Author Archives: Sonya's Spotlight

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Celebrating 100 Years of the Black American Music Art Form  Honorees Include Muni Long, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox,  Grandmaster Flash, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis,  Robert “Kool” Bell, Suzanne de Passe and Jeffrey Harleston The Black American Music Association and its Board of Directors, led by Chairman Michael Mauldin, announces The ICE (Imperial Crown of Excellence) Medal of Honor inaugural celebration in Atlanta on June 2, 2024. The attendees of this groundbreaking historic event will be adorned in cocktail attire while dining, honoring and paying tribute to the legends, creative visionaries, and trailblazers within Black American music, who have captivated audiences worldwide and left an everlasting impact on the cultural landscape.The ICE Medal of Honor seeks to shine a spotlight on the indelible contributions made by artists and executives who have enriched the world with their talents and also paved the way for generations to come. The ICE Medal of Honor will serve as a beacon of recognition & education of the Black American music art form, and an ode to the resilience, innovation, and brilliance of its creatives. Honorary hosts for this inaugural ceremony are Michael Mauldin, L.A. Reid & Chaka Zulu.The Honorable Mayor Andre Dickens will be making a special toast and salute to the Honorees along with the City of Atlanta.  The Mayor is also being awarded the ICE – Culture & Community Leadership Honor.Among the distinguished recipients of The ICE Medal of Honor are some of the most remarkable names in the industry, including:●      Grandmaster Flash – Transformative Award●      Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis – Global Creative Impact Honor●      Suzanne de Passe – Trailblazer Honor●      Jeffrey Harleston – Music Executive Leadership of the Year●      Robert “Kool” Bell – Lifetime Achievement Honor●      Muni Long, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox – R&B Song of the Year●      SoSo Def Records – Artist Development Label of an Era●      LaFace Records – Artist Development Label of an Era●      Domani Harris: New Developing Artist of the Year.   “We are thrilled to launch the ICE Medal of Honor and …

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EXTRAordinary: How To Be In Demand in Television & Movies as a Background Talent

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For many actors, winning an Oscar is the ultimate accolade, which brings respect in an industry that is oftentimes competitive and toiling. Having a passion for the craft,  getting regular work and generating a lucrative salary are motivations that keep most actors in the acting game. But the starting point of becoming an actor, could just be becoming an Extra – also known as a Background Talent. There are many Oscar winners who first started out as extras. Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Lady GaGa, Viola Davis, Donald Glover, Terry Crews, Channing Tatum, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Megan Fox, George Clooney, Bruce Willis and Marilyn Monroe are just a few huge movie actors who started as a background talent. I’m still actually compiling the long list! What set these actors apart from the regular background artist is the belief in themselves that they were indeed, EXTRAordinary,  instead of just an Extra. Yes, being considered an extra or a background talent isn’t too appealing to many actors, especially when extras are at the bottom of the totem pole in pay and often don’t get much respect. But like many things in life, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that truly matters. . The journey to becoming an actor can be one of the most frustrating journeys one might experience in job hunting, but it can also be one of the most incredible and rewarding journeys, if you have the right attitude.  Your destiny as an actor is determined by your talent, but it is also determined  by what you think of yourself and persistence. Whether you’re a background talent or principal actor, never think of yourself as someone of little significance or as just an extra. Think of yourself as EXTRAordinary.  I began my acting career in high …

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Academy Awards-Nominated Actress Danielle Brooks to Host BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® Awards 2024 THE STAR-STUDED CELEBRATION PAYS TRIBUTE TO AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, ACCLAIMED FILMMAKER GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD, ICONIC SINGER AND BROADWAY LEGEND STEPHANIE MILLSDESIGNER AND PHILANTHROPIST AURORA JAMES, MATERNAL HEALTH & WELLNESS ADVOCATE, LATHAM THOMAS, ARTIST, ANIMATOR AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAILBLAZER MAYA PENN, AND GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING SINGER, ACTRESS, AND ENTREPRENEUR FANTASIA TO BE HONORED [BUSINESS WIRE]–Beverly Bond, CEO and founder of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, has announced that the eagerly awaited BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards show is returning to television this year through an exciting new broadcast partnership with Lifetime A&E Networks. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® celebrates the outstanding contributions of trailblazers, entertainers, icons, community activists, pioneers, business moguls, thought leaders, and rising stars. The show will be taped at the Fox Theatre on June 27 and will air August 1, 2024, on Lifetime. ritically acclaimed actress, singer, and producer Danielle Brooks, known for her roles in Orange is the New Black and The Color Purple, will host the triumphant return of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards. The 2024 star-studded lineup of celebrants includes former BGR! Awards host, Founder and co-CEO of Pattern Beauty, and actress Tracee Ellis Ross (Star Power Award); Acclaimed Filmmaker of The Woman King and Love and Basketball Gina Prince-Bythewood (Shot Caller Award); GRAMMY Award-winning singer, actress, and entrepreneur Fantasia (Black Girl Magic Award).Creator of premium fashion Brand Brother Vellies and The Fifteen Percent Pledge initiative, philanthropist Aurora James (Boss Up Award); Artist, animator, and sustainability advocate Maya Penn (Young, Gifted and Black Award); ‘Mama Glow’ founder, maternal health advocate, doula and wellness practitioner Latham Thomas (Community Change Agent Award); singer and Broadway icon Stephanie Mills (Living Legend Award) to be honored. “As the BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® Awards make their much-anticipated return to television on Lifetime, we are thrilled to reignite this empowering platform on a new network in the vibrant city of Atlanta, our new cultural epicenter for celebration,” stated Beverly Bond. “In a world where the voices of women of color are often …

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I AM: CELINE DION – Amazon Prime – June 25

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Directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, I AM: CELINE DION gives us a raw and honest behind-the-scenes look at the iconic superstar’s struggle with a life-altering illness. Serving as a love letter to her fans, this inspirational documentary highlights the music that has guided her life while also showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. I AM: CELINE DION is presented by Amazon MGM Studios and is a Vermilion Films production in partnership with Sony Music Vision and Sony Music Entertainment Canada. Directed by Irene TaylorProduced by Stacy Lorts, Tom Mackay, Julie Begey Seureau and Irene TaylorExecutive produced by Dave Platel, Denis Savage, Shane Carter, Krista WegenerRuntime: 102 minutes Rated: PG

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A Quiet Place: Day One in theaters June 28

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Experience the day the world went quiet. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Alex Wolff, and Djimon Hounsou Directed By Michael Sarnoski Produced By Michael Bay, Andrew Form, p.g.a., Brad Fuller, John Krasinski Executive Produced By Allyson Seeger, Vicki Dee Rock

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OPRAH WINFREY PRESENTS USHER WITH PRESTIGIOUS PRESIDENT AWARD. WATCH HERE WATCH THE VIDEOS FOR “Good Good”, “Risk It All”, “Standing Next To You” AND “Ruin” FROM COMING HOME HIGHEST CHARTING ALBUM IN OVER A DECADE WITH COMING HOME Listen HERE ABOUT USHERUSHER has changed music, culture, and countless lives. The multiple GRAMMY Award-winning diamond-selling international megastar, actor, dancer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist inspires change yet again in 2023 and beyond. Beyond selling over 80 million records worldwide and collecting dozens of awards, he has simultaneously lit up the small screen on NBC’s The Voice and the big screen in blockbusters such as Hustlers. He has also tirelessly distinguished himself as a devout humanitarian, raising tens of millions of dollars for various causes and uplifting youth via his New Look Foundation. Since 1999 he has been providing opportunities for young people in underserved communities and enabling them to flourish and achieve seemingly impossible dreams. A long-time supporter and Global Citizen Ambassador, USHER has performed at events since 2015 raising awareness to defeat poverty, defend the planet and demand equity. A true outlier, he is equally at home on the stage of his sold out My Way Las Vegas residency as he was on a 2016 government cultural mission to Cuba as part of President Barack Obama’s Presidential Committee for Arts and Humanities. Usher’s ninth studio album COMING HOME will be released via mega/gamma. on February 9. Follow USHER:TikTok InstagramTwitter Facebook Youtube 

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55th NAACP Image Awards Photos

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“55th NAACP Image Awards” Images (Photo Credit: Getty Images for BET) March 16, 2024 NAACP and BET honored Black excellence in music, television and film across 90 categories at the “55th NAACP Image Awards.” Hosted by GRAMMY® award-winning recording artist, critically acclaimed Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning and Academy Award®-nominated actor and producer Queen Latifah (series star/executive producer of The Equalizer, CBS), the legendary show aired live at 8 pm ET / PT on BET, CBS and additional Paramount Networks live from the Shrine Auditorium. Colman Domingo, Fantasia Barrino, Mike Epps, Quinta Brunson, The Color Purple, Usher and more took top honors. Special awards recipients delivered moving speeches, including Amanda Gorman, New Edition, and Usher. Watch an encore of the “55th NAACP Image Awards” Monday, March 18 at 7 PM ET/PT on BET. Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural award shows, the “55th NAACP Image Awards” continues its tradition of excellence, uplifting values that inspire equality, justice, and progressive change, and highlighting artists committed to these values. The complete list of winners for the “55th NAACP Image Awards” are:  ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR Usher OUTSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITY Angel Laketa Moore MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES Outstanding Motion Picture The Color Purple Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Fantasia Barrino – The Color Purple Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Colman Domingo – Rustin Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Colman Domingo – The Color Purple Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Taraji P. Henson – The Color Purple  Outstanding Animated Motion Picture Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture Phylicia Pearl Mpasi – The Color Purple  Outstanding Youth Performance (Motion Picture) Mila Davis-Kent – Creed III Outstanding International Motion Picture Brother  Outstanding Cinematography in a Feature Film  Eric K. Yue – “A Thousand and One” Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture) Blitz Bazawule – “The Color Purple” Outstanding Independent Motion Picture “Brother” Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a …

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Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson attends the New York Premiere of Lionsgate’s “Ordinary Angels” – After Party at Cathédrale Restaurant Tamala Jones attends the New York Premiere of Lionsgate’s “Ordinary Angels” SVA Theater PHOTOS by: Marion Curtis / StarPix for for Lionsgate Lionsgate hosted the world premiere of ORDINARY ANGELS at the SVA Theatre in New York February 20. Cast walked the red carpet, including stars Hilary Swank, Alan Ritchson, Tamala Jones,Nancy Travis, Amy Acker, Drew Powell and Emily Mitchell. They were joined by filmmakers, including Director/Executive Producer Jon Gunn, Producers Jon Berg, Kevin Downes, and Andy Erwin, Executive Producer Rick Baker, Production Designer Nazgol Goshtashbpur, and Costume Designer Heather Neale.Also in attendance were some of the inspirations for the story, Sharon Stevens (portrayed on-screen by Hilary Swank), Ashley Schmitt (portrayed on-screen by Skywalker Hughes), and Pastor Dave Stone (portrayed on-screen by Drew Powell). After introducing the film to an enthusiastic audience, the cast and filmmakers gathered for a reception at Cathédrale Restaurant. Synopsis: Based on a remarkable true story, ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels. Lionsgate presents, a Vertigo Entertainment / Stampede Ventures production, a Kingdom Story Company production. Directed by: Jon GunnScreenplay by: Meg Tilly and Kelly Fremon CraigProduced by: Jon Berg, Roy Lee, Dave Matthews, Johnathan Dorfman, Sarah Johnson, David Beal, Kevin Downes, Jon Erwin, Andrew ErwinCast: Hilary Swank, Alan Ritchson, Nancy Travis, Tamala Jones, Drew Powell, Amy Acker, Skywalker Hughes, and Emily MitchellExecutive Producers: Tony Young, Jon Gunn, Rick Baker, Matthew ParkerDirector of Photography: Maya Bankovic, cscProduction Designer: Nazgol GoshtasbpourEditor: Parker AdamsCostume Designer: Heather NealeMusic by: Pancho Burgos-GoizuetaMusic Supervisor: Kevin EdelmanCasting by: Jill Anthony Thomas, CSA and …

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Jazz in the Gardens Grows in Attendance from the Previous Year, With 41K at Hard Rock Stadium

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Music Royalty and Chart-Topping Artists of Multi-Genres Maxwell, Summer Walker, Jazmine Sullivan, Uncle Luke, Jeezy, T.I., Babyface, Fantasia, Tamia, Kirk Franklin, and October London Illuminate the Stages at Jazz in the Gardens Legendary Civil Rights Leader Ben Crump Receives a Proclamation from Miami-Dade County, While Legendary Rappers Trick Daddy and Trina Receive the Key to the City of Miami Gardens  JAZZ IN THE GARDENS 2024 (JITG), hosted by the City of Miami Gardens, has grown in attendance from the previous year, with more than 41,000 fans gathering at Hard Rock Stadium. In its inaugural partnership with Black Promoters Collective (BPC), the festival, in its 17th year, saw a remarkable 25% increase in ticket sales. The 2024 festival, with its diverse lineup and unforgettable performances, spanned two days and featured two magnetic stages. On March 9th and 10th, festival-goers showed up and showed out to enjoy all of JITG’s culture-driven offerings. From a varied lineup in food, music, brand activations, vendor merchandise, and art, every attendee could find their place at this annual homecoming.  JITG crowd on Day 1.Photo Credit: Jr Mead Photography This year’s events were made even more remarkable by the presence of a highly curated sponsors lounge and activations for fans to enjoy. Sponsors included Simply, Calder Casino, The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami-Dade District 1, Amscot, AARP, Aetna, Bahamas Air, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, and more. Simply activation at the Women’s Impact Luncheon.Photo Credit: Jr Mead PhotographyThe festival included two special performances with the “Welcome to the Crib” stages hosted by DJ Nasty, which gave the fans a special taste of Miami with performances by Trick Daddy, Trina, Rick Ross, Ball Greezy, Major 9, and Wayne Wonder.  DJ Cassidy gave fans an unforgettable treat with his “Pass The Mic Live!” stage, featuring some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Uncle Luke, Lil Kim, T.I., and Too $hort.Trina and Trick …

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