Actress Angela Bassett tells Newsweek in Monday's edition she turned down a chance for the lead role in the movie "Monster's Ball," because she "wasn't going to be a prostitute on film."
"I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality."
The film won black actress Halle Berry an Oscar. She played a waitress who has a graphic, tortured -- and Bassett believes demeaning -- affair with her husband's executioner.
Bassett says she's not criticizing Berry but rather the way Hollywood views women in general and black women especially.
Bassett's last big role was in 1998 in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." She was nominated for an Oscar 10 years ago for her portrayal of Tina Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It."
PUBLISHING PROS PICK SUMMER FAVORITES
U.S. Data Group talked to 1,000 publishing industry professionals at this month's Book Expo America convention in New York and came out with the "Top Summer Reading Picks," at least as far as those in the business are concerned.
More than 100 major titles are or will be available for summer reading and the publishing pros selected "Lucky Man" by actor Michael J. Fox as their favorite.
Three thrillers, "Beach House" by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge, "City Of Bones" by Michael Connelly and "Quietus," a word-of-mouth hit by newcomer Vivian Schilling are next on the list.
Mary Higgins Clark's re-titled and re-released romance "Mount Vernon Love Story" was the next most-selected book, with Janet Evanovich's "Hard Eight" and Tom Clancy's "Red Rabbit" rounding out the list of the seven most anticipated summer releases.
THE JAW BONE'S CONNECTED TO THE ESTROGEN
Researchers in St. Louis say an added benefit of hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women may be saving teeth.
Women who took a daily dose of estrogen along with calcium and vitamin D, and had regular dental check-ups, improved the condition of their jaw, which potentially could reduce the risk of tooth loss.
Women who had regular check-ups but took only calcium and vitamin D also improved jaw mass and density but to a lesser extent than those who received estrogen.
This first prospective, controlled study aimed at determining the effects of estrogen on the jaw was conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine and appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine. Funding came from the National Institutes of Health and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and Smith-Kline Beecham, both pharmaceutical companies.
COOLING AMERICA'S THIRST THIS SUMMER
Americans are a thirsty bunch and this summer likely will see no exception. While folks used to cool down with a pitcher of iced tea, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday the drink of choice these days is a soft drink, usually carbonated.
From its vault of cool statistics, the Census Bureau also finds each American drinks about 51 gallons of soft drinks annually, up from 16 gallons in 1980. Bottled water also is more popular, however, as in 1980, each American drank about 2 gallons of it, compared to 18 gallons annually now.
Find out more at census.gov on the Internet.
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