AMAZING GRACE – THE ALBUM

Atlantic Records was the pioneering home of Ray Charles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Roberta Flack, John Coltrane, and scores of other great Jazz, R&B and Pop artists. The Coasters, The Drifters, Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett head the list of African-American stars that the label marketed during the 1950s and 1960s.
Aretha Franklin had originally been signed to Columbia Records by John Hammond, who also signed Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. When her Columbia career failed to ignite, Atlantic Records signed her, and under the guidance of Jerry Wexler, Franklin’s career was transformed.
Starting in 1967, her string of hits – “I Never Loved A Man”, “Respect”, “Baby I Love You”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, “Don’t Play That Song” – kept Atlantic Records at the top of both the Pop and R&B charts. Franklin’s success disguised the fact that the label was losing touch with its R&B heritage following the death of Otis Redding and Ray Charles’ defection to a rival company.

Love of Soul Music, from the Supremes to Al Green, had united Americans across racial lines. However, by the early 1970s, the Civil Rights movement had fractured coupled with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. This led to the growth of the Black Power movement and a growing alienation of African Americans – and their music – from the white mainstream culture. Labels, like Atlantic Records (which became part of Warner Communications by 1970), saw their future more and more in the exploding market for white rock groups and singer-songwriters.

By 1971, Aretha Franklin was known as the Queen of Soul. In the culmination of five years of chart-topping hits, she and her producer, Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, decided her next recording would take her back to the music of her youth, to the world of American Gospel music.

Amazing Grace was not intended as a swan song, but it would turn out to be an elegiac moment in American musical history as well as a salute to the gospel heritage that had transformed American music in the 1960s.

AMAZING GRACE – THE FILM

When Franklin was planning her album, Warner Brothers agreed to film the session in 1972.
Warner Communications, the parent company of Warner Brothers Films and the Warner, Reprise, Elektra and Atlantic labels, had reaped the rewards of that new buzz-word, “corporate synergy” with the success of the 1970 Michael Wadleigh film and album of Woodstock. Warner had paid $100,000 for the rights and the film grossed $17 million and the album sold three million copies. Warner Communications hoped for Amazing Grace to have that same success.
Warner Brothers’ Director of Music Services, Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Pink Floyd Producer), proposed hiring Jim Signorelli, a documentary filmmaker and his team of 16mm cameramen. However, before Signorelli’s deal could be signed, Warner Brothers’ CEO, Ted Ashley, mentioned the project during a meeting with Sydney Pollack. At the time, Pollack was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his film, They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Pollack immediately signed up for the project upon hearing Franklin’s name.
Recorded live at Rev James Cleveland’s church in Watts, California in front of a lively audience/congregation, Amazing Grace would become the highest selling album of Franklin’s career and the most popular Gospel album of all time.

However, the film was never released publicly.
Sydney Pollack was a feature-film director. When recording, sound is usually post-synched on the back-lot. After the remarkable two days of recording, the editors threw up their hands. There were no clappers, no marks to guide the sound into synch with the picture. Pollack hired lip readers and specialist editors but received no luck.

The film languished for almost 40 years before former Atlantic staff producer/Wexler protégé Alan Elliott came to Wexler and ultimately to Pollack. Together, Elliott, Wexler, and Pollack approached Warner Brothers about using new digital technology to match sound to picture and make a film out of the raw footage.
Forty-seven years later, this film is a testimony to the greatness of Aretha Franklin and a time- machine window into a moment in American musical and social history.

PRODUCER ALAN ELLIOTT INTERVIEW

How was the process of purchasing the film from Warner Bros like?

Elliott: It was easy! Sydney Pollack and I had been having conversations about the film and then he unfortunately got sick. He called me one day to tell me he wanted me to finish the film and that he told Warner Films the same. So, my agent, Ari Emanuel, made the deal with Warner Films and we were off and running.

How long have you been working on this film?

Elliott: Since 1990

What were the technical difficulties that arose with the film?

Elliott: The film and audio shot in 1972 had no synchronization.

Did you know about the audio issue prior to purchasing the film?

Elliott: No, I did not!

What was it that ultimately fixed the audio?

Elliott: Digital technology from Deluxe Entertainment services and my great friends, Gray Ainsworth and Beverly Wood, helped fix the audio.

Was there anything you had to leave out of the film? What made you decide what to leave out?

Elliott: Yes. My first cut was 3 and 1⁄2 hours. I was in a first screening with a friend who had just had prostate cancer…and so that informed editing choices (we needed to go faster!).

Was there anyone from the film that helped with the post-edit?

Elliott: Many choir members and Alexander Hamilton came to screenings and in all, just having them in the screenings informed my choices.

What is your favorite Aretha Franklin song from the album “Amazing Grace”?

Elliott: That would be “God Will Take Care of You”, and I had to edit it out of the film because it didn’t fit!

ARETHA FRANKLIN

More Than Six Decades of Artistry
Aretha Franklin was a giant of popular music and a global cultural icon. One of the best-selling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold worldwide, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” created an amazing legacy of more than six decades. She had sung before heads of state and foreign royals and gained admiration from fans, colleagues, and fellow artists across all genres. She is known all over the world simply by her first name: Aretha.
Her vocal mastery and artistic excellence have been recognized numerous times throughout her distinguished career. Twice voted as the number one Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, Franklin is the recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as an 18-time Grammy Award winner, and a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement and a Grammy Living Legend honor. Aretha was the youngest individual ever to receive the coveted Kennedy Center Honor; the first female inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; the second female inductee into the US Music Hall of Fame; and an inductee into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Aretha’s gospel album, Amazing Grace is the biggest-selling album and the best-selling live gospel album of all time. The album, Amazing Grace is enjoying a revival nearly 50 years after it was recorded, which follows the long-awaited documentary about the making of that legendary double live album, which opened to stellar reviews. CBS honored Aretha’s career on March 10th, 2019 with Aretha: A Grammy Tribute for the Queen of Soul.
Aretha has been proclaimed internationally as “the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America,” and a “symbol of black equality.” In 1968, her spiritually uplifting voice was heard around the world singing at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in 1972 at the funeral of the Queen of Gospel Mahalia Jackson. Aretha’s acclaimed voice was declared a “natural resource of the state” in 1985 by the Department of Natural Resources of the State of Michigan. Aretha would later reach a milestone in her historic career by singing at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.

AMAZING GRACE – THE FILM SONG LIST
Night #1
“On Our Way”
“Wholy Holy”
“What a Friend We Have In Jesus” “How I Got Over” “Precious Memories” “You’ve Got A Friend” “Precious Lord Take My Hand” “Amazing Grace”
“My Sweet Lord” (Instrumental)
Night #2
“Mary Don’t You Weep” “Climbing Higher Mountains” “Old Landmark” “Never Grow Old”
“Old Landmark” (End Credits)

OWN’S TOP-RATED DRAMA ‘THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS’ CONTINUES THE JAW-DROPPING MOMENTS IN SEASON 6

Tyler Perry’s Long-Running Series Premieres on Tuesday, May 7 at 9pm ET/PT

 

To download “The Haves and the Have Nots” hi-res image, click here:

LOS ANGELES – OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s and Tyler Perry’s hit drama “The Haves and the Have Nots” returns for season six with all-new episodes on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The most explosive season yet continues with scandal, destruction, and life-threatening tragedies for the Cryer, Harrington, and Young families.

“The Haves and the Have Nots” ranks among the top three original scripted series on ad-supported cable with OWN’s key demo and is the #1 original scripted cable series on Tuesday nights.

Season six of “The Haves and the Have Nots” culminates in one of the most jaw-dropping finales that Tyler Perry has ever written. Years of behaving badly will have deadly consequences for some of Savannah’s most prominent residents. The series stars John Schneider (Jim Cryer), Tika Sumpter (Candace Young), Angela Robinson (Veronica Harrington), Renee Lawless (Katheryn Young), Crystal Fox (Hannah Young), Peter Parros (David Harrington), Tyler Lepley (Benny Young), Gavin Houston (Jeffrey Harrington) and Aaron O’Connell (Wyatt Cryer).

For a sneak peek of “The Haves and the Have Nots” season six click here: Oprah.com/HavesandHaveNotsSeason6

About Tyler Perry Studios
Tyler Perry Studios (TPS) was formed by actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry in the fall of 2008. The studio develops and produces motion picture films, in addition to drama and comedy television programming for the multi-platform U.S. television market. The 200,000-square foot studio lot is situated on the former Delta Airlines campus of more than 30 acres in the Greenbriar area of southwest Atlanta. The studio consists of five sound stages, a post production facility, a pond, a back lot, a 400-seat theater, a private screening room, and designated areas for entertaining and hosting events. Since its opening, Perry and the studio’s 400 Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work in production of over fifteen films and five television series, with over 90 total episodes per year. In 2015 TPS announced plans to expand operations with the acquisition of Fort McPherson, adding another 330 acres to create another major movie production studio lot.

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. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today’s most innovative storytellers. OWN’s original scripted series include popular dramas “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “Love Is __,” “The Have and Have Nots, “If Loving You is Wrong,” hit sitcom “The Paynes,” and upcoming drama series “David Makes Man” from Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and “Ambitions” from box office hit-maker Will Packer. OWN’s Saturday night unscripted programming lineup includes “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “Book of John Gray,” “Black Love,” “Mind Your Business with Mahisha” and the recently announced dating series “Ready to Love.” OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime, anywhere on WatchOWN.tv or across mobile devices and connected TVs. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own and https://press.discovery.com/us/own/.

AAFCA CONTINUES BUSY YEAR WITH “DO THE RIGHT THING” SCREENING, “WOMEN IN MEDIA” SERIES, AAFCA PODCAST & MORE

“Do the Right Thing” will screen at the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 12 in partnership with AAFCA

LOS ANGELES (April 8, 2019) – Fresh off the heels of their annual AAFCA Awards, the African American Film Critics Association — the world’s largest group of leading black film critics — is continuing the year with an active calendar of events and programs.

On Friday, April 12 at 9pm, AAFCA, in partnership with the 10th TCM Classic Film Festival, will present a screening of Do the Right Thing at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Attending from the film are Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter and actress Joie Lee. Complimentary tickets can be requested by emailing events@aafca.com.

For Women’s History Month, AAFCA hosted a “Women in Media” discussion series Madeline Di Nonno chats with Ronda Penrice at AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event featuring Madeline di Nonno (CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) and author/journalist Ronda Racha Penrice in Atlanta. Photos from the event are available to view here.


Madeline Di Nonno chats with Ronda Penrice at AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event

In Los Angeles, filmmaker Stephanie Allain and actress/critic Carla Renata discussed the new Netflix film Juanita, produced by Allain and starring Alfre Woodard and Blair Underwood. Watch the conversation here or by clicking the image below.

In the coming months, AAFCA will host media meet & greets in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Stay tuned for details!

Click below to check out a recap of AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event

Justin Key interviews Will Packer for the AAFCA podcast

Did you know that AAFCA has a podcast?

Hosted by film and entertainment journalist Edward Adams, the AAFCA Podcast digs beyond the surface to facilitate conversations that not only explore the industry, but also the larger societal impact of that work. Through insightful conversations with the industry’s hottest stars, directors, producers, other key players and a range of prominent influencers, every episode of the AAFCA Podcast will offer keen and timely analysis from leading thought leaders that will keep listeners connected to what is happening now.

The complete Season 1 of the AAFCA Podcast can be found here. Season 2 will launch in September.

Click below to check out a recent episode on “Pioneers in African American and Women Cinema.

Check out the 2019 AAFCA Awards in this
month’s issue of Upscale !

ABOUT AAFCA
The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) actively reviews cinema at-large, with a particular emphasis on films which include the Black experience. The organization creates a platform for movies with universal appeal to the African-American community, while highlighting films produced, written, directed and starring, persons from the African Diaspora. Our members are also involved in our advocacy work that includes programming for students interested in film criticism and journalism.

AAFCA members are a geographically diverse cross-section of journalists, covering all genres of the cinematic arts, while representing multiple mediums – including print, TV, radio broadcast and online. Collectively, they have reached a worldwide audience in excess of 100 million.

Follow AAFCA online!
Instagram: @aafca
Twitter: @theaafca
Website: aafca.com

Cormega Pays Tribute To Nipsey Hussle and posts poignant message about the legacy he left and you should leave on the world!

“His music will entertain us but his activism should motivate, inspire, and remind us to elevate ourselves and aspire to exude true excellence.” – Mega

“Death is inevitable but what you live for and how you live defines you more than anything. Death should be the last page to your book of life but not the end of your story. We’ve taken a major loss. Malcolm and Martin advocated for the kinds of change that Nipsey achieved. Opportunities in communities, education, economic revitalization, helping end gang violence etc. There are many great artist but how many of them are great human beings? Nipsey was a great human being. We usually mourn celebrities for the talent they displayed in their field. Not many achieve notably out of their field. So many people say black excellence but only display black elegance. Nipsey was black excellence. His music will entertain us but his activism should motivate, inspire, and remind us to elevate ourselves and aspire to exude true excellence. Nipsey was planning on launching STEM programs in inner cities across America and spreading awareness on health and well being. The greatest honor his people could do is carry on the pursuit of such excellence and remember as long as we reach the finish line we all win because it’s not a sprint it’s a Marathon.” – Mega @iamcormega

“QUEEN SUGAR” SEASON FOUR DEBUTS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12 ON OWN

Series Creator/Executive Producer Ava DuVernay Continues Handpicked All-Female Directorial Team for Fourth Consecutive Season:
Cheryl Dunye, Carmen Marrón, Numa Perrier, Heidi Saman, Bola Ogun, Tchaiko Omawale

Catch Up on the Complete Series on Hulu

Season 4 Casting Includes Erica Tazel, Kendall Clark and Walter Perez


Queen Sugar Directors Photo Caption (l-r): Top Row: Cheryl Dunye, Bola Ogun, Tchaiko Omawale
Bottom row (l-r): Carmen Marrón, Heidi Saman, Numa Perrier
Downloadable link to directors headshots: click here

Los Angeles – “Queen Sugar,” the critically acclaimed drama series from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“A Wrinkle in Time,” “13th,” “Selma”), executive producer Oprah Winfrey and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, returns for its fourth season on OWN Wednesday, June 12 (9 p.m. ET/PT). Continuing a creative initiative established in the show’s first season, series creator/executive producer DuVernay has once again assembled an all-female directing team for the fourth consecutive season. Season 4 directors include Cheryl Dunye, who will also serve as producing director, in addition to Carmen Marrón, Numa Perrier, Heidi Saman, Bola Ogun and Tchaiko Omawale, all of whom will be making their television directorial debut, with additional names to be announced.

The complete third season of “Queen Sugar” is also now available to stream exclusively on Hulu, making it possible for viewers to catch up on all past episodes of the series ahead of the season four premiere.

Additionally, the following casting announcements have been made for season four:


Photo caption: (l-r): Erica Tazel, Kendall Clark and Walter Perez

Erica Tazel (“Roots”) portrays Deesha Brown-Sonnier, an attorney and socially conscious neighbor and mother of Joie. Recurring Guest Star

Kendall Clark portrays Joie, a bright and self-confident tomboy, daughter of a single mother who becomes friends with Blue. “Queen Sugar” marks her television debut. Recurring Guest Star

Walter Perez (“The Avengers”) portrays Romero Rodriguez, a rugged, naturally sexy man with gentle manners who begins dating Charley Bordelon after helping her start a dead battery and then runs into her in the hospital where he works as a physician assistant. Upped to Series Regular

Downloadable link to actor headshots: click here

“Queen Sugar” was recently named Television Show of the Year from the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for the third consecutive year and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series. During its most-recent season, Queen Sugar was the #5 original scripted series on ad-supported cable among W25-54,ranked #1 across all cable on Wednesday nights in the timeslot with W25-54 and ranked among the top five scripted series on all ad-supported cable with African-American W18-34.

About “Queen Sugar” Season Four Directors:
Cheryl Dunye: Dunye returns to season four of “Queen Sugar” as a producing director having previously directed episodes of the series in season two as a first-time television director. Dunye is considered the most influential African American filmmaker to emerge from New Queer Cinema wave of the mid-1990s. Her groundbreaking first film, “The Watermelon Woman,” won the Teddy Award for Best Feature at Berlinale in 1996. Her 2002 follow-up, HBO’s “Stranger Inside,” was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards including Best Director. Since 2017, she has directed episodes of “David Makes Man” and “Love Is___” for OWN and Warner Horizon, “Claws” for TNT, “The Chi” for Showtime, “Star” on Fox, and “The Fosters” for Freeform. She is now set to write & direct “The Wonder Of All Things” for Lionsgate.
Carmen Marrón: Marron is a self-taught writer, director and producer whose debut feature “Go For It” was bought and distributed by Lionsgate. Her feature film “End Game” was exhibited by AMC and premiered on HBO in 2016, with Indiewire’s Latinobuzz naming Marrón “one of the five Latina Directors at the helm of breaking films.” Marrón is a member of Film Independent and NALIP. “Queen Sugar” will mark Marrón’s television directional debut.
Numa Perrier: Perrier is a Haitian filmmaker, visual artist and actress whose first feature film “Jezebel,” which she wrote and directed, recently premiered at SXSW Film Festival. She founded House of Numa, an art house film company, and the entertainment and lifestyle digital platform Black & Sexy TV. “Queen Sugar” will mark Perrier’stelevision directional debut.
Heidi Saman: Saman’s feature film “Namour” won a Jury Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2016, where it was acquired by ARRAY and is currently streaming on Netflix. Last year, Saman was selected to participate in the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA partnership at the Cannes Film Festival, and was previously named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces to Watch. In 2008, Saman’s short film “The Maid” premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Saman is currently a producer with NPR’s Fresh Air. “Queen Sugar” will mark Saman’s television directional debut.
Bola Ogun: Ogun is a first generation Nigerian-American filmmaker, whose short film “Are We Good Parents” was a SXSW Film Festival official selection in 2018 and earned 2nd runner up for Best Narrative Short at Urbanworld. Ogun was selected for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women in 2014, the inaugural class for the Ryan Murphy’s Televisino HALF Mentorship Program, one of five filmmakers for Robert Rodriguez’s docuseries “Rebel Without A Crew” and is currently a participant in WeForShe DirectHer program. Ogun has worked in the production department on numerous big budget feature films and produced music videos for Capital Records and Vanity Fair’s viral video “Ladyboss.” “Queen Sugar” will mark Ogun’s television directional debut.
Tchaiko Omawale: Omawale’s feature film “Solace,” which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2018, participated in Tribeca All Access in 2016 and was a recipient of the Panavision New Filmmakers Program 2015. Omawale was a 2017 School of Making Thinking Resident fellow where she created the VR film “Shapeshifters.” She currently directs commercials and branded content with Unicorns + Unicorns. “Queen Sugar” will markOmawale’s television directional debut.
In the series’ fourth season, the contemporary drama returns as the Bordelons find themselves continuing their fight to save their family farm and preserve their father’s legacy as they navigate their own personal journeys. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick of the trials and tribulations in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure Micah’s (Nicholas Ashe) safety and future. Nova (Rutina Wesley) publishes her memoir and while she goes on a book tour around the country sharing her family secrets and shaking things up at home, she unexpectedly encounters significant relationships from her past along the way. Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is managing fatherhood and his complicated relationship with ex-girlfriend Darla (Bianca Lawson) after learning he is not the biological father of his son, Blue (Ethan Hutchison), and is encouraged by an old friend to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated men.

The expansive cast also includes Tina Lifford as the siblings’ free-spirited Aunt Violet who revealed her Lupus diagnosis to her family along with plans to open her own pie shop; Omar J. Dorsey as Violet’s new husband Hollywood Desonier; and Henry G. Sanders plays Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of the late Bordelon family patriarch, Ernest. Additionally, recurring guest star Timon Kyle Durrett portrays Charley’s estranged husband and pro basketball player Davis West.

“Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Forward Movement and Harpo Films in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Paul Garnes and Anthony Sparks. 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. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today’s most innovative storytellers. OWN’s original scripted series include popular dramas “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “Love Is __,” “The Have and Have Nots, “If Loving You is Wrong,” hit sitcom “The Paynes,” and upcoming drama series “David Makes Man” from Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and “Ambitions” from box office hit-maker Will Packer. OWN’s Saturday night unscripted programming lineup includes “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “Book of John Gray,” “Black Love,” “Mind Your Business with Mahisha” and the recently announced dating series “Ready to Love.” OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime, anywhere on WatchOWN.tv or across mobile devices and connected TVs. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own and https://press.discovery.com/us/own/.

About Warner Horizon Scripted Television
A division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Horizon Scripted Television was founded in 2006 and is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of dramatic and comedic programming for the cable and subscription/on-demand marketplace. Series produced by Warner Horizon Scripted Television include Animal Kingdom and Claws for TNT; American Woman for Paramount Network; David Makes Man, Love Is___ and Queen Sugar for OWN; Fuller House for Netflix; Krypton for SYFY; Pennyworth for EPIX; Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists for Freeform; and You for Lifetime.

THE 34TH ANNUAL STELLAR AWARDS ANNOUNCES 2019 PERFORMANCE LINEUP FEATURING ALL-STAR TRIBUTE TO ARETHA FRANKLIN

Show to Feature a Presentation of the All-New Aretha Franklin ICON Award & Appearances by Kelly Price, Brian Courtney Wilson, Charles Jenkins, Erica Campbell, Jekalyn Carr, Jonathan McReynolds, Kelontae Gavin, Koryn Hawthorne, Maranda Curtis, Regina Belle, Todd Dulaney, Anthony Brown,
JJ Hairston & Yolanda Adams

Special Good Friday Premiere on BET April 19 at 8 p.m. ET/7p.m CT
and 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT*

The Biggest Night in Gospel Music Set to Tape Live on Friday, March 29, 2019
at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena

(CHICAGO, IL) – March 12, 2019 – Central City Productions today announced a sensational line-up of performers and presenters for The 34th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards presented by AT&T, including a posthumous tribute to the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The exhilarating all-star tribute performance by Kelly Price, Regina Belle and Erica Campbell will be followed by a presentation of the Aretha Franklin ICON Award. Gospel prince, Kirk Franklin, will return to host the live show taping at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena on Friday, March 29, 2019.

For the first time since 2005, The Stellar Awards telecast will premiere on BET on Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and again at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. The biggest night in gospel music will also feature rousing performances by Brian Courtney Wilson, Charles Jenkins, Jekalyn Carr, Jonathan McReynolds, Kelontae Gavin, Koryn Hawthorne, Maranda Curtis and Todd Dulaney.

Stellar Awards Executive Producer and Founder, Don Jackson shared, “It was 35 years ago when Aretha performed ‘Precious Lord’ on my very first Gospel Music television special ‘Living the Dream.’ In recognition of Aretha’s roots in Gospel Music and her continuing love for the genre, I am delighted that our executive committee agreed to present her with our ICON Award posthumously and continue to present the award forever in her name as the Aretha Franklin ICON Award.”

Among this year’s presenters are Anthony Brown, Yolanda Adams, Dr. Bobby Jones, DeVon Franklin, Janice Gaines and JJ Hairston. As previously announced, The Stellar Awards nominees with multiple nominations include Jonathan McReynolds, Maranda Curtis, Todd Dulaney, Jekalyn Carr, Koryn Hawthorne, Snoop Dogg, Tori Kelly, Bishop Noel Jones & City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir, Jarell Smalls and Company, Kelontae Gavin and Tasha Page-Lockhart.

This year’s Stellar Awards will recognize gospel music royalty who have made substantial contributions to the genre with special honors. Legendary gospel singer Delores Washington Green of The Caravans will receive The Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award. Stellar Honors Hall of Fame Inductees include Jackie Patillo (Dove Awards), James Robinson, Jr. (Malaco Gospel) and Phil Thornton (RCA Inspiration).

The Stellar Awards show taping is open to the public, with ticket prices ranging from $50 – $200 at www.ticketmaster.com. The show’s star-studded red-carpet Live Stream Show will be hosted by Deitrick Haddon and Goo Goo Atkins, and the newly popular Emerging Artist stage will showcase performances by DOE, Jabari Johnson and Will McMillan.

Stellar Awards week lights up Las Vegas with several pre-show festivities, including the Independent Artist Showcase at 6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 27 at the Orleans Showroom hosted by comedian Akintunde and Jessica Reedy. In addition to the competition with artists new to the industry, the show will feature performances by Earnest Pugh, Sir the Baptist and Shelby 5.

Thursday, March 28, kicks off at 9:30am PT with The Stellar Academy series of masterclass executive panels with Don Jackson, DeVon Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and celebrity stylist J. Bolin.

The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Pre-Show hosted by Charles Jenkins and Lexi takes place Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. PT at the Orleans Showroom. The top-tier line-up of performances include: Casey J, VaShawn Mitchell, Isabel Davis, William Murphy, Benita Jones, Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis, The Wardlaw Brothers, Ella Michaels, Keion D. Henderson, Fresh Start Worship and Dexter Walker and Zion Movement. Quartet legends, The Sensational Nightingales, will be honored with the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award. The celebration carries into the night with Aaron Arrington’s Midnight Gospel Bowl featuring a performance by Vanessa Bell Armstrong and more at 11:30 p.m. PT at the Orleans Bowling Center.

The Stellar Gospel Radio Awards & Showcase will be held prior to the Main Event on Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m. PT, honoring the most outstanding radio stations and announcers who serve urban gospel music audiences. This show is jam-packed with moving performances by Anthony Brown, Chrystal Rucker, Isaiah Templeton, Evelyn Turrentine, DJ Dwight Stone, Emcee N.I.C.E., Miz Tiffany, Jor’Dan Armstrong, The McDonald Sisters, Brent Jones and The Waco Community Choir. The event, hosted by Byron Cage and Janice Gaines, is the perfect pre-show kickoff prior to the taping. Tickets for each event can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

More of the biggest names in gospel and a few additional surprises are being added to the growing list of top performers and presenters appearing in this year’s show. For more information visit us at www.thestellarawards.com and on social media @thestellars. Be sure to subscribe to The Stellar Awards all-new YouTube channel and follow us on social media for the latest news and updates about the biggest night in gospel! The Stellar Gospel Music Awards show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Executive in Charge of Production. Michael A. Johnson will produce and direct this year’s award show.

SUMMARY OF 2019 STELLAR AWARDS TOP NOMINEES

Jonathan McReynolds – 9 Nominations
Maranda Curtis – 7 Nominations
Todd Dulaney – 6 Nominations
Jekalyn Carr – 5 Nominations
Koryn Hawthorne – 4 Nominations
Kelontae Gavin – 4 Nominations
Bishop Noel Jones & City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir – 4 Nominations
Jarrell Smalls and Company – 4 Nominations
Snoop Dogg – 3 Nominations
Tori Kelly– 3 Nominations
Tasha Page-Lockhart – 2 Nominations

Click here for downloadable nominee photos

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.THESTELLARAWARDS.COM

To view the complete list of nominees Click here

About Central City Productions
Founded in 1970 by Don Jackson, Chicago-based Central City Productions, Inc. produces and distributes original programming targeting African American audiences. CCP’s award- winning television programs include the Black Music Honors, Stellar Tribute to the Holidays, The Black College Quiz Show Series, Mentoring Kings, Stellar Sunday, among many others. For more information, please visit www.stellartv.com.

About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN

The Four-Part Series Will Debut On SHOWTIME This Spring

NEW YORK – January 25, 2019 – Ahead of its Sundance Film Festival premiere this coming Monday, SHOWTIME has released the official trailer for WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN, the four-part limited docuseries from filmmaker Sacha Jenkins (BURN MOTHERF*CKER, BURN!).The full series will air on SHOWTIME later this spring. WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN is a Mass Appeal production in association with Endeavor Content. Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender and Chris Gary serve as executive producers. To watch and share the trailer for WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN, go to:

https://youtu.be/GHFxvsqMZMg.

As the group marks the 25th anniversary of their breakout debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the series looks back on their career, combining intimate and reflective interviews from each of the nine living members with never-before-seen archival footage and performances. The series follows the founding members – RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and Cappadonna – many of whom were childhood friends in the hardscrabble world of ’70s and ’80s Staten Island and Brooklyn. Their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit brought them together to overcome the poverty, violence and oppression of their neighborhoods. But it was music and their shared lyrical genius that allowed them to form the most recognized musical movement in the world, all while walking the treacherous tightrope that links business with brotherhood.

Jenkins’ relationship with the group dates back to the early ’90s when, as a co-founding publisher of one of hip-hop’s first zines, Beat Down, he gave the group its first cover. In 2013, Jenkins re-launched Mass Appeal as a premium entertainment company where he serves as its Chief Creative Officer. WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN marks a homecoming to Sundance for Jenkins, where his feature directorial debut Fresh Dressed premiered in 2015. Since then Jenkins has directed BURN MOTHERF*CKER, BURN! and WORD IS BOND for SHOWTIME, as well as Rapture.

SHOWTIME is currently available to subscribers via cable, DBS, and telco providers, and as a stand-alone streaming service through Amazon, Apple®, Google, LG Smart TVs, Oculus Go, Roku®, Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox One. Consumers can also subscribe to SHOWTIME via Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, DirecTV Now, FuboTV, Hulu, Sling TV, Sony PlayStation™ Vue, and YouTube TV or directly at www.showtime.com.

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THE GREEN BOOK: GUIDE TO FREEDOM

FOLLOWING BEST PICTURE OSCAR® WIN FOR “GREEN BOOK,” SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL PREMIERES DOCUMENTARY EXPLORING

SPECIAL AIRS TONIGHT AT 8 PM ET/PT

Fresh on the heels of the “Green Book” Best Picture win at last night’s Academy Awards, Smithsonian Channel is set to premiere the real story of The Negro Motorist Green Book during the Jim Crow era and beyond. THE GREEN BOOK: GUIDE TO FREEDOM tells the story of Victor H. Green’s eponymously named travel guide that allowed African Americans to safely tour the country during a time of severe institutionalized racism. Clips from the documentary are available to download for editorial use below, and filmmaker Yoruba Richen is available for interviews.

Trailer: https://appbox.sho.com/smqhqis

The Origin of the Green Book: https://appbox.sho.com/sm695zx8nq

An Attack on Nat King Cole: https://appbox.sho.com/smfw3ddmp

Legendary Black Resort Idlewild: https://appbox.sho.com/smyets3v

Civil Rights Hero AG Gaston: https://appbox.sho.com/sm9gy5wm9

Beyoncé, Rihanna, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg & More Take Center Stage for Women’s History Month on Brown Sugar

New Episodes of Last Call and 2019 Bounce Trumpet Awards Also Streaming

ATLANTA (Feb. 25, 2019) – It’s “Ladies Night” on Brown Sugar as the popular subscription video on demand service from Bounce will be showcasing a number of fearless females in honor of Women’s History Month in March.

Brown Sugar’s Women’s History Month highlights include the music specials Beyoncé: On Top and Rihanna: No Regrets, Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra Jones, Cicely Tyson starring in A Woman Called Moses, Sarafina! featuring Whoopi Goldberg and more.

New episodes of the Bounce original comedy series Last Call will be streaming on the app in March, as well as the 2019 Bounce Trumpet Awards, hosted by NAACP Image ® Award-winning actress Wendy Raquel Robinson and GRAMMY® Award-nominated R&B singer Tank and featuring performances by GRAMMY® winners Ashanti and India.Arie, rappers Da Brat, Lil’ Mama, and Yo Yo and R&B singer Keyshia Cole.

Debuting on Brown Sugar in March is Good Hair, the 2009 documentary produced and hosted by Chris Rock who sets out to explore the importance of hair in black culture. The popular comedian interviews celebrities such as Nia Long, Eve, Maya Angelou and Raven Symone and visits hair salons, stylist competitions and even an Indian temple. Also new next month is the indie thriller He Watches Over Me starring Golden Brooks (Girlfriends) and Thomas Mikal Ford (Martin). Returning titles include Blue Hill Avenue (Allen Payne, Richard Lawson), Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Orlando(Jay Pharaoh, Lil’ Duval, Gary Owen) and Cry, the Beloved Country (James Earl Jones).

Viewers can watch these films and countless others on Brown Sugar along with complete seasons of top-rated Bounce originals such as Saints & Sinners, Family Time, In The Cut and more.

Brown Sugar is available on Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Comcast Xfinity X1, Amazon Channels, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Kindle, Android and Apple smartphones and tablets and web browsers via BrownSugar.com. There is a free 7-day initial trial period for subscribers with a retail price of $3.99/month thereafter. Visit www.BrownSugar.com for more information.

Brown Sugar is a part of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).

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Bounce Acquires Rights to Moesha and The Game in New Licensing Agreement With CBS Television Distribution

Hit Shows to be Seen Weeknights Back-to-Back Starting Mon. Feb. 18, Moesha 7-8:00 p.m. (ET), The Game 8-9:00 p.m. (ET)

ATLANTA (Feb. 14, 2019) – Bounce has licensed the broadcast television rights to the popular and NAACP Image Award-winning series Moesha and The Game in a multi-year agreement with CBS Television Distribution.

Bounce lands all six seasons (127 episodes) of Moesha and all nine seasons (147 episodes) of The Game and will air the shows back-to-back weeknights with Moesha from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. and The Game between 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. starting Mon. Feb. 18 (all times Eastern).

Moesha, one of the first sitcoms to center around an African-American teenage girl, stars R&B superstar Brandy Norwood as Moesha Mitchell, who’s juggling school, friendships and romance in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. After previously being the female head of the household, Moesha must learn to love and trust her father’s new wife while doing her best to be the “glue” that helps hold her family together. Moesha stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Countess Vaughn, Shar Jackson, William Allen Young, Marcus T. Paulk, Ray J, Lamont Bentley and Yvette Wilson. The series aired on UPN from 1996 until 2001.

The Game follows the wives and girlfriends of pro football players and the power plays they use to get their guys the best agents, the best endorsements, the best merchandising deals – even the “in” charity. Tia Mowry stars as Melanie Barnett whose boyfriend, Derwin (Pooch Hall), is the new third-string wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers. As she deals with egos, groupies and image consultants, Melanie is finding out how “the game” is played among the women behind the athletes. Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, Coby Bell, and Brittany Daniel round out the cast. The series, created by Mara Brock Akil, was a spin-off of the long-running hit series Girlfriends. It premiered on The CW in 2006 for three seasons and then moved to BET, where it set cable television ratings records.

Bounce (@BounceTV) airs on the broadcast signals of local television stations and corresponding cable carriage and features a programming mix of original and off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports, and more. Bounce has grown to be available in more than 109 million homes across the United States and 97% of all African-American (AA) television homes, including all the top AA television markets. Bounce is part of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP)

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