Allison Samuels

Q&A With Rapper T.I.

On the low, while the mainstream wasn't watching, 26-year-old Atlanta native "T.I." (a.k.a. Clifford Harris) quietly and confidently stole the show from the more notable names in the rap game.

A Death in the MTV Family

Back when reality TV stormed the beaches of prime time, when we first saw people eating worms or marrying strangers or jumping out of helicopters, the conventional wisdom was that the insanity wouldn't stop until the ultimate happened—until someone died.

'Run's House:' Reality TV Gets Real

When "Run's House" began on MTV three seasons ago, the plot line was family life with a hip-hop twist. Joseph Simmons (a.k.a. Rev Run of the seminal rap group Run-D.M.C.) was cast in the classic "Father Knows Best" role, with his wife, Justine, and five children cheerfully going along for the ride.

Colorblind at Last?

Black Hollywood has been keeping a secret. For decades, African-Americans had been so consistently overlooked by the Academy Awards that a private group began sponsoring the "Black Oscars." Every year, on the night before the actual Oscars, members of the community--including James Earl Jones, Whitney Houston, Samuel L.

Cosby's Darkest Hours

I was surprised by a phone call at 5 a.m. from our New York office one morning in 1997. There were reports on the wire services of the death of a young man with the last name of Cosby, and my editors wanted me to find out if he might be related to Bill.

Oprah Goes to School

Two thousand and six was the year Africa went Hollywood: Madonna, Clooney, Brangelina. And now, in 2007, the most exclusive spot on the continent will undoubtedly be in the town of Henly-on-Klip, about 40 miles outside Johannesburg.

'He Kept It Funky'

Soul singer James Brown will be returning to Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater for one final show Thursday—a public viewing, as part of his funeral festivities.

What's Selling

Will Sleaze Dominate Black Publishing?Latisha James had no idea who Bebe Moore Campbell was when she stopped by the Waldenbooks in Los Angeles's Fox Hills Mall on Tuesday.

It's All in The Game

After blasting his way onto the charts more than a year ago with the 2 million-plus selling album "The Documentary,'' Jayceon Taylor aka "The Game'' is back again with "Doctor's Advocate.'' The just-released album is a head-thumping ode to West-Coast rap that is as satisfying as anything hip hop has had to offer all year, and the Compton, Calif., native isn't shy about saying as much.But just as his music makes waves on the radio, The Game's personal and professional relationships have made...

Maybe It Is the Shoes!

Stephon Marbury's $15 basketball shoe made its debut in stores in August, and 3 million pairs have already been sold. Last week the shoes made an even more important debut--on an NBA court, as the season got underway with Marbury's Knicks winning.

Exercise: Pilates for The People

Kim Carruthers has taught Pilates to Tyra Banks and Patricia Arquette, but a highlight of her career was helping Jamila Ofumbi fit into her prom dress. Ofumbi, a 17-year-old from South-Central L.A., had read in a fashion magazine that Banks firmed her frame with thrice-weekly Pilates classes, and she reached out to Carruthers. "I knew if someone just helped me, I could learn," she says.

Spike's Katrina

Spike Lee is a proud New Yorker --he lives for the Yankees, dies for the Knicks and bleeds for all things Brooklyn--but for the past year, his heart has been in New Orleans.

No More Mr. Ice Guy

Judging by sales and air-play, lots of rap listeners still aren't tired of songs celebrating grills (gold teeth), ice (diamonds) and big booties--especially when shaken by pole-dancing strippers for Cristal-swilling playas.

See Reverend Run

Angela Simmons wants a party for her high-school graduation, and boy, does she have ideas. A Plexiglas dance floor over the family swimming pool. Gift bags with iPods.

The Katrina Cavalry

Wesli Spencer, a 22- year-old junior at James Madison University, was at home in West Virginia last summer when Katrina swamped New Orleans. Like everyone else who watched the misery on television, he was dumbfounded by the lame response--and figured there had to be something students like him could do to help the people whose lives had been upended. "I can't really explain what it felt like to see so many black faces trapped and unable to get help," he says.

Learning To Give

Former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder used to prod his father endlessly to share memories of his family's time in slavery. "The little we did learn from him was that my grandfather lived on a different plantation and had to sneak off to visit the family on weekends," says the 70-year-old, who was the country's first African-American governor. "His owner would beat him when he got back but finally gave up when he realized my grandfather was going to see his family, beating or not." The...

She's Gotta Have Him

Interracial relationships aren't exactly new in Hollywood movies--remember "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"? But what was the last romantic comedy in which the babe was black and the hunk was white?

1940-2005: Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor didn't tell jokes. He became them. Sometimes, the effect was pure hilarity, like the time he jumped off the stage in the middle of his Vegas act, took off his clothes, walked into the casino and hopped on a table yelling "Blackjack!" Most of the time--and even in that casino joke, if you think about it--Pryor's comedy came wrapped in barbed wire.

Boyz in the 'Burbs

Some day, somewhere, R. Kelly may finally go on trial for child pornography. Until then, we'll have to settle for the made-for-TV trial on a new Cartoon Network show, "The Boondocks." That's right, we said the Cartoon Network, so you can already guess that this isn't your ordinary Court TV.

Facing The Music

A few days before she was scheduled to start serving her prison sentence, Kimberly Jones--you know her as Lil' Kim--was ensconced on a plush sofa in a dimly lit recording studio in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen.


One of the original kings of Comedy has a new talk show, "Weekends at the DL," on Comedy Central. Hughley spoke with NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.On the ads for "DL," you say, "You thought they wouldn't give another brother a show, didn't you?" Why so bold?Hey, it's the 800-pound elephant in the room.


Celebrities gripe about the press all the time, but Raven Symone's hard-luck story was a new one on us: the actress says that at her 19th-birthday party last year, only a single paparazzo showed up. "It was so sad," she says with a laugh. "I mean, I was dressed up and ready to party and not one flash went off.


Terrence Howard takes pleasure in keeping you on the edge of your seat. Whether he's portraying a crazed bank robber, as he did in "Dead Presidents," or a wisecracking, no-nonsense playa, like the one he portrayed in "The Best Man," Howard manages to give a flavorfully dangerous twist to his characters--and to humanize them as well.


Most likely you've never heard Karrine Steffans's name, but perhaps you've seen her... face, in such hip-hop videos as Jay-Z's "Hey Papi" and Mystikal's "Dangerous," or opposite Vin Diesel in "A Man Apart." A few years ago, Steffans was not only a booty-shaking, breast-implanted video queen, but arm candy (and, she claims, much more) for some of the most famous men in hip-hop, Hollywood and sports.