The Last Word: Kelly Rowland Claims Free Agent, Queen Latifah Talks Black Actors, and Rihanna’s Beaten Photo a Work of Art?

What’s cookin’, everybody? It’s the end of another week and

it couldn’t get here any quicker. With the Obamas hobnobbing with the Queen,

Michael Vick planning a post prison life as a construction worker, Dante

Stallworth facing DUI manslaughter charges for striking and killing a

pedestrian while driving drunk in Miami and an online leak of the upcoming X-Men

Origins: Wolverine a month before it hits

theatres, it’s been an interesting five days.

 

Congratulations to Taye Diggs and his wife, Idina Menzel,

who will welcome their first baby later this year. Shout out to Lee, who

celebrated his birthday in high style on Wednesday and the sounding boards for

knowing the difference between fact and crap.

 

So let’s take a minute to digest…the Last Word for the

week ending April 3, 2009.

 

1. Joss Stone’s Free Spirit Battles Desire for Boyfriend

 

As with most things in life, success is nothing without

someone to share it with. Despite having fans around the globe, a powerful

voice and a few hit songs and albums, Joss Stone is experiencing the good life

all by herself.

 

Don’t let the tabloids fool you. To hear Joss tell it, it’s

been awhile since she’s enjoyed the company of the opposite sex.

 

“I’ve had five different boyfriends this year in the press.

But I don’t have a boyfriend. I haven’t had a boyfriend for four years,” Stone

told Parade magazine as she admitted to

falling victim to the paparazzi with “a pal who is my partner in crime.” “A

real long time buddy. We were in my van – we weren’t snogging (kissing)

or anything. And of course the photos got splashed around.”

 

And while she confesses to wanting a boyfriend, Stone seems

revel in doing her for now.  “It

would be nice. But not right now,” she said. “I haven’t got time for all that.

It’s better just being a free spirit.”

 

I’m all for finding love. There’s nothing better than having

someone who truly loves the good, bad and ugly of you. But when you’re a

singer, it seems the best material comes from being solo and on the hunt for

affection.

 

Maybe it’s me, but maybe Joss should do the relationship

thing and split over some petty drama. Just ask Taylor Swift or Mary J. Blige how

many accolades come in after pouring your heart into an album’s worth of love,

passion and heartache. Breakin’ up is hard to do, but damn if it don’t generate

a couple of dollars and awards here and there.

 

2. Terrence Howard Gets Personal With Colon Cancer

Awareness

 

Terrence Howard may have missed a big payday with the Iron

Man sequel, but the actor/musician is

putting his time and effort into something deeper as he helps bring the issue

of colon cancer to the forefront in the Black community. Howard recently spoke

on the condition at an event organized by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

 

“It’s time we stop being afraid because we’re the ones

that’s dying from it,” said Howard, whose mother died last fall from colon

cancer. “This has been one of the worst years of my life and I could not call

my mother once and ask her, ‘Hey mommy, I’m having a hard time right now,’”

 

For African-Americans, colon cancer is a major killer. CBS

News reports African-American men are 44 percent more likely to die from colon

cancer than white men, and African-American women, 46 percent more likely to

die than white women. Early detection of the disease through a screening, or

colonoscopy, can help doctors remove polyps before they become deadly cancers,

thereby preventing colon cancer related deaths.

 

With his mother becoming a colon cancer victim, Howard is

determined to help prevent others from experiencing the same type of loss.

 

“The only way I can find any peace of mind is trying to stop

what killed my mother,” says the actor, who has joined forces with the

Entertainment Industry Foundation in a nationwide campaign to encourage people

to get screened.

 

3. Rihanna Photo Becomes a Work of Art?!

 

The infamous photo TMZ.com posted of a battered and bruised

Rihanna has been called many things. But a work of art may not be among those

descriptions.

 

Unless you ask Sham Ibrahim, an L.A.-based artist who

created a new Andy Warhol-like portrait of Rihanna that was based on the photo.

And while you would think that Ibrahim would cite an increased awareness of

domestic violence as the reason behind his latest creation, the artist admits

to having a different kind of motivation.

 

“I thought the bruises in the police photo were interesting

shapes to draw,” Ibrahim told E! “And it was cool to color them pink and blue.

Those are two of my favorite colors.”

 

Ibrahim’s 24-inch by 36-inch Rihanna picture, which was made

by transferring custom colorized blow-ups of digital tracings of the police

photo onto canvas, is currently  on

display in the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery’s new group show, Name That ‘Toon.

 

Those looking to find something to absorb from the piece

shouldn’t waste their time, Ibrahim says.

 

“There is no message to any of my art,” the artist

explained. “It’s meant to look cool hanging on your wall and that’s it! I’m not

into deep meanings.”

 

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder.

4. Queen Latifah Blasts Hollywood Over Acting Roles for

Black Actresses

 

As a rapper, Queen Latifah made her own lane in the all-boys

club of Hip-Hop. As a singer, she garnered new fans and more respect by going

in a whole nother musical direction. But despite finding success on the small

and big screen, Latifah’s had it up to here with Hollywood not working to

create strong roles for Black actresses.

 

So much so that the Oscar nominee made It clear how ticked

she is with Tinseltown’s lack of respect during a chat with the UK web site

ThisIsBristol.

 

“There aren’t enough roles and this invisibility is really

starting to annoy me,” said Latifah. “You would think that there are no Black

actresses in Hollywood when you look at some of the women’s magazines. Not that

I want the paparazzi following me everywhere, but sometimes in the magazines,

it seems that we don’t even exist.”

 

As a veteran of the entertainment game, Latifah has seen her

share of differences in how black actresses are treated in comparison to other

actors.

 

“I see actors who have barely made a movie getting so much

attention and publicity, whereas black actresses are completely ignored, which

in a way makes the world think that they can ignore us too,” she stated. “Some

barriers have been broken but people still have an antiquated kind of thinking

sometimes.”

 

Despite the current atmosphere, Latifah says she makes every

effort to incorporate a diverse workplace on her films.

 

“When I am a producer on a film or the star of a movie, I

make sure that the set is multi-cultural, I make sure they hire a multi

cultural, qualified crew, I don’t want to look up and see all white men in front

of me all day,” she said. “I don’t have anything against white men, but why

would I be in this position and not make sure that everyone has opportunities?”

 

So what say you, Wordians? Does the Queen have a point? In

my opinion, yes. After President Obama’s victory, we must do for ourselves.

It’s time for us to write parts for ourselves instead of depending on others to

write them for us. It’s also time for us to develop our own studios to tell our

own stories (I see you Tyler Perry). Much respect due to the Queen for her

accomplishments. But I want to hear from you. Are Black actresses given less to

work with than other entertainers?

 

5. Mr. T Resists the Playboy Lifestyle

 

You gotta hand it to Mr. T. No matter what he does or what

parts he plays, he always kept it real. Whether it was being the muscle behind

Hannibal’s A-Team or giving Balboa the

business before going down hard in the third Rocky movie, you always knew where the former pro wrestler

stood. Onscreen and off.

This is probably why you never heard about any scandalous

activities involving T, who never took it upon himself to be a regular on the

Hollywood party scene or constantly be in the spotlight. In fact, the actor

admits that he turned down more than 25 invites to get his mingle on at Hugh

Hefner’s Playboy mansion, never showing up once.

 

“I’m not caught up in all that Hollywood stuff. I work in

Hollywood, but I’m not a part of Hollywood,” Mr. T told The Daily Sport, adding that Hef has nothing to offer him.  “There’s nothing Hugh Hefner can do for

me. If I went to the Playboy mansion, it would be a plus for Hugh Hefner, but a

minus for me.”

 

I ain’t mad at you T. I’m glad you’re staying true to you,

but for me. There’s a lot that Hef can do for me. Or rather the playmates. I’m

just sayin.’ I pity that fool.

 

In Other Words…

 

* Last week, I mentioned that Isaiah Washington was in

danger of being evicted from his home for falling behind on his rent. Although

he ended up moving out, it looks like another door has opened. According to The

Hollywood Reporter, Washington is attached

to play singer Lou Rawls in an upcoming biopic on the late entertainer. The

film’s script, which is written by the singer’s son, Lou Rawls Jr., offers an

“uncensored take” on the elder Rawls as it highlights his poverty-stricken

childhood, intense marital strife and success as a best selling artist.

 

* Kelly Rowland is officially a free agent. The Destiny’s

Child member has left her label Columbia Records as she opts to “explore new

directions, new challenges, and new freedoms outside my comfort zone” as a solo

artist. Rowland’s decision to part ways with Columbia comes two months after

she got rid of her longtime manager Mathew Knowles. According to Nielsen

Soundscan, Kelly’s last album, 2007’s Ms. Kelly, sold 219,000 copies in the United States. E! News reports that a

third album for Columbia is supposedly due out sometime this year.

 

* On a sad note, Wednesday (April 1) marked the 25th

anniversary of the death of Marvin Gaye, who would have turned 70 on Thursday

(April 2). EURWeb reports that the singer is being remembered with Marvin

Gaye: Then & Now, a 14-song digital

Motown/Ume album or rarities. Among the tracks on the project is “Soulie”

(pronounced “sue-lee”), a previously unreleased 1966 recording, two rare late

1950’s Chess songs with Harvey and The Moonglows (“Mama Loocie,” “Twelve Months

Of The Year”) and a string of Gaye’s earliest, pre-hit Motown singles (“Witchcraft,”

“Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide” and more).

 

Also on deck, is a vinyl-only edition of Gaye’s classic

debut album with Tammi Terrell, Untitled.

That album is slated to come out on April 14.

 

* Looks like there is life after acting for Jackie Chan as

the world awaits the entrance of another dragon into the music industry. The

famed action star is making a move into music as he gets set to perform with

various musicians at Descendants of the Dragon: Jackie Chan and Friends, a special concert that will take place at Beijing

National Stadium in Beijing. Although he doesn’t have much experience on the

mic, Chan is confident his song stylings will go over well with concertgoers.

 

“I only feel the pressure when I make films,” the

entertainer told WENN. “I believe the audiences will forgive me if I forget the

lyrics or I can’t keep the tempo.”

 

Let’s hope Jackie decides to enter the music successfully.

Otherwise, he may have to fall back on his drunken master experience to keep

the tempo.

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