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v14_noah_sowLet me introduce to you to a German rock band I’ve been listening to…

Noah Sow blends art and activism in her work. She’s the author of Deutschland Schwarz Weiss, (a book that touches upon Germany’s modern race issues) and lead singer of the Hamburg based band Noiseaux.

v14_usherUsher’s stepping back into the acting arena but this time as a champion boxer.

The singer is set to star in an upcoming film “Hands of Stone,” playing the role of Sugar Ray Leonard (below). The movie is actually about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran Leonard, but Usher has a significant part.

v14_amandla7The good news? The Hunger Games made $55 million at the box office its opening weekend, making it the third-best debut in North American box office history. The bad news, however, reflects a level of idiocy that we weren’t really expecting.

As CNN reports, “Only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight — both sequels, with the strength of a franchise behind each — recorded bigger opening weekends.” Plus, unlike those two flicks, Hunger Games was written by a woman and stars a woman (much as we love JK Rowling, her series isn’t named after Hermione) — making it a true lady-centric blockbuster franchise.

Now as you may know, Katniss, the main character in the book and film, was described as having “straight black hair” and “olive skin.” It’s a post-apocalyptic world, so she could be a mix of things, but some pictured a Native American. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifer Lawrence won the part and dyed her hair dark.

But when it came to the casting of Rue, Thresh, and Cinna, many audience members did not understand why there were black actors playing those parts. Cinna’s skin is not discussed in the book, so truthfully, though Lenny Kravitz was cast, a white, Asian or Latino actor could have played the part.

But. On page 45 of Suzanne Collins’s book, Katniss sees Rue for the first time:

…And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor…

v14_Allen-Iverson6wifeAhh yes, the affairs of the heart … and maybe even the pocketbook.

In other words, for Allen Iverson, whose money is funny these days and a pending divorce, maybe it really is cheaper to keep her.

According to TMZ, the former NBA great is trying to stop the divorce action, saying he and his estranged wifey Tawanna got back together and did a lot more than rub bellies. So that means her petition is null and void.

Iverson filed a motion to dismiss last week in his pending divorce case, claiming he and his wife Tawanna had temporarily reconciled from November 2011 to February 2012 — and had “resumed their marital relationship, cohabiting, having sexual relations and holding themselves out as husband and wife.”

According to Iverson, that’s enough for a judge to throw out Tawanna’s divorce petition — on grounds the marriage isn’t “irretrievably broken” … as she had claimed.

It’s unclear if Iverson actually wants to get back together with Tawanna — the former NBA player’s legal move might simply be an attempt to delay paying support.

So far, judge has yet to rule. We’ll let you know how it goes.

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v14_oprahIt looks like reports of the OWN Network's imminent demise were greatly exaggerated. The past few weeks have been difficult for Oprah Winfrey's cable channel, with a round of layoffs, the cancelation of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, and a study that suggested the network is losing $149 million per year. However, OWN has received some much-needed good news: In the first quarter of 2012, the network saw a 21 percent increase in total daily viewers. "We are pleased with our start for 2012, viewers are responding and connecting with our programming," said OWN president Erik Logan.

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v13_michelle-obama-lettermanIn her first ever visit to CBS’ “Late Show,” Michelle Obama tried not to cry when the host David Letterman asked about the influence of her parents. She spoke at length about her father’s battle with multiple sclerosis.

“I never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and I think from him I learned just absolute, complete unconditional love, the notion that kids really don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them,” said the first lady.

“I think that’s the greatest gift they gave us, just their constant support and, you know, stability, and that’s really what we try to instill in our girls,” she added. “I mean, you talk about raising kids, it’s just really – you know, we had rules, we had boundaries, but there wasn’t anything my dad wouldn’t do for us, and, uh – don’t make me cry.”

Recognizing the conversation had taken a turn for the serious, Obama exclaimed: “Don’t make me cry. This isn’t ‘Oprah! It’s supposed to be ‘Letterman.’ What’s up? Where are the laughs?”

“Did somebody tell you this was ‘Oprah? Is that why you’re here?” Letterman said. “Oh my, someone misled the first lady.”

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v13_Oprah - Lifeclass Set 2Oprah’s very OWN empire is beginning to show signs of crumbling. Or, from the opposite point of view, is seeking stability. Either way, it’s not the best of times for the company.

The network laid off 30 employees as part of restructuring its operations in bothLos AngelesandNew York. Those still hanging on will pick up the slack.

“It is difficult to make tough business decisions that affect people’s lives,” said Oprah Winfrey, OWN’s CEO and chief creative officer, “but the economics of a start-up cable network just don’t work with the cost structure that was in place. As CEO, I have a responsibility to chart the course for long-term success for the network. To wholly achieve that long-term success, this was a necessary next step.


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