The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department intend on suing actor Jussie Smollett if he does not pay the $130K for the cost of the investigation into his allegations that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime.
The letter from the police demanded, “immediate payment of the $130,106.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter.”
The letter says, “If the amount is not timely paid, the Department of Law may prosecute you for making a false statement to the City.”
Chicago PD is also very adamant about the fact that the city wholeheartedly believes that the 36-year old Empire actor’s story was totally false.
“On January 29, 2019, you made a police report in which you falsely claimed that two men had attacked you while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.” It continues, “Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and knowingly orchestrated your own attack.”
One million cubic metres of waste removed from Odaw and Korle Lagoon
Over a million cubic metres of various waste materials have been removed from the choking Odaw storm drain and the Korle Lagoon in Accra since February this year as part of measures by government to reduce flooding in most parts of the city.
Engineers and workers of Dredge Masters Limited have since February this year been at the two sites, which have become a receptacle for a chunk of Accra’s waste, de-silting the drainage system and the lagoon.
On the back of Monday’s rains that caused some flooding in parts of Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday visited the sites to inspect the progress of work on the dredging on the Odaw drains
He was taken round by the Hydrological Engineer of Dredge Masters, Ing.Wise Ametefe and shown the new designs by Dredge Masters to overhaul the Odaw drain and the Korle Lagoon into a beautiful tourism asset to attract tourists and boost business activities in the area.
The President was impressed about the work done so far by the contractors of the project.
The dredging exercise is being carried out day and night in a bid to restore the efficiency and holding capacity of the drainage to be able to contain the volume of water, especially when it rains. This will avoid flooding.
The is being done in line with a two-year contract signed between the government and Dredge Masters in February 2019 for the dredging and maintenance of the Odaw drainage system and the Korle Lagoon.
Per the contract, Dredge Masters, which is a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies, is required to redesign and construct the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) interceptor and breakwater at the outfall within the next two years.
The channel under the scope starts from the Odaw Onyasia confluence at Carprice in Accra, through Avenor, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Agbogbloshie, South Kaneshie drain and, the upper and lower Lagoon.
Operations Manager of Dredge Masters, Ing. Sena Adiepena, told the President Nana Akufo-Addo that prior to commencement of the exercise, squatters along the drains were evicted with assistance of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Ghana Police Service.
He assured the President that they were working around the clock to complete the work on time to save lives and properties.
Dredge Masters first begun operations in June 2016, a year after the June 3 disaster at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle that claimed several lives and destroyed property.
It initially secured a two-year contract awarded by the government under John Dramani Mahama for the de-silting and dredging of the Odaw channel and restoration of the Korle Lagoon to avert under the Accra Sanitary Sewer Storm Drainage Alleviation Project.
Ing. Adiepena told journalists works under the initial contract was completed in March 2017 as designs on civil works are still ongoing.
#GILLYWEB GOSSIP: Danielle Brooks Turned Down a Movie Role to Do Shakespeare in the Park
After seven seasons on Orange Is the New Black, Danielle Brooks is spending part of her summer doing Shakespeare in the Park, primarily because she never thought she’d get asked to do it. “I had an offer to do a movie I was excited about, but then I got this offer, a direct offer, to play Beatrice,” Brooks said, discussing her role as one of the two sparring lovers in the Public Theater’s forthcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing. “I started thinking, What do I want? What would I be proud of on my résumé? and for me Beatrice was that.” Beatrice has more often been played by thin white women (Emma Thompson on film, Lily Rabe recently in the park), and Brooks would be the first black Beatrice she had ever seen onstage, as well as the first black Beatrice to play the Delacorte Theater. “To me, getting to play this part is opening doors to young black women that look like me or even relate to me,” Brooks said, “so that was a no-brainer.”
Brooks trained at Juilliard and had a few smaller roles in Shakespeare productions there, but this is her first professional Shakespeare. She’s joined by an all-black cast, including fellow Juilliard grad Grantham Coleman as Benedict, and led by director Kenny Leon. Vulture caught up with Brooks to talk about this production’s contemporary take on the material, how she’s preparing to master Beatrice’s dialogue, and what other roles she’d like to play soon.
I know that this is a version of Much Ado About Nothing set roughly in the present with an all-black cast. Tell me about how you’re all approaching the material.
It is an all-black cast, but I didn’t know that coming into it! I was just excited to play Beatrice. [Laughs.] It’s a modern version; it is set in 2020. It is set in Atlanta, Georgia. There’s a possibility that we can have a huge sign in front of our lot that says Stacey Abrams.
That vibe really aligns in a way, because this play is about wit, and being from the South, people from the South are really witty and they know how to throw shade. These characters know how to do that with their language. There are bits or war and bits of religion, and all of those things are in the fabric that makes up the South. There is going to be dancing, and singing, and just a beautiful array of what makes us us, what makes black people beautiful beings. Let’s not forget that this country was built on the backs of slaves, of black people. I think that we found a creative way of celebrating that this is our country when we’re in the Trump era. When we’re in an era where people don’t want to us be.
Even though Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy, it takes place with all the men coming back from war. There’s a lot of darkness to it, which tracks with that setting.
I think it’s a dramedy. Beatrice says, “Kill Claudio.” There is war, and it talks about war. It is definitely a dramedy to me.
Grantham Coleman, your Benedict, was also at Juilliard. Did you know each other then?
We definitely knew each other in college. He was one year underneath me. I was in group 40 and he was in group 49. There’s another young guy, Jeremie Harris, who was in Grantham’s class. He is playing Claudio, the other male lead. It is just a big reunion, and it is really awesome working with Grantham. I think he is a phenomenal actor, he brings such a freshness to this character, and he works hard. I just think it is really cool to work with people who already speak a similar language.
This is your first time doing Shakespeare professionally, what’s it like to go into that?
I think Shakespeare — if people took some time and got out of this boring-ass, like 1600s, Elizabethan bullshit and modernized it, it’s so relatable. It’s exciting to get to take this language and embody it the way Danielle sees it, of course under the leadership of Kenny. To me, when I remember being in school, and we would do scenes, I remember there was one character where I would have to cross-dress because, you know, Shakespeare loves to cross-dress. I remember taking a new spin on it. I made my character a pimp-daddy type, like cross-dressing woman, and it was just so much fun to have a new version of what I have always been seeing, or people always tend to turn to.
Did you get to do much Shakespeare in school besides that?
I remember being in school, too, and not getting the opportunity to get the lead; I didn’t get the opportunity. I was in Lady Macbeth, and I played Witch No. 1, and then we did Merchant of Venice, and I don’t even remember the character I played in that. I like had two lines in that. It wasn’t because I wasn’t capable; I think it was just a matter of, “Where does she fit in this world we’re trying to create.” With Kenny and the Delacorte giving me this opportunity to show what I can do with being who I am, I am so grateful. I hope that people gravitate toward this new way of looking at the language and still see how heightened it can be. We are definitely adding a lot of color to it [laughs] and not just black.
Do you have a favorite of Beatrice’s quips, or a line that you’ve had fun figuring out how to deliver?
There are a lot of lines. This girl is almost too witty for me, she is making me stay in my no-fear Shakespeare, and I am on it with this language. But there is one line, and it goes, “I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me. If it had been painful, I would not have come.” That’s just all of the language right there. You have to be locked in, you have to listen to what you’re saying, or you’re not going to make any sense. I am sure there will be days like that, but I am just going to ride the wave anyway and enjoy being in the park, with these animals, and with 1,800 people and just enjoy the experience. [Laughs.] I think I’m most nervous about the raccoons!
You finished shooting Orange Is the New Black earlier this year. What was that like wrapping up what was so much of your life over the last seven years?
Basically almost all of my 20s was spent with these women, with this cast, crew, with this character. So we spent more time together than we do in high school or college. It was challenging; I think it wasn’t as bad because I knew it was coming, and I allowed myself to mourn through the character. I think I allowed myself to mourn through the six to seven months that we shot, versus, Okay, it’s the end; this is the last day and now I’m a hot mess. I think I allowed myself that journey.
Now, it’s exciting. I get to put a new language in my mouth and explore new characters and show the world what I’m capable of doing, and what I’ve studied so long to do. To get to build this unique and hopefully phenomenal résumé. That’s what I’m hoping for, and to be remembered as one of the greatest actresses to come in this generation. That’s what I’m hoping for. To get to spread my wings, and to show that is exciting.
Are there other genres or types of characters you want to play next?
I think it’s about what I’m leaving and what I’m creating to further American theater or Hollywood. What am I bringing to it that is what we haven’t seen, what we haven’t experienced? I look forward to being the lead in a rom-com that has a fresh take. I look forward to being in an action film. I look forward to playing royalty. What was that movie that I loved so much this year, it was with Emma Stone? The Favorite! I want to get an opportunity to be in movies like that. Hopefully someone will get inspired after seeing this Shakespeare and write something.
ZAYTOVEN SAYS GUNNA AND LIL BABY KEEP THE ATLANTA SOUND GOING
Zaytoven’s role in trap music is unquestionable. After bursting onto the scene by producing Gucci Mane’s 2005 breakout single, “Icy,” the 39-year-old beat maker has helped to shape hip-hop’s trap sound, also leaving his fingerprints on R&B and even gospel music. He isn’t slowing down either: Zay is following his Chief Keef collaborative project, GloToven, with his own sophomore album toward the end of spring, right around the June debut of his BET TV show, The Next Big Thing. Zaytoven speaks with XXL about his epic career in music and what keeps him going.
XXL: What’s the defining quality of a Zaytoven beat?
Zaytoven: It’s unorthodox, unpolished. A lot of producers use programs that you don’t even have to beat on the drum machine [or] play the keyboard. Computers kinda make it for you. Me being a producer that’s very hands-on and likes to touch the keys and beat on the drum pad, that’s one of the differences. Plus, I’m a church musician, so I put a lot of church chords [and] runs in my music. Those things influence me when I produce.
What rapper do you make the best music with?
That’s a hard question. The reason I’m in the game is because me and Gucci Mane created the trap sound. [It’s] been mimicked so much, even today. So the chemistry between me and Gucci is like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The game needed what we brought. My chemistry with Gucci is unmatched—peanut butter and jelly. But when I work with Future, it’s a whole ’nother chemistry. It’s a sound that goes together, like a work of art. The chemistry is equally as good with each artist. Being a church musician allows me to conform to whatever artist I’m working with.
How was working with Chief Keef on GloToven different than working with Gucci Mane?
It’s more so Chief Keef’s approach. He’ll say some shit that Gucci ain’t gon’ say. He’s so young and different. I don’t know what sparks his brain to say what he say on the beat. It blows my mind. That’s what I love about working with guys like Chief Keef. I don’t know what they finna say. It makes me as a producer look good. They keep me fresh and relevant. Every time me and Chief working, it’s so unorthodox. We two totally different people. It’s so creative. He definitely gives my music a different edge.
Lil Baby and Gunna have been leading the way for Atlanta’s new trap sound. Are you a fan?
I listen to Gunna [and] Lil Baby. They carrying on where a Gucci Mane or Future would be—the Atlanta flavor. The Atlanta sauce. The style and lingo that you can’t get from nowhere else. I’m proud of the guys ’cause they keeping the sound going. They keeping Atlanta on fire. It ultimately keeps us relevant. Gunna and Baby are definitely guys that I desire to do more music with.
You’ve done so much in the rap game. What keeps you motivated to record music?
It’s still a passion of mine. I still have something to offer. Me being in the game for a long time, I feel like it’s a position that’s needed. [In] my last two years, I’m just becoming Zaytoven. People are just noticing. All the young kids [are like], “Oh, that’s Zaytoven.”
Check out more from XXL’s Spring 2019 issue including our Dreamville cover story featuring interviews with J. Cole, J.I.D, Bas, Cozz, EarthGang, Lute, Omen and Ari Lennox; Show & Prove interviews with Flipp Dinero and Blueface, a look into how Hot 97’s Ebro Darden went from fish mascot to hip-hop gatekeeper, Maury Povich in Hip-Hop Junkie, our interview with Rich The Kid and more.
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