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Martin Lawrence parties with the Cast of BET’s ‘Boomerang’ [PHOTOS]

Last night, BET Networks celebrated the season two premiere of its Lena Waithe and Halle Berry executive produced show BOOMERANG, at Paramount Studios. Show cast members Tequan RichmondTetona JacksonLala MilanDime DavisLeland B. Martin, Brittany Inge and RJ Walker were in attendance along with BET President Scott Mills.

Following the success of Waithe’s BOOMERANG first season, the half-hour subversive, smart, serialized comedy that is fielded by romance, friendship, gender politics and more returns for season two.

The original cast are back to deal with the ramifications of Simone and Bryson’s breakup and how it effects the group’s friendship.  Throughout the season, each of our main characters: Simone (Tetona Jackson), Bryson (Tequan Richmond), Crystal (Brittany Inge), Ari (Leland Martin), Tia (Lala Milan) and David (RJ Walker) look inward to find out who they truly are while discovering that together, they’re growing apart.

Guest stars for season two will include Jaleel WhiteJoey Bada$$, Walter Emmanuel Jones and Kim Wayans

Special guests in attendance included: Terrence JMartin LawrenceTerrence J, Lance GrossKellee Stewart, Lauren Lott, Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed and more.

BOOMERANG season 2 premieres TONIGHT at 10PM EST on BET.

See more pics below and watch the trailer:

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Jamie Foxx, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Lena Waithe and more honored at ‘AAFCA Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Check out photos from Wednesday night’s 11th Annual AAFCA Awards.

The evening was hosted by actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery with honors going to Jamie Foxx for his role in Just Mercy, Eddie Murphy for the Netflix movie Dolemite Is My Name, Jordan Peele for Us, Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim and Kasi Lemmons for Harriet.

The event was sponsored by Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Deadline and took place at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

See the full list of winners below:

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures) 

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay Presented with The Black List: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films

  1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)
  2.  “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  4. “Clemency” (Neon)
  5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)
  6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  7. “Waves” (A24)
  8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)
  9. The Farewell (A24)
  10.  “Harriet” (Focus Features)

Photo Credits: AAFCA

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Watch the Season 3 Trailer for ‘The Chi’ (VIDEO)

Showtime has released the new trailer for Lena Waithe‘s hugely popular dramatic series THE CHI.  In this third season, the series will feature the Emmy® winning creator (Queen & SlimBoomerang) in a multi-episode arc as a Chicago mayoral candidate.

This season will also feature appearances from RHOA star Kandi BurrussPower actress La La Anthony and STAR actor Luke James.

THE CHI also includes Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross and Armando Riesco. It premieres Sunday, July 5 at 10 p.m. EST.

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‘Queen & Slim’ star Jodie-Turner Smith covers ESSENCE

All hail the Queen!

Jodie Turner-Smith is getting her shine on as the face of the November cover of ESSENCE magazine. The British-born model and actress with Jamaican roots is captured as never before by noted photographer JD Barnes. This is all in anticipation of her new film—Queen & Slim—which opens in theaters November 27.

As previously reported, the film follows Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) a couple on their first date when a police officer pulls them over and things take an unexpected turn. The film is directed by Melina Matsoukas with a screenplay by Lena Waithe.

Take a look at the full cover below:

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Kelly Rowland, Solange, Miguel and more attend L.A. Screening of ‘Queen & Slim’ [PHOTOS]

Check out images from the recent L.A. premiere of filmmakers Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas new feature Queen & Slim. The star-studded event took place at The Underground Museum and was hosted by Grammy Award winning singer and fashionista Solange.

Attendees included: Kelly Rowland (Singer), Lance Gross (Actor, Star), Michael Ealy (Actor, Being Mary Jane), Miguel & his wife Nazanin Mandi (Musician), Kendrick Sampson (Actor, Insecure), Keith Powers (The New Edition Story), DeWanda Wise (Actress, She’s Gotta Have It), Estelle (Musician), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Gabrielle Dennis (Actress, A Black Lady Sketch Show), Logan Browning (Actress, Dear White People), Will Catlett (Actor, Black Lightning) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, (Actor, US) Y’lan Noel (Actor, insecure), Etienne Maurice (Actor + filmmaker), Isis King (Actress, When They See Us) and many more.

Queen & Slim focuses on a couple’s first date that goes awry when the man kills a police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. It features Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine and POSE actress Indya Moore

Following the screening was a discussion hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell.

Queen & Slim opens in theaters on Thanksgiving:

PHOTO CREDITS: Jennifer Johnson/Universal

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Lena Waithe teams up with Amazon for an Overall Deal

It’s the dawn of a new day for Emmy winner Lena Waithe! She has just inked an Overall Deal with Amazon and I couldn’t be more happy for her.

According to VARIETY, Waithe will create and produce original content under the new partnership and the first project is a horror series titled THEM.

“Lena is a powerhouse writer and producer who also has a gift for identifying exciting and authentic voices,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “Our upcoming series ‘THEM’ is the result of her rare ability to cultivate brilliant voices like Little Marvin and bring his wholly original and compelling vision to Amazon. We look forward to collaborating with Lena and her team for years to come.”

Waithe made history in 2017 becoming the first Black woman to win a Primetime Emmy for “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for the popular series Master of None. Since that time, she has created and produces BET’s Boomerang and the Showtime series The Chi as well as the upcoming series How to Make Love to Black Woman. She has also teamed up with director Melina Matsoukas for the upcoming “Bonnie and Clyde” flick Queen & Slim and continues to be the voice for the AT&T “Your Thing” commercials.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership with Amazon Studios and am looking forward to this next chapter,” said Waithe. “Both of our goals are aligned in that we want to continue elevating storytellers who are underrepresented and have a unique vision of the world.”

RC will keep you posted as this continues to develop.

Photo Credit: Instagram/Lena Waithe

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Watch Trailer for Lena Waithe’s ‘Queen & Slim’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

My crush and Emmy-winning writer #LenaWaithe has released the trailer for her thrilling, romantic drama Queen & Slim. It features Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya and screen virgin Jodie Turner-Smith.

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and  tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.

(from left) Slim (Daniel Kaluuya, back to camera) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas.

As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances, and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their live.

From the looks of the trailer, the film also features screen vet Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore from POSE. Queen & Slim was written by Waithe and comes from the pages of bestselling author James Frey.

This is also the directorial debut from Melina Matsoukas, an executive producer for HBOs Insecure.

Watch below:

Photo Credits: Universal Pictures

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Watch Trailer for ‘The Chi’ Season 2 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Lena Waithe and Common‘s epic Showtime drama THE CHI is back for a second season beginning Sunday, April 7 at 10 p.m.

THE CHI is a timely coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. It features the amazing acting talents of Jason Mitchell, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross, Tiffany Boone and Armando Riesco.

Click here and watch my UPFRONT interviews with the castmembers Ross, Latimore and Boone and check out the official season two trailer below which features “Championships” from Meek Mill.

Photo Credits: Instagram/ShoTheChi

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UPDATE: BET’s ‘Boomerang’ adds Atlanta Actress Brittany Inge as Crystal Garrett

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS goes out to Atlanta actress Brittany Inge. The triple threat performer has been added to the new BET series Boomerang.

As previously reportedBoomerang is being described as a follow up to the iconic 1992 movie that featured Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry and Robin Givens.  The project will “follow the lives of Jacqueline Boyer’s (Givens) son and Marcus (Murphy) and Angela Graham’s (Berry) daughter as they attempt to step out of their parents’ shadows and make a legacy of their own.”

Previously announced actors include Tequan RichmondTetona Jackson as well as Leland B. Martin and Lala Milan.

Inge’s character, Crystal Garrett, is being described as a southern-belle type who works in advertising with Bryson (Richmond) and is the childhood best friend of Simone Graham (Jackson). Crystal can be buttoned up but she always speaks her mind. She was also once married to David (RJ Walker).

“I am over-the-moon excited to join the cast of ‘Boomerang’ as Crystal Garrett. I see this as an opportunity to represent for all of the super talented and hard working Atlanta actors who are constantly discouraged from expecting opportunities of this magnitude to come along, simply because of their zip code. If talent, hustle and drive are inside of you, it shouldn’t matter where you live. I am so grateful for BET and Paramount for this opportunity,” said Inge in a statement to RayCornelius.com.

The Boomerang pilot is written by Lena Waithe and Ben Cory Jones and directed by Dime Davis.  The series is also executive produced by Waithe and Berry.

Brittany Inge has appeared in a number of stage productions including Blackberry Daze, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette and Kenny Leon‘s Holler If Ya Hear Me. She’s also starred on a few TV series including Love Is, Atlanta, Dynasty and The Resident. She is also featured in The Hate U Give, which opened in theaters this weekend.

Way to go Brittany!!!!!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and Instagram/BrittanyInge

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UPDATE: BET’s ‘Boomerang’ adds Tequan Richmond & Tetona Jackson

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

BET has added some famous faces to its upcoming Boomerang series executive produced by Lena Waithe and Halle Berry.

Tequan Richmond and Tetona Jackson (pictured above) are slated to play the male and female leads while Leland B. Martin and Lala Milan will serve as co-stars.

Boomerang is being described as a follow up to the iconic 1992 movie featuring Berry along with Eddie Murphy and Robin Givens.  The new project will “follow the lives of Jacqueline Boyer’s (Givens) son and Marcus (Murphy) and Angela Graham’s (Berry) daughter as they attempt to step out of their parents’ shadows and make a legacy of their own.”

RC will keep you updated as this project continues to develop.

Thanks S&A

Photo Credit: TV Source Magazine

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UPDATE: Halle Berry + Lena Waithe to executive produce BET’s ‘Boomerang’ Series

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry and Emmy Award-winning writer and acclaimed actress Lena Waithe. The two of them are teaming up with BET for the new Boomerang series.

According to S&A, the project will not be a reboot as previously reported but a sequel to the iconic 1992 film that featured Berry along with Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens and Grace Jones.

The show will “follow the lives of Jacqueline Boyer’s (Givens) son and Marcus (Murphy) and Angela Graham’s (Berry) daughter as they attempt to step out of their parents’ shadows and make a legacy of their own.”

“This is less of a reboot and more of a continuation of the original story. There’s no point in trying to remake a classic,” she noted of the Reginald Hudlin directed film based on a story of commitment phobia by star Eddie Murphy. It can’t be done. So we want to create something fresh that speaks to a new generation. We hope people will come to the show with an open mind and ready to embrace the new world we’ve created!” said Waithe.

Waithe actually teased her involvement with the project over the weekend by posting the above image on social media with the caption, “You’re not getting serious on me are you?” It’s a line from the movie between Boyer and Gramham.

“I’m thrilled to team up with Lena on this project as she is without a doubt a leading voice of her generation and a trail blazer in her own right,” soon-to-be Bruiseddirector Berry said in a statement Monday. “I’m truly excited to be a part of bringing this iconic and beloved film to the small screen.”

No word yet on whether Givens or Murphy will make cameos in the project.

RC will keep you posted as this continues to develop.

Photo Credits: GLAAD and Lena Waithe/Instagram

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Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Judith Jamison & more to be honored at ‘Black Girls Rock’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Pop music legend Janet Jackson will receive the rock star award at this year’s Black Girls Rock awards. 

The Grammy winner will be honored as a “phenomenal woman in music,” organizers said Thursday. Jackson recently released “Made For Now,” her single with Daddy Yankee.

Oscar-nominated actress Queen Latifah will host the show, which will be taped Sunday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. BET Networks will air the special celebrating the accomplishments of black women on Sept. 9.

Other award recipients music icon Mary J. Blige, runway diva Naomi Campbell, dance legend Judith Jamison, accomplished screenwriter  Lena Waithe and #MeToo founder Tarana J. Burke.

Blige will receive the star power award. Campbell will be presented with the black girl magic award and Jamison will receive the living legend award for her work in dance and choreography. Waithe will pick up the shot caller award and Burke will be given the change agent award. 

CONGRATS Ladies!

Photo Credit: Black Girls Rock/Instagram

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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ stars attend L.A. Premiere [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“All the stars were closer” on Monday night for the mystical L.A. premiere of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. The lavish screening took place at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

The film’s stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Rowan Blanchard were joined by director Ava DuVernay for a walk down the blue carpet where they greeted enthusiastic fans and press. 

Mindy Kaling + Reese Witherspoon + Oprah Winfrey

Other special invited guests included Viola Davis, Rosario Dawson, Laura Dern, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, Kobe Bryant, America Ferrera, Tracee Ellis Ross, Janelle Monáe, Jay Hernandez, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, J.J. Abrams, Niki Caro, Ryan CooglerIssa Rae and many more. 

Ava DuVernay with Tracee Ellis Ross + Tessa Thompson

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, is an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic, which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Check out more photos below:

Winston Duke + Anthony AndersonYara Shahidi + Ava DuVernay

Tiffany Johnson + Lena Waithe

Emayatzy Corinealdi

Gugu Mbatha-Raw + Jim Whitaker

Omar Dorsey 

Lalah Hathaway

Dewanda Wise + Alano Miller 

Yvette Nicole Brown 

Chloe X Halle

Bellamy Young 

Angela Bassett + Slater Vance + Bronwyn Vance 

Ryan Coogler

Tarana Burke + Ava DuVernay

Timon Kyle Durrett

Kobe Bryant

Dre Terrell Whitfield + Dondre Whitfield + Parker Richardson Whitfield

Bridgid Coulter + Don Cheadle

Ava DuVernay + Issa Rae 

Aisha Hinds

Marsai Martin

Deric McCabe + Chris Pine + Storm Reid

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time arrives in

theaters on Friday, March 9.

Photo Credits: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

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#UPFRONT featuring the casts of ‘The Chi,’ ‘Black Lightning’ and ‘King Hedley II’ (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Check out Saturday’s edition of my radio program UPFRONT featuring the cast of Kenny Leon’s True Colors production of King Hedley II. The show is playing now through March 11 at the Southwest Arts Center and features Neal Ghant, Tonia Jackson, Eugene Russell IV, Tiffany Denise Hobbs, Eddie Bradley Jr. and The Quad‘s E. Roger Mitchell. King Hedley II is directed by Jamil Jude.

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) recently held its annual aTVfest and UPFRONT was there to capture some exclusive interviews with the cast of Showtime’s breakout series The Chi.

Yolonda Ross, Jacob Latimore and Tiffany Boone opened up about their roles, show creator Lena Waithe and much more.

Closing out the show were my interviews with the cast of CW’s new hit series Black Lightning. I got a chance to chat with actors Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, James Remar and show creator Salim Akil.

I also played some throwback sounds from Maxwell, Shirley Horn and Sara Devine throughout the show.

LISTEN NOW!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius