Category Archives: Entertainment

OWN Unveils Season Two Trailer of Popular Drama Series ‘Greenleaf’

Greenleaf Season 2 poster

Greenleaf Season 2 poster

On Friday, February, 3, 2017, The Oprah Winfrey Network debuted the season two trailer for its acclaimed original drama series “Greenleaf” from Lionsgate, Emmy-nominated creator/executive producer Craig Wright (“Lost,” “Six Feet Under”) and executive producers Clement Virgo (“The Book of Negroes”) and Oprah Winfrey. Click here for the season two trailer.

The first eight episodes of the new season will debut on Wednesday, March 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The remaining eight episodes of the series’ second season will air in summer 2017. “Greenleaf” premiered last June as the #1 series debut in OWN history and was 2016’s #1 new cable series for women, averaging over three million viewers in Live+3 in its first season.

In the series’ second season, the Greenleaf family tree will split at the root as Jacob (Lamman Rucker, “Why Did I Get Married?”) ventures off to begin his new career with long-time rival church Triumph Ministries, breaking faith with his father, Bishop James Greenleaf (Emmy-winner Keith David, “Community”) while his mother, Lady Mae Greenleaf (Golden Globe nominee and Emmy-winner Lynn Whitfield, “The Josephine Baker Story”), struggles with Jacob’s decision to abandon the family. Meanwhile, after exposing her Uncle Mac’s (GregAlan Williams, “The Accountant”) crimes, but failing to bring him to justice, Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge, “The Night Shift”) finds herself intrigued with someone new, Darius Nash (guest star Rick Fox, “Dope”), a local journalist who’s been closely following the ongoing threats plaguing the Greenleaf empire. Oprah Winfrey (“Selma”) also returns in her guest starring role as Mavis McCready, the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf and a close confidante to Grace Greenleaf.

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Netflix Releases First Part of Social Video Series for “Marvel’s Luke Cage”

Actor Mike Colter from the Netflix show Luke Cage

Actor Mike Colter from the Netflix show Luke Cage

Netflix released the first part of the Marvel’s Luke Cage Street Level Hero socialvideo series here: https://youtu.be/oVmcur3INOE . These digital videos look to blend fiction with history by taking audiences behind the curtain on the themes that give the show it’s street-level authenticity and cultural relevance.

Part one explores the music that moves the series. Executive producer Cheo Hodari Coker, Mike Colter, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge of A Tribe Called Quest, A$AP Ferg and Method Man lend their commentary on how each episode is shaped by its score and musical influence.

Marvel’s Luke Cage, which premieres globally on September 30, 2016 at 12:01 am PT is the third show in the Defenders series to launch on Netflix. The series follows the releases of Marvel’s Daredeviland Marvel’s Jessica Jones, leading up to the future release of Marvel’s Iron Fist, and ultimately, Marvel’s The Defenders.

In this groundbreaking new series, audiences will witness the evolution of Luke Cage (previously introduced in Marvel’s Jessica Jones) after he has relocated to Harlem and is in the process of picking up the pieces following his failed relationship with Jessica Jones. Like the preceding Marvel series on Netflix, Marvel’s Luke Cage is a gritty, action-packed drama, grounded in the real world with heroes who focus on saving their neighborhood and have their feet firmly planted on the ground.

About Marvel’s Luke Cage:

After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) becomes a fugitive trying to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City. But he is soon pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city – forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury.

Mike Colter plays the charismatic lead character, Luke Cage and is joined by Mahershala Ali (Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes), Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard), Simone Missick (Misty Knight), Theo Rossi (Shades), Frank Whaley (Rafael Scarfe) and Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple). Marvel’s Luke Cage is Executive Produced by series Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker (SouthLAnd, Ray Donovan) and Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones), who also serves as Marvel’s Head of Television.

For more information on Marvel’s Luke Cage, please visit https://www.netflix.com/title/80002537 and follow the show’s social pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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Iyanla: Fix My Life” Premieres Saturday, September 10 at 9pm ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

Photo Courtesy of OWN

Photo Courtesy of OWN

Time for the world to get to fixing themselves again.  An all-new season of OWN’s award-winning series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” will return with an emotional four-part, multi-week episode when spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant invites eight women to move into a “House of Healing” to dispel the myth of the “Angry Black Woman” and address the misperceptions sometimes associated with African American women, their behavior and ultimately their cultural identity. “Iyanla: Fix My Life” premieres on Saturday, September 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Here is a first look at the new season of “Iyanla: Fix My ife”: www.oprah.com/IyanlaReturns

In the four-part season premiere (airing Sept. 10, 17, 24 and Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT each week), Iyanla aims to prove that the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype is inaccurate, untrue and dangerous. The women, who struggle with abusive pasts and abandonment, are provided with the opportunity to be heard, as together with Iyanla, they examine their feelings and misguided pain in order to move past these underlying issues and create positive patterns of communication.

Later in the season, Iyanla travels to Atlanta to visit the Henry family as they deal with a father who is often not present, leaving the family for days at a time.  While he is gone, his wife is aware her husband is likely involved in drugs and sex.  Iyanla works with the couple and their daughters to explore the effects of childhood wounds, silent agreements and codependency.

Iyanla also works with Powerball winner Marie Holmes. After winning 188 million dollars and overwhelmed by the pressures of her fortune, life for the mother of four has been in complete shambles. Adding to the pressure is Marie’s fiancé, Lamar.  After multiple arrests, Marie has spent more than 20 million dollars to bail Lamar out of jail.  With Lamar’s 10-year sentence just 48 hours away, Iyanla visits Marie’s palatial estate to help Marie cope with her new fortune before she loses it all.

Iyanla also returns to the “House of Healing” in future episodes with six African American men struggling with broken spirits and broken hearts. The men-which include a man attempting to build a life for himself after numerous stints in jail to a former singer who struggles with feelings of abandonment to a father looking to mend a relationship with his famous socialite daughter-are struggling with their identities due to the effects of feeling criminalized, dehumanized and victimized by society.  In three groundbreaking episodes, Iyanla will explore each man’s story and reject the narrow parameters society uses to define manhood, and to also help each define themselves in ways that honor their strengths, culture and relationship to society.

“Iyanla: Fix My Life” is produced by PIGEON for OWN with executive producers Paul Harrison (“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s”) and Iyanla Vanzant.

 

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Guordon Banks, Philadelphia Native Gains National Attention and Airplay

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Image of singer Guordan Banks

It is always a pleasure to discover great new music.  Guordan (pronounced Jour-dan) Banks, a Philadelphia-born singer/songwriter, earned his first Billboard No. 1 as his soulful “Keep you In Mind” rose 2-1 on the Adult R&B Songs Chart in the June 11th edition. The song ascended 6 percent in spins at the format according to Nielsen Music. The song continues to stay in the Top 5, remaining steady at No. 2 on the chart. His debut album, UNPOPULAR, will be released later this year on his own label, Bank On It Entertainment.

A solely independent artist, Banks’ “Keep You In Mind” has become a triumphant and unique indie label success story. The song has received an emphatic response from Urban Adult Contemporary radio programmers and has had a high showing on various music charts, including Billboard’s “Most Added” Chart and music industry trade, AllAccess.com charted the song among “Cool New Music.”

“Keep You In Mind” has increased air-time with major rotation in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta. Streams on music platforms, such as Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and Shazam, have increased significantly as a result of national airplay.

Banks’ second single, #WYWDT (Where You Wanna Do This?) featuring Dej Loaf, will impact urban mainstream radio on June 20th, but already showing early support and buzz from DJ Drama and DJ Sense on Sirius XM Shade 45.

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Image of singer Guordan Banks

Raised in an adverse environment, Banks’ parents, both preachers, surrounded their eight children with music and created a home within which music was a centerpiece. After being rejected from a school play due to a speech impediment, a young Banks was encouraged by his family to explore singing and songwriting. Undeterred by these early life experiences and buoyed by his family, Banks pursued a pathway that has led to his success.

Banks’ work has received critical acclaim and has effectively contributed to the resurgence and current elevation of R&B music. In high demand, Banks was one of the opening performers at the 2016 “BMI Trailblazers Show” and performed at the iHeartRadio concert on May 12 in New York City.

Banks also graced the stage at some of this year’s most visible events, including, the 20th Annual American Black Film Festival, at their awards show in Miami Beach on Saturday, June 18; House of Blues in New Orleans on June 30; a performance on the Sirius XM Heart & Soul Stage during Essence Festival on July 1; the 40th Anniversary of the African American Festival in Baltimore, MD on July 3; and at the V103 Summer Block Party in Chicago, IL, featuring Erykah Badu on July 15. He will also perform at the Arena Theatre in Houston, TX on July 17. He is set to perform in NYC for Harlem Week and start his tour in October 2016.  Look for him coming to a city near you soon. 

 

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Oprah Winfrey Network Unveils Extended Trailer of New Original Drama Series ‘Queen Sugar’

 Photo Caption (l-r): Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner Photo by Andrew Dosunmu © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc / Courtesy of OWN

Photo Caption (l-r): Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner
Photo by Andrew Dosunmu © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc / Courtesy of OWN

On July 20, 2016, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network revealed an extended trailer of its new original drama series “Queen Sugar,” from award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, executive producer Oprah Winfrey and Warner Horizon Television.  The series which chronicles the lives and loves of three estranged siblings will debut as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.  Click here for a first look at the series’ extended trailer: Oprah.com/QueenSugar

About “Queen Sugar”

The contemporary drama “Queen Sugar” chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana: Nova (Rutina Wesley, “True Blood”), a world-wise journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner, “Unforgettable”), the savvy wife and manager of a professional basketball star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe, “Awkward”), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption.  After a family tragedy, the Bordelons must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South. Led by acclaimed film director DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, all episodes in the series’ debut season are directed by women. “Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey.  The series is based on the book by Natalie Baszile.

About OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel.  Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable.  Depth with edge.  Heart. Star power. Connection.  And endless possibilities.  OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications.  The network debuted on January 1, 2011 and is available in 85 million homes.  The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com.  For more information, please visit http://www.oprah.com/own and http://press.discovery.com/us/own/.

 About Warner Horizon Television

Warner Horizon Television (WHTV) is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of scripted series for the cable and subscription/on-demand marketplace, and primetime reality series for both network and cable. A division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, WHTV was founded in 2006. Its current scripted programs are Rizzoli & Isles and Animal Kingdom for TNT, People of Earth for TBS, Pretty Little Liars and Famous in Love for Freeform, Longmire and Fuller House for Netflix, and Queen Sugar for OWN. WHTV’s unscripted series are The Voice and Little Big Shots for NBC; The Bachelor franchise — which also includes The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and After Paradise for ABC, as well as Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After for Freeform — plus 500 Questions for ABC; and Love at First Kiss for TLC, among others.

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Chester Gregory Plays Berry Gordy in Motown Musical

Berry and Chester

The Legendary Berry Gordy and Broadway Actor Chester Gregory

Actor Chester Gregory has done some amazing roles in his life while working on Broadway stepping into the role of the legendary Berry Gordy for the Motown Musical.  After being in Los Angeles for the past few years, he is back in the Big Apple for the revival of the Motown musical on Broadway.  The show is scheduled to start on July 12, 2016 and run for only 18 weeks.

Gregory was born in Gary, Indiana to a steel mill worker and a school teacher, Chester “CHΞSS” Gregory drew inspiration from hometown hero Michael Jackson to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. He began his journey performing in local talent shows and participating in workshops for young performers.

Writer, Judith Davis and Broadway Actor Chester Gregory

Writer, Judith Davis and Broadway Actor Chester Gregory

After a few years, Gregory was ready to take the next step and auditioned for the Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts. Although his first two attempts were unsuccessful, Gregory didn’t give up, and his third try provided him the opportunity to attend by the time he reached high school. A testament to his gift, he was voted ‘Most Talented’ his senior year of high school.

In January 2016, Gregory joined the touring cast of the Broadway production Motown: The Musical. In the show, Gregory plays the lead character, Motown founder Berry Gordy. He’s expected to remain in the show through its return to Broadway in the summer of 2016.

To date, Gregory continues to perform his one man show The Eve of Jackie to sold out audiences across the country. His successful Broadway career has allowed Gregory to transition to TV and film work. Chester is excited to get started in this amazing role as Berry Gordy and so is the audience.

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‘Fruitvale Station’ Co-Creator Ephraim Walker Tapped as President of Production at D Street Pictures

Ephraim-WalkerMore strides are being made in film and it is very exciting.  The independent production and distribution company D Street Media Group, has tapped Ephraim Walker to be the President of Production of D Street Pictures.  He will oversee the company’s film projects and oversee its production unit.

Walker worked closely with Fruitvale Station scribe and director Ryan Coogler, to develop the successful indie film based on the 2008 killing of Oscar Grant by an Oakland Bart police officer. Since Fruitvale, Walker has worked on various television shows and produced a behind-the-scenes look at the scoring of the 2015 Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone hit Creed, also directed by Ryan Coogler.

“We’re excited to have Ephraim join our team to oversee D Street’s exciting slate of films and work closely with the development department. His appointment comes at a time when the company continues to expand our international reach,” says D Street Media Group’s CEO, Dexter Davis.

Walker will report directly to Davis and oversee several upcoming productions including the international heist film, The Blue Mauritius, starring Eric Dane, Brian Cox, Augustus Prew, John Rhys-Davies and several other notable global stars. Filming begins on location in Cape Town, South Africa in August. Walker will then finish out the year with Irish comedy, Death Inc., a Brazilian motorcycle gang movie, Moto Anjos and a New York City style rom-com, Heaven Hath No Fury.

“I’ve been looking for a place to call home and couldn’t be more thrilled to join an organization like D Street Media,” said Walker. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Dexter to achieve our very ambitious goal of becoming a global leader in the creative content business and equally excited to set up our West Coast division in the great city of Oakland.”

The company has chosen Oakland, California over Los Angeles to be in close proximity to the Silicon Valley. D Street wants to develop more strategic alliances with tech companies who are producing new distribution models for film and television and who seek to partner with smart, creative, content producers such as D Street. The company is based in New York City, with offices in Berlin, Buenos Aires and Cape Town.
For more information about D Street Media Group, go to  http://www.dstreetmediagroup.com/.

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“Queen Sugar” Cocktail Reception at Essence Fest

QueenSugar

Photo used with permission from OWN:The Oprah Winfrey Network

On Saturday, July 2, 2016, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network continued its “Queen SugarEssence Festival takeover with a Q&A on the festival mainstage — moderated by Essence entertainment director Cori Murray — featuring the cast and show creator Ava DuVernay; an inspiring keynote speech by “Queen Sugar” executive producer Oprah Winfrey; and a culminating cocktail reception at Legacy Kitchen, where over 200 industry insiders and tv personalities celebrated the new series.

 “Queen Sugar” cast members Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield, Nicholas Ashe and Bianca Lawson graced the red carpet at the reception, followed by DuVernay, Gayle King and Ms. Winfrey herself. Additional attendees included: Lynn Whitfield (“Greenleaf”), Tina Knowles Lawson, Richard Lawson, “The Real” hosts Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai; singer Lalah Hathaway; “Love Thy Neighbor” cast Patrice Lovely and Darmirra Brunson; “Survivor’s Remorse” cast Tichina Arnold, Jessie T. Usher,  Erica Ash and Allen Maldonado; “POWER” cast Lela Loren and Joseph Sikora; “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker; broadcast journalist/producer Soledad O’Brien, Bozoma Saint John (Head of Global Consumer Marketing, Apple Music & iTunes); Mona Scott-Young (Monami Entertainment); Stevie J (“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”); “Married to Medicine” cast Dr. Heavenly, Mariah Huq and Lisa Nicole Cloud; Gocha Hawkins (“LA Hair”), Tameka Foster, American Idol’s La’Porsha Renae and so many more.

Queen Sugar” will debut as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10PM ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

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Amber Riley Performs at the Pre-BET Experience Event on June 22, 2016

8b009bc0cfbda83128bf7a0e3ac4bfceOn Wednesday, June 22, 2016, B.O.E & Samurai presented “The MAJOR. Effect.” For the event, they presented singer Amber Riley and Grammy Award nominated mega-producer Harmony Samuel’s new artist MAJOR., as they performed exclusively at Hotel Café located at 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

 Amber Riley as fans know, has appeared in shows such as Glee. She is also known for winning season 17 of Dancing with the Stars. MAJOR is the fresh new face and voice of soul-pop music, but he’s no stranger to the music industry having written for Ariana Grande, Nathan Sykes and EPIC Records’ “Think Like A Man Too” original motion picture soundtrack. Currently, MAJOR’s debut single “Why I Love You” is currently trending at #34 on the Urban AC Chart. There is a meaning behind his birth name MAJOR. (spelled with all caps and a period at the end) but even more purpose behind his music. The multi-faceted singer delivers a soulful-pop sound to the new age; while giving a mix between Bruno Mars meets John Legend with a hint of Maxwell on steroids. MAJOR.’s distinct voice and cool presence gives birth to a sexy aura that he exudes from the inside out.

This event is held just before the ground breaking BET Experience in LA. To listen to music by MAJOR, specifically, “Keep On” & “Why I Love You”, visit his page on Sound Cloud. For information on Amber, follow her on social media, via Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.
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Amateur Night at Apollo: Nothin’ But Soul with special guest star Deborah Cox

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Singer Deborah Cox sings during Amateur Night at the Apollo.

On Wednesday, June 15th, in celebration of Black Music Month, the world famous Apollo Theater presented an especially “soulful” edition of its signature show with Amateur Night: Nothin’ But Soul. During this themed Amateur Night contestants payed homage to Soul and R&B legends who have graced the Apollo stage by giving performances that are based on the root of soul music. As a treat, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Deborah Cox performed during this soulful night for the fans.

Deborah Cox is an award-winning singer/songwriter, Broadway star and philanthropist best known for her 1998 breakout smash hit “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which set a record as the longest-running No. 1 R&B single in the United States, reigning the charts for 14 consecutive weeks. Deborah continued as a fixture on the top of the charts, with six Billboard Top 20 R&B singles in addition to an impressive 12 Billboard #1 U.S. Dance hits. Since then, the Grammy-nominated Canadian superstar has been pushing past boundaries, from her versatility as a vocalist to her activism work supporting charities for women in need and LGBTQ rights to starring in Broadway musicals Aida and Jekyll & Hyde. Her repertoire expands with her latest roles as two of her childhood heroes: the legendary Josephine Baker in the riveting Broadway-bound production Josephine and the Rachel Marron role in the upcoming live theatrical adaptation of The Bodyguard.

“Every year, during Black Music Month, we celebrate Amateur Night’s musical roots with our contestants all performing classic soul and R&B songs as a way of rekindling and preserving the rich musical history of soul music and its pioneers. We’re talking classics like James Brown, Chaka Khan, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and more,” said Amateur Night producer Marion J. Caffey. “And we are excited to welcome our special guest artist, Deborah Cox back to the Apollo stage. She’s a multi-talented artist and an incredible performer. It’s sure to be a soulful night!”
Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feels the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience response can help make or break a career.

The show was hosted by comedian Capone. In addition, Amateur Night also featured staples like CP Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (the character who sweeps “booed” contestants off the stage), Joe Gray the “Set It Off Man,” and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell.

While Amateur Night draws a large crowd each week, there are some night the Apollo grants guests an extra special night which is really mostly what the world famous Apollo Theater has always been know to do.

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