Review Category : Entertainment

“Dancing with the Stars” Kicks Off Two-Part Season Finale Monday Night

Adam Taylor/ABC(LOS ANGELES) — This week, a new Dancing with the Stars champion will be crowned.

The two-part season finale begins Monday night on ABC. The three remaining couples — Noah Galloway; and Sharna Burgess, Riker Lynch and Allison Holker, and Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy — will reprise a routine from earlier in the season, then perform a supersized freestyle dance.

Lynch says he has something really cool planned for his freestyle. He explains to ABC Radio, “It’s going to be massive, so many things happening, so much stage movement. There’s kind of like two different dynamics of, like, kind of a classical vibe and, then, like, a remix comes in.”

Willis is feeling the strain of the competition entering the finale. She says she and Chmerkovskiy are “definitely at that point where our bodies are trying to yell at us and riot against us a bit.”

Galloway and Burgess aren’t putting too much pressure on themselves to win the Mirrorball trophy. Galloway says it would be “quite alright” if they fall short of first place. Burgess clarifies, “Not that we don’t want to win it, we’ve already had that conversation. But we’re just so honored to be in a final with such incredible talent.”

A new champion will be announced Tuesday night on a special two-hour program.

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“Pitch Perfect 2” Beats Expectations at Weekend Box Office

Universal(NEW YORK) — The cast of Pitch Perfect 2 was perfectly in tune to dominate the domestic box office for the film’s opening weekend.

The comedy sequel to the 2012 hit about a female acapella group directed by Elizabeth Banks, shattered expectations and opened to an estimated $70.3 million. The opening is more than the first movie made in the U.S. during its entire run in theaters.

Mad Max: Fury Road
opened to an estimated $44.4 million.

The two highly-anticipated releases bumped Avengers: Age of Ultron down to third place.

Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to boxofficemojo.com:

1. Pitch Perfect 2: $70.3 million
2. Mad Max: Fury Road: $44.4 million
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron: $38.8 million
4. Hot Pursuit: $5.7 million
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: $3.6 million
6. Furious 7: $3.6 million
7. The Age of Adaline: $3.2 million
8. Home: $2.7 million
9. Ex Machina: $2.1 million
10. Far from the Madding Crowd: $1.3 million

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Former Creed Frontman Scott Stapp Says Prescription Drug Abuse Led to Psychotic Episodes

Seni Tienabeso/ABC(NEW YORK) — Scott Stapp, the former frontman for Creed, one of the biggest rock bands of the late 90s and early 2000s, was once known for multi-platinum hits like “My Sacrifice,” “With Arms Wide Open” and “Higher.”

Then Stapp became infamous for a very public meltdown that went on for months last year, in which the rocker posted cryptic video messages online about being “penniless” and that the CIA was watching him. He said he placed maniacal calls to 911, the White House and his son’s school, and fired off jarring emails and text messages to family and friends. Meanwhile, Stapp said his bizarre behavior fueled Internet rumors that he was on a drug-fueled downward spiral.

Now, in an exclusive interview on the cover of People magazine and with ABC News, Stapp is revealing for the first time that during a hellish span of about six months he said he suffered manic psychosis from overdosing on prescription drugs.

“I was so out of my mind, delusional, turned on everyone that I loved, made wild and crazy accusations about my wife. I thought I was being followed by the government, I mean, it was a manic paranoid, psychotic episode,” Stapp told ABC News. “I was driving around with … a 12-gauge shotgun in my lap. And I thought that people were trying to kill me.”

“I would have like, maybe a 45-second interval of, ‘What’s going on,’ and then I’d be right back into the psychosis,” he added.

Stapp said his psychosis was so intense that he thought he had been programmed by the CIA — a real-life Jason Bourne — and he would prowl airports looking for suspicious cars.

During his music career, Stapp said he had abused alcohol and harder drugs that landed him in trouble with the law, and said that his years of substance abuse was his attempt to self-medicate to battle an undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

Stapp said he first began to “feel different” in 1998. At the time, Creed’s “Proof of Life” album had just dropped, but Stapp said he was starting to feel down.

“In 1998, I was on top of the world,” Stapp said. “I had four No. 1 singles. My career was taking off. And then all of a sudden, a depression came over me, a debilitating, physical depression.”

“And at that point in time, I went into a walk-in clinic while I was on tour, sought a doctor and got a prescription antidepressant, and that’s really where this journey begins,” he added.

Stapp said he began to battle a cycle of ups and downs, from promoting a new album to feeling depressed and “not focused.” In his 2012 book, Sinner’s Creed, Stapp admitted that addiction and depression nearly tore his life apart, leading to a much-publicized 2006 suicide attempt and the disbandment of the band, Creed. The book was supposed to herald his renewed faith and sobriety.

However, Stapp, who said he was still battling underlying pains at the time and had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) years ago, said he “relapsed” and lied to a doctor in 2014 about his past substance abuse to get Adderall.

“I didn’t want to return to street drugs, and so I deceived myself and knowingly went in to see a doctor,” he said. “Having the previous diagnosis, it made it easy for him to prescribe me Adderall, and I began taking that medication, not knowing the consequences that were getting ready to happen.”

When he began taking the Adderall, at first “things were fine,” Stapp continued.

“It worked temporarily on the problem that I was having,” he said. “It did what it was supposed to do. But then it didn’t. And so I increased the dosage and I started taking more. And then it stopped working again. And so I started taking more. And I got up to taking double the legal dosage for that medication, 120 milligrams. And that led me right into a full-blown psychotic episode.”

Stapp said he also kept going to the doctor for the Adderall prescription a secret from his wife, Jaclyn Stapp, whom he married in 2006.

“I hid it from her,” he said. “It was a full-blown relapse, man, and I can make no excuses about that. … [I] thought that I could manage it this time.”

Taking more Adderall than was prescribed, Stapp said, led to his suffering from “delusions, hallucinations, paranoia,” and eventually he turned on Jaclyn. He claims he was unaware that one of the side effects of overdosing on Adderall can include hallucinations.

“I thought my own wife was trying to poison me. I made crazy accusations that she had done things to me that she’s never done,” Stapp said. “My wife was trying to save me. She was trying to help me. And her efforts to help me in my delusional state, I interpreted as part of the grand conspiracy to harm me.”

Sitting by her husband’s side during the ABC News interview, Jaclyn said she started noticing “little red flags” about his behavior a few weeks after he came back from touring last year. She said it wasn’t until she called Scott’s pharmacy that she found out he had a prescription for Adderall. When she learned he was abusing prescription drugs, she said she was hurt and asked him to leave because she didn’t want him around their three children. She said she told him to go into a detox program, but instead Scott tried to quit cold turkey on his own, which they both said made things worse.

“That’s when I checked into the Holiday Inn and I abruptly stopped the medication, and basically that was like throwing fuel on a fire,” Scott Stapp said.

It was during this time that Stapp posted a 15-minute video on his Facebook page — the post has since been removed — in which he told fans that he was “penniless” after people had “stolen money” from him, so he was living in a hotel and was as “sober as can be.”

Now, Stapp said his online video had “no basis in reality.” He wasn’t penniless or being robbed, he said he was battling a manic psychosis.

“I was in severe pain,” he said. “Everything that I thought, I believed in the bottom of my heart… Your delusion has told you that you have no money, you have no home, you have no family and everyone that you love has been trying to harm you, and you believe it.”

During his mania, Stapp would stuff his wallet with cash and fill the flatbed of his truck with his gun collection and sports memorabilia, which he said he started giving away with reckless abandon. Stapp said he would pick a homeless person at random, “get him a hotel room, give him $20 and then take off.” He said he also gave away some of his prized possessions — three Salvador Dali sketches — to a Catholic church in Mississippi on a random manic drive through the South.

He says he was so manic, he doesn’t even know the name of the town where he left the Dali sketches.

Jaclyn filed for divorce in November 2014. In the divorce papers, Jaclyn said her husband was “doing so much amphetamines, crystal meth and steroids that he has become a paranoid shell who has threatened to kill himself and harm his family.”

At one point during his mania, Scott said he called the White House “two or three times” and he believed the government had programmed him to harm the president. His accusations became serious enough that the Secret Service showed up at the Los Angeles home he was staying in and at his family’s home in Florida.

“I had told [the Secret Service] that he had a terrible relapse and we’re trying to get him help, and that he was not, you know, a threat, he just needs help,” Jaclyn said. “I knew Scott was very sick.”

It was around this time that Stapp said his psychosis started to wear off and Jaclyn flew to L.A. to have him seek treatment. Throughout the months-long ordeal, Stapp had been texting with Jaclyn and she with him, hoping it would pull him back.

“I was beginning to have days where I was coming to my senses,” Scott Stapp said. “Almost like walking up out of a blackout, going, ‘Oh my God, what have I done? What has happened here? Oh my God.’ And it was so overwhelming. It was hard to even process. And I felt so remorseful, so shameful, so sad.”

Now, eight months later, Stapp said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he is finally getting the right treatment. He and Jaclyn are now opening up about Stapp’s diagnosis, including in a spread in People magazine. He said he is sober and just recently moved back home to Florida, where he and his wife are trying to move forward together.

“There is hope,” Stapp said. “When I’m with this woman, I feel like there’s always hope, and she’s teaching me what real love it and I’m just very thankful for that.”

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Jennifer Connelly Just Got Her First Computer

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Connelly is an analog girl living in a digital world.

“I am Miss Analog. I bought my first computer just yesterday,” the Oscar nominated actress confessed to Town and Country‘s June/July issue.

The 44-year-old star of Aloft became the proud owner of a MacBook Air after she took her iPhone in for repairs and was asked by the Apple technician how she backs up her data.

“In college I wrote on an old typewriter,” Connelly told the magazine.

She also grew up in a low-tech household.

“Anything that we had in our house — which at that point was, like, a CD player — my parents, if it didn’t work, would be like, ‘Can you fix it? Can you make it work?'” Connelly said. “I am loath to be that person, and I am that person in my house now — the one who’s like, ‘Can you please tell me how to print the whatever?'”

Fortunately, Connelly’s husband, British actor Paul Bettany, is not a luddite like she is.

“My husband is on Twitter, but I am not,” she said.

He’s also more comfortable working a room than she is.

“I’m not the most gregarious person in the room, for sure. I think by coupling with Paul, that kind of works,” she said about Bettany, whom she met on the set of A Beautiful Mind in 2001 and married in 2003. “I’m more reserved. I can be kind of shy in a group. I mean, I manage it pretty well, but he’s much more outgoing than I am.”

But once Connelly is comfortable with a person, she said, “I’m a compulsive confessor.”

As for getting comfortable with social media, she said, “I’ll probably at some point get involved in Instagram and things like that because I feel it’s reality and it’s the way people communicate.”

She paused. “I don’t know,” she said. “Possibly.”

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Billboard Music Awards: What to Expect From the Star-Studded Show

ABC/ Lou Rocco(LAS VEGAS) — The competition is stiff for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, airing this weekend on ABC, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Taylor Swift is the leading nominee, with 14 entries in 13 categories. Her pal Sam Smith — who’ll be missing the show due to vocal cord surgery — is nominated for 13 awards in 13 categories. They’re both competing for Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, and Top Digital Songs Artist.

Other top nominees include rapper Iggy Azalea, a finalist with 12 nominations in 11 categories, and Meghan Trainor, with nominations in nine different categories.

“I love the Billboard Awards,” gushed Swift in a clip from Countdown to the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. “I always have a great time and I love the fact that the awards are, are based on what the fans have actually decided to invest in and buy.”

While Swift isn’t performing this year, she’ll make a huge impression on the telecast: It’ll start with her star-studded video for “Bad Blood,” which features the likes of Lena Dunham, Jessica Alba, rapper Kendrick Lamar, Ellen Pompeo, Mariska Hargitay, Hailee Steinfeld, Karlie Kloss, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Ellie Goulding and more, all playing characters with names like “Luna,” “Justice,” “Knockout,” “Destructa X” and “Dilemma.” Swift herself is portraying someone named “Catastrophe,” and all we know is that there will be fighting involved.

In Countdown to the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, Swift explained the thinking behind the video’s concept.

“Let’s have them play assassins in a music video,” she said. “They are metaphorically killing it. They are also playing killers.”

Swift, Azalea and Trainor are all up for the only fan-voted category: the Billboard Chart Achievement Award presented by Samsung, recognizing each woman’s huge chart success in the past year.

As far as who is performing on the telecast, the list includes Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Imagine Dragons, Hozier, Nick Jonas, Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran, Van Halen, Kanye West, the stars of Empire, Fall Out Boy featuring Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj and David Guetta, Kanye West, Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea, Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend, Pitbull and Chris Brown, Fifth Harmony and Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth and Lindsey Stirling. In addition, legendary ’80s band Simple Minds will salute the 30th anniversary of their song from the movie The Breakfast Club, “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

The BBMAs will be hosted by rapper/actor Ludacris and model and host Chrissy Teigen. Ludacris told ABC News that of all this year’s nominees, he was most impressed by the success of one particular singer.

“I think every year we have someone who is just like a standout person in music and I think Sam Smith takes that cake for this year,” he said. “I think he said it best when he won his Grammy. He was like, once he just started being completely honest and pouring his heart out, then everyone started gravitating toward his music and it shined. And I’m extremely happy for him.”

The rapper and Furious 7 star also noted what makes the Billboard Awards different from all the other awards shows out there: They reward the artists and the music that have been most successful on the Billboard charts by measuring actual data: album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social interactions.

“It’s based off the charts and it’s not like you can say you don’t know how someone won or certain things like that. So it is based off the people,” he explained.

The 2015 Billboard Music Awards air Sunday night, May 17, live on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Here are the nominations:

Top Artist
•Ariana Grande
•One Direction
•Katy Perry
•Sam Smith
•Taylor Swift

Top Billboard 200 Album
•Maroon 5, V
•Pentatonix, That’s Christmas to Me
•Ed Sheeran, X
•Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
•Taylor Swift, 1989

Top Male Artist
•Drake
•Pharrell Williams
•Ed Sheeran
•Sam Smith
•Justin Timberlake

Top Female Artist
•Iggy Azalea
•Ariana Grande
•Katy Perry
•Taylor Swift
•Meghan Trainor

Top Hot 100 Song
•Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
•John Legend, “All of Me”
•Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”
•Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
•Meghan Trainor, “All About that Bass”

Top New Artist

•Iggy Azalea
•5 Seconds of Summer
•Hozier
•Sam Smith
•Meghan Trainor

Top Duo/Group
•5 Seconds of Summer
•Florida Georgia Line
•MAGIC!
•Maroon 5
•One Direction

Top Billboard 200 Artist
•One Direction
•Pentatonix
•Ed Sheeran
•Sam Smith
•Taylor Swift

Top Radio Songs
•John Legend
•Maroon 5
•Ed Sheeran
•Sam Smith
•Taylor Swift

Top Touring Artist
•Lady Gaga
•Rolling Stones
•One Direction
•Katy Perry
•Justin Timberlake

Top Social Artist
•Justin Bieber
•Miley Cyrus
•Ariana Grande
•Taylor Swift
•Selena Gomez

Top Streaming Artist
•Ariana Grande
•Nicki Minaj
•Iggy Azalea
•Taylor Swift
•Meghan Trainor

Top R&B Artist
•Beyoncé
•Chris Brown
•John Legend
•Trey Songz
•Pharrell

Top Digital Songs Artist
•Iggy Azalea
•Ed Sheeran
•Sam Smith
•Taylor Swift
•Meghan Trainor

Top Rap Artist
•Iggy Azalea
•J. Cole
•Drake
•Nicki Minaj
•Rae Sremmurd

Top Country Artist
•Jason Aldean
•Luke Bryan
•Florida Georgia Line
•Brantley Gilbert
•Blake Shelton

Top Rock Artist
•Bastille
•Coldplay
•Fall Out Boy
•Hozier
•Lorde

Top Latin Artist
•J Balvin
•Juan Gabriel
•Enrique Iglesias
•Prince Royce
•Romeo Santos

Top Dance/Electronic Artist
•Avicii
•Clean Bandit
•Disclosure
•Calvin Harris
•Lindsey Stirling

Top Soundtrack
The Fault in Our Stars
Fifty Shades of Grey
Frozen
Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Into the Woods

Top R&B Album
•Beyoncé, Beyoncé
•Chris Brown, X
•Michael Jackson, Xscape
•John Legend, Love in the Future
•Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Top Rap Album
•J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
•Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
•Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint
•Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
•Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Top Country Album
•Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt
•Garth Brooks, Man Against Machine
•Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
•Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
•Miranda Lambert, Platinum

Top Rock Album
•AC/DC, Rock or Bust
•The Black Keys, Turn Blue
•Coldplay, Ghost Stories
•Hozier, Hozier
•Lorde, Pure Heroine

Top Latin Album

•Juan Gabriel, Los Dúo
•Enrique Iglesias, Sex and Love
•Romeo Santos, Formula Vol. 2
•Santana, Corazon
•Marc Anthony, 3.0

Top Dance/Electronic Album
•Avicii, True
•Disclosure, Settle
•Calvin Harris, Motion
•Skrillex, Recess
•Lindsey Stirling, Shatter Me

Top Digital Song
•Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!”
•Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”
•Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
•Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”
•Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Top Radio Song

•John Legend, “All of Me”
•MAGIC!, “Rude”
•Nico & Vinz, “Am I Wrong”
•Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”
•Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Top Streaming Song (Audio)
•Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
•Hozier, “Take Me to Church”
•John Legend, “All of Me”
•Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”
•Tove Lo, “Habits (Stay High)”

Top Streaming Song (Video)
•Idina Menzel, “Let It Go”
•Bobby Shmurda, “Hot Boy”
•Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
•Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
•Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

Top R&B Song

•Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne, French Montana, Too $hort & Tyga, “Loyal”
•Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
•Jeremih feat. YG, “Don’t Tell ‘Em”
•John Legend, “All of Me”
•Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Top Rap Song
•Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
•Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora, “Black Widow”
•Big Sean feat. E-40, “I Don’t F**k with You”
•Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
•Bobby Shmurda, “Hot Boy”

Top Country Song
•Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
•Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”
•Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”
•Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan, “This Is How We Roll”
•Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”

Top Rock Song

•Bastille, “Pompeii”
•Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”
•Fall Out Boy, “Centuries”
•Hozier, “Take Me to Church”
•Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”

Top Latin Song
•J Balvin feat. Farruko, “6 AM”
•Enrique Iglesias feat. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona, “Bailando”
•Romeo Santos, “Eres Mía”
•Romeo Santos feat. Drake, “Odio”
•Romeo Santos, “Propuesta Indecente”

Top Dance/Electronic Song

•Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be”
•Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Latch”
•DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What”
•Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, “Break Free”
•Calvin Harris, “Summer”

FAN VOTED AWARD
Billboard Chart Achievement Award presented by Samsung

•Iggy Azalea
•Taylor Swift
•Meghan Trainor

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How the Stars Behind ‘Dude Perfect’ Made YouTube Their Day Job

ABC News(NEW YORK) — They are the highflying, gravity-defying, trick-shot-making men behind the YouTube channel, Dude Perfect.

In fact, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones, Tyler Toney, Coby Cotton and Cory Cotton have become the very definition of “dudes.”

Their videos, which feature tricks involving basketball shots, football spirals and golf chips, have turned them into Internet megastars. The channel has more than 12 million fans on Facebook, 5 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 600 million video views.

But they just think of themselves as regular dudes from Texas who are in constant, hyper-competitive mode.

“I think it’s a little bit natural. We’re all super-competitive. As soon as one of us does something, the rest of us are trying to top it,” Coby Cotton told ABC News.

In fact, their first video, which went viral, was a compilation of trick shots the guys made when they were just a bunch of college buddies. They said the secret to their videos is a lot of practice, despite people thinking it might just be tricky camera angles.

“I think we take that as a compliment, because you have to be really smart to be able to do that. We just don’t have that capability,” Hilbert told ABC News.

The five friends hold onto their Christian values and are careful with their brand. They’ve turned down an alcohol sponsorship and have avoided being featured in certain men’s magazines. That family-friendly business plan has helped them bring in big money from YouTube, merchandise and even their own iPhone game.

“There’s things that we got to decide do. We want to be associated with that and more. So do we want to push that to our audience that we know a lot of them are a lot younger?” Toney asked ABC News. “It’s a decision that we’ve made that we’re not going to go down that direction.”

“One of the things we celebrate the most is when we get tweets that say, ‘We’re waiting for our parents to get home so we can sit down on the couch and watch together,'” Coby Cotton said.

They also have endorsements with companies including Nerf and Pringles, with at least one estimate pegging the Dude Perfect brand to be worth millions.

The Dude Perfect stars say they’re far from billionaires but make enough money to support their families. Three of the five “dudes” are married, and Hilbert is even a new dad. But they say there’s a lot of hard, behind-the-scenes work that goes into every single video they make.

“You know, everybody always says it’s the easiest and most fun job in the world,” Toney said. “It’s definitely the most fun, but it’s not the easiest.”

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Matthew McConaughey Delivers UH Commencement Address

Dustin Finkelstein/Getty Images(HOUSTON) — Attendees of the University of Houston’s graduation ceremony on Friday got to see one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Matthew McConaughey.

The actor gave the university’s commencement address, and according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV, he was well-received by attendees and had a lot to say.

“Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not,” he said.

McConaughey offered words of encouragement and inspiration to the graduates. He also said they should define their own success and enjoy the journey.

“Personally, as an actor, I started enjoying my work and literally being more happy when I stopped trying to make the daily labor a means to a certain end,” he said. “For example, I need this film to be a box office success.”

KTRK-TV said most people in attendance didn’t expect him to speak as long as he did, and towards the end of his speech the crowd started to get somewhat restless. Some graduates even took selfies while he was still talking.

According to the university, McConaughey donated the entire $120,000 speaker fee to a charity he started called the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation. The charity assists high school students in leading active lives.

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Wendy Raquel Robinson Says “The Game’s” Tasha Mack Gets ‘Fairy Tale Ending’

(NEW YORK) — Wendy Raquel Robinson’s voice quivers with emotion when she speaks about the final season of BET’s The Game.

“We had an amazing ride. It’s kind of unreal that it’s coming to an end,” she tells ABC Radio. “We finished it. You know, we shot it so it’s already in the can. I feel like it’s so iconic. And I feel like I’m leaving behind a legacy that I’m so proud of. And I’m proud of the work we’ve done and I’m proud of the evolution of the show.”

Quantrell D. Colbert/BETThe Game was almost like the TV show that couldn’t die. Fans resurrected it on BET after it was abruptly canceled on The CW in 2009. Its ninth and final season will air this fall; the show has already wrapped production. “It’s bittersweet. It really is. It’s bittersweet, but I think it’s time that we go out on top,” Robinson says.

The actress says her last day of filming was one that included some tears. “My last night of shooting, unbeknownst to me, they brought out a huge cart [with] champagne classes. Now mind you, it’s like 5 o’clock in the morning and we were at the end of a 16-hour day,” she recalls. “But we were serenaded by [creator] Mara Brock Akil, [director] Salim Akil, the showrunner at the time Kenny Smith. They all stopped and toasted each and every character. So personal and so emotional.”

So when the show, which is centered around a fictional San Diego football team, returns this fall, what can fans expect from Robinson’s character?

“Tasha Mack I wouldn’t say is stuck in a love triangle. I think she’s trying to smooth it out into a rectangle,” Robinson says with a laugh. “The four people being Rick Fox, Pookie, my baby Kai and myself. She comes to grips that either she’s going to be a single mom, or she’s gonna end up with someone and it’ll be a family. I can honestly say she has a fairy tale ending.”

Now that filming The Game has come to an end, Robinson has more time to devote to young artists based in South Los Angeles through her Amazing Grace Conservatory, which she founded in 1996 with Tracy Lamar Coley. The training school will soon premiere their spring production, Sisters Act Too.

“It’s an original adaption of the movie [Sister Act 2]. You know, where the movie is with Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill, and it was set in 1993, we made it present day, so it’s 2015. So we updated the music. So it’s so relevant and it’s just a really poignant story.”

Sisters Act Too will premiere Saturday at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit ItsMySeat.com.

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Mo’Nique Plays Mother of the Blues Ma Rainey in “Bessie”

Frank Masi(NEW YORK) — Mo’Nique stars as Ma Rainey in the HBO biopic Bessie in which Queen Latifah portrays blues legend Bessie Smith.

Mo’Nique says this biopic needed to come to the small screen.

“Bessie Smith is one of those stories, it needed to be told,” she tells ABC Radio. “Because there’s so much about our history — when it comes to African-Americans — that we’re unaware of and it’s not in our history books. And they never taught me anything about Bessie Smith in my music class.”

Queen Latifah auditioned for the role 20 years ago. Reportedly, the film was originally backed by a major movie studio with a $30 million budget. But Hollywood being what it is, the project lost momentum. After going through five screenwriters, Latifah’s longtime creative partner, Shakim Compere, came on as executive producer to finally get the movie made.

“Queen Latifah is Bessie Smith. Just like we felt like Jamie Foxx was Ray Charles, Queen Latifah is Bessie Smith and she brings that woman back to life,” Mo’Nique says.

Mo’Nique portrays Queen Latifah’s onscreen adviser, Ma Rainey, the singer known as The Mother of the Blues. The Academy Award winner says she couldn’t pass up the role.

“To play Ma Rainey, [whose birth name was] Gertrude, it was an honor because I never knew anything about Ma Rainey until I got that script,” she explains. “And to find out that this woman, she believed what she believed in, she stood up for it, she loved to entertain, but had this heart that was just so full and loving. And she was Bessie Smith’s mentor. And to see the relationship between these two women that even when it got crazy and rough they still loved each other through it.”

Not only was Ma Rainey a mentor, Mo’Nique says she also inspired the singer to stay true to her sexuality, a plot point that will be explored in the film.

“Ma Rainey was the one that let Bessie Smith know it was okay to be free, it’s okay to who you are because Ma Rainey was an openly gay woman,” Mo explains. “Initially, [Ma Rainey] was bi-sexual then she just said listen I’m not gonna play that game anymore I’m gonna go all the way over here where I’m supposed to be.”

Bessie, also starring Charles S. Dutton, premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern on HBO.

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Exclusive: Bill Cosby Breaks Silence About Sexual Assault Allegations

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Bill Cosby is responding to questions about allegations of sexual assault for the first time in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis.

The actor and comedian is in Alabama, where he is spreading his message of education, preparing to speak with students later on Friday. Cosby, 77, admitted that he expects some backlash.

“I think that many of them may say, ‘Well, you are a hypocrite. You say one thing, you say another,’” he told Davis. “My point is, ‘OK, listen to me carefully. I’m telling you where the road is out. I’m telling you where, as you drive, you are going to go into the water. Now, you want to go here or you want to be concerned about who is giving you the message?’”

More than 30 women have come forward in the past six months, some accusing Cosby of drugging or sexually assaulting them. His legal team has issued a number of denials.

Cosby has never been criminally charged. Three of his accusers have filed a defamation lawsuit against him, which Cosby is trying to get dismissed.

In an effort to turn the page, Cosby is now part of an initiative to bring awareness about the state of underfunded schools near Selma, Alabama. But will the allegations overshadow his message?

“It’s interesting. When I talk to people they will say, ‘This is a situation that’s unprecedented.’ I, my family, my friends, I have been in this business 52 years,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. And reality is the situation. And I can’t speak.”

Cosby has been invited to walk across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge with students as part of a “March for Education.” The program is hosted by the Black Belt Community Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving the lives of citizens in a 12-county section of Alabama known as the “Black Belt” area.

Cosby’s participation sparked an online firestorm, something that organizers admit made them think twice about his involvement.

“We had some very rich discussions about it, but at the end of the day what was most important was: How do we make sure the world knows that Black Belt children matter?” said Felecia Lucky, the organization’s president.

Cosby, whose long career has included his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, still talks about the possibility of a return to TV.

“I really know about what I want to do tomorrow — in the tomorrows that follow,” he told Davis. “I have a ton of ideas to put on television for a series about people and their behavior and their love for each other.”

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