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25TH ANNIVERSARY ESSENCE FESTIVAL® Night-by-Night Performance Line Up Unveiled

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THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY ESSENCE FESTIVAL® BRINGS THE 90’s HEAT WITH SPECIAL PERFORMANCES OF THE HOTTEST ALBUMS CELEBRATING 25 YEARS Never-Seen-Before Original Artist-Curated Sets Highlight 90’s Albums That Changed the Game  Night-by-Night Performance Line Up Unveiled – July 4-7 in New Orleans, LA The ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola, the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience and largest celebration of global Black culture, is set to bring the 90’s heat with special performances that celebrate the 25th anniversary of some of the top albums of the decade.  The Festival also just announced the official night-by-night performance line up for its concert series taking place July 5th, 6th and 7th at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. With hits that remain timeless, the 90’s era of R&B and hip-hop music significantly impacted our global culture – setting musical trends and a standard of excellence that made space for artists to thrive as creators, visionaries and entrepreneurs.  By spotlighting some of the era’s most forward-looking, game-changing albums that are also celebrating their 25th anniversaries, the celebration will reach beyond nostalgia to new school—with special performances to elevate the groundbreaking sounds that continue to influence the most popular, chart-topping artists of today.  “We are celebrating our 25th anniversary with an extraordinary, multigenerational, cultural celebration featuring nearly 100 Black artists who know that the ESSENCE Festival is ‘home,’” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of ESSENCE Communications.  “Through an imaginative slate of 25th anniversary curations and a fresh take on our night-by-night line-up, this year’s milestone Festival will creatively represent some of our culture’s most important and influential bodies of work – past, present and future. We are excited to place the spotlight on the music that captivated and inspired our global communities—all reimagined exclusively for the ‘only-at-ESSENCE’ Festival stages.”  Each “25th” set will be curated and …

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Little Film Blue Carpet Hits Atlanta with VIP Attendees

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Film stars Regina Hall, Issa Rae and Marsai Martin as well as Producer Will Packer and Director Tina Gordon, hit the blue carpet for a star-studded premiere at Regal Atlantic Station in midtown Atlanta. The blue carpet screening was a huge success with many of Atlanta’s biggest stars in entertainment, film and music excited to see LITTLE. VIP Attendees Included: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (Mayor of Atlanta), Luke James (Actor), Trina Braxton (Reality Star, Bravo’s Braxton Family Values), Kenny Burns (Producer, Studio 43), TC Carson (Actor, Living Single), Derek J (Fox’s STAR), Monyetta Shaw (Actress, CEO), Egypt Sherrod (HGTV Host), Terri J. Vaughn (OWN’s Greenleaf), Sheree Whitfield (Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, Caleb McLaughlin (Netflix’s Stranger Things).     ___________________________________________________________________  LITTLE Spelman Visit Over 900 students from Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College packed Spelman’s Sisters Chapel on Thursday, April 4th for a LITTLE conversation with cast members Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin and Director Tina Gordon. Welcomed by moderator, Spelmanite Kennedy Rue-McCollough, students and teachers went wild as the ladies walked on stage. Kennedy chatted with the ladies about the importance of women empowerment and how to uplift your sister. In addition, the ladies discussed how they personally deal with responsibility of representation in media and who they look up to for representation. Throughout the conversation, Issa kept the crowd cheering and laughing, especially with her chemistry with Regina on stage.    

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NAACP IMAGE AWARDS Brings Glitz, Glamour and Star Power for 50th Anniversary

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TV ONE HIGHLIGHTS BLACK EXCELLENCE AT THE 50TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS HOSTED BY ANTHONY ANDERSON ON MARCH 30 The NAACP, some of the biggest names in film, television and music turned out for the 50TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS on Saturday, March 30, which was broadcast live on TV One from The Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Hosted by Anthony Anderson, highlights from the evening included Beyoncé being named as the NAACP Entertainer of the Year and NAACP President Derrick Johnson presenting her husband Sean “Jay-Z” Carter with the prestigious President’s Award. Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ fiery acceptance speech energized the audience as she was being honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award. Additional honorees included REACH Media nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner who was presented with the Vanguard Award, and Ne-Yo, who was awarded the inaugural Black & Positively Golden Music Honor sponsored by McDonald’s. The Marvel Studios film “Black Panther” took home several awards including Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Ryan Coogler), Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture: Film (Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (Michael B. Jordan), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Danai Gurira), Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (Chadwick Boseman), Outstanding Breakthrough Role in a Motion Picture (Letitia Wright), and Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. Anthony Anderson also took home the award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on “black-ish,” which also won Outstanding Comedy Series and garnered other awards. Viewers of the 50TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS were able to get an exclusive preview of THE BOBBY DEBARGE STORY trailer, which premiered during the telecast and premieres on TV One in June 2019.                       Photos Courtesy of TV One 50TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS WINNERS As previously announced by the NAACP, winners took home awards in diverse categories. Click here for the full press release …

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ANTHONY ANDERSON RETURNS AS HOST FOR 50TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS

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Two-Hour Live TV Special to Air on TV ONE Saturday, March 30, 2019 The NAACP announced that Anthony Anderson is set to return as host for the 50th NAACP Image Awards. Anderson is a two-time NAACP Image Awards Winner for his role on blackish, and will be hosting the show for the 6th consecutive year. Winners for the 50th NAACP Image Awards will be revealed during the two-hour LIVE TV special airing on TV One on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 9pm/8c from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Anderson, is currently the star and Executive Producer of ABC’s multi-award winning sitcom, blackish, a four-time NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Comedy Series, Anderson is also set to star in the upcoming Netflix film Beats. “We are pleased to have Anthony as our host for our 50th anniversary. Anthony’s charisma on stage has won over our audience and continues to bring in new viewers every year. As we recognize the best of the best artists for their accomplishments over the past year, we couldn’t be more proud to do so with Anthony by our side,” said President and CEO Derrick Johnson. In addition to the live telecast, TV One will air the 50th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS: TRIBUTE SPECIAL, sponsored by Toyota, immediately preceding the show at 8pm ET/7C. The tribute special honors this year’s nominees, past winners and significant moments. Hosted by Urban One Founder and Chairperson Cathy Hughes, the special features in-depth one-on-one conversations with director/actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield, singer/actor John Legend, actor Stephan James, actress Loretta Devine, music industry legend Clarence Avant, soul singer Kenny Lattimore, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The network will provide promotional support for both programs on TV One, Radio One and Reach Media, Interactive One, and via a multi-platform marketing campaign. As previously announced: Voting is …

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TV One and CLEO TV Announce Diverse Programming Slate and Unveil NAACP Nominations at TCA Winter Press Tour

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  TV ONE DEBUTS UPCOMING ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING WITH NEW PRIMETIME TALK SHOW FROM ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND REACH MEDIA SYNDICATED RADIO HOST D.L. HUGHLEY, SEASON TWO OF THE HIT SERIES, UNCENSORED AND ORIGINAL MOVIES AT THE  2019 TCA WINTER PRESS TOUR Network Also Rolls Out Cleo TV’s Diverse Programming Slate Aimed At Gen X and Millennial Women   NAACP Unveils Nominees for the 50th NAACP Image Awards, Airing Live on TV One from Hollywood’s Dolby Theater  on Saturday, March 30 Content Courtesy of TV One and CLEO TV              TV ONE DEBUTS UPCOMING ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING WITH NEW PRIMETIME TALK SHOW FROM ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND REACH MEDIA SYNDICATED RADIO HOST D.L. HUGHLEY, SEASON TWO OF THE HIT SERIES, UNCENSORED AND ORIGINAL MOVIES AT THE  2019 TCA WINTER PRESS TOUR Network Also Rolls Out Cleo TV’s Diverse Programming Slate Aimed At Gen X and Millennial Women   NAACP Unveils Nominees for the 50th NAACP Image Awards, Airing Live on TV One from Hollywood’s Dolby Theater  on Saturday, March 30  February 13, at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour, TV One presented its premiere 2019 programming lineup for the cable network and its recently launched digital network, CLEO TV. Kicking off the morning, the nominees for the NAACP Image Awards 50th Anniversary show were announced by the President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, Logan Browning (Dear White People) and Winston Duke (Black Panther). Netflix led the nominations in the Television categories with 22 nominations and had 4 film nominations followed by HBO and ABC with 20 and 18 respectively. Marvel led the motion picture category with 13 nominations followed by Annapurna with 11 nominations. In the recording categories, RCA leads with 11 nominations followed by Interscope with 8 nominations and Atria led the literary category with 4 nominations. NAACP’s official nomination release and full list of nominees is available on its website. The NAACP Image Awards will air …

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PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL 2019

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That’s a Wrap for the 27th Annual Pan African Film Festival. As West Coast Correspondent for Sonya’s Spotlight, I had a great time taking in as many films as possible and interviewed  actors, writers, producers, directors and more on the Red Carpet! Enjoy a few of my Photos & Video Coverage below. The 27th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival celebrated its long-standing legacy as the largest Black film festival in America by announced a slate of over 190 new black films, and an exhibition of over 100 fine artists and unique crafts. The festival commenced Black History Month and the start of the festival with an exclusive opening night screening of Aretha Franklin’s rare concert documentary, Amazing Grace, at the Director’s Guild of America on Thursday, February 7. The festival continued through Monday, February 18 at the Cinemark Rave 15 Theatres (3650 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) and the adjacent Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The Pan African Film & Arts festival has cemented its story as a hub for breakthrough and award-winning films and filmmakers from the US and around the world, featuring a staggering 2019 slate of 36 World Premieres and 99 Los Angeles or US Premieres. By Kita Harrison Golden       The 27th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival celebrated its long-standing legacy as the largest Black film festival in America by announced a slate of over 190 new black films, and an exhibition of over 100 fine artists and unique crafts. The festival commenced Black History Month and the start of the festival with an exclusive opening night screening of Aretha Franklin’s rare concert documentary, Amazing Grace, at the Director’s Guild of America on Thursday, February 7. The festival continued through Monday, February 18 at the Cinemark Rave 15 Theatres (3650 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) and the adjacent Baldwin Hills Crenshaw …

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Little in Theaters April 19

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Girls Trip’s Regina Hall and Black-ish’s Marsai Martin both star as Jordan Sanders — Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Jordan and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation. Insecure’s Issa Rae plays Jordan’s long-suffering assistant April, the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward tween body just as everything is on the line. Little is an irreverent new comedy about the price of success, the power of sisterhood and having a second chance to grow up — and glow up — right. Will Packer, blockbuster producer of Girls Trip, the Ride Along franchise, and ten movies that have opened No. 1 at the U.S. box office, including Night School, No Good Deed and Think Like a Man, brings an all-new perspective to the body-swap comedy. Little is directed by Tina Gordon Chism (writer, Drumline) with a story by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) and a screenplay by Oliver and Chism, based on an idea by teen actress Martin. The film is produced by Packer and his producing partner James Lopez and by Kenya Barris (Girls Trip, Black-ish), and is executive produced by Preston Holmes (Night School), Hall, Marsai Martin and Josh Martin.

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WHAT MEN WANT ATLANTA TASTEMAKER SCREENING, Hawks, Trailer

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WHAT MEN WANT ATLANTA TASTEMAKER SCREENING -JANUARY 18, 2019 AT REGAL ATLANTIC STATION, TARAJI P. HENSON, PRODUCERS WILL PACKER AND JAMES LOPEZ, AND ATLANTA MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, AMONG OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS. WHAT MEN WANT is in theaters on February 8, 2019. #WhatMenWant WHAT MEN WANT PARTNERS WITH THE ATLANTA HAWK ON JANUARY 19, 2019 AT STATE FARM ARENA IN ATLANTA, GA    

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UNCF 35th Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball – Atlanta

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UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball Atlanta Brings out A-List Dignitaries, Features Infectious Entertainment by Bell Biv DeVoe and Raises Funds for UNCF 1,200 guests from the greater metro Atlanta community, along with nationally- acclaimed celebrities including, recording artists, entertainers and public officials attended the UNCF 35th Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis December 15, 2018. Founded 35 years ago by Mrs. Billye S. Aaron and former Mayor Andrew Young during his first administration, the Mayor’s Masked Ball is the AtlantaRegional office’s signature fundraising activity and the city’s premier holiday event. The program was supported by major corporate partners and friends of UNCF. Hosted by The Honorable Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor, City of Atlanta Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF Justine Norman Boyd – Regional Development Director Mrs. Billye Aaron and Ambassador Andrew Young. Highlights of UNCF 35th Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball Masked Award Ted Blum, Greenburg Tarig Rodney Bullard – Home DepotWendy Stewart – Bank of America Rashan Ali, TV One’s Sister Circle, Host Bell Biv Devoe – Featured Entertainment Rene Miller – Red-Carpet Host Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra – VIP Masked Reception and Dinner Red Carpet Photo-Ops, VIP Masked Reception, General Reception and Silent Auction, The “MASKED” Ball Parade of Stars & Dignitaries Elegant Dinner LIVE AUCTION and “Fund The Mission” Appeal Presentation of Masked Awards Dancing and Live Entertainment Bell Biv DeVoe1,200 guests                 #UNCFATLANTA PHOTOS by Kathy Eastman WATCH SONYA JENKINS’ VIDEO BLOG – INCLUDES SNIPPETS OF PERFORMANCE BY BELL BIV DEVOE  (BBD) & MORE!

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