October 28, 2021 (Burbank, CA) ─ The CW Network announced today two original variety specials, THE BLACK PACK: WE THREE KINGS and THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE, featuring the many talents of acclaimed film, television, and stage star Taye Diggs (“All American”), GRAMMY Award® winning singer/songwriter NE-YO and GRAMMY Award® winning R&B singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger as “The Black Pack.” The multi-talented trio will be joined by a wide array of special guests and well-known personalities including Bre-Z (“All American”) as well as singer/songwriters Tank, Sevyn Streeter and Jordin Sparks. THE BLACK PACK: WE THREE KINGS is set to make its debut on Monday, November 29 (8:00-9:00pm ET). The premiere of THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE will be announced at a later date.
THE BLACK PACK: WE THREE KINGS and THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE are tip of the hat to the enduring talent of the Rat Pack while remaining modern and full of joy. “The Black Pack” celebrates excellence and camaraderie through varied musical performances and lighthearted repartee while inviting audiences to snuggle close to those they love, laugh and sing along with classic music.
THE BLACK PACK: WE THREE KINGS is a holiday extravaganza of music, comedy and dance. “The Black Pack” hosts this celebration and exploration of this special time of year through a colorful and timeless lens. Classic holiday music, both new and old, is brought to life on a stunning stage as the audience is transported to the room where it is all happening to enjoy a new spin on an old fashioned Christmas.
“The Black Pack” returns to host their second special with THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE. Celebrating Black excellence and culture with an irresistible blend of musical and dance performances, THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE will feature a star-studded list of special guests commemorating Juneteenth as “The Black Pack” explores how to celebrate America’s newly acknowledged national holiday while glorifying those that came before. “The Black Pack” also pays tribute to the iconic Sammy Davis Jr. and features a newly penned Juneteenth anthem.
THE BLACK PACK: WE THREE KINGS and THE BLACK PACK: EXCELLENCE are both produced by Magic Lemonade and executive produced by Taye Diggs, Shannon Stoeke and Rikki Hughes, who also serves as the showrunner of both specials.
On Saturday, the Broadway Heights Community Council, a predominantly Black and Brown community in San Diego honored six local heroes of racial equality and social justice in an unveiling of busts installed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade located at the corner of Tiffin, on 2399 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Community and civic leaders came out in celebration of San Diego Trailblazers including—Mayor Todd Gloria, councilmember representing district four, Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit, San Diego Police Captain Benjamin Kelso and more.
One of the six sculptures presented were of Robbie and Barbara Robinson. Robbie served as President of the Broadway Heights Community Council for 30 years, and with his wife Barbara, were the force behind transforming the neighborhood into what it is today.
Sadly Robbie passed away the night before the celebration, and Barbara a couple of months prior to in August.
“Mr. Robinson was the catalyst, the initiator of all that you see here,” Tommy Vance, a member of the Broadway Heights Community Council, said.
One hundred year-old honoree Leon Williams, who was present at the ceremony, is being honored for his lifelong commitment to fighting racism and inequality.
Williams was the first African American appointed to San Diego City Council, as well as the first and only African American San Diego County Supervisor.
“It means a great deal for me to be here to see what’s happening here today. I’m really grateful to whoever put this on, you’re doing a really a good thing.”
The other honorees: Rulette Armstead, the first woman and African-American Assistant Chief of Police in San Diego; George Stevens, an activist and associate pastor at Mount Erie Baptist Church who participated in demonstrations in the 1960s against discriminatory hiring practices; and Robert Alvarez, who at the age of 12, was involved in major battles to end racist segregation in the schools of Lemon Grove and San Diego County.
Immediately following speakers and presentations, the community were treated to music courtesy of saxophonist, Erisa Nichole who had the crowd on its feet, with an instrumental version of “Aint No Stopping Us Now.”
Nathan Fletcher presented the group with a proclamation plaque declaring October 23, as Broadway Heights Community Council day.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the community enjoyed La Morena Mariscos Sea Food Truck with shrimp tacos and more, all courtesy of Broadway Heights Community Council.
About Annie Live!
“The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” this holiday season as NBC has found its next live musical event: the beloved seven-time Tony Award-winning hit “Annie Live!”
Robert Greenblatt will executive produce the telecast along with Neil Meron, who has served as executive producer on all of NBC’s live musicals since 2013’s “The Sound of Music Live!,” and most recently the Emmy Award-winning “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
Robert Greenblatt brought live musicals back to NBC when he was Chairman and is responsible for some of the biggest hits on television over the last two decades. He is also an award-wining television and Broadway producer, the recipient of the Golden Globe and Peabody awards, two Tony awards, and two Olivier awards.
Neil Meron is the most prolific producer of musicals with former partner Craig Zadan, including the Oscar-winning “Chicago”; he received the Emmy for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert” and produced all of NBC’s live musicals. He also produced “Gypsy” starring Bette Midler and a series of musicals for ABC/Wonderful World of Disney including the groundbreaking “Cinderella” starring Whitney Houston and Brandy.
Alex Rudzinski will once again take on the role as Live Television Director and Executive Producer as he did with “Hairspray Live!” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert.” His live musical credits also include “Grease Live!” and “Rent: Live,” for which he won 3 Emmys.
“Annie Live!” will be directed by the award-winning Lear deBessonet. Artistic Director for New York’s revival series, Encores, she is the recipient of an Obie Award and she created the popular Public Works program at the Public Theatre which produces community-engaged productions with as many as 200 performers.
Veteran choreographer Sergio Trujillo will choreograph the production. Recipient of the Tony award for “Ain’t Too Proud” and the Olivier award for “Memphis,” his credits also include hits “Jersey Boys” and “The Addams Family.”
Paul Tazewell will design the costumes and Jason Sherwood the scenery. Tazewell is a veteran of two NBC live musicals, “The Wiz Live!” (Emmy award) “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” (Emmy nomination). He recently designed costumes for film Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” and is the designer of the iconic “Hamilton.” Jason Sherwood is a two-time Emmy-winning production designer for “Rent: Live” and the 2020 Oscars, having worked extensively in television, in the live music space, and in all facets of theatre.
Stephen Oremus, two-time Grammy- and Tony-winning music supervisor and orchestrator, will head the music department for “Annie Live!” as he did for “The Wiz Live.” His blockbusters credits include “Wicked,” “Frozen,” “The Book of Mormon,” and Kinky Boots.”
The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, has just released the official trailer for its upcoming revival of the groundbreaking series THE GAME, debuting with a two-part premiere episode on Thursday, Nov. 11. Subsequent episodes of the 10-episode first season will drop weekly on Thursdays, exclusively on Paramount+.
Relocating from San Diego to Sin City, THE GAME returns with a mix of new players and original cast to offer a modern-day examination of Black culture through the prism of pro football. The team will tackle racism, sexism, classism and more as they fight for fame, fortune, respect and love – all while trying to maintain their souls as they each play THE GAME.
THE GAME stars Wendy Raquel Robinson (“Insecure”) as sports agent Tasha Mack; Hosea Chanchez (“Black Lightning”) as footballer Malik Wright; Adriyan Rae (“Chicago Fire”) as Brittany Pitts, the daughter of Jason and Kelly Pitts; Vaughn Hebron (“Tyler Perry’s The Oval”) as Jamison Fields, an undrafted free agent; Analisa Velez (“Sneaky Pete”) as Raquel Navarro, Brittany’s best friend; and Toby Sandeman (“Power Book III: Raising Kanan”) as Garret Evans, the top football player in the league.
THE GAME is executive produced by original show creator Mara Brock Akil, showrunner and writer Devon Greggory (“American Soul”), Salim Akil (“Black Lightning”), and original executive producer Kelsey Grammer (“Girlfriends”) and Tom Russo (“Black-ish”) of Grammnet NH Productions. Kevin Bray (“Insecure”) will direct the first two episodes of the inaugural season. The series is produced by CBS Studios, Akil Productions and Grammnet NH Productions.
All nine seasons of THE GAME, which originally aired on The CW then BET, are also currently available to binge on Paramount+. The series will be distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.
Click HERE to Watch Official Trailer.
CULVER CITY, California—October 20, 2021—Season One of the comedy series Harlem, from Girl’s Trip creator Tracy Oliver, will premiere Friday, December 3, on Prime Video, with the official first-look images out now. The 10-episode Amazon Original series will be available exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories around the world.
Created, written, and executive produced by Oliver, Harlem is a new single-camera comedy following four stylish and ambitious best girlfriends in Harlem, New York City: a rising star professor struggling to make space for her love life; a savvy tech entrepreneur always dating someone new; a no-filter singer; and a hopeless romantic fashion designer. Together, they level up into the next phase of their careers, relationships, and big city dreams.
The series stars Meagan Good as “Camille,” Grace Byers as “Quinn,” Shoniqua Shandai as “Angie,” Jerrie Johnson as “Tye,” and Tyler Lepley as “Ian.” Additional recurring guest stars include Jasmine Guy as “Patricia,” Whoopi Goldberg as “Dr. Elise Pruitt,” Andrea Martin as “Robin,” Robert Ri’chard as “Shawn,” Juani Feliz as “Isabela,” Kate Rockwell as “Ana,” and Sullivan Jones as “Jameson.”
Harlem is produced by Amazon Studios and Universal Television, a division of Universal studio Group, in association with Paper Kite Productions. In addition to Oliver, Paper Kite’s Amy Poehler (Russian Doll) and Kim Lessing (Moxie) also serve as executive producers alongside 3 Arts’ Dave Becky (True Story) and 13-time Grammy Award-winner Pharrell Williams (Hidden Figures) and Mimi Valdés (Roxanne Roxanne) from i am OTHER. Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip) directed the first two episodes.
With all that’s going on in the world and in life, we owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves by indulging in the three R’s. Relax. Rejuvenate. Refresh. A little self care goes along way.
Coming soon is The Jenesis House, the first female, black-owned, adult-only resort in Prescott, Arizona, offering a spa, healing arts, farm-to-table nutrition, and complete wellness experiences in a beautiful, energy-efficient, sustainable setting.
Entrepreneur Jenesis Laforcarde, the creator/CEO, has created a 13-room destination retreat, designed for the one who seeks to discover the true luxury of self-care, bringing awareness of the importance of mental and physical well-being. Having felt there was a void preventing people from experiencing health and wellness in a place that that exudes tranquility and style, Laforcarde set out to fill that void. Set to open in late 2022, The Jenesis House will provide the ultimate in relaxation and self-care in a beautiful, intimate, and innovative setting.
The resort will include thirteen cabin studios, each with a deep soaking tub, private meditation garden, and a living moss wall to create a natural air filter. The full-service spa will provide holistic healing services, from caviar rose petal facials to muscle healing massages. In addition, the resort will be home to a Nordic spa and plunge pool. A centuries-old tradition that alternates hot, cold, and relaxation for an out-of-body experience, the Nordic spa will be Prescott’s first.
Born in Oxford England, and raised in Okinawa, Japan, Laforcarde, currently based in Phoenix, says that the resort will be heavily inspired by African and Asian influences, in reflection of her cultural background. With a background in fashion and branding, she has lent her creative expertise to numerous global brands, including CBS radio, xoNecole, Reshoevn8er, and Sax Agency.
The resort, located in historic Prescott, AZ, is within proximity to Phoenix, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon Railroad. Downtown Prescott is just four minutes away from the resort, and Watson Lake is just a short 13-minute drive away.
In an Instagram post, Laforcarde writes:
“Our Mission is to create a place like no other.”
Congratulations, Jenesis, we’re so here for this, sounds amazing!
ESSENCE’s hot new digital cover features Emmy-nominated actress Zazie Beetz who stars in the upcoming Netflix original film, The Harder They Fall. The film from Jeymes Samuel centers Black men and women in the west not as subservient beings, but as gender-equal, gun-toting cowboys who take, provide, protect, and, most of all, answer to no one.
The stunning actress, who is as known for her loosely structured textured hairstyles and natural makeup as she is for playing “Domino” in Deadpool 2 and “Van” in the FX series Atlanta, looks resplendent in Versace, Giuseppe Zanotti, Alexander Wang, Lagos KSL and more. In the story, A Reluctant Star, she talks to ESSENCE’s Senior Entertainment Editor Brande Victorian about chasing excellence and not fame, choosing acting and being accepted in the entertainment industry so quickly:
Colin Powell, a former secretary of state and retired four-star general, has died of COVID-19 related complications, his family said in a statement on Facebook.
Powell, 84, was born in New York City on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, a borough of Manhattan, to Jamaican immigrants, Maud Arial (née McKoy) and Luther Theophilus Powell. Hejoined the Army after graduating from the City University of New York. He died Monday at Walter Reed National Medical Center. His family said he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” Powell’s family said in its statement.
Mr. Powell was a trailblazer serving as the country’s first African American national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state. He grew up in the South Bronx and after graduating from City College of New York, he joined the Army through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. From a young second lieutenant commissioned in the dawn of a newly desegregated Army, Mr. Powell served two decorated combat tours in Vietnam. He later was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan at the end of the Cold War, helping negotiate arms treaties and an era of cooperation with the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev.
As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he was the architect of the invasion of Panama in 1989 and of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 that ousted Saddam Hussein from Kuwait but left him in power in Iraq. Along with then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Mr. Powell reshaped the American Cold War military that stood ready at the Iron Curtain for half a century. In doing so, he stamped the Powell Doctrine on military operations — armed with clear political objectives and public support, use decisive and overwhelming force to defeat enemy forces.
Once retired, Mr. Powell, a lifelong independent while in uniform, was courted as a presidential contender by Republicans and Democrats, and became America’s most political general since Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote a best-selling memoir, “My American Journey,” and flirted with a run for the presidency before deciding in 1995 that campaigning for office wasn’t for him.
He returned to public service in 2001 as secretary of state to President George W. Bush, whose father Mr. Powell had served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs a decade earlier.
But in the Bush administration, Mr. Powell was the odd man out, fighting internally with Mr. Cheney, then vice president, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for the ear of President Bush and foreign policy dominance.
He left at the end of Mr. Bush’s first term under the cloud of an ever-worsening war in Iraq, and growing questions about whether he could have and should have done more to object to it.
He kept a lower profile for the next few years, but with just over two weeks left in the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Powell, by then a declared Republican, gave a forceful endorsement to Senator Barack Obama, calling him a “transformational figure.”
Mr. Powell’s backing drew sharp criticism from conservative Republicans. But it eased the doubts among some independents, moderates and even some in his own party, and allayed some voters’ concerns about Mr. Obama’s lack of experience to be commander in chief.
In 2019, he argued the party needed to “get a grip” of itself and change course. He said last year he would vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Powell family.
Powell is survived by three children, two grandchildren and his wife, Alma.
Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” takes audiences back in time to the band’s January 1969 recording sessions, which became a pivotal moment in music history. The docuseries showcases The Beatles’ creative process as they attempt to write 14 new songs in preparation for their first live concert in over two years. Faced with a nearly impossible deadline, the strong bonds of friendship shared by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are put to the test.
The docuseries is compiled from nearly 60 hours of unseen footage shot over 21 days, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and from more than 150 hours of unheard audio, most of which has been locked in a vault for over half a century. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to this Beatles treasure trove, all of which has now been brilliantly restored. What emerges is an unbelievably intimate portrait of The Beatles, showing how, with their backs against the wall, they could still rely on their friendship, good humor, and creative genius. While plans derail and relationships are put to the test, some of the world’s most iconic songs are composed and performed. The docuseries features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
An exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Peter Jackson, Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde (“Eight Days a Week”), with Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones (“Eight Days a Week”) and Ken Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as the film’s editor, the music supervisor is Giles Martin (“Rocketman”), Michael Hedges (“The Adventures of Tintin”) and Brent Burge (“The Hobbit” trilogy) serve as the series re-recording mixers, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell (“Yesterday”).
Click here to view trailer.
NEW YORK – NowThis, the no.1 news brand on digital [Tubular Labs, March 2021], OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Vital Voices Global Partnership announce the return of the successful event franchise NowThis NEXT. This year’s event, NowThis NEXT Presents: Yes We Did! The Vital Voices of 2021, will shine a spotlight on the critical role women leaders play in creating a more equitable and just world for us all. The second annual NowThis NEXT will touch on the most pressing issues women are facing right now, including: mental health, racial justice, climate justice, women and girls’ rights around the world with a special focus on Afghanistan. The show, hosted by NowThis Producer and Correspondent Luria Freeman will feature legacy changemakers, celebrities, and thought leaders including Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, actress and activist Eva Longoria, actress Kristen Bell, Vital Voices Global Partnership President and CEO Alyse Nelson, actress Nicole Maines, singer, dancer, and actress JoJo Siwa, actress Garcelle Beauvais, actress and singer Skye Dakota Turner, author, podcaster, and purpose coach Jay Shetty, and singer-songwriter MILCK as they amplify the voices of inspiring women in the Vital Voices global network who are solving the world’s greatest challenges.
The special will be opened by Oprah Winfrey and will feature remarks from Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as a powerful interview with Clinton and an Afghan woman leader who will share her story. This year’s honorees include poet and activist Amanda Gorman, racial justice activist Chelsea Miller and youth climate activist Xiye Bastida. The Afghan Girls Robotics Team will also address attendees in a very special moment and call to action.
NowThis NEXT Presents: Yes We Did! The Vital Voices of 2021 will premiere on Monday, October 25 at 8PM ET on OWN and simultaneously on nowthisnext.com, and live on NowThis’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok channels, with P&G serving as the special’s presenting sponsor. Additional partners include Barbie in support of their Dream Gap Project initiative, Sephora, and Moderna. Alongside NowThis, the special’s executive producers are Frank Garritano of Show Shop, Marta Ravin, and co-executive producer Wendy Shanker.
“Innovative coverage of women’s rights and equality continues to be incredibly resonant for the passionate and socially engaged NowThis audience,” said NowThis president Athan Stephanopoulos. “Following the success of last year’s event, we are thrilled to not only partner again with Vital Voices to connect our audience with inspiring new women leaders, but to also build on our partnership with OWN and bring this program to an even wider audience.”
“Vital Voices and its mission, to invest in women leaders solving the world’s greatest challenges, has never been more important — especially as we are watching the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan evaporate,” said Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. “We value this collaboration with NowThis and OWN that illuminates the Vital Voices network of 18,000 change makers across 184 countries, each of whom are daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.”
“Our work with Vital Voices supports women leaders who are working to solve great challenges and create a more equal world,” said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G, and member of Vital Voices’ Board of Directors. “Renewing our partnership with NowThis and Vital Voices and welcoming OWN, who’s joined in for this outstanding event, will help us support the next generation of leaders and continue to uplift women changemakers and their communities.”
“NowThis NEXT has become NowThis’ premier franchise thanks to P&G’s presenting sponsorship and Vital Voices’ decades-long work to empower women leaders,” said Group Nine Chief Revenue Officer, Geoff Schiller. “The power of NowThis’ influential platform has grown exponentially with each passing year, and will undoubtedly continue to be a destination for brand partners who want to connect with our massive global audience, in 2021 and beyond.”
NowThis’ wide-reaching platform racks up billions of monthly views. The inaugural NowThis NEXT celebrating women’s thought leadership garnered over 12M views. In addition to featuring speakers on issues like COVID-19, the climate crisis, women’s rights, and racial injustice, this year’s special will once again call on NowThis’ large audience to participate in donating to Vital Voices and social calls to action.
NowThis is the #1 mobile news brand in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, June 2020]. They have a singular mission: to make news engaging and relevant for young adults by humanizing our complicated world. By providing insightful context from a youth perspective, NowThis has revolutionized how news is consumed today. Launched in 2012, NowThis’ entertaining, inspiring and informative videos are created for a mobile generation and receive over 2.6 billion monthly views [platform analytics, June 2020]. In December 2016, NowThis joined forces with Thrillist, The Dodo and Seeker to form Group Nine Media — the #1 video publisher on mobile in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, June 2020].
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 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, Inc. The venture also includes award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime on Watch OWN and discovery+ across mobile devices and connected TVs.
About Vital Voices:
Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who are solving the world’s greatest challenges. We are “venture catalysts,” identifying those with a daring vision for change and partnering with them to make that vision a reality. We scale and accelerate impact through long term investments to expand skills, connections, capacity and visibility. Over the last 22 years, we have built a network of 18,000 change makers across 184 countries who are collectively daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.