Apr08

Halle Berry Launches Shoe Line in Europe

Oscar–winning actress Halle Berry has partnered with German retailer Deichmann Shoes to create 5th Avenue by Halle Berry, a line of casual, comfortable footwear the actress says “can easily be worn by every woman” and described as “stylish, yet reasonably priced.”

The forty limited edition styles are currently available for purchase in stores in the United Kingdom. It is unknown as to whether or not the line has an imminent release in the United States.

“Women have always loved shoes,” Berry says on her debut into footwear fashion. “It’s like if your hair is not right and your shoes are not right, the woman is not right. If both of them are right, you’re pretty much okay.”

Berry’s shoes range from peep-toe wedges to sandals, at approximately $60 a pair.

Federal Healthcare Law Could Raise California Premiums by 30%

Two new first look studies commissioned by the state of California and a separate government report both offer a detailed estimate of how healthcare costs may affect middle-class workers the hardest.

The government report states that about 570,000 Californians who have annual incomes between 250% and 400% of the federal poverty line and have individual policies now will pay 47% less, on average, due to federal subsidies.

The state estimate known as Covered California offer the first look at how healthcare costs may change for millions of Californians next year and the various factors that will affect families' overall medical expenses.

“Health insurance will become relatively less expensive for people with chronic conditions and relatively more expensive for healthier people,” said Robert G. Cosway, an actuary at Milliman, a large consulting firm that prepared the report.

The study is significant because California is far ahead of most states in setting up a competitive marketplace, or exchange, where people can buy insurance this fall.

Mar06

Quvenzhané Wallis Replaces Willow Smith As New ‘Annie’

Oscar nominee and newest  Hollywood darling, Quvenzhané Wallis has been confirmed to play the lead role in the modern version of “Annie.”

The “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” actress was chosen by Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment to helm the character originally created for Willow Smith who dropped out as has grown out of the role.

“With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhané Wallis is a true star and we believe  her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star. She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as  a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her,” read a statement released by Columbia.

Her upcoming film is a role in Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen.

Zoe Saldana Responds to Nina Simone Backlash
‘Avatar’ Actress Zoe Saldana's casting as legendary singer Nina Simone was met with criticism particularly when she took the role in the upcoming biopic Nina, replacing R&B star Mary J. Blige.

Many took issue with the fact that the actress isn’t a singer, isn’t dark-skinned and doesn't resemble Simone.
At a pre-Oscar party, the 34-year old actress told HipHollywood how she dealt with the backlash and why she took the role.

“What kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sistas and my brothas and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that, I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me,” said the Image Award nominee.

“I did it all out of love for my people and my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman and that’s my truth.”

Michael Ealy Cast In New TV Show
Michael Ealy is getting ready to have another good year as he just signed as one of  two leads in Fox‘s new untitled bad robot pilot (formerly titled ‘Inhuman’). The action-packed cop show is set in the near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. It centers on one such pairing, cop John and his android partner Dorian (Ealy), who understands humanity more than John. The newly wed, who  also starred in another two-lead drama, USA’s ‘Common Law’, has recently wrapped ‘About Last Night’ and, after the Fox pilot, will segue into filming the sequel to the hit film  ‘Think Like A Man,’ also for Screen Gems.

Mary J. Blige Turns To God In Battle With Alcohol Addiction

Mary J. Blige has revealed that the tragic death of Whitney Houston made her realize it was time to face her demon of alcohol addiction. The proud born-again Christian revealed her decade-long battle with alcohol addiction to LA Confidential, sharing that she began focusing on her relationship with God instead of alcohol during the battle. The 42-year-old confessed that her alcohol addiction became worse after trying to cut back and only drink socially.

"I chose to learn how to drink socially and it didn't work," she said. "The test comes when you have to decide whether you're drinking to be social or drinking to cover up something again. To cover up depression, to cover up guilt. Shame. Abandonment… Once I realized, 'There you go again,' I had to stop."

In recent years Blige has openly discussed her tumultuous past that included cocaine and alcohol addiction, which began at the age of 16. She has explained that her dependency masked incidents of her childhood: insecurities about the way that she looked, and emotional pain that she experienced from an abusive relationship with a member of the R&B group Jodeci.

In 2001 during VH1 "Behind the Music," Blige revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child.

"That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault. It led me to believe that I wasn't worth anything," she said.

In her journey to reclaim herself and her life, she has empowered other women to do the same. In 2006, she founded the Mary J. Blige Center for Women in Yonkers, N.Y., to encourage women who have experienced domestic violence.

The queen of hip-hop soul admits that during her 21-year career that her sobriety has met many bumps in the road but she is determined to be victorious. "I don't know why, but I didn't want to go to rehab. I believe that anything man himself can do for me, God can do for me in a greater way. I decided to pray and to seek God on my own. I just stayed in The Word. And it worked."

Briefly ... Keke Palmer, Lil Mama & Drew Sidora have started filming a  VH1 Biopic of the R&B group TLC ... ‘America’s Got Talent’ has added Spice Girl Mel B to replace Sharon Osbourne ... Hunky Lance Gross has snagged lead Role in new NBC pilot …John Legend has signed exclusive deal with USA Network to produce FBI  drama titled ‘The Edge’ ... Actress Maya Rudolph is fielding offers for own variety series ... "Basketball Wives" stars Suzie Ketcham and Kenya Bell got into an all out physical brawl on set last week that started when one threw a plate of meatballs at the other.

Mar06

Rihanna Signs Deal With MAC Cosmetics

International popstar Rihanna is teaming up with MAC in a groundbreaking collaboration as their first ever celebrity “creative partner,” which includes a year-long cosmetics line called RiRi Hearts MAC.

The 24-year-old who has successfully pulled off almost every shade of lipstick said, “When you think of makeup, the brand that pops into your mind — for something legit — is MAC.”

Other artists, such as Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga have coupled with the brand for their makeup lines but the Barbados native is the first to ink a long-term deal.

“Being creative is something that I love,” Rihanna tells WWD. “My makeup looks, my fashion looks … they help me to express myself as an artist.”

RiRi Hearts MAC is slated to debut in the fall in a rose-gold packaging.

Fox Forms HBCU Alliance for Black Talent Go
Fox recently announced a transformative new partnership called FOX/HBCU Media Alliance (FHMA), a union that will bring HBCU students, faculty, and alumni together with executives from FOX’s media and entertainment business to increase the participation of black talent in film.

Said Nicole Bernard, Senior Vice President, and head of FOX Audience Strategy, "As a HBCU alumnus, I know first-hand the extraordinary level of talent coming out of these schools.”

"Fox has been a strong supporter of HBCUs, but now we want to elevate those efforts by creating a robust and unprecedented resource that harnesses the talent that HBCUs produce,” said Bernard who received her undergraduate degree at Howard University before attending Georgetown University Law Center.

Based in Los Angeles, FHMA will also have chapters in Washington, D.C. and New York City, led by influential HBCU alumni from the media and entertainment industry. Membership in the Alliance is open to all current HBCUs, their students, faculty and alumni that work in the media and entertainment sector.

Feb14

Opening Today: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

Viola Davis discusses her reimagined 'Beautiful Creatures' role

'The Help' star didn't want to play another maid

By Daniel Fienberg

When Viola Davis was initially cast as sassy, ultra-faithful South Carolina housekeeper Amma in "Beautiful Creatures," I initially had some concerns. Fortunately, so did Davis.

"I didn't want to be in a movie placed in 2013, in the South, where I was a character in servitude. I think that that needs to be redefined," Davis told me when we sat down last weekend.

Fortunately, the Amma in Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel only has vestigial links to the original Amma and ultimately has much more in common with the book's Marian Ashcroft, though she's not exactly Marian either.

"I'm thankful it was a reimagining of a character," the two-time Oscar nominee told me.

When I was on the "Beautiful Creatures" set last summer, Davis wasn't able to talk to the small group of press, a product of a frenzied schedule that had her simultaneously going back and forth between production on "Beautiful Creatures" and "Ender's Game."

In our conversation, Davis remembers that frenzied production pace, discusses the pressures that either do or don't come from being the first actor cast on a movie and talks about going back to her own roots to play this new version of Amma.

Check out the full interview above, especially if you want to hear Viola Davis say "ginormous."

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/the-fien-print/viola-davis-discusses-her-reimagined-beautiful-creatures-role-and-doing-enders-game-simultaneously#ZVO69smoHVRBcHJf.99

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures, the fantasy drama starring Alice Englert, Academy Award winning actress Viola Davis and Emma Thompson is in theaters now! Check out the exclusive bonus featurette below.

Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), 17, has had the same recurring dream for months. A mysterious young girl is waiting for him on a Civil War battlefield. Ethan desperately wants to be with her, but there is an unknown danger-and each time a lightning bolt cracks like a gunshot, killing Ethan before he ever reaches the girl.

Beautiful Creatures Trailer

The danger of this strange dream world, however, is preferable to Ethan's waking existence in Gatlin, South Carolina, a small, conservative Southern town that hasn't caught up to the 21st century, where nothing ever changes and nothing ever happens. Trapped at home with a father who has completely withdrawn since the sudden death of Ethan's mother, Ethan yearns for a life he can only read about in books.

Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), the beautiful and enigmatic niece of Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), the reclusive owner of gothic Ravenwood Manor. Ethan finds himself immediately drawn to Lena, even though destruction seems to inexplicably follow her and it becomes apparent that she is a Caster, with powers beyond her control. The town, led by conservative Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson), wants her banished. Even Gatlin's all-knowing librarian, Amma (Viola Davis), is afraid history may repeat itself-a history of family secrets and a curse that looms for Lena as she approaches her 16th birthday. It is that time when a Caster is chosen by the forces of either the Light or the Dark.

Beautiful Creatures -- "The Casters" Featurette

Feb05

Youngest Oscar Nominee Goes To Newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis

Nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, the adorable star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, made history when she became the youngest person to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. At six years old, the film was her first-ever acting job.

The nine-year-old Houma, Louisiana native has admits she’s never even watchd an Academy Awards ceremony, telling The Grio, “Whenever they said you might make it to the Oscars, I was like, ‘Who’s Oscar? I don’t know Oscar.’”

Metta World Peace Pitching A Prank Show

Metta World Peace is pursuing the entertainment business with his forthcoming prank series, “Metta World Pranks,” according to “The Hollywood Reporter.”

From the producers behind CBS' hidden-camera series I Get That a Lot and Fire Me, the show will feature the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest and other professional athletes playing pranks on one another including family members, spouses and fans.

“This particular show will give me the opportunity to be funny, creative and entertain audiences — all while being able to collaborate with my friends and colleagues. I can’t think of a show idea that is more fun and a perfect fit for me,” the Lakers forward said.

Hudson Calls For End to ‘American Idol’

Jennifer Hudson who was eliminated from “American Idol” in 2004 and went on to become one of the show’s most successful singers said the show should “go out on top.”

It “should allow itself to go out on top … and gracefully,” Hudson, 31, told Celebbuzz at the Los Angeles premiere of her new film, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.

“Everything has its time,” said the Grammy-award winning talent, who also went on to star in the movie Dreamgirls. “American Idol has changed the face of television. So, not everyone can say that. And it’s always been a phenomenon. I’m proud to have come from ‘American Idol.’”... Briefly, Tina Turner is renouncing her U.S. Citizenship to become a resident of Switzerland where she has lived since 1995 … Tyler Perry has sold his Hollywood Hills West home for $11.25 million… Mariah Carey is the latest celeb to launch an OPI Nail Polish Line.

Feb05

Hudson, Sparks, Top Paid ‘American Idols’

With an Oscar on her shelf, two gold albums under her belt and $3 million in earnings last year, Jennifer Hudson placed #5 on Forbes’ recent list of “American Idol’s” Top Earners of 2012.

The Dreamgirl cashed out on her personal weight loss story when she signed a Weight Watchers endorsement deal and again with the release of her fitness memoir, “I Got This.” Last month, Hudson joined the cast of “Smash” for a guest role spanning several episodes.

Also on the list, season 6 winner Sparks placed at #6 having brought in $2 million—a million less than her 2011 earnings, but after having opened for New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys and sharing the screen with Whitney Houston in “Sparkle” last year didn’t look too bad for the 6’-tall star. With a Rebook endorsement deal and movie (co-staring fellow Idol alum JHud) slated for release, 2013 promises to be an even bigger year for Sparks.

Country girl Carrie Underwood and rocker Daughtry tied at #2 with $5 million and, fittingly, original American Idol Kelly Clarkson came in at #1.

First Ladies High Tea
November will mark the 20th Anniversary of our Annual First Ladies High Tea, honoring the contributions of female leaders and women of faith to the Los Angeles community. For more information, visit www.firstladieshightea.com
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