Thursday, October 31, 2013

CNBC Announces January Lineup

Off-Network Debut of “Shark Tank” Kicks Off January 7

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — October 31, 2013 —After recently announcing the network had licensed the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” CNBC today announced “Shark Tank” will make its off-network debut on Tuesdays at 8pm and 9pm ET beginning January 7th.  The business themed reality series features the sharks -- tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons – who give budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their dreams come true and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires. The sharks include billionaire Mark Cuban, owner and chairman of AXS TV and outspoken owner of the 2011 NBA championship Dallas Mavericks; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary.  

CNBC has also greenlit a second season of the original reality series, “The Profit,” ordering eight new episodes.  The popular entrepreneurial series features Marcus Lemonis, Chairman & CEO Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, who saves struggling businesses while investing his own cash in the process.  Season two of “The Profit” premieres Tuesday, January 21 at 10PM ET/PT. 

Shark Tank and The Profit are deeply rooted in entrepreneurship, a hallmark of CNBC Prime,” said Mark Hoffman.  “The Profit quickly proved to not only entertain viewers but Marcus Lemonis became a go-to for America’s small business owners looking for expert advice.”  

When Marcus Lemonis isn’t running his multi-billion dollar company, Camping World, he goes on the hunt for struggling businesses that are desperate for cash and ripe for a deal.  In the past 10 years, he’s successfully turned around over 100 companies.  Now he’s bringing those skills to CNBC and doing something no one has ever done on TV before … he’s putting millions of his own money on the line.  

In season two, Lemonis continues to make offers impossible to refuse; his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits.  And once inside these companies, he’ll do almost anything to save the business and make himself a profit; even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself.  

“The Profit” is produced for CNBC by Machete Productions with Amber Mazzola serving as executive producer.  Jim Ackerman and James Bolosh are executive producers for CNBC. 
To learn more about “The Profit,” visit:

CNBC at night is the new CNBC Prime.  Like us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @CNBCprimeTV and Instagram: @CNBCprime.

Ron Burgundy Spreads Halloween Cheer!

Series 'Fatal Attraction' Returns To TV One

Encore Episodes Featuring Bonus Footage Debut Monday, November 11 at 9 PM ET 

SILVER SPRING, MD, October 31, 2013 – Popular docu-series Fatal Attraction returns to TV One with all new stories of deadly crime and passion gone wrong, Monday, December 2 at 9PM/ET.  Leading up to the premiere, TV One will present Fatal Attraction Reloaded, three enhanced encore episodes from the first season featuring bonus footage and new information beginning Monday, November 11 at 9PM/ET.

Fatal Attraction delves into the tragic consequences of romance turned deadly with real-life stories of criminal acts committed under the guise of love.  Each episode, consisting of first person interviews, evocative cinematography, and exclusive interrogation footage, provides viewers with a glimpse into individual cases of romance’s deadly dark side.

“The first season of Fatal Attraction really resonated with the TV One audience and we’re glad to be able to bring more of the show back for our viewers,” said D’Angela Proctor, SVP of Programming and Production for TV One.  “While tales of love-gone-wrong consistently make national headlines, Fatal Attraction takes pains to explore not only the heart-breaking trajectory of these relationships, but to also highlight the warning signs that lead to their demise.”

Fatal Attraction is produced for TV One by Jupiter Entertainment with Todd Moss as co-executive producer and Robert Twilley and Harrison Land as executives in charge of production.  Executive in charge of production for TV One is Tia Smith.

A promo of Fatal Attraction Reloaded can be seen here:

About TV ONE:
Launched in January 2004, TV One ( serves more than 58.4 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult Black viewers.  In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is owned by Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK,], the largest radio company that primarily targets Black and urban listeners, and Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK),], one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services.

Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway Launches Her New Website 'In The Company of Friends'

   Calloway Also Announces Deal With Angela Burt-Murray and Shelly Jone's CocoaFab.Com To Air "In The Company Of Friends" Series 

(Above) A screen shot from Calloway's new website
Los Angeles, October 31, 2013 - Combining a passion for gourmet cooking and event hosting, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway (Showtime's "Shameless") has launched the website "www.InTheCompanyOfFriends.TV" to serve as the home for her new digital series of the same name.  The website is up-and-running now and the webisodes start airing on November 25.
"In The Company of Friends," the basis for Calloway's new website, is an intimate gathering of celebrities, tastemakers and trendsetters hosted at her home.  With the assistance of producing partner Camille Irons-Coakley(Holla II), Calloway filmed the event and packaged it as a web series.  The guest list for this exclusive soiree included Lorretta Devine ("Grey's Anatomy"), Vivica A. Fox ("Mr.Box Office"), Wendy Raquel Robinson ("The Game"), Salli Richardson-Whitfield ("The Newsroom"), Vanessa Williams ("Raising Izzie"), Dondre Whitfield ("Mistresses"), Shanola Hampton ("Shameless"), Nichole Galacia ("Django Unchained"), Edwina Findley ("Treme"), casting director Robi Reed, play-write Donald B. Welch, attorney to the stars Shawn Chapman Holley and Dr. Antony Calloway    

Based on the simple theme of "good friends, good food, and great times," the website is a virtual meeting place that showcases "In The Company of Friends" the digital series.  The site features outtakes and behind the scenes videos.  The website also offers links to Calloway's BlogTalk radio show, "That's So Very Vanessa," and to her social media pages making it a one-stop destinantion for fans and followers of the "Shameless" star.

Calloway and Irons-Coakley also announced a deal with to exclusively air season one of the show, which will still be viewable on the "Company of Friends" website. 

Launched by former Essence Magazine Editor-In-Chief Angela Burt-Murray and partner Shelly Jones earlier this year, CocoaFab will also seek advetisers and sponsors for "In The Company of Friends."

", founded by Angela Burt-Murray and Shelly Jones, is proud to feature "In The Company of Friends" the series across our digital platforms."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stars To Fight ALS During 'One Starry Night'

Co-Producers Juliana Hansen and Jonathan White will present a one night only benefit performance, ONE STARRY NIGHT: Hollywood and Broadway Come Together to Fight ALS, on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 8pm, hosted by The Pasadena Playhouse. The evening will also include a silent auction and VIP post-show meet-and-greet. Proceeds will provide critical funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure. 

ONE STARRY NIGHT: Hollywood and Broadway Come Together to Fight ALS will be directed by Grammy Award-nominee Bruce Kimmel, with musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Allen. The evening will feature performances by (in alphabetical order) Obba Babatunde, James Barbour, Kay Cole, Daisy Eagan, Crow Garrett, Jason Graae, Ilene Graff, Juliana Hansen, Melora Hardin, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jason and Nolan Livesay, Gary Morgan and The Flying Morgans, Karen Morrow, James Mulligan, Reagan Pasternak, Jonathan Pendragon, Christy Carlson Romano, Joan Ryan, Rex Smith, Charlene Tilton, and Terri White, with more to be announced.
"The ALS community is grateful to Juliana Hansen and Jonathan White for their creativity and dedication in the fight against ALS," said Fred Fisher, President and CEO of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. "While there has been significant progress in recent years, people with ALS and their loved ones still have far more questions than answers. Today, the groundbreaking work of scientists continues to inspire confidence that there will soon be greater advancements in understanding the causes of the disease, developing new treatments and ultimately finding a cure." 

"As often as possible, we open the doors of our beautiful theatre in support of worthy causes,” said Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. “I am sure that this will be an entertaining and exciting evening that will raise funds for vital research in an important area.  All of us at The Playhouse are happy to participate in this noble effort."

“I am so excited to be working on an event supporting The ALS Association,” said co-producer Jonathan White. “My inspiration to do so came many years ago when a member of my extended family left college to be the primary caregiver for her father when he was diagnosed with ALS. Years later, I became more aware of Lou Gehrig’s disease and the incredible support network of people it takes to manage it. The opportunity to collaborate on a charitable event with brilliant performers, as well as compassionate human beings with a hearts of gold, was irresistible.”

Said co-producer Juliana Hansen, “When the idea was presented to me of creating an event that would bring both Hollywood and Broadway entertainers together to give a stronger voice to such a worthy cause, I was instantly, wholeheartedly on board. My childhood friend lost her father to ALS, another dear friend lost his aunt, and my colleague's mother is battling it right now. To be even a small part of helping spread the word and to raise money to continue to find a cure is truly important to me.” 

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. People with ALS eventually lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration modestly extends survival.

The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. The Golden West Chapter serves people with ALS and their families in 31 counties throughout California and in the state of Hawaii.  For more information visit

ONE STARRY NIGHT: Hollywood and Broadway Coming Together to Fight ALS will take place on Monday, January 14, 2014 at 8pm at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Avenue, in Pasadena, 91101. Tickets are on sale now, and prices range from $25—$100, with premium seating available at $250. The VIP post-show meet and greet is available for an additional $75. To purchase online go to www.PasadenaPlayhouse/onestarrynight. Tickets are also available via phone at (626) 356-7529 and in person at The Pasadena Playhouse box office (visit website for hours).

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sister 2 Sister Celebrates 25th Anniversary In Vegas

October 29, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA)---Jamie Brown, Publisher announced the Sister 2 Sister Magazine 25th Anniversary Party with a star-studded lineup of celebrities and VIP guests. The celebration happens on Thursday, November 7th at The Palms Casino & Resort, Las Vegas, NV.

After a quarter of a century, it’s time to celebrate and the stars will be out to join in the festivities.  Confirmed to attend are five-division World Champion Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Laura Govan (Basketball Wives), Grammy Award Winners Kenneth “Babyface“ Edmonds, Toni Braxton and Deniece Williams, R&B singer KEM and K. Michelle, actress LisaRaye (Single Ladies) and many more.
The Anniversary Party, sponsored by Toyota Avalon, will be held the night before the Soul Train Music Awards taping airing on Centric and BET networks.

Jamie Brown has interviewed just about everybody including Oprah, Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, Jada Pinkett Smith, R. Kelly, First Lady Michelle Obama, NeNe Leakes and hundreds more over 25 years.

“I can hardly believe it has been 25 years,” said Brown.  “It’s been an amazing experience seeing our African-American children develop into world renowned celebrities.  Let’s celebrate!”

About Sister 2 Sister
For 25 years, Sister 2 Sister has been bringing entertainment news directly to its largely African-American fan base with a monthly publication, website ( and events. Published by Founder Jamie Foster Brown, it has a readership of 500,000 adults, most of whom are women. The magazine runs a roughly 70/30 mix of celebrity and lifestyle articles.

Sister 2 Sister's website,, focuses exclusively on celebrity news and currently has over 500,000 unique visitors and 5,000,000 pageviews per month. In January 2014, Sister 2 Sister will launch its digital app and digital edition of the magazine. For more information, please visit

Anchorman 2 Set To Open In December


Moguldom Media Group Launches New Division

Moguldom Films to diversify revenue with the sale and licensing of original docutainment content across emerging digital platforms including Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, and cable TV

October 24, 2013  – New York, NY – Moguldom Media Group, the leading global digital media company serving multicultural audiences, announces the launch of Moguldom Films, its subsidiary dedicated to producing documentary films that will be distributed through digital and broadcast channels engaging Moguldom’s online consumers across multiple platforms.
Ranked by Inc. Magazine at no. 11 of the top 100 media companies in America (2013 Inc. 5000), Moguldom owns and operates highly popular entertainment news websites that cater to multicultural consumers, including and Moguldom boasts 12M monthly unique visitors across its portfolio, and comScore rates Moguldom’s level of audience engagement (minutes per visit) at no.1 of its top 30 properties in the entertainment category. The company has seen rapid growth since its inception in 2006 and expects to double in size by 2014.
By launching Moguldom Films and pioneering a form of informative, yet highly entertaining features that the company is calling ‘documentainment,’ Moguldom is furthering its reach into the $10 billion market for African-American media and entertainment. 
“The demand for Moguldom’s content authenticity continues to surge,” says Jamarlin Martin, founder and chief executive officer, Moguldom Media Group.  “Not only has this created a new, non-ad related revenue stream, but it also deepens Moguldom’s engagement with our audience by giving them more of what they want, where and when they want it.”
Moguldom Films is rapidly building a library of high-quality films with the multicultural consumer in mind that can be accessed where these consumers are looking for content.  The company plans on making its films available on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, with cable video-on-demand to follow.
Moguldom Films has six films in production that will be completed in 2013, and an aggressive release schedule set for 2014 and beyond.  The company plans to build a robust library of ‘docutainment’ through a high-output production model. Moguldom’s vast audience will likely serve as initial consumers and word-of-mouth advocates. For example, “Gunland,” a documentary that takes an up-close look at the impact of gun violence on urban youth in an African-American community in Chicago, is anticipated to resonate powerfully with Moguldom’s core demographic.

Moguldom Media Group’s portfolio of websites provides a built-in marketing infrastructure.  By leveraging the group's existing video, editorial, and marketing assets, and its analytics from more than 10 million monthly unique visitors and 300 million monthly page views across desktop and mobile, the company believes it can ensure the relevance and appeal of its productions.
Oscar nominated filmmaker Barion Grant, associate producer of “Tupac Resurrection,” one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time, has been tapped to run Moguldom Films and will oversee the production of its documentary films in the upcoming years. 
“There are many fascinating and important stories to tell, and so many new ways to bring them to today’s audiences,” said Grant, executive vice president, Moguldom Films.   “I look forward to building the kind of deep, high-quality library that brings endless hours of compelling entertainment and informative content to our viewers."  

About Moguldom Media Group
Moguldom Media Group is a leading global digital media company serving multicultural audiences. Moguldom owns and operates a dynamic portfolio of media brands, reaching over 12 million monthly unique visitors, and creates original content for mobile, social, online video, and film platforms.  We maintain a laser focus on delivering innovative, immersive content experiences for both our audiences and brand partners.  Moguldom has been featured in GQ, Fortune Magazine, and CNN.

About Moguldom Films

Moguldom Films is a next generation film company that combines Moguldom Media Group’s technology, insights and assets with the latest trends in social and digital media to deliver intimate, timely and unforgettable stories about the African-American experience.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Artists Bernard Stanley Hoyes Paints Italy

Los Angeles - Bernard Stanley Hoyes has vibrantly animated imaginations for over four decades now. Lauded for his keen ability to capture the radiant essence of island life on canvas, the visual master paints with fire in his brush. Italy is in for a torrid touch of the Caribbean as Hoyes joins a gathering of invited artists at the Gallery Mentana for their "International Independence" and "Light and Matter" exhibitions. "International Independence" opened last month and "Light and Matter" opens Saturday, November 2, 2013. Located in the heart of the historical center of Florence, the Gallery Mentana's shows are a presentation displaying a collage of visual effects, including photography, mixed media and sculpture by artisans from around the world.

A cultural icon in his home of Los Angeles and the Caribbean, the invitation to exhibit in Italy is another affirmation of Hoyes' international appeal and his ability to bridge language with the stroke of his brush. "It is indeed an honor to be invited to Italy. It fulfills my heart to know that Jamaican imagery, rooted in traditional African perspective, is embraced around the world. As a young boy growing up on the island, I never imagined that art would open so many doors for me. As one of the truest expressions of love, art has always shown itself to be a magical portal and a gateway to adventure," expresses Hoyes.
Ribbons to Unite by Bernard Hoyes

Hoyes is exhibiting from both his "Ribbons Series" and "Revival" collections in Italy. The "Ribbon Series," which he painted while doing a residency and exhibitions in Amsterdamis a brilliant tapestry of color reflecting an expression of celebration that merges African Caribbean and European sensibilities.  Hoyes' iconic "Revival Series" reflects the retention and journey of African based spirituality in the Western world.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Hoyes exposure to revival cults, ceremonies and rituals planted seeds deep within that would manifest as art in his later years. His formal art studies began at Junior Art Centre at the Institute of Jamaica. At age 15 he left Jamaica for New York City. His lessons continued at the Art Students League and Vermont Academy. A heady combination of his drive to excel and the influence of the civil rights movement placed Hoyes at the helm of propelling the academy to institute social and cultural programs. Upon graduation he was the first recipient of the Frederick Stanley Art Award and saw the launching of the school's first formal arts department. When Hoyes attended an alumnus reception some years later, to receive the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award, he felt pride in seeing the new edifice housing a formal art department. He earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts in painting and graphic design from the California School of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.
Day into Night by Bernard Hoyes
His recognition and affirmation of traditional African religion and spirituality continues to find universal appeal, stunning audiences worldwide as evidenced by his "2009 Fall Tour - Europe." Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Cole, Steve Harvey, Keenan Ivory Wayans and the National Urban League are among his collectors. Selections of Hoyes' work have been featured in several television shows, including the Showtime hit series, "Dexter" and movies including Chris Rock's "I Think I Love My Wife." President Barack Obama has even been photographed in front of his work. His craft has been fêted internationally in galleries around the world.

Hoyes' work was displayed in Los Angels as part of the "Places of Validation, Art & Progression" exhibit organized by the California African American Museum as part of the Getty initiative "Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980" exhibition; and he is featured in Lyn Kienholz's coffee table New Art Encyclopedia pictorial, "L.A. Rising: SoCal Artist Before 1980," also supported by the Getty Foundation.

His "Revival Series" made art history last year when the actual paintings were recreated on stage during an innovative theatrical production entitled "Seven Paintings, a Story in Performance," as part of the "The Ford 2012 Dance Series" in Los Angeles.

Revel in the visual poetry that is Bernard Stanley Hoyes at  . 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Winners Announced At NBCUniversal's 8th Annual Short Cuts Festival, Hosted By Craig Robinson

Finalists screenings for NBCUniversal’s 8th Annual Short Cuts Festival were held recently at the Directors Guild of America where winners were crowned in various categories.

The event, hosted, for the third time, by funnyman Craig Robinson (The Office), showcased the eight diverse films that made the final cut of the 1400 short films submitted. 

The Chilling Visions Award went to Honeymoon Suite, directed by Zao Wang and written by Wang and Tom Toro.  Best Writing went to Kevin Lau and Nyssa Chow for Made in Chinatown.  Best Actor was a two-way tie with both Tim Chiou, who starred in Made in Chinatown and Dayton Sinkia, who starred in Goldtooth, taken home an award.  Best Director went to Zao Wang for Honeymoon Suite. Best Short went to Kevin Lau for Made in Chinatown.  The award was presented by actor Marlon Wayans.   Comedian Dave Chappelle presented the Audience Award for Best Short to A Different Tree, directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by Victoria Rose.


“I think the shorts are a great forum to see what you can do in five minutes,” said Wayans.

 The eight films included in the finalists screenings included: Made in Chinatown, directed by Kevin Lau and written by Lau and Nyssa Chow; Goldtooth, written and directed by Laure Brinkman; Mi Corazon, directed by Marielle Woods and written by Jason Lazarcheck; A Different Tree, directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by Victoria Rose; Commuters, directed by David Rowe and written by Rowe, Rell Battle and Luke Curry II; Plan B, written and directed by John Lopez; Pilot Season, directed by Aristotle Athiras and written by Fahim Anwar and Honeymoon Suite, directed by Zao Wang and written by Wang and Tom Toro.

“The purpose of this event is to identify new writers, actors and directors,” said NBCU Short Cuts Festival Executive Producer Kendra Carter.

“To NBC Universal, I want to thank you for promoting diversity,” said NBCU Short Cuts Festival Founder Wil Sylvince.

“This is a much needed pipeline for new talent,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment.

NBCU Short Cuts is an NBCUniversal company-wide initiative to discover diverse voices both in front of and behind the camera. It provides creative individuals of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to get their materials in front of key decisions makers from the entire NBCUniversal as well as agents, managers, producers and other industry players.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brian Culbertson Reaches Fundraising Goal

“Another Long Night” of success

Los Angeles, Calif. (24 October 2013): Fervent interest from Brian Culbertson’s international legion of fans powered the contemporary jazz star past his fundraising goal two weeks ahead of the close of the Indiegogo campaign launched to help bring his passion project to fruition: re-recording his entire debut album, “Long Night Out,” as “Another Long Night Out,” which will be released in February 2014 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the release of the original record.

The multi-instrumentalist was a 20-year-old DePaul University student recording demos in the bedroom of the crowded Chicago apartment that he shared with three roommates playing most of the instruments himself on the tracks that landed him a six-album record deal, but this time out he will be accompanied by many of contemporary jazz’s finest musicians – those who inspired him while making the first recording. Along with a 38-piece orchestra that will appear on a handful of tracks with arrangements by Culbertson and David Benoit, heavyweights who have already recorded parts include Rippington’s Russ Freeman, Eric Marienthal, Candy Dulfer, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Paul Jackson Jr., Fourplay’s Chuck Loeb and Nathan East, Jimmy Haslip and Will Kennedy of Yellowjackets fame, Ricky Lawson, Michael Thompson, Lenny Castro, Michael Bland and Patches Stewart with a few more marquee artists soon to be confirmed for Culbertson’s 14th collection.    

“For many years, I have wanted to remake the first album using real musicians and thought the 20th anniversary would be the perfect time. I turned to crowdsourcing because I saw it as a way for fans to be more involved and get cool opportunities they normally wouldn’t get and I am all about that,” said Culbertson. “’Another Long Night Out’ is a return to my roots as a contemporary jazz player compared to the more commercial instrumental funk and R&B that I’ve been doing lately. I always liked these songs and I even like them more now with real musicians playing them.”

Escaping the studio last week to co-host a weeklong jaunt to the Mexican Riviera aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise with soul saxsation Boney James, Culbertson is back on land recording, pausing only to play concert dates this weekend in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Also a lifestyle curator who serves as Founder and Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, ticket sales are robust for Culbertson’s third annual wine and jazz festival in California wine country slotted for June 11-15, 2014. Culbertson will top the bill that features more than 18 artists including Eric Benét, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Morris Day & The Time, Earl Klugh, Mavis Staples, Eric Darius, Average White Band and comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Diahann Carroll, Cheryl Boone Isaacs Feted

(Back Row L-R) Tracey Edmonds, Lynn Whitfield, Ryan Tarpley, Debra Martin Chase, Andre Wells, Beverly Johnson (Front Row L-R) Diahann Carroll, Shauna Bain Smith, Dolores Robinson, and Cheryl Boone Isaacs. (Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III, Courtesy of EAW/The FrontPage Firm)
Beverly Hills, CA -- October 20, 2013 - It was a glorious night under the stars as the private dinner dubbed "House of Flowers" took shape on Saturday night at the home of veteran film and television producer Tracey Edmonds to honor two of Hollywood's trailblazing women of color - iconic actress Diahann Carroll and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences newly elected President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The event, produced by renowned event designer Andre Wells and public relations veteran Shauna Bain Smith, was co-hosted by Edmonds and Emmy© nominated film and television producer Debra Martin Chase, whose little black book helped deliver the extraordinary guest list of approximately 60 of the nation's most influential women of color.

Created to honor the accomplishments of trailblazing women such as Carroll and Boone Isaacs who have opened doors for many other women of color in the entertainment industry through their groundbreaking work, the event drew a star-studded group of attendees which included Debbie Allen, Angela Bassett, Suzanne de Passe, author and socialite Susan Fales-Hill, Beverly Johnson, BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee, Fox Animation Studios president Vanessa Morrison, US Representative to the UN Crystal Nix Hines, Regina King, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Essence Editor-In-Chief Vanessa Bush, talent manager Dolores Robinson, Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson, Johnson Publishing Chairman Linda Johnson Rice and CEO Desiree Rodgers, Nickelodeon/Viacom EVP Marva Smalls, Anika Noni Rose, Jeanine Sherman-Barrios, Pauletta Washington, Lynn Whitfield, and Crystal McCrary-Anthony among others.

Dolores Robinson, Tracey Edmonds, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Debra Martin Chase, and Angela Bassett. (Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III, Courtesy of EAW/The FrontPage Firm)
Honoree Diahann Carroll seemed visibly moved by the outpouring of admiration in the room, stating to Vanity Fair that "I have never felt like a trailblazer," but found the evening's sentiments "lovely," while fellow guest of honor Boone Isaacs called the evening "historic."
Wells, whose Washington, DC-based event production firm brought the "House of Flowers" theme to life at Edmonds' home, was honored to produce the momentous occasion.
"It was a magical evening and a privilege to honor such beauty and grace by creating an opulent, festive environment for these brilliant, gifted women to enjoy and celebrate one another," he stated. 
The event co-producer, Shauna Bain Smith, a public affairs, lifestyle and communications veteran, served as creative director for the evening and conceived the "House of Flowers" theme inspired by Diahann Carroll's first Broadway play of the same name.  Signature event collateral and he texquisite, one-of-a-kind invitations containing Bain Smith's prose were crafted by Andrea Liss of Hannah Handmade and truly set the tone for the extraordinary evening. 
The elegant designs created by Andre Wells and Andrea Liss were inspired by Diahann Carroll's trailblazing role in the Broadway play "House of Flowers". (Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III, Courtesy of EAW/The FrontPage Firm)
"We wanted to bring together vibrant and blooming women to express our deep admiration for perennials like Diahann Carroll & Cheryl Boone Isaacs, while also supporting each other's growth in difficult terrain," said Bain Smith. "In our House of Flowers we are reminded that while a single blossom is lovely, a brilliant bouquet is magnificent!" 

"Diahann Carroll and Cheryl Boone Isaacs are both true pioneers - one of the greatest entertainers in history who has transcended racial barriers throughout her career and the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences," said Martin Chase. "I am so excited to bring together some of the most fabulous and accomplished women in America for an evening to celebrate these two fabulous Black women. They inspire us all to continue to strive for greatness."
Ryan Tarpley, Angela Bassett, Andre Wells, Shauna Bain Smith. (Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III, Courtesy of EAW/The FrontPage Firm)
"I am so thrilled to be able to help bring together and be a part of such a dynamic sisterhood of women to celebrate our roles in this industry," said Edmonds. "Diahann Carroll and Cheryl Boone Isaacs embody the values we are aiming to celebrate - individual strength and the ability to inspire and empower others to be our greatest selves!

2013 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Recording

BronzeLens Film Festival Women Superstars

Film and Television Industry's Most Accomplished Women of Color Headline 
BronzeLens Signature Awards Event

Atlanta, GA - The 2013 BronzeLens Film Festival's "Women Superstars Luncheon" will roll out the red carpet for industry insiders, celebrities and aspiring filmmakers on hand to honor some of the most accomplished women of color working in the film and television industry. A coveted signature event during the five-day festival, the luncheon will take place
Friday November 8, 2013, 12 noon - 2 PM at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Hosted by former television news anchor, Monica Pearson, the 2013 BronzeLens superstars are: Anna Maria Horsford ("Friday");  actress and wife of Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson ( "The Fighting Temtations");  actress, Mahira Kakkar ("Hank and Asha"); retired Coca Cola executive Ingrid Saunders Jones; producer, Issa Rae ("Awkward Black Girl"); producer and wife of Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee  ("The Watsons Go to Birmingham"); producer, Valerie Benning Barney ("All Star Comedy Jam," "Eddie Griffin: Freedom of Speech"); and costumers Mabel and Shilla Benning.

"We are excited about our powerful honorees this year. These women superstars demonstrate  the diverse areas where women excel in the entertainment business," said Kathleen Bertrand, executive producer of the BronzeLens Film Festival. "Whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera, these women continue to play an integral role with films that impact our lives."

Designed to empower, entertain and educate attendees from various film industry disciplines, students and the general public, the BronzeLens Film Festival offers an array of expert panels, workshops, domestic and international film screenings and signature events.

In addition to a Monologue Slam featuring renown director John Singleton, festival highlights include an encore presentation of legendary casting director and producer Reuben Cannon's, "The Producers Roundtable" a groundbreaking session that brings together high-level entertainment executives to share their strategies for producing successful film and television projects. Participating producers include Jeff Clanagan, David Talbert, Lyn Talbert and Paul Hall.

The BronzeLens Film Festival takes place November 6-10.  For more information and festival registration .

About the BronzeLens Film Festival
Founded in 2009, The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color, and to showcasing films and providing networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers. Since its inception the BronzeLens Film Festival has evolved as one of the most comprehensive film festivals for filmmakers of color in the United States.

Sponsors of the BronzeLens Film Festival are Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Coca-Cola Company Turner, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Delta Air Lines, HBO Documentary Films, BET Networks, Georgia Pacific, The Woodruff Arts Center, AT& T, Macys, Institut Française , The Sai Sai Group, Inc., Southern Company, MHR International, Movie Magic, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Atlanta Technical College: The Cleveland Dennard Center.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ejiofor Is Solomon Northup in '12 Years A Slave'

The industry in abuzz about the upcoming, Oct. 18, release of Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed, gripping tale ‘12 Years a Slave.’

The highly-anticipated film features an all-star cast that includes: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhane Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt. 

The movie, based on a true story, is a riveting account of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped from New York and sold into brutal slavery in mid-1850s Louisiana, and the inspiring story of his desperate struggle to return home to his family.


I recently caught up with Chiwetel Ejiofor in New York to talk about his starring, much-talked-about role.

DD: How did you become involved with this film?

CE:  I had a conversation with Steve (McQueen). He sent me a script. I was amazed by the story. It’s an extraordinary tale. I didn’t know the story. I was surprised when I read the autobiography.

DD: This is a huge story to tell.

CE: I’m struck by the responsibility of telling a story so deep inside the slave experience.

DD: So, what were your thoughts about how to approach the role of Solomon Northup?

CE: I decided to attempt to tell the story and then it became a privilege to bring Solomon’s story to life.


DD: You didn’t know about Northup’s story, but you did know about slavery, right?

CE: I supposed I knew about the wider idea of slavery. Yes, I was very aware about it. I remember going on a tour in Savannah, Georgia. There were two tours, I went on the Black tour. I remember there were some boats. I asked what they were for. They said, ‘that’s for the Igbos.’  I don’t think they knew I was an Igbo.

DD: Any story about slavery is emotional.

CE: I’m very committed to this experience. Slavery is an international story.

DD: How did you go about developing Solomon Northrup?

CE: First, I saw a man. At first I didn’t see Solomon. It was only after I read the bio that it struck me that this is about Solomon, this individual who has a different way of looking at the world.

DD: What did you think about him as a man?

CE: He had an unbreakable spirit and a lack of hatred. He recognized that he’s in a battle for freedom and a battle for his mind. He focused on staying sane.

DD: Of course you never met him, but how did you try to connect with the character?

CE: I focused on his personality. My touchstone was trying to just get close to Solomon. It was a rewarding path to go down.


DD: You’ve been in some great movies.

CE: This is a remarkable experience. It’s the greatest working experience I’ve had. Steve is a great man to work with. Everyone wants to give 100 percent.  He demands it and encourages it.

DD: Talk about playing some of the scenes. Some of them had to be worse to play than others. They were horrific.

CE: It happened a few times that I relished the moments. I felt more connected, but I was going down the rabbit hole. One of the toughest was the hanging scene where it’s aborted and he’s left hanging.

’12 Years A Slave’ opens in theaters nationwide on October 18.


23rd NAACP Theatre Awards Nominations

The NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch's Theatre Viewing Committee announces nominations for the 23rd Annual NAACP Theatre Awards. The awards include 32 categories, which encompass local and equity nominations. This year's awards show will be held on Monday, November 11, 2013, at 6:00 P.M. at the historical Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, formerly known as the Fox Wilshire Theatre.

Best Choreography - Equity
Memphis - Sergio Trujillo
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf - Fernando Christopher
The Scottsboro Boys - Susan Stroman 

Best Choreography - Local
Anna Lucasta - Kellie Dantzler
In The Red & Brown Water - Ameenah Kaplan
The Color Purple - Janet Roston 

Best Costumes - Equity
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark - ESosa
Intimate Apparel - Leah Piehl
Memphis - Paul Tazewell 

Best Costumes - Local
Anna Lucasta - Naila Aladdin Sanders
In The Red & Brown Water - Naila Aladdin Sanders
The Blue Iris - Naila Aladdin Sanders 

Best Director - Equity
Jitney - Ron OJ Parson
Intimate Apparel - Sheldon Epps
Memphis - Christopher Ashley 

Best Director - Local
Camp Logan - Alex Morris.
In The Red & Brown Water - Shirley Jo Finney
Elimina's Kitchen - Gregg T. Daniel 

Best Director of a Musical - Equity
Memphis - Christopher Ashley
The Scottsboro Boys - Susan Stroman
Ain't Misbehavin' - Saundra McClain 

Best Director of a Musical - Local
Fellowship - Joel McCrary
Down Around Brown Town - Frit & Frat Fuller
The Merchant of Venice with music: Something of Silver - Tony Tanner 

Best Ensemble Cast - Equity
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark
The Scottsboro Boys 

Best Ensemble Cast - Local
Elimina's Kitchen
Innocent Flesh
The Cell Block Seven 

Best Lead Female - Equity
The Convert - Pascale Armand 

Best Lead Female - Local
Anna Lucasta - Ashlee Olivia
In The Red & Brown Water - Diarra Kilpatrick
The Color Purple - Cesili Williams 

Best Lead Male - Equity
The Recommendation - Brandon Gill
Fraternity - Rocky Carroll
Fraternity - Roger Robinson 

Best Lead Male - Local
Anna Lucasta - Nick Gillie
Anna Lucasta - Dwain A. Perry
Take Me Out - Sean Cameron - Young 

Best Lighting - Equity
Memphis - Howell Binkley
Intimate Apparel - Brian L. Gale
The Recommendation - Philip S. Rosenberg 

Best Lighting - Local
Camp Logan - Sammie Wayne IV
In The Red & Brown Water - Jose Lopez
The Blue Iris - Jeff McLaughlin 

Best Music Director - Equity
Memphis - Christopher Jahnke
The Scottsboro Boys - Eric Ebbenga
Ain't Misbehavin' - Rahn Coleman 

Best Music Director - Local
Hoodoo Love - Haskel Joseph
Elimina's Kitchen - Leon Morenzie
The Color Purple - Gregory Nabours 

Best One Person Show - Equity

Best One Person Show - Local
Uncle Jacques' Symphony - Dominic Hoffman
The World is My Home - The Life of Paul Roberson - Stogie Kenyatta
Lovin' Chocolate - Kelley Williams 

Best Playwright - Equity
The Recommendation - Jonathan Caren
Memphis - Joe DiPietro & David Bryan
The Convert - Danai Gurira 

Best Playwright - Local
Camp Logan - Celeste Bedford Walker
Anna Lucasta - Philip Yordan
Doubt, A Parable - John Patrick Shanley 

Best Producer - Equity
The Convert - Center Theatre Group, McCarter Theatre Center & Goodman Theatre
The Recommendation - The Old Globe
Fraternity - Ebony Repertory Theatre & Wren T. Brown 

Best Producer - Local
Camp Logan - Ben Guillory - Robey Theatre Co., Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Juvee Productions, Vanessa Paul and Alex Morris, Sparkling City Entertainment
In The Red & Brown Water - Stephen Sachs & Deborah Lawlor
Doubt, A Parable - Calia Mintzer-Wolf & Linda Reinhardt 

Best Set Design - Equity
Intimate Apparel - John Lacovelli
Jitney - Shaun Motley
The Scottsboror Boys - Beowulf Boritt 

Best Set Design - Local
Anna Lucasta - Tom Meleck
Camp Logan - Rodney Rincon & Phil Buono
Doubt, A Parable - Michael-Anthony Nozzi 

Best Sound - Equity
Memphis - Ken Travis
Intimate Apparel - Steven Cahill
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark - John Gromada 

Best Sound - Local
Anna Lucasta - Eric Butler
Camp Logan - Eric Butler
Innocent Flesh - Pennix McGee, Ken Christianson & Jwyanza Hobson 

Best Supporting Female - Equity
The Convert - Cheryl Lynn Bruce
The Convert - Zainab Jah
Dividing The Estate - Pat Bowie 

Best Supporting Female - Local
Anna Lucasta - Cydney Wayne Davis
In The Red & Brown Water - Iona Morris
Doubt, A Parable - Jacquelin Schofield 

Best Supporting Male - Equity
Fraternity - William Allen Young
Fraternity - Robert Gossett
Fraternity - Mel Winkler 

Best Supporting Male - Local
Anna Lucasta - Sammie Wayne IV
In The Red & Brown Water - Gilbert Glenn Brown
Anna Lucasta - Carl Crudup