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The Lucas Bros Talk Judas & The Black Messiah, Growing Up In Newark & More | The Latest Hip-Hop News, Music and Media

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The Lucas Bros

Source: The Lucas Bros / TLB

It has been said that comedians are among the sharpest minds when it comes to bringing cultural commentary to the masses in a relatable fashion. The Lucas Bros are part of a long lineage of funnymen who use humor and sharp wit to speak on social ills, and they graciously shared details of their work on the upcoming Judas & The Black Messiah film and much more.

Hip-Hop Wired had the good fortune of speaking at length with brothers Kenny and Keith Lucas regarding their story that framed the backdrop of Judas & The Black Messiah, starring Daniel Kaluuya in the main role as Fred Hampton, and directed by Shaka King. Given the serious themes present in the film, we asked the brothers to lay out their early beginnings and how their profession as comedians brought them to screenwriting.

“Well we are stand-up comedians and writers, and we’ve done a little bit of acting as well,” Kenny Lucas began. “We went away to college [at The College of New Jersey] to study philosophy. We entered law school and realized neither one of us wanted to be lawyers so we dropped out and embarked on a career in comedy.”

Kenny adds, “We always had an interest in film dating back to when we were very young, so the idea was to get into comedy, learn how to construct our point of view, and understand how to tell stories so we could ultimately transition into filmmaking.”

We then asked Keith Lucas to share what films he and his brother watched as youngsters and which of them inspired their outlook on life as adults.

“We consumed so much film when we were young,” Keith explained. “The first movie that we saw in the theater was Total Recall with our father and that was kind of our introduction into cinema. It’s a crazy film but once we saw that one on the big screen, we just fell in love with cinema.”

Keith goes on to say, “We also loved the film Memento, 12 Angry Men, The Godfather, Friday, which we watched religiously.”

So how did two brothers who had their first taste of movies watching Arnold Schwarzenegger pull a tracker out of his nose bring them to put together the semi-autobiographical featured in Judas & The Black Messiah?

Keith shared that the pair watched the 1970 political drama The Conformist as part of their philosophy studies during their sophomore year in college, adding that the film inspired how they approached the story for Judas.  But before movies came calling, stand-up comedy broke open a number of doors for the pair.

In 2017, The Lucas Bros released their Netflix special Lucas Bros On Drugs that displayed their penchant for biting social commentary, flipping tragedy into triumph, and even jabbing at themselves regarding almost becoming lawyers. Naturally, we asked who were some of the comedians that inspired them along the way.

“Dave Chappelle is a big influence on us,” Kenny said. “Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, and some of our contemporaries like [John] Mulaney, Hannibal Buress, Bernie Mac was huge to us, Martin Lawrence, Richard Pryor, it’s a plethora of comedians that shaped and influenced us.”

The Lucas Bros

Source: The Lucas Bros / TLB

Comedic works are still in the pipeline for the brothers who are hard at work on a Revenge Of The Nerds reboot with Seth McFarlane, which cleverly flips the original story for the modern era.

They both mentioned that their angle of the reboot is to actually make the nerds the bullies, taking inspiration from tech giants and framing them the ones in control and effectively bullying the marketplace while examining the “toxic nature of nerd culture.”

Kenny and Keith are also developing a film, a television series, and an animated series all inspired by their Newark and Irvington upbringing, along with a book inspired by their hometowns.

Like many young Black men who grew in tough environments, the block is where you learned how to survive with your wits, and both brothers admit that they were probably more influenced by their neighborhood peers than any of the comedy greats.

This point shifted the conversation towards a piece the brothers wrote for Vulture titled “Our Brother Kaizen” last summer, and it is one of the most moving essays ever written about how systemic racism and one’s surroundings can shatter the trajectory and dreams of even the most hopeful of individuals.

“Kaizen was like our big brother, he’s truly the first person to have an influence on us and our comedy and our musical tastes,” Keith said, mentioning that Kaizen introduced them to Wu-Tang Clan and other Hip-Hop stars. “When you read about what he did at the end of his life, we remember him differently. Because he meant so much to us, we took an opportunity to tell a fuller story about who he was.”

Kaizen Crossen was shot and killed in 2019 after he fatally wounded one man after opening fire in the township of Irvington, just six miles from Newark, and where the Lucas Bros also lived. The brothers, as they noted in their piece, told us that Crossen was wrestling with demons far greater than any of them knew.

“When you grow up around violence, it becomes such a normal thing,” Keith stated. “You don’t even see it as abnormal. But as you get older you realize like ‘holy sh*t, this really has f*cked up my mind,’ and violence like that shouldn’t be normalized.”

Both Kenny and Keith remarked on their good fortune of having their mother and other parental figures that believed in their talents but juxtaposed their success against the world that Crossen had to endure without the same tools. They were critical of how their friend was depicted in the press but also understood that he did commit a crime where people died and were harmed.

This point of discussion tied neatly to Judas & The Black Messiah, and the fantastic tale of Fred Hampton, Sr., who rose to national prominence as the Illinois Chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. Kaluuya, 31, expertly embodies Hampton’s fire and determination,  playing a man who became one of the Black Panther movement’s most potent voices who was ten years the actor’s junior during the time of his death at the hands of crooked Chicago cops.

“You’re already shocked just by the brutality of America,” Keith said. “But then when you read about Fred Hampton, you’re like ‘holy sh*t, it’s even worse than I thought it was.’ So as Kenny and I learned about Fred Hampton, it just hit us. You just feel hopeless that this happened to a man who wanted to do good, who was doing good, he was working his damnedest to make life better for all kinds of people. To know that he was brutally gunned down next to his pregnant girlfriend just makes you sad.”

“When we got into entertainment, telling Fred Hampton’s story became an important one to share,” Kenny added noting that the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and other Black victims of police brutality were all inspirations for the story.

“Even now, we didn’t feel like humor was the way to frame this powerful moment in history. We needed to write something that spoke directly to the times, but also to depict this charismatic figure and sit back and only imagine if he were alive, we wouldn’t be in this situation that we find ourselves in today,” Kenny continued.

The brothers praised King for his directing, making certain to mention that he captured the concept of their story well but also brought in elements from films they loved growing up like The Departed and the aforementioned The Conformist.

The film most certainly displayed the community-minded bravado of Hampton, but also his desire to work in tandem with all poor and oppressed people no matter the hue of their skin. Perhaps this ability to connect people from different walks of life while promoting revolutionary socialism was the reason J. Edgar Hoover and The FBI managed to somehow upend those movements with moles and other insidious methods via the COINTELPRO program.

In closing, The Lucas Bros are proving that yes, comedy is a fantastic barometer for understanding the times, but that it can also play the background when it needs to in order for the fullness of the Black experience to blossom.

Judas & The Black Messiah makes its debut on HBO Max this Friday (Feb. 12) and at select theaters nationwide.

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Rihanna Officially Joins The Billionaire’s Club!!!

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Rihanna has made history, becoming a member of the Billionaire’s Club! She is now the richest female musician.

Rihanna Fenty Is Smiling All The Way To The Bank

We knew it was only a matter of time before we would be seeing the name Rihanna and the word Billionaire in the same sentence.

Just announced by Forbes today, our girl Riri has joined the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, and Kanye West as a bonafide billionaire.

And not just for her music, which by the way fans are anxiously awaiting her next release. Rihanna’s last album was “Anti” which came out in 2016.

Since then, here’s what she’s been up to –

  • launched Fenty Beauty make-up brand in 2017
  • Savage X Fenty Lingerie Line in 2018
  • landed a role in “Ocean’s 8” which premiered in 2018
  • performed at Coachella
  • starred in the tropical thriller “Guava Island”

Of all her projects, the cash cow is Fenty Beauty, which is worth upwards of $1.4 billion dollars. Shaking up the cosmetics industry, Fenty Beauty was launched with 40 shades of foundation.

rihanna fenty beauty

Unheard of in the cosmetic industry, with so many shades to choose from, she revolutionalized the industry and they quickly took notice.

While that’s enough to keep a girl busy, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Lingerie Line is worth another estimated $270 million dollars. And again she rocked the industry with her shows being all-inclusive, all shades, all sizes.

rihanna savage x fenty

The remaining $1.7 billion dollars comes from various music and acting gigs, according to Forbes.

Rihanna Continues To Make History

In 2019, Rihanna launched her luxury fashion house “Fenty” under the LVHM (Moet Hennessy, Louis Vuitton) brand. LVHM is the world leader in luxury. By doing so, she became –

  • the first person since 1987 to launch a new house with LVMH
  • the first woman to create an original brand there and
  • also the first woman of color at the top of the LVMH Maison.

At 33 years old, the self-made Barbadian beauty is not finished yet. Just last week, the brand announced that it will launch a unisex fragrance line, Fenty Parfum (created by Riri herself).

In fact, starting August 10th, you can actually be one of the first to sample this product. While making a $40+ purchase at Fentybeauty.com, you get a sample of Fenty eau de parfum.

Riri To Receive The NAACP President’s Award For Stellar Public Service

Announced by NAACP, RiRi will be receiving the President’s Award during the Feb. 22nd Image Awards broadcast. Not only for her groundbreaking career as an artist and musician but for her stellar public service.

What’s next for Riri? Hopefully an album. While being interviewed for an October Vogue article, Rihanna teased that her next project will be influenced by reggae, saying –

“It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae…Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture or the environment that I grew up in; it never leaves.”

We see you’ve been plenty busy, I guess we can wait a little longer for the music to drop.

Congrats Miss Rihanna Fenty, we are so proud of you!



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Ice-T Defends Wife’s Decision To Continue Breastfeeding Their Five-Year-Old

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Ice-T is currently trending on Twitter thanks to an interesting message he posted.

Coco Austin and daughter Chanel attend 'Bash for the Bulldogs' Benefit

Source: Rob Rich/WENN.com / WENN

“News Flash! We feed Chanel FOOD…” Ice-T tweeted. “She just likes to suck moms boob every now and then… Me Too!!!”

The rapper turned actor defended a recent interview his wife Coco, 42, did with US Weekly where she defending continuing to breastfeed their daughter past the age of two.

“You want to know something? Chanel still loves my boob,” Coco told US Weekly. “She’s five years old. It’s a big bonding moment for a mother and your child.”A lot of people are like ‘oh you’re not getting the nutrition after 2-years-old, why do it?’ And I’m like, my child is eating steak and hamburgers, she just likes a little snack every now and then and more of the bonding with the mother. Why take that away from her? I’ve gone into the subject many times now that I have a daughter. Europeans, they stop around 7-years-old. They go until the child doesn’t want to do it anymore and that’s where I’m at with it. If she doesn’t want it, all right, that’s where you stop it,” she told Us Weekly. “But I’m not just going to say no boob. At night she cuddles with my boob she calls it the “boo boo” and she loves on it, it’s not like she’s getting a meal from it. She’s getting a little snack and it’s soothing her to sleep. I think all women do something a differently when it comes to their child but I don’t want to deprive the boob from her.”

Coco joined her mom for the interview saying, “You know what? Boob makes me sleep.”

“I don’t want to deprive her of something that she wants just because society says you need to stop after two,” Coco continued. “This is my child. There’s no stopping at a specific time and I’ve had numerous arguments about this on Instagram because I have a lot of moms who follow me.”

Coco also admitted that Chanel (and the family’s four dogs) join her and Ice-T in their “family bed” and that Chanel is allowed to watch horror films. The five-year-old even chimed in that the first movie she saw was, “IT.”

Listen — to each their own. But we can see why Ice’s tweet would stir up more controversy. Do you think it was a bad move on his part to take something like breastfeeding that people WRONGLY try to sexualize and then add a sexual element to it and not expect people to be critical?

How old were your kids when you decided to stop breastfeeding? How about sleeping in your bed? And how about R rated movies — how young is too young for kids to watch?





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Ja’king the Divine – “Delusions of Grandeur” (Album)

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Brooklyn and Long Island are not only known for being the base of some of the originators of Hip Hop, but also known for spawning a bunch of new upcoming names. Stream “Delusions of Grandeur“, the new project from bubbling emcee Ja’king the Divine.



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