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RC Exclusive - Music Recap

Hendrick’s Gin presents ‘The Grandest of Them All’ featuring R&B Sensation Avery Wilson [PHOTOS ]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure of attending “The Grandest of Them All” last night presented by our good friends at Hendrick’s Gin and The StarFire Group. The invitation only party was held at one of Atlanta’s newest event spaces—Anne Flaire Antiques—located in the Westside district of the city.

The evening featured a variety of games including life-size versions of Connect Four and Hendrick’s Gin Sand Bag Toss. We also enjoyed several customized cocktails by noted mixologist Navarro Carr.  Eric Thomas and his group, Elevate The Quest, provided amazing smooth jazz sounds and R&B soul singer and model, Avery Wilson gave us a mini performance including the Donny Hathaway classic tune, “A Song For You.” Other highlights were the curated cigar experience by “Tailored Ash” and pyschic readings by “My Vintage Gypsy.”  Atlanta notables in attendance included Season 16 “Project Runway” designer and fashion maven Kenya Freeman of the Sylvia Mollie brand as well as UPSCALE‘s Satchel Jester, One Music Fest founder Jay Carter and my media buddies Arkeedah McCormick of ItsArkeedah.com and Janee Bolden of BOSSIP.

Take a look at all the photos below and enjoy:

And to all a good night!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent Recap

Big Boi, Marlo Hampton, VaShawn Mitchell and more attend #FORDATL Event ‘The Art of the Drive’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Atlanta area Ford Dealers hosted “The Art of the Drive” last night at a secret location in West Midtown. The third annual event featured an open exhibition of the city’s premiere fine and performing artists along with some cool eats and specialized cocktails by Pernod-Ricard.

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Attendees parked their cars at the Anne Flaire Antiques and were shuttled over to the party in the latest fleet of Ford vehicles including the Ford Fusion and Explorer. Each driver gave attendees a personal tour of the car and explained all of its amazing features like the Fusion’s adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.

This year’s theme focused heavily on the arts and recognized a number of the city’s major influencers. This year’s brand ambassadors included visual artists Monica Tookes, D.L. Warfield and Fabian Williams; radio personality Ferrari Simmons; music executives Kawan “KP” Prather and Catherine Brewton; R&B singer Dondria Nicole; and fashion mavens Tracy Nicole, Yyonne Pearson and Fiskani Williamson.

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“We wanted to do an event this year which showed strength and focused on the arts,” said event coordinator I’na Saulsbery. “That’s why the party is being held in an art gallery. We also picked some dope Ford ATL ambassadors who embodied our vision to be a part of this as well.”

Monica Tookes was truly honored to be an ambassador for “The Art of the Drive.” She told us last week how influential the Ford brand has been throughout her career. “I can’t begin to explain how excited I was when I found out because I’ve had a Ford vehicle for so long. In fact, I have attributed much of success to my van over the years.”  Yvonne Pearson, owner and founder of Melange Mode, a fashion line that incorporates African fabrics with European fashion, was equally as excited about the opportunity to partner with Ford.

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“OMG what an honor! I’m so happy to represent such a trail blazing car company, who is continuously striving towards new car technology, design, and family oriented vehicles, which is important for me as a mother of four children.”

A number of celebrities and tastemakers attended “The Art of the Drive” including the evening’s host Big Boi, gospel music superstar VaShawn Mitchell, RHOA star Marlo Hampton, “STAR” actor and celebrity hairstylist Miss Lawrence, “Atlanta Exes” star Christina Johnson, “Selling It in the ATL” divas Gwen MossOkevia Wilson, A’lana Banks and HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod.

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Other notables spotted throughout the night included Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle, “Big Rich Atlanta” star Sabrina Rowe, Event Planner extraordinaire Warren Huntley, One Music Fest’s Jay Carter, Upscale Magazine’s Satchel Jester, Straight from the A’s Michelle Brown, fashion blogger Kiwi the Beauty and Bloomingdale’s Alex Delotch Davis.  Taiye aka “The Wild Afrikan” served as the evening’s emcee and DJ Mars kept the crowd moving with the best in R&B, ole school and hip hop.

Attendees were also able to make custom T-shirts with designs created by Ford ATL ambassadors Monica, D.L. and Fabian. The shirts included four unique colors and were made specifically for “the Art of the Drive” event.  Another highlight was a special music mix that was created by Ford ATL ambassadors K.P. The Great and Ferrari. It was sent to attendees along with their email confirmations and is titled “Feels Like Summer. Click here to download and enjoy.

Check out more photos from “The Art of the Drive” below:

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Fashion Blogger Kiwi The Beauty enjoying Ford’s “The Art of the Drive”

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Straight from the A’s Michelle Brown with Sebastian

IMG_9288Attendee enjoy the Ford Fusion

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This year’s theme focused on the arts, music and fashion

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I’na Saulsbery and Arah Adams looked amazing in their African garbIMG_9283

Kimberly Byer-Clark “ATL’s Social Butterfly” enjoying the Ford Focus

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Ford Ambassador Monica Tookes and her husband

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#AfricanFashion was the preferred ‘look’ of the evening

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Complimentary cocktails were provided by Pernod-Ricard

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“The Art of the Drive” opened with awesome ballet dancers

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The Dynamic Duo—Chargaux—serenaded attendees throughout the night

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Ladies and Gentlemen..The Ford Mustang

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Ford Ambassador Fabian Williams with Jay Carter and guests

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HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod with husband DJ Fadelf

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“Selling It in the ATL” stars Gwen Moss and Okevia Wilson 

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Miss Lawrence 

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Warren A. Huntley and guest

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Christina Johnson with Toni Acey and guests

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Ford Ambassador Catherine Brewton with gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell

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Attendee enjoying the Ford Mustang

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Ford Ambassador Catherine Brewton with the evening’s host Big Boi

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RHOA star Marlo Hampton with Toby Johnson and Thomas Harrison 

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“The Art of the Drive” Event Coordinator I’na Saulsbery

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Big Boi posing with Ford’s Kevin K.P. Smith ( Retail Digital Manager – Southeast at Ford Motor Company) and Terry Kidd (Tennessee’s Kidd Ford)

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#FORDATL Ambassadors 

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Bloomingdale’s Alex Delotch Davis

IMG_9643Ford Ambassador Monica Tookes 

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

RayCornelius.com honored at ‘Unusual Achievements Dinner’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Yours truly was treated like royalty Wednesday night at the Unusual Achievements Dinner presented by The Starfire Group and Hendricks Gin. The invitation only event took place at Atlanta’s historic Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and was attended by a number of movers and shakers. I must admit, I really didn’t know what to expect when I received the invitation. However, when I arrived and was personally greeted at the door, I knew this was not your typical black-tie affair.

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Once inside, I was immediately treated to a Hendricks Gin cocktail and took photos of the evening’s guests around a gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of the grand foyer. After a few minutes of cocktailing and picture taking, the evening’s host, I’na Saulsbery, made her grand entrance (wearing a dress by Project Runway designer Mychael Knight) and ushered us into the ballroom.

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Once inside, we were greeted by the sounds of jazz saxophonist Eric Thomas and Elevate the Quest along with special guest vocalist Scar. Saulsbery took to the microphone and “christened” us as the first class of Unusual Achievement honorees. The dinner was a concept that she’d worked on for over a year and was her way of acknowledging Atlanta’s emerging and established influencers. Each of us were strategically seated next to someone we didn’t know and under an adjective that described our unique personalities including extraordinary, exuberant and excellence.

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Honorees included One Music Fest creator Jay Carter, brand builders Nicole Gardner and Monica Coleman, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, DJ Blak Magic, Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta starlet Ariane Davis, BOSSIP.com’s managing editor Janee Bolden, music executives Keinon Johnson and Mali Hunter, fashion designer Mychael Knight and many more.

Evening highlights included the amazing five course meal prepared by Chef Ashley, the exotic carnival dancers, creating our very own Hendricks Gin cocktail and the one-of-a-kind hand painted Unusual Achievement “awards” created by Atlanta artist Monica Tookes.

Check out more the photos below from the evening’s festivities:

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IMG_5659Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com
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Categories
RC Exclusive - Music

Snoop Dogg, Goodie Mob and Erykah Badu play the One Music Fest + PHOTOS

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Atlanta’s Masquerade Music Park was filled to capacity this weekend for the 2013 One Music Fest.  Now in its fourth year, the outdoor concert promotes unity through music with performances from diverse acts ranging from alternative rock to hip-hop.

This year’s festival boasted an impressive line-up of acts that included rap icon Snoop Dogg, R&B newcomer Luke James, hip-hop star Joey Bada$$, soul music vocalist Goapele. The show was also hosted by D.R.E.S tha BEATnik and Joi, formerly of the group Lucy Pearl.

Philadelphia vocalist Res also graced the secondary “Purple Rain” stage along with Atlanta’s own Ruby Velle & The SoulPhonics. Their sound is easily comparable to that of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings as well as the late Amy Winehouse.

Groove Theory’s Amel Larrieux was scheduled to perform but pulled out at the last minute due to a sudden illness. However, Erykah Badu aka Lo Down Loretta Brown stepped right in and performed a 30-minute set of her classic songs including “Appletree,” “Bag Lady” and “I Want You.”

However, the biggest surprise of the evening was the reunion of Goodie Mob. The pioneers of Atlanta’s hip-hop-soul music scene performed a lengthy set of their greatest hits as well as a  few new songs from their current album, Age Against the Machine.  Cee Lo Green also introduced his new artist and protégé V-Bozeman, who wowed the audience with her version of the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha,” a song that was co-written and produced by Green.

Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion closed out the festival with a medley of all of his hits. He was joined on stage by three dancers and a dog mascot wearing a “Nasty Dogg” T-shirt and carrying a blunt in his hands. Only Uncle Snoop could get away with such a show!

Check out the amazing photos below:

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 Grammy-nominated singer Luke James opened the One Music Fest

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 James set included snippets of MJ’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

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 Luke James recently opened for Beyoncé and her Mrs. Carter World Tour

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Hip-Hop’s D.R.E.S tha BEATnik served as the host for this year’s fest

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 Indie rapper Joey Bada$$ rocked the mic

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Atlanta’s own Ruby Velle & The SoulPhonics hit the stage

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 Soul music vocalist Joi served as the host for the all day festival

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 One Music Fest People’s Choice Winner, Methuzulah

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 Erykah Badu stepped in for Amel Larrieux who wasn’t able to perform

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 Badu rocked floor length braids

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 Badu is currently working on a new album

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 Badu is also a noted actress and has appeared in The Cider House Rules  and Blues Brothers 2000

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 Badu with One Music Fest creator Jay Carter

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 Soul music vocalist Algebra and Anthony David enjoying the sights and sounds of the Festival

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 Philadelphia vocalist Res is part of the duo Idle Warship with Talib Kweli

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 Cee Lo Green of Goodie Mob

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 Goodie Mob is currently promoting their new album, Age Against the Machine

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 Bigg Gipp enjoying the crowd at One Music Fest

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 Cee Lo Green’s new artist and protégé V-Bozeman brought some flair to the Goodie Mob set

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 Cee Lo Green is one half of the group, Gnarls Barkley featuring Danger Mouse

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 Snoop Dogg was the headliner of One Music Fest

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 Snoop Dogg is also known as Snoop Lion and Uncle Snoop

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 Snoop Dogg will host the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards taping in Atlanta on September 28

Photo Credit: Megan Alodie for RayCornelius.com