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‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Lands Record Deal With Columbia

As Fox’s new drama Empire continues to rise in ratings, a fan favorite’s dream is now a reality.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal, has scored a record deal with Columbia Records. The 31-year-old says he’s thrilled he can display his talents outside of the show.

“There will be a Jussie Smollett album,” he said. “I signed to Columbia. So darling, I’m label mates with Beyoncé and Adele and Barbra Streisand.”

The actor previously released an EP titled, The Poisoned Hearts Club in 2012. Smollett, who is the older brother of Jurnee Smollett explained how his role as Jamal has affected his life. With swarms of women following him while he’s out and about, the actor compares it to Michael Jackson’s success after the release of Thriller.

“The other day I went to Whole Foods and bought some chewable Vitamin C and got mobbed by like 15 girls,” he said. “I kind of feel like how Michael Jackson must have felt after “Thriller” was out and he had to come out with “Bad.” Here we are through the first season and we’re five months out until we start the second season, and I’m like, “What the hell are y’all gonna do next?” Because it’s going to be very difficult to top this season.”

As for his album, the singer says he would like for Terrance Howard and Timbaland to serve as producers.

“It’s going to be a whole different thing,” he said. “Now, the Empire family will still have something to do with it. I would love for Terrence to come and oversee the production of all of the music. And I would love for Timbaland to come on and Jim Beanz. We’ve all talked and they’re all down to work on it.”

Mo’Nique Says She Was Given Cookie Role Before Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson’s ability to bring her character Cookie to life has gained her praise from critics and expanded her fanbase, but Mo’nique says she was the first choice for the hit drama.

In an interview with Inside Edition, Monique responded to reports after Empire creator Lee Daniels claimed the Oscar winning actress was difficult to work with. Daniels directed the comedienne in Precious, which landed her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. After calling Lee a friend, she says he wanted her to play Cookie alongside Terrence Howard (Lucius Lyon.) Mo’nique says as she waited for the script, but Lee told her the FOX executives scrapped the idea and went with Henson instead.

“Maybe four days had gone by, and I hadn’t heard anything,” she said. “So I’m trying to reach out to him to say, what time do I need to be in? Where do I need to be? When he finally returned the call, he says listen, the executives at Fox said that you’re difficult. Trent asked, ‘Mo’Nique are you difficult to work with? This is Lee Daniels, your friend, saying these things.’

When I hear Mr. Daniels making those comments, he and I know that that’s not true.”

The comedienne says she wishes Daniels would have stood up for her instead of letting the rumor get out of hand. In a previous interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Daniels stood by his claims and says the actress made demands during press time for Precious that rubbed many the wrong way.

Mo’nique explained that her demands were no different from any actor. She requested to be paid to promote the film during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

“If you work a job Monday through Friday and you work 40 hours and then your boss says, ‘well I need you to come in on Saturday,’ do you do that for free, or is that considered overtime?” she said. “There is a double standard with men and women in the industry but it’s not just in this industry, that’s just life, period.”

Shots Ring Out During Jeezy & T.I. Show In North Carolina

Chaos erupted during a day party hosted by T.I. and Jeezy in Charlotte, North Carolina after gunshots were fired, TMZ reports. The Atlanta rappers were performing at the day party as an event held for this year’s C.I.A.A. basketball tournament.

The incident happened earlier today (Feb 28) at Club Label. While club goers were listening to a track by T.I., several shots were reportedly fired in the venue. Yo Gotti was also in attendance.

While many people claimed the “About The Money” rapper was injured, sources close to the artists claim they were all in the V.I.P area and were not hurt. The two shots heard in the above video did however cause panic within the venue.

Police are currently investigating the incident. No injures have been reported.

Just the night before, Tip hosted a bash at the same club with Lil Wayne.

Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit

Keep up with the Morning Heat on Instagram and Twitter at @hiphopdetroit

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