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‘THINK: A Tribute to the Queen of Soul’ on display at Detroit Museum

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Fans of the late Aretha Franklin are in for a treat. Detroit’s famed Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is presenting a new exhibition about the iconic singer titled THINK:  A Tribute to the Queen of Soul. It opens to the public this coming Tuesday, September 25.

THINK takes an intimate look at the life and times of the incomparable Miss Franklin. Visitors will get to see photos, watch video and hear songs that presents her life as a musical artist, civil rights activist, fashion icon, and more. The exhibit even features those now famous crimson pumps that Franklin wore during the public viewing of her body last month at the museum. Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 16 at the age of 76.

“This is an opportunity for people to come back and engage, reminisce and reflect. It’s the beginning of a much longer expression of who Aretha is,” says Wright Museum board member Kelly Major Green to Detroit Free Press.

Click here for more information.

Photo Credit: TheWright.org

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RC Exclusive - Music Respect

Regina Belle talks ‘UNSUNG,’ Music and More! (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Grammy Award-winning songstress Regina Belle is the subject of Sunday night’s new episode of TV One’s UNSUNG. The accomplished singer-songwriter and overall music diva opens up about her greatest accomplishments as well as some hurdles that could have totally altered her life and career. However, Belle was able to move past her obstacles and continues to mesmerize audiences today with her undeniable talent and showmanship.

I interviewed her earlier this week for the “Black Music Month” segment of UPFRONT and had way too much fun. She took me down memory lane as she revealed the backstories to some of her most beloved songs: “All I Want is Forever,” “A Whole New World,” “If I Could” and her remake of the Phyllis Hyman classic, “You Know How to Love Me.”

Check out our full conversation below:

UNSUNG featuring Regina Belle airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. on TV One.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, Issa Rae, Donald Glover and more up for ‘BET Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Nominations for the BET Awards were announced this week and a number of our favorite music, TV and film stars are up for awards.

In music, DJ Khaled leads the pack with with six nominations including ‘Video of the Year,’ two for ‘Best Collaboration,’ with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller for ‘Wild Thoughts,’ and with Jay-Z, Future and Beyoncé for ‘Top Off,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice.’  Pulitzer Prize winning hip hop star Kendrick Lamar earned five nods including ‘Best Collaboration,’ with Rihanna for ‘Loyalty.,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice.’

In TV and film, Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae, Taraji P. Henson, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright are competing for the ‘Best Actress Award.’ Holding it down for the ‘Best Actor Award’ category is Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown, Denzel Washington and Daniel Kaluuya.  Damn, that’s gonna be a tough one!

Check out the complete list of nominees below and don’t forget to tune into the BET Awards on Sunday, June 24.

Best Female R&B / Pop Artist Award

BEYONCÉ
SZA
H.E.R.
RIHANNA
KEHLANI

Best Male R&B / Pop Artist Award
BRUNO MARS
CHRIS BROWN
THE WEEKND
KHALID
DANIEL CAESAR

Best Group Award
MIGOS
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
N.E.R.D.

RAE SREMMURD
CHLOE X HALLE

Best Collaboration Award
BRUNO MARS FEAT. CARDI B                                                     FINESSE (REMIX)
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                       WILD THOUGHTS
DJ KHALED FEAT. JAY-Z, FUTURE &BEYONCÉ                         TOP OFF
CARDI B FEAT. 21 SAVAGE                                                          BARTIER CARDI
FRENCH MONTANA FEAT. SWAE LEE                                        UNFORGETTABLE
KENDRICK LAMAR FEAT. RIHANNA                                            LOYALTY.

Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award
DRAKE
KENDRICK LAMAR
DJ KHALED
JAY-Z
J. COLE

Best Female Hip Hop Artist Award
CARDI B
NICKI MINAJ
REMY MA
DEJ LOAF
RAPSODY

Video of the Year Award
DRAKE                                                                                          GOD’S PLAN
CARDI B                                                                                        BODAK YELLOW
BRUNO MARS FEAT. CARDI B                                                    FINESSE (REMIX)
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                      WILD THOUGHTS
KENDRICK LAMAR                                                                      HUMBLE.
MIGOS FEAT. DRAKE                                                                  WALK IT TALK IT

Video Director of the Year Award
BENNY BOOM
DIRECTOR X
AVA DUVERNAY
CHRIS BROWN
DAVE MEYERS

Best New Artist Award
SZA
H.E.R.
DANIEL CAESAR
GOLDLINK
A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
LECRAE FEAT. TORI KELLY                                                       I’LL FIND YOU
SNOOP DOGG FEAT. B SLADE                                                 WORDS ARE FEW
LEDISI & KIRK FRANKLIN                                                          IF YOU DON’T MIND
MARVIN SAPP                                                                             CLOSE
TASHA COBBS LEONARD FEAT. NICKI MINAJ                         I’M GETTING READY

The Best International Act Award

BOOBA (FRANCE)

CASSPER NYOVEST (SA)

DADJU(FRANCE)

DAVIDO(NIGERIA)

DISTRUCTION BOYZ (SA)

FALLY IPUPA (DR CONGO)

J HUS (UK)

NISKA (FRANCE)

TIWA SAVAGE (NIGERIA)

STEFFLON DON (UK)

STORMZY (UK)

Best Actress Award

TIFFANY HADDISH
LUPITA NYONG’O
ISSA RAE
ANGELA BASSETT
LETITIA WRIGHT
TARAJI P. HENSON

Best Actor Award         
CHADWICK BOSEMAN
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
DONALD GLOVER
STERLING K. BROWN
DENZEL WASHINGTON
DANIEL KALUUYA

Young Stars Award
YARA SHAHIDI
ASHTON TYLER
CALEB MCLAUGHLIN
LONNIE CHAVIS
MARSAI MARTIN
MILES BROWN

Best Movie Award
BLACK PANTHER
GIRLS TRIP
A WRINKLE IN TIME
DETROIT
MUDBOUND

Sportswoman of the Year Award
SERENA WILLIAMS
VENUS WILLIAMS
SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH
CANDACE PARKER
ELANA MEYERS TAYLOR

Sportsman of the Year Award    
STEPHEN CURRY

LEBRON JAMES
KEVIN DURANT
DWYANE WADE
ODELL BECKHAM JR.

Album of the Year Award
DAMN.                                                                 KENDRICK LAMAR
CTRL                                                                    SZA
4:44                                                                      JAY-Z
CULTURE II                                                         MIGOS
BLACK PANTHER: THE ALBUM                         KENDRICK LAMAR & VARIOUS ARTISTS
GRATEFUL                                                           DJ KHALED

BET Her Award
JANELLE MONAÉ                                                DJANGO JANE
LIZZO                                                                    WATER ME
MARY J. BLIGE                                                    STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
REMY MA FEAT. CHRIS BROWN                        MELANIN MAGIC (PRETTY BROWN)
CHLOE X HALLE                                                  THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
LEIKELI47                                                             2ND FIDDLE

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
SZA FEAT. TRAVIS SCOTT                                                           LOVE GALORE
CARDI B                                                                                        BODAK YELLOW
KENDRICK LAMAR                                                                      HUMBLE.
DRAKE                                                                                          GOD’S PLAN
MIGOS FEAT. CARDI B & NICKI MINAJ                                      MOTORSPORT
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                      WILD THOUGHTS

Photo Credit: BET.com

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Rihanna for VOGUE’s June Issue [PHOTOS]

Posted by  | Ray Cornelius

Music and fashion icon—RIHANNA—is the latest celeb to grace the cover of VOGUE Magazine. The singer and budding actress opens up about life after turning the big 3-0 and her new business ventures Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty. She also talks about losing her cousin to gun violence and how she will be a mother.

“I’m not gonna be able to take my eyes off my kid. I know that already about myself,” she says. “They’re going to have to force me to hire a nanny.”

Check out a few more photos and excepts from the interview below:

On finding personal time: “Even mentally, just to be away from my phone, to be in the moment, that has been key for my growth,” she says. “Now, when I come to work, I’m all in. Because before you know it, the years will go by. I’m glad I’m taking the time. I’m happy.”

On loving herself and her new body: “You’ve just got to laugh at yourself, honestly. I mean, I know when I’m having a fat day and when I’ve lost weight. I accept all of the bodies,” she says, shrugging her shoulders. “I’m not built like a Victoria’s Secret girl, and I still feel very beautiful and confident in my lingerie.”

On being a role model too early: “That title was put on me when I was just finding my way, making mistakes in front of the world. I didn’t think it was fair,” she says. “Now I understand the concept, but at that time I was the same age as the girls who were looking up to me. And that’s a really hard place to be in as a teenager.”

Click here to read the entire interview!

Photo Credits: VOGUE

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Bobby Brown, Angie Stone, Bern Nadette Stanis and more attend ‘Black Experience & Expo’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out a few photos from Saturday’s Black Experience and Expo. It featured music superstar Bobby Brown, R&B diva Angie Stone and TV icon and Good Times actress Bern Nadette Stanis and more.

Bobby Brown + Casual Cal

Brown was there in support of his new Bobby Brown Foods, which features a line of spices including the Boston Blend and his Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauces. He was also there to promote his upcoming BET mini-series The Bobby Brown Story. He even participated in a cooking demonstration where he talked about his love for food and cooking for friends and family.

Angie Stone

Stone introduced her new musical protégés including an all-girl-group and her rapper son – Michael Archer Jr. The Grammy nominated performer also revealed that she is currently working on a few TV projects and talked about her recurring role on Bounce TV’s Saints and Sinners. Look for my exclusive interview with her on a future edition of my radio show—UPFRONT.

Bern Nadette Stanis

Stanis still knows how to get a crowd going with her stunning good looks and ageless beauty. She talked about playing “Thelma” on Good Times and her most recent role on Black Jesus. She also talked about her book, The Last Night: A Caregiver’s Journey Through Transition and Beyond which chronicles her role as a caregiver for her mother who suffered and died from Alzheimer’s Disease. 

The Black Experience and Expo is billed as the nation’s  largest consumer show targeting African Americans. It continues today at the Georgia International Convention Center from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m. Click here for tickets.

See more photos below:

The Bobby Brown Story actors

Mike Merrill + David Busby Simeon Daise + Al Teron Williams 

Bobby Brown Foods Cooking Demonstration Tray

Angie Stone

Bobby Brown + Casual Cal + Chef

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Watch Trailer for ‘Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The “original” Queen of Shock—GRACE JONES is the subject of a new documentary that will be arriving in theaters on Friday, April 13 titled Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. 

Larger than life, wild, scary and androgynous – Miss Grace Jones plays all these parts. Yet here we also discover her as a lover, daughter, mother, sister and even grandmother, as she submits herself to our gaze and allows us to understand what constitutes her mask. The stage is where her most extreme embodiments are realized and her theatrical imagination lets loose: this is where the musical of her life is played out.

The film includes Grace’s unique performances singing iconic hits such as “Slave To The Rhythm,” “Pull Up To The Bumper,” as well as the more recent autobiographical tracks “Williams’ Bloods” and “Hurricane.” These personal songs also link to Grace’s family life, as the film takes us on a holiday road trip across Jamaica, where her family roots and the story of her traumatic childhood are uncovered.

In Jamaican patois, ‘Bloodlight’ is the red light that illuminates when an artist is recording and ‘Bami’ means bread, the substance of daily life. Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami weaves together the layers of Grace Jones’ public and private life, as she moves effortlessly between different facets: she is gypsy, artist and partying hedonist, warm and funny but also a fierce and tenacious businesswoman.

The performance continues to move thematically though the film, with “Love Is The Drug” acting like an aria, bringing the film to its final and most touching scenes. This is a Grace we have not seen before, someone who reminds us of what it is to dare to be truly alive.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is directed by Sophie Fiennes.

Photo Credits: ThePeoplesMovies.com + YouTube.com

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Mary J. Blige for EBONY’S March Issue #QueenMother [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the reigning queen of hip hop soul—Mary J. Blige—for EBONY Magazine’s March Issue. The two-time Oscar nominated actress and songwriter is watching the throne on the new cover with fashion’s selected by ANTM judge Law Roach and her signature blond tresses by celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims.

“She is a classy street chick who wore torn jeans and a baseball caps. All of a sudden— with the flick of a mascara wand and swipe of a lip liner 💄— she could transform into a glam cover girl” 😭 That’s Our Mary,” says EBONY on Instagram.

Look for Mary to star in the new Netflix movie The Umbrella Academy. She’ll be portraying Cha-Cha, a ruthless and unorthodox hit woman who travels through time to kill assigned targets. Even though she has a few gripes about the bureaucracy of her employers, this job is her life.

Blige will also be headlining with Janet Jackson this summer at ESSENCE Fest.

See more images of her majesty below that were shot by Dennis Leupold:

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Russell Taylor plays ‘Timeless Tuesdays’ at Soul Village Atlanta [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of catching Russell Taylor‘s performance last night at the Soul Village Atlanta and the brother definitely left us wanting more. It was my first time attending the venue’s Timeless Tuesdays, which features an array of local singers giving it there all before their family, friends and music enthusiasts. The night ends with a special performance from an established artist, which is where Taylor comes in.

I’ve seen Rt perform before over the years but last night was different. His voice was magnetic and you really couldn’t keep your eyes off of him. He appeared to be standing firmly in some new truth about himself as an artist and it was evident in every line, note and rift. There were times when I wasn’t sure the tiny space could contain his spirit and energy. It was explosive to say the least!

Taylor performed songs from his new project Tin Man: The Blue which includes his acoustic soul rendition of the Whitney Houston classic, “Dance With Somebody.” He also performed the song “Hope” and “War of Hearts,” which was inspired by the Shonda Rhimes ABC drama Scandal.  Notable faces in attendance included Taylor’s cousin Trina Braxton as well as vocalist Rahbi Raw, PR maven David Robinson and Black Lives Matter organizer and councilman Khalid Kamau.

Check out more images of Taylor below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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New Season of ‘UNSUNG’ debuts on 2/18 featuring SILK (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the trailer for TV One’s award-winning #1 series UNSUNG. The new season premieres on Sunday, February 18 at 9 p.m. featuring R&B crooners Silk. The Atlanta based group shot to fame in the early 90s with such classic jams as “Freak Me,” “Girl U For Me” and “Meeting in My Bedroom.”

Other artist profiles include The Boys on February 25, Trick Daddy on March 4, Blue Magic on March 11, Deborah Cox on March 18, Shirley Caesar on March 25, Avant on April 8, Brand Nubian on April 15 and Lost Boyz on April 22.

UNSUNG tells the stories of perseverance, determination and success through first-hand accounts of the artists who experienced it and takes viewers into the lesser-known challenges they endured behind the spotlight.

Will you be watching?

Photo Credit: TV One

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Mary J. Blige to receive a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Grammy-winning singer and rising actress Mary J. Blige will be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this coming Thursday, January 11.

According to the official press release, Blige will be honored with the 2,626th star and her ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. PST on 6201 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Eastown. Sean “Diddy” Combs will be there to help emcee and unveil the star along with Hollywood Chamber President and CEO Leron Gubler.

“Mary J. Blige is one of the most popular singers of our generation. Fans will be thrilled to see her star on the Boulevard as her career milestones are celebrated on this very famous sidewalk,” stated Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

Mary J. Blige is a multi-platinum selling artist with nine Grammy® Awards. She is one of the pioneers of the 90s “hip hop/soul” sound and has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. She is an icon and arguably one of the most recognizable singers in the music business.

2018 is already shaping up to be a big year for her professionally as she is up for a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critic’s Choice Award for her work in Dee ReesMudbound. She is a nominee in the “Best Supporting Actress” category.

I got a chance to meet Mary back in 2009 when she teamed up with Outkast star Big Boi as part of the Bringing Hope Home Tour – a foreclosing prevention program for homeowners here in Atlanta. She was so personable and very kind. At the time she was prepping to star as Nina Simone in a biopic and we talked about her new found passion for acting and Simone’s legendary music catalogue. Blige is very deserving of this star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What is your favorite Mary J. Blige song?

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Music Rising Rising - Music

WATCH New Trailer for ‘Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta’ Season 2 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The heirs of Atlanta hip hop are back, on the new season of “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta,” and testing the legacy of family and the code of the streets. Shocking secrets, betrayal and an unexpected health crisis spin their worlds out of control. But when they turn their backs on their famous family dynasties, will they pay the ultimate price or die trying?

After escaping a brutal confrontation last season, Shad Moss aka Bow Wow returns to the “A” to complete his comeback without his surrogate father and mega producer, Jermaine Dupri. On the heels of doing a So So Def tour with JD and Da Brat, a scandal between Bow and JD is exploited and battle lines are drawn.

The toxic rivalry between Lil Wayne’s daughter, Reginae Carter, and nemesis Brandon Barnes, rages on; but this season their warpath leads to dangerous threats and it’s clear it’s time to settle the score. Reginae is older and wiser, ready to move on and move out; however will she leave her pregnant mother, Toya Wright, on the lurch for a new living situation?

Brandon Barnes, the son of famed Hip Hop manager Debra Antney and brother to Hip Hop star Waka Flocka, is making moves without his mom. When Deb catches wind of what’s going on behind the scenes, Brandon may be facing a permanent disinheritance.

Zonnique Pullins, the daughter of Hip Hop power couple T.I. & Tiny, is torn when her ‘momager’ wants her to join the Xscape tour, as she tries to reach stardom on her own. Meanwhile, Zonnqiue gambles on her and Reginae’s friendship with a dangerous leap of faith. Shaniah Mauldin, daughter of Jermaine Dupri, approaches her dad about her fashion aspirations, while he pressures her to take over his empire. Unbeknownst to JD, Shaniah is about to drop a major bomb.

Ayana, DJ Hurricane’s daughter, wants to go under the knife, but she must choose between her health and her heart as she puts her life on the line. All hell breaks loose when an interview leaks and puts everyone on full blast!

In the streets of Hotlanta, no one can be trusted and stepping out of their parent’s shadows means risking everything…Tune in Thursday, January 11 at 9pm ET/PT. “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” is produced for WE tv by Entertainment One Television.

Photo Credits: WEtv

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RC attends Preview Party of AIB TV’s ‘The Dinner Architect’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the pleasure of attending a sneak peek of AIB TV’s upcoming holiday show, “The Dinner Architect” featuring my friend Chez Juan Montier. It will air nine times this month beginning Wednesday December 13 at 9:30 p.m. EST.

The docu-series goes behind-the-scenes with Chez Montier as he and his team create a one night, pop up dinner. The event was titled “LOVEFOODFASHION” and took place this past Valentine’s Day at Atlanta’s Bloomingdales.

The advanced screening took place at Atlanta’s The NAMES Project Foundation and featured samples of Chez Montier culinary delights along with specialty cocktails and desserts to die for. The event was emceed by attorney and media personality Mo Ivory and was attended by a number of Chez Montier’s media friends, food bloggers and others.

Check out my photos below and CONGRATS Chez Montier:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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#UPFRONT w/Monique Greenwood, DeVaughn Nixon, Miss Robbie & Lil Charles (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out today’s holiday edition of #UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. My special guests included Monique Greenwood, star of OWN’s new docu series CHECKED INN. The Bed and Breakfast guru was in the studio to chat about her journey and why this series is unlike anything you’ve seen before on television.

Restaurateurs and stars of OWN’s award-winning docu series, Welcome to Sweetie Pies, Miss Robbie and Lil Charles also stopped by the studio to chat about tonight’s season premiere and much more.

#UPFRONT also recognizes the 25th Anniversary of the classic movie, The Bodyguard by talking exclusively to former child star DeVaughn Nixon.  The 30-something year old actor is all grown up now and recalls his time on set with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. He also talked about his newest TV project, Marvel’s Runways, which debuted this week.  We also played music from The Bodyguard throughout the show along with tributes to iconic entertainers—Earle Hyman and Della Reese, who recently passed away.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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NAACP Image Awards Nominees Announced #BlackAchievement

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The nominations for the 49th NAACP Image Awards were announced this week and all I can say is Monday, January 15 is going to be lit! Sooooo many of my favorite TV shows like “Queen Sugar,” “Insecure” and “Atlanta” were nominated this year along with many of my favorite movies like “Marshall,” “Girls Trip,” and “Get Out.”

According to the press release, Netflix and OWN lead the nominations in the television categories with 23 nominations and 17 nominations, respectively. Mary J. Blige and Jay Z have five nominations, followed by Bruno Mars, Issa Rae, Kendrick Lamar and SZA with 4 nods and Charlie Wilson, Idris Elba and Ledisi with three nominations.

“The NAACP Image Awards is the ultimate platform for artists and individuals of color who advocate for social justice to share their voices with millions, and to be recognized and celebrated,” stated Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP. “At a moment where there seems to be one tragic event after another in America, the NAACP Image Awards continues to be a beacon of light to the diversity reflected in television, music, film and literature that brings everyone together.”

The two-hour LIVE TV special will air on TV One on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (Monday, January 15) at 9 p.m. with a one-hour Live Red Carpet Pre-Show beginning at 8 p.m. It is hosted once again by “Black-ish” star and nominee Anthony Anderson.

CLICK HERE to see the full list of nominees!

CONGRATS TO ‘ERRBODY!