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AAFCA teams up with AMPAS for ‘Careers in Film Summit’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) will conclude its 2018 lineup of Atlanta programming with a partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to educate the next generation on various career opportunities in film.

The “Academy’s Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta,” will take place on this Saturday, November 3 at the SCADshow, marks the organization’s first educational outreach in the Atlanta area, which is distinguished for its rapid growth in film production.

A half-day event, the Summit features three moderated panel discussions with working Academy members and film professionals intended to introduce high school and college students and their educators to the plethora of careers in the motion picture industry. The discussions focus on film careers above and below the line as well as the importance of representation. The Atlanta edition of the Summit is an extension of similar programs the Academy produces in Los Angeles, London and New York.

“I moderated a Careers in Film Summit panel in 2017 at the Academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills and, after witnessing its impact, recommended they bring it to Atlanta,” explains AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “Given Atlanta’s growing strengths in every area of entertainment, I felt the Summit would be an excellent resource for the city’s next film generation.”

Confirmed Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta panelists include producer/director Roger M. Bobb, Deborah Riley Draper and Deborah Moore; casting agent, Winsome Sinclair; art director, Cindy Carr; makeup artist, Dionne Wynn, pr guru, Carolyn Sloss; manager Chaka Zulu and others.

 The Academy’s Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta is being presented in partnership with re:imagine/ATL, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta (SCAD), DeKalb Entertainment Commission, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and Saunders Lockliear Entertainment (SLE).

Will you be attending?

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Tina Lifford, Ayoka Chinzera & Samantha Vincent honored during ‘Women Superstars Luncheon’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

A BIG congratulations goes out to actress Tina Lifford and filmmakers Ayoka Chinzera and Samantha Vincent. The ladies were honored Friday afternoon during the Women Superstars Luncheon at the 2018 BronzeLens Film Festival.

The event took place at the illustrious Atlanta Marriott Marquis and was hosted by HGTV star and media maven Egypt Sherrod.

Celebrities in attendance included Greenleaf star Lynn Whitfield, 9-1-1 star Cocoa Brown, R&B music star Regina Belle, Living Single star Kim Coles, Mile 22 star Keith Arthur Bolden, actress and author Stacii Jae Johnson, actress and filmmaker Lisa Arrindell, filmmaker Muta AliLove Is… creator Salim Akil, actress DeEtta West, singer and filmmaker Nicci Gilbert and award-winning TV producer Dianne Ashford.

Lifford was saluted by her Queen Sugar co-star Omar Dorsey and picked up the Visionary Superstar Award for her career as an actress, activist and motivational speaker.

Chinzera, who is best known for her work as a groundbreaking filmmaker and content creator, was given the Catalyst Superstar Award. She is the first African-American female animator and one of the first female film educators.

Vincent earned the Vanguard Superstar Award for her work as executive producer on the Fast Furious movie franchise along with her brother Vin Diesel.

BLFF Artist Director Deidre McDonald also recognized for her contributions to film and for educating future filmmakers and content creators.

The afternoon also featured a conversation with Vincent that was moderated by noted filmmaker Roger M. Bobb and was sponsored by AARP-Georgia.

Check out all of the photos below:

Madea’s Family Reunion stars Lynn Whitfield + Lisa Arrindell 

Judith Service Montier + Egypt Sherrod

Keith Arthur Bolden + Omar Dorsey

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms 

Kim Coles + Kim McNair 

SURPRISE!! BLFF’s Deidra McDonald picked up the Superstar Award

Eygpt Sherrod + Nicci Gilbert

Regina Belle and daughter + AARP’s Debra Tyler-Horton + Kim McNair 

Love Is creator Salim Akil + Imara Canady + guest

BLFF Filmmakers Muta Ali + Lisa Arrindell 

Stacii Jae Johnson + Regina Belle 

Actress DeEtta West 

AARP State Director Debra Tyler-Horton

 Screening Room ATL’s Khalimah Gaston

Omar Dorsey + Tina Lifford + Ayoka Chinzera

Roger M. Bobb + Samantha Vincent 

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Cast of TV One’s ‘When Love Kills’ attends ATL Premiere [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

TV One hosted a very special advanced screening this week for its upcoming original movie, “When Love Kills” and #UPFRONT was there to capture all of the sights and sounds. The red carpet premiere took place at Atlantic Station’s Regal Cinema Theaters and was attended by the film’s cast and crew as well as Atlanta celebrities, influencers and contest winners.

Originally titled “Hit a Lick,”  “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” is inspired by an episode of TV One’s original series “For My Man,” and tell the tragic story of Falicia Blakely (Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland), a teen mom who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Big Dino (Lance Gross). His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she’s forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. “When Love Kills” also stars Tami Roman, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Big Freedia, Tiffany Black and Lil Zane.

The film marks the directing debut of acclaimed actress Tasha Smith and was written and executive produced by Cas Sigers-Beedles. “I have so much compassion for this girl,” said Smith to RC in November 2016.  “To be able to work with a talent such as Lil Mama and help bring this story to life in a way that is full of compassion and passion without any judgement is a blessing.”

Celebrities in attendance included: Ferrari, Trina Braxton, Terri J. Vaughn, Pastor Troy, Irv Gotti, Blue Kimble, Cocoa Brown, Dawn Halfkenny, Demetria McKinney, Willie Moore Jr., LeLee Lyons, Nicci Gilbert, Gary Wit Tha Tea, Roger M. Bobb and the hosts of TV One’s new talk show, “Sister Circle“—Syleena Johnson, Rashana Ali, Kiana Dancie, Quad Webb-Lunceford and Funkie Dineva.

The event also featured a sneak peek of TV One’s other new original movie, “Bobbi Kristina” starring Demetria McKinney, Hassan Johnson, Vivica A. Fox and Joy Rovaris as Bobbi Kristina.  Check out more red carpet photos below:

Lance Gross + Roger M. Bobb 

Cocoa Brown 

Blue Kimble 
Tami Roman talking to #UPFRONT

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Terri J. Vaughn 

Irv Gotti 

Trina Braxton 

“Sister Circle” hosts: Funky Dineva, Rashan Ali, Kiana Dancie,

Quad Webb-Lunceford and Syleena Johnson 

Demetria McKinney

Lil Zane

“When Love Kills” cast with #SavingOurDaughters  

Willie Moore Jr. 

When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story airs on
Monday, Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. EST
Photo Credits: Marcus Ingram/TV One and RayCornelius.com
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#UPFRONT attends ‘BronzeLens Film Festival’ Media Mixer [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

My radio show #UPFRONT had the pleasure of attending and covering this week’s Media and VIP Reception for the 2017 BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF). The mixer was held at Davidoff of Geneva (The Shops Buckhead Atlanta) and was hosted by BLFF’s Executive Producer Kathleen Bertrand, Artistic Director Deidre McDonald and Chairman of the Board Tirrell Whitley of Liquid Soul.

The 8th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival will take place in Atlanta beginning August 23-27 at the iconic Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. This year’s activities will feature over 60 films including a collection of features, shorts, narratives, webisodes and documentaries. The Festival will also host its highly anticipated “Women Superstars Luncheon” that will recognized the work and talents of “Queen Sugar” director Neema Barnette, stage, TV and film actress Crystal Fox and rising filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu.

“Greenleaf” actor Lamman Rucker will lead a masterclass on the “Art of Auditioning” and will also moderate this year’s “Brunch with the Brothers” featuring his “Greenleaf” co-star Keith David along with “Queen Sugar” stars Omar J. Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett and “The Quad” actor E. Roger Mitchell.

Also new this year is a multi-faceted recruitment program with Turner. The media giant will collaborate with BLFF to find the next generation of filmmakers, actors, producers and directors. It is a partnership that will go into the next decade.

“BronzeLens is an incredible platform to showcase talented filmmakers,” said Angela Santone, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer for Turner. “Turner is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion on and off the camera.  In partnership with BLFF, we will promote the next generation of leaders who can bring a wide range of experience, ideas and perspectives to the industry.”

Other highlights will include workshops led by industry vets Rueben Cannon, Roger M. Bobb and Dianne Ashford. There is also a “Sisters in Song/Music in Movies Concert” featuring the vocal talents of Bertrand along with other top Atlanta performers – Rhonda Thomas, Brenda Moorer, Theresa Hightower and Julie Dexter.

Click here to see the full #BLFF17 schedule and check out more photos below from the Media and VIP Reception. The event was attended by a number of ATL influencers including Women on the Move‘s Kim McNair, celebrated visual artist K. Joy Peters, media mavens Chelsye Burrows and LaRonda Sutton and producer extraordinaire Valerie Benning.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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AAFCA salutes Rob Hardy at 2017 #SYNERGYAWARDS [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

One of Atlanta’s pioneers in television and film—Rob Hardy—was honored Thursday night during the 2017 Synergy Awards. The annual summer ceremony was presented by Gil Robertson and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and took place at Bobbcat Studios.

The Synergy Awards is one of AAFCA’s signature events and celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast. It also provides an opportunity for creative professionals in and around the area to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.

Hardy was acknowledged for laying a foundation for Atlanta’s current boom in television and film production. The ceremony included a video presentation featuring congratulatory messages from a number of Hardy’s close friends and collaborators like fellow filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, iconic casting director Reuben Cannon, longtime partner Will Packer, Rainforest Entertainment’s Mitzi Miller and Liquid Soul’s Tirrell Whitley.

“Rob is getting this award because Atlanta is number one [applause]…in terms of TV and productions in the world. A large part of that has been because of his efforts,” said Robertson to the attendees.

Hardy began his film career as a student on the campus of Florida A&M University with Packer and their very first project, “Chocolate City.” After graduation, the two moved to Jonesboro, GA where they formed their production company, Rainforest Films. Their next movie, “Trois,” elevated the profile of their brand and opened doors for them to go on and produce a string of other hit films including “Motives,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Think Like a Man,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “No Good Deed.”  Hardy also has credits on such hit television shows as “Empire,” “How To Get Away with Murder,” and “Castle.” His most recent endeavor included creating and executive producing BET’s “The Quad.” He also has two other shows lined up including one with hip hop star Clifford “T.I.” Harris. 


“Sometimes doors are closed to force you and I to find other routes to tell our stories. We all have a place here.  Just because you see someone else’s name in lights, doesn’t mean that your time’s not coming…if you just continue to work and believe,” said Hardy to the attendees.

Celebrities in attendance included “Underground” and “Hit the Floor” actor Rob Riley, “Hollywood Divas” star Lisa Wu, plus “Saints and Sinners “actresses Jasmine Burke and Dawn Halfkenny. Past Synergy Award recipients, Keith Neal and Eric Tomosunas, were also in attendance as well as industry professionals—Dianne AshfordAsante Bradford, April Love, Jess Manning, Angela WattsChelsye Burrows and George Pierre.

Check out more photos below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Usher, Future, Tyrese Gibson, Young Jeezy and more attend Mayor’s Masked Ball [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Usher, Tyrese Gibson, Future and Young Jeezy were just a few of the A-List celebrities who came out for Saturday night’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball Atlanta. The VIP gala was held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and was attended by a who’s who of celebrities, city officials, dignitaries, tastemakers and influencers.

Dr. Michael Lomax presenting the HBCU Presidents

Yours truly, RayCornelius.com was in the mix and captured some pretty amazing shots of everyone in their black tie and ballroom garb. The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is held annually by the city’s mayor and is a huge fundraiser for students attending historically black colleges and universities. The Mayor’s Masked Ball was created in 1983 by Billye S. Aaron (Hank Aaron’s wife) and Ambassador Andrew Young with the hopes of providing scholarships for underserved youth with dreams of attending college. The event is one of several “Masked Balls” that are presented by UNCF chapters around the country.

Tyrese Gibson helping out during the fundraising portion of the evening

Last night’s ball raised well over one million dollars due to the high demand of tickets  and a little help from “Fast and Furious” star and musician Tyrese Gibson. He literally took over the fundraising portion of the program and was able to galvanize an additional $1oo,ooo from the audience which included three hefty donations from Usher, Young Jeezy and Future. Other celebrities who contributed to the cause included “R&B Diva” Angie Stone, soul singer Avery*Sunshine,HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod and BMI executive Catherine Brewton.

Avery*Sunshine, Q Parker and Angie Stone

A number of other Atlanta notables were in attendance including Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, RHOA star Phaedra Parks, “Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Dr. Jackie Walters and Dr. and Genise SheltonQ. Parker from 112, celebrity interior designer Michel Boyd, TV and stage actress Danielle Deadwyler, actor Al Thompson, filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker, 11 Alive Atlanta news anchor Shiba Russell, acclaimed author and playwright Pearl Cleage, reality star Stevie Baggs, Jr., gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell, hip hop artist Kore $tacks, Dr. Yamma Brown (James Brown’s daughter), gospel singer and radio personality Darlene McCoy, UPSCALE Magazine’s Satchel Jester, “Saints and Sinners” actress Reece Odum and more.

Sheila E.

This year’s entertainment was provided by the one and only—Sheila E. The award winning entertainer and beloved music icon opened her show with a nod to her late mentor and friend Prince with “Erotic City.” She later jammed the night away with hits of her own including “Love Bazaar” and “Glamorous Life.”

The Mayor’s Masked Ball was hosted by comedian and actor J. Anthony Brown along with UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax and UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Norman Boyd.

See more exciting pictures below and click here to donate:

Al Thompson and Shiba Russell

Pearl Cleage and her daughter Deignan

Avery*Sunshine and Dana Johnson

Danielle Deadwyler, Jakeem Smith and Kore $tacks

Dr. Yamma Brown 

Atlanta radio personality SiMan Baby with his guest

Usher

Stevie Baggs Jr. with his date

Kwanza and Natalie Hall

Reece Odum and her guest

Young Jeezy with Phaedra Parks 

Dr. and Mrs. Shelton

Egypt Sherrod and Avery*Sunshine

Actor Lamman Rucker chatting with Billye S. Aaron 

Angie Stone and Gwendolyn Chisolm aka “Blondie”

Q Parker, Tyrese Gibson, Elle Duncan and her husband

Future with his sister and mother

Satchel Jester with Michel Boyd

Darlene McCoy

J. Anthony Brown and Myra J

Roger M. Bobb and Carolyn Young (Ambassador Andrew Young’s wife)

Dana Johnson, Avery*Sunshine, Ceaser C. Mitchell (Atlanta City Council President), Rev. Raphael G. Warnock (senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church) and his wife Ouleye Ndoye    

Tyrese Gibson

Usher

Tyrese Gibson and Ambassador Andrew Young sharing a laugh

Dr. Michael Lomax ~ UNCF President and CEO

Usher laughing out loud at J. Anthony Brown‘s shenanigans

Mayor Kasim Reed and First Lady Sarah-Elizabeth Reed

UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Norman Boyd

handing flowers to Billye S. Aaron

Lamman Rucker with Morehouse College President John Wilson

J. Anthony Brown sharing a laugh with Atlanta business icon Richard Dent 

SHEILA E.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Nate Parker attends ATL Screening of ‘Birth of a Nation’ & More [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

“Birth of A Nation” writer, producer, director and star Nate Parker participated in a special Q&A session Wednesday evening following an advanced screening of his critically acclaimed film. The viewing took place at the Regal Atlantic Station and was attended by members of the Atlanta press as well students from the Atlanta University Center. It was moderated by Morehouse College’s Dr. Stephane Dunn, associate professor and Director of The Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS).

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Set against the antebellum South, “Birth of a Nation” follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The film also stars Gabrielle Union, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Roger Guenveur Smith.

The brief discussion began with Parker talking candidly about his reasons for producing the film. He also opened up about a lot of the opposition he received from prominent Black and White filmmakers. In fact, he was warned not to do the film because he could experience potential backlash throughout Hollywood. But he claims that he remained steadfast in his convictions and did the movie anyway as an “artistic” offering to masses.

img_9991“So making this film became more of an offering as an artist and as person of faith to the art community and to the Black community and to America other than it was even a film or something I could do to further my career,” said Parker to the audience.

He also admitted that his personal walk of faith was tested while shooting the film so much so that he began questioning his own Christian beliefs. “We’re at a crossroads in many ways as a community!  I remember making this film I had to grapple with the idea of what it meant to be a Christian even. Am I a Nat Turner Christian or am I a Christian like those who hung him and beheaded him and skinned him and crushed his flesh to grease?”

“Birth of a Nation” opens in theaters on Friday, October 7.  Check out more images of Nate Parker below + photos from a recent screening that was hosted by David Banner:

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“Birth of a Nation” Screening hosted by David Banner with Roger Bobb, Derek J, Fahamu Pecou, Tameka Raymond & more

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David Banner

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Egypt Sherrod with DJ Fadelf

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Porsha Ferguson

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Derek J

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Fahamu Pecou

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Raquel Smith

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Dr. Rondrick Williamson from “The Doctors”img_9927

Swagu Style House

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Joyce Littel

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Wright A. Jones, MD

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Chef Tregayeimg_9946

Bob Baldwin

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Amber Grimes img_9972

Tameka Raymond 

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David Banner with Roger M. Bobb

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Margaret Avery, Cheryl Boone Isaacs & more honored during BLFF’s ‘Women Superstars Luncheon’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congratulations to the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Cheryl Boone Isaacs and legendary screen star Margaret Avery. Both women were honored on Friday afternoon during the BronzeLens Film Festival’s Women Superstars Luncheon.

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The highly anticipated awards ceremony took place at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and was attended by a who’s who of women (and some men) in the television, film and music industry. Other honorees included iconic filmmaker Julie Dash, noted script supervisor Dawn Gilliam and acclaimed film producer Nina Yang Bongiovi.

IMG_4743The Women Superstars Luncheon was created in 2010 to recognize some the nation’s most successful women of color in film and television. Over the last seven years it has become a must-attend signature event for industry insiders, corporations and the local community. Past honorees have included award winning filmmakers Deborah Riley Draper and Ava DuVernay, legendary Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, actress and web series queen Issa Rae and actresses Wendy Raquel Robinson and Terri J. Vaughn. 

Celebrities spotted throughout the luncheon included singer Tyrese Gibson, reality star Monyetta Shaw, actress Terri J. Vaughn, Judge Glenda Hatchett, comedian Myra J, superstar casting director Reuben Cannon, media mogul Roger M. Bobb and filmmaker Princess Filmz.

In addition to the award’s ceremony, this year’s event featured a conversation with Cheryl Boone Isaacs moderated by NZingha Burton of The Burton Wire and TheRoot.com.

Check out more photos below from the red carpet:

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Judge Glenda Hatchett

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RivaBlue, Carmen Bradford, Julie Dexter and Larry Jennings

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Brandi Mitchell 

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Myra J

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Dawn Gilliam 

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Julie Dash 

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Nina Yang BongioviIMG_4604

Margaret Avery 

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Cheryl Boone Isaacs 

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Tyrese Gibson with Monyetta Shaw and guest

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Terri J. Vaughn 

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Spelman College President – Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell and  her royal court

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Billye Aaron 

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Kathleen Bertrand 

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Tirrell and Kristen Whittley 

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Margaret Avery and Tyrese Gibson

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Princess Filmz and Roger M. Bobb

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Kathleen Bertrand with honorees and BLFF’S Board of Directors

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Malik Yoba and Roger M. Bobb host ATL Screening of ‘Bad Dad Rehab’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The stars of TV One’s upcoming film, “Bad Dad Rehab” hosted a special advanced screening of the movie Wednesday night at the Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, GA. Malik Yoba and Rich Homie Quan were in attendance along with the film’s director Roger M. Bobb.

Winner of the 2015 American Black Film Festival Screenplay Competition sponsored by TV One, “Bad Dad Rehab” (originally titled “Deadbeat Dad Rehab”) is about four men who are in denial of their poor parenting skills. After turbulence with their respective baby mamas and ex-wives force them to take definitive action, Shawn, Tristan, Jared and Pierre attend a rehab for deadbeat dads that uses unusual methods to help them become true fathers. Through all the hilarity, hijinks, drama and soul-searching, the men discover fatherhood is less about making babies, and more about making men. It also features Wesley Johnathan, Robert Ri’Chard, Rick Gomez, Robert RileyKandi Burruss and David Banner.

Other celebrity notables in attendance included actress, singer and reality star Demetria McKinney, actress Chrystee Pharris, “R&B Diva” star Brave Williams and NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving. 

Check out photos and a trailer below: 

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The screening took place at Midtown Art Cinema

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Malik Yoba with actress Chrystee Pharris and “R&B Diva” star Brave Williams

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Dr. J and guests

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Rich Homie Quan and guest

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Malik Yoba and Roger M. Bobb during Q&A
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Roger M. Bobb with Demetria McKinney

“Bad Dad Rehab” premieres this Sunday, July 3 at 7 p.m. EST

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TV One hosts ATL Premiere of ‘Rickey Smiley For Real’ Season 2 [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Rickey Smiley is determined to change the negative perceptions of single dads, particularly African-American fathers, through his unscripted TV One docuseries, “Rickey Smiley For Real.” The multi-talented comedian hosted a very special screening of season two last night at Atlanta’s SCAD Show (formerly 14th Street Playhouse) along with TV One and a cadre of celebrity friends and family.

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Rickey Smiley on the red carpet

The one-hour series, which premieres next Tuesday May 10 at 8 p.m., takes a humorous look at Smiley’s hectic life as a nationally-syndicated radio host, stand-up comedian, actor, TV personality and businessman as he tries to juggle his career as with his personal life where he is the single father to five children. Rickey strives to be a mega media mogul but is constantly being torn between his work and family demands, which frequently results in interesting and often funny moments as he constantly plays catch up. A notoriously picky bachelor with a habit of picking the wrong women, or ending relationships for the smallest of reasons, Rickey is a complete mess in the romance department.

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Rickey Smiley explaining to the audience why the show is a hit!

“There’s a lesson in every episode,” said Rickey to the packed auditorium. “You have conflict resolution but there’s a lesson. Also, dads get a bad rap sometimes and I think finally, a single dad that’s managing business and kids is a good look for us.”

In addition to focusing on his family, the series will also put a spotlight on other areas of Rickey’s life including his church, his standup routines, his numerous appearances and community service. This unique quality about the show is what peaked the interest of TV One’s SVP of Programming & Production, D’Angela Proctor.

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Miss Pat, D’Angela Proctor and Porsha Williams

“Often times, reality TV can be placed into buckets. Like it’s either a work base reality show or it’s a family based reality show or it’s drama filled or it’s comedic. The thing about ‘Rickey Smiley For Real’ is that it checks a lot of boxes like family, relationships, business, entrepreneurship, and the radio industry,” said Proctor to the audience.

“One of the things I have done as a producer and now a network executive is that I always believe in putting medicine in the food. But the food has to taste good in order for people to digest it. I believe that ‘Rickey Smiley For Real’ is a big hamburger with lots of lettuce, tomatoes, and nutrients and all kinds of stuff. You enjoy it but at the same time, you’re also being fed.”

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Gary with da Tea on the red carpet with Joseline Hernandez

Following the screening was a lively Q&A session moderated by Rickey’s “Dish Nation” co-host Porsha Williams. That was followed by an exclusive after party at the W Hotel Midtown.

Celebrities in attendance included “Rickey Smiley Morning Show/Dish Nation” co-hosts like Da Brat, Miss Juicy, Gary with da Tea as well as Kelly Price, Joseline Hernandez, Ed Lover, Brandi Williams, LeLee Lyons, and Nicci Gilbert. Other celebrities spotted were Jasmine Burke, Drea Kelly, Diallo Thompson, Julian Walker, Gwen Boyd Moss, Willie Moore Jr. and more!

Check out more photos below:

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Da Brat

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Princess – Creator of the Real Housewives of Atlanta

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Miss Juicy

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Porsha Williams and Gary with da Tea on the red carpet

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Willie Moore Jr. 

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Kisa Willis of TV One’s original movie “Chasing Waterfalls”

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Derek Blanks 

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Diallo Thompson

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Brandi Williams – Blaque

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Porsha Williams blowing kisses to the media

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Spirit

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Shay Johnson of “Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta”

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Gary with da Tea and Kelly Price sharing a laugh on the red carpet

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TV One’s Brad Siegel and Lori Hall with “Hollywood Divas” star Lisa Wu

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“Saints & Sinners” stars Julian Walker and Jasmine Burke 

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Gwen Boyd Moss – “Selling It in the ATL”

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Beautii J – “Cutting It in the ATL”

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Nicci Gilbert, Ed Lover and SWV’s LeLee Lyons 

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Kelly Price 

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Drea Kelly and Gary with da Tea cuttin up on the red carpet

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Roger M. Bobb bringing greetings before the screening

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Rickey Smiley with Da Brat, Porsha Williams and Gary with da Tea

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After show Q&A was hosted by Porsha Williams 

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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MIchael B. Jordan, ‘Empire’ and ‘Black-ish’ Win Big at NAACP Image Awards [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

It was all Black Achievement last night during the live telecast of the NAACP Image Awards on TV One. Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars came out to recognize the best in television, film, music, and literature. A BIG congratulations goes out to “Creed” star Michael B. Jordan who picked up the biggest honor of the night—Entertainer of the Year—as well as Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in “Creed.”

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ABC’s “black-ish” picked several awards including Outstanding Comedy Series as well Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for Anthony Anderson and Outstanding Actress In a Comedy Series for Tracee Ellis Ross. “Empire” was also a big winner of the night including Outstanding Drama Series + Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for Terrence Howard and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for Taraji P. Henson.

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Other winners included “Survivor’s Remorse” star Mike Epps for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, “black-ish” starlet Marsai Martin for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “Scandal” villian Joe Morton for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and “American Crime” star  Regina King for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Click here to see a complete list of winners and check out more photos below courtesy of Jerome Dorn & InDaHouseMedia:

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Winners F. Gary Gray, Anthony Anderson and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

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John Legend picked up this year’s President’s Award and performed “All Of Me”

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The cast of “Empire” with Show co-creator Danny Strong 

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Winner Tracee Ellis Ross

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Actor and media personality Terrence J with “Empire” Star Serayah McNeill

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Winner O’Shea Jackson Jr. 

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Acclaimed actor Chadwick Boseman

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Sevyn Streeter with Jussie Smollett and Tika Sumpter 

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“Survivor’s Remorse” actress Erica Ash

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NAACP Nominee and Atlanta favorite Egypt Sherrod

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Actress and singer Demetria McKinney and Roger M. Bobb

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“Empire” diva Ta’Rhonda Jones and guest on the red carpet

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“The Next: 15” star Claudia Jordan with Congress’ Frederica Wilson & guests

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Actress Aunjanue Ellis making a bold statement with her dress on the red carpet

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Recap

Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd & Will Packer attend ATL Premiere of ‘Ride Along 2’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

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.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, Heather Hayslett, and Will Packer attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

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 MortonMama Joyce and Aunt Bertha. Other faces spotted on the carpet included Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’s Stevie 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.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Gary "With Da Tea", Porsha Williams, and Rickey Smiley attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

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:

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: TV personality Shamea Morton attends "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Shamea Morton

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Gary 'With Da Tea', Monyetta Shaw, and Rickey Smiley attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Gary With Tha Tea, Monyetta Shaw and Rickey Smiley

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Joyce Burruss and Aunt Bertha attend "Ride Along 2" Advance Screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Mama Joyce and Aunt Bertha

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Demetria McKinney and Roger Bobb attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Demetria McKinney and Roger M. Bobb

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Actress Tika Sumpter, producer Will Packer and actress Sherri Shepherd attend "Ride Along 2" advance screening at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on January 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Tika Sumpter, Will Packer and Sherri Shepherd

Photo Credit: Paras Griffin for Getty for Universal Pictures

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She Said Yes! Demetria McKinney is engaged to Roger M. Bobb

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Congrats to singer and actress Demetria McKinney! The former star of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” has announced that she and award-winning television and film producer Roger M. Bobb are officially engaged.  McKinney posted the bottom image of herself on social media featuring the new ring and the exciting news!

Demetria engage photo

“It’s true! I’m no longer #RogerBobb girlfriend! We are #engaged ! Thank u to all who rooted for and supported us! ♡♡♡♡♡♡”

Best of Luck to the both of them!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and Demetria McKinney/Facebook
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Recap

Johnny Gill, Grant Hill, Tamia and more attend the Mayor’s Masked Ball [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of covering the the 32nd Annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball Saturday evening in Atlanta and oh what a night! This was my second year attending the UNCF fundraising event and it was just as glamorous and star-studded as last year’s ball. It was also one of the most sought after tickets in the city and I was simply thrilled to be in the number.

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Mayor Kasim Reed and First Lady with Chris Tucker and guest

The Mayor’s Masked Ball was started by Atlanta icons Billye S. Aaron (Hank Aaron’s wife) and Ambassador Andrew Young in 1983 and is presented by the city’s current mayor each year. The highly anticipated black-tie affair is supported annually by local corporate companies and civic entities while raising unrestricted dollars for local UNCF students. It also attracts local and national celebrities, dignitaries, and many of the city’s elected officials.

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Honoree Dr. Carlton Brown and wife with UNCF CEO and Co-Chairs

This year’s gala was held at the luxurious Marriott Marquis and was co-chaired by corporate rockstars Shan Cooper, Lockhead Martin Aeronautics Company Vice President and Marietta General Manager as well as Jack Sawyer, President Southeast Region Wealth Advisory Group, Wilmington Trust. UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax and UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Boyd also honored former HBCU Presidents—Dr. Carlton E. Brown (Clark Atlanta University) and Dr. Beverly Tatum (Spelman College) with this year’s Masked Awards for their years of service to the Atlanta University Center.

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Race star Stephan James with Kim Fields and husband Christopher Morgan

The year’s Ball featured a Silent Auction, VIP Reception, Red Carpet, and the show stopping Parade of Masks. Celebrities in attendance included Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Kim Fields and Demetria McKinney, Race actor Stephan James, R&B singers Kelly Price and Tamia, American Crime Story actress Cocoa Brown, comedians George Wallace, Myra J and Don “DC” Curry, filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, and reality stars Dwight Eubanks and Maja Sly. Other celebs in attendance were former NBA players Grant Hill and Dikembe Mutombo, TV and film actress Jasmine Burke, NAACP Image Award nominee and HGTV host Egypt Sherrod, and Married to Medicine duo Dr. Heavenly Kimes and Dr. Damon.

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Johnny Gill performing some of his new music

This year’s Ball also featured national recording superstar Johnny Gill. The Grammy-nominated R&B crooner and New Edition member delivered a high-energy performance of his greatest hits including “Fairweather Friend,” “There You Go” from the Boomerang soundtrack, “Where Do We Go From Hear,” LSG’s “My Body,”and his classic slow jam,” My, My, My.”  Gill also performed songs from his new album Game Changer, which he released this year under his label—J Skillz Records.

Check out more images below from the Mayor’s Masked Ball:

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UNCF Staff and Co-Chairs with Edwin Moses and Dikembe Mutombo

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Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall and wife (right) with friends

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Demetria McKinney with Roger M. Bobb

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UNCF CEO and Co-Chairs with Egypt Sherrod and husband DJ Fadelf

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SHEEN’s Kimberly Chapman and Sammie Haynes with Kim Fields

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Mayor’s Masked Ball announcers Karyn Greer and Brenda Wood

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Honoree Dr. Beverly Tatum with UNCF and Ambassador Andrew Young 

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Kelly Price and guest

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The very dapper Dwight Eubanks 

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Miss National UNCF with UNCF CEO and Co-Chairs

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History meeting History—Hank Aaron and Stephan James

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Former EBONY Fashion Fair Model Renee Knorr

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George Wallace with “Ms. Nevada” Sylvia Taylor

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Stephan JamesRoger M. Bobb and ATL City Council Pres. Ceasar Mitchell

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Tamia and Grant Hill

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Dr. Damon, Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Saptosa Foster and Jasmine Burke

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Kim Fields meeting Race star Stephan James 

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George Wallace and his “wife” Myra J 

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Jasmine Burke and Stephan James 

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UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax and daughter Deignan Lomax

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Edwin Moses and Stephan James 
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Cutting It in the ATL’s Maja Sly and friends

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American Crime Story’s Cocoa Brown with Don “DC” Curry

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Egypt Sherrod rocking her red dress…My…My…My…

Ladies and Gentleman…JOHNNY GILL!

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DSC_0397-2Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com
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