Singer / Songwriter Rico Davis delivers the official video for “Down” from his latest project The Golden Ratio. Filmed in Harlem, Rico survives some stalking from co-star Shana Solomon in this Ivore Rousell-directed visual.
“So much of my music is inspired by past eras, and ‘Down’ represents my appreciation for the ’90s R&B influence,” Rico says of the vibe. “I feel this video is a fresh reminder of what it’s like to just live and have a good time. I like the idea of reconnecting with your real ones, and hitting all the lit house parties during the summer. There is one moral to this music video however… don’t take drinks from strangers!”
Culture Creators will host its fourth annual “Innovators & Leaders” Awards Brunch at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in the International Ballroom on Saturday, June 22, 2019—as announced today by Variety.
The event welcomes corporate partners such as Hilton, Don Julio Tequila, Pepsi, and Lexus. The exclusive invite-only gala maintains its status as one of the most sought-after and influential moments of BET Awards Weekend for four consecutive years and running. Once again, 2019 sees the event expand and evolve as it highlights the achievements of thought leaders, philanthropists, executives, entertainers, artists, and other pillars of African American culture in an intimate setting among key players.
Endeavoring to recognize “Innovators & Leaders” whose influence sets the pace for everything from entertainment and finance to activism and art, the new vanguard of risk takers takes center stage at the event. In 2016, Andre Harrell received the first Icon Award, followed by Russell Simmons in 2017 and Sylvia Rhone in 2018. Actress Tiffany Haddish received the Innovator of the Year award in 2017. Past honorees include the likes of Jemele Hill, Kevin Liles, Kenya Barris, Jason Bolden, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Brickson Diamond, Charlamagne Tha God, Charles D. King, Tiffany Hasbourne, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Jesse Collins, Angela Rye, and many others.
On Friday, June 21st, Culture Creators will also host its first-ever, day-long “C-Suite” event. The “C-Suite,” held at the Stardust Penthouse at The Beverly Hilton, will feature “Candid Conversations on Culture,” with curated panels by Amber Grimes, The Brownie Agency, Vibe’s Datwon Thomas, and more.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Culture Creators founder Joi Brown spoke the mission and vision, “We create the culture behind the scenes that the world consumes. Imagine if we all worked together, became narrators of our own stories, built a supportive inclusive community that made room at the table for those who are ready?”
Culture Creators has done just that and will continue to do so. Watch these “Innovators & Leaders” thrive this year and beyond.
The list of 2019 honorees follows:
Innovators & Leaders Awards 2019
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Innovator of the Year
Actress, Film Director, Producer
Social Action “GAME CHANGER”
David Gross & Steve “O” Carless for Nipsey Hussle
Film & Television
James Lopez, President Will Packer Productions
Senior VP, Chief Diversity Officer for Omnicom Group
Morgan DeBaun, Founder & CEO Blavity Inc.
Iddris Sandu, Architect & Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc. and Founder of ShoulderUp
Quality Control Music: CEO Pierre “Pee” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee
Vice President, Brand and Culture Engagement, GUCCI
Nail-Biter Productions launches new Web Series title ‘ROMP’. The new venture of entertainment veterans to tackle the complex stories of three black male millennials striving in Los Angeles.
Nail-Biter Productions is a Los Angeles based production company focused on bringing unique black male-oriented stories to the small screen announces the release of its’ new web series(dramedy)titled: ‘ROMP’. The series follows the lives of three best friends: a photographer, a music executive, and an investment banker, as they spar with each other and life while juggling their affairs of the heart. This extraordinary series explores the many dimensions of friendships amongst millennials.
Set in Los Angeles where anything goes, the three friends discover that the playground is a paradoxically sandbox threatening to derail their solid friendships. The first episode: Jaded, reveals that these men too often keep secrets from each other that breach their trust. Things go south quickly
for the trio.
Launched on the company’s YouTube Channel, this original series features fresh talent: Derrick King, Marcus Thomas, Nahesi Crawford, Alisha Henson, Mariah Walsh, Eric Payton, Kyle Jones, Royal G., DJ Richie Skye, and Toy Connor. Nail-Biter Productions was established by Casinova Henderson, Executive Producer, and Derrick Thompson, the creator/writer of ROMP, to tell authentic stories from the progressive black male perspective.
Sorry To Bother You is easily one of the year’s highly anticipated films of the Summer not to involve comic book heroes. Critics have been in love with rapper turned director Boots Riley’s trippy cinematic ride loosely based on his experiences as a telemarketer since its Sundance premiere. In the film, we follow unemployed Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) who quickly rises through the ranks of a telemarketing company when he masters the art of using his “white voice.”
SFPL’s own Bernard Smalls and other invited press got a chance to sit down with the film’s cast and director to discuss what is arguably one of the best films of the year. When asked what was one thing that resonated about this film for them the cast all agreed it was Boots’ story and his authenticity. Stanfield gets the Boot’s praise train rolling stating:
“I think the common thread here is this guy’s mind right here. He wrote some crazy story that like it moved us all in some way, form, or fashion and I think all of us to some degree knew it was an opportunity to, to embark on something unlike we’ve done before. Something really different. It was just a cool opportunity that Boots Gave us not only to explore this cool story, his mind, and give us the gift of his imagination but also for our careers to be able to stretch ourselves and get into this new world.”
His costars followed suit, Steven Yeun who plays Squeeze in the film added: “I think it’s the same thing. When you read a script that is this authentic. Anyone can make I guess a script that people haven’t seen before because you can just write a bunch of gobbledygook on it but Boots wrote a script where you read it, and you go this is something I’ve never seen before, but it’s also super honest in the way that it’s written.”
Omari Hardwick who plays Cassius’ boss Mr. Blank in the film had plenty of praise for Boots adding: “The hunger added to the brilliance that he put on the page and the story he had. To Lakeith’s point, we looked at it, and he was the common thread. There was hunger in Boots, so we also got on that train of hunger.” Tessa Thompson who plays Cassius’ free-spirited love interest Detroit raves about Boots making a fun film that still delivers a message. “I love making movies that are about something but I also just feel like, “How do we talk about old ideas in new ways? How do we make something that is vital and important and feels like a solvent but doesn’t feel like medicine?” And I thought that Boots did that. Making a film that is about something but is also just a fun ride as well,” Thompson adds.
The cast also spoke on whether or not they had to use “code switching” or in the case of the film “using your white voice.”
Lakeith: “There’s something I think unspoken in a young black kids household. If you want to go out and be something in the world you’re going to have to be white. Or you’re going to have to be whiter or you’re going to have to adopt something that is accepted in a whiter sense. And for little kids what does that really mean? And for little poor black kids what it means is that everything that you are and everything that you stand for is the antithesis of that.”
Tessa: “I felt, certainly early on in my career was like an expectation of like performative blackness. Why the hair color was significant to me, I recently had a conversation with a filmmaker about a role, and in the original screenplay, it’s written that the character I would play has pink hair and I was asking him about it. I’m not eager to have my hair look similar to Detroit anyways but I was like oh cool so what about this color hair, and he says oh that was when the character was going to be white. That’s when it was written for another actress. Which I just thought was interesting. The conversation is ongoing in terms of what this character will look like, but it was interesting to me.”
To wrap things up, Boots was asked what the one thing he wanted moviegoers to leave with after watching his film? His answer was fascinating stating he didn’t want viewers to exit the theater with just one message.
Boots: “I don’t want people to walk away with one thing you know. It’s kind of like what’s the one thing that you that you walked away from with Song Solomon or from Gabriel Garcia Marquez A Hundred Years of Solitude. I approach this in a way like a novel. With all these ideas I can tell you I have hopes and dreams for. There are some things that I’m hoping for more than others, but I want people to feel like I took so much from. You know how they have those movies where there is the one thing and that’s what the movies about and then they stretch it out, and they like damn I hope we can get 80 minutes out of this and you feel them stretching that out. That’s not this movie. I do hope overall there’s a feeling of that through the craziness, through all the fucked-up things that happened that there’s an optimism that has to do with the idea that as long as you’re fighting that’s the happy ending. There is no ending but that the happiness the optimism comes with fighting pushing back.”
Well said Boots, Sorry To Bother You hits select theaters July 6th, and nationwide July 13th. Do yourself a favor and make sure you see this film, we absolutely loved it and definitely think it’s going to garner plenty of Oscar buzz deservingly so.
It’s been a year, but we finally get to hear Joe croon those sweet words again from our television speakers because Power is back. So here is a quick rundown of last season. The gang is all here, well everyone except for Raina, played by Donshea Hopkins, who gave her life defending her bonehead twin brother in the leaked penultimate episode. Season 4 ended with Riq, played by Michael Rainey Jr., getting revenge on Ray Ray for viciously taking out his sister, parents, and uncle showing up just in the nick of time to cover it all up. When all signs pointed at Dre for being responsible for everything, Ghost, Tommy and Kanan decide to join forces to take out the opportunistic budding drug lord.
Not much was initially revealed in our first look at the reboot of The Predator. Today we get a new trailer that gives us an even better idea as to what we can expect from the camouflage hunting alien we first met back in 1987.
Friday, June 24, Culture Creators gathered black culture’s most impactful and inspiring voices under one roof for the third annual “Innovators & Leaders” Awards Brunch. This year, the event took over The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills and received the support of sponsors such as
Rémy Martin, The Mane Choice, Morgan Stanley, and Beats by Dre.
300-plus guests witnessed the honorees receive their respective awards and share stories, memories, and gratitude. Bringing the house to its feet in a roar of applause, Sylvia Rhone garnered the Culture Creators Icon Award.
Other recipients included Jemele Hill, who received the Defiance Award, Kenya Barris, Jana Fleishman, Tunji Balogun, Shawn Gee, and more. Celebrity guests included Will.i.am, DJ Khaled, Tank,
Andre Harrell, Miles Brown, Essence Atkins, Luke James, Waka Flocka, and more.
Once again, Culture Creators magnified the resonance of Black Culture’s “Innovators & Leaders” and kicked off BET weekend in uplifting fashion.
Event Producer extraordinaire Devin Cobbs is gearing up for the second year of his successful 90’s R&B party. Set to launch Memorial Day weekend in LA, Cobbs and his team will be making their rounds to 8 cities this year, including new cities like Miami and Dallas. For a glimpse of what’s to come check oout our interview with the mogul in the making below.
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4 Lovers Only is back are you excited?
We back, we back again! We’ll be announcing soon.
So you’ll be kicking things off in LA?
Yes. It’s LA, New York, Dallas, Miami and that’s phase one. I can’t talk about phase two yet; but those are the cities we’ll be hitting to kick things off.
Are you guys partnering with any brands, influencers, artists?
As far as brands we have Swisher and Avion Tequila. In terms of influencers and artists we have Tone Smith. He’s an amazing R&B artist. He’s a young dude from Jersey; but he’s based out in LA now. The other artists I don’t want to reveal just yet. Those are the 90’s R&B acts and we’ll release them closer to the day of each event.
Every city has an artist this year. Last year it was only two cities that had performances from artists. I wanted to make it as special as possible. We put in a lot of work to make sure we were able to get the artists that we wanted.
We have a bunch of Soulection DJ’s. Andrew Power and Austin in New York along with Mecca from 2DopeBoyz. We have Sasha Marie also from Soulection she’s DJing out in LA. Norma and Silent Addy for Miami. There are so many different people. Each city that we’re going to we partnered with the most, not necessarily the most popular; but the one’s we felt were really really good. That goes for the artists as well.
Besides having an artist in each city and partnering with local DJ’s, is there anything you guys are doing differently this go-around?
I want people to kind of find out once the RSVP’s open up and we go live with each city. We changed the website up a lot so that experience is different. The way you RSVP is a bit different than last year. The open bar structure is different. Last year was just 1 HR; but this time it’s an hour in the beginning and another hour from 12 AM – 1 AM. Some of the cities are different too. We didn’t go to Miami or Dallas last year. We’re trying something new in those cities. The second phase new cities too. The biggest change I’d say this time is we really wanted to find out where the people wanted us to go. Although a lot of the tour was planned we locked in the remaining cities after putting up a post asking for feedback. We listened to the people.
What do you want everyone to know about this year’s tour?
I want people to know that each year we do this it’s going to be different so definitely don’t expect the same experience as last year. We’ll have giveaways while you’re waiting in line, we’re literally giving everything away. I want people to know that their really in for a different party experience. Most of the time when you go out you have to keep reaching in your pocket and taking money out. This is more like keep your wallet at home, and just come for good time. It’s like therapy almost and that’s exactly how we’re treating it. It’s a big therapy session with R&B music, and that Avion flowing. I want people to be ready because it’s definitely going to be unforgettable.
How did you guys connect with Avion Tequila?
Avion Tequila just ended up being the right partner for it. They fit the demographic [of our audience] and with the type of event that we want to do. Plus tequila is just consumed more than cognac. We have a 70:30 female to male ratio and women prefer tequila over cognac. So we wanted to provide an open bar that catered more to our crowd, and Avion was definitely it.
Besides giveaways are there any installations?
For sure. There will be art installations, and photo booths. There’s a lot for people to do. I don’t want to give anything away because I really just want people to come out and experience it. It’s not just going to be you show up to just drink and party, even though that’s a big aspect of it; but there’s more to the experience.
How are you feeling about 4 Lovers Only now versus when you initially launched it last year?
I’m still equally nervous. When I put the pre-announcement post up, it did better than the announcement for the previous year. Seeing the feedback this year, I know people are ready for it. I haven’t been as active on social media for that reason, just to stay focused. I know it’ll go well and we’ll get the numbers we need to hit; but I just want to finally get it out there and have people experience all the work we’ve put into it. That’s what means the most to me. I’m nervous, but last year I was nervous with no real assurance of whether it was going to work or not. This year I know it’s going to work, so it [the nervousness] is more from putting it out there.
This time around have you brought in anyone and establish a team to help execute your vision better?
We have the same team. I think it’s important to do that, keep the same people around you. Honestly the only major difference is that the team at Swisher is a little bit different. They are more involved, which is an experience in itself in a good way. They help keep things organized. That’s really the biggest difference and just tying up a few loose ends. The team is pretty much the same; but we are a lot more organized this time around.
Any advice or insight for anyone who wants to launch their own event?
Just to test the market first. Don’t just jump on an idea. You have to make sure it’s something people actually want. Get out there and see what’s actually missing. Take your hat off and put the world’s hat on and look at what’s going on. Take the time to see if you’re filling a void or just doing something that’s already been done. If it’s the latter then see if you can make it better or do something different; but if you step into it doing the same thing you kind of already lost.
Besides organization is there anything you learned from the first tour that you applied this time?
Traveling with less people. Learning just the difference between have this huge team versus how much can get done with a small team of focused people and to just trust our gut. We have an idea that companies will pay millions of dollars to execute. To bring 1,000 people out in a city, that’s no small feat so to trust the vision, stay focused and being as organized as possible.
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4 Lovers Only: A 90’s R&B Experience 2018 Tour Dates