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David Oyelowo attends ATL’s 47th Annual MLK Jr. Commemorative Svc. [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

“Selma” actor and activist, David Oyelowo was one of many special guests invited to speak during Monday’s 47th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service in Atlanta, GA. The British-born actor made a rare appearance, just hours after marching with his co-stars Oprah Winfrey and Common and director, Ava DuVernay across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL on Sunday evening.

David Oyelowo

Actor and activist, David Oyelowo talking about playing MLK in the movie Selma

 A tearful and emotional Oyelowo shared his very personal experience playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and confessed that God had already revealed to him in prayer seven years ago that he would play the civil rights leader in a movie. He also described what it was like “stepping into the shoes of King” and why this was more than an acting gig but a transformative experience. His Nigerian father was also present and flew all the way from the UK to be a part of today’s ceremony.

John Lewis

 John Lewis greeting the honorable Mathilde Mukantabana

Joining Oyelowo was the real  Selma marcher and organizer, the Honorable Congressman John Lewis, whose speech was a letter to Dr. King, detailing the progress of African-Americans. Lewis referred to his former mentor as his “hero” and stated that  Dr. King had “redeemed more than a people but a nation.”

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 Elder Bernice King giving remarks at the beginning of the program

King’s youngest daughter, Elder Dr. Bernice King, gave a rousing speech during the opening remarks, touching on the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner. However, it was Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd’s keynote address that brought the packed Horizon Sanctuary to its feet with a call-to-action message of hope and encouragement. The former Delta Sigma Theta Sorority President, urged members of the audience not to remain silent about the social ills that plaque our communities and described the U.S. as a nation “surrounded by yellow crime scene tape.” The very bold statement left many in the audience, speechless!

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 Students reciting the address from King’s speech at ‘The Conclusion of the Selma March’

The televised ceremony also included remarks from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed as well as religious leaders of all faiths including the Muslim and Jewish communities.  Students from various Atlanta metro schools recited Dr. King’s historic speech from “The Conclusion of the Selma March” and  Grammy winning-singer, Sandi Patty delivered a hair-raising performance of the gospel classic “How Great Thou Art.” The program closed with the Bell Ringing Ceremony as part of King’s Legacy of Courage and the singing of the movement anthem, “We Shall Overcome.”

Take a look at more photos below:

Photo One

 Aerial view of the stage

Flag Salute

New Hope Pathfinders Club Flag Bearers presented the Flags of the Nations


Elder Dr. Bernice King

King Farris

 Dr. Christine King Farris presided over the entire ceremony

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 Greetings from the Honorable John Lewis, 5th Congressional District, Georgia

Kasim Reed

Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed

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 Students reciting Dr. King’s address at the ‘Conclusion of the Selma March’

Crowd Shot

Ebenezer Baptist Church – Horizon Sanctuary was filled to capacity


 Amazing Grace Dance Company performing to Micah Stampley’s “Another Place”

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Grammy winning-vocalist Sandi Patty performing ‘How Great Thou Art”

Guest Speaker 22

Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd’s speech was timely and on point


Student speakers posing for a picture

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 Elder Dr. Bernice King with ‘Selma’ actor David Oyelowo and Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd

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 David Oyelowo taking pictures with fans after the ceremony

Father and Son

Iconic statue in front of Ebenezer Baptist Church – Horizon Sanctuary


Mahatma Gandhi was honored today as well

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 Final resting places of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King

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A #Selfie with ‘Selma’ actor David Oyelowo

Photo Credits:


Congress hosts Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for MLK and Wife

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Today in an official ceremony, Congress held a commemoration and congressional gold medal ceremony in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.  A bill was passed to authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King (posthumously), in recognition of their contributions to the Nation on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement.

The event was held at 3pm at the United States Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. and featured Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell.

Martin Luther King, III and his siblings, Dexter and Elder Bernice King were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of their parents. The medal will ultimately be on display at the Smithsonian.

Photo Credit:


Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’ to open in limited theaters on Dec. 25, 2014

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Paramount Pictures and Pathe’ announced on Friday (June 20) that Ava Duvernay’s upcoming civil rights epic, Selma  will have a limited release in the U.S. on Christmas Day, hopefully making it a possible Oscar contender.

The film, which chronicles the march African-Americans made from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 in order to gain voting rights, opens to limited audiences with a nationwide premiere date of January 9, 2015.

According to, this “power” move by the studios will hopefully position the film’s lead actor David Oyelowo as a possible Best Actor nominee for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Selma, which is slowly becoming the next Butler,  features an all-star cast including Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Omar J. Dorsey as James Orange, Dylan Baker as J. Edgar Hoover, Colman Domingo as Ralph David Abernathy, Ledisi as Mahalia Jackson, Common as James Bevel and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper.

The film just left Atlanta and is now currently being shot on location in Selma, Alabama.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Facebook/AvaDuVernay


Carmen Ejogo to star as Coretta Scott King in new King drama ‘Selma’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Versatile actress Carmen Ejogo is in the running to play Civil Right icon, Coretta Scott King in Ava DuVernay’s MLK drama, Selma.  According to Indie Wire, the 41-year-old British bombshell is currently in talks to play opposite David Oyelowo’s as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film.

As previously reported, DuVernay took over directing duties from Lee Daniels on the upcoming film which follows King’s influence on the landmark voting rights campaign.  The film is being produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Plan B.  Most recently, DuVernay announced that she had recruited noted filmmaker, Bradford Young to serve as Selma’s Director of Photographer.

Ejogo has appeared in a number of hit projects including Halle Berry’s Lackawanna Blues  and the remake of Sparkle  starring Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter and the late Whitney Houston.  If Ejogo gets the role, this will be her second time portraying Mrs. King. If you recall, she played her in 2001’s Boycott  alongside Jeffrey Wright.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit:


Sneak Peek: Mary J. Blige and Angela Bassett Star in ‘Betty & Coretta’ {trailer}

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

The extraordinary women behind the two men who would change history

The relationship between Dr. Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King was one of two strong, incredible women and their unbreakable life-long bond.  Their unity and lives with their husbands, Civil Rights leaders Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be played out in LIFETIME‘s Betty and Coretta.  The film will kick off a month-long celebration of Black History in February!

Grammy Award-winning singer Mary J. Blige (Betty) and Golden Globe Award-winner/Academy Award-nominee actress Angela Bassett (Coretta) take on the roles of these great women as they continue on as single mothers, after their husbands are assassinated.

Take a look at the movie stills and trailer below:

Angela Bassett, Ruby Dee and Mary J. Blige attend the premiere at Tribeca Cinema in New York City

Ruby Dee will appear on-screen as a “historical witness” to narrate the story, “as someone familiar with the events of both their lives.”

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Betty & Coretta, World Premiere, Saturday, February 2 at 8pm.


Happy Birthday MJB!

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

MJB has a lot to celebrate!  Earlier this week, RC noted that the diva covered L.A. Confidential!

Well today, the singer-songwriter, record producer and occasional rapper and actress turns 42!

Let’s talk about Mary J. Blige the actress – she announced via Facebook that her Lifetime movie, Betty and Coretta, will premiere February 2 @ 8pm!  Blige will star alongside Angela Bassett, Malik Yoba and Lindsay Owen Pierre.  She will play Dr. Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X.

Betty And Coretta will kick off Lifetime‘s month-long celebration of Black History in February!

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MJB and Angela Bassett to star in Lifetime’s ‘Betty & Coretta’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Ever wondered what life was like for the widows of slain civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X?  Well, Lifetime is attempting to let us in on that in the new made-for-television movie called Betty and Coretta.

The film, which was originally called Parallel Lives, stars Mary J. Blige as Betty Shabazz and Angela Bassett as Coretta Scott King.  Screen legend Ruby Dee will star as a waitress who narrates the film.  Blige will also serve as the movie’s executive producer.

Coretta Scott King embracing Betty Shabazz

Shooting for Betty and Coretta begins next month.