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‘AAFCA TV Honors’ salutes ‘When They See Us,’ ‘Power,’ Ryan Murphy and more

Ava DuVernay’s riveting Netflix project When They See Us earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association Tuesday as part of the upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five black youths, received the group’s Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakout Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Other big wins went to the popular Starz drama Power, which begins its sixth and final season August 25th, and the CBS freshman comedy, The Neighborhood, starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold. Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown earned Best Acting Honors for their respective performances in the series 9-1-1 on Fox and This Is Us on NBC.

In all, the sixteen-year-old association will give out ten awards, including honoring mega-producer Ryan Murphy with the AAFCATV Icon Award and big three network, CBS, with the AAFCA Inclusion Award for its diverse programming and talent.     

“It is impossible to ignore TV’s popularity and remarkable influence on America’s pop culture landscape today,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “As the stature of the small screen continues to expand, it has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive, a movement that we at AAFCA wholeheartedly embrace and champion. The honorees for our first AAFCA TV Honors represent the very best of television programming. They all successfully put a mirror up to our world to tell stories that are refreshingly diverse and authentic. We feel that this new wave of innovative, thought-provoking storytelling is inspiring and deserving of celebration.”

The honorees will be feted at AAFCA TV Honors during a private brunch on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA.

See all of the winners below:

Best Drama – “Power” (Starz)

Best Comedy – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

Best Limited Series – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Performance Female – Angela Bassett (9-1-1) FOX

Best Performance Male – Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) NBC

Best Ensemble – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Writing – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Breakthrough Performance – Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us” (Netflix)

AAFCA TV Honors Inclusion Award – CBS

AAFCA TV Honors ICON Award – Ryan Murphy  

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UPFRONT featuring Constance C.R. White, Audrey Morrissey + the writers from ‘This Is Us’

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out this week’s edition of UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. I recently traveled to Hollywood, CA  for an NBC Press Junket and talked to Audrey Morrissey, executive producer of the popular music competition series, The Voice. Morrissey opens up about this season’s newest features including “The Block,” “The Save” and adding Kelly Clarkson as a coach.

Former ESSENCE editor and fashion expert Constance C.R. White stopped by the studio to discuss her new coffee table book, How to Slay: Inspiration from the Queens & Kings of Black Style. It features over 150 photographs of fashion icons like Josephine Baker, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Kanye West, Jay Z and more.

Closing out the show is another NBC exclusive with three of the writers from This Is Us. Kay Oyegun, Shukree Tilghman and Elizabeth Berger discuss the success of the show, what fans can expect in season three and much more.

UPFRONT Inside Atlanta Entertainment Industry is a 30-minutes arts and entertainment program that features one-on-one interviews with all of the movers and shakers in television, music, film, theater and fashion.  UPFRONT airs every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. on WCLK 91.9 and is hosted by yours truly.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Watch Sterling K. Brown’s SAG Award Acceptance Speech (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

CONGRATS to “This Is Us” actor Sterling K. Brown! He made history Sunday night when he won the award for “Best Outstanding Performance By a Male in Drama Series” during the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG). This is a first for an African-American actor and another history making moment for Brown. He most recently made headlines during the Golden Globe Awards where he became the first African-American actor to win in the category of “Best Performance TV Drama.”

Brown also picked up another SAG award when the entire cast from “This Is Us” won in the category for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.”

Sterling K. Brown with “Claws” actress Niecy Nash

“To all those people still out there hustling, trying to make it – the fame won’t sustain you. The money won’t sustain you. The love will keep you going,” said Brown during his emotional speech.

Click here to see the complete list of winners!

Photo Credits: YouTube + Instagram/Niecy Nash

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‘The Chi’ creator Lena Waithe to appear on ‘This Is Us’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Emmy winning writer Lena Waithe will make a cameo appearance in next week’s episode of “This Is Us.” The creator of Showtime’s hit series “The Chi” and Netflix’s “Master of None” will flex her acting muscles in the award winning NBC drama.

According to TVLine, Waithe is really good friends with one of the show’s writers Kay Oyegun and will guest star as a worker at an animal shelter opposite Chrissy Metz (Kate).

“They’re a very fun duo together,” says TIU executive producer Isaac Aptaker to EW. “She’s a super cool East Side L.A. woman who loves dogs and cats — and finding them homes.”

Waithe is also scheduled to have a recurring role on season two of “Dear White People.”

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Chicago Magazine

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WATCH ‘This Is Us’ actor Sterling K. Brown’s Acceptance Speech at ‘Golden Globe Awards’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“This is Us” actor Sterling K. Brown will be adding another award to his mantle of trophies. The versatile TV and film star picked up his first Golden Globe award Sunday evening while also making history as the first African-American actor to win in the category of Best Performance TV Drama.

“I’m being seen for who I am and appreciated for who I am, and it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or anyone who looks like me” said Brown to This Is Us creator, Dan Fogelman.

Brown is becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men and has also appeared in “Marshall” and “American Crime Story.” He is the recipient of two Primetime Emmy Awards, an NAACP Image Award and a Critic’s Choice Award.

Look for him to star in the upcoming “Black Panther” film as well as “The Predator” and “Hotel Artemis.” Way to go Sterling!!!!

Photo Credits: YouTube/NBC

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Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige & more up for ‘Golden Globes’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The prestigious Golden Globe Award nominations were announced earlier Monday morning and a number of African Americans actors and actresses are up for awards including two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington for Best Performance by an Actor Motion Picture – Drama.

Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer will go toe-to-toe with Grammy winning singer and two-time nominee Mary J. Blige for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress Motion Picture – Drama and Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

My favorite NBC series “This Is Us” is up for two awards including Best Television Series and Best Performance By An Actor in a Television Series – Drama for Sterling K. Brown.

Other nominees include “Insecure” star Issa Rae for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy and “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

Click here for the full list of nominees.

The 75th Golden Globe Awards will air on January 7 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

CONGRATS!

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‘Marshall’ star Chadwick Boseman for ‘Men’s Issue’ of EBONY [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

Check out photos from Chadwick Boseman upcoming spread in EBONY Magazine. The star of “Marshall” and “The Black Panther” gets retro fresh for the 70s theme fashion shoot that was photographed so wonderfully by Dennis Leupold. The actor is seen in a variety of blue and chocolate hues and bold, vintage patterns.

“Grew up reading @EbonyMagazine. Grateful for the opportunity,” said Boseman on his Instagram page.

EBONY’s Men’s Issue also features R&B crooner Maxwell in the latest Fall fashion, a sneak peek into Ms. Tina‘s crib + an intimate look at “This is Us” star and Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown.  The issue also featues 5 Essential Movies About Civil Rights, Grammy winner Ne-Yo + A Day in the Life of Reginald Hudlin.

“Marshall” hits theaters this Friday, October 13. Go see it!!!

Photo Credits: Dennis Leupold for EBONY

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WATCH New Trailer for NBC’s ‘This is Us’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out a sneak peek of NBC’s hit dramatic series, “THIS IS US.” The popular show returns to primetime this fall on September 26 at 9 p.m. EST.

In the clip, Randall (played by Award winning actor Sterling K. Brown) has a heart-felt conversation with his adoptive mother, Rebecca (played by Mandy Moore) about how his adoptive father, Jack (played by Milo Ventimiglia) pushed her into accepting him into their family. She also talks about Jack being the one in their “imperfect” marriage who made all of the big decisions and much more.

Grab your tissues!

Photo Credit: AceShowBiz.com

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‘Atlanta,’ ‘This Is Us’, ‘Drag Race’ & ‘Black-ish’ receive Emmy Nods

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to the casts of FX’s comedy series “Atlanta,” ABC’s “Black-ish” and NBC’s “This Is Us.” All three picked up Emmy nominations on Thursday morning during the official announcement ceremony.

Other nominees include “Black-ish” stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, “Atlanta” star Donald Glover, “How To Get Away with Murder” actress Viola Davis and “This Is Us” actors Sterling K. Brown, Ron Cephas Jones and Milo Ventimiglia.

HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” picked up a nomination for Best Television Movie while “RuPaul’s Drag Race” scored three nods including Best Reality Host for RuPaul. Other nominees include Jeffrey Wright, Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett, Wanda Sykes, Titus Burgess, Regina King, Snoop Dogg, Dave ChappelleW. Kamau Bell and Leslie Jones.

The “69th Emmy Awards” will air live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 17 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS and his hosted by Stephen Colbert.

Click here to see the full list of nominees.

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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NBC Hosts Private Dinner with ‘This Is Us’ actress Susan Kelechi Watson [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a press dinner Monday night with “This Is Us” actress Susan Kelechi Watson. The private gathering was held at the swanky STK Restaurant in Midtown-Atlanta and was hosted by NBC in support of the show’s mid-season return TONIGHT at 10 p.m. EST. (It was pushed back due to President Barack Obama’s Farewell Speech at 9 p.m. EST)

Watson was still buzzing from Sunday night’s Golden Globes Awards ceremony where the show was nominated for Best Dramatic Television Series and was just as excited to meet us as we were to hang out with her. The Howard University graduate, who was raised in New York City by Jamaican born parents, was eager to dish about the show and her down-to-earth character Beth Pearson.

Displaying image006.jpg“This Is Us” follows Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their children Kate, Randall and Kevin, affectionately known as “The Big Three.”  The series features their present lives and flashes back to their unique childhood experiences that make them the complex adults they are today.  Watson is the wife of Randall, played by award winning-actor Sterling K. Brown. She is a no-nonsense kind of woman who is very protective of her husband, her children and their tight knit bond.  According to Watson, she is very mindful of how she portrays Beth and tries to keep her as authentic as possible.  “I try not to make any of her mannerisms or her ways like mine. I enjoy that about acting. I like when acting is different from who I am,” said Watson.

When asked how much of what she says is scripted versus ad-libbed, Watson quickly said that most of the fan’s favorite lines were actually written into the script by show writer, K.J. Steinberg.

“Honestly the lines that people ask me about the most, if I improv, are normally the ones that were scripted.  Someone asked me about the episode when I thought I was pregnant and my line is, ‘I’m buggin out baby!’ They thought I put that in there but that was actually written in there. The script actually said, ‘I’m bugging out baby.'”

While Watson may appear to be a new face to prime time, she’s actually got quite an impressive resume filled with appearances here and there on a number of other popular evening shows including “Third Watch,” “Law & Order,” “Private Practice,” “The Following” and most recently, “Veep.” But it looks like she has found a home on “This Is Us” and is truly proud to be a part of a show that bridges the gap between the Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millenials.

“I feel incredibly proud to be able to do this kind of work that people feel good about. What I like is the feedback I get from a broad range of people like pre-teens all the way up to the elderly. The gap is bananas, almost like eight decades and that’s some of the magic of the show. In one night, I had someone who was maybe in their mid-fifties comes up to me and then the next minute it was a group of teenage girls who were like, ‘Can we take a selfie!'”

You can watch Susan Kelechi Watson in “This Is Us” tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com and Paras Griffin for NBC

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WATCH New Promo for NBC’s ‘This is Us’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the newest promo for NBC’s break-out series, “THIS IS US.”  It was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best new television shows of 2016 and definitely one of the best written. It made you laugh, cry, laugh some more and cry even harder the next time around. Gosh, who didn’t shed a few tears during that infamous “push up” episode?

Anyways, the new season opens up with Kate (Chrissy Metz) struggling with her feelings in the aftermath of Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) heart attack. As William (Ron Cephas Jones) begins to spend more time with Jesse (Denis O’Hare), Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has to get used to his father’s new relationship. After receiving the news they’re expecting triplets, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) must find a way to afford a home that can accommodate three babies. Olivia (Janet Montgomery) unexpectedly resurfaces, throwing both Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) for a loop.

“THIS IS US” Season Two debuts on Tuesday, January 10 at 9 p.m. on NBC!

Photo Credit: NBC

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NBC orders 18 episodes of ‘This Is Us’ (VIDEOS)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congratulations to the cast of the new hit drama, “This Is Us.” According to DEADLINE, NBC has ordered 18 episodes of the show which stars Emmy winning-actor Sterling K. Brown.

“This Is Us” follows a unique ensemble of characters as their paths cross and their stories intertwine. The series will challenge viewers everyday presumptions about the people we think we know and stars Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and Milo Ventimiglia.

I got a chance to attend a preview of the show last month and instantly became a fan of all the twists and turns. It’s refreshing to see relatable characters who are dealing with some pretty familiar issues and storylines. It’s slowly becoming my new Tuesday night obsession.

Check out some “post show” dialogue below featuring the actors:

Photo Credit: TVFanatic.com

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WATCH New Promo for NBC’s ‘This is Us’ debuting 9/20 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the new promo for the upcoming fall series “This Is Us” starring “The People v. O.J. Simpson: An American Crime Story” actor Sterling K. Brown.

According to NBC, “This Is Us” follows a unique ensemble of characters as their paths cross and their stories intertwine. The series will challenge viewers everyday presumptions about the people we think we know and also stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia.

“This Is Us” airs Tuesday, September 20 at 10 p.m. EST

Photo Credit: NBC.com