Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Fashion RC Exclusive - Music

Watch Teaser Trailer for ‘RESPECT’ featuring Jennifer Hudson (VIDEO)

Jennifer Hudson is ARETHA FRANKLIN in this new teaser trailer for the highly anticipated 2020 biopic…RESPECT. MGM released a sneak peek of the Oscar winner as the “Queen of Soul” and I can’t wait.

RESPECT follows the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.

RESPECT also features Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner and Mary J. Blige.

It is directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Tracey Scott Wilson. It is also produced by Harvey Mason Jr. and Scott Berstein.

PHOTO CREDIT: MGM

Categories
Recap

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.

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent Renegade

‘The Wendy Williams Story’ is coming to Lifetime

Wendy Williams is having one helluva year! In addition to the announcement about her receiving a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the “queen of all media” is now the subject of an upcoming biopic for Lifetime. Super producer Will Packer is bringing her story to the small screen and will begin production this fall.

According to S&A, the film will showcase the highs and lows Williams has experienced throughout the years.  It will also follow her journey from urban radio to the success of her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. 

As if the biopic wasn’t enough, Lifetime will also be airing a documentary about Williams that is being produced by Entertainment (eOne) and Creature films.

My pick for the lead role is…TAMI ROMAN. I believe she has the heart and grit that it would take to play Wendy in a movie. I also think Tami can relate to Williams’ ambitious pursuit of fortune and fame as a Black woman in entertainment and channel that through her performance.

Who do you think should play Wendy Williams?

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent

Barry Jenkins to direct Alvin Ailey Biopic #YAY

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

I am soooo late to the party but I would be remise if I didn’t post anything about this.

I am super excited that Oscar winner Barry Jenkins will direct the highly anticipated Alvin Ailey biopic for Fox Searchlight. The untitled project is based on Jennifer Dunning‘s biography Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance and the film will receive direction from Ailey’s current Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita, Judith Jamison.

Ailey is considered one of the most important figures in modern dance history and was the creator of the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre of which I have been a fan of for over 25 years (Thank you Danae Jones). His iconic work Revelations is by far one of the most viewed choreographed dance numbers in the world.

Check out my 30-minute UPFRONT special with Ms. Jamison back in February as part of AAADT’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.

Photo Credit: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music

UPDATE: Aretha Franklin’s biopic ‘Respect’ to debut August 14, 2020

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

S&A is reporting that the highly anticipated Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT is set to debut on August 14, 2020. As previously reported, the film 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.

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson will star as Franklin and was selected by her before she passed away. RESPECT is being written by former Nashville creator Callie Khouri and is being directed by Liesl Tommy.

“The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time,” Tommy said in a statement in January. “As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.”

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

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent

Will Smith to star as Venus & Serena Williams father in ‘King Richard’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

VARIETY is reporting that Aladdin star Will Smith will portray Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in a new biopic titled King Richard.

The project is based on a script written by Zack Baylin and focuses on Williams overcoming hardship, skepticism, controversy and his own troubled past. He began instructing his daughters at the tender age of four-years-old on the tennis courts of Compton, CA despite not having a background in professional tennis himself.

King Richard will be produced by Tim and Trevor White under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner. Smith will also serve as a producer of the film through his Overbrook Entertainment Company. He is currently in Atlanta filming Bad Boys For Life with Martin Lawrence.

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

Photo Credit: ScriptShadow.net

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Fashion RC Exclusive - Music

Lee Daniels to produce new Teddy Pendergrass Biopic starring Tyrese Gibson (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Tyrese Gibson and Lee Daniels are teaming up for a new biopic on platinum selling R&B superstar—Teddy Pendergrass.

According to S&A, Daniels will produce the Warner Bros. project and Gibson will portray the crooner, who was the first African-American entertainer to have five consecutive platinum albums. He was also known as the “black Elvis.”

“I am honored to take this journey… this is the role that I feel I was born to play,” Gibson said. “Teddy Pendergrass embraced me and before he passed put the responsibility on my shoulders to tell his story. Being here in this time and in this space and moment with Lee Daniels, Donald De Line, Little Marvin and Warner Bros is an answered prayer. Teddy, I just hope we make you, your wife and family proud… Here we go!!”

Teddy Pendergrass was one of the biggest music stars of the 1970s. He started out as the lead singer for the Philadelphia based-group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. He went on to solo success in the mid 70s and ruled the charts with such sexy tunes as “Come Go With Me,” Close the Door,” “Turn Off the Lights,” “Love T.K.O,” and my personal favorite “When Somebody Loves You Back.” He was also known for his “women only” concerts and was one of the first male celebrities to have a fashion line for women and an endorsement deal with Schlitz Malt Liquor.

In 1982, Pendergrass was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He passed away from colon cancer at age 59.

I highly, highly recommend watching Showtime’s recent documentary about Pendergrass titled If You Don’t Know Me.

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

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and The Northern Echo

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent

Keesha Sharp to star in and produce a film about Eartha Kitt

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Lethal Weapon actress and Girlfriends starlet Keesha Sharp is gearing up to star in and produce a feature film about the life of singer, actress and Broadway diva Eartha Kitt.

According to DEADLINE, Sharp and her husband Brad will develop and produce the project which will be based on the John Williams’ 2013 biography America’s Mistress: The Life and Times of Earth Kitt.

“Eartha Kitt was a force in the entertainment industry and an icon who opened doors for so many women, especially women of color during a time when it was not popular in America,” Keesha Sharp said. “Although I may have been compared to her in the past, I am passionate about bringing her story to life because everyone needs to know how incredible she was!

Legendary actor and Hollywood heavyweight Orson Wells described Kitt as “the most exciting woman in the world” and her life is definitely what good movies are made of.

She appeared in a number of films including my favorites St. Louis Blues and Boomerang as well as Preaching to the Choir and The Feast of All Saints. She also appeared on the 90s sitcom Living Single.

Her most famous role, however, was that of the sexy Catwoman on the groundbreaking TV series Batman.  Kitt died in 2008 at the age of 81.

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

Photo Credit: TheTelegraph.com

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music

Alicia Keys to executive producer a biopic about Alvin Ailey

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

I am so excited to announce that Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is teaming up with Fox Searchlight for an upcoming biopic on the life and legacy of iconic dance choreographer and visionary—Alvin Ailey.

According to DEADLINE, Fox Searchlight and the producers—Keys, Judy Kinberg, Susan Lewis, Rachel Cohen, Jana Edelbaum—are working with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s current Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison to develop a film about his life and legendary choreography. They have also secured the rights to Jennifer Dunning’s seminal biography Alvin Ailey: A Life In Dance.

“We are thrilled to be working with these incredible partners to bring to the screen the amazing journey and revolutionary choreography of Alvin Ailey, whose life and legacy profoundly impacted people of all backgrounds around the world,” said Robert Battle.

Alvin Ailey was one of the most successful dance choreographers to ever live. His company, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, was founded in New York City in March 1958 (60 years ago this month) and laid the foundation for other dance troupes to follow suit such as the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The company is best known for the now classic work, REVELATIONS, which explores African American spirituality.

I can’t tell you how geeked I am about this movie. I have been a fan of Ailey’s since my college days and haven’t missed a performance in 24 years. As an a member of Ailey Circle Atlanta, I am elated that his story will be told and pray that it will inspire a new generation of dancers and creatives.

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

Photo Credits: DanceHeritage.com and Norman Maxon

Categories
RC Exclusive - Music

WATCH Trailer for ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ starring Nia Long + Mahershala Ali (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Netflix has released a new trailer for its upcoming biopic Roxanne Roxanne. The film chronicles rise of hip hop starlet Roxanne Shante and stars Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali, Nia Long and newcomer Chanté Adams.

In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita “Roxanne Shante” Gooden was well on her way to becoming a Hip-Hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets.

Roxanne Roxanne comes from the producers of Fruitvale Station and Dope and was written and directed by Michael Larnell.  It was also produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Mimi Valdes, and Pharrell Williams.

Roxanne Roxanne premieres on March 23.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Netflix

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent Rising - Ent

Keith Powers to star as Black Panther icon Huey Newton

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Famous in Love actor Keith Powers is gearing up to play another icon in a new film about the life of Black Panther Party co-founder—Huey Newton.

According to S&A, former NBA star Matt Barnes posted the big news on social media recently announcing his project getting greenlit while shouting out Powers as the film’s star.

“Just got the Huey Newton The Leader Of The Black Panthers-bio pic GreenLit! ✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿POWER TO THE PEOPLE will be the name of the film! Stay tuned!! #HueyNewton
#LeaderOfTheBLACKPANTHERS #TheTimeIsNOW@keithpowers you ready bro
✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿,” said Barnes on Instagram.

Powers began his career as a model before venturing into acting. He played New Edition member Ronnie DeVoe in BET’s hit mini-series The New Edition Story and gained a legion of new fans. He also starred in BET’s Tales and the NWA biopic— Straight Outta Compton.

I got a chance to meet Powers when he visited Clark Atlanta University this past October. He was joined by his boo, Ryan Destiny of STAR and his New Edition co-star Luke James, where they talked to the students about their journeys in the film and music industry.

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

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music Read

A Gucci Mane biopic in the works?

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

S&A is reporting that a Gucci Mane biopic is coming to the big screen. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by Paramount Pictures along with director Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and will based on Mane’s 2017 book, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane.

Mane is credited for being a pioneer of trap music along with T.I. and Jeezy and has been on and off the music charts for almost two decades now.

His book chronicles his tumultuous rise to stardom against a backdrop of drugs and violence. He most recently appeared on the popular BET reality series, The Mane Event, which detailed his elaborate wedding to fitness and beauty diva Keyshia Ka’oir.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music Recap

Xscap3 talks new music, biopic and more with RC [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of attending a private listening session Wednesday afternoon with the ladies of Xscap3Tameka “Tiny” Harris, LaTocha Scott and Tamika Scott. The trio’s new moniker is being compared to what New Edition members Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins did as Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD). The ladies are also very excited about their new tour dates for 2018 minus Kandi Burruss, who is currently starring on Broadway as Matron “Mama” Morton in “Chicago.” The ladies did hint that the RHOA star may be joining them for their July gig at the ESSENCE Festival.

The music comes from their EP that features such newly released tracks as  “Dreamkilla,” and “Wifed Up.” It also includes the feel good tune “Memory Lane” and “Cravin,” plus the club banger “Here For It” and the female anthem (you heard it here first) “The Last of Me.” The project was produced by Tricky Stewart. According to Tasha, the listening session was being used to help them determine which songs to release.

“This is important for us so that we can kinda figure out what we want to do as far as our music is concerned. Being able to keep a core audience but also being versatile is a blessing. All of the information we get from you guys [media] helps us to put things into perspective and we appreciate it.”

In addition to the music, the ladies also revealed the actresses who will portray them in an upcoming biopic about their rise to stardom with So So Def and Jermaine Dupri. Tamika will be played by her daughter, O’Shun Reney Byas, Tiny will be played by her daughter, Zonnique Pullins, Tasha will be played by “Power” actress Naturi Naughton and Kandi has expressed that she would like Ryan Destiny of Lee Daniels‘ “STAR” to portray her.  The ladies also mentioned that they have patched things up with Dupri and will be working with him on another project in the near future.

Xscap3’s new EP drops on March 2. See more photos below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

Categories
RC Exclusive - Ent Respect

YAY! A Hattie McDaniel Biopic is in the Works

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The life and legacy of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American entertainer to be nominated and win an Academy Award, is coming to the big screen.

According to S&A, Alyisa Allen has purchased the rights to McDaniel story and is teaming up with Aaron Magnani for the project. The film will focus McDaniel’s trailblazing career as an actress, comedian and singer/songwriter and is based on the book, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood by Jill Watts.

McDaniel is best known for her role as “Mammy” in the American film classic “Gone with the Wind.” She also appeared in over 300 films and was the first Black woman to sing on American radio. She died of breast cancer at the age of 57.

Allen is the founder of the hugely popular Mocha Girls Read.

Check out McDaniel’s historic Oscar win below:

Photo Credits:  Dantania.blogspot.com