QUEEN SUGAR IS BACK!

Queen Sugar is Back! Premiering on June 12th on OWN. The trailer has me excited and knows this will definitely be a great season.

The drama series is back for the fourth year, following the Bordelon family as they discover Nova (Rutina Wesley) is publishing her memoir which divulges long-held family secrets. Tension festers at home as Nova embarks on a book tour and unexpectedly encounters significant relationships from her past along the way. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick the tension in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure the safety and future of her teenage son Micah (Nicholas Ashe). 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), is encouraged by an old friend to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated men.

“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.

QUEEN SUGAR PREMIERES JUNE 12 AT 9 PM ON OWN!

NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINATIONS

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

The NAACP Award nominations are in and HBO and Netflix lead with 22 and 20 Nominations in the Television categories. Marvel leads with 13 nominations in Film categories. RCA leads with 11 nominations in the music categories. The nominees were announced on February 13, 2019 at a press conference. Winners will be announced live during a Two-Hour live special on TV One on Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Los Angles, California.

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“With TV One as our partner for the 50th Anniversary of the NAACP Image Awards, we are delighted to have a platform to showcase artists and individuals of color and celebrate their talents and contributions.” – NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

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In its 50th year, The NAACP Image Awards is the foremost multicultural awards show celebrating the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

Maxine Waters Leads Discussion On Housing Finance Reform

In addition to the standard awards categories, our favorite auntie Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be honored with the NAACP Chairman of the Year Award which is given to individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their platforms to create agents of change.

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LOVE IS ______

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

This new romantic drama comes from the award-winning producers Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane) and Salim Akil (Black Lighting).

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Set primarily in the 90’s, it draws from the Akil’s real-life​ relationship journey. The series explores the highs, lows, and the magic of falling and staying in love.

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The cast includes Michele Weaver (Illicit) as Nuri and Will Catlett (Black Lighting) as Nasir.

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This series will definitely be another hit show from the Mara and Salim.

TUESDAYS AT 10 PM. ONLY ON OWN!

INTERVIEW W/ LIL’ DEE DEE

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to speak with the amazingly talented Lil’ Dee Dee last week. This 13-year old pint-sized actor, dancer, choreographer, and model is super humble and is taking the world by storm with his gifts.

Lil’ Dee Dee was destined to be a performer. He has been surrounded by his father, an R&B singer and his three siblings, all of which are in some form of show business. So being a performer is in his DNA.

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Lil’ Dee Dee has appeared in numerous TV shows including Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You is Wrong” and Containment on Netflix. He can also be seen as the MC/Co-Host on LIP-SYNC BATTLE SHORTIES on Nickelodeon, as well as on the Amazing World of Gumball on the Cartoon Network as the voice of Darwin the Fish. He has also traveled the world dancing with Chris Brown, and with his mentor Usher Raymond. He is a part of his own dance crew and loves teaching people how to dance. You can catch him coming up in Honey 4.

Tell me about your character in Honey 4?
It’s pretty much like me. He’s a dancer, a real character with my personality. It’s just so me.

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At such a young age, you are impacting kids all over. What’s it like speaking at schools and working with Usher’s New Look Foundation?
I met with the Foundation a couple of weeks ago and wanted to speak to the kids and let them know to just stay humble and to keep going what drives you. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.

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With the teen suicide rate up, is there anything you can say to encourage kids to stay in the game?
Whenever I go into schools I try to talk to the younger kids first as opposed to the older kids because the older kids already know what they want to do and have their mind made up. The younger kids are still like “what am I going to do”, “I want to be this, I want to be that.” I just try to tell them, that whatever you want to do in life go after it, and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. Also, be humble and listen to your teachers, you may think they’re being mean to you, but later in life, you may need it. I try to spend as much time as possible spending time with them. So, on my off days, I go to a nearby school and speak to the kids. It’s all about encouraging them.

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What is it like working with Usher and big talents?
It’s definitely a really good feeling because growing up listening to Usher and all these different artists and then to actually be in the same room is really mind blowing. It’s really humbling. They always tell me to stay humble, and keep my head up and keep going after it. It’s so crazy because I get it. So, inspiring, just to see what they have to go through.

What Keeps You Humble?
Being around Chris Brown and others and seeing what they have to go through. Also, seeing kids keep going and they don’t have a support system it just makes me want to go harder and reach my goal. So, it’s everything.

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“The slightest motivation can only take you so far.”

I cannot wait to see everything that Lil’ Dee Dee has coming up and everything that will come in the future. This kid inspires me to go for greater.

Follow him on all social media for updates @IAmLilDeeDee and his website http://www.iamlildeedee.com.

WOMAN WHO ROCKS: KEETA INGRAM

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

In a society that doesn’t always celebrate each other, it is great to see someone that is taking a stand and trying to unite each other. We salute Keeta Ingram for being that person.

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The question is why are we are in invisible competition with each other? What is for you will be for you, you helping and supporting someone else is not going to stop your rise. So when you see your sister’s crown tilting a bit, don’t tilt it more help her put it back on straight.

“Your vibe determines your tribe”

Keeta not only created Tribe Called Queen Campaign to inspire her peers, but also is a production secretary for TV/Film, currently working on Greenleaf, and the founder of The Queen Movement that launched it all. The Queen Movement is a women’s empowerment network that encourages each woman to be the higher you. They operate a Teen Queen Retreat, which is a 3-day summer camp for girls ages 13-19 where they operate as a support group for young women needing to tilt their crown upright.

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Tribe Called Queen Campaign (TCQ) is a campaign created by Keeta Ingram and creatively directed by Porsha “Marlee” Roberson with a purpose to inspire their peers towards unity, love, and light.

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Brand Ambassador is Lovie Simone, who stars as Zora on OWN Network’s megachurch drama Greenleaf on Wednesday Nights.

WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN OUR TRIBE!

Join The Queen Movement and to learn more about the Teen Queen Retreat visit them at thequeenmovementllc.com.

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Visit tcqcampaign.com to support the Tribe Called Queen Campaign.

Follow TCQ, The Queen Movement, and Keeta on Social Media for updates and how to get involved in the tribe.

TCQ:
Instagram: @tcqcampaign

The Queen Movement:
Instagram: @queenmovement
Facebook: The Queen Movement LLC

Keeta:
Instagram: @la_femme00

IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG PREMIERES

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to speak to April Parker Jones, one of the stars of If Loving You Is Wrong before the premiere tonight. Our conversation exposed how much drama will go down this season. At the end of last season Joey was shot and she advises that it will be interesting finding out how his shooting will affect everyone.

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ABOUT HER CHARACTER NATALIE:
Natalie is a single mom with four kids by three different fathers and is currently dating Lushion, a cop and the father of her son Frank. She prides herself in providing for her family without government assistance, she manages Burger Fast and struggles to find her place. Natalie was conflicted with the tough decision whether or not to allow her oldest son Joey to return back to her home after being released from prison. Coming up for Natalie this season is moving into the neighborhood with the ladies. There will be a lot of shake up and drama on her end as the new neighbor. So get ready for what Natalie has to bring this season.

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I am excited for all of the twists and turns that this new season will bring. I am sure that Tyler Perry will not disappoint on that.

TUNE IN FOR THE PREMIERE TONIGHT ON OWN AT 9 PM!

Follow April Parker Jones, OWN, If Loving You Is Wrong, and Tyler Perry for updates and live tweeting during the premiere.

April Parker Jones
Instagram/Twitter: @A_ParkerJones

OWN Network
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @OWNTV

If Loving You Is Wrong
Facebook: If Loving You Is Wrong
Instagram: @iflovingyouiswrong_

Tyler Perry
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @tylerperry

GREENLEAF SEASON 2 PREMIERES

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

So the Season 2 Premiere of Greenleaf is finally here. It seems like it has been a long time coming but low and behold it is here. As the Social Events Coordinator for Calvary Fellowship Church I am privy to a lot of information and secrets, like that time when I heard that gunshot in the Bishop’s office. That was scary but…but I can’t tell you everything that’s been happening since right now. But, I can tell this, this season is definitely full of surprises, twists, revelations, and amazing guest stars.

When we left off last season, Charity learned what Kevin was hiding which caused her to go into early labor with the twins, Jacob continued rebelling with his involvement with Basie Skanks and Triumph Church, and Mac gets out of jail and arrives back at the Greenleaf mansion in the explosive season finale sending Grace in a whirlwind.

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With this new season will Charity come to terms with Kevin’s lifestyle? And if she can’t can they co-parent peacefully? Will Kevin explore deeper into his temptations and feelings? How did Mac get out of prison? And what will Grace do now? And what will Mac stir up now that he is out? And how long will Jacob continue to hang out with Basie Skanks and stay at Triumph?

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It is such an honor to work for Calvary Fellowship and excited for you guys to see what we have been up to since last season. Make sure you tune in TONIGHT, WEDNESDAY AT 10 PM on OWN!

Follow Greenleaf and the cast on Social Media as they live tweet during the premiere.

Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @GreenleafOWN
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @OWNTV

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Merle Dandridge:
Instagram/Twitter: @merledandridge

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Keith David:
Instagram: @silverthroat
Twitter: @ImKeithDavid

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Lynn Whitfield:
Instagram/Twitter: @MsLynnWhitfield

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Lamman Rucker:
Instagram: @lammanruckerofficial
Twitter: @LammanRucker

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Deborah Joy Winans:
Instagram: @deborahjoywinans
Twitter: @DeborahJWinans

Oprah:
Instagram/Twitter: @oprah

BLACK WOMEN FILM NETWORK SUMMIT

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) celebrated 20 years this past week. They pulled out all the stops to celebrate during their Annual Black Women Film Summit, a 3-day event to learn, network, and explore. The Summit kicked off on Thursday Night with a screening of FOX’s new 10-week series SHOTS FIRED premiering on March 22 at 8 pm at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta.

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Shots Fired reunites Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood who are the creators, writers, and executive producers with Love and Basketball star Sanaa Lathan, who stars as Ashe, the flawed but savvy investigator who works to help prosecutor Preston Terry (Stephan James) get to the truth of an incident in which a black cop shot a white teenager in a small town.

On Friday, the “Untold Stories” Award Luncheon held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and honored several individuals whose work and careers have either inspired or paved the way for women of color in film and television. Honorees included “Creative Power Couple” recipients’ Dondre Whitfield and Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Industry Award Recipients’ Will Areu, Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios and Ozzie Areu, President of Tyler Perry Studios, Trailblazer recipient Tichina Arnold, Rising Star recipient Teyonah Parris, and Founder’s Award Recipient Donna Lowry, Veteran broadcast journalist and 20-year BWFN board member.

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During the luncheon four college students were also awarded with scholarships during the luncheon. Danielle Boyd (NYU), Atiara Brown (Atlanta Technical College), Sarah Griffin (Atlanta Technical College), and Ariel Jones (Louisiana State University).

After the luncheon there was a Reel Sista Talk panel, where honorees engage in a transparent conversation about their lives and careers. Those on the panel were Salli and Dondre Whitfield, Donna Lowry, past honoree Terri J. Vaughn, moderated by former honoree Shante Bacon.

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The Summit came to an exciting close on Saturday with a busy day full of workshops, panels, a book festival, and film screenings.

Choose ATL presented the last panel of the day, Secrets from the Set: Showrunners, Writers and Actors Take You Behind the Scenes of Hit TV Shows Produced in Atlanta. 135th Street Agency CEO Shante Bacon moderated a very informative conversation with Greenleaf writer/executive story editor Erica Anderson, Saints and Sinners showrunner Ty Scott and If Loving You is Wrong actress April Parker Jones.

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The Summit closed out with awards for the winning films from the BWFN-BronzeLens Film Festival Screenings:

Miss Winn’s Garden-Best Audience Participation
Director: Shanalyna Palmer
Producers: Shanalyna Palmer, Lucy A. Fazey, Brenda Porter, Sishan Palmer, Barbara-Lee A. Palmer

Brazilian Wavy-Best Comedy
Director: Kirk Henriques
Producers: Kirk Henriques, Yusef Muhammad, Jasmine Burke, Chet Brewster

UNtitlED-Best Drama
Director: Mike Michaels
Producers: Winsome Sinclair, Don Saint, Julia Vilnet

Sista in the Brotherhood-Best of Festival
Director: Dawn Jones Redstone
Producer: Roberta Hunte, PhD.

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The 3-days spent at the Summit was truly a time of learning new things, networking with new people and getting advice from industry professionals and growing.

SPOTLIGHT TUESDAY-MERCEDES SANDERS

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I met the talented, full of life Mercedes Sanders about a year ago when we both started working on the set of Greenleaf, Season 1. She had this sparkle in her eyes and excitement in her stride that immediately caught my attention. For me I can read people well and Mercedes is that genuine person and I can appreciate that about her.

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Mercedes got her start in the industry in a unique way. Her first experience in TV and Film was when she was basically thrown in front of the camera when she was asked to be a stand-in on a production and had to learn everything in reverse in a sense. Mercedes also learned a lot when she got the opportunity to be an understudy for Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls in 2009.

What excites Mercedes about the industry is the growth and opportunities here in Atlanta. The TV and Film industry has exploded in Atlanta in the past few years. Atlanta has been named The Hollywood of the South or ATLWood. With all of the opportunities it gives everyone the opportunity to explore and break into the industry here.

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Mercedes focuses primarily on TV, film, and producing. She has trained extensively in Atlanta and in L.A. She recently has completed training with Emmy-award winner Greg Alan Williams in his Actor’s Breakthrough course. Since 2009, Mercedes has worked with some of the top African-American women in the industry right now. You name them and she has probably worked with them. The actors that have impacted her journey in the industry thus far are Debbie Allen, Lawrence Jacob, Ron Reaco Lee, Greg Alan Williams, Oprah, Keith David, and Lynn Whitfield.

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Coming up for Mercedes is work on an Indie film. Currently she is working on the #1 hit show from last summer, Greenleaf, filming right now for season 2. What better way for her to learn than from Emmy-Award winners and Oprah. I can attest that working on Greenleaf is beyond amazing and each day if you keep your eyes and ears open you will learn something new.

I am thoroughly convinced that Mercedes will go far in this industry. Her determination, willingness to learn, and passion will definitely take her to the top.

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For Demo Reel and more on Mercedes follow her on Social Media and her Imdb page:

Instagram: @iammissmercedes
Twitter: @FilmMercedes
Imdb: http://www.imdb.com/MercedesSanders