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'Sorry to Bother You' director calls 'BlackKklansman' a ‘made up story’

  

Boots Riley has some thoughts on “BlacKkKlansman” and — spoiler alert — they’re not good.

 

»RELATED: How a black police detective infiltrated and stopped the Ku Klux Klan

   

The “Sorry to Bother You” director and The Coup frontman posted an essay on Twitter sharing his discontent with the film and the story’s protagonist, a law enforcement officer. In the three-page response to the film, Riley goes into a bit of a history lesson, sharing that Spike Lee’s film took creative license with the based-on-a-true-story tale — something fairly common in Hollywood films based on real life — but alleges that it’s done to paint police in a more positive light.

    

“[T]o the extent that people of color deal with actual physical attacks and terrorizing due to racism and racist doctrines — we deal with it mostly from the police on a day to day basis. And not just from White cops. From Black cops too. So for Spike to come out with a movie where a story points are fabricated in order make Black cop and his counterparts look like allies in the fight against racism is really disappointing, to put it very mildly,” he wrote.

    

Riley’s response begins by noting that he is a longtime fan of the director: “Spike Lee has been a huge influence on me. He’s the reason I went to film school so many years ago.” But he goes on to remind readers that just as Lee has been vocal about his criticism of other filmmakers, he too has a responsibility to be honest.

    

“I’m not gonna hold my tongue,” writes Riley.

       

Based on Ron Stallworth’s 2014 book “Black Klansman: A Memoir,” “BlacKkKlansman” follows black Colorado Springs detective Ron (John David Washington), who infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. During undercover phone conversations, fellow detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) acts as the face to the voice during in-person meetings. According to Riley, the story and the way it diverges from what happened in real life may just be too perfect. “It’s a made up story in which the false parts of it try to make a cop the protagonist in the fight against racial oppression,” he says.

   

» Video: Listen to Spike Lee talk about “BlacKkKlansman,” “School Daze,” and HBCUs 

 

He discusses many of the film’s fictionalized plot points, including Flip Zimmerman’s cultural background, Stallworth’s “radical girlfriend,” the final action sequence, and the arrest of a racist cop, suggesting that these were creative decisions made to portray Stallworth — who Riley calls “the villain” — as someone who has “risked his life to fight racism.”

    

Riley argues that the real Ron Stallworth “was part of the cointelpro,” the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, and “infiltrated a Black radical organization for 3 years (not for one event like the movie portrays)” in order to “sabotage a Black radical organization whose intent had to do with at the very least fighting racist oppression,” citing reports acquired via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He argues that Stallworth’s actions were counter-productive for black causes. “Cointelpro’s objectives were to destroy radical organizations, especially Black radical organizations. Cointelpro papers also show us that when White Supremacist organizations were infiltrated by the FBI and the cops, it was not to disrupt them. They weren’t disrupted. It was to use them to threaten and/or physically attack radical organizations.”

    

Riley argues that Stallworth’s memoir was written as somewhat of a PR stunt “to put himself in a different light,” adding that Black Klansman was “published by a publisher that specializes in books written by cops.”

    

EW has requested comment from Lee and Stallworth.

   

Florida alpaca dies after motorist feeds it Doritos, Cheese Nips, peanuts

A Florida animal hospital announced the death of a beloved community alpaca Saturday on Facebook.

>> See the Facebook post here

Creekside Animal Hospital in Fleming Island wrote: "It is with a heavy heart that we want to inform our clients and friends at [Swimming Pen Creek Elementary] that our youngest alpaca that was born out on the shared field over a year ago has passed away."

According to the post, a man in a blue car is responsible for the death of the alpaca.

>> Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, to hang up skis in Florida

The animal hospital said he would dump food onto the field multiple times a week and that they had spoken to him multiple times.

Most recently, he left three boxes of animal crackers, a large bag of Doritos, two boxes of Cheese Nips and two bags of whole peanuts, the animal hospital said.

The animal hospital said the man "leaves the litter behind every single time and we clean it up."

The post said this was the first time peanuts were dumped, and the youngest alpaca overindulged.

>> Read more trending news 

The hospital said it did everything they could for him, even a blood transfusion from his father, but the young alpaca died nonetheless. 

The animal hospital said it "worked on him for 36 hours and just couldn't bring him back."

Employees with the animal hospital said they are now in fear for the rest of the herd, including the goats.

They said they will likely be moving them to a new location because they have no way to protect them from the man with the blue car. 

– Visit ActionNewsJax.com for the latest on this developing story.

5 things every parent should know about immunization

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences.

>> On AJC.com: What you need to know about mumps

With all of the talk out there about the pros and cons of getting your child immunized, here are five things you need to know about how the process works and why doctors recommend it:

What is immunization? 

The World Health Organization defines immunization as the process that makes a person immune or resistant to an infectious disease. The most common way to achieve this is by giving the person a vaccine. Over the past 200 or so years, doctors have been able to use vaccines to fight diseases that used to kill millions of people, including young children, every year.

How does immunization work? 

Vaccines are usually given through a needle injection, though Verywell noted there are some that can be given through the mouth or the nose.

According to WebMD, once a vaccine enters the body, it helps the immune system develop antibodies that fight the virus or bacteria that causes that specific illness. (The process can take a few weeks, so your child won't instantly become immune.) The next time your child runs into that virus or bacteria, his body will have the tools it needs to fight off the illness.

Does my child really need to be vaccinated?

If you plan to enroll your child in a daycare or school, there may be minimum vaccination requirements before they can get started. According to he National Vaccine Information Center, exceptions can be made based on certain medical or religious grounds, but an application is required.

If you don't have any medical or religious concerns, vaccines are strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control to help slow the progress of infections. When more people get vaccinated against a certain disease, outbreaks can be prevented because the germs won't be able to travel as fast through the population. This is called community immunity.

>> Read more trending news 

Which vaccines are recommended for kids?

The CDC website lists 16 potentially harmful diseases that their recommended vaccines can protect against. Those diseases are:

Each vaccine should be taken during a specific age range, so be sure to talk to your child's doctor to find out the right time to bring them in for their shots.

What are the risks involved with vaccines?

KidsHealth says the most common reactions to vaccines are fever and redness, swelling and soreness where the shot was given. In rare cases, patients have had seizures or severe allergic reactions. If you're concerned about side effects, Parents Magazine has some tips for easing the sting and making your child's first immunization experience as comfortable as possible.

If you have questions about vaccines or side effects, it's best to talk to your child's doctor.

'Sexist' quote removed from Texas school wall after social media backlash

A Texas school has removed a controversial quote from one of its walls after it sparked complaints on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Houston Chronicle, the quote, which read, "The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman," had been on display above a row of lockers at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The words are "commonly attributed to Sydney Biddle Barrows," aka the "Mayflower Madam," who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in the 1980s, USA Today reported.

A photo of the quote made the rounds on social media Friday.

"This is the wall at Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD," Twitter user Lisa Beckman wrote, according to USA Today. "It's perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. It's sexist, mysogonistic (sic), and discriminatory! I'm horrified." 

>> See the tweet here

Beckman's tweet quickly went viral, with nearly 9,000 shares and 23,000 likes by Sunday morning.

KTRK reported Saturday that the quote had been taken down.

"Please be advised that the quote on the wall of Gregory Lincoln PK-5 Education Center has been removed," the Houston Independent School District said in a statement. "Overnight, the wall decal letters were taken down, the wall was floated out, and new slab of drywall was installed and painted."

School board member Diana Davila tweeted a photo of the blank wall Saturday.

"This was removed last night," she wrote. "Thanks to the people who brought it to our attention."

>> See the tweet here

Boy dying from leukemia wants racing stickers for his casket

A terminally ill Iowa boy who wants to decorate his casket with racing stickers is asking the public for help.

According to the Des Moines Register, Caleb Hammond, 11, of Oskaloosa, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017. After months of unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments, a bone marrow transplant and medical scares, including a week in a medically induced coma with heart failure symptoms, he and his family recently decided to stop treating his illness and spend time together, the newspaper reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Now Caleb, a racing fan who loves to visit Southern Iowa Speedway, has a final request: for the public to send him racing stickers.

"We're trying to decorate his casket," his uncle, Chris Playle, told the Register.

Meanwhile, Team Kids With Cancer 46-7 made one of Caleb's dreams come true by getting him behind the wheel of a hobby stock race car. He drove in a six-lap race Saturday, the Register reported.

>> See the family's Facebook post about the event here

If you'd like to send Caleb a sticker, you can mail it to 314 N. J St., Oskaloosa, IA 52577. You can also donate to his family's GoFundMe campaign here.

Read more here.

Stevie Wonder says Aretha Franklin 'wasn’t able to speak' when he visited her before her death

      

Aretha Franklin was surrounded by loved ones at the time of her death but her famed voice had fallen silent.

» RELATED: The 'Queen of Soul,' Aretha Franklin, dies at 76  

    

One of those to pay their respects to the Queen of Soul before her passing was Stevie Wonder, who revealed he and Franklin had made plans to make new music just months ago.

    

“We talked about doing some music, as recent as two months ago, we talked about it,” Wonder, 68, said in an interview Friday on CBS This Morning.

    

“And so…,” the singer trailed off as he choked back tears. “I thought I cried my last tear, I said I’d get it together… I flew out from L.A. to Detroit and went to see her and spoke to her.”

    

“She wasn’t able to speak back, but her family felt that she could hear me. I told her to say hello to my sister that I lost this year as well,” he said, referring to the death of his sister, Renee Hardaway, in May.

    

Wonder continued recalling Franklin’s career and her impact on his own.

    

“She did incredible music, incredible singer. She touched every genre. Every singer was influenced in some way by the way she sang. They will forever be influenced by her because of her voice, her emotion, her sincerity is unforgettable,” he said.

    

“I remember hearing her singing at the Reverend Franklin’s church when I was little — maybe I was 4 or 5 years old — because my mother would always listen to the church services on Sunday,” Wonder continued. “And so the voices I remember most in my life would be Dr. King, her voice, and her father, Reverend Franklin.”

    

“She was just consistently a great human being and she always — even with whatever turmoil that may have been happening in her life — she did not put that on anybody else. She believed most of all that she was doing God’s work,” he said. 

    

“She brought joy to a lot of lives and her voice and the essence of her will stay with all of us,” he added. 

» RELATED: Stevie Wonder visits, Beyonce and Jay-Z dedicate tour stop to Aretha Franklin   

    

Franklin died Thursday morning of advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, her publicist confirmed to PEOPLE. She was 76.

    Stevie Wonder    

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” the family said in a statement.

    

“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

          

Her publicist told PEOPLE Friday the legend’s funeral will take place on Friday, Aug. 31 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. 

    

While the ceremony — slated to begin at 10 a.m. — will be strictly limited to friends and family of the late singer, fans will still have a chance to honor her a few days earlier.

    

On Aug. 28 and 29, public viewings will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. On both days, fans will be able to pay their respects from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    

Following the funeral service, Franklin will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery.

    

“Aretha Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, along with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett,” her rep told PEOPLE.

» RELATED: Peabo Bryson, Avery Sunshine share their love of Aretha Franklin   

Mom saves 2 kids moments before toy jeep bursts into flames

A battery-powered toy jeep burst into flames just moments after kids had been playing with it, a Massachusetts mom says.

>> Watch the news report here

Michelle Kline said she bought the SportRax Awesome XL for her 3-year-old, Quincy, and his little sister, Nellie, but never expected it to pose such a danger to her family.

"Part of the reason we bought the jeep that we bought was because the weight was ... I think it was 105 pounds the company told us it was rated for," she said. "It was four-wheel drive."

>> Georgia dad dies saving daughter, 4, from oncoming car, family says

Kline said her two children were driving up the neighbor's lawn when smoke began to pour out from under the hood. That's when she pulled them out of the toy car without thinking twice. 

"They were buckled in, and they are both little, so neither of them could have gotten themselves out," Kline said.

As soon as the kids were safe, the jeep went up in flames, burning for several more minutes.

"It was alarming how quickly it went up. It went from a little bit of smoke to a full-on fire within, like, two minutes; that was the scary thing," Kline said.

North Andover Fire Chief Bill McCarthy said the fire appeared to be related to the toy's battery, but figuring out the exact cause of the fire may be nearly impossible. 

>> Read more trending news 

"The mother did a good job of noticing something was wrong," McCarthy said. "We notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the Fire Marshal’s Office just to see if they’ve had something similar."

As for the kids, Kline said they don't seem to be bothered about losing their toy, but she said she has no plans to replace it.

"That’s sort of the bigger thing: You don't want this to happen to someone else," Kline said.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z dedicate their concert to Aretha Franklin: 'We love you'

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have nothing but respect for Aretha Franklin.

The superstar couple took the stage at Detroit’s Ford Field on Monday night for the latest stop on their On the Run II Tour, giving their performance in honor of the ailing music legend.

» Aretha Franklin 'gravely ill'

“This show is dedicated to Aretha Franklin,” Beyoncé told the crowd shortly after her opening number, according to a tweet from the concert venue. “We love you and thank you.”

Opener DJ Khaled also added his voice to the tribute, leading the crowd in a sing along of Franklin’s 1967 hit “Respect,” according to fan videos from the event. “Make some noise for Aretha Franklin,” he said.

» PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin at the Fox Theatre

Detroit has special meaning for Franklin. Not only is it where the Memphis-born singer currently lives, but it’s also where the minister’s daughter began her career, singing gospel in her father’s church. Years later, Franklin would achieve critical and commercial acclaim — as well as the title, “The Queen of Soul” — with songs such as “Think,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Chain of Fools,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Meanwhile, Franklin has a connection of her own to Beyoncé.

Back in 2014, Franklin covered one of the Destiny Child singer’s songs on her album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”

I heard she was a fan of mine, so we’ve got a mutual admiration society going,” Franklin told Meredith Vieira during a visit to her talk show at the time.

“She’s a hard worker. That’s what I really like about her,” Franklin added. “You can see it in her presentation that she has put some time and energy into it. She’s a virgo. Virgo’s are very hard workers, I’ve noticed that.”

People reported on Monday that Franklin was in a health crisis, a friend of the artist explaining that the singer has “been ill for a long time” and her loved ones have been warned her “death is imminent.”

Later in the day, Franklin’s nephew Tim told People his aunt was surrounded by her loved ones and resting at home. “She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people,” Tim said. “Family is there with her. She’s home.”

“I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking” Tim continued. “She’s watching TV, so God forbid she sees all of this ‘Aretha’s dead,’ so I don’t want to dampen her spirits on that.”

Reports surfaced late on Sunday that Franklin was gravely ill, with Roger Friedman — a reporter with Showbiz 411 — breaking the news. Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy was also in touch with Franklin’s family.

“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” Cassimy wrote on Twitter. “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”

CNN also reported late Monday that the legendary singer is in hospice care.

Tim told People that while the singer “is sick,” her family is “trying to keep her spirits up and go from there.”

“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” he said.

» Flashback to 2003: A chat with Aretha Franklin

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