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Miss Lawrence added to Lee Daniels’ ‘The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’ (VIDEO)

Photo Credit: Lee Daniels/Instagram

Lee Daniels is adding more star power to his upcoming film The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. Snowfall actor Melvin Gregg and Miss Lawrence formerly of STAR have been added to film which features Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day as the jazz and music icon.

According to DEADLINE, The United States Vs. Billie Holiday follows Holiday’s career as she was targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair. It will explore Holiday’s struggles with addiction, fame and heartbreaking love. Gregg will play Joe Guy, a famed trumpet player in Billie’s band, and one of her lovers, who is battling drug addiction at the height of Holiday’s reign. Miss Lawrence will portray Miss Freddy, Billie’s stylist.

The film also stars Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne, and Evan Ross, whose mother Diana Ross earned an Oscar-nomination for her portrayal of Ms. Holiday in the Motown classic film Lady Sings the Blues.

Check out Andra Day’s performance of the Billie Holiday classic “Strange Fruit” below:

PHOTO CREDITS: Lee Danies and RayCornelius.com

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Watch New Trailer for ‘The Predator’ featuring music from Big Boi & Killer Mike (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the new trailer for The Predator featuring some dope music from Killer Mike, Big Boi and Bassnecter. The song, “Rabbit’s Revenge” is from Tom Morello‘s forthcoming album, The Atlas Underground.

From the outer reaches of space to the to the backwoods of southern Georgia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before. And only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.

The Predator stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Jane Thomas, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey and Yvonne Strahovski.

CLICK HERE to purchase advanced tickets!

THE PREDATOR arrives in theaters on September 14, 2018!

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WATCH the First Look Trailer for ‘The Predator’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

20th Century Fox has released the first look trailer and a few new images for The Predator. The film stars award winning This is Us actor Sterling K. Brown, comedic actor Keegan-Michael Key and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. The film arrives in theaters on September 14, 2018.

The film’s synopsis reads as follows:

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black‘s explosive reinvention of the Predator series.

Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

The Predator also stars Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey and Yvonne Strahovski.

Tell us what you think?

Photo Credits: 20th Century Fox

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‘Men of Moonlight’ pose for Calvin Klein’s New Underwear Campaign [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to the “Men of Moonlight!” The stars of the Oscar winning film not only made history during Sunday evening’s unforgettable telecast (“Moonlight” is the first LGBTQ film to win Best Picture, ever) but the guys got a chance to flex their muscles literally for Calvin Klein‘s new Underwear Collection. The classic black and white photos were released on Monday and features Trevante Rhodes, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders + Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali.

Check out all of the photos below and tell us what you think:


Photo Credits: Instagram/CalvinKlein

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RC attends ATL Premiere of Netflix’s ‘BURNING SANDS’ [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The sensitive issue of hazing in Black Greek Lettered-fraternities and organizations is brought to life in a new Netflix movie titled, “Burning Sands.” Morehouse College’s Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies Program (CTEMS) hosted an Atlanta screening of the film last night and RC was there to capture all of the sights and sounds. The project is written and directed by the associate producer of “Fruitvale Station” and former CAU film professor—Gerard McMurray. He was also joined by the film’s stars Trevor Jackson and newcomer Christian Robinson.

Christian Robison, Gerard McMurray and Trevor Jackson

“Burning Sands” follows a fraternity pledgee who is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against underground hazing. It features Jackson along with iconic screen actress Alfre Woodard, veteran actor Steve Harris, Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes and “Everybody Hates Chris” starlet Imani Hakim. The film, which screened last month to rave reviews at Sundance Film Festival, is executive produced by Oscar winning hip hop star Common. He also performs an original song for the film titled, “The Cross,” with British vocalist Lianne La Havas.

“Burning Sands” is a passion project that McMurray has wanted to produce since working on “Fruitvale Station” with his friend and college buddy Ryan Coogler in 2012. He has always been intrigued by the Black college experience (he’s a graduated from Howard University) and wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a young man pledging a fraternity. He says he shopped the project around and it peaked the interest of a few Hollywood executives. But they ultimately wanted him to tweak the script and McMurray was not having it. It wasn’t until his manager suggested taking the story to Netflix that he got the response he so desired.

“I was teaching film classes at Clark Atlanta University and flying back and forth between Atlanta and L.A. and having meetings. One day one of my producers said, ‘Let’s go to Netflix. They’re giving first time filmmakers and directors an opportunity.’ So we went to Netflix and told them this is what I wanted and how I wanted to do it and how I wanted to tell the story and two weeks later I got the greenlight. So they gave me a budget and I started casting.”

McMurray knew early on that he wanted Jackson to be apart of the film but wasn’t quite sure which role. The two actually met at a Starbucks when Jackson was 15-years-old. However, it wasn’t until he turned 19-years-old that McMurray offered him the leading role of Zurich.

“I mainly wanted to do the film because he [McMurry] is one of the most passionate guys I’ve seen and he knows what he wants,” said the former Lion King star. “It’s easy to work with someone who is clear on their vision but let you have creative freedom. He let me bring Trevor to Zurich and saw him in me.”

McMurray says that he has also received positive and negative feedback about the film from both Greeks and non-Greeks. But more than that, he’s excited about the important dialogue that is happening amongst the organizations and their members.

“We’ve had a few screenings and people were like, ‘Oh I want to show this to my chapter and have a conversation about it.’ And then some people were like straight up mad about it. I actually had one guy waiting for me after showing it at the theater and I had to tell him, ‘Yo this is film not a documentary!’ I told him the he must have an issue with himself and not the film. ‘It’s not like I was showing off secret handshakes or rituals. We’ve seen people eat dog food and get paddled in movies before. This is the way I wanted to tell my story.'”

Look for “Burning Sands” to premiere on Netflix March 10.

Check out more pictures below from the screening and check out Jackson and a few of the film’s other actors talk to the THR about their roles and more:

Dr. Stephane Dunn moderated the panel discussion

Christian Robinson talked about his role in the film

Jackson appeared on Broadway as Simba in “The Lion King”

Christian Robinson, Gerard McMurray,

Dr. Stephane Dunn & Trevor Jackson

“Burning Sands” cast with CAU Students

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Imani Hakim to appear in Netflix Black Greek Drama ‘Burning Sands’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

If you were a fan of the comedy series, “Everybody Hates Chris,” then you’ll remember his nagging little sister, Tonya, who was played by child starlet Imani Hakim. She was always in cahoots with Chris’ other brother, Drew and couldn’t wait to throw him under the bus…literally.

Well, Hakim is all grown up now and has landed herself a more mature role in the new Netflix HBCU film, “Burning Sands.”  As previously reported, the movie is centered around a particularly brutal hazing process at an all-black university. A favored pledgee is torn between honoring his code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing.

Hakim will play Rochon, the love interest to Trevor Jackson‘s Zurich. She’ll be joining other previously announced cast members: Alfre Woodard (“Luke Cage”), Steve Harris (“Legends”), Tosin Cole (“Hollyoaks”), DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Christian Robinson, Rotimi (“Power”), Octavius Johnson, Malik Bazille, Mitchell Edwards, Serayah (“Empire”) and Nafessa Williams (“Brotherly Love”).

Oscar winning-hip hop star, actor and activist, Common is the executive producer of the film through his Freedom Road Productions and even penned an original song, “The Cross” featuring the UK’s Lianne La Havas.

“Burning Sands” will premiere on Netflix on March 10, 2017.

Stay tuned…

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Common to executive produce ‘Burning Sands’ + song for film

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Oscar winning hip-hop star Common will help executive produce the Netflix’s Sundance film, “Burning Sands” through his Freedom Road Productions.  He will also perform an original song, “The Cross,” with British vocalist and one of my music crushes—Lianne La Havas.

According to Deadline, “The Cross” is written by Common with Karriem Riggins, Robert Glasper and Samora Pinderhuges and produced by Riggins and Glasper.

“Burning Sands” follows a fraternity pledgee who is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against underground hazing and features Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris, Tosin Cole, DeRon Horton and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes.

“I’m grateful that Freedom Road is a producing partner on this and it was an honor and a joy to create a song for a movie that I’m inspired by,” said Common.

“Burning Sands” is produced by Stephanie Allain, Jason Michael Berman, Reginald Hudlin and Mel Jones, and executive produced by Caroline Connor, Gerard McMurray, Common, Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone.

The film will have its world premiere January 24 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris and others attend ATL Premiere of ‘Moonlight’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The stars of Barry Jenkins‘ critically acclaimed independent film “Moonlight” attended a private screening Monday night in Atlanta, GA. The event took place at the Regal Atlantic Station and was presented by Gil Robertson and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). Actors Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe and Trevante Rhodes were all smiles as they walked the red carpet and mingled with guests during a pre-screening reception.

img_2429“Moonlight” is a three-part narrative spanning the childhood, adolescence and adulthood of an African-American man named Chiron, who survives Miami’s drug-plagued inner city, finding love in unexpected places and the possibility of change within himself. The film is based on Tarrell Alvin McCraney‘s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” and chronicles his real-life experiences as a poor, black, gay boy growing up in the slums of Miami during the early 80s. “Moonlight” also stars Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Mahershala Ali and Jharrel Jerome.

Following the screening was a brief Q&A session moderated by Robertson and featuring Jenkins along with the cast and NYU Professor Frank Roberts. It was revealed during the discussion that Harris initially turned down the role of “Paula,” the crack addicted mother of “Chiron,” because she didn’t want to feed into the negative stereotype of Black women. However, when it was revealed to her by Jenkins that she would be was playing a combination of his mother and McCraney’s mother, she quickly changed her mind and accepted the role.

Monae, who is making her film debut and will also star in “Hidden Figures,” admitted during the Q&A that she was “nervous as hell” on the first day of shooting. However, she was able to collect herself when she realized that the film was much bigger than her.  She also felt it was her responsibility to help those who may have felt like an outsider at some point in their lives.

Other special invited guests to the screening included filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, Clark Atlanta University’s Dr. Daniel Black, “If Loving You is Wrong” star Joel Rush, singer Rahbi and a host of others.

See more photos below:

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Gil Robertson

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Dr. Daniel Black 

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Singer Rahbi 

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If Loving You is Wrong’s Joel Rush 

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Bishop O.C. Allen and his husband Rashad Burgess

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Filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper 

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Gil Robertson with Barry Jenkins and the “Moonlight” cast

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Naomie Harris 

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Trevante Rhodes

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Janelle Monáe

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Trevante Rhodes and Joel Rush

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Barry Jenkins and Naomie Harris 

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Janelle Monáe

img_2537Barry Jenkins 

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Naomie Harris with Trevante Rhodes

“Moonlight’ opens in theaters October 21!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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WATCH Trailer for Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ featuring Janelle Monáe (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the new trailer and poster for the Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age-story “Moonlight.”

The film is a three-part narrative spanning the childhood, adolescence and adulthood of an African-American man who survives Miami’s drug-plagued inner city, finding love in unexpected places and the possibility of change within himself. It is based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” written by award-winning playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney.

“Moonlight” features the talents of British actress Naomie Harris along with “Selma” actor Andre Holland and music superstar Janelle Monáe. It also includes Alex R. Hibbert, Jaden PinerAshton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes and Jharrel Jerome.

I can’t wait to see this as I have followed the career of McCraney ever since I saw his play “In the Red and Brown Water” at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater years ago. He was the winner of the theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition, which is a huge accomplishment for any young artist. He followed that up with the hilariously funny “Choir Boy. ” It will be very interesting to see how Jenkins will translate McCraney’s work from the stage to the big screen.

“Moonlight’ opens in theaters October 21!

Photo Credit: ShadowandAct.com