THE WORD | Jussie Smollett Removed From Empire’s Final 2 Episodes Following Arrest

On Friday, February 22, producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo andDennis Hammer revealed in a statement that Smollett, 36, will not appear in the final two episodes of the season.

The decision, producers said, was made to "avoid further disruption on set."

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," the statement said. "Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."



THE WORD| Jussie Smollett charged with filing a false report

BREAKING NEWS - Chicago Police say Jussie Smollett is now officially a SUSPECT in a criminal investigation for filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony. That could mean up to 3 years behind bars. Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.

 Chicago Police: “Felony criminal charges have been approved by Cook County State's Attorney's Office against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.” 



Rapper 21 Savage (real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) was arrested by ICE on Super Bowl Sunday, during the arrest it was discovered that the rapper was not a United States legal citizen. His visa expired when he was 7 years ago . After 21 Savage was released on bond from ICE detention centers , he sat down for his first interview. During a brief conversation on Good Morning America, Savage admitted that he felt his arrest “was definitely targeted.”

“I don’t think the policy is broken. I feel like the way that they enforce the policy is broken,” Abraham-Joseph said.

He described what he witnessed during the arrest. “I was just driving and I just seen guns and blue lights. And then I was in the back of a car and I was gone.” According to Abraham-Joseph, the authorities didn’t reveal why he was being apprehended, “They didn’t say nothing. They just said, ‘We got Savage.'”

THE WORD | Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' is found guilty on all counts

Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, who once headed a criminal enterprise that spanned continents and triggered waves of bloodshed throughout his native Mexico, was found guilty Tuesday of all 10 federal criminal counts against him.

The vast Brooklyn, New York, courtroom fell silent as the verdict was read. Jurors did not look at the defendant, who pocketed nearly $14 billion as the decadeslong head of the murderous Sinaloa cartel.

There was no visible reaction from Guzmán, whose conviction on the top charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise carries a mandatory term of life in prison. He will be sentenced on June 25.

THE WORD | Gucci removes $890 "blackface" sweater, apologizes after receiving backlash

Gucci has removed a controversial sweater from its website and apologized after some people said the sweater resembled blackface. The black turtleneck covers the face and has mouth opening with red lips surrounding it. It originally cost $890, according to screenshots from the Gucci website, taken before the product was removed. Social media was outraged, especially because the release came during Black History Month. Below is Gucci’s Statement.


 A screenshot taken before the sweater was removed made its rounds on social media, with many people writing to Gucci in outrage over the racist sweater.

Donald Trump Signs First Bills Into Law Moments Into Presidency

Just minutes after taking the Oath of Office, President Trump took action to begin work repealing Obamacare. Vice President looks on as the Executive Orders are being signed.

Just minutes after taking the Oath of Office, President Trump took action to begin work repealing Obamacare. Vice President looks on as the Executive Orders are being signed.

Shortly after today's inauguration, President Donald Trump signed a few Executive Orders into law. Keeping true to one of his campaign promises, repealing Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act. 

One of Obama's first priorities when taking office in 2009 was Obamacare and making healthcare available for all. 20 millions Americans are currently insured under the health care law. Now President Trump is taking immediate action to get rid of it, with no clear indication of what he will replace it with.

Steve Harvey Talk Urban Development With Donald Trump

Today's order had multiple parts but it essentially said Trump's administration will work to "promptly repeal" the Affordable Care Act. However, until then they must continue to follow the law until a change is made. It also provided more flexibility for states to reduce some of the requirements and allowed more authority for them to make health care decisions. In short, it allowed more states to have control over their health care markets.

Also today, the new laws cleared the way for his defense secretary to become official which is standard. Regarding the other laws signed today White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "the other papers Trump was signing included formal nominations for his Cabinet and a proclamation for a national day of patriotism."

Watch: What's The Word Crew 2016 Cultural Impacts Countdown

More of Trump's nominees still need to be confirmed through the Senate. Today only two of Trump's nominees for his Cabinet were confirmed: retired General John Kelly for Homeland Security and retired General James Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary.

Stay with What's The Word TV for the latest on your political news.

Read Next: see why Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back In 1986

During Final Hours, Pres. Obama Frees 300 More Inmates, The Most In A Single Day

In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

On his last day in office, President Obama granted 330 commutations. This will allow many drug offenders a lesser sentence. During the last eight years, Obama shortened 1,715 sentences, including 568 of whom were sentenced to life.

Read Obama's Tweet About Thursdays Move 

In a letter to the recipients the outgoing President said he believed they had the opportunity right now to do what is right. 

"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change... remember that you have the capacity to make good decisions."

Watch: What's The Word at Obama's Farewell Speech in Chicago

According to officials at the White House, this was the most commutations done in a single day by a sitting President. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said this comes as Obama worked on lessening harsh sentences.

"The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes... He has a strong view that people deserve a second chance." For an inmate to be considered under Obama, they needed to demonstrate good behavior, already served 10 years, have a nonviolent offense. However, some exceptions were made for the 10-year-rule and there were some firearm violations in relation to the drug crimes.

President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

During his final press conference Wednesday afternoon, Obama discussed the role of voting  and how the United States should make it easier to vote. He blames the Jim Crow era, saying the reason for the low turnout is because many Americans are eligible to vote who don't go to the polls. "It became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise... The idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn't make sense."

You can read his entire last speech here.

President-Elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated at noon on Friday, January 20th. Close to 60 Democrats will be boycotting the event for Trump's word to Civil Rights Icon and Representative John Lewis. 

Trump has been having close door meetings with a number of people ahead of his inauguration including Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King III. 

What do you take away from Obama's final gesture in office? Comment below and tell us.

Rep. John Lewis, A Leading Civil Right Activist, Told He Needs History Lesson

Maine's Republican Governor, Paul LePage told a radio station that Representative John Lewis should be "grateful for all Republicans have done for black people." LePage said Lewis needs to be brushed up on how Abraham Lincoln freed slaves and how Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes fought against Jim Crow laws.

The comment comes as words were exchanged between Rep. Lewis and President-Elect Donald Trump over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The Democrat congressman from Georgia said he doesn't think Trump is a legit president. Trump fired back on Twitter saying Lewis was "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results." Trump also described Lewis' district i.e. the Atlanta metro area as "crime-infested."

Read the President-Elect's tweets here.

Of course Lewis is not completely all talk, he along with 24 other Democratic congressmen and women are boycotting the President-Elect's Inauguration. Lewis, the son of sharecroppers, attended segregated public schools in Alabama. He went on to attend Fisk University, was a Freedom Rider, the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), received over 50 honorary degrees and was the architect and keynote speaker at the March in Washington in 1963 at just 23. 

(Rep. Lewis isn't the only who is anti the Trump Administration. Read: Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back in 1986)

However according to history, Jim Crows laws were not around during the Grant Administration. Trump begins his term as President when he is inaugurated on Friday, January 20th.

Watch: Chance The Rapper Parade To The Polls Concert

Steve Harvey Talks Urban Development With Donald Trump

Steve Harvey became the latest celebrity invited to meet with President Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, Friday, Jan 13th. The comedian was asked by Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s transition teams to meet with the President-Elect. In a lobby appearance, Trump and Harvey told Press that important issues around housing and urban development were discussed in the days meeting. Harvey also discussed with the President-Elect ways he could help Dr. Ben Carson. May I remind you that Dr. Ben Carson is Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is just me following orders from my friend President Obama who said, Steve, you gotta. Just as he told everybody in his Farewell Address, stop tweeting and texting, and get out and sit down and talk.” - Steve Harvey

Remember the comedian was an advocate for Hillary Clinton during an interview with her on his morning show “ The Steve Harvey Morning Show”.   “She’s a mother, she’s a grandmother and we’re going to put her back in the White House, just flat out. Simply put.” - Steve Harvey, The Steve Harvey Morning Show

Responses from the meeting resulted in the entertainer saying that President- Elect Donald Trump is “genuine” and a “great guy”.  Advocating that the president-elect really wants to do something.  

However,  media backlash has ridiculed the entertainer as a result of the meeting. This was seen especially on social media. “They’re kinda beating me up on the internet right now for no reason. But you know that’s life ain’t it.” - Steve Harvey.  After the meeting, the entertainer went to twitter and tweeted that he found the President - Elect “congenial and sincere” and that he would “sit w/ him anytime.”

In a recent development,  a friend of Steve Harvey, comedian DL Hughley goes to social media to express his thoughts on the meeting with a clip going viral. In the video, the talk show host and comedian criticize Donald trump for his seemingly fake attempt at communicating with the African American community through the use of black celebrity figures.

“It amazes me that to convince Black people that Donald Trump cares about them, he takes pictures with celebrities. If Donald Trump cared about Black people, he would not have denigrated the President with those claims of ‘birthism.’ He would not have stoked fears and racist fears, saying that this man is less than, or not one of us to become President.”  - DL Hughley

Social Media:

T.I. - Backlash at Steve and Trump meeting via IG :

Ok so this how it all breaks down guys.... Be aware Be alert or Be bamboozled. #USorELSE pt.2

A video posted by TIP (@troubleman31) on

#SteveHarvey #Trump

A photo posted by King Me (@goldenrulemack) on

Chicago Police Accused of Patterns Of Excessive Force By U.S. Justice Department

The Chicago Police Department has a pattern of excessive force, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday, wrapping up a 13-month federal probe of a department that has been under heavy scrutiny over officer-involved shootings.

The city and the Justice Department have agreed to negotiate a reform plan that would be overseen by a federal judge, Lynch said in Chicago.

    The Justice Department, which began its investigation after the  uproar over the fatal shooting by Chicago police of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald back in 2014, they found numerous incidents of unjustified force, including:

    • Shooting at fleeing suspects who presented no immediate threat;
    • Using force to retaliate against and punish people.
    • Using Tasers on people who posed no threat;
    • Shooting at vehicles without justification;

    Read the full Justice Department report

    Watch Video Below:

    Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back In 1986

    Heard the name Jeff Sessions recently? The U.S. Senator from Alabama is up for Attorney General, hand-picked by President-Elect Donald Trump. The Republican has served for 20 years in Congress. However in the mid-1980's he was close to becoming a federal Judge, that was until a group of Senators denied him the opportunity saying they were a bit skeptical about his time as an attorney.

    Those close to Sessions during this time said he often used the N-word, even joking that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "okay" that was at least until he learned they smoked marijuana. Talks of Sessions being racist in the past came up again as the Senate (20 years later) is now considering his appointment for the U.S. Attorney General position.

    One of the people who was not on the Sessions' bandwagon back the 1986; Coretta Scott King. She wrote an 8-page letter to lawmakers condemning Sessions saying if he would become a federal Judge he would "irreparably damage the work" of Martin Luther King Jr. 

    She would go on to say,

    "the irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriff accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods."

    Pretty serious words. The letter was unreleased until recently. King was also concerned about Sessions' respect for the Voting Rights Act, a movement MLK spent a great time to pass.

    She accused Sessions of questionable behavior when he attempted to prosecute 3 African-American civil rights activists (known as the Marion Three) with voter fraud. The activists were volunteers whose jobs was to deliver absentee ballots to the post office to be counted. Sessions lost the case and the activists were released because they ultimately committed no crime.

    Amidst the racism and raised eyebrows surrounding Sessions, he was denied the judge position, which is a lifetime appointment. This letter from King was allegedly hidden by the Republic Party and was never entered into the record during the 1986 hearing.

    President Obama Gives His Farewell Address In Chicago

    In front of a crowd thousands at McCormick Place, President Barack Obama gave his final farewell speech. He began by highlighting some of his top accomplishments like successfully finding and killing Osama Bin Laden and providing healthcare to 20 million more Americans who otherwise would have been covered. He says the unemployment level is at the lowest it's been in years but says still some blue collar middle-class workers feel left behind and that the government only helps the powerful. 

    One message he spent time on was climate change saying we can't ignore science. Taking a obvious job at President-Elect Donald Trump who once said on Twitter climate change was a hoax spurred up by the Chinese government. Obama says the next generation and the ones after will suffer if immediate action is not taken. 

    The crowd was in tears as the outgoing president wrapped up his speech. He acknowledged First Lady Michelle Obama for their 25 years of marriage and for her support along the way. He says she helped a nation get healthier through her Let's Move campaign. He mentioned to his daughters Malia and Sasha that through his hard word as president, the best job he owned was being their father. 

    President Obama ended his 8 years in office back home in Illinois, the same state where he announced he was running for president 9 years ago in Springfield. He encouraged everyone to go out and make a difference themselves in their community instead of relying on others. He says if you have a problem with your local lawmakers, grab your clipboard and collect signatures. 

    On January 20th at noon, President Obama becomes Barack Obama, everyday citizen, once Trump takes office. To end his speech he said, "Yes we can and yes we can."

    Check Out More Clips:

    Mr. President | Thank You! #obamafarewell #chicago #USA #OBAMA #MyPresident | Thanks You Mary Datcher !!! 🇺🇸

    A photo posted by Tito G. 📷️️️️ Photographer (@gotit_lens) on

    Because #MichelleObama ❤️ A moment I captured when President #BarackObama mentioned our #Flotus

    A photo posted by ACThePlug 🔌 (@actheplug) on

    @ryanhenrytattoo from #BlackInkChicago have his Favorite #PresidentObama moment!!! #FarewellSpeech #History

    A video posted by Power 92 Chicago (@power92chicago) on

    Trump tweets Chicago might need federal help on violence

    President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday where he drew attention to Chicago's struggles with surging violent crime, this time suggesting that perhaps Mayor Rahm Emanuel should seek help from the federal government. Homicides rose nearly 60 percent from 2015 to the highest levels in 20 years.