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Watch the trailer for ‘Harriet’ featuring Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monáe (VIDEO)

Focus Features has released the official trailer for Harriet and I am so freakin’ excited about this movie. Cynthia Erivo is poetry in motion and I know she is going to bring all of that Broadway flair to the big screen as the unstoppable Harriet Tubman.

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Joining Cynthia on this fantastic ride is another favorite of mine, Leslie Odom as well as Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Clarke Peters. Harriet is produced by Deborah Martin Chase and directed by Kasi Lemmons.

Harriet arrives in theaters on November 1.

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UPDATE: Janelle Monáe added to Harriet Tubman Biopic

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Award-winning entertainer Janelle Monáe will be appearing in the upcoming Harriet Tubman biopic starring Broadway diva Cynthia Erivo.

According to S&A, the Dirty Computer singer is joining the production which begins filming this month in Virginia.

Monae joins previously announced actors Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, Clark Peters, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Zackerty Momoh, Deborah Ayorinde and Vondie Curtis-Hall.

Harriet follows Tubman on her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity. The project is directed by Kasi Lemmons 

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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Janelle Monáe stars in Jordan Peele’s ‘Noir Town’ for W Magazine [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Janelle Monáe and Jordan Peele are having way too much fun in this amazing spread for W Magazine. The Get Out director and Oscar nominee has teamed up with the Grammy nominated starlet for a retelling of Alfred Hitchcock classics through fashion titled Noir Town.

The project features Monáe as a private investigator and photographer searching for clues to a murder only to find out that she may very well be the suspect. The closer she gets to discovering the killer, the more she sees a darker side of herself. Each image features the Hidden Figures actress in Vertigo inspired looks from Michael Kors, Valentino, Burberry, Gorgio Armani, Dsquared2 and more.

“I didn’t want the Hitchcock heroine,” explained Peele. “I wanted the Hitchcock hero. That way, we can reclaim this movie that we never got to see. The fear of gender and race robs us of beautiful pieces of film.”

The shoot comes on the heels of Monáe announcing a new album as well as the release of her new single, “Dirty Computer.” The untitled project will be debut this spring and will be accompanied by a narrative film. CONGRATS JANELLE!

Check out more images below:

Photo Credits: Collier Schorr for W Magazine

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WATCH the ‘Black Panther’ World Premiere Red Carpet Special (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Marvel teamed up with YouTube Monday night for the World Premiere Red Carpet Special for “Black Panther.” The video streamed live beginning in the 9 p.m. hour and features interviews with the film’s leading actors Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Winston Duke and director Ryan Coogler. Other stars of the film in attendance included Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Atandwa Kani, and Florence Kasumba.

The special also features interviews with Jordan’s “Creed” co-star Tessa Thompson, “Black-ish” star Miles Brown, and recent Grammy winner Donald Glover.

Other celebrities spotted on the “Purple Carpet” include Usher, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar (who worked on the film’s soundtrack), Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe and “Black-Ish” star Yara Shahidi.

The highlight of the video was Joh Kani breaking down the cultural relevance of the film and how it will change people’s perceptions of the African continent. Kani plays King T’Chaka in the movie.

“This movie will prove that we built the pyramids in Egypt! Will prove the Timbuktu libraries of the history of mankind is in Africa. Will prove that the Zimbabwe ruins were built by us. Will prove that the cradle of humankind is in Southern Africa. So this is one time whereAfrican people are shown the fullest potential, when they’re able to travel from space and back with incredible technology. We’re all Africans anyway,” said Kani boldly.

Check out the full video below + photos of the stars:

Photo Credits: Instgram/Marvel

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Janelle Monáe is the face of GAP’s New Holiday Campaign (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

GAP (one of my favorite clothing brands) has released a special sneak peek of its “Meet Me in the GAP” Holiday campaign featuring the one and only Janelle Monáe. The Grammy-nominated singer, actress and fashion maven is already prominently positioned on the company’s website and is also featured in a new video with a collage of diverse singers performing the classic tune, “You Got What I Need.”

Monáe told PEOPLE, that the holidays are a time of finding inspiration and doing good. “Because I love the unity. I always try to lead with doing things that are bigger than just Janelle Monáe and bigger than myself. How can I be a part of a community? How can I contribute? And so that’s why I love collaborating with people who are different from me. I think it’s about individuality meeting in this wide space and just painting it with so many different colors from people all over the world. I get a lot of inspiration when I have conversations around Christmas time and around the holidays.”

Check out the video below and don’t forget to go to www.gap.com on November 1 when they reveal the full campaign.

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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 MIC.com 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:

https://youtu.be/jUqsaGlJbgA

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Lincoln honors Aja Naomi King during ESSENCE’s ‘Black Women in Hollywood’ Event [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out photos from ESSENCE Magazine’s recent “Black Women in Hollywood” event that was held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA prior to the Academy Awards. The event was a huge success and was powered by The Lincoln Motor Company.

This year’s event celebrated black excellence in film and honored singer and breakout actress Janelle Monáe, producer Issa Rae, “Black-Ish” star Yara Shaidi and “How To Get Away With Murder” actress Aja Naomi King, who was presented the Lincoln Shining Star Award by her co-stars Viola Davis and Alfred Enoch.

Kenya Freeman, lead designer for Sylvia Mollie created custom dresses inspired Lincoln Black Label for Lincoln Art of Arrival contest winner, Adeola Bakre, and Lincoln Blogger Bar host and author Demetria Lucas D’Oyley. The designs pulled inspiration from Black Label themes Rhapsody in Blue (Bakre) and Center Stage (D’Oyley).

“This year’s honorees embodied class and elegance similar to our flagship vehicle, the all-new Lincoln Continental,” said Raj Register, multicultural communications manager, Lincoln.

Celebrities like Broadway star Cynthia Ervio, TV, stage and film icon Loretta Devine, trans superstar Laverne Cox and dancing legend Debbie Allen arrived to the star-studded event in the latest lineup of Lincoln vehicles including 2017 Lincoln MKZ and Continental.  See more pics below of the stars posing in front of the all-new Lincoln Continental including actress Meagan Good, celebrity stylist June Ambrose and more!

Meagan Good

Gabrielle Union

June Ambrose 

Dawn-Lyne Gardner

Photo Credits: PictureGroup

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‘NAACP Image Awards’ adds more star power to live telecast!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

We’re about four days away from the live telecast of this year’s “NAACP Image Awards.” The TV One special will take place on Saturday, February 11 at 9 p.m. beginning with a red carpet at 7:30 p.m. that is hosted by ET’s Nischelle Turner and E!’s Terrence J with Tai Beauchamp and Chris Spencer as special correspondents.

The show is also adding more big names to its list of celebrity presenters including Tracee Ellis Ross, Mandy Moore, Adam Rodriguez, Rashida Jones, Bill Paxton, Brian White, Deon Cole, Jussie Smollett, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Justin Cornwell, Nick Kroll, Penny Johnson and Pooch Hall.

As previously announced, they will join presenters Taraji P. Henson, Sterling K. Brown, Octavia Spencer, Trevor Noah, Janelle Monae, Issa Rae, Mike Colter and Mykelti Williamson. Additional talent scheduled to attend includes: Denzel Washington, Dwayne Johnson, Kerry Washington, John Legend, Terrence Howard, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Keesha Sharp, Andra Day, Kofi Siriboe, Nate Parker, Niecy Nash, Omari Hardwick, Regina King, Rutina Wesley, Stephan James, Tika Sumpter and Uzo Aduba. Also expected are cast members from “Empire,” “This Is Us,” “Atlanta,” “The Carmichael Show,” “Power,” “black-ish,” “Queen Sugar” and more.

In addition, the NAACP “Entertainer of the Year” will be revealed. This special honor is bestowed upon an individual within the entertainment industry who has achieved notable success in multiple projects and mediums – the nominees are Beyoncé, Viola Davis, Regina King, Dwayne Johnson and Chance the Rapper.

Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. will be honored with the NAACP “Chairman’s Award” and Lonnie G. Bunch, III will receive the NAACP “President’s Award.” LeBron James was already presented with the NAACP “Jackie Robinson Sports Award.”

The NAACP Image Awards is hosted by “black-ish” star Anthony Anderson.

Will you be watching?

Photo Credit: NAACPImageAwards.net

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Taraji P. Henson, Sterling K. Brown & more to present at ‘Image Awards’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

“Hidden Figures” stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer are scheduled to present at this year’s NAACP Image Awards which airs next Saturday, February 11 at 9 p.m. EST on TV One. The announcement comes on the heels of the trio taking home the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Also joining the ladies in presenting is Hollywood’s new “it” guy and “This Is Us” star, Sterling K. Brown as well as Issa Rae, Mike Colter, Trevor Noah and “Fences” actor Mykelti Williamson.

Other highlights of the show include NBA star LeBron James, who will be presented with the NAACP “Jackie Robinson Sports Award,” and Harvard Law professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. will be honored with the NAACP “Chairman’s Award.”

In addition, the NAACP “Entertainer of the Year” will be revealed. This special honor is bestowed upon an individual within the entertainment industry who has achieved notable success in multiple projects and mediums.

This year’s telecast is hosted by “black-ish” star Anthony Anderson and airs live on Saturday, February 11 at 9 p.m. on TV One.

Check out Taraji’s inspirational acceptance speech below at the SAG Awards:

https://youtu.be/zSs8OvtlJQs

Photo Credit: NAACP-Riverside.org

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#TONIGHT ‘Screen Actors Guild Awards’ at 8 p.m. on TBS and TNT

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Will Viola Davis pick up her fifth and sixth Screen Actors Guild Award tonight? We’ll find out in less than two hours as the awards ceremony will air simultaneously beginning at 8 p.m. on TBS and TNT.

The “Fences” star is up for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Her “Fences” co-star Denzel Washington is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role as well for Best Cast. Both will be presenting at some point during the telecast.

Other nominees include Sterling K. Brown for his role as Randall Pearson in NBC’s breakout series “This Is Us” and as Christopher Darden in FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” He is going up against his co-star Courtney B.Vance for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series.

“Moonlight” actress Naomie Harris will get a taste of Oscar night as she is competing against Viola Davis and “Hidden Figures” Octavia Spencer for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress in a Supporting Role. “black-ish” star and host of the NAACP Image Awards Anthony Anderson will also be competing against Broadway actor Titus Burgess for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.

“Orange is the New Black” star and fan favorite Uzo Aduba is vying for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress in a Comedy Series, Thandi Newton is up for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for “Westworld” and Audra McDonald‘s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille” is going to-to-toe with Kerry Washington‘s “Confirmation” for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series.

Screen Actors Guild presenters include Harris and Spencer along with  John Legend, Gina Rodriquez, Mahershala Ali, Common, Taraji P. Henson, Rashida Jones and Janelle Monáe.

Iconic funny lady Lily Tomlin will recieve this year’s Life Achievement Award, which will be presented by her” 9 to 5″ co-stars Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton.

Congrats and good luck!

Photo Credit: SAGAwards.org

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ESSENCE to honor Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Janelle Monáe & Aja Naomi King with BWH Awards

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

ESSENCE Magazine’s Annual “Black Women in Hollywood Awards” will salute the next generation of TV and film superstars next month at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA. This year’s 10th anniversary celebration will go from a daytime luncheon to a swanky evening gala, complete with a dazzling red carpet and awards ceremony.

This year’s honorees are the epitome of style and grace and includes “Insecure” actress and content creator Issa Rae, who will pick up the Vanguard Award. “Hidden Figures” actress and triple threat performer Janelle Monáe will take home the Breakthrough Award. “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Birth of a Nation” actress Aja Naomi King is this year’s recipient of the Lincoln Shining Star Award and black-ish actress Yara Shahidi represents for the Next Generation Award.

“For the past decade, the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards have paid homage to our modern image-makers—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “This past year has been an exceptional one for diversity in film and television, and with the incredible contributions of Janelle, Issa, Aja and Yara, it is fitting that our 10th anniversary will honor the future of Hollywood and its continued steps on the path to inclusion.”

“The Black Women in Hollywood Awards” always takes place during Oscar week and spotlights Hollywood’s most creative and accomplished visionaries. This year’s show will take place on Thursday, February 23 in Beverly Hills, CA and his hosted by “Being Mary Jane” actress and producer, Gabrielle Union.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: ESSENCE.com

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Janelle Monáe, Maxwell & Angelique Kidjo to perform at ‘Women’s March on Washington’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Music superstars Janelle Monáe, Maxwell and Angelique Kidjo will be performing at Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington in Washington, DC.

Held on the first day of the new presidential administration, the Women’s March on Washington aims to send a message to all levels of government and the incoming administration: that we stand together in solidarity and expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities.

Additional performers include Toshi Reagon, Samantha Ronson, Emily Wells, DJ Rekha, MC Lyte, St. Beauty, Beverly Bond, Alia Sharief, DJ Rimarkable, Amber Coffman, the Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Climbing PoeTree.

In addition to the performers, the Women’s March will feature the Artist Table, a diverse group artists, musicians, actors, writers, and creatives who are supporting the Women’s March on Washington and sister Marches around the country, joining in solidarity either in person, or via social media. Chaired by America Ferrera.

“I am honored to join this critical movement to bring justice and equality to all,” said Janelle Monáe. “Music has always been a powerful tool for galvanizing unity and I believe that singing and standing together, our voices will be stronger than any force that tries to repress us.”

Click here to get more information!

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Janelle Monáe to GQ: ‘I want to see more Blacks in films! [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Multi Grammy-nominated music star Janelle Monáe is on a mission! The budding actress, who received critical acclaim for her roles in “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight,” is not satisfied with the number of Black images in films and would like for Hollywood to do something about it. She recently told GQ.com that she wants to see more representation of people of color and not just in indie projects either!

“I want to see more black people. Not just in films like Moonlight. Big-budget films, too.”

The Electric Lady also told GQ that she would  also like to change America’s perception of young African-Americans as well.  “I want to redefine what it means to be young, black, wild, and free in America,” says Monáe. And while she didn’t go into any details as to how she would like to accomplish these things, I think she is off to a great start. The nominations for Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 24 and if she is lucky enough to be honored with one, it may just put her in a position power to be able to demand more roles for Blacks in films or at least get the capital to create and tell her own stories.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed…

Check out more images of Monáe below