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‘Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood’ recognizes Robin Thede, Marsai Martin + more [PHOTOS]

Uptown Ventures Group, the parent company of Uptown Magazine, kicked off Oscar week with their annual event, Lexus Uptown Honors Hollywood, at NeueHouse Hollywood Wednesday evening. Celebrity guests gathered to honor Power Player Women within the film industry. The evening honorees included writer, producer and creator of “Power (Starz),” Courtney A. Kemp, Executive Vice President of Film Production at Warner Bros. Pictures Niija Kuykendall, writer, performer, producer and show runner Robin Thede, along with creative, young power player, award-winning actress and executive producer Marsai Martin. The night of excellence was hosted by Tai Beauchamp and Chris Spencer


As a prelude to the Academy Awards® the star-studded event was lavishly decorated with beautiful white rose centerpieces, a 5-course dinner was served, followed by a private after-party. Highlights from the evening included the cast of “Power,” Naturi Naughton, Larenz Tate and Jospeh Sikora presenting writer, producer, and creator Courtney A. Kemp with her award. Honoree Robin Thede delivered a belly-aching hilarious speech as she accepted her award, Honoree Niija Kuykendall spoke about breaking barriers and being fearless in the industry and mini-mogul and Hollywood starlet Marsai Martin delivered an empowering speech and let the crowd know that being a teenager was much harder than being the youngest executive producer working in Hollywood.

“Tonight is about celebrating exceptional talent leading the way and contributing to the industry in front and behind the camera,” says Len Burnett co-CEO and chief revenue office, of UPTOWN Ventures Group.


Celebrity guests and VIP’s in attendance included Naturi Naughton, Larenz Tate, Joseph Sikora, Malinda Williams, Curtis Hamilton, Affion Crockett, Miss J. Alexander, Gabrielle Dennis, Tai Beauchamp, TJ Jackson,Kenny Lattimore, Terrence J, Bresha Webb, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mike Hill, Cynthia Bailey & more.


For almost a decade, LexusUptown Honors Hollywood is made possible by the generous support of Lexus as the returning title sponsor. 

Check out a photo gallery below:

Photo Credits: Earl Gibson & Darius L. Carter

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‘Power’ renewed for 6th Season and returns to STARZ on 7/1/18

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

CONGRATS to the hugely successful STARZ series Power! The show has been renewed for a sixth season in advance of production wrapping on season five.

STARZ announced the big news earlier today with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson scheduled to direct the season six premiere episode. The fifth season returns this summer on Sunday, July 1 at 9 p.m. EST.

Starz President of Programming Carmi Zlotnik said, “As ‘Power’ wraps production on season five, we want to acknowledge and thank our spectacular ‘Power’ team for producing another great season. We are also pleased to announce a pick-up for season six.”

Power is the hugely successful New York-based crime drama created by Courtney A. Kemp who executive produces alongside Jackson as well as Mark Canton, Randall Emmett, Gary Lennon and Shana Stein.

The show stars NAACP Image Award winner Omari Hardwick along with Joseph Sikora, Naturi Naughton, Lela Loren, Larenz Tate and Brandon Victor Dixon.

 Will you be tuning in?

Photo Credit: STARZ

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Bounce TV to air ‘Am I Black Enough’ and more for Black History Month (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Bounce TV, the first-and-only over-the-air broadcast television network for African Americans, is celebrating Black History Month in February with a variety of compelling programs and tributes that are worth watching.

Check out the highlights below:

  • The 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards, the prestigious annual event celebrating African-American achievements and contributions premieres Sunday, February 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET hosted by actors Larenz Tate and Erica AshLudacris, CeeLo Green, Cameo, Doug E. Fresh, Xscape, Bow Wow, Keke Wyatt and more gather to perform and to honor the outstanding accomplishments of African Americans and those who have succeeded against great odds and inspired success in others.
  • A special installment of the Bounce newsmagazine show Ed Gordon called “Am I Black Enough?” which will examine the nuances of cultural identity within the Black community to define exactly what it means to “be Black.” The award-winning journalist and series producer/host Gordon explores this interesting subject matter with influencers such as Samuel L. JacksonAnthony AndersonWayne BradyYara Shahidi, Taye Diggs, Charlamagne Tha GodMisty CopelandBoris Kodjoe and others. On Monday, Feb. 12,”Am I Black Enough?” will be available for streaming exclusively on Brown Sugar, the new subscription-video-on-demand service featuring the biggest collection of the baddest African-American movies of all-time which also showcases Bounce original programming. The special will premiere on Bounce on Saturday, Feb. 17.  
  • A new original short-form series of vignettes called “Your Story Matters” spotlighting the unique and inspiring experiences of trailblazing African Americans, including legendary actress, philanthropist and Brown Sugar spokeswoman Pam Grier, Academy Award®-winning actor and community activist Lou Gossett, Jr. and NASA engineer and 2018 Bounce Trumpet Award Honoree Dr. Lonnie Johnson.

In addition to the specials, Bounce will also feature a variety of relevant movies throughout February including: “Amistad,” starring Morgan Freeman and Djimon Hounsou; the 2008 adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun” featuring Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Sean Combs and Audra McDonald; “Panther” with Courtney B. Vance, Kadeem Hardison and Chris Rock; “Ruby Bridges,” “Selma” “Lord, Selma” and more. Additionally, a one-hour documentary chronicling the civil rights movement, “Trail of Hope: The Journey to Equality,” will air on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Photo Credits: Bounce/YouTube

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Sneak Peek of the ’26th Annual Bounce Trumpet Awards’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

BounceTV has released a first look at the “26th Annual Trumpet Awards” and I can hardly contain my excitement. I had the honor of covering the red carpet this year along with CAU-TV 23 for a television special that will air before the show on February 11.

This year’s honorees include Jermaine Dupri, Cameo, Richelieu “Rich” Dennis, Tamika Mallory, Marley Dias, Dr. Lonnie Johnson and Rhyon Brown.

The show is hosted by Larenz Tate and Erica Ash and was attended by actress Ashley Love-Mills, “Saints and Sinners” stars Vanessa Bell CallowayDonna Biscoe and Jasmine Burke, comedian Rodney PerryHGTV star Egypt Sherrod, Judge Penny Reynolds, actress DeEtta West, hip hop icon Ed Lover, actor and singer T.C. Carson.

Performers include Ludacris, Doug E. Fresh, XscapeSir the Baptist, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Arrested Development and “The Voice” star Wé McDonald and more.

Take a look + see more pics from the red carpet and more:

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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 

MAJOR. 

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

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UPDATE: Anthony Hamilton, KeKe Wyatt, Estelle, MAJOR. to perform at the ‘Bounce Trumpet Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The “Bounce Trumpet Awards” have added more star power to this weekend’s show. The prestigious annual event, celebrating African-American achievements and contributions, will take place at the Cobb Energy Centre on Saturday, January 20 and is hosted by actors Larenz Tate and Erica Ash.

As previously reported, this year’s honorees include Jermaine Dupri, Cameo, Richelieu Dennis, Tamika Mallory, Marley Dias, Dr. Lonnie Johnson and Rhyon Brown. 

Performers will include: Doug E. Fresh, Keke WyattAnthony Hamilton, Bow Wow, Sir the BaptistArrested Development, Estelle, Bilal, Big Daddy Kane, V. BozemanDonald Lawrence, Major., We’ McDonald, Mr. TalkBox, Kevin Lemons & Higher Calling, Rhyon Brown, Michel’le, Stokley Williams and Carl Thomas.

Celebrity presenters include Cee Lo Green plus “Family Time” stars Omar Gooding and Angell Conwell. 

Founded in 1992 by American Civil Rights leader Xernona Clayton, The Trumpet Awards were acquired by Bounce in 2016. The list of prestigious honorees over its 26-year history includes Muhammad Ali, Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder, The African-American Women of the United States Congress, Steve Harvey, Martin Luther King III, Janelle Monáe and Spike Lee.

The “Bounce Trumpet Awards” will air exclusively on Bounce on Sunday, February 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Jermaine Dupri, Cameo, Tamika Mallory and more to receive ‘Bounce Trumpet Awards’

Written by | Ray Cornelius

The “Bounce Trumpet Awards” are taking place this Saturday, January 20 at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and information is beginning to surface about this year’s honorees.

According to the Trumpet Awards site, legendary funk band Cameo will be picking up this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This group stayed on the R&B charts during the 70s, 80s and 90s with such hits as “Candy,” “Word UP,” “Single Life” and “She’s Strange.”

So So Def’s Jermaine Dupri will be honored with the Music Innovation Award for his decades of influence in the R&B and Hip Hop realms. Dupri totally transformed Atlanta’s music scene in the 90s along with LA Face Records and has worked with a number of iconic artists over the years including Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jay Z, Usher, TLC, Xscape, Kriss Kross, Bow Wow and Da Brat.

Other honorees include Tamika Mallory (Impact Award), Dr. Lonnie Johnson (Innovator), Ryon Brown (McDonald’s Rising Star Award), Richelieu Dennis (Entrepreneur) and Marly Dias (Trailblazer). Trumpet Awards for Trailblazer and Philanthropy have yet to be announced as well as the ceremony’s celebrity presenters and performers.

The “Bounce Trumpet Awards” will be hosted by actors Erica Ash and Larenz Tate and will air on Bounce Sunday, February 11 at 9 p.m.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Larenz Tate and Erica Ash to host the 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Larenz Tate and Erica Ash will host the 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards, an exciting night of inspiration, history and crowd-rousing performances celebrating African-American achievements and contributions.

The gala black-tie ceremony will be held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia on Sat. Jan. 20, 2018 and will world premiere nationwide on Bounce on Sun. Feb. 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Bounce, the fastest-growing African-American network on television, now exclusively owns, produces and telecasts the star-studded event, rebranded this year as the Bounce Trumpet Awards. Honorees, performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tate is a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award-winner and currently stars on the hit series “Power” on STARZ. He has also appeared on the popular shows “Rescue Me,” “Game of Silence” and “House of Lies.” On the big screen, Tate most recently appeared in “Girls Trip,” with previous roles in “Ray,” “Menace II Society,” “Love Jones,” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and more.

Ash is an NAACP Award-winning Broadway, film and television actress currently starring on the hit series “Survivor’s Remorse” on STARZ, as well as playing Brigette Hart (ex-wife of Kevin Hart) on “The Real Husbands of Hollywood.” She will star in the new legal drama series “In Contempt” and will appear in the new theatrical motion picture “Uncle Drew” from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment.

The Trumpet Awards were conceived to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of African Americans and those who have succeeded against great odds and inspired success in others. Founded in 1992 by American Civil Rights leader Xernona Clayton, The Trumpet Awards were acquired by Bounce in 2016. The list of prestigious honorees over its 26-year history includes Muhammad Ali, Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder, The African-American Women of the United States Congress, Steve Harvey, Martin Luther King, III, Janelle Monáe and Spike Lee.

 Bounce (@BounceTV) airs on the broadcast signals of local television stations and corresponding cable carriage, and features a programming mix of original and off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports, and more. Bounce has grown to be available in more than 99 million homes across the United States and 95% of all African-American (AA) television homes, including all the top AA television markets. Among the founders of Bounce are iconic American figures Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III

Photo Credits: Trumpet Awards

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

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cast of “STEP”

Ray Cornelius on Radio Row

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

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

“Claws” stars Niecy Nash + Karrueche Tran

+ showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois

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

ESSENCE talking to “Black Panther” actress Letitia Wright 

Ray Cornelius with FANDANGO Correspondent Chris Witherspoon

“She’s Gotta Have It” actress DeWanda Wise 

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

India.Arie

John Legend 

John Legend

John Legend 

DIANA ROSS

Ray Cornelius watching DIANA ROSS 

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

“The Haves and the Have Nots” Tyler Lepley,

Angela Robinson and Gavin Houston

Ava DuVernay during the “WOKE Women Awards” 

Jazmine Sullivan 

Tank + Angel Love + Angel Saunders

on the red carpet of the “Snowfall” NOLA Premiere

Remy Ma performing with her husband and rapper Papoose

Lalah Hathaway

Ray Cornelius with Iyanla Vanzant 

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

Ray Cornelius with CeCe Winans 

Ray Cornelius with Anita Wilson 

Ray Cornelius greeting “cousin” Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius with Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius interviewing Miss Lawrence of “STAR”

Ryan Destiny of “STAR”

Ray Cornelius with Miss Lawrence 

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

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

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

Ray Cornelius with Nicci Gilbert 

XSCAPE after their Super Lounge performance

Elle Varner

SHAGGY

Ray Cornelius with Craig Robinson of “Ghosted”

Ray Cornelius with Melvin Styles and Razor Chic of Atlanta 

Mushiya Tshikuka talking to #UPFRONT

Ava DuVernay with the cast of “Queen Sugar”

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actor Damson Idris 

Chanté Moore with June’s Diary

Ray Cornelius with Common 

Ray Cornelius with Big Freedia 

Shirley Jones of The Jones Girls 

Ray Cornelius with “Insecure” actress Yvonne Orji

Ray Cornelius with Tamika D. Mallory

Ray Cornelius with the fabulous Candace Ledbetter

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

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

Jacob Latimore and Joseph David-Jones

THANK YOU ESSENCE FESTIVAL AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius and Mark Angel for RayCornelius.com

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The Cast of ‘Girls Trip’ attend #NOLA Premiere [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

The New Orleans premiere of “Girls Trip” was lit yesterday afternoon and yours truly RC was there to capture all the sights and sounds. The advanced screening took place at the luxurious Theaters at Canal Place on historic Canal Street.

The films four divas—Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish—looked absolutely amazing on the red carpet along with their co-stars Larenz Tate and Kofi Soriboe. The film’s director Malcolm D. Lee and producer Will Packer were also in attendance.

As previously reported, “Girls Trip” features the ladies as lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, where they rekindle their wild sides. The film features a lot of dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make even the Big Easy blush. Rounding out the cast is Kate Walsh and Mike Colter.  “Girls Trip” was also written by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris along with Tracy Oliver.

A number of celebrities were in attendance including reality show maven Mona Scott-Young;  singer and actress LeToya Luckett, singer/songwriter Tank, “Insecure” actress Issa Rae, LHHNY Yandy Smith; rapper, actor and reality star him Romeo, South African actress Nomzano Mbatha, actresses Essence Atkins and Bresha Webb, “Queen Sugar” stars Omar Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett and many more.

The event was presented by Nissan and Hello Beautiful! Check out more pics below:
MONA SCOTT-YOUNGTANKLETOYA LUCKETTISSA RAE, KOFI SORIBOE AND LARENZ TATE ESSENCE ATKINS AND BRESHA WEBBSTAR CAST – RYAN DESTINY, JUDE DEMOREST, BRITTANY O’GRADY AND MISS LAWRENCERONREACO LEEOMAR J. DORSEY AND TIMON KYLE DURRETTYANDY SMITH AND MIELLEORGANICSTAI BEAUCHAMPELLE VARNERNOMZAMO MBATHATY HUNTER AND KAREN CIVILSHYANN ROBERTS FROM JUNE’S DIARYREGINA HALLJADA PINKETT SMITHQUEEN LATIFAHTIFFANY HADDISHMALCOLM D. LEE WILL PACKER

Photo Credits: RayCornelius

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CASTING BUZZ!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Oscar winning hip hop star Common is slated to star in the upcoming film project, “Quick Draw.” The film is being described as “a revenge action thriller” and will begin shooting this summer. It is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Content Media and is written and directed by Harris Goldberg. Look for Common to also appear in “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” with Bradley Whitford and Katie Holmes and “Coco” with Jill Scott and RZA. [DEADLINE]

Broadway starlet and recent “Scandal” actress Saycon Sengbloh will star in a new Judy Smith executive produced untitled project for Fox. The show is centered about a prestigious Illinois university where several star football players are being accused of sexual assault. Sengbloh will play Ava, a detective that is investigating them. [S&A]

Larenz Tate is headed over to ABC for a new drama pilot titled “Salamander.” The project will focus on a brilliant but misanthropic engineer (Tate) recruits a skeptical Homeland Security agent (Allison Miller) to help him track a mysterious bank robber whose theft of 66 specific safety deposit boxes, belonging to the elite and powerful, sets in motion a series of blackmails that might be linked to a greater conspiracy. Look for Tate to also appear in the upcoming romantic comedy, “Girls Trip” with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith. [DEADLINE]

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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CASTING BUZZ!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Larenz Tate is headed to Starz’s popular series, “Power.” The celebrated actor will reportedly star as a city councilman from Jamaica Queens who crosses paths with the now imprisoned James “Ghost” St. Patrick, played by Omari Hardwick. Tate joins previously announced actors Charlie Murphy and “Hamilton” star Brandon Victor Dixon. Season 4 of “Power” begins this summer. [S&A]

“How to Get Away with Murder” actress Aja Naomi King will star alongside Kevin Hart in the remake of the French film, “The Untouchables.” Hart will play the caregiver who forms an unexpected bond with a quadriplegic millionaire, played by  Bryan Cranston. King will play the mother of Hart’s son. Filming is currently underway in Philadelphia. [ESSENCE]

Veteran actresses Anna Maria Horsford and Marla Gibbs will star in the upcoming ABC comedy pilot “Jalen vs. Everybody.” Horsford will star as Jalen’s mother and Gibbs will star as his grandmother.  “Jalen vs. Everybody” follows former NBA star and current TV personality Jalen Rose as he juggles his career responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad. [DEADLINE]

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Queen Latifah & Jada Pinkett Smith get lit in ‘GIRLS TRIP’ Trailer (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The ESSENCE Festival serves as the backdrop for Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s upcoming summer movie, “Girls Trip.” The film opens in theaters nationwide on July 21 and is their first project together since the 1996’s box office hit, “Set It Off.”

The Malcolm Lee directed comedy, which was shot last summer at the actual festival, stars the two as life long friends to Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. The fabulous foursome travel to the annual music event where “sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.”

Joining the ladies in their fun-filled weekend is “Love Jones” star Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh, Mike Colter and “Queen Sugar” actor Kofi Siriboe. “Girls Trip” is scripted by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver and produced by Will Packer. 

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

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‘Bronzeville’ to feature Larenz Tate, Laurence Fishburne and more

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Beloved television and film actors Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate are teaming up this Black History Month for a new audio scripted drama titled,  “Bronzeville.” The 10-episode series will debut on Tuesday, February 7 and chronicles Chicago’s “policy” games of the 1940’s and it affects on the African-American neighborhood of Bronzeville. The illegal lottery was all the rage in Black communities before it was taken over by the mafia.

The project was written by Academy Award® and BAFTA nominee Josh Olson and will appear on several digital platforms every Tuesday in February including Spotify, the Podcasts app and iTunes for Apple customers, GlobalGrind, Radio One Digital, SoundCloud, TuneIn and Google Play with new content debuting through April 11, 2017. The audio drama is presented by GEICO, Blue Apron, Quicken Loans, and Viceland.

In addition to Fishburne and Tate, “Bronzeville” will also include the celebrity voices of Tika Sumpter as Lisa Copeland, Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis Ross as Anna Copeland, Wood Harris a Everett Copeland, Omari Hardwick as Jesse Copeland, Cory Hardrict as Casper Dixon, Lahmart Tate as Zeke Copeland, Patrick Heusinger as Sammy Manetti, Lance Reddick as Frank Barnes,  Michael Raymond James as Ben Faulkner, Brittany Snow as Marjorie and Affion Crockett as Tiny and Joe Louis.  All 10-episodes of “Bronzeville” feature original songs from composers, 1500 Or Nothin, a musical ensemble founded by Grammy Award winning producers, Larrance “Rance” Dopson and James Fauntleroy II, with lead production by Lawrence Dopson and Ryan Stockbridge.

Look for Fishburne and Tate to host an invite only, intimate conversation on Thursday, February 9 at the New York Spotify offices in honor of Black History Month. The duo will share the inspiration behind “Bronzeville” with Tamron Hall, co-host of NBC News’ TODAY and MSNBC anchor, who will serve as moderator.

“Bronzeville” is executive produced by Fishburne and Tate alongside Helen Sugland, LaRon Tate, Matt Cutair, and Jeff McCarthy, with JP Sarni and Lahmard Tate as Co-Executive Producers. KC Wayland serves as Producer for the audio drama. The podcast will be hosted on the ART19 platform, which allows for dynamic sponsorship messaging and reporting.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and Instagram/BronzevilleShow