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Ne-Yo says no to MLK role

By// Kelley L. Carter

Singer and songwriter Ne-Yo turned down the chance to play Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Why? Vanity reasons.

Also an actor, Ne-Yo told Britain’s Sunday Mirror that he said no to the role because he didn’t want to pack on 30 pounds. The film would have gone into production right around the time that his new album, R.E.D, would be coming out, and he didn’t want to risk it.

“I definitely want to do more acting, but it’s got to make sense with the music,” he told the British newspaper. “They wanted to start shooting [the Martin Luther King Jr. movie] at the same time my album R.E.D. comes out and wanted me to gain 30 pounds, so I couldn’t do it. I’m kicking myself but acting can’t take the place of my music. Plus, I’ve been killing myself in the gym for months preparing for this album because I wanted a complete makeover.”

That would have been an interesting casting for Ne-Yo (who’s real name is Shaffer Chimere Smith Jr.), and another chance for him to flex his acting chops. Most recently, we’ve seen the musician in Red Tails and Battle: Los Angeles.

Ne-Yo’s album is set to release Sept. 18, and he’s still putting the finishing touches on it. He talked with Hip Hop Wired, telling them that he’d like to do another collaboration with Young Jeezy. The two recently had a hit summer single with Leave You Alone.

“We’ve been talking about some stuff,” Ne-Yo tells the site. “…scheduling and all of that is messing us up right now, but I’m trying to get him on there before we go ahead and shut the whole thing down. The album’s not 100 percent done, but we like 99.999994.”//