How is everything, everybody? We made it through another week. So what came out of it? Well, there was the group of American missionaries that were charged Thursday (Feb. 4) with kidnapping and conspiracy for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti, Oscar nominations being announced, James Camerons Avatar surpassing Titanic to become the highest domestic grossing film ever and the Super Bowl being played on Sunday.
Get well wishes go out to singer Etta James, who is recovering from sepsis caused by a urinary tract infection while being hospitalized in Southern California. Shout out to the sounding boards for taking time out to make time for change.
So here we go with the Last Word for the week ending Feb. 5, 2010.
1. John Legend Questions Public School System While Waiting for Superman
It looks like John Legend is directing his talents towards a deeper impact as he helps put the spotlight on Americas public school system.
The issue takes center stage in the new film, Waiting for Superman, which recently premiered at this years Sundance Film Festival. The film, which examines failing school systems around the country, offers a look at students, whose chance of a bright future depend on long shot lotteries that determine which children will get to attend a choice alternative school.For the Davis Guggenheim-directed feature, Legend contributed a new song titled "Shine." The tune, which received high marks from Guggenheim, can be heard during the closing credits for Waiting for Superman.
"Shine was completely inspired from seeing the film and seeing the stories of the children in the film, because it follows these kids who have potential, have a certain desire to do well," Legend told the Associated Press. "They are in circumstances where they are surrounded by failing public schools, and they see the light, they see a few schools in their area that are succeeding. But you have to win a lottery to get into these schools."
Although he hopes Waiting for Superman will motivate the people to do something regarding public schools, Legend knows it will be a challenge to find an audience for get the documentary.
"I feel that this film is really inspiring, it's really moving. It has all the things you want out of a good film, the singer said. The drama and the suspense and the interesting characters that you want to follow. It also teaches you something important about what's going on in our country."
As it stands now, the rights to Waiting for Superman have been purchased by Paramount Vantage. Look for the documentary to hit theaters later this year.
2. Chris Brown, Former and Current Day 26 Members Set the Mood With Valentines Day Mixtapes
When you think of Valentines Day, it usually involves flowers, romance and some quality time with someone special. So why not have a mixtape to put on to set the mood just right?
At least thats what Chris Brown wants you to do as he releases his forthcoming R&B mixtape on Feb. 14. The DJ Drama-hosted offering, called In My Zone, will feature Brown putting his own stamp on songs made famous by other artists.
According to the singer, "I got a lot of new songs and doing all the remixes to everybody's records from Trey Songz to Yo Gotti. I got a lot of new songs I'm putting on there too."
In addition to work by soul singers and rappers, Brown will do remixes to pop songs on the 32-song mixtape. The crooner recently invited fans to take a look at him working on the project as he was seen recording I Invented Head, a more explicit version of Songz hit single I Invented Sex.
Brown wont be the only person giving music to fans on Valentines Day. Former Day 26 member Qwanell "Que" Mosley will officially take the first steps to solo stardom with his mixtape, Q Files.
The upcoming mixtape comes on the heels of the recent debut of Ques first solo song, "Make It." Not to be outdone, Ques former Day 26 comrade Will Taylor will release a mixtape of his own called Sex Tape. The lead single from that offering is a track called "Sex Conversation."
3. Jessica Alba Seriously Embraces Latino Heritage With Spanish Lessons
Life as a Latino has finally set in for Jessica Alba. The actress, who can be seen in the upcoming all-star romantic comedy Valentines Day, is taking steps to triumph over critics who question whether shes a true Latina by fully embracing her Mexican heritage. The move comes as Alba admitted to confusing a lot of journalists when she first became famous. As a result, the critics became vocal about her lack of Spanish speaking skills and found fault with her looking Latina but not being able to speak Spanish.The feedback eventually took its toll on Alba, who confessed to having trouble handling questions from interviewers surrounding her heritage.
"I didn't want to misrepresent Latinos and I didn't know how to defend myself. But I went to my room and I cried all night. Since then, I've preferred not to comment on the subject, the entertainer told Siempre Mujer magazine. "I tried to explain to them that, in this country (America), I'm considered Latina and, thus, I consider myself Latina as well. I grew up eating enchiladas. Moreover, in my house the only American-style dish we ate was spaghetti with meat... I identify with Mexicans. It's in my blood whether or not I speak Spanish."
As with all things, time and experience give way to a clearer way of thinking. For Alba, that included making a serious effort to become fluent in Spanish, not only for her, but for her daughter Honor, whom she wants to have the best of both worlds.
"I know the basics, but I just hired a professor that specializes in Hispanic studies to teach me and Honor. God knows that I wish I was raised bilingual. But it wasn't to be, said the actress, who plans on expanding her latest personal endeavor into professional waters.
"I want to make movies in Spanish... There are so many interesting themes and stories that are worth sharing, like the lives of immigrants, for example, Alba said. "There's a whole world that hasn't been sufficiently explored and I want to be part of it - the violence on the Mexican borders, the political upheaval in Venezuela and Bolivia and the drug trafficking in Colombia."
4. Tyrese Co-Signs Being a Father to Your Child
Although he is going through a custody battle with his ex-wife Norma, Tyrese Gibson is quick to say that the drama does not spill over on to his 2 ½-year-old daughter, Shayla Somer.
No matter what, the singer/rapper/actor maintains that patriarchs should do the right thing and be a father to their children.At the end of the day, this is what I would say to all fathers: Dont allow the conflicts between [you and] the mother of your child to get in the way of your responsibility as a father, Tyrese shared with People.coms Celebrity Baby Blog. Your responsibility when you coexist and create a child is to be a father period because that child is affected by your irresponsibilities if you decide to be irresponsible,Tyreses stance on fatherhood comes amid ups and downs in his divorce from Norma, which he filed in January 2009. Irreconcilable differences were cited in the split, which occurred after 10 months of marriage. Through all the divorce complications, Tyreses feelings for Norma continue to remain while proclaiming his love for Shayla.
I still love the mother of my child and that will never change, the entertainer shared.
5. Mary J. Blige Rocks Out on a Stairway to Heaven
She may be the queen of hip-hop soul, but Mary J. Blige is leaning on the influence of rock music for one song on her latest album, Stronger With Each Tear.On Tuesday (Feb. 2), the songstress aligned with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, American Idols Randy Jackson, rock guitarist Steve Val and Orianthi (the blonde female guitarist selected for Michael Jacksons This Is It tour) for a cover of Led Zeppelins classic, Stairway to Heaven.
The tune, which is among Zeppelins array of vintage material, is considered to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Bliges interest in Stairway to Heaven goes all the way back to childhood as she remembered experiencing a variety of emotions while listening to it."The one thing that I get out of the lyrics 'she is buying a stairway to heaven' is what so many of us have done and do, meaning we buy a bunch of material things to get peace," the vocalist told The BoomBox. "I was a kid when I first heard it. It made me feel weird, but it made me feel peaceful, and then when the rock 'n' roll part came in, it made me feel charged, but at the same time that peace didn't leave me. I was able to see into music, and fell into music, to the depths where other people can't feel it or see it, so that made me want to do it." Bliges version of Stairway to Heaven is set to appear as a bonus track on the international release of Stronger With Each Tear.
6. Jill Scott Relationship With Record Label Exposed in New LawsuitBelieve it or not, Jill Scott is being brought to task by her record label.The award-winning songbird is at the center of a new lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday (Feb. 3) by Hidden Beach Records. In the suit are claims that Scott has bailed on her six-album contract with the label, thereby resulting in her potentially owing Hidden Beach millions of dollars in damages.The suit goes on to acknowledge claims that Scott parted ways with the label after a more than 10 year relationship. Hidden Beach and its founder, Steve McKeever, allege they nurtured Scott into a successful singer/songwriter after helping launch her career. Scott was midway through fulfilling her contract with three albums under her belt.
The lawsuit also chronicled a rather tight relationship Hidden Beach and McKeever had with its popular star. Among the details uncovered were allegations that McKeever paid Scott million-dollar advances when he wasn't required to as well as allowed her to keep merchandising revenue.
The complaint further claims that McKeever paid $450,000 to fund a concert DVD that Scott later asked not be released, bought her lavish gifts and indulged her desire to slow her recording schedule to pursue an acting career.
To hear the label tell it, it seemed like Hidden Beach was forced to sue Scott given her alleged diva like behavior. The claim they were "rolling the dice and betting everything it had on an unknown talent" when they first signed Scott ... and are "deeply saddened" by her recent actions.
In Other Words
Its no secret that Will Smith is a supporter of President Obama. But could the Commander-in-Chiefs influence be rubbing off on the entertainer?
Could be. In an interview with Germanys Bunte magazine, Smiths wife Jada confessed that her husband is thinking about entering the true realm of aliens and weird, backward thinking creatures, i.e. the world of politics.
Will is thinking about going into politics. He once said he could imagine becoming a U.S. president, said Jada. He wasnt joking, he was quite serious about it.
If this holds up, it would be a turnaround for the Fresh Prince, who opted for the fun-filled life of a movie star rather than that of a politician.