... And One from '97

In March, rapper Willie D ("Big Talker," November 13, 1997) was sentenced to four months in prison for the 1993 misdemeanor assault of a topless dancer at Foxxy's Cabaret. Willie maintains his conviction came about primarily because he's a celebrity. His attorney, Stanley Schneider, says Willie's accuser even told the judge that Willie's volunteerism (on literacy, stay-in-school and voting issues) convinced her that he shouldn't spend time in jail. "She admitted that she's not even sure that I hit her," Willie claims, adding that County Court Judge Diane Bull could have suspended his sentence or given him community service. Despite testimony on Willie's behalf from the likes of state Representative Ron Wilson, the judge insisted on jail time.

Now that Willie's free again, his rap career is going strong: The Geto Boys' new album, Da Good, Da Bad, & Da Ugly, peaked at number five on Billboard's R&B chart, and his solo album, the plaintively titled Loved by Few, Hated by Many, is due out in March. But, Willie says, wherever he goes, people ask him about Reality Check, his radio talk show. He insists that the show was canceled because it failed to cater to a "white corporate clientele," not because he went to jail. "I'm a bring the show back -- when I get my own station," he says. "The powers that be just too strong." (Shaila Dewan)

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