Will Smith humbled by rapper’s tribute music video

Will Smith says he was “humbled and honored” after rapper Joyner Lucas released a tribute song honoring his career work.

Lucas released the music video for his track “Will” on Monday. In the video, the rapper paid homage to Smith through a reenactment of the actor’s biggest projects including the “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Bad Boys,” “Men in Black” and “Pursuit of Happyness.”

Smith on Wednesday shared a clip of “Will” with his nearly 44 million followers on Instagram. He personally thanked Lucas in a separate video on social media, calling the rapper’s song “creative.”

Smith also said he hopes to meet Lucas one day. In a post, Lucas said he needed to “take a cold shower and wake up. I’m dreaming right now.”

“Will” is a single from Lucas’ debut studio album “ADHD,” which releases on Friday.

Whiting Awards bestow $50K prizes to 10 emerging writers

Essayist and New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino and novelist Ling Ma are among this year’s 10 winners of the Whiting Awards, which give $50,000 prizes for promising literary talent.

Tolentino’s essay collection “Trick Mirror” was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle prize for best first book, while Ling Ma’s debut novel “Severance” is a satirical science fiction novel about a devastating virus that has proved more believable than anyone desired.

Other winners announced Wednesday were fiction writers Andrea Lawlor and Genevieve Sly Crane, nonfiction writer Jaquira Diaz, poets Aria Aber, Diannely Antigua, Jake Skeets and Genya Turovskaya and playwright Will Arbery.

The Whiting awards were established in 1985. Previous winners include Colson Whitehead, Mary Karr and Tony Kushner.

‘The Walking Dead’ season to be cut short

AMC announced Tuesday that its signature series, “The Walking Dead,” will end its current season one week earlier than planned, due to the coronavirus shutdown that has plagued a number of television series this year.

AMC said in a statement: “Current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production of The Walking Dead Season 10 finale, so the current season will end with its 15th episode on Sunday, April 5.”

According to the network, the planned finale of the post-apocalyptic saga will appear “as a special episode later in the year.”

The news comes just days after AMC announced that it was forced to delay the launch of its third series in the zombie franchise — “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” — until later this year, also because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“World Beyond” was scheduled to premiere Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m. _ directly after the now-postponed Season 10 finale of “The Walking Dead.” The finale was supposed to be pegged to the final battle between the survivors and the skin-wearing Whisperers.

Although “The Walking Dead” has seen its ratings decline as the series grows older, it remains a popular fixture on AMC. The ratings, in fact, experienced an uptick this past Sunday when 3.66 million viewers tuned in to see one of the show’s key characters, Michonne (Danai Gurira) make her exit from the story.

Global pandemic postpones this year’s Tony Awards

With Broadway shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, producers of the annual Tony Awards have postponed this year’s celebration of American theater.

The show was originally scheduled for June 7 but the virus forced all 41 Broadway theaters to go dark and caused turmoil in the Tony schedule. The awards show will be “rescheduled at a later date,” according to producers.

Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows on the Great White Way but also 16 that were still scheduled to open, including “Diana,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Company.” Already some shows scheduled to open this spring have abandoned their plans, including “Hangmen” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Broadway producers have vowed to resume musicals and plays the week of April 13, but that would be only 10 days before the official cut-off for eligibility for the Tonys. There was no word on whether the original timetable will stay but all signs indicate the eligibility date will also have to shift.

Other awards shows postponed by the virus include the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music awards.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

— From wire reports