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The world is just a little bit sadder today as an amazing woman who was an even more amazing actress and singer has passed on. We are deeply saddened to report Della Reese has passed at the age of 86.

Della Reese is a music icon, known the world over for her strong vocals, strong morals, and dozens of television and movie roles in productions like Touched By An Angel and Harlem Nights. Della passed Sunday evening.

via People:


“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” her costar Roma Downey confirmed to PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, Reese began singing in public at just 6 years old at her local church, establishing her roots in gospel music. Her vocal talent flourished and by 13 she was tapped to perform with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, with whom she’d later tour.

She formed her own group, the Meditation Singers, in the late 1940s, but her exposure to jazz artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan sparked a desire to broaden her musical scope. Now using her famous stage name, she signed a deal with Jubilee Records in 1953, releasing six albums largely composed of jazz standards.

National fame would come in 1957 with the release of “And That Reminds Me,” a Top 20 hit and her first global seller.

She followed it up with “Don’t You Know?” — which would become her signature song, and a string of hits including “Not One Minute More, “And Now,” “Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You),”  and “The Most Beautiful Words.”

In the late ’60s she began to expand her career from a jazz nightclub act to all-around entertainer by breaking into television. She became a familiar face on the small screen, securing guest spots on a host of shows, including The Mod Squad, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, MacGyver, Night Court, and The Young and the Restless.

Her short-lived variety series, Della, debuted in 1969, and the following year she became the first black woman to co-host The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It was after a Tonight Show appearance in 1979 that Reese suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly claimed her life.

Reese became an ordained minister in the 1980s through the Christian New Thought branch known as Unity, leading her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (also known as “UP Church”).

She would draw on her faith for her most famous acting role, playing the part “supervising angel” Tess on the CBS series Touched By an Angel beginning in 1994. Though the show was initially met with mixed reviews, it went on to become a huge success, running until 2003. Tess’ playful sarcasm and no-nonsense attitude added something of a humorous edge to the wholesome show, and she became its most beloved character.

Reese was plagued with health problems later in life, including a battle with diabetes which she blamed on poor diet and exercise. Following two appearances on the television show Signed, Sealed, Delivered in 2014, she retired from acting.

Rest in peace Della, we were all truly touched by angel.

 

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ICYMI! Yara Shahidi & Jude Law Cast as “Tinkerbell” & “Captain Hook” In Disney’s Live Action “Peter Pan” Movie!

Disney has another live action remake in the works! This time we are headed to Neverland, as it is being announced that Yara Shahidi and Jude Law have been cast as “Tinkerbell” and “Captain Hook!”

As you may already know, Tinkerbell is not only Peter Pan’s friend, but she also loves him very much and becomes jealous whenever any girl–namely Wendy Darling–shows him any attention. She is also integral to the children’s ability to fly while in Neverland has her magical fairy dust –and a few happy thoughts–allows them to become airborne!

Captain Hook, however, is Peter’s archenemy; terrorizing him and The Lost Boys (Peter’s band of misfit orphans he forms a fraternal bond with) alongside his pirates.

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jude law captain hook yara shahidi peter pan

Disney has another live action remake in the works! This time we are headed to Neverland, as it is being announced that Yara Shahidi and Jude Law have been cast as “Tinkerbell” and “Captain Hook!”

As you may already know, Tinkerbell is not only Peter Pan’s friend, but she also loves him very much and becomes jealous whenever any girl–namely Wendy Darling–shows him any attention. She is also integral to the children’s ability to fly while in Neverland has her magical fairy dust –and a few happy thoughts–allows them to become airborne!

Captain Hook, however, is Peter’s archenemy; terrorizing him and The Lost Boys (Peter’s band of misfit orphans he forms a fraternal bond with) alongside his pirates.

via Deadline

yara shahidi tinkerbell peter pan

Disney continues to make strides in diversifying its classic characters and is doing it again as sources tell Deadline that Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi is set to play Tinker Bell in David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy. This would mark the first time a person of color has filled the role that traditionally has featured a white actress and follows in the footsteps after Disney set Halle Bailey to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

Shahidi joins Jude Law, who will play Captain Hook, as well as Alexander Molony and Ever Anderson, who will play the title characters. Lowery is on board to direct the project and also co-wrote the script with Toby Halbrooks. Jim Whitaker is producing.

jude law captain hook peter pan

We are very happy for Yara, she will make an excellent Tinkerbell! Jude as Captain Hook, is a pretty ingenious move on Disney’s behalf. He is one helluva actor with an impeccable resume. We are sure he will bring the ruthlessness needed for this iconic villain. We can really tell the company is making moves with diversity.

“Peter Pan” is definitely overdue for a live action remake by Disney. As you may recall, it originally premiered back in 1953!

What do you all think of Disney’s casting for “Peter Pan?” Sound off in the comments’ section below!

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She’s DONE! Nene Leakes Leaves “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”

Rumors of Nene Leakes’ departure from Bravo’s “The Real House of Atlanta” have been swirling for months, but now it has been confirmed she is indeed departing the long running reality series, and will not be featured in its upcoming thirteenth season!

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nene leakes leaves real housewives of atlanta

Rumors of Nene Leakes’ departure from Bravo’s “The Real House of Atlanta” have been swirling for months, but now it has been confirmed she is indeed departing the long running reality series, and will not be featured in its upcoming thirteenth season!

via People

Nene Leakes
CHARLES SYKES/BRAVO/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES

The reality star, 52, will not be returning to the hit Bravo series for its upcoming 13th season, she announced Thursday on her YouTube channel.

“Thank you to all of you guys that have been showing me a lot of love and support as of late. I feel you, I hear you. I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying on both sides,” she said in the video. “It has been hard, and I have made the very hard and difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision for me,” she continued. “It was hard. I started on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. We took off like a rocket. I mean, we took off. You could have never told me that I would start on this little show and it still be going strong 13, 14 years later. And it is. I’m just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for Black ensemble reality shows to step up and be a part of what we all now love so much, reality TV.”

Leakes thanked fans, Bravo, the cast and her team for supporting her over the years. She also addressed a false report of someone on her team releasing a statement on her behalf last week. “I had no knowledge of it and I did not approve it,” she said.

She ended her message by promising, “I will see you again. Real soon.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, a Bravo rep said, “We wish Nene all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for sharing her journey for over a decade with the fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She’s been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she’ll hold the peach again.”

As aforementinoned, rumors of her departure had been flying all summer. However, her manager, Steven Grossman, insisted in a statement to PEOPLE on June 18 that she was still in talks to return for season 13.

It is absolutely not true that Nene has been fired from RHOA,” Grossman said then. “Furthermore, it was made abundantly clear prior that she will always be welcome on the series as long as she wants to be.”

Gossman said at the time that they were “having on-going bigger picture conversations with NBC Universal and have not made any decisions regarding next season specifically. Any speculation or sources trying to create controversy by stating otherwise are incredibly inaccurate. Bloop.”

We are not sure what RHOA will be like without Nene, but her now former cast mate, Kenya Moore, has definitely filled her shoes as the show’s villain. Nene will always be the Queen of RHOA, and we are sure after so much earned and needed time off, she may as aforementioned, once again hold a peach. Good luck with everything Nene.

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[PHOTOS] Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, & More Gather for Chadwick Boseman’s Oceanside Memorial Service

Chadwick Boseman has finally been laid to rest with an oceanside memorial service to commemorate his life. In attendance were his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, family, and his Black Panther costars, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke among others.

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chadwick boseman funeral memorial service

Chadwick Boseman has finally been laid to rest with an oceanside memorial service to commemorate his life. In attendance were his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, family, and his Black Panther costars, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke among others.

chadwick boseman dead

Private photographs from the service, obtained by The Sun, show the service took place in Malibu, CA.

You can see a few of the photos below:

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A Memorial held for the #king Chadwick Boseman in Malibu. CHADWICK Boseman’s friends, family and co-stars gathered in Malibu to remember the brave actor’s life and say their final goodbyes. Mourners including Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and other Black Panther stars took a moment to console each other and the star’s grieving wife, Taylor Simone Ledward. The memorial was overlooking the ocean and included music from a hang drum.  There was a beautiful table display with Boseman’s photo and flowers.  The actor passed away aged just 43 at home in Los Angeles on August 28 after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. His beloved wife Taylor, whom he secretly married shortly before his death, was at his bedside alongside close family. Since the actor’s death was announced tributes have since flooded in, with praise for Boseman's legacy and significance to millions of fans around the world following his starring role in the groundbreaking Black Panther. The film was a landmark moment for representation in Hollywood. 📸:@thesun

A post shared by Mo Lawani (@zelafrica) on

We are going to miss Chadwick Boseman so much. He did not only bring Black Panther to life, he embodied so much dignity and honor, and moved with respect. He is one of the ancestors now, and we just know Heaven welcomed him with open arms. Rest well King, you have earned it.

 

 

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