Jussie Smollett attempts career comeback with LGBT film on BET+ streaming service

Jussie Smollett has launched his directorial debut with BET+ “B-Boy Blues.” The LGBTQ+ centered show will debut on the streaming network June 9, just in time for Pride Month.
This project marks the first for Smollett since he was found guilty of making false reports on what he alleged to be a hate crime. He was then sentenced to 30 months’ probation, 150 days in jail, after making false reports to the police in January 2019 that he was a victim of a hate crime.
“Through our content slate, we are intentional about representing the fullness of the Black experience, including that of the LGBTQ+ community,” BET+ exec VP/GM Devin Griffin said to Variety. “‘B-Boy Blues’ is an artful, heart-rending film about the complexity of love – something we all can relate to.”

“B-Boy Blues” is based on the James Earl Hardy novel and will star Timothy Richardson, Brandee Evans, Marquise Vilson, Broderick Hunter and Thomas Mackie. 


JUSSIE SMOLLETT RELEASED FROM JAIL PENDING APPEAL: ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL TO CHARGE SOMEONE TWICE,’ LAWYER SAYS


The indie film first debuted in 2021 at the American Black Film Festival. The film won the Narrative Feature Fan Favorite Award.


Smollett’s first project since released from jail is described as “a clash of class and culture when Mitchell Crawford, a college educated journalist from Brooklyn and Raheim Rivers, a bike messenger from Harlem, fall in love.”

“B-Boy Blues is a beautifully bold, funny, heartwarming bro-mance and I was thrilled to partner with Jussie to help this wonderful film gain greater exposure,” Mona Scott-Young of Monami Entertainment told the outlet. 


JUSSIE SMOLLETT RELEASED FROM JAIL: WILL HE SUCCESSFULLY APPEAL CONVICTION? LEGAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN


“Falling head over heels and fighting for love are universal emotions and experiences and we are so grateful to BET+ for shining a powerful spotlight on the still seriously underrepresented black LGBTQ+ community and bringing this impactful love story to an even greater audience.”
Three weeks after Smollett was released from jail, he released a song titled “Thank You God.”
The former “Empire” star shared the single on his Instagram account, which according to his bio is “currently run by” the Smollett family. 

DJ Dahi ‘Wouldn’t Be Surprised’ If Kendrick Lamar’s Hard Drive Contains ‘Thousands’ of Unreleased Songs

Over the past decade, DJ Dahi has established himself as one of Kendrick Lamar’s most trusted producers.
Five years after crafting the beat for one of the standout songs from Kendrick’s 2012 debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city (“Money Trees”), Dahi and Lamar teamed up on the Compton rapper 2017 album DAMN, which featured five Dahi-produced tracks (“Yah,” “Loyalty,” “Lust,” “XXX,” and “God”).
Once again, DJ Dahi is credited with producing five songs off of Kendrick’s latest full-length offering Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, including album highlights like “Rich Spirit” and “Count Me Out.”
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Dahi opened up about the five-year creative process behind the album, revealing that Kendrick’s hard drive is filled with countless songs that didn’t make the LP’s final tracklist.
“I can tell you, for sure, he has probably like 30 songs from me,” Dahi shared. “I mean, he obviously has songs he’ll complete but also a lot of it is an idea, and it’s a really dope idea. Then we plug that idea in as a hook or a verse line. With this creative process it’s really just getting those ideas out and then being able to come back and be like, ‘Oh, I can use this or this part of this.’”
Dahi went on to tease the possibility of Kendrick having “thousands” of unreleased songs on his hard drive. “His process of recording is pretty nuts,” he explained. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if we looked at the hard drive and he has thousands of songs.”

How a Contrast Media Shortage Is Affecting Medical Scans in the U.S.

A COVID-19 lockdown in China temporarily shut down an important production facility for iodinated contrast media, a drug commonly used to enhance medical scans. Here’s how the shortage is impacting health care.

Fact checked on May 24 2022 by Vivianna Shields, a journalist and fact-checker with experience in health and wellness publishing.
Hospitals across the United States are being impacted by a recent shortage of iodinated contrast media (ICM). Given to patients intravenously during certain medical scans, this type of medication enhances the ability to see blood vessels and organs, helping health care professionals diagnose potential problems—such as infection, inflammation, and cancer—based on those images.
 
“Imaging is a multidisciplinary consult service that extends to impact most areas of medicine,” Laveil Allen, MD, executive medical director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Radiology Department, told Health. The contrast is what allows providers to see clearly through a patient’s body, much like eyeglasses can assist our vision. “Imaging services are the eyes of medicine, and preserving our vision is an essential component to providing care,” he adds.

The shortage is being caused by the temporary shutdown of a GE Healthcare production facility for ICM in Shanghai, China, due to a COVID-19 lockdown. The company is one of the major contrast media manufacturers, alongside Bracco, Bayer, and Guerbet. “When that plant was shut down, GE was suddenly unable to meet the supply-demand of its existing customers,” Matthew Davenport, MD, FACR, vice-chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Quality and Safety, told Health.


“They have since moved up the production capability in their facility in Cork, Ireland, and began airlifting contrast media to the United States. Nonetheless, there’s still an acute supply chain shortage,” said Dr. Davenport. He added that GE has informed that a level of normalcy should be reached by June 30, but considering the backlog and potential shipping challenges the crisis could continue throughout the summer.

Affected Hospitals and Health Systems
The shortage is affecting all hospitals that relied on GE Healthcare as their preferred vendor. According to Dr. Davenport, most health systems have agreements to buy contrast from specific manufacturers. “Any place that had preferred vendor contracting with GE was massively affected because they didn’t have any redundancy in their supply,” he said.
 
The extent to which each institution will be impacted also depends on how much stockpile of ICM they had before the shortage. “I’m familiar with some institutions which had a pretty large stockpile, so they’re going to be able to ride this out without too much effect,” said Dr. Davenport. “Others do not have much contrast available, and they will not necessarily make it to the end of the shortage. So, it is a serious issue.”
Mitigation Strategies
In an attempt to avoid a situation where the contrast media simply runs out, institutions around the country are adopting strategies to reduce its use to the minimum amount necessary. The ACR recently released a statement recommending a series of mitigation strategies.
The committee includes using alternative exams that don’t require ICM, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound. In certain cases, providers may opt to perform a CT scan without contrast.
“Appendicitis is a good example,” said Dr. Allen. “We routinely scan the patient with contrast to identify if they have appendicitis. It can increase the sensitivity and specificity of the exam. But we can also identify it on a non-contrast CT exam.”
It is also possible to reduce the dose of contrast based on the patient’s weight. Another measure that has been adopted is to repackage contrast media into smaller volumes to eliminate waste. Non-urgent exams and procedures may also be postponed.
According to Dr. Allen, he and his colleagues at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center immediately formed a radiology command center to develop a series of tactics to handle the shortage when they were first alerted. The changes, according to an article accepted for publication by the Journal of the American College of Radiology, reduced contrast usage by about 50% in less than seven days at their health system.
 
“The big thing is that we want to make sure we have contrast for our most critically ill patients to perform life-saving imaging or procedures that require contrast,” said Dr. Allen. The use of ICM is indispensable, for example, in cases of stroke, when it is used to diagnose the condition through a CT scan and to potentially treat it through neurointervention. Contrast is also necessary in cases of a heart attack during cardiac catheterization, a procedure that is used both to diagnose and treat the condition.
Impact on Patients
With these measures in place, patients with scheduled exams or procedures may get a call from their hospital to postpone their appointment. Or they may learn they will undergo a different imaging technique than what was originally planned.
“These decisions are being made thoughtfully by physicians and other health care providers who have the patient’s best interests in mind,” said Dr. Davenport. “They never want to be in the situation where they have to make these decisions, but they’re doing it in a way that is as thoughtful as possible and putting the patient first. So, I think there is some amount of reassurance to this.” Dr. Davenport noted that it is always a good idea to talk to your health care provider to discuss the alternatives.
“Because your examination is altered from what it was originally scheduled to be, it does not mean that your care will be any less,” added Dr. Allen. “We will not sacrifice our patients’ care. Just be cognizant that you may have been scheduled for one exam, and you may be contacted and instructed that you’re going to get an alternate exam to find an answer to the same problem.”

As the Delta variant courses through New York City, many young Black New Yorkers remain distrustful of the vaccine.

A construction site safety manager in Queens said that as a Black man, he was more worried about the prospect of being stopped by the police than he was about getting Covid-19.

A graduate student in the Bronx who had not gotten vaccinated said her worst fears seemed confirmed when a vaccine that the government was directing to Black and poorer neighborhoods was briefly suspended over a small number of dangerous blood clots.

And a civil rights activist in the Bronx said he grew suspicious when he heard last year that politicians were prioritizing minority neighborhoods for coronavirus vaccinations.

“Since when does America give anything good to Black people first?” said the activist, Hawk Newsome, a 44-year-old Black Lives Matter leader who is unvaccinated.

All three situations reflect a trend that has become a major concern to public health experts: Young Black New Yorkers are especially reluctant to get vaccinated, even as the Delta variant is rapidly spreading among their ranks. City data shows that only 27 percent of Black New Yorkers ages 18 to 44 years are fully vaccinated, compared with 48 percent of Latino residents and 52 percent of white residents in that age group.

This vaccination gap is emerging as the latest stark racial disparity in an epidemic full of them. Epidemiologists say they expect this third wave will hit Black New Yorkers especially hard.

“This is a major public health failure,” said Dr. Dustin Duncan, an epidemiologist and Columbia University professor.

In interviews, dozens of Black New Yorkers across the city — an aspiring dancer in Brownsville, a young mother of five in Far Rockaway, a teacher in Canarsie, a Black Lives Matter activist in the Bronx, and many others — gave a long list of reasons for not getting vaccinated, many rooted in a fear that during these uncertain times they could not trust the government with their health.

The fact that the virus hit Black neighborhoods disproportionately during the first wave made

many extra wary of getting vaccinated: They feel that they have survived the worst and that the health authorities had failed to help them then.

But ultimately, many also said they would get vaccinated if forced to do so.

“If it’s going to be mandatory to work, I’ll have no choice,” said Kaleshia Sostre, a 27-year-old from Red Hook, Brooklyn, who teaches parenting classes to young mothers.

In Canarsie, Brooklyn, a 21-year-old college student, Justin Mercado, said Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent announcement that dining in a restaurant would require proof of vaccination got his attention. He is now likely to get vaccinated.

“I want to go on a date sometime and enjoy life as much as I can before this strain shuts us back down,” Mr. Mercado said.

For months, the city had focused its vaccination campaign on older residents who are at higher risk of hospitalization and death.

But lately the city has begun to reach out more to young New Yorkers, offering $100 payments for first doses, urging students to get vaccinated before school starts and nudging employers to pressure their employees to get vaccinated.

“We’re not done yet,” said Dr. Torian Easterling, the chief equity officer of the New York City Health Department. “We’re continuing to announce more interventions and more strategies to support New Yorkers getting vaccinated.”

In interviews, Black men and women said that much of their distrust of the coronavirus vaccine was shaped by their own experiences with discrimination or their identity as Black Americans.

“I’m supposed to worry about getting sick when I go outside, versus getting killed by a cop or something like that?” said Jayson Clemons, 41, the construction site safety manager from Queens. After years of trying to be careful not to give the police a reason to stop him — avoiding cars with window tint or rims, and making sure when commuting that his attire clearly marked him as a construction worker — he said he refused to be preoccupied by Covid-19.

He said he would rather put his trust in masks and hand sanitizer — which he credits with keeping him healthy as he worked at construction sites throughout the pandemic — than a new vaccine that the government is pushing people to take. “They came out with one so fast for Covid, and now they want to pay you to take it,” he said. “It seems fishy.”

Some Black women described the need they felt to conduct their own research — and ask around — before deciding if the coronavirus vaccine was safe.

“It takes a little bit of hyper-vigilance when you’re a woman of color,” said Jazmine Shavuo-Goodwin, 31, who believes she encountered medical racism when doctors were dismissive of her severe stomach problems. “There’s a lot of homework you have to do, because your doctors may not truly listen to you, to your full complaint, before they’ve already diagnosed you.”

Ms. Shavuo-Goodwin helps manage dental clinics for Medicaid patients and is studying to be a clinical therapist. Both her job and school require her to be vaccinated against coronavirus, but she has yet to get a shot.

“I’m out of compliance,” said Ms. Shavuo-Goodwin, who is Black and lives in the South Bronx. “I have done heaps of research looking for things that would make me confident and comfortable getting the vaccine, but honestly I haven’t.”

All three vaccines being used in the United States have received an emergency authorization from the Federal Drug Administration. At least one of the vaccines is expected to get full approval by the fall.

When the vaccination campaign began last year, Mr. de Blasio said he intended to prioritize the same Black and Latino neighborhoods that were hardest hit during the devastating initial wave.

NBA Finals 2021: Bucks vs. Suns Game 1 Vegas Odds, Prop Bets and Predictions

The 2021 NBA Finals are set to get underway Tuesday, with the Phoenix Suns hosting the Milwaukee Bucks.

For Milwaukee, it’s been a breakthrough postseason. After watching superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo win back-to-back MVP awards but failing to make the Finals, the Bucks finally have a spot in the championship series.
It’s been a surprising season for the Suns, who hadn’t previously made the playoffs since the 2009-10 campaign. It’s also been a coming-out party for budding star Devin Booker and a bit of a storybook run for Chris Paul, who despite 11 All-Star appearances, is on the cusp of appearing in his first Finals series.



“It was a lot excitement, a lot of emotion for myself, coach and the team,” Paul said of winning the Western Conference Finals, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Real-life stuff.”
Getting to this point is huge, but the Bucks and Suns now have to refocus on winning what should be a hard-fought—and entertaining—series. There will be plenty of action on the court for bettors to take in as well.

The Bucks still have talented players like Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday, but without Antetokounmpo, a six-point line feels like a lot to overcome. Phoenix -6 feels like a fairly safe pick here—though it’ll be important to follow the injury report up to game time.
Khris Middleton Over/Under 27.5 Points
If Antetokounmpo can’t go, someone is going to have to step up for Milwaukee offensively. In the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, much of the responsibility fell on Middleton.
Middleton, a two-time All-Star, scored 26 and 32 points in Games 5 and 6, respectively.
DraftKings has the over/under for Middleton set at 27.5 points for Game 1. This is a fairly lofty line, but it’s not unrealistic. Putting Middleton at the center of a team-ball approach arguably gives Milwaukee its best chance at pulling off the upset.

Heading into gameday, the Suns are six-point favorites, likely for a couple of reasons. Phoenix is playing host, which should give the Suns a slight advantage. The Bucks could also play without Antetokounmpo, which puts them at a major disadvantage.

While Milwaukee was able to outlast the Atlanta Hawks with Antetokounmpo sidelined by a knee injury, beating Booker, Paul, Deandre Ayton and Co. will be an entirely different challenge. Just look at how the Los Angeles Lakers floundered against Phoenix when Anthony Davis went down.


Beyoncé’s new adidas x Ivy Park swimwear collection is here – and it’s size inclusive

Beyoncé has launched a new adidas x Ivy Park inclusive swimwear collection.
The size-inclusive garments follow the brand’s foray into snow wear, footwear and athleisure.

Called the Flex Park collection, the tangerine-coloured swimwear range comprises all-in-one swimsuits, bikinis and swimming trunks in sizes XS to 4X (UK size 30).
Beach-ready cover-ups, a men’s matching shirt and short set, sliders, a bucket hat and bag are also available. The release comes after Beyoncé’s first Ivy Park x adidas collection, which dropped in January 2020, was criticised for not being size-inclusive, with the largest size available stopping at XL. The accompanying release states that the new range “emphatically celebrates the empowered spirit of confident self-expression and individuality”, adding that it aims to inspire “anyone and everyone to fearlessly FLEX their best selves”.

A campaign film released to publicise the collection features body-positive influencer Tabria Majors, fashion influencer Kristen Noel Crawley and actor Quincy Brown.
This fourth collection from Beyoncé will be available for purchase on the adidas website from 22 July, with prices starting at £40.


As well as having 100 per cent ownership of the Ivy Park brand, the Black is King singer made history in March when she became the most decorated woman in Grammys history, winning a total of 28 awards.
The “Crazy in Love” singer took home awards for Best Rap Song (for her feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” remix), Best R&B Song for “Black Parade”, and Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl”, which she shared with her daughter Blue Ivy Carter, who became the second youngest person to ever win a Grammy.
Earlier that month, she also added her voice to the swell of support for Meghan Markle following her explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.



Naomi Osaka’s Complicated Withdrawal from the French Open

After Naomi Osaka hit a backhand winner on match point to defeat Patricia Maria Țig in the first round of the French Open, on Sunday, she smiled as she lowered her head, and then tugged her gray visor down. These were familiar gestures; I’ve seen her half-hide her smile countless times. The following day, after she announced that she would be withdrawing from the French Open for the sake of “the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing,” five tumultuous days after announcing that she would not be speaking to the press during the tournament, my mind went to that moment, the last time that I had watched her. Then I thought of the first time I’d watched Osaka pull her visor over her eyes.

It happened in 2018, during the U.S. Open trophy presentation, after a match marred by controversy surrounding a confrontation between Serena Williams and the umpire. The crowd, which had been on Williams’s side, booed as Osaka was named the champion. Osaka cried, and tried to hide her face. She was twenty years old then, already launched into a life that everyone could see and that no one could possibly imagine. Over the next three years, Osaka won three more Grand Slams, and the publicity surrounding her career and her life grew even more intense. Her image was on the cover of Vogue and on billboards towering over Los Angeles and Tokyo. She became an icon, and she did iconic things. She helped design sneakers for Nike, a salad for Sweetgreen. In May, Sportico estimated that she had earned more than fifty million dollars during the previous year, which made her the highest-paid female athlete in history, breaking her own record. A recent Times feature about her ran under the headline “How Naomi Osaka Became Everyone’s Favorite Spokesmodel.”

She was famous only partly because she was so good at tennis. It mattered also that she was young, that she was Japanese and American, Black and Asian. It mattered that she spoke about her values and seemed to live by them. It also mattered that she was very good with the press—eloquent about social issues, smart about the game, disarmingly funny about the rest. Most of these exchanges have come in press conferences. (She occasionally gives other interviews, some of them to a Japanese broadcasting company called Wowow, which sponsors her.) Press conferences, as a rule, are tedious and outdated. Nobody really likes them—not reporters, who would prefer to speak to athletes privately and at length, and not players, who are asked the same questions repeatedly, sometimes by people whose main motivation is to encourage controversy. Press conferences can seem particularly pointless to players who don’t need the press to promote themselves or reach their fans, which they can do more efficiently, and perhaps more effectively, through social media. The press, particularly at the Grand Slams, can include people who are not well versed in tennis; tabloid reporters; and, not infrequently, people who ask ham-handed and offensive questions, particularly of Black women. Just the other day, a reporter who wanted to get a quote from the seventeen-year-old star Coco Gauff about the possibility of playing Serena Williams began by saying, “You are often compared to the Williams sisters. Maybe it’s because you’re Black. But I guess it’s because you’re talented and maybe American, too.”

Press conferences also typically offer reporters their only chance to ask players questions on any subject, including difficult ones. Without press conferences, it seems quite possible that Alexander Zverev would not have been asked about the allegations of domestic violence against him. Without press conferences, reporters might get to talk to players only under terms established by the brands that sponsor them, or in exchanges that are heavily mediated by layers of managers and agents. And, for all of their obvious problems and weaknesses, press conferences do sometimes yield original insights into both the technical aspects of matches and the people who play them. That often seemed particularly true when Osaka walked into the room—until she declared that she would stay out.

When Osaka first announced that she would not speak to the press during the French Open, she explained that her experience with press conferences had led her to the conclusion that many people have no regard for the mental health of athletes, and that this needed to change. “If the organizations think that they can just keep saying ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh,” she wrote. She also spoke of wanting to avoid having “doubt” seeded in her mind—“I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she wrote—leading some to wonder whether she was trying to insulate herself from negativity in order to maintain her focus. A bad loss at the Miami Open had snapped a long winning streak, and Osaka had then been upset in both Madrid and Rome; on Reddit, her older sister, Mari, in a post she later deleted, suggested that Osaka simply didn’t want to be distracted or have her self-confidence damaged. Osaka’s statement was fairly general, and people interpreted it according to their own assumptions about what was really going on. To some, Osaka was speaking her truth about an oppressive system. To others, she was refusing to accept the responsibilities that come with a lucrative career. Her fellow-players, almost to a person, took a more nuanced view: when asked about her stance, they said that they respected Osaka but understood the need for exposure, and that talking to the press was part of their job.

‘Pose’ tackles inequity in the AIDS fight in an emotional series finale

(CNN) — Anger and activism, life and death, and finally hope defined the third and final season of FX’s “Pose,” the Ryan Murphy-produced drama devoted to New York’s underground ball culture in the 1980s and ’90s. Having created an unprecedented showcase for transgender performers, the show — whose final episode focused on leaving a legacy — left its own in terms of its symbolic significance and standout cast.After a wedding in the penultimate episode, the extra-long finale turned back to the AIDS diagnosis of Pray Tell (Billy Porter), who was told his condition had reached “the beginning of the end” before his friend Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), a nurse, learned about clinical trials of protease inhibitors from another patient.Those life-prolonging treatments, however, were overwhelmingly being earmarked for White patients, prompting Blanca to fight back against the discrimination toward people of color

After visiting his estranged family earlier in the season, Pray Tell spent much of the finale dealing with his ball family, telling Blanca, “I want to be remembered as a representation of all that the balls can be.”

Their triumphant joint Diana Ross routine essentially served as his last hurrah, sacrificing himself to save another, followed by Blanca’s emotional meeting with Pray Tell’s mother (Anna Maria Horsford) in a touching collision of those two worlds.

The narrative then jumped forward two years, providing both an opportunity to riff (amusingly) about “Sex and the City” and to underscore that Pray Tell’s memory — his legacy — had indeed survived, with Blanca flashing back to a first-season encounter as she counseled a new house trying to make its way in the ball scene.

“Pose” was at its best back then, earning Porter an Emmy for best actor in a drama. The final season — a slightly disjointed seven episodes, several of them super-sized — derived much of its strength from the Pray Tell plot, and the campaign surrounding the hospital’s inequity (“Healthcare is a right!” the protesters chanted) connected the ACT UP movement to concerns that remain prominent today.

Created by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, “Pose” represented an admirable effort to highlight stories of LGBTQ life and history, something Murphy has emphasized under his Netflix deal in various genres, including his remake of the movie “The Boys and the Band,” the limited series “Hollywood” and “Halston,” and the documentaries “A Secret Love” and “Circus of Books.”

During a press conference before the season began, the producers stressed that the show was ending on their terms, with Canals saying about the decision, “I could see the ending … and it made sense to land the plane comfortably.”In an era where the usual tendency is for shows to stick around beyond their expiration date, credit “Pose” with recognizing the right time to make an exit.