Category Archives: Industry News

CMNTY CULTURE’s DEBUT FILM PROJECT ‘THE LAST PLANTATION’

Photo Credit Jaloni Williams
Photo Credit: Jaloni Williams

BASED ON THE UNTOLD TRUE STORY OF BLACK FARMER JOHN BOYD JR. AND LAWYER JAMES FARRIN WHO WORKED TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE FOR BLACK FARMERS IN AMERICA

Los Angeles, CA, June 10, 2021 – Today, CMNTY Culture, a Black-owned entertainment and media enterprise founded by eight-time GRAMMY award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence, announced its first film project, The Last Plantation, via its film/ TV vertical, CMNTY Culture Films. CMNTY Culture will be the lead production company on The Last Plantation, an untold true story chronicling one of the largest civil rights settlements in history. Hunt Lowry(A Time to Kill, Last of the Mohicans) of Roserock Films and Jesse Kennedy (Brooklyn’s Finest, Stolen) are signed on to produce the film, joined by Philip Lawrence, CMNTY Culture Chief Operating Officer/ Chief Legal Officer Miles Cooley, CMNTY Culture CEO Thomas St. John, and main character/ lawyerJames Farrin as executive producers. 

Written by Tyger Williams (Menace II Society, Self Made: Madam C.J. Walker), The Last Plantation follows Black soybean farmer, John Boyd Jr., and white car accident attorney, James Farrin, as they overcome long odds and Washington gridlock to obtain a $1.25 billion settlement for over 18,000 Black farmers who had been discriminated against by the U.S. government. For years, the USDA routinely treated Black farmers unjustly, earning it the unfortunate nickname “the last plantation.”

“With its underlying themes of racial justice and social equity, ‘The Last Plantation’ showcases everything that CMNTY Culture stands for. It’s an important story to tell, not only because of its historical context, but also because it points to how we can come together to address social issues and injustices, even in a polarized world,” said CMNTY Culture Founder and Chairman, Philip Lawrence. “We couldn’t be happier to launch our film/ TV vertical with such an inspiring project and hope that it helps shed some much-overdue light on the often-neglected plight of Black farmers in America.”

The premise of the film aligns closely with CMNTY Culture’s mission of promoting and advancing racial equity, social justice, and diversity/inclusion in all aspects of its business, which includes film/TV, music, music publishing, and real estate. Philip Lawrence founded the company in 2019 alongside a visionary group of accomplished leaders: Thomas St. John, Founder of Thomas St. John Group; Miles Cooley, formerly DLA Piper; Marlena Kaplan, formerly Blackstone; Malik Rasheed, formerly Epic Records; and Chief Johnson, formerly PUMA Group.

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About CMNTY Culture: Launched in 2019, CMNTY Culture is a Black-owned, independent music and media enterprise founded by eight-time GRAMMY award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence in partnership with Thomas St. John, founder of Thomas St. John Group, a leading international accounting and business management firm. The company has several portfolio entertainment verticals in the music, music publishing, film/ TV, and real estate spaces.  CMNTY Culture is dedicated to advocating for and empowering artists across disciplines, as well as promoting and advancing racial equity, social justice, and diversity/inclusion in all aspects of its business. To find out more, you can visit: https://cmntyculture.com/


Media Contacts:

Sunshine Sachs

Paula Witt/ Maggie Faircloth/ Samantha Stephens/ Daniella Colletti – CMNTYCulture@SunshineSachs.com

The Atlanta Cast of Beyond the Pole hosts Extravagant Purple Carpet Premiere in Buckhead

"June 3rd was an amazing night to be in Atlanta on the purple carpet for the Beyond the Pole WE tv Premiere of Season 2" 

Executive Producers Shanté Paige and Mark E Stevens have done it again. Season 2 WE tv Every Thursday Night at 10pm Eastern Tune in

Cast Member Empress Wildflower and Executive Producer Mark E Stevens

WE tv’s Reality Star Trina Braxton and her husband attending the event.

“As a reality star, artist, content creator and business woman, I am always down to support my WE tv family. I’m looking forward’ to this season of ‘Beyond the Pole'”

Trina Braxton
Reality Star ‘Martell Holt’ & Beyond The Pole Executive Producer Mark E Stevens

Special celebrity invited guests to this exclusive private affair included OWN television network reality tv star Martell Holt from ‘Love & Marriage Huntsville”; former Bravo network RHOA ex husband of Cynthia Bailey and restauranteur Peter Thomas, Iconic hip hop legend Rapper Smooth B(Nice & Smooth) and a host of Atlanta socialites and friends of the cast from the Exotic Dancer Entertainment Industry and the family member of the cast.

Below is the details we gathered from the Press Release from WE tv:

This season, Ms. Dime, Angel Kake, Empress, Lyric, Virgo, Gigi Maguire, Ya Ya, Treasure, and Milk Marie are dealing with a world that is changing along with their businesses. Everyone is feeling the stress of quarantineB, staying masked-up, healthy, and keeping the bills paid in this new COVID reality. Now that the city of Atlanta has reopened, the women face these challenges as well as the pressure on their friendships, relationships and professional lives. 

Always hustling, the women embark on their own individual journeys to transition from the club and establish new and better lives. However, with these changes come secrets and a web of lies the women have kept hidden from the world, and sometimes from themselves. 

Executive produced by Lauren Gellert and Ashley McFarlin Buie for WE tv alongside show creator and executive producer Shante Paige, of She’s A Movement Media Group for Sonic Dog, LLC.

About WE tv

With compelling, can’t miss unscripted shows, WE tv’s programming is fueled by personalities and relationships filled with purpose and passion. WE tv welcomes everyone and creates an inclusive experience across all platforms: on TV, online, on demand, and social media, embracing how today’s digitally savvy, socially engaged audiences connect through content, using it as a catalyst to drive conversation and build community. WE tv is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and its sister channels include AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV.

WE tv’s jaw-dropping series “Beyond the Pole” returns for an explosive season two set to premiere Thursday, June 3 at 10 PM ET. Friendships are tested, finances are strapped, but through the turmoil, laughter and tears, these ladies are the ultimate survivors and their stories prove there is never a dull moment in the hustle.

Audra day brilliant in new movie The United States VS. billie holliday

Grammy nominated vocalist Audra Day has always been destined for greatness. As an artist I knew the world had great things in store for Day when she teamed up with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and ESSENCE for the “I’ll Rise” Campaign which is based on her signature tune “Rise Up.”

Salt-N-Pepa premieres Saturday January 23 at 8/7c on Lifetime

SALT-N-PEPA details the journey of Queensborough Community College students Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton as they enter the world of rap and hip hop, after recording a song for their friend Hurby Azor. Salt-N-Pepa made a huge impact as one of the first all-female rap groups, changing the look of hip hop and being unafraid to talk about sex and share their thoughts on men. The movie follows the group as they become the first female rap act to go platinum and experience ground-breaking success with multiple awards, including a Grammy award –  paving the way for all female rappers to follow. The film will feature performances of Salt-N-Pepa’s greatest hits, including: “Let’s Talk About Sex”, “What a Man”, “Shoop” and “Push It”.

Photos Courtesy of Aenetworks

Produced by Sony Pictures Television and directed by Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City,” “Baadasssss!”) from a script by Abdul Williams (“The Bobby Brown Story,” “The New Edition Story”).  Robert Teitel (“The Hate U Give,” “Barbershop” Franchise) from State Street Pictures serves as Executive Producer. Executive Produced by Cheryl James, Sandra Denton, Shakim Compere and Queen Latifah. Co-executive produced by Hurby Azor. Sebastian Dungan serves as the Lifetime executive in charge of production.

SALT-N-PEPA INTERVIEW SPECIAL will premiere Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 11 PM EST/10 PM CST on Lifetime

After 35 years, the reigning Queens of Hip Hop are still going strong. Salt-n-Pepa sit down for a fun and intimate discussion about what makes their iconic partnership work, how these two very different personalities find the delicate balance to keep it going, and how their pioneering style continues to influence the music world today. Hosted by Loni Love, the special is packed with never-before heard stories about their lives and careers and share exclusive BTS footage, with a few surprises and special guests along the way!

SALT-N-PEPA INTERVIEW SPECIAL is produced by A&E Originals with Ted Butler as executive producer.

Photos Courtesy of Aenetworks

Dennis mckinley set to open CRU HEMP LOUNGE in Houston

Minutes after the Houston Eater posted an article expressing how 2020 was a “devastating year for Houston’s restaurant industry” ; news also broke that Dennis McKinley will continue his Houston takeover with the opening of CBD-focused lounge in Downtown.

In August of 2020 McKinley also opened an Original Hot Dog Factory in Houston and he appears to be setting up double shops in cities worldwide. The CRU LOUNGE is very popular in Atlanta. One decade ago the first CRU LOUNGE opened and 2020 seems to be the year that McKinley has been on franchise fire.

Atlanta just opened a new CRU Lounge on Edgewood open 7 days a week until 4am. The streets of Edgewood are known for heavy foot traffic. Restaunteur Pinky Cole also opened a new Slutty Vegan location on Edgewood as well. Apparently this is one of the restaurant row hotspots in the streets of Atlanta.

Best wishes to Dennis McKinley from the Producers Channel. We also got wind that CRU Lounge will be opening a location in Washington DC on inauguration day on 316 H Street January 21, 2021. “Don’t meet us there,” says McKinley.

Congrats for an outstanding year in business.

TV Unscripted Broadcast score card 2021: What Shows Renewed and cancelled

Reality TV exploded during the pandemic but unscripted TV played a huge part in keeping broadcast netsworks afloat.

Photo Credit Michael Becker/FOX

It’s crazy how many shows were able to snap into remote mode and keep it pushing. News shows like TMZ , The Real and The Wendy Williams shows were examples of adapt and keep the show going . These were some of the types of shows that late 2020 were either able to hop back into full production and have business as usual in full production ;but following strict Covid guidelines.

According to the Hollywood Reporter check out what shows are getting renewed and what’s getting cancelled. Keep checking back on their website for updates.

Here is the list:

ABC 

Veteran shows
The $100,000 Pyramid
America’s Funniest Home Videos

American Idol
The Bachelor
The Bachelorette
Bachelor in Paradise
Card Sharks
Celebrity Family Feud
Dancing With the Stars
Don’t
The Great Christmas Light Fight
Holey Moley
Match Game
Press Your Luck
Shark Tank
To Tell the Truth
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

First-year shows
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (premieres Jan. 7)
The Chase
 (premieres Jan. 7)
Emergency Call
The Hustler (premieres Jan. 7)
Supermarket Sweep

Ordered to series
Generation Gap
Ultimate Surfer

CBS

Veteran shows
The Amazing Racerenewed for season 33
Big Brotherrenewed for season 23
Game On
The Greatest #AtHome Videos
Love Island
Survivorrenewed through season 42, return date TBD
Tough as Nailsrenewed for season two
Undercover Boss

Ordered to series
Secret Celebrity Renovation

The CW

Veteran shows
Masters of Illusion
Penn & Teller: Fool Usrenewed for season eight
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
World’s Funniest Animals
renewed for season two

Fox

Veteran shows
24 Hours to Hell and Back
Beat Shazam: renewed for season four
Hell’s Kitchenrenewed through season 20
Lego Mastersrenewed for season two
Masterchef
Masterchef Juniorrenewed for season eight
The Masked Singer*renewed for season five
Mental Samurai: renewed for season two
So You Think You Can Dance: renewed for season 17, return date TBD

First-year shows
I Can See Your Voice*
The Masked Dancer

Name That Tune
(premieres Jan. 6)

NBC

Veteran shows
America’s Got Talent
America’s Got Talent: The Champions
American Ninja Warrior
Bring the Funny
Ellen’s Game of Games
Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways
Hollywood Game Night*
Little Big Shots
Making It*: Renewed for season three in 2021
Songland*
The Titan Games*
The Voice
The Wall*
World of Dance*

First-year shows
Weakest Link*

Ordered to series
College Bowl*
The New World: 
BBC-produced nature docuseries scheduled for 2024
Small Fortune*
That’s My Jam*

True Story*
Who Do You Think You Are?

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

Donell Jones releases first single in 7 years and this love song is for the MEN!

Photo Courtesy of KWFM Writing Solutions Company

R & B Crooner Donell Jones released a new song titled KARMA (Payback) on 11/11/2020. This is his first single released in the past seven years. It’s the prelude to his seventh studio album, 100% complimentary.  (Coming December 2020) . I woud say welcome back but when you have genuine R & B songwriters and singers like Donell that are listed among the greats they never leave the R & B radio waves so we know they are here to stay even long after they are gone. 

Unforgettable classic ballads that are fan favorites like “Where I Wanna Be,” “You Know What’s Upft. TLC’s Left Eye,” and “Knocks Me Off My Feet” just to name a few. Jones has also produced and written hit songs for Usher “Think of You,” 702 “Get It Together” Drea “Not Gonna Letcha,” Jacquees “23,” and he’s recently collaborated with singer, Jon B on a song called “Understand.”

Donell has traveled the world and toured with some of the greatest artists in the business. DJ Eddie F sure knew his eye for talent when he discovered this artist! Jones began his journey at one of the best times for R & B artists. It was the Relationship Song scenarios that we loved and how he was basically known as the composer to all life situations.

The American Music Award Winner, Donell Jones is not only a renowned R&B vocalist, an exceptional songwriter, but also a master producer. The inspiration inspiration behind the song Karma (Payback) stems from the Music Love Coach wanting to deliver a profound message that men and women in relationships can relate to, especially during the upcoming holiday seasons.

Karma(Payback)

Check out the song and let me know what you think..

TRUE TO THE GAME 2 Opens As The #1 Highest Grossing New Independent Film Release This Weekend

Manny Hailey and Deb Antney

Producer and distributor Manny Hailey and Director Jamal Hill (Brotherly Love, Dueces) successfully pulled off an amazing block buster weekend for an independent film. True to the Game 2 stars Columbus Short (Scandal), Vivica A. Fox (Empire), Andra Fuller(Have and Have Nots), Erica Peeples (Fall Girl), Jeremy Meeks, Iyana Halley (HBO’s Sharp Objects) and Lil Mama (The TLC Story, When Love Kills:The Falicia Blakely Story); with Appearances by Rotimi, Tamar Braxton, Faith Evans, Waka Flocka, Bernice Burgos & More.

The film was based on long time author Terri Woods New York Best Seller book ‘True to the Game’. Congrats to producer Manny Hailey on the #1 highest Independent grossing film of the weekend; opening in 247 theaters nationwide on Friday, November 6thearning a three-day weekend box office of $290,000 with a Per Screen Average of $1,174.

Best newcomer performance went to Manny Hailey’s daugher Iyanla Hailey as she becoming into her own woman as an on screen actress. Director Jamal Hill claims he was very impressed with her performance as well as the work ethic of newcomer actor Jeremy Meeks.

Directed by Jamal Hill (“Brotherly Love,” “Deuces”), TRUE TO THE GAME 2 picks up a year after the murder of drug dealer Quadir Richards, whose death carries consequences for all who knew him — especially Gena (Peeples), his love interest. Separating herself from Philly’s dangerous scene, Gena has reinvented herself as a journalist, living and working in New York City. Forced to take some time off of work, Gena is sent on assignment to Los Angeles for a career-changing story.

Though Gena is far from home, her life in Philly seems to always make an appearance. Someone from Quadir’s circle has avenged his death with a hit on Jerrell’s crew members, reigniting another war between the two crews. Jerell (Fuller) is determined to get paid by any means necessary— and he’ll start with Gena.

“We are elated by the strong support for our film this weekend,” says Manny Halley, TTTG2 producer and founder of Imani Motion Pictures. “As a producer and distributor, the highest honor one can achieve is when audiences come to see our films and are receptive to what they saw. That said, we had sold out showings across the country and the overall buzz has been fantastic. We look forward to expanding the film to additional theaters nationwide this coming Friday.” 

TRUE TO THE GAME 2 is written by Preston Whitmore and produced by Manny Halley, Rodney Turner II and Yolanda Halley. David Wolfgang (“Bloomers”) serves as director of photography.

For more information, visit http://truetothegame2.com

Download key art here: https://rb.gy/ow7bzs[Credit: Dennis Byron/Imani]

Social:
Facebook: @TrueToTheGameMovie 
Twitter: @TrueToTheGameMovie 
Instagram: TrueToTheGameMovie
Hashtags: #TrueToTheGameMovie #TrueToTheGame2 
Website: https://truetothegame2.com/

About Imani Motion Pictures 
Imani Motion Pictures is a Los Angeles based entertainment music, motion picture and TV production, distribution company with a satellite office located in Atlanta, Georgia. Imani has worked in the music industry for over 20 years with recording artists such as Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, and Keyshia Cole. Imani’s first foray into television production began with the BET reality series “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is” and the spinoff “Frankie and Neffe.”

Imani Media shifted its focus to feature films in 2017 with the release of TRUE TO THE GAME, starring Columbus Short, Vivica A. Fox and the late Nelsan Ellis. The film is an adaptation of the New York Times bestseller by Teri Woods. TRUE TO THE GAME is an urban love story between a prominent Philadelphia drug dealer and a woman, as they struggle to balance street life and love. The film was independently financed and distributed by Halley and earned $1.2M in a limited release. Halley has secured deals w/ Viacom BET and Netflix on this first go around.

In addition to TRUE TO THE GAME 2, Imani will release the film DUTCH in theaters on Friday, November 27, 2020.

SOURCE Imani Media Group

nouveau bar and grill owner Ebony Austin speaks on teaching your staff how to boss up during a pandemic

Nouveau Bar & Grill Photo Credit Ebony Austin

Nouveau Bar & Grill CEO, Ebony Austin, takes pride in celebrating her one-year anniversary in Atlanta on Oct. 24, 2020. Austin shared three techniques she implements in her daily regimen that allows her to “weather the storm” on any occasion. These tools were very essential during Atlanta’s shutdown in March and April and essentially prepared her to re-open in phases with COVID-19 restrictions specific to the restaurant business.

The rolling out AM Wake-uptalk show recently invited Austin to discuss the importance of leadership, adaptability and how she’s navigating through this pandemic successfully amidst the new restaurant dine-in experience.

Continue reading nouveau bar and grill owner Ebony Austin speaks on teaching your staff how to boss up during a pandemic

Meet the men of Tyler Perry’s Show “BRUH” on BET+

“Still from BET’s “Bruh” episode 106. (Photo: Charles Bergmann/BET/Tyler Vision, LLC)

Tyler Perry’s “BRUH” is one of the best shows on the BET Plus Network. It’s easy to understand why these four men have amazing chemistry on camera after interviewing them and understanding the brotherhood they have developed off camera (in such a short period of time).

TYLER PERRY’S BRUH is executive produced, written, and directed by Tyler Perry. Michelle Sneed also serves as Executive Producer of the series for Tyler Perry Studios. For more on TYLER PERRY’S BRUH, go to http://www.betpressroom.com. Follow us on social media platforms
@betplus, and join the conversation using the hashtag #TylerPerryBruh.

Phillip Mullings Jr. (Mike), Barry Brewer (John), Mahdi Cocci (Tom), and Monti Washington (Bill) are the four young handsome men that keep your eyes glued to the television with their dating scenarios. Modern day problems with a hint of drama in each one of the guy’s life in real time (on the television show only ladies). Please don’t confuse their television characters with real life. These have got to be four of the most respectable young men that I’ve interviewed in a very long time.

Please tune in September 10th on BET+ and I really hope if you missed the first 12 episodes that you go back and binge watch everything so you will know what’s going on. I promise you won’t regret adding this show on repeat as the type of series you can watch over and over again.

Check out our zoom interview below:

As an advocate BET television viewer for the past 40 years I can’t believe that Tyler Perry’s new show BRUH is what made me download the BET+(Plus) app. There are so many amazing shows streaming on the Plus App. At first I thought it was just a streaming platform of old school BET shows; “boy was I wrong!” Download it today!

ABOUT “TYLER PERRY’S BRUH”
“Tyler Perry’s BRUH” tracks the story of four thirty-something year old friends in present-day Atlanta, trying to find themselves as men and navigate life, careers and courtship. Finding romance has been a constant bump in the road for the guys.  

Check out the trailer: