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Watch Season 4 Trailer for OWN’s ‘QUEEN SUGAR’ (VIDEO)

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network has released the Season 4 trailer for Ava DuVernay‘s popular series Queen Sugar and it-looks-epic! The award-winning drama returns on Wednesday, June 12 at 9 p.m. EST.

This new season follows the Bordelon family as they discover Nova (Rutina Wesley) is publishing her memoir which divulges long-held family secrets. Unrest, tension and heartbreak fester at home as Nova embarks on a book tour and unexpectedly encounters significant relationships from her past along the way. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick of the trials and tribulations in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure the safety and future of her teenage son Micah (Nicholas Ashe).  Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is managing fatherhood and his complicated relationship with ex-girlfriend Darla (Bianca Lawson) after learning he is not the biological father of his son, Blue (Ethan Hutchison), and is encouraged by an old friend to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated men.

The expansive cast also includes Tina Lifford as the siblings’ free-spirited Aunt Violet who revealed her Lupus diagnosis to her family along with plans to open her own pie shop; Omar J. Dorsey as Violet’s new husband Hollywood Desonier; and Henry G. Sanders plays Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of the late Bordelon family patriarch, Ernest. Recurring guest star Timon Kyle Durrett portrays Charley’s estranged husband and pro basketball player Davis West, and guests stars include David Alan Grier, Tevin CampbellErica Tazel, Kendall Clark and Walter Perez.

Watch the trailer below:

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Tina Lifford, Deborah Joy Winans and J. Bolin cover SHEEN

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

OWN actresses Tina Lifford (Queen Sugar) and Deborah Joy Winans (Greenleaf ) grace the cover of SHEEN Magazine’s Fashion Issue. The ladies are featured with their stylist and social media star J. Bolin.

“Timelessness doesn’t go out of style. I love trends, I like being on trend, but I don’t follow trends,” says Bolin. 

The inside cover of SHEEN features none other than the fashion shapeshifter Misa Hylton,whose iconic styling has been shaping pop culture since the early 90’s, influencing the looks of Lil’ Kim, Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown and Missy Elliott.

“I create to create, not for it to be big, and maybe that’s why it ends up being big. I create from the heart, and it’s just about art for me—fashion is storytelling through wardrobe, and I love to tell stories, says Hylton.”

Other profiles include Dwight Eubanks, Keith Sweat and Dr. Jackie Walters.

Look for SHEEN Magazine to hit newsstands on Tuesday, August 28.

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OWN renews ‘QUEEN SUGAR’ for 4th Season #YAY

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

CONGRATS to the Ava DuVernay and the cast of Queen Sugar. The original dramatic series has been renewed for a fourth season. The big news was announced during last night’s telecast.

“Under Ava’s creative vision and leadership, ‘Queen Sugar’ continues to earn a well-deserved reputation for depicting nuanced characters, rich storylines and establishing an inclusive team that inspires and ignites much needed conversations about our society today,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. “We are very proud of this show, the incredible cast, producers and crew, and can’t wait for more of the Bordelon family in season four.”

In addition, Queen Sugar co-executive producer Anthony Sparks will take the reigns as showrunner/executive producer for season four, continuing DuVernay’s intention of providing showrunner opportunities to those who have never before held the position.

In the series’ expanded 90-minute season three finale on Wednesday, August 22 (10-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) receives some unexpected news, the fate of the correctional facility is revealed, and Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) makes a proposal on behalf of the farmers. Plus, Violet (Tina Lifford) and Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey) celebrate their love.  The series also stars Nicholas Ashe, Dondré T. Whitfield, Bianca LawsonHenry G. Sanders and Timon Kyle Durrett.

Stay tuned…

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Watch New Trailer for OWN’s ‘QUEEN SUGAR’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

OWN has dropped the official trailer for TV’s biggest phenomenon, QUEEN SUGAR, and I am so ready for it. The one-hour dramatic series returns for a two night premiere – May 29 & 30 at 10 p.m. EST.

From the look of the video, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is finally getting the test results of his paternity test and will find out if Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) is really his son. Nova (Rutina Wesley) may be leaving the newspaper for a new book deal. She will also get reacquainted with an old friend that may challenge her notion of relationships. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) is sealing the deal with the shiesty Landry family that could ultimately determine the fate of her family’s land. While everyone seems to be against her unorthodox business practices, I believe this will be the season where we find out why the series is titled Queen Sugar.

Take a look below and tell us what you think!

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Watch BTS of ‘Queen Sugar’ Photo Shoot #SWEET (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The cast of OWN’s hit dramatic series Queen Sugar got together recently for a photo shoot to promote the new season and RC has the behind-the-scenes video of all the fun.

Queen Sugar is set to return for a two-night premiere beginning Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30 at 10 p.m. each night. The series will air regularly on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.

In season three, the Bordelons find themselves continuing their fight to save their family farm and father’s legacy as they navigate their own personal journeys. They soon find that their fight extends beyond their close-knit family, but also to the community.

Can’t wait til next month. Will you be watching?

Photo Credit: Instagram/Omar Dorsey

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‘Queen Sugar’ returns 5/29 & 30

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

OWN has released a new “first look photo” for the season three return of Ava DuVernay’s award winning drama Queen Sugar. The highly anticipated series will make its way back to prime time beginning Tuesday, May 29, and Wednesday, May 30 at 10 p.m. each night. The series will air regularly on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

In season three, the Bordelons find themselves continuing their fight to save their family farm and father’s legacy as they navigate their own personal journeys. They soon find that their fight extends beyond their close-knit family, but also to the community.  Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick of the trials and tribulations in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure Micah’s safety and future. Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is still reeling from learning from Darla (Bianca Lawson) that he might not be the biological father of his son, Blue (Ethan Hutchison), and attempts to push forward as the new cane season begins. A new and unexpected love in the form of an old friend comes into Nova’s (Rutina Wesley) life and challenges her long-held notions of relationships while also offering her something she didn’t think she could ever have.

The expansive cast also includes Tina Lifford as the siblings’ free-spirited Aunt Violet; Omar J. Dorsey as Violet’s much younger fiancé Hollywood Desonier; Dondré T. Whitfield as trusted Bordelon family friend Remy Newell; Additionally, recurring guest stars Timon Kyle Durrett portrays Charley’s estranged husband and pro basketball player Davis West and Henry G. Sanders plays Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of the late Bordelon family patriarch, Ernest. 

Season three directors include DeMane DavisPatricia CardosoShaz BennettMaria Govan and Lauren Wolkstein. Acclaimed filmmaker Kat Candler serves as season three showrunner.  

Queen Sugar was named “Television Show of the Year” from both American Black Film Festival (ABFF Honors) and African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for the second consecutive year and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series. In 2017, Queen Sugar was Wednesday’s night’s #1 original cable series among African-American W25-54.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: The Oprah Winfrey Network

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Queen Sugar’s Kofi Soriboe for BLEU Magazine [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out new images of “Queen Sugar” star Kofi Soriboe for BLEU Magazine. Inside, the “Girls Trip” actor and former model opens up about being a feminist and honoring his mother—Koshi Mills. Soriboe also talks about Ava DuVernay’s #BlackGirlMagic, Africa and much more.

Kofi on his mother, Koshi Mills: “I’m just honoring her, and honoring her through my existence…like who I am, what I represent. That to me is rooted in my character and my mother—I came out of her. That’s an ode to her.”

Kofi on Ava DuVernay’s influence: “I respect Ava so much,” he reflects. “Its like a kid trying to live up to their parents expectations. You know I’m working so closely with people like Oprah and Ava and its literally magic. I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

Kofi on bridging the gap between Africa and African-Americans: “I feel like there’s a disconnect between Africans and African-Americans. More than 80 percent of us have never been back to Africa. I’m Ghanaian and I just went back for the first time. It’s just a lack of information, a lack of knowledge, a lack of understanding.”

Click here to read the entire interview!

Photo Credits: BLEU Magazine

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Sneak Peek of ‘Queen Sugar’ Second Season Finale + more (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

It’s Wednesday and you already know what that means! It’s the season finale of OWN’s hugely popular series “Queen Sugar.” Well, we have a sneak peek just for you featuring a very angry Nova (played by Rutina Wesley) confronting Darla (played by Bianca Lawson) who wants to come into the house and collect a few things while Ralph Angel (Kofi Soriboe) is away. Will Nova let her in? You’ll have to take a look below:

Also, don’t forget to stick around after the show to watch the “Queen Sugar Season Finale Special” featuring Miss Oprah Winfrey interviewing the cast about the show, their characters and this much talked about second season. Joining the cast will be the show’s creator—Ava DuVernay. It goes down beginning at 9 p.m. followed by the finale special at 10:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

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OWN to air ‘Queen Sugar’ Season Finale Special on 11/15 [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out these amazing photos from Tuesday night’s taping of OWN’s upcoming “Queen Sugar” Red Carpet Season Finale Special. It airs next Wednesday, November 15 at 10:30 p.m. following the 90-minute extended season two finale episode.

The event was hosted by Oprah Winfrey and features conversations with the show’s ensemble cast (Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe and Tina Lifford) in front of a live studio audience. It also features “Queen Sugar” creator and executive producer Ava DuVernay and some of the season two all-female directors.

Following the taping was a private after party at SoHo House in West Hollywood.

Check out a few more images below and mark your calendars now!

Photo Credits: Huy Doan

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Queen Sugar’s Timon Kyle Durrett talks about the ‘magic’ of the show and more! (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The 2-night midseason premiere of the hit series “Queen Sugar” will air beginning October 3 & 4 and OWN has released a sneak peek of what’s to come.

I recently caught up with one of the show’s leading men—Timon Kyle Durrett—during the BronzeLens Women Superstars Luncheon. He opened up about about shooting the scene where his character, Davis West, talks to his son, Micah (played by Nicholas L. Ashe) about what really happened to him the night he was arrested by a White male police officer. It was a very emotional moment between an African American father and son and one that Durrett says was very “authentic.”

“I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and it’s unfortunate that I’m familiar with a lot of violence. So I know how it is to have run-ins with less than desirable law enforcement officers. The emotions were very real. Nicholas Ashe, who plays my son Micah…he and I just got together and we just dug in. We didn’t do a whole lot of rehearsing because we wanted it to be as real as possible. The reaction that you saw me give him when he started  throwing everything up was real because I didn’t know he was going to do that. It was very authentic and they let us live in that moment. What you guys saw was done in a few takes. It was one of my favorite scenes.”

Durrett also credits the show’s all-female directors and producers as the real magic of the series. “The balance of there being an all-woman directorial team. I think that the details that are being shown are because of the artistic eye that these women bring. A lot of television, up until now, has been male driven. I’m a man’s man but when I am in rehearsals and in talks with these female producers and directors and actresses, I get to see things through a different lens and not just mine,” said Kyle Durrett.

Check out the new trailer below and mark your calendars:

Photo Credits: OWN and RayCornelius.com

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Ava DuVernay teams up with Harpo Films for First-Look Deal + more

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congrats to award-winning director and filmmaker Ava DuVernay! She is expanding her TV and film empire through a new first-look deal with Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Films. The partnership was announced earlier this week and will include new grounds for her in television and digital media.

According to the press release, the first collaboration is DuVernay’s recently announced limited drama series “Central Park Five” for Netflix from Participant Media, Tribeca Productions and Harpo Films.  In addition to the partnership, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is renewing the original drama series “Queen Sugar” for a third season. The Wednesday night program is currently averaging 2.4 million viewers and is consistently one of the most talked-about shows on social media.

“I’m so proud of Ava and her ability as a filmmaker to challenge the status quo and push for inclusiveness on screen and behind the camera. I love, love, love the work we have been able to create so far. I am looking forward to developing many more meaningful projects together,” said Winfrey, CEO, OWN and Harpo Films.

“Queen Sugar” fans will also see a few new faces later on this season including Michael Michele and Roger Guenveur Smith, who will portray Darla’s (Bianca Lawson) estranged parents. Veteran actress Beverly Todd will also star as Mother Olivia Brown, a much beloved and respected matriarchal activist residing in the 9th Ward.

Also joining the “Queen Sugar” team as directors are Garrett Bradley, Liesl TommyChristina Voros and ATL’s own Julie Dash.

RC will keep you posted as all of this continues to develop.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and EBONY

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‘Queen Sugar’ + ‘The Quad’ + ‘Greenleaf’ stars to be featured at ‘Brunch with the Brothers’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The BronzeLens Film Festival is just around the corner and details about this year’s activities are slowing coming to light. One of the events that made a big splash last year was “Brunch with the Brothers.”

The event is described as “a moment to salute men in film and television who are making waves – each in his own way. Their paths to success have not been without challenges, some of them unique to men of color. The Sunday afternoon brunch includes hot coffee, delicious breakfast treats and hot conversation.”

This year’s “brothers” will include “Queen Sugar” star Omar J. Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett as well as the BET’s “The Quad” actor E. Roger Mitchell and “Greenleaf” star Keith David. More brothers will be added as we closer to the event.

Last year’s brunch featured actors Lamman Rucker, Tobias TruvillionCory Hardrict, Dorian Missick and was hosted by Rushion McDonald. 

Click here to purchase your tickets and see you there!

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Cast of ‘QUEEN SUGAR’ covers July/August Edition of EBONY [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The cast of OWN’s “Queen Sugar” is bringing that Nawlins flava to the July/August cover of EBONY Magazine and we are so here for it! Actors—Retina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Soriboe—look absolutely regal for the issue as they discuss their unique characters and much more! Check out their photos shot beautifully by Aaron Smith + excerpts from their interview below:

“That’s the thing I love about Nova; there hasn’t been a character quite like her,” Rutina Wesley, who plays Nova, the eldest Bordelon sibling states. “I love that she’s really pretty unusual, and I think she’s flawed and very human. I love that I never quite know where she’s going. And I also love that anything is possible with Nova.”
“I pull from my experiences as a Black man in America and all my brothers,” Kofi Siriboe, who plays Ralph Angel on the series told EBONY. “I see Ralph Angel in everybody.”
“Charley’s strength is a little superheroic,” Dawn-Lyen Gardner, who plays the character said. “She is really one of the most resilient characters I [believe] I’ve ever played.”

“Queen Sugar” airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on OWN.

Photo Credits: Aaron Smith for EBONY

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#UPFRONT attends ESSENCE Festival + Radio Row + Premieres + More

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

It gives me great pleasure to share my amazing coverage of the 2017 ESSENCE Festival. My arts and entertainment radio magazine—UPFRONT—was there to capture all of the sights and sounds of this year’s festivities as part of Radio Row.  My four-day weekend began on Thursday (June 29) with a special meet & greet + reception with the cast of the indie film, “STEP.”

“STEP” is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step dance team in Baltimore, whose teachers, counselors, coaches and families, help them achieve their dreams of going off to college. It also takes viewers into the personal lives of three of the dancers— Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, Tayla Solomon—and their coach, Gari McIntyre.  The film has received rave reviews and was the winner of the Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

On Friday (June 30) #UPFRONT began its three day stint on Radio Row. It is one of three areas that celebrity attendees can meet press and conduct interviews. I was truly blessed to have interviewed so many people including cast members from the hugely popular “Orange Is The New Black,” TNT’s new breakout series, “Claws,”  FOX’s “Empire and Star.” I also got a chance to chat with the cast of FX’s “Snowfall” and the new series “The Mayor” and “Ghosted.”

Music divas CeCe Winans, Anita Wilson and Chanté Moore stopped by the table to discuss their new projects. Winans album, Let Them Fall In Love has been killing the gospel charts and is her best work to date. Wilson talked about covering the classic jazz tune “Here’s To Life” for her new album and Moore dished about her album, Rise of the Pheonix and recording her first Christmas CD this fall.

#UPFRONT also chatted with actress and singer Lil Mama (who is going by her real name Niatia) as well as celebrity stylists Mushiya Tshikuka, Razor Chic of Atlanta and Melvin Styles. However, the highlight of Radio Row was talking to New Thought Leader, Life Coach and TV Personality—Iyanla Vanzant. She opened up about her last season + why she continues to participate in the ESSENCE Festival. She also talked about what she has learned personally from doing her award winning show, “Iyanla Fix My Life.”

“What I’ve learned personally is how powerful God is. As Black people were taught, ‘don’t tell your business in the street.’ (LOL) But when there’s a call on someone’s life to serve God, these people are showing up in amazing ways. I’ve also learned how difficult a healing journey can be. People don’t want to suffer. They don’t want to hurt. They don’t want to destroy themselves. But if they don’t have the tools and the information to heal, that’s what they do. I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be ‘on’ all the time. I’m human. I can have my time off…my days off and I don’t have to be who people expect me to be.”

In addition to Radio Row, #UPFRONT was able to attend and capture images from the night time concerts. This year’s ESSENCE Festival theme was all about female empowerment, sisterhood and “staying woke” and the entertainers who performed were true reflections of that. Friday’s show included Rhonda Ross, India.Arie, John Legend and the Queen of Motown—DIANA ROSS.

This was Miss Ross’ first time appearing at the Festival since its inception in 1995 and she didn’t disappoint. Other performances included Jazmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Solange, Monica, Lalah Hathaway, Remy Ma, Xscape, Master P, Chance the Rapper and Mary J. Blige.

Other highlights throughout the weekend included the NOLA premieres of “Girls Trip” featuring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. FX also screened its new drama, “Snowfall” which included appearances by the show’s cast + the creator and award winning director John Singleton. #UPFRONT also captured images of the casts from “Detroit,” OWN’s “Greenleaf” and “Queen Sugar” + Ava DuVernay and the “WOKE Women Awards.”

See all of the rest of the images below and click here to listen to the first of two radio shows featuring exclusive coverage of the ESSENCE Festival:

The Cast of “STEP”

Ray Cornelius on Radio Row

John Singleton and Damson Idris from FX’s “Snowfall”

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actors Isaiah John + Malcolm M. Mays

“Claws” stars Niecy Nash + Karrueche Tran

+ showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois

“Claws” cast with Ray Cornelius + UPFRONT Talent Producer Jess Manning

ESSENCE talking to “Black Panther” actress Letitia Wright 

Ray Cornelius with FANDANGO Correspondent Chris Witherspoon

“She’s Gotta Have It” actress DeWanda Wise 

Ray Cornelius with “Empire” stars Ta’Rhonda Jones and Bryshere Y. Gray 

India.Arie

John Legend 

John Legend

John Legend 

DIANA ROSS

Ray Cornelius watching DIANA ROSS 

Ray Cornelius with the cast of “Detroit” – Jacob Latimore, Nathan Davis Jr., Algee Smith, Ephraim Sykes,  Joseph David-Jones

“The Haves and the Have Nots” Tyler Lepley,

Angela Robinson and Gavin Houston

Ava DuVernay during the “WOKE Women Awards” 

Jazmine Sullivan 

Tank + Angel Love + Angel Saunders

on the red carpet of the “Snowfall” NOLA Premiere

Remy Ma performing with her husband and rapper Papoose

Lalah Hathaway

Ray Cornelius with Iyanla Vanzant 

CeCe Winans talking about her new album, Let Them Fall In Love 

Ray Cornelius with CeCe Winans 

Ray Cornelius with Anita Wilson 

Ray Cornelius greeting “cousin” Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius with Chanté Moore

Ray Cornelius interviewing Miss Lawrence of “STAR”

Ryan Destiny of “STAR”

Ray Cornelius with Miss Lawrence 

Issa Rae, Kofi Soriboe and Larenz Tate at “Girls Trip” NOLA Premiere

Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith at “Girls Trip” NOLA Premiere

Ray Cornelius with the cast of “The Mayor” – Brandon Michael Hall, Yvette Nicole Brown and show creator Jeremy Bronson

Ray Cornelius with Nicci Gilbert 

XSCAPE after their Super Lounge performance

Elle Varner

SHAGGY

Ray Cornelius with Craig Robinson of “Ghosted”

Ray Cornelius with Melvin Styles and Razor Chic of Atlanta 

Mushiya Tshikuka talking to #UPFRONT

Ava DuVernay with the cast of “Queen Sugar”

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actor Damson Idris 

Chanté Moore with June’s Diary

Ray Cornelius with Common 

Ray Cornelius with Big Freedia 

Shirley Jones of The Jones Girls 

Ray Cornelius with “Insecure” actress Yvonne Orji

Ray Cornelius with Tamika D. Mallory

Ray Cornelius with the fabulous Candace Ledbetter

Ray Cornelius with “Snowfall” actors Isaiah John + Malcolm M. Mays

Common with cast of “Detroit” – Nathan Davis Jr.,

Jacob Latimore and Joseph David-Jones

THANK YOU ESSENCE FESTIVAL AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius and Mark Angel for RayCornelius.com