JOHN SINGLETON – HEALTH
NEW YORK (AP) – The first black filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination is dealing with a health crisis. John Singleton suffered a stroke last week – and his family says he remains hospitalized. It’s unclear what his condition is; there are no other details available at this point. In a statement Saturday, Singleton’s family said the 51-year-old filmmaker was stricken last Wednesday and was in the ICU “under great medical care.” The family says it appreciates the thoughts and prayers offered by the director’s fans, friends and colleagues. Author Neil deGrasse Tyson and actor Omar Epps have been among those who have tweeted wishes for a quick recovery.
Singleton was nominated for an Oscar for his very first film, “Boyz N the Hood.” The 1991 feature was set in his native L.A. Singleton’s other films include “Poetic Justice” and “Rosewood.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A horror film based on an old Mexican legend tops the current box office list. “The Curse of La Llorona” took in $26.5 million in its debut week to beat out other movies vying for the top spot. The rise of the Warner Bros. film knocks “Shazam!” down to second place, after two weeks at number one. The DC Comics superhero comedy took in $17.3 million in ticket sales. Finishing third was “Breakthrough” – with that faith-based film taking in $11.1 million in its debut weekend.
PROMOTION FOR “CURSE OF LA LLORONA” DENOUNCED
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – It was aimed at promoting “The Curse of La Llorona” as it hit theaters this past weekend. But a studio’s decision to use traditional Mexican healers for “spiritual cleansings” is drawing fire. In the run-up to the film, Warner Bros. invited healers to give audiences cleanings. It also sent a Cuban-born healer to “bless” an audience before the movie premiered last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Some healers and scholars say the promotional stunts were offensive and demeaning. A healer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico calls the stunts an “outrage and an appropriation” of Mexican American culture.
ROMAN POLANSKI – ACADEMY AWARDS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Roman Polanski wants back in to the Motion Picture Academy. And he’s going to court to try to make that happen for him. The disgraced movie director filed suit in Los Angeles, asking the academy to restore his membership. The academy booted Polanski nearly a year ago, along with Bill Cosby because of their sexual misconduct. That move came months after it pulled the membership of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Polanski appealed his ouster to academy and failed. Polanski fled the U.S. after pleading guilty to having sex with a minor in 1977. He’s lived as a fugitive in Europe since.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT – PROSECUTOR
CHICAGO (AP) – The Cook County state’s attorney says she’ll be zipping her lips when it comes to the Jussie Smollett case. Kim Foxx says in a statement she won’t comment further on the case until a county inspector finishes a review of the decision by prosecutors to drop charges against the “Empire” actor. Foxx says she doesn’t want anything she says to interfere with the review. Police arrested Smollett in February, weeks after he claimed he’d been beaten by two men who uttered racial and anti-gay slurs. Police concluded he staged the beat-down and prosecutors hit him with multiple counts of lying about the case – but later dropped all charges. That irked police and others who’d been following the case.
NIPSEY HUSSLE COMPANION RELEASED
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Authorities say a man wounded in the Los Angeles shooting that killed Nipsey Hussle has been released from custody. Kerry Lathan had been held since being shot March 31, along with the rapper. State corrections authorities hauled Lathan in for associating with a known gang member, namely Hussle. Lawyers for Lathan said he just happened to be in the area when the shooting happened – and thus couldn’t be considered associating with Hussle.
MICHELE WILLIAMS DIVORCING
NEW YORK (AP) – Michelle Williams and Phil Elverum are going their separate ways – and are doing so less than a year after getting hitched. A person close to the couple is confirming the split, first reported by People magazine. Williams is 38 and Elverum is 40. They were wed last July in New York. This was her first try at marriage, while Elverum had been married once before.
ANJELICA HUSTON – FUR
NEW YORK (AP) -Anjelica Huston is backing efforts to outlaw fur sales in New York City. The actress makes her views known in an opinion piece in the New York Daily News. She writes that she used to think fur was a symbol of “glamour and affluence” – but now feels ashamed for having supported the fur trade. Now, she’s backing bills introduced in the New York City Council and the state legislature in Albany to ban the sale of fur.
KATE SMITH STATUE REMOVED FROM NHL ARENA
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – For generations of Philadelphia Flyers fans in Philadelphia, Kate Smith was as much of the team’s Stanley Cup runs as skates, pucks and growing playoff beards. The team used her rendition of “God Bless America” to rile up the home crowd – and for really important matches, would get her to sing the song in person. But now, a statute of the late singer outside the team’s home rink has been yanked down. The move comes amid allegations of racism against the 1930s star for performing songs like “That’s Why the Darkies Were Born.” The New York Yankees have also distanced themselves from her, dropping her recording of “God Bless America” from their seventh-inning stretch routine. Smith died in 1986 and a year later, the Flyers erected the statue.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2