New Edition, Peabo Bryson, Wendy Williams & more receive Trumpet Awards [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The 2017 Trumpet Awards were taped on Saturday evening at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and your truly was in the mix to capture all of the sights and sounds of one of Atlanta’s biggest nights. This year, I covered the red carpet for my radio magazine #UPFRONT and gathered exclusive interviews with some of the attendees, honorees and presenters. That segment will air this Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on

After the red carpet, I was able to go backstage and cover the media room where most of the show’s presenters, performers and honorees stopped by for photo opportunities. As previously reported, this year’s 25th Anniversary show recognized the accomplishments of some of the biggest names in the African-American community including talk show host Wendy Williams, whose Trumpet Award for Entertainment was picked up by her media brother, hip hop icon Ed Lover.

New Edition’s Rickey Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivins and Johnny Gill, collected their much deserved Lifetime Achievement Trumpet Award. The iconic group from the 1980s, who laid the foundation for many  boy bands of the 90s and 2000s, was recognized just days before their highly anticipated biopic which airs tonight on BET. The group was saluted by R&B groups Transitions, Silk and Jagged Edge.

Music legend Peabo Bryson was honored for his enduring career as a Grammy winning-singer and songwriter. He has performed some of music’s most beloved duets including “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” with Roberta Flack, “Beauty and the Beast” with Celine Dion and “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle, who also performed the song with R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore as part of Bryson’s musical tribute. Bryson’s award was presented to him by music legend—Bill Withers. I had a chance to see Bryson perform last spring and he was simply amazing. He is one of the few veteran performers that still puts on an entire show including stories, dazzling costumes, a live band and back to back hits. This award is very well deserved and was one of the evening’s highlights.

NBA star Dikembe Mutombo picked up the Humanitarian Trumpet Award and praised gospel vocalist Tamela Mann for her amazing performance. She was a ray of sunshine when she entered the media room and bought a smile to everyone’s face. Fashion Blogger Gabi Gregg, was also glowing as she picked up this year’s Trailblazing Trumpet Award. I got a chance to chat with her on the red carpet and she described the moment as “surreal.”  I believe she is the first blogger to receive this award and was really humble to be in the midst of such greatness.

Gospel superstars Jekalyn Carr, Le’Andria Johnson, Travis Greene and Derek Minor were all in the house for a foot stomping, hand clapping, spirit-filled musical tribute. While I wasn’t able to see it from the media room, we were all in awe when the Queen of Gospel, Shirley Caesar, walked into the room. She even took pictures with a dry eraser sign that we created with the famous tag line, “You Name It.”  That was the name of the remixed song that created quite a frenzy over the Thanksgiving holiday and used a line from iconic tune, “Hold My Mule.”

The icing on the cake was Oscar winning-actor Louis Gosset Jr. being there to present Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton with the distinguished Golden Trumpet Award. She also joined us backstage and had everyone’s full attention with her radiant white and gold gown and dazzling head piece.

Other stars spotted on the carpet included Ed Gordon, Erica Campbell, Dr. Bobby Jones, T.C. Carson, Lalah Hathaway, the show’s hosts Nicole Ari Parker and Deon Cole, the cast of Bounce TV’s “Saints and Sinners,” Gary Owens, BJ The Chicago Kid, KeKe WyattErica AshWillie Moore Jr., Tyler Williams from “The New Edition Story” and more!

See more backstage photos below and stay tuned for red carpet pics:

Vanessa Bell Calloway

Tamela Mann

Tamela Mann with Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Damacia Howard

showing off their sparkling shoes

Honoree Dikembe Mutombo with Ed Gordon

BJ The Chicago Kid 

Honoree Peabo Bryson with Bill Withers and Ed Gordon

Kenny Lattimore, Erica Ash and Bill Withers 

KeKe Wyatt

Le’Andria Johnson and Jekalyn Carr

That shoe tho! #Jekalyn Carr

Canton Jones with Shirley Caesar 

Shirley Caesar

Willie Moore Jr. 

Honoree Gabi Gregg

Gary Owens taking part in our backstage shenanigans

The group Transitions performed as part of the NE Tribute

Honorees Ronnie DeVoe and Michael Bivins 

Tyler Williams 

Ronnie DeVoe and Lyfe Jennings 

Trumpet Awards Founder Xernona Clayton

The Trumpet Awards airs this

Sunday, January 29 at 9 p.m. EST On Bounce

Photo Credits:

RC Exclusive - Music

‘The New Edition Story’ coming to BET Jan. 24-26, 2017 (VIDEOS)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

BET announced this week that the highly anticipated biopic, “The New Edition Story,” will air as a six hour, three night event on January 24, 25, and 26, 2017.

The made-for-television movie will bring to life the story of the group that laid the foundation for how modern-day boy bands look, feel, and sound. Boyz II Men, N’SYNC, The Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block all took their cues from New Edition, the famed band that included Ronnie Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Mike Bivins, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill who, for over the last three decades, have consistently produced hit music as a band.

new-edition-cast-membersThe biopic follows the group from their humble beginnings as kids in Boston to global mega stardom – weathering the highs and lows of controversy, personnel changes, and the ultimate cost of fame.

To celebrate the announcement of the release dates, BET has additionally released an official “first look” clip from the film which can be viewed HERE.

“From our beginning in the Orchard Park Projects in Boston to Hollywood and everything in between, just like The Temptations and The Jackson Five—we are ready to retrace our footsteps and show everyone how we got here. For the fans all over the world, this one’s for you,” says New Edition.

The biopic includes a star-studded cast:

Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire) will play Michael Bivins as an adult and Dante Hoagland (Emelie) will play Michael as a child.

Elijah Kelley (The Wiz Live!) will play Ricky Bell as an adult and Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things) will play Ricky as a child.

Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Luke James will play Johnny Gill.

Algee Smith (Let It Shine) will play Ralph Tresvant as an adult and Jahi Winston (Feed The Beast) will play Ralph as a child.

Keith Powers (Straight Outta Compton) will play Ronnie Devoe as an adult and Myles Truitt will play Ronnie as a child.

Woody McClain (Autographs) will play Bobby Brown as an adult and Tyler Williams will play Bobby as a child.

Additional cast members include Wood Harris (The Wire, The Breaks), Michael Rapaport (Boston Public, Justified), Faizon Love (Real Husbands of Hollywood), Duane Martin (Real Husbands of Hollywood), singer/songwriter Tank, and Bre-Z (Empire) along with La La Anthony (Power), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Monica Calhoun (The Best Man), Lisa Nicole Carson (Love Jones) and Sandi McCree (The Wire).

Check out another sneak peek of the film that was released over the summer below!

Photo Credits: and


WATCH the official trailer for ‘Dear White People’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The official trailer for Justin Simien’s new satire Dear White People  has just been released and we can totally see why there is so much buzz surrounding it.

The film follows four Black students at a predominately white institution where a riot breaks out over a popular “African-American” themed party thrown by white students.  Set on the fictional campus of Winchester University, Dear White People  tackles the age old issue of race and class from a fresh new perspective…think School Daze  meets Higher Learning.

The all-star cast includes stars Tessa Thompson, Dennis Haysbert, Teyona Taylor, Brandon Bell and former Everybody Hates Chris  actor, Tyler Williams.

Peep the trailer below and tell us what you think:

[youtube id=”XwJhmqLU0so” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Photo Credit:


‘Dear White People’ to debut in theaters Oct. 2014 (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

In March, we reported that Sundance Film Winner Dear White People  had been picked up by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. Now the film is set to debut in theaters nationwide October 2014.

As previously reported, Dear White People  follows four Black students at an ivy league college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African-American” themed party thrown by white students and is based on filmmaker, Justin Simien’s real-life experience as an African-American student at a predominately white institution.

Dear White People  features the talents of former Everybody Hates Chris  star Tyler Williams along with Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris and Brandon Bell.  I would also like to say a special shout to my friend and celebrity wardrobe stylist, Toye Adedipe, who served as the film’s Costumer Designer.

Check SNEAK PEEK trailer below:

[youtube id=”9ARmFYLiP_I” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Photo Credit:


‘Dear White People’ gets picked up by Lionsgate & Roadside Attractions ( VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Indie Wire is reporting that Sundance Film Winner Dear White People  has been acquired by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The film follows four Black students at an ivy league college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African-American” themed party thrown by white students and is based on filmmaker, Justin Simien’s real-life experience as an African-American student at a predominately white institution.

“Justin Simien is a funny, fresh and current voice with his finger on the Millennials’ pulse,”  said Roadside’s Howard Cohen. “His crowd-pleasing Dear White People took Sundance by storm, with its sly and extremely topical satire sparking conversations about our supposed ‘post-racial,’ 21st century America.”

Dear White People  features the talents of former Everybody Hates Chris  star Tyler Williams along with Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris and Brandon Bell.

Check out a clip below:

[youtube id=”VrNV-3wW_mo” width=”600″ height=”350″]


Photo Credit: