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Spotlight on Black entertainment

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Jill Scott at Essence Black Women in Music

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jill Scott will be honored at the 6th Annual Black Women in Music event hosted by Essence Magazine Feb.5. The event highlights the achievements of today’s biggest stars and breakthrough artists. Past honorees include Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland, Janell Monae and Solange Knowles. The event will feature an exclusive performance from Scott.

Raven Symone speaks out

After stirring up controversy on social media by stating on Oprah’s “Where Are They Now” show that she doesn’t want to be labeled as an African-American, Raven Symone is back in the headlines again. In a new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) documentary titled “Light Girls,” Symone, 29, reveals she tanned three to four times a week while on the set of her popular Disney series “That’s So Raven.” She said, “It’s funny, one of the lighting guys came up — I love him to death. I love him. Oh my goodness — he goes, ‘Raven, I need you to stop tanning. You’re getting too dark, and we have to re-light the whole entire show,’” she said. “I was like, ‘Sorry. I was just trying to be pretty.’”

Muhammad Ali released from hospital

Recently boxing legend Muhammad Ali was hospitalized for a severe urinary tract infection, but was released in time to celebrate his 73rd birthday. Bob Gunnel, Ali’s family spokesman said in a statement, “The Ali family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support and continued well wishes.” This was the icon’s second hospital-related experience in the last month.

Oscars/Academy Award nominees lack Black actors and actresses

“Selma,” the highly anticipated film directed by Ava DuVernay was nominated for a few Golden Globe Awards, but unfortunately only the film’s song “Glory” by John Legend and Common were acknowledged with a win. The film has been nominated for an Oscar/Academy Award, although no Black actors or actresses were nominated in major categories. Twitter fans began a hashtag titled #OscarsSoWhite, which is currently trending in the U.S. In 2012 it was reported that 94 percent of Oscar voters are white and over 77 percent are male.

‘Whitney’ was praised

While there were a few critics, “Whitney,” an Angela Basset directed film, overall received positive feedback. Viewers admitted they were skeptical due to poor ratings of Lifetime’s previous debut of “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B,” but they raved “Whitney” was well cast. The film starred Yaya DeCosta and Arlen Escarpeta, with vocals provided by award-winning singer Deborah Cox. Actress and star of “Scandal” Kerry Washington stated on Twitter: “CONGRATULATIONS to @ImAngelaBassett on your directorial debut!!!!!!!! Wooooo hooooooo #WhitneyMovie @lifetimetv.” Read a review of “Whitney” at IndianapolisRecorder.com.

Jennifer Hudson makes Broadway debut

This fall Jennifer Hudson will make her long-awaited debut in “The Color Purple.” Oprah, who produced the production in 2005, personally made a call to Hudson to ask her to play the role of blues singer, Shug Avery. This is Hudson’s first musical role since Dream Girls in 2006 and she already has an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Award. Fans are asking, could this be her chance to earn a Tony?

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