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February 2002
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FANS UPSET WITH "QUEEN OF THE DAMNED"

Some Aaliyah fans are upset over Warner Brothers' tagline for "Queen of The Damned" starring the late Aaliyah. It reads "All She Wants Is hell on Earth." Fans say the line is, "incredibly tacky and exploitative," given the tragedy of Aaliyah's death. Warner insists the tagline is appropriate for the film and will remain in place. As a memorial, the company has added a tribute to the singer that will be shown at the end of the film. A Warner spokeswoman says, "We've gone out of our way to be sensitive. Aaliyah started her career here. We love her."


MURPHY ADDS NEW BABY TO RESUME

Eddie Murphy and his wife, Nicole, have welcomed their fifth child, a baby girl, named Bella Zahra, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. This happy occasion comes just after Murphy picked up a People's Choice Award for Favorite Star in a Comedy. Congratulations Eddie and Nicole.


DENZEL HATES ACTION

Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington recently told TV Guide that he doesn't care for action movies - or at least starring in them. Denzel, who starred in such action flicks as "The Siege" and "Virtuosity" said, "Action, I hate. I don't like running around for two weeks without saying anything. I don't care for fight scenes and hanging off of stuff. It's just not for me. I'm getting too old for that stuff, it hurts."


JAMES BROWN ON TRIAL

The Godfather of Soul and part-time actor, James Brown is being sued by Lisa Agbalaya, a former employee who is alleging sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Brown testified Tuesday that he "never touched'' Agbalaya and that he's "a church-going man.'' Agbalaya worked in the West Coast office of Brown's company. "I never touched Ms. Agbalaya-Ross, and she knows it,'' Brown, 68, told jurors in Los Angeles Superior Court. "I didn't touch nobody, and I would never touch a married woman.'' Agbalaya, 36, sued Brown a few months after losing her job, claiming the singer repeatedly demanded sex from her and other female employees and subjected her to a "continual pattern of discrimination and harassment.'' She is seeking $1 million in damages from Brown.


LITTLE RICHARD INDUCTED

Flamboyant singer/actor/entertainer Little Richard is being inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame. "Little Richard has distinguished himself not only as an unparalleled musical genius, but also as a unique and innovative performing artist - fusing pure vocal talent with exhilarating showmanship," NAACP President/CEO Kweisi Mfume said in a statement.


CUBA DOGGED OUT FOR KIDS

In Cuba Gooding, Jr's latest movie, "Snow Dogs," he plays a dentist who inherits a champion dog-sled team and decides to become a dog sledder himself. Starring alongside a pack of eight friendly huskies, Gooding has one frightening scene where the dogs almost rip him to shreds. The actor revealed to TV Guide Online how the scene was done. "The dog trainers put packets of meat inside the jacket. For a week before they shot that scene, they would go, 'Find the meat! Pull!' and teach them to get agitated. So whenever they pulled my red coat out, the dogs would freak out." Gooding says that during the shots he wore football gear including a butt, leg, hip, and thigh pads just to make sure he didn't get hurt. For those disappointed in Gooding's move to slapstick from his Oscar performance in "Jerry Maguire" and his acclaimed performance in "Men Of Honor," Gooding says he did it for kids. He says he's teaching his kids not to be concerned with appearing bafoonish and to have "the ability to embarrass yourself (yet maintain) tenacity and not be afraid to fail at something."


ROCK-A-BYE FOR CHRIS

Chris Rock and wife Malaak Compton are expecting. It will be the couple's first child.



TYRESE LOOKING AROUND

Tyrese Gibson's film "Baby Boy," was nominated for six NAACP Image Awards, and now, he's ready for more films, but is being particular about his next role. "I don't want to just do it for money, I want to do a film that everybody, across the board, is going to enjoy."


SMITH WINS SHO WEST AWARD

The ShoWest Awards are given annually by the nation's theater owners. This year the owners chose Will Smith as its recipient of theMale Star of the Year Award. While "Ali" has been marked by industry folk as a disappointment, the group credited Smith's performance with "warding off an utter disaster." The ShoWest Awards will be presented March 4-7 at the Bally's and Paris hotel in Las Vegas.


BRANDY SAYS SHE'S HEALTHY NOW

It wasn't a widely broadcast problem, but singer/actress Brandy was suffering from an eating disorder and a nervous breakdown not long ago. During an interview with Britain's BBC 1, she spoke out about her recent troubles. "With the whole eating disorder thing, honestly, I wasn't taking care of myself and that's my fault. But I can talk about it freely because now I'm healthy."


DENZEL DOESN'T AGREE WITH CHRACTER

In his new film "John Q," Denzel Washington plays a father who takes action to save his son by holding an emergency room hostage. But while Washington delivers a convincing vigilante performance, the actor says he doesn't condone the actions of John Q. "I imagine one would do anything for one's child. I mean, I would," he said, but added that his character could've caused a lot more harm to others that would have negated any good he tried to accomplish.


LA SALLE BACK TO "ER?"

Though he departed the series to make movies, Eriq La Salle may be headed back to the emergency room. The actor is apparently still under contract, and the show's producers have told La Salle to put his scrubs back on. "There's a terrific line from "Godfather III," La Salle told TV Guide Online, "'Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.'"


BRANDY SECRETLY WEDS

Singer/actress Brandy and her label, Atlantic Records, announced that she has indeed gotten hitched to record producer Robert Smith and, apparently, the two have been secretly married since last year. "I've fallen in love with a very warm, gentle, understanding and focused person,'' Brandy said in a statement. "I couldn't be happier!''


JAMES EARL JONES PRAGMATIC OVER GOOF

During an interview with Reuters, actor James Earl Jones was pragmatic and understanding about a mistake by an engraver who erred while inscribing a plaque meant to honor the actor during a Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute. The plaque was engraved: "Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive.'' Ray was the man convicted of assassinating King in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. Jones said the company made a common mistake and he's been introduced as James Earl Ray before. "There's no point in getting too sensitive about it,'' Jones said. Instead of the plaque, the city gave Jones a colorful Ashanti stool similar to ones traditionally used as an African throne instead.


ONLINE FILM SCHOOL OPEN TO ALL

Michael Rubin, with the help of the American Film Institute and Columbia Digital Knowledge Ventures, has created AFI's first online course to teach students how to shoot and edit their own digital video project. The course is now available through Fathom, the online learning company, at http://www.fathom.com/afi. The "Digital Video'' course is available for an introductory enrollment fee of fifty (50) dollars and is open to everyone. Upon enrollment, the course material is available to participants for six months and can be accessed online anytime.



DGA BLASTS NETWORKS BUT NEEDS TO LOOK TO ITSELF

The Directors Guild of America responded to an LA Times report that says prime-time TV is lacking in minority and female directors. While DGA President Jack Shea said the report "reveals that once again the networks have failed to fulfill their good faith obligation to hire more women and minority directors," the DGA's own nominees for best motion picture director are all white males! Go figure.


SMITH LOOKING FOR PRIVACY IN THE BIG APPLE

Will Smith is reportedly shopping for a new apartment in New York City. But, according to the New York Post, he's not having much luck finding something to his liking in the $80,000 a month range that he's set for himself. The tabloid reported that among the dwellings rejected by Smith was a $40,000-per-month apartment at the Octavia building on East 47th street that supposedly affords residents "privacy to the extreme." Apparently it wasn't private enough.


UNIVERSAL AND MGM IN COURT

Universal Pictures recently went to court to stop MGM from running ads for it's action film "Rollerball" that link it to "The Fast and the Furious." A Universal spokeswoman said the studio, a unit of Vivendi Universal, is concerned that its efforts to develop a sequel to the street-racing film could suffer from association with "Rollerball,'' which Universal views as a flop. "There's a concern that they would be diluting our brand,'' the Universal spokeswoman said.


SMITH AND LOPEZ MOST BANKABLE VOICES

Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez have been named Hollywood's two most bankable musician/actors according to a survey of industry executives done by The Hollywood Reporter. Rounding out the Top 10 are Mark Wahlberg, Madonna, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Ice Cube, Janet Jackson, Cher, and Courtney Love.


WHOOPI'S OSCAR LOST IN TRASH BIN

Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg's golden statue recently took a trip - without its owner. Goldberg's Oscar was apparently stolen after she mailedit back to the manufacturer to have it cleaned. According to the Academy, it was properly wrapped and shipped, but when the box arrived at the Chicago manufacturer, it was empty. Fortunately, an alert security guard noticed the coveted statue in a trash bin at the Ontario, CA airport. Goldberg has decided she will clean the statue herself from now on. "Oscar will never leave my house again," she said in a statement. Goldberg won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1990 for "Ghost."


POITIER TO RECEIVE HONORARY OSCAR

Sidney Poitier will be honored at the upcoming Oscars on March 24, with an Honorary Academy Award for "his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the motion picture industry with dignity, style and intelligence throughout the world." Poitier is the only black actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor, which he won in 1963 for his performance in "Lilies of the Field." The Academy Awards will air live, March 24 on ABC.


CUBA GOODING JR GETS STAR

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January.


HIS PURPLENESS MARRIES AGAIN

According to reports, Prince has jumped the broom for a second time with girlfriend Manuela Testolini, a former Paisley Park Studios employee. They are said to have tied the knot in a small Jehovah's Witness ceremony. Prince was once married to back-up dancer Mayte, but after the couple's one-week old son died after being born with a fatal skull condition, the two eventually divorced in 2000. Mayte is now reportedly dating Pam Anderson's ex, rocker Tommy Lee.