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ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty ImagesMarisa Tomei has joined the cast of the Fox drama Empire, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Tomei will appear in a recurring role as Mimi Whiteman, a demanding venture capitalist who becomes involved with the Lyon family. The Oscar-winning actress joins a growing list of guest stars on the series that includes Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, and Lenny Kravitz. Tomei's previous TV credits include the daytime drama As the World Turns, the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World and the FX comedy/drama Rescue Me.

Empire's second season began shooting in June and premieres September 23.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Ida Mae AstuteBy now, fans know Taylor Swift's hit "Bad Blood" was supposedly inspired by fellow pop star Katy Perry, though neither woman has ever confirmed it.  But what's really interesting about the song is that Taylor says she wrote it as a way of "standing up for herself."

Taylor made her reputation by writing songs about heartbreak caused by busted romances, but "Bad Blood," she says, is "about a new kind of heartbreak that I experienced."  She says it happened "when someone that I desperately wanted to be my friend and thought was my friend ended up really making it very obvious that she wasn’t."

"This was somebody I really looked up to and really, really longed for the approval of this person," she adds. "So it was kind of devastating to receive kind of a low blow."

What was this low blow?  Taylor told Rolling Stone that the person in question "basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me." 

But instead of confronting whoever it was directly, Taylor wrote "Bad Blood," which, she says, was her way of striking back at her frenemy.

"This song was kind of the first time I ever really stood up for myself in that relationship 'cause she was always the bolder one," Taylor reveals. "I think it’s important to stand up for yourself, and if you can only really come up with the courage to do it in song form, then that’s how you should do it."

Whomever inspired the song, Taylor's the last laugh: "Bad Blood" has topped a number of different Billboard charts, and the star-studded video is one of the most talked-about clips of the year.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Josh Brasted/FilmMagicThe Essence Music Festival 2015 took over New Orleans' Superdome last weekend for the 21st year. With their theme of "Through love we build! Through love we learn! Through love we share!, the festival encouraged music lovers to #BringtheLove, while Essence brought the music.

Gospel singer Lecrae and R&B crooner Trey Songz helped kick things off Thursday night before a sold-out crowd. Trey, who gushed onstage and backstage about his love for black women, performed his hits including "Invented Sex," "Can't Be Friends," "Na Na," and his latest, "Slow Motion."

Backstage, Trey said one of the main reasons he attends Essence Music Festival is because the magazine empowers black women. "I love black women to death from their hair, to the way they smell, to their eyes," Trey said. "What's amazing about that is having been to Africa now, South Africa...it's a beautiful thing to see just the differences in us all -- from...the texture of our hair, to the color of our skin. There's so many different beautiful things about black women, I don't think I could think about it all right here, right now."

Friday night was for those who love old school. Kem was up first, performing a variety of his hits, including "Love Calls." He was followed up by India.Arie, who performed "I Am Not My Hair," "Video," "Brown Skin" and "Ready for Love." India, who wore a butterfly head wrap and pink dress, which she said her mother designed, inspired the crowd by quoting former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, saying "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." She also debuted new music, a song called "He's Got the Magic."

Other performers Friday night included Charlie Wilson along with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly on the main stage, with Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, Kelly Price, and Avery*Sunshine, performing in the Superlounges.

Saturday night continued with two ex-lovers sharing the stage, though not at the same time. Common and Erykah Badu headlined the evening, each performing a 60-minute set to a growing crowd.

Still, the night belonged to Missy Elliott, who reportedly rehearsed for three months for her Essence Music Festival performance. "It’s been over 20 years that I’ve been in this music industry," she said before delivering a high-energy performance of her greatest 90s jams, including "The Rain," "Work It," "Get Ur Freak On" and "Pass That Dutch." It seemed Missy could hardly stay on stage, hopping down several times to get closer to the audiences as she told the appreciative fans, "We're gonna show New Orleans how we really get down."

Unfortunately, Missy didn’t get the chance to do much more: after she brought out Sharaya J. and even Jazmine Sullivan, the lights and sound were cut, just as she was preparing to introduce longtime collaborator, Monica. The two stood in the dark for several seconds before realizing the lights and mics weren't coming back on. After Usher -- who came on after Missy -- finished his set, Essence Communications president Michelle Eubanks brought Missy back out to properly say goodnight to the crowd. Although Eubanks blamed the abrupt end of Missy’s set on a "production issue," Missy felt otherwise.  "I'm sorry I was cut off. I came here to give 100 percent. I was cut off," she said. "I was disappointed. I thank you for coming out."

Back to Usher, who decided the Fourth of July was the time to make a statement onstage. The R&B singer wore a black leather jacket with the words "Have we really achieved our independence" written on the back in white lettering.  The jacket later came off to reveal another message on his T-shirt: the words "Fourth of July" were crossed out, and below them was written "Juneteenth." Celebrated June 19th, Juneteenth marks the day Texas became the final U.S. state to abolish slavery, in June of 1865, nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Usher also delivered on a good set. The Atlanta-bred singer performed songs including “OMG,” “Climax,” “Here I Stand, "Nice & Slow," "Love in the Club," "Yeah!," and "Matrimony," bringing out rapper Wale for the latter.

The Essence Music Festival ended Sunday night with performances by Floetry, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. The night truly belonged to Mary J. and King Kendrick. Clad in a red jumpsuit, Mary performed hits including "I'm Goin' Down," "Not Gon' Cry," "Real Love" and "Just Fine," then brought out Method Man to perform their 1994 duet, "All I Need," which was the highlight of her set.

Meth stayed in the audience to watch Kendrick deliver thought-provoking visuals and a high-energy performance.  After telling the crowd he came all the way from Compton, California "to see my people," Kendrick performed hits including "Poetic Justice," "I," and "Swimming Pools." The most touching moment, however, is when Kendrick spoke to a young boy at the edge of the stage, who was enjoying the concert with his father. After telling the boy to make sure he listens to his father, Kendrick dedicated "Alright" to him. He then performed a freestyle, perfectly ending the festival for a satisfied crowd.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ian Walton/Getty ImagesGame of Thrones' Kit Harington was photographed at a Wimbledon tennis match in London on Thursday, but the big story seems to be his hair.

In the picture, Harington is back to sporting his familiar long hair, after showing up at the U.K. premiere of the movie Testament of Youth back in January with a much shorter 'do. That's led to speculation that his Game of Thrones character, Jon Snow, may be returning to the popular drama.

Snow was killed off during last month's season-five finale.  Harington has revealed in past interviews that producers have prohibited him from cutting his hair while he's a part of Game of Thrones.  It's also interesting to note that Harington is still sporting his trademark Jon Snow beard as well.

Harington and the show's producers have denied the rumors in the past, but after the finale, co-star Emelia Clarke hinted at Snow's possible return, telling MTV, "If I had to bet, I would say it's a 50/50 chance. There are some helpful people there, who could bring Jon back to life."

Game of Thrones airs on HBO.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Noel Vasquez/GC ImagesAshton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had an eventful Fourth of July weekend.

The couple tied the knot sometime during the weekend, People magazine reports, citing an unnamed source.

Kutcher, 37, and Kunis, 31, got engaged in February of 2014 and welcomed daughter Wyatt Isabelle the following October.

Their status was a topic of conversation when Kunis appeared on James Corden's Late Late Show debut last March, wearing a diamond ring on her ring finger. Corden asked her if she'd gotten married to her former That '70s Show co-star, but she played coy, answering, "I don't know, maybe."

Kutcher and Kunis began dating in 2012.

Kutcher separated from his now ex-wife, Demi Moore, the previous year; their divorce was finalized in 2013.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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