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Essence Atkins: Her Life, Goals and Purpose

CLICK HERE to read the full of  Essence in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE   SYLVIA: Right, yes it is. We’ve seen you in several diverse roles and now you have embarked upon the original movie My Other Mother, which was produced by Swirl Films and directed by Stan Foster. How did you hear about this role and…



CLICK HERE to read the full of  Essence in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE


SYLVIA: Right, yes it is. We’ve seen you in several diverse roles and now you have embarked upon the original movie My Other Mother, which was produced by Swirl Films and directed by Stan Foster. How did you hear about this role and what you’re your preparation process?

ESSENCE: I actually was working on another movie of the week in Trinidad when I got the offer, actually, from Eric, who is the owner of Swirl Films, and I’ve worked with him before. He sent me an email and said, “Hey, I know you’re in Trinidad, but I really want you to play this part.” And he told me that Lynn Whitfield was attached. Well, that was the first reason to say yes. I’ve worked with Lynn before, twice before I actually on two other projects, an independent movie called Act Like You Love Me and on Are We There Yet, the TV series I did with Terry Crews, she played my mother in both of those projects. So I had worked with her before and I was anxious and excited about the possibility of working with her in a more dramatic realm, and working closer with her, which was just an extraordinary experience, such a blessing, really, because she’s an amazing woman and a very dynamic and interesting and cool person to be around, but besides that, she’s such a great artist. So it was a learning experience, and it was an enjoyable one for me. And then there was the script, which Kiki won the ABFF Screenwriting Competition that UP does and she won for her original screenplay and I read the script and I just thought that the characters had a lot of dimension and they were dealing with, a lot of people say “Well, how can you relate to the whole you’re adopted, what’s it like to long for answers about your biology?” But I think that longing is longing, and I do relate to being at a stage in your life where your career is what you wanted it to be, what you worked for it to be, and still feeling like something was missing, and I think a lot of people can relate to that, male and female. Just the idea of what matters to you and what brings meaning to life when you put so much time and energy into just one aspect of it, which is your professional career. So that was the thing that really intrigued me and I was able to kind of anchor into. And the rest of it was some questions, some research, and then just imagination, which is an actor’s best tool sometimes.

SYLVIA: Can you tell us a little bit about Candace Meyers, the character that you’re portraying, and are you able to really identify with her as far as your own personal experiences?

ESSENCE: Candace Meyers, she’s a go-getter. She’s a successful woman, she’s at the top of her game. She hosts a talk show, a contemporary talk show with a cohost played by Russ Parr. And they’re doing very well and she is a woman of excellence and she is a woman of integrity, and she’s very demanding, and a lot of people misinterpret that drive and don’t like her for it, and she can be abrasive. And part of that has to do with her just not encompassing her whole life and not living a full life, and again, as I said earlier, I think that that’s something that as we embark on our professional careers, we often do neglect the rest of life and focus so much on accolades and achievements that we just put the rest of it to the wayside. So that’s one of the things that I really loved about her. And the journey that she goes on, initially, she wants to find her biological parents because she thinks that will give her some sort of answer and perspective. And it does, but not in the way that she tried to micromanage it to do. And again, I think in the end, what it is that she was ultimately searching for was just what mattered most to her and what was most important, and finding some sort of balance between what we all are talking about these days, which is that life-work balance.

Read Essence full interview in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE

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Atlanta News & Entertainment







CHICAGO, IL. – July 26, 2019 – Chicago based television production company Central City Productions announces the 2019 Black Music Honors television taping set to take place on Thursday, September 5th at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA. During this star-studded two-hour television special, Central City Productions (CCP) will honor artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music.

The honorees for this year’s Black Music Honors include Xscape who will receive the Urban Music Icon Award for the platinum selling quartet group’s 25 years in the industry. Yolanda Adams will receive the Gospel Music Icon Award. Culturally-conscience eclectic group, Arrested Development and chart-topping crooner, Freddie Jackson, whose career has spanned over 33 years, will also be honored.

“The vision behind the Black Music Honors is to recognize the trailblazers in African American music who have paved the way for the artists of today. Many of these artists have never received their much-deserved recognition,” stated Founder and Executive Producer, Don Jackson.

Television and radio personality Rickey Smiley and Grammy® Award-winner and actress LeToya Luckett return as co-hosts of the show, which is set to air in broadcast syndication Sept. 14 – October 20, 2019. State Farm returns as the show’s title sponsor.

The epic event will be held at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre located at 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show taping at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at: and

The 4th Annual Black Music Honors show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Producer and Michael A. Johnson as Producer and Director.

For more information on Black Music Honors, please visit and connect on social media@blackmusichonors #BMH2019 and #BlackMusicMatters.

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Atlanta News & Entertainment

T.I. throw shade at Travis Scott decision to perform at the Super Bowl



T.I. believes Travis Scott‘s decision to do the Super Bowl halftime show is selfish … and he hopes the rapper makes up for it by being selfLESS down the road.

Scott’s taken all sorts of heat for his decision to perform at Super Bowl 53 from people like Common and Nick Cannon who have been critical of the NFL for the way it’s treated Colin Kaepernick.

In fact, Cannon told Raquel Harper on BET’s “Raq Rants” that Scott’s move clearly shows he doesn’t care for black culture.

So, how does T.I. feel about it? See if you can read between the lines …

“I think every man have an opportunity … he can make a decision for himself, or he could be selfless. And, nobody can tell someone when to be selfless.”

“That’s every man’s right to choose that moment for themselves. So, if this ain’t something that he wanted to be selfless about, hopefully in the future we’ll see other moments where he will. You dig?”

Not everyone is upset with Scott — rap legend Nelly told us just a few days ago the outrage over the halftime show is stupid — and said he’d “probably do it” if asked.

Scott and Maroon 5 will take the stage Feb. 3 … with others like Big Boi from Outkast and Gladys Knight set to grab the mic throughout the day as well.

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Atlanta News & Entertainment

20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration set to air on BET Networks



(ATLANTA) – January 9, 2019 – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms officially welcomed the 20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration (SBGC) to Atlanta during a press conference today at City Hall with officials from the NFL, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Boys & Girls Club of America and Radio One in attendance.

Returning to Atlanta for its 20th anniversary, the concert will be taped in front of a live audience on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at Atlanta Symphony Hall during Super Bowl LIII week. National radio and tv personality Rickey Smiley is set to co-host the show, which will feature performances by Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, The Winans and the Super Bowl Gospel NFL Players Choir. More talent will be announced

The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration special will premiere exclusively on BET Networks on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 8:00PM ET.

“Atlanta is proud to host the 20th anniversary Super Bowl Gospel Celebration,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “As a beacon of Southern hospitality and the cradle of the civil rights movement in America, Atlanta is excited to showcase the greatest talents in gospel music on the stage of Atlanta Symphony Hall. We look forward to sharing this memorable concert experience through the telecast on BET Networks.”

Credit: Marcus Ingram/Super Bowl Gospel Celebration

“I can think of no better place to host our 20th Super Bowl Gospel Celebration than in my hometown of Atlanta,” says Melanie Few-Harrison, NFL Sanctioned Holder, Creator & Executive Producer of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. “Atlanta’s vibrant music scene, rich culture and diverse community are the perfect backdrop for Super Bowl 53 and all of our incredible artists will inspire audiences, touch lives & put on a show the city will never forget!”

“We are proud to have The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration as a sanctioned event partner with the NFL and we celebrate this 20-year milestone!” said Arthur McAfee, NFL, Senior Vice President of Player Engagement. “The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration is a favorite with the players and one of the best attended and most talked about events during the Super Bowl weekend year after year. We look forward to continuing to build this relationship with the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration as it continues to grow.”

“On behalf of BET Networks, we are beyond excited to partner with Melanie Few and the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration team for the 6th year in a row to bring the special to our loyal BET audience and gospel fans around the world,” said Connie Orlando, Head of Programming for BET Networks. “We congratulate Melanie and team on the 20th Anniversary of Super Bowl Gospel Celebration and for bringing this inspiring and uplifting event to her hometown of Atlanta, GA. Each year we have continued to see the growth of the special, drawing in thousands of fans in each city – from Minnesota to Houston to Arizona – and we are proud to have been there every step of the way! We look forward to continuing our partnership with another successful Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.”

Credit: Marcus Ingram/Super Bowl Gospel Celebration

Originating at Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999, the annual event joins together key NFL Players, top Gospel/Contemporary Christian and mainstream GRAMMY® Award-winning artists and special guests all on one stage to bring audiences an evening of uplifting music and inspirational messages.

By far, the largest multicultural event to take place during Super Bowl weekend in its 20-year run as an NFL-sanctioned event, SBGC has featured artists including Patti LaBelle, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Knight, Natalie Grant, Mary Mary, Fantasia, Donnie McClurkin, Anthony Hamilton, among many others.

For information and tickets, visit


The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration was launched in Miami in 1999 during Super Bowl XXXIII weekend. The event became the first, and remains the only Gospel concert sanctioned by the National Football League (NFL). The show has drawn crowds in the thousands and has demonstrated growth year-after-year, selling out venues in major Super Bowl host cities including Dallas, Tampa, Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston and Phoenix.


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


Atlanta Symphony Hall has served as the home venue of the Grammy® Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) since its construction in 1968. Located in the Woodruff Arts Center’s Memorial Arts Building, Atlanta Symphony Hall hosts more than 130 acts and performances each year, including ASO’s Delta Classical Series, Family Concert Series, Coca-Cola Holiday Concerts and educational concerts, as well as renowned musicians and entertainers from Delta Atlanta Symphony Hall LIVE. With a capacity of 1,800, more than 225,000 audience members visit the Hall each year.

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