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Critically Acclaimed Documentary “Mr. SOUL!” Premieres Sunday, August 22nd on HBO Max

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Executive Producers Chaz Ebert, record executive and film producer Ron Gillyard, producer and director Stan Lathan, Hillman Grad Productions producing partner Rishi Rajani, Run&Shoot Filmworks CEO Stephanie T. Rance, actor and producer Blair Underwood and Emmy award-winning writer, producer and Hillman Grad Productions CEO, Lena Waithe are proud to announce the critically acclaimed documentary Mr. SOUL! will premiere on HBO Max on this Sunday – August 22, 2021.

The film, produced and directed by Melissa Haizlip, won Best First Documentary Feature at the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Awards, and Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture) at the52nd NAACP Image Awards. “Mr. SOUL!” was also shortlisted at the 93rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Original Song, for “Show Me Your Soul” by Grammy Award-winning composer Robert Glasper and Grammy Award-winning singer Lalah Hathaway. (Watch Trailer)

Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL! From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show, SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered and uncompromising celebration of music, politics, dance, Black literature, and poetry. SOUL! was the first national variety show to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants’ recollections and myriad archival clips, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in our nation’s cultural rise, whose impact continues to resonate across generations and cultures. 

Mr.SOUL! celebrates rich cultural moments with astonishing footage of interviews and  rare live performances by  icons and luminaries such as: Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali, The Last Poets, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sidney Poitier, Mavis Staples, Black Ivory, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Maya Angelou, Billy Preston, Toni Morrison, Bill Withers, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Kool & the Gang, Roberta Flack, Kathleen Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, Carmen de Lavallade, George Faison, Melba Moore, Max Roach,  and a 16-year-old Arsenio Hall making his television debut performing magic tricks. 

Mr. SOUL! made its world premiere at the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL where audiences embraced it with standing ovations and sold-out screenings. Mr. SOUL! received 33 nominations and won 21 awards including 14 film festival awards. Mr. SOUL! screened at over 50 film festivals around the world, including HOT DOCS, AFI Docs, BFI London, True/False, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Urbanworld, Los Angeles Film Festival and more. Mr. SOUL!  was nominated for three NAACP Image Awards, and won for Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture). In 2020, Mr. SOUL! was nominated for five Critics Choice Documentary Awards including Best Documentary Feature, and won the award for Best First Documentary Feature. The film won the International Documentary Association IDA Doc Award for Best Music Documentary,  the Finalist Award for the Inaugural Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, the Audience Award at both AFI Docs and at Woodstock Film Festival. Mr. SOUL! was nominated for a Cinema Eye Honors for Outstanding Debut Feature. The film made its PBS premiere on Independent Lens during Black History Month 2021

“Making the film helped us illuminate the groundbreaking cultural work of Ellis Haizlip, the man behind one of the most successful and socially significant, Black-produced television shows in U.S. history,” said director Melissa Haizlip. “We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to both introduce and reintroduce the SOUL! series, the music, and Ellis Haizlip to the world. ‘SOUL!’ is the greatest show you’ve never heard of. And up until now, my uncle Ellis Haizlip has been a bit of an unsung hero. We’re beyond honored to have Mr. SOUL! premiere on HBO Max on August 1st. It’s both thrilling and historic for our film to be part of such dynamic programming, a platform making a commitment to amplifying diverse stories and voices, a mandate which we need now, more than ever. We hope our film and the music, artists and creators it celebrates will help to center Black excellence and Black joy. It’s so exciting to see audiences discovering Ellis Haizlip as this hidden figure and unsung hero. Creating this love letter to Black culture helps to elevate all of the significant contributions African Americans and people of color have made to the culture and to the nation.”

“After seeing Melissa’s doc, I knew I wanted everyone to see it. This documentary showcases one of our Queer icons who never received his just due. He put Black people center stage and didn’t care if it was a huge success. He just wanted to leave an impact, and that he did,” says Lena Waithe.

The much-anticipated Mr. SOUL! soundtrack will be available on Hillman Grad Records / Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. The first single off the soundtrack will be “Show Me Your Soul,” performed by Lalah Hathaway, and written by Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Muhammad Ayers and Melissa Haizlip.

For more information on Mr. SOUL!, please visit www.mrsoulmovie.com and @mrsoulthemovie on Instagram and Twitter.

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UK Rapper Pa Salieu sentenced to 33 months in prison

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Rapper Pa Salieu has been jailed after he admitted a charge of violent disorder, Sky News reports. (more…)

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Football legend Pele moved to ‘end of life care’

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Legendary football star Pele has been transferred to an end-of-life care unit at a Brazilian hospital, according to reports. (more…)

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Is Cristiano Ronaldo worth what’s being offered?

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If asked who the greatest football player of the modern era is, most people will say Lionel Messi of Argentina. A large minority will instead name the Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo. A significant proportion of those in both camps – especially those under the age of fifty – will say that Messi and Ronaldo are the two greatest players of all time, eclipsing even Pele and Diego Maradona. Both men have lit up the world football stage for the past two decades, but both are entering the twilight of their careers. Messi will play another season for Paris Saint Germain before deciding what he wants to do next. Ronaldo’s future is less clear. He’s currently playing at the 2022 Qatar World Cup as a free agent, having been released early from his Manchester United contract after falling out with the club.

When Ronaldo first asked to leave Manchester United over the summer, the reason given was that he wanted to continue playing in the UEFA Champions League, which is an experience the Red Devils were unable to offer him this season after their poor performance in the 2021/2022 season. At the age of 37, Ronaldo is aware that he cannot defy the effects of ageing forever, and he doesn’t have long left at the peak of his game. That’s why he wanted to ensure that he had the chance to play at the highest level of them all for as long as he could – but it’s beginning to sound like an enormous cash offer might have turned his head.

As has been reported on numerous websites, including our own, Ronaldo has received an offer from the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr that would make him the highest-paid athlete in the history of world sport. The deal would last for three years, taking him to the age of forty and, presumably, retirement, and would pay him £173m per year. There are even rumours that another Saudi Arabian club will attempt to beat that offer. Ronaldo is already rich, but offers of that kind are difficult to turn down. Spending three years earning such a figure would mean that not only is Cristiano Ronaldo financially secure for life, but he could ensure the same for his children, his grandchildren, and perhaps generations of the Ronaldo family beyond that. Furthermore, becoming the highest-paid athlete in history would suit Ronaldo’s already-inflated ego.

The big question we’re asking in this article is whether there’s any metric that would make Cristiano Ronaldo worth that kind of money. He’s a global star, of course – he’s the most followed man on Instagram, and as we’ve already said, he’s one of the greatest football players of all time. It would be an incredible boost for football in Saudi Arabia to have him play in the country. It’s difficult to see how Al-Nassr could bring him in without violating FIFA’s financial fair play rules, but the effect of those rules appears to be minimal in Saudi Arabia. The club would have more people at its games than ever before and would also sell more replica shirts next season than in every previous season combined, but that might still not be enough to recoup such a monstrous spend.

To fully get its money’s worth out of Ronaldo, Al-Nassr would have to explore other commercial activities involving the superstar forward’s likeness and image. Eyecon, a casino game development company, has demonstrated how to do this without even holding an official licence. The company operates a casino game called “Striker Goes Wild,” starring a player who looks virtually identical to Cristiano Ronaldo. There are dozens of football-themed slots and games available to casino networks and their sister sites, but “Striker Goes Wild” is one of the most popular of them. Some of the credit for that can be laid at the feet of its Ronaldo clone, even if it isn’t Ronaldo himself. We can only imagine how much more money could be made by a casino game that stars the real Ronaldo. Maradona’s name and license have been used to sell casino games in the past year, so this might be something Al-Nassr could consider for Ronaldo, too.

There’s no way that the Saudi Arabian club could make its money back on the pitch. Even if television viewership increased by fifty per cent for Al-Nassr games because of Ronaldo’s presence – which is probably too much to hope for – it wouldn’t make a meaningful dent in the club’s costs. Shirt sales, as we touched on earlier, would improve, but there’s still the question of whether football fans outside Saudi Arabia would spend money on a replica shirt for a Saudi Arabian team. The answer to that might be a hard “no” regardless of the fame of the name and number on its back. Ultimately, what this might come down to is how much Al-Nassr might be willing to pay purely for the privilege and bragging rights of having Ronaldo line up for the team – and we already know the answer to this question.

In the end, it’s possible that none of this will matter. It was initially reported that Ronaldo was interested in the move, but more recently, that’s been refuted by Piers Morgan – the man to whom Ronaldo gave the interview that brought his Manchester United career to an end. Morgan believes that the Portuguese is steadfast in his desire to play for a club in the European Champions League, and that would rule all but the top teams in Europe out of contention. The question then becomes one of which big European club might take him at this stage of his career, with questions about his form and attitude. One of the leading contenders is Chelsea. How Ronaldo would fit into Graham Potter’s team is unknown, but the club’s (relatively) new owner Todd Boehly is known to be a huge Ronaldo fan and would view him as a marquee signing regardless of his age. Bayern Munich is another possible – but less likely – solution.

In the end, nothing’s ever boring where Ronaldo is concerned. His is a name that’s always in the headlines and always attracts attention – and perhaps that explains why Al-Nassr is willing to pay such big money better than anything else.

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From Apple Music With Love: DJ Khaled’s Ultimate 2022 MegaMix in Spatial

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Apple Music is getting into the giving spirit this holiday season with the return of From Apple Music With Love, a special countdown to the holidays. Each day at 8:00a PST from November 25 – 30, Apple Music subscribers will receive exclusive gifts from some of the biggest and brightest names in music, stamped with love and ready for unwrapping. This year, gifts range from live concert recordings, new renditions of favorite songs, a classic album rerelease alongside a brand new holiday album, and party-crushing mixes to close out the year. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the musical experiences we’ve put together with Apple Music listeners in mind.

Today’s exclusive gift comes from DJ Khaled. Following up 2021’s year-ending MegaMix, Khaled returns with a final holiday gift for Apple Music subscribers. “I was just thinking of this year and all the great hits that came out,” he tells Apple Music. “It was real special because this was the first year in a while that we all been back outside! Know what I’m saying—from the pandemic, and dodging all this corona and all that. First of all, God is the greatest, and we blessed—so when I got this opportunity to make this MegaMix, I was like, ‘It’s only right that we do it big and play nothing but all the hits of the whole year,’ know what I’m saying?”

Look back at all of the From Apple Music With Love gifts this year, and hear Khaled’s MegaMix now, which includes smashes from Taylor Swift, Jack Harlow, Lizzo, and Beyoncé—plus a couple of Khaled’s own highlights from 2022 HERE

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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian settle divorce, Ye to pay $200k a month in child support

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Kim Kardashian and Ye have reached a settlement in their divorce, averting a trial that had been set for next month, court documents filed Tuesday showed. (more…)

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Future Releases Music Video For “712pm” Directed By Travis Scott

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– Ready to blow up the internet yet again, Future presents the blockbuster music video for “712PM” directed by none other than fellow game-changer Travis Scott. Watch “712PM”

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