Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TRACEY MORGAN: Wal-Mart truck driver had not slept for more than 24 hours

The Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia accused of triggering a crash in New Jersey that critically injured Tracy Morgan and killed Peekskill comedian, James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, another comedian had not slept for more than 24 hours, a criminal complaint said.

This photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Kevin Roper. Roper, a Wal-Mart 
truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto 
in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 
7, 2014, that left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured and another 
man dead. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)(Photo: Uncredited AP)

A court official on Monday said 35-year-old Kevin Roper is scheduled to face an initial court appearance on Wednesday. He remains free after posting $50,000 bond.

Roper has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

Authorities said the Jonesboro, Georgia, resident apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his big rig smashed into the back of Morgan's chauffeured Mercedes limo bus.

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The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member, remained in critical condition early Monday. Morgan's spokesman, Lewis Kay, said he was "more responsive" Sunday after having surgery for a broken leg.

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Kay said Morgan also suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs and is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks. He said Morgan's family is "tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."

Tyrone Gale, who was driving the limo bus, told ABC News that he was disoriented after the vehicle flipped over and could hear Morgan yelling for help.

"I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help," Gale said. "I climbed up on the body of the limo bus … but I couldn't reach them."

Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement that the company "will take full responsibility" if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board is working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.


Morgan, a New York City native, was returning from a standup performance at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware when the crash occurred. In all, six vehicles were involved in the pileup, but no one from the other cars was injured.

FILE - Actor Tracy Morgan attends the FX Networks 
At a press event Saturday in Los Angeles to promote the upcoming comedy film "Think Like A Man Too," cast members, many of whom have worked with and are friends with Morgan, wished him well.

Kevin Hart said he owes much of his success to Morgan, crediting him for paving the way for comics like himself to become successful.

"We just want him to get better and to get back to everyone that loves him and get back to doing what he does best, making people laugh," Hart said.

Fuqua's mother, Doris, said she visited him in the hospital Saturday. The writer-comedian had toured with Morgan for nearly a year, she said, and had opened for him Friday night.

"We're hoping for the best," Doris Fuqua said Sunday, adding that she didn't know how long he may be hospitalized. "It's too early to tell."


McNair, 62, was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan's ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. "He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing," she said.

(AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)(Photo: Uncredited AP)
This photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Kevin Roper. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured and another man dead.
Royale Watkins, a Los Angeles-based comedian who said he had performed in New York clubs with Morgan and McNair, described McNair as having a big personality.

"There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energized and fueled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road," Watkins said.

Irving Azoff Eyes Comedy Investment


Irving Azoff Eyes Comedy Investment (Report)

Music mogul follows up management of Chelsea Handler with bid for half of L.A.-based Levity Entertainment Group.

That recent Billboard cover story featuring Irving Azoff with new client Chelsea Handler as a stand-up comic turns out to be not just a punchline.

The music mogul’s joint venture with Madison Square Garden is set to announce the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in L.A.-based Levity Entertainment Group, which owns and operates a chain of comedy venues across the U.S. and represents a roster of stand-up comics, including Jeff Dunham and Jenny McCarthy, according to a report in this morning’s N.Y. Post.  Those venues include such well-known brands as Improv, Funny Bone, Second City and Levity Live.


The investment by Azoff MSG Entertainment will help finance a nationwide chain of dinner/comedy theaters carrying the Levity name.  Levity bills itself as “the largest comedy booking agency in the country.”

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The five-year-old Levity also has a reality TV division responsible for shows including Iron Chef and The Mentalist.

AMSGE was created last September to expand MSG’s business into new areas outside sports and live music, and includes Azoff’s talent management company, whose roster features The Eagles and Christina Aguilera, among others. Jim Dolan’s MSG acquired a 50 percent stake in the venture for $125 million and agreed to provide $50 million in revolving credit loans.

Among the company’s recent acquisitions:

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Acquired a 50 percent stake in Burns Entertainment, a Chicago-based firm that brokers celebrity endorsements in April.

Acquired a 50 percent stake in Pop2Life, an experiential marketing company, in March.

Purchased The Forum and transformed it into a music venue, which opened in January with a series of six concerts by The Eagles, and will host the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on August 24.

The company’s first acquisition was a 50 percent stake in Digital Brand Architects, which manages popular online bloggers.


Comedy is proving one of the largest growth areas in the touring business, with several stand-ups cracking the Top 200.

Among the top-grossing touring acts of last year, Jeff Dunham ranked No. 45, with $23 million in box office receipts, while Jerry Seinfeld was ranked No. 87 with ticket sales of $11 million. Other comedians in the top 200 include Jim Gaffigan and Lewis Black.

Cam'ron Reveals What's Needed To Complete Dipset Reunion Album

by Rosario Harper

Dipset leader Cam'ron recently updated fans on the status of a long-awaited Diplomat reunion album and what it will take to get the studio release onto store shelves. #DipsetWatch

According to Killa Cam, a month alongside Jim Jones and Juelz Santana should give them enough time to knock out the LP.

"It ain't like we got beef with each other. Everybody's at each other's house. Everybody's speaking to each other. But I'm here. Jim's there. Juelz is there. Then we get together for two to three days. Then we all got to leave again. You know? It's gotta be one of those scenarios where we basically take three to five weeks off and sit in a room. Or go to Miami or New York or wherever we wanna be, but be with each other for a month straight, so we can knock it out." ("Tim Westwood TV")

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Killa Cam's new A-Trak-assisted visual premiered online last month with Juelz Santana.

Cam'ron reunites with his fellow Diplomat Juelz Santana in the video for "Dipsh*ts," his collaboration with A-Trak. The Harlem crew takes it back to hip-hop's heyday in the Ricky Saiz-directed clip ("'Yonce"), which features a mink-clad Cam and cameos from Chromeo and Roc-A-Fella co-founder Damon Dash aka "Champagne Dame." The explosive summer anthem, produced by Just Blaze, A-Trak, and Oliver, will appear on Cam'ron and A-Trak's upcoming EP Federal Reserve. (Rap-Up)
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 Last fall, Cam said Dipset members' personal obligations and responsibilities had kept a reunion album off shelves.

"It might've passed, it might not; I can't say. We do shows four, five, six times a year together. We get booked to all do shows, it's just that everybody all got their personal thing goin' on," Cam explained to MTV News on Wednesday of the Dips reunion and comeback album Diplomatic Immunity 3. "Jim [Jones] is doing clothing, [Juelz Santana] doing clothing, I'm doing movies and clothing. It's just that everybody's got to find that space. What we don't want to do is dilute it and make it seem like it's fake." (MTV)


Dismissing any and all feud speculation, Killa Cam recently admitted scheduling and an emphasis on putting out a quality effort had held the LP back.

"Well, you know we all good with each other. It's about everybody, everybody still got a lot going on. You know what I'm saying? It's about everybody just being on the same page and not being busy. You know what I'm saying? Everybody got something going on right now. So, we all just gotta get on the same page and if we get the time, but it's definitely all love. It's just about nobody wants to sit in the studio for a week and just do a Dipset album cause it wouldn't be genuine. So, basically we trying to figure out the time schedule so we can do it and get it right." (Hoodrich Radio)

Donald Sterling Backs Out of Clippers Deal, $1 Billion NBA Lawsuit Still On

Donald Sterling 2 - H - 2014
Associated Press

Sterling has pulled his support from the deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, his attorney confirmed to THR; "The 'deal' is off; the lawsuit is on," said Maxwell Blecher.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said Monday.

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"The 'deal' is off; the lawsuit is on," confirmed attorney Maxwell Blecher in an email statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

"We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit," said Blecher, according to the Associated Press. He said co-owner Donald Sterling would not be signing off on the deal to sell.

The $2 billion sale was negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as owner.

The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

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Donald Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming "all their differences had been resolved," his attorneys said. But he decided not to sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and fine.

Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would be record-breaking if approved by the NBA's owners.

An individual familiar with the negotiations, who wasn't authorized to speak, publicly said Monday that there were two options for Donald Sterling: to either sign or go to court. But even if he wins in court, he's ultimately going to be paying himself the damages, the individual said, because his wife Shelly Sterling has agreed to indemnify the NBA against all lawsuits, including by her husband.


Donald Sterling's comments to V. Stiviano included telling her not to bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling's "incredibly offensive racist statements."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately decided to ban Donald Sterling for life, fine him millions and began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team. Those efforts ended with Shelly Sterling's deal with Ballmer.
If this deal ultimately goes through, its terms allow Shelly Sterling to remain close to the organization by allowing for up to 10 percent of the team -- or $200 million -- to be spun off into a charitable foundation that she would essentially run.

Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation, which would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner-city youth.


Under the deal, Shelly Sterling also would get the title of "owner emeritus" and be entitled to continuing perks such as floor seats, additional seats at games and parking.

One of the individuals said the deal also includes conditions that allow Ballmer to buy back the 10 percent portion of the team for a predesignated price upon Shelly Sterling's death.

BET, Louder Than Life Partner For 'Music Matters' Compilation Series

BET, Louder Than Life Partner For 'Music Matters' Compilation Series
Big Sean

BET Networks and its new artist program Music Matters has partnered with Louder Than Life/Red Associated Labels to launch the new compilation album series, "BET Presents Music Matters Vol. 1." Featuring new music from Miguel, Big Sean, Mack Wilds, Melanie Fiona and The Internet, among others, the compilation will be released June 23 in support of the second annual BET Experience (June 27-29). 

The three-day music and lifestyle festival culminates with the BET Awards on June 29, hosted by Chris Rock.

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      Now available for pre-order at Amazon, the 15-track compilation sports a mix of established acts and rising stars. Music Matters is a multi-platform initiative that provides exposure for groundbreaking talent across BET and Centric, in addition to national tours and monthly showcases. Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Elle Varner, J. Cole and Marsha Ambrosius are a few of the artists that have been spotlighted by Music Matters.

      Salaam Remi, who founded Louder Than Life last July and doubles as executive VP of A&R and production at Sony Music Entertainment, is the executive producer of the "BET Presents Music Matters" compilation album series. Collaborating with Remi is Kelly G, senior director of music programming for BET Networks.

      Track Listing:

      1. Marsha Ambrosius "Music Matters Theme"
      2. Miguel "Gravity"
      3. Gabi Wilson "Prove"
      4. Mack Wilds feat. Pusha T "My Crib" (Remix)
      5. Adrian Marcel "It's a Man's World"
      6. Bas feat. J. Cole and KQuick "Lit"
      7. Big Sean "Memories"
      8. The Internet "Dontcha"
      9. Mali Music "Walking Shoes"
      10. Chris Turner "Liquid Love"
      11. Curtis Fields "Under the Covers"
      12. Ashley Kimbrae "Touch"
      13. Elle Varner "Cold Case"
      14. Melanie Fiona "Where It Counts"
      15. Marsha Ambrosius "Friends and Lovers"

      Details In Gravy's Wife-Beating Arrest Emerge

      Written by Cyrus Langhorne

      Less than 24 hours after reports flooded the Internet over Gravy being arrested on a domestic violence charge, graphic details of what allegedly went down have surfaced. #NotGravy 

      According to reports, the rapper's stepson called police after he took drastic measures to hurt his wife in Snellville, Georgia.

      The 15-year-old boy told the 911 operator, "My stepdad, he hit my mom and he's acting crazy." At one point you can hear him yell at Woolard ... "You're going to jail!" Woolard's wife, Alisha, told police her husband began screaming at her after she had scolded their daughter ... claiming he grabbed her by the throat, slammed her against the wall and told her, "Get the f*** off of my daughter." According to police, the stepson said he heard his mom "making choking sounds" and confronted Woolard saying, "F*** you n****, I'm tired of you disrespecting my mom." (TMZ)

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      The rapper-turned-actor must reportedly stay away from his family.

      Police say when they arrived, they found broken furniture strewn about the house. Woolard told them he's very protective of his daughter because he loves her more than his wife. Woolard was arrested for battery and child cruelty (for violence committed in front of the children) -- and he's been ordered to stay away from his wife and kids. (TMZ)
      Past reports claimed Woolard's mother-in-law disputed previous domestic violence reports.  

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      Paperwork shows Woolard admitted responsibility, allegedly telling cops, "She wouldn't stop pushing me, so I snuffed her." The rapper's mother-in-law, who is staying with the couple during the film's opening weeks, said she was unaware of any domestic-violence incident. "I know he wouldn't hit her," said Roslyn Younger. "He's not like that. Most definitely, they have a good relationship. That's impossible. I think it's made up. He's a loving husband and I never heard of anything like that before in my life." (New York Post)


      The news came a day after he signed a deal with It Girl Public Relations.

      "I want to be the guy that is a chameleon with performances, known for a diverse body of work and hopefully fortunate to be working in this business for a long time," Woolard said in a statement. (Hip Hop Press Release)

      Sunday, June 8, 2014

      Tony Awards 2014 Winners: The Complete List

      Hedwig and the Angry Inch Tony Performance - H 2014
      Neil Patrick Harris performs a song from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at the Tony Awards.

      Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Audra McDonald were among the night's big winners.

      The 68th annual Tony Awards were handed out Sunday night at New York's Radio City Music Hall.


      The awards ceremony, hosted by Hugh Jackman for the fourth time, aired live on CBS. A complete list of winners is below.

      BEST MUSICAL "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder" (WINNER) "After Midnight"
      "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical"

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      BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (WINNER)
      "Les Miserables"


      Coming Soon
      BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL Jessie Mueller, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" (WINNER)
      Mary Bridget Davies, "A Night With Janis Joplin"
      Sutton Foster, "Violet"
      Idina Menzel, "If/Then"
      Kelli O’Hara, "The Bridges of Madison County"

      BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL Neil Patrick Harris, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (WINNER) Ramin Karimloo, "Les Miserables"
      Andy Karl, "Rocky"
      Jefferson Mays, "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder"
      Bryce Pinkham, "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder"

      "All the Way" (WINNER)

      "Act One"
      "Casa Valentina"
      "Mothers and Sons"
      "Outside Mullingar"

      BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY "A Raisin in the Sun" (WINNER)
      "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
      "The Glass Menagerie"
      "Twelfth Night"

      Bryan Cranston, "All the Way" (WINNER)

      Samuel Barnett, "Twelfth Night"
      Chris O'Dowd, "Of Mice and Men"
      Mark Rylance, "Richard III"
      Tony Shalhoub, "Act One"

      Audra McDonald, "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" (WINNER)

      Tyne Daly, "Mothers and Sons"
      LaTanya Richardson-Jackson, "A Raisin in the Sun"
      Cherry Jones, "The Glass Menagerie"
      Estelle Parsons, "The Velocity of Autumn"

      Sophie Okonedo, "A Raisin in the Sun" (WINNER)
      Sarah Greene, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
      Celia Keenan-Bolger, "The Glass Menagerie"
      Anika Noni Rose, "A Raisin in the Sun"
      Mare Winningham, "Casa Valentina"

      Danny Burstein, "Cabaret"
      Nick Cordero, "Bullets Over Broadway"
      Joshua Henry, "Violet"
      Jarrod Spector, "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical"

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      Kenny Leon, "A Raisin in the Sun" (WINNER)

      Tim Carroll, "Twelfth Night"
      Michael Grandage, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
      John Tiffany, "The Glass Menagerie"


      Darko Tresnjak, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" (WINNER)

      Warren Carlyle, "After Midnight"
      Michael Mayer, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
      Leigh Silverman, "Violet"




      Linda Emond, "Cabaret"

      Anika Larsen, "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical"

      Adriane Lenox, "After Midnight"

      Lauren Worsham, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder"


      Reed Birney, "Casa Valentina"
      Paul Chahidi, "Twelfth Night"
      Stephen Fry, "Twelfth Night"
      Brian J. Smith, "The Glass Menagerie"


      Robert L. Freedman, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" (WINNER)
      Chad Beguelin, "Aladdin"
      Douglas McGrath, "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical"
      Woody Allen, "Bullets Over Broadway"
      "The Bridges of Madison County" Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown (WINNER)
      "Aladdin" Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin
      "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" Music: Steven Lutvak, Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak
      "If/Then" Music: Tom Kitt, Lyrics: Brian Yorkey


      BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY Beowulf Boritt, "Act One" (WINNER)
      Bob Crowley, "The Glass Menagerie"
      Es Devlin, "Machinal"
      Christopher Oram, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"


      BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL Christopher Barreca, "Rocky" (WINNER)
      Julian Crouch, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
      Alexander Dodge, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder"
      Santo Loquasto, "Bullets Over Broadway"



      Jason Robert Brown, "The Bridges of Madison County" (WINNER)
      Doug Besterman, "Bullets Over Broadway"

      Steve Sidwell, "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical"

      Jonathan Tunick, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder"


      Steve Canyon Kennedy, "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" (WINNER)
      Alex Baranowski, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
      Dan Moses Schreier, "Act One"
      Matt Tierney, "Machinal"
      Brian Ronan, "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" (WINNER)
      Peter Hylenski, "After Midnight"
      Tim O'Heir, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
      Mick Potter, "Les Miserables"


      Warren Carlyle, "After Midnight" (WINNER)

      Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, "Rocky"

      Casey Nicholaw, "Aladdin"

      Susan Stroman, "Bullets Over Broadway"

      Jenny Tiramani, "Twelfth Night" (WINNER)
      Jane Greenwood, "Act One"
      Michael Krass, "Machinal"
      Rita Ryack, "Casa Valentina"
      Linda Cho, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" (WINNER)
      William Ivey Long, "Bullets Over Broadway"
      Arianne Phillips, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
      Isabel Toledo, "After Midnight"
      Natasha Katz, "The Glass Menagerie" (WINNER)
      Paule Constable, "The Cripple of Inishmaan"
      Jane Cox, "Machinal"
      Japhy Weideman, "Of Mice and Men"
      Kevin Adams, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (WINNER)
      Christopher Akerlind, "Rocky"
      Howell Binkley, "After Midnight"
      Donald Holder, "The Bridges of Madison County"

      So many AH-Mazing Twitpics and Instagrams from an incredible night!

      CLICK HERE to view the gallery, 'Tony Awards 2014: Twitpics & Instagram!'
      CLICK HERE to view the gallery, 'Tony Awards 2014: Twitpics & Instagram!'
      CLICK HERE to view the gallery, 'Tony Awards 2014: Twitpics & Instagram!'
      CLICK HERE to view the gallery, 'Tony Awards 2014: Twitpics & Instagram!'
      CLICK HERE to view the gallery, 'Tony Awards 2014: Twitpics & Instagram!'




      Jane Greenwood



      Signature Theatre, New York, N.Y.



      Rosie O’Donnell



      Joseph P. Benincasa
      Joan Marcus

      Charlotte Wilcox

      Mack Wilds Discusses Remaking A Michael Jackson Classic & Weird “The Wire” Stalkers

      repost by Yohance Kyles (@HUEYmixwitRILEY)

      Though many have tried, the list of actors that have been able to successfully jump into making music professionally is a rather short one.

      MackWilds4Jamie Foxx, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Lopez are a few award-winning music artists whose faces became famous first for their roles on television and film, and now Mack Wilds is one young star that is off to a great start to adding his name to that conversation.


      Appearing as Tristan Wilds, the Staten Island born entertainer first broke on the scene as one of the bright teenage talents on season four of HBO’s The Wire. He later starred as Dixon Wilson on The CW’s reboot of 90210 and was seen in major motion pictures The Secret Life of Bees and Red Tails.

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      Last year, Wilds dropped Tristan and picked up Mack when he made the decision to pursue a career in music full-time. Mack Wilds’ turn as a Hip Hop/R&B performer was a hit right out the gate as his Salaam Remi-helmed debut album New York: A Love Story earned the 24-year-old critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.


      The “Own It” singer did not take home the Grammy in January, but Wilds is up for Best New Artist against Ariana Grande, August Alsina, Rich Homie Quan, and Schoolboy Q at the 2014 BET Awards this month.
      AllHipHop.com spoke with Wilds about his impressive year, his New York album, and his experience with a crazed fan of The Wire in part one of an exclusive interview.

      Congratulations on all your success. It’s been a big year for you.
      Thank you. It’s crazy. I feel like I’m just now starting to scratch the surface for real. So honestly, it’s been a crazy ride, but I’m loving it.

      You’ve gotten some big award nominations this year – the Grammy nom, the BET Award nom. When you first decided to make that transition from acting to recording music, did you expect your first album to make such an impact?
      Mack-Wilds-New-York-A-Love-StoryHonestly, I didn’t. I’m not even going to lie to you. I didn’t know what to expect. It was a toss-up, because I knew the music that we were making was completely different from anything that was on the marketplace at the moment. With that being said, it was like the people will love this or I’m not going to hear anything from this. Thank God it was the first and not the latter. It took time though.


      I think me in my artist ways - the whole artist mindset - I changed my name because it’s more personal and people were going to appreciate the first [album] being more close to me. It actually worked in my favor as well, giving people a fresh chance to digest the music instead of automatically saying, “Oh, this is another actor doing music.” They didn’t get a chance to, because they didn’t know Mack Wilds was Tristan Wilds.

      Speaking of being an actor who became a musician. A lot of entertainers have tried that in the past to varying success. Was there anyone who said to you, “Tristan, you’re crazy. People aren’t going to accept you as a singer”?
      Yeah, I’ve gotten that a lot, and not even from regular people. I’ve gotten that from friends and family. I was like, “Really? You guys are scared that they won’t accept me?” I’ve always been the kid that does what he wants, so that’s one of the things that I always wanted to do. So as soon as the opportunity came – and I already knew the caliber of music that I could make – I kept going to see how that would translate into working with someone who has been a mentor to me since the age of 19 – Salaam. It turned out amazing.

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      The album features production from a lot of well-known producers in Hip Hop and music in general. Did you have an idea of what you wanted it to sound like before you started recording or did you listen to the tracks and that then motivated you on what direction to take?
      I didn’t. Salaam is a genius, so maybe he knew. Honestly, I don’t even think he knew. Our main thought was we wanted to make music that no matter where we are in the world – because we were both traveling like crazy – this album would bring us right back home. It would transport us back to New York. That’s what we wanted. We wanted something that feels, smells, tastes, and looks like New York. We wanted to make an album that’s an ode to our city. Something that you can listen to no matter where you are in the world, and you’ll be transported right back to New York.

      One of the standout tracks on the album is your remake of Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time.” His fans are very protective of his legacy. Were you ever apprehensive about covering such a classic MJ song?

      The Boys Of Summer: Jermaine Crawford, Maestro Harrell, Tristan Wilds & Julito McCullum From "The Wire" Season 4
      The Boys Of Summer: Jermaine Crawford, Maestro Harrell, Tristan Wilds & Julito McCullum From 
      “The Wire” Season 4

      Absolutely! 200%! I myself am a huge Michael Jackson fan. I know how we protect his legacy. You know how they say online, “I ain’t with it” - I ain’t with it. If it’s not Michael, it’s not it. Don’t try to recreate it.
      With that being said, it was right in the beginning of me writing “Henny,” and I remember Salaam telling me, “Stop, just relax. Why don’t you sing ‘Remember The Time’ over this beat first? Just to clear your head. Get yourself warmed up to what you have to do.” I said, “I don’t got a problem with that. Let’s do it.” I did it, and we had fun with it.

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      I didn’t hear nothing about it for maybe three months or so. Next thing you know we’re putting together the album, and Salaam said, “We’re going to use this song. We’ll probably put this here. And we’re going to do ‘Remember The Time’.” I said, “I don’t remember doing a song called ‘Remember The Time’.” “Yes, you do. The Michael Jackson song.” I was like, “Wait a minute. You know these Michael Jackson fans will rip me limb from limb?” He said, “Listen, you did a good job at it. The people want to see ‘the real,’ so we got to show them ‘the real’.” I said, “Alright, I trust you bruh.”

      So I can’t even take credit for that. That was all Salaam. It was one of those - he threw me in the pool and hoped that I swam.

      As a fan, what did you think about the Michael Jackson hologram performance at the Billboard Awards?
      I give them an “A” for effort. Again, I’m a fan, and it felt good to see something like that, but I felt bad after watching it. This isn’t Michael. It was just weird to me. You know what it felt like? It felt like the first time I heard Rick Ross do “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You).” I liked it, but it’s weird. That’s B.I.G. You’re not suppose to touch certain things.

      Was that coming from a New York resident’s perspective – growing up on New York Hip Hop and Biggie, and then you hear another artist try their take on it?
      Yeah, Ross did an amazing job at it, so hats off to him. Again, I’m a New York Hip Hop head. So the first time I heard it, I kind of turned my nose up at it.

      Speaking of a devoted fan base, I wanted to go back to “The Wire.” What’s one of the craziest things a fan of “The Wire” has ever said to you about the show?
      MackWilds1It’s nuts. Even years later people love [the show] still. It’s a part of popular culture now. The craziest thing a fan has said to me about it? I don’t know. I had a lady stalk me one time when I was about 16 or 17 off the show. That was weird. I was 16-17, and she was like 30-something. She was definitely at every event that I went. It was very, very weird.

      Do people still call you “Michael”?
      Absolutely. People call me “Dixon” now just as much as they call me “Michael.” When I’m walking up to somebody I never know which I’m going to get.

      Do you have any plans to return to movies or television?
      Yeah, I’m still very active in the acting world. There’s some things coming up that I’m not at liberty to discuss as of yet, but just know that I’m still very active in acting.

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