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EXCLUSIVE: The J.LO Interview

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By now everybody knows the story about how a Fly Girl from The Bronx conquered the world, jumping from dancer to actor to singer. What the world sometimes forgets is that what Jennifer Lopez has accomplished has been no easy feat—she just made it look that way. While the world has fixated on her famous butt or on the crazy tabloid headlines, less attention has been paid to her multimillion-dollar work ethic.

Regardless of how you feel about J.Lo, you can’t knock her hustle. After a career slump that started with the maligned movie Gigli (2003), Lopez came back strong in 2011 as a judge on American Idol. She was ranked No. 1 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List the following year and is currently the chief creative officer of the cable network NuvoTV. Last June, she released her eighth studio album, A.K.A., and in September broke the Internet with the slippery wet video for “Booty,” her track with the equally curvaceous Iggy Azalea, garnering more than 80 million views as of press time. (Pardon the fixation, but talk about longevity—in November, Sir Mix-A-Lot told TMZ that it was J.Lo’s shapely rear that inspired him to write his megahit “Baby Got Back” way back in 1992.)

But of all her accomplishments, a long acting career is arguably the most impressive. Simply succeeding in Hollywood, which hasn’t exactly hung a “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” sign at its studio doors for Latin talent, is substantial in itself. Her presence alone certainly made it just a little bit easier for Eva Mendes, Michelle Rodriguez, and Zoe Saldana to reach the silver screen.

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It’s been 20 years since Lopez’s pivotal role in Mi Familia, a memorable indie turn that lead not only to her star-making biopic Selena, but also to working with acclaimed directors Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, and Steven Soderbergh, whose Out of Sight is one of the true highlights of Lopez’s film career. She’s also acted opposite the likes of Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Robin Williams (RIP), Jane Fonda, Al Pacino, and Robert Redford. Known to many for doing rom-coms, Lopez has appeared in several underrated pictures like Blood and Wine, U-Turn, The Cell, and An Unfinished Life.

Her newest movie, The Boy Next Door, is an erotic thriller in the same vein as Fatal Attraction, only with the roles reversed. Lopez portrays Claire Peterson, an unhappy wife who’s estranged from her cheating husband. She gets wooed by the studly young neighbor and succumbs to him in a moment of passion, only for the guy to go nuts after she cuts him off.

Off-screen, it’s evident that Lopez still embodies the inner toughness of her old-school, New York City roots. After all, the beautiful and ageless Nuyorican, now 45, grew up when her hometown was still known as the Rotten Apple and has no qualms about calling bullshit in an interview. So it came as a surprise when she revealed in her 2014 autobiography, True Love, that she has long battled low self-esteem. It’s a problem she’s focused on fixing so she can share herself and her art with the world.

“I’m not allowed to be sexy because I’m a mom? It’s like, how do you think I got my children?”

These days, J.Lo’s block is in a pleasant Los Angeles gated community, an hour from downtown. On a Monday afternoon, Lopez, fresh off her sizzling performance at the American Music Awards and an overseas gig in China, is in the middle of a long meeting detailing an upcoming show she’s planning. A small army of busy employees swarms her pristine residence.

Our interview takes place after dinner, in a book-lined office/study neatly crammed with all types of J.Lo memorabilia-but not before Lopez reminds her kids, twins Emme and Max, that they have school tomorrow, and have to be in bed by 8 p.m. When she finally enters, Jennifer is barefoot and looking super comfortable in ready-for-bed wear. Yes, the icon wears regular pajamas, and she looks great. Speaking with the aura of a seasoned self-help guru, she reveals how she got to this happy place.

 

As a mother and someone who’s been through divorce, you have things in common with your character in The Boy Next Door. What was the biggest challenge with this role?

The role itself is just every woman. She’s a relatable character. She’s at a bad point in her life. Obviously, we’ve all had moments like that where our relationship is falling apart, you’re at the verge of divorce, and your life is changing. And you’re feeling vulnerable and unwanted and in need of some validation. I mean, it’s always challenging, any role you take on. But it’s funny, the [roles] that seem closest to you sometimes are more challenging, because it’s not you.

From your book, it’s clear that divorce affected you deeply, especially because your parents stayed together through thick and thin for more than 30 years. For them, divorce was not an option.

They stayed together for a long time, and when they did divorce, it was shocking. But [that was] what we were taught: that you got married and stayed married. Talking about self-esteem, when my first marriage didn’t work out, my second marriage didn’t work out, and I was with Marc [Anthony] and I was trying to make it work, and that didn’t work out, it was devastating. Each time I felt like such a failure, from what I’d been taught. Those are things that grate on your self-esteem. “OK, I failed. Why can’t I make this work?” But it forces you to look at yourself in the best way possible. I’m grateful for all those trials and tribulations because with that you gain perseverance and the desire to learn and grow. So I’m happy about those experiences now. They’re painful in the moment, but now I see myself as a brave warrior princess who keeps going no matter what, and who has learned to cherish the things that matter in life, which is finding my own happiness first and then being able to share that with not just people in my life but with the world.

In a 2001 Chicago Tribune article, you said, “Deep down I am a romantic—and much more traditional than probably anybody would imagine. I believe in the whole fairy tale, and I’m not ashamed to say it.” Do you still feel that way?

Yeah. I’m still the same.

Doesn’t the notion that relationships should be like fairy tales with happily-ever-after endings mess people up?

Yeah, well, that’s what we’re taught when we’re little. Little girls are taught that especially. Prince Charming is gonna come along. You’re going to live happily ever after, and then that doesn’t happen. You have your first boyfriend in high school and that falls apart and you’re like, “What’s going on?” [Laughs.] All of these things get shattered one by one. It’s so unfair. Nobody teaches us the important thing from when we’re young, which is to value yourself and love yourself, and then you can share happiness and love with other people. That’s what we should be teaching kids, not fairy tales about Prince Charming rescuing you. Or that you have to be Prince Charming and rescue this girl. It’s funny, we’re formed from the time we’re 0 to 7. We’re battling the rest of our lives trying to figure that out. And now that I have my own kids, I think about that stuff a lot, like, what do I want to teach them? I want them to have fantasies and the fairy tales and all that, but at the same time I want them to know what is important, which is to have a great sense of self and to be good on their own.

The stereotype is that women are more emotional than men. In the movie, it’s the guy who’s unhinged by the relationship ending. Have you found men are as emotional as women in that regard?

That goes both ways. Women are known to be more emotional and needy or clingy, but that type of obsession is in both men and women. It’s not gender specific. It’s one of those things where your feelings for someone overtake you and you can’t control yourself—in this case, to the highest extreme. But all of us have felt a little bit of that at some point in our life, for sure.

The “boy next door” in the film is younger than you and you’ve dated younger guys in real life

Yeah, I’ve gone out with one younger guy. [Laughs.]

Sorry, just one. Do you think a relationship between an older woman and a younger man can work?

Is it possible for relationships to work when the guy is older than the girl?

Yes.

Well, then I would say yes. [Laughs.] What would be different?

The younger girl usually isn’t truly interested in the older guy, to be honest.

I guess it depends on the people and whether they have chemistry and if they have things in common.

At one point in the movie, the crazy guy plasters your character’s classroom with intimate photos of the two of them. That brings to mind when people hack celebrities and leak their nude photos on the Internet. What’s been your reaction when you hear about other celebrities getting hacked?

It’s an invasion of privacy. You want to think that you can have privacy in this world—even with your devices. When people think it’s OK to do stuff like that for entertainment purposes and to embarrass people or take their intimate private moments, it’s cruel. It should be punishable.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe that when things like hacking happen, that’s the trade-off for being rich and famous.

[Laughs.] Oh! When you become rich and famous, you don’t have feelings anymore?! That’s what it is. OK! C’mon. It’s not about having money in the bank. You can have all the money in the world and it doesn’t mean you’re a happy person. Money doesn’t solve problems. It makes some things easier but it just gives you a different set of problems. Everything has a trade-off in this world. I’ve learned that from being broke as hell and having money.

It gets creepy when people argue that they don’t feel empathy for actresses when they get hacked because they’ve done nude scenes in movies.

Again, we should have a choice about what we do. Nobody should be stolen from. You shouldn’t be stolen from just because you decided to take a crazy picture with your girlfriend or your boyfriend one day. We decide what we do with our private things.

“I see myself as a brave warrior princess who keeps going, no matter what.”

As someone who’s been open about having low self-esteem in the past, why do you think so many beautiful women are insecure?

It’s not just beautiful women. It’s all women. And it’s all men, too. It’s everyone. People are more surprised when they hear that somebody who is attractive is insecure. I don’t understand that because, again, we’re all human. Nobody looks in the mirror and goes, “That person is so perfect!” It’s just the nature of a human being that they have insecurities. You try to do things that you’re proud of to boost up your self-esteem and your integrity. At the end of the day, you’re the only person who can give that to you. That’s something that everybody struggles with at one time or another. I’m no different than anybody else in that sense.

But you’ve had to endure all sorts of public criticism that other people haven’t. There was even a backlash when a rumor started that you had legally changed your name to J.Lo and you were insisting that everybody call you that.

The rumors at that time were so endless. I still haven’t figured that all out completely. I’ve thought sometimes, “Was it because I was a woman? Was it because I was a minority?” [Laughs.] I was like, “Why me? Why are they picking on me so much? What have I done?” It’s funny. Men get praise when they are successful, like, “Look how great he’s doing.” Women get criticized for some reason. I don’t understand it. All I know is that because I’ve stuck around for so long people realize, “Oh, that must not be true.” [Laughs.] “We finally got to know the real her.”

“I always felt out of place in hollywood. But the street smarts i had from growing up in new york served me well out here.”

“Jenny From the Block” was a huge hit for you. Did it also create resentment toward you?

People are dumb enough to have thought that you meant it literally, like you were still in the ’hood, or “She’s changed, she’s different, she’s so rich now, she’s not the same.” It was a huge hit at the time, so I never thought of it in any negative way. I didn’t feel like people were saying that—it’s probably better that I didn’t know. And it’s become that defining song for me. In every concert I play, when I say, “I’m still Jenny from the block,” people love it. [Laughs.] And they know I’ve been successful. Thank God I’ve been blessed in that way. But I’m the same person. They know that I’m still Bronx-y. [Laughs.] I still wear hoops. I still like to rock sneakers and sweats. I always felt like I was out of place in Hollywood. But I also felt that the street smarts I had from growing up in New York served me well out here.

Was your reported request for all-white dressing rooms real?

It wasn’t really a request from me. [Laughs.] You have managers and record company people saying, “It’s always dirty backstage in those little studios. Let’s make it nice for her.” And they’re attempting to make it nice because I was one of the hardest-working people at that time. I was literally working nonstop until I had a breakdown. In their attempt to [make things nice for me], they got me a reputation for asking for things like that. It used to bother me [but] I feel people know who I am now.

Do you read reviews about your work?

Sometimes. People send me nice stuff. Bad news, you don’t need it. I don’t go on the Internet and read comments. I’m sure everybody gets curious and does it, but I don’t. Why would I? If you want to look for something negative you’re going to find it. And the truth is the negative comments are so small compared to the love that I get.

You said in an interview with Movieline magazine in 1998: “The thing I’m most afraid of, though, is being alone, which a lot of performers fear. It’s why we seek the limelight—so we’re not alone, we’re adored. We’re loved, so people want to be around us. The fear of being alone drives my life.” Do you still feel that way?

I’ve changed a lot since then. I was afraid to be alone. And I was probably much more raw when I did those interviews and more off the cuff. But now, as I’ve grown and matured, you realize that being alone is liberating. It’s freeing and you need it. Whether or not you’re afraid of it, as I was, it’s a fear that is to be conquered, not to be soothed with adulation from other people. It comes back to loving yourself and being happy on your own. Then you can go to another level of sharing something amazing with the world. And that’s why I keep growing.

How do you respond to people who criticized your “Booty” video and asked what your kids will say when they see it?

I’m not allowed to be sexy because I’m a mom? It’s like, How do you think I got my children? [Laughs.] The truth is I don’t want to do anything that they would be embarrassed of in the long run. But at the end of the day, they care more about me being there, taking care of them, than if I’m sexy in a video. And I’m not saying that one day they may not be like, “Mom! Why did you do that?!” [Laughs.] But I don’t think that in 10 years I’m going to be doing that either. Again, it’s about what feels good to me in this moment. It felt right. It’s a good message for women. I’m standing next to this girl who is 24 years old and I’m in my 40s and there’s no difference. Women need to see that and feel that. You can’t let the fear of what people might say or think stop you from doing what you want to do or else we would never do anything.

You’ve maintained an all-natural look, but nowadays even young women are getting plastic surgery.

Yeah, the bodies right now are…unreal.

That must concern you as a parent of a daughter.

Yeah, what is she gonna want to do, or how good is she gonna feel about herself? I hope to show her from example that you have to love yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to enhance yourself, like work out, or if somebody wants to get a nose job. I don’t know. You can take a hard stance on things and then eat your words later. All I’m saying is, at the end of the day, you got to feel happy about who you are inside, and then you can make good choices for yourself.

What’s it like being middle-aged in Hollywood? Is it a struggle to get non-mom roles?

It’s not like that anymore. Look at all the actresses who are working. I remember a couple of years back every actress on the cover of the September issues was over 40, because each one of them had a big film coming out. It was me, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston. That was a defining moment. The world has changed. Women maintain themselves. We live in a different time.

So, do you feel good about getting older?

I feel great about being able to do everything that I did in my 20s better now. That’s what happens as you mature, you get better. You have more experience. And I’m proud of that. That other rhetoric, like the fairy tale rhetoric, in your mind can defeat you. And this generation of women said, “No. We have a lot to offer.” Probably more than we ever have. And it’s great for girls that are young right now to go, “I have time.” It’s a long road. And for me, I feel like mine has just begun.

Victor Fungai Muzvidzwa is the founder and senior editor of HypeAvenue.com magazine.

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Inside Facebook’s ‘cult-like’ workplace!!! 12 whistleblowers reveal all

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At a company-wide town hall in early October, numerous Facebook employees got in line to speak about their experiences with sexual harassment.

The company called the special town hall after head of policy Joel Kaplan caused an internal uproar for appearing at the congressional hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. A young female employee was among those who got up to speak, addressing her comments directly to COO Sheryl Sandberg.

“I was reticent to speak, Sheryl, because the pressure for us to act as though everything is fine and that we love working here is so great that it hurts,” she said, according to multiple former Facebook employees who witnessed the event.

“There shouldn’t be this pressure to pretend to love something when I don’t feel this way,” said the employee, setting off a wave of applause from her colleagues at the emotional town hall in Menlo Park, California.

The episode speaks to an atmosphere at Facebook in which employees feel pressure to place the company above all else in their lives, fall in line with their manager’s orders and force cordiality with their colleagues so they can advance. Several former employees likened the culture to a “cult.”

This culture has contributed to the company’s well-publicized wave of scandals over the last two years, such as governments spreading misinformation to try to influence elections and the misuse of private user data, according to many people who worked there during this period. They say Facebook might have have caught some of these problems sooner if employees were encouraged to deliver honest feedback. Amid these scandals, Facebook’s share price fell nearly 30 percent in 2018 and nearly 40 percent since a peak in July, resulting in a loss of more than $252 billion in market capitalization.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s reputation as being one of the best places in Silicon Valley to work is starting to show some cracks. According to Glassdoor, which lets employees anonymously review their workplaces, Facebook fell from being the best place to work in the U.S. to No. 7 in the last year.

But employees don’t complain in the workplace.

“There’s a real culture of ‘Even if you are f—ing miserable, you need to act like you love this place,’” said one ex-employee who left in October. “It is not OK to act like this is not the best place to work.”

This account is based on conversations with more than a dozen former Facebook employees who left between late 2016 and the end of 2018. These people requested anonymity in describing Facebook’s work culture, including its “stack ranking” employee performance evaluation system and their experiences with it, because none is authorized by Facebook to talk about their time there. This stack ranking system is similar to the one that was notoriously used by Microsoft before the company abandoned it in 2013, the former Facebook employees said.

Facebook declined to comment on former employees’ characterization of the work place as “cult-like.”

Inside the bubble

Former employees describe a top-down approach where major decisions are made by the company’s leadership, and employees are discouraged from voicing dissent — in direct contradiction to one of Sandberg’s mantras, “authentic self.”

For instance, at an all-hands meeting in early 2017, one employee asked Facebook Vice President David Fischer a tough question about a company program. Fischer took the question and answered, but within hours, the employee and his managers received angry calls from the team running that program, this person said.

“I never felt it was an environment that truly encouraged ‘authentic self’ and encouraged real dissent because the times I personally did it, I always got calls,” said the former manager, who left the company in early 2018.

The sentiment was echoed by another employee who left in 2017.

“What comes with scale and larger operations is you can’t afford to have too much individual voice,” said this person. “If you have an army, the larger the army is, the less individuals have voice. They have to follow the leader.”

In this employee’s two years at Facebook, his team grew from a few people to more than 50. He said “it was very much implied” to him and his teammates that they trust their leaders, follow orders and avoid having hard conversations.

The company’s culture of no-dissent prevented employees from speaking up about the impact that News Feed had on influencing the 2016 U.S. election, this person added.

The message was clear in August 2016 when the company laid off the editorial staff of its trending news team, shortly after some workers on that team leaked to the press that they were suppressing conservative-leaning stories. Employees were further discouraged from speaking up following the election, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg brushed off the accusation that Facebook could have impacted the election, calling that idea “crazy.”

The former employee described “a bubble” at the company in which employees are dissuaded from giving managers critical feedback or challenging decisions.

“I’m pretty disappointed in that because I have a lot of respect for Sheryl, and she preaches about giving hard feedback,” the employee said.

“All the things we were preaching, we weren’t doing enough of them. We weren’t having enough hard conversations. They need to realize that. They need to reflect and ask if they’re having hard conversations or just being echo chambers of themselves.”

Show no weakness

Many former employees blamed the cult-like atmosphere partly on Facebook’s performance review system, which requires employees to get reviews from approximately five of their peers twice a year. This peer review system pressures employees to forge friendships with colleagues at every possible opportunity, whether it be going to lunch together each day or hanging out after work.

“It’s a little bit of a popularity contest,” said one manager who left the company in 2017. “You can cherry-pick the people who like you — maybe throw in one bad apple to equalize it.”

Peers can provide feedback directly to their colleagues, or they can send the reviews to the employee’s manager. That feedback is typically treated as anonymous and cannot be challenged.

“You have invisible charges against you, and that figures mightily into your review,” said an employee who left in October. “Your negative feedback can haunt you for all your days at Facebook.”

Several former employees said that peers and managers iced them out because they had personal commitments or problems that required significant attention outside of work.

For instance, one employee who left in recent weeks said a manager was critical in a public team meeting because the employee didn’t attend a team-building event outside work. At the time, this person was going through a divorce.

“She definitely marked me down for not attending those team-building events, but I couldn’t attend because I was going through my own issues and needed work-life balance,” said the employee.

Employees are not required to attend after-hours events, according to a Facebook spokeswoman, adding that collaboration is important at the company.

Another manager who also left the company in recent weeks said she once took multiple weeks of vacation instead of going on medical leave to treat a major illness. She says she did this based on advice from her supervisor.

“I was afraid that if I told too many people or took too much time off, I would be seen as unable to do my job,” the former manager said. “I was scared that if I let up in any way, shape or form they would crumble me, and they did.”

Ironically, one of the best ways to see the desperation to be liked is to follow Facebook employees on Facebook itself.

Employees parade the company’s projects and post any report on the benefits of working at the company or the positive impact the company is making on the world. This is in part a show for peers and managers, former employees said.

“People are very mindful about who they’re connected with on Facebook who they also work with and how what they’re posting will put them in a favorable light to their managers,” an employee who left in 2016 said.

As with many social media users, the online content does not always reflect the offline emotions.

“There’s so many people there who are unhappy, but their Facebook posts alone don’t reflect the backdoor conversations you have with people where they’re crying and really unhappy,” she said.

How employees are graded

Twice a year, this peer feedback comes into play in so-called calibration meetings, where employees are given one of seven grades.

Managers deliberate with their peers to grade employees in all levels below them. As the review process moves up the chain over the course of multiple weeks, lower-level managers gradually leave the room, until the company’s vice presidents finish the calibration. At this point, Zuckerberg and Sandberg sign off that their vice presidents have done due diligence, and each employee’s grade for the past six months is finalized.

But there’s a companywide limit on the percentage of employees who can receive each grade. So during the reviews process, managers compete against their peer managers to secure strong grades for their direct reports. Managers are compelled to vouch fiercely for their favorite employees, but don’t speak up for employees they don’t like or who have previously received poor ratings.

“There’s a saying at Facebook that once you have one bad half, you’re destined for bad halves the rest of your time there. That stigma will follow you,” said a manager who left in September.

According to two former executives, the grade breakdown is approximately as follows:

  •  “Redefine,” the highest grade, is given to fewer than 5 percent of employees
  •  “Greatly exceeds expectations”: 10 percent
  •  “Exceeds”: 35 percent
  •  “Meets all”: 35 to 40 percent
  •  “Meets most,” a low grade that puts future employment at risk, goes to most of the remaining 10 to 15 percent
  •  “Meets some” grades are extremely rare and are seen as an indication that you’re probably getting fired, according to multiple employees.
  •  “Does not meet” are exceptionally rare, as most employees are fired before they get to that level.

The distribution of these grades are not a hard limit but rather a recommended guidance for managers to follow, according to a Facebook spokeswoman.

Facebook isn’t the only tech company to use a performance evaluation system where a percentage of employees is pegged to each performance grade, meaning that there’s always a fixed population at risk of being fired. Pioneered by Jack Welch at General Electric in the 1990s and sometimes known as “stack ranking,” this method is fairly common in Silicon Valley and was most notoriously used by Microsoft until the company got rid of it in 2013 after widespread employee complaints.

Stack ranking systems work well at companies with competitive environments that compare employees on objectively measurable performance, according to Alexandra Michel, professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies work culture. However, the system tends to break down and cause distrust among employees and create a political atmosphere when applied by companies that measure performance subjectively, or companies that demand employee loyalty in exchange for benefits and the promise of career advancement, Michel said.

“If you have an environment that is completely cutthroat like Wall Street, this system works pretty well,” Michel said. “But if you have employees who come in and want to be taken care of, want to learn, want to be part of a warm group and people who care about them — that’s a very jarring mismatch.”

Since early 2017, Facebook has become more rigorous in distributing grades by specific percentages, according to multiple former employees.

“I had a boss literally say to me ‘You don’t have enough people in ‘meets some,’ ‘meets most,’ and ‘meets all,’” said a former director who left earlier this year. “I was finding myself making up things to be hypercritical of employees to give them lower ratings than they really deserved.”

These twice-yearly reviews encourage employees to be particularly productive around June and December, working nights and weekends as they race to impress bosses before reviews, which are typically completed in August and February. It’s especially true in December, the half Facebook predominantly uses to determine which employees will receive promotions.

This rush causes employees to focus on short-term goals and push out features that drive user engagement and improve their own metrics without fully considering potential long-term negative impacts on user experience or privacy, multiple former employees said.

“If you’re up for promotion, and it’s based on whether you get a product out or not, you’re almost certainly going to push that product out,” a former engineer said. “Otherwise you’re going to have to wait another year to get that promotion.”

As employees begin gathering peer reviews and buckling up for their next round of calibrations in February, the process will reveal how employees are thinking of the company after a bruising 2018, according to employees who left recently.

There will be an extra level of anxiety around the process this time, one person said. Folks who have been wanting to leave will be hoping to notch a high rating so they can depart on good terms. Others who are committed to the company will be torn between speaking up about their concerns or staying in line for the sake of their careers. Any changes to company’s grading process this time could reveal whether Facebook is taking special steps to keep valued employees around, or continuing along the same lines.

“This review cycle will be particularly colorful for them,” according to a director who left recently.

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Prayers Up: Kirk Franklin Posts Heartbreaking Message About His Sister Being Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison

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In a recent Instagram post, American gospel sensation, Kirk Franklin, shared a heart breaking post that his sister has been arrested and will spend 30 years in prison:

The 48-year-old ‘My life is in your hands’ singer did not reveal why his sister was arrested, but according to BET, “…he’s been open about the drama that surrounded her life, including her addiction to crack-cocaine.”

In 2015, Kirk said about his sister who is struggling with addiction to crack cocaine:

“For over ten years, my younger sister was incarcerated in a facility here in Texas. She was in love with a young man who was drug dealer. He introduced her to not only selling drugs, but using as well. When he was arrested for drug trafficking, she was arrested along with him. After she served her time, she was brought before the review board who determined she was ready to be released and brought back into society. The documents were signed and she was set free… but only on paper.”

“After a few months back into the free world, it became obvious to me rather quickly that my sister was still in prison,” he continued. “It’s what they call being institutionalized. She quickly started using again, becoming very reckless with her body, which turned into her using it as a means to pay for her habit,” he continued.

He captioned the post, “rough week…”

rough week..

A post shared by Kirk Franklin (@kirkfranklin) on

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‘Hunger Games’ star Amandla Stenberg: ‘Yep, I’m gay, not bi or pan’

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American actress and activist, Amandla Stenberg has officially come out as gay.

Taking to Instagram to make the announcement the actress, who is best known for her role as Rue on The Hunger Games, revealed that she was happy to finally come out, during an interview with Wonderland magazine as their cover girl.

“OUT & PROUD. So happy to say the words Yep, I’m Gay in official print. Interviewed for @wonderland by someone I stan infinitely – the fiercest garbagio pop queen @kingprincess69. Thank you to KP for providing me with such a safe space to come out,” she wrote before discussing what the interview was about.

SEE THE POST:

According to BET, the 19-year-old shared details of her sexuality in the magazine’s summer issue.

“I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way.”

When she was 17-years-old, Amandla used Teen Vogue’s snapchat account to reveal that she was bisexual.

“It’s a really, really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourselves into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in,” she said in the snapchat video.

“As someone who identifies as a black bisexual woman, I’ve been through it and it hurts and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable.”

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