(left to right) Wendy Raquel Robinson, this year's host; and honorees, Brandon Victor Dixon, Anika Noni Rose, and Jenifer Lewis


The Beverly Hills/ Hollywood NAACP Branch announces this year's host and extraordinary honorees for the 27th Annual NAACP Theatre awards being held on Monday, February 26, 2018, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90071 at 6pm.

Returning as host for this year's dinner show is the effervescent actress Wendy Raquel Robinson. Known for her lead role as the sexy, feisty sports manager 'Tasha Mack' from BET's #1 rated scripted series, The Game as well as the no-nonsense principal 'Regina Grier' on the hit TV comedy "The Steve Harvey Show". As a past recipient of a NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series", this fellow thespian is all too familiar with the honor of being recognized for the ability to transform words from a page into multi-dimensional characters, making her a perfect host for this prestigious awards ceremony.

If her acting schedule weren’t busy enough, Ms. Robinson makes times to enrich the lives of our youth through her non-profit performing arts company, 'Amazing Grace Conservatory' (AGC), which recently marked 20 years of providing performance training in acting, voice and dance for youth between the ages of 5-18 who reside in South Central Los Angeles.

Dubbed a "national treasure" by TVGuide.com, Jenifer Lewis is this year’s recipient of the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award. Her illustrious career began in Missouri but led her to New York City immediately after high school. While in NYC, she performed throughout the theatre circuit including productions like "Eubie" before she became a backup singer for Bette Midler and appearing in iconic films such as Beaches and Sister Act alongside Whoopie Goldberg. This accomplished singer has displayed her gifts on Broadway in the hit musical Hairspray as ‘Motormouth Mabel’ and at Carnegie Hall accompanied by the New York Pops Orchestra. After 40 plus years in the business, Ms. Lewis has appeared in over 300 films and television shows. Most recent movies include: The Wedding Ringer, Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too and Baggage Claim. She has also created unforgettable characters in Madea's Family Reunion and Meet the Browns. In animated films, Jenifer's uniquely recognizable voice is adored by Disney fans worldwide in roles such as "Flo" in Cars and Cars 2 and as "Mama Odie" in The Princess and the Frog. Television dramas and comedies like Strong Medicine, A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Girlfriends landed her recurring roles. Audiences can currently see her weekly in the EMMY nominated Black-ish on ABC, as the hilariously sassy 'Ruby Johnson' - a role that recently earned her a nomination for the 2018 Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Comedy.

Literally ‘The Mother of Black Hollywood,’ Ms. Lewis most notably depicted Tina Turner’s mother in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It and portrayed the mother of Whitney Houston’s character in The Preacher’s Wife. Her most recent project is her detailed memoir, aptly titled "The Mother of Black Hollywood". Ms. Lewis' transparency about her mental health struggles, the highs and lows of her career and love life have made the book intriguing and a success!

Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose will be honored with the NAACP Trailblazer Theater Award. Ms. Rose is an accomplished stage, television and film actress with a commanding, yet gentle presence on stage and film. She has appeared opposite Denzel Washington in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Ms. Rose held her own on the big screen opposite Beyoncé in Dreamgirls and alongside Jamie Foxx in the bio flick Ray. This multi-talented actress gave voice to the first African-American Disney princess, ‘Princess Tiana’ in the Disney animated flick The Princess and the Frog. Currently, Ms. Rose is starring in the BET original television series, The Quad, where she plays Dr. Eva Fletcher, the newly elected college president of the fictitious Georgia A&M and also on Power as a corrupt, cop "Jukebox" airing on STARZ.

The NAACP Spirit Theatre Award will be presented to thespian and television actor Brandon Victor Dixon for his impressive body of work. Currently appearing as 'Monster' in the Off-Broadway production of Suzan-Lori Parks' Fucking A, Dixon just ended his Broadway run starring in the critically acclaimed and Tony Award winning Hamilton. He has conquered the iconic persona ‘Berry Gordy’ in Motown, The Musical; and brought the all too familiar 'Harpo' to the stage in the Broadway production of The Color Purple. His acting talents have also been seen on television in the daytime soap opera One Life to Live as well as nighttime dramas Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Good Wife.

Mr. Dixon now appears on the STARZ series Power as lawyer Terry Silver. Most recently, he appeared on the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors stage as he helped celebrate the accomplishments of Honoree Carmen de Lavallade for her excellence in dancing, choreography, acting and teaching.

President Ron Hasson states, "This year's show will offer a fine dining experience to our thespian enthusiasts and premier awards show honoring these deserving artists who have lit up the stage with electrifying performances."

Other notables and gifted entertainers nominated for a 2017 NAACP Theatre Awards include: Veteran actors Glynn Turman, Phylicia Rashad, Sterling K. Brown, Lillias White, Roger Robinson, Omar J. Dorsey, Frances Fisher, Karimah Westbrook, Wallace Demarria, Rebecca Wisocky, Malika Blessing and Suzan-Lori Parks.

About The NAACP Theatre Awards:

The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Council President/Councilmember District 10 Herb Wesson, Jr. The mission of the Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate, inspire the community and create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. Ron Hasson is Branch President and Tia Boyd is the Executive Producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded dinner gala is produced for the purpose of honoring thespians among the best in the field of entertainment.


* Airs Friday, February 16 at 8pm on WLIW21
* Sunday, February 18 at 7:30pm on THIRTEEN
* Saturday, February 24 at 7pm on NJTV

WNET has announced the television premiere of Pioneers: Reginald F. Lewis and the Making of a Billion Dollar Empire (Watch the trailer). The documentary chronicles the life and legacy of business pioneer, philanthropist and titan Reginald F. Lewis. Lewis, a Harvard Law School graduate, who rose to prominence as a lawyer, financier, and leader of the global food company TLC Beatrice International.

Lewis was the first African American ever to close an overseas billion dollar leveraged buyout deal. He acquired an unprecedented global conglomerate of 64 companies in 31 countries, and paved the way for future entrepreneurs and black leaders through his life’s work until his untimely death at age 50.

"Reginald Lewis is a pioneer because he executed a $1 billion buyout of Beatrice International Foods. No one had done anything of that size - black nor white. He’s the first African American to do an overseas buyout," says Mrs. Loida Lewis, wife of Reginald F. Lewis. Additional high praise from Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express notes, "There is no doubt that Reginald Lewis' success paved the way for me, and many others, and I think that really is the test and demonstration of real leadership."

Discover the legacy and celebrate the 30th anniversary of Reginald F. Lewis’ historic billion dollar deal by watching Pioneers: Reginald F. Lewis and the Making of a Billion Dollar Empire on these PBS affiliates:

* Friday, February 16, 8:00pm WLIW21
* Sunday, February 18, 7:30pm THIRTEEN
* Saturday, February 24, 7:00pm NJTV
* Streams nationally at thirteen.org and on THIRTEEN Explore OTT apps beginning Friday, February 18

About Reginald F. Lewis
* First to seriously consider the purchase of Paramount Pictures
* First Black billion-dollar deal maker
* First African American law firm on Wall Street
* First to be accepted at Harvard University Law School without applying
* Among the first 5 black males to have a museum named after him
* At $985 MM, the deal was the largest offshore leveraged buyout ever by an American company

Watch the video trailer on PBS.org:

For more information, visit www.reginaldflewis.com

Follow on social media:
Facebook: RFL Billion Dollar Deal
Twitter: @RFLTheDeal
Instagram: @RFLBillionDollarDeal
Hashtags: #reginaldflewis #RFLbilliondollardeal

UMC – Urban Movie Channel Nabs Exclusive SVOD Rights for OWN's BLACK LOVE Docuseries

Episodes Begin Streaming February 2, 2018

UMC Also Exclusively Premieres New Romantic Comedy, COUPLES' NIGHT on February 9, 2018

Following its record premiere ratings on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network last summer, UMC – Urban Movie Channel, the first premium subscription streaming service created for fans of African American and urban content, is excited to announce that it has acquired exclusive SVOD rights for the popular docuseries, BLACK LOVE. Watch trailer. Created by newlywed filmmakers Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver (The Perfect Guy) and Confluential Films, Black Love highlights love stories from the black community and seeks to answer the burning question, "What does it take to make a marriage or relationship work?" Featured couples include Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, and Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict.

"We created Black Love to showcase healthy, loving relationships in the Black community and it's an absolute honor to premiere the SVOD rights on UMC, a platform dedicated to serving first-rate content to a still criminally underserved audience," said series creators Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver. The premiere episode drew 1.2 million total viewers making it OWN's most-watched unscripted series debut in network history. The first episode will begin streaming at www.UMC.tv (and on various devices) on February 2, 2018 with subsequent episodes added weekly through February 23, 2018, after which all four episodes will be available to stream at any time.

In February, UMC will also present the exclusive premiere of a new romantic comedy film called COUPLES' NIGHT. When a bored but quirky housewife becomes obsessed with her argumentative neighbors, she starts a couples' night that sends her mild-mannered husband into a tailspin. Directed by Mark Harris (No Regrets, Black Coffee), the film stars Charles Malik Whitfield (Fox's Empire, OWN's If Loving You is Wrong), Reagan Gomez-Preston (OWN's Queen Sugar, Love That Girl!), Tony Rock (Host of HBO's All Def Comedy), Denise Boutte (Why Did I Get Married, Meet the Browns), and Clifton Powell (Bounce TV's Saints and Sinners) with a special guest appearance from Biz Markie. Couples' Night premieres on Friday, February 9, 2018.

"We could not be more excited to bring this groundbreaking series from Codie and Tommy Oliver, Black Love, to UMC for our subscribers to stream," said Angela Northington, SVP of Content Acquisitions & Programming for the subscription VOD platform.  "We're kicking off February strong with the addition of the series, followed by our exclusive premiere of Couples' Night, and with much more to come as we continue to roll out our 2018 programming." 

Additional titles coming to UMC in February include the romantic comedy film PATTERNS OF ATTRACTION and a classic throwback title from the David E. Talbert collection, LOVE ON LAYAWAY. Patterns of Attraction follows a philandering writer that realizes he must change his ways or else lose the love of his life after his longtime girlfriend gives him an ultimatum. Watch trailer. Starring Tiffany Haddish (Girl's Trip), Omar Gooding (Baby Boy, Bounce TV's Family Time), Paula Jai Parker (Hustle & Flow, Ray Donovan), Caryn Ward (The Game, The Rich and the Ruthless), Michael Colyar (The Rich and the Ruthless), and Trae Ireland (Chocolate City), Patterns of Attraction begins streaming on Friday, February 2, 2018. One of Talbert's three earliest titles, Love on Layaway is a wildly inventive, laugh-out-loud journey inside the lives of three couples living in a Philadelphia neighborhood. Starring Mel Jackson (The Parkers, Deliver Us From Eva), Cassi Davis (House of Payne, Boo! A Madea Halloween), Chico Benymon (Half & Half), and Deborah Cox, Love on Layaway begins streaming on Friday, February 23, 2018.

Available at www.UMC.tv and newly added to the Google Play store for Android devices, UMC is the first premium subscription streaming service that showcases quality African American and urban entertainment across all genres from RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE). 

Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first subscription streaming service created for African American and urban audiences in North America that features quality urban content and showcases feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content. UMC is available on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Amazon Channels, Roku, Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick. At www.UMC.tv, UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year. Keep up with UMC and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/UrbanMovieChannel and follow on Twitter/Instagram @WatchUMC.

Ludacris, CeeLo Green, Cameo, Doug E. Fresh, Xscape, Bow Wow, Keke Wyatt, Arrested Development, Anthony Hamilton, V. Bozeman, Michel'le & Many More Take Part in 26th Annual Bounce Trumpet Awards in Atlanta

Larenz Tate (Power) and Erica Ash (Survivor's Remorse) Hosted Star-Studded Event Set to World Premiere on Bounce Sun. Feb. 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET

The 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards were held on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta. The prestigious annual event celebrating African-American achievements and contributions will air exclusively on Bounce on Sunday, February 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Memorable moments on the Red Carpet

Ed Gordon

Jasmine Burke

Angel Conwell and Omar Gooding

Arrested Development

Cast Of Saint Sinners on Bournce


Junahn Jones

The 2018 Honorees were: Jermaine Dupri, the GRAMMY® Award-winning record producer, songwriter, and hip-hop artist who received The Music Innovation Award; Founder of Sundial Brands and new owner of Essence Communications Richelieu Dennis recognized with The Entrepreneur Award; Activist and National Co-Chair of the Women's March Tamika Mallory who received The Impact Award; 13-year old social activist and author behind the #1000BlackGirlBooks Marley Dias who was presented with The Trailblazer Award; Nuclear Engineer and Inventor Dr. Lonnie Johnson receiving The Innovator Award; Actress, singer and dancer Rhyon Brown who was given The Rising Star Award presented by McDonald's and legendary American soul-influenced funk group Cameo being honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award.

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 99 million homes across the United States and 95% of all African-American (AA) television homes, including all the top AA television markets. Among the founders of Bounce are iconic American figures Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III. Bounce is part of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP).

Three Life Lessons From Taraji P Henson's "Proud Mary"

By N. Ann Hall 

I am a Taraji P. Henson fan. I love every character she has played, especially as Cookie in Fox's Empire. She always exhibits a level of sincerity, grit and tenacity as an actress. For me, her characters are always very relatable and multi-dimensional. She's like your favorite cousin, keeping it real auntie, friend that has your back. When I saw Sony/Screen Gems' thriller action Proud Mary last weekend, I was again impressed with Taraji. But not because the film was great.

I did enjoy the movie, but Proud Mary was not a box office hit, grossing about $14 million by its second weekend amidst projections of $20 million in its opening weekend, and debuting in eighth place as a box opener. The movie, however, broke even so that's always a good thing, especially since Taraji has executive producer credits.

There were elements of the film that were lacking (production quality could have been better, writing could have been tighter, would have liked a better build up in beginning and more action in the middle, maybe her face off with another female -- something her Cookie character does flawlessly), and several character's acting were not up to par (what was up with Danny Glover and Billy Brown). But looking beyond all of that to focus on Taraji's character, Mary, she performs entertainingly (albeit stereotypical) as a fearless, bad-ass, gun-toting female assassin showing maternal instinct, empathy, and survival skills in protecting Jahi Wilson's character, Danny, the son of one of her victims.

As a sparse movie goer but avid supporter of black women-led roles, I always look beyond the entertainment aspect of films and focus my understanding on the character's backstory and its reflection of societal norms, values and beliefs. Mary's backstory was not fully developed, but the storyline was clear enough to ascertain that she was an orphan taken in by a crime family who had an encounter that woke her up. She decided to reclaim her life, her goals and dreams while also giving Danny a chance to experience maternal love, hope and stability. Trying to regain control from a patriarchal environment is a familiar script that many women face in navigating their lives, but just like a bad movie, there are always some take-aways worthy of any experience.

    Trust your gut. Mary's career choice was more about survival that desensitized her actions and ruled her life. But when she saw the kid in her mark's home obliviously playing video games, her instincts told her it was time to move on, but not without curiosity or concern of who she was leaving behind. She thought about the kid often and checked up on him. She recognized that a change in life was due. As women, we have a unique gift and often know when we are in a bad job, have toxic relationships, and make unhealthy life choices. We must remember that it is our divine nature to trust our gut and know when it's time to make change to do the right thing, not only for ourselves, but often for others. Let's not ignore that nagging feeling or sign that we know is meant to get our attention.

    Be willing to start over. The organized crime family decided Mary's destiny was assassinating folks. It took her orphaning a child to realize her life was more valuable than that, so she decided on a re-do, to live life differently, and on her own terms. A re-do can happen at any time, age or stage in life but a person must be willing to let go of the past and anything negative weighing them down. Unlike in the movie, I am NOT suggesting being extreme and taking out an entire family, but there is no shame in distancing yourself from people who keep you in a bad place because of their lifestyle, actions, dysfunction, and/or attitudes. It is possible to outgrow people and move on, especially after we've learned the lesson they were in our life to teach.

    You can always make a difference. Danny needed Mary in his life as much as she needed him. She learned that his mother left him and he felt abandoned, and that his father was not a good guy. Just the little bit of compassion she showed to him softened him to know that he mattered to someone. We never know someone's story and the impact that life has had on them. Kids do become the adults we interact with and it's the sincerity and small kindnesses that can make a difference, like a smile, holding the door for the person behind you, a quick email, text or phone call to let someone know you were thinking about them, an authentic compliment, or just paying it forward in your own unique way with the expectation of only good karma from the Universe.

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Season Two of Amazon Prime Original Sneaky Pete Premieres on March 9 on Prime Video

Critically acclaimed series stars Emmy nominee Giovanni Ribisi, Marin Ireland, Emmy winner Margo Martindale, Peter Gerety, Libe Barer and Shane McRae, with Emmy winners Graham Yost and Bryan Cranston executive producing


Amazon Prime Video today announced its original dramatic series Sneaky Pete will return for its second season on Friday, March 9. The critically acclaimed Prime Original, a co-production with Sony Pictures Television Studios, revolves around a con man, Marius (Giovanni Ribisi, Avatar) who left prison only to find himself hunted by the vicious gangster he once robbed. With nowhere else to turn, he took cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate Pete, "reuniting" with Pete's estranged family. In the new season, Marius is on the verge of starting fresh, when two thugs, believing he is Pete, threaten to kill the family unless he takes them to Pete's estranged mother Maggie (Jane Adams, Twin Peaks) and the millions she stole from their mysterious employer. Now Marius must tread a dangerous line to find the elusive Maggie, protect the family, and keep up the Pete con, all while finagling a way to ditch the thugs and keep the money for himself.

During its series debut last year, Sneaky Pete was the second most streamed original scripted series on an opening day with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Customers can watch the first season online at Amazon.com/SneakyPete before the next season's ten episodes air on March 9. The series is also available on PrimeVideo.com for Prime Video members in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe.

"After the tremendous critical and customer reception in its first season, we're excited to debut another season of Sneaky Pete," said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios. "Graham and his team have crafted a second season that really raises the stakes for Marius and everyone involved."

Sneaky Pete is created by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (The Good Doctor), with Cranston, Graham Yost (The Americans), James Degus (All The Way), Michael Dinner and Fred Golan (Justified) serving as executive producers. The series also stars Marin Ireland (Side Effects) as Julia Bowman, three-time Emmy winner Margo Martindale (The Americans) as Audrey Bernhardt, Shane McRae (Still Alice) as Taylor Bowman, Libe Barer (Parenthood) as Carly Bowman and Peter Gerety (Prime Suspect) as Otto Bernhardt.

The entire second season of Sneaky Pete will be available on Prime Video to stream and Prime members can also download the series to mobile devices for offline viewing at no additional cost to their membership. The series will be available in more than 200 countries and territories for Prime members to watch via the Prime Video app for popular smart TVs, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and Android and iOS phones and tablets. Customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a free 30-day trial at amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Prime Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.

About Prime Video

Prime Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers customers the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Prime Video is the only service that provides all of the following:

  • Prime Video: Thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed and self-published content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Prime Originals like The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Tick, Amazon Original Movies such as Academy Award-winning Manchester by the Sea, The Big Sick and The Salesman and kids series, Tumble Leaf, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video is also now available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe at www.primevideo.com
  • Live Sports: Sporting events, including AVP volleyball and ATP tennis, are available to watch live on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe
  • Amazon Channels: Over 140 channel subscriptions that Prime members can add to their membership, including HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax, PBS KIDS, Acorn TV and more. To view the full list of channels available, visit www.amazon.com/channels
  • Rent or Own: Hundreds of thousands of titles, including new-release movies and current TV shows available for on-demand rental or purchase for all Amazon customers
  • Instant Access: Instantly watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets and Apple TV or online. For a list of all compatible devices visit www.amazon.com/howtostream
  • Premium Features: Top features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR), X-Ray and mobile downloads for offline viewing of select content

In addition to Prime Video, the Prime membership includes unlimited fast free shipping options across all categories available on Amazon, more than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, secure photo storage with Prime Photos, unlimited reading with Prime Reading, unlimited access to a digital audiobook catalogue with Audible Channels for Prime, a rotating selection of free digital games and in-game loot with Twitch Prime, early access to select Lightning Deals, exclusive access and discounts to select items, and more. To sign-up for Prime or to find out more visit: www.amazon.com/prime.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.


2018 BOOKS