Posted Aug. 28, 2007 -- Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx tells TV’s “Access Hollywood that dog-fighting is “a cultural thing,” in defense of admitted illegal dog-fight ring operator Michael Vick.
Of the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, who pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of sponsoring a Virginia canine fight ring, Foxx says: “I used to see dogs fighting in the neighborhood all the time ... Mike probably just didn't read his handbook on what not to do as a Black star. I know that cruelty to animals is bad, but sometimes people shoot people and kill people, and don't get time ... I give Mike the benefit of the doubt.”
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People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals President Ingrid Newkirk counters: “It is cheap and dirty and wrong to call this a cultural thing, unless Foxx believes that cruelty is a Black thing – when it isn't. It may be his thing, but it is not a Black thing.” Vick faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10.
J. Lo Develops Teen Latina Comedy
Teen latinas are the focus of Jennifer Lopez' latest project, "The Amigas Sweet 15 Club," a TV sitcom centered on five young Miami entrepreneurs running a Quinceanera party-planning business.
In addition to the TV show -- developed under her Nuyorican Productions shingle and Jane Startz Productions -- there are plans to evolve "Amigas" into a series of young adult books, Latin music-inspired CDs and potentially other franchise properties targeting female tweens.
Based on an original idea by Startz, the TV series project follows the "Amigas" as they use their collective talents (one is a singer, one is a DJ, one is a graphic artist, etc.) to launch an after-school party-planning business aimed at helping Latina girls throw their dream Quinceanera (Sweet 15) bashes. Lopez is co-executive producing the project, currently being shopped to networks.
"O" Takes On Clinton
Oprah Winfrey will interview former President Bill Clinton on her talk show next Tuesday, Sept. 4, his first interview to promote "Giving," a book on philanthropy and civic action coming out the same day.
Members of Winfrey's book club received the announcement of Clinton's appearance by e-mail on Monday. "Giving" praises Winfrey's "Angel Network," which has donated millions of dollars around the world, from money for schools in Africa to relief aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The book also includes comments from Winfrey, who was asked why she started the Angel Network, and another charitable organization, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
"I wanted to give back what I was given, a sense of worth," she replied. "Everyone wants to matter."
Winfrey interviewed Clinton in 2004 for his memoir "My Life."
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Gooding Gets Ready for "Linewatch"
Cuba Gooding Jr., Omari Hardwick and Evan Ross are set to star in the upcoming film "Linewatch," a gang action thriller that has just been acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Gooding stars as Michael Dixon, a former Los Angeles gang member who escapes his neighborhood to become a respected U.S. border patrol officer in New Mexico. But his peaceful life with his wife and daughter is threatened when a chance encounter leads the gang's psychotic leader, Drake (Hardwick), to his door.
Ross, the son of Motown diva Diana Ross, plays Dixon's nephew Little Boy, who sought out Drake as a surrogate father when Dixon disappeared and finds himself in the middle of their conflict. Dixons wife is played by "Boston Public" star Sharon Leal
Sony hopes to have the Kevin Bray-directed film in theaters sometime next year.
Life of Tupac's Mom Revealed in New Film
Afeni Shakur, the mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, will be the subject of a biopic from producers Young Noble and Omar "Ice Man" Sharif of HollyHood Filmz.
"Dear Mama: The Life Story of Afeni Shakur" will follow the famous mom during her childhood days in Lumberton, North Carolina. Additionally, the script will explore her role as a leader in The Black Panther Party, her time spent in jail while pregnant with Tupac and her drug addiction. The film will also follow her life in the wake of Tupac's murder.
"Dear Mama" is being produced in conjunction with Afeni Shakur's Amaru Entertainment. The soundtrack will be executive produced by Young Buck and The Outlawz for Cashville Recordz/1nationentertainment, along with Shakur's Amaru Entertainment. Featured artists will include 50 Cent, T.I., The Outlawz, Young Buck and new comers Stormey and Begetz.
Sheila E. Tapped for Fox's "Band"
Legendary drummer Sheila E. will join Goo Goo Dolls singer John Rzeznik and Ian "Dicko" Dickson, a music-business veteran, as judges on "The Next Great American Band," which premieres on Fox this fall.
Like "Idol," "The Next Great American Band" will challenge groups to perform in several different styles as it searches for the top unsigned band in the country. The three judges will narrow down the field to 10 finalists who'll perform live each week, playing a mix of their own music and cover tunes. Viewers will have the final say in who stays and who goes.
Lucas Taps Black Writer for "Tails"
George Lucas has hired African-American writer John Ridley to helm "Red Tails," a WWII action adventure about the Tuskegee Airmen based on a story by Lucas, who is financing development through his Lucasfilm production company and exec producing.
The film charts a group of young pilots as they overcame racism to form the Tuskegee Airmen, a distinguished group of fliers who broke the aviation color barrier to become the first African-American fighter pilots in U.S. military history. Lucas hired Ridley after reading "L.A. Riots," the Universal/Imagine drama Ridley just turned in to director Spike Lee. Ridley's just getting off the ground on "Red Tails" after meeting with the surviving pilots at a convention in Texas.