The Buzz

Efua Richardson, Co-Tempo Editor

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett brutally attacked in Chicago

Actor, director and musician Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after being attacked in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. While leaving a Subway restaurant late in the night, Smollett was brutally beaten by two offenders in ski masks. The suspects reportedly approached Smollett and began yelling out racial and homophobic slurs before battering the star with their hands. After tying a rope around the actor’s neck and pouring an unknown chemical substance—believed to be bleach—on him, the assailants fled the scene. The “Empire” cast member transported himself to Northwestern Hospital and is said to currently be in good condition.

According to ABC News, Smollett told police that the suspects yelled “MAGA country” during the attack. Chicago PD are treating the incident as a possible hate crime, as said in a statement posted by CPD Chief Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline,” the statement continues. The FBI is investigating a threat, in the form of a letter, made to Smollett prior to Tuesday morning’s brutal attack. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Area Central detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to

Cardi B lands Pepsi deal

It seems nothing and no one can rain on Cardi’s parade — not even the shoe-throwing incident at the Harper’s Bazaar party, which many felt would hinder the star’s sponsorship offers. Fans can rest assured Cardi’s reign is nowhere near over; she just landed a Super Bowl LIII ad deal with Pepsi. On Jan. 23, the “Money” singer posted a hint at the huge collab on Instagram with a clip showing her sitting in a diner booth and clicking her iconic bejeweled nails against a blinged-out Pepsi can. The clip was posted the next day to Pepsi’s own Instagram account with the caption, “Wanna party with @iamcardib?? Then stay tuned for #SBLIII OKURRRRRRR.”

In an earlier teaser posted Jan. 18, rapper Lil Jon is featured serving himself a cup of Pepsi behind a diner counter. Yet another hint on the soda franchise’s Instagram account features comedic legend Steve Carell, seated at a diner counter, reading what is assumed to be a script before letting out a belting laugh. “Ahh, we’ll see!” Carell says into the camera. “What happened when we asked Steve Carrell to star in our Super Bowl spot…#SBLIII,” reads the Instagram caption. Could this mean that Cardi, Carrell and Lil Jon will all star in one epic collab? It sure looks like it; Pepsi has released what many believe to be their official Super Bowl ad, “#PepsiMoreThanOK” featuring all three stars. The video can be viewed on Pepsi social media accounts. 

Chris Brown accused of rape

Chris Brown simply cannot seem to stay out of legal troubles after reports surfaced of the R&B singer’s detainment in Paris following allegations of aggravated rape and drug infractions on Jan. 22. The alleged rape is said to have occurred between Jan. 15 and 16 in Brown’s room at the French capital’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The pair had allegedly met earlier while partying together at a Paris nightclub. Following arrest, Brown was later released without charge and has since filed a defamation lawsuit against his accuser. In documents obtained by People magazine, Brown accused the woman of “false accusation, committed on Jan. 18, 2019 in Paris.” The accuser’s lawyer, Franck Serfati, told The Associated Press the 23-year-old student said that while she “was not pressured physically,” she was in an “environment with great psychological pressure” that lead to “forced sexual relations,” more specifically, “non-consensual sex.”

In an Instagram post which has since been deleted, Brown rejected the claims, saying that they were damaging to not only himself, but also to his family, namely his young daughter Royalty. “I wanna make it perfectly clear…… this is false and a whole lot of cap [sic]!” Brown captioned, in all caps, a text image that read, “This b!tch lyin.” “For my daughter and my family this is so disprespectful [sic] and is against my character and morals,” the caption continued.