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Bushwick Bill, Of Houston Rap Group Geto Boys, Dead At 52

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Photo By LaNell Taylor - February 8, 2019 backstage at rapper Lil Sin's Birthday Bash

June 10, 201911:27 AM ETHeard on All Things Considered

Houston rapper Bushwick Bill, a founding member of the pioneering rap crew Geto Boys, died on Sunday evening in Colorado, his publicist, Dawn P., confirmed with NPR. A cause was not given pending a medical examination; the rapper was diagnosed earlier this year with pancreatic cancer. He was 52 years old.

Born Richard Shaw in Kingston, Jamaica, the artist moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn as a young child — hence his rap moniker — before relocating to Houston, where he first joined the Rap-A-Lot Records-assembled group in the early-to-mid-’80s as a breakdancer and hype man. But as members came and went, he found his way to the mic.

Known for his brash persona and performative storytelling, Bill’s unhinged, engaging bars on Geto Boys classics like “F*** a War,” “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” and “Mind of a Lunatic” were central to the group carving out its place as a pioneering Southern rap unit in the late ’80s and early ’90s. While Scarface was hailed as the lyricist of the group, Bushwick Bill’s appeal lied in his erratic, say-anything verses. In hip-hop’s Golden Era, Geto Boys is credited with putting Houston on the map by pioneering horrorcore — a rap subgenre rooted in nightmarish imagery, physical abuse and psychological horror. Many of rap’s current stars, from Jeezy and Lil Wayne to Juice WRLD and 21 Savage, have cited Geto Boys as an influence.

In the span of a decade, from 1988 to 1998 — including a three-year hiatus, from ’93 to ’96 — Geto Boys released an impressive six albums. As a soloist, Bill released six solo albums from 1992 to 2010, while Geto Boys reunited for a 2005 album, The Foundation. In 2019, on the heels of Bill’s cancer diagnosis, the members announced they were planning a farewell tour, to be called The Beginning of a Long Goodbye, The Final Farewell. The tour was later cancelled due to Bill pulling out of the performance dates.

Bushwick Bill was born with dwarfism and suffered from joint pain. In October 1991, Bill — drunk on Everclear and arguing with his then-girlfriend as he details in the song “Ever So Clear” — was shot in the eye. Willie D and Scarface posed alongside Bushwick Bill in the hospital halls the night he was shot, a photo which would later be used as the album cover of the trio’s 1991 seminal album We Can’t BeStopped. To date, it remains the group’s best-selling. In 2010, Bushwick Bill was arrested in Atlanta, charged with criminal possession of cocaine and marijuana and facing possible deportation.

Bill first shared the news that he was battling cancer on May 1, 2019. In a video posted to TMZ, the ailing rapper announced he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February 2019 and, up to that point, had not told his fellow Geto Boys, Willie D and Scarface. Later that same month, Bill was hospitalized with pneumonia and was forced to cancel the remaining shows on the Geto Boys reunion tour. “Now, the rumor is I pulled out on the tour, but if my health was a concern then you would know about my health, not about me pulling out of the tour,” the rapper told fans in an Instagram video shot, speaking from a hospital bed. “This is a health issue. Pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy gave me pneumonia.”

Speaking to Vice in 2015, ahead of a screening of the horror film Child’s Play that he was set to host in Los Angeles, Bushwick Bill explained the hope he found in fusing rap and the macabre: “There are these little moments in life where if you’re under the right stars and the right light hits you, or when the northern lights are going by you could become a superhuman being. To be able to be bigger than who you are, I think people have always been fascinated with that. That you could turn into a werewolf and be strong, or that you could use electricity and bring something back to life.”

Additional reporting by Andrew Flanagan

(Source: NPR)

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TV ONE’S ACCLAIMED SERIES UNSUNG RETURNS

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A BRAND NEW SEASON OF TV ONE’S ACCLAIMED SERIES UNSUNG RETURNS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23 AT 10 P.M./9C  

This Season Highlights Untold Stories of Dru Hill, Roxanne Shante,Christopher Williams, Betty Wright, Goodie Mob and More

TV One’s longest-running and award-winning documentary series UNSUNG continues its stellar run with an all-new season premiering Sunday, February 23 at 10 P.M. ET/9C. The season kicks off with the popular 90s R&B group Dru Hill.    The season continues with memorable stories of influential artists including rap’s first female star MC Roxanne Shante; singer/actor Christopher Williams; funk and disco band Skyy; the “Mother of Freestyle” Shannon; Grammy Award-winning crooner behind the 1972 number one single “Me and Mrs. Jones,” Billy Paul; vocal powerhouse Betty Wright, best known for the 70s hit single “Clean Up Woman;” multi-Grammy Award-winning musician Al Jarreau; and Atlanta hip hop quartet Goodie MobUNSUNG, nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding News/Information – (Series or Special), celebrates the lives of trailblazing musicians whose full stories and journeys have yet to be explored. Through first-hand accounts, interviews with family and friends, and archival footage, each episode weaves a tale of the highs and lows of a life in the limelight.  UNSUNG is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions’ Arthur Smith and Frank Sinton with Executive Producer Mark Rowland and Co-Executive Producer Kysha Mounia. For TV One, Jason Ryan is Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell Kennedy-McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting and Brigitte McCray is Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Production ###
For more information on UNSUNG visit TV One’s YouTube Channeland check out exclusive, behind-the-scenes content on www.tvone.tv. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TV One’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) and the UNSUNGFacebook (@tvoneunsung) using the hashtag #UNSUN

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New Year New Episodes

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The ladies of Sister Circle kick off the new year with actors Rotimi, Brian Jordan, Jr., relationship expert Tracy McMillian and more as part of 2020 Transformation Week.

New episodes of the daytime talk show “Sister Circle Live” airs at 12 p.m. ET on TV One. Upcoming guests include:

Monday, 1/6/2020 Actor and Singer Rotimi (“Power”) Movie Reviews with Xilla Valentine

2020 Transformation Week Kicks Off with vegan Chef Gueli

Tuesday, 1/7/2020 Actor Brian Jordan (“Sistas”)
SISTER CIRCLE Savings

Wednesday, 1/8/2020 Relationship Expert Tracy McMillan (“Family or Fiancé”)

2020 Transformation Week with Syleena’s Yoga Lesson


Thursday, 1/9/2020 Singer and Actor Jacob Latimore
South African Chef Lorna Maseko

Tea with Miss Quad and Dani Canada, Deputy Editor, Bossip

Friday, 1/10/2020 Journalist Ed Gordon
Actor and Comedian Reginald “Bruh-Man” Ballard

2020 Transformation Week with Life Coach Valorie Burton

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95-Year Old Actress Cicely Tyson Says She Refuses to Retire

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Nationwide — Cicely Tyson, one of the most iconic actresses of our time, has just turned 95-years old. But despite her age, she says she will never ever retire from her decades-long career.

Tyson was the cover star for Time Magazine’s latest “The Art of Optimism” special issue. During her interview, she revealed that she has no plans to retire from Hollywood.

“The reason why I have been in this universe as long as I have been is because he’s not ready for me,” said Tyson. “When I’ve completed my job, he’ll take me away. I know several people who have retired and then six months later, they’re gone.”

Since the 1960’s, Tyson has been gracing both the film and television screens and making an impact as a Black woman. She paved the way for more representation of Black women in Hollywood.

Throughout her career, she has won a number of prestigious awards including Emmys and a Tony and was nominated for Academy Awards for her role in the 1972 film Sounder. Among some of her works, she has appeared in two Tyler Perry movies, was part of the Roots miniseries, and had a small role in the Oscar-nominated movie The Help.

Now, she plays a recurring character in How to Get Away With Murder as the mother of the main character Annalise Keating, portrayed by Viola Davis. And she is far from retiring.

“We have to honor this blessed gift that we have. That’s what keeps you going. Keeps your mind fluid — your heart, your whole being. You can’t just stop, because that will be the end of you.”

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