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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    Kim Cattrall wants you to know: Just because she hasn't given birth to children doesn't mean she isn't parenting.


    The "Sex and the City" actress spoke to BBC 4 Woman's Hour about the various parenting roles she plays. 


    "I am not a biological parent, but I am a parent," she said. "I have young actors and actresses that I mentor, I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to."


    She went on to explain her take on what it actually means to be childfree.


    "I think the thing that I find questionable about being childless or childfree -- [is] are you really? I mean, there is a way to become a mother in this day and age that doesn't include your name on the child's birth certificate. You can express that maternal side of you, very clearly, very strongly... It feels very satisfying."


    Cattrall also shared what she loves about being single.


    "I can sleep right in the middle of my king-sized bed," she said. "I can snore, I can fart, I can do all of these things without thinking 'Oh, god.' It's this amazing freedom that you have."


    Hear the full interview here.  


    H/T The Cut


    Also on HuffPost:


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    It's been nearly 25 years since Dr. Dre assaulted journalist Dee Barnes at a Hollywood nightclub -- and just as long since the attack has been largely buried in hip-hop and pop culture history. 


    Barnes revisited that dark night in an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post to ensure her story -- and her voice -- aren’t ignored again. The interview, led by author and HuffPost blogger Kevin Powell, marks her first public discussion about the assault since it occurred in January 1991. Watch it here:




    The August 14th release of “Straight Outta Compton” --  a biopic that documented the rise and fame of N.W.A., the pioneering rap group of which Dr. Dre was a member  -- prompted widespread concerns about the the rapper's attack and called for his accountability. The assault was omitted from the film. 


    At the time of the attack, Barnes was a host on “Pump It Up!”, a hip-hop music show on Fox. In Powell's interview, she recalled how she met Dr. Dre, as well as other members of the group, and how their relationship evolved.



    She also discussed some of the events that led to the assault by explaining how Dr. Dre was upset at her for a previous interview she conducted with fellow group member Ice Cube.


    “Dre approached… [and] he just grabbed me,” Barnes told Powell. “I thought he was going to walk past me but he just grabbed me.” She then explained:  


    “I mean it’s no secret… he grabbed me by my hair and started slamming me up against the wall,” she said. “It’s a painful and traumatic experience.”


    As a result of the attack, Barnes said she still suffers from major migraines, but that the physical pain is only one challenge.



    I got emails from young girls saying ‘You were my first experience with domestic violence.’
    Dee Barnes


    Barnes also said she experiences emotional grief every time she hears many of the songs she said mention her name and reference the attack. Perhaps the most notable are the lyrics from Eminem and Dr. Dre’s collaboration on the 1999 song, “Guilty Conscious," which says: “You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?”


    “Somehow [the assault] was reduced to a joke, I ain’t no joke. I’m not. And domestic violence is no joke," Barnes told Powell. "It’s a serious issue.”


    Just before the assault, Barnes’ career began to boom as hip hop was transforming into a full-blown cultural movement. She quickly attracted fans, many of whom were young women who looked up to her as only one of few leading women in the male-dominated rap world. She then fell victim to an even more tragic reality that sent a painful message to countless others. 


    “I had young girls watching, [ages] 13 and 14 so I got emails from young girls saying ‘You were my first experience with domestic violence,’” Barnes recalled. “I was too busy trying to survive. It was vicious.” 



    I was not the first but I wanted to make sure I would be the last."
    Dee Barnes


    “I literally had to go back to work in 3 days. Black eye and all,” Barnes added, recalling how she wore extra makeup, took sedatives and wore sunglasses during segments in the following weeks at work to mask her black eye and facial bruises.


    Barnes later filed charges and reached a settlement against Dr. Dre who plead no contest. "I was not the first but I wanted to make sure I would be the last," she said in the interview. 


    Powell noted that Barnes' life and reputation shouldn’t be reduced to one infamous incident, though. Barnes has had an expansive journey in entertainment and is considered an influential black female pioneer with contributions to hip hop, media and black culture. She now describes herself on Twitter as an "Emcee-Photog-Blogger-Rasta-Queen." 


    Barnes recently watched the biopic and wrote about her thoughts on Gawker



    Accurately articulating the frustrations of young black men being constantly harassed by the cops is at Straight Outta Compton’s activistic core. There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by black men against black women. It is a cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence that is rooted in racism and perpetuated by patriarchy.



    Barnes is also documenting her full journey in a new memoir that is in the works. 


    Also on HuffPost: 


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    No, there isn't a feud brewing between Blake Lively and Taylor Swift. 


    Over the weekend, Lively posted a photo from her recent L'Oréal Paris promotional shoot featuring stars like John Legend, Eva Longoria and Karlie Kloss. The actress compared the shot to Swift's "Bad Blood" squad. 



    Some, however, thought the former "Gossip Girl" star was taking a jab at the pop superstar -- so much so that Lively took to Instagram Sunday to make it clear that she has nothing but love for Swift. 


    "Umm whoever thought I was throwin shade clearly doesn't know I have a "Taylor Swift Please Be My Wife Voo Doo Doll" #obsessed," she wrote alongside an Instagram photo of her niece, Heather, posing with Swift at a recent 1989 World Tour stop. 



     


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    If you needed any more proof that late-night TV is still a man's world, look no further than Vanity Fair. Ten men in suits (8 of whom are white) sit sipping whiskey for a recent story, under the headline "Why Late-Night Television Is Better Than Ever." The answer certainly is not diversity of any kind.  





    It's common knowledge that late-night is something of a boys' club. After all, there are exactly zero women hosting late-night shows on major networks right now. And women who are involved with late-night, like Grace Helbig, who replaced Chelsea Handler on E!, are nowhere to be found on Vanity Fair's cover. 


    And it's not just the hosting gigs that primarily go to men. The majority of staff writers on late-night TV shows are -- you guessed it -- of the dude (and pale) persuasion. Even Stephen Colbert -- who wrote an essay for Glamour which acknowledged that late-night is "a bit of a sausagefest" and detailed how he hopes to celebrate women's voices -- only has 2 women on his writing staff of 19


    The 100 percent male, 80 percent white Vanity Fair image didn't go unnoticed by women and men on Twitter, who began calling out how tone-deaf it was:




















    Even comedian Samantha Bee, who is getting her own show on TBS in 2016, took notice of the image and kindly improved it.





    The men featured in the Vanity Fair story are generally excellent comedians. It's great to celebrate the accomplishments of men like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore, while looking forward to seeing what newcomers like Trevor Noah might do. But the Vanity Fair piece doesn't even acknowledge the staggering gender gap until its final two paragraphs.


    "What’s conspicuously missing from late-night, still, is women," writes David Kamp. "How gobsmackingly insane is it that no TV network has had the common sense -- and that’s all we’re talking about in 2015, not courage, bravery, or even decency -- to hand over the reins of an existing late-night comedy program to a female person?"


    It's heartening to see this called out, and to see Bee and Handler, who are getting their own 2016 shows on TBS and Netflix respectively, receive shout-outs. But it's not quite enough. Here's hoping next time a major publication does a story like this one, diversity will be more than a kicker. 


    Also on HuffPost:


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    Chrissy Teigen is known for being outspoken (it's one of the main reasons why we love her) but her carefree attitude often seems to garner just as much backlash as praise.


    During Lauren Conrad's show at New York Fashion Week, the swimsuit model and foodie told reporters her husband wasn't allowed to hire "hot nannies, drivers, or maids.


    "It's an ongoing joke in my house," she said. "I do want to have kids one day, so it’s something that I have to think about. But the rule is no hot nannies. I trust John, but you never know with these men."


    But even though the 29-year-old literally said it was a joke, people didn't seem to understand. The Internet wasn't impressed one bit, forcing the "FABLife" co-host to provide an explanation for her comments. 


    Teigen shared the following tweets with her followers on Friday:  











    Preach, Chrissy! Sometimes, people just don't get it. But here's a message to everyone: It's OK to laugh at jokes! It's OK to have a sense of humor! Not everything in life is meant to be serious!


    By the time Monday morning rolled around, the model still couldn't seem to escape the backlash. She shared two more tweets about the comments: 








    To which her husband, John Legend, perfectly responded: 





    At least he understands her humor. And that's all that matters. 


     


    Also on HuffPost:



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    It looks like Rihanna has a new man in her life and isn't shy about it. 


    The 27-year-old singer and rapper Travis Scott were all over each other while partying during New York Fashion Week. On Thursday, the pair were photographed as they packed on the PDA in front of an uncomfortable-looking Justin Timberlake at the Roc Nation-sponsored Block Party bash. 


    Later, the two were spotted heating things up with quite the make-out session, caught on camera by TMZ. 


    According to E! News, this is the real deal for the pair, as an insider claims the two are "dating, officially," adding, "It's already very serious. He's very into her."


     


    Also on HuffPost: 



    For a constant stream of entertainment news and discussion, follow HuffPost Entertainment on Viber.

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    Big news from Us Weekly, who are reporting that Taylor Swift calls Calvin Harris not by his stage name (yes, that is a stage name), but by his real name, Adam. 


    “Taylor always calls Calvin by his birth name, Adam, and never Calvin in private,” a source close to the couple told the magazine, adding that Swift is "head over heels.” and "hasn't been in love like this before!"


    Great, so happy for you, Taylor. But let's get back to the whole name thing. Calvin Harris is a stage name. The 31-year-old DJ was born Adam Wiles, but he adopted a stage name that he thought sounded more "racially ambiguous." No, really.  


     "My first single was more of a soul track, and I thought Calvin Harris sounded a bit more racially ambiguous," he told Digital Spy in 2009. "I thought people might not know if I was black or not. After that, I was stuck with it."


    Can't make this stuff up. 


    Check out more celebs with stage names below:



    Also on HuffPost: 



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    Autopsy reports showed that Amanda Peterson died of an accidental morphine overdose at age 43 this past July, but her family says that doesn't tell the whole story of the secret pain the actress had been enduring for decades.  


    "At the height of Mandy's career, she suffered a very serious trauma. She had been raped," says Peterson's mom, Sylvia, in an exclusive interview with The Doctors airing Monday.  


    Sylvia explains that Peterson was 15 years old when she was assaulted by a man more than twice her age. "She just felt so ashamed. She didn't want people to know," says her heartbroken mom.  "I think it affected her forever." 


    Even Peterson's sister, Anne-Marie, did not know about what her sister had endured. "I think for her to carry the secret, this burden of the assault, must have just been overwhelming," says Anne-Marie.  


    "After [the rape], she became more defensive, less trusting, some of the sparkle was gone," adds Peterson's dad, James, explaining that his daughter refused to press charges.  


    Peterson was best known for her role opposite Patrick Dempsey in the 1987 film "Can't Buy Me Love." According to the toxicology report, the actress had several prescription drugs in her system at the time of her death, including morphine. The Weld County Coroner named the cause of death “accidental.” 


    In the video above, her family recalls finding out that Peterson was using heroin and meth, the rollercoaster of addiction and sobriety, how they discovered she was dead, and why they say she struggled in Hollywood. 


    "I want to stress why we're here is to warn and counsel people. We are among perhaps millions who have gone through these problems. You have to be very well attuned to what your children are doing, what they're saying," says Peterson's dad. "We all have to be more aware, and that doesn't diminish your love." 


    The Doctors' Dr. Travis Stork points out, "Every 19 minutes, an American dies of a drug overdose, largely driven by prescription drugs." That's more than the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.  


    This episode of The Doctors airs Monday. Click here to see where you can watch. 


    For warning signs of addiction, and resources, click here.



    Also on HuffPost:


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    Receiving backlash from local politicians for his forthcoming Chicago-based film, “Chi-raq,” won't deter Spike Lee from highlighting gun violence in America.


    During a recent interview with Deadline, Lee said it is part of his responsibility as filmmaker to produce a project that reflects the harsh reality of Chicago's concerning crime levels, especially those throughout many parts of the city's South Side.  


    “I would just be irresponsible as a filmmaker to not comment on this self-inflicted genocide, which is happening,” he said. "The majority of the shootings and the killings are in the south side of Chicago. Chicago – I mean I’m not the only one to say this – arguably is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S.” 


    Lee began producing the film in June and spent just over a month in the city to shoot the remainder of the project. Within that time, violence in Chicago certainly didn't cease -- and Lee made note of it. 


    “During that time of production while we were in Chicago, 331 people got wounded and shot and 65 got murdered. And one of the issues that we talk about in this film is that guns are out of control here in America,” he said. "There has to be some gun reform and that is going to be a fight because you have to go up against the NRA, the National Rifle Association. And their lobby is very, very powerful." 


    Following the conclusion of filming“Chi-Raq" in July, Lee published a post on Instagram to share condolences to the families and friends of those affected by the shootings. 



    “Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq” is set to hit theaters and Amazon Prime in December. Read more of Lee’s Deadline interview here.




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    English musician Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, is a vocal advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, championing the movement as a way to “oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.”


    But critics have called the BDS movement anti-Semitic, claiming that the campaign is seeking to delegitimize Israel.


    Ahead of the release of his film, “The Wall,” which documents a concert production of Pink Floyd’s 1979 album of the same name, Waters told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski that he’s been “attacked" in the press over his views.


    “It is perfectly legitimate to criticize any government’s policies,” Waters said. “But that doesn't mean you’re criticizing the people who live that or that you’re criticizing a particular religious sect. I’m not criticizing Jewish people or Judaism.”


    “I don’t have an anti-Semitic bone in my body,” he continued.


    Listen to the HuffPost Live conversation above.


    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!


    Also On HuffPost:


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    We love sharing stories that help us promote acceptance of all types of people, and we had an incredible opportunity to do so the other day, when the beautiful Isis King came by. Isis is a model, actress, and fashion designer, but her path to this varied and wonderful career did not come easy. Born biologically male, Isis knew since childhood that she was a woman, stuck in the wrong body.

    Finding acceptance for her true identity, however, was an impossibility, and at 23, Isis found herself living at a New York center for homeless LGBT youth. But a chance opportunity as a background model in an America’s Next Top Model photo shoot changed everything. Host and producer Tyra Banks took an interest in Isis, and ended up asking her to audition for the next season of the show, where she became one of the 14 finalists. Within months, Isis was in the national spotlight as the first transgender contestant on Top Model, and she has used her platform to follow her dreams ever since - designing her own clothing line, expanding her modeling and acting career, even completing her transition with a full gender reassignment surgery. She is an outspoken activist for women, people of color, and the LGBT community, and is truly an inspiration to us all.

    Hear about Isis’s journey and transition in this Week’s Mondays with Marlo

    Check out the full interview above or skip to individual segments below:

    What it's like to be in the wrong body
    When did Isis feel safe enough to reveal her true identity?
    Do trans people of color have even a harder time being accepted?
    Tips from Isis on being trans
    How long does the gender transition process take?
    Isis talks about Caitlyn Jenner coming out
    Do transgender people still need to take hormones after their reassignment surgery?




    You can submit all your questions for our future guests on Mondays with Marlo on Twitter and Facebook.



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    Demi Lovato opened up about her sexuality, kind of. 


    During a recent interview on "Alan Carr: Chatty Man," Lovato was pressed by the British late-night host as to whether her hit song "Cool for the Summer" is about being a lesbian.


    Carr, who is openly gay himself, pointed to the lyrics -- "Tell me what you want, what you like, it's OK / I'm a little curious, too" and "Got a taste for the cherry / I just need to take a bite" -- as the reason for the question.


    "I'm not confirming and I'm definitely not denying," she told Carr. "All of my songs are based off of personal experiences. I don't think there's anything wrong with experimentation at all."


     Carr shot back, "I experimented once and it stuck,"


     Lovato kept coy, responding, "Hey, I didn't say it didn't stick either."


    It's the first time the singer has spoken about her sexuality, but she has long been a champion for LGBT community and previously worked with the Human Rights Campaign to advocate for marriage-equality rights across the country. 


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    Kylie Jenner was dressed to the nines Monday night in New York City for a party celebrating her Galore cover


    The 18-year-old was photographed leaving the Trump Soho Hotel in a sheer black minidress with polka dots and a front zipper, paired with black sandals, as boyfriend Tyga followed close behind.


    Jenner and her entourage went to nightspot Up & Down before going to Catch in the Meatpacking District.  






     


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke dislikes the explicit sex scenes that have made her show famous. 


    "Sex scenes should be more subtle," Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, told the Daily Mail. "I’m British, so I cringe at that sort of thing anyway -- I can’t stand it."


    "Most sex scenes you see in films or on TV are gratuitous and they’re usually just to attract an audience," she continued. "On screen, the subtler the better." 


    Are you thinking what we're thinking? Clarke for a '90s-style rom-com, please! The sex scenes are very subtle, and she's already a huge "Clueless" fan.


    We'll be sending out vibes to the Hollywood overlords. 


     Also on HuffPost: 


     



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    Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made sure to keep all eyes on them during their latest red carpet appearance. 


    The couple attended the "Black Mass" premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday night, where they packed on the PDA. Cameras caught Heard, 29, and Depp, 52, sharing a kiss right before they took to the carpet. 



    As per usual, Heard looked stunning. The actress and model opted for a fitted little black dress, classic red pumps and lipstick to match. Depp wore a grey suit with a red shirt and pocket square to complement his lady's ensemble. 




    Over the weekend, the pair also attended the premiere of "The Danish Girl." For that appearance, Heard went for full-on glamour in a beaded gown while Depp wore a brown suit and fedora. 



     


     


    Also on HuffPost:



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    Khloe Kardashian was sheerly beautiful as she helped her youngest sister Kylie Jenner celebrate her Galore cover in New York City Monday night. 


    The reality star and her family, who are in town for New York Fashion Week, headed from the Trump Soho Hotel to Up & Down, Catch and Tao for a night out. Khloe looked gorgeous in a sheer black lace dress.   





    Meanwhile, sisters Kourtney and Kim both opted for all-black outfits in different styles. 




     


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    When Netflix first announced their slate of upcoming original feature films, some of which will debut exclusively on the streaming service and some that will also have a theatrical release, it felt like a new era of cinema was upon us. From the announcement of an upcoming drama directed by Angelina Jolie to a Brad Pitt-led war comedy, it seemed that the company was well on its way to reinventing film just as it did television. Now, with Netflix's first theatrical release, "Beasts of No Nation," we're convinced the shift is just beginning.


    Based on Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala's novel of the same name, "Beasts of No Nation" is a drama about child soldiers recruited during a West African civil war. The film, directed and adapted by Cary Fukunaga ("True Detective" Season 1, "Jane Eyre") screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday night -- and assured us that Netflix is well on the way to its first Oscar nomination. "Beasts" is Netflix's "House of Cards," but of cinematic proportions. 


    The film tells the story of 11-year-old West African boy Agu, played with a startling brilliance by Abraham Attah. The film opens with Agu and his friends hustling Nigerian soldiers with a stolen TV box frame. The boys playfully reenact shows and movies in place of the missing TV screen for the soldiers, which feels like a winking gesture at the nature of the distribution methods of the film itself. Comically play-acting kung fu fight scenes is just something from Agu's imagination, at least for now, until he's forced to experience real, face-to-face warfare.


    For the first 20 minutes of the film, we get to know Agu and his family through lighthearted humorous moments, but each laugh is tinged with a sense of impending dread as the comedy quickly disintegrates and Agu's village becomes a war zone. When a group of soliders arrive, Agu escapes just in time before his father and brother are executed at gunpoint. Now an orphan, Agu is captured by a group of rebel fighters, mostly made up of young men and boys, led by Idris Elba's stringent Commandant. Trained and spiritually initiated into the troupe of warriors, Agu's innocence quickly fades. 



    "Beasts of No Nation" is far from an easy film to watch. In one brutal scene when the rebels ambush a traveling group of soldiers, the Commandant hands Agu a hatchet and orders him to execute a man, reminding him that the man's allegiance is with those who killed Agu's family. It's a horrifying moment to watch, mostly for Fukunaga's commitment to keeping the camera on the faces of Agu and another young warrior as the man's blood splatters against their small bodies. At first, the scene recalls the ruthless killings by the child gangs in 2002's "City of God," but unlike that scenario, these boys aren't murdering for power or acclaim. Slaughtering becomes Agu's and the other boys' purpose for existing in this world, scarred into them by their Commandant, who fails to ever pick up a weapon to do his own killing. Like Fukunaga's debut feature "Sin Nombre," which followed a teenage gang member and Honduran girl escaping Mexico for the U.S., the director's latest also depicts the harrowing scope of violence corrupting innocence.


    The subject matter for "Beasts" is powerful as is, but what carries the film and pushes it from merely good to excellent is Attah's charged performance. The 14-year-old Attah had never acted before meeting Fukunaga. During a Q&A following Sunday's screening of the film, Attah said he was playing soccer near his home in Accra, Ghana, when he learned about the audition, during which he cried. It's no surprise Attah's performance already won him the Best Young Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival, and it would be even less surprising if he ends up nominated for an Oscar. Attah, who outshines Elba from his first scene to his last, might just be this year's Quvenzhané Wallis (unless he gets some competition from Jacob Tremblay in "Room"). 


    Overall, "Beasts of No Nation" is an enthralling cinematic experience. Fukunaga's visual knack for wading into dark, perilous atmospheres to capture the trauma that haunts his characters comes to full fruition in "Beasts," for which he was also the cinematographer. One of the most breathtaking sequences is a battle scene shot with what appears to be infrared film (for reference, see photographer Richard Mosse's "The Enclave"), which nightmarishly turns everything green into a hot pink. A heart-pounding tracking shot follows, a scene that will make any "True Detective" fan forget the disappointment of Season 2.


    Although Netflix subscribers will have the luxury of streaming "Beasts of No Nation" on Oct. 16, it's a film that should be experienced on the big screen. The stunning visuals, magnificent sound design and score and the full radiance of Attah's performance will be most appreciated in a theater over a living room. Though streaming will likely attract a wider audience to the art house film, we implore you: save your couch binging for "Orange Is the New Black." Go to the theater for "Beasts of No Nation."


    "Beasts of No Nation" premieres globally on Netflix and in Landmark theaters on Oct. 16.


    For continuous updates from the Toronto Film Festival, follow Matthew Jacobs and Erin Whitney on Twitter.



     

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    If a picture is worth 1000 words, how much is a look worth? Answer: millions.


    On Monday, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and Will Ferrell had an entire conversation without saying a single word. They just exchanged looks. 


    You could try to make sense of it -- maybe JT was just resting his vocal chords after the latest "History of Rap" or perhaps they were trying to do a lip sync battle but the music didn't play. Or, then again, maybe there are just no words to describe it.


    We're just smiling with our eyes. 




     


    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.


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     Zach Braff did not take kindly to a Vice article published Monday that pointed out the obvious: the film "Garden State" -- which Braff both directed and starred in -- is a nauseatingly terrible movie, and the general public should be ashamed it was ever popular.


    “'Garden State' was released 11 years ago, and in 2005, for a nation of coddled adult babies, it was the indie snoozefest that had been done to death several times already and would be done many more times as a result of its success and would likely star Zooey Deschanel and/or Michael Cera,” wrote Dan Ozzi in the article, which was published in honor of the film’s 10-year anniversary. (Seriously, read it, -- it will change your life, we swear!)


    Anyway, Braff took to Twitter to chastise Ozzi and Vice for being so darned mean.








    While many folks sympathized with Braff and voiced their support for him and the movie, some weren’t so sympathetic.





     Ozzi did end up apologizing, professing his love for "Scrubs."





    But Braff’s not the only one feeling a little self-conscious a decade after "Garden State" came out. Co-star Natalie Portman revealed earlier this month that she felt insecure after the movie was mocked on “Broad City.”


    “So now, because the people I think are the coolest think it’s really lame I’m kind of insecure about it,” Portman told Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. 


    Seriously everyone, please stop making these actors feel bad. We don’t want to have to face any more of this: 




    H/T: Jezebel 


    Contact the author of this article at Hilary.Hanson@huffingtonpost.com


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    If you've never heard of the Zac Brown Band, you're probably living on another planet.


    The Grammy Award-winning group, who became a household name after their song "Chicken Fried" topped the country music charts, has been selling out stadiums for the past few years, releasing radio hit after radio hit since their debut album, "The Foundation," gained attention in 2008. But although their catchy tunes and dynamic sound attract millions of listeners, it's the band's heart that keeps their fans yearning for more. 


    In the fall of 2009, Zac Brown and company began offering their followers the chance to purchase tickets to VIP Eat & Greet experiences before the majority of their tour performances. The events afford fans the opportunity to share a meal with the band before they take to the the stage, and have become an important part of the group's overall vibe. The Huffington Post was able to attend an Eat & Greet for an inspiring encounter during the band's stop at New York's Citi Field on Aug. 22.


    Around 100 people or so sat at long tables adorned with flowers in mason jars, awaiting the band's arrival. A representative for the group announced that photography was prohibited. The guys would very much like to simply have a person-to-person discussion while they served us food -- food they helped prepare off a menu curated by Rusty Hamlin, the executive chef at Southern Ground, Brown's lifestyle empire. The smell of fresh barbecue fare filled the tented space as the group came out to say hello before casually taking their designated positions behind the serving stations.  


    One by one, guests from each table made their way down the line, stopping at each band member's area for a scoop of grub and a quick chat. The guys smiled and shook fans' hands as they acted as hosts, hyping up the magic that was about to happen during their set. By the time I made my way up to the stations, I assumed the group would be over the production of it all, but I was wrong. Fiddler Jimmy De Martini served me some garlic bread, followed by vocalists and guitarists Clay Cook and Coy Bowles on pasta salad duty. Drummer Chris Fryar and guitarist/vocalist John Driskell Hopkins were passing out generous portions of fish next to bass guitarist Matt Mangano and Chef Rusty. Then came Zac Brown himself, who told me that the beef tenderloin doused in his signature Georgia Clay Rub would "change my world," before percussionist Daniel de los Reyes passed me a peach and apple cider crumble. 


    My adrenaline was pumping, and the show still wasn't even starting for another hour. 


    "I think people meeting us and seeing us dishing out food and being at their service is definitely not what they expect, and I love that part," Brown told The Huffington Post in an interview. "There’s a connection that happens when you break bread with people, and we get to exceed expectations, doing things that are way better than they thought they’d be getting. It was my dream to pull it off on that level." 



    Chef Rusty and the band cook up southern cuisine in a state-of-the-art kitchen located on a 54-foot semi trailer dubbed "Cookie" (which can be seen on FYI's series "Rusty's RockFeast: Backstage with Zac Brown Band"). At every tour stop, Hamlin and his culinary team improvise the menu, creating a new set of dishes for every Eat & Greet using the freshest ingredients available from local farmers markets. (For the one at Citi Field, they stopped by Brooklyn’s Borough Hall Greenmarket and anothere in Greenpoint.)


    Brown admits the whole shebang ain't cheap, but it's the look on the attendees' faces that makes the Eat & Greets worthwhile. "I’d say we do 70 to 75 a year, maybe. It’s like throwing a huge wedding every time," he explained. "We invest a lot of dough doing it, but we’re very happy to do it. I think it’s something that sets us apart and something that we’ll remember. That’s the main thing, just making it memorable." 


    Unlike other artists, the group isn't just throwing these events so fans can snap a photo or get an autograph and move along -- they're doing it to "be one of the people with them." 


    "People come up to me sometimes and ask for a picture, but don’t even say hello," Brown said. "They sort of forget that I’m a person."


    "If we had to pose for every single person at the Eat & Greets, we wouldn’t get to speak to anyone that’s there, and we definitely wouldn’t get to serve them food," he continued. "I love getting to visit with them without some kind of technology being involved with it." 


    The band's fan club -- "The Zamily," as they call it -- means the world to them. Not only do they support their music and their goals, but they step up and help the group raise money for a foundation very close to their hearts. A dollar from every single ticket sold goes to Camp Southern Ground, a non-profit camp now in development in Fayetteville, Georgia, which aims to give children of all abilities the opportunity to experience the magic of the outdoors. ZBB's Jekyll & Hyde tour sponsors and partners -- including Bai, who created signature drink The Castaway for the band's tour stops and teamed up with them due to their similar approach to living an authentic, unconventional lifestyle -- give part of their proceeds to the camp, as well. (Bai will donate approximately $50,000 to Camp Southern Ground off their Molokai Coconut bottle sales.) This year, Brown estimates that about a million to a million and a half people will attend their shows, meaning a lot of money will be going to the camp and it's cause. 


    "Getting to have a higher purpose other than just being successful is very necessary for me," Brown told HuffPost. "I was probably 21 or 22 years old when I realized the prose that I live by, which is, 'You get what you give.' The more good deeds that you could do in your life, the more fulfilling and enriched your life is going to be. I truly believe that." 



    Brown sets an example of what success and celebrity status can bring to the world. Someone's merit should not be determined by how many Instagram followers they have or how many stories are written about them in one day. Yes, famous faces have made a name for themselves due to their talent, hard work and passion, but it's what they do with their fame that matters most.  


    Asked about how he feels knowing there are millions of people out there who adore him and his music, Brown is exceedingly modest. "I honestly forget about it," Brown, a husband and father-of-five, said. "I’m at home slinging diapers and running babies around and being a human dad, and then we hit the road and I'm like, ‘Oh yeah. This is what we do for a living.' I never get used to that feeling." 


    Zac Brown Band is currently on their Jekyll & Hyde tour, which runs through mid-November. 

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