Newsmakers

A New RacketAt this point, Venus Williams is used to being overshadowed by her younger sister, Serena, but at least for this week's Wimbledon she'll be better dressed. Venus, in conjunction with her sponsor Reebok, will debut a line of women's tenniswear that she helped design with fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg. "Dressing Venus was a joy," says von Furstenberg, "because she radiates power, elegance and beauty.'' Williams says working with von Furstenberg was "like a dream come true."This isn't just a celebrity athlete talking up a business partner. Williams has been interested in fashion and design--"anything that requires creative flair"--for years. She owns an interior-design company and takes fashion classes at a local college in Florida; she and von Furstenberg actually passed sketches back and forth.Venus's style has been more staid than her sister's (remember Serena's supertight cat suit?), but she'll hit the court at Wimbledon in a white corset-style dress with an...

Newsmakers

We're sick of her, too, at this point, but wait till you hear the latest. Jennifer Lopez is cleaning house--not the zillion-dollar one she bought with her beau, Ben Affleck, but metaphorically. First she canned her publicist, then her agent (she now joins Julia, Cameron and Sandra at CAA) and now Benny Medina, the member of her management team who essentially created her diva image--and helped dePuffify her after the infamous P. Diddy nightclub shoot-out."Ben's been getting a little tired of all the attention and the reaction to all the attention," says an understandably nameless--and of course perfectly disinterested--source from the Lopez camp. "At the beginning, it was cool and didn't really bother him, but now he thinks it's negative for the both of them." Well, can't have that. Worse yet, Ben's friends are backing away. "Matt [Damon] is in no way as close as he used to be," says this source. That Jezebel!With the two movies the couple made together en route to theaters, J. Lo...

Newsmakers

Dancer in the DarkLuther Vandross's 15th album, "Dance With My Father," is already gold with a million copies presold--and it doesn't even hit stores until Tuesday. But the achievement is bittersweet: the 52-year-old R&B crooner is still in the intensive-care unit of a New York hospital, in a state of semiconsciousness, two months after suffering a massive stroke.His good friends Aretha Franklin and Cissy Houston (Whitney's mom) each held candlelight vigils for him, and Vandross's nieces have filled his hospital room with some of his favorite music--by Dionne Warwick and the Shirelles. "I hold his hand and pray with him,'' says his mother, Mary Vandross. "Right after the stroke, he was in grave danger; it was very touch and go. But I feel that it is just a matter of time before he improves. I believe there is nothing too hard for God.''Last week the singer gave his family a glimmer of hope when he opened his eyes and appeared to recognize faces for the first time since the...

Newsmakers

Just last month, when Michael Jordan walked off the court forever, Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin paid him the usual greatest-player-ever tribute. But last week he told Jordan he wasn't welcome back as president of basketball operations, the job he'd held before returning to play in 2001. Jordan released a statement saying he was "shocked." Everybody else was shocked that he was shocked.Jordan had a rocky time with the Wizards. He never helped them to the playoffs, and he openly criticized the very players he'd handpicked. "Most of the real new guys like Kwame [Brown] just melted because of the way Michael raked us out," says one Wizard. "The rest of us just passed him the ball and got out of his way. Him going upstairs wasn't going to make that much difference--he'd have found a way to f--- with us from there."Jordan's friend Charles Barkley, the NBA star turned announcer, admits Jordan mishandled players, particularly Brown. "He was way too hard on that kid. But M. didn't...

Minstrels In Baggy Jeans?

Desmond James, 16, and two of his buddies were in the mood for a good laugh. So they decided to catch "Malibu's Most Wanted,'' the new movie in which a superrich white kid (Jamie Kennedy) is so obsessed with hip-hop that his parents have him kidnapped and taken to the 'hood to "scare the black out of him.'' When the friends left the theater, they couldn't tell if they'd been amused, offended--or both. "It was sort of funny,'' says James, a junior at Los Angeles's Dorsey High School, who's writing his own rhymes in hopes of becoming the next Jay-Z. "But then some of it was too over the top, particularly coming from a white boy.''Hip-hop culture has dominated the music industry for well over a decade, but it's taken all this time for Hollywood to cash in. The solution? Make hip-hop movies about white people. Most African-Americans didn't have a problem with Eminem--who they believe respects their culture--either as a rap-per or as a movie star in "8 Mile." But several new hip-hop...

The Teflon Pop Star

People who know R. Kelly tend to use the same word to describe him: unflappable. Last June, the Chicago-based R&B singer was arrested and indicted on 21 counts of possession of child pornography, after a copy of tapes allegedly showing him having sex with a young girl was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times. He promptly locked himself in his private studio, completed two new albums and produced several hit songs for other stars. This January, just after he was arrested again in Florida and charged with 12 more child-porn counts--same girl from the same incident, different poses--he played the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. He made a typically grand entrance: in a skybox above 20,000 heads, his arms stretched out as if nailed to a cross. The standing ovation lasted nearly five minutes.No one, either inside the music industry or out of it, could have predicted this. R. Kelly, whose 1996 "I Believe I Can Fly" has been the anthem of thousands of graduations, was supposed to be...

Time To Tell It Like It Is

We wanted to hear directly from black women about the challenges in their lives--the feelings and frustrations they share regardless of profession, education, class or skin color. At the table: "The View" host Star Jones, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts, singer and actress Beyonce Knowles, money manager Mellody Hobson, bank CEO Deborah Wright, rapper Foxy Brown and Teri Woods, a single mother and former paralegal who has started her own publishing business. They talked candidly--and sometimes painfully--about the choices they confront. Some excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Why are black women, as a group, so successful?Star Jones: Well, I grew up in a family of very strong black women. My mother left me with my grandparents to go back to school. That was a big example to me. I could certainly do no less.Deborah Wright: My mom was a teacher, and we had extended families all on the block. All those women's expectations were, we were going to take what they had done and triple it. And every single...

Style: Iceman Cometh

Sure, a diamond is "forever." But that doesn't mean it can't be trendy. L.A. jeweler Chris Arie ("The Iceman" to his patrons) has earned an A-list following including Allen Iverson, Will Smith and Halle Berry--who just snatched up 20 of his diamond-and-platinum dog-tag necklaces ($900 and up) for her friends, like best bud Oprah. His hottest item, the new Traveler watch, is a hit with Michael Jordan, Eminem and Denzel Washington--despite the awfully steep $6,500-to-$125,000 price tag (2awesomeint.com). "I'm not a bling-bling guy," says Washington, who asked for a diamond-free Traveler. Since he's still glowing from his Oscar win, the rocks might be overkill.

Newsmakers

The King of Pop's Latest MoonwalkWe swore after he dangled the baby, no more Michael Jackson for the next year. But when a guy who looks like the Tin Man tells the world how sweet it is to sleep chastely with children--other people's children--you just have to think out of the box. Jackson sure does. In a British documentary, rebroadcast on ABC last week, journalist Martin Bashir coaxed Jackson to talk about all sorts of things. About how he's had plastic surgery only on his nose. About how he's Peter Pan. (We believe that.) But naturally people fastened onto Jackson's disquisition about how "the most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone." Since Jackson had paid an out-of-court settlement in 1994 after a 14-year-old boy dropped a civil suit that accused Jackson of sexually molesting him (Jackson denied the accusation), this was surprising. Or not.Jackson's friend Uri Geller (yes, the guy who used to bend spoons) helped put him together with Bashir; Geller now says, ...

Ready For Her Close-Up (Again)

My mother told me when I was pretty young that you can be who you are or try hard to be something else," Whoopi Goldberg says, with a toss of those trademark funky dreadlocks. "I was always a lazy b--h, so trying hard to be something else wasn't going to happen." That's always been the Goldberg formula for success: one part Horatio Alger uplift, one part in-your-face street talk and one part in-her-own-face self-parody. When a young African-American woman who grew up in New York City public housing drops the name Caryn Johnson and reinvents herself under a name from deepest Mall America, attention must be paid--which of course was the whole point. Lately, though, we haven't seen her much, except when she's hosting the Academy Awards. "When I was hot," she says, "others had to stand back for a minute--a very short minute, I might add--and now I'm standing back." You can imagine how she likes that. And of course she's got a plan.This week Goldberg will open on Broadway in a revival of...

First Time For Everything

No Hollywood screenwriter would have dared to dream up a story as improbable as Antwone Fisher's--except one. Fisher grew up in Cleveland's foster-care system; his foster parents neglected and abused him, and he picked fights with everyone in sight, even after he enlisted in the Navy. But aboard ship he bonded with a Navy psychiatrist named Jerome Davenport, and their profound relationship gave him the tools to cope with civilian life. While working as a security guard in L.A., he finally tracked down his birthfather's family, who offered him a ticket back to Cleveland for Thanksgiving. "To get the time off, I basically had to tell my life story to my boss," says Fisher, 42. That story quickly got around town--because Fisher just happened to work at the Sony Studios lot. Eventually producer Todd Black decided to film the story. To write it, he picked a first-timer with no credentials but a world of experience: Antwone Fisher.The heart-wrenching "Antwone Fisher," which opens this...

Mourning A Master Dj

DJ Jazzy Jeff needed a moment to let it sink in. One of the founding fathers of hip-hop, Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC, had been murdered, and the phones in Jazz's office were ringing off the hook with friends and reporters wanting to talk. Yet Jazz, whose real name is Jeff Townes, couldn't bring himself to answer. The two had been tight ever since Jazz and fellow teenage rapper Will Smith opened for Run-DMC during the rap supergroup's 1989 world tour. "That's how we dealt with one another, as family," says Townes. "Me, Will and Jay always talked about our kids and what they were doing, and about being at a good place in our lives."Those are the types of conversations that now haunt many who knew Jason Mizell, who along with Joey Simmons (Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) founded the crossover rap group in the early 1980s. Mizell, 37, was shot in the head execution style by a masked gunman Wednesday evening inside the recording studio he owned in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., leaving the hip-hop...

No. 1 Without A Bullet

Cornell Haynes Jr. looks every inch a GQ man. Young, handsome and with millions in the bank thanks to his rap alter ego known as Nelly, Haynes is only one of a handful of men selected to appear in the fashion magazine's music issue, and it's easy to see why. For his photo shoot he's wearing two major articles of clothing: a sizzling leather blazer with no shirt and Australian sexpot Kylie Minogue, who's draped all over him. As the camera clicks and one of Nelly's hit plays in the background, Minogue begins moaning and rubbing Nelly's chest and head. In fact, she moans for a good 10 minutes. Finally, a voice on the side of the room breaks the mood. "Mama ain't gonna like this," says his baby sister, Jackie. She leans over to her brother's publicist, who sprints over to a GQ editor. The steamy picture taking stops. Nelly's people have a problem. They're worried that if he's photographed seductively with Minogue, his core audience of African-Americans will be none too pleased--not just...

Must Have: It's A Shoe-In

Wood hasn't looked this good in decades. Clogs, a fashion outcast since the '70s, are finally hip again. Designers like Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana and Miu Miu (and lower-end knockoffs like Candies and Steve Madden) are all selling clogs, reinvented with a sleeker shape and steeper heel. "We can't keep them in stock," says a rep for Saks Fifth Avenue. But remember, clogs are cool. Clogging is not. Besides, hoofing in these heels would be hazardous to your health.

Grant's Hill To Climb

Grant Hill isn't afraid to show off his wounds. So after a long, one-on-one workout with a fellow Duke alum, Hill slumps down on a row of wooden benches and takes off his left sneaker. "Don't look at my ugly feet," he says, rolling down his sock to bare a swollen ankle with three large, dark slashes running across it. "Just look at the scars."The scars, from three surgeries that derailed the Orlando Magic forward's career for two full seasons, represent just the visible challenge to Hill's comeback. In 2000, after six all-star seasons in Detroit, Hill jumped to Orlando for $93 million over seven years. But the ankle injury he suffered during his final months in Detroit proved far more severe than he realized. "It bothered me all the time, but you know how it is--when you're a man, you're supposed to play through the pain and not complain," he says. That summer doctors inserted a steel plate and pins to secure fractures in the bone. But Hill kept rushing his recovery and reinjuring...

Making Scents

Hollywood hits a new l'eau. The gardenia-scented potions from Kai have won fans like Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Garner and Tyra Banks. "It's just a yummy smell," Banks says. But the real draw was exclusivity: only one Malibu shop carried it. Now several do, and kaifragrance.com launches soon. Only the prices are B list: $40 for oil, $30 for lotion.

Must Have: Kai: Making Scents

Hollywood hits a new l'eau. Kai's Gardenia-scented potions won fans like Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Garner and Tyra Banks. "It's just a yummy smell," Banks says. But Kai's real draw was exclusivity: only one Malibu shop carried it. Now it's at the Lisa Kline Boutique in Beverly Hills and Malibu's Planet Blue, and kaifragrance.com launches soon. Only the prices are B-list: $40 for oil, $30 for lotion.

Newsmakers

He is superman, after all. So it shouldn't surprise anybody that Christopher Reeve has defied the odds again. Last week one of Reeve's rehab doctors, John W. McDonald, reported in a scientific journal that after years of intense therapy, Reeve can now move his right wrist, his hips and the fingers of his left hand. And he can feel sensations on his skin, allowing him to differentiate between a pin prick and soft cotton. No, Reeve still can't walk, button his clothes or breathe consistently without a ventilator--and no one can say whether he'll ever regain enough mobility to do any of that. But, even seemingly small advances are monumental after such a severe spinal injury. "I was blown away," says McDonald, of Washington University School of Medicine's Spinal Cord Injury Program. "His mind-set is just incredible."When he was thrown off his horse and shattered a piece of his spinal cord in 1995, nobody--other than Reeve--thought he would regain any significant movement or feeling...

What Beyonce Wants

Beyonce Knowles is not pleased. The 20-year-old lead singer of Destiny's Child wants something to read while a stylist weaves her curly, honey-blond hair into a funky ponytail. More specifically, she wants the August issue of a certain magazine that her staff has been hiding from her. "I really don't want you to read it again," her publicist says, before reluctantly forking it over. Knowles is incredulous as she flips through the story, which, she says, barely mentions her role in the new "Austin Powers in Goldmember," and, instead, paints her as a pitiful and unstable diva. "It's like they don't think I'm human," she says. "That I need people to feel sorry for me and my so-called unhappy life. There've been ups and down, but I don't have an unhappy life. I'm doing just fine.''Blame the Beyonce backlash. Ever since two of the original Destiny's Child girls quit the Grammy-winning group, claiming nepotism by its manager (who happens to be Beyonce's father, Mathew), she has been...

Will Iverson Foul Out?

Everyone knows that Allen is a pretty difficult guy to get along with," says an associate of Philadelphia 76ers superstar Allen Iverson. "And no one knows that better than his wife." Mrs. Iverson got a reminder of just how difficult when her husband, apparently convinced she was having an affair, threw her out of their $2.4 million mansion on July 1, clad in nothing but her panties. Now Iverson, 27, is facing arrest on criminal charges stemming from his armed hunt for his wife in the days after the fight. (Neither Iverson nor his lawyer returned calls.)Iverson's temper is legendary, from a Valentine's Day brawl in high school that landed him in jail for four months to his on-court feuds with 76ers coach Larry Brown. But this time, the all-star seems to have outdone himself. After Tawanna failed to come home for a day, Iverson and his uncle went looking for her. At 3 a.m. on July 3 they banged on the door of Iverson's cousin, Shaun Bowman, who had driven Tawanna away the night of the...

Newsmakers

Will Smith has always been a man with a plan. With plans. Back when he was the rapper known as the Fresh Prince, he wanted to become an actor. As a movie star, he wanted to go beyond slam-bang summer action flicks ("Men in Black," "Independence Day") to serious character studies ("Ali"). And now he wants to do a love story. Love stories.He and his wife, the actress Jada Pinkett, have written a romantic picture together, but now Smith has put that on the back burner in favor of another longtime scheme: a remake of the oft-remade classic "A Star Is Born," about an up-and-coming actress's romance with a has-been star.The 1954 version--the one Smith likes--with Judy Garland and James Mason, made the film a musical. Smith will, too--he's always wanted to show off his singing voice--but he'll flip the roles: he'll be the up-and-comer. He already has a production deal with Sony Pictures; all he needs now is a green light, a script (he's tried several writers), a director and a leading lady...

Drama Queens

Like a good piece of sweet-potato pie, "Soul Food" has finally found the right seasoning. "Soul Food" is the first African-American TV drama to make it to its third season, and its very survival provides a lesson in the ways of television. When "Soul Food" debuted, it was a solid if conventional family drama with so-so ratings--just the kind of program the networks would have canceled. But "Soul Food" appears on Showtime, and cable programmers are notably more willing to nurture a show until it finds itself--and the audience finds it. What's more, Showtime has built its schedule on programming that caters to niche groups: "Queer As Folk" is its No. 1 show, and the Latino-oriented "Resurrection Blvd." is also a strong performer. "Soul Food" serves an audience that's been notoriously ignored by the networks but is central to Showtime's mission. "We respect that we have so many different cultures tuning in to our networks, and we have to cater to them," says Jerry Offsay, president of...

Angela's Fire

Angela Bassett has a flair for the dramatic. Two hours into a long, frank interview at a Beverly Hills lounge, the actress is asked why, after not starring in a movie for four years, she turned down a chance for the lead in "Monster's Ball." Bassett bolts out of her overstuffed chair, and throws out her arms in a gesture worthy of her idol, Bette Davis: "It's about character, darling." In "Monster's Ball," which won Halle Berry an Oscar, a black waitress has a graphic, tortured--and, Bassett believed, demeaning--affair with her husband's executioner. "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film," she says. "I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality.'' Bassett is clear she isn't criticizing Berry--just the way Hollywood views women in general and black women in particular. Several actresses, including Vanessa Williams, passed on "Monster's Ball" as well. "Film is forever," says Bassett. "It's about putting something out there you can be proud of...

It's All In The Jeans

Want to look like a starlet? Just combine good genes with Seven jeans. At about $150 a pair, the butt-flattering pants are popular with everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Brandy, who's nine months pregnant. "Seven has just the right amount of stretch to fit all shapes," says a rep at L.A.'s Fred Segal. "That's the genius of it." After two years of being sold only at high-end retailers like Fred Segal and Curve in Beverly Hills, Seven jeans have finally hit upscale chains, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. But the brand isn't looking to dress just anyone. "You won't be seeing 'Ann' in Ohio with them on," says a rep. "Most people don't even know they exist." Well, until now.

Rappers Wax Nostalgic

Dissing on vinyl has always been a rap mainstay: mike swipes meant more sales, more ink. But lobbing insults took a dangerous turn in the late '90s when ill will between Death Row Records and Bad Boy Entertainment was believed to have contributed to the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. "It made everybody in the industry pause," says L.A. DJ Big Boy.It's "Go Time" again. In the last year, rap's stars have been at each other. The latest: Nelly vs. legend KRS-One, who said that Nelly's party-boy image isn't good for hip-hop. On Nelly's upcoming album he says KRS needs a "rap pension and attention." Last year Jermaine Dupri told a magazine he was a better producer than Dr. Dre. Dre responded by calling 5-foot-3 Dupri "Mini Me and a midget" on a rap. "I'm short," Dupri tells NEWSWEEK. "But what is that to say?" Earlier this month Dupri shot back on the Web. He called Dre "gay" on a re-recording of a track Dre produced. Dupri also questioned if Dre produces the music he...

Usher In A New Era

As 10,000 mourners gathered in a cavernous televangelist church in suburban Atlanta last Thursday to pay their last respects to TLC's Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes, Arista Records chief L. A. Reid was left to ponder what would become of his musical family. There, in the next aisle, was Whitney Houston, whose personal troubles have eclipsed her talents of late. P. Diddy, in the middle of severing ties with the label, was a no-show. Then there were the two surviving members of TLC, once the biggest-selling girl group, sobbing over the loss of their trio mate. As TLC's Rozonda (Chilli) Thomas wept, her boyfriend wrapped a comforting arm around her. That arm belongs to the one person Reid can count on for solace himself these days: Usher.Reid didn't have much of a honeymoon at Arista. No sooner had he taken over the struggling label from its ousted founder, Clive Davis, than Davis launched his own label, J Records, with the biggest new act of 2001, Alicia Keys. Reid was left to mop up the red...

Mixing It Up

When Memphis Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol was named NBA Rookie of the Year last week, the 21-year-old Spanish sensation became the first European player to capture the award. In a league long dominated by black stars, the fact that Gasol is white drew no attention. In fact, white rookies have now won the trophy two years running, a "double" almost as unlikely--it last happened almost 40 years ago--as the Halle-Denzel sweep that created so much buzz at the Academy Awards. The back-to-back rookie honors and the emergence of other young white NBA stars are flouting one of America's most entrenched sports stereotypes: contrary to conventional wisdom, white men can jump.For most of its history, the NBA included white stars--from Jerry West in the '60s to Bill Walton to Larry Bird--who competed at the game's highest levels. But when Bird retired in 1992, the white NBA star appeared to be a dying species, with ageless John Stockton in the role of the last dinosaur. In 1998, for the first...

Tackling A Tough Subject

It's pretty clear Spike Lee is a history buff, so it's no wonder that his first HBO documentary, 1997's "Four Little Girls," about four black children murdered at Sunday school in 1963, was nominated for an Oscar. In his second HBO documentary, Lee addresses another tough subject: football great Jim Brown. "After 'Four Little Girls'," Lee tells NEWSWEEK, "I just kept thinking about what would be an interesting piece of history to put on film. Jim Brown seemed like an obvious choice.""The Jim Brown Story," which airs in December, takes its audience into the funny, bewildering and sometimes frightening world of one of the most controversial athletes of the 20th century, who just happens to be currently incarcerated. Shortly before filming started, Brown was charged with domestic violence and ordered to do community service, which entailed picking up trash on a California highway. He refused and is serving six months.The documentary recounts Brown's poverty-stricken life on St. Simons...

Taking Care Of Business

Ask Tampa Bay wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson where he was 10 years ago this week, and he gives you a sheepish grin. "I responded the way most black young men 18 or 19 years old did during that time," says Johnson, now 29, who was attending the University of Southern California on a football scholarship when he learned that his boyhood neighborhood of South-Central was on fire. "I couldn't sit home and watch it on television. I think everyone around there was thinking, 'What do we have to lose?' South-Central was hell way before the riots."Whenever Johnson returns, he's reminded of a poor childhood spent sleeping in cars and serving time in juvie. And so it is with a measure of pride on this trip that he arrives at a new shopping center he helped get built at the corner of Western and Slauson, just down the road from where the riots first erupted. In other parts of L.A., this 275,000-square-foot stucco expanse with its British-sounding name, Chesterfield Square, might seem like just...

Television: Beating Carson Daily

It isn't hard to find the intersection of 106th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem. Just follow the hundreds of teens clad in their hip-hop finest, lined up in front of the warehouse where Black Entertainment Television tapes its daily music countdown show. "106 & Park" has become a wildly popular program by featuring guest appearances by the likes of Puffy and Mary J. Blige, hip-hop video countdowns and, each Friday, a talent contest for would-be rappers. On this particular "Freestyle Friday," a 17-year-old Queens kid who calls himself Gin is rapping about street life in New York City and hoping for his seventh win in a row.Some 60 blocks south of here, a nearly identical scene plays out every afternoon, as teenagers line up in Times Square to see many of the same stars on MTV's "Total Request Live." The uptown audience is mostly black and the midtown one largely white. But there's a far more surprising difference between the shows. "106 & Park," which airs at 6 p.m. ET,...

Female Trouble

Joan Clayson's life looks pretty familiar to a lot of black women. She's a hard-working thirtysomething with a good job, terrific friends, a fly wardrobe ... and no man in sight.Of course, Joan is only a character on the sitcom "Girlfriends." But her stories--and those of her friends Toni, Lynn and Maya--seem to ring true with many of today's black women. During the show's second season, which concludes next month, "Girlfriends" has become one of the top-rated sitcoms in black households.For obvious reasons, the program is regularly referred to as a black "Sex and the City." And yes, it's a comedy about four gorgeous women in an urban setting (this time, downtown Los Angeles), and the fashion is fierce. But there are also striking differences.The "Girlfriends" don't have endless amounts of money at their disposal. One of them is a secretary and another is a grad student. Nor do they have an abundance of hunky doctors and moguls to date and discard. On "Girlfriends," Lynn and her...

Will It Be Denzel's Day?

Every career has its moment of truth. For Denzel Washington, it came on a March evening two years ago, when Gwyneth Paltrow took the stage at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium to announce what many friends and fans hoped would be his first Academy Award for best actor. "I remember buying three Armani suits for that night because I just knew Denzel would win and we were going to party all night long,'' recalls "Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton. But Washington sensed he wouldn't carry the night. Controversy had erupted in the weeks before over whether his film "The Hurricane" had glossed over the more unsavory facts about real-life boxer Rubin Carter; by the time Hollywood marched down the red carpet, the smart money was on the critics' favorite "American Beauty" and its star. ...

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