November 18, 2005

GOSSIP 2 GO 11/18

After an exhaustive search to find the perfect Effie, "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson has been chosen to play the pivotal part for the "Dreamgirls" feature film, clearing the way for production to begin as scheduled on Jan. 9 for a December 2006 release.
"Effie is such a hugely complex role," director and writer Bill Condon (Chicago) told USA Today. "She is at once exasperating and heartbreaking. Jennifer emerged as the person who captured both sides."

Kanye West's 10-week run atop Billboard's Hot 100 has come to an end, thanks to a teen R&B newcomer. After spending four weeks at No. 2, Chris Brown finally displace's West's "Gold Digger" featuring Jamie Foxx, which drops to No. 2.

VICTORIA Gotti just can't handle the truth- that her son Carmine Agnello has a lousy voice. Agnello, who's on VH1's "But Can You Sing?" along with Bai Ling, Morgan Fairchild and Antonio Sabado Jr., butchered yet another song during Friday's taping. Victoria went ballistic after British comedian and "Celebrity Fit Club" host Ant, who was judging that day, quipped: "Words can't describe how I feel about that performance, but sounds can. You sounded like a cat caught in a muffler." Gotti, according to people on the set, "threw a Soprano-sized tantrum and stormed backstage. She halted production for over an hour, screaming at producers to remove the comment from the show. When producers asked why she was so upset, she said she was 'just being a mother protecting her son.' Ant, of course, chimed in, 'But this isn't a high school play.' " The comments only infuriated Gotti more. Soon after, producers "suggested" to Ant that "he be escorted to his car by security."

Terry McMillan says she's ready to move on after her divorce from Jonathan Plummer amidst his revelation that he is gay. "I just got back from Los Angeles where a group of women had a belated party for me," she told AP. "Guess what? Life does go on. My life is already continuing." After 6 1/2 years of marriage, the 54-year-old author filed for divorce from Plummer, 30, last spring. "I'm not going to end up on the rocking chair by myself," said McMillan, who is scheduled to speak at today's Miami Book Fair International.

America's Next Top Model finalist Toccara will work the runway at Ashley Stewart's Grand Opening Celebration at Rochester, NY's Greece Ridge Center (271 Greece Ridge Center Drive) on Saturday (Nov. 19). Ashley Stewart is the leading fashion retailer for stylish urban full-figured women. In addition to the fall fashion show featuring Toccara and local Rochester models, the 12-5 p.m. event will feature raffle prizes, giveaways, free gift with purchases, local talent, autograph signings, a live DJ and one very exciting shopping experience. 103.9 WDKX Wake-Up Club radio personality Tariq Spence will emcee the celebration.

"I'm still trying to get over my own homophobia," West says in King magazine, which names him its Man of the Year in the upcoming issue. "I still wouldn't feel comfortable at a gay bar. I wouldn't go to a gay parade. I don't know if I'm in favor of gay marriage or not."
West goes on: "People said to me, 'Were you scared of speaking out against George Bush?' No. The bravest thing I did this year was speaking out against homophobia. That's a scarier topic, because if you bring it up, people think you must be gay. But you don't have to be gay to not gay-bash. We're a very close-minded people."
West recalls freestyling with another rapper in front of a gay person years ago "and we started rhyming about beating up gays right in front of him. .. People always say, 'Kanye's conscious, Kanye's conscious' - well, my conscience kicked in, and it said, 'Yo, that was kinda wack.' "
He adds: "Things have been clicking ever since. I found out my cousin was gay years ago, and even just dealing with my interior decorator, having to travel with him, I've had to deal with issues. There was a point I wouldn't even get in the car with him 'cause I didn't want people to see me with a gay person. I didn't want it to hurt my career."

Kanye West will receive the Artist Achievement Award at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, which will be presented Dec. 6 in Las Vegas.

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