor to her sex. Everyone should be free to care about the things they care about. But an iota of me felt as though the revelation of Liz’s “secret wedding desires” might themselves have been a little traitorous to her character (a figurehead in the message that women should not be defined by ideals like these). All in all, it’s a matter of how you’re willing to look at the conclusion: as a step back, admitting that Liz does need to lapse into gender constructs to feel whole, or as two steps forward, explaining that Liz is defined in neither direction by her gender, and is empowered by everything she loves, cares about, and wants, because they are elements of her individuality alone. I have to admit, I was leaning toward the former for a while there.
But then, it overtook me: the final scene. Liz Lemon’s wedding. Still in City Hall, yes, and still a far leap of traditional. But it was special — the sort Liz realized she truly wanted. She had her best pal Jack by her side, tux and all, having made the 30-minute trip in ten (what a fine Mr. Wolf he’d be). She had Dennis Duffy, his intoxicated wife, and their newly adopted son Black Dennis there as witnesses (as an avid Dennis fan, this made me happy). She had hit Tracy with her taxicab while en route home to change. All of these details were fine and dandy, laughs and smiles, but nothing yet had warmed by lemony heart to completely welcoming the idea of Liz’s special day. Until… the dress.
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It would have to be the dress. An icon whose social-construct-gender-roles-blah-blah-nonsense stands unparalleled. The perfect wedding dress is an idea so potentially limiting that it could have, with the sensitive point of view detailed above, set Liz Lemon back to the days of I Dream of Jeannie.
But nobody gets married like Liz Lemon. For there in the City Hall-equivalent-of-a-matrimonial-aisle would stand Liz Lemon, draped in the only white thing she owns: her cherished Princess Leia costume, hair in buns and all. As she admitted giddily to Jack, “I’m finally a princess.” Yes, if you want to believe it undercuts a lot of what she has aimed to teach us over the years, you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to prove it. But if you’re like me — bitter and needlessly defiant… but begrudgingly softhearted when it comes down to it — then you can also just let yourself well up and smile here. She’s happy. And say what you will about what society has done to her: she’s still very much herself in this moment. She is wholly, faithfully, unabashedly, adorably, and admirably Elizabeth Miervaldis Lemon. Our only hope.
And although she never needed any man, could never be defined by anything but her own remarkable flavor, she has her Han Solo.
Also in this episode, John Hodgman attempts to enslave Jenna (accepting $2000 from Jack in return for her safety), and Tracy brushes his teeth when he realizes he’s not necessarily going to die in the immediate future. After that, he decides to produce Twofer’s screenplay about Harriet Tubman. And Kenneth says something about Hitler. Did that take away from the heartrendingly dramatic ending I wrote for the Liz Lemon story? I think it might have… do me a favor, go back and just read the whole Princess Leia/Han Solo part again, and stop after that. I want to go out on a moving note.
[Photo Credit: NBC (2)]
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The film stars joined author Judy Blume and singer Frankie Valli at the third annual New Jersey Hall of Fame celebration, which honours the Garden State's finest residents and natives.
Rocker Bruce Springsteen was on hand to pay tribute to DeVito, telling the crowd, "He has Jersey attitude pouring out of him, even when he is standing still. (His) persona exemplifies what it means to be one of us."
Springsteen and DeVito then teamed up to perform The Boss' Glory Days hit for an audience which included former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin and actor Joe Pesci.
Meanwhile, devout basketball fan Nicholson admitted he was missing a Los Angeles Lakers game to be at the ceremony, where he gushed about his love for the state, reports NJ.com.
He said, "I could sing the praises of New Jersey all night."
Past inductees have included Springsteen, author Toni Morrison and Harriet Tubman.
Billy Elliot, The Musical is leading the way at this year's Tony Awards after scooping 15 nominations -- tying with The Producers for the most nominations ever garnered by one show.
Click here for full coverage of the Tonys and all things Broadway!
The production, based on the 2000 film about a coal miner's son who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, will go up against Next To Normal, Shrek The Musical and Rock of Ages in the coveted Best Musical category at the 63rd annual ceremony, which honors the best on Broadway.
Elton John, who has been nominated for the show's original score, says of the nomination: "It's been an amazing experience. It's made an incredible impact on my life."
The drama 33 Variations was nominated for Best Play, competing against God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate and Reasons to be Pretty.
Meanwhile, Hollywood actors James Gandolfini and Jeff Daniels, who both star in God of Carnage, have been pitted against each other for the Leading Actor in a Play award.
Their co-stars Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis will battle it out in the Leading Actress in a Play category, which also includes veteran actress Jane Fonda for her role as a dying musicologist in 33 Variations.
The winners will be announced on June 7 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
Dividing the Estate - Horton Foote
God of Carnage - Yasmina Reza
Reasons to be Pretty - Neil LaBute
33 Variations - Moises Kaufman
Next to Normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical
Leading Actor in a Play:
Jeff Daniels - God of Carnage
Raul Esparza - Speed-the-Plow
James Gandolfini - God of Carnage
Geoffrey Rush - Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski - Reasons to be Pretty
Leading Actress in a Play:
Hope Davis - God of Carnage
Jane Fonda - 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden - God of Carnage
Janet McTeer - Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter - Mary Stuart
Leading Actor in a Musical:
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish - Billy Elliot
Gavin Creel - Hair
Brian d'Arcy James - Shrek the Musical
Constantine Maroulis - Rock of Ages
J. Robert Spencer - Next to Normal
Leading Actress in a Musical:
Stockard Channing - Pal Joey
Sutton Foster - Shrek the Musical
Allison Janney - 9 to 5
Alice Ripley - Next to Normal
Josefina Scaglione - West Side Story
Next to Normal
9 to 5
Shrek the Musical
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Elderly Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins) who once served under the great Alexander (Colin Farrell) narrates the life story of the man the myth the legend--the son of the ambitious King Philip (Val Kilmer) who surpassed his father at every level and charged into the farthest reaches of the world. From early childhood in Macedonia we see where Alexander gets his drive--mostly from his vengeful snake-lovin' mother Olympias (Angelina Jolie) who urges her son to take charge as well from his tutor Aristotle (Christopher Plummer). Even in the taming of his unbreakable horse Bucephalas at 10 years old Alexander's destiny is evident. The heart of the film lies in Persia which Alexander conquers in one of the most studied military battles of all time. Alexander spends a great deal of time there--taking in the culture claiming its riches and marrying a Bactrian princess Roxane (Rosario Dawson)--much to the chagrin of his Macedonian generals who are stuck in this foreign land with their king. Despite this success Alexander grows restless and turns his attention to the rest of the world including the unexplored regions of India. With his army stretched thin and his Macedonian troops longing for home Alexander presses them one campaign too far. Succumbing to a mysterious illness at age 33 Alexander dies never quite finding what he so desperately searched for.
Although some may scoff at casting the Irish actor in the lead Farrell does an admirable job playing the tortured hero blond wig and all. He exudes plenty of wide-eyed fury and intensity as Alexander the warrior balanced by the controlled calculation of a hyper-effective military commander although he isn't nearly as effective as the idealistic pre-world-conqueror Alexander as he is spiraling down into the haunted angst-ridden Alexander at the end of his obsessive crusade. Casting Jolie as Olympias is a stroke of genius. Sure Jolie can play a smart and beautiful woman in her sleep but her beauty is surpassed only by the power she imbues as Alexander's bitter yet loving mother; she's as hypnotic as the snakes she carries around. Kilmer relishes his role as Alexander's father Philip in all of his grotesque wine-soaked glory. Powerful driven and battle-scarred Kilmer's Philip knows precisely what he wants and matches Jolie's quiet intensity with the raw aggressive masculinity of a warrior king who is far more comfortable in his armor than a toga. In the supporting roles Hopkins is great as always this time in the thankless role of the narrator while Dawson plays Roxane with a ferocity that is as mesmerizing as it is terrifying. Standout Jared Leto also turns in a concentrated performance as Hephaestion Alexander's long-time companion boyhood friend and the person who loves Alexander the best. (And we do mean love.)
Alexander is Oliver Stone at his best. An Alexander nut for most of his life the director gives us a film that--even in its loooong three-hour form--continuously holds your attention especially its intense and bloody battle scenes. I mean honestly once you've fought against an elephant in armor the plain old sword-and-shield skirmishes pale in comparison. Alexander also possesses a great breadth of visuals: Alexandria's peace Pella's tension Babylon's opulence and India's richness. Yet as wonderful as the landscapes are it's personal interactions and internal politics that drive the story--and of course Stone's penchant for conspiracy theories as he more than insinuates Alexander was poisoned by his enemies rather than dying of an "unknown" illness. But a problem still remains: Alexander's life was so huge and he did so much that it's almost impossible to encapsulate it effectively into one film. Stone instead has to focus on what he thinks is the most important namely Alexander's renowned conquests while allowing the pressure cooker in which the young conqueror grew up--the triangle of mother father and son--come through in the decisions he makes later in life. For those few of us who have studied Alexander Stone has made this film especially for us. If you haven't spent any time reading Arrian and the other histories this excellent film might just inspire you to do so.
As Love Actually begins we are told that perhaps the world isn't such a dire and hateful place that "love actually is all around." Around London anyway. The film explores no less than seven different romantic scenarios within the bustling British capital--all of which interconnect and eventually resolve on Christmas Eve. There's the newly elected dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is smitten with his secretary the earthy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); Karen (Emma Thompson) whose husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has strayed with his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch); Sarah (Laura Linney) the American wallflower who has a crush on her colleague Carl (Rodrigo Santoro); Jamie (Colin Firth) who falls for his pretty Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)…there are lots more but you get the gist. As love goes things may not get tied up neatly in brightly colored packages for everyone but there's still enough good cheer to spread around.
Showcasing some of Britain's finest actors Love Actually doesn't have a bad banana in the bunch. Floppy-haired Hugh Grant turns in an endearing performance and proves there isn't a romantic comedy he can't handle. He has an uncanny knack for connecting with any actress he happens to be romancing; in this case it's the adorable McCutcheon best known for the hit British TV drama EastEnders. Rickman and Thompson are quite good as the couple whose long-term marriage is beginning to crack; Thompson especially does a nice job trying to hide her pain while being a happy mom. Linney too shines as Sarah who glows with excitement when she finally gets what she so ardently wished for. Veteran stage and film actor Bill Nighy (Underworld) however steals the show as a carefree aging rock star desperate for a comeback. His Billy Mack smacks of Mick Jagger Keith Richards and Rod Stewart all rolled into one.
"I'm worried that we don't have the word 'massacre' in the title " writer/director Richard Curtis fretted to Entertainment Weekly referring to how horror-loving American audiences might not take to his new romantic comedy that is already a huge hit in Britain. True perhaps a romantic comedy starring a multitude of A-list British actors might not bring in the required masses. But who cares about the money (did I just say that)? Curtis who has written some of the best romantic comedies of the last decade including Four Weddings and a Funeral Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary steps behind the camera for the first time here and is able to give each story a unique point of view from the lovesick to the wacky. There actually may be too many stories in Love Actually but it's a small gaffe. Love Actually is a refreshing good old fashioned warm and gushy movie that takes your mind off the bad things for the holiday season and Curtis should feel confident about his directing debut.