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UPDATE: ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ is coming to Broadway in 2020

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Producers for the highly anticipated Michael Jackson musical, now titled Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, have announced that before the show opens on Broadway in 2020, it will premiere in the windy city this fall.

According to Playbill, the musical will debut at Chicago’s famed James M. Nederlander Theatre beginning October 29.

As previously reported, the MJ Estate and Columbia Live Stage have developed the show that is inspired by the late entertainer’s career. Don’t Stop will focus on Jackson during his 20s and 30s and is written by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage.

The show is also said to include many of Jackson’s classic songs like “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “Beat It.”  Tony Winner Christoper Wheeldon is directing and choreographing the production.

This show is not to be confused with Quincy Jones’ Michael Jackson musical that he is currently working on with Michael’s brother Jermaine Jackson.

RC will continue to keep you posted on both shows.

Photo Credit: DontStoponBroadway.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music

‘Michael Jackson Musical’ coming to Broadway in 2020

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“Mamasay mamasa mamakusa…”

The legacy of the King of Pop—Michael Jackson—will come to life in a brand new Broadway musical in 2020.

According to VARIETY, the MJ Estate and Columbia Live Stage are developing a show inspired by the late entertainer’s career. The untitled project will be written by Lynn Nottage, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, whose works include Intimate Apparel and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.

The show will also include many of Jackson’s classic songs including “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Beat It,” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”  Tony Winner Christoper Wheeldon will direct and choreograph the production.

In January, we reported that MJ’s long-time collaborator Quincy Jones was teaming up with Jermaine Jackson for a musical about Michael. He reportedly has been in meetings with Jermaine and wanted to cast his 21-year-old son in the lead role. Jones also wants Julie Taymore of Lion King fame to direct the show.

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

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent Recap

Kenny Leon, Kim Hawthorne & more attend Alvin Ailey at ATL’s Fox Theatre [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure of attending the Thursday night performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at Atlanta’s fabulous Fox Theatre.  The show began at 8 p.m. but yours truly attended a private pre-show reception at 6:30 p.m. featuring the company’s Artistic Director, Robert Battle.

Robert Battle

Other notables at the reception included my other Ailey Circle members – UPSCALE’s Satchel Jester and Sister Circle Live co-host Rashana Ali. Tony winning director and Atlanta icon Kenny Leon was also present along with Greenleaf actress Kim Hawthorne and WSB-TV personality Jovita Moore, who served as this year’s host.

Imara Canady + Jacquee Minor + Toby Johnson + Ray Cornelius

Thursday’s performance included “Episodes” with Clifton Brown, “Cry” featuring Linda Celeste Sims, Twyla Tharp‘s “The Golden Section” and of course the iconic “Revelations.” I also got a chance to meet Michael Jackson, the company dancer who appears on Ailey’s 2018 season poster. Check out my UPFRONT interview with him from January.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has three more shows this weekend: a 2pm and an 8pm performance tonight and a 2pm performance on Sunday.

Click here to get your tickets!

Kim Hawthorne + Rashana Ali

Satchel Jester + Larry Lyles 

Jovita Moore 

Robert Battle + Kim Hawthorne

Ray Cornelius + Michael Jackson

Photo Credits: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre + RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent Renegade

Quincy Jones talks biopic, Michael Jackson Musical and more with GQ

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Music legend—Quincy Jones—revealed in a recent interview with GQ that he is working on several projects for his forthcoming 85 birthday including a Netflix documentary, a ten-part TV biopic that he hopes will star Donald Glover (I can see that), and a star-studded TV special that will be hosted by Oprah Winfrey.  The 84-year-old entertainment icon is keeping busy these days with no plans of retiring…ever!

“They be thinking I’m 84 and retired and all that shit. They wrong, man. Oh baby! I am never retiring!”

Jones also goes on to say that he working with Jermaine Jackson on a Broadway musical about the late King of Pop—Michael Jackson.

“Jermaine was here last week with his 21-year-old son, and I want to do a Broadway show with him on Michael. Julie Taymor to direct—that’s my baby, biggest in history, Lion King. And use Jermaine’s son, who sings and dances just like Michael.”

In addition to the new projects, Jones talks very candidly about his relationship with other Hollywood greats such as Frank Sinatra, Prince, Marlon Brando, Tupac Shakur and his buddy Ray Charles.

It is a must read!

Photo Credit: GQ.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent RC Exclusive - Music Recap Renegade Rising - Ent

UPFRONT feat. The Elite Firm + Alvin Ailey’s Michael Jackson (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out this past weekend’s edition of UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. It features attorneys Merissa Grayson and Demetria Graves of The Elite Firm. It is the first-female led full service law and crisis management firm with a unique focus on African-American entertainers, professional athletes and high profile influencers. The ladies open up about the misuse of social media and weigh in on such hot topics as the #MeToo Movement and Equal Pay in Hollywood.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is coming to Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox next month and principal dancer Michael Jackson gives us a preview of what fans can expect. He also talks about appearing on this season’s official Ailey poster (featured picture above) and much more.

UPFRONT teamed up with CAU-TV recently for the “26th Annual Bounce Trumpet Awards.” Yours truly was on the red carpet and got a chance to chat with this year’s honorees and Trumpet Awards creator Ms. Xernona Clayton. I also played music from Grammy winners Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride and more.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Photo Credit: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

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Recap

#UPFRONT featuring Nadej Bailey, Lil Dee Dee, Neko Parham & Lil’ John Roberts

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Don’t forget to check out this week’s edition of “UPFRONT” Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. I got a chance to chat with child stars Nadej Bailey and Lil Dee Dee and their acting coach + accomplish TV and film actor Neko Parham.

#UPFRONT continues to celebrate Black Music Month with drummer extraordinaire Lil’ John Roberts. He opens up about his amazing career and working with such musical icons as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Duke, Yolanda Adams and many more.

Ray Cornelius with Nadej Bailey, Neko Parham and Lil Dee Dee

#UPFRONT Inside Atlanta Entertainment Industry is 30-minute radio magazine that features one-on-one interviews with all of the major players and behind-the-scenes superstars that make Atlanta the “Entertainment Capital of the South.” It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and his hosted by yours truly, Ray Cornelius.

Click here to check out past shows and see more pics below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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‘Iyanla Fix My Life’ returns to OWN’s Saturday Night Lineup 4/15 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

NAACP Image Award winner “Iyanla Fix My Life” is back and will premiere next month (April 15th) on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The series, which is hosted by the NYT Best Selling Author and Spiritual Life Coach Iyanla Vanzant, is part of the network’s new Saturday evening lineup.

In a two-part season premiere, Iyanla travels to Atlanta to visit former reality stars Neffeteria “Neffe” Pugh and Shelby “Soullow” Lowery, who are now living in a hotel on the brink of divorce. Overwhelmed by financial obligations, his troubled marriage and recovering from a heart attack, Iyanla helps Shelby find the courage to confront Neffe about her alcohol abuse and combative ways in hopes of building a solid future for their family.

In another episode, Iyanla also visits the former front-man of R&B group 3T and nephew of the late pop superstar Michael Jackson, Taryll Jackson, to uncover the issues that lurk beneath the surface of his failing relationship with the mother of his children and girlfriend of 10 years.

Continuing to focus on relationships, Iyanla also invites four married “couples in crisis” to the “House of Healing” for explosive three-part episode. Having dealt with infidelity, communication breakdown and on the brink of a break up, Iyanla works to help guide each couple as they struggle to heal their broken hearts and regain peace from their broken pieces.

Later in the season, former “Basketball Wives” star Laura Govan comes to Iyanla for healing. Laura believes that her ex-fiancé is targeting her on social media, and has even accused him of sleeping with her sister, Gloria. Iyanla works to help Laura strengthen her relationship with her parents and make sense of her life before it’s too late.

In an emotional season finale, Iyanla brings together six survivors of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Each have been suffering in distinctly different ways since surviving the shooting. With no “fix,” Iyanla will explore this painful memory so that each person can hopefully heal and begin to move forward, so that we can all learn from this tragedy.

Check out the explosive sneak peek below:

Photo Credit: OWN

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Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair: Top 10 Black Hairstyles of All Time [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Hi-Top Fades, Afros, the Jheri Curl and Hair Weaves are just a few of the iconic hairstyles worn by African-Americans throughout the decades.  To commemorate Black History Month, I have compiled a list of what I think are the Top Ten Most Influential Black Hairstyles of all Time. I had a little help from my sister in media Rose Scott (WABE 90.1). Keep in mind, these hairstyles were worn by some of the biggest names in entertainment and have often been emulated by fans and foes around the world.  Check them out below:

10. CORNROWS

D’Angelo’s CORNROWS are as much a part of his “je ne sais quoi” as his falsetto vocals. The Grammy winning singer-songwriter was one of the first R&B hearthrobs to rock the look consistently in the 90s. Other famous cornrows include the late dancer and actor Gene Anthony Ray of Fame, hip hop stars Ludacris and Bow Wow and R&B singer Trey Songz.

9. DREADLOCKS

Nobody wore DREADLOCKS in the 1980s like Whoopi Goldberg! The Oscar winning actress, stand-up comedienne and talk show host was (in my humble opinion) the first Black female superstar to bring the look to the mainstream and wore them as a sense of pride. She even defended the twisted look in 2015 when E!‘s Juliana Rancic made a negative comment about the faux locs Zendeya wore to the Oscars. Other celebrities to rock the locks include Bob Marley, Lenny Kravitz, Lauryn Hill and Toni Morrison.

8. THE AFRO

Nothing symbolizes Black folks like the AFRO. BIG and bold is exactly how they are to be worn and that’s how Angela Davis rocked her’s back-in-the-day. Afros were also synonymous with the Black Power Movement and remains to be the most iconic look of the 1970s. Other famous AFROS include Pam Grier and Soul Train’s Don Cornelius 

7. BRAIDS

Box, Two-Strand, Dookie and Micros are just a few of the names associated with BRAIDS. The ethnic look has been apart of our history for as long as I can remember. Former editor-in-chief of ESSENCE Magazine, Susan L. Taylor, R&B singer and actress Brandy Norwood and box office bombshell Bo Derek (Remember this scene from the movie “10” ?) are the celebrities I immediately think of when it comes to this iconic style.

6. THE LACEFRONT WIG

No one can anchor a LACE FRONT WIG like the drag superstar RuPaul. The 6′ 4″ glamazon has been wearing the custom-made hair pieces since his early days as a “club kid” in the streets of New York City and definitely long before Tyra Banks and Beyoncé made them popular in the mid 2000’s. #NOTeaNOShade

5. HI-TOP FADE

Kid ‘n Play will forever be remember for their outlandish lyrics, colorful attire and legendary hairstyles. Kid’s HI-TOP FADE became a symbol of the Hip Hop generation and was worn by every little Black boy in cities around the U.S.  Beloved singer, actress and model Grace Jones was one of the first female superstars to boldy wear her fade and redefined hair options for women. It was definitely a gender neutral look that reeked of power and precision.

4. FINGERWAVES

Josephine Baker was the toast of Paris during the 1920s and was always photographed in diamonds and furs or sometimes nothing at all. But what remained consistent about her appearance were her signature curls and FINGER WAVES. It is a hairstyle that is actually quite simple but requires the right length and texture of hair + the pinning of the curls to make you look as fabulous as La Baker.  Tres magnifique!

3. THE JHERI CURL

THE CURL revolutionized Black hair all around the world and partly due to the popularity of one man – THE KING OF POP – MICHAEL JACKSON. Complete with “baby hair” and all, MJ had everyone running to the salons requesting a curl. It also morph into a number of other names including The Jheri Curl, The Carefree Curl, The California Curl and The Leisure Curl.

2. THE BALD HEAD

While not much hair is needed for a BALD HEAD, the look became an emblem of power and pride. Superstars like Michael Jordan, Isaac Hayes, Montell Williams and so many others wore the quick and cool style and not because they were losing hair either!

 1.THE HAIR WEAVE

THE HAIR WEAVE is the most popular Black hairstyle of all time (hands down). It totally revolutionized the hair and beauty industry back in the late 70s and early 80s and has become a million business, with human hair being traded around the world daily. No one and I mean NO ONE, symbolized the look more than Motown legend DIANA ROSS. Her flowy, mane of locs has been replicated in magazines, music videos, films, books, dolls and on runways around the world for decades now. Her iconic concert in New York’s Central Park in July of 1983 put the weave to the test when she performed with hers “in the wind and the rain.” The fabulous Miss Ross didn’t let the elements stop her and the rest as they say is hairstory!

Tell us your thoughts?!?!

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RC Exclusive - Music

Lifetime to produce a biopic about King of Pop—Michael Jackson

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The final years of Michael Jackson‘s life will be retold in an upcoming Lifetime biopic tentatively titled “Searching for Neverland. ” The made-for-television movie is reportedly based on the accounts of Jackson’s two personal bodyguards—Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard and follows their 2014 book, Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in his Final Days.

According to Rolling Stone, the movie will give fans a behind-the-scenes view of what it took for Whitfield and Beard to protect Michael and his family even as the King of Pop moved from city to city in the aftermath of his 2005 sexual abuse charges. The bodyguards remained Jackson employees until the time of his death in 2009.  The coveted role of Jackson will also be portrayed by world renowned impersonator Navi and will also feature “The Walking Dead” actor Chad L. Coleman as Whitfield.

The movie is currently in pre-production and will begin shooting next month.

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

Photo Credit: IMDB.com

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RC Exclusive - Music

Patti Austin talks music, politics and more with WCLK + ‘Mannequin Challenge’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Music legend Patti Austin stopped by the Jazz 91.9 WCLK studios this week to discuss her upcoming engagement at the Cobb Energy Centre with Spyro Gyra. While there she also dished about American politics and gave her “open and honest” opinion about our new President Elect, Donald Trump. She also took photos with many of the station’s personalities like Morris Baxter, Mark Angel, RivaBlue and Kiplyn Primus. Miss Patti even participated in the station’s #mannequinchallenge…well sorta!  Click here for the full interview and check out the photos and video below:

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Patti Austin

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Patti Austin has performed w/such greats as Quincy Jones & Michael Jackson

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Patti Austin with Jamal Ahmad 

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Patti Austin with Kiplyn Primus 

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Patti Austin with Morris Baxter from “Morris in the Morning”

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Patti Austin with Ray Cornelius

 

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RC Exclusive - Music

Rihanna to receive the ‘Michael Jackson Vanguard Award’ at VMAs

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to pop superstar and fashion icon Rihanna. She will be receiving the coveted “Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award” at this year’s VMAs. According to the press release, the 28-year-old entertainer is being honored for her decade-long impact on music, pop culture, fashion, film and philanthropy. Rihanna will also perform during the ceremony LIVE from New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on Sunday, August 28 at 9:00 PM ET.

Rihanna is a two-time VMA “Video of the Year” winner and the youngest solo artist to score 14 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100—the fastest to do so, Rihanna’s unparalleled output of hits have spawned some of today’s most memorable music videos from “Umbrella” to “We Found Love,” “Diamonds” and her most recent collaboration with Drake on “Work.”

Past recipients of this award have gone to Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Guns N’ Roses, Beastie Boys, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, BEYONCÉ and Kanye West.

In addition to this, she has just been cast in an all-female version of “Ocean’s 8” along with acting heavyweights Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett. Her song, “Sledgehammer” was featured on the soundtrack of the recent “Star Trek Beyond.”

Click here to see this year’s VMA nominees and stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Instagram/Rihanna

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RC Exclusive - Music

WATCH Usher sing and dance with Diana Ross (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Can you say Déjà vu!

Watch Usher as he sings and dances with music legend Diana Ross at her Hollywood Bowl Concert over the weekend. Miss Ross was singing her R&B hit “Upside Down” and asked her son Evan Ross to join her on stage. He also brought up one of her former dancers, Adam. After Adam performed, Evan noticed that Usher was sitting in the audience and told is mom. She invited the reigning king of pop and R&B to come up on stage and the two commenced to performing much to the audience’s delight.  As soon as I saw the video, I immediately thought about Miss Ross’ 1981 L.A. Forum concert where she invited a very young Michael Jackson to come on stage and perform the very same song with her. Check out the two videos below.

WOW! #historyrepeatingitself

https://youtu.be/RFAOfcDDRyU

 

Photo Credit: Instagram

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RC Exclusive - Music

Mike Phillips salutes Prince, AKA’s and more at WCLK’s Wednesday Wind Down [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Hidden Beach Recording artist Mike Phillips performed last night in Atlanta as part of the city’s famed Wednesday WindDown Summer Concert Series. The saxophonist was there on behalf of Jazz 91.9 WCLK, Atlanta’s jazz station and wore pink in honor of the AKA’s 67th Boule.

Wednesday WindDown is a free music series the takes place every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in historic Centennial Olympic Park. It is sponsored by various radio stations and takes place April through September.

Phillips is a world renowned jazz artist that has played everywhere from The White House to the Montreux Jazz Festival. He is best known for his work on Hidden Beach’s hugely popular “UnWrapped Series,” where contemporary jazz musicians play instrumental versions of rap/hip-hop hits.

Phillips is also the only musician in the world to record and perform with R&B’s “Big Three”—Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder. He dedicated his show to them and their influence over his musical career.  Wednesday WindDown was hosted by WCLK announcers Morris Baxter and Debb Moore.

Check out a few images I captured below:

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Morris Baxter is the host of WCLK’s “Morning Jazz”

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WCLK’s Mark Angel had the crowd moving to old school R&B and Funk

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WCLK’s Debb Moore is the host of “Serenade to the City” and “Sunday Jazz Suite”

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Moore encouraging the audience to register to vote in the upcoming elections

AND NOW…Mike Phillips!!

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Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

‘Motown The Musical’ returns to Broadway for 18-week engagement (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congratulations to Broadway actors Chester Gregory and Allison Semmes. The dynamic duo will play the leads in the summer return of “Motown The Musical.” Gregory will play the company’s founder Berry Gordy while Semmes will play the “Queen of Motown” Diana Ross beginning this Tuesday, July 12 at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City.

Motown feature

Berry Gordy and Chester Gregory (Photo Credit: Monica Simoes)

“Motown The Musical” tells the true story behind the beat that changed minds, touched lives and made history. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations — MOTOWN THE MUSICAL shows how these legendary artists and so many more created the soundtrack that transformed America. The show also includes over 40 classic songs including “My Girl,” “What’s Going On,” “Dancing in the Street,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

semmes as diana

Allison Semmes as Diana Ross & The Supremes (Photo Credit; TheFabEmpire.com)

I had a chance to see the show at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre last August and was blown away by Semmes portrayal of Ross. Her rendition of the classic anthem “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” is one of the show’s highlights because she actually leaves the stage and comes into the audience like Ross did back in the day.

“Aside from being a wonderful friend, she [Allison Semmes] is an incredible talent in multiple disciplines,” says Gregory about Semmes to Broadway Direct. “I get a chance to play with her and share the stage, and we get a chance to share our chemistry with the audience every single night.”

“There was also a kind of mutual talent crush that was happening there. I’m such a fan of his [Chester Gregory] work, and he tells me the same. There’s definitely a respect in our work as well,” says Semmes about Gregory.

Click here to purchase tickets and check out a “Motown The Musical” trailer below: