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RC talks to cast, producer and more from ‘All Eyez on Me’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 


The highly anticipated Tupac Shakur biopic, “All Eyez on Me” opens nationwide in theaters today and fans will finally get to see what all the hype is about!

The two hour and twenty minute film stars newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the iconic rapper and chronicles his life from his early days as a dancer and “hype man” of Digital Underground to his meteoric rise as a rap star and actor to becoming an artist of Suge Knight’s Death Row Records. This film is a “must see” for real Tupac fans and takes a definitive look at his amazing 25 years on this planet. It also includes appearances by the lovely Kat Graham as Tupac’s close friend and confident Jada Pinkett Smith and Jamal Woolard reprises his role as Tupac’s friend turned foe Biggie Smalls. The film was produced by L.T. Hutton and directed by Benny Boom.

RC had the pleasure of chatting with Hutton and his cast last week during a private press conference  in Atlanta promoting the film. I also got a chance to interview the film’s casting directors Winsome Sinclair and Donald Jarmond for my Saturday radio show, UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry.

Check out a few excerpts from those interviews + more pics below:


On Jada Pinkett Smith’s support of the film:

“She’s given her blessing and she’s watched some clips. She’s incredibly supportive which means the world to me because I’m a big Jada fan and I’ve always been. A lot of people are surprised that she and Pac [Tupac] were friends growing up. Having her support for such a sacred relationship on screen in such a big way is a blessing. She’s a remarkable woman and we wanted to do her justice.”

On preparing to play Jada Pinkett Smith:

“I did a lot of research. Once I realized that I was going to play her I wanted to watch every single interview, every single movie or whatever I could get my hands on.  I wanted photos of her as a child as a teenager or with Pac. Any videos or anywhere that she spoke about him or anything that would help me distinguish certain characteristics that I wanted to portray. It was important that it was more about embodying who she was versus making it an imitation. That’s not what I wanted to do and I don’t think that you guys would have connected with that either.”


On staying in character throughout the entire filming process:

“The funny thing is that if you asked me that back then I would have said, ‘no.’ I was still myself but when I got home and I looked back over some behind-the-scenes video, I was in character the whole time. (LOL) From the time I touched down in Atlanta on November 30 to the time I left, I was in character.”


Despite the beef that is going on between L.T. Hutton and the film’s former producer, John Singleton, he did want fans to know that this film project is about Tupac’s life and not their own agendas. He also expressed to us how critical that films of this ilk are to the success of other future Black projects.

“It’s very few movies that we have that have a Black producer on it all the time. To have a Black director and then to have an almost all Black cast of an iconic figure, this movie is to be celebrated….not to get caught up and entangled in drama. It’s not about me. It’s not about him. It’s not about Benny Boom. It’s not about my company. It’s about Tupac and if you guys saw the movie, you’ll see that’s Tupac,” said Hutton during the press conference.  “That’s what they want us to do is have a scenerio where Hollywood can say, ‘if Tupac didn’t work then nothing will work.’ So now everybody that’s an aspiring filmmaker or aspiring actress, now the pond gets even smaller than it already is. It’s 2017 and we’re still talking about the first Black this or that. We get excited over the little bones they throw us. ”


On Demetrius Shipp Jr. being chosen for the role:

“L.T. saw him before anyone did and the truth about Demetrius’ journey is that Demetrius’ father was the engineer in Tupac’s recording sessions.  So it’s kinda like full circle, almost like he was born for this role,” said Sinclair during our UPFRONT interview. “L.T. also tells the story of when they finally made a decision to go with Demetrius and took him to meet Afene. She was getting up in age and thought Pac had walked in the room. So that was like the final sanction…yeah that was him!”

“All Eyez on Me” in theaters this weekend.

Photo Credits:

RC Exclusive - Ent

Official Trailer + Poster for Tupac biopic, ‘All Eyez on Me’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The official trailer and poster for the highly anticipated Tupac Shakur biopic, “All Eyez on Me,” dropped today and we are so here for it.  The film stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Shakur and was directed by the iconic—Benny Boom.

“All Eyez on Me” tells the true and untold story of the prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices of his generation.  Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing at the age of 25.

The film also stars Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett, Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls and Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur.

Check out the trailer + poster below:

RC Exclusive - Music

Young Jeezy, T.I., Snoop Dogg & more attend BET ‘Hip Hop Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the distinct pleasure of covering the SPRITE Green Carpet today for the 10th Annual BET “Hip Hop Awards.” The VIP event was taped this afternoon at Atlanta’s uberstylish Cobb Energy Centre and will premiere October 4 at 8 p.m.  The show is hosted by BET “Hip Hop Award” nominee DJ Khaled along with DJ Holiday as the House DJ and Atlanta’s own DJ Drama as the House Announcer.

img_8441The BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that has changed the world while highlighting exceptional artists in the music genre. Year after year, the BET Networks have hosted the industry’s top artists for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends.

Performers who walked the SPRITE Green Carpet included T.I., Big K.R.I.T., 21 Savage, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Desiigner, Gucci Mane, OT Genasis, Lecrae, Big Baby D.R.A.M. and Dae Dae.  Nominees that were also spotted included Fat Joe, Lil Uzi Vert, Gregory Watkins, Remy Ma, Sir the Baptist and Benny Boom.

img_8269The SPRITE Green Carpet also featured a number of Cypher performers including  Sway, Empire‘s Bre-Z, 3d Na’Tee, Dave East, Consequences, Miss Jade, Kent Jones and John John Da Don. “Dope” actor Shameik Moore and Demetrius Shipp Jr., star of the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me,” were also in attendance.

Other hip hop stars who rocked the carpet included Young Jeezy, Busta Rhymes, The Dream, Fonzworth Bentley, Big Tigger, Kxng Crooked, DC Young Fly and Blac Youngsta. “Love and Hip Hop” stars Yandy Smith and PreMadonna added some #BlackGirlMagic while fan favorites Cardi B. and Erica Mena provided a lot of “eye candy.”  However, the highlight of the day was seeing Snoop Dogg walked the carpet with his father and son. The legendary West Coast rapper is the recipient of this year’s coveted “I AM Hip Hop Award” and is being recognized for his global influence in hip hop and for paving the way for the next generation of artists.

See more SPRITE Green Carpet photos below and stay tuned for the list of winners and a show recap!!




 Remy Ma


DJ Khaled


Busta Rhymes with Aaron Cook$


Young Thug with his guest


The Dream


Fat Joe 


Big K.R.I.T. and guest


Lil Yachty






Shameik Moore 


DJ Holiday giving kisses to his future child


Sway and “The Morning Show Crew” with 3D Na’Tee


Snoop Dogg talking to BET Music


Yandy Smith


Lil Bibby


Big Tigger with DC Young Fly


Kent Jones 


John John Da Don


Kxng Crooked




Cardi B


Fonzworth Bentley


Erica Mena


Gucci Mann with Keyshia Ka’oir


Black Youngsta


The cast from BET Centric’s “My Current Situation”


Demetrius Shipp Jr. 


Alexis Smith from BET Centric’s “My Current Situation”


DJ Khaled talking to DISH NATION






O.T. Genasis


Dave East 




Consequences with his son


The cast of BET’s new reality series “Hustle & Blow”


Jidenna talking to BET Music


Big Baby D.R.A.M. and his guest


Myles “Millyz” Lockwood 


Miss Jade 


The SPRITE Green Carpet was #LIT!img_8211

Desiinger with guest


DJ Drama with guests




Fat Joe and Remy Ma


BET’s President of Programming Stephen Hill


YAY! My placement on the SPRITE Green Carpet


Thanks BET for the opportunity!

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WATCH 2nd Trailer for Tupac Shakur Biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ (NSFW)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur‘s death, a new trailer has been released for his highly anticipated biopic, “All Eyez On Me.”

As previously reported, the film centers on the life of the charismatic yet controversial rapper, poet, actor and political activist, who shot to fame with “2Pacalypse Now.” His politically charged lyrics, inspired by his parents’ activism as Black Panthers in the 60s & early 70s, condemned governmental intrusion in black communities. Tupac’s increased participation in the East Coast-West Coast Rap rivalry became well documented and avidly followed by his fans. He was gunned down a street corner in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996 and died 6 days later. His murder was never solved.

“All Eyez on Me” stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac along with Danai Gurira as his mother Afeni Shakur. Kat Graham stars as Jada Pinkett, Dominic L. Santana portrays Suge Knight, Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls, Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, Lauren Cohan as Lelia Steinberg, Grace Gibson as Faith Evans and  Harold House Moore as Dr Dre. The film is directed by Benny Boom and is executive produced by Afeni, who passed away in May at the age of 69. The film expected to open in 2017.

Check it out below and tell us what you think!

Photo Credit:

RC Exclusive - Music

BET Announces Nominees for 2016 Hip Hop Awards

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

BET announced the nominees for this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards and Drake dominates for the third year in a row. The Canadian-born rapper received 14 impressive nominations including ‘Best Live Performer,’ ‘Lyricist of the Year,’ ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Hustler of the Year,’ and ‘Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style).’

Future scores the second-most nominations with 10 nods, including ‘Best Live Performer,’ ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Hustler of the Year,’ ‘Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style),’ ‘Best Mixtape,’ and ‘Best Collabo, Duo, or Group.’

DJ Khaled follows closely with 9 nominations, including ‘DJ of the Year,’ ‘Best Hip-Hop Video,’ ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Track of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Hustler of the Year,’ ‘People’s Champ Award,’ and two nods for ‘Best Collabo, Duo or Group;’ and Kanye West grabs 8 nods for ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Best Hip-Hop Video,’ ‘Best Live Performer,’ ‘Lyricist of the Year,’ ‘Video Director of the Year,’ ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Hustler of the Year,’ and ‘Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style)’ at the BET “Hip Hop Awards” 2016.

Additionally, ‘Best New Hip-Hop Artist’ Award includes newcomers Chance the Rapper, Desiigner, Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanez and Anderson .Paak.

The BET “Hip Hop Awards” 2016 will be taped on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at its new venue, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA, and will premiere on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

See the complete list of BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” ’16 Official Nominees below:

Best Hip-Hop Video

2 Chainz – Watch Out

Desiigner – Panda

DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future – I Got the Keys

Drake – Hotline Bling

Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared – All the Way Up

Kanye West F/ Rihanna – Famous

Best Collabo, Duo or Group

DJ Khaled F/ Drake – For Free

DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future – I Got the Keys

Drake & Future – Jumpman

Drake F/ Wizkid & Kyla – One Dance

Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared – All the Way Up

Best Live Performer



J. Cole

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

Lyricist of the Year

Chance the Rapper


J. Cole

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom

Colin Tilley

Director X

Hype Williams

Kanye West

DJ of the Year

DJ Drama

DJ Envy

DJ Esco

DJ Khaled

DJ Mustard

Producer of the Year

DJ Mustard

Dr. Dre

Metro Boomin

Mike WiLL Made-It

Pharrell Williams

MVP of the Year

DJ Khaled



Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

Track of the Year

All the Way Up – Produced By Cool & Dre and Edsclusive (Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared)

Controlla – Produced By BOI-1DA (Drake)

Hotline Bling – Produced By Nineteen85 (Drake)

I Got the Keys – Produced By Southside (DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future)

Panda – Produced By Menace (Desiigner)

Album of the Year

DJ Khaled – I Changed A Lot

Dr. Dre – Compton

Drake – Views

Fetty Wap – Fetty Wap

Future -DS2

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Best New Hip-Hop Artist

Anderson .Paak

Bryson Tiller

Chance the Rapper


Tory Lanez

Hustler of the Year

DJ Khaled



Jay Z

Kanye West

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style)

A$AP Rocky



Kanye West

Nicki Minaj

Best Hip Hop Online Site/App






Best Mixtape

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book

French Montana – Wave Gods (Hosted By Max B)

Future – Purple Reign

Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi Vert VS. The World

Young Thug – Slime Season 3

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse

2 Chainz – No Problem (Chance the Rapper F/ Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

Drake – Work (Rihanna F/ Drake)

Kendrick Lamar – Freedom (Beyoncé F/ Kendrick Lamar)

Kodak Black – Lockjaw (French Montana F/ Kodak Black)

Nicki Minaj – Down In the DM – Remix (Yo Gotti F/ Nicki Minaj)

Impact Track

J. Cole – Love Yourz

Jay Z – Spiritual

Jidenna – Long Live The Chief

Raury F/ Key – Trap Tears

Sir The Baptist F/ ChuchPeople – Raise Hell

People’s Champ Award

Desiigner – Panda

DJ Khaled F/ Drake – For Free

Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared – All the Way Up

O.T. Genasis F/ Young Dolph – Cut It

Travis Scott – Antidote

Young Thug – Best Friend

RC Exclusive - Ent


Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“True Blood” star Rutina Wesley has been cast in OWN’s upcoming drama “Queen Sugar.” She will portray Nova Bordelon, a New Orleans journalist and activist whose life is changed when her sister Charley returns home from L.A. to help her run the family’s sugar cane farm. The series is based on the book of the same name by Natalie Baszile and will be written and directed by Selma’s Ava DuVernay.  [SHADOW & ACT]

Versatile actors Jamie Hector and Kat Graham are joining the cast of the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez On Me.” Hector will portray Mutulu Shakur, the stepfather of the slain rapper while Graham will portray actress and close friend Jada Pinkett-Smith. The film chronicles Shakur’s rise to superstardom and features Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac, Danai Gurira as his activist mother Afeni Shakur, Jamal Woolard as rapper Biggie Smalls, and Dominic L. Satana as Suge Knight. “All Eyez On Me” is directed by Benny Boom and is currently being shot in Atlanta, GA. [DEADLINE]

Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx will star as Little John in “Robin Hood:Origins.” The role is being described as “a war-weary veteran of The Crusades who starts out as distrusting of Robin Hood before warming up to him in what is being called a gritty take on the legendary story.” Foxx joins Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Eve Hewson as Maid Marian. “Robin Hood: Origins” is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s company Appian Way Productions. [BLACK ENTERPRISE]
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Keyshia Cole spotted on the set of her new video…

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

R&B vocalist Keyshia Cole is prepping for the release of her new album and was recently seen on the set of her new video “Enough Of No Love” with husband Bobbie Johnson.

Keyshia looks beautiful with her signature blond hair in a robust chignon, black tank covered with bling and jean shorts.  The video is directed by Benny Boom and will appear on her forthcoming album, Woman to Woman.  Cole is also gearing up for a new reality show “Family First.”

Are you excited about Keyshia Cole’s new album and reality-show?