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Chris Rock Chosen to be First Live Performer on Netflix

Chris Rock

Chris Rock is going where no comedian has gone before — live on Netflix.

The streaming giant made the announcement Thursday on Twitter.

"Chris Rock is about to make history as the first artist to perform LIVE on Netflix!" the network posted on its official account, alongside a picture of Rock with a goat. "The legendary comedian, writer, director, and actor’s newest comedy special will premiere live — globally — in early 2023 on Netflix!"

Netflix’s vice president of stand-up and comedy formats, Robbie Praw, elaborated on why Rock — who is currently on the road for his Ego Death World Tour — was chosen for the honor in a statement released by the company.

"Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation,” Praw said. “We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”

The appearance will mark the second time Rock has done a stand-up special for the network. In 2018, he made his Netflix debut with “Chris Rock: Tamborine."

Snoop Dogg Biopic in Development at Universal Pictures

Courtesy Death Row Pictures 

Snoop Dogg is ready for his close-up.

Universal Pictures announced that the gangster-rapper from Long Beach, CA, turned unlikely lifestyle guru and renaissance man, is getting his own biopic.

The studio behind 2015’s Oscar-nominated “Straight Outta Compton” about legendary hip-hop group NWA — which grossed over $200 million and is considered of the most successful musical biopics ever — shared the news on Wednesday (Nov. 10).

"What's his name? Snoop Dooogggyyy Doooooggg," Universal Pictures tweeted. "That's right, we're partnering with the Dogg Father himself @SnoopDogg to bring his legendary life-story to the big screen."

The revelation was followed by a statement from the 51-year-old rapper, born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, confirming the collaboration.

“I waited a long time to put this project together because I wanted to choose the right director, the perfect writer, and the greatest movie company I could partner with that could understand the legacy that I’m trying to portray on screen, and the memory I’m trying to leave behind,” Snoop said. “It was the perfect marriage. It was holy matrimony, not holy macaroni.”

With a script by Joe Robert Cole, who co-wrote the two “Black Panther” films, and directed by Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society”), the film will be the first project under his newly formed Death Row Pictures imprint. He will also serve as a producer on the film along with Sara Ramaker.

“Snoop Dogg is one of the most internationally beloved figures in Hip Hop. There’s just something about his energy that brings people of all walks of life together. Snoop Dogg, not just the artist, but the man and his brand, has transcended generations with his connection and appeal to audiences." Hughes added, “His story is so authentic and utterly inspiring, and to have the opportunity to tell his story allows me to go back to the hood 30 years after Menace II Society, and say more now than I could then.”

The film will have an abundance of material to draw from.

A key player on the West Coast rap scene after his discovery by Dr. Dre in 1992 which led to him being featured on the former NWA members classic solo debut album “The Chronic,” Snoop Dogg has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.

He has appeared on television and in the movies and managed a successful career as a brand ambassador and lifetime guru, even partnering up with style icon Martha Stewart along the way.

His career has not been without controversy, however, including one that threatened to end his career before it began.

In 1993, the year his now classic debut album “Doggystyle” entered the charts, he was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting of Philip Woldermariam, a rival gang member.

Represented by legal wunderkind Johnnie Cochran, who helped secure OJ Simpson’s not guilty verdict the year before, it was determined that Snoop’s bodyguard pulled the trigger in the fatal shooting.

The drama was documented in the most popular single from “Doggystyle,” “Murder Was the Case.” The song, nor the short film that accompanied it, proved favorable for him at trial. They did help the album become the fastest-selling hip-hop album ever at the time. "Doggystyle" sold over 11 million copies worldwide.

Celebration of Life for Takeoff to Be Held in Atlanta on Friday

A celebration of life will be held for Takeoff in Atlanta on Friday. 

Friends and fans of Takeoff, the Migos rapper shot and killed outside a downtown bowling alley in Houston last week at the age of 28, will have one last chance to celebrate his life.

Quality Control Music and Motown Records have announced that on Friday at noon in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, an event will be held to honor the artist, born Kirsnick Khari Ball, and allow fans to pay their respects to the superstar and his family.

“Takeoff was one of the most influential names in modern music whose creativity left a profound impact on music and culture as we know it today,” read a release from the labels. “The cherished Quality Control/Motown superstar was a part of the supergroup Migos and was a beloved son, grandson, brother, nephew and friend to so many.”

Free tickets to the event were available to Georgia residents on its website. As of this morning (Nov. 9), however, all were accounted for. Organizers are urging those without tickets not to come downtown.

Instead, those wanting to honor Ball can donate to The Rocket Foundation. It was established recently in his honor to support programs attempting to save lives through proven, community-based solutions to prevent gun violence like that which took his life.

No arrests have been made in the shooting, which also wounded another man and woman.

Rapper Hurricane G, First Female Hit Squad Member, Dead at 52

Hurricane G in a screengrab from her video for "Somebody Else." 

Trailblazing rapper Hurricane G is dead at 52.

Hip-hop legend Erick Sermon, who shared a daughter with her, of EPMD confirmed the news on Sunday. 

“My heart is hardened today. One of my good friends… my oldest daughters mother passed away today,” Sermon wrote on Instagram in a touching tribute.

He added that Hurricane G, born Gloria Rodríguez, was "a legend in her own right in the Hiphop community."

"She rapped with me. @redmangilla she paved the way," Sermon said.

The Brooklyn native never forgot her roots. She performed in both English and Spanish throughout a career spanning 30 years.

She was the first female member of Hit Squad — the hip-hop collective originally formed by Sermon and his partner-in-rhyme with EPMD, Parrish Smith, in the 1990s. Hurricane G made her mark on the loaded roster which included future icons Redman and Das EFX.

Her career as a solo artist peaked in 1997 with the release of "Somebody Else." The single, from her debut album "All Woman," charted at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart.

Her impact went far beyond her own music, though, through collaborations over the years with several prominent artists, including Redman, Xzibit and Diddy.

Hurricane G's appearance on Redman's 1992 hit "Tonight’s da Night" was her big break in the industry. She also was featured on tracks with Keith Murray, Delinquent Habits, Funkdoobiest and the Cocoa Brovaz.

In 1999, she was featured on the track "P.E. 2000" from Diddy's platinum-certified second album, "Forever." 

Her final solo effort was 2013's "Mami & Papi," featuring Thirstin Howl III.

No cause of death was given for the artist, but her daughter Lexus Sermon, revealed on Facebook in May that her mom was battling lung cancer.

"My mom has stage 4 lung cancer," captioned a photo of her mother smiling. "Don't know how many of you understand what that means but even after 30 years of life I'm still trying to process it myself. I have never cried so much in my life I have never felt so disconnected from reality in my life.

"Yet my mom still managed to be the one to hold it together and say ''don't worry baby everything's gonna be alright."

Diddy Announces $185 Million Cannabis Deal

Sean "Diddy" Combs

A lot of rappers have claimed they got their start selling drugs to support their art. However, Sean "Diddy" Combs was a Howard University man before leaving the prestigious historically Black university early to pursue his music dreams.

With sweeping changes in attitudes towards some Schedule 1 drugs, as well as laws governing the production and distribution of cannabis specifically, the music and fashion mogul has decided the time is right to enter the game. Like everything else he does, the brash billionaire is doing it big.

Today, the entrepreneur announced his agreement to purchase licensed cannabis operations from Cresco Labs Inc. and Columbia Care Inc., two of the largest cannabis businesses in the U.S., for up to $185 million.

If U.S. and state regulators approve the deal, Combs will control an operation that has licensed marijuana operations in three states — making the new entity the nation's largest Black-owned cannabis company.

"My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we've traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis," Combs, Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises, said of his reasons for making the purchase. "Owning the entire process — from growing and manufacturing to marketing, retail, and wholesale distribution — is a historic win for the culture that will allow us to empower diverse leaders throughout the ecosystem and be bold advocates for inclusion."

Combs told the Wall Street Journal he desired to get into the business to help address long-running inequities that have seen Black people disproportionately arrested and jailed for marijuana crimes even as they make up a "tiny" percentage of the market for legal weed.

"It's diabolical," Combs, 53, said. "How do you lock up communities of people, break down their family structure, their futures, and then legalize it and make sure that those same people don't get a chance to benefit or resurrect their lives from it?"

If approved, the sale will give Combs significant entry into a legal market currently worth $27 billion annually. His company would be able to grow and manufacture cannabis products and wholesale and distribute those branded products to licensed dispensaries in major metro areas, including New York, Boston and Chicago, as well as operate retail stores in all three states.

Al B. Sure Shares New Details About Medical Ordeal That Led to Him Being in a Coma

Al B. SureCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A day after his son, Albert Brown IV, shocked fans with the revelation of his recent release from the hospital after spending two months in a coma, Al B. Sure took to social media on Tuesday to thank fans for their support.

The legendary R&B singer tweeted, “A very humble thank you for the prayers my @WBLS1075NYC family. I’m alive, awake, on the mend. Submissively grateful!#AllPraiseisDuetoAllah. I’ll share more of my health experience soon in hopes to encourage us all to stay on top of our #HealthandWellness #GoSeetheDoctor.”

Posted alongside a picture of Sure being attended to by hospital personnel while standing in a dressing gown, the words were the latest in a long line of health updates by the artist that began over the summer.

In previous posts, he had alluded to his health issues and even provided pictures as he went into different surgeries but offered no specifics as to what illness or affliction he was facing.

On Wednesday, the 54-year-old finally shed some light on his medical ordeal. Sure, posted a three-part letter to his fans on Instagram, and videos from his hospital stay.

According to the Grammy Award-nominated crooner, he underwent various medical procedures, including an organ transplant, multiple blood transfusions, a hernia repair, intubation and being placed on a ventilator — after losing feeling on the entire left side of his body in July and being taken to the emergency room.

Sure said he was not made fully aware of what happened while he was under until October.

"This unforeseen medical roller coaster has been a complete life changing experience and I truly value everyday functionality like Walking, Talking and Breathing on your my own with no assistance from a medical professional or machines," Sure, who noted that his doctors were fully prepared to send him to hospice, wrote. " Take none of the forementioned for granted."

Berry Gordy to be Honored With Icon Award at Celebration of Black Cinema and Television

Berry Gordy
Motown founder Berry Gordy is among the honorees at the upcoming fifth annual Celebration of Black Cinema & Television.

The Critics Choice Association, which sponsors the event, released a statement today announcing that the 92-year-old music executive will receive the organization's Icon Award for his "unparalleled contribution to music, film and popular culture."

"The unprecedented amount of content about the Black experience on film and television made it very difficult to choose our honorees for this milestone year," CCA board member Shawn Edwards, who is serving as executive producer of the event, said. "And our special Icon Award honoree, Berry Gordy, pushed open a heavy door during the '70s and '80s through his Motown Productions with a string of movies and TV series that helped pave the way for future Black storytellers."

CCA CEO Joey Berlin added, "We're thrilled to be able to recognize such outstanding projects across both film and television, and to honor these incredible actors and filmmakers for their work."

(L to R: Berry Gordy, Angela Bassett, Nicco Annan, Quinta Brunson, Danielle Deadwyler, Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi, Gina Prince-Bythewood)
Several other celebrities will join Gordy at the ceremony.

The Groundbreaker Award will go to rapper Kid Cudi. The Grammy Award-winner starred in the lead role of his animated Netflix project "Entergalactic," which he created. The movie also served as a visual companion piece to his album of the same name.

More traditional stars of the big and small screens, led by Angela Bassett (Career Achievement Award), Michael B. Jordan (Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award) and Quinta Brunson (Actress Award for Television), round out some of the notable major award winners.

Actor and comedian Bill Bellamy will host the event, which will take place on Monday, Dec. 5 in Los Angeles, and be broadcast nationwide on Nexstar stations in 2023 throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

Takeoff, Member of Popular Atlanta Rap Trio Migos, Dead at 28

Takeoff, second from right, was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Houston.

Takeoff, one-third of the popular Atlanta rap group Migos, is dead following an early morning shooting in Houston.

A spokesperson for the Houston Police Department said the artist was shot outside a bowling alley on Tuesday.

Police responded to reports of a shooting at 810 Billiards & Bowling at around 2:30 a.m. When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered one man dead (from a gunshot wound to the head or neck) and two other people injured.

Later authorities positively identified the victim as Takeoff. Born Kirshnik Khari Ball, the 28-year-old was the youngest member of the chart-topping group he formed with his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset.

When the incident transpired, forty to fifty people were at the after-party, including Qauvo. No arrests have been announced yet.

Formed in Atlanta in 2008, Migos has been one of hip-hop's most successful acts. The group has sold over three million albums and received two Grammy Award nominations.

Takeoff also found success outside the group. His solo album, “The Last Rocket,” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2018. Recently, along with Quavo, he released “Only Built for Infinity Links,” which peaked at No. 7.