‘I was more afraid of my mom than kids who roughed me up’: 50 Cent on using his childhood on screen
Curtis Jackson also goes by the name 50 Cent, but despite the moniker suggesting otherwise it seems the star doesn’t do things by halves.
When he put out his first album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ it became the best-selling debut hip-hop record ever, while his TV show Power has been one of the most successful series on premium pay television in the US, according to network Starz.
It led to four spin-off series being commissioned and the latest, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, focuses on how Jackson’s character in Power, drug dealer Kanan Stark, became the man he did.
Jackson tells Sky News he requested to the show’s creator Courtney A Kemp that he wanted to play “the worst character that they’ve seen on television – so if I play a bad guy, I want to play a real bad guy”.
But the prequel shows how he ended up that way, with Jackson narrating the story of Kanan’s younger years.
“To go into the prequel on his character is to show all of his trauma and all of the things that he – the things you go through make you who you are, I believe that – and the things that he went through and his experiences that hardened him to the point that he was that guy that we saw in Power at the beginning,” he says. “So you kind of see the things that he’s gone through that turned him into that.”
In order to give the character authenticity, Jackson borrowed from his own experiences growing up in the borough of Queens in New York City.
One of the show’s opening scenes sees a young Kanan running home to his mother after being beaten up, but instead of comforting him she tells him he needs to learn to fight back and accompanies him for the rematch.
“These are real things, like, I really experienced being roughed up in the park before my mom sent me back to the park, and I was just more afraid of her than the kids in the park, so I ended up going back to fight them instead of dealing with my mom,” he says.
“And you deal with that and it kind of changes your perspective, like, I’m not going to go back whining to my mother for her to send me back, I’ll just handle it before she finds out that I’m scared or afraid of the other person, so it kind of changed a part of my character in the very early stages.
“It was probably the biggest thing to describe what my relationship with my mom was like fairly early on, you know, because she was the only provider, so she was like the source of everything that’s good; if she’s angry with you then nothing good is around, you know what I’m saying, and you’re like, wow, no, just take me back to the park, I’d rather fight than deal with this.”
As a father himself now, Jackson recognises that idolising of parents by their children from the other side of the relationship.
“There’s a point where kids view their parents as superheroes because they don’t understand everything else in life that they have to do, work and everything else to create the comforts.
“My little guy now, he sees me like that, he thinks, ‘my dad could do it – there’s no question my dad could do it’, like if somebody can jump further and he’ll say ‘my dad can jump that far’, he thinks I can do everything, and it’s amazing.”
Jackson’s own mother passed away when he was eight, and he went on to be raised by grandparents. There, he was one of nine and there wasn’t a lot of money to go around, but his mother’s friends kept him in their lives; the star says it was them who inspired him to do whatever it took to make money.
“I look at my journey, some of the decisions that my mom made have guided mine, and it’s because people from her life had what was a representation of financial freedom, they had those nice things in front of me,” he says.
“They got everything that you would want, so it kind of led me down the same path of the hustling and going to do different things, and, you know, I just hit the roof of that and wanted to do more, so I got involved in music and entertainment where we do things that exceed that level of success, completely.
“Like, that [what his mum’s friends had] is the smallest thing, you know what I mean, it just felt big at that point, when I was little.”
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Jackson has returned to the studio to make new music for Raising Kanan. The tracks see him collaborating with up-and-coming artists – mirroring his own experiences of starting out in the music industry, when he worked with Eminem and Dr Dre – but now it’s Jackson who’s the experienced one boosting the profile of others.
The start of his career was strange to negotiate, he says. “My first album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was the largest debuting hip-hop album – still – 13 million records sold on the first album. If your first record is that big – you know that saying, you never have a second chance at a first impression – so people will never really appreciate you as much as they did at that point.”
With a second series of Power Book III: Raising Kanan commissioned before the first even aired, another Starz show called Black Mafia Family and a series for Netflix in the works, Jackson has plenty to keep him busy.
He says that in terms of his TV career, he was inspired to make his own shows by someone he looks up to.
“Sylvester Stallone’s career is my hero career, and it’s because he made the projects that made his career work. He made Rocky, he made Rambo, made Escape Plan – he makes these franchises himself, comes up with the right idea that could work for him and writes the project and everything.”
“So I like that, to develop the things that I’m involved in, that I feel passionate enough about the project after I’ve gone through it step by step.”
Power Book III: Raising Kanan is out now on streaming service Starzplay
Gwyneth Paltrow wins high-profile civil court case against man who claimed she crashed into him while skiing
Gwyneth Paltrow has won a high-profile civil court case against a man who claimed she crashed into him while skiing.
She was awarded $1 in damages after the jury found retired optometrist Terry Sanderson was “100%” at fault for the skiing accident.
The jurors deliberated for two hours on Thursday after hearing eight days of evidence.
Paltrow, dressed in a navy blazer jacket and striped shirt, did not react when the verdict was announced.
In a statement released after the verdict, she said she was “pleased” with the outcome.
“I felt that acquiescing to a false claim comprised my integrity,” she said.
“I am pleased with the outcome and I appreciate all of the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case.”
Mr Sanderson, 76, sued the Hollywood actress for $300,000 (£242,000), saying the 2016 collision on the slopes of Utah left him with several broken ribs and severe brain injuries.
Paltrow, who is also a lifestyle influencer, denied the claims, alleging Mr Sanderson crashed into her at the Deer Valley resort, and caused her to lose “half a day of skiing”.
She counter-sued him for the awarded amount of $1 and her legal fees.
During the court case in Park City, jurors heard evidence from a variety of medical experts, ski instructors, and members of both Mr Sanderson and Paltrow’s family, including the actress’ children Apple and Moses Martin.
Mr Sanderson said he had become a “self-imposed recluse” after the incident and had been advised never to ski again in case of further injury.
But Paltrow’s lawyers showed photos of him enjoying multiple holidays after the accident.
Oscar-winning actress Paltrow, 50, said she felt “very sorry” for Mr Sanderson but reiterated that she was not “at fault” for the crash.
Mr Sanderson said he had been told by medical experts that travelling would be “healing” for him and that he had struggled during his trips.
Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen was effectively ‘gaslit’ by Daily Mail, court told – as Harry makes appearance
The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence was effectively “gaslit” by the Daily Mail, the High Court has been told – as Prince Harry made a brief appearance for the end of the privacy hearing.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence is one of a number of high-profile individuals, including the Duke of Sussex, accusing the newspaper’s publishers Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) of concealing “wrongdoing” over the alleged unlawful gathering of their private information.
ANL vehemently denies the claims and has argued for the case to be dismissed. A four-day preliminary hearing has now concluded, with the judge to deliver a decision on whether the case should go to trial in writing at a later date.
During Thursday’s session, barrister David Sherborne, representing the claimant group – which also includes Sir Elton John, Liz Hurley, Sadie Frost and former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Simon Hughes – said they had a “compelling case”.
It is alleged ANL commissioned 19 different private investigators to carry out a series of unlawful acts from 1993 to 2011 and beyond, which in some instances informed articles, Mr Sherborne said.
The group was “thrown off the scent by the way in which the articles were written”, the court heard.
Mr Sherborne later read out extracts from Baroness Lawrence’s witness statement, in which she said she felt “played for a fool” by the Daily Mail, believing the newspaper “really cared” about the injustice of the murder of her son Stephen.
“They were supposed to be our allies and friends, the good people, not the bad,” she said. Baroness Lawrence said she had believed information in articles about her had come from the police.
Mr Sherborne told the court: “That is nothing short of gaslighting Baroness Lawrence, that’s the form of concealment we are talking about.”
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The term gaslighting means to manipulate someone into questioning their own sanity or powers of reasoning.
Known as a campaigner and reformer, Baroness Lawrence has devoted herself to seeking justice for her 18-year-old son, an aspiring architect who was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in southeast London in 1993.
The Daily Mail, under then editor Paul Dacre, campaigned to bring Mr Lawrence’s killers to justice, running a front page in 1997 that saw the newspaper brand five suspects “Murderers” – challenging them to sue if the headline was incorrect.
Baroness Lawrence was present in court for part of Thursday’s session, as were Harry and Sir Elton’s husband David Furnish, following appearances earlier in the week from Sir Elton and Frost.
Trial could be ‘substantial’ if it does go ahead
Adrian Beltrami KC, representing the publisher, previously told the court that all the claims “are rejected by the defendant in their entirety as are the unfounded allegations that are repeatedly made that the defendant either misled the Leveson Inquiry or concealed evidence from the Leveson Inquiry”.
The lawyer said the legal action against ANL has “no real prospects of succeeding” and is “barred” under a legal period of limitation.
After hearing the final arguments in the preliminary hearing, Mr Justice Nicklin told the court he would hand down his judgment on whether the case should go to trial as soon as he can.
He indicated earlier in the session that if the case does go to trial, it could be one that lasts for a “substantial period of time”.
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After hearing Baroness Lawrence’s claims during the first day of the preliminary hearing, an ANL spokesperson said: “While the Mail’s admiration for Baroness Lawrence remains undimmed, we are profoundly saddened that she has been persuaded to bring this case.
“The Mail remains hugely proud of its pivotal role in campaigning for justice for Stephen Lawrence. Its famous “Murderers” front page triggered the Macpherson report [an inquiry into Mr Lawrence’s death].
“Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, vigorously denies all the claims against it.”
Paul O’Grady: Royal Vauxhall Tavern cabaret club where Lily Savage rose to fame pays raucous tribute to star
Paul O’Grady has been remembered as “one of the greatest drag artists the UK has ever seen” at the LGBTQ+ cabaret club that helped him rise to fame as Lily Savage.
Instead of the typical minute’s silence, there was a minute of raucous applause from the audience at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) in south London on Wednesday evening – a moment to cheer in memory of the “trailblazer and legend”.
O’Grady died “unexpectedly but peacefully” at the age of 67 on Tuesday evening.
His close friend Linda Thorson, an actress known for starring in The Avengers and Emmerdale, said in an interview with Good Morning Britain that he died in bed with his husband, Andre Portasio, beside him.
Stars and royalty including Sir Elton John and the Queen Consort led the thousands of tributes following his death.
The TV presenter and comedian rose to fame on the nightclub circuit in the 1980s as the acerbic, platinum wig-wearing Lily Savage – a name believed to have been inspired by his late mother.
After touring the north of England, he settled into a solo residency at the RVT before the character went on to become a household name.
‘Silence is polite – but this is a moment to applaud’
On Wednesday evening, RVT host Michael Twaits described O’Grady as “an absolute legend of the community” to a full-house audience paying tribute.
“Today we lost one of the greatest drag artists the UK has ever seen, and it is this building, this building was where it happened,” he said.
“Eight years of doing solo shows… and also doing shows like tonight, introducing new talent to the LGBT+ scene. Paul O’Grady was an absolute legend of the community.”
Read more on Paul O’Grady:
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Twaits said O’Grady had always stayed true to his roots, despite his rise to TV fame.
“It was around raising up the community, and when you move from a stage like this into the mainstream, when you move into breakfast f****** television… and still stay true to yourself, stay true to your queer self, and stay true to your working class roots.”
Telling the audience that “a trailblazer and a legend has left us”, he then led the crowd in a round of applause.
“Obviously a moment of silence is polite… but I don’t think a moment of silence is right. I think this is a moment to applaud, a moment to love, a moment to cheer,” he said.
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MPs also highlighted O’Grady’s time at the RVT in the House of Commons earlier on Wednesday.
Addressing Dominic Raab, Sir Chris Bryant said: “I don’t know whether the deputy prime minister ever met Lily Savage or has ever spent a night out at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, but… I can take him some time if he wants to go?”
As laughter broke out, the Labour MP added: “Her alter ego, Paul O’Grady, campaigned acerbically and hilariously for elderly people, for care workers, against oppression of every kind.
“Isn’t it time we in this country celebrated our naughty, hilarious drag queens and comics of every kind who inspire us to be a better and more generous nation?”
Mr Raab, who was filling in for Rishi Sunak during Prime Minister’s Questions, accidently referred to O’Grady as “Paul Grayson”, before correcting himself and describing the star as an “incredible comic”.
‘A true animal lover in every bone in his body’
Among the many paying tribute to O’Grady was the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the charity for which the star had been an ambassador since 2012.
He filmed 11 series of his beloved show For The Love Of Dogs at the centre, and during the first series he rehomed Eddie, a Chihuahua Jack Russell-cross puppy.
Eddie was followed by shih-tzu Boycie in 2014, Conchita, a Maltese, in 2015, Arfur, a mongrel puppy, in 2017, Nancy, another mongrel puppy, in 2020, and Sausage, a wire-haired dachshund, in 2021.
Battersea chief executive Peter Laurie said O’Grady would have taken all of the charity’s dogs home “if he had his way”.
Mr Laurie said: “It’s hard to overstate Paul’s impact at Battersea over the last decade. He really helped put Battersea on the map.”
O’Grady’s “real legacy” is how he showed both the British public and an international audience how “lovable and incredible” rescue dogs are, Mr Laurie added.
“He could walk into a kennel with a dog he had never met before, sit on the floor and play with that dog and bond with that dog within minutes.
“He would fall in love with that dog and the dog would fall in love with him too and you can’t pretend, that was so authentic, that really was Paul – a true animal lover in every bone in his body.”
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