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Watch Tasha Smith and RonReaco Lee in ‘Running Out of Time’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Tasha Smith is teaming up with RonReaco Lee in BET’s new original move Running Out of Time. It airs tomorrow (December 1) at 8 p.m.

Brenda Harper (Smith) recently suffered the loss of her husband from a sudden death. Newly widowed, taking care of her teenage daughter and ailing mother (Telma Hopkins), Brenda is the sole beneficiary of her husband’s assets, which include millions of dollars, property, and most importantly, a secret file that she has yet to discover. Brenda finds out from her husband’s closest friend, Cain (Lee) that the file is hidden inside their home, so they think, when they are all taken hostage at Brenda’s Summer home by two masked men, who are now threatening to kill them all one by one if they don’t turn over the file.  Having no answers, Brenda, her daughter, mother and Cain are tied up and held hostage until these masked men get what they want. With time running out, Brenda has to do whatever she can to ensure her family’s survival and fight for their lives.

Running Out of Time also features Tyrone Evans Clark, Sean Dominic, Sydney Elise Johnson and Dustin Harnish. It was written and directed by Chris Stokes.

Watch the trailer below:

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‘Urban One Honors’ to Salute Jermaine Dupri, Brandy, June Ambrose and more

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Urban One has announced the honorees for the inaugural URBAN ONE HONORS Awards show, set for December 9, 2018 at The Anthem in Washington, DC.  The show will be hosted by comedian and REACH Media personality DL Hughley. Urban One Honors is presented by MGM National Harbor and Radio One’s Washington D.C. radio stations Majic 102.3 & 92.7, 93.9 WKYS, Praise 104.1, WOL 1450 & 95.9, Spirit 1340 and The Team 980, and was developed to acknowledge and honor individuals or organizations that have made an extraordinary impact on society and culture.

Brandy

This year’s honorees include: Rapper/Producer, Jermaine Dupri, Living Legend Award; Singer/Actress, Brandy, Cathy Hughes Excellence Award; Fashion Stylist, June Ambrose, Fashion Icon Award; Singer, Teyana Taylor, R&B Impact Award; Media Mogul, Tom Joyner, Lifetime Achievement Award; Gospel Artist, Marvin Sapp, Inspirational Impact Award; Former NFL Player, Doc Walker, Sports Legend Award; Activist/Columnist Shaun King, Social Change Agent Award; Music Executive, Benny Pough,Record Executive of the Year Award; Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Public Servant Award; Singer, Jade Novah, Viral Sensation; Principal, Dr. Nadia Lopez, Education Maven; and Actor, Rotimi, Generation Next Award

June Ambrose

Marvin Sapp and K-Ci of Jodeci are set to perform, with LA Reid, Da Brat, Bryan Michael Cox, Ray J, Roland Martin and Q Parker among the presenters.

Representing excellence in the areas of innovative programming, successful business ventures, advanced technology, entertainment, social activism, education, and community service, through diligence and dedication, this inaugural class of honorees has set the bar high whilst being an exemplary catalyst for change and profound models for success.

“There is no better place than the DMV, where history is made, to salute the best of the best in media, entertainment, sports, education, community and more,” says Jeff Wilson, Senior Regional Vice President, Radio One.

CONGRATS!!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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‘CLEOtv’ hosts Atlanta Launch Party at the Gathering Spot [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

TV One’s new “sistah” network—CLEOtv—hosted a special launch party in Atlanta Thursday night and yours truly was there to take it all in. The invitation only event took place at the swanky Gathering Spot and was attended by a number of TV personalities, media influencers and tastemakers.

CLEOtv is the brainchild of TV One’s General Manager Michelle Rice and serves as an aspirational lifestyle and entertainment cable network for Millennial and Gen X women of color.  The unique name is derived from the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, who is revered as one of the most iconic women of color in history. 

CLEOtv programming offers quality content that defies negative and cultural stereotypes of today’s modern women. Programs include a variety of cooking and travel shows, scripted digital series, original movies, throwback sitcoms and the popular daytime talk show—Sister Circle.

A number of the network’s talent hit the red carpet including Chef Jernard Wells, travel maven Tai Beauchamp, Rickey Smiley for Real’s Gary With Da Tea and the divas of Sister Circle Rashan Ali, Syleena Johnson and Trina Braxton.  Other special invited guests included former Love and Hip Hop Atlanta starlet Althea Heart, Curls CEO and Mind Your Business star Mahisha Dillengeractress and singer Demetria McKinney, celebrity photographer Drexina Nelson, gospel music sensation Juan & Lisa Winans and Shea Pegues from OWN’s Ready to Love. 

CLEOtv will officially launch on January 19, 2019, which is the 15 year celebration of TV One’s debut and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Check out the rest of the photos from the premiere party below:

TV One’s Rahsan Lindsay

TV One General Manager Michelle Rice

Demetria McKinney

Adrienne Alexander + Michelle Gadsen-Williams

Michelle Rice +  Sister Circle hosts Rashan Ali + Syleena Johnson +  Trina Braxton

Kim Ford + Tosha Whitten-Griggs

Janeé Bolden

Christal Jordan + Jess Manning + Adrienne Alexander

Michelle Rice + Gary With Da Tea

Drexina Nelson

Shea Pegues

Juan Winans + Lisa Winans + Sophia Winans

LaSandra Boykin + Kimberly Clark 

Angela Watts

Autumn Bailey-Ford

Adrienne Alexander + Wanda Shelley +Lori Hall + Demetria McKinney

Ray Cornelius + Jess Manning + Shae Pegues

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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‘Brian Banks Story’ is coming to U.S. Theaters August 2019 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Liquid Soul announced today that the highly anticipated movie, Brian Banks Story will be coming to U.S. theaters in August of 2019.

As previously reported, the film chronicles the life of Brian Banks (Aldis Hodge), an All-American high school football player committed to USC by his Junior year whose life was upended in 2002 when he was falsely accused of rape. Despite maintaining his innocence, Banks was railroaded through the justice system and sentenced to a decade of prison and parole. 

Ultimately, with the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks’ conviction was overturned in 2012. He fulfilled his dream in 2013 when he played in the NFL pre-season with the Atlanta Falcons. Greg Kinnear will portray Justin Brooks, the criminal defense attorney and Innocence Project co-founder.  Sherri Shepherd will portray Banks’ mother, Leomia, who was the glue that kept Banks together during his trial.

Watch a sneak peek below…

Photo Credits: Instagram/LiquidSoul

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Cicely Tyson, Ledisi, Angela Bassett + more attend ‘Ailey 60’ Opening Night Gala [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Last night, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre‘s 60th Anniversary holiday season at New York City Center kicked off with a star-studded Opening Night Gala Benefit performance and party led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, with iconic film stars Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson as honorary chairs.

Robert Battle with Cicely Tyson

Prudential Financial received the Ailey Legacy Honor for their generous support and commitment to Ailey, especially its education and community programs. The award was presented by Battle and Christopher Taylor, an alumnus of the inaugural Ailey Camp Newark (2011) and a current scholarship student at The Ailey School, and accepted by Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Impact at Prudential Financial.

Hope Boykin + Angela Bassett

 The one-night-only program featured tributes to the Company’s legendary founder with a specially staged excerpt of Memoria, a work he choreographed as an elegy for a dear friend; a piece d’occasion entitled For Alvin by Robert Battle, set to Nina Simone’s Black is the Color; and culminated with Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations, performed with live musicians and special guest singers Ledisi (12-time Grammy-nominated R&B artist), Kenny Lattimore (Grammy-nominated R&B singer), Erica Campbell (Grammy-winning gospel singer), and Brandie Sutton (critically-acclaimed Metropolitan Opera soprano).  Becoming Ailey, a multimedia piece that celebrates Ailey and brings his voice and presence back to the stage (created in collaboration with Bob Bonniol and Caryl Glabb of MODE Studios, Inc.), also premiered.

Robert Battle + Kenny Lattimore + Judith Jamison + Jussie Smollett

“Alvin Ailey said ‘I’m trying to hold up a mirror to society so that people can see how beautiful they are.’  In 1958, before the Civil Rights Movement, he “Made a Way Out of No Way” on a trailblazing journey to becoming one of the groundbreaking greats in African American history,” stated Robert Battle. “His celebration of the human spirit has lifted us up and brought us together, and his spirit still runs through the veins of this organization.”

Lucinda Martinez, Honorary Chairs Angela Bassett, Cicely Tyson , Artistic Director Robert Battle, Sidra Smith, B.Michael and guests

Special guests from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment, and philanthropy included Carmen de LavalladeSusan Fales-Hill, Jane Krakowski, Naturi Naughton, Soledad O’Brien, Amanda Seales, Bevy Smith, Jussie Smollett, Susan L. Taylor, Ben Vereen, Elaine Wynn, B. Michael, George Faison and many more. After the performance, the celebration continued at the New York Midtown Hilton’s Grand Ballroom where approximately 900 guests joined Battle, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, and the stars ofAlvin Ailey American Dance Theater for dinner and dancing with live music by the premier band Élan Artists.

Ailey Dancers performing “Revelations”

In addition, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and the City of New York, and New York State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal joined in celebration by sending written proclamations recognizing Ailey’s many achievements over the last 60 years.

Throughout December, Ailey’s 32 remarkable dancers will unveil four premieres, two new productions, and a variety of returning favorites, classics, and special programs. The Company will continue to inspire audiences across North America with a 21-city tour beginning in January 2019. For more information, visit alvinailey.org.

See more pics below:

Carmen de Lavallade + George Faison + Sidra Smith +

Ailey II Artistic Director Emerita Sylvia Waters

Ailey Board Member Lucinda Martinez +

Amanda Seales + Bevy Smith + Beverly Bond

Jussie Smollett + Angela Bassett

Naturi Naughton

Gala Co-Chair and Ailey Board President Debra Lee + Artistic Director Robert Battle

Amanda Seales + Sidra Smith + Jacque Reid

Erica Campbell + Kenny Lattimore + Ledisi + Brandie Inez

The Legendary Cicely Tyson

Photo Credits: Christopher Duggan and Donna Ward

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Viola Davis to star in ‘Troupe Zero’ and ‘The Fighting Shirley Chisholm’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out a first look image of actresses Viola Davis and Allison Janney in the upcoming movie Troupe Zero. The Oscar-winning film, stage and TV star posted the photo on her social media page announcing that the film will also premiere at Sundance in January.

Troupe Zero follows a misfit girl from rural 1977 Georgia, who dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troupe of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime. The film also stars Jim Gaffigan and Mike Epps.

The photo comes on the heels of Davis announcing her new production deal with Amazon Studios. According to DEADLINE, the first project from the collaboration will focus on the life of political maverick Shirley Chisholm and is titled, The Fighting Shirley Chisholm. She was the U.S. representative who was both the first woman and the first person of color to seek a major American political party’s nomination for President.

Davis will star as Chisholm in the film and will produce it through her JuVee Productions. This is the company that she and her husband, Julius Tennon, run which develops and produces independent film, television, theater, and digital content across all spaces of narrative entertainment from a diverse range of creative voices.

RC will keep you posted as this project continues to develop.

Photo Credit: Instagram/Viola Davis

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COVER GIRL: Taraji P. Henson covers ‘INSTYLE’ for January 2019 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Oscar-nominated actress Tararji P. Henson is showing us who’s the BOSS in the January 2019 issue of INSTYLE Magazine. The Empire diva is giving us her best “Mary Tyler Moore” impression while wearing some stylish “throwback” fashions.

“Woooooohooooooo!!!! ON STANDS NOW!!! THANK YOU @laurabrown99 and the ENTIRE @instylemagazine crew for this amazing shoot. I have ALWAYS wanted to throw my beret up in the air so care free #MaryTylerMoore style in the streets of NY!!!! I have done it on my own before but no one cared 😩😂😂😂. THIS TIME IT IS A COVER and I get to share with y’all,” said Henson on her Instagram page.

INSTYLE comes out just in time for Henson to promote her upcoming romantic comedy What Men Want. Check out the video below where she dishes about that, collecting her coins and much more.

See all of her photos below:

Photo Credits: Instagram/Taraji P. Henson

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UPDATE: ‘The First Wives Club’ TV Remake moves to BET

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The new TV version of The First Wives Club has found a new home in BET.

According to S&A, the project featuring Jill Scott and Malik Yoba, was initially supposed to be for Paramount TV but now has been moved to another network within the Viacom sphere.

“We are thrilled that Tracy Oliver and Paramount Television’s First Wives Club will be coming to BET Networks. We have been big fans of Tracy, the project and its incredible cast all along. The concept she has for the series fits perfectly with our programming strategy of character-driven content anchored in the black experience, and it aligns seamlessly with our core audience. We are currently working closely with Paramount Television on Boomerang and are excited to continue working with them on this project,” said BET Network president Scott Mills.

The First Wives Club will follow “Ari (Ryan Michelle Bathe), Bree (Michelle Buteau) and Hazel (Scott) who band together after their marriages fall apart, and who find strength in their sisterhood and of course a little revenge.” The husbands will be played by Yoba, RonReaco Lee and Mark Tallman.

The original First Wives Club was a 1996 movie that featured iconic actresses Bette MidlerGoldie Hawn and Diane Keaton.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Instagram/Malik Yoba

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Watch the trailer for TNT’s new drama ‘I Am the Night’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the trailer for TNT’s highly anticipated limited suspense drama, I Am the Night, starring Chris Pine.

Written by Sam Sheridan and inspired by true events, I Am the Night tells the gripping story of Fauna Hodel (India Eisley), a teenage girl who is given away at birth, and grows up outside of Reno, Nevada. Fauna lives more-or-less comfortably with the mysteries of her origin, until one day she makes a discovery that leads her to question everything. As Fauna begins to investigate the secrets of her past, she meets a ruined reporter (Pine), haunted by the case that undid him. Together they follow a sinister trail that swirls ever closer to an infamous Los Angeles gynecologist, Dr. George Hodel (Jefferson Mays), a man involved in some of Hollywood’s darkest debauchery, and possibly, its most infamous unsolved crime.

https://youtu.be/wcxAaIfKBeI

I Am the Night premieres Monday, January 28, at 9 p.m.

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Diana Ross and John Legend to perform on NBC’s ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Music legend Diana Ross and EGOT John Legend are just a few of the big stars who will be performing during tonight’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center special on NBC.

The holiday season will officially begin with the lighting of America’s tree and includes other star-studded musical performances by Tony Bennett with Diana Krall, Martina McBride, Pentatonix, Kellie Pickler, Brett Eldridge, Darci Lynne and much more.

This is the second NBC special that Miss Ross has appeared on in the last two weeks. She was just singing holiday music from her new album on top of float with her family during the hugely popular Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From the looks of several videos I have seen on social media, Miss Ross will be singing “Home” from The Wiz. The iconic movie just celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Can’t wait to see this tonight!

Watch a sneak peek below:

https://youtu.be/MvnEWseOGmM

Photo Credit: Instagram/AdamDanielWeiss

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Quincy Jones gets Hands and Feet Immortalized at Chinese Theatre [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Music icon Quincy Jones made history Tuesday (November 27) by becoming the first composer to have his hands and feet enshrined at the world famous TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

The 85-year-old legend was joined by his daughter Rashida Jones and a few of his close friends—Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Usher.

“Man…THIS is what you call family!! I can’t believe they all got up so early for me! ((:0))…Anyway, today was TRULY a special day, because I had the incredible honor of becoming the 1st composer to have his or her hand & footprints enshrined at The Chinese Theatre,” said Jones on his Instagram page.

Jones will be recognized for his illustrious career next Sunday, December 9 during a BET program titled Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones. The all-star salute will feature performances from Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Meghan Trainor, John Legend, Patti Austin, Gloria Estefan, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi, Gregory Porter, Gladys Knight, and others. It is also hosted by media maven and close friend—Oprah Winfrey.

Jones is also the subject a new documentary titled QUINCY,   which chronicles his rise to fame as a musical genius, composer, producer, arranger, record label manager and pop culture icon.

Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones airs 12/9 at 8 p.m. on BET.

Photo Credits: Instagram/Quincy Jones

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Ava DuVernay signs a $100 Million Dollar Deal with Warner Bros. TV

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

DEADLINE is reporting that history maker and Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay has signed a $100 Million Dollar Deal with Warner Bros. Television Group.

DuVernay’s multi-year and multi-genre deal consist of her developing and producing drama and comedy series, documentaries, digital content, event projects and longer form projects for broadcast and cable, premium cable. It also includes streaming services and other platforms. All of these projects will be funneled through her company – Forward Movement.

“I’ve had nothing but beautiful experiences working with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner and Brett Paul,” Duvernay told Deadline today. “They love and support artists in wonderful and nourishing ways,” the Queen Sugar and Red Line EP added. “They work within a traditional studio headed by Kevin Tsujihara that is stirring with untraditional energy and fresh protocols for intentional, inclusive image-making. Warner Bros. is a terrific partner about matters of visibility and belonging for all kinds and cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. I couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros. TV my production home.”

Roth, Warner Bros. TV Group President and Chief Content Officer, said in a statement:

“Ava DuVernay is one of the leading lights in our industry, a brilliantly talented writer, producer, director and entrepreneur whose ability to inspire with her art is exceeded only by her ability to entertain. We have had the great pleasure of working with her on Queen Sugar and The Red Line, and we are extremely excited about the new stories she has to tell.”

Congrats Ava! We can’t wait to see what you do with this new deal!!

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Watch Trailer for ‘Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

HBO has released the trailer for Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland. It airs on Monday, December 3 at 10 p.m. EST.  Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland explores the death of Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old African American who, after being arrested for a traffic violation, was found dead in her jail cell.

In 2015, Sandra was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, She was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Though ruled a suicide, her death sparked allegations of racially-motivated police murder and Sandra became a poster child for activists nationwide, leaving millions to question, “What really happened to Sandra Bland?”

Ten days after Sandra’s death, filmmakers, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner began working closely with the family’s legal team, tracking the two-year battle between Sandra’s aggrieved family and Texas authorities. With disturbing, never-before-told details about the case, the film is punctuated by Sandra’s own passionate and moving commentary.

Approximately 30 “Sandy Speaks” video blogs, which Sandra created herself, allowed the filmmakers to get to know Sandra Bland in a deeply personal way. Via these videos, Sandy herself emerges as a central voice in Say Her Name — an empowered, enlightened woman of color whose sharp, humorous, charismatic remarks address subjects from educating kids about black history to police brutality to the importance of natural hair.

Say Her Name takes viewers deep inside a story that galvanized activists across the country.

Watch Below and tell us what you think…

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Watch the Final Trailer for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

AnnaPurna Films has released the final trailer for Barry Jenkins film version of James Baldwin‘s classic story If Beale Street Could Talk. It opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, November 30.

Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.

Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.

The film also features Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Brian Tyree HenryAunjanue L. Ellis, Michael BeachEd SkreinDiego Luna, Dave Franco and Pedro Pascal.

Oscar winner Barry Jenkins serves as the project’s director.

Watch below and tell us what you think…