Allison Samuels

NEWSMAKERS

Bobby BrownBobby brown knows a thing or two about drama. Starting June 30, the R&B star, 36, will take his troubled existence completely public in his own reality show on Bravo.

BYE-BYE, BAD HAIR DAYS

Shalinda Williams wanted to set some tongues wagging at the Dorsey High School prom in Los Angeles, but she knew a long slinky dress and rhinestone-studded stilettos wouldn't do the trick.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Malcolm X's grandson didn't get to see the celebrations in Harlem last week honoring his late grandfather's 80th birthday. Not the debut of the exhibit "Malcolm X: A Search for Truth" at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

KOBE WHO? NOW IT'S WADE'S WAY.

Miami Heat point guard Dwyane Wade was never concerned that he and NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't get along as teammates. Growing up on the tough side of Chicago where drug dealers and gang members commanded every corner, Wade developed the street smarts of going along to get along as soon as he learned to walk. "I just wanted Shaq to come so I could learn and get better as a player," Wade said recently over iced tea at a downtown Miami restaurant. "Nothing else mattered to me.

BRUTUS ON BROADWAY

Denzel Washington wants--no, needs--to explain why he's shown up for breakfast in a New York City cafe wearing a pink necktie. "I want you to know I didn't pick this tie out," he says as he takes his seat. "I mean, it's not that I don't like the tie.

THE FLIP SIDE OF 50 CENT

On a sunny Saturday morning, the buff-and-cut Curtis Jackson--you know him as 50 Cent--has finished his grueling workout in a Beverly Hills gym. Now he's sitting there by a small stereo, eyes closed, head bent, shoulders hunched, swaying back and forth.

HIP-HOP GROWS UP

Fashion designer Marc Ecko had always been baffled by his passion for fashion. As a child growing up in Lakewood, N.J., he devoured comic books and videogames.

RED CARPET STYLE

When Monique Lhuillier peeks from behind a rack of her lavish wedding gowns, you could easily mistake her for one of her A-list clients. Personal chic is just one asset that has made Lhuillier (pronounced Loo-lee-ay) the designer for trendy young celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Connelly, whether they're walking down the aisle or the red carpet.

SOPHIE OKONEDO: THE BOOKWORM'S REVENGE, ACT I

As Sophie Okonedo was leaving her London home for the premiere of "Hotel Rwanda," her mother reminded her of a story. When Sophie was little, someone from the government came to visit the family's public-housing flat. "They check up on you in those places," Okonedo says. "In our small apartment we had a big bookcase with tons of books, and this man said to Mother, 'What do you do with all those books?' Because of course poor people don't read.

GYMS: MISSION: EXERCISE

As a little girl growing up in New York, Sascha Ferguson wanted to be one of Charlie's Angels. But instead of getting her wings, the now 34-year-old Ferguson married, had a baby boy and settled into a career coaching major corporations and their employees on how to do their jobs more effectively.

THE REIGN OF JAY-Z

You would never have known it was a bad week for Jay-Z. There he was, two days after the election, at P. Diddy's birthday bash (held on Wall Street, of course), styling and profiling in a custom-made pinstripe suit, as if that other expensive suit--brought against him by R.

THE PLAY'S THE THING

Gina Scott likes to keep her customers entertained. But she refuses to play rap music at her South L.A. beauty shop, Studio 412--too much profanity, degrading to women--or to show such videos as "Soul Plane," with Snoop Dogg.

KOBE COACH CALLS FOUL

Shaquille O'Neal isn't the only person with an ax to grind with NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Later this month former Lakers coach Phil Jackson will add his two cents in "The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul." In diarylike fashion, Jackson details Bryant's bad behavior, dishing on Bryant's feuding with O'Neal and the star's alleged egomaniacal demands.

NEWSMAKERS

Q&A: Peter DinklageActors usually wear a fake hunch and affect a limp to play Richard III. At New York's Public Theater this week, Shakespeare's evil king gets a makeover--he'll be played by a dwarf, 4-foot-6 Peter Dinklage ("The Station Agent").

A TRUMPETER UNMUTED

Wynton Marsalis gives a piece or two of his mind to NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.SAMUELS: Does New York really need yet another place to hear jazz?MARSALIS: There are a lot of jazz clubs in New York, and we support them.

A Rapturous Return

When Anita Baker vanished from the music charts and the public's view a decade ago, the sound of R&B was already changing from the lush love ballads that made her 1986 album "Rapture" a multiplatinum hit to what we know today: more and more graphic expressions of lust laid over more and more thunderous beats. (Think R.

CRAZY LIKE A FOXX

Jamie Foxx is a party all by himself: one recent afternoon, in his African-accented L.A. bachelor pad, he regaled a visitor with impersonations of Quincy Jones and Al Pacino, a rapid-fire series of "dozens" jokes and a mini-set of R&B standards on which he backed up his own vocals on piano.

AND NOW, THE OTHER LEE

Everything's not hip-hop," says lawyer Tonya Lewis Lee, sounding much like Bill Cosby--and, not coincidentally, like her husband, Spike Lee. She and Crystal McCrary Anthony (the ex-wife of former NBA star Greg Anthony) have just published "Gotham Diaries," a novel set in New York's upscale, uptown world of millionaire businessmen, real-estate honchos, supermodels and, yes, inevitably, music moguls. "Be clear--there's nothing wrong with hip-hop.

KOBE BRYANT: 'A LONG SIGH OF RELIEF'

Kobe Bryant's attorneys are telling him to be "cautiously optimistic" after lawyers for his 20-year-old accuser raised the possibility that she may not participate in the criminal case and instead pursue a civil one. "There's a long sigh of relief," says a close associate of the basketball star.

CRAZY LIKE A FOXX

Jamie Foxx is a party all by himself: one recent afternoon, in his African-accented L.A. bachelor pad, he regaled a visitor with impersonations of Quincy Jones and Al Pacino, a rapid-fire series of "dozens" jokes and a mini-set of R&B standards on which he backed up his own vocals on piano.

BASKETBALL: SHAQ'S SIDE OF THE STORY

Kobe Bryant insisted last week that the trading of his Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal to Miami "had nothing to do with me." Shaq himself and other Lakers tell it differently. "It shouldn't take a genius to see the politics of the whole thing," O'Neal told NEWSWEEK. "You had a management office that was more concerned with the desires of one player, and that changed the entire game."Former teammates say O'Neal's troubles began the day Bryant joined the team. "Kobe didn't care that Shaq was the...

PERISCOPE

PAKISTAN A New Face of Terror Pakistani security forces have achieved remarkable success in quashing domestic terrorist groups in recent months, arresting major Qaeda-linked militants and spreading Islamist forces thin.

NEWSMAKERS

Q&A: Jay-ZWe were afraid Jay-Z's retirement from making albums had been a bad idea when we heard he was selling his shoes. Turns out he's auctioning a pair of his own S.

SMOOTH OPERATIONS

Long before Janet Jackson revealed a little too much of her body, Tanisha Rollins was obsessed with having one just like it. After watching the singer strut in a 1993 video, Rollins embarked on a quest for washboard abs.

NEWSMAKERS

Who's Checking Out of Hotel California?The L.A. Lakers looked ugly during their NBA finals loss to the Detroit Pistons--and it could get even uglier soon.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Lloyd Banks's suave, silky voice is everywhere these days, but until a year ago, when the rapper began touring with his mentor, 50 Cent, and 50's G-Unit posse, he'd never left his native New York. "Being so involved with 50 just gave me so much more to see and think about," says Banks, 22. "If you stay in one place, you can only rap about one thing because that's all you know.

Making Sure Dad Gets His Due

Mario van Peebles is a man with an identity crisis. Deep in thought as he sits by the pool at the W hotel in Los Angeles, the handsome character actor is getting those quizzical "aren't you somebody?" stares from sunbathers.

In The Name Of The Father

Mario Van Peebles is a man with an identity crisis. Deep in thought as he sits by the pool at the W hotel in Los Angeles, the handsome character actor is getting those quizzical "aren't you somebody?" stares from sunbathers.

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