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#UPFRONT featuring Patrick L. Riley, Troy Powell and Ronald Williams (AUDIO)

This weekend’s edition of UPFRONT is all about #BlackBoyJoy. It features my conversations with Troy Powell, artistic director of Ailey II, Ronald Williams from The Collective Culture and media sensation Patrick L. Riley

Ronald Williams is here to chat about the upcoming stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best selling book Between the World and Me The event takes place this Tuesday, October 22 at Atlanta’s Symphony Hall and features a who’s who list of talent including Lynn Whitfield, T.I., Killer Mike, Ledisi, Omar J. Dorsey, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Pauletta Washington and more. Between the World and Me is Coates’ attempt to answer life’s questions in a letter to his adolescent son. The event is being presented by The Apollo Theater, The Collective Culture + NBAF (National Black Arts Festival).

Artistic Director of Ailey II—Troy Powell—is here to chat about their upcoming Atlanta engagement at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State. The evening will feature new works from Bradley Shelver, Andrea Miller and former Ailey dancer Kirven Douthit-Boyd. Yours truly will be hosting a conversation with Troy following the performance. 

Closing out UPFRONT is my conversation with producer, media star and WCLK alumnus Patrick L. Riley. He stopped by to chat about his new book, That’s What Friends Are For: On the Women Who Inspired Me. It chronicles his relationships with some of the biggest DIVAS in music, TV, film and stage including Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Taraji P. Henson, Vanessa Williams and Wendy Williams

Listen to my full unedited conversation below and CLICK HERE for the entire UPFRONT show:

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T.I., Killer Mike, Ledisi and more to appear in live reading of ‘Between the World and Me’ (VIDEO)

The words of Oprah Book Club author Ta-Nehisi Coates are coming to life as part of a special live reading of his New York Times bestselling book, Between the World and Me on Tuesday October 22 at Atlanta’s historic Symphony Hall.

The event is being presented by the Apollo Theater and The Collective Culture and will feature Atlanta hip hop icons T.I. and Killer Mike as well as Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Ledisi, TV and film actress Pauletta Washington and spoken word sensation Marc Bamuthi Joseph and more.

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

A live reading of his book was first done last spring at the Apollo Theater and featured a who’s who of star performers including Angela Bassett, Joe Morton, Black Thought, Common and Susan Kelechi Watson from NBC’s This Is Us. The show was conceived and produced by the Apollo Theater’s Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes and includes a jazz score by Jason Moran.

Ray Cornelius with Kamilah Forbes

Click here and listen to my UPFRONT interview with Kamilah Forbes about the event and click here to purchase tickets for the 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances.

PHOTO CREDITS: and Ronald B. Hill

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T.I. unveils ‘Nipsey Hussle Exhibit’ at Trap Music Museum (VIDEO)

All eyes were on Atlanta’s famed Trap Music Museum Tuesday night for the unveiling of the new Nipsey Hussle Exhibit. The event was hosted by Grammy Award-winning hip hop star, actor and philanthropist T.I. and was attended by a bevy of influencers and trap music enthusiasts including Tameka “Tiny Harris,” Monica, LeToya Luckett and Toya Wright.

UPFRONT was in the building to capture all of the sights and sounds of the evening. I got a chance to chat with the “King of the South” about the new installation as well as BK The Artist and muralists Dizzy and Quake, who also contributed to the new work. Krystal “KG” Garner, general manager of the museum also discussed the importance of bringing this exhibit to Atlanta and much more.

Hussle, a beloved Trap music star and community activist, was tragically shot and killed on March 31, 2019 outside of his store “Marathon Clothing” store in Los Angeles, CA.

Watch the coverage below:


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Nas, Miguel, T.I., Big Boi, H.E.R & more play One Music Fest [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Some of the biggest names in hip hop, R&B, Indie and soul performed in Atlanta recently as part of the highly anticipated ONE Musicfest. The two-day cultural extravaganza took place at the beautiful Central Park in Midtown and was attended by over 40,000 fans and music enthusiasts.

The festival began with a massive Kick-Off Party at The Gathering Spot presented by Lyft. The event was attended by 1500+ millennials and featured a silent party by Bonfire ATL, music by DJ Trauma and performances by Lion Babe, Tobe Nwigwe, Childish Major, and Taliwhoah.

Day One, thousands packed the park to enjoy the diverse lineup of acts, which included Nas, Miguel, Big Sean, H.E.R, Big K.R.I.T, Davido, DVSN, Goldlink, Teedra Moses, Tobe Nwigwe, Jessie Reyez, Felixx, and Aina Brei’Yon. Each day, Smokin’ Shells hosted a DJ stage where 36 DJs kept the energy high throughout the festival.

Day Two, the stage was “lit” with performances by 2 Chainz, T.I., Big Boi, Monica, August Greene, George Clinton & Parliament, Kelis, Rapsody, the ATL Crunk Set (DJ Nabs, Youngbloodz, Ying Yang Twins, Trillville, Eastside Boyz, Kilo Ali), DJ KP the Great, St. Beauty, Angelina Sherie and the Band of Brothas.

Additionally, Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams stopped by the festival to share her vision for moving Georgia forward. ONE Musicfest was proud to support the local business community, inviting over 35 small businesses and 30 food trucks to participate.

Check out more amazing photos below:








Photo Credits: DV Photos

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T.I. teams up with BET for ‘The Grand Hustle’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Grammy Award-winning hip hop star T.I. and BET Networks are coming together for a fierce new reality competition series titled, The Grand Hustle. The show will premiere on late nights beginning this summer.

The Grand Hustle features 16 business minded men and women vying for a coveted position and six-figure salary within Tip’s multimillion-dollar Grand Hustle business empire which he built from the ground up.

“The Grand Hustle Empire is always expanding so therefore we needed to add a very talented, highly skilled executive to our team,” said Harris. “It doesn’t matter if you got your hustle at Harvard or the hood, “THE GRAND HUSTLE” is about how you handle business and what you can do for the brand so I wanted to create a show that offers an equal playing field.”

The 12, one-hour episode series, is set in Atlanta and the candidates are determined to prove they have what it takes to out-hustle the rest. They serve up big deals and even bigger doses of drama each week as they fight for their seat at the table. Ultimately, only one will be crowned the Grand Hustler. The show is created and executive produced by Harris.

The Grand Hustle premieres on Thursday, July 19th at 10:00 p.m.

 Will you be watching?

Photo Credit:

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T.I. to star in + produce musical drama ‘GLOW UP’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

DEADLINE is reporting that Tip “T.I.” Harris is starring in and producing a new musical drama titled Glow Up. The film will be produced alongside Robbie Brenner, PepsiCo’s Creators League Kevin McKeon and T.I.’s producing partner Brian Shear. It will be directed by Justin Francis and is written by Netflix’s Dear White People writer Chuck Hayward.

Glow Up follows the lives and struggles of an all-girl high school performance group at an underfunded Los Angeles United School District school, who use their talents to try and save their financially-strapped music program by competing in a national singing competition with a huge cash prize. But when the group’s leader can no longer participate, they struggle to see how their charismatic, yet unconventional, new lead singer can shepherd them to the height of their dreams.

RC will keep you posted as this project continues to develop.  Look for T.I. to reprise his role in Disney/Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp this summer.

Photo Credit:

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T.I., Wesley Snipes + Terence Howard to star in ‘Cut Throat City’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

DEADLINE is reporting that Wesley Snipes, Terence Howard and T.I. are currently shooting an upcoming drama directed by RZA titled, “Cut Throat City.”

The film centers on four boyhood friends who return to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, to find their home decimated and prospects for work swept away. Turning to a local gangster for employment, the crew is hired to pull off a daring casino heist, right in the heart of the city.

Rounding out the cast are Eiza GonzálezDemetrius Shipp Jr., Shameik Moore, Joel David Moore, Kat Graham, Rob Morgan, Keenan Johnson, Denzel Whitaker and Isaiah Washington.

Stay tuned…

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

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credits: WEtv


Robi Reed hosts ‘Sunshine Beyond Summer’ Celebration [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Emmy® Award-winning casting director and talent executive Robi Reed, Founder of The Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF), recently presented her 14th Annual “Sunshine Beyond Summer” (SBS) Celebration – The Day Party at a private estate in Holmby Hills (between Beverly Hills and Bel-Air).

Hundreds of celebrities and influencers attended this health-themed awareness event and annual fundraiser. Actress, Tasha Smith, currently starring in Starz’s “Power” and OWN’s “For Better or Worse,” co-hosted the event. Grammy® Award-winning singer/songwriter Estelle and Hip-Hop icon Doug E. Fresh added stunning performances, and celebrity DJ D-Nice kept attendees dancing while the foundation showcased its innovative Wellness Row concept featuring free health screenings, affirmations and their ‘Certified Fit To Party’ platform.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Sundial Brands (maker of SheaMoisture) partnered with RFHF on the event to bring these celebrities, entertainment industry tastemakers and community leaders together to encourage them to use their voices to help shift cultural attitudes about wellness, disease prevention and health disparities. AHF and Sundial Brands announced their intent at the event to become corporate partners for 2018 to add resources to help RFHF empower one million friends advocating for health.

“I want to build the One in a Million campaign within our Love Healthy Movement to bring people of all colors, genders, races, political affiliations and ages together to unite and focus on the health of our women. Life begins within us. When we heal, our world heals,” said Reed.

Additional event attendees included: Debra Lee, Chairman & CEO BET Network; Duane Martin, (The New Edition Story) & wife Tisha Campbell Martin, (Real Husbands of Hollywood); Eva Marcille (America’s Next Top Model) & RFHF Health Ambassador; Danielle Nicolet, (The Flash/Born Again Virgin); Apryl Jones (Love & Hip Hop Hollywood); Isaiah Washington (Survivor’s Remorse); T.I., Actor/Hip Hop Artist, Danielle Mone’ Truitt (Rebel); Director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton & The Fate of The Furious); Creator/Director John Singleton (FX’s Snowfall); LisaRaye McCoy (Single Ladies); Lance Gross (Sleepy Hollow, Grey’s Anatomy); Yvonne Orji (HBO’s Insecure); Richard Brooks, (Being Mary Jane); Michelle Mitchenor (Lethal Weapon); Vanessa Williams, (Days of Our Lives); Tim Johnson (Hit The Road); Omar Dorsey (Queen Sugar); Garcelle Beauvais, (Spiderman/Homecoming); Elise Neal (BET’s Tales); Eugene Byrd (Bones) and many others.

The event was live streamed to key SBS enthusiasts. A virtual crowd of partygoers joined the fun by taking the Love Healthy pledge; dancing at home and watching their Hollywood favorites get “certified fit to party.”

Immediately preceding the SBS, RFHF’s Annual Sunshine Awards took place honoring several awardees including the cast and crew of the soon to be released film, “A Question of Faith,” for the courage to create a film that tackles the important – yet under-discussed – issue of organ donations. AHF’s Rise Above Campaign received a ‘Sunshine Award’ for their work in AIDS awareness, prevention and sexual health. Marcille and Brandee Evans (Hip Hop in Heels) were the RFHF Health Awareness Ambassadors for the event and year. New partner, Sundial Brands, received the Corporate Partner – Sunshine Award, for committing to collaborate with RFHF’s Love Healthy: One In A Million Campaign with a skin health and hair component and for its commitment to making products with natural and organic ingredients. Other awardees were Dr. Valencia Mathews and Lorna Johnson.

Photo Credits: Kengi Carr

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Bow Wow & more to star in WEtv’s ‘Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

WEtv has announced a new addition to its “Growing Up Hip Hop” franchise with an Atlanta cast featuring Bow Wow + T.I. and Tiny‘s daughter—Zonnique Pullins.

According to the press release, “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” is a one-hour docu-series that chronicles the perks and perils of being born into Hip Hop royalty in the city that The New York Times called “Hip Hop’s center of gravity.”

The rich history of the Atlanta hip hop scene has fostered a unique sense of pride and closeness among the artists that resembles a family. But like any family, Atlanta’s next generation of hip hop stars do not always get along. Growing up together in the shadow of their legendary parents has established tight bonds and bitter rivalries, as everybody fights for their chance to push their way into the spotlight.

The cast also features Shaniah Mauldin, Jermaine Dupri’s biological daughter; Reginae Carter, daughter of rap star Lil’ Wayne; Ayana Fite daughter of The Beastie Boys mainstay, DJ Hurricane; and Brandon Barnes, son of famed hip hop manager Ms. Deb and brother of hip hop star Waka Flocka.

Check out a sneak peek below:

Will you be watching “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” this spring?


New Release Date & Poster for ‘Sleepless’ starring Jamie Foxx and T.I. (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the new poster for Jamie Foxx‘s upcoming police drama “Sleepless.” The film was originally supposed to debut on February 24, 2017. However, according to S&A, the film is now being released in theaters MLK Holiday Weekend beginning January 13, 2017.

As previously reported, “Sleepless” is based on the the French film “Nuit Blanche” and features Foxx as Vincent Downs, an undercover Las Vegas cop who must rescue his teenage son from a group of homicidal gangsters. Tip “T.I.” Harris stars as Downs’ partner and Michelle Monaghan plays an internal affairs agent investigating Downs.

Rounding out the cast is Gabrielle UnionDurmont Mulroney, Scoot McNairy and David Harbour. The film is directed by Baran Bo Odar with a script written by Andrea Berloff. It was also shot on location in Atlanta, GA.

Stay tuned…




WATCH Trailer for ‘Sleepless’ feat. Jamie Foxx, T.I. and Gabrielle Union (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the trailer for “Sleepless” starring Oscar winning-actor Jamie Foxx, Grammy winning-hip hop star T.I. and “Being Mary Jane” actress Gabrielle Union.

As previously reported, the crime thriller is based on the the French film “Nuit Blanche” and features Foxx as Vincent Downs, an undercover Las Vegas cop who must rescue his teenage son from a group of homicidal gangsters.  Tip “T.I.” Harris stars as Downs’ partner and Michelle Monaghan plays an internal affairs agent investigating Downs. From the trailer it appears that Union plays Downs’ wife.

Rounding out the cast is Durmont Mulroney, Scoot McNairy, and David Harbour. The film is directed by Baran Bo Odar with a script written by Andrea Berloff.

Catch “Sleepless” when it opens in theaters on February 24, 2017.

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Young Jeezy, T.I., Snoop Dogg & more attend BET ‘Hip Hop Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the distinct pleasure of covering the SPRITE Green Carpet today for the 10th Annual BET “Hip Hop Awards.” The VIP event was taped this afternoon at Atlanta’s uberstylish Cobb Energy Centre and will premiere October 4 at 8 p.m.  The show is hosted by BET “Hip Hop Award” nominee DJ Khaled along with DJ Holiday as the House DJ and Atlanta’s own DJ Drama as the House Announcer.

img_8441The BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that has changed the world while highlighting exceptional artists in the music genre. Year after year, the BET Networks have hosted the industry’s top artists for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends.

Performers who walked the SPRITE Green Carpet included T.I., Big K.R.I.T., 21 Savage, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Desiigner, Gucci Mane, OT Genasis, Lecrae, Big Baby D.R.A.M. and Dae Dae.  Nominees that were also spotted included Fat Joe, Lil Uzi Vert, Gregory Watkins, Remy Ma, Sir the Baptist and Benny Boom.

img_8269The SPRITE Green Carpet also featured a number of Cypher performers including  Sway, Empire‘s Bre-Z, 3d Na’Tee, Dave East, Consequences, Miss Jade, Kent Jones and John John Da Don. “Dope” actor Shameik Moore and Demetrius Shipp Jr., star of the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me,” were also in attendance.

Other hip hop stars who rocked the carpet included Young Jeezy, Busta Rhymes, The Dream, Fonzworth Bentley, Big Tigger, Kxng Crooked, DC Young Fly and Blac Youngsta. “Love and Hip Hop” stars Yandy Smith and PreMadonna added some #BlackGirlMagic while fan favorites Cardi B. and Erica Mena provided a lot of “eye candy.”  However, the highlight of the day was seeing Snoop Dogg walked the carpet with his father and son. The legendary West Coast rapper is the recipient of this year’s coveted “I AM Hip Hop Award” and is being recognized for his global influence in hip hop and for paving the way for the next generation of artists.

See more SPRITE Green Carpet photos below and stay tuned for the list of winners and a show recap!!




 Remy Ma


DJ Khaled


Busta Rhymes with Aaron Cook$


Young Thug with his guest


The Dream


Fat Joe 


Big K.R.I.T. and guest


Lil Yachty






Shameik Moore 


DJ Holiday giving kisses to his future child


Sway and “The Morning Show Crew” with 3D Na’Tee


Snoop Dogg talking to BET Music


Yandy Smith


Lil Bibby


Big Tigger with DC Young Fly


Kent Jones 


John John Da Don


Kxng Crooked




Cardi B


Fonzworth Bentley


Erica Mena


Gucci Mann with Keyshia Ka’oir


Black Youngsta


The cast from BET Centric’s “My Current Situation”


Demetrius Shipp Jr. 


Alexis Smith from BET Centric’s “My Current Situation”


DJ Khaled talking to DISH NATION






O.T. Genasis


Dave East 




Consequences with his son


The cast of BET’s new reality series “Hustle & Blow”


Jidenna talking to BET Music


Big Baby D.R.A.M. and his guest


Myles “Millyz” Lockwood 


Miss Jade 


The SPRITE Green Carpet was #LIT!img_8211

Desiinger with guest


DJ Drama with guests




Fat Joe and Remy Ma


BET’s President of Programming Stephen Hill


YAY! My placement on the SPRITE Green Carpet


Thanks BET for the opportunity!

Photo Credits:


Snoop Dogg to receive BET’s ‘I AM HIP HOP’ Award + T.I. & Gucci Mane to perform

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to Snoop Dogg! The legendary rapper, actor and reality star will be honored at this year’s BET “Hip Hop Awards” ceremony with the coveted I AM HIP HOP Award.  The network announced on Tuesday that Snoop would be recognized for his 20 years in the industry and for setting trends and paving the way for both new and established artists.

In addition to Snoop’s salute, the show will feature hot new performances by the “King of the South” T.I. as well as Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, Young Thug and Desiigner. Additional performers include Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Dae Dae, Big Baby D.R.A.M. and Isaiah Rashad.

Presenters for the BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2016 include the star of “Empire” and BET’s “The New Edition Story,” Bryshere Y. Gray and rapper and actor Shameik Moore.

The BET “Hip Hop Awards” will be night of electrifying cyphers, powerful performances and legendary tributes! This year’s show will tape on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at its new venue, The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA, and will premiere on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Stay tuned…

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