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Nicki Minaj and Cardi B to front pre-BET Awards concerts

Rap rivals Nicki Minaj and Cardi B have been tapped to headline two separate star-studded shows in Los Angeles in the lead up to the 2019 BET Awards.

The Anaconda hitmaker will hit the Staples Center stage with her Young Money Entertainment label boss Lil Wayne, alongside Tory Lanez, Trippie Redd, and Bri Steves for the 21 June (19) event, held as part of the seventh annual BET Experience at L.A. LIVE concert series.

Cardi will then step into the spotlight at the same venue the following day, sharing the bill with her husband Offset’s band Migos, Lil Yachty, City Girls, and Lil Baby.

The events will culminate with the 2019 BET Awards on 23 June (19). It’s not yet known if Nicki and Cardi will both be attending the prizegiving, but the ladies haven’t been under the same roof since September (18), when the Bodak Yellow star physically attacked Nicki and hurled a shoe at her while they were both guests at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons Party during New York Fashion Week.

They subsequently agreed to call a truce in their war of words, which had been brewing for months after they both featured on Migos’ 2017 hit MotorSport.

Meanwhile, Cardi is joining forces with Nicki’s ex, Meek Mill, to perform at a private party on the eve of the Super Bowl this weekend. The two artists have been booked for the invite-only Fanatics bash at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday (02Feb19), when they are reportedly set to team up for a rendition of their 2018 collaboration On Me.

Lupita NYong’O wrote to Taylor Swift to gain movie song permission.

Lupita Nyong’o personally reached out to Taylor Swift to win her permission to use hit song Shake It Off in her new zombie comedy Little Monsters. The Oscar winner became hooked on the 2014 tune after it helped to lift her spirits while working away from home, and so she convinced writer/ director Abe Forsythe to let her sing the track onscreen, in her role as kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline, who fights to keep her young students safe from a zombie invasion.

“I was going through a hard time professionally, and I was just in a funk,” she explained at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Tuesday (29 Jan19).

“I was working abroad, and my best friend came to cheer me up. He played Shake It Off on his phone, and we just had a dance party in my bedroom.”

However, getting Taylor to sign off on the song license proved to be harder than expected for filmmakers, until Lupita stepped in and penned a personal note to the pop superstar,

“It meant a lot to me that this film had that (song),” Lupita shared. “And so when I heard that they were having a hard time (getting the rights) I wrote Taylor Swift myself and asked her, and told her that story. And she said yes!”

The actress delivers a stripped down version of the single in Little Monsters, performing the track while strumming a ukulele to keep her class calm.

The film also stars Beauty and the Beast’s Josh Gad and Alien: Covenant actor Alexander England, who vie for Miss Caroline’s affections while they all fight for survival amid a zombie outbreak, and it appears Taylor’s gamble on allowing Shake It Off to be used in the project has paid off – Little Monsters earned a string of top reviews following its Sundance debut, and has since been picked up for distribution by bosses at streaming service Hulu, in partnership with production officials at Neon.

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