Isaiah Washington to star in Lou Rawls biopic

Actor Isaiah Washington is set to star in “Through the Eyes of a Son,” a biopic about singer Lou Rawls written by his son Lou Rawls, Jr.  The movie will detail the Chicago native’s poor childhood and turbulent marriage.  Rawls died in 2006.

“It’s the untold side of a glamorous life,” said Adel Nur, Washington’s manager told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s like ‘Ray’; we knew about the beautiful music, but we didn’t know about the turmoil and chaos in (Ray Charles’) life.”

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New York Goes To Work

Reality star Tiffany “New York” Pollard has a new VH1 reality show, “New York Goes to Work,” reports the New York Post.  She has starred in several reality shows for the network including “Flavor of Love” and “I Love New York.”  In her new show, New York will get a new job every week including working at a sewer plant and a mortuary.  If she holds the job for a week, New York will get $5,000.  Viewers pick which job she will accept by text voting.  The show begins in May.

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Mary J. Blige to star in Tyler Perry movie

Mary J. Blige will star in the next Tyler Perry movie, “I Can Do Bad All Myself,” due out September 11, reports Billboard.  She will play lead character Tanya, a nightclub manager.  Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson is cast as Tanya’s friend April.  The character Madea is also part of the cast.

Blige is also recording a new album, which is scheduled to be released later this year.

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Robin Thicke prepares new album

As Robin Thicke prepares for his tour with Jennifer Hudson beginning March 31, he is also getting ready to release his fourth album this fall. 

“I always wanted to be like Prince and write and produce myself,” Thicke told Billboard. “This time I’m not trying to take all the credit…and work with a lot of the best producers in the business. So my sound is going to be a lot different than anything I’ve ever done before. The sound I’m getting is brand new for me. It’s great.”

Thicke said he has a crazy new sound that includes rock, hip-hop and soul music.  “I’m just really stretching the ceiling a little bit with an open mind, and the results have been wonderful,” he said.

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Spike Lee’s ‘Kobe’ movie premiere

Spike Lee’s movie, “Kobe Doin’ Work,” is set to debut at the Tribeca Film Festival April 25 as part of a co-venture with the ESPN.  The movie highlights Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant before, during and after a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs last spring.  The movie will then premiere at the ESPN Sports Film Festival May 16 on ESPN.

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Kanye appears in ‘Family Guy’ spinoff

Kanye West will guest star in the new animated FOX series, “The Cleveland Show,” a spin-off of “The Family Guy,” which will premiere this fall, reports People.  West will play the “not-so-mega-star rapper Kenny West.”

Last week, West, 31, read his lines with series regular Sanaa Lathan, who plays Cleveland Brown’s wife Donna, and guest star Taraji P. Henson.

“It was surprising to us that [he] was so into it that he came to the table [read], and wonderfully surprising how cool he was, how funny he was and how unassuming he was,” says executive producer Mike Henry, who voices Cleveland Brown and other characters on the show. “He’s just a great presence.”

Check out a teaser for the new show.

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Virgin Megastores to close in U.S.

By June, the British-owned Virgin Megastore chain will close its remaining six stores in the United States.  During its peak, the chain owned 23 stores and revenue of $280 million annually.  The chain could not withstand sliding CD sales, rising digital music purchases and exclusive chain releases.

“I tried my hardest to come up with a new model, and we were making a lot of headway with it before the holidays,” said Virgin Entertainment Group North America CEO Simon Wright.  “We have made a great contribution to music retailing, but it’s time to move on.”

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