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Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf host a Baby Shower for Harper Skye [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 


I had the distinct pleasure this afternoon of attending the Baby Shower for HGTV star Egypt Sherrod and her husband DJ Fadelf. The invitation only celebration was held at an intimate event space in the West Midtown district of Atlanta and was the personification of faith, family, food and fun.

The room was filled with several images of the happy couple as well as a center wall saluting their new baby girl—Harper Skye. Guests were seated at tables adorned with pink and green floral arrangements and custom made umbrellas and ribbons.

Attendees also enjoyed southern cuisine and desserts provided by Chef Johnnie Winston. Egypt shimmied all throughout the room in a form fitting hot pink dress designed by former reality star and fashion designer Reco Chapple.

Atlanta notables spotted in the room included actress, producer and director Terri J. Vaughn, former music executive and author Sheri Riley, Sister Circle host Rashan Ali, Praise 102.5 radio personalities Darlene McCoy and Willie Moore Jr., Greenleaf star Lamman Rucker, comedienne and actress Kiana Dancie, media maven Ebony Steele and many more.

The event was produced by the fabulous—Jakeem Smith.

Check out all of the photos below and congrats once again to the happy couple:

Egypt Sherrod taking a pic with her friends

Darlene McCoy

Charmaine Ward, Talking with Tami and Terri J. Vaughn

Sheri Riley, Rashan Ali and friend

Lamman Rucker and Adrienne Alexander

Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf

Reco Chapple and Diane Larche

DJ Fadelf, Egypt Sherrod and Janeé Bolden

Rashan Ali and Ebony Steele

Guests enjoying the baby shower

Olivia Seymore, Shanae Hall and Candace Ledbetter

Angela Watts

ATL’s Social Butterfly Kimberly Clark

Evelyn Mims

Egypt Sherrod, Simone Jackson, DJ Fadelf and Kendall Jackson

Photo Credits: + Aric Thompson of Dream MultiMedia

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OWN & V-103 host a Season 3 Screening of ‘Greenleaf’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out a few photos from Tuesday night’s Season 3 Atlanta Screening of Greenleaf.  The highly anticipated series returned to OWN this week in a two-night premiere with loads and loads of drama.

V-103’s Ramona DeBreaux

The screening took place at the SCAD Show (formerly 14th Street Playhouse) and was attended by a number of die-hard fans as well as media and Atlanta influencers. V-103’s Ramona DeBreaux served as the evening’s host and moderated a lively Q&A session featuring the show’s stars – Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield, Deborah Joy Winans, Lamman Rucker and Keith David.

Merle Dandridge + Lynn Whitfield + Deborah Joy Winans

In season three of Greenleaf, all the turbulent forces that Grace’s (Dandridge) return to Memphis unleashed threaten to destroy not just the church her family built, but the family itself. Fallout from last season’s shocking revelation of Bishop’s (David) infidelities with Lady Mae’s (Whitfield) sister, as well as reverberations from his current dalliance with that insidious Jezebel, Rochelle Cross (LeToya Luckett) lead to all-out war in the Greenleaf home, setting the Bishop and Lady Mae on a collision course that, unless God or Grace intervenes, can only end one way: divorce.

Lamman Rucker + Keith David

In the wake of the marital mayhem, Lady Mae rushes to reconnect with Maxine Patterson (Patti LaBelle), an old friend and now a world-famous Christian motivational speaker, in an attempt to reclaim her forsaken call to preach and thus do what no First Lady has done before – survive as the sole head pastor of a megachurch after a major rift between its founding couple.

Merle Dandridge + Lynn Whitfield

Grace, meanwhile, works undercover in the company of Rochelle, hoping to discover Rochelle’s motives and true identity before the Bishop is swept away on a raging river of vanity and desire. Across town at Triumph, Jacob (Rucker) and Kerissa (Kim Hawthorne) try not to make the same mistakes Bishop and Lady Mae made as they work to build their own evangelical empire and manage parenting their teenage daughter Zora (Lovie Simone), but the roots of sin delve deep and old habits die hard.

Deborah Joy Winans

Sophia’s (Desiree Ross) faith is tested when an unforeseen medical issue arises; Charity (Winans) struggles to make peace with Kevin (Tye White) and find her place in the world; and Grace works to keep an abused woman from death row for the crime of defending her own life. Meanwhile, Darius (Rick Fox) finds himself in conflict due to being entangled in an increasingly strained relationship with Grace.

See more photos from the screening below:

Lynn Whitfield 

Lamman Rucker + Keith David

Keith David + Deborah Joy Winans + Merle Dandridge + Lamman Rucker

Will you be watching this season?

Photo Credits:

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Watch Official Season 3 Trailer for ‘Greenleaf’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the exciting new Season 3 trailer for OWN’s mega-church drama—Greenleaf. It returns to prime time beginning next month August 28 and 29 at 10 p.m. EST.

As previous reported, music icon Ms. Patti LaBelle will have a recurring role as Maxine Patterson, a famous Christian motivational speaker and the CEO of a global Christian self-help empire and an old college friend of Lady Mae’s (Lynn Whitfield). Patterson will also serve as her sounding board and greatest ally as Lady Mae attempts to consolidate her power at Calvary.

Other guest stars include Dr. Iyanla Vanzant of OWN’s popular “Iyanla: Fix My Life.” She’ll be portraying herself and helping Charity (Deborah Joy Winans) finally find her place in the Greenleaf family.

TV and film icon Beau Bridges will play Bob Whitmore, the folksy and charming founder of Harmony of Hope Ministries, a massive denomination with churches all over the world who will use any unsavory tool at his disposal to win.

Watch below and tell us what you think:

Photo Credit:

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Jermaine Dupri & more honored at ‘Bounce Trumpet Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

It was all about African-American achievement Saturday night during the 2018 “Bounce Trumpet Awards.” The annual ceremony was taped at the beautiful Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center and yours truly was in the building to capture all of the sights and sounds.

Ray Cornelius with Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton

My radio show, UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry teamed up with CAU-TV 23 to cover the red carpet for a future television special. I got a chance to interview a number of the evening’s honorees including Music Innovation Award recipient Jermaine Dupri, teen sensation and Trailblazer Award recipient Marley Dias and Rising Star Award recipient Rhyon Brown.

Ray Cornelius with Larenz Tate

I also got a chance to chop it up with the show’s hosts—Larenz Tate and Erica Ash as well as celebrity attendees Ashley Love-Mills, “Saints and Sinners” stars Vanessa Bell Calloway, Donna Biscoe and Jasmine Burke + Red Carpet hosts Demetria McKinney and Ed Gordon.  I also got additional interviews with comedian Rodney Perry, HGTV star Egypt Sherrod, Judge Penny Reynolds, actress DeEtta West, hip hop icon Ed Lover, actor and singer T.C. Carson + performers Xscape, Sir the Baptist, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Arrested Development and “The Voice” star Wé McDonald.

Angie Stone with Ed Gordon and Lamman Rucker

After the red carpet, I got an opportunity to get a few more pictures of the show’s other honorees including Tamika Mallory, Dr. Lonnie Johnson and Rich Dennis. Performers MAJOR., Donald Lawrence, Stokley Williams, KeKe Wyatt, Arrested Development and Angie Stone also stopped through the press room along with presenters Angel Conwell, Omar Gooding, Lamman Rucker and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

My “Red Carpet Trumpet Awards Special” will air on CAU-TV 23 on Sunday, February 11 a little before the “Bounce Trumpet Awards” at 9 p.m. Stay tuned…

Check out more images below:

Ray Cornelius and UPFRONT on the red carpet

Ray Cornelius with “Bounce Trumpet Award” host Erica Ash 

Anthony Hamilton 

Honoree Rich Dennis 


Honoree Tamika Mallory 

Ray Cornelius with red carpet host Demetria McKinney

Ray Cornelius with Ashley Love Mills

Angie Stone showing us love

Ray Cornelius with “If Loving You is Wrong” actress April Parker Jones

The cast of Bounce TV’s “Saints and Sinners”

(l to r) Tasia Grant, Dawn Half Kenny, Clifton Powell,

Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith Robinson, Jasmine Burke and Donna Biscoe

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms 

Honoree Marley Dias 

Angel Conwell and Omar Gooding

Honoree Dr. Lonnie Johnson 

Sir the Baptist 

Wé McDonald

Donald Lawrence 

Stokley Williams 

Arrested Development 

Photo Credits: RayCornelius


Terri J. Vaughn + Cas Sigers-Beedles host ‘When Love Kills’ Atlanta Viewing Party [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of attending a private viewing party for TV One’s original movie, “When Love Kills” Monday night at Atlanta’s League Tavern (formerly T.I.‘s Scales 925 restaurant). The event was hosted by the film’s writer and executive producer Cas Sigers-Beedles along with her Nina Holiday Entertainment business partner and actress Terri J. Vaughn.

“When Love Kills” tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely (Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland), a teen mom turned exotic dancer who attracted the attention of a local pimp and predator named Big Dino (Lance Gross). His empty promises of a life together turned Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games and she was forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. The project was directed by “Empire” actress Tasha Smith and also starred Tami Roman, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Big Freedia, Tiffany Black and Lil’ Zane.

It took Sigers-Beedles over a decade to bring this story to light. However, seeing the actors on the set last November made her realize it was worth the wait.  “When I was on set and saw Lil’ Mama’s magic and Tasha’s magic and Lance’s magic, I realized I was just 10 years ahead! This truly was Tasha’s movie to make and it was Niatia’s role to play. Everything is always in its timing and I am just so happy to tell this story.”

Siger-Beedles first became acquainted with Blakely’s tragic story through a Creative Loafing article. So she reached out to Blakely’s attorney and talked to her about the case and was taken aback at how much she loved this man and how she didn’t see fault in him. She later shared the story with Vaughn and the two eventually took it to TV One.

Blakely was a teenager when her life was transformed by Big Dino and is still serving time for the murders she committed. She is now in her 30s and mentors young girls through the prison system.

Atlanta notables in attendance included “Greenleaf” actors Lamman Rucker and T.C. Carson, singer-songwriter B. Slade, actresses Brittany Inge and Naomi Lavette, British actor Zimzon Lelo, Tiphanie Watson from the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment +  book author and motivational speaker Lakara Foster.

Check out more photos below:

T.C. Carson 

Naomi Lavette + Alan Favors 

Terri J. Vaughn + Cas Sigers-Beedles + Zimzon Lelo

Tiphanie Watson + guest

Will Goldsborough + Crystal 

Brittany Inge

T.C. Carson B. Slade + Lamman Rucker 

Lakara Foster + guest

That’s all folks!

Photo Credits:

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Greenleaf’s Lamman Rucker hosts ‘Brunch with the Brothers’ during #BLFF17 [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

It was all about #BlackMaleExcellence Sunday morning during BronzeLens Film Festival’s “Brunch with the Brothers.” The exclusive event took place at Atlanta’s historic Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel and was hosted by “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker.  This year’s “brothers” included Lamman’s “Greenleaf” co-star Keith David, “Queen Sugar” stars Omar Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett and E.Roger Mitchell of BET’s “The Quad.” 

“Brunch with the Brothers” is an intimate gathering that puts a spotlight on African American men in television and film who are making bold moves in their own unique way. Each “brother” opened up about the numerous obstacles they’ve faced as actors within the entertainment industry. They also talked candidly about character selection, career balance and finances, actors versus artists and the “ebbs and flows” of show business.

“If you study and if you go to school to learn your craft, you can make a living. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be rich,” said Keith David. “You can be on television show after television show, that don’t mean you’re going to be rich. But the skewed perspective is that if you appear on TV everybody’s mind is in your pocket because they don’t know what minimum salary is. What they also don’t know is that you’re being taxed on that as if you’re making that all year round and you’re making that for a job. So, it ain’t what it seems to be!”

The “brothers” also revealed some of their other arts and entertainment interests including creating, writing, directing and producing new content, being able to control the narrative of our stories and much more.

“I want to be a part of that movement that’s going on right now of us showing ourselves on television in ways that we all can relate to,” said Dorsey.

Following the conversation was a brief Q&A with the audience and personal photos.

Check out more images below:

Timon Kyle Durrett being interviewed for BronzeLens TV

BronzeLens’s Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand 

The Brothers (from l to r) Lamman Rucker, E. Roger Mitchell,

Keith David, Omar Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett

The Brothers with BronzeLen’s Artistic Director Deidra McDonald

Photo Credits:


#UPFRONT attends ‘BronzeLens Film Festival’ Media Mixer [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

My radio show #UPFRONT had the pleasure of attending and covering this week’s Media and VIP Reception for the 2017 BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF). The mixer was held at Davidoff of Geneva (The Shops Buckhead Atlanta) and was hosted by BLFF’s Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand, Artistic Director Deidre McDonald and Chairman of the Board Tirrell Whitley of Liquid Soul.

The 8th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival will take place in Atlanta beginning August 23-27 at the iconic Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. This year’s activities will feature over 60 films including a collection of features, shorts, narratives, webisodes and documentaries. The Festival will also host its highly anticipated “Women Superstars Luncheon” that will recognized the work and talents of “Queen Sugar” director Neema Barnette, stage, TV and film actress Crystal Fox and rising filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu.

“Greenleaf” actor Lamman Rucker will lead a masterclass on the “Art of Auditioning” and will also moderate this year’s “Brunch with the Brothers” featuring his “Greenleaf” co-star Keith David along with “Queen Sugar” stars Omar J. Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett and “The Quad” actor E. Roger Mitchell.

Also new this year is a multi-faceted recruitment program with Turner. The media giant will collaborate with BLFF to find the next generation of filmmakers, actors, producers and directors. It is a partnership that will go into the next decade.

“BronzeLens is an incredible platform to showcase talented filmmakers,” said Angela Santone, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer for Turner. “Turner is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion on and off the camera.  In partnership with BLFF, we will promote the next generation of leaders who can bring a wide range of experience, ideas and perspectives to the industry.”

Other highlights will include workshops led by industry vets Rueben Cannon, Roger M. Bobb and Dianne Ashford. There is also a “Sisters in Song/Music in Movies Concert” featuring the vocal talents of Bertrand along with other top Atlanta performers – Rhonda Thomas, Brenda Moorer, Theresa Hightower and Julie Dexter.

Click here to see the full #BLFF17 schedule and check out more photos below from the Media and VIP Reception. The event was attended by a number of ATL influencers including Women on the Move‘s Kim McNair, celebrated visual artist K. Joy Peters, media mavens Chelsye Burrows and LaRonda Sutton and producer extraordinaire Valerie Benning.

Photo Credits:


Samuel L. Jackson, Usher Raymond, Malik Yoba & More Attend Kenny Leon’s ‘Golf & Gala’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Oh, What a Night!

I had the pleasure of covering Tony Winning director Kenny Leon‘s “Celebrity Golf and Gala” on Saturday evening and I am still floating on cloud nine.  The invitation only event was the best one I’ve ever attended and was packed with stars from music, film, television and Broadway. The evening was held at Tony Conway‘s Flourish Atlanta in Buckhead and is one of Leon’s major fundraising events for his annual August Wilson Monologue Competition.

The program offers students from of all races and economic backgrounds access to free theatre education programs. Through the competition, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to explore African American culture and history along with improving public speaking and reading comprehension skills. Participants in the AWMC are also offered free acting workshops to prepare for the competition and future mentoring opportunities. The program exponentially increases arts in education dollars for participating schools and builds the skills and confidence of the youth in the following participating cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New Haven, Buffalo, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

Vanessa Bell Calloway, Cedric the Entertainer and Morgan Stanley’s Marilyn Booker

A record number of celebrities were in attendance this year including stage, TV and film icon Samuel L. Jackson, pop music superstar Usher Raymond, beloved comedian Cedric the Entertainer; actresses Vanessa Bell Calloway and Crystal Fox; media maven Tavis Smiley; actors Leon, Malik Yoba, Lamman Rucker, T.C. Carson and Flex Alexander.

Other famous faces included “Queen Sugar” stars Timon Kyle Durrett and Omar Dorsey; triple threat performer D. Woods (formerly of Danity Kane); HGTV star Egypt Sherrod; NBA legend Julius “Dr J” Erving; veteran stage and TV actors Glynn Turman and Eugene Lee plus rising actors Maurice Johnson, Michael Beasley and “BET’s The Quad” star E. Roger Mitchell.

The highlight of the evening was a performance of short scenes from August Wilson‘s classic play “The Piano Lesson” that was read by Leon, Jackson, Fox, Turman and Lee. Jackson played Boy Willie in the premiere of of the play in 1987 at Yale Repertory Theater and reprised his role last night much to the surprise of the audience.

It was followed by a riveting performance from Raven Pace, the First Place Finalist of the Atlanta Region of the August Wilson Monologue Competition. Ending the night was special performance from Grammy winning entertainer and actress, Stephanie Mills, who blew everyone away with a jazz rendition of her iconic song, “Home” from the Broadway musical, The Wiz.

Check out all of the photos below:

True Color’s Executive Director Jenn McEwen with Blaque Book Concierge’s Renee Palmer

Kenny Leon, Jennifer Leon, Tony Conway and Holly Firfer

Malik Yoba having a moment with Usher Raymond

Stephanie Mills dancing with Crystal Fox

D. Woods showing off her new tattoo

Kenny Leon with Usher Raymond

“The Piano Lesson” Reading featuring Crystal Fox, Kenny Leon, Samuel L. Jackson, Eugene Lee and Glynn Turman

Crystal Fox and Kenny Leon as Berniece and Lymon

Samuel L. Jackson as Boy Willie

Glynn Turman as Wining Boy

Eugene Lee as Doaker

Kenny Leon is never without his famous sneakers

Crystal Fox and Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson with Eugene Lee and Glynn Turman

Raven Pace performing an excerpt from “Seven Guitars”

Stephanie Mills performing “HOME” from The Wiz

Kenny Leon and Dr. J presenting Samuel L. Jackson with the “Kenny Cup” for being the biggest supporter of the Golf Tournament

D. Woods with E. Roger Mitchell, Omar Dorsey, Timon Kyle Durrett and Michael Beasley

Egypt Sherrod

Cedric the Entertainer with Georgia Power’s Charmaine Ward and Tavis Smiley

Flex Alexander with T.C. Carson

Kenny Leon with Crystal Fox and Vanessa Bell Calloway

Usher Raymond talking to Sherman Edmiston (Essie Green Galleries) about his new purchase “Daybreak in Alabama”

Leon with T.C. Carson

Samuel L. Jackson with Raven Pace

Malik Yoba and his date

“Greenleaf” stars Lamman Rucker & T.C. Carson

BronzeLens Film Festival’s Kathleen Bertrand with Samuel L. Jackson

Kenny Leon with Marsha Shackleford, Timon Kyle Durrett, Maurice Johnson and Omar Dorsey
T.C. Carson with Holly Firfer (President of True Colors Theatre Company Board of Directors), Jenn McEwen & Crystal Fox

Photo Credits:


OWN hosts ATL Screening of ‘Greenleaf’ Season 2 [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

The cast of OWN’s hit series, “Greenleaf” attended a special advanced screening of season two Monday night and RC was there to capture all of the excitement! The invitation only event took place at Atlanta’s SCAD Show and was followed by a red carpet and VIP reception at the W Hotel – Midtown.

Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Deborah Joy Winans, Kim Hawthorne, Lamman Rucker and GregAlan Williams were all in attendance along with one of the show’s directors Clement Virgo. Other cast members included Desiree Ross, Lovie Simone, Parnelle Damone Marcano, Jason Dirden and acting veteran—T.C. Carson.

The second two premiere episode is definitely an explosive one as new characters emerge and more secrets are revealed that will literally rock the Greenleaf family to its core. While I can’t give away any details (you gotta see it for yourself), I will say that these new twists and turns will definitely add more depth to the show’s plot and will help viewers understand these complex characters a little more. Also look for a special guest appearance by gospel music superstar Kirk Franklin, “Being Mary Jane” star Aaron D. Spears plus three new additions – Sean Dominic, Roshon Fegan and Julian Brittano.

A number of other Atlanta celebrities were in attendance including “Saints & Sinners” stars Clifton Powell, Dawn HalfKenny, Reece Odum, media personality Gary With Tha Tea, gospel singer Micah Stampley and Grammy winning singer LaTavia Roberson.

“Greenleaf” was one of the hottest new dramas of 2016 and was OWN’s #1 new series for women last summer. The one-hour show takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis church where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful.

Check out more photos below and make sure you tune into #UPFRONT this Saturday, March 18 at 9 a.m. and listen to my one-on-one interview with “Greenleaf” star Deborah Joy Winans. We’ll be discussing this new season, “Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story” and more!

Kim Hawthorne

Deborah Joy Winans 

GregAlan Williams with WABE 90.1’s Rose Scott 

Julian Brittano with Karyn Greer 

LaTavia Roberson 

Clifton Powell with Swirl Film’s Keith Neal 

Parnelle Damone Marcano, Lovie Simone,

Deborah Joy Winans and Desiree Ross

“Greenleaf” Season 2 airs this Wednesday (March 15) at 10 p.m. EST on OWN.

Photo Credits:

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‘Shaft’ remake in the works #ShutYoMouf

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Before Richard Roundtree was Gabrielle Union‘s father on “Being Mary Jane,” he was our first Black kickass superhero simply known as SHAFT. It was the first time Hollywood had ever shown an African-American private detective that was as smooth as he was deadly and the role broke many racial barriers on film screens around the world in 1971. With a dope theme song, written and performed by BlackMoses aka Isaac Hayes, “Shaft” would become one of the most iconic figures of the 70s Blaxploitation film era.

Roundtree would eventually go on to make two more films—“Shaft’s Big Score” in 1972 and “Shaft in Africa” in 1973 and served as an international symbol of Black power, pride, sexuality and masculinity. He was Black and macho and audiences ate it up like a bowl of collard greens and cornbread. The film was also directed by famed photographer and eclectic filmmaker Gordon Parks.

Fast forward to 2000 and “Shaft” was resurrected thanks to director John Singleton and award winning-actor Samuel L. Jackson. He starred as the nephew of the legendary John Shaft along with the amazing Jeffrey Wright as the Dominican drug lordPeoples Hernandez.

Well it looks like award winning-director Tim Story is teaming up with New Line to bring Shaft back to the big screen with an updated storyline. According to DEADLINE, a remake is in the works that will be scripted by ‘black-ish” creator Kenya Barris. The film will also focus on “the son of the cool private eye who always finds himself navigating the gray terrain between the law and organized crime in New York City.”

No word yet on who Story has in mind to play Shaft, so I’ve provided at least 10 actors who I think cool pull this off. Let me know your thoughts below…Id’ love to hear from you.













Usher, Future, Tyrese Gibson, Young Jeezy and more attend Mayor’s Masked Ball [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Usher, Tyrese Gibson, Future and Young Jeezy were just a few of the A-List celebrities who came out for Saturday night’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball Atlanta. The VIP gala was held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and was attended by a who’s who of celebrities, city officials, dignitaries, tastemakers and influencers.

Dr. Michael Lomax presenting the HBCU Presidents

Yours truly, was in the mix and captured some pretty amazing shots of everyone in their black tie and ballroom garb. The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is held annually by the city’s mayor and is a huge fundraiser for students attending historically black colleges and universities. The Mayor’s Masked Ball was created in 1983 by Billye S. Aaron (Hank Aaron’s wife) and Ambassador Andrew Young with the hopes of providing scholarships for underserved youth with dreams of attending college. The event is one of several “Masked Balls” that are presented by UNCF chapters around the country.

Tyrese Gibson helping out during the fundraising portion of the evening

Last night’s ball raised well over one million dollars due to the high demand of tickets  and a little help from “Fast and Furious” star and musician Tyrese Gibson. He literally took over the fundraising portion of the program and was able to galvanize an additional $1oo,ooo from the audience which included three hefty donations from Usher, Young Jeezy and Future. Other celebrities who contributed to the cause included “R&B Diva” Angie Stone, soul singer Avery*Sunshine,HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod and BMI executive Catherine Brewton.

Avery*Sunshine, Q Parker and Angie Stone

A number of other Atlanta notables were in attendance including Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, RHOA star Phaedra Parks, “Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Dr. Jackie Walters and Dr. and Genise SheltonQ. Parker from 112, celebrity interior designer Michel Boyd, TV and stage actress Danielle Deadwyler, actor Al Thompson, filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker, 11 Alive Atlanta news anchor Shiba Russell, acclaimed author and playwright Pearl Cleage, reality star Stevie Baggs, Jr., gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell, hip hop artist Kore $tacks, Dr. Yamma Brown (James Brown’s daughter), gospel singer and radio personality Darlene McCoy, UPSCALE Magazine’s Satchel Jester, “Saints and Sinners” actress Reece Odum and more.

Sheila E.

This year’s entertainment was provided by the one and only—Sheila E. The award winning entertainer and beloved music icon opened her show with a nod to her late mentor and friend Prince with “Erotic City.” She later jammed the night away with hits of her own including “Love Bazaar” and “Glamorous Life.”

The Mayor’s Masked Ball was hosted by comedian and actor J. Anthony Brown along with UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax and UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Norman Boyd.

See more exciting pictures below and click here to donate:

Al Thompson and Shiba Russell

Pearl Cleage and her daughter Deignan

Avery*Sunshine and Dana Johnson

Danielle Deadwyler, Jakeem Smith and Kore $tacks

Dr. Yamma Brown 

Atlanta radio personality SiMan Baby with his guest


Stevie Baggs Jr. with his date

Kwanza and Natalie Hall

Reece Odum and her guest

Young Jeezy with Phaedra Parks 

Dr. and Mrs. Shelton

Egypt Sherrod and Avery*Sunshine

Actor Lamman Rucker chatting with Billye S. Aaron 

Angie Stone and Gwendolyn Chisolm aka “Blondie”

Q Parker, Tyrese Gibson, Elle Duncan and her husband

Future with his sister and mother

Satchel Jester with Michel Boyd

Darlene McCoy

J. Anthony Brown and Myra J

Roger M. Bobb and Carolyn Young (Ambassador Andrew Young’s wife)

Dana Johnson, Avery*Sunshine, Ceaser C. Mitchell (Atlanta City Council President), Rev. Raphael G. Warnock (senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church) and his wife Ouleye Ndoye    

Tyrese Gibson


Tyrese Gibson and Ambassador Andrew Young sharing a laugh

Dr. Michael Lomax ~ UNCF President and CEO

Usher laughing out loud at J. Anthony Brown‘s shenanigans

Mayor Kasim Reed and First Lady Sarah-Elizabeth Reed

UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Norman Boyd

handing flowers to Billye S. Aaron

Lamman Rucker with Morehouse College President John Wilson

J. Anthony Brown sharing a laugh with Atlanta business icon Richard Dent 


Photo Credits:

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Highlights from BLFF’s ‘Queen Sugar’ & ‘Insecure’ Screenings + Brunch with the Brothers [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to RC correspondents Mahoghani Dawn and A. Raquel for covering last weekend’s BronzeLens Film Festival on my behalf. The Atlanta-based festival took place the same weekend as my mother’s 75 birthday and of course I spent that time with my family in Orlando, Florida. However, these awesome women attended the events for me and took some amazing photos of the screenings for “Queen Sugar” with actor Omar Dorsey as well as Issa Rae‘s new HBO series “Insecure.” They also took a few shots during the workshop featuring acclaimed script supervisor Dawn Gilliam and the Brunch with the Brothers event which featured “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker, “Empire” actor Tobias Truvillion, Cory Hardrict and Rushion McDonald.

Check them out below:



Omar Dorsey (center) stars as ‘Hollywood Desonier’ in “Queen Sugar”


Omar Dorsey with BLFF’s Women Super Luncheon Honorees


Issa Rae stars in a new HBO series titled “Insecure


Issa Rae talking to BLFF’s Deidre McDonald 



Dawn Gilliam is one of Hollywood’s most sought after script supervisors


Dawn Gilliam has served as a script supervisor

for “Star Trek,” “Hunger Games,” “Poetic Justice,” “Boyz in the Hood” and many more




Actors Lamman Rucker, Tobias Truvillion and Cory Hardrict


Dorian Missick with Lamman Rucker


Rushion McDonald with Dorian Missick

Photo Credits: Mahoghani Dawn

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‘UPFRONT’ feat. Lamman Rucker, Anthony Faulkner & Fahamu Pecou

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Make sure you all tune into my new arts & entertainment radio program, “UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry.” It airs THIS MORNING at 9 a.m. on Atlanta’s Jazz 91.9 WCLK.

This week’s guests include actor Lamman Rucker from OWN’s hit series “Greenleaf.” He  will be on to chat about the show and his new film, “Service to Man,” which premieres during TODAY’s BronzeLens Film Festival.

My second guest is Anthony Faulkner, inspirational singer and songwriter. He stops by to talk about his new album Guardian Angel and my last guest is visual artist Fahamu Pecou. He stops by to chat about his new exhibition “Do or Die,” which opens this weekend at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC.

“UPFRONT” takes an in-depth look at Atlanta’s arts and entertainment scene including TV, film, theater, music and more. Each Saturday, I will be conducting one-on-one interviews with all of the major players and the behind-the-scenes influencers that make Atlanta, the new Hollywood South.

“UPFRONT” airs TODAY at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK or listen online at

The show is also sponsored by the 2016 BronzeLens Film Festival.

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RC attends BronzeLens Film Festival VIP Media Mixer [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF) hosted a Media Mixer this week and yours truly was there to capture all of the sights and sounds. The private event took place at Davidoff of Geneva located at the Buckhead Shops district of Atlanta.

This year’s festival features over 45 amazing independent films and projects from homegrown talent as well as individuals from around the world. Festivities take place beginning August 25 with the premiere of Terri J. Vaughn‘s “Digital Lives Matter” and goes through August 28 with the Cinema and Social Justice Sunday screening of Deborah Riley Draper‘s riveting documentary “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.” This year’s fest will also feature an array of workshops and panel discussions as well as a “Sunday Brunch with the Brothers” featuring “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker.

Executive Producer, Kathleen Bertrand, was super excited to announce that this year’s festival will also feature the Atlanta premieres of Issa Rae‘s new HBO series “Insecure” as well as Ava DuVernay‘s new OWN original series “Queen Sugar.” Both Rae and DuVernay are past recipients of BronzeLens Film Festival awards.

IMG_3081‘Seven years ago these two fabulous ladies came to my office and sat down and talked to me about the dream of creating BronzeLens Film Festival and to watch it blossom over seven years and for it to mature and for us to be at this point is a testament,” said Tirrell D. Whittley, Chairman of the Board for the BronzeLens Film Festival. “I’m blessed and you’re blessed that each year, for the past seven years, they deliver a wine that is fine tasting. And so I think this year is special for those that understand the number seven, which also represents the number of perfection.”

A few of the BLFF filmmakers were also in attendance including Deborah Riley DraperTerri J. Vaughn, Shandra L. McDonald and Kirk Henriques.

Click here to purchase tickets and check out more photos below:


BLFF’s Terri Vismale-Morris (center) with Dawn Cribb and A. Raquel


BLFF Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand


Filmmaker Kirk Henriques with

BLFF Chairman of the Board Tirrell D. Whittley


BLFF Artistic Director Deidre McDonald with

filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper 


BLFF’s Larry Jennings with filmmaker

Shandra L. McDonald and Dawn Cribb


BLFF Artistic Director Deidre McDonald with

actress and filmmaker Terri J.Vaughn

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