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RC Exclusive - Ent

BLFF’s ‘Women Superstars Luncheon’ to salute Regina Hall, Angela Robinson and Lisa Cortés

Congratulations goes out to Little actress Regina Hall, The Haves and the Have Nots star Angela Robinson and Academy Award®–nominated Producer Lisa Cortés. All three women are being honored at this year’s BronzeLens Women Superstars Luncheon (WSSL).

Hall will be receiving the Legendary Superstar Award, Robinson will pick up the Visionary Award and Cortés will be receiving the Behind the Lens Superstar Award.

The BronzeLens Women Superstars Luncheon is one of the Festival’s most popular events and puts a spotlight on women of color who have made outstanding contributions in the worlds of film and television.

Past honorees have included President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Cheryl Boone Isaacs,  award winning filmmakers Ava DuVernay and Deborah Riley Draper, legendary Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, actress and web series queen Issa Rae and actresses Margaret Avery, Queen Latifah,  Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tina Lifford, Crystal Fox and Terri J. Vaughn. 

Click here for more information.

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RC Exclusive - Ent

Watch the First Official Trailer for ‘SHAFT’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

New Line Cinema has released the first official trailer for SHAFT and we can dig it! The film stars the “original” John Shaft Richard Roundtree, film icon Samuel L. Jackson and Survivor’s Remorse actor Jessie T. Usher.

JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide.  Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly.  And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather duster, there’s no denying family.  Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.

SHAFT also stars Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver and Cliff “Method ManSmith. The film is produced by John Davis and directed by Tim Story.

SHAFT is written by Kenya Barris & Alex Barnow and is based upon the character John Shaft from the novel by Ernest Tidyman.

It arrives in theaters on June 14.

Watch below:

Photo Credits: New Line Cinema and YouTube/Shaft

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Rising - Ent

‘Black-ish’ actress Marsai Martin to star in + produce ‘Little’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Two time NAACP Image Award-winning actress Marsai Martin is teaming up with the “Black-ish” show creator Kenya Barris and Girl Trip‘s Will Packer for a new film titled, “Little.”

According to S&A, Martin is starring in the story about a woman who gets the chance to relive the carefree life as her younger self, when the pressures of adulthood become too much.

The 13-year-old star came up with the script idea and will executive produce it with “Girls Trip” actress Regina Hall and Josh Martin. The project’s writers include Tina Gordon and Traci Oliver and it’s being produced through Will Packer Productions.

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

Photo Credit: TheGrio.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

Regina Hall in talks to star in Tim Story’s ‘Son of Shaft’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Versatile actress Regina Hall is currently in negotiations to star in the “Son of Shaft” movie along with Jessie T. Usher and Samuel L. Jackson. According to THR, The “Girls Trip” actress will portray Usher’s onscreen mother and the former love interest of Jackson, who will be reprising his role as Shaft.

As previously reported, “Son of Shaft” will feature Usher as an FBI agent and cyber expert who finds himself partnering with his estranged father, Shaft, for an uneasy collision of old school meets new school. The film will also feature Alexandra ShippChristian Anderson and Richard Roundtree, who starred in the original 1971 version, “Shaft.”

“Son of Shaft” is written by Kenya Barris, Alex Barnow and Ernest Tidyman and is directed by Tim Story.  It is currently being shot in Atlanta and will arrive in theaters June 14, 2019.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: KONTROL Magazine

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RC Exclusive - Ent

First Look at #EdGordonSpecial featuring Omari Hardwick, ‘Girls Trip’ Cast & More (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The stars will align on this coming Monday, July 17 for an “Ed Gordon Special” you don’t want to miss. He’ll be talking to some of the biggest African-American stars in film, television and comedy beginning at 10 p.m. EST on Bounce TV.

In the special, Gordon will talk one-on-one with “Power” star Omari Hardwick. The Atlanta native opens up about the popularity of the STARZ series, his marriage and handling fame in this social media era. He also recalls a moment when he almost gave up acting.

“There was that moment when I decided to ask Mom and Pops what they thought about that. They collectively put together about twenty-five hundred dollars and said ‘you ain’t going nowhere. You didn’t go that far to come back home, not when you got all that talent.’”

Gordon also talks to the cast of the hilariously funny movie, “Girl Trip,” Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. Each actress will discuss their careers and reflect on the contributions of Black women in Hollywood.

“It’s people like Jada’s husband Will (Smith) who helped us every step of the way, so it wasn’t just us When Will got in he helped me get in…I’m going to help somebody else get in. It’s not about keeping it all to yourself it’s about passing it on and keeping that door open,” says Latifah.

Gordon also profiles Super Bowl Champion-turned broadcaster Michael Strahan and Kings of Comedy—Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley.

Check out a sneak peek below:

The “Ed Gordon Special” airs on Monday, July 17 at 10 p.m. EST.

Photo Credits: BounceTV

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Recap

#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

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Recap

The Cast of ‘Girls Trip’ attend #NOLA Premiere [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

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

Photo Credits: RayCornelius

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RC Exclusive - Ent

‘Girls Trip’ stars cover ‘ESSENCE’ #Vacation Issues [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

“Ain’t no party like an ESSENCE party, cuz an ESSENCE party do stop!”

Congrats to the cast of the upcoming comedy “Girls Trip!” The fierce divas—Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish—are featured on five unique #Vacation covers for ESSENCE Magazine.

“Girls Trip” opens nationwide in theaters on July 21 and features the ladies as four 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. Larenze Tate, Kate Walsh, Mike Colter and “Queen Sugar” heartthrob Kofi Siriboe round out the cast. “Girls Trip” was written by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris along with Tracy Oliver.

“Because of our history in this country and how we’ve been labeled, I think we, as Black women, tend to be a little hard on ourselves,” Pinkett-Smith told ESSENCE about letting go and having fun in the July 2017 issue.

Take a look at the beautiful covers below + click here to watch the film’s trailer:

Photo Credits: ESSENCE

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RC Exclusive - Music

‘BET Awards’ announces first round of presenters + performers

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Bruno Mars, Future, Migos, Trey Songz and Tamar Braxton are just a few of the big named stars set to perform at this year’s “BET Awards.” The show airs live on Sunday, June 25 at 8 p.m. EST from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA.  According to the press release, the above mentioned names are just the first round of performers and more acts are to be announced in the coming weeks.

The evening will also feature a number of television, film, sports, comedy and music stars who will serve as presenters including “black-ish” star Yara Shahidi, Cardi B, Issa Rae, Jamie Foxx, La La Anthony, the cast of Universal Pictures’ “Girls Trip” (Regina Hall, Tiffany HaddishJada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah), Trevor Noah, Robin Thede, Cari Champion and “All Eyez on Me” star—Demetrius Shipp Jr.

Previously announced nominees this year include Mars and Migos plus Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper and many more. This year’s show is also hosted by comedienne and actress Leslie Jones.

Click here to see the rest of the nominees!

Hey RC fans! Whose performance are you looking forward to seeing the most?

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

Queen Latifah & cast of ‘Girls Trip’ Cut Up in New Trailer (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the hilarious new trailer for Malcolm D. Lee and Will Packer‘s comedy “Girls Trip!” The upcoming film hits theaters this summer on July 21.

When four lifelong friends—Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish—travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

“Girls Trip” also features the Larenze Tate, Kate Walsh, Mike Colter and “Queen Sugar” actor Kofi Siriboe. It was also written by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris along with Tracy Oliver.

See trailer + official poster below:

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RC Exclusive - Ent

Viola Davis, Common, Omari Hardwick & Lee Daniels to present during ‘BET’s ABFF Honors’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

BET has announced that Oscar nominated “Fences” star Viola Davis will be in good company as a presenter during the “American Black Film Festival Honors.” She will be joined by award winning-director Lee Daniels, Oscar winning-hip hop star Common and beloved actors Morris Chestnut and Omari Hardwick during tonight’s taping of the show. Also scheduled to appear are singers Maxwell and Dionne Farris, who I imagine will be performing songs from the “Love Jones” soundtrack since the film turns 20-years-old this year (Yes, it’s been 20 years!)

As previously reported, the “BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” is being taped in Los Angeles and will celebrate Black culture by honoring individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment.

This year’s honorees include two-time Oscar winning actor and screen icon Denzel Washington with the “Hollywood Legacy Award;” writer, producer and actress Issa Rae with the “Rising Star Award,” film director and producer F. Gary Gray with the “Excellence in the Arts Award” and actor and singer, Terrence Howard with the “Excellence in the Arts Award.”

The show is hosted by actress and director Regina Hall and will include other appearances by Jay Ellis (Insecure, The Game), Kofi Siriboe (Queen Sugar), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Straight Outta Compton) and Kylie Bunbury (Pitch).

“BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” is executive produced by ABFF Ventures founder Jeff Friday, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones for de Passe Jones Entertainment, Jesse Collins for Jesse Collins Entertainment, and Connie Orlando, Stephen G. Hill and Debra Lee for BET Networks.

“BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” airs on BET and Centric on Wednesday, February 22nd at 8:00PM ET.

Photo Credit: ABFFHonors.com

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Recap

Queen Latifah & Jada Pinkett Smith get lit in ‘GIRLS TRIP’ Trailer (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The ESSENCE Festival serves as the backdrop for Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s upcoming summer movie, “Girls Trip.” The film opens in theaters nationwide on July 21 and is their first project together since the 1996’s box office hit, “Set It Off.”

The Malcolm Lee directed comedy, which was shot last summer at the actual festival, stars the two as life long friends to Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. The fabulous foursome travel to the annual music event where “sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.”

Joining the ladies in their fun-filled weekend is “Love Jones” star Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh, Mike Colter and “Queen Sugar” actor Kofi Siriboe. “Girls Trip” is scripted by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver and produced by Will Packer. 

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

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RC Exclusive - Ent

‘BET’s ABFF Honors’ to recognize Denzel Washington, Issa Rae & F. Gary Gray #BlackAchievement

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to recent SAG winner Denzel Washington, Golden Globe nominated-actress and producer Issa Rae and acclaimed director F. Gary Gray. All three will be recognized during this year’s telecast of “BET Presents The American Black Film Festival Honors.” It takes place on Wednesday, February 22 at 8 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

According to the official press release, Washington will recognized for his outstanding career achievements with the coveted “Hollywood Legacy Award.” He is by far one of the most celebrated actors of our time and is currently basking in the glow of his latest film project, “Fences,” which is up for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. He is also nominated for Best Actor and is currently working on the HBO production of August Wilson‘s, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Rae, who made a splash in 2016 with her HBO series “Insecure,” will pick up the “Rising Star Award” and she is so deserving. She successfully transitioned from web series creator to talk show host to the star of her own cable series. It’s no wonder she was named one of FORBES 30 Under 30 in entertainment in 2014.

Gray has been grinding in Hollywood since the 1980s and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Queen Latifah, Charlize Theron and John Travolta. He directed the 2015 box office smash, “Straight Outta Compton” and will be spearheading the 8th installment to the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

“BET’s ABFF Honors” mission is to celebrate Black culture by honoring individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment, as well as the people who are proponents of championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

The annual event will be hosted by actress Regina Hall.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits: BET and RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

BET honors The Obamas with Musical Celebration feat. Usher, Jill Scott and more!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Not sure how I missed this but BET Networks saluted the First Family (President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama) last night during a musical celebration at the White House. The event was hosted by Terence J and Regina Hall, and featured performances by Usher, Jill Scott, Common, The Roots, Bell Biv DeVoe, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe, De La Soul, Yolanda Adams, Michelle Williams and KiKi Sheard along with appearances by Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse Williams and Angela Bassett.

“Our country has been led for the past eight years by an extraordinary president and first lady,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “We have all witnessed history in the making and I am humbled by this momentous opportunity for BET Networks to join the Obamas for this musical celebration.”

The concert special will premiere on BET Tuesday, November 15 at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: BET.com