Saul Williams, the actor, poet, and singer best known for his role in the 1998 film Slam, will play the lead role in the forthcoming Tupac-inspired Broadway musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me. Williams will be joined by Tony Award-winner Tonya Pinkins, as well as Broadway stars John Earl Jelks, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, and Ben Thompson, among others.
Based on Tupac Shakur's lyrics and featuring a number of classic Tupac songs, Holler If Ya Hear Me is billed as a "non-biographical story about friendship, love, change, family, and hope." The show is slated to begin preview performances May 29 and to open the following month on June 19. Jon Terbush
President-elect Donald Trump doesn't only use his Android smartphone to tweet — he also makes and takes calls at all hours, even from unknown or "No Caller ID" numbers, according to reporters and associates. It has been indispensable tool for business and campaigning, but it would be a national security nightmare for a president. So, on Thursday, The Associated Press reports, Trump "told a friend that he had given up his phone, as security agencies had urged him to do," and as President Obama had, reluctantly, eight years ago. "Trump doesn't email, but he uses his phone to tweet," AP adds, "something he's made clear he plans to continue in office."
Trump "traded in his Android phone for a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service with a new number that few people possess," The New York Times reports, citing "people close to the transition." Trump's aides told the newspaper that even though the official rationale was security, they are relieved at his restricted phone access — or at least greater reliance on the White House switchboard. Obama was originally given a special BlackBerry that was largely disabled for security purposes. He recently switched to an iPhone that let him email a limited group of people and surf the web, AP says, though he did not use it to make calls and always coordinated with staff before sending out a tweet.
We don't have many details about Trump's new smartphone, and probably won't for security purposes, but Obama gave some hints while talking about his last upgrade on The Tonight Show in June. "Finally, this year, they said, 'Good news Mr. President, we're going to give you a smartphone instead of a BlackBerry,'" Obama told Jimmy Fallon. "I'm excited, I get the thing, and they're like, 'Well, Mr. President, for security reasons — this is a great phone, state-of-the-art — but it doesn't take pictures, you can't text, the phone doesn't work, you can't play your music on it.'" Watch below. Peter Weber
When Thursday's Late Show aired, Donald Trump's presidential inauguration was just over 12 hours away. "It's real," Stephen Colbert said. "It's happening. We all knew this day would come — it's inevitable, like death and never seeing his taxes." Once he's sworn in, "no one is really sure what Trump is gonna do in office — it's a grab bag," Colbert said. But Trump did tell The Washington Post that his plan to Make America Great Again is essentially to tell America it is now great. "America will be great when he says it is, okay?" Colbert said. "It's like your dad saying, 'You love Colonial Williamsburg! We drove all the way down here from St. Louis, you are having fun, mister. This is fun!'"
Trump also said he plans on bringing back military parades, to show America that its rebuilt military is great, too. But that doesn't mean Trump will be some sort of cold-hearted dictator, like North Korea's Kim Jong Un or Tiananmen Square massacre-era China, Colbert assured everyone, noting that Trump showed his soft side with a free inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Like all presidents-elect, Trump entered to music, he explained, "but instead of 'Hail to the Chief,' our new, loving president entered to.... 'Heart of Stone,'" the Rolling Stones song. "I hope he was talking about the statue of Lincoln behind him," Colbert said nervously. He ended his monologue poking fun at Rick Perry. Watch below. Peter Weber
Thursday night was President Obama's last night as president, and Stephen Colbert kicked it up a notch on The Late Show, bringing out an old friend for a sort of end-of-administration eulogy. Colbert set it up by ribbing Obama. "Whether or not you liked him or voted for him, we can all agree eight years later, it's still kind of crazy that his middle name was Hussein," he said. "I can't believe he got elected."
"Now I tried very hard to come up with a way to talk about Barack Obama's legacy tonight, but after looking at the scope of his presidency, I realized that anyone who thinks they can sum up the last eight years in a few minutes would have to be a delusional egomaniac," Colbert said. His Colbert Report alter-ego appeared (well, close enough for lawyers): "Did someone say delusional egomaniac?" After the Report Colbert said he was up to the task of recapping Obama's presidency, Late Show Colbert stepped aside: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome conservative pundit Stephen Colbert."
Colbert Report Colbert started off with all the hits from Obama's early years, when Colbert was still on Comedy Central. "Well, well, well, at long last our America-hating, secret-Muslim, lead-from-behind, terrorist-fist-bumping, hopey-changey apologist in chief is leaving office," he said, in character. "Well, I have just one thing to say to him, and it's tonight's WERD." The WERD was "Thanks, Obama," and it started out sarcastic. "I don't want to exaggerate here," he said. "Every year of the Obama regime felt like he was strangling a bald eagle with the American flag while taking a dump on an apple pie." (WERD: "A La Commode.") "That's why I want to say, Thanks Obama," Report Colbert said. "You reminded guys like me what we truly stand for: the opposite of whatever you said." (WERD: "The Audacity of Nope.") The bit is a reminder of Obama's presidency, but also of why Colbert's old persona was such effective and brutal satire — at the end, it's not quite clear which Colbert is speaking, or whether it's funny. Watch below. Peter Weber
There were almost certainly more celebrities at the anti-Trump rally in New York City on Thursday night than at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. — though that's probably fine with Trump. ("The so-called 'A' list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING," he tweeted last month. "I want the PEOPLE!") The actors and musicians, plus New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, gathered with thousands of other protesters outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan.
The celebrity speakers urged the crowd to unite and stand up for their rights against the incoming administration, but they also turned to comedy. Director Michael Moore, one of the organizers, explained why. A lot of Trump's actions have no effect on him personally, Moore said. "What's he affected by? He's affected by comedy! He has the thinnest skin of any bully I've ever met." Robert De Niro followed that up with tweets he said Trump would post sometime "in the middle of the night," including: "De Niro should give back his Oscars! Voting was rigged!"
When Alec Baldwin took the stage, he urged the protesters to wage "100 days of resistance" against the Trump administration, and called Trump's Cabinet a "disgrace." "Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and Mike Pence and all these people that are a part of Trump's administration think you're going to lay down," he told the crowd. "The one thing they don't realize is New Yorkers never lay down." He rewarded the audience for coming out by reprising his Trump impersonation from Saturday Night Live. You can watch below — spoiler: It has to do with urine. Peter Weber
On Thursday, Mexican authorities handed notorious drug cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and the DEA flew him to New York City to face federal charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, weapons, and criminal enterprise charges. El Chapo landed at a regional airport on Long Island Thursday night, and was quickly transferred to a Manhattan prison before an expected court hearing in Brooklyn on Friday. He also faces charges in five other U.S. jurisdictions, and faces up to life in prison.
Mexico agreed to extradite the head of the Sinaloa cartel last May, after he was captured following his second high-profile prison break. His lawyers had protested the extradition, and a Mexican court gave final approval for his transfer to the U.S. on Thursday. A Mexican official also described the extradition, on President Obama's last night in office, as a "farewell gift" to Obama rather than a welcome basket for his successor, President-elect Donald Trump. Trump insulted Mexico and Mexicans during his campaign and has vowed to eventually make Mexico pay for his proposed border wall, and though Mexico's new foreign minister has forged ties with incoming Trump officials, the Mexican official told The Washington Post that the extradition of Guzmán on Obama's watch is meant to signal that in future negotiations, "nothing is for free."
"The fact that we delivered him to Obama is a clear political message that says this is a government we have long collaborated and worked closely with," Jorge Chabat, an expert on security at Mexico City think tank CIDE, told The New York Times. "By not waiting to send him to Trump after his inauguration, it is a subtle statement saying, 'We could do this for you, too, in the future, if we have a good relationship.'" If not, Chabat added, "there won't be any other powerful narcotraffickers extradited," he said. Evan Pérez reported a similar message on CNN Thursday evening, telling Anderson Cooper "it is clear that one of the reasons they wanted to do this now, right before Barack Obama leaves office, was to make sure that Donald Trump couldn't claim victory for this." Watch below. Peter Weber
President-elect Donald Trump promised Thursday to bring the country together, and if you're skeptical, just look what he's already done to his hometown's two rival tabloids:
Now this is rare. They match. pic.twitter.com/AKqiYouMWC
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 20, 2017
"Don of a New Day" isn't the world's greatest headline pun, but it was apparently irresistible for the editors at the New York Post and New York Daily News, who even chose similar photographs. Next up, Congress? Peter Weber
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were frequent guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and to mark their last day in the White House, the host shared a video filled with highlights of their appearances, including a trip to CVS, a push-up challenge, and lots and lots of dancing — both real and computer-generated.
DeGeneres began her tribute by thanking President Obama for changing her life. "I am a legally married woman because of him, and so is my wife," she said. "His courage and compassion created equality for everyone. He moved us forward and made more happen in the past eight years than I ever dreamed possible." The montage included clips from a very youthful looking Barack Obama's first visit to the show in 2007 and his meeting with a child presidential expert, plus a very personal Valentine's Day message from POTUS to FLOTUS ("I ObamaCare about you more than you even know"). Watch the touching — and funny — clip below. Catherine Garcia