Ice Cube, co-star of the "xXx: State Of The Union" Movie!
A powerful and influential rap pioneer, Ice Cube has found a successful movie career as well. Born O'Shea Jackson in South Central Los Angeles on June 15, 1969, Ice Cube came from a working class family, with both his father and mother employed by U.C.L.A. Ice Cube began writing lyrics when he was in ninth grade; a friend in a high school typing class challenged him to see who could come up with a better rap, and when he won the contest, Cube began honing his hip-hop skills in earnest. Before long, Ice Cube had formed a rap group called CIA with a friend, a DJ known as Sir Jinx. CIA began playing parties organized by Dr. Dre (born Andre Young), a member of a popular local hip-hop group called The World Class Wrecking Cru, and Cube and Dre both got to know Eazy-E (born Eric Wright), a rapper with a group called HBO who had started his own record company, financed by his successful career as a drug dealer. In time, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E joined forces with DJ Yella (born Antoine Carraby) and MC Ren (born Lorenzo Patterson) to form the group N.W.A. With their 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A.'s profane and provocative lyrics (particularly the infamous "F -- -- Tha Police") made them one of the most controversial groups in the history of rap music, and if they weren't the first gangsta rappers, they certainly brought the sound to a mass audience for the first time. In 1989, Cube, dissatisfied with N.W.A.'s management (and the fact he had been paid a mere 30,000 dollars for writing and performing on an album which sold three million copies), decided to leave the group and strike out on his own. He released his first solo album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, in 1990, and the disc's blunt, forceful sound and aggressive blend of street life and political commentary proved there was life for the rapper after N.W.A.. The following year, after releasing the follow-up EP Kill at Will, and a second album, Death Certificate, Cube made his acting debut in John Singleton's gritty look at life in South Central Los Angeles, Boyz N The Hood, which drew its name from an early N.W.A. track. Cube received strong reviews for his performance as ex-con Doughboy, and a year later starred opposite fellow rap trailblazer Ice-T in Walter Hill's Trespass. In 1995, Cube reunited with Singleton for the drama Higher Learning, and, later that year, expanded his repertoire by starring in Friday, a comedy he also wrote and produced.
With his career in the movies on the rise, Ice Cube spent less and less time in the recording studio, although he often contributed to the soundtracks of the films in which he appeared, and recorded with the L.A. all-star group Westside Connection. In 1998, Ice Cube added directing to his list of accomplishments with The Players Club, for which he also served as screenwriter and executive producer, as well as played a supporting role as Reggie. The same year, he released his first solo album in four years, War and Peace, Vol. One: The War Disc. Ice Cube went on to write and produce sequels to both Friday and All About the Benjamins, which co-starred his Friday sidekick, Mike Epps. He also continued to work in films for other writers and filmmakers, including Three Kings, Ghosts of Mars, and Barbershop.
More fun facts about Ice Cube
Birth name: O'Shea Jackson
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Spouse Kim Jackson (1992 - present) 4 children
Rapper/actor, and ex-N.W.A. member.
Education: Phoenix Institute of Technology
Son: O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Began Cubevison production Company.
Cousin of rapper Del Tha Funkee Homosapien.
Legally changed his name to Ice Cube.
His personal quotes
"I'm not the type of actor who is trying to do a whole bunch of different shit, you know what I mean?"
Ice Cube: Talking XXX2 and Are We There Yet?
"Thank God for Brian Levant," says Ice Cube, star of the new family comedy Are We There Yet?, "and thank God for the kids." Neither of these are comments one might have expected from a onetime member of N.W.A., a featured vocalist on Public Enemy's infamous "Burn Hollywood Burn," or the man who once memorably played criminals and gangsters in the likes of Boyz n the Hood and Trespass. And yet, here he is on the threshold of full-fledged mainstream success, discussing a role he might once have lampooned Bill Cosby or Eddie Murphy for accepting.
But then again, Cube also anchored franchises like Friday and Barbershop, held his own against George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in David O. Russell's Three Kings, and directed a produced a number of projects under his Cube Vision banner. This is a man who doesn't simply want to become a star, but a brand name, and branching into kids entertainment is simply the next logical step. "Without [Levant and the kids,] it would have been a lot harder if it was a movie that I took and did with my company without getting somebody who was so efficient and smart and experienced at doing kids movies. He knew what was going to work with parents, what we could get away with, what we couldn't get away with.
"He made the transition a lot easier to do a PG movie, because my thing is always, you know, turn up the ante, make it a little more raw. His was 'You gotta think about those mothers sitting there.' He kind of kept us honest."
That doesn't mean that Cube didn't occasionally try to "make it a little more raw." "At one point, I wanted to take off my belt and sort of like threaten physical harm," Cube says. "But [Levant] kept saying, 'Hey man, that might not only offend people, but Nick is trying to get these kids to like him so he's going to accept more than maybe any normal person would. He's trying a plan of fooling these kids into liking him so he can get the girl.' Thinking of it that way, I [realized] he would tolerate a lot more than I would normally, because those kids would have been on the Greyhound or duct-taped on the luggage rack or somethin'."
Cube says that Are We There Yet? marks the actor's first intentional foray into entertainment that isn't aimed predominantly at adults. "This is my first true family movie," he explains. "You know, we did the Friday series R-rated, and then Barbershop and Barbershop 2 were PG-13, so it was only natural to me to try and stab at a PG movie. Kids like those other movies, but those other movies are not necessarily for them, [so] I wanted to do something more pertaining to them and more their speed." The project, Cube reveals, was initially intended for Adam Sandler, but he says that they reworked it to suit his personal strengths.
"I wanted them to tailor-make it for me, because sometimes you can try to do a mainstream movie and get too out of your element where everything is a struggle," he says. "I wanted to make Nick a guy who was cool in his own way, somebody that I could identify with. It was a fine line to make sure this guy looked the part and looked like he shouldn't even be with kids, but by the end of the movie they look like they shouldn't be apart. That's kind of what I wanted to achieve."
Cube acknowledges that his typical fan base might not follow him into kid-friendly territory, but he still has product available to satisfy them as well. "I'll tell them to go buy one of my albums," he says. "If they don't like the movie, go buy one of the records. This movie's for kids, man. This movie is not for the hard-core hip-hop fan, [but] to have any longevity in this business, you have to at some point cater to a young new audience. My audience goes from 50, 60, all the way down to four, so I want to cater to everybody. Like I say, I'm not trying to be Eddie Murphy; I'm just trying to be trusted at the box-office by the moviegoing audience – that when the Ice Cube name is on the picture, it is worth your time and your money.
"That's as simple as this whole plan goes," he continues. "Here's another stab at pushing the envelope as an actor as well as trying to go after a broader audience."
The actor intends to expand his audience even further with the upcoming sequel to XXX, in which he takes Vin Diesel's place as the star. "XXX is a whole other direction, a whole other envelope pushed," Cube says. "Hardcore fans, just give me a few months and XXX2 will definitely be right up your alley cause that's high action, hardcore, and no kids in that one!" He also says that the file will take a different direction than the first installment of the series. "I'm a totally new agent – I'm not trying to be the same guy," he reveals. "It's a whole other assignment and they need a whole other guy to do it."
He hopes that the appeal of the sequel will be because of, not in spite of the change in casting. "What's smart is that they're going to use a different XXX each time," Cube says. "Each time it's going to be a different movie about a different guy, unless it sells like $200 million. Then they'll probably ask me to come back, but for the most part, it's a new guy every time; I think that's smart, a way to freshen up the franchise."
Filming XXX2 (subtitled State of the Union) pairs Cube with esteemed actor Samuel Jackson, who recently remarked about his reluctance to "prop up" rappers who aspire to have film careers. Cube says that the issue never arose while they worked together on the film. "We never even talked about it, man," he says. "I heard him say it was something that was blown out of proportion, and I believe him because that was never an issue with us working. Sam is one of my favorite actors, so I was kind of hurt the most from hearing stuff like that, but given a chance to really work with him, and talk to him and learn from him, I don't really think he has a problem.
"At least I didn't detect anything," he adds. "He didn't even have to bring it up. I hope to work with him again sometime in the future."
Facing success as an actor, director, producer and musician, Cube's persona as a gangster no longer seems quite as fierce. But then again, the performer admits that his art has always been created from a mixture of visceral experience and artistic license. "It's never too one-sided," he says. "The essence of the music to me, not only with rhyming, not only with being witty or ironic, but also ego and bravado, that whole bragging and boasting, boasting and bragging, that's all part of the music. Any rapper is always going to draw not only from what they experience, because most people if they draw from what they experience, that would be an album and a half of work.
"It's like you draw from life, [because] anything can make me say certain lyrics – to be the voice of a man who can't say it – you know, I'm being all of that when I write," he continues. "Things that I see, things that I hear about, things that I know need to change. Some days I want to be the best MC in the world. It has nothing to do with politics. It's just the art of music."
Cube says that he believes in the sense of one-upmanship insofar as his art is concerned, but no longer harbors the kind of rage that once fueled his music and movies. "A lot of people forget what the essence of the music is, and they wonder why these kids are so angry – 'Why are they talking about nonsense and nothing?' – but it's a music about bragging and boasting.
"It's kind of like what the slam dunk contest is to the all-star game: the individual trying to freak the next man – nothing more and nothing less."
Interview with Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer
IGN goes back to the shop with the two stars of Barbershop 2: Back in Business.
February 05, 2004 - With the Friday trilogy, a second Barbershop film and a rumored Barbershop television series, Ice Cube and his production company, Cube Vision, are firing on all cylinders. Cube has his hand in many aspects of the entertainment industry. From acting, directing and producing his own films to his first love as one of the founding fathers of the rap game, Ice Cube is a household name.
Cedric the Entertainer has been a success on the stand-up stage for years. He hit the big screen mainstream a few years ago as one of the featured comedians in Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy. Since then, Cedric has crossed over to success as a character player, with some memorable small parts in films like Big Momma's House and standout voice roles in Ice Age and Doctor Doolittle 2. His most memorable part has been playing the lovable old coot who's constantly spouting out controversial comments in the first Barbershop film.
Barbershop was a small project that went on to wild success beyond anyone's expectations. Besides humor and great characters, Barbershop touched on controversial topics that most films wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Cube was at first reluctant to return for a sequel, until he learned that the entire cast was not only willing but also excited about the prospect of a return to the shop. Now, as Barbershop 2: Back in Business hits theaters, there is a planned spin-off with Queen Latifah tentatively titled Beauty Shop and a possible TV series.
IGN spoke with the two most outspoken members of the shop, Calvin and Eddie, better known as Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer, about returning to the shop, the controversy over the first film and the potential for an ongoing franchise.
As I mentioned earlier, Cube seems to have the touch when it comes to creating characters that people love watching again and again. "I just see a lot of hard work paying off," Cube says of his sequel success. "I'm not gonna take nothin' for granted. You know, I always say, as far as sequels go, you know, why we can't make a better movie instead of just borrowing so much off of what worked in the first movie? Let's make a whole new movie that can stand on it's own and, if you've never even seen the first one, can you see this one, be caught up, be just as interested? And, you know, that's what I strive to do when trying to go after a sequel. I think we did a pretty good job. I think people who loved the first one will love this one. I believe that, you know, we grew a little bit, having a director like Kevin Sullivan (director of hits like How Stella Got Her Groove Back). He came in [and] he felt he had something to prove... He felt like, 'Yo. I gotta take this to another level. I can't just ride off the success of the first one.' And I felt like we did that, you know, to a certain extent."
For Cedric the Entertainer, a return to the barbershop was a chance to further explore a character that he had grown attached to: "I really enjoyed doing Eddie the first time, the older guy. And then when they pitched to me the idea of actually going back and showing me as a young man, I thought that was interesting. It was going to be fun to basically, in a way, play two characters in this movie... It's really a great combination. I love the ensemble cast."
Both in making the film and playing the character of Calvin in the movie, Cube is becoming accustomed to playing the guy who holds everything together. "Calvin is a lot like all of us, you know? Just trying to do the right thing. Trying to run a respectable business, trying to take care of his family. You know, but, he's no punk. He can get his hands dirty a little bit. He's just trying to find his way. I love playing Calvin just because of that, because of that fact that he is how most of us are... He reminds me a lot of myself in many ways. How ambitious he is, that he kind of runs a tight ship that's loose, you know? So, it's kinda cool."
In person, Cedric is a lot calmer (and saner) than the character of Eddie. We asked Cedric where he drew Eddie from: "You know, it was a real interesting place. I really like to develop characters and I kinda develop characters from people that I see in life, and not necessarily anybody in particular. Sometimes it's just a combination of folks... I would say, probably one of the main characters or main people I see in Eddie is this deacon from my mom's church, who at church is always such a serious person. From a little kid point of view, you're actually kind of scared of him. But, he was my mother's friend, so after church, you know, we would go out to eat and then he would have this funny personality. I was like, 'Wow.' But nobody else would know that, because when you see him in his environment, running the church, he's just very stern. But then [he] had this really witty kind of personality. [So] I kinda pulled a lot from him, mixed with just a lot of people you meet in the barbershop in general, just wild characters... I kinda discovered the voice for Eddie right before we shot. I didn't know how he was gonna talk and so, I was, like, rehearsing. I had the big scene where I was talking to Calvin outside and explaining the importance of the barbershop, and I started working on this tone and it was easy for me to do. And then I thought, 'Okay, that would be the best way to do him because I can find rhythms.' [In Eddie's Voice]: Hey, boy. Look at ya! That don't make noooooooo sense. [Laughter]."
Along with the success of the first Barbershop film came a bit of notoriety, particularly relating to political comments made by Eddie's character about Rosa Parks. "You know, we didn't think about that on the first movie at all," Cube says. So I felt like thinking about that is really not an option on the second movie. We shouldn't think about anything outside of making the movie Barbershop good and true to what a barbershop is. So, I didn't pay no attention to the controversy. I'm pretty sure some people wanted us to comment on it and wanted us to exploit it in a way or put it in the movie somehow, and we just chose to continue what we did the first time [and] just try to make a good movie about a barbershop, and everything else should just take care of itself."
Barbershop 2 also deals with an issue that likely hits home for many audience members, particularly in urban areas: Big business is taking away the small, neighborhood barbershops, drug stores, coffee shops and the like. With that, the sense of community is dwindling. This point is something Cedric himself feels strongly about. "To me, in this particular day and age, nobody knows their neighbor any more. When I grew up, it was just really an opportunity to have community neighborhoods. You knew the lady across the street. You knew their kids. And it just seems now, that this society we live in, people are just really moving kinda fast and that you can actually live next door to people [and] have really no idea who they are, what they do, until you see them on the news, because they was beating their dog or something. And I think that, this movie suggests that, with growth, with progress, that we all have to pay attention and that if we care about one another as people, then we can either deal with the progress as it's gonna come... in this case, gentrification, when somebody, big money, big business, wants to come to your neighborhood, there's not really a lot you can do to stop them... but if you care about the people who live in the neighborhood, then you can suggest that certain things matter and put a different spin on them. And I think that's probably one of the most important aspects, or the most important message, that's in this movie. I like that message."
Cedric also has a close relationship with his real life barber: "Me and my barber, he's one of my best friends. I have two barbers. One here [in L.A.] that really does me for the movies, and then, I'm from St. Louis, and my personal barber... Due to union stuff, I can't really have him on certain things. But whenever I can, I pull him into projects with me. That's my partner. I go home, hang out at the barbershop. We been friends so many years that it is one of those places that you miss. You go and you want to sit there and hang out. And it is really real, you do really know that you have your membership. You can tell when people are new to the barbershop. They don't really know where to be. You know the regulars because they walk in the door talking smack. So, it is a relationship that is a lot like one's preacher or your favorite teacher, or a therapist if you need one. I mean, it's a very close bond that most people gain with their barbers..."
As the producer and star of Barbershop 2, Cube has a lot more control of the finished product, a position he prefers to be in. "By being in the producing role, you have the ability to make everybody happy. You have the ability to make a good film, which makes you happy. You have the ability to make it and watch the cost, which makes the studio happy. And if it makes money, then the audience is happy. So, by the end of the day, everybody should be happy. As a producer, I can kinda make sure that happens more than I can if I just go act, you know, like Torque or Three Kings."
With all his success in the film world, Cube is becoming known more as an actor than a rapper: "You know, I'm fine with whatever path this takes me on. The music, you know, I haven't been with a good label in a while. Since this last Westside Connection record, we finally start getting it together. You know, the music has kinda taken a back seat to the acting. I just think the movies set you on a bigger stage. If you're doing movies it will overshadow what you're doing musically because, I think, movies are bigger than music when you do it right. I'm happy with the position I'm in. I still have a lot of credibility when it comes to rapping and I'm anxious to do a solo record and keep it going. It's still my first love because I have so much freedom doing it. The movie thing is a just a big collaboration of people, and sometimes you have to compromise your vision a little bit for the sake of making a good movie. So, I will always love it, whether I sell it or not. I will always do rap songs."
Starting out as a stand-up comic, improv is something that comes naturally for Cedric. Eddie's remarks are often so off the cuff, I wanted to know how much of that was him and how much was the script: "You know, actually, the script is pretty sound. I am allowed to play a lot with my character, but Kevin, who came in, he was a new director on this one, he was quite involved in really developing the script right at the end. He had some good ideas about making sure the story drove though. And then we would do takes where I would really just take off. When I see what's in the movie, I think it's a really good blend. Probably 50 percent of what they had and what I was just doing on my own. So it was a really nice blend, but I was able to do it almost on any take. I'd do the script version and then, 'Okay, there you go, Ced. Take off.'"
With his upcoming role in XXX 2, Ice Cube will be paired with Samuel L. Jackson, who has previously made remarks that he has no desire to work with rappers that become actors. Will this be a problem for Cube on set? "No, I haven't discussed that with him. Yeah, I know about that [comment Jackson made] and I think it's unfair. I mean, I always say, everybody comes from somewhere. There's rappers who can't act, but there's actors who can't act neither. You know, it's like, I'm not doing nothing new, you know? Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, you know, they've all come before me, so I'm not doing nothing new."
Now that Cube has success on so many levels of the entertainment world, what could possibly be next? "I really want to paint. I haven't studied, but as I start to get a little more time on my hands, that's something that I really want to learn to do well. [I want to do] subjects. I think it's something that, you know, when I was younger, I would always draw and do posters and this, that and the other. So it's kinda always been in me. I just want to be able to do it on a better scale."
Ice Cube Moves Into Grant's House
In what may seem like an odd casting move, Ice Cube will take on the role made famous by Cary Grant in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Ice Cube replaces Cary Grant as Mr. Blandings.
In a very curious casting move, Revolution Studios has cast Ice Cube in the role made popular by Cary Grant in a remake of the film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
Steve Carr, who directed Ice Cube's Next Friday, will direct, and Hank Nelken is writing the new script about a couple that exchanges their Manhattan apartment for a big house in the suburbs, but the fixer-upper proves to be a nightmare. Myrna Loy also starred in the original.
Revolution bought the rights for the remake of the 1948 film from RKO Pictures last year and will begin work on the film this summer. Heidi Santelli and RKO Pictures head Ted Hartley will produce, with Aaron Ray and Carr executive producing.
Ice Cube and his Cube Vision partner Matt Alvarez have a multi-picture deal with Revolution. Cube Vision will also produce the new version of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Ice Cube's deal with Revolution has included the surprise comedy hit Are We There Yet? and the upcoming action sequel XXX: State of the Union, in which he replaces Vin Diesel in the lead. That film opens April 29.
Ice Cube: Family Guy Goes With The Flow
Fans of Ice Cube from way back likely never expected the N.W.A rapper to show up in a family comedy, but he's just going with the flow — a flow that's taking him everywhere from hip-hop cartoons and a "XXX" sequel to a new album.
In his latest film, "Are We There Yet?" the sometime action hero plays Nick, a playboy who agrees to chauffeur two children (Aleisha Allen, Philip Borden) on a 350-mile journey in an effort to impress their divorced mom (Nia Long). Unfortunately for him, the kids are determined to make trouble for any man who tries to get close to their mother, and the road trip turns into a misadventure in babysitting.
MTV News' Kelly Marino sat down with Ice Cube to talk about working with — and raising his own — children, staying afloat in Hollywood, and the who's who of producers he's working with on his next LP.
MTV: What was it like making this movie? You are working with kids, and this is your first family comedy. This is new to a lot of your fans out there.
Ice Cube: It was fun. We shot it in Vancouver, a lot of big set pieces. To me, I'm not only watching a movie that's amazing, but working on it was amazing, just seeing all these different things that they were pulling together, different equipment and things like that.
The kids were real cool. I heard all kinds of horror stories about working with kids, and these, man, they was on time more than me. They was always ready to go, enthusiastic about it, and it was fun.
MTV: So you made a bond with them on the set?
Ice Cube: Yeah, yeah.
MTV: You have kids yourself, right?
Ice Cube: Yeah, four.
MTV: Has having kids changed you from the Ice Cube you were back in the day?
Ice Cube: Yeah. I mean, life changes you, you know? So having kids, definitely you realize that it ain't all about just you. You have a big responsibility. And having four just kind of makes you feel like you have to do things to set them up in life to make it a little easier for them than it was for you. So it just puts your head on a whole different level. You're on a whole new mission when you got kids.
MTV: You've done this movie and you've been in thrillers and action movies recently. Do you think you might dabble into other genres like drama to balance it out, or are you just going with the flow?
Ice Cube: I think, in Hollywood, if you don't go with the flow to a certain extent, then you're gonna be kind of pushing against your career. You know, you have to pick good movies as they become available. This was a natural progression from "Barbershop," so we are kind of going with the flow with this one. But for the most part, I want to do action. "XXX 2" is coming next. Dramas — we have a few dramas that we're developing right now, and I'm not gonna get pigeonholed or stuck into comedies or family comedies, nah.
MTV: You're working on a cartoon series, a "Barbershop" series and a show for MTV. Can you tell us a little bit about the stages of development these are at right now?
Ice Cube: Just getting it together. The animated project is going through David Cohen. Anybody knows "Futurama" and "The Simpsons," you know about him. We're doing a series pretty much about early hip-hop, a group trying to get started in like '82, '83 in New Jersey, so that's a fun project.
MGM is spinning off "Barbershop" for Showtime, I believe, and so we don't have as much influence in that as in the cartoon that we're kind of aassociate producers and overseers [of]. But there's a few things coming down the pike.
MTV: Can you talk about your upcoming album?
Ice Cube: Oh yeah. Lil Jon be sending me tracks. If anybody heard Crunk Juice, they know I'm on it. Swizz Beatz been sending me tracks. I'm gonna get with Pharrell, Timbaland. Hopefully after [the] "XXX" [sequel] comes out in April, an album will be following.
Ice Cube - Actor/Musician
“Are We There Yet?” is his latest movie, due to be released January 21, but it’s a rhetorical question because the man known as Ice Cube is most definitely there - at the top.
Ice Cube is an appropriate nickname for a man as multifaceted as O’Shea Jackson. From shaping gangster rap in the ’90s to writing and starring in movies, this 35-year-old native of South Central Los Angeles has become a force in Hollywood. Whether you have his CDs or plan to see his latest movie, Ice Cube demands attention.
Famous for his words and opinions, Ice Cube had this to say about writing in our pre-interview chat:
Teen Ink sounds like a great thing because people really underestimate the voice of kids, of youngsters. That’s one of the reasons we got into hip-hop music: to be able to have some kind of voice, to be able to state our opinions to whomever would listen. And you have a magazine just dedicated to that, which is very smart. You know, it’d be smart if adults picked it up and actually read it. They’d learn a lot about themselves and their kids.
You know, everything starts with the writing - I don’t care if you are doing a song or a movie or an article, instructions - everything starts with writing.
I have four kids, a son who just turned 18, a 13-year-old son, a 10-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. A lot of parents forget how it was to be their children’s ages. Never forget how it was to be their age - that is the key, and remember what you went through. Remember what you thought of the world and don’t forget, don’t get caught up in your own age.
A: I’d like to know whom you admired most growing up and who had the greatest influence on you?
I was fortunate to have my father and brother with me. My brother is nine years older than myself. I looked up to both of them because they were always available, always there with anything I needed to help me get through the day, you know, living in South Central Los Angeles and trying not to get caught in all the traps it had. So I have to say my father and my brother had the biggest influence on me.
You know, I love people like entertainers and athletes but, my pops always told me, those famous people don’t put no food on your table.
Keep everything in perspective. You know, they get paid for what they are doing, you kind of give up your emotions for free so, you know, that always put everything in perspective about who is really having an influence on my life.
M: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face?
That’s hard to sum up, but it’s kind of always trying to show people that you can do it.
A lot of people love to doubt everybody but themselves, or you have to come in with accolades before they respect what you can do. So, growing up being in the business is always “give me a chance to show you I can do what I say I can do.” That’s been the biggest obstacle.
A: Do you think music (or any creative works for that matter) should be censored?
No, I think censorship is dangerous. Because it pulls out questions - who are the censors? What do they know? You know what I mean, that’s really what it boils down to.
I think all art should have age limits, you know? There is nothing wrong with putting age limits on things. Categories, a rating system for movies - there is nothing wrong with that.
Yeah, you know, kids do see bad things when it comes to art and media, but that don’t necessarily make them bad people in the end.
Censorship is bad because you have people censoring people, and what do they know?
M: What is the biggest misconception about being Ice Cube and who are some of the big influences on your film career?
The biggest misconception is that I am just Ice Cube. Ice Cube is my ego. Ice Cube’s my nickname. People real close to me don’t call me Ice Cube, you know what I mean?
So, always the misconception is, you know, I am what I put out only. I am not saying that’s not a part of me. It is, but it’s not the only part of me. It’s the part that I have to put out, you know. So, that’s the biggest misconception.
Influences as far as my film career, people like John Singleton, he directed “Boys in the Hood,” “Shaft” and “2 Fast and 2 Furious.” He put me in my first movie. He told me to write movies. He said, “You can write a rap, you can write a movie.” That kind of opened up a door in my head, I never even thought about it like that, you know. So, he is a big influence on me. He is the one who planted the seed in me that’s kind of grown into what it is now. He is the one that I give all the credit to when it comes to my film career. That’s where it started.
A: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing minorities in the film industry?
You know, the same old thing, racism. It goes back to what I said, trying to prove that you can do what you say you can do.
That’s to me the biggest obstacle, because when you have open-minded people and they give minorities a shot, usually they do pretty good.
It’s just trying to get past the same old hurdles that this country has always faced in this business. The same old problems, you got to get through them. Some people can see through that, some people can’t, but you just got to keep on convincing people that you can do it.
A: So are you saying that people expect you to write a certain thing or make movies about a certain topic?
I am pretty sure they do. It’s still a business. It’s not like anything you think of, you can go and make. You know, people have ideas on the kind of movies they want you to make, and it’s a business deal. So, you have to kind of see what they are looking for, and put your twist on it.
Comedies in Hollywood are easier to get made than dramas. Hollywood would rather make the people laugh than cry, that’s just the way it is. So, you know, you will see a lot of comedies come through more than dramas (real stories about human suffering and the like).
M: Can you tell us something about your latest movie?
I’ve got a movie coming out January 21 called “Are We There Yet?” I play a guy by the name of Nick who is doing the bachelor thing. He doesn’t want to be tied down, no commitments. He doesn’t really like kids, he is that kind of dude. Then he meets this girl and it is love at first sight, but she has two kids, an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old. He don’t like them and they definitely don’t like him because he is the new guy. So I, Nick, come up with a plan because my friends tell me, man, if the kids hate you, the mother won’t date you.
M: Did you write this movie?
Yeah. Yeah, you know, for everything I do, I try to put my hand on it because a lot of these movies are just not written for, you know, me. You know what I mean? Some will be a little too corny or whatever, so I try to put my twist on it. Usually the people who put their hand on their projects have better luck than the people who just show up for a movie, shoot it and hope it do well.
A: You’re writing family comedies now, but your early work was very controversial, not just because of the profanity but because of your political views. Have these views changed as you have gotten older and more successful? Does having a lot of money change how you think politically?
Well, you know, just think - you both are 17, right? Well, at the age of 10, I am pretty sure you thought you had a lot of stuff figured out. And at 13, you say, when I was 10, I had it somewhat right, but now I know a little more. Now that you are 17, you really think you’ve got it figured out.
And I was, I kind of - I didn’t go about things the right way. If I knew what I know now, I would have went about things differently - well, when you get older, that’s what you think.
The music that I did when I was younger, yeah, I wholeheartedly stand by it, that’s what I was feeling, that’s what I said, that’s what was recorded.
As you get older, you start to realize, if you want to make an impact on people, you can’t just yell “the world sucks” from the highest mountaintop. I have to do things, I have to do things that really affect people.
So what I did was become an example: “Look where Ice Cube came from. Look what he has done with himself, you know, not only in the record career, movie career whatever. Look, he took it on himself, he started writing. He started doing these things himself.”
Man, I can write - I know I got a movie - I know - you know, and it’s to try to inspire people on a whole different level. Because there is only so much yelling you can do.
At some point you got to actually do things that affect what you are talking about to try to change it. And my thing was, before I got into Hollywood, it looked a lot different than it do now. And I believe that I have had something to do with changing that.
M: Overall how would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as reality-based gangster rap. I mean, that’s really what it is.
A: Every day I do something embarrassing like tripping or making poor choices and then regretting them. Can you say what you are embarrassed about or regret?
Oh, man. Biggest thing, that’s a tough one. You know, we have to come back to that because I want to think about that one real good. I am the kind of guy who, when it’s done, it’s done.
I can’t really worry about what I can’t change. But let me think.
A: It doesn’t have to be serious.
Let me see, I fell off the stage once. I think that’s one of the most embarrassing things you can do, because you have 18,000 people looking. We were in Chicago and when we came out there was too much smoke at the front of the stage and they had these monitors which play the music back for you on the stage so you can hear yourself.
And the smoke covered the monitor, so when I came out and tried to get real close to the edge of the stage, I stepped over the monitor and went into the pit.
But you know, I kept rapping, I kept the mic on, but that’s got to be one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me, because so many people saw it, and you lose all your cool points when you fall offstage.
M: A lot of people write just to entertain. You seemed to write your music because you had something to say. Are you now trying to say things to your audience through your films, or are they more focused on providing entertainment?
You know, the films are more focused on, right now, providing entertainment. The records are always entertaining, too.
You know, when you see a film, it’s all entertainment. But with the records, it’s my vision. I don’t have to run it by the studio. I don’t need the director to like it. I don’t need the other people involved to like it, but to get big Hollywood movies made it takes over 100 people.
When I am in the studio, it’s just me, I don’t have to run it by nobody. It would be my feelings. Now, rap is 90 percent ego and 10 percent knowledge that you can really live by. You know what I mean, so that’s how people got to take it - it’s an art form, it’s music about bragging and boasting about how bad you are. That is the essence of where it came from.
So, movies are straight entertainment, I don’t have as much leeway because so many people have to sign off on it for me to put it out. Even Steven Spielberg waited till he got to a certain point before he started doing movies like “Schindler’s List” and World War II movies and things like that. So you have to kind of get a status in Hollywood before they start giving you millions of dollars to do your dream project.
A: Can you describe an incident where you experienced racial discrimination, and how you dealt with it?
I got bussed to school, my mom didn’t want me in our neighborhood because they knew the neighborhood eat up so many youngsters. And so they figured, yeah, we’ll bus him off to school and give him a better chance at an education, stand and focus on education and not get into neighborhood school stuff.
So, I went up there and basically they didn’t want us out there. You know, a lot of kids got bussed from the inner city to the valley and the community, the faculty really didn’t want us out there. Some of them could disguise that and kind of do their job, but some of them couldn’t. Some of them would let you know in so many ways. You know, so, I kind of faced a little bit every day.
But, as a kid, as a youngster, I didn’t care. Because to me that weren’t the hardest thing I was facing. The hardest thing was when the bus dropped me off at 4 o’clock and I had to walk through the neighborhood to get back to my house. You know, that was more stressful than any of that other stuff. Because that other stuff you know, they can only do so much. The teacher could not like you, give lower grades or whatever. And I was just not the kind of person to let that kind of stuff get to me. I always felt like, you know, I am going to find a way. I got to keep finding a way.
So, I was just worried too much, worried about my neighborhood. So, it was real things every day that could affect you, but when you are black, you just can’t afford the luxury of letting it bother you to the point where you can’t move or function or you can’t succeed.
A: In a school setting like that, did you have any teachers who encouraged you?
Oh, yeah. There were teachers who was happy to see us and was happy to see us trying to get a better education than what was available in the neighborhood school, and there was a difference.
M: Did you have a favorite class or teacher in the school?
My government class was one of my favorite classes. Because growing up, all that kind of stuff don’t concern kids really - Republican this, Democrat that. Until somebody really break it down to you and show you how this stuff really works and how it affects, you know, out of South Central L.A. (or wherever you come from), you are not interested in that. Because you have bigger things to worry about.
I learned a lot in my government class. I learned a lot about how the world works, how this country works, you know. I have always liked that, because I thought I was actually given real stuff that I can use in my life.
M: With the 21st century’s focus on materialism, how do you feel spirituality should fit in with our lives?
To me, that’s first, you know, being spiritual has to be first. People have to look at their body as the best thing that they will ever own. You never own nothing better than your body. I mean all these trinkets - I have six cars, but I can only drive one at a time. You know, you got this nice car, but you can’t see yourself in it. Only other people can see you driving down the street. At some point it becomes like it don’t matter. It always matters when you don’t have it and you want it, and when you get it, you really realize it don’t matter.
M: Is that what made you want to be a member of the Nation of Islam, which you joined in 1992?
Well, you know, I don’t like putting labels on religion. Not on my spirituality, you know. I think me and God have a relationship that you can’t even label. You can’t call it nothing, you know, because I am not going to use any middle man to get to God. I can talk to him like I am talking to you. That’s really the essence of it.
Trying to go to God brokers and all these people who say they can lead you to the path, those people have problems in their lives. So I don’t put a label on my relationship with God, because I just think it’s really idiotic. It’s much more than any label can describe, you know what I mean?
A: In the movie “Three Kings,” you got a cinematic glimpse of life in Iraq. How has your experience in that role affected your view of the current war in Iraq?
Doing that movie, I understood more about Iraq than I did when the ’91 Gulf War was going on. I understood that just like any government, there are people inside that country who don’t like the leader. And it showed me what they were going through from the inside out.
This new thing [Iraq war], I think it’s just something totally different. It seems like the people there got a bad taste in their mouths from ’91 on whether we supported them enough when they were trying to overtake Saddam, and a lot of people got bitter, so I think this time the support that the country believed it would get didn’t come because, you know, people are like “Man, you left us hanging one time. We are not going to let you leave us hanging again.” I don’t think “Three Kings” applies to what is going on now. For the most part, that attitude came and went.
M: Do you have a motto that you live by?
Mind your own business. I mean, it’s simple, life is simple, you know, people make it hard. If you deal with your own business, for one thing, you don’t have time to get into other people’s business, plus your business is in order. I know some people who all they can do is talk about what other people are doing and how other people are doing it wrong and the intricate parts of other people’s lives, and then their life is messed up.
So, if you are handling your own business, you shouldn’t have a problem. You know, I tell parents, be good to your kids, because if you ruin things right now, when you get old, your kids are going to be the ones who got to take care of you. You know, you want a good relationship right there. What goes around, comes around, you guys - you know, parents got to know that, and remember that.
M: I think your kids are pretty lucky based on what I have heard.
I have got some good kids, I can’t complain one bit about what they are turning out to be. They are giving me no problems. They have two feet on the ground. They’re not big-headed, they are not spoiled and now they do what they are supposed to at their age. You know, that’s cool.
A: Do you have any advice to teens who are considering having children?
It’s better to wait, because the earlier you have it, the earlier your life stops and you start taking care of another person. You know, no more fun, basically. I am not saying you are not having fun raising a kid but why do it so early?
Have fun while you are a kid. Know what life is about, then you can do that. You know, you do it early, your options go down, no doubt.
You know, the person without the kid and without the ties is experiencing life better than a person with a kid because that’s when life gets real.
M: What is the one piece of advice you would give to teens?
Slow down. Have fun. Be a teen. Because once you become grown, you can never go back. Once you’re grown, you’ll always be grown. You know, all grown-ups wish they were teen-agers, ain’t that something? I wonder why: because it’s fun. Now is the time for you not to be so serious about the things that life has, the obstacles out there.
All you have to do now is be serious about what and who you want to be. And serious about your school work, you know, that’s easy, that’s the easy part. The hard [part] is when you are out in the world, you don’t know who you are, you don’t know who you want to be, but you are grown and nobody has sympathy for you. Nobody is trying to help you.
You know, now you are a kid, everybody is trying to help you. Get that help, get better, get smart, don’t fall on obstacles, try to sidestep them and slow down. Don’t try to be grown so quick. You got a lifetime to be grown.
A: All right. So, growing up, was there any one experience that really shaped or influenced your life?
I had a half-sister who got killed in 1981. And I was just 12, so that was my wake-up call in life, and what it is really about, you know.
Gotta prevent stuff from happening to you. You know, that’s what youngsters and adults have to think about. Not “Oh, if this happens I’m going to do this,” but preventing it from happening to you. So, you have to be alert about your life and which way it is going.
M: What do you feel is the leading cause of teen violence today?
It all comes down to what it’s always come down to, with not only teens but adults. Respect, you know. Everybody puts a lot on what that word really mean, how they perceive respect. A lot of people look at respect in different ways. But to me, that’s the biggest cause of any kind of violence in the world. This is one person taking it upon himself to disrespect another person and then violence starts. So, I think that’s the biggest cause.
It’s not TV, it’s not movies, you know. A bully doesn’t respect the guy he is picking on, you know what I mean? The guy who goes out with your girlfriend don’t respect you. It’s those things that start violence - it’s the guy who, you know, skids out in front of you, the guy who calls you a name, you know. That’s all the stuff that leads to violence between people.
A: You have achieved so much, but what is one of your greatest disappointments and how did you deal with that?
This business is all based on ... if you are in the record business, did you go platinum? Did you go double platinum? Did you go quadruple platinum? You know, it’s really measured on how many records you sold, and I have always been on independent labels. And an independent label is not going to sell as many as the major labels.
So even though the money has been right, the sales could have been better. So that’s it. It’s nothing big, it’s just if I had been on a major label and sold more records, I guess. But, you know, to me, who cares if you sell a lot of records and you don’t get paid? So, I guess it all worked out.
M: A lot of teens equate success with money, but what does success mean to you?
Good health, man. Nothing better than good health. You have good health, you are very successful. We have got a roof, we have got food, we have got clothes, we have got transportation.
Everything else is just a bigger version of that. More money you get, the more money you spend. It’s kind of easy for me to say from this point of view, but, you know, I have been poor, and I have had money and ultimately when I measured it, it’s really all about are you healthy? Because no matter how rich you are, if your body is not healthy, then you are not going to enjoy that money anyway, and they’re not going to put it in the casket with you when they puts you in the ground. So health is the most important thing in life.
A: I’m a real bookaholic and read all the time. My favorite book so far is The Human Stain by Philip Roth or perhaps Crime and Punishment. What are a couple of books you think every teenager should read?
You know, I’m more of a pick-up-the newspaper kind of guy. You know, a Newsweek, Time magazine type of guy. I think reading is important in any form. I think a person who’s trying to learn to like reading should start off reading about a topic they are interested in, or a person they are interested in.
One of the first books I ever read was the autobiography of Malcolm X. I read it because I had heard about him so much, and I wanted to know who this dude was. So, it was something I was interested in, and it kept me reading.
The key is to find something that clicks in you and makes you love to read. So start off with the thing you are interested in. I mean if you like sports, go get the sports pages and read up on what happened last night. Read about it instead of letting the ESPN man tell you what happened. That’s going to get you used to liking reading.
M: You mentioned Malcolm X and I was wondering what historic figure or person interests you most?
God. After that, Jesus Christ, Moses, Muhammad. I mean, if you had a chance to talk to anybody, who else could you pick? It wouldn’t be some actor.
A: You probably get thousands of fan letters and e-mails a week. What’s the weirdest or funniest mail you ever received?
I had a person send me a jean suit, like jean pants and a jean jacket. And it had all my articles, photos and pictures from magazines sewn all over it with plastic covering, so it wouldn’t get damaged.
And I have still got this thing because it is the craziest thing I ever got. You know, a jean suit with all your accomplishments all over it ... like, how egotistical would it to be to wear that, you know what I mean?
M: Is there any chance you would ever run for a public office?
No. No. No. I am really not interested. You know, to me I think it’s like - I would rather do the lecture tours. I think I can help people more that way, instead of the politics game.
A: What are some causes or charities that you work for?
You know, we are really involved in a minority AIDS project. And I have a nephew who is autistic so we try to give a lot to any kind of autistic foundation. These are the few that are close to my heart and we just try to do what we can on that level.
The Africana Q&A: Ice Cube
From music industry nemesis to Hollywood powerhouse, Ice Cube's career has been a model for rappers looking to reinvent themselves.
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By Ronda Racha Penrice
No one could have imagined that Ice Cube would be in the position he is today. It's not that his talent as a rapper-turned-actor is questionable, it's just that no one figured that Ice Cube would find a comfortable place in mainstream pop culture as a leading man. After all, this is a former Nigga With an Attitude.
In the last two years Cube has released three movies (Barbershop, All About the Benjamins and Friday After Next) and an album, Terrorist Threats, with his Westside Connection crewmembers Mack 10 and WC. The trio's first collaboration, Bow Down, went double platinum, in 1997, and "Gangsta Nation," the lead single from Terrorist Threats, seems to be taking this album in the same direction. Later this year, Cube plans to begin work on his long-awaited solo album, which is rumored to be in the hands of his N.W.A. partner Dr. Dre's Aftermath label.
These days though, film is Cube's bread and butter and it keeps him busier than ever. His first release of 2004 is the motorcycle film Torque, which will be followed by Barbershop 2, the surefire sequel to the $75 million grossing Barbershop, in February. Yes, things could not be better for Mr. South Central, who, if you haven't heard, is also headlining the XXX sequel.
How did you go from Barbershop to Torque?
We got wind of the script being out there. I heard that Joseph [Kahn] was doing it. I worked with him before, on a music video in '97 called "The World is Mine." I knew he was the dude that directed it. It was just taking a meeting with him and Neil Moritz, who is the producer, and we worked it all out.
Was Torque your audition for XXX2?
It probably ended up being. I always look at every movie you do as an audition for the next one, so I'm pretty sure the people at Warner Brothers, Neil Moritz and all the people that's in control of XXX, [were watching]. I'm pretty sure that they saw that and said, "Okay, he does work in this kind of genre."
How do you prepare to be an action hero?
[Chuckles] I don't know. I don't know how you prepare to do it. I just think you either got it or you don't. A lot of people try and we will see if I got it. I'm definitely working out to get ready for that movie. I think you've got to bring a certain look to the table. I don't know if you have to be as big as Schwarzenegger.
Barbershop became an instant classic, but what can audiences expect with Barbershop 2?
Oh, that movie is cool. We got everybody back, the whole cast. I think the storyline is a lot better. We still crazy up in there. We still felt like we should do a movie about a place where everybody can be honest about their feelings. We don't shy away from that at all.
Were you surprised by the success of the first one?
Pleasantly. I knew we had a good movie. I didn't know so many people across the board would go see it.
You're becoming a movie franchise king. What's the secret?
You know, I'm a movie fan. I think ultimately what you don't want to do is disappoint the audience. You want to make a movie that people enjoy. And I want you to see my movie more than once so I've always been conscious of trying to put myself in projects that I know that people will love 'em once they see them or like 'em enough to feel that they're getting their money's worth. That's really been what drives me, making sure that everybody gets their money's worth. I feel that you shorten your career once people stop having confidence in the movies you make.
Are you working on a film now?
Yeah, I'm filming a movie right now called Are We There Yet? It's kind of a kid's comedy. I'm a bachelor, kind of living the life and I own my own sports collectible store. There's this chick and I like her, I like her a lot, but come to find out she's divorced with two kids. She has to go away for business and I'm trying to get in good with her. So what I figure out is that if I get in good with the kids, I'm going to be in good with her. So I decide to take them to her. She wants them up there with her. So I say "Hey, you know, I'll drive 'em." They hate me and, come to find out, I don't like them too much. So there we have it. We got a road trip, two little badass kids and me.
Does being married keep you more focused?
Yeah, you know, a lot of entertainers, the problem they run into is that they want it to be a party every night. You can't live like that. You're not going to get nothing done like that. By having a family, prioritizing, putting things in the proper perspective and then going out and doing what you got to do and then having a whole lot of fun after the work gets done has always been my motto, has always been my philosophy.
You haven't been on a soundtrack in a while.
Well, you know, with Barbershop 2 and the first Barbershop, I really wanted to just be Calvin. I really wanted to be an actor in a movie and not really worry about the soundtrack like I do on my Friday movies. So it's just that on some roles I want people to focus on the role and not on any of the music.
Speaking of music, you have an album out with Westside Connection. Why is the album titled Terrorist Threats?
It's like prophecy in a way. We feel the way the climate of the country's going, this kind of music would be considered terrorist threats in the future. If they can label anybody that they don't like, using philosophies, religion, whatever, as terrorists, when are they going to label us as that? When will they shut down this music which we've been trying to build [because] it's too inflammatory and really pass laws, you know, dealing with this? So we're just kind of making a little analogy in this post 9/11 America, world really, that anybody can be labeled a terrorist, especially when you're spitting hardcore gangsta and when you've got a movement behind you like we've got behind us with the Westside Connection. It's a worldwide movement. Japan, South Africa, all through the United States, everybody is throwing up the dubs [three fingers up with index finger and thumb touching to form a W] representing the West.
I look at the ads Snoop did for Nokia for the college football bowls and I am just amazed. I'm like "Is this not the poster child for weed?" How have rappers been able to become so mainstream?
What it is, I think, is that our fans are starting to run these companies. We [are] all in our 30s now so I think people who were our fans when they were in their 20s, and we were in our 20s, are now in positions to run some of these companies or do some of these TV spots, and they [are] going to get their favorite people. That's why you see rappers being more visible in mainstream advertising.
I know you're a big football fan? Who is going to win the Super Bowl?
I think the Eagles and the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl and I pick the Eagles to beat the Patriots.
'Barbershop II' To Get Widespread Distribution
MGM's opening of Barbershop 2: Back in Business on Friday will set a theater count record for an "urban" feature film of 2,700, the Los Angeles Times observed today (Wednesday). The newspaper noted that the wide release is part of a strategy by Vice Chairman Chris McGurk "that a big-league film franchise can be built on a minor-league budget." The Barbershop sequel reportedly cost $30 million to make. The original, which cost half that amount and featured returning stars Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Troy Garity, grossed $75 million.
Ice Cube : 'Torque'
The biker movie Torque is what it is, a biker movie, the critics write dismissively. "It's a simple-minded celebration of speed that pretends to be nothing else, even throwing in the occasional wink to acknowledge its own silliness," Megan Lehmann in the New York Post observes. Or as Wesley Morris notes in the Boston Globe: "This is a movie that knows you know it's dumb, and that's enough to make the whole thing worth tolerating." The film stars Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur and is directed by music video helmer Joseph Kahn.
Latifah Replaced by Fox in 'Barbershop' Spin-Off
Rapper turned actress Queen Latifah has been replaced in the upcoming Barbershop spin-off Beauty Shop by Kill Bill star Vivica A. Fox. Oscar-nominated Chicago star Latifah makes an appearance in Ice Cube's Barbershop 2, where her character was supposed to be introduced to audiences before appearing in her own spin-off movie franchise. But busy Latifah has now been replaced by 50 Cent's reported belle Fox for the film, which goes into production from October 19 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Chicago Police Apologize to Ice Cube
Chicago, Illinois police have apologized to rap superstar Ice Cube after using him to describe a man suspected of a series of sexual assaults. Members of the Chicago Police Department are searching for a man who sexually assaulted three woman in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, a trendy area on the city's North Side. A police community alert, released on Sunday, described the man as a black male in his mid-20s who "resembles the popular rap artist Ice Cube". The Chicago TV station owned and operated by CBS, WBBM-TV, subsequently broadcast one of Ice Cube's videos when it reported the story on Monday night. The report stunned the rapper, who has just begun filming Barbershop 2 in Chicago and watched the news broadcast with his co-stars. His spokesperson Matt Labov says, "This is an unfortunate and hurtful situation for Ice Cube. That his good name ever came up in association with the events currently taking place in Chicago's Wicker Park area is damaging to Ice Cube as a father, husband and artist." Police spokesman David Bayless says, "We acknowledged the information should not have been on the alert. We took immediate corrective action. We apologize to Ice Cube for what was an honest mistake and came with no ill intent." The community alert was later reissued without a reference to Ice Cube.
Queen Latifah Lands 'Barbershop' Spin-Off
Rapper-turned actress Queen Latifah has been tipped to star in a spin-off of hit comedy Barbershop - but with a more feminine twist. Movie studio Mgm is in talks with the Oscar-nominated Chicago star to produce and appear in Beauty Shop. Latifah will reportedly receive a healthy eight-figure paycheck against the flick's gross income for her efforts in the proposed film - a huge jump from the $1 million she was paid for starring alongside Steve Martin in her latest movie Bringing Down The House. Latifah - real name Dana Owens - will launch her movie franchise with a cameo in the Barbershop sequel, expected to hit screens in the winter, with her shop located next door to fellow rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube's Chicago, Illinois, parlor. Her cameo's main purpose is to establish the new character for the spin-off.
Jackson and Sharpton Sued Over 'Barbershop' Complaints
A group of barbers and beauticians is suing civil rights leaders Reverend Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - claiming their comments about the hit movie Barbershop drove away business. The National Association Of Cosmetologists (NAC) filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing the Reverend and Sharpton of intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and negligence. In September the two politicians criticized the Ice Cube and Eve starring comedy, noting jokes in the film where Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are mentioned in a negative light. Sharpton said, "I think that there are some things that go beyond humor. Martin Luther King died fighting for the freedom of all Americans. I don't think to disparage him, as a line in this movie does, is something that's funny. I don't think to say that Rosa Parks, who was arrested for sitting down in the front of the bus at that time causing a social revolution that led to desegregation, is something that is funny to me." The activists asked for the scenes to be removed for the film, MGM refused, leading to Sharpton threatening to boycott the box office hit. James Stern, chief executive of the of the NAC says, "By threatening to boycott MGM studios, they put a black eye to our subject matter of barbers and cosmetologists in the state of California." In response Sharpton labeled the allegations ridiculous, adding "Every movie critic would get sued. We haven't addressed their business. I addressed the film." Tracy Rice, spokeswoman for Jackson's Rainbow/Push coalition believes the suit will be thrown out of court. Rice remarks, "The First Amendment protects artistic expression, just as it protects Rev. Jackson's right to express his opinion."
Barbers Join 'Barbershop' Storm
The row over new comedy movie Barbershop has taken a bizarre twist - a group of Los Angeles barbers have asked Reverend Jesse Jackson to apologize for his outspoken comments about the film. Jackson last month spoke out about the funny flick - accusing filmmakers of making tasteless jokes about American black civil rights figureheads Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks in the script. He demanded the film's makers apologize to Parks and to the King family and that they delete the references from future videos and DVDs of the movie. But members of the National Association Of Cosmetologists, led by CEO James Stern say Jackson was wrong. Stern told Reuters he screened the film - which stars Ice Cube as the owner of a community barbershop - for over 100 African American barbers, none of whom found anything offensive about the movie. Stern says, "Reverend Jackson did not consider the future of black filmmakers. "We, as blacks, have to let the movie studios know that when he (Jackson) is wrong, we're willing to speak out for ourselves." Stern added that members of his group have seen their businesses hurt by Jackson's comments, and that if he did not apologize, the group would sue Jackson for defamation of character. After Jackson's complaint, Barbershop cast members and co-producers George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel issued a statement saying: "We never meant to offend anyone, especially the civil rights leaders."
Ice Cube : 'Barbershop'
By contrast, Ice Cube's latest movie, Barbershop, is receiving fairly decent reviews and even some exceptional ones. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post says that it "combines big laughs, a big heart and thoroughly winning characters to become the first big surprise of the fall season." A.O. Scott concludes his review of the movie in the New York Times by remarking, "I've seen better movies recently, but it's been a long time since I've left one feeling the easy, full-bellied happiness this one evoked." Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer finds much to fault about the film, but he nevertheless concludes: "Although it deals with issues of racial prejudice, class, sexism and crime, Barbershop manages to keep things light and lively. That may make things sitcomish at times, but it's also part of the picture's charm." Finally, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal wonders aloud about the marketing of this movie. "Where," he writes, "did Barbershop come from? That is to say, why, in our drum-thumping, ritually trumpeting time, did so little fanfare precede the opening of a movie with so much to recommend it? This is grand entertainment."
Jackson Blasts Rapping Actors
There's no place for P. Diddy and Ice Cube in Hollywood, according to movie star Samuel L. Jackson. The Pulp Fiction actor has blasted movie studio chiefs who give rappers leading film roles, insisting he refuses to even look at scripts for films that feature hip-hop stars. An angry Jackson says, "To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility and weight that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker - that's an aberration to me. It's not my job to lend credibility to so-and-so rapper who's just coming into the business. I know there's some young actor sitting in New York or LA who has spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft, but isn't going to get his opportunity because of some actor who's been created." Jackson singles out Will Smith as the only rapper he credits as an actor.
Movie Reviews: All About The Benjamins
All About the Benjamins, starring Mike Epps and Ice Cube, is faring only a bit better than The Time Machine with the critics, but it cost roughly a quarter of the $80 million that DreamWorks shelled out for the sci-fi movie. Gene Seymour in Newsday gives the film its best review: "Granted, its dark-edged crime-caper plot is so formulaic it seems almost ritualized," he writes. "Yet Ice Cube and Mike Epps enact their standard odd-couple tango with such ease and brio, you'd think they'd never seen such movies before. A lot of generic thrillers could profit from their easy-does-it byplay." Robert K. Elder in the Chicago Tribune also concludes that the two stars "have an explosively funny on-screen chemistry." But Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer says that Ice Cube and Epps "made me laugh in Next Friday. They made me squirm here." And Philip Wuntch in the Dallas Morning Newswhile describing the film as "good, sleazy fun that should pay off handsomely at the box office," describes one scene that left the audience he saw it with doing a lot of squirming -- one in which Epps yells, "I ain't gonna make that jump! I don't wanna wind up like Christopher Reeve!"
Statham Loses Starring Role To Rapper
British actor Jason Statham's first starring role in a Hollywood film has ended in humiliation - after he was replaced by rapper Ice Cube. The Snatch star had been hoping to "do a Vinnie Jones" by making the jump from Guy Ritchie's gangster movies to stardom in Tinseltown. Statham was sure he had got the big break he needed when he was sent a script by director John Carpenter. The movie-maker - best known for lensing Halloween and Escape From New York - wanted Statham to play the lead role in his new sci-fi horror pic, Ghosts Of Mars. Jason was set to feature as heroic James "Desolation" Williams, in the big budget chiller opposite sex symbol Natasha Henstridge. But just as cameras were ready to roll, studio bosses financing the film got cold feet and decided that Statham wasn't a big enough star to top the billing and ensure good box office returns. They re-cast the lead role to Ice Cube and relegated Statham to a much smaller part as sidekick cop Jericho Butler. Jason said, "John Carpenter saw me in Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and set up a meeting. He wanted me to play the prisoner the cops have to transport in Ghosts of Mars, but the studio insisted he cast a higher-profile actor."
Ice Cube: Barbershop
Ice Cube made his name as singer-songwriter for the controversial band NWA. In 1990 he made the transition to movies with "Boys N the Hood", although it wasn't until 1999's "Three Kings" that he was finally taken seriously as an actor. As well as singing and acting, the rapper has also tried his hand at directing music videos, and co-writing the comedy "Friday". He now takes the lead role in "Barbershop".
What do you like most about "Barbershop"?
I think we really captured the real flavour of a barbershop in this movie. Anyone who's ever been in a barbershop is going to recognise it.
Tell us about your character Calvin...
Calvin owns the shop and one day he realises just how much it means to his community. He's a young black man who's trying to do the right thing. He's ambitious and isn't really satisfied with what he has. But then he learns to appreciate what he's got and just do the best he can.
So what was it that appealed to you about the story?
It did for me what "Boyz N the Hood" did when I first read it. It's a perfect slice of the world. A lot of people underestimate what a barbershop means to a community. But it's definitely somewhere that both older and younger people can meet and talk honestly about anything. I just thought it was a great movie.
How did Chicago influence the film as a setting for the story?
I guess all barbershops are pretty much the same. So I thought it would be great to have it in the middle of America rather than make it a New York or an LA thing.