2019 BET Awards: performers and presenters announced

June 3, 2019

The following is a press release from BET:

BET Networks announces the first group of performers for the 19th annual “BET AWARDS” including Cardi B, DJ Khaled, Migos, H.E.R., Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lizzo, Mustard, Lil Baby, City Girls’ Yung Miami, Lucky Daye and Kiana Ledé.  Hosted by Regina Hall, the “BET Awards” 2019 will air LIVE on Sunday, June 23rd at 8 PM ET from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on BET.

Additionally, the network announced the first group of presenters who will take the stage including Taraji P. HensonTaraji P. Henson, Lena Waithe, Morris Chestnut, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Morris Chestnut, Yara Shahidi, and Marsai Martin.

“The BET Awards stage has become synonymous with powerful and groundbreaking performances that are authentic and bold, celebrating the influence and power of black culture,” said Connie Orlando, Executive Vice-President, Head of Programming at BET. “We are thrilled to continue to be the launch pad and home for some of today’s most talented and inspiring voices, as BET continues to showcase the impact of established and up-and-coming artists, providing them a global stage to share their art and creativity.”

As previously announced, Cardi B leads this year’s nominations with a total of seven, including Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, two separate nods in both the Best Collaboration and Video of the Year categories, Album of the Year and the Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award. Drake follows with five nods for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, Video of the Year, Best Collaboration and the Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award. Other leading nominees include Beyoncé, Travis Scott and J. Cole who received four nominations each, with  Bruno Mars, 21 Savage, Childish Gambino, H.E.R. and Ella Mai each scoring three nominations.

The “BET AWARDS” 2019 will simulcast LIVE at 8 pm ET across seven Viacom networks in the U.S. including BET, BET HER, MTV, MTV 2, MTV Classic, VH1, and Logo.  Internationally, the show will simulcast for the first-time on BET Africa at 2 am CAT on June 24th, followed by international broadcasts in the UK on June 24th at 9:00 pm BST, South Korea on June 25th at 9 pm KST and in France on June 25th at 9 pm CEST.  Internationally, BET will honor Best International Act in-show, along with the fan-voted category Best New International Act and BET International Global Good Award during the live red carpet pre-show.

Connie Orlando, Executive Vice-President, Head of Programming at BET will serve as Executive Producer for the “BET AWARDS” 2019 along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

BET.com/betawards is the official site for the “BET Awards” and will have all the latest news and updates about this year’s show.

ABOUT BET NETWORKS

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: BET.com, 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.

ABOUT “BET AWARDS”

The “BET Awards” is one of the most watched award shows on cable television according to the Nielsen Company. The “BET Awards” franchise remains as the #1 program in cable TV history among African-Americans, and it is BET’s #1 telecast every year. It recognizes the triumphs and successes of artists, entertainers, and athletes in a variety of categories.

 

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing some of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. Collins has produced groundbreaking and award-winning television programming, including “BET Awards,” “Grammy Awards,” “Soul Train Music Awards,” “BET Honors,” “UNCF an Evening of Stars,” “ABFF Awards” and “BET Hip Hop Awards.” Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” starring Kevin Hart, and the critically acclaimed “The New Edition Story,” a biopic on the boy band that aired as a three-part miniseries on BET in January 2017. He is also the executive producer of VH1 shows “Dear Mama” and “Hip Hop Squares” with Ice Cube. Most recently, JCE executive-produced “The Bobby Brown Story.” The miniseries picked up where “The New Edition Story” miniseries left off and chronicled the talented but troubled singer’s exit from the popular 80s boy band through his solo success. It debuted on BET in September 2018 and was the highest-rated non-tentpole program on the network since “The New Edition Story.” Next for JCE is the second season of “American Soul” on BET and Netflix’s upcoming series “Rhythm and Flow.”

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Changing the Game’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Changing the Game
Mack Beggs in “Changing the Game” (Photo by Turner Jumonville)

“Changing the Game”

Directed by Michael Barnett

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26, 2019.

There’s an ongoing debate on how transgender people should be treated in situations where people are segregated by gender. Sports will continue to be one of the hot-button areas where transgender people are fighting for their rights. Unlike using a public restroom, categorizing a person’s gender in sports can affect their future, especially when money is involved (and it usually is). “Changing the Game” is a documentary that explores these issues, as the movie follows three American teenage transgender athletes who are navigating their way through a system where they are often mistreated and misunderstood.

At the time this documentary was filmed, all three of the athletes were in high school. Mack Beggs, who gets the most screen time, is a transgender male wrestler in Texas who’s forced to compete against girls. Beggs, who has been a state champion, also stars in the short film “Mack Wrestles,” which is making the rounds at film festivals, including Tribeca. Sarah Huckman is a transgender female Nordic skier in New Hampshire. Sarah (who is Asian) is adopted, and her parents, Jen and Tom Huckman, are completely supportive of her. Andraya Yearwood is an African American transgender female track runner in Connecticut, one of the states that allows public schools to categorize students according to whatever gender the student identifies as. Laws vary from state to state in this issue.

Mack’s situation is complicated because he is taking male hormones yet competing against girls. The documentary includes commentary from parents who think Mack has an unfair advantage against the girls he competes against. Mack essentially agrees, because he wants to compete against other males. Meanwhile, Mack’s coach doesn’t seem to care about Mack’s gender, as long as he’s winning. The coach says, “I would never turn my back on an athlete,” but all the controversy over Mack makes you wonder if the coach would stand by Mack so strongly if Mack was losing most of his matches.

Mack is living with his grandparents Nancy and Roy, who have adopted him. His grandmother says, “I’m a hardcore Republican, but I don’t have a problem stepping on any toes for transgender kids.” Mack has a girlfriend who’s also very supportive of him, but he admits that he has bouts of depression and a past suicide attempt by taking sleeping pills. The documentary mentions that 40 percent of transgender athletes attempt suicide. Mack is also under a lot of pressure because he needs an athletic scholarship to get into the college of his choice, but he knows that the odds are stacked against him because he’s a transgender athlete.

Meanwhile, the documentary shows how Sarah has become a political activist for transgender athletes. Her advocacy had an effect on the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policies for transgender students, according to Guy Donnelly, principal of Kingswood Regional High School, where Sarah was a student. Advocates for transgender athletes believe that transgender people should be accepted as transgender in all aspects of their lives—in other words, sports should not be an exception.

For track runner Andraya, the biggest supporter in her family is her single mother, Ngozi Nnaji, who says she’s so protective of her daughter that she almost feels like a bodyguard. Of all three trans athletes profiled in the movie, Andraya endures the most heckling from angry parents at the games. The documentary mentions a sobering statistic that African American transgender female students are five times more likely to be murdered than their peers.

Mack gets quite a bit of heckling too. He mentions that most of the verbal abuse and bullying he gets are from adults, not from other kids. It’s taken a toll on his mental health, and his girlfriend says that Mack has had a couple of emotional breakdowns, but he doesn’t like to talk about how much pressure he’s under. Mack says, “My relationship with testosterone is complicated. I wish I didn’t have to inject it.”

The most common argument that people have against trans athletes is that trans athletes have an “unfair advantage.” This argument seems to be used the most when parents think someone with a masculine physique is competing against females. When prize money and scholarships are at stake, it’s no wonder that the conflicts over this issue can get heated. Sarah admits that she often holds herself back in competitions and deliberately does not perform at her best because she doesn’t want to be a target for this type of “unfair advantage” accusation.

Andraya says she wouldn’t be on her track team if she didn’t have the support from the other people on the team. She gets some more encouragement when another African American transgender female named Terry Miller joins the team. In one of the movie’s most touching moments, Terry says that she was inspired to join the team because of Andraya. They naturally become very close friends.

Still, they have to endure angry outbursts from parents who don’t want them on the team, even if Andraya and Terry can help the team win in group competitions. During a track meet, a furious mother tells the camera that athletes like Andraya and Terry don’t have to deal with menstruation, so they have an unfair advantage. The menstruation argument is actually an insult to all females, because it wrongly assumes that females who are menstruating are physically less capable of winning an athletic competition against females who aren’t menstruating.

“Changing the Game” is a straightforward documentary that doesn’t use gimmicks or fancy camera techniques. The film is unapologetically rooting for these transgender athletes, but the filmmakers could have done a little bit more well-rounded reporting by interviewing more people involved in the schools’ athletic systems, such as more coaches, referees, recruiters and leaders of athletic departments.

Another area where the movie definitely need improving was in expanding its reporting on what is being done on both sides to address the legal issues in the key states where transgender laws are the most hotly debated. Showing Sarah Huckman’s activism in New Hampshire (a liberal state) doesn’t seem like enough to cover the lawmaking issues that should be addressed in this documentary. In addition, although high school athletes are the focus of this film, most of these athletes have plans to continue in the sport after high school, and they will probably be facing the same issues in college or wherever they plan to continue participating in the sport. Only Mack’s post-high-school plans were given enough screen time in this film.

Despite some of these flaws in the documentary, “Changing the Game” does a good job of humanizing an issue that many people want to dismiss as not relevant to their lives. The rights that transgender people are fighting for are civil rights that speak to us as human beings and how we treat each other. The rights aren’t asking for special treatment but to be treated with the same respect, dignity and legal access that cisgender people get for gender identity.

2019 NAACP Image Awards: Jay-Z to receive President’s Award; more presenters announced

March 28, 2019

50th NAACP Image Awards logo

Jay-Z (Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian/BFA)

The following is a press release from the NAACP:

The NAACP today announced that globally dominant pop culture icon Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will receive the prestigious President’s Award during the 50th NAACP Image Awards. The President’s Award is presented in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service with previous recipients including Jesse Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Soledad O’Brien, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Muhammad Ali among others. NAACP President Derrick Johnson will present the award to Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter during a LIVE TV special on TV One on Saturday, March 30, 2019 from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, hosted by Anthony Anderson. Newly announced presenters will include Algee Smith, Cynthia Erivo, Danai Gurira, Issa Rae, Jimmy O. Yang, John Legend, Laura Harrier, Lupita Nyong’o, Marsai Martin, Mike Epps, Regina Hall, Ron Stallworth, Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Van Jones, Vin Diesel, Viola Davis, and Winston Duke. They join previously announced presenters Chrissy Metz, Kerry Washington, KiKi Layne, Lena Waithe, Letitia Wright, Malinda Williams, Mike Colter, Roshon Fegan, Thandie Newton, Tika Sumpter, and Trevor Noah.

“The President’s Award is an honor we carefully bestow upon an individual, maintaining its significance and commitment to recognizing excellence in service that directly affects our community,” says Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP. “Shawn Carter has been committed to shedding light on the issues that plague the black community including systematic racism and unjust treatment under the law, utilizing his global platform to create everlasting change. There is no better time than now, as we celebrate our 50th year, to honor him with this award.”

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter is the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and also a 22-time GRAMMY award-winner. Outside of his musical achievements which also include selling over 100 million albums worldwide, serving as President of Def Jam Recordings, being co-owner of global streaming service TIDAL, and owning and curating “Made In America” festival, he also excels in his business ventures which include acquiring luxury spirits brands Armand De Brignac and D’usse and his role as majority owner in the 40/40 sports clubs. Carter also launched Roc Nation Sports in 2013, whose roster includes three-time NBA scoring champion and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant and New York Mets MLB All-Star Robinson Canó.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter continues to use his platform for social good, intertwining his art and activism, through the work of his Shawn Carter Foundation and serving as co-founder of The REFORM Alliance. He was instrumental in bringing to life “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” which shed deeper light on the impact of the verdict felt round the world; a mini-series on the tragic effect of solitary confinement as seen through “Time: The Kalief Browder Story”; and also the animated documentary short “The War on Drugs is an Epic Fail,” highlighting the unjust treatment of people of color, specifically blacks and Latinos, as it relates to drug related crimes.

Winners for the 50th NAACP Image Awards will be revealed during the live TV special airing on TV One on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 9pm/8c from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. As previously announced, Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award and radio legend Tom Joyner will receive the Vanguard Award. In addition to the live telecast, TV One will also air the 50th NAACP Image Awards Tribute Special, sponsored by Toyota, immediately preceding the show at 8pm/7c.

The 50th NAACP Image Awards production team includes: executive producers Reginald Hudlin and Phil Gurin; director Tony McCuin; co-executive producer Byron Phillips; producer Robin Reinhardt; and executive in charge of production Rachel Frimer.

For all information and the latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at www.naacpimageawards.net or on Facebook at naacpimageaward and Twitter @naacpimageaward (#ImageAwards50).

About NAACP

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at NAACP.org.

About TV One

Launched in January 2004, TV One serves 59 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult black viewers. The network represents the best in black culture and entertainment with fan favorite shows Uncensored, Unsung, Rickey Smiley For Real, Fatal Attraction and The NAACP Image Awards. In addition, TV One is the cable home of blockbuster drama Empire. TV One is solely owned by Urban One, Inc., formerly known as Radio One, Inc. [NASDAQ: UONE and UONEK, www.urban1.com], the largest African-American owned multi-media company primarily targeting Black and urban audiences.

For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hashtag #ImageAwards50.

AEG names AXS its official mobile ticketing and resale partner

September 17, 2018

The following is a press release from AXS:

To give fans the safest, most secure and easiest way to buy and sell tickets, AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, has announced that AXS, a leading ticketing company, has become the official North American resale ticketing partner for sports franchises and select venues owned or operated by the organization. Powered by AXS’ Mobile ID, a digital ticket technology, and FanSight, a purchase experience that includes both standard and resale tickets on one platform, AEG can now provide fans a single source for guaranteed authentic tickets for 30 of its U.S. venues.

“AEG is always looking to deliver the best experience for fans and we needed a partner that both understands the complexities of the ticketing marketplace and has the technology to remove friction from the ticketing process,” said Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG. “AXS’ patented Mobile ID technology and the FanSight unified marketplace was the obvious solution to streamline the entire experience of buying, selling and managing tickets for fans and our venues.”

Through the partnership, AXS becomes the official resale ticketing provider for multiple AEG facilities enabling consumers to buy tickets with confidence for venues such as STAPLES Center (Los Angeles), PlayStation Theater (New York), Target Center (Minneapolis), and Sprint Center (Kansas City), Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre (Denver), The Showbox (Seattle) as well as for the Los Angeles Kings and the LA Galaxy sports franchises, and dozens of other venues around the country. Last month, the LA Kings became the first AEG Sports property to utilize this platform.

“For the better part of a decade we have been a partner to some of the top venues, artists and teams around the world, helping connect fans with live experiences,” said Bryan Perez, CEO of AXS. “Now we further improve the process by making it easier for fans to buy, sell and transfer tickets for thousands of events at AEG operated venues. Our continued investment in technology and a superior consumer experience has put us in a position to expand our partnership with AEG.”

To fortify AEG’s secure sales environment, AXS’ Mobile ID technology will be rolled out to affiliated AEG venues. This will ensure fans can securely and safely buy, sell and transfer tickets without worrying about paper or PDF tickets that can be easily counterfeited. AXS’ Mobile ID also helps AEG better understand who is attending events, and start to create more personalized experiences for fans.

ABOUT AEG
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, AEG operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Live, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events;  and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands, AXS.com ticketing platform, AXS cable television channel and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.

About AXS (pronounced “Access”)
AXS is a leading ticketing, data, and marketing solutions provider in the US, UK and Europe. The company and its solutions empower more than 200 clients — teams, arenas, theaters, clubs and colleges– to turn data into action, maximize the value of all their events and create joy for fans. It is an enterprise event technology platform that services venues, promoters and sports teams; providing fans the opportunity to purchase tickets directly from their favorite venues via a user-friendly ticketing interface. AXS serves all phases of the event life-cycle beyond just ticketing, through its consumer facing website, AXS.com and the AXS App. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AXS employs more than 500 professionals in multiple locations worldwide, including Cleveland, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, London and Stockholm. AXS Group, LLC, is owned by AEG, Dan Gilbert and TPG Capital, owner of Cirque du Soleil.

 

2017 ESPYS: Peyton Manning signs on to host the show

May 16, 2017

The following is a press release from ABC:

Peyton Manning at the ESPYS
Peyton Manning (Photo by Joe Faraoni/ESPN)

“The 2017 ESPYS Presented by Capital One” will be hosted by five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning. The former NFL quarterback will be joined by top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 25th annual “ESPYS” will be broadcast live on ABC Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. EDT from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

“It’s an honor to be asked to host ‘The ESPYS,’ and it’s even more meaningful that it’s the 25th year for this incredible event,” said Manning. ‘The ESPYS’ have been a part of my life during my entire career—I can still remember attending my very first show back in 1998 before my rookie season in the NFL. Over the years, ‘The ESPYS’ have celebrated some of my favorite athletes and sports moments. In addition to recognizing a special year in sports, the 25th ‘ESPYS’ will allow us to go down memory lane and pay tribute to those who have played such a huge part in this program’s success.”

Manning retired from the NFL after the 2015 season, finishing his 18-year NFL career as a two-time Super Bowl champion and the all-time winningest quarterback in league history. Following his record-setting career at the University of Tennessee, Manning was selected by the Colts with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and went on to set numerous league records in Indianapolis while leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2006. He spent his final four seasons in Denver, becoming the only five-time Most Valuable Player in league history and helping the Broncos to a Super Bowl win in 2015. A 14-time Pro Bowl selection, Manning finished his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdown passes and 4,000-yard passing seasons.

Manning continued, “Most of all, I’m looking forward to celebrating the winners of the Arthur Ashe Award, the Pat Tillman Award and the Jimmy V Award, which headlines ‘The ESPYS’ great tradition of raising money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. That’s what has always stood out to me about ‘The ESPYS’ – it honors great athletes and great teams while serving a larger purpose supporting a very important cause.”

In addition to his successful football accomplishments on the field, Manning is well-known for his contributions off the field for his work with the PeyBack Foundation, the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, and The Pat Summitt Foundation. In 2016, Manning was honored with the Icon Award at “The ESPYS,” alongside fellow athletes Kobe Bryant and Abby Wambach. He presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Pat Summitt in 2012, and won a total of nine ESPY awards during his career.

“Though Peyton’s tremendous success in the NFL is the prism through which most sports fans know him, his warm sense of humor and ability to connect with an audience have been highlighted in his commercial work and when he hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ to critical acclaim,” said “ESPYS” executive producer Maura Mandt. “Those qualities will make him a wonderful host for this year’s show.”

Added Connor Schell, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, Original Content, who oversees “The ESPYS”: “’The ESPYS’ has continued to grow in reach, impact and meaning since its inception, most importantly raising well over $31 million through ‘ESPYS’-related events for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. This year’s 25th ‘ESPYS’ show will commemorate not only the last year in sports, but also the athletes and moments that have had an effect on sports fans over the last 25 years.”

“The ESPYS” raise more than $1 million annually for The V Foundation, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano to promote cancer research. Tickets are available for public purchase at AXS.com. For additional “ESPYS” news and information, please follow the official Twitter handle: @ESPYS.

“The ESPYS” gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. “The 2017 ESPYS” will recognize achievements in categories such as “Best MLB Player,” “Best Team,” “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Upset.” Inspiring human stories are showcased through three pillar awards – the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, the Jimmy V Perseverance Award and the Pat Tillman Award for Service. “The ESPYS” support ESPN’s ongoing commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, launched by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano in 1993.