Allison Samuels

DASH TO TOP OF THE WORLD

Damon Dash doesn't look like a CEO this morning. He's sparring with his trainer in the courtyard of his Spanish-style Beverly Hills home, high above Hollywood's canyons , and trash talking all the while. "I ain't goin' down--I can hang as long you can," he pants. "Don't let my heavy breathin' fool ya." You may not recognize Damon Dash's name, but you've probably seen him in his business partner Jay-Z's rap videos--he's the one in the background, dancing with a bottle of vodka in his hand.

BLACK LIKE WHOM? JUSTIN LOSES CRED

Has Justin Timberlake's all-access pass to the black entertainment universe been revoked? Few white artists have enjoyed as much support among African- Americans as Timberlake, thanks to a debut solo CD jammed with classic R&B and tracks produced by the likes of hip-hop maestro Timbaland.

TYRA INC.

Tyra Banks has obviously forgotten she's a supermodel. For one thing, she agrees to have lunch at a Hollywood joint called Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, where she arrives wearing blue jeans, a red sweat shirt and just a hint of blush.

FACING LIFE AFTER 'SEX'

Generally speaking, it's impolite to weep after sex. But if anyone's earned the right, it's Kim Cattrall, because this time was one for the ages. It lasted six years, she gave an award-worthy performance and, as Cattrall herself knows all too well, she may never have it this good again.

SNEAKERS: SPREE AND EASY

Everyone's happy when he's winning, and Latrell Sprewell's no exception. After a sometimes turbulent time in New York, Sprewell tells NEWSWEEK he's been "reborn" on the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the second best record in the Western Conference. "They make it fun to play again," says Spree.

BOOKS: FLY FASHION

It's all the stuff your mom didn't teach you because she was more concerned that you become a credit to the race. That's how author Jenyne Raines introduces "Beautylicious!

NEWSMAKERS

Farther and Farther Off the WallIt's a shame this page doesn't bestow a Newsmaker of the Year award, because Michael Jackson deserves some kind of recognition for keeping our staff fully employed.

Newsmakers

Simon Says: No More MooreEverybody complains about how nasty New York theater critics are, but what about the playwrights themselves? Last week Neil Simon decided he didn't like the performance of the star in his new off-Broadway play, "Rose's Dilemma," so he sent her a letter telling her off. "Learn your lines," he wrote, according to one published account, "or get out of my play." Never mind that the recipient of these encouraging words was one of America's longest-running sweethearts, Mary...

Rising Up

"Please be patient with me," a frail-looking Afeni Shakur tells the crowd inside the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard. She's just flown in from her farm in North Carolina for the premiere of "Tupac: Resurrection," the documentary she produced about her only son, the rapper and actor Tupac Shakur.

Cosby In Winter

Imagine for a moment that Cliff Huxtable has been possessed by the ghost of Fred Sanford. That's the first thing that comes to mind when Bill Cosby greets you at 3 in the afternoon in his palatial Manhattan brownstone, still puttering around in red-plaid flannel pajamas on an unusually warm fall day.

Kobe Off The Court

It's His Defining Feature: An Intense Focus On Basketball That Has Made Kobe Bryant One Of The Game's Greatest, But Left Him Self-Absorbed And Socially Stunted. Now He's On Trial For Rape. The Book On Kobe.

Twins Beneath The Skin

Andre Benjamin--you know him as Andre 3000, of the rap duo Outkast--is in daddy mode today. He and his 5-year-old son, Seven (so named because it's a divine and indivisible number), are just back from the Magic Mountain amusement park, and Seven's now zooming around the Hollywood studio where Benjamin's trying to work on a new track and do an interview.

A Rags-To-Riches Story

Tracy Reese knows how cut-throat couture can get. Fresh from Parsons School of Design, Reese expected to storm the runways. "I was only 23 years old, and I thought I knew everything," she says."It didn't take long to realize I didn't know much at all." Her business flopped.Sixteen years later, her designs are on the racks at Bergdorf's and Saks and on the backs of Julia and that other Reese.

PERISCOPE

MARKET WATCHDefying GravityThe world's markets have been going gangbusters of late. The Dow is up 24 percent since March. Tokyo's Nikkei has surged 30 percent over the same time period.

Who Is The Real Kobe

When Kobe Bryant was arrested two weeks ago after a 19-year-old Colorado woman accused him of sexual assault, the reaction from friends and fans was almost universal: that's just not like Kobe.

Newsmakers

Knight's Bad DaySuge Knight was arrested--again--last week, and may return to jail for violating the terms of his parole. The man who put the likes of Snoop Dogg on the hip-hop map allegedly hit a valet-parking attendant at an L.A.

Newsmakers

Bonnie, We Hardly Knew YeNot even the Us Weekly staff saw it coming. All Thursday morning, editor Bonnie Fuller had been working the magic that had turned the magazine around in 16 months (with help from Ben, J.

Big Bow Wow

In his trailer behind the MTV studios, Snoop Dogg is winding down after filming an episode of his new comedy show. The Lakers are on the big-screen TV, and his boys--DJ Pooh (who co-wrote the film "Friday"), ex-Laker Isaiah Rider, a gang of Snoop's grade-school pals from Long Beach--are passing around a blunt whose haze cuts off most of the oxygen.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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