Kunal Kamra sends legal notice to IndiGo airlines; demands public apology, Rs 25 lakhs compensation, revocation of ban

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Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, who was banned from flying with IndiGo airlines for six months amid recent controversies, has now sent a legal notice to the airlines demanding a public apology and an amount of Rs 25 lakh for “causing mental pain and agony”, as well as the revocation of the ban.

On Tuesday, IndiGo airlines had suspended the comedian from flying with the airlines for six months following his ‘unacceptable behaviour’ onboard the flight. This came after Kamra had posted a video on social media on Tuesday, which shortly went viral. In the video, it could be heard that the comedian was throwing a series of questions at an anchor of a popular broadcast news media network, Arnab Goswami, inside an IndiGo airlines flight. The comedian was also heard making several comments regarding the anchor’s journalistic ethics.

IndiGo airlines had also tagged the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri in the Twitter post where it informed of the ban.

@MoCA_GoI @HardeepSPuri In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour. 1/2

— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E)

Union Minister Hardeep Puri also called Kunal Kamra’s behaviour “offensive” and “designed to provoke and create disturbance inside an aircraft”. It is “unacceptable and endangers the safety of air travellers,” he said. Following the precedent set by Indigo; Air India, SpiceJet, and GoAir airlines, too, had on Wednesday suspended stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with the airlines until further notice.

However, several critics later pointed out the reported inconsistency in the airline’s actions. It has been highlighted that, according to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) guidelines, the normal procedure regarding any complaint dictates that an internal committee be formed by the airlines within 30 days to probe the complaint. Moreover, the committee’s decision can later be challenged in an appellate body of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and a court. Without following any of these procedures, a direct ban of six months seems somewhat arbitrary, critics have pointed out.

Moreover, DGCA guidelines list three categories of passengers who are prevented from flying. The category which matches Kamra’s alleged actions – “disruptive behaviour” – only carries a three-month ban. The other two which are unlikely to match the comedian’s actions – “physically abusive behaviour” and “endangering aircraft and passengers” – carry six-months and two-years bans respectively. 

Moreover, the pilot who was operating the flight has now pitched in his opinions on the matter. The pilot has penned a letter to the airlines expressing his concerns over the airlines taking action ‘without consulting the Pilot-in-Command’.

In the letter that the pilot of the aircraft has now penned to the airlines, he stated that he did not observe any physical contact between the two individuals involved in the controversy. Moreover, he said that he had noticed Kamra was gesticulating to Goswami, who was unresponsive.

“I did not observe any physical contact between the two gentlemen at any point. I made a Passenger Address to the cabin asking the gentleman standing in the passenger aisle near Row 1 to return to his seat,” the pilot expressed in his letter.

The pilot further penned that even though Kamra’s behaviour was unacceptable and verbally abusive, he had complied with the instructions of the flight crew.

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In the wake of Brexit, turns out racism is a very British thing

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On Brexit day, CBBC shared a video clip from its Horrible Histories programme on Twitter. Comedian Nish Kumar introduced the clip, which was intended to be a lighthearted history of “British things” aimed at children.

Unfortunately, some flag-waving Brexit fans didn’t respond too well to being told that tea, sugar, and cotton aren’t really British. Kumar received a racist backlash from people who clearly aren’t big on history:

Ooh Nish Kumar is trending. Let’s take a l-

*a tsunami of gammon washes through the screen

English supremacists are literally losing their shit at Nish for telling them where tea, sugar & cotton actually come from.

😂✊🏾❤pic.twitter.com/qqcUK93Zyf

— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) January 31, 2020

Even the likes of BBC presenter Andrew Neil joined in the pile-on. Meanwhile, blame for the video’s “anti-British” message fell squarely on Kumar, despite the fact that Kumar only introduced the clip. In fact, the clip itself has been around for a while and wasn’t even made for Brexit:

Interesting that nobody had an issue with this song when it was first shown in 2009… It’s almost as if they have a problem with Nish Kumar, not the message? 🧐 https://t.co/TZ2tieyXlX

— oh look another fool (@ElenaBjxrn) January 31, 2020

Your racism is showing

Much as many people at Brexit Day celebrations might argue that they aren’t racist, just proud of being British, their true colours keep showing. And they are, quite frankly, disgusting:

Nish Kumar was born in Wandsworth.

— rufa ratae (@rufaratae) January 31, 2020

it only ended slavery by spending a king’s ransome by buying off slave owners, learn some history before opening yer cake ‘ole https://t.co/10fp91wnRT #bloodyknowalls

— John Boocock (@JohnBoocock) January 31, 2020

Clearly, Brexit has emboldened those with racist views, which is obvious from the spike in racially-motivated hate crime in recent years. So the far-right leanings of some celebrating Brexit Day come as no surprise:

this is moment we left the EU last night from within parliament square. amongst 1000s of ppl there were sizeable pockets of far-right. lads with swastika neck tattoos, ppl singing “oh tommy tommy”+deification of nigel farage. a big moment that felt a little like a tipping point. pic.twitter.com/eX8jGyqiYm

— Ben Smoke (@bencsmoke) February 1, 2020

“Make Britain Great Again”

The nationalist lines of ‘getting our country back’ and ‘making Britain great again’ has an eerie echo of the Trump-supporting MAGA crowd in the US:

Peak Leavers’ interview. Watch and weep. 😖🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/gQsGLeZQME

🕷Mrs Miggins Esq (@MrsMigginsHere) January 31, 2020

Sadly, Kumar’s experience of racism in the wake of Brexit isn’t the only one. It’s just more visible because of its public nature. Meanwhile, everyday experiences of racism for People of Colour carry on in Brexit Britain:

A friend posted this on another social media platform, left overnight in her neighbourhood. pic.twitter.com/CuFHgr7uTn

— Dorothy Lepkowska (@DotLepkowska) January 31, 2020

Those celebrating Brexit are doing so because they got what they wanted. But if they want me or Kumar to go back to where we came from, there’s bad news. Britain may have left the EU, but people like us aren’t going anywhere.

Featured image via YouTube/CBBC

By Afroze Fatima Zaidi

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson paid tribute to his late father, Rocky Johnson, on Friday with an emotional letter to the WWE Hall of Famer on Instagram.

The “Jumanji” star, who is of Samoan and Black Nova Scotian heritage, shared a video from one of Rocky’s wrestling matches and credited his father for helping him embrace his diverse background.

ALSO READ: I am dying to meet Rihanna – Brownie

“You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” he said. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am.”

Dwayne, 47, shared that as he grew older, he realized Rocky had “other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood,” but said, “That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude.”

“Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side,” he added. “But you have ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.”

The WWE superstar then admitted, “Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass.”

ALSO READ: Comedian I Go Save honours three philanthropists at ‘I Go Save Unusual’ concert

Celebrities, including Dwayne’s “Jumanji” co-star Kevin Hart, showed their support in the comments section. “Love you bro,” Hart, 40, wrote with several prayer hand emojis.

Rocky whose real name was Wayde Douglas Bowles died at age 75 on Wednesday. The cause of death has not been revealed.

The Cauliflower Alley Club a pro-wrestling non-profit was the first to confirm the news of his passing on Twitter, writing, “His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time.”

Source: New York Post

The post Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Ricky Gervais Horrifies Hollywood Liberals With ‘Savage’ Takedown at the Golden Globes

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Ricky Gervais Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais opened the 77th annual Golden Globes with what amounted to a trigger warning, before launching into a ruthless takedown of the Hollywood crowd. 

“You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards, so I don’t care anymore,” the British comedian said, noting he had hosted for the four previous years. “I’m joking. I never did.”

In case anyone had missed his point, Gervais added, “Let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we? Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon, and there’s no sequel.”

Gervais’ first target was Hollywood awards shows themselves. He recalled the scandal over Kevin Hart’s old anti-gay tweets, which led the actor to fire himself from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards.

“Kevin Hart was fired from the Oscars because of some offensive tweets. Lucky for me, the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English, and they’ve no idea what Twitter is,” he said, implicitly acknowledging his own politically incorrect Twitter activity.

Gervais next took aim at Hollywood entitlement in the form of actress Felicity Huffman, who recently spent two weeks in prison for her involvement in a nationwide college entrance exam cheating ring.

“I came here in a limo tonight, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman,” Gervais said. “It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. That must be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her, and her dad was in ‘Wild Hogs.’”

Ricky Gervais shows Hollywood his Golden Globes

After calling “The Irishman” actor Joe Pesci “Baby Yoda,” Gervais warned all the Hollywood executives in the room that they could be the next casualty of the #MeToo movement.

“In this room are some of the important TV and film executives in the world, people from every background. But they all have one thing in common. They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow,” he said, referring to the investigative journalist who made a name for himself with exposes about sexual harassment and abuse. “He’s coming for you.”

“Talking of you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies,” Gervais continued.” “Surviving R Kelly.” “Leaving Neverland.” “The Two Popes.”

Having highlighted Hollywood’s dirty underbelly, Gervais went after its self-conception as a place that promotes equal opportunity for minorities.

“Many talented people of color were snubbed in all major categories. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that. The Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist,” he said.

“We were gonna do an en memoriam this year, but when I saw the list of people that had died, it wasn’t diverse enough. It just, no. It was mostly white people, and I thought, no, not on my watch. Maybe next year. Let’s see what happens.”

Continuing to literally and figuratively shrug at himself, Gervais quipped that nobody was watching the Golden Globes anyway, saying, “Everyone’s watching Netflix.

He offhandedly suggested that Jefferey Epstein had not killed himself in prison in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

When the crowd moaned, Gervais added, “I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care.”

Pushing on, Gervais joked that Americans only turn to Hollywood these days for superhero blockbusters, which he said have transformed actors in nothing more than buffed drug addicts.

“All the best actors have jumped to Netflix and HBO. And the actors who just do Hollywood movies do fantasy adventure nonsense,” he said.
“They wear masks and capes, and really tight costumes. Their job isn’t acting anymore. It’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids. Have we got an award for most ripped junkie?”

Gervais then called out a few more celebrities by name.

He hit Leonardo DiCaprio for his affinity for young women.

“‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere, and by the end, his date was too old for him,” he said, before comparing the actor to the British prince disgraced by the Epstein revelations. “Even Prince Andrew’s like, “Come on, Leo, mate. You’re nearly 50, son.”

Gervais wrapped up his monologue with an epic rant about the hypocrisy of liberal elites in Hollywood and Silicon Valley alike.

“Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show,” Gervais said. “A superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China.”

Gervais then turned his attention to all the actors, writers and directors in the room.

“Well, you say you’re woke, but the companies you work for…unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you would call your agent, wouldn’t you?”

As the audience laughed nervously, Gervais, offered some advice to the nominees.

“So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right?” he said. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”

Actor Tom Hanks’ shocked expression subsequently went viral online.

All of Hollywood when Ricky Gervais tells them that no one cares about their political opinions: pic.twitter.com/CQreakKKTg

— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) January 6, 2020

Despite Gervais’ admonition, though, the evening was filled with liberal politics.

Patricia Arquette, in accepting a supporting actress in a limited series award for her role in Hulu’s “The Act,” pleaded with the audience to consider the threat of another extended conflict in the Middle East.

Michelle Williams, who won best actress in a limited series for the FX’s “Fosse/Verdon,” delivered a feminist pro-abortion acceptance speech.

And Sacha Baron Cohen, who appeared onstage as a presenter, took a shot at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly allowing Nazis to run rampant on the platform.

Meanwhile, according to People magazine, the crowd for the first time dined on an entirely vegan dinner in the name of fighting climate change.

Cover image:
Ricky Gervais hosts the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Beverley Hills, California, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Twitter)

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Comedian Bovi narrates his son’s scary birth story as he turns 10

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Ace comedian, Bovi Ugboma has taken to social media to recount on the birth of his son and its extremely hilarious.

The proud father of two who is celebrating his son’s tenth birthday took to the micro blogging platform to tell a never heard tale to his fans, about his son.

Sharing a photo of the celebrant rocking a blue sports attire holding a “Messi” customized football, Bovi wrote;

“Chukwu Onye ebere the hands are together” the nurse screamed in panic as she stared down the vagina. Ten years ago, my sons first day on earth seemed destined to be his last. At a private hospital in Ogba, the nurses operated in panic mode rather than urgency. The doctor on duty, I would later find out, was in his office but refused to come out. He asked the nurses to handle the delivery. @krisasimonye was screaming in pains. The umbilical cord was around the babies neck.

She wanted to push so bad. But the nurses realized that one of the pieces of equipment they were meant to use wasn’t in the tray. A nurse dashed out to go get it. @krisasimonye screamed in anguish “why are you doing this to me”. They had insisted earlier that it was false labor. She was sure it wasn’t. One of them decided to check again and behold it was time. And they weren’t ready. They actually told her to hold on when all she wanted to do was push. Eventually David was born. Swollen all over. Eyes round and shut like a corpse. Still. Lifeless. Numb. Ugly.

They raised him up, turned him upside down and started to slap his butt. Time paused. Silence. Sound. Cry. Breath. Life. He had arrived. I was hurt that the first thing my first fruit had to do was fight to come to life. But I took solace in the fact that he won his first of many battles. Fast forward to hours later and the doctor comes to our room to felicitate with us. He met a blank cold stare from us. And I cannot forget his stupid unprofessional words “I’m so sorry. I got info that one of my good friends died. I just couldn’t gather myself to come. I was just dazed in my office”. The words of a trained doctor. Anyway, here we are today, ten years later. Happy birthday to my son, David Abovi Ugboma jr.’

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12 Nollywood Celebrities from the decades you must know | P.M. News

Chief Hubert Ogunde

By Funmilola Olukomaiya

The Nigerian movie industry has evolved, but this didn’t come cheap as it was achieved through a lot of hard work, dedication and persistence through the efforts of the pioneers of the industry.

Most millennials know little or nothing about how Nollywood came to be and the truth is, they really careless.

Below are 12 of Nigeria’s movie industry (both English and Yoruba) celebrities and pioneers from the decades you must know.

1.) Hubert Ogunde

The late Hubert Ogunde in one of his films

Hubert Ogunde was a Nigerian playwright, actor, theatre manager, and musician. He was a pioneer in the field of Nigerian folk opera (a type of drama in which music and dancing played a significant role). He was the founder of the Ogunde Concert Party (1945), the first professional theatrical company in Nigeria. Ogunde who was often regarded as the father of Nigerian theatre sought to reawaken interest in his country’s indigenous culture. He died on April 4, 1990, in London, England.

2.) Duro Ladipo

Duro Ladipo

Duro Ladipọ was one of the best known and critically acclaimed Yoruba dramatists who emerged from post-colonial Africa. Writing solely in the Yoruba language, he captivated the symbolic spirit of Yoruba mythologies in his plays, which were later adapted to other media such as photography, television and cinema. As a teacher in a church school at Oshogbo in 1960, Ladipo scandalized church members by including bata drums in the Easter cantata that he had composed for the church and was thereafter obliged to seek a secular outlet for his musical interests. In 1962 he founded the Mbari Mbayo Club, and for its inauguration, his new theatre company performed his first opera, Oba Moro (“Ghost-Catcher King”). He premiered Oba Koso (“The King Did Not Hang”) at the club’s first anniversary in 1963 and a year later introduced Oba Waja (“The King is Dead”). All three operas are based on the history of the Oyo kingdom and are available in English in Three Yoruba Plays (1964). He died Mar. 11, 1978, in Oshogbo.

3.) Ola Balogun

Ola Balogun

Born 1st of August 1945, Ola Balogun is a unique figure in Nigerian cinema. In the 1970s and 1980s, he influenced the film industry in Nigeria like no other person and paved the way for the Nollywood boom that began in the early 1990s. The fact that he is virtually forgotten outside of Nigeria nowadays is also a function of the fact that many copies of his films have disappeared. He also ventured into the Nigerian music industry in 2001. Balogun studied cinematography at Institut des hautes études cinématographiques.

4.) Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love)

Adeyemi Afolayan aka Ade Love

Adeyemi Afolayan also known as Ade Love was a Nigerian film actor, director and producer. He brother to actress Toyin Afolayan and father to film actors, Kunle Afolayan, Gabriel Afolayan, Moji Afolayan and Aremu Afolayan. In 1966, Afolayan joined Moses Olaiya’s drama troupe, and in 1971, he left to establish his own drama group which went on to stage comedic plays. He appeared in Ola Balogun’s Ajani Ogun in 1976, and later produced and starred Ija Ominira, also directed by Balogun. Kadara, ‘Destiny’ in English was the first movie he wrote, produced and also starred as the leading actor. The movie was shown at the ninth Tashkent film festival for African and Asian cinema. Afolayan went on to produce and star in other productions such as Ija Orogun, Taxi Driver and Iya ni Wura. He died in 1996.

5.) Sam Loco Efe

Sam Loco Efe

Sam Loco Efe was a popular comic actor who was born in Enugu. His first experience with acting was at his school when a theatre group came to stage a play called ‘The Doctor In Spite of Himself’, afterwards, he discussed with members of the group about the theatre and performance arts. In elementary school, he was a member various groups including a drama society that performed a rendition of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ at an Eastern regional arts festival in Abakaliki,[8] the play came last in the drama competition but Efe was noted as the best actor which earned him a scholarship to complete elementary school. After finishing elementary school, he attended various secondary schools and was active in the drama society, organizing a performance of ‘The Doctor in Spite of Himself’ and a play called ‘Vendetta’. After secondary school, he was a member of a travelling theatre group and played soccer earning the moniker locomotive later shortened as loco. He died 7th August 2011.

6.) Oyin Adejobi

Oyin Adejobi

Chief Oyin Adejobi was a very popular dramatist and seasoned actor in South-Western Nigeria. He wrote and performed in a variety of Yoruba productions on the stage, television and movies. He was especially well known for his autobiographical movie ‘Orogun Adedigba’. He also had a weekly television show, ‘Kootu Asipa’ meaning “Ashipa’s Court” on Nigerian Television Authority, Ibadan. The Oyin Adejobi Popular Theatre Company is named for him. He died in the year 2000.

7.) Professor Peller

Professor Peller

Professor Moshood Abiola Peller was a Nigerian magician and one of Africa’s most renowned magicians. He was born in 1941 at Iseyin, Oyo State and he was named Moshood Folorunsho Abiola. He later picked the stage name of ‘Professor Peller’, an appellation that has stuck to him like a second skin. He started performing illusion tricks in 1954 travelling to Ibadan, Lagos and Oyo for performances. In 1959, he changed occupation and began work as a representative of G.B.O. and later moved into trading. His interest in illusion continued and in 1964, he attended a school of magical arts in India, he spent 18 months at the school and after completion, settled in Liberia. In 1966, he had his first post-training show at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. He was later assassinated in 1997.

8.) Alade Aromire

Alade Aromire

Muyideen Alade Aromire was a popular actor and producer who was also the owner and creator of Yotomi Television, a cross-cultural broadcasting station with bias for Yoruba-based programmes. Alade was believed to have produced the first home video in Nigeria as he was the pioneer of Yoruba home video industry. He died 4 July, 2008 in an auto crash along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.

9.) Moses Olaiya

Late Moses Adejumo, aka Baba Sala

Moses Olaiya, better known by his stage name “Baba Sala”, was a Nigerian comedian, dramatist and actor. Baba Sala, regarded as the father of modern Nigerian comedy, alongside other dramatists like Hubert Ogunde, Kola Ogunmola, Oyin Adejobi and Duro Ladipo popularized theatre and television acting in Nigeria. He was a prolific filmmaker. He started his career in show business as a Highlife musician, fronting in 1964 a group known as the Federal Rhythm Dandies where he tutored and guided the jùjú music maestro King Sunny Adé who was his lead guitar player. As a young boy, Olaiya played the class clown and sometimes dressed outlandishly to please people. While he chose to develop a career in entertainment his parents wanted a path that will lead to a professional career such as medicine or law. Baba Sala died in October 2018.

10.) Lere Paimo

Lere Paimo

Born November 1939, Pa Lere Paimo, OFR is an ace Nigerian film actor, film-maker, producer and director. He began his acting career in 1960 after he joined the Oyin Adejobi theatre group, founded by Pa Oyinade Adejobi before he later joined Duro Ladipo’s Theatre Group where he featured in a stage play titled ‘Obamoro’ with the role of “Chief Basa”. He became popular following a lead role as Soun Ogunola played in an epic Yoruba film titled ‘Ogbori Elemosho’ which brought him into the limelight. He has featured, produced and directed several Nigerian films since he began acting in 1963. In 2005, in recognition of his immense contributions to the Nigerian film industry, he was bestowed with a National award of Member of the Federal Republic alongside Zeb Ejiro by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. On May 2013, it was reported that he had a partial stroke, an attack he survived.

11.) Funmi Martins

Funmi Martins

The legendary Funmi Martins was a shining star of the Yoruba movie industry in the ’90s. She was shot into limelight in 1993 when she starred in her first movie called ‘Nemesis’ directed by Fidelis Duker. Funmi Martins before her death starred in dozens of movies. Some of her most notable works include Eto Mi, Pelumi, Ija Omode, Eru Eleru. She died on May 6, 2002.

12.) Bukky Ajayi

Bukky Ajayi

Zainab Bukky Ajayi was a Nigerian actress who was born and bred in Nigeria but completed her higher education in England, United Kingdom courtesy of a federal government scholarship. In 1965, she left England for Nigeria where her career began as a presenter and newscaster for Nigerian Television Authority in 1966. Bukky made her film debut in the television series ‘Village Headmaster’ during the ’70s before she went on to feature in ‘Checkmate’, a Nigeria television series that aired during the late 1980s to the early 1990s. During her acting career, she featured in several films and soaps including ‘Critical Assignment’, ‘Diamond Ring’, ‘Witches’ among others. In 2016, her contributions to the Nigerian film industry was recognized after she and Sadiq Daba were awarded the Industry Merit Award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. Bukky Ajayi died at her residence in Lagos State on 6 July 2016 at the age of 82.

NOTE: This list is not exhaustive, do share the names of others who didn’t make our list in the comment session.

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Actor and comedian Rip Taylor is dead at 84

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(CNN)Actor and comedian Rip Taylor died on Sunday, his publicist Harlan Boll said.

Taylor acted on Broadway, film and television.


Actor and comedian Rip Taylor is dead at 84 - CNN

(CNN)Actor and comedian Rip Taylor died on Sunday, his publicist Harlan Boll said. He was 84.

Taylor acted on Broadway, film and television. He was known for his over-the-top personality.

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Tom Green Has One Big Regret About Drew Barrymore and SNL

Subscribe to The Last Laugh on Apple Podcasts

Tom Green was never more famous than when he hosted Saturday Night Live on Nov. 18, 2000.

Not only was his insanely popular talk show still airing on MTV, he was coming off a scene-stealing performance in the hit comedy Road Trip. Just weeks earlier, Charlies Angels, in which Green appeared opposite his new fiance Drew Barrymore, debuted at No. 1 at the box office.

It was an amazing thing to have gotten to do it, Green says of his SNL experience, 19 years later, on this weeks episode of The Last Laugh podcast. However, he adds, I think if I could go back and do it again someday, I would do it a lot differently.

When producer Lorne Michaels offered Green the chance to host that fall, the comedian insisted that his childhood friends from Canada, whom he had hired as writers on The Tom Green Show, come in for the week and help write sketches. I didnt understand the politics of Saturday Night Live, he says, acknowledging that SNLs writers at the time, including Mike Schur, who would go on to create The Good Place, future Oscar nominee Adam McKay and head writer Tina Fey, may not have appreciated the input.

I was aggressively trying to deconstruct everything that I encountered, Green explains. Just because I was a kid in my twenties and I was like, thats the way you do it. Lets try to take it apart and put it back together upside down and inside out.

I think in hindsight I would have rather just shown up and worked with everybody else and just kind of went with the flow a bit more, he adds. But I was young and passionate. Green says his friends ended up writing about half of the sketches that aired in his episode, including one in which he appeared in a bathtub with Lorne Michaels as well as his monologue and the final sketch of the night.

Greens big idea for the episode was a gag that would be teased at the beginning of the show and pay off in the final moments. His relationship with Barrymore was all over the tabloids and he thought it would be funny if they appeared together during his monologue and announced they would be getting married on live television at the end of his SNL debut.

I try not to have regrets, but that is something that I actually regret, Green says. So Drew and I actually were engaged at the time. So we thought, this will be a funny prank. Well prank the audience. Well tell everyone were going to get married on SNL and then she wont show up at the altar at the end and that will be the punchline. Even though we were still getting married, like a month after. That was the bit.

But the thing I regret about that bit to this day, which Im actually sad about, to be honest with you, is that the way we wrote the bit, we kept teasing that we were going to get married at the end of the showshes out in the hallway in her wedding dress, my parents are there in the audience, he continues. And then at the end of the show, she doesnt show up. And the end of my SNL I have a meltdown on stage. And its a complete meltdown and the band stops playing and the entire cast disappears and Im just standing alone on stage at the very end of the show.

Artistically, Green still thinks it was a pretty awesome way to end the show. But it does sort of ruin my beautiful Saturday Night Live kumbaya moment, he says. At the end of every Saturday Night Live, [the host] is hanging out with the cast and celebrating together. But on his episode, its just Green screaming I thought you loved me! on stage by himself.

In some ways, its kind of a metaphor for the rebellious, naive kid that I was: Were going to go there and were going to try to turn SNL upside down! he says. But in other ways, I think it just sort of ruined my Saturday Night Live experience. He does add that he and Barrymore went to the after party with the cast and had a blast.

Green maintains that it was one of the highest-rated episodes that season because of the prank. It was a massive success in that sense, because we did create a reason to stay up til the end, he says.

According to a Variety item from that week, the cancelation of the wedding was sprung on Lorne Michaels only five minutes before the ceremony was to take place on camera and the show reportedly had a priest and City Hall license on hand. Caroline Kennedy, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Harvey Weinstein were among the celebrities waiting backstage to celebrate with the newlyweds after the show.

To put it in perspective how crazy his life was at that time, Green tells me that the morning after Saturday Night Live aired, he and Barrymore got on a plane to London to have dinner with Prince Charles at St. Jamess Palace for the royal premiere of Charlies Angels.

Green sat next to Camilla Parker Bowles at the dinner and had a two-hour conversation about stuff like France and organic farming among other topics. Was it a real mouse? Prince Charles asked Green of the infamous scene from Road Trip in which he attempts to feed a snake and ends up putting a live mouse in his mouth. The answer was yes.

Green and Barymore ultimately did get married in July of 2001 and were divorced less than nine months later. Green has called their marriage a crazy whirlwind of a time.

So it was a bizarre time in my life, Green tells me. If he ever gets the chance to host SNL again, which would be nice, he says, I would love to be able to not bring my friends from high school in and not try to make it some crazy, warped episode.

Nearly two decades later, the 48-year-old comedian chalks the whole thing up to the naivety of youth.

I had been so hellbent on causing chaos everywhere I went that suddenly when I was where I was, I still was behaving as if I was living in my parents basement, Green says. I should have probably taken certain opportunities to just be grateful that I was there. And I didnt realize that at the time.

Next week on The Last Laugh podcast: Stand-up comedian and star of ABCs Black-ish and Grown-ish, Deon Cole.

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This Is Life for Muslim-Americans 18 Years After 9/11

When you speak with the author of a new childrens book, you typically dont expect to hear words like neo-fascist movement or how the current U.S. president has unearthed bigotry.But that was the discussion I had with Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in 2016 when she became the first American Olympic athlete both to wear a hijab and win a medal while doing it. (She won a bronze medal as part of the womens sabre team.)Her new book, The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family depicts an African-American Muslim girl wearing a hijab and confronting the challenges and celebrating the joys that brings.

Muhammad recalled that as a kid growing up in New Jersey before 9/11, she was taunted for wearing a hijab, with one kid calling her head covering a tablecloth, and said she hopes her book can help kids feel strong in the face of being made to feel different.

She added something that I know resonates with countless Muslim Americans today, I believe its a lot harder in this moment to be Muslimthan it was right after 9/11.

I heard that sentiment countless times over Labor Day weekend at the Islamic Society of North Americas annual convention in Houston.

It truly is a tale of two experiences for Muslims today. On one hand, Muslims in America are seeing our greatest successes ever in ways that can be objectively measured. There are now three Muslims in Congress, the most ever. Keith Ellison last year became the first Muslim American to win statewide office when he was elected attorney general for Minnesota. And more Muslim Americans than ever before now serve as elected officials from school boards to state legislatures, with historic wins in 2018 from New Hampshire to New Mexico to California.

In the world of entertainment there has also been never before seen success. In 2018, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim American to win an Academy Award for acting, which he repeated in 2019 with an Oscar for his performance in The Green Book. For years, the Muslim American community longed for a TV series focused on a Muslim family. That finally happened in 2019 with the critically acclaimed Hulu Series Ramy, starring Ramy Youssef, about growing up Muslim in New Jersey. Theres also comedian Hassan Minhaj becoming the first Muslim American host of late-night show with his Netflix series, Patriot Act.

Yet at the very same time theres a growing a sense of unease and even fear that something horrible is waiting around the corner for us. And I mean that last part quite literally, given the spike in hate crimes directed against the Muslim community since Trump first called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States back in December 2015 through 2018.We have seen our mosques firebombed and self-professed Trump supporters plotting terror attacks to kill American Muslims in places from New York to Kansas. (I was even the subject of death threats and an organized smear campaign by Trump-supporting Neo-Nazis, causing me to sue them in federal court.)

And while it didnt occur in the United States, the white supremacist terror attack on a New Zealand mosque that killed over 50 Muslims sent shockwaves through the U.S. Muslim community, as did the man espousing white supremacist views who killed 11 Jewish Americans while they were in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As one mental health professional explained to NPR recently about the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric, What is going to be the long-term impact of this persistent exposure to trauma that our kids are facing right now? No one knows for sure, but there has been a documented spike in bullying of Muslim students in recent years.

Consider for a moment what it would feel like to be part of a faith community that the man in the White House declares he wants to ban from our nation and that other GOP elected officials have demonized over the years amidst plots to murder people in your community. Add to that Trumps recent attacks on the two female Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, urging them to go back to their own country.How would that impact your sense of being an other? Your sense of being unwanted in your own country?

Despite the dreams of Trump and people like him, we as a community arent going anywhere. Muslims were here before the United States and literally help build this country, given that 10 to 15 percent of African slaves were Muslims. And we are a growing community; as Pew notes, by 2040 Muslims are expected to be the second largest faith group in the country, behind Christians and moving ahead of Jews.

The future for our community in the near term, however, will likely be more of what weve seen recently. The hope, though, is that in the long run the best of times will eclipse the worst.

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10 Ways To Jonathan Van Ness Your Relationship With Yourself

It’s 2019, and Jonathan Van Ness is here to project positive energy into every facet of your life. JVN reminds us that self-acceptance and self-love is a choice that comes with effort. That effort must remain constant to keep us moving forward into an evolving state.

Here are ten ways JVN inspires each and every one of us to nourish the most important relationship of all, the relationship we have with ourselves:

1. Learn to love the skin you’re in

Perhaps loving your imperfections is easier said than done, but that’s the point. It’s a choice that you have to make to not compare what you see online or television and grow to love every unique part of you. When we learn to love the skin we’re in, we learn to want to take care of ourselves while inspiring others to do the same, universally spreading acceptance through actions.

2. Share your story with the world

Go and tell your story. We all have a voice that often goes unused. Each and every one of us has something to say so go and have a conversation that allows others to not only learn from you but more importantly, to relate and connect. Our stories are much more similar than we think, including the not so glamorous depictions filled with raw details that may be difficult for someone to share. But your story is worth telling, and your voice deserves to be heard. Share your truth because it always finds its way out, one way or another.

3. Swallow up shade with sunshine

You don’t have a moment to spare for negative energy. Smile, and make an effort to not return negative energy with the same input. It takes practice, but get in the habit of canceling out negative actions with positive ones.

4. Keep it real

Don’t fake any part of your self for anyone. Pretending implies that you’re trying to cover something up. There is nothing wrong with your most natural self. Stay true to what you believe and remember that changing on the inside doesn’t require you to make a change on the outside.

5. Explore your interests

JVN is a master hairdresser, skincare extraordinaire, ice skater, podcaster, television personality and now a stand-up comedian. Don’t stop exploring what interests you. Keep fighting to find things you love until you’re doing things you love.

6. Nourish the parts of you that aren’t flourishing

It’s easy to ignore what you naturally want to avoid. Look at yourself from an honest place and through self-acceptance comes self-care. Nourish what needs to be nourished, and balance will find you.

7. Shut down self-doubt

You’ve got this. Not one person is free of self-doubt, but the ones that succeed are the ones that learn to push through. Self-doubt debilitates you as long as you allow it to.

8. Find your outlet

Whether it’s working out, writing, creating art, or volunteering, find what projects positive energy out into the universe and brings wellness to your life.

9. Don’t be afraid to say no

Do not be scared to turn down a party, say not to a project, or say no to a group dinner with friends. Listen to your intuition by protecting the energy you have. Take care of yourself today so that tomorrow you’ll want to say yes.

10. Discover your confidence

Get excited about getting excited. Discovering the many intricacies of yourself that push you to find the courage that can spread to others. Through learning acceptance you’ll find your confidence.

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