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Kenya Barris is easily one of the greatest screenwriters of our times. As the creator of black-ish he has introduced mainstream audiences to poignant questions and commentary on race, class, gender, and social inequalities. His most controversial episode, however, Please Baby, Please, was shelved indefinitely in part due to its anti-Trump sentiments compounded with footage from the Charleston 9 shooting, being narrated by Spike Lee, and the kneeling movement began by Colin Kaepernick. After being silent for well over a year and opting to leave ABC for Netflix, he is finally breaking his silence on the controversial episode, his Netflix deal, and other difficulties that led to his departure from the Walt Disney owned company.

Kenya spoke in depth with The Hollywood Reporter about all of his above mentioned issues. You can catch a snippet of it below:

kenya barris the hollywood reporter

When Kenya Barris sat down last fall to write an episode of his ABC comedy Black-ish, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” he had a sense it might stir up trouble.

The setup was relatively simple: Dre, the Johnson family patriarch played by Anthony Anderson, was telling his infant son, Devante, a bedtime story that reflected on the events of his first year on the planet. It was, per multiple sources, a mix of political allegory (an animated fairy tale about a character named The Shady King) and actuality (news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests). “When you’re putting a baby to sleep, you’re trying to soothe whatever anxieties they’re having,” says Barris, speaking for the first time about the controversial episode. “So, this was about me trying to pat the butt of the country and soothe people.”

“Please, Baby, Please,” which was supposed to air in the back half of the Emmy-nominated series’ fourth season, was shot in wide angle, with very little score. Production is said to have upped its usual episode budget of $3 million or so, spending handsomely on rights and clearances for such things as the Sam Cooke ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which Barris personally met with Cooke’s goddaughter to secure. He enlisted a high-profile illustrator, too, and hired his hero Spike Lee to do voiceover, since the episode took its title and inspiration from a children’s book written by Lee and his wife. Rather than focus on the entire Johnson clan, as Black-ish typically does, the episode centered primarily on Dre and his interpretation of real-world events presented to his son as a form of catharsis. As a father of six, Barris has had plenty of experience calming children at bedtime.

“We approached it with the network and the studio as, ‘This is different,'” says the 44-year-old showrunner. “We certainly knew people would talk about it.”

The episode did, in fact, get people talking, if not for the reason Barris anticipated. Mere days before its scheduled Feb. 27 air date, “Please, Baby, Please” was mysteriously and indefinitely shelved. While Barris is strategic with his choice of words — careful never to utter the phrase “censorship” as others throughout the industry do — the move turned out to be the last straw in his long-standing and already complicated relationship with The Walt Disney Co. “I don’t know that I would have been as useful to them as they’d need me to be after that,” he offers. Those in his cast are far less diplomatic. Tracee Ellis Ross has called the decision “frightening,” while Anderson suggests it was a personal affront. “He’d given his blood, sweat and tears to [the episode], which they had signed off on every step of the way — from the outline, to the script, to the table read, to the point where they actually spent the money and made the episode,” says the actor, who’s also an executive producer. “And I don’t know what those conversations were, but we entered into this partnership with the understanding that we would be able to tell the stories that we wanted to tell.”

Anderson was first informed of the decision by Barris and his manager only four or five days before the episode was supposed to run. He, like much of the cast, was shocked, and more than a little confused. What Barris hadn’t told his actors was that he’d been quietly locked in battle over the episode’s fate for weeks. There’d been a flurry of back-and-forths with executives as high up as CEO Bob Iger, who called Barris from home, sick with laryngitis, and, per two sources, had a reasoned conversation with the showrunner about the political sensitivities of being a broadcast network in 2018. Executives at ABC, more than any other network, have been forthright about their desire for more red-state programming since Trump’s win — and with Barris’ latest episode, they feared they’d be alienating the very population they’d tried so hard to court. That Disney brass wouldn’t want to poke Trump himself just as the company was seeking Justice Department approval of its acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is widely believed to have been a factor as well.

You can read the entire interview in depth by clicking here.

Whatever Kenya touches is going to be gold. We are not surprised Disney opted to shelve his episode to ensure that Fox deal went through. Money rules all they say, and it is evident around us. We cannot wait to see what he brings to Netflix! We are sure it will be just good as good–if not better–than anything he has ever done for ABC/Disney!

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Not Surprised! Jussie Smollett’s “Attackers” Are Struggling to Find Acting Roles…

Does the phrase “You’ll never work in this town again!” Sound familiar to anyone? Well it definitely should to Abel and Ola Osundairo, the Nigerian brothers who were allegedly paid to attack Jussie Smollett. Apparently the brothers are having hard time finding acting gigs since their involvement with the entire scandal came to light. Abel, had actually been signed to a talent agency, but was dropped shortly thereafter. 

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jussie smollett and abel and ola osundairo

Does the phrase “You’ll never work in this town again!” Sound familiar to anyone? Well it definitely should to Abel and Ola Osundairo, the Nigerian brothers who were allegedly paid to attack Jussie Smollett. Apparently the brothers are having hard time finding acting gigs since their involvement with the entire scandal came to light. Abel, had actually been signed to a talent agency, but was dropped shortly thereafter.

via TMZ

he men who allegedly “attacked” Jussie Smollett at his behest are feeling the pain in the aftermath of the whole debacle … because their acting careers have taken a major blow.

Sources close to the Osundairo brothers — Abel and Ola — tell TMZ … the 2 have come up empty trying to land an agent in the past several weeks. We’re told they’ve reached out to about 10 of the top agencies in Chicago and none have been interested in signing them.

This especially hurts right now because it’s pilot season in the TV biz, and actors like the bros can’t even get auditions without an agent.

What’s worse is Abel actually HAD signed with the Gray Talent Group about a month before his involvement in the Jussie drama became known, and got dropped shortly afterward.

The reason he was given, according to our sources, was generic and didn’t mention the Smollett case … but it was obvious. We’re told the agency told Abel it couldn’t provide him the opportunities he desired, adding … “parting ways with talented actors like yourself is a difficult decision and not a direct reflection on your character or your abilities.”

Unfortunately for the Osundairos … their fitness biz has tapered off as well. Our sources say while it seemed to be booming about a month ago, many of their potential clients turned out to be feigning interest in getting in shape and were really looking to get details on Jussie’s case.

We really are not surprised The Osundairo Brothers are having a hard time finding work. Jussie’s entire scandal, even though he was acquitted, is still toxic and anyone involved in it is tainted. We will be surprised if they ever get real acting roles.

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Too Much? Wendy Williams Advises RHONJ’s Teresa Giudice to Leave Her Husband!

Wendy Williams may have lost her marriage, but she has not lost her opinions, especially when it comes to The Real Housewives of New Jersey couple, Teresa and Joe Giudice! As you may already know the couple has faced their fair share of problems over the last few years with both being incarcerated and now Joe faces deportation after learning he has never been an American citizen.  Many would think Wendy would encourage her to stand by her man, but the talk show host wants Teresa to prepare to move on with her life without Joe. 

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wendy williams teresa giudice

Wendy Williams may have lost her marriage, but she has not lost her opinions, especially when it comes to The Real Housewives of New Jersey couple, Teresa and Joe Giudice! As you may already know the couple has faced their fair share of problems over the last few years with both being incarcerated and now Joe faces deportation after learning he has never been an American citizen.  Many would think Wendy would encourage her to stand by her man, but the talk show host wants Teresa to prepare to move on with her life without Joe.

via People

teresa giudice and joe giudice

Teresa and Joe Giudice

“If I were Teresa, I wouldn’t even want him home at this point,” she said, adding that she hopes Teresa remains on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. “I would not have him living in my house.”

And when it comes to the couple’s four daughters, Williams said they’re probably better off if their parents are happy.

“I am all about a family staying together,” she said. “But families don’t stay together because of the kids. In fact, sometimes it’s worse for the kids.”

It was revealed on Thursday that Joe is now one step closer to deportation as his appeal against the decision to deport him was denied.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Board of Immigration Appeals has denied Mr. Giudice’s appeal,” James J. Leonard Jr., the Giudice family attorney, told PEOPLE in a statement. “We have filed a stay with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and will continue to fight to keep Mr. Giudice in the United States, the only country he knows, and reunite him with his wife and four daughters.”

Wendy’s comments may be hitting a little too close to home as she is dealing with her pending divorce from her husband of over 20 years, Kevin Hunter. We would like to see Joe be granted some clemency, at least for his four daughters’ sake. On Wendy’s end she is at least keeping it “business as usual;” still hosting her daytime talk show and even making light of her divorce by referring to herself as a “single woman.”

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“Smallville’s” Allison Mack Pleads Guilty to Nxivm Sex Trafficking Scandal!

“Somebody save me!” Is what the victims of the Nxivm sex trafficking case were yelling for years after being recruited by former Smallville star, Allison Mack, as sex slaves into the now infamous cult. Allison is now pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy and  racketeering.

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allison mack

“Somebody save me!” Is what the victims of the Nxivm sex trafficking case were yelling for years after being recruited by former Smallville star, Allison Mack, as sex slaves into the now infamous cult. Allison is now pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy and  racketeering.

via People

keith raniere and allison mack

Keith Raniere accuses Allison Mack of helping recruit sex slaves

Smallville actress Allison Mack has pleaded guilty to charges related to her involvement with a controversial self-help group described as having a secret society of “masters” and sexually subservient “slaves” within it, PEOPLE confirms.A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York tells PEOPLE that Mack was scheduled to appear in court at 11:30 a.m. to plead guilty.

The spokesman says she is pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering.

Prosecutors have accused her of recruiting sex slaves for Keith Raniere, who co-founded the controversial self-help group Nxivm and its subgroup, DOS, described as an all-female secret society in which women allegedly were forced to be sexually subservient to Raniere.

On Monday, Mack, 36, appeared in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, where jury selection in her trial was set to begin.

Best known for her years-long role as a young Superman’s friend, Chloe Sullivan, on The WB’s Smallville, Mack was charged last spring with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy.
Allison faces a minimum sentence of fifteen years if convicted on all charges. We have to say we are still in shock over everything she has been involved in. This proves that all sex traffickers are not men, and that no one is truly as they seem. What do you guys think of Allison and her involvement in this scandal? Sound off in the comments’ section below!

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