Get On Up: Jill Scott on James Brown, Being Open, and A ‘Desperate’ Type of Love

By  July 21, 2014

Jill Scott may not appear until halfway through James Brown biopic Get On Up, but her screen presence—as it is in real life—is truly captivating.

Get On Up

Scott is among the stellar cast of characters who brings Mr. Dynamite’s story to life. Get On Up chronicles the legend’s rise and permeating appeal, with flashbacks to lesser-known aspects of his life: being abandoned by his mother as a child, hustling at his aunt’s Georgia brothel, facing his first arrest at 16. Scott plays DeidreDee DeeJenkins, the second wife to Chadwick Boseman’s Brown, during his Godfather of Soul era.

Glam spoke with Scott about the burden she carried in doing Brown’s legacy justice, what it’s like to draw inspiration from Brown as a singer, and longing for a “desperate” type of love.

Glam: What was one of your first James Brown memories?

Jill Scott: I think it was in the house, and my mother was playing music out of her old stereo and it was “dun dun dun…” And I remember my little shoulders like “what’s that?” That’s when I found out about James Brown. This funk that you can’t stop. This real, real black music. 

G: How has his impact on the industry influenced you as a singer?

JS: There’s nobody more passionate, there’s nobody left of right the way that James is. I’ve never heard a vocalist yell and scream and get that emotion out the way that he does. You can tell that it’s not just something that he does or that it’s a practiced thing—it is in the moment, it is right now. And that taught me a lot. That’s the kind of vocalist I want to be, and watching him rehearse with his band, you know how hard he works them. I’m not as hard on my band, but I really do demand a certain level of perfection, but my take on things is perfection so that we can forget it. I don’t want to over-perfect it so that it feels staged or done and tired and dry. I need it to be alive now, so rehearse the hell out of it so we know all the things that we can do and then let’s just forget it and be.

G: We get to see that “perfectionist” side of Brown in Get On Up. What other elements do you think the film reveals to audiences who may know little of his real life?

JS: I learned a lot about his childhood, about where his strength comes from. To have that level of a defiant spirit, to not fall into despair because life has been despairing. I think it just says a lot about that particular dynamic human being. You don’t have passion and power like that without having to go through some level of struggle. And his struggle was so internal—to be wounded like that by someone who was the closest to you—it will affect your entire life. You can see a therapist all you want—he sang his out. I loved in the film how he kept finding the light. He kept finding the light in the dark. It spoke volumes to me as a person, and I hope he speaks volumes to the audience as well.

G: I’m sure there was a heavy responsibility in translating Brown’s struggle and despair to the silver screen. How did you deal with that?

JS: I was actually pretty afraid. I didn’t want to talk to Dee Dee because I wanted to live inside of the script. I thought that, you know it’s the little things, and I thought she might say something that will make me feel some level of guilt for being what this woman is on this page. That made me cautious about it, so I asked. I asked her grandson to tell me about Dee Dee. He said one thing that just sparked it off for me about who she really was, who she really is: she loves him now. Now, he’s passed-away. [He’d] gotten remarried, had other children, had a whole other life after the 11 years that they spent together, but she still was in love with him. Not just loved him and had fond memories, but was in love. So that way that I approached Dee Dee was that she was just unabashedly in love with the man. The icon, the genius and yes, sometimes he takes things out or he expresses things in ways that she doesn’t like or ways that are harmful to her, but she loves the man and I wanted to stay there. I just wanted to be true to that as much as possible—to try to find some light in the dark.

G: In your own music, you’ve been very open about love: finding it, falling in and out of it. How do gauge how much to share with your fans and what to keep for yourself?

JS: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to discern what to keep from the audience yet. I’m kind of a slave to my own pen. I listen to music, I look for “water.” I call it “water.” Music that I can swim to, swim in. Whatever kind of music it is, I kind of just wait for my pen to work, rather than trying to force it to work. And it takes time, but it is what it is. I can’t, I won’t step away from that. I won’t be a robot to something that is a gift not a given, so some things I wish I never said, some things I wish I could undo, but I was true to that moment and sang a song about something I wish I didn’t, but it is what it is.

G: It’s interesting you say water. I think your recent collaboration with SZA reflects that beautiful sort of fluidity. How did that come about? 

JS: I’m really good friends with Om’Ma Keith and we had been trying to hangout and couldn’t. He was in town, I was in town; it was like 1:00 or 2:00 o’clock in the morning. I was like “Are you up?” and he said yeah, and I went over there [to the studio] and she was there. I didn’t know her before. I enjoyed her freckles so much, I was like you’re so lucky to have those freckles and then we played a track and I started to write something and she was humming something and it was just very organic, real easy—I like that kind of environment. I like the song; I listen to it a lot. I listen to it to go to sleep—it really gives me that Zen feeling.

G: Is there any “watery” James Brown song that you would love to cover?

JS: Is it called “Please?” I would like to be that desperate. I would enjoy feeling like that, but not too often.

Watch Scott, Boseman, Tika Sumpter, and Nelsan Ellis in the trailer for Get On Up, and hit theaters when it’s released on August 1.

Fifty Shades Of …Bey?

By  July 21, 2014


Beyoncé is all about surprises this year following the release of her secret self-titled album in December.

On Saturday, she released a teaser video on her Instagram for the trailer of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, which will be released this Thursday. The fifteen-second teaser features a slowed-down, breathier version of Queen Bey’s “Crazy in Love” and flashes of Christian Grey (played by former Calvin Klein underwear model, Jamie Dornan) and a sneak peak into one of his many steamy bedroom scenes with Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson).

So what is Beyoncé’s involvement in the film? Is she doing the soundtrack? Will she make a cameo? Is it a marketing ploy? Is she just a fan? Regardless, kudos to Beyoncé and the Fifty Shades marketing team, because they have us at the edge of our seats waiting for the answer.


Star Scoop: Mad Men’s Parting Gifts, Idina Menzel Lets Go, Meet the New Aaliyah

By  July 18, 2014

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Mad Men has (almost) come to the end of the road. Its cast members shot the final episode earlier this month and celebrated with a week of partying, says leading lady Christina Hendricks. Surprisingly, when nabbing mementos from set, the show’s stars had to shell out the dough. No freebies here, folks. [Vulture]

Let’s face it: Idina Menzel and “Let It Go” jokes will never get old. In fact, the Frozen tune is the first thing that came to mind when we found out Menzel is selling the Studio City, California mansion she shared with ex Taye Diggs. It’s only $2.995 million. We’ve got that tucked away somewhere. [Variety]

Lifetime is moving forward with its contentious Aaliyah biopic. After announcing the departure of Disney alum Zendaya from the project, up-and-coming actress Alexandra Shipp has been tapped to take on the role of the late R&B singer. One more thing… Wendy Williams will executive produce. [IndieWire]

While we’re on the casting front, Star Wars: Episode VII has revealed another talent on its roster. Newcomer Christina Chong, who recently appeared in 24: Live Another Day, will have a small part in the Lupita Nyong’oHarrison FordAdam Driver starrer. [The Verge]

The Roots are paying homage to the unseen member of their group: Richard Nichols. The 55-year-old, who worked as the band’s manager and producer since its 1992 inception, passed after a battle with leukemia. In a statement, the Jimmy Fallon house band saluted Nichols for being “instrumental in every aspect of The Roots’ creative, cultural, and professional life over the past two decades.” [Billboard]

A year, $90 million, and one sequel later, The Purge is under attack. Thursday, scribe Douglas Jordan-Benel filed a suit against the studio behind the film for copyright infringement. “The plot in both works is also virtually identical,” states the lawsuit, arguing that The Purge is based on Jordan-Benel’s 2011 script for Settler’s Day. “A family must withstand a siege of its fortified home on the one night of the year that killing is legal.” We’ll see who survives the night as this plot unfolds. [The Hollywood Reporter]

For a dose of Friday funny: this is what happens when Conan O’Brien and Dave Franco (James’ dashing baby bro) do Tinder. [Vulture]

Flashback Friday: Watch a 19-Year-Old Kanye West Freestyle at Fat Beats

By  July 18, 2014

Before his near-fatal 2002 car accident, before he was producing beats for Jay Z, before he was combating classism and krushing on Kim K.Kanye West was an aspiring rapper, in an ill-fitting polo, looking for a chance to make it big.

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Footage has emerged of West, then 19, participating in a cipher at the August 1996 opening of Fat Beats in New York City’s West Village. The landmark record store, which operated out of a basement when it first opened in 1994, was a purveyor of independent and underground hip-hop, known for entertaining the likes of Al Tariq and Xzibit. At the time, West was among a collective of emerging acts who wanted to celebrate the store’s expansion, and showcase their skills amongst the cultural hub’s influential crowd. Luckily, DJ Eclipse, Fat Beats’ former manager, was on hand to capture this rare moment in time.

“Yesterday I started converting old Hi8 video tapes to DVD and came across some interesting footage from that day,” he said in an email to Complex, commemorating the now-closed store’s 20th anniversary. “Now we had a lot of the usual suspects in the place that day such as ILL BILL, Arsonists, Lord Finesse, Adagio… But what took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19-year-old kid who at that time nobody knew. At least in NYC.”

It’s safe to say that West is known around most parts these days; and if this video proves anything, it’s that he’s never lacked in the confidence department.

Notable Nominations: Beyonce Leads the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards Noms

By  July 18, 2014

Let the Moonman madness ensue.

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Almost a month before its annual Video Music Awards, MTV has announced its list of 2014 nominees (via SnapChat, no less). While 2013’s Brooklyn installment saw top nominations for Justin TimberlakeMacklemore and Ryan Lewis, Miley Cyrus, and Robin Thicke, this year, the Queen reclaims her throne.

Beyoncé leads the pack with eight nominations, due to her surprise December 2013 release. She has multiple chances to take home the trophy for “Drunk In Love,” “Partition,” and “Pretty Hurts,” which would add to her current collection of 14 Moonmen (12 as a solo artist). Mrs. Carter is followed by Eminem and Iggy Azalea with seven noms apiece; as a result both Bey and Eminem could become the second-winningest artist at the VMAs after Madonna, who has earned 20 throughout her career.

Tune in as the VMAs unfold on August 24 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on MTV.

Video of the Year
Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Sia, “Chandelier”

Best Hip-Hop Video
Childish Gambino, “3005″
Drake feat. Majid Jordan, “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
Eminem, “Berzerk”
Kanye West, “Black Skinhead”
Wiz Khalifa, “We Dem Boyz”

Best Male Video
Ed Sheeran feat. Pharrell Williams, “Sing”
Eminem feat. Rihanna, “The Monster”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

Best Female Video
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Beyoncé, “Partition”
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Lorde, “Royals”

Best Pop Video
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up”
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Best Rock Video
Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know?”
Black Keys, “Fever”
Imagine Dragons, “Demons”
Linkin Park, “Until It’s Gone”
Lorde, “Royals”

Artist to Watch, Presented by Taco Bell
5 Seconds of Summer, “She Looks So Perfect”
Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
Fifth Harmony, “Miss Movin’ On”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Schoolboy Q, “Man of the Year”

Best Collaboration
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
Chris Brown feat.Lil Wayne and Tyga, “Loyal”
Eminem feat. Rihanna, “The Monster”
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Pitbull feat. Kesha, “Timber”

MTV Clubland Award
Calvin Harris, “Summer”
Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Martin Garrix, “Animals”
Zedd feat. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Video With A Social Message
Angel Haze feat. Sia, “Battle Cry”
Avicii feat. Dan Tyminski, “Hey Brother”
Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
David Guetta, “One Voice”
J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
Kelly Rowland, “Dirty Laundry”

Best Cinematography
30 Seconds to Mars, “City of Angels”
Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”
Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
Gesaffelstein, “Hate Or Glory”
Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”

Best Editing
Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
Eminem, “Rap God”
Fitz and the Tantrums, “The Walker”
MGMT, “Your Life is a Lie”
Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Choreography
Beyoncé, “Partition”
Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
Kiesza, “Hideaway”
Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake, “Love Never Felt So Good”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Usher, “Good Kisser”

Best Direction
Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Eminem feat. Rihanna, “The Monster”
Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

Best Art Direction
Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Eminem, “Rap God”
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Tyler, the Creator, “Tamale”

Best Visual Effects
Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Eminem, “Rap God”
Jack White, “Lazaretto”
OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

All the Way: Bryan Cranston is Headed to HBO

By  July 17, 2014

Take that, AMC!

Bryan Cranston, Tony Awards 2014

Walter White may, or may not, be making a cameo on Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, but Bryan Cranston will be going All The Way… to HBO. The company’s film division acquired rights to the Robert Schenkkan-penned play, which stars Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson during his first year in office.

The role was Cranston’s first on the Great White Way and earned him accolades at the Tonys, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theater World Awards. No word yet on when the made-for-TV film will debut, but it’s bound to earn critical acclaim.

Cranston, who ended his run on Breaking Bad during the series finale last September, is nominated at this year’s Primetime Emmys. With All The Way’s HBO bow, he could be in the running next year, too.

Star Scoop: MTV Is Snap Happy, Beyonce Leads the Pack, A New Day for Captain America

By  July 17, 2014

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Many people (hello, anyone age 25+) still don’t fully understand SnapChat, but MTV is apparently loving it. Today, the Viacom network announced nominations for BeyoncéEminem, Iggy Azalea and more at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards via the photo messaging service; the means was a followup to last year’s nominees rollout using Vine and Instagram videos. [Mashable]

Speaking of the approaching MTV VMAs, Beyoncé leads the pack with eight noms. Her potential—and deserved, if we do say so ourselves—wins could come from Video of the Year for “Drunk In Love,” Best Female Video for “Partition,” and Best Video with a Social Message for “Pretty Hurts.” Run the world, girl. [Variety]

Marvel is diversifying its arsenal of iconic characters. Just a day after announcing that the new Thor will be a woman, Marvel creative exec Joe Quesada told Stephen Colbert that the new Captain America will be black. Steve Rogers, the character who plays the patriotic hero, will pass his suit and shield over to Sam Wilson (known as The Falcon), this fall. [The Verge]

Plenty are indifferent to Drake’s many personas—hardcore rapper, meets emo crooner, meets playboy—but there was no denying his hosting chops during Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards. From a song dedicated to athletes’ “side pieces,” to a spot-on Manny Pacquiao impression, we have to give him a pass. [Vulture]

Gone Girl fever is officially on the rise. Director David Fincher released an exclusive photo from the set of the Batfleck Ben Affleck starrer, this time, with the leading man being questioned for involvement in his wife’s murder. [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Broadway world is mourning the loss of a legend. Described as a “brassy, tart-tongued” performer, Elaine Stritch, 89, has passed. She first rose to acclaim for her 1955 Tony Award-nominated role in Bus Stop, and had recurring television roles on Law & Order, and NBC’s 30 Rock. [The New York Times]

Mic Check? There’s No Truth to Adele Album Rumors, After All

By  July 17, 2014

If you, like us, had gotten your hopes up and started setting aside coins for Adele’s new album and tour, prepare for a hard truth.

It was all. A. Lie.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

Martin Mills, chairman of the parent company to Adele’s XL Recordings, debunked initial reports that her third album, 25, is being released soon and would come with an early 2015 tour. According to Billboard, Mills said there is “no truth in this.”

The World Music Awards first announced Adele’s rumored work Wednesday with a tweet from its official account that has since been deleted. It read “#adele confirms 2015 Tour After The Release Of Her New Album 25!” Welcome news for fans who have awaited Adele’s comeback since she blazed the charts with 21 in 2011.

Though Adele seemingly teased her anticipated return before her 26th birthday, and Phil Collins confirmed that he is indeed working with the star, we’ll be waiting for 25 longer than expected. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who is responsible for Adele’s “Turning Tables” and “Rumour Has It,” told MSN “She will deliver the album on her own timetable, at her own pace. And the only person that will ever declare it finished will be her, when she decides it’s finished.”

In other words, she’s the boss.

Star Scoop: Lena Dunham Goes on Tour, Thor is Man No More, Fancy Falls Off

By  July 16, 2014

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Looks like Lena Dunham is spending her $3.5 million book advance well. The Girls creator and star is headed on tour to promote Not That Kind of Girl and is bringing famous pals Jenni Konner (Girls co-executive producer), novelist Zadie Smith, and actress Jemima Kirke along for the ride. [New York Times]

Dude Thor looks like a lady. Marvel comic executives announced on ABC’s The View that the iconic character will now be a lady. “This is not She-Thor,” senior writer Jason Aaron said in a release. “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.” You go, girl! [Time]

Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” has fallen off. The song, and its catchy Charli XCX hook, have been knocked out of the top spot on the Billboard 100 after seven weeks. It was so nasty, so “Rude.” [Vulture]

Holler if You Hear Me is done talking back. The Broadway musical, inspired by the work of late rapper Tupac Shakur, will close its final curtain on July 20 after earning poor ticket sales. Weekly sales have hit under $200,000 since its June debut, leaving cast and crew at a huge loss on the $8 million production. [Variety]

1. Noël Wells. 2. John Milhiser. 3. Brooks Wheelan. You’re out. The three Saturday Night Live rookies won’t be returning to the late-night romp for a second year. Wheelan announced his “firing” yesterday, while Wells and Milhiser elected not to renew their contracts. They should just bring Maya Rudolph back. [Deadline]

Ted is in trouble. Seth MacFarlane has been sued for allegedly stealing the idea for the racy, talking teddy and his eponymous 2012 comedy. According to reports, the Los Angeles production company that is suing MacFarlane says “the bears physically resemble each other, have similar personas and verbal deliveries, have human friends, spend much time on the living room couch with a beer or cigarette in hand, and have active social media presences on Facebook and Twitter with similar, often profane postings.” We’ll wait and see how this one plays out. [Chicago Tribune]

Turning 25: Adele Announces a New Album, Tour for 2015!

By  July 16, 2014

85th Annual Academy Awards - Press RoomWe thought we’d find someone like Adele once she went on hiatus in 2012 after “Skyfall” climbed the charts. But there was—and is—no one with pipes strong enough to belt out “Rolling in the Deep” and make us catch all types of feels. So, it is without further ado that we bring the Grammy Award-winning, singer-songwriter, rockstar mom back to center stage for her next big act: 25.

World Music Award’s official Twitter account confirmed Tuesday that Adele would follow the success of her critically-accalimed discs 19 and 21—which went seven times and 16 times platinum, respectively, in the UK alone—with 25. The LP will also come with a 2015 tour. If a May 4 tweet from the star is any indication, we’ll be able to add her latest work to our archives by the end of 2014.

According to Rolling Stone, Adele may be working with the legendary Phil Collins on the project. “I’ve just started to work with Adele,” he said in a January 2014 interview with Inside South Florida. “I wasn’t actually too aware… I live in a cave, but she’s achieved an incredible amount. I really love her voice. I love some of this stuff she’s done, too.”

Adele’s 21 currently holds the record for the longest-running number one album on the Billboard 200 since Prince and the Revolution’s 1984 Purple Rain. Her 22 weeks at the top were coupled with the honor of becoming Amazon’s top-selling album of all time. We’re certain 25 will follow suit.