Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones
Better known by his stage name Nas, he was born September 14, 1973, an American hip hop recording artist, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. The son of Olu Dara, Nas has release 8 consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 25 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Mass Appeal.
His musical career began in 1991, as a featured artist on Main Source‘s “Live at the Barbeque”. His debut album Illmatic (1994) received universal acclaim from both critics and the Hip-Hop community and is frequently ranked as the greatest Hip Hop album of all time. Nas’s follow-up It Was Written debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for 4 consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in 2 months, and made Nas internationally known. From 2001-2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z. Nas signed to Def Jam in 2006. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Nas is often named as one of the greatest hip-hop artists. MTV ranked him at #5 on their list of “The Greatest MCs of All Time”. In 2012, The Source ranked him #2 on their list of the “Top 50 Lyricists of All Time”. In 2013, Nas was ranked 4th on MTV’s “Hottest MCs in the Game” list. About.com ranked him first on their list of the “50 Greatest MCs of All Time” in 2014, and a year later, Nas was featured on “The 10 Best Rappers of All Time” list by Billboard.
In 2016, Nas narrated The Get Down and rapped as Adult Ezekiel of 1996.
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was born on September 14, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Olu Dara (born Charles Jones III), is a jazz and blues musician, from Mississippi. His mother, Fannie Ann (Little) Jones, was a Postal Service worker from North Carolina. He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who is best known as “Jungle”, a member of the hip-hop group Bravehearts. His father took his name “Olu Dara” from the Yoruba people. His African DNA indicates he has roots in countries with high Yoruba populations Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana – as well as Mali, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, South Africa, and Senegal. His matrilineal DNA haplogroup is of African origin, found among the Yoruba and Fulbe populations in Western Africa. His other roots include British and Native American ancestors; he also found that his Y-DNA traces directly back to Scandinavia, through which he is a descendant of the Vikings.
As a young child, Nas and his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. His neighbor, Willy “Ill Will” Graham, influenced his interest in hip hop by playing him records. His parents divorced in 1985, and he dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He educated himself about African culturethrough the Five Percent Nation and the Nuwaubian Nation. In his early years, he played the trumpet and began writing his own rhymes.
As a teenager, Nas enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willy “Ill Will” Graham as his DJ. Nas initially went by the nickname “Kid Wave” before adopting his more commonly known alias of “Nasty Nas”. In the late-1980s, he met up with the producer Large Professor and went to the studio where Rakim and Kool G Rap were recording their albums. When they were not in the recording studio, Nas would go into the booth and record his own material. However, none of it was ever released. In 1991, Nas performed on Main Source‘s “Live at the Barbeque”. In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Recordsduring the same year. Nas made his solo debut under the name of “Nasty Nas” on the single “Halftime” from MC Serch’s soundtrack for the film Zebrahead. Called the new Rakim, his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.
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Melissa Chessington Leo
(born September 14, 1960) is an American actress. After appearing on several television shows and films in the 1980s, a regular on the television shows All My Children and The Young Riders, in 1985 she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on All My Children. Her breakthrough role came in 1993 as Det. Sgt. Kay Howard on the television series Homicide: Life on the Street for the show’s first five seasons (1993–97).
Leo received critical acclaim for her performance as Ray Eddy in the 2008 film Frozen River, earning several nominations and awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 2010, Leo won several awards for her performance as Alice Eklund-Ward in the film The Fighter, including the Golden Globe, SAG, and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2013 she won the Emmy Award for her guest-role on the television series Louie. She starred in the 2015 Fox event series Wayward Pines as Nurse Pam. She starred in Netflix‘s 2017 film The Most Hated Woman in America as American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
Leo was born in Manhattan, New York City, and spent her early life on the Lower East Side. She is the daughter of Margaret (néeChessington), a California-born teacher, and Arnold Leo III, an editor at Grove Press, fisherman, and former spokesman for the East Hampton Baymen’s Association. She has one brother, Erik Leo. Her parents divorced, and her mother moved them to Red Clover Commune, in Putney, Vermont. Her maternal grandparents were Frances (née Stone; 1917–2008) and James Chessington, a colonel in the United States Air Force. Her paternal grandparents were Elinore (née Wellington; 1914–2008) and Arnold Leo II. Her uncle was journalist Roger Leo (1947–2011), and her aunt is art historian Christine Leo Roussel.
Leo began performing as a child with the Bread and Puppet Theater Company. She attended Bellows Falls High School in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and studied acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London, and SUNY Purchase, but did not graduate, choosing to leave school and move to New York City to begin auditioning for acting jobs. Leo spent summers at her father’s house in Springs, a section of East Hampton, N.Y.
Leo’s acting debut came in 1984, for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy at the Daytime Emmy Awards/12th Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Ingenue/Woman in a Drama Series for All My Children. Following this, Leo appeared in several films, including the lead role as a strait-laced girl named Cookie who succumbed to prostitition in “Streetwalkin,” A Time of Destiny, Last Summer in the Hamptons, and Venice/Venice. She also had several appearances on television, most notably her role as Det. Sgt. Kay Howard on Homicide: Life on the Street until 1997. Three years later she reprised her role in the television movie, Homicide: The Movie. After a brief hiatus from acting, Leo’s breakthrough came three years later in the Alejandro González Iñárritu film, 21 Grams released to critical acclaim. Leo appeared in a supporting role alongside Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Benicio del Toro and Clea DuVall. Leo shared a “Best Ensemble Acting” award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society in 2003 and the runner-up for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress.
Nigel John Dermot Neill
DCNZM OBE (born 14 September 1947), known professionally as Sam Neill, is a New Zealand actor who first achieved leading roles in films such as Omen III: The Final Conflict and Dead Calm and on television in Reilly, Ace of Spies. He won a broad international audience in 1993 for his roles as Alisdair Stewart in The Piano and Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, a role he reprised in 2001’s Jurassic Park III. Neill also had notable roles in Merlin, The Hunt for Red October, Peaky Blinders, and The Tudors. In 2016, he starred in Hunt for the Wilderpeople alongside Julian Dennison, to great acclaim.
Neill was born in 1947 in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to Priscilla Beatrice (née Ingham) and Dermot Neill. His father, an army officer, was a third-generation New Zealander, while his mother was born in England. At the time of Neill’s birth, his father was stationed in Northern Ireland, serving with the Irish Guards. His father’s family owned Neill and Co., the largest liquor retailers in New Zealand. Neill holds British citizenship through his place of birth, but identifies primarily as a New Zealander.
In 1954, Neill returned with his family to New Zealand, where he attended the Anglican boys’ boarding school Christ’s College in Christchurch. He then went on to study English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he had his first exposure to acting. He then moved to Wellington to continue his tertiary education at Victoria University, where he graduated with a BA in English literature.
In 2004, on the Australian talk show Enough Rope, interviewer Andrew Denton briefly touched on the issue of Neill’s “very bad” stuttering. It affected most of his childhood and as a result he was “hoping that people wouldn’t talk to [him]” so he would not have to answer back. He also stated, “I kind of outgrew it. I can still … you can still detect me as a stammerer.”
Neill first took to calling himself “Sam” at school because there were several other students named Nigel, and because he felt the name Nigel was “a little effete for … a New Zealand playground”.
After working at the New Zealand National Film Unit as a director, Neill was cast for the lead role in 1977 New Zealand film Sleeping Dogs. Following this, he appeared in Australian romance My Brilliant Career (1979), opposite Judy Davis.
In the late 1970’s, his mentor was James Mason. In 1981 he won his first big international role, as Damien Thorn, son of the devil, in Omen III: The Final Conflict; also in that year, he played an outstanding main role in Andrzej Zulawski‘s cult film, Possession. Later, Neill was also one of the leading candidates to succeed Roger Moore in the role of James Bond, but lost out to Timothy Dalton. Among his many Australian roles is playing Michael Chamberlain in Evil Angels (1988) (released as A Cry in the Dark outside of Australia and New Zealand) about the case of Azaria Chamberlain.
Neill has played heroes and occasionally villains in a succession of film and television dramas and comedies. In the UK, he won early fame and was Golden Globe nominated after portraying real-life spy, Sidney Reilly, in the mini-series Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983). An early American starring role was in 1987’s Amerika, playing a senior KGB officer leading the occupation and division of a defeated United States. His leading and co-starring roles in films include thriller Dead Calm (1989), two-part historical epic La Révolution française (1989) (as Marquis de Lafayette), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Death in Brunswick (1990), Jurassic Park(1993), Sirens (1994), The Jungle Book (1994), John Carpenter‘s In the Mouth of Madness (1995), Event Horizon (1997), Bicentennial Man (1999), and comedy The Dish (2000)