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2015 XXL Freshman Class Is Here! (Video)

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The announcement of our 2015 XXL Freshman Class, of course, also means our Summer 2015 issue has arrived and it’s packed full of top-notch stories. We spent time with hip-hop’s pint-sized power duo Rae Sremmurd, who can’t stop dropping hits, and spoke to Bobby Shmurda in an exclusive interview from jail as he waits for his trial to begin at the end of the month. We spent the day with the Migos in Atlanta as they gear up to release their debut album in July and caught up with Troy Ave in New York City before he drops his own LP, out June 5. Boosie BadAzz let us into his thought process in writing Touch Down 2 Cause Hell and A$AP Rocky’s engineer Hector Delgado broke down the magic that made At.Long.Last.A$AP tick. Gucci Mane spoke to us exclusively from prison—and not just to give advice. And French Montana penned a few heartfelt words about the loss of his friend and fellow MC Chinx, who was tragically killed last month.

So we’ve got plenty to come as we roll out this issue, which hits newsstands later this month. But today, it’s all about congratulating the 2015 XXL Freshman Class. The process of selecting our Freshmen every year is an eight-month process, with thousands of hours dedicated to listening to new music, meeting and interviewing hundreds of potential Freshmen picking the brains of everyone and making and re-making (and re-making) the list over and over again to determine who we feel should represent this year’s Class. We’re proud of our picks. We hope you’ll agree.

Congratulations again to the 2015 XXL Freshman Class of DeJ Loaf, Fetty Wap, GoldLink, K Camp, OG Maco, Raury, Shy Glizzy, Tink, Vince Staples and Kidd Kidd. The future is now

Film & Television

Why Did Michaela Coel Walk Away From a $1 Million Dollar Deal with Netflix?

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Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.

Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. So, naturally, Coel’s history with the streaming platform made it the premier destination for her new project. After a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, however, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series.

According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.

I May Destry You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.

The series is now streaming on HBO.

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Film & Television

Ava DuVernay and Whoopi Goldberg Elected to The Academy’s Board of Governors

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just elected members to its 2020-2021 Board of Governors. Among the six newly elected governors are director Ava DuVernay. EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg has been re-elected for a second three-year term.

For those not familiar with the work of the Board of Governors, here is a breakdown of how it works and what it does.

Per Oscars official website, The Board of Governors directs the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health and assures the fulfillment of its mission.

Governors attend 6-8 board meetings annually (in person or by video). Each Governor also serves on one board oversight committee and their branch’s executive committee, and they are expected to represent their branch at numerous Academy events through the year.

The Academy has a total of 18 branches, including the actors branch and directors branch, where Goldberg and DuVernay will serve. Each branch is represented by three governors who are elected for three-year terms.

Since the #OscarSoWhite campaign in 2015, the Academy has been making efforts to increase diversity across the board. After the most recent election, out of 54 governors, the number of female Academy governors increased from 25 to 26, and people of color increased from 11 to 12.

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‘The Old Guard’ Trailer: Kiki Layne and Chitewel Ejiofor Star in Netflix’s Upcoming Action Flick

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The streaming giant premiered the new poster for its upcoming action-packed film The Old Guard with Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Based on the comic book of the same name from Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, The Old Guard tells the story of a group of centuries-old immortals with a supernatural ability to heal. They are forced to hide their identities to save the world. The order of things gets disrupted when they discover that another immortal has “awakened”.

If Beale Street Could Talk star plays Nile Freeman, the new immortal and a U.S. Marine, recruited by Andy (Theron), the leader of the covert group of tight-knit mercenaries. Nile discovers her supernatural powers after being killed on a mission in the Middle East.

Charlize Theron as Andy, Kiki Layne as Nile

Ejiofor plays Copley, a CIA operative and historian who has figured out the identities of the secret group.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Copley

The superhero film is directed by Love and Basketball‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood and is set to premiere on Friday, July 10.

Watch the official trailer below.

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