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January 2002
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Berry's Co-star Has To Bare-All

Halle Berry's new film, "Monster's Ball," with co-star Billy Bob Thornton, reportedly features a graphic sex scene that had to have a minute cut from it to keep its NC-17 rating. In 'Swordfish" there was much talk about Berry getting paid more to bare it all, but not this time. This time Berry negotiated that her co-star bare as much as she does. "I would only do it if Billy Bob agreed to be as naked as I was," she told The New York Times, later admitting that the scene scared her completely. "Monster's Ball" opened in New York and LA last month. Berry has already been named Best Actress of 2001 for her role in the flick by the National Board of Review.

Halle Berry - Best Actress Nod

Amid all the pre-Oscar buzz the National Board of Review chose "Moulin Rouge" as its Best Movie pick, chose Billy Bob Thornton as Best Actor and gave The Best Actress nod to Halle Berry for her role with Thornton in "Monter's Ball" a runner-up for Best Movie.

Free Speech Honored

Comedian/activist Dick Gregory, Bill Maher, Norman Lear, the Smothers Brothers, and "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, will be honored at the First Amendment Center, for their use of comedy to advance free speech. Whoopi Goldberg will also be honored at the event, to be held at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado from February 27-March 3.

Mos Def On Broadway

Rapper/actor, Mos Def, has been cast to star in the Broadway play "Top Dog/Under Dog" this March. The play portrays Lincoln & Booth, two feuding brothers from the ghetto. Mos will star as Booth, a lazy criminal. In the original play, Booth was played by actor Don Cheadle.

Eddie Murphy To Be A Daddy - Again

Eddie Murphy and wife Nicole Mitchell are expecting their fifth child. The couple married in 1993 and already have two sons and two daughters together.

Jay-Z Senetenced

Rapper/actor Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) was sentenced last month to light three years probation by a New York court for the stabbing of record producer Lance Rivera in a nightclub brawl on 2 December, 1999. The case against Jay-Z fell apart after he paid Rivera $600,000 in a civil settlement, after which Rivera stopped co-operating with the prosecution. The sentence means Jay-Z now needs permission from his probation officer to leave New York. Had the sometime actor been found guilty in a criminal trial he would have faced a second degree felony charge anda 15-year prison sentence.

Danny Glover Angers Some Over Speech

Danny Glover, an outspoken advocate against the death penalty, is getting some serious flack over a recent speech he gave at Princeton University. Glover pointed out that 98 death row inmates have recently been released after new evidence proved their innocence. He also noted the racial bias in the system in which 43% of 741 executed prisoners were African Americans. After the speech, however, an audience member accused Glover of "playing the victim," and suggested he go back and fix his own communities rather than blame racism. The man also asked if Glover would oppose the death penalty for Osama bin Laden. Glover said yes. According to reports, Glover's comments have outraged a number of people, including Oliver North who broadcast the story on his Radio America program and urged listeners to boycott Glover's new film, "The Royal Tenenbaums." But that's not stopping Glover. He is scheduled to speak in Modesto, CA on January 19.

Simpson's Home Under Siege

Last month, Federal agents searched the Miami home of O.J. Simpson in connection with an Ecstasy drug ring investigation. The two-year investigation resulted in the arrest of eight people in Miami and two in Chicago. The FBI was led to Simpson's home because he was overheard talking with a suspected drug dealer about buying the party drug for himself and his "lady friends," the Miami Herald reported. Nine other Miami residences were searched. Simpson was not arrested.

Tanzania Enters First Film In Academy Awards

The United Republic of Tanzania has submitted "Maangamizi The Ancient One" as its first entry ever in the Foreign Language Film category for the 74th Academy Awards. The film centers around three women, a doctor, her patient and the mysterious ancestor who takes them on a journey into their past and a place of healing. The film's web site is located at:
(Thanks to member Chemi for the web address!)

Oprah Winfrey Plays Matchmaker

Talk show queen and Oscar winner Oprah Winfery got a letter from housewife and mother-of-three, Nancy Kay, that Tom Cruise was her all-time favorite star and if Oprah ever did another show on fulfilling dreams again, a date with Cruise was hers. Kay said she and Cruise share the same birthdays and "Just to shake his hand would turn me 800 shades of red." Oprah's considerable influence made it happen. Kay was stunned almost to fainting when TV crews crowded her front door and told her the "Vanilla Sky" star had agreed to whisk her around in a chauffeur-driven limousine for the day.

Coolio Under Guard

Newly returned from a USO tour for the troops in Kuwait, Coolio told the Associated Press about his trip overseas that he was driven everywhere by armed guards, "It didn't bother me," he said, "I got people driving next to me with guns every day. I'm from LA."

Treach At Sundance

Treach is to appear at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Yep! THE film festival. Treach will be promoting two indy projects at the renowned festival. The films are titled "Face" and "Empire."

NAACP's Noms Announced

Nominees for the 33rd NAACP Image Awards have been announced. With the help of Cedric the Entertainer, Tyrese, Mo'Nique, and others, the Image Awards committee announced t that the awards will be taped at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles on February 23. The show will air on Fox on March 1. Leading the nominees, are newcomer Alicia Keys, with seven nominations including Outstanding New Artist and Outstanding Female Artist. Michael Jackson and the "Steve Harvey Show" with six nominations each. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Will Smith are up for Best Actor. Alfre Woodard, Vivica Fox, Whoopi Goldberg are up for Best Actress. "Soul Food," "The Practice," and "Boston Public" - and their respective black actors, picked up a number of nominations, also.

Will Smith Sued By Former Friend

Will Smith's former friend and fellow band member claims the "Ali" star owes him money from back when they played music together and he wants $5 million. Ex-musician Clarence Holmes has filed suit against Smith to recover "residual" money he says he is owed from their collaboration in the best-selling rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Holmes explains, "We were like brothers. Growing up in Philadelphia, we lived about four blocks apart and did everything together. " He says he can't believe his former friend isn't paying him his due. Smith, Holmes and Jeff Townes - aka DJ Jazzy Jeff - formed a rap group in the mid 1980s and sold more than 6 million copies of their first two albums. Holmes wants a larger part of that money than Smith paid him since he says he co-wrote the hit "Parents Just Don't Understand." Holmes claims Smith has reneged on a written contract and an oral agreement.

Will Smith Going Pop Again

Will Smith says he is going to take a break from acting for a couple of months to be a singer again. He's already in the studio recording a forthcoming pop album. One song he is recording will be the first single for his film "Men in Black 2." It should be released in March.