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- 02/26/16--13:50: _'IT'S SICKENING': K...
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- 02/27/16--07:19: _Hillary Clinton res...
- 02/27/16--07:36: _Everything Oscar no...
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- 02/27/16--12:30: _Caitlyn Jenner is s...
- 02/27/16--13:07: _THEN & NOW: 11 A-li...
- 02/27/16--13:23: _This perfect SAT sc...
- 02/26/16--14:40: The best movies of 2015 have this one admirable thing in common
- 02/27/16--07:40: The 21 best heist movies ever, ranked
- 02/27/16--13:07: THEN & NOW: 11 A-list stars you didn't realize got their start on TV
The #FreeKesha movement has been vocal and widespread on social media, but it was a small yet passionate group of about 20 that gathered outside Sony's headquarters in Midtown Manhattan on Friday to protest in support of Kesha.
The artist is currently embroiled in a complicated legal battle with her producer, Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), who she alleges sexually abused her.
Earlier this month, Kesha lost an injunction request that would have let her record music outside of her contract. She is currently required to release six additional albums under Dr. Luke's Kemosabe Records, a label owned by Sony.
"As women who want to hopefully have a profession in this industry, I think it's absurd that a woman be treated this way," an 18-year-old protester named Devon Baran told Business Insider. Baran is a student at NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, who arrived at the protest with two friends.
"I think that it also says that if you are a man in this industry and the more money you make, the more immune you are — especially if you're a white man — and that's not okay. I want to be in this industry and treated with respect," she added.
Women are often afraid of coming forward after being abused for fear that they won't be helped or believed, Muriel Wandey, another student at NYU's Clive Davis Institute, said.
"Especially when it's something that happens so much in the industry," she said. "Women are shoved under the rug all the time."
An attorney representing Sony told the New York Times, "Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party," referring to Kesha's separate legal obligation to Dr. Luke's company.
"I understand the legality, but at the same time, I don't understand that as an institution, you can excuse an action like that," Baran said of Sony's response. "Even if they say she can work with a different producer, every penny she makes, he gets a percentage of. They are supposed to protect her and look out for her as an artist... As an institution with a lot of power, they should use their power to say that's not right and they're going to take action against it."
Lori, a protester who made a sign featuring lyrics from Kesha's unreleased "Dancing with the Devil," which many fans speculate is about Dr. Luke, said she's just trying to bring more attention to Kesha's struggle.
"All we can really do right now is spread awareness and be confident in ourselves that we're doing a really good thing for her today."
Though she hoped for a larger gathering outisde Sony, Lori said she's excited to see all the encouragement the "Tik Tok" pop star is getting on the internet.
"I'd never used Twitter too much until now... and so many Kesha fans have been so supportive," she said. "We all stick together and at the end of the day, we want Kesha free. There are going to be people who can't be here, but we're their voice today."
The protesters chanted "Free Kesha now" and "Drop Luke to free Kesha" while marching with their signs.
Back in December, a petition to free Kesha from her Sony contract had a goal of 90,000 signatures. That benchmark has since increased to 210,000 and has, as of this writing, 201,956 signatures. Austin Dean, the organizer behind the petition, organized Friday's protest, as well as the one held in front of the courthouse the day Kesha's injunction was denied.
Scores of fans and other artists, including Lady Gaga, Adele, Demi Lovato, and Taylor Swift have shown their support for Kesha in their own ways. Swift gave the fellow musician $250,000 for her legal fight.
If Kesha remains unable to release music outside of her contract with Sony and Dr. Luke, her lawyers argue, it could mean the death of her career.
"At the end of the day, people can say it's gray, but it's black and white," Baran weighed in on the plight. "It's ridiculous that there's even a conversation still going on. It's sickening."
In an email to coworkers, Melissa Harris-Perry said that she won't show up to host her MSNBC show this weekend after being replaced for two weeks for election coverage and allegedly losing editorial control.
"Here is the reality: Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season," she said in the email, which was obtained by The New York Times. "After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced."
Harris-Perry said that her program had been preempted for two weeks and substituted with coverage of the election. She also said that during her show on Super Bowl Sunday, she was told to talk about the election. The host typically uses the show to address social justice, diversity, and racism. She also felt sidelined by the network during election coverage in South Carolina and New Hampshire.
Asked to return to the show this weekend, Harris-Perry confirmed to the newspaper that she won't show up. She also blamed NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack and MSNBC President Phil Griffin for the mistreatment of her show, which airs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Typically the third-place news network after Fox News and CNN, MSNBC's election coverage has helped to raise ratings. Harris-Perry says her show's on-screen branding has been replaced by the network's new slogan: "The Place for Politics." And she says that she had been told that the preemptions and focus on politics would be the way things go for the "foreseeable future."
It is perfectly fine, 100% reasonable, and perfectly acceptable for MSNBC to decide they no longer want the M.H.P. show. But they should say that, they should cancel the show, they should stand up. And maybe it would be rewarded with huge ratings, but they shouldn't kill us by attrition and take us off the air without telling anybody, including us. That for me is what's painful and difficult.
An MSNBC representative told The Times via a statement:
In this exciting and unpredictable presidential primary season, many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including M.H.P. This reaction is really surprising, confusing, and disappointing.
Read Harris-Perry's full message to her coworkers, aka "Nerdland," obtained by Medium.com, below:
As you know by now, my name appears on the weekend schedule for MSNBC programming from South Carolina this Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate that many of you responded to this development with relief and enthusiasm. To know that you have missed working with me even a fraction of how much I’ve missed working with all of you is deeply moving. However, as of this morning, I do not have any intention of hosting this weekend. Because this is a decision that affects all of you, I wanted to take a moment to explain my reasoning.
Some unknown decision-maker, presumably Andy Lack or Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage. Social media has noted the dramatic change in editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage. In addition, Dylan Byers of CNN has made repeated inquiries with MSNBC’s leadership and with me about the show and what appears to be its cancellation. I have not responded to reporters or social media inquiries. However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.
Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.
The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.
Undoubtedly, television nurtures the egos of those of us who find ourselves in front of bright lights and big cameras. I am sure ego is informing my own pain in this moment, but there is a level of professional decency, respect, and communication that has been denied this show for years. And the utter insulting absurdity of the past few weeks exceeds anything I can countenance.
I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage. I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars. I have hosted a weekly program on this network for four years and contributed to election coverage on this network for nearly eight years, but no one on the third floor has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month. It is profoundly hurtful. to realize that I work for people who find my considerable expertise and editorial judgment valueless to the coverage they are creating.
While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acknowledged there is a lack of racial diversity among the nominees in this year's Academy Awards. The organization pledged to address the issue by reassessing its membership as well as its voting procedures.
However there is one aspect of this year's awards that does indeed show progress, not only on the part of the Academy, but on that of the movie business as a whole.
Produced by Graham Flanagan
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"Fuller House," the reboot of the iconic 1990s ABC sitcom "Full House," just hit Netflix on Friday.
The new show promises to carry fans of the original series on a trip to the past, of sorts. It stars most of the original cast, save for a couple of major characters.
The original show was set in San Francisco in the 1980s and '90s.
It goes without saying that today's San Francisco is quite a bit different. Al Jazeera's AJ+ made its own "Full House" opening theme that highlights the "real," modern-day San Francisco.
The trailer, "Unaffordable House," errs on the side of dystopian parody rather than nostalgia. In it, the original "Full House" theme song plays underneath visuals of "regular" San Franciscans, and the credits are replaced with titles like:
'Starring Rising Home Prices'
1990 property values ...
... and today's.
You get it. You can watch the full trailer here:
It would take some patience, a few willing original cast members, and a leap of faith by Netflix before "Fuller House" was ready to roll.
A spin-off of "Full House," which starred Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier as three single men raising three girls, "Fuller House," which hits Netflix Friday, follows the now-grown-up girls helping eldest sister D.J. (Candace Cameron-Bure) raise her three young boys.
"Full House" creator Jeff Franklin has said that his biggest regret was leaving the hit ABC comedy after its fifth season to run his new show, "Hanging with Mr. Cooper." Over the next three seasons, "Full House" fell in popularity and ended with its eighth season in 1995.
Franklin envisioned the show's return for years, which began to really take shape after Stamos, who played the cool Uncle Jesse, signed on to executive-produce and star on the spin-off.
Soon, Cameron-Bure, Jodie Sweetin (who played middle daughter Stephanie), and Andrea Barber (who played annoying neighbor Kimmy Gibbler) joined the new project, too.
"We had started back in 2008 trying to get this happening and it didn't come together and there wasn't anybody interested in any serious way, which was baffling to me because it's so hard to launch a show these days that any leg up you can get is crucial," Franklin told Business Insider.
There's definitely truth to that statement. As the number of TV shows has dramatically increased, networks have been looking for projects that have built-in fans to help ensure some loyalty. Networks have relaunched shows based on "The Odd Couple," "24," "The X-Files," "Boy Meets World," and on and on.
Not only had "Full House" anchored ABC's Friday night comedies and stayed on top for most of its seasons, but it's still airing 40 times a week in repeats, according to Franklin.
"'It is still pulling millions of viewers and beating most of the shows on the networks we were pitching to and we couldn't get [a deal] done," he said. "We took it to some of the major broadcast networks. We took it to the networks that were airing 'Full House.' We took it to the networks that are programmed to teens and young adults. We made quite a few stops. We took it to some other streaming services, so we made the rounds a bit."
But Franklin was looking for a partner willing to go all in on the show.
"Some of them passed and some of them made offers that were maybe a script commitment — like go write a script for a pilot [episode] — and we were just looking for somebody that was more excited about the show," he said.
Then Netflix stepped up and made a series commitment to the show. It took a few more months for Netflix and Warner Bros. Television, the production company, to finalize the contracts. But after that, things went pretty quickly.
"They were like, 'Okay, go make 13 episodes like now,' so it was a bit of craziness," Franklin said. "We were writing episodes, we didn't have the kids cast, we didn't have any of the other supporting actors cast, we were doing it in eight weeks. Normally, you have a pilot and you have your cast and you've gotten a bunch of the bugs out. In this case, we just hit the ground running."
The cast would grow from there: Lori Loughlin, who played Jesse's wife Rebecca; Scott Weinger, who played D.J.'s boyfriend Steve; among others.
But Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who shared the role of youngest daughter Michelle eventually caused a media frenzy after turning down multiple invitations to reprise the role. The twins have moved on to running several fashion labels and told producers that they no longer view themselves as actresses.
"At one point, the Olsen twins were the most popular actresses in America, which is astounding," Franklin said. "They were three years old. I knew this was going to be a big deal, and I really, really was hoping we would have them in that first episode in some capacity. I was disappointed that it didn't work out, but I'm hopeful that down the line maybe we can still make it happen somehow."
One of this year's surprise Oscar contenders is the critically acclaimed but criminally underseen "Room." It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
If there's one movie you should watch before the Oscars tomorrow, this is it
Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Kristen Griffin
Craig Brewer will never forget when he tried to write a rap song in the script that would become “Hustle & Flow.”
“I would try to put in some flow, just a paragraph to get it going, and then I realized...” Brewer paused. “It just felt wack.”
Thankfully, Brewer stopped himself, and instead gave us one of the most unlikely Academy Award wins in the show's history.
Brewer’s “Hustle & Flow” came out of nowhere in 2005 to become one of the most memorable indies of the year. The journey of a Memphis pimp named Djay (Terrence Howard) who aspires to become a rapper quickly became a must-see for hip-hop fans and cinephiles alike.
The movie was championed by “Boyz n the Hood” director John Singleton, who came on as a producer, and launched the careers of Howard and Taraji P. Henson (who plays a pregnant prostitute with an incredible voice). It also paved the way for "Dirty South" rap, which was just beginning to hit the mainstream, giving the film an underdog sensibility as it made its way to the Oscars in 2006.
This year’s Oscars marks the 10th anniversary of when the film’s lead track, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” written by the Memphis group Three 6 Mafia, won the award for best song — the first time a rap group ever won the prize.
Business Insider talked to some of the people behind the song and movie to uncover how it was created and what its win, which was considered a shock at the time, means now.
Searching for the music
Around the time of Craig Brewer’s failed attempt to come up with rap lyrics, in the early 2000s, he was making the rounds in Hollywood, script in hand, trying to find financing for “Hustle & Flow.” Brewer always planned to showcase Memphis rap in the movie, but as he recalled to BI, in those early meetings, the executives would throw out more commercial names like Nelly, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg.
“I think they knew about five rap songs,” Brewer said of the Hollywood suits. “They would say, ‘You need to get this guy Nelly,’ and they would also say Sisqó— I think 'The Thong Song' was out at that time.”
Thankfully, Brewer found a savior in Singleton, who came on as a producer and financier in 2003, and also had knowledge of the Memphis rap scene, as he’d featured a Three 6 Mafia song in his 2001 movie “Baby Boy.”
Even before production began, Brewer and Singleton were planning out the songs for the movie, especially one showcasing Djay’s life.
“John kept saying, ‘We need a song that shows how difficult it is to be a pimp,’” Brewer said. “But we also wanted to articulate the absurdity of that, because it’s an outrageous idea. I mean, really, how hard is their life?”
Brewer drove that home in the scene in which Djay comes up with lyrics for “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” while walking with his friend Key (Anthony Anderson), who is struggling to carry an air conditioner. Djay never offers to help.
Brewer and Singleton were still in search of the key song for the movie when they paid Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J for the song “Pop It for Some Paper.” The two also signed on another Memphis rapper, Al Kapone, to write a few more tracks for the movie, including one performed by Djay on screen, "Whoop That Trick."
Then during preproduction, Brewer and Singleton visited Three 6 Mafia’s studio, Hypnotize Minds Camp, to check on how Howard was doing recording “Pop It for Some Paper” (which Howard would end up doing a cappella in the movie). And there, music history was made.
Creating the song
Three 6 Mafia were already legends in the Memphis rap scene before "Hustle & Flow." Members Juicy J, DJ Paul, and Lord Infamous (who died in 2013) had their own record company in the early 1990s, and sold their early albums in and around Memphis as either Backyard Posse or Triple 6 Mafia. They later signed with Sony, changed their name to Three 6 Mafia, and expanded the group, which at the time of "Hustle & Flow" included rappers Frayser Boy and Crunchy Black.
Brewer had met Juicy J in Memphis years earlier, and when Howard agreed to play Djay, the writer-director had the actor meet the rapper, which led to a mixed encounter.
“I got a call from Juicy, and I knew Terrence was hanging out with Three 6 Mafia, so I asked how it was going, and he said, 'Man, he left.' I was like, 'What do you mean he left?'" Brewer remembers.
Brewer tracked down Howard back at his hotel and found he wasn't getting a good vibe hanging out with the group at Hypnotize Minds Camp.
“You know, their studio is right next to the jail,” Singleton points out.
"I realized what was happening," Brewer said. "Terrence was standing in front of Memphis rappers and he was going to have to play one. That's a real intimidating experience."
Brewer went back to Juicy J and explained the pressure Terrence was under. Juicy J understood what he had to do. That evening, he showed up at Howard's hotel with a bottle of Cristal and no entourage.
"The next time I talked to Terrence, he had the Memphis accent down. He transformed," Brewer said. "That was all because of Juicy. That's producing — get your talent comfortable."
Weeks later, when Brewer and Singleton arrived for the “Pop It for Some Paper” recording, Juicy J was in another producing mode: hustling.
“Juicy felt the deal that John gave him for ‘Pop It for Some Paper’ wasn’t right,” Brewer said.
When everyone got settled in the studio, Juicy J said to Singleton, “It’s really too bad you’re not f-----g with us on that pimp song,” referring to the song Brewer and Singleton were searching for that would highlight Djay’s struggle.
“Well, you know, business,” Singleton answered.
“Yeah, but listen to this business,” Juicy J said, then hit the space bar of his laptop to reveal the beat he and DJ Paul came up with for what would become “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”
“And Juicy pulls out a napkin where he wrote the hook,” Brewer explains. “And he tells us, ‘Yeah, I was going to have the pregnant ho sing:
‘You know it’s hard out here for a pimp /
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent /
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent /
Will have a whole lot of b-----s jumpin' ship.'"
Brewer said Singleton’s face lit up with excitement.
“But you gotta get deeper in the pocket a little more John,” Juicy J told Singleton. “Because I’m not gonna give this to you for free.”
That’s when Singleton went into producer mode. He had Henson, who was also in the studio, go into another booth to record the hook Juicy just sang. And then Singleton and Brewer sat with Fayser Boy to talk about the focus of the song.
“The first thing that popped in my head was ‘it’s hard out here for a pimp,’” Frayser Boy told BI. “John looked at me and goes, ‘What did you say?’ And I said, ‘It’s hard out here for a pimp, that needs to be the name of the song,’ and he just looked at me and said, ‘That’s it!’”
“So I go in this other room with Frayser,” Brewer said. “He cuts up a cigar, dumps out the tobacco, rolls a blunt, and starts writing what later we know to be an Academy Award-winning song.”
"We got this term in Memphis called pimpin', something that's old-school, and it already had that pimpin' flavor, so it was easy to write," Frayser Boy said. "It took me only 30 minutes to write both verses."
Going out for air, Brewer came across Singleton and Juicy J chatting in the lobby.
“They are talking about what club they are going to that night, but then John would look at his Sidekick,” Brewer said, “and he would type something, and then Juicy’s would ding. ‘Oh, that’s what you want, huh?’ Juicy would say out loud.”
Brewer realized the two were negotiating the terms of “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp” via their phones.
“So from the moment that Juicy played that beat on what would be 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,' the song was written, produced, recorded, and negotiated maybe within three to four hours,” Brewer said.
A historic Oscar night with behind-the-scenes uneasiness
The conventional thinking before the 2006 Oscars was laid out by a Billboard story: “Most predict Dolly Parton’s ‘Travelin’ Thru’ from ‘Transamerica’ will claim best song...”
The biggest musician to sing in a movie usually walks away with the statue (think Céline Dion for "Titanic"). But Brewer and Singleton felt they had the ace card this year: a song that was the movie.
“Whatever people think about rap music, when they watch these characters struggle to make a song, then it becomes the audience's song, and that's what happened with 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'" Brewer said. "When I heard it got nominated, I was like, 'We're going to win it.'"
The Academy wanted to utilize the connection between movie and music on Oscar night by having Howard and Henson perform the song in character. Howard (who was also nominated for best actor) declined. Singleton says his decision was influenced by others.
“Terrence didn't want to because people in the black film community didn't want him to perform as a pimp on the Oscars," Singleton said. "I really wanted Terrence to perform, and years later Terrence regrets not doing it."
Singleton declines to mention the people who objected to Howard performing as a pimp, saying they're some of the same people boycotting this year's Oscars over the nominees' lack of diversity.
But Howard opened the door for Three 6 Mafia to be the first rap group to ever perform at the Oscars, doing the song alongside Henson.
“They started flying us back and forth for meetings and getting us prepared. We had to do choreography," Frayser Boy said. "We were just happy to be there."
Though the evening had better musical numbers than most Oscars ceremonies — a somber number by Kathleen "Bird" York for "Crash" and Parton bringing the audience back to church— "Hustle & Flow" was easily the highlight.
The title "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was in a large glowing sign at the top of the stage, part of which was made up to look like the room Djay used to record the song in the movie. Three 6 Mafia, who had shown up in suits, were now in their sunglasses, chain, and baggy clothes, while Henson sang the hook in a beautiful white dress (replacing the word "b-----s" with "witches"). Backup dancers played pimps and prostitutes, including one made to look like Djay.
"I'm in the audience sitting there watching this crazy music number and part of me was like, 'Geez, I'm totally responsible for this,'" Brewer said. "I was also thinking, somewhere there's an Oscar party going on and people are thinking, 'What the hell is this?'"
“I had these big shades on during the performance because I was so nervous," Frayser Boy said. "But then I saw Jamie Foxx in the front row singing the words to the song that I wrote. Man, that meant everything to me."
Three 6 Mafia were rushed to the side of the stage after the performance, as Queen Latifah came to the podium to announce the winner for best song.
“I had tunnel vision," Frayser Boy said. "Everything was moving in slow motion, and it was like me and Queen Latifah connected eyes when she opened the envelope and before she even announced the winner, I knew she was going to say 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.'"
Even before acceptance speeches could go viral on social mdia, the win was an instant classic in awards history. Juicy J, DJ Paul, and Frayser Boy rattled off names to thank, with a shout-out to George Clooney in the front row. Host Jon Stewart came on afterward and said, “That's how you accept an Oscar.”
Frayser Boy recalls that the group was the toast of every Oscars after-party.
"The first party was the Vanity Fair party, and we had the Oscar in our hands, and we walked into the party and all eyes were on us," he said. "I met anyone who's anyone that night and they all wanted to meet me. The only thing I regret is I didn't take pictures."
But Brewer’s favorite memory was the one told to him by his friends back in Memphis.
“Every Oscar night, this place called the Pink Palace in Memphis holds this Oscar party where old-school Memphis shows up. And when I mean old-school Memphis, I mean old white people," he said. "When 'It's Hard Out for a Pimp' won, they leaped out of their seats and cheered and screamed. Our win meant a lot to the city. That's where the racial lines fall — the unity behind the city itself."
The 'Pimp' legacy continues
Ten years after the Oscar win, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is part of the popular vernacular. “I’ve had preachers come up to me and say, 'It's hard out here for a preacher,'” Brewer said.
And recently we finally saw Howard and Henson perform the song that made them famous as a duo, when the two "Empire" stars went on Spike's "Lip Sync Battle."
As the years passed, Three 6 Mafia changed members and their name (to Da Mafia 6ix). Juicy J went solo and Frayser Boy moved to another label. But looking back, Fayser Boy still feels like that Oscars night was all a dream.
“It's a benefit that never runs out because people believe in your vision," he said. "You pretty much got the trophy to show what you can do."
And where does he keep his Oscar?
“I donated it to the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, so it's there now for a couple of years," he said. "I like people to see mine. That's something in a million years I didn't think I could do, and that title in front of my name — Oscar winner — is everything to me, because it means I really did something. Where I'm from, Memphis, Tennessee, a lot of people don't come out. A lot of my friends are dead or in jail. It's just a blessing to be sitting here and to show that you can come from the hood and still make it."
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Hillary Clinton took another swing at answering a question about whether she had ever lied to the American people.
At a South Carolina town-hall event Tuesday night, CNN's Chris Cuomo played the former secretary of state a clip of "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert mocking Clinton's comments that "she didn't believe she ever lied."
"How can you be this bad at it? Just say no! You're running for president of the United States! Even Richard Nixon knew to say, 'I am not a crook,'" Colbert said.
After the clip finished, Cuomo asked Clinton to take another chance to respond to say whether she had ever lied.
"I'll just say no," Clinton said, as the audience applauded.
"You'll make Mr. Colbert very happy," Cuomo said.
"Good, I want to make him happy," Clinton responded.
Trustworthiness has been key sticking point for Clinton with many voters. Recent surveys of Democratic voters show that Clinton's opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is viewed as more honest and trustworthy.
Clinton recently said she understood voters' concerns and would work hard to win their trust.
"I understand that voters have questions — I'm going to do my very best to answer those questions," Clinton told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "I think there's an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people's minds and that is, 'Is she in it for us or is she in it for herself?'"
"I think that's a question that people are trying to sort through," she continued. "And I'm going to demonstrate that I've always been the same person — I've always been fighting for the same values, fighting to make a difference in people's lives."
Watch Colbert's joke and Clinton's response:
There's a huge upside to being a nominee in one of the major Oscar categories this year, even if you lose.
That honor, of course, is the "swag bag" that's given to each contender in the best actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, and director categories.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and more will walk home with one of them, valued at more than $200,000 — if they're willing to report them to the IRS, since gifts of this size are taxable.
Known as "Everyone Wins" prizes and provided by Distinctive Assets, a company not associated with the Academy, they include some swanky and even bizarre items: trips to Japan, Israel, and Italy, $275 toilet paper, and something known as a "Vampire Breast Lift."
Check out everything that's in the Oscar-nominee gift bags below:
Haze Dual V3 Vaporizer, $249.99
A vibrator by sex-toy company Fiera, $250
Personalized My M&M's, $300
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There's something about a good heist movie that makes a moviegoing experience perfect.
With the high stakes and the top-shelf actors and directors who seem to gravitate to the genre, when it's done right, it can be a thrilling cinematic experience.
With this week's "Triple 9" — about dirty cops involved in, yes, a heist (starring Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, and Casey Affleck) — we thought it was a good time to look back on the classics of the genre.
Here are the 21 best heist movies of all time, ranked:
21. "A Fish Called Wanda"
John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin play a bumbling group who commit a robbery of very pricey diamonds and then try to con one another out of the loot. Cleese and Palin are at top form, and Kline's portrayal of a cocky American earned him an Oscar win for best supporting actor.
20. “Mission: Impossible”
Though Tom Cruise's first time playing Ethan Hunt showed off all of the fun spy aspects of the franchise, it also had a very elaborate heist element. Hunt breaking into CIA headquarters to steal the "NOC" list is a highlight of the film.
19. “Bottle Rocket”
For Wes Anderson's directorial debut, he cast then-unknown brothers Luke and Owen Wilson as friends who plan the heist of a factory only for things to go horribly wrong.
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Oscar nominee Tom Hardy, who was in "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" last year, rides the line between London gentleman and savage on the event series for FX, "Taboo."
The cable network released the first trailer for "Taboo," which shows Hardy rubbing some very powerful men the wrong way as he tries to fulfill the mysterious legacy his father left for him.
Hardy, who stars in and executive-produces the series, plays James Keziah Delaney.
It's 1814, and he's returning to London after 10 years in Africa and is believed dead by those who knew him. In defending his father's legacy against his enemies, James finds himself in a face-off against the most powerful trading firm at the time, the East India Company.
"I am a very dangerous man to know," Hardy's James says in the trailer, which shows a lush and dark side of London in the early 19th century, a time when Britain and America were at war.
Michael Kelly ("House of Cards"), Jonathan Pryce ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), and Oona Chaplin ("The Hour") also star on "Taboo."
The series, which boasts "Blade Runner" director Ridley Scott as an executive producer, is set to debut in 2017.
Watch the vicious-looking trailer below:
Maybe you've heard of popular model Lucky Blue Smith; teens love him.
But cameras love his whole family.
His sister, Pyper America, is taking the industry and Instagram by storm, as well.
The 18-year-old model is more than just that, though — she's a musician, too.
She's amassing a large following; she has over 600,000 followers on Instagram.
All models start somewhere.
She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but she moved around a lot when she was growing up.
Here's a throwback of Pyper America and Lucky Blue.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Melania Trump sat down with MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski for a one-on-one interview that aired Wednesday on "Morning Joe."
Trump has mostly stayed away from the campaign trail. But as Donald Trump was on his way to another decisive presidential-primary win this week in Nevada's GOP caucuses, she told Brzezinski that she stood by her billionaire husband "100%."
Brzezinski pressed Trump on a host of topics, including her husband's claim that the Mexican government was sending rapists and murderers across the US border.
"I don't feel that he insulted the Mexicans," Trump said. "He said the 'illegal immigrants.' He didn't talk about everybody. He talked about 'illegal immigrants."
"And after [a] few weeks, like after two weeks, giving him a hard time and bashing him in the media, they turned around," she added. "They said, 'You know what? He's right. He's right what he's talking about.' And he opened conversation that nobody did."
Brzezinski, whose show has been accused of having too cozy a relationship with the Republican frontrunner, pointed out that Trump was herself an immigrant from Slovenia.
"But you are an immigrant. Do you ever think he's gone too far?" Brzezinski asked.
"I follow the law," Trump said. "I follow the law the way it's supposed to be. I never thought to stay here without papers."
Brzezinski also asked Trump about her husband's use of vulgar terms and profanity on the campaign trail.
"Do I agree all the time with him? No, I don't," Trump replied. "And I tell him that. I tell him my opinions. I tell him what I think. Sometimes he listens. Sometimes he don't."
Watch the full interview below:
"The Revenant," an epic historical drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a gritty fur trader, is heading into tomorrow's Academy Award ceremony with some serious buzz.
The film is based on a book, "The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge," whose author, Michael Punke, has an amazing day job: He's the US ambassador to the World Trade Organization, as well as the deputy US Trade Representative.
Punke, who somehow found the time to write a novel between negotiating trillion-dollar trade deals, studied international affairs at George Washington University and served as the editor-in-chief of the international law journal at Cornell, where he received his J.D.
Because of his position, Punke hasn't really been able to soak up the spotlight. Federal ethics rules prevent him from any "self-enriching" activities like signing copies of his book, or sitting down for interviews, according to The New York Times.
His colleagues at the WTO are impressed, however.
"We think it's quite cool," Keith Rockwell, a spokesman for the WTO, told The New York Times. "The W.T.O. isn’t normally known for having a Hollywood connection."
Punke's fascination with the American West started when he was a kid growing up in Wyoming. He spent his summers working as a historical reenactor at a national park near his home.
"He’d go out there in this heavy wool army uniform, baking bread and firing up the cannons, when most kids were delivering pizzas or doing paper routes," Tim Punke, his brother, told The New York Times.
After all, Graham would be the first truly plus-size woman to be featured in its pages. (Last year, Graham appeared in an ad in the magazine, and Robyn Lawley was the curviest model Sports Illustrated featured.)
If Sports Illustrated — a magazine that targets men — could classify Graham as beautiful, then that marked a huge step for curvy women, who have long been struggling to get marketers and retailers to view them as such.
When it was revealed that she would not just be featured between photos of scantily clad thin models but on the cover, it marked an even bigger step for curvy women.
Plus-size clothing chain Lane Bryant might have been loudly declaring "Plus is Equal," but this said it even more clearly.
Still, despite the celebration surrounding Graham's success, some vocal outliers have criticized Graham.
Recently, former Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs lambasted Graham to E! Online.
"I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That's what Dr. Oz said, and I'm sticking to it," Tiegs told E!.
"No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run," Tiegs said.
The joke's on Tiegs, though, because when Graham appeared on "Good Morning America" in November alongside a size-two model, several tests revealed that both she and the thinner model had healthy blood pressure, HBA1C, and LDL levels. They both were in good shape, too.
Moreover, Graham told Business Insider in August that she has a 32-inch waist. According to her IMG page, she has a 30-inch waist, which suggests she might have even lost a bit of weight over the past few months — or that her weight just fluctuates.
Regardless of Graham's waist size, Tiegs is not the only person to publicly criticize the plus-size model's success.
"I want to eat cookies and still be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model; what’s next, you can be a midget and a Rockette? What’s wrong with having a physical standard for something?"Arbour cries.
Arbour also makes some bold, derogatory claims about Graham's career.
"If any of the other models showed up looking like her, they’d be fired. How the f--- is that fair? The truth is if she worked out a little bit more, she wouldn’t be plus-size any more, which means she can’t sell s--- to plus-size women who’ve turned her into their hero. So to make money, she’s keeping the weight on."
Arbour separately claims that despite the "feel-good claims of body positivity," Graham is Photoshopped; Graham has denied this to Access Hollywood (via People).
Arbour serves as a representative of a group of people who have resisted the so-called body-positivity movement. In August, Graham told Business Insider about how she occasionally gets accused of "promoting obesity," which, she explained on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (via Elle), she's not doing at all — especially considering there are two dangerous extremes right now.
"There's a double 0 now. It's a little scary on both spectrums of weight. I'm not a promoter of anorexia. I'm not a promoter of obesity. I think we have to promote women to be healthy at every size as long as they're getting off the couch and moving their body," she said to Ellen DeGeneres.
Arbour denounced Sports Illustrated for putting Graham in a "sports magazine that celebrates athleticism," but Graham works out. A look at Graham's Instagram page proves that's true.
Both Arbour and Tiegs fail to recognize that society has changed and expanded its definition of beauty. Companies like Aerie have nixed Photoshop, and body positivity — not uncontrollable snacking — has become the new norm. Graham serves as an ambassador for that expanded concept of beauty; she doesn't only represent plus-size women.
Besides, Graham hates the term "plus-size," anyway. As she told Ellen (via Elle), "[she likes] to call it, like, curvasexalicious."
Despite having been BFFs since their Chicago improv days in the early 90s, and having proven their undeniable chemistry on SNL, in movies, and hosting the Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will probably never produce a TV show together.
Story by Aly Weisman and editing by Chelsea Pineda
However, given the recent press coverage, the millennials who grew up watching "Full House" are devouring it.
There has been heated discussion as to why Michelle Tanner, played by the famed Olsen twins, was missing from the saccharine reunion.
Not a series to miss a laugh-track opportunity, the show flat-out acknowledged Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's glaring absence from the sequel.
People Magazine had already mentioned that the series would attribute Michelle Tanner's absence to the fact that she was "running a fashion empire in New York." However, these highlights, which Jezebel shared first, have a somewhat mean undertone.
In the one scene, Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) asks where her little sister, Michelle, is.
"Well, Michelle sends her love," Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) says, "but she's busy in New York running her fashion empire," just as People suggested. It's what follows that comment that's more telling.
The cast, oddly standing in a line formation, turns to look at the camera. The laugh track goes wild.
This is a clear nod to the Olsen twins' departure from the acting world; they're now full-fledged fashion and business women with their lines, Elizabeth and James and The Row.
There's another blatant reference to what might have fueled their absence.
After Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) looks at a receipt for an Elizabeth and James dress, she says, "At these prices, no wonder they don't need to act anymore!" The laugh track goes wild again. Up until now, most of the press surrounding their choice to abstain from participating in "Fuller House" has been relatively kind.
Caitlyn Jenner is partnering with MAC cosmetics.
She'll make a lipstick for the company called Finally Free, the company announced in a feature on its website. The new shade of lipstick will launch on April 7, and proceeds will go to the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative.
Despite the criticism she has received, Jenner said that she partnered with MAC for two particular reasons.
"There are two things we need from MAC: Number one, finances — this is going to help a lot of people. But number two: We need a corporate, global network that can really make a difference in other parts of the world. What I have learned over the last nine months is that we certainly have a lot of issues here in the United States, and a lot of things we need to work on, but we are so much further ahead of the rest of the world. It’s unbelievable," she said.
"I met with Samantha Power, our Ambassador to the United Nations, on this issue and on all LGBT rights," Jenner added. "There are still far too many countries where if you’re anywhere in the L, the G, the B or the T spectrum, it’s a criminal offense."
She said that now that all of her secrets are off the table, her life will become a little more mundane.
"Yeah, it’s just so simple. No more secrets. I’m free. I woke up the other morning, and I was just happy. Getting dressed, going out, I’m accepted in the world; people are nice. Life is good. I’m finally free," she said. "That’s why I’m glad I was named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person last year, because this year I have no more secrets. I’m going to be very boring!"
Today, actors have become very proud of going back and forth between roles in movies and television. But that hasn't always been the case.
For most of Hollywood's history, there has been a pretty deep divide between television actors and movie stars. There was no shame in getting one's start in TV. But once one made the leap to movies, most never looked back.
As Oscar-winner and current star of FX's"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" Cuba Gooding, Jr. recently told Business Insider, "When I started in the business, you did television and then when you got lucky you got a prestige project of a film."
Many of today's biggest movie stars followed that same career path, so we decided to take a look at the early careers of several of this year's Oscar nominees – from Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio to Jennifer Lawrence and Alicia Vikander – for their first TV gigs.
Here's a look at the small-screen roles that some of them may want to forget:
Matt Damon was in a 1990 TV movie, "Rising Son"
Before "The Martian," the "Bourne" franchise, and even "Good Will Hunting," Matt Damon's first lead role was in the 1990 TV movie, "Rising Son." Damon played the son to Brian Dennehy's character, an automobile factory foreman whose company is closing down due to Japanese competition.
Watch the "Rising Son" trailer below:
Cate Blanchett was on an Australian cop drama in the early 90's
Before she was Queen Elizabeth or starring in "Carol," Cate Blanchett was Mrs. Haines in the Australian cop drama, "Police Rescue." But this bit part in that TV series could've helped get her a role in the 1994 "Police Rescue" movie based on the series.
See her below on "Police Rescue" at around 27:06 in:
Leonardo DiCaprio was on "Growing Pains"
Even we thought that "The Revenant" star Leonardo DiCaprio's earliest TV role was on ABC's "Growing Pains," but we were wrong. He actually starred on a 1990 series called "Parenthood," with David Arquette and Ed Begley, Jr. before that. This was NBC's first stab at a sequel to the 1989 Ron Howard movie. It only lasted a season. NBC tried "Parenthood" again with a totally different cast in 2010 and got six seasons out of it.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
With a perfect SAT score, Shaan Patel thought he'd be able to get into one of his dream schools in the Ivy League.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but Patel's fine with it.
Instead, he's been able to build a thriving SAT-prep startup that got him on ABC's "Shark Tank" and let him strike a deal with Mark Cuban.
"My goal is to become Mark Cuban’s most successful 'Shark Tank' investment," Patel told Business Insider.
From growing up at his parents' budget motel to getting a perfect SAT and running his own startup, Patel likes to joke that he's "every Indian stereotype rolled into one." But his story serves as a great reminder that hard work eventually pays off — and an appearance on "Shark Tank" can really make your business fly.
"The 'Shark Tank' effect is very real, and it’s still going on," Patel said.
From a budget motel to getting perfect SAT scores
Patel grew up in a budget motel his family owned in Las Vegas. His high school was in one of the country's worst school districts with a 40% dropout rate, he says.
But that didn't deter Patel from achieving academic excellence. He was his class's valedictorian, homecoming king, and a White House Presidential Scholar, a program reserved for only two students per state.
Despite getting a mere 1,760 on his first SAT practice exam, Patel spent hours studying the test, and was even able to get a perfect 2,400 score.
With that kind of a background, Patel seemed like a perfect shoo-in for some of the top schools. But he was rejected by every Ivy League school he applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, and Brown. Stanford rejected him too.
Eventually, Patel took a full scholarship offer from USC, enrolling in its dual BA/MD program. He always wanted to be a doctor, so it was a perfect program to prep him for medical school — but he soon had a change of heart.
In the summer before starting med school, Patel tried to write an SAT prep book, based on his own test-taking skills. But over 100 publishers rejected his idea, so he launched an online SAT-prep site called 2400 Expert instead, using some of his scholarship money as seed capital.
Soon, his company took off, and McGraw-Hill, one of the publishers that initially rejected him, came back and offered him a book deal. Patel wanted to keep growing his business, so he ended up taking a two-year leave of absence from USC to pursue an MBA at Yale.
In fact, his story was so good that he was able to grab the "Shark Tank" producers' attention, and in June 2015, he ended up going on the show. (His episode didn't air until January 2016.)
But the sharks weren't too impressed. Although they liked his growth and margins, they didn't like the fact that he was doubling as a student and entrepreneur.
"You have to be completely committed," Kevin O'Leary, one of the sharks, better known as "Mr. Wonderful," told him. "I don’t believe you. You can’t be a part-time entrepreneur."
One by one, each shark started to drop out. Patel, who was confident he'd get multiple offers before going on the show, started to get nervous.
"That was a really scary moment — reality sort of slapped me in the face," Patel says.
At the end, he was able to get a deal with Mark Cuban, but at a much lower valuation. Patel sought $250,000 for a 10% stake, valuing his company at $2.5 million. He had to settle for $250,000 for 20%, slashing his company's value in half.
Most transformative experience
Still, Patel calls his experience on "Shark Tank" the most transformative thing to have ever happened to him. Aside from the expertise he gets from Cuban, Patel says the national exposure he received is invaluable.
Now Patel manages more than 40 employees, mostly part-time instructors. His business has a growing archive of recorded sessions and offers in-person classes in nearly 20 cities nationwide.
He says his sales are projected to hit over $3 million this year, a huge jump from the $500,000 it was seeing before going on "Shark Tank." He also expects to sell roughly 10,000 of his SAT-prep books in this year alone, the same amount he sold over the past four years combined.
"I'd say 'Shark Tank' was probably the single greatest moment of my life so far," Patel said.
It's why Patel says everyone with an idea or an actual business should apply for "Shark Tank" and take their chances on going on the show. And to anyone considering going on the open-call audition, Patel offers the following three tips:
Give away something memorable: You only get 60 seconds to impress the open-call directors, so make sure you impress them with something physical or memorable, preferably at the end of the open-call pitch.
Be entertaining on video: Once you pass through the next round, you're asked to submit a five- to 10-minute video. Be witty and entertaining, like Patel did. ("I'm an Indian-American who got a perfect score on the SAT, got straight A's, my parents own both a gas station and motel — yes "Patel Motel" is a thing — and I'm in med school to become a doctor. So I'm pretty much every Indian stereotype rolled into one.")
Fill out the application as if you're talking to a stranger: The application is over 20 pages long, but the producers know nothing about your business. The only way to keep them interested is to ask yourself, "What would a stranger want to know next?" until you've conveyed all your thoughts.
You can watch Patel's appearance on "Shark Tank" below: