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Nathan Barksdale, the Baltimore drug lord and inspiration behind HBO’s hit series The Wire, has died. According to Baltimore Health Department spokesman Sean Naron, Barksdale passed away while serving time in a medical prison in Butner, North Carolina. The reason for his death is unknown. Barksdale gained notoriety for selling heroin throughout Baltimore in the 1980s. After the feds caught on to his operation, he ended up serving 15 years in state prison for a battery charge. A few years ago, Barksdale was working on changing his life around. He was involved in Safe Streets, a program overseen by the Health Department designed to aid in overcoming violence. In 2014, Barksdale pleaded guilty on charges related to a drug scheme and was sentenced to four years in prison. David Simon, director of The Wire, credits Barksdale as the muse behind some of the characters featured on the show. Barksdale was 54. Read more.


Natalie Cole’s Family Throws Shade at the Grammys For Lackluster Tribute

On Monday night, the Grammys paid homage to entertainers who have recently passed away with their “In Memoriam” segment. The family of late singer Natalie Cole, who died on Dec. 31, claims the show didn’t do enough to honor her legacy. “Words cannot express the outrage and utter disappointment at the disrespectful tribute, or lack thereof, to a legendary artist such as our sister,” said Cole’s sisters following the awards ceremony. Her son, Robert Adam Yancy, thought the organizers should have done more than simply including her image in the slideshow. “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than [to be a part of] a minute-and-a-half tribute,” he said. “It was shameless the way they minimized her legacy. We will find solace in her legacy as well as her endless fans around the world.” Cole died at the top of the year after battling several health issues. She was 65. Read more.


Pilots Wanted for Series That Explores Race Relations and Economic Inequality

Interlude and Games for Change have teamed up to launch a film contest in an effort to develop a series that delves into race relations, economic inequality, and sexual rights in our country. The winning film directors will have their work screened at the Games and Media Summit during the Tribeca Film Festival this spring. “Games for Change is thrilled to bring Interlude’s ‘The Challenge of Diversity’ competition to this year’s Games and Media Summit, in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival,” Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change, said in a statement. “Not only does this innovative challenge align with our passion to foster collaboration between the filmmaker and game maker community, Interlude’s pioneering platform will serve as an interactive entertainment medium to bring the nuances and challenges of our diverse nation to the public forefront.” The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 to fund their project. Read more.


Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush Tweets Photo of a Gun

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in hot water after tweeting a photo of a gun with his name engraved on it. The caption accompanying the photo? “America.” The post surfaced a few hours after Bush met with FN USA firearms employees in South Carolina. The company retweeted his post with the message, “Thank you for visiting with our team today, Gov. Bush!” Many people called out Bush on social media, pointing out that guns are contributing to our country’s ever-growing homicide rate. Bush has had a rocky presidential campaign trail. He’s currently lagging behind by 30 points in South Carolina, which is slated to have its presidential primary next week. Read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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