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First Look Images of Jamie Foxx + Michael B. Jordan in ‘JUST MERCY’ [PHOTOS]

Warner Bros. has released new “first look” images from Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx‘s upcoming drama JUST MERCY. It opens in theaters on January 10, 2020.

As previously recorded, JUST MERCY follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice.  After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs.  Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson).  One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie.  In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.  

JUST MERCY also stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Rafe Spall, Tim Blake Nelson and Rob Morgan.

PHOTO CREDITS: Warner Bros.

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Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company Presents ‘Paradise Blue’

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company presents Dominique Morrisseau‘s Paradise Blue September 24- October 20 at the Southwest Arts Center.

Set in Detroit’s Black Bottom in 1949, Paradise Blue explores a time when the new mayor of Detroit is working to get rid of the “blight of the city” by moving Black people out of Detroit’s Black Bottom. Blue, a gifted trumpeter and tortured soul, considers selling his once thriving family jazz club, leaving his beloved Pumpkin and her dreams behind. As Blue fights personal demons to better his life and maintain his sanity, his fellow band members, Corn and P-Sam, are stuck wondering where they fit into the plan to benefit from the changes in their neighborhood. Silver, a sultry woman with a mysterious past, enters the scene with her own agenda, turning everyone’s lives upside down.

Artistic Director Jamil Jude will direct the dynamic and musically-infused Paradise Blue, which is True Colors’ third installment of Morisseau’s Detroit Project trilogy. True Colors is proud to be one of two theatres across the nation who will complete the trilogy in 2019, having produced Detroit ’67 in 2015 and Skeleton Crew earlier in February of this year. Morisseau’s theatrical relationship to her hometown has been compared to August Wilson’s devotion to writing a 10-play cycle based in his birthplace of Pittsburgh. Like Wilson, she captures the linguistic poetry and aspirations of the striving working class people she grew up with.

“Dominique’s way with words and how she builds complex characters are truly a director’s dream,” remarked Jude. “She gives you so much to play with—all of the elements she provides synthesize into a satisfying whole. I’m excited to work with her words, paired with a powerful cast of Atlanta-based actors, to fully realize Dominique’s world and to conclude her Detroit Project trilogy.”

True Colors is proud to support the local arts community with an all-Atlanta cast which features several True Colors’ alumni. Enoch Armando King, who portrayed “Sly” in Detroit ’67 (2015) and “Reggie” in Skeleton Crew (2019), is “P-Sam”. Javon Johnson(Stick Fly) is “Blue”, Cynthia D. Barker (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Black Nativity) is “Pumpkin”, and Keith Arthur Bolden (Fetch Clay/Make Man, Between Riverside and Crazy) is “Corn”. Tangela Large, a newcomer to True Colors’ stage, will play “Silver”.

CLICK HERE for tickets, showtimes and additional information!

PHOTO CREDITS: True Colors Theatre Company

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Watch Sylvester Stallone in ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ (VIDEO)

Film icon Sylvester Stallone is back as the legendary John Rambo in RAMBO: LAST BLOOD. It arrives in theaters September 20, 2019.

In RAMBO: LAST BLOOD, one of the greatest action heroes of all time must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. A deadly journey of vengeance, this film marks the last chapter of the legendary series.

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD also stars Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Louis Mandylor, Óscar Jaenada, Adriana Barraza and Yvette Monreal.  

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Paula Patton, Erica Ash & Marques Houston to star in ‘Sacrifice’

Paula Patton, Erica Ash and Marques Houston are coming to BET+ in 2020 as part of an original movie titled Sacrifice. The film is executive produced, written and directed by Chris Stokes.

The legal thriller follows Daniella Hernandez (Patton), a highly sought after entertainment lawyer who navigates through the nefarious lives of her rich and famous clients. Daniella has a reputation that proves problematic to LA Law enforcement, forcing her to be at odds with her sorority sister turned nemesis District Attorney Beverly Rucker (Ash). In an attempt to protect her often unscrupulous clients, Daniella enlists the services of her resourceful assistant and a young ex-hacker and tech genius.

The show also features Juan Antonio, Altonio Jackson, V. Bozeman, Nelson Bonilla, Michael Toland, James Trevena-Brown, Liliana Montenegro and Josué Ramon Gutierrez.

Houston will also serve as the film’s co-executive producer for Footage Films. Principal photography for Sacrifice took place in New Orleans.

“We are thrilled to have Paula and the talented ensemble cast join our first original film on BET+, as we continue to strengthen our commitment to quality storytelling while meeting our audience on all platforms,” said Connie Orlando, Head of Programming, BET Networks.

Check out the character breakdowns below:

Paula Patton will play Daniella Hernandez

Daniella is an all-around boss and power player. As an entertainment attorney, she uses her quick-wit and attention to detail to secure clients and manage their unruly lives.

Erica Ash will play Beverly Nicole Rucker

A powerful district attorney, and sorority sister of Daniella, Beverly is relentless in her pursuit to rid the city of celebrities who live above the law.

Juan Antonio will play Dominiq Mayfield aka Big Dom

Big Dom is a powerful, confident and extraordinarily successful hip hop artist and mogul. He and Daniella have a long history.

V. Bozeman will play Tamika Bland

Daniella’s loyal and resourceful assistant, Tamika is a professional partner and personal confidante.

Altonio Jackson will play Steven Somwon
An ex-hacker, Steven is pulled into Daniella’s camp after working at her firm in the mailroom.

Nelson Bonilla will play Miguel
Daniella’s trusted driver and fatherly figure. Miguel has a unique and specific skill set. It’s those sets of skills, combined with his fidelity to Daniella, that make him a valuable asset to the team.

Michael Toland will play Arnold Lang
Arnold is the founding partner of Daniella’s firm, Lang & Associates.

James Trevena Brown will play Joshua Lang
Joshua is Arnold Lang’s son and next in line to make partner at the company.

Liliana Montenegro will play Gabriella Hernandez
Daniella’s Spanish-speaking aunt who comforts her at home.

Marques Houston will play Jason Pratt

Jason is a young Assistant District Attorney who knows the law better than anyone and does everything by the book.

Josué Ramon Gutierrez will play Oscar Baptiste
A client of Daniella’s and Dom’s biggest hip hop rival.

PHOTO CREDITS: BET.COM

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Watch Official Trailer for ‘Styling Hollywood’ (VIDEO)

Check out the official trailer for Netflix’s new show Styling Hollywood featuring power couple Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis.

The unscripted series follows the in-demand celebrity stylist and his interior designer husband as they run their lifestyle company JSN STUDIO while balancing marriage and life’s ups and downs. With their talented crew of colorful employees, watch as they curate “Black Girl Magic” for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Eve, and Ava DuVernay (featured in the above photo).

Styling Hollywood is produced by Kingdom Reign Entertainment and ITV America.  Carlos King, David George and Jordana Hochman serve as executive producers with Angela Rae Berg serving as executive producer and showrunner.

Styling Hollywood: Season 1 launches globally on Netflix August 30, 2019.

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T.I. unveils ‘Nipsey Hussle Exhibit’ at Trap Music Museum (VIDEO)

All eyes were on Atlanta’s famed Trap Music Museum Tuesday night for the unveiling of the new Nipsey Hussle Exhibit. The event was hosted by Grammy Award-winning hip hop star, actor and philanthropist T.I. and was attended by a bevy of influencers and trap music enthusiasts including Tameka “Tiny Harris,” Monica, LeToya Luckett and Toya Wright.

UPFRONT was in the building to capture all of the sights and sounds of the evening. I got a chance to chat with the “King of the South” about the new installation as well as BK The Artist and muralists Dizzy and Quake, who also contributed to the new work. Krystal “KG” Garner, general manager of the museum also discussed the importance of bringing this exhibit to Atlanta and much more.

Hussle, a beloved Trap music star and community activist, was tragically shot and killed on March 31, 2019 outside of his store “Marathon Clothing” store in Los Angeles, CA.

Watch the coverage below:

PHOTO CREDIT: RayCornelius.com

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Angela Bassett, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Murphy and more recognized at ‘AAFCA TV Honors’ [PHOTOS]

Check out photos from this past weekend’s First Annual AAFCA TV Honors. The exclusive awards luncheon, presented by the African American Film Critics Association, was held at the Fireside Room at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey and recognized some of the biggest stars on television.

Ava DuVernay and the cast of When They See Us
AAFCA’s Gil Robertson along with Ava DuVernay and the cast of When They See Us

Awards were handed out to Emmy nominee Ava DuVernay and her cast of When They See UsNiecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jharrel Jerome and Asante Blackk. She picked up the award for “Best Limited Series” and the actors picked up “Best Ensemble” as well as “Breakthrough Performance” for Jharrel.

Gil Roberston with Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathe

CBS’s The Neighborhood featuring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold picked up “Best TV Comedy.” Emmy winner and This is Us star Sterling K. Brown won for “Best TV Performance – Male” along with iconic film actress Angela Bassett for “Best TV Performance – Female.”

Janet Mock, Ryan Murphy, Angela Bassett and MJ Rodriguez

POSE and 9-1-1 producer Ryan Murphy also earned the AAFCA TV Honors first Icon Award for his outstanding contributions to television.

Special invited guests included Chaz EbertSheryl Lee Ralph, Janet Mock, Richard BrooksMj Rodriguez, among many others.  The event was presided over by AAFCA President Gil Robertson.

See the full list of winners below:

Best TV Comedy: “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

A comedy series, limited series, television movie or special that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to the series creator Jim Reynolds and cast members Cedric the Entertainer,  Tichina Arnold, Max Greenfield, Marcel Spears, Beth Behrs, and Sheaun McKinney.

Best TV Drama: “Power” (Starz)

A drama series, limited series, documentary series, television movie or otherwise that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to show writer Eric Haywood and director Anthony Hemingway.

Best Limited Series: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

A limited series, television movie or special that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to creator, co-writer and director Ava DuVernay.

Best Ensemble: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

This award may be given to an ensemble in a drama series, limited series, documentary series, television movie or otherwise that stands out as a groundbreaker or gamechanger in the television landscape. Presented to cast members Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jharrel Jerome and Asante Blackk.

Breakthrough Performance: Jharrel Jerome “When They See Us”

This award may be given to an actor, creator or project that stands out as a groundbreaker or gamechanger in the television landscape

Best Writing: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Writing for a drama series, comedy series, limited series, documentary series, television movie

or otherwise that stands out for its quality and cultural significance. Presented to writer Attica Locke.

Best TV Performance – Female: Angela Bassett

An actress whose work during the calendar year has been extraordinary.

Best TV Performance – Male: Sterling K. Brown

An actor whose work during the calendar year has been extraordinary.

Inclusion Award: CBS

Recognizes a network or production entity that demonstrates a powerful commitment to diversity and inclusion presented to Kelly Kahl President, CBS Entertainment.

PHOTO CREDITS: Brook Benjamin for AAFCA

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‘David Makes Man’ stars attend L.A. Screening [PHOTOS]

Check out photos from the recent L.A. Premiere of OWN’s new series David Makes Man. It was held at the NeueHouse Hollywood and was attended by the show’s star Akili McDowell, creator Tarrell Alvin McCraney and executive producers Michael B. Jordan and Oprah Winfrey.

The series centers on David (Akili McDowell) a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother (Alana Arenas) to find a way out of poverty. He must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out. Set in South Florida, the series is inspired by events in McCraney’s own life and explores childhood trauma and the power of imagination to survive. 

Other attendees included OWN President Tina Perry and filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Other cast members included Travis Cole, Isaiah Johnson, Cayden Williams, Ade Chike Torbert, Nathaniel Logan McIntyre and Trace Lysette.

David Makes Man premieres on Wednesday, August 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

See more pics below:

Photo Credits: Erik Umphery for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

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Michael B. Jordan attends MVAAFF Screening of ‘Just Mercy’ [PHOTOS]

Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan recently attended a special screening of his upcoming movie Just Mercy at the 17th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival.

Just Mercy is a film based on the true life death row exoneration of Walter McMillian (played by Oscar Winning actor Jamie Foxx), who was falsely accused of murder and subsequently sentenced to death row in in Alabama in 1987.  The film follows attorney Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) and his journey to exonerating Walter.  It also stars O’Shea Jackson Jr. from Straight Outta Compton.

Both Michael and Bryan sat down with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson following the screening to discuss the film and its importance to the African-American community as it pertains to equality in the justice system and cinema in general. 

See more photos below:

Just Mercy arrives in theaters on January 10, 2020

PHOTO CREDITS: BERNARD FAIRCLOUGH @ AB PHOTOS

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Watch #UPFRONT coverage of ‘Brian Banks’ Atlanta Premiere (VIDEO)

Check out my UPFRONT coverage from the recent Atlanta premiere of Brian Banks. The event was presented by ESSENCE and took place the SCAD Show.

Brian Banks chronicles the life of the 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. 

The film stars City on A Hill actor Aldis Hodge as Brian along with actress and TV personality Sherri Shepherd as Brian’s mother Leomia and actor Greg Kinnear as Justin Brooks, the criminal defense attorney and Innocence Project co-founder.  

Brian Banks opens in theaters this Friday August 8.

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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AAFCA celebrates Allied’s Carolyn Sloss [PHOTOS]

Congratulations goes out to Carolyn Sloss, Vice President at Allied Global Marketing. She picked up AAFCA’s Synergy Award on Thursday evening during a private reception at the historic Auburn Avenue Research Library.

The annual event recognizes individuals who have contributed to Georgia’s entertainment scene. The event also brings together the power players in Atlanta’s creative and business communities for the purpose of fostering positive relationships that continue to nurture and grow the industry.

Past recipients have included Roger M. Bobb (Bobb Cat Films), Rob Hardy (TV director and producer), Melissa Ingram (ASPIRE TV), Mark Swinton (Tyler Perry Studios) and Swirl Films just to name a few.

A number of Allied employees—past and present—were in the building to celebrate Sloss and her award. Since 2001, she has been responsible for the management and strategic planning for the Atlanta office and has played a key role in the company’s growth.

Check out a few of the reception photos below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Watch UPFRONT’s Coverage of ‘Black Love Summit’ (VIDEO)

OWN’s hugely popular relationship series Black Love is back for a brand new season beginning Saturday August 10 and UPFRONT has a sneak peek!

I got a chance to chat with a few of the show’s new couples during the recent Black Love Summit including singer and actress LeToya Luckett-Walker and Tommicus Walker, HGTV star Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf plus TV host Kenny Burns and his wife Jessica Burns.

Check out the video below and stay close as I will be sharing more exclusive coverage as we get closer to the season premiere.

Photo Credit: BlackLoveSummit.com

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Aretha Franklin Biopic is looking for a ‘young’ Aretha

Does your daughter, niece or little cousin have the pipes like a young Aretha Franklin? Well she may be in luck. The casting directors for the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT are looking for a young darling to star opposite Jennifer Hudson.

According the website, the production is looking for an African American girl to play a charismatic child prodigy. The young actress will be playing between the ages of 10 to 14 and must sing well (a soaring gospel soprano to be exact). Playing the piano is plus but not a requirement.

As previously reported, RESPECT will follow the Queen of Soul from her humble beginnings as a singer in her father’s church to becoming one of the greatest voices of the 20th Century. RESPECT is being written by former Nashville creator Callie Khouri and is being directed by Liesl Tommy. Click here for audition information and good luck.

RESPECT debuts on August 14, 2020.

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Kandi Burruss hosts ATL Screening of ‘The Kitchen’ [PHOTOS]

Monday night, Warner Bros. hosted a special ‘Girl Boss’ screening of the upcoming mob drama film The Kitchen at CineBistro Theatre in Atlanta. 

RHOA star Kandi Burruss hosted the event bringing together a number of her girl boss friends including Toya Wright, Marlo Hampton, Shamea Morton and Yovanna Momplaisir, among others. Viewers enjoyed complimentary popcorn and specialty cocktails (‘The Mafia’s Kiss,’ ‘The Mob Moll’ and ‘The Hell’s Kitchen’) as they watched. 

Following the screening, guests stopped by The Kitchen x Mess in a Bottle vending machine to choose a custom t-shirt; the bespoke collection of short sleeve t-shirts are printed with positive and uplifting messages inspired by The Kitchen

#TheKitchenMovie is in theaters August 9.