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Nat’l Center for Civil & Human Rights hosts Conversation with Ailey’s Judith Jamison [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Atlanta’s own National Center for Civil and Human Rights hosted an intimate conversation recently with dance icon and former artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre – Ms. Judith Jamison. The event was held in the main ballroom of the center and was moderated by CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield.

The conversation was in preparation for Ailey’s 60th Anniversary Tour which makes its stop at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre February 21-24. During the discussion, Ms. Jamison reminisced about meeting Mr. Ailey for the first time, the preparation for her iconic solo performance Cry and becoming the company’s fearless leader after Mr. Ailey passed away in 1989.

In addition to Ms. Jamison’s conversation, rising Ailey star Christopher R. Wilson conducted an afternoon workshop for youth performers. Wilson, who is from Augusta and was inspired to become a dancer after seeing Ailey at the Fox, will make his Atlanta debut there next month. I got a chance to chat with him for this weekend’s edition of UPFRONT where he talked about the moment he became a member of the company and his desire to pass along the rich cultural legacy of Mr. Ailey.

I also got a chance to sit down with Ms. Jamison for an upcoming Ailey 60 Special I’ll be producing for CAU-TV23’s Black History Month programming. It will also feature a segment with the Center’s Interim CEO Brian Tolleson, who discussed Mr. Ailey as a human rights activist and LGBTQ advocate.

Special invited guests to the conversation included Greenleaf actress Merle Dandridge, Beyond Her’s Brandi Harvey, former Ailey dancer Anthony Burrell, former Michael Jackson dancer and famed choreographer Travis Payne and dance sensation Juel D. Lane.

Check out more photos below:

Photo Credits: Ray Cornelius.com

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OWN’s ‘Greenleaf’ renewed for a Fourth Season (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to the cast of OWN’s hugely popular church drama Greenleaf. It has been renewed for a fourth season. The announcement comes as the acclaimed drama delivered a season high in its Wednesday time period last night with more than 2.3 million viewers and a 1.90 rating in the network’s key women 25-54 demo.

The series stars Merle Dandridge as Grace Greenleaf, Lynn Whitfield as Lady Mae Greenleaf, and Keith David as Bishop Greenleaf. Season three guest stars include the legendary Patti LaBelle as Maxine Patterson, Iyanla Vanzant appearing as herself, and Beau Bridges as Bob Whitmore.

Greenleaf is also the #1 telecast of the night for African American viewers across all of broadcast and cable. Year to date, OWN boasts five of the top 20 original scripted series on ad-supported cable among W25-54, more than any other network.

“‘Greenleaf’ is a cornerstone of our scripted programming slate and pulls in millions of viewers each week with its unique storylines and powerful characters,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. “We are very proud of this show, the incredible cast, producers and crew, and can’t wait for more twists and turns from the Greenleaf family in season four.”

Check out a sneak peek of what’s to come below:

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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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: RayCornelius.com

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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: YouTube.com

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Stars of ‘Power,’ ‘Greenleaf’ and more attend ‘Kimmie Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

All eyes were on the ATL last night as SHEEN Magazine hosted its annual “Kimmie Awards.” The gala was held at the beautiful Atlanta Marriott Marquis and was attended by some of our favorite TV, film and social media stars.

The “Kimmie Awards” are named after SHEEN‘s beloved publisher Miss Kimberly Chapman and recognizes talented individuals for their outstanding contributions to hair & beauty, business, law and entertainment.

A number of this year’s honorees were in attendance including Power actor Rotimi, Greenleaf actress Deborah Joy Winans, music mogul Dr. Mathew Knowles, Bring It dance coach Dianna Williams, health and fitness expert A.D. Dolphin, celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson and celebrity hairstylist Razor Chic.

Additional honorees included Empire actress Serayah, Sister Circle Live co-host Miss Quad Webb-Lunceford and Lethal Weapon actress Keesha Sharp. 

Other special invited guests who hit the red carpet included Greenleaf actress Merle DandridgeProject Runway contestant Terri Stevens, Swirl Film’s Keith Neal, Saints & Sinners star Keith Robinson, reality stars Genise Shelton and Dr. Ron Williamson and PPM Entertainment artist Jas. 

Check out all the red carpet images below:

ROTIMI

MERLE DANDRIDGE

A.D. DOLPHIN

DEBORAH JOY WINANS

KEITH NEAL 

DIANNA WILLIAMS 

GENISE SHELTON +DR. RON WILLIAMSON 

 SHEEN RED CARPET CORRESPONDENTS WITH DR. MATHEW KNOWLES

JAS

AJ CRIMSON

TERRI STEVENS 

RAZOR CHIC

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Snoop Dogg, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin and more attend ‘Stellar Gospel Music Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Gospel music’s biggest night was celebrated over the weekend at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. I’m talking about none other than the 2018 Stellar Gospel Music Awards. This year’s show was hosted by Grammy winning performer Kirk Franklin and will air this Good Friday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on TV One.

This year’s award’s ceremony opened with Stellar Awards alum Erica Campbell reuniting with her sister Tina Campbell as the hit gospel duo Mary Mary for the first time in more than six years. The show also included an all-star tribute to the late, great Edwin Hawkins, with his sister Lynette Hawkins accepting the Edwin Hawkins Icon Award in his honor. Also, a stand out moment featured the multi-platinum award-winning Snoop Dogg performing material from his new gospel album, “Bible of Love.”

The night also included performances by Kierra Sheard, Tori Kelly, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Anthony Brown, JJ Hairston, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds, Ricky Dillard, Todd Dulaney, Tasha Page Lockhart, KeKe Wyatt, Canton Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Koryn Hawthorne, Le’Andria Johnson and more. Special presenters included Donnie McClurkin, Merle DandridgeDavid MannAnika Noni Rose and more.

Top winners of the night were JJ Hairston winning six awards; Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Travis Greene each winning four awards; and Anthony Brown winning two awards.

Don Jackson bestowed special honors upon gospel greats who have made significant contributions to the genre. The incomparable Tamela Mann was the 2018 recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and the legendary Rev. Milton Biggham received The Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award.  Stellar Honors Hall of Fame Inductees includes Kurt Carr, Ben Tankard, and Dr. Marabeth Gentry – President of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

The 2018 Stellar Gospel Music Awards will air on March 30 at 9 p.m. on TV One.

Check out the red carpet & performance photos below:

KIRK FRANKLIN

VASHAWN MITCHELL

TASHA PAGE LOCKART

MARVIN SAPP

TASHA COBBS LEONARD 

JONATHAN MCREYNOLDS

LAURIEANN GIBSON

DEBORAH JOY WINANS + MERLE DANDRIDGE + DESIREE ROSS

CANTON JONES 

HEZEKIAH WALKER 

DEREK BLANKS 

KIERRA + J. DREW SHEARD

LE’ANDRIA JOHNSON 

DR. BOBBY JONES 

MARY MARY 

JOE JACKSON

BEN + JEWELL TANKARD 

JJ + TRINA HAIRSTON

TODD DULANEY + WIFE 

THE WALLS GROUP

ANIKA NONI ROSE 

KURT CARR

TRAVIS GREEN + WIFE 

BRYON CAGE 

ANTHONY BROWN

JONATHAN SLOCUMB

KIRK FRANKLIN + DAVID MANN

Photo Credits: Earl Gibson for Getty Images

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Tiffany Haddish, Idris Elba, Mary J. Blige, Jordan Peele & more win ‘NAACP Image Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The winners of the “49th NAACP Image Awards” in the non-televised categories were announced during a gala dinner celebration that took place on Sunday evening (January 14) at the Pasadena Conference Center. The event was hosted by The Real’s Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley.

Winners included Tiffany Haddish for her role in “Girls Trip,” “Insecure” star Jay Ellis, David and Tamela Mann for their reality series, “The Manns,” TV One’s “UNSUNG” for Outstanding News and Information and Roland Martin for Outstanding Host in Talk or News.

In addition to the nominees, a record number of other stars were in the building including “Queen Sugar” actors Dondre Whitfield and Tina Lifford, “Greenleaf” stars Lynn Whitfield, Keith David, Deborah Joy Winans and Merle Dandridge and the cast from “This Is Us” Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson and Lonnie Chavis. OWN star Iyanla Vanzant was also in attendance as well as The CHI’s Lena Waithe, R&B singers MAJOR. and Ledisi, jazz musician Damien Escobar, “Black Girls Rock” creator Beverly Bond, Gospel sensation Marvin Sapp, filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, “The New Edition Story” actors Wood McClain and Yvette Nicole Brown and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Winners in 47 categories were announced during the event while the remaining 9 categories +  Entertainer of the Year will be announced LIVE on stage during TONIGHT’s two-hour star-studded telecast at 9p.m.  The ceremony is hosted by “Black-Ish” star Anthony Anderson.

See the complete list of Non-Televised Categories below:

 

Television  

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Jay Ellis – “Insecure” (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Marsai Martin – “`black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Joe Morton – “Scandal” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Naturi Naughton – “Power” (Starz)

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited – Series or Dramatic Special

“The New Edition Story ” (BET)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special

Idris Elba – “Guerrilla” (Showtime)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited -Series or Dramatic Special

Queen Latifah – “Flint” (Lifetime)

Outstanding News/ Information – (Series or Special)

“Unsung” (TV One)

Outstanding Talk Series

“The Real” (Syndicated)

Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series

“The Manns” (TV One)

Outstanding Variety or Game Show – (Series or Special)

“Lip Sync Battle” (Spike)

Outstanding Children’s Program

“Doc McStuffins” (Disney Junior)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited Series)

Caleb McLaughlin – “Stranger Things” (Netflix)

Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

Roland Martin – “News One Now” (TV One)

Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

LL Cool J – “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike)

 

Recording 

Outstanding New Artist

SZA (RCA Records/Top Dawg Entertainment)

Outstanding Male Artist

Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Female Artist

Mary J. Blige (Capitol Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration

Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)

Outstanding Jazz Album

“Petite Afrique” – Somi (Sony Music/OKeh)

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album (Traditional or Contemporary)

“Greenleaf Soundtrack Volume 2” – Greenleaf Soundtrack (RCA Inspiration)

Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album

“That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Song – Traditional

“That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Album

“DAMN.” – Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)

Outstanding Song – Contemporary

“HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)

 

Literature

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction 

“The Annotated African American Folktales” – Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Editor),Maria Tatar (Editor), (Liveright Publishing Corporation)

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction

“Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies” – Dick Gregory (Author), (HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

“No One Is Coming to Save Us” – Stephanie Powell Watts (Author), (HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Autobiography

“Becoming Ms. Burton – From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women” – Susan Burton (Author), Cari Lynn (Author), Michelle Alexander (Foreword By), (The New Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

“The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting our Sacred Dreams ” – Dr. Tererai Trent (Author), Oprah Winfrey (Foreword By), (Simon and Schuster)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

“Incendiary Art: Poems” – Patricia Smith (Author), (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

“Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History ” – Vashti Harrison (Author), (Hachette Book Group)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth / Teens

“Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” – Rita Williams-Garcia, (Author), Frank Morrison (Illustrator), (Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers)

 

Motion Picture

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Idris Elba – “THOR: Ragnarok” (Marvel Studios)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

“Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

 

Documentary

Outstanding Documentary (Film)

“STEP” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Documentary (Television)

“The 44th President: In His Own Words” (History)

 

Writing

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

Janine Barrois – “Claws” – Batsh*t (TNT)

Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series

Gina Prince-Bythewood – “Shots Fired” – Hour One: Pilot (Fox)

Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special 

Abdul Williams – “The New Edition Story ” – Part 2 (BET)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture

Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

 

Directing

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series

Anton Cropper – “`black-ish” – Juneteenth (ABC)

Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series

Carl Franklin – “13 Reasons Why” – Tape 5, Side B (Netflix)

Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special

Allen Hughes – “The Defiant Ones” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture

Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

 

ANIMATED/CGI

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

Tiffany Haddish – “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” (Comedy Central)

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Greenleaf’s Merle Dandridge to star in ‘Once On This Island’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

“Greenleaf” actress Merle Dandridge is returning to her Broadway roots this fall in a new production of the Tony-winning musical, “Once On This Island.” The show play the Circle in the Square Theatre beginning with previews this November.

“Once On This Island” is being described as “a musical celebration that sweeps us across the sea to a small village-where, in the aftermath of a great storm, a joyous new life begins. It is the tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.”

According to BroadwayWorld, Dandridge will star alongside my fellow USF alumni Quentin Darrington, Alex Newell and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. The show also features former “American Idol” contestant and CAU alumnae, Loren Lott.

“Once On This Island” will be directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden and is choreographed by Camille A. Brown.

Dandridge has appeared on stage in several productions of “Aida,” “Rent,” “Tarzan,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”

Click here for tickets!

Photo Credits: BroadwayWorld.com and OnceOnThisIsland.com

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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: RayCornelius.com

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‘Greenleaf’ stars preview Season 2 at SCAD’s ‘aTVfest’ [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a sneak preview of the highly anticipated second season of OWN’s original series “Greenleaf” during SCAD’s “aTVfest.” The intimate viewing and panel discussion featured three of the shows stars—Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge and Keith David—along with the series creator Craig Wright, executive producer Clement Virgo and writer Erica L. Anderson.

“Greenleaf” was one of the hottest new shows of 2016 along with “Queen Sugar,” “Atlanta” and “Insecure.” It was #1 new cable series for women and average over three million viewers during its inaugural season. The one-hour series 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. The show also features the amazing talents of GregAlan Williams, Lamman Rucker, Deborah Joy Winans, Kim Hawthorne, Tye White, Desiree Ross, Terri J. Vaughn, Benjamin Patterson, Anna Diop and executive producer Oprah Winfrey. Even the show’s soundtrack features a bevy of gospel greats including the Queen herself, Shirley Caesar.

During the discussion, the actors talked about the overwhelming popularity of the show amongst faith-based viewers and how fans find each of their characters so relatable. Whitfield, who knows how to deliver a one-liner, talked about how protective she is of her “Lady Mae” and how understanding she is of her strengths and weaknesses. Dandridge, who enjoyed a fabulous career on Broadway before diving into TV and film, opened up about the challenges of being the show’s leading character. She also talked about the transformation she’s experienced and how much her perspectives on faith and spirituality have changed.  David also talked about how the show has affected his views on religion and the irony of playing a bishop considering he wanted to be a preacher when he was kid.

From the looks of the screener, the second season of “Greenleaf” is going to be just as dramatic and suspense filled as the first one. Jacob Greenleaf (Rucker) has ventured off to begin his new career with long-time rival church Triumph Ministries, breaking faith with his father, Bishop James Greenleaf (David) while his mother, Lady Mae Greenleaf  (Whitfield), struggles with his decision to abandon the family. Meanwhile, after exposing her Uncle Mac’s (Williams) crimes, but failing to bring him to justice, Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf (Dandridge) finds herself intrigued with someone new, Darius Nash (Rick Fox), a local journalist who’s been closely following the ongoing threats plaguing the Greenleaf empire. Winfrey also returns in her guest starring role as Mavis McCready, the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf and a close confidante to Grace Greenleaf.

Check out more photos below from the screening + the trailer for season 2:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Greenleaf’s GregAlan Williams & Lovie Simone promoted to series regulars in Season 2

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to “Greenleaf” stars GregAlan Williams & Lovie Simone! The two have been upgraded to series regulars for Season 2 of the show. Williams plays “Robert ‘Mac’ McCready,” the brother of Bishop James Greenleaf’s wife, Lady Mae and former chief counsel at Calvary Fellowship World Ministries whose life has been blown up by his involvement in a sex abuse scandal at the church.

Simone plays “Zora Greenleaf,” the spirited daughter of Jacob and Kerissa Greenleaf and her cousin Sophia’s best friend. Unlike her cousin, Zora is always pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable in the church and the family, which makes her a constant source of both joy and concern.

“Greenleaf” centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge) who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith (Terri Abney). As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis megachurch run by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family’s outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds.

According to Nielsen, “Greenleaf” was the summer’s #1 new cable series among women and total viewers and the summer’s #1 new series on all of TV across all key African-American demos.

Season 2 of “Greenleaf” is currently being shot in Atlanta, GA.

Photo Credits: OWN

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Oprah Winfrey hosts L.A. Premiere of OWN’s ‘Greenleaf’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by  | Ray Cornelius

The cast of OWN’s highly anticipated new series “Greenleaf” attended a special advanced screening last night at The Lot in West Hollywood.

The family megachurch series, which features Oprah Winfrey’s first recurring scripted television role in two decades, 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. After the screening, Oprah gave welcoming remarks and invited guests to join her at the Memphis BBQ reception that followed.

Oprah Winfrey at OWN Los Angeles Premiere of Greenleaf_PhotoCredit_GettyImages_Mark Davis MWD10460_r1Attendees included Winfrey, who stars as Mavis McCready and serves as one of the show’s executive producers, along with “Greenleaf” cast members Merle Dandridge (Grace Greenleaf), Keith David (Bishop James Greenleaf), Lynn Whitfield (Lady Mae Greenleaf), Kim Hawthorne (Kerissa Greenleaf), Lamman Rucker (Jacob Greenleaf), Tye White (Kevin Satterlee), Deborah Joy Winans (Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee), Desiree Ross (Sophia Greenleaf),GregAlan Williams (“Mac McCready”), Benjamin Patterson (“Noah Kendall”), Kristin Erickson (“Alexa”), Anna Diop (“Isabel”), Terri Abney (“Faith Greenleaf”), Zachary S. Williams (“William”), Jason Dirden (“Bassie Skanks”), Deji LaRay (“David Nelson”), plus Craig Wright (Executive Producer/Creator), Clement Virgo (Executive Producer/Director), Erik Logan (President, OWN), Kevin Beggs (Chairman, Lionsgate Television), and Sandra Stern (President, Lionsgate Television Group).  Additional attendees include Niecy Nash (Scream Queens), David Oyelowo (Selma) and more.

“Greenleaf” will launch with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.  The series will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

Check out the making of the “Greenleaf” theme below featuring “the first lady of gospel music,” Shirley Caesar:

Photo Credits: Mark Davis/Getty Images and Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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WATCH New Extended Trailer for OWN’s ‘Greenleaf’ (VIDEO)

Posted by  | Ray Cornelius

Family secrets, adultery, mayhem and more are revealed in a brand new extended trailer for Oprah Winfrey‘s highly anticipated mega-church drama “Greenleaf.”  The new one-hour series, which debuts next month, features Winfrey as well as Lynn Whitfield, Keith David, Lamman Rucker, Deborah Joy WinansMerle Dandridge, Kim Hawthorne, Tye White and more.

As previously reported, “Greenleaf” centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge) who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith. As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis megachurch run by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family’s outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds.

“Greenleaf” premieres two-nights: Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season. “Greenleaf” is produced for OWN by Lionsgate Television.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: OWN.com

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The Cast of OWN’S ‘Greenleaf’ attends NYC Premiere [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

On Wednesday (April 20), OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network gave a small group of New York press a first look of its new mega-church drama series “Greenleaf” at a private luncheon at the Roxy Hotel.

Executive producers Oprah Winfrey, Craig Wright (“Lost,” “Six Feet Under”) and Clement Virgo (“The Book of Negroes”) were on hand to share insight on the show during the post-screening Q&A along with cast members Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Lamman Rucker, Kim Hawthorne, Tye White and writer/story editor Erica Anderson.

Oprah Winfrey (2)

Oprah Winfrey

“Greenleaf” centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge, “The Night Shift”) who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith. As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis megachurch run by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David, “Enlisted” and “Community”) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield, “The Josephine Baker Story”), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family’s outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds.

Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield and Keith David

Merle Dandridge with Lynn Whitfield and Keith David

“Greenleaf” premieres two-nights: Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season. “Greenleaf” is produced for OWN by Lionsgate Television.

Click here for a sneak peek and check out more photos below:

Saptosa Foster, Oprah Winfrey and Shante Bacon.jpg

Oprah Winfrey with 135th Street’s Saptosa Foster and Shante Bacon

Lamman Rucker and Keith David

Lamman Rucker and Keith David

Tai Beauchamp,Shante Bacon, Saptosa Foster, Marvet Britto and Lola Ogunnaike

Tai Beauchamp, Shante Bacon, Saptosa Foster,

Marvet Britto and Lola Ogunnaike

Tye White

Tye White 

Lynn Whitfield and Keith David

Lynn Whitfield and Keith David

Kim Hawthorne

Kim Hawthorne

Photo Credits: Bernard Small for OWN