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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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Controversy Begins! Robert Pattinson says “Batman’s NOT A Superhero!”

It has been a few months now since Warner Bros. Pictures announced former “Twilight” star, Robert Pattinson, would assume the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” film which will showcase the early years of the Caped Crusader.

Although Batman is largely considered a superhero, Pattinson refutes the title in the traditional sense saying, “Batman’s not a superhero.”

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robert pattinson batman

It has been a few months now since Warner Bros. Pictures announced former “Twilight” star, Robert Pattinson, would assume the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” film which will showcase the early years of the Caped Crusader.

Although Batman is largely considered a superhero, Pattinson refutes the title in the traditional sense saying, “Batman’s not a superhero.”

via Complex

robert pattinson batman

In a Today interview shared Sunday, the star of this year’s The Lighthouse was asked about taking on the role in the upcoming 2021 Matt Reeves film. When host Willie Geist used the word “superhero” to describe the beloved DC character, Pattinson was quick to politely correct that characterization.

“Batman’s not a superhero,” he said, laughing. “It’s weird. I always balk at it. I’m like, it doesn’t count. You need to have, like, magical powers to be a superhero.”

batman and green arrow

Batman and Green Arrow

It is fair to say Batman is not “super” in the sense of having powers, however his training, skills, genius level intellect, and arsenal have made him a powerful rival and sometimes adversary of incredibly powerful superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman. Saying Batman is not a superhero negates the nigh superhuman abilities of superheroes like Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Green Arrow, Hawkeye, Nightwing, the Batman Family, and Green Hornet.

What do you all think? Do you consider The Dark Knight a superhero or no? Sound off in the comments section below!

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“Will & Grace” Actress, Shelley Morrison, Best Known As “Rosario,” Passes at 83…

“Will & Grace” is one of the funniest and most progressive shows in television history. Yes, Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack have kept us laughing for years, but it was Karen’s wisecracking and beloved, maid, “Rosario Salarez,” that also made some of the most memorable and hilarious scenes in the show’s history.

We are extremely saddened to report that the actress who portrayed her, Shelley Morrison, has passed at the age of 83.

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shelley morrison death rosario salarez will and grace

“Will & Grace” is one of the funniest and most progressive shows in television history. Yes, Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack have kept us laughing for years, but it was Karen’s wisecracking and beloved, maid, “Rosario Salarez,” that also made some of the most memorable and hilarious scenes in the show’s history.

We are extremely saddened to report that the actress who portrayed her, Shelley Morrison, has passed at the age of 83.

via Entertainment Weekly 

shelley morrison death rosario salarez will and grace

Shelley Morrison, who played the beloved Rosario on Will & Grace, died Sunday morning at age 83, EW has confirmed. She was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for heart failure after a brief illness. AP first reported her passing.

Morrison starred as Rosario Salazar, Karen Walker’s (Megan Mullally) maid on the first run of Will & Grace. Hailing from El Salvador, Rosario (known as Rosie) had a contentious yet loving relationship with Karen. The popular character appeared in 68 episodes of the comedy but was not featured in the revival, with Morrison declining to return after retiring from acting.

“Shelley’s greatest pride as an actress was in playing the indomitable Rosario, in a comedy series that furthered the cause of social equity and fairness for LGBTQ people,” her publicist, Lori DeWaal, told EW. “She also took pride in portraying a strong, loving yet feisty Latina character. She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.”

“Rosario is one of my all-time favorite characters,” Morrison said recently, according to the AP. “She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools. It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own.”

will and grace cast

Will & Grace cast, (l-r) Shelley Morrison, Eric McCormick, Debra Messing, Megan Mulally, and Sean Hayes

Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, and Megan Mulally who starred as Grace Adler, Will Truman, and Karen, respectively, on the show offered their condolences on social media Sunday.

Besides her work on Will & Grace, Shelley had a career that spanned decades. She appeared in many episodes of The Flying Nun as “Sister Sixto,” as well as The Rookies, LaredoCourthouse, and more. In the world of movies, she was featured in films like Three Guns for Texas, Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand, Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long, and the 1997 infamous romantic comedyFools Rush In, starring Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry.  Born Rachel Mitrani in New York City’s Bronx borough in 1936, Morrison’s first language was Spanish. She often portrayed Latina characters on screen but was featured in roles of various backgrounds.

We are really praying for her family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. Rest in peace Shelley, you were loved and will be missed.

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Gabrielle Union’s Firing Amid Sexism & Racism Triggers Deeper Investigation into “America’s Got Talent’s” History

It looks like Gabrielle Union is not “going gently into the night” when it comes to her termination from “America’s Got Talented.” Also, NBC and other news organizations are now launching internal and external investigations into the show and its history. 

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america's got talent gabrielle union

It looks like Gabrielle Union is not “going gently into the night” when it comes to her termination from “America’s Got Talented.” Also, NBC and other news organizations are now launching internal and external investigations into the show and its history.

via NBC and Love B. Scott

gabrielle union

“Other news organizations already started a deeper dive into the history of the show and Simon and NBC tying it into Matt Lauer, etc. The NBC News group has multiple lawsuits. Ronan Farrow and some other journalists have been reporting.”

As we previously reported, NBC sources exclusively told lovebscott.com that Gabrielle Union’s firing came as a result of her speaking up about ‘problematic’ situations.

NBC reached out to lovebscott.com in the wake of the initial allegations and provided the following statement on behalf of the network and Fremantle:

“America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

When asked about the internal / external investigation, NBC declined to comment.

All we can say is this is a lot–a whole lot. We really hate that Gabrielle was fired from the show after speaking out about serious issues of racism and sexism. We would hope that somehow her job can be reinstated or she can make a move onto another NBC project. One way or another, with so many news organizations investigating this story the truth–the real truth–will come out! We will keep you posted as this story continues to develop.

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