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constance zimmer unreal

Reality TV Exposed: Watch the First 9 Minutes of Lifetime’s ‘UnREAL’

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Constance Zimmer (middle) and Shiri Appleby (back, right) in Lifetime’s “UnREAL”

*No one likes to see how the sausage is made, but Lifetime is banking on enough fans of reality television to embrace a scripted series that shows what really goes on behind the scenes with executive producers and producers who do all kinds of dubious things – including the use of racist tactics – to generate the highest ratings possible.

“UnREAL,” premiering Monday at 10 p.m., follows the production of a dating competition show similar to ABC’s “The Bachelor.” This one’s called “Everlasting,” where the man sifts through a pool of young women to find a bride for what promises to be a fairytale wedding.

But contrary to the glossy adventures going on in front of the camera, the backlot shenanigans are more like “The Hunger Games.” Executive producer Quinn King (Constance Zimmer, “House of Cards”) is in a constant, cut-throat quest to create dramatic narratives for the women where none exist, while young producer Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby, “Girls”), Quinn’s enforcer-of-sorts, is tasked with manipulating the contestants and the bachelor in whatever way necessary to get the footage Quinn demands.

One of the pilot’s early scenes satirizes the real-life lack of diversity on these types of dating shows. The first woman filmed arriving to the bachelor pad is black, but is so light that Quinn can’t tell — until she introduces herself to the bachelor as “Shamiqua.” Quinn rips the African American producer in the control room who casted her and reminds him that girls with “wife potential” should always arrive to the house first.

“It’s not my fault America is racist, people!” she shouts before ordering someone to get a white girl to arrive first.

Shiri Appleby in Lifetime's "UnREAL"

Shiri Appleby in Lifetime’s “UnREAL”

Viewers will see this world through Rachel’s eyes, and Appleby says her character struggles with how effective she is in shaping the show’s “reality” – often doing things that bring emotional harm to the contestants for the betterment of the program.

“I think that she genuinely likes all the women that she’s producing on the show, and she actually wants to help them out and help them be good,” Appleby told the TCA in January. “I don’t really think that she’s trying to take any of the other contestants down. I don’t think that’s her point of view. But she’s found a place and she’s found a family for herself in this environment. As the season goes on, you see that her home life is really damaged. And she really doesn’t really have a home. She lives in the back of the grip truck. But she’s found her community in this world, and so she does whatever she can to succeed and take care of herself.”

Below, Zimmer says everyone can relate to at least one character on this show:

“UnREAL” premieres Monday, June 1, at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.

Watch a promo and the show’s first 9 minutes below:

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Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright Join HBO’s Anita Hill Telepic ‘Confirmation’

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*HBO has added Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright to its telepic “Confirmation,” which depicts the drama of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill showdown in 1991.

The pair will have supporting roles opposite Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas.

Also signing on is Greg Kinnear to play Joe Biden, who was a prominent voice in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Thomas during his tenure as a senator from Delaware.

The film is written by Susannah Grant and directed by Rick Famuyiwa. Production is scheduled to begin next month in Atlanta.

chicago police

Pic of White Cops Posing Over Black Man as Hunted Animal Released

Ex-Chicago cops Jerome Finnigan (left0 and Timothy McDermott holding rifles over a black man in antlers (Cook County Court)

Ex-Chicago cops Jerome Finnigan (left) and Timothy McDermott holding rifles over a black man in antlers (Cook County Court)

*A photo of two white Chicago police officers holding rifles and posing over a black man wearing antlers like a prized animal killed on a hunt was released by an Illinois court, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.

The news comes amid a flurry of police mistreatment of African-Americans, following several high-profile police killings of unarmed black men in cities like Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and New York over the past year.

The Chicago Police Board terminated the employment of former Detective Timothy McDermott over the photo in October, the newspaper said.

McDermott has filed a lawsuit to regain his job, and the Tribune said a judge blocked his and his attorneys’ requests to have the photo kept under seal.

McDermott was joined in the picture by Officer Jerome Finnigan, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for home invasions and robberies as part of a disgraced police task force and for “ordering a hit” on another officer he believed to be helping investigators probe the corruption, the newspaper said.

The identity of the black man and how he came to be in the photograph were not immediately known.

McDermott described participating in the photo as a mistake to police internal affairs in 2013, the paper said.

“I made a mistake as a young impressionable police officer who was trying to fit in,” McDermott said, according to the Tribune.

The police board said in its charges against McDermott that the photo was snapped sometime between October 1999 and July 2003, according to the newspaper.

jamie foxx album cover

Jamie Foxx, Mariah Carey Albums Enter at No. 1 & 2 on Billboard

jamie foxx album cover

*Jamie Foxx may have caused some ears to bleed with his National Anthem at the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, but it didn’t stop fans from buying his latest album in droves.

His R&B set, “Hollywood: A Story Of A Dozen Roses,” debuts at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, marking his third chart-topper and first since 2009. It sold 31,000 copies in the week ending May 24, according to Nielsen Music. It also debuts at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 (Foxx’s fourth top 10 on that chart).

Foxx’s second single from the set, “You Changed Me,” featuring Chris Brown, jumps 16-14 on Hot R&B Songs, returning to its peak position on the list. A 43 percent jump in streams contributes to the climb, rising to 808,000 domestic clicks across monitored streaming platforms. Spotify plays account for 36 percent of overall weekly streams of the track.

Watch the video for “You Changed Me” below:


Meanwhile, Mariah Carey enters at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with “#1 To Infinity,” on 15,000 copies sold. It’s the 22nd charting album on the list for Carey (and 17th top 10), dating back to 1990 when her self-titled debut album peaked at No. 3. The new 19-track set is a trip through her 18 Billboard Hot 100 hits (the most by a solo act) in chronological order, culminating with her latest single, “Infinity.”

mariah carey album cover

“Infinity” steps 19-17 on Hot R&B Songs in its fourth week, the rise boosted by a 112 percent gain in streams (to 1.1 million). Two teasers for the video clip uploaded to Carey’s Vevo on YouTube channel (on May 18 and 19) aided in the jump, propelling plays on the platform by 125 percent from the prior week. The track also re-enters R&B Digital Songs (No. 25), with an 81 percent climb in sales, to 6,000 downloads.

Lastly, Wiz Khalifa scores a new Rhythmic Songs No. 1 as “See You Again,” featuring Charlie Puth, lifts 2-1 in its eighth week. The “Furious 7” track is up three percent at the plays-based format, during the tracking week ending May 25.

The ascent to the top interrupts Fetty Wap’s two-week crowning run with “Trap Queen.”

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Racist Dr. Seuss Drawing Using N-Word on Auction Block

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*You, too, Dr. Seuss?

An early drawing by the famed children’s author that uses exaggerated racial stereotypes and the N-word in reference to black people, is being auctioned for a minimum bid of $20,000.

The 1929 color illustration for “Judge” magazine features a four-panel drawing titled ”Cross-Section of The World’s Most Prosperous Department Store.” The artist depicts scenarios in which rich men can purchase items to make their lives more difficult.

These include a fly for your ointment and a monkey wrench for your machinery. The final and largest panel features a crowd of men rendered in blackface caricature, with dark skin and pronounced red lips, being presented to a white shopper. A sign reads: “A nigger for your woodpile.”

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the racist expression was used back in the day to signify “something (as a concealed motive or obscure factor) contrary to appearances in a situation.”

There were no bids as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday and the lot was closed for bidding, according to CNN. The drawing will be kept for a while, in case of a post-auction bid, according to auction manager Laura Yntema.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, was 25 when the illustration was created. He would begin publishing his popular children’s books eight years later.

The auction house, Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs and Memorabilia, states on its website that the illustration contains “shockingly racist content.”

The auction house will not reveal the seller or the buyer unless given permission.

lauryn hill

ASCAP to Honor Lauryn Hill with Golden Note Award

Singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City

Singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City

*Lauryn Hill is about to add another honor to her collection.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will pay tribute to the singer at its 28th annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Hill will also perform at the invitation-only event, which honors the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2014 R&B, hip-hop, rap and gospel charts.

During the ceremony, Hill will be presented with the ASCAP Golden Note Award – among the most prestigious honors that ASCAP gives to songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Past recipients include: Pharrell Williams, Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys, Sean “Diddy” Combs, LL Cool J, Jermaine Dupri, Jay-Z, Lionel Ritchie, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and many more.

“Ms. Hill’s talent as a songwriter is undeniable and reflects her singular take on the world we live in,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams. “Her ability to push boundaries and capture the humanity that surrounds us has created a musical legacy that belongs with the greats.”

During the ceremony, other top awards will also be given for the Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song, Top Rap Song and Top Gospel Song. The evening will feature performances by several award-winning songwriters/performers, and will be attended by some of the top names in the music and entertainment industry.