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Why go to the Oscars, when instead you can make a real difference and support an awesome cause in Flint, MI?!

That’s exactly what Hannibal Burress, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Janelle Monae and Jesse Williams plan to do. The entertainment heavyweights have joined forces to bring a free event to Flint in an effort to promote human rights concerns.

The event, #JUSTICEFORFLINT, will be hosted by Burress and is open to the public. It’s presented by “Blackout for Human Rights”, which was founded by Coogler to address human rights violations in the U.S. In a statement Ryan said, “With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing. Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”

The fact that the event is on the same day as the Oscars is purely coincidental. Coogler states that it was just the final weekend in Black History Month. #JUSTICEFORFLINT will start at 5:30 p.m. ET — two and half hours before the Academy Awards begins — at Whiting Auditorium with the goal of raising awareness and funds for those affected by the Flint water crisis. It will also be live-streamed via

This is so dope! For more info on this event, click HERE.

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Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice



Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.

On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.

It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.

So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.

“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”

Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”

And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.

For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”

Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.

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