Check out my UPFRONT coverage from Wednesday night’s Atlanta premiere of Deon Taylor‘s new cop thriller Black and Blue. The screening was held at the historic Plaza Theater in Midtown and was attended by Taylor along with the film’s stars Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Nafessa Williams and Lucky Johnson.
In Black and Blue, Harris plays a rookie cop who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. After realizing that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her (Gibson) as she tries to escape both the criminals out for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage. Rounding out the Black and Blue cast is Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott and Beau Knapp.
Other notables in attendance included Clifton Powell, Cocoa Brown, Brely Evans, Mike Merrill, Marquita Goings, Reece Odom and T.C. Carson.
Check out a sneak peek of CLEOtv’s newest lifestyle series Living By Design with Jake and Jazz. It premieres TODAY at 12 p.m. EST.
Jake and Jazz Smollett team up to transform the living, work, and play spaces of millennial families and create simple solutions to everyday home design dilemmas. Each episode features inspirational stories of participating guests, an exciting reveal of the new space and a shared meal with recipes curated by the brother and sister duo.
In the premiere episode, Jake and Jazz help revamp the studio apartment of a budding publicist, Meghan, who’s relocated to Koreatown – a hip, urban center in Los Angeles. Jazz takes Meghan’s space from drab to fab with beautiful pops of pink and bold accent pieces, while Jake builds her a custom headboard. During the exciting reveal, not only is there a surprise guest from back home, but Jake and Jazz also show Meghan how to entertain in her new space. They toast to the good life with Rosé margaritas and indulge in surf and turf tacos complete with shrimp and steak. To top off the appetizing meal, Jazz bakes fluffy brown sugar doughnuts and piles them high enough to find their way to your heart.
Living By Design with Jake and Jazz airs on Saturdays at 12 on CLEOtv
I had the distinct pleasure on Monday evening of attending the Season 2 Premiere of FX’s popular comedy series ATLANTA. The private screening took place at the historic Starlight Six Drive-In in East Atlanta and was attended by the show’s stars Donald Glover and Brian Tyree Henry.
ATLANTA follows the misadventures of two cousins, Earn (Glover) and Alfred aka Paper Boi (Henry), who work through the Atlanta music scene in order to better their lives and the lives of their families. It also features Get Out star LaKeith Lee Stanfield, Zazie Beetzand Bret “E.”
ATLANTA earned a number of awards in 2017 such as two Golden Globes and two Primetime Emmys including “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.” It was the first time an African American has ever won in that category and first for Glover.
Executive Producer and Writer, Stephen Glover says that while he and his brother are proud of their accomplishments, they refuse to rest on the success of last season.
“I think we always want to top ourselves. Donald and I always talk about just being better than you were the last time. So we definitely wanted to top ourselves this season and at the same time know that it’s not about chasing last season’s success. You don’t want to be like ‘this is what made us popular.’ You kind of just want to stick with the principles that we have before which is just making fun and interesting television.”
This year’s new show theme is “Robbin’ Season” and will focus on the city’s criminal shenanigans that take place before and during the holidays.
“It was something that we had talked about for a little bit. We had like a ton of different reasons for it but there wasn’t one huge reason. I think it accentuates the fact that we like the show to feel like installments and moments. I think naming season two something different sort of reiterates that or bolsters that idea, says Atlanta Producer and Writer Stefani Robinson.
Other notables in attendance on Monday evening included Sonny Digital, Co Executive Producer and Director Hiro Murai + other ATLANTA actors Marcus Jenkins, Abraham Clinkscales, Angela Wildflower and Dylan Lamar Cheek.
Tune into my UPFRONT radio show this coming weekend to hear from Glover and Henry regarding their characters, the new season and more! UPFRONT airs on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and online at WCLK.com.
Check out more photos + a sneak peek of tonight’s episode below:
UPFRONT on the scene at the FX Premiere of ATLANTA: Robbin’ Season
Dylan Lamar Cheek
Angela Wildflower talking to Jelisa Cook from SHEEN Magazine
ATLANTA: ROBBIN’ SEASON debuts
TONIGHT at 10 p.m. EST on FX
Photo Credits: Mark Angel Photography + HeyMikeyATL
Check out photos from Friday night’s Atlanta premiere of “True to the Game,” starring Columbus Short, Vivica A. Fox and Andra Fuller. The screening took place at the Regal Theater at Atlantic Station and featured many of the film’s stars.
Based on the Teri Woods best-selling novel, “True to the Game” is the love story of Quadir Richards, a charismatic drug lord, and Gena Rollins, a young girl from the projects of Philly. Quadir was able to gain the trust and love of Gena and was on his way out of the game to start a new life with his future bride when tragedy strikes. The film is directed by Preston Whitmore (“This Christmas”) and also stars Draya Michele, Erica Peeples, Starletta DuPois and the late Nelsan Ellis.
The screening was presented by Manny Halley and Imani Motion Pictures, 10 Squared and Shanti Das of Press Reset Entertainment
Peeps some red carpet shots below +the film’s trailer:
The New Orleans premiere of “Girls Trip” was lit yesterday afternoon and yours truly RC was there to capture all the sights and sounds. The advanced screening took place at the luxurious Theaters at Canal Place on historic Canal Street.
The films four divas—Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish—looked absolutely amazing on the red carpet along with their co-stars Larenz Tate and Kofi Soriboe. The film’s director Malcolm D. Lee and producer Will Packer were also in attendance.
As previously reported, “Girls Trip” features the ladies as lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, where they rekindle their wild sides. The film features a lot of dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make even the Big Easy blush. Rounding out the cast is Kate Walsh and Mike Colter. “Girls Trip” was also written by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris along with Tracy Oliver.
A number of celebrities were in attendance including reality show maven Mona Scott-Young; singer and actress LeToya Luckett, singer/songwriter Tank, “Insecure” actress Issa Rae, LHHNY Yandy Smith; rapper, actor and reality star him Romeo, South African actress Nomzano Mbatha, actresses Essence Atkins and Bresha Webb, “Queen Sugar” stars Omar Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett and many more.
The event was presented by Nissan and Hello Beautiful! Check out more pics below:
MONA SCOTT-YOUNGTANKLETOYA LUCKETTISSA RAE, KOFI SORIBOE AND LARENZ TATE ESSENCE ATKINS AND BRESHA WEBBSTAR CAST – RYAN DESTINY, JUDE DEMOREST, BRITTANY O’GRADY AND MISS LAWRENCERONREACO LEEOMAR J. DORSEY AND TIMON KYLE DURRETTYANDY SMITH AND MIELLEORGANICSTAI BEAUCHAMPELLE VARNERNOMZAMO MBATHATY HUNTER AND KAREN CIVILSHYANN ROBERTS FROM JUNE’S DIARYREGINA HALLJADA PINKETT SMITHQUEEN LATIFAHTIFFANY HADDISHMALCOLM D. LEE WILL PACKER
Miami’s South Beach was lit over the weekend as the cast of “Baywatch” attended a sizzling red carpet premiere of the film. Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and a host of others joined the show’s original cast members David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson for one big beach party.
“Baywatch” follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Efron). Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay. The film also Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach, Amin Joseph, Hannibal Buress, Izabel Goulart and Ilfenesh Hadera.
The film is directed by Seth Gordon and opens in theaters Thursday, May 25th.Check out the red carpet photos below + the official trailer:
Dwayne Johnson + David Hasselhoff
Dwayne Johnson + Zac Efron
David Hasselhoff + Zac Efron
Dwayne Johnson + Desiigner
Photo Credits: John Parra /Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
Grammy winning-superstar Pharrell Williams and Grammy nominated-singer turned actress Janelle Monáe hosted a very special Atlanta premiere of their upcoming film “Hidden Figures” on Wednesday night. The advanced screening was held at the Regal Atlantic Station and was followed by a private Soundtrack Listening Party at the Mean Street Music Studios in West Midtown.
“Hidden Figures” tells the true story of mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, who all served as the brains behind America’s race against Russia to put a man in space. The women quickly rose the ranks of NASA and were known as “human computers.” The film features the extraordinary talents of Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as the legendary trio. It also stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge as well as beloved Atlanta actresses Maria Howell, Karan Kendrick and Donna Biscoe.
“Hidden Figures” is based on the upcoming book “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race” written by Margot Lee Shetterly. It was shot on various locations throughout the state of Georgia including historic Morehouse College and in the city of Morrow.
A number of celebrities attended the post screening Soundtrack Listening Party including Grammy winning-hip hop star Ludacris, TV, film and stage actress Jasmine Guy, TV and film actor Carl Payne, “Married to Medicine” star Lisa Nicole Carson and her husband Dr. Darren Naugles, hip hop entertainer Jidenna and rapper Big K.R.I.T. The Soundtrack Listening Party was hosted by Atlanta’s own DJ Drama.
“Hidden Figures” is definitely a MUST SEE for the holidays. The film not only tells the untold story of these courageous women but it really speaks to the power and resilience of African-American women. Not only did these divas contribute to the success of the NASA program but they were the forerunners and civil rights pioneers who helped integrate a system that was completely White male driven. I urge everyone to take their little brown girls (and boys) to see this film and witness greatness on the big screen. But more than that, take them to see faces that look like their own and revel in the glory of these unsung heroines. Much respect to Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe for their award deserving performances and much love to Pharrell Williams for putting his “magic touch” on the film’s soundtrack.
See more images + the new “Hidden Figures” trailer below:
My Hidden Figures – Kiwi The Beauty, Xaviera Bryant and Kim Ford
Janelle Monáe and Pharrell Williams during the Soundtrack Listening Party
Jasmine Guy rocking her vintage Prince Swag Bag
The “Hidden Figures” Soundtrack features Lalah Hathaway & Kim Burrell
Lisa Nicole Cloud & Dr. Darren Naugles
DJ Drama, Janelle Monáe and Pharrell Williams
Ludacris, Janelle Monáe, Pharrell Williams and Big K.R.I.T.
I had the distinct honor and privilege of accompanying my sister in media, Xaviera Bryant of Ice Cream Conversations, to the New Orleans premiere of the new movie “Deepwater Horizon.” The private screening took place on Monday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Orpheum Theater.
Both Xaviera and I were flown from Atlanta to New Orleans and stayed at the plush Ritz Carlton Hotel located on Canal Street and in the historic French Quarter district. The evening began with a lavish “black carpet” that was housed in a huge white tent just outside of the Orpheum Theater. Part of our media coverage included an opportunity to photograph on the carpet and partake in the fanbox.
“Deepwater Horizon” recounts the last 12 hours that led up to the horrific explosion of the offshore drilling rig (Deepwater Horizon) on April 20, 2010. It created the worst oil spill in U.S. history and killed 11 crew members. The resulting fire could not be extinguished and Deepwater Horizon sank two days later on April 22. However, the well at the seabed continued gushing oil into the ocean and was not capped until July 15. Needless to say, it created an environmental disaster and affected many of the those living along the region’s coastline as well it’s marine and wild life.
A number of film’s stars were in attendance to celebrate last night’s debut including Mark Wahlberg, who portrays Mike Williams, one of Deepwater Horizon’s real survivors. Screen legend Kurt Russell was also in attendance along with his daughter Kate Hudson, who portrays Mike Williams’ wife.The beautiful Gina Rodriguez was also spotted on the carpet along with rising child star Stella Allen, who portrays Mike Williams’ daughter. Other actors in attendance included Rob Steinberg, Brad Leland and country music star Trace Adkins. The film’s director Peter Berg was also present as well as musical superstar Gary Clark Jr., who composed the song, “Take Me Down” for the film.
Check out a featurette below + more photos from the “black carpet” premiere:
Rob Steinberg with his wife Patrice Jones
NBA star Caron Butler sporting a “Deepwater Horizon” Blazer
Stella Allen with her parents
“Extra” correspondentA.J. Calloway gearing up for black carpet interviews
Gary Clark Jr. with his date
Kate Hudson talking to “Access Hollywood”
Gina Rodriquez sharing a moment with Stella Allen on the black carpet
Ray Cornelius with Xaviera Bryant
“Deepwater Horizon” opens in theaters September 30th
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.
“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 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:
Oprah Winfrey with 135th Street’s Saptosa Foster and Shante Bacon
Thursday night, Focus Features hosted an exclusive red carpet screening of the upcoming film “RACE” at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Canada to kick off NBA All Star Weekend 2016.
“RACE” stars Stephan James and Shamier Anderson
Attendees included “RACE” lead actors Stephan James (“Selma”) and Jason Sudeikis (SNL/”We’re the Millers”) as well as Rick Fox (NBA.com’s “After Dark with Rick Fox”), Donovan Bailey (Track and Field Olympian), Michael “Pinball” Clemons (American-Canadian Vice Chair, Toronto Argonauts) Dalton Pompey (Toronto Blue Jays), Drew Scott (HGTV’s “Property Brothers”), Norm Kelly (Toronto City Councilor), Shanice Banton (Actress) Shamier Anderson (Actor) and more!
“RACE” is based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. “RACE” is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man’s fight to become an Olympic legend.
Shamier Anderson, Stephan James and Jason Sudeikis
“RACE” also stars Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten, and William Hurt. It is directed by Stephen Hopkins (“The Ghost and the Darkness,” “24”) and opens nationwide in theaters February 19.
Check out more photos below:
Olympian Donovan Bailey
Olympian Dylan Moscovitch
Stephan James taking a selfie with Jason Sudeikis and Donovan Bailey
Sometimes the hardest part about falling down is trying to get back up! Well the CENTRIC Network is preparing to show viewers this season what that looks like through a brand new docu-series titled “From the Bottom Up.” The one-hour program follows five African-American women who are trying to rebuild their lives and careers and keep their families together after falling from grace.
Christine Beatty with her daughters
The one-hour series comes from the creative minds of media mogul Queen Latifah and noted singer-songwriter and “R&B Diva” creator Nicci Gilbert. The five cast members include entertainer Sara Stokes (Making The Band 2), actress Chrystale Wilson (The Players Club), former Detroit Mayorial Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, entrepreneur Kim Smedly and radio personality and actress Stacii Jae Johnson.
Nicci Gilbert with the ladies of “From the Bottom Up”
I had the pleasure of attending the show’s Atlanta premiere Thursday night that was hosted by CENTRIC. The private screening was held at Ventanas overlooking downtown’s Centennial Olympic Park and was attended by the cast as well as special invited guests, tastemakers and media influencers.
Kelly Price and Avery*Sunshine on the red carpet
Celebrities spotted throughout the evening included singers Avery*Sunshine, Kelly Price, KeKe Wyatt and Q Parker from 112 along with “Saints & Sinners” actors Clifton Powell and Jasmine Burke. Former reality star Chanita Foster was also in attendance along with HGTV’sEgypt Sherrod and husband DJ Fadelf, media maven Mona Stephen and YouTube sensation Funky Dineva.
Stacii Jae Johnson explaining her ‘bottom’ during the Q&A
Following a sneak peek of the show, the cast engaged in a Q&A session with UPSCALE Magazine’s Entertainment Editor Satchel B. Jester. Each member described their “Bottom” and how it altered their once blossoming careers. They also opened up about their newfound sisterhood and how the show really helped them to heal from their brokenness.
From the looks of the snippet we watched last night, this is not your typical reality show. It doesn’t appear to be “scripted” and the scenes aren’t coerced! These ladies have literally been to hell and back and I believe audiences will be blown away by their awe-inspiring testimonies. The aim of the show is to really help viewers—men and women—get up from their past mistakes and failures and move forward armed with more strength and wisdom. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Check out more pics + trailer below:
Mona Stephen with Jasmine Burke/Avery*Sunshine with Q Parker
Chrystale Wilson striking a pose with Althea “Thi Thi” Heart
Nicci Gilbert/Funk Dineva and Guest
Stacii Jae Johnson looking lovely in green
Egypt Sherrod & DJ Fadelf/Clifton Powell, Avery*Sunshine, Dana Johnson
KiKi from Streetz 94.5 interviewing Jasmine Burke
Althea “Thi Thi” Heart and Chanita Foster
Christine Beatty, KeKe Wyatt and Nicci Gilbert
Chrystale Wilson with Jennifer Lester/UPSCALE’s Satchel B. Jester
RC with Mona Stephen
“From the Bottom Up” airs Saturday, Jan. 16 at 10 p.m. EST on CENTRIC
Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd and Will Packer hosted a special Atlanta screening of their new film “Ride Along 2.” The private viewing took place Wednesday night at the Regal Atlantic Station Theaters and was packed with Atlanta celebrities and media.
Mayor Kasim Reed with Will and Heather Packer
Special invited guests included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza and Natalie Hall, RHOA stars Porsha Williams, Shamea Morton, Mama Joyce and Aunt Bertha. Other faces spotted on the carpet included Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’sStevie J, Demetria McKinney, Roger M. Bobb, Egypt Sherrod, Monyetta Shaw, Rodney Perry, Rickey Smiley, HeadKrack, Rock City, Gary With Tha Tea and V-103’s Wanda Smith.
Gary With Tha Tea, Porsha Williams and Rickey Smiley
“Ride Along 2” reunites Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as soon-to-be-brothers-in-law-who come together to bring down a Miami drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with products. The film is a follow up to their 2014 monster box office hit “Ride Along” and is directed by Tim Story and produced by Packer, Cube, Matt Alvarez and Larry Brezner. Rounding out the cast is Tyrese Gibson, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt, Glen Powell and Nadine Velazquez.
Check out the new featurette and red carpet pics below:
Gary With Tha Tea, Monyetta Shaw and Rickey Smiley
Mama Joyce and Aunt Bertha
Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf
Demetria McKinney and Roger M. Bobb
Tika Sumpter, Will Packer and Sherri Shepherd
Photo Credit: Paras Griffin for Getty for Universal Pictures
David Oyelowo is dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and about seven different personalities in his upcoming HBO produced film, “Nightingale.” Oyelowo stars as Peter Snowden, a former serviceman obsessing over an old army friend, whom he loves, as his life begins to spiral downward, with their reunion approaching. The film follows Peter as he records his private thoughts and feelings – his nightingale song – in the days leading up to his reunion with Edward. Before long the hostile world outside Peter’s door begins to threaten the idyllic future that he’s so desperately trying to build. Let me say, this role is far cry from Oyelowo’s portrayal of Dr. King in “Selma” but definitely one to check out considering he is the only character.
Watch the extended featurette below and tell us what you think:
BET continues to celebrate Black History Month with the premiere of its first-ever miniseries, “The Book of Negroes.” The six-part historical drama in the tradition of “Roots,” is based on Lawrence Hill’s award-winning and the Oprah Winfrey-listed novel (known in the United States as Someone Knows My Name). The highly anticipated television event will run over the course of three consecutive nights in two-hour installments starting Monday, February 16, 2015 at 8 PM.
As previously reported, “The Book of Negroes” depicts the extraordinary life journey of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who cuts a swath through a world that is pre-disposed to underestimate her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century. The star-studded cast features lead actress Aunjanue Ellis, Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr., Lyriq Bent, Oscar nominee Jane Alexander, Ben Chaplin and Allan Hawco.
Check out the trailer and a panel discussion below featuring Lawrence Hill along with the film’s cast and other special invited guests.