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March 2002
©Blackflix.com™
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SIDNEY POITIER, ANDREW YOUNG AND CICELY TYSON AMONG HONOREES AT TURNER'S
10TH ANNUAL TRUMPET AWARDS

Sidney Poitier, Andrew Young, Cicely Tyson and Tom Joyner are among the honorees at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s 10th Annual Trumpet Awards. The Trumpet Awards, hosted by Richard Roundtree, Nancy Wilson and James Avery, honored African-American achievers in fields as diverse as law, politics and entertainment. This year's honorees included:

Living Legend Award: Actor Sidney Poitier
Pinnacle Award: Former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young
Humanitarian Award: R.E. Turner
Young STAR Award: United States Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.
Actress: Cicely Tyson
Publisher: Chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, John H. Johnson
Radio: Personality Tom Joyner


"RERUN" SUES CIRCUS

Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs is is suing the Universoul Circus for using his "name and likeness without permission," according to a federal lawsuit filed in Maryland. In his 14 million suit the former "What's Happening'' actor, who was hired last year as a $1000-a-week "general circus performer" with Universoul Circus, claims that management used "the image and likeness of my 'Rerun' character in their advertising, promotional materials, and on their website."


NBA'S VAN EXEL LAUNCHES RECORD/FILM COMPANY

Basketball star Nick Van Exel is recently launched both a record label and film company titled RapRock Records/Films. On May 28, the label will debut "Hip-Hop Story: Tha Movie" and the soundtrack (both distributed by Universal). The film chronicles the aftermath in Hip-Hop following the deaths of rap stars Eazy-E, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G. The film features Snoop Dogg, DMX, P. Diddy, Warren G, and Ice Cube. The soundtrack will showcase RapRock artist S.M.O.O.T.


VIRGIN SUED OVER AALIYAH PLANE CRASH

The families of two victims of the plane crash that killed 8 people including singer/actress Aaliyah, have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Virgin Records.


SPIKE DOES KMART COMMERCIALS

K-Mart's new advertising campaign, aimed at saving the chain from bankruptcy, is the creative work of Spike Lee and features individuals engaged in "everyday" activities. In one, a man says: "Everybody's got to buy a plunger sometime." Another man, holding an infant, says: "Sleep past 7? What is that?"


STARS COME OUT FOR BILLY JOEL

Nelly Furtado, Stevie Wonder and Natalie Cole all love for Billy Joel. They, along with Garth Brooks, Diana Krall, Jon Bon Jovi and others were on hand to celebrate as Billy Joel was honored with the MusiCares Person of the Year Award last month in Los Angeles. The event also featured a silent auction on music and sports memorabilia, artwork and luxury items, all benefiting the MusiCares Financial Assistance Program.


PRINCE LOSES MOM

Sad news. The mother of singer/actor Prince, Mattie Baker, has died. Her husband, Hayward Baker, said his wife had been hospitalized for several months. She survived a kidney transplant just 3 years ago. Mattie Baker died last Friday in Edina, Minnesota. She was 68.


MORGAN FREEMAN ON "BEST DRESSED" LIST

Men's style magazine "Esquire" has published it's annual list of "The Best Dressed Men in America ," and among the best dressed is actor Morgan Freeman. This year's top 10 were not chosen because of their looks or just how good they look in a suit, but rather how comfortable they look in the clothes they choose to wear. Dylan McDermott, Brad Pitt, President George W. Bush, Beck and Sean Penn also made their way onto the list.



ACAPULCO FILM FEST MOVES STATESIDE

The Acupulco Black Film Festival has relocated to the States and changed its name to the American Black Film Festival. The 6th annual event will be held June 26-30 in South Beach, Miami, Florida. The five-day festival will continue to include competitive film showcases, panel discussions and workshops. Deadline for entries is April 5 for short films, and April 19 for feature length films.


IT'S A "BEST ACTOR" OSCAR FIRST

Will Smith and Denzel Washington have both been nominated in the Best Actor category. This is the first time ever that two black actors vied for that award at the same time. With Halle Berry nominated for "Monster's Ball," it is the first time since 1972 that three blacks have been nominated in the lead-acting categories in the same year.


MASTER P AND LIL' ROMEO REACH OUT TO SCAMMED KIDS

Master P and his son, singer/actor Lil' Romeo flew to Chicago to talk to a group of students from Orr High School after the students were scammed by a New Orleans woman claiming to be a representative of No Limit Records. The woman took $1,500 from the kids for clothing and concert tickets without delivering the goods. The woman not only scammed kids at five Chicago schools, she even had unsuspecting students model No Limit clothes in an effort to increase sales. Chicago rap station WPWX (Power 92) stepped up and reimbursed the kids their lost funds and Master P and Lil' Romeo made a special trip to North Side High School to talk with students from all five victimized schools.


GOSSETT OUT OF MUSICAL

Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is stepping out of his role in the Broadway musical "Chicago" after just six performances. The show's publicist says Gossett's asthmatic condition is forcing him to leave the production.


HOWARD FIGHTING STEREOTYPING

Terrence Howard says he hasn't been working since "Hart's War," because the industry is trying to pigeon hole him. "I haven't taken a job since 'Hart's War,'" the actor confided. "On the other hand, I've been offered 'The Best Man' 20 times. But how many times can I play the same guy? Been there, done that. I don't want to take that step back down. So I may get a little lean in the meantime. I have to struggle to pay my mortgage, but I have integrity and I won't pretend to sell crack to pay my bills. There's a whole lot of crack being sold in Hollywood. And the actors are the dealers."


EGOS FLARE BACKSTAGE AT NAACP IMAGE AWARDS

The most entertainment may have occurred backstage at this year's NAACP Image Awards. Behind the scenes, there was apparently an ego flap between "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." Supposedly, "ET" was guaranteed first interview rights with celebrities on both the red carpet and in the backstage area, but "Access Hollywood" complained, saying that they not only regularly cover more black celebs than "ET," one of their correspondents, Shaun Robinson, was even a one-time Image Award presenter. Image Awards peacekeepers attempted a compromise to give "ET" first rights at the red carpet and "Access" first rights at backstage interviews but it wasn't good enough for "ET." Damaged ego in a knot, the celeb-reporting giant refused to do backstage interviews, altogether, according to PageSix.com.


SHE LOST BUT STILL NETS $40,000 FROM JAMES BROWN

Even though singer/actorJames Brown was cleared of sexual harassment charges brought by Lisa Ross Agbalaya, he still has to pay the woman $40,000. While jurors found Agbalaya's claims were bogus, clearing Brown of all charges, they did find that Agbalaya, who served as West Coast president of James Brown Enterprises, was wrongly fired during the controversy. They awarded her $40,000 in damages -- about a year's salary. The money was for compensatory damages only, no punitive damages were awarded. It's a far cry from the $1 million Agbalaya wanted. "We're extremely happy," said Brown's attorney, Debra Opri.


COOL J SAYS THEY'RE JUST PANTS

The movie poster for John McTiernan's "Rollerball" remake is raising a few eyebrows. Folks are asking what LL Cool J stuffed into his pants before the poster photo was shot. It's obvious that there's something largess behind the zipper of the actor's leather pants. "We took a picture and did nothing to it," an MGM exec insisted. "If there is a protrusion in his pants, then lucky LL. We cannot take credit for anything in LL's pants. That achievement can only be claimed by LL himself, or his parents I guess." LL is avoiding any battle over the bulge, saying: "All I did was put a pair of leather pants on."



ACTORS REACT TO THIER OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Halle Berry said: "I just am out of my head. I never thought in my career that my name would ever be mentioned with Oscar. I'm just in shock. I guess maybe tonight at some point it will sink in, but, it's just incredible."
Denzel Washington said: "What it means, is in this year there were three excellent performances by African Americans and that's all it should mean. What it means over time in the history of this business -- I don't know. What I do know is that they [Halle Berry and Will Smith] deserved to be there and I'm happy for both of them."
Will Smith said: "We were asleep ... when the telephone rang, Jada answered the phone, and it was my publicist letting her know that I [received] the nomination, at which point she proceeded to jump out of the bed, in the dark and hit her head on the door."


33RD NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNERS

For the third consecutive year Denzel Washington won the NAACP Image Award for best actor in a motion picture. This year the Washington won for his portrayal in the film "Training Day." Halle Berry won the best actress award for performance in "Swordfish." "Ali" won the best movie award, despite a less than stellar box office performance. The President's Award went to National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. The Chairman's Award was presented to Comic Strip Artist/Black Activist Aaron Magruder for his work on his syndicate comic strip "The Boondocks". Best comedy series went to "The Steve Harvey Show"(WB).


WRITERS FILE AGE DISCRIMINATION SUITS

More than 150 television writers filed 23 separate class action lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court against many of the industry's biggest companies. The lawsuits name television networks, studios and talent agencies as defendants in age discrimination cases. The complaints allege that during the 1997-98 season, two-thirds of the prime-time series on the broadcast networks did not employ one writer over the age of 50. "If the stereotypes had been directed against women or members of a racial group, everyone would be up in arms,'' said the writers' lead counsel Paul C. Sprenger of Sprenger & Langay.


DANIELS OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE

He was an inner-city black kid from West Philadelphia who moved to Los Angeles, started a management company that soon had clients like Loretta Devine and Morgan Freeman, and then he set out to produce his first film and it garnered an Oscar nomination. Sound like a movie plot? It's not. It actually happened to Lee Daniels, producer of "Monster’s Ball." "It is an outer body experience," said Daniels about his Academy Award nomination. "When I first started the film, we were lucky that it didn’t go straight to video. The subject matter is dark and it doesn’t reek of box office spectacular, big movie. It’s just a little movie and to get this type of reviews and acclaim, it’s truly an outer body experience, especially being a black man!"


WASHINGTON NOT EXCITED OVER OSCAR NODS

For the first time ever, three African Americans have been nominatedfor the top Oscar honors: Denzel Washington for "Training Day," Will Smith for "Ali" and Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball." But Denzel's not getting excited. During a recent interview in "Newsweek" magazine, Washington said, "To say that these nominations mean that African-Americans are now getting the recognition they deserve is to give a lot of power to people who don’t have it. Three nominations means three nominations -- nothing more or nothing less for black actors. I don’t worry about a statue that doesn’t look like me" Washington added with a wry grin.


SNIPES WON'T SOFTEN CHARACTER

According to Premiere magazine, Wesley Snipes is saying "no" to orders that he re-shoot several scenes in the upcoming Miramax movie "Undisputed" in order to make his character more sympathetic to white audiences. In the film, Snipes plays a prison boxing champ forced to go up against the world's heavyweight title holder (Ving Rhames), who is also behind bars after being convicted for rape. According to the magazine, Snipes has not seen the proposed script changes yet andrefuses to agree to any reshoots until he has.