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OWN hosts ‘Cherish The Day’ Launch Party [PHOTOS]

All eyes were on the A-T-L Thursday night for OWN’s swanky launch party for its newest dramatic series, Cherish the Day. The highly anticipated two-night premiere begins on February 11.

The invite-only soiree took place at the Stave Room in the Midtown district of the city and was hosted by OWN president and CEO Tina Perry along with the show’s creator and executive producer Ava DuVernay.

Chapter One of the “anthology series” chronicles the stirring relationship of the two star-crossed lovers, with each episode spanning a single day. The narrative will unfold to reveal significant moments in their relationship that compel us to hold true to the ones we love.

Cherish the Day cast members in attendance included the show’s leads—Alano Miller and Xosha Roquemore as well as Kellee Stewart, Michael Beach and Anne-Marie Johnson. Not present but also included in the show are Dorien Wilson, Loren Lott, Bryan Terrell Clark and the queen mum—CICELY TYSON.

Other notables in attendance included the hosts of TV One’s Sister CircleRashan Ali, Syleena Johnson and Trina Braxton plus actresses DeWanda Wise, Jasmine Guy and Terri J. Vaughn. Other famous faces spotted in the crowd were actors Joel Rush, Karon Riley, André Holland, Omar Dorsey, celebrity makeup artist Derrick Rutledge and Exonerated Five member Raymond Santana and his fiancé Delicious.

The evening included a sneak peek of three different scenes along with commentary and a Q&A session featuring the cast and DuVernay. We also listened to some dope sounds from DJ Princess Cut and enjoyed some refreshing cocktails, food and much more.

See the picture gallery below including a few of my selfies:

CHERISH THE DAY premieres on February 11 and 12 on OWN.

Photo Credits: Paras Griffin Getty Images/ OWN + RayCornelius.com

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Kelly Rowland, Solange, Miguel and more attend L.A. Screening of ‘Queen & Slim’ [PHOTOS]

Check out images from the recent L.A. premiere of filmmakers Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas new feature Queen & Slim. The star-studded event took place at The Underground Museum and was hosted by Grammy Award winning singer and fashionista Solange.

Attendees included: Kelly Rowland (Singer), Lance Gross (Actor, Star), Michael Ealy (Actor, Being Mary Jane), Miguel & his wife Nazanin Mandi (Musician), Kendrick Sampson (Actor, Insecure), Keith Powers (The New Edition Story), DeWanda Wise (Actress, She’s Gotta Have It), Estelle (Musician), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Gabrielle Dennis (Actress, A Black Lady Sketch Show), Logan Browning (Actress, Dear White People), Will Catlett (Actor, Black Lightning) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, (Actor, US) Y’lan Noel (Actor, insecure), Etienne Maurice (Actor + filmmaker), Isis King (Actress, When They See Us) and many more.

Queen & Slim focuses on a couple’s first date that goes awry when the man kills a police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. It features Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine and POSE actress Indya Moore

Following the screening was a discussion hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell.

Queen & Slim opens in theaters on Thanksgiving:

PHOTO CREDITS: Jennifer Johnson/Universal

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Watch New Trailer for Season 2 of ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Netflix has released the sexy new trailer for Season 2 of it’s popular dramatic series, She’s Gotta Have It and baaabbbbyyy it-is-hot!

This new season offers a timely and topical portrait of rising talents, with free-spirited artist Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) at the center. Struggling with newfound success this season, against a backdrop of black art and culture, Nola must decide if she will remain true to her creative ideals or give in to the corporate world.  Her journey of self-discovery helps transform the lives of those around her, including friend and sometimes lover Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos), who sets out to pursue his true passion of music as well as her inner circle of Opal (Ilfenesh Hadera), Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), Jamie Overstreet (Lyriq Bent), Clorinda Bradford (Margot Bingham), Shemekka Epps (Chyna Layne) and Winnie Win (Fat Joe). Their journey expands to new destinations this season beyond their home base of Fort Greene, the vibrant Brooklyn enclave, that continues to evolve and change as gentrification remakes the neighborhood.

Check it out below:

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OWN’s ‘Black Love’ to return on Saturday, May 12 at 10 p.m. (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

OWN has released a sneak peek of the new season for Black Love and I can’t wait!  The hugely popular docu-series on love and relationships from an African American perspective returns on Saturday, May 12 at 10 p.m. EST.

The inaugural season debuted last fall with 1.2 million total viewers, becoming OWN’s most-watched unscripted series debut in network history and its highest-rated unscripted series debut in more than four years in the network’s key W 25-54 demo.

This second season will feature Emmy Award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown and wife Ryan Michelle Bathe, Emmy Award-winning actress Niecy Nash and husband Jay Tucker, Tina Knowles-Lawson and husband Richard Lawson, NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Grammy-nominated record artist Tamia, RUN DMC’s Rev Run and wife Justine Simmons, Grammy Award winning gospel recording artist Kirk Franklin and wife Tammy,  comedian D.L. Hughley and wife LaDonna, former NFL-running back Eddie George and wife Taj of SWV, Hip-Hop artist Styles P and wife Adjua, Actors Alano Miller and Dewanda Wise, NFL Linebacker Bart Scott and wife Starr, and more. The couples talk about how their relationships began, the road to the altar, life after children and all of the other obstacles they may have faced to make their marriages stronger than ever.

In addition, OWN will celebrate Mother’s Day with a “Black Love” special Motherly Love on Tuesday, May 8 at 10 p.m. celebrating the love and the bond that is shared between mothers and their children. The special will feature the families of NAACP Image Award-winner Tichina Arnold, Queen Sugar‘s Kofi Siriboe, NAACP Image Award-winner and author Hill Harper, Erica and Tina Campbell of the Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling gospel duo Mary Mary and Uber’s Chief Brand Officer and trailblazer Bozoma Saint John. The families open up and share candid, hilarious and heartwarming moments that have shaped their relationships.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits: OWN

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Tone Bell, DeWanda Wise and more to star in ‘The Weekend’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

DEADLINE is reporting that Everything, Everything director Stella Meghie has cast comedic actor and my fraternity brother Tone Bell, She’s Gotta Have It actress DeWanda Wise and former SNL star Sasheer Zamata in a new comedy titled The Weekend.

The film centers on an acerbic comedian (Zamata) who goes away for the weekend with an ex-boyfriend (Bell) and his new girl (Wise). Over the course of the weekend, they’re drawn into an unexpected romantic entanglement with the arrival of another guest (Y’lan Noel Insecure). Comedic actress Kym Whitley rounds out the cast.

The Weekend is being produced and financed by Marada Pictures’ Sarah Lazow and James Gibb. It is also being produced by Stephanie Allain, Mel Jones and Josh Bachove.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ stars attend L.A. Premiere [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“All the stars were closer” on Monday night for the mystical L.A. premiere of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. The lavish screening took place at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

The film’s stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Rowan Blanchard were joined by director Ava DuVernay for a walk down the blue carpet where they greeted enthusiastic fans and press. 

Mindy Kaling + Reese Witherspoon + Oprah Winfrey

Other special invited guests included Viola Davis, Rosario Dawson, Laura Dern, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, Kobe Bryant, America Ferrera, Tracee Ellis Ross, Janelle Monáe, Jay Hernandez, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, J.J. Abrams, Niki Caro, Ryan CooglerIssa Rae and many more. 

Ava DuVernay with Tracee Ellis Ross + Tessa Thompson

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, is an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic, which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Check out more photos below:

Winston Duke + Anthony AndersonYara Shahidi + Ava DuVernay

Tiffany Johnson + Lena Waithe

Emayatzy Corinealdi

Gugu Mbatha-Raw + Jim Whitaker

Omar Dorsey 

Lalah Hathaway

Dewanda Wise + Alano Miller 

Yvette Nicole Brown 

Chloe X Halle

Bellamy Young 

Angela Bassett + Slater Vance + Bronwyn Vance 

Ryan Coogler

Tarana Burke + Ava DuVernay

Timon Kyle Durrett

Kobe Bryant

Dre Terrell Whitfield + Dondre Whitfield + Parker Richardson Whitfield

Bridgid Coulter + Don Cheadle

Ava DuVernay + Issa Rae 

Aisha Hinds

Marsai Martin

Deric McCabe + Chris Pine + Storm Reid

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time arrives in

theaters on Friday, March 9.

Photo Credits: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

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First Look Images of Netflix’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out these #dope new images from Netflix’s forthcoming series, “She’s Gotta Have It.” It features some pretty cool shots of the cast including DeWanda Wise as the sensational Nola Darling.

As previously mentioned, “She’s Gotta Have It” follows Darling’s sexual escapades with three different men—Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony) , Jamie Overstreet (Lyriq Bent) and Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos). All three of them want to have her for their own but Nola is not quite ready to settle down.  The series is based on Spike Lee‘s first major film of the same name and premieres November 23.

See all of the images below + the new trailer. You can also click here to listen to my very first #UPFRONT interview featuring Monty Ross, one of the original producer’s of the movie version and his most memorable moment while filming.

Photo Credits: Netflix

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#UPFRONT attends ESSENCE Festival + Radio Row + Premieres + More

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

It gives me great pleasure to share my amazing coverage of the 2017 ESSENCE Festival. My arts and entertainment radio magazine—UPFRONT—was there to capture all of the sights and sounds of this year’s festivities as part of Radio Row.  My four-day weekend began on Thursday (June 29) with a special meet & greet + reception with the cast of the indie film, “STEP.”

“STEP” is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step dance team in Baltimore, whose teachers, counselors, coaches and families, help them achieve their dreams of going off to college. It also takes viewers into the personal lives of three of the dancers— Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, Tayla Solomon—and their coach, Gari McIntyre.  The film has received rave reviews and was the winner of the Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

On Friday (June 30) #UPFRONT began its three day stint on Radio Row. It is one of three areas that celebrity attendees can meet press and conduct interviews. I was truly blessed to have interviewed so many people including cast members from the hugely popular “Orange Is The New Black,” TNT’s new breakout series, “Claws,”  FOX’s “Empire and Star.” I also got a chance to chat with the cast of FX’s “Snowfall” and the new series “The Mayor” and “Ghosted.”

Music divas CeCe Winans, Anita Wilson and Chanté Moore stopped by the table to discuss their new projects. Winans album, Let Them Fall In Love has been killing the gospel charts and is her best work to date. Wilson talked about covering the classic jazz tune “Here’s To Life” for her new album and Moore dished about her album, Rise of the Pheonix and recording her first Christmas CD this fall.

#UPFRONT also chatted with actress and singer Lil Mama (who is going by her real name Niatia) as well as celebrity stylists Mushiya Tshikuka, Razor Chic of Atlanta and Melvin Styles. However, the highlight of Radio Row was talking to New Thought Leader, Life Coach and TV Personality—Iyanla Vanzant. She opened up about her last season + why she continues to participate in the ESSENCE Festival. She also talked about what she has learned personally from doing her award winning show, “Iyanla Fix My Life.”

“What I’ve learned personally is how powerful God is. As Black people were taught, ‘don’t tell your business in the street.’ (LOL) But when there’s a call on someone’s life to serve God, these people are showing up in amazing ways. I’ve also learned how difficult a healing journey can be. People don’t want to suffer. They don’t want to hurt. They don’t want to destroy themselves. But if they don’t have the tools and the information to heal, that’s what they do. I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be ‘on’ all the time. I’m human. I can have my time off…my days off and I don’t have to be who people expect me to be.”

In addition to Radio Row, #UPFRONT was able to attend and capture images from the night time concerts. This year’s ESSENCE Festival theme was all about female empowerment, sisterhood and “staying woke” and the entertainers who performed were true reflections of that. Friday’s show included Rhonda Ross, India.Arie, John Legend and the Queen of Motown—DIANA ROSS.

This was Miss Ross’ first time appearing at the Festival since its inception in 1995 and she didn’t disappoint. Other performances included Jazmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Solange, Monica, Lalah Hathaway, Remy Ma, Xscape, Master P, Chance the Rapper and Mary J. Blige.

Other highlights throughout the weekend included the NOLA premieres of “Girls Trip” featuring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. FX also screened its new drama, “Snowfall” which included appearances by the show’s cast + the creator and award winning director John Singleton. #UPFRONT also captured images of the casts from “Detroit,” OWN’s “Greenleaf” and “Queen Sugar” + Ava DuVernay and the “WOKE Women Awards.”

See all of the rest of the images below and click here to listen to the first of two radio shows featuring exclusive coverage of the ESSENCE Festival:

The Cast of “STEP”

Ray Cornelius on Radio Row

John Singleton and Damson Idris from FX’s “Snowfall”

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actors Isaiah John + Malcolm M. Mays

“Claws” stars Niecy Nash + Karrueche Tran

+ showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois

“Claws” cast with Ray Cornelius + UPFRONT Talent Producer Jess Manning

ESSENCE talking to “Black Panther” actress Letitia Wright 

Ray Cornelius with FANDANGO Correspondent Chris Witherspoon

“She’s Gotta Have It” actress DeWanda Wise 

Ray Cornelius with “Empire” stars Ta’Rhonda Jones and Bryshere Y. Gray 

India.Arie

John Legend 

John Legend

John Legend 

DIANA ROSS

Ray Cornelius watching DIANA ROSS 

Ray Cornelius with the cast of “Detroit” – Jacob Latimore, Nathan Davis Jr., Algee Smith, Ephraim Sykes,  Joseph David-Jones

“The Haves and the Have Nots” Tyler Lepley,

Angela Robinson and Gavin Houston

Ava DuVernay during the “WOKE Women Awards” 

Jazmine Sullivan 

Tank + Angel Love + Angel Saunders

on the red carpet of the “Snowfall” NOLA Premiere

Remy Ma performing with her husband and rapper Papoose

Lalah Hathaway

Ray Cornelius with Iyanla Vanzant 

CeCe Winans talking about her new album, Let Them Fall In Love 

Ray Cornelius with CeCe Winans 

Ray Cornelius with Anita Wilson 

Ray Cornelius greeting “cousin” Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius with Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius interviewing Miss Lawrence of “STAR”

Ryan Destiny of “STAR”

Ray Cornelius with Miss Lawrence 

Issa Rae, Kofi Soriboe and Larenz Tate at “Girls Trip” NOLA Premiere

Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith at “Girls Trip” NOLA Premiere

Ray Cornelius with the cast of “The Mayor” – Brandon Michael Hall, Yvette Nicole Brown and show creator Jeremy Bronson

Ray Cornelius with Nicci Gilbert 

XSCAPE after their Super Lounge performance

Elle Varner

SHAGGY

Ray Cornelius with Craig Robinson of “Ghosted”

Ray Cornelius with Melvin Styles and Razor Chic of Atlanta 

Mushiya Tshikuka talking to #UPFRONT

Ava DuVernay with the cast of “Queen Sugar”

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actor Damson Idris 

Chanté Moore with June’s Diary

Ray Cornelius with Common 

Ray Cornelius with Big Freedia 

Shirley Jones of The Jones Girls 

Ray Cornelius with “Insecure” actress Yvonne Orji

Ray Cornelius with Tamika D. Mallory

Ray Cornelius with the fabulous Candace Ledbetter

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actors Isaiah John + Malcolm M. Mays

Common with cast of “Detroit” – Nathan Davis Jr.,

Jacob Latimore and Joseph David-Jones

THANK YOU ESSENCE FESTIVAL AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius and Mark Angel for RayCornelius.com

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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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Mack Wilds, Anthony Hamilton & Sunshine Anderson attend #ShotsFired Screening [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out photos from last night’s Charlotte screening of Fox’s new police drama, “Shots Fired” starring Sanaa Lathan and Stephan James. The show was created by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood and airs prior to the “Empire” season finale on March 22 at 8 p.m. EST.

“Shots Fired”  is a 10-part event mystery that examines the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings by law enforcement in a small southern town. The show also features Helen Hunt, Aisha Hinds and Richard Dreyfuss.

The advanced screening took place at the Studio Movie Grill and was attended by the show’s other stars Mack Wilds and DeWanda Wise. It was also attended by singers Anthony Hamilton and Sunshine Anderson, who both appear on the series’ soundtrack.

Other attendees included Dutchess (VH1’s “Black Ink Crew”), guitarist Darnell Taylor, author Omar Tyree, civil rights activist Bro. John C. BarnettChewy (92.7FM The Block), Miss Jessica (Power 98), Beasie Baybie (Hot 103.9), DJ Skillz, Coretta Livingston (Radio One Charlotte), model Lee Barney and numerous “Shots Fired” extras and crew members.

Radio personality and NBA Charlotte Hornets arena announcer Derrick “Fly Ty” Jacobs gave a high-energy welcome to the audience followed by remarks from FOX 46 anchor Brien Blakely.  After the screening, Fly Ty moderated a Q&A with Wilds and Wise, who both thanked Charlotte for being such a welcoming, loving community during filming.

See more photos + the trailer below:

Mack Wilds + Dutchess 

Darnell Taylor, Sunshine Anderson, DeWanda Wise and Anthony Hamilton

Mack Wilds + DJ Skillz 

DeWanda Wise during Q&A Session

Photo Credits: Kevin Douglas