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BET orders scripted-comedy series based on 90s hit film ‘Boomerang’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Marcus Graham, Lady Eloise and Strangé are coming to BET! Well sorta…

According to THR, BET is beefing up it’s scripted series lineup by ordering a new half-hour comedy based on the iconic 90s film Boomerang. The 10-episode project comes from Paramount Television and will revolve around a successful executive who finds that his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new boss turns out to be a bigger deviant than he is.

Boomerang is being described as an updated version that explores contemporary workplace dynamics, including the changing role of gender, office politics, relationships and the conflicts between Generation X and millennials.

In the original film, Eddie Murphy played the popular womanizer Marcus Graham who met his match in the sexy Robin Givens. Rounding out the all-star cast is Halle Berry, the late Earth KittGrace JonesTisha Campbell Martin, Lela Rochon, Martin LawrenceDavid Alan Grier, John Witherspoon, Chris Rock and the late Goeffrey Holder.

The film’s soundtrack was produced by L.A. Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and featured Boyz II Men, TLC, Johnny Gill, Grace Jones, P.M. Dawn and Toni Braxton, who performed the classic “Love Shoulda Brought You Home.”

Personal Note: I am a huge fan of Boomerang and remember watching it every weekend when I worked as a movie usher in high school. It was the first time I had every seen a black man as an advertising executive. Every aspect of the film was first class…from the hair to the costumes to the banging soundtrack. I hope it translates well into a television series and have the same affect on the millennial audience as it did on me.

Stay tuned…

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Janelle Monáe, Common, Chris Rock appear in ‘Know Your Baldwin’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Award winning actress and singer Janelle Monáe has teamed up with and some of the biggest names in Hollywood for a powerful new video promoting Magnolia Pictures, “I am Not Your Negro.  The two-minute clip titled, “Know Your Baldwin” features the “Hidden Figures” actress and a host of others—Common, Chris Rock, Lupita Nyong’o, Aldis Hodge, Jidenna— inspiring audiences to get familiar with the works of literary icon, James Baldwin.

The presentation has already been viewed by millions and was released with the expectation of putting Baldwin’s prolific words into the mouths of the next generation.

As the video reports, “these artists and activists are echoing the past to contextualize the present,” and just like the documentary, it does its job to parallel the experiences of our forefathers with the realities of today and the fears of our future.

“Know Your Baldwin” also features the “I Am Not Your Negro” director, Raoul Peck and Samuel L. Jackson, who narrated the Oscar nominated documentary!

“I Am Not Your Negro” is in theaters nationwide!

Check out “Know Your Baldwin” below:

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WATCH the trailer for ‘Dying Laughing’ feat. Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart & more (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Have you ever wondered what it is really like to be a stand-up comedian? Well, “Dying Laughing” is a new film that will allow audiences to hear from some of the biggest stars in comedy and how they became household names in this highly competitive industry.

It features candid, one-on-one interviews with long time veterans like Jerry Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and the late Gary Shandling. It also includes appearances from more recent comedic superstars like Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Amy Schumar, Mike Epps, Sarah SilvermanCedric the Entertainer and Cocoa Brown.

Here’s the film’s full synopsis:

Whilst painters, writers, musicians even dancers are talked about as Artists, stand-up comedians are often regarded as mere entertainers – yet their work has possibly more direct effect on an audience than any other art form. These are social and cultural commentators who at their best can change the way we think about important matters whilst making us howl with laughter. A stand-up comedian must be the writer, the director and the star performer, and unlike any other performance there is no rehearsal, no practice, no safety net, the stand-up can only work in front of a live audience – with feedback being instantaneous and often brutal. For most people baring their soul to then have an audience boo or heckle them would be a life-changing trauma, for stand-ups it’s a weekly challenge.  “Dying Laughing” is a unique glimpse into the agony and ecstasy of performance along with an singular examination into the day-to-day life of a professional stand-up.

“Dying Laughing” is directed by Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood and will be released in theaters and on demand beginning on February 24. 

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T.I., Jussie Smollett and more to play ‘Many Rivers to Cross Festival’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Tickets went on sale Friday at noon for’s “Many Rivers to Cross ” Social Justice Music & Arts Festival, set for October 1 & 2 in Chattahoochee, Hills, GA. Grammy-Winning Hip Hop Stars T.I. and Macklemore, Singers/Songwriters Aloe Blacc, Goapele and Alice Smith, Grammy-Winning Jazz Vocalist Dianne Reeves, Grammy Award nominated a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Artist/Actor/Activist Jussie Smollett have signed on to perform at the event.

Founded by Civil Rights icon Harry Belafonte in 2013, has been building a platform where influential artists and grassroots leaders can work collaboratively to speak out against human rights abuse and injustice. Recently partnered with Blackout for Human Rights on the successful “Justice For Flint” benefit concert, and worked with Usher on his groundbreaking “Chains” music video and racial justice campaign.

Other celebrities scheduled to appear at the festival include John Legend, Chris Rock, Jesse Williams, Common, Estelle, Dave Matthews, Carlos Santana, Public Enemy, Danny Glover and Dr. Cornel West. The festival will be held at Bouckaert Farm, 20 minutes southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Along with multiple performance stages, music fans will be able to be part of the “Social Justice Village” integrated throughout the Festival to engage and its social justice partners, get informed on current issues, interact with activists and thought-leaders, and find out how they can help impact change in their own communities.

Click here to purchase tickets!

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Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Common, Taraji P. Henson, Maxwell and more appear in “23 Ways You…” (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Common, Taraji P. Henson, Maxwell, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Rock are just a few of the A-List celebrities who have lent their voices to a new video titled, “23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black In America.”

It was released earlier this week and features the 23 entertainers and the various reasons why African-American men and women have been violently killed by police officers in America over the last few years. It’s based on a list of the same name that was compiled and published by journalist Jamilah King.

“I decided to compile a list of all the seemingly mundane interactions with police that have led to high-profile black deaths. I did this to prove a point: There is a tax on black life in America, and we are better than this,” says King.

Check out her list and the video below: 

1. Selling CDs outside of a supermarket.

2. Selling cigarettes outside of a corner store.

3. Walking home with a friend.

4. Missing a front license plate.

5. Wearing a hoodie.

6. Riding a commuter train.

7. Holding a fake gun in a park in Ohio.

8. Holding a fake gun in a Walmart in Ohio.

9. Holding a fake gun in Virginia.

10. Holding a fake gun in Washington, D.C.

11. Calling for help after a car accident.

12. Driving with a broken brake light.

13. Attending a Bible study class.

14. Failing to signal a lane change.

15. Walking away from police.

16. Walking toward police.

17. Running to the bathroom in your apartment.

18. Walking up the stairwell of your apartment building.

19. Sitting in your car before your bachelor party.

20. Holding your wallet.

21. Making eye contact.

22. Attending a birthday party.

23. Laughing.

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Chris Rock covers ‘ESSENCE’ + Defends Black Actresses

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

CONGRATS to award-winning comedian Chris Rock on landing his first ever ESSENCE Magazine cover. The outspoken actor is gearing up to host the Academy Awards on February 28 and claims that anything can happen.

rs_634x861-160203141828-634-chris-rock-essence-march-2016-cover-020316“I’m going to do my best,” says Rock. “It could go horribly wrong. Don’t ever think that it can’t. That’s when it goes wrong—when you don’t think there’s any chance of it going wrong. If you know it won’t, it probably won’t.”

The Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came under fire in January when no actors or actresses of color were nominated in leading or supporting roles for the second year in a row.  Celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will Smith and Spike Lee expressed their views and many asked for Rock to withdraw from hosting the show. However, he decided to stick it out but did have a few things to say about Hollywood’s unfair treatment towards Black actresses.

“I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be Black?’ It happens every time,” he says. “Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”

Click here to read more!

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“Boo! A Madea Halloween” coming to theaters October 2016

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Tyler Perry is at it again! The media mogul is currently in production for his newest Madea adventure—“Boo! A Madea Halloween.”  According to the studio’s press release, Perry will write, produce, direct, and star in the film which is slated to debut on October 21, 2016.

Joining Perry in producing the project are Ozzie Areu and Will Areu. The film’s origins date back to when Perry and Chris Rock conspired to include a fictitious Madea Halloween movie in Rock’s film Top Five. Lionsgate then approached Perry and suggested that they make the movie for real.

“We are thrilled to reunite with the iconic Tyler Perry, one of the greatest creative forces in entertainment and a beloved and cherished member of our Lionsgate family,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger. “‘Boo! A Madea Halloween’ brings together two great Lionsgate traditions — Madea and a Halloween movie — and we know that audiences will find the combination outrageous, hilarious and unbeatable.”

In “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a hilarious, haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls, and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.

Perry will play the roles of “Madea,” in addition to the roles of “Joe” and “Brian.” The film will also star Bella Thorne as “Rain,” Cassi Davis as “Aunt Bam,” Patrice Lovely as “Hattie,” Andre Hall as “Quinton,” Yousef Erakat as “Jonathan,” Lexy Panterra as “Leah,” Diamond White as “Tiffany,” Liza Koshy as “Aday,” Brock O’Hurn as “Horse,” Jimmy Tatro as “Sean,” JC Caylen as “Mikey,” Kian Lawley as “Bean Boy,” and Mike Tornabene as “Dino.”

Stay tuned…

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And the Oscar nominees are…

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The 2016 Academy Award nominations were just announced on “Good Morning America” and CONGRATS goes out to “Straight Outta Compton.” The blockbuster biopic about West Coast rap pioneers N.W.A earned a nomination for Best Writing – Original Screenplay.

Netflix’s indie project “What Happened Miss Simone?” picked up a nomination for Best Documentary Feature while Golden Globe winner Sylvester Stallone earned his third Academy nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in Ryan Cooglar‘s “Creed.”

Click here to see the full list on nominees and don’t forget to watch Chris Rock when he hosts the show on Sunday, February 28 at 7 p.m. on ABC.
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Chris Rock to host the 2016 Oscars

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Award winning-comedian and actor Chris Rock is set to host the 88th Academy Awards Ceremony aka The Oscars next February. Rock confirmed the big news earlier Wednesday by tweeting a photo of himself holding the coveted award  with the caption: “Look who’s back #Oscars.”  This is the second time he’s hosted the show since 2005.

“Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” Academy Awards producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin said in a statement. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian — he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host!”

Rock is part of an elite group of comedians that have hosted the show over the years including Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Ellen DeGeneres to name a few.

Check out his opening monologue from the 2005 show below:

Look for the Academy Awards to air on February 28th on ABC.


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FOX releases a new trailer for 2nd Season of ‘EMPIRE’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Lucious Lyons (Terrence Howard) may be on lockdown but it appears that he is still running things in this new trailer for “Empire.” From the looks of the one minute clip, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) goes to visit him but something tells me she’s not there for sympathy.  Meanwhile Andre (Trai Byers) is trying to gain control of the company which was placed in the hands of his singer brother, Jamal (Jussie Smollett) while Hakeem (Breyshere Y. Gray) is devising a plan of his own to take control with the help of “Boo Boo Kitty” (Grace Gealey). We also see a glimpse of guest stars Chris Rock and Marisa Tomei in action.

“Empire” returns to Fox on September 23 at 9PM and I can’t wait to see what twisted plots and schemes Lee Daniels will be serving up!  Check out the trailer below and let me know what you guys think.  #ManDown

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Bob Sumner talks ‘Laff Mobb’s We Got Next’ + Top 12 Comedians of All Time (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Tonight is the season 2 premiere of ASPiRE’s hilarious comedy series, “Laff Mobb’s We Got Next.”  The show airs at 10 p.m. EST and is hosted by Bob Sumner, co-creator of HBO’s groundbreaking program,“Def Comedy Jam.” Filmed before live audiences at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, CA, “Laff Mobb’s We Got Next” promises to deliver some of the best new comedians in the country.  Sumner should know a thing or two about spotting good talent considering he was also there when many of today’s comic titans like Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence and the late Bernie Mac, were all making a name for themselves on his stage.  Now he’s bringing that same formula for success to Magic Johnson’s ASPiRE network, just minus the profanity.

“For me, it’s all about being funny. A lot of people think that profanity needs to be placed in stand up. But I really think that profanity can be used to put an accent on a joke or something like that if it’s needed. When you have people who constantly throw out the F-Bomb, it’s really unnecessary, says Sumner.  “It’s funny because I kind of blame myself to a certain extent for people thinking that way because of my previous shows. We gave comedians a platform to do their night club acts and the networks we were on allowed that.  Now that we’re over at ASPiRE, I want to show the world that you don’t have to use profanity in order to be funny. On this show, we have about 16 comedians and none of them are using profanity and it’s all about the flavor.  Now, the content may be a little edgy at times.” (LOL)

When asked who the standout faces are in the bunch, Sumner immediately names Rob Powell and Amberia Allen, who recently won the 2014 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Comedy Wings Competition.

“She [Allen] is a young lady who is definitely a force to be reckoned with. A lot of her humor comes from her upbringing and her family. See, that’s the beauty of this show because it’s that type of comedy that the whole family can watch together,” says Sumner.

He also mentioned that good stand up is not about the gimmicks but rather the authenticity of the comedian.

“I’ve seen it all, trust me. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen it all three times. But then again, I didn’t see it all because when I see “it,” something I haven’t seen, I know it right off. I believe in originality, stage presence, and I want to hear about you. I don’t want to see someone using a bunch of props and doing flips or gyrating on stools. I want you to stand there and say something that I can relate to and make me laugh!”

Check out Amberia Allen and Rob Powell below as well as Bob Sumner’s “TOP 12 Comedians of All Time”:

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Bob Sumner’s TOP 12 Comedians of All Time:

12.  Martin Lawrence

11.  Robin Harris

10.  Chris Tucker

9.  Dave Chappelle

8.  George Carlin

7.  Carol Burnett

6.  Chris Rock

5.  Bernie Mac

4.  Eddie Murphy

3.  Redd Foxx

2.  Richard Pryor

1.  Jackie Mom’s Mabley

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Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kanye West & more attend ‘Top Five’ PHOTOS + VIDEO

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

“Top Five” celebrated its New York City premiere Wednesday night at the Ziegfeld Theater where Writer/Director/Actor Chris Rock and the film’s stars Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Ben Vereen, and Karli Redd all walked the red carpet. Co-Producer Kanye West and Executive Music Producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson were also in attendance along with Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Bruce, 2 Chainz and Jadakiss.

“Top Five” stars Rock as Andre (the most famous comedian on the planet), who agrees to be interviewed for the New York reporter Chelsea Brown (Dawson), a gorgeous but no-frills young woman with a sharp intelligence that matches his own. This new, no-holds-barred interaction may well change the course of both their lives. The film also stars Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Sherri Shepherd, Whoopi Goldberg, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah.

“Top Five” is a Paramount Pictures and IAC Film and is in theaters nationwide on 12/12/14.

Check out photos below + the latest trailer + Rock’s covers for New York  and The Hollywood Reporter.

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE" Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock/Rosario Dawson

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE" Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

Gabrielle Union/ JB Smoove

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

Chris Rock with Kanye West and Jadakiss

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE" After Party Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

QuestLove with Chris Rock/Marie Norman with Karlie Redd

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE" Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

Rosario Dawson with Chris Rock/Bruce Bruce

Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE" Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of "TOP FIVE"

Ben Vereen with guest/2 Chainz

New york photo THR photo

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Photo Credits: Viacom, New York and The Hollywood Reporter


WATCH New Extended Trailer for Chris Rock’s TOP FIVE (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Gabrielle Union is showing Chris Rock some serious PDA in the new extended trailer for their upcoming film, “Top Five.”

As previously reported, Union plays Rock’s pretty reality-star girlfriend, Erica Long and the two are set to get married in the biggest media event of the year. However, in the midst of all the frenzy leading up to his televised nuptials, Andre (the most famous comedian on the planet) agrees to be interviewed for the New York reporter Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson), a gorgeous but no-frills young woman with a sharp intelligence that matches his own. This new, no-holds-barred interaction may well change the course of both their lives…

Will Andre choose Erica or Chelsea?  Take a look below:

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Sexual Chocolate!! Michael Strahan & more appear in PEOPLE’s ‘Sexiest’ Issue

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

I’m too SEXY for this post!

Congrats goes to TV host and former NFL star Michael Strahan and acclaimed actor Michael B. Jordan. Both celebrities will appear on PEOPLE’s Men of the Year list which is part of the coveted “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.

According to the PEOPLE press release, Strahan and Jordan are some pretty hot guys who made a serious splash  in 2014. Although this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honor went to Australian heart-throb Chris Hemsworth the magazine couldn’t resist mentioning actors Idris Elba and Chris Pratt. They also appear on the cover.

PEOPLEIn addition, PEOPLE also put a spotlight on a few other head turners including Jason Derulo, Dwayne Wade, Prince and Lenny Kravitz, who made the “Sexy at Every Age” list. A nod went to “Furious 7” star Ludacris for being a sexy pet owner while Maxwell, Tyson Beckford and Shemar Moore are by far the sexiest with their shirts off. Other honorable mentions include Terry Crews, Drake, Janet Jackson and her husband Wissam Al Mana and Usher.

Lastly, PEOPLE talked to a number of A-listers about their biggest fears which include some very surprising revelations from Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Idris Elba and Pharrell Williams.

PEOPLE featuring “Sexiest Man Alive” Chris Hemsworth hits newsstands tomorrow Friday, Nov. 21.


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