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TONIGHT: Fox’s ‘9-1-1’ returns with a 2-Night Premiere (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

FOX is about to shake things up (literally) with a special two-night season 2 premiere of it’s hit series 9-1-1. It airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear reimagine the procedural drama with 9-1-1, exploring the high-pressure experiences of police officers, firefighters and dispatchers who are thrust into the most frightening, shocking and heart-stopping situations. These emergency responders must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in their own lives.

The provocative series stars Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Love Hewitt. Additionally, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar and Ryan Guzman are featured in series regular roles.

Will you be watching?

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FOX renews ‘9-1-1’ feat. Angela Bassett + Rockmond Dunbar (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 


My favorite new Wednesday night obsession “9-1-1” has been renewed for a second season after just two episodes.The Ryan Murphy project features Angela Bassett, Connie Britton and Peter Krause.

Each week, “9-1-1” explores the high-pressure experiences of police, paramedics and firefighters who are thrust into the most frightening, shocking and heart-stopping situations. They must try to balance saving people with solving problems in their own lives.  The one-hour drama also stars Rockmond DunbarAisha Hinds, and Oliver Stark.

“With a bold concept, award-winning stars and a flawless execution, Ryan, Brad and Tim have done it again,” said Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairmen & CEOs, Fox Television Group. “They have tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and reimagined the procedural as only they could, bringing it to life with a dream team of actors led by Angela, Peter and Connie. This is storytelling at its best and we’re so pleased that it’s resonated with our audience. We’d like to thank everyone involved with this production for their stellar work, and we look forward to another thrilling season of 9-1-1.”

“9-1-1” airs tomorrow at 9 p.m.  Check out a sneak peek below…

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Ledisi + Jussie Smollett + Aisha Hinds star in Gabby Sidibe’s ‘The Tale of Four’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“Empire” star Gabourey Sidibe can now add director to her long list of accomplishments. The Oscar-nominated actress is behind a new short film that puts a twist on the Nina Simone classic tune, “Four Women.”

In “Tale of Four,” Sidibe tackles issues of colorism, police brutality, domestic violence and prostitution through the eyes of four unique women: Saffronia (Megan Kimberly Smith), Aunt Sarah (Ledisi), Peaches (Aisha Hinds), and Sweet Thing (Dana Gourrier).  The film also features cameos by her “Empire” co-stars Jussie Smollett, Taronda Jones and veteran actress Phyllis Yvonne Stickney.  The film was written by Ayana McMicheal and Kia Perry, who Sidibe met while on the set of “Precious.”

“It’s so important for people like me to get behind the camera,” Sidibe says to Refinery29. “I know that we’re called minorities but there’s no fucking way there are less of us than there are of them. We’re called minorities because we matter minorly. The way we matter is minor to the way they matter… Atlanta and Insecure, those are my favorite shows. We out here winning all the Emmys. Don’t say we don’t exist. We’re not a fad. We’re not going anywhere and we are snatching the gold right out of your hand.”

Check out the entire film below and tell us what you think about it…

Photo Credit: S&

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WATCH a sneak peek of TONIGHT’S ‘Ache’ Episode of ‘Underground’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Yo! Check out a preview of tonight’s “Underground” episode which airs at 10 p.m. EST on WGN America. In “Ache,” Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) finds herself mortally wounded and must gather all her strength to find her way back to Georgia’s (Jasika Nicole). Ernestine aka “Stine” (Amirah Vann) remains deeply affected by the incident with Clara (DeWanda Wise) and takes shocking actions when forced by Hicks (Rob Riley) into a singing performance at the big house. Meanwhile, Patty Cannon (Sadie Stratton) turns to the only person she knows is capable of tracking Rosalee after her failed first attempt…August (Christopher Meloni). The episode was written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and directed by Anthony Hemingway.

Following tonight’s episode will be another public service announcement featuring Green and Vann addressing the sensitive issue of domestic violence and suicide. The ladies have teamed up with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline since Vann’s character, Ernestine, is facing these struggles this season.

In other related “Underground” news, Academy Award®, Golden Globe® winner and ten-time Grammy Award® winning visionary John Legend has released his original song “In America.” It was written by Legend and produced by Dave Tozer and was heard exclusively in the March 8 season two premiere.

Legend said, “In America was born around the same time I was working on my most recent album Darkness and Light. It’s a song I was writing while thinking about the duality of America, where it’s known to be this place of freedom, equality and where anyone can make it. The song points out the tension between the promise of America, the ideals of America, and sometimes us not living up to those ideals in practice. In America was perfect song for ‘Underground,’ a series I’m incredibly proud to be a part of, and one that does a beautiful job of portraying a challenging time in our nation’s history while reminding us that change is possible.” Look for Legend to appear as Frederick Douglas in a future episode.

“In America” is available for sale and stream, beginning today.

Photo Credits: Underground/WGN

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Fox hosts Special Atlanta Screening of #ShotsFired [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Fox recently held an Atlanta screening of its upcoming series #ShotsFired and boy did it have people talking! The invitation only event was held at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and featured the one-hour viewing along with a post talk back discussion with the series’ co-creator Reggie Rock Bythewood and cast members DeWanda Wise and Jill Hennessy. It was moderated by multi-media personality and HGTV star Egypt Sherrod.

#ShotsFired is a 10-part series airing March 22 and follows two out-of-town Black prosecutors who are brought in to investigate the murder of a white teenager by a Black cop. However, things are not what they seem and the two must keep their personal bias and suspicions to themselves to seek the truth.  It features Sanaa Lathan (like you’ve never seen her before) as Ashe Akino, a rough and tough investigator who is searching for answers alongside her very young boss and special prosecutor,  Preston Terry played by “Race” star Stephan James.

#ShotsFired also includes iconic TV and film actors Helen Hunt as North Carolina Governor Patricia Eamons and well as “Underground” actress Aisha Hinds as Pastor Janea James. Versatile actor Tristan “Mack” Wilds plays Deputy Josh Beck, who is under investigation while Wise and Hennessey play the mother’s of the two slain teenagers, who are interestingly connected.

According to Bythewood, he and his wife Gina Prince-Bythewood created #ShotsFired after the death of Trayvon Martin.  “This is like a mission’s statement because it let’s you know that were not playing here and that this is for real. Yes, were entertaining. We got hip hop music. We sorta got somewhat of a mystery going on but it’s real here,” said Bythewood during the post talk back.

Both Wise and Hennessy talked about preparing for their roles as grieving mothers of sons shot by police officers. They also talked about the irony of how many of their scenes were often taped at the same time real life situations were being playing out around the country involving unarmed African-American men and white police officers.

“What’s amazing about releasing this show right now is that we’re at a point where we’re prime for readiness. We’ve been taking our democracy for granted and this last election was like a serious wake-up call.  I feel like this show is fuel for the fire and I am really excited to see what it’s going to ignite,” said Wise.

#ShotsFired debuts on Fox March 22. See more photos below from the red carpet including shots of Atlanta celebrities Dionne Farris, Da Brat, Joseline Hernandez, Crystal Fox, April Parker Jones and more!

Singer-songwriter Dionne Farris  has a song that

will be featured in a future episode of #ShotsFired

Hip hop icon Da Brat with her new artist Cornbread

LHHATL’s Joseline Heranadez

Rapper Billy Bang will have music featured in an episode of #ShotsFired

#ShotsFired actress Jill Hennessy

Former American Idol contestant Loren Lott

#ShotsFired actress DeWanda Wise

Triple threat performer D. Woods 

If Loving You is Wrong actress April Parker Jones striking a pose!

The Haves and the Have Nots star Crystal Fox 

Celebrity Stylist Gocha Hawkins 

Egypt Sherrod moderating the panel discussion

Dionne Farris + Reggie Rock Bythewood 

Egypt Sherrod, Reggie Rock Bythewood and Jasmine Burke 

Dionne Farris with 135th Street’s Saptosa Foster +  Shante Bacon

Ray Cornelius + Underground star Alano Miller 

Photo Credits: + FOX

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#UPFRONT to feat. Sheri Riley, Orlando Jazz Fest and Casts of ‘Underground’ ‘Scandal’ & ‘Star’

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

This week’s edition of #UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry is going to be an exciting one.  Saahara Glaude, stage manager of the Orlando Jazz Festival is in the studio to give us all the DEETS on this year’s inaugural festival which is taking place March 9-11 in beautiful Orlando, Florida.

Artists scheduled to appear include Maysa, Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, David Sanborn, Ken Ford, Najee and many more.

I will also be talking to the casts of TV’s biggest shows including Miss Lawrence of Fox’s “Star,” Joe Morton from ABC’s “Scandal” and Amirah Vann, Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aisha Hinds of WGN’s “Underground.” The exclusive interviews took place recently during SCAD’s aTVfest.

Closing out the show is life strategist Sheri Riley, who is on to chat about her new book, Exponential Living: Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are. The former Senior Director of Marketing for LaFace Records is in the studio to help us “pursue peace, choose clarity and live courageously.”

“UPFRONT” Inside Atlanta Entertainment Industry is 30-minute magazine that features one-on-one interviews with all of the major players and behind-the-scenes superstars that make Atlanta the new “Entertainment Capital of the South.”  It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK or

Click here to check out last week’s show which featured Miss Jessie’s co-founder Miko Branch, playwright Jiréh Breon Holder, Bravo’s “Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Courtney and Genise Shelton and celebrity chef Juan Montier of Chez Montier.

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AAFCA recognizes Sidney Poitier, ‘Moonlight,’ Lee Daniels & more! [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) held it’s 8th Annual AAFCA Awards Ceremony recently in Los Angeles and the event was nothing short of spectacular. A number of 2016’s top films were honored including “Moonlight,” “Fences,” “Loving,” and “Hidden Figures.” TV series like OWN’s “Queen Sugar” and FX’s “Atlanta” were also recognized as Top programs.

This year’s awards ceremony took place at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA and was attended by a number of the honorees including Janelle Monáe (Breakout Performance, “Moonlight” “Hidden Fences”), Barry Jenkins (Best Director, “Moonlight”) and Lee Daniels (Cinema Vanguard Award). Screen legend Sidney Poitier was also recognized for the 50th Anniversary of his groundbreaking film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

A list of who’s who in film and television were also present including Nischelle Turner, John Singleton, Sanaa Lathan, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jovan Adepo, Joe Morton, Tommy DavidsonAnna Marie HorsfordDemetrius Shipp Jr., Laz Alonso, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Rhyon Nicole, Marcus Scribner, Kendrick Sampson, Neil Brown Jr., Lou Diamond Phillips, Karen Sharpe and Kat Kramer.

“Queen Sugar” cast members Dawn Lyen-Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford and Dondre Whitfield were also present to pick up their “Best TV Show Award” along with the cast of “Underground” Alano Miller, Aisha Hinds and show creator Misha Green.

“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” says AAFCA Co-founder Shawn Edwards. “It was an exceptional year in terms of the quantity and quality of films about the black experience. And while this by no means solves the diversity issue in the film industry it was definitely refreshing to have such a wide-range of exceptional work to choose from to honor and celebrate with our approval.”

“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” says AAFCA President and Co-founder, Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our Top 10 Lists could have easily been number one. The number of incredible performances by black actors and actresses added to a very competitive field of performances and represents a step towards inclusion that our membership warmly embraces. We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”

See more pictures and a full list of winners below:

Lee Daniels 

Janelle Monáe

Barry Jenkins 

See the full list of winners below:

BEST SONG – “VICTORY” from HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)
BEST FOREIGN FILM – TANNA (Lightyear Entertainment)

BEST TV SHOW (Special/Limited Series) – LEMONADE – HBO

AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

1.      MOONLIGHT – A24
2.     FENCES – Paramount
3.     HIDDEN FIGURES – 20th Century Fox
4.     LION – The Weinstein Company
5.     LALA LAND – Lionsgate
6.     BIRTH OF A NATION – Fox Searchlight
7.     LOVING – Focus Features
8.     MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions
10.  QUEEN OF KATWE – Disney

AAFCA Top Ten TV shows of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

2.     UNDERGROUND – WGN America
3.     ATLANTA – FX
6.     THIS IS US – NBC

Photo Credits: AAFCA


‘UNDERGROUND’ stars receive ‘Cast Awards’ at SCAD’s ‘aTVfest’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The stars of WGN’s breakout series “Underground” received their very first cast awards tonight at SCAD’s “aTVfest” in Atlanta, GA. The annual television and film event, which is sponsored by the Savannah College of Art and Design, presented Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aisha Hinds and Amirah Vann with awards for Outstanding Achievement in Television.

You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard or seen at least one episode of this exciting show executive produced by John Legend. The series is centered around  a group of slaves and their daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation to the north. The first season was originally filmed in Louisiana but was moved to Georgia by WGN last year.

The actors have been making their rounds all across Atlanta today including a stop by the CNN studios. They will also host a special screening along with a Q&A session tomorrow afternoon at Clark Atlanta University.

Following tonight’s awards presentation, we all got a chance to see the first episode of the second season and baaaabbby it is hot! While I can’t give away too many details I will tell you to look out for appearances from “Hit The Floor” actor Rob Riley as well as “Jason’s Lyric” star Bokeem Woodbine. Hinds debut as the famed abolitionist Hariett Tubman is definitely not to be missed and lives up to my expectation of how this true American icon should look and sound. Vann’s character, Ernestine is dealing with a lot of issues since she was sold away from the plantation in the season one finale (spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen season one) and must face some serious demons from her past. RosaLee (Bell) is determined to get Noah (Hodge) out of jail and will risk it all to do so. Audiences will also be introduced to some new characters who will definitely add more texture to the show’s overall story. Again, I can’t tell you too much so make sure you tune into the season two debut on Wednesday, March 8 at 10 p.m. on WGN.

Also, be on the look out for my exclusive interviews with the “Underground” stars on a future edition of  “UPFRONT” Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. I got a chance to talk with each one about the show’s success and much more!

Check out additional photos below including pics from a press junket held earlier tonight + new character posters.

Aisha Hinds, Amirah Vann, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge

Aldis Hodge

Amirah Vann

Aishah Hinds 

Jurnee Smollett-Bell in the new character posters

The ladies of UNDERGROUND with their “Cast Awards”

Aldis Hodge discussing his character Noah

Photo Credits:

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WATCH New Trailer for ‘Shots Fired’ feat. Sanaa Lathan & Stephan James (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

If you were watching the Atlanta Falcons smash the Green Bay Packers Sunday evening, you may have noticed the new trailer for the upcoming 10-part series event “Shots Fired.” It’s a new show led by beloved film actress Sanaa Lathan and rising superstar Stephan James and debuts in March.

As previously reported, “Shots Fired” follows two out-of-town black prosecutors who are brought in to investigate the murder of a white teenager by a Black cop. However, things are not what they seem and the two must keep personal their bias and suspicions to themselves to seek the truth.

“Shots Fired” also features iconic TV and film actors Helen Hunt and Richard Dreyfuss as well as our girl Aisha Hinds (can’t wait to see her in UNDERGROUND) and Tristan “Mack” Wilds. The show was created by Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood.

It is also a very timely series considering the state of race relations in this country and the number of African-American men and women who have been killed at the hands of police officers. It will be interesting to see the twist in the story’s plot and how it all plays out.

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

Photo Credit:


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First Look at Season Two of ‘UNDERGROUND’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the new teaser trailer for WGN’s epic series “UNDERGROUND!” The 30-second clip was released earlier today and features most of the season one cast along with newcomer Aisha Hinds as the infamous Harriet Tubman. According to S&A, the series returns on Wednesday, March 8 at 10 p.m. EST and will feature 10-new one hour-long episodes. The show’s executive producer—John Legend—will also be making a cameo appearance as the legendary Fredrick Douglas.

“UNDERGROUND” centers on a group of slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation. It stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee; Aldis Hodge as Noah; Christopher Meloni as August Pullman; Alano Miller as Cato; ‎Jessica de Gouw as Elizabeth Hawkes; Marc Blucas as John Hawkes and Amirah Vann as Ernestine. The first season was shot in Louisiana but moved to Georgia this past August for the second season.

“UNDERGROUND” delivered 3 million total viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever in its freshman season. The series was honored with screenings across the country including the White House and ranked as the #1 most discussed cable drama on social media each week it aired.

Word can’t express how happy I am about posting this as “UNDERGROUND” was one of the best shows to come out of 2016. So without further ado…here it is!

Photo Credit:

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Underground’s Amirah Vann becomes a series regular + Aisha Hinds joins cast

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congrats to “Underground” breakout star Amirah Vann. Her character ‘Ernestine’ has been upgraded from a recurring role to a series regular for season two. If you’ve been watching the show you will know that this promotion is very well deserved and that “Stine’ ain’t nothing to play with! Not only was she the head house slave and lover to her master but she demonstrated quite clearly that she will do just about anything to protect her and her family.

Aisha-Hinds-Featured-ImageAlso joining the show is actress Aisha Hinds, who will play the legendary Harriett Tubman. According to the show’s press release, Hinds will be a recurring guest star during the new 10-episode season.

“Underground” follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice. It also stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee; Aldis Hodge as Noah; Christopher Meloni as August Pullman; Alano Miller as Cato; ‎Jessica de Gouw as Elizabeth Hawkesand Marc Blucas as John Hawkes.

“Underground” delivered 3 million total viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever in its freshman season.  The series was honored with screenings across the country including the White House and ranked as the #1 most discussed cable drama on social media each week it aired.  “Underground” season two will premiere in early 2017 on WGN America and is currently filming in Georgia.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits: WGN America

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WATCH a Sneak Peek of ‘Shots Fired’ starring Sanaa Lathan & Stephan James (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

FOX just recently held it Upfronts and has released a gang of first look videos and images for its upcoming television season including Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s new drama, “Shots Fired.”

A black officer (Tristan “Mack” Wilds) shoots a white teen in a racially charged Tennessee town. Considering the unusual circumstances of this case, two out-of-town black prosecutors  are brought in to sort through the evidence and find out what really happened. As the community grows anxious and the country is buzzing, Preston Terry and Ashe Bell (“Race” star Stephan James and “The Perfect Guy”actress Sanaa Lathan) must keep personal bias and suspicions to themselves to seek the truth.

“Shots fired also stars Helen Hunt, Aisha Hinds, Richard Dreyfuss and more.  Take a look below and tell us what you think:

Photo Credit:

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First Look at TV One’s ‘Runaway Island’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out sneak peek of TV One’s new original movie, Runaway Island starring Lorraine Toussaint, Thomas Q. Jones and Aisha Hinds.

According to the film’s IMDB page, the story revolves around troubled strangers seeking solace from the hurricane of life on a secluded island. The interwoven storylines include a pastor and his wife struggling with their faith after their daughter’s death, an engaged socialite coming to grips with the trappings of fame, and the dysfunctional relationship between a widowed grandmother and her grandson.

Rounding out the cast is Tom Wright, Erica Tazel, Leon Thomas III, A. Russell Andrews, Branton Box, Ron Goleman, Herizen F. Guardiola and Melanie Liburd. The film was written by Christopher Brandt and will premiere on Saturday, July 25 at 8 p.m.

[vimeo id=”132144361″ width=”600″ height=”350″]


Photo Credit: Shadow and Act


WATCH Larenz Tate & Emayatzy Corinealdi in the BET Original, ‘Gun Hill’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

BET Networks is gearing up to debut the BET Premiere Cinema original movie, Gun Hill  starring acclaimed actor, writer, and activist Larenz Tate.  From the producers of New York Undercover,  this high-powered cop drama is about identical twins on opposite sides of life: Trane, a cop, and Bird, a con. On one fateful night, Trane is killed. Bird assumes his identity and begins his own search for redemption. Gun Hill  premieres Wednesday, July 2 at 9 PM ET/PT on BET.

Set in the mean streets of New York, this smart, gritty two-hour movie event, Gun Hill,  features an ensemble cast of characters operating on all sides of the law, where no one is quite what they seem. Written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood the film also stars Emayatzy E. Corinealdi, Tawny Cypress, Aisha Hinds, Michael Aronov, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney Shanti Ashanti, Hisham Tawfiq and Daniel Stewart ShermanGun Hill  is executive produced by Reggie Rock Bythewood and Don Kurt.

Check out the trailer and poster below:

[youtube id=”T89g-DgS-3A” width=”600″ height=”350″]


Photo Credits: