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Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company Presents ‘Paradise Blue’

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company presents Dominique Morrisseau‘s Paradise Blue September 24- October 20 at the Southwest Arts Center.

Set in Detroit’s Black Bottom in 1949, Paradise Blue explores a time when the new mayor of Detroit is working to get rid of the “blight of the city” by moving Black people out of Detroit’s Black Bottom. Blue, a gifted trumpeter and tortured soul, considers selling his once thriving family jazz club, leaving his beloved Pumpkin and her dreams behind. As Blue fights personal demons to better his life and maintain his sanity, his fellow band members, Corn and P-Sam, are stuck wondering where they fit into the plan to benefit from the changes in their neighborhood. Silver, a sultry woman with a mysterious past, enters the scene with her own agenda, turning everyone’s lives upside down.

Artistic Director Jamil Jude will direct the dynamic and musically-infused Paradise Blue, which is True Colors’ third installment of Morisseau’s Detroit Project trilogy. True Colors is proud to be one of two theatres across the nation who will complete the trilogy in 2019, having produced Detroit ’67 in 2015 and Skeleton Crew earlier in February of this year. Morisseau’s theatrical relationship to her hometown has been compared to August Wilson’s devotion to writing a 10-play cycle based in his birthplace of Pittsburgh. Like Wilson, she captures the linguistic poetry and aspirations of the striving working class people she grew up with.

“Dominique’s way with words and how she builds complex characters are truly a director’s dream,” remarked Jude. “She gives you so much to play with—all of the elements she provides synthesize into a satisfying whole. I’m excited to work with her words, paired with a powerful cast of Atlanta-based actors, to fully realize Dominique’s world and to conclude her Detroit Project trilogy.”

True Colors is proud to support the local arts community with an all-Atlanta cast which features several True Colors’ alumni. Enoch Armando King, who portrayed “Sly” in Detroit ’67 (2015) and “Reggie” in Skeleton Crew (2019), is “P-Sam”. Javon Johnson(Stick Fly) is “Blue”, Cynthia D. Barker (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Black Nativity) is “Pumpkin”, and Keith Arthur Bolden (Fetch Clay/Make Man, Between Riverside and Crazy) is “Corn”. Tangela Large, a newcomer to True Colors’ stage, will play “Silver”.

CLICK HERE for tickets, showtimes and additional information!

PHOTO CREDITS: True Colors Theatre Company

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#UPFRONT featuring a Tribute to Aretha Franklin and more (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

This past weekend’s UPFRONT show was fit for a Queen! It featured a salute to the late Aretha Franklin, who died last week at the age of 76. Singers Avery*Sunshine, Keisha Jackson, Trina Broussard and WCLK 91.9’s RivaBlue talked about the impact of Franklin’s music and her enduring legacy.

I also have one-on-one interviews with Mile 22 star and Atlanta-based actor Keith Arthur Bolden and Mahisha Dellinger, the star of OWN’s new series Mind Your Business with Mahisha.

The show also features classics from the “Queen of Soul” including her hit songs “RESPECT,” “Natural Woman” and the theme song to the iconic TV series –  A Different World.

UPFRONT airs every Saturday at 9 a.m. on Atlanta’s own Jazz 91.9 WCLK and WCLK.com

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Isaiah Washington, Meta Golding + more attend ATL Premiere of ‘Behind the Movement’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

It was standing room only Friday night for TV One’s advanced Atlanta screening of its new original movie, “Behind the Movement.” The event took place at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and featured appearances by the film’s stars Isaiah Washington, Meta Golding, Keith Arthur Bolden and Andrea Frye.

Isaiah Washington + Meta Golding

Behind The Movement,” is a unique and fast paced retelling of how Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat launched the history making Montgomery Bus Boycott. It features Golding as the iconic Rosa Parks along with Washington as E.D. Dixon, Loretta Devine as Jo Ann Robinson, Roger Guenveur Smith as Raymond Parks, Shaun Clay as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Atlanta’s own Keith Arthur Bolden as Ralph David Abernathy.

Keith Arthur Bolden

A number of the film’s other stars were also in attendance including Jermaine D. Thomas, Marquita Goings, Sir Brodie, Bill Southworth and Al Mitchell.

Special invited guests included TV One’s SVP of Programming and Production D’Angela Proctor, “America’s Next Top Model” alum and RHOA star Eva Marcille and her fiancé Michael T. Sterling, singer Lyric Rachae, celebrity trainer Gerald Bryant, TV and stage actress Tinashe Kajese, “Stranger Things” star Karen Ceesay and “Saints & Sinners” actresses Dawn Half-Kenny and Reece Odum.

The evening ended with a post film Q&A session with the cast followed by more picture taking.  Check out the rest of the red carpet images below:

Eva Marcille + Michael T. Sterling 

Dawn Half-Kenny + Marquita Goings

D’Angela Proctor

Gerald Bryant 

Kim McNair + Isaiah Washington 

Derek J

Jermaine D. Thomas 

Andrea Frye

 Marquita Goings 

Sir Brodie 

Karen Ceesay

Reece Odum

Isaiah Washington 

Al Mitchell

Dawn Half-Kenny

Bill Southworth

Keith Arthur + Tinashe Kajase

Lyric Rachae

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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TV One hosts Advanced Screenings of ‘Two Sides’ + ‘Behind the Movement’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out images from TV One‘s recent advanced screenings of their upcoming original programs, “Behind the Movement” and “Two Sides.” The events took place during the recent “49th NAACP Image Awards.”

Roland Martin + D’Angela Proctor + Julius Tennon + Lemuel Plummer

A number of Los Angeles VIPs gathered at The Museum of Tolerance to pre-screen “Behind The Movement,” while the advance screening of the Viola Davis executive produced docu-series “Two Sides” was screened at First AME Church. Both events featured Q&A’s with in depth conversation, featuring notable cast-members, executives and community leaders. Famed “NewsOne Now” host Roland Martin moderated the Q&A for “Two Sides” while TV One SVP of Original Programming & Production, D’Angela Proctor, moderated the Q&A for “Behind The Movement.”

The cast + crew of “Behind the Movement”

Behind The Movement,” is a unique and fast paced retelling of how Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat launched the history making Montgomery Bus Boycott starring Meta Golding (“The Hunger Games”) as Rosa Parks. Additionally, the film will star Roger Guenveur Smith (“American Gangster”), Isaiah Washington (“The 100”) and Loretta Devine (“Waiting to Exhale”),  Shaun Clay as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Keith Arthur Bolden as Ralph David Abernathy. “Behind the Movement” premieres Sunday, February 11 at 7/6c on TV One.

Two Sides” is a landmark limited four-part docu-series exploring watershed moments for law enforcement and the Black community at the crossroads between life and death, premiering Monday, January 22 at 10 p.m. ET on TV One. Executive produced by Academy Award® winner Viola DavisJulius Tennon (JuVee Productions) and Lemuel Plummer (L. Plummer Media) with narration by Davis, each one-hour episode of “Two Sides” offers an in-depth, comprehensive look into disturbing cases of officer-involved deaths.

See more photos below:

Michael Jai White + Gillian White 

Roland Martin

Mother of the Movement –  Gwen Carr

Lemuel Plummer + Julius Tennon

Photo Credits: TV One

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WATCH New Trailer for TV One’s ‘Behind the Movement’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

TV One has released its first teaser trailer for the upcoming original movie, “Behind the Movement.” The film debuts this February as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.

As previously reported, “Behind the Movement” is a retelling of how Rosa Parks‘ refusal to give up her seat launched the history-making Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. The film will reveal the untold story of how a group of everyday people decided this incident was the right time to take a stand for their civil rights and demand equal treatment.

“Behind the Movement” stars Meta Golding as Rosa Parks, Roger Guenveur Smith as Raymond Parks, Loretta Devine as Jo Ann Robinson, Isaiah Washington as E.D. Dixon, Shaun Clay as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Keith Arthur Bolden as Ralph David Abernathy.

“Behind the Movement” is written by Katrina M. O’Gilvie. 

“To us, Rosa Parks was an icon but before she was an icon, she was a regular person and who was empowered to make the choices she did and created change for so many of us. So, were telling a personal story of these people. They aren’t saints but they are people who had the courage and stood up in a time that was even more treacherous than it is now,” said the film’s director Aric Avelino.

Watch the trailer below and click here to see more BTS photos!

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#UPFRONT visits the set of TV One’s ‘Behind the Movement’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure this week of going on the set of TV One’s upcoming original movie, “Behind the Movement.” The film is slated to premiere during Black History Month 2018 and is being produced for TV One by Atlanta’s very own Swirl Films.

“Behind the Movement” is a unique and fast-paced retelling of how Rosa Parks‘ refusal to give up her seat launched the history-making Montogomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. The film will reveal the untold story of how a group of everyday people decided this incident was the right time to take a stand for their civil rights and demand equal treatment.

“Behind the Movement” stars Meta Golding as Rosa Parks, Roger Guenveur Smith as Raymond Parks, Loretta Devine as Jo Ann Robinson, Isaiah Washington as E.D. Dixon, Shaun Clay as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Keith Arthur Bolden as Ralph David Abernathy. “Behind the Movement” is written by Katrina M. O’Gilvie. 

“To us, Rosa Parks was an icon but before she was an icon, she was a regular person and who was empowered to make the choices she did and created change for so many of us. So, were telling a personal story of these people. They aren’t saints but they are people who had the courage and stood up in a time that was even more treacherous than it is now,” said the film’s director Aric Avelino.

Check out more images below of the actors and stay tuned to my radio show #UPFRONT for my exclusive interviews with the cast and much more.

LORETTA DEVINE

ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH 

KEITH ARTHUR BOLDEN

ISAIAH WASHINGTON 

Photo Credits: TV One and RayCornelius.com

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RC attends the ATL Premiere of ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure of attending and covering this weekend’s premiere of True Colors Theatre Company’s production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize winning dramedy, “Between Riverside and Crazy.” It’s currently playing now through August 6 at the Southwest Arts Center.


Ex-cop Walter “Pops” Washington has had enough. His landlord won’t leave him alone, his wife re-cently passed away, and the liquor store can’t keep up with his thirst. Pops’ last living relative, his son Junior, has recently moved back to Pops’ house with his girlfriend, Lulu, and his newly-sober buddy, Oswaldo. With his heels dug into the floor of his rent-controlled Riverside Drive apartment, Pops holds onto old wounds — physical and emotional – while he sweats out the impending verdict on his lawsuit against the NYPD. Pressure reaches a boiling point when an ultimatum comes from an unlikely source, pinning Pops squarely “Between Riverside and Crazy.”


The show features iconic TV and film star Earl Billings as Pops along with Diany RodriguezKeith Arthur Bolden, Jerri Tubbs, Cristian Gonzalez, Andrew Benator and AnnaMaria Dvorak. This Atlanta performance is directed by TV and stage actor Eric J. Little.

“Between Riverside and Crazy” is a play that is absolutely necessary for the times and is serious as it is funny. It touches on a myriad of all too familiar “isms” such as racism and classism along with discrimination, police brutality against African-American men, family issues and death. While it is a show that everyone needs to see, it is not for those under the age of 18. There is a lot of adult language and some sexual situations. Please be advised!

Check out the photos below of the cast along with Kenny Leon and his True Colors Theatre Company staff. You can also listen to my #UPFRONT interview with Eric J. Little and Keith Arthur Bolden that took place over the weekend:

Keith Arthur Bolden + Eric J. Little + Byron Horne of the Horne Brothers

A beautiful painting of the High Priestess of Soul – NINA SIMONE 

TC’s former Managing Director Jenn McEwen +

TC’s Production Manager Lisa Watson 

Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington with Andrew Benator 

Eric J. Little with Jerri Tubbs 

Patrons enjoying food after the show

Michael Winn with Diany Rodriguez 

Atlanta TV and stage actress Tinashe Kajese-Bolden

A painting with the names of African-Americans killed by White police officers

Kenny Leon with former Managing Director Jenn McEwen and her husband

Click here for tickets and see you there!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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#UPFRONT featuring ‘A Seat at the Table,’ ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ & ESSENCE Fest Part II

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out this week’s edition of #UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. Today’s show featured the hosts of GPB’s new talk show, “A Seat at the Table,” Christine White, Denene Millner and Monica Pearson. The ladies chatted about the success of the series and why it is unlike any other show on television.

#UPFRONT also wrapped up our final coverage of the 2017 ESSENCE Festival that took place in New Orleans June 29 though July 2. I got a chance to chat with the cast of OWN’s popular series “The Haves and the Have Nots” along with John Singleton and the cast of his new FX series “Snowfall”—Damson Idris, Isaiah John and Malcolm M. Mays.

We closed out the show talking to the director of the True Colors Theatre Production of “Between Riverside and Crazy,” Eric J. Little and one of the show’s stars Keith Arthur Bolden. The show is currently playing at the Southwest Arts Center and features veteran actor Earl Billings in the title role of Pops.

Follow us now on Instagram: @UPFRONTtheSHOW

Click here to check out past shows!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Ray Cornelius to host ‘Between Riverside & Crazy’ Cast Talk Back (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I am super excited to announce that yours truly, Ray Cornelius will be hosting a Talk Back with the cast of “Between Riverside and Crazy” on this Sunday, July 16 at the 2:30 p.m. performance. The show is presented by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and will take place at the Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta, GA.

Ex-cop Walter “Pops” Washington has had enough. His landlord won’t leave him alone, his wife re-cently passed away, and the liquor store can’t keep up with his thirst. Pops’ last living relative, his son Junior, has recently moved back to Pops’ house with his girlfriend, Lulu, and his newly-sober buddy, Oswaldo. With his heels dug into the floor of his rent-controlled Riverside Drive apartment, Pops holds onto old wounds — physical and emotional – while he sweats out the impending verdict on his lawsuit against the NYPD. Pressure reaches a boiling point when an ultimatum comes from an unlikely source, pinning Pops squarely “Between Riverside and Crazy.”

The show is the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for Best Drama and features Diany Rodriguez, Earl Billings, Keith Arthur Bolden, Jerri Tubbs, Cristian Gonzalez, Andrew Benator and AnnaMaria Dvorak. The Atlanta performance is directed by Eric J. Little and the show is written by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Don’t forget to tune into #UPFRONT this week! I’ll be talking to Little and Bolden about the play and much more. It airs tomorrow (Saturday, July 15) at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and online at WCLK.com.

Click here for tickets and see you there!

Photo Credits: Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

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Recap

‘Queen Sugar’ star Omar J. Dorsey hosts ATL Screening [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving Eve watching OWN’s hit series “Queen Sugar” with one of its stars—Omar J. Dorsey. The Decatur, GA raised actor portrays “Hollywood” on the show and was in town entertaining his family and industry friends as part of “Screening Room ATL” at Negril Village Restaurant in Midtown/Atlanta. img_5917

Omar J. Dorsey, Khalimah Gaston, KJ Smith and Miles Mussenden

“Screening Room ATL” is a visual arts mixer for Atlanta’s growing film and entertainment community. Held on Wednesday nights, each event features food, cocktails and indie films. It also provides an outlet for individuals in the film and the entertainment industry to present their work and discuss their methods amongst industry professionals.

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Marquita Goings + Dawn HalfKenny  + Rod “Reemo” Thomas

Joining Dorsey were other “Queen Sugar” stars—Khaneshia “KJ” Smith, who plays “Lena” and Miles Mussenden, who plays “Boogie.” Other notables spotted in the building included “Stills” actress Khalimah Gaston, “Luke Cage” actress Simone Missick, “Greenleaf” actor Njema Williams, “Saints & Sinners” actress Dawn HalfKenny, “Mommy Uncensored” actor Rod “Reemo” Thomas, “Underground” actor Keith Arthur Bolden, “Lucifer” actor Dorian Missick, “Notorious” actor Dennis White, Swirl Film’s Keith Neal, actor and commercial TV star Al Thompson and many more.

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Miles Mussenden, Khalimah Gaston, Omar J. Dorsey and KJ Smith

Following the screening was a brief discussion between Gaston and the “Queen Sugar” stars who discussed everything from working with the show’s creators Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey to their new found fame and other TV and film projects.  I must say that I left the event charged and super encouraged. I was truly astonished at the camaraderie between all of the actors and a genuine spirit of brother and sisterhood. It was amazing to see these future “superstars” in the making.

See more pics below & catch “Queen Sugar” on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on OWN:

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Njema Williams, Khalimah Gaston and Miles Mussenden

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Dorian and Simone Missickimg_5956

Omar J. DorseyDawn HalfKenny + Marquita Goings

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Miles Mussenden and Khalimah Gaston

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Keith Neal and Keith Arthur Bolden 

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Dorian Missick with Al Thompson

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Big Tigger and Marvel’s Nate Moore host special screening of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure last night of covering and attending an advanced screening of Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.”  The special preview took place at Atlanta’s Regal Cinema at Atlantic Station and was hosted by reality star and V-103 personality Big Tigger and Marvel’s executive producer Nate Moore.

Hundreds of students were invited from Morehouse, Spelman and CAU to see the third installment of the “Captain American” franchise and the first film in phase 3 of the Marvel cinematic universe.

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Big Tigger getting his sueprhero pose on

In “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers are under scrutiny after another incident results in collateral damage. Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability that is headed by a governing body to oversee and direct their every more. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

The film stars Chris Evans as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America; Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man; Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier; Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon; Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye; Paul Bettany as Vision; and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch. It also includes Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

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Nate Moore, Marvel’s Executive Producer

“Captain America: Civil War” also introduces two new characters—Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. For Marvel fans, this appearance by Black Panther is preparation for his own film franchise which debuts in 2018 and will be directed by Creed‘s Ryan Coogler.

“We had to give Black Panther a real story line. He couldn’t just be a cameo. He had to be somebody who was really involved because its a great character and because we also wanted to do a stand alone movie. When we were writing the film, we knew we needed a character who would stand between Iron Man and Captain American and hold his own. And I believe his character does that. Once we cast Chadwick Boseman, all of a sudden you have a star in the making,” said Moore during our interview on the red carpet.

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Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther

The Marvel executive went on to say that there is a lot planned for the Black Panther character and that he is very pleased with the ‘integrity’ Chadwick brings to the role.

“It was really Chadwick’s performance in ’42’ that got us excited. The intensity and integrity that he bought to Jackie Robinson is what we wanted T’Challa to inhabit.  We didn’t realize how good of an actor he was and I even think the other actors on set, once he got there were surprised by his intensity too. He brings a really interesting texture to the movie because he’s so different from the others,” explained Moore.

Look for Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War” when it opens in theaters on May 6. In the meantime, check out the trailer and more photos below:

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Big Tigger 

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Actress Tinashe Kajese-Bolden and her husband Keith Arthur Bolden

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Kontrol Magazine’s Julian Lark

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Naturi Naughton, Tisha Campbell-Martin and more honored at BWFN [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Atlanta’s Black Women Film Network (BWFN) held its annual “Untold Stories Awards Luncheon” Friday afternoon where they honored actresses Tisha Campbell-Martin and Naturi Naughton, former ESSENCE Beauty and Cover Director & Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor and independent filmmaker Fran Burst-Terranella.

The event took place at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead and was attended by a number of Atlanta influencers, tastemakers, and aspiring filmmakers. Ebony Steele served as this year’s host.

The “Untold Stories Awards Luncheon” is the Black Women Film Network’s signature event and recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence in film, television, and the arts.  Scholarships for students entering film and television were also given out as well.

Notables spotted on the red carpet included actress, comedian and producer Myra J, TV and film actress Charmin Lee, stage and film actress Tinashe Kajese, BronzeLens Film Festival’s Kathleen Bertrand, relationship expert Spirit, filmmaker Ayoka ChenziraTierney Moore of Yellow Girl Productions, and Kim McNair of “Women on the Move” TV show.

Check out a few photos below:

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Charmin Lee / Mikki Taylor

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Women on the Move’s Kim McNair

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Fran Burst-TerranellaDSC_0179

Ebony Steele

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Tierney MooreDSC_0107

Naturi Naughton

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Ayoka ChenziraDSC_0236-2

Spirit

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Kathleen Bertrand

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Myra J

 

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Tisha Campbell-Martin

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Actress Tinashe Kajese and husband Keith Arthur BoldenDSC_0291-4

Erica Hill, Miranda Mack McKenzie and Pat Lottier

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Liquid Soul’s Nick F. Nelson with Kathleen Bertrand

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com