On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Newark, New Jersey reached an agreement to address the use of excessive force and prejudiced policing tactics. A 2014 report released by the DOJ showed that Newark police officials were stopping individuals illegally 75 percent of the time. The majority of the people who were stopped were Black. The report revealed that you’re 2.5 times more likely to be stopped if you’re African-American. “This undeniable experience of being disproportionately affected by the NPD’s unconstitutional policing helps explain the community distrust and cynicism that undermines effective policing in Newark,” read the study. Activists believe the settlement is a step in the right direction. “50 years in the making,” said Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “We believe that when it’s finally implemented, it could be a model for the rest of the nation.” Read more.


“Hamilton” Receives Backlash for ‘Non-White’ Casting Call

A recent casting call post for the diverse hit play Hamilton has many people up in arms. According to reports, it called for “non-White men and women” to audition for parts in the production. Although the show’s producers are receiving lots of backlash for specifying the races of actors, stating the race, gender and age group of preferred actors on Broadway is nothing new. “This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a ‘bona fide occupational qualification’ that is legal. This also follows in the tradition of many shows that call for race, ethnicity or age specific casting, whether it’s The Color Purple or Porgy & Bess or Matilda,” read a statement released by Hamilton producers. “The casting will be amended to also include language we neglected to add, that is, we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition for Hamilton.” Read more.


Bad Boy Artists and Jay Z will Honor Biggie with Memorable Concert

Diddy announced he will host a memorable one-night concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in honor of the late Notorious B.I.G. Former Bad Boy artists will take the stage to perform their greatest hits. The concert will fall on May 20th – what would have been Biggie’s 44th birthday. Artists slated to perform include Faith Evans, Total, 112, Lil Kim, Mario Winans, The Lox, and Mase. Both Mary J. Blige and Jay Z have been confirmed as special guests. Tickets for the concert will go on sale on April 2. Read more.


Lamar Odom Spotted at LA Lakers Game

Lamar Odom was spotted at the Staples Center on Wednesday night, watching the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Miami Heat. Kobe Bryant reportedly invited him to the game. He told ESPN that he was “feeling good.” In February, he made his first public appearance at Kanye West’s fashion show at Madison Square Garden. He also attended a local college basketball game by himself last month. Although things seem to be looking up for Odom following his health scare, there are still some hurdles to overcome. On Easter Sunday, he was spotted drinking at a bar. Odom is reportedly refusing to go to rehab. Read more.


“Empire” is a Flop Overseas

Although the show Empire has gained popularity in the States, it’s flopped overseas. The first season of the show brought in 717,000 viewers and during the second season, that number drastically dropped to 595,000 viewers. In Australia, the show’s first season drew in 181,000 viewers and plummeted to 77,000 viewers per episode during its second season. “These shows are a reflection of our society, but [they are] not a reflection of all societies,” said Marion Edwards, president of international TV at Fox. “Having a diverse cast creates another hurdle for U.S. series trying to break through; it would be foolish not to recognize that. We are telling our units that they need to be aware that by creating too much diversity in the leads in their show means … problems having their shows translating to the international market.” Read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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