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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Updated Talent Line Up for the 31st Annual Stellar Awards

buzzz worthy. . .


Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark Sheard and
Marvin Sapp Collaborate in Star-Studded Performance
Stellar Awards to Premiere on TV One Sunday, March 6 at 6 p.m. ET
LAS VEGAS -  - Iyanla Vanzant, Wendy Raquel Robinson, LeToya Luckett, Jason Nelson, Jonathan McReynolds, Hezekiah Walker, Dorinda Clarke Cole, Alexis Spight, Briana Babineaux, Maurette Brown Clark, T.C. Stallings and Tim Bowman, Jr. are among the artists added to the talent line-up at the31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards this Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena.  
Produced by Central City Productions, the live-to-tape awards show honoring the best of music's artists, writers and industry professionals, will present rousing and spirit-filled performances, including an all-star collaboration featuring Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark Sheard and Marvin Sapp.  Hosted by comedian, and syndicated radio and TV personality Rickey Smiley (Dish Nation, Rickey Smiley For Real) and actress and TV personality Sherri Shepherd (Ride Along 2, The View), the 31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards - the biggest night in Gospel Music - will premiere onTV One on Sunday, March 6 at 6 p.m. ET (encores at 8 p.m. & 10 p.m. ET) and in syndication on 150 stations in over 125 markets throughout the country from March 12-April 10.
During the show, Stellar Gospel Music Awards Founder Don Jackson and multiple nominee Erica Campbell will bestow the Stellar Honors, a special award, upon living legends Tramaine Hawkins, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp andcomedian/actor Jonathan Slocumb. The Allstate James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented by Pastor Shirley Caesar, posthumously to Grammy Award-winner O'landa Draper with riveting tribute performances by Donald LawrenceHezekiah Walker and Ricky Dillard.  Joe Ligon, founder and lead vocalist of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, will also receive the Chevrolet Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award presented by Dr. Bobby Jones himself.
Anthony Brown & Group Therapy, Brian Courtney Wilson, Tasha CobbsCasey JCharles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago, Hezekiah Walker, Kirk FranklinTravis Greene and William McDowell will also provide inspirational performances throughout the evening.
The top nominees for the 2016 Stellar Gospel Music Awardswhich were announced earlier this year, are Anthony Brown & Group Therapy (10); Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago (8); Erica Campbell (8); Tasha Cobbs (6); Richard Smallwood (5); Israel & New Breed (4); Jonathan McReynolds (4); Casey J (3); Tina Campbell (3); Dorinda Clarke Cole (3); and The Rance Allen Group (3). For a complete list of this year's nominees, please visitwww.thestellarawards.com.
The taping of the 31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards onSaturday, Feb. 20, is open to the public. Ticket prices range from $50-$200 at www.orleansarena.com. The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Pre-Show will occur the day before on Friday, Feb. 19, to celebrate non-televised awards winners, and the Stellar Gospel Radio Awards & Showcase, honoring top radio stations and announcers serving urban gospel music audiences, will follow on Saturday, Feb. 20. Tickets for each of these events are $35. Additional information and updates are available by following the Stellar Awards on FacebookTwitter and Instagram
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Friday, February 19, 2016

AUTO IMMUNE DISEASE AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: I have Fibromyalgia, this is my story

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Journalist Mona Austin marks a decade of Fibromyalgia survival with the "10 for 10 Fibro Free" social media campaign, exposing the disease that is getting on African American women's nerves

Bristow, VA -- The month of March is Auto-immune Disease Awareness Month and the start of the "10 for 10 Fibro Free" social media campaign, launched by Multimedia Journalist and Fibromyalgia sufferer, Mona Austin. For over 15 years Austin has told the stories of gospel and mainstream celebrities ranging from Kirk Franklin to Patti Labelle and kept radio listeners abreast of the pulse of Capitol Hill and the White House for 7 years. Now the roles are reversed and Austin is the subject of the feature story. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Austin's survival and she will celebrate by doing what she does best--telling the story of Fibromyalgia and its impact on her life through a "Fibro Free" series of blog posts and making media and event appearances to raise awareness about the disease targeting African American women.

Fibromyalgia is a form of autoimmune disease marked by chronic pain and fatigue that attacks the central nervous system. The incurable condition is hard to diagnose and often misunderstood by both doctors, patients and family members of those who suffer from it. Fibromyalgia occurs more frequently in women than men. After years of uncertainty doctors now believe it is caused by physical or mental trauma. Hard to diagnose, the syndrome is often mistaken for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, Arthritis or mental illness. Doctors determine the condition by placing pressure on 18 key trigger points in the body that are disturbed by hyper nerve activity. Fibromyalgia causes its sufferers to feel alienated and hopeless due to the mysterious nature of the condition.  

Austin feels Fibromyalgia and those suffering from it deserve a place in the forefront of public awareness. The syndrome is often overshadowed by more prominent diseases. Recognizing the void in advocacy, support group infrastructure and limited resources overall, five years ago Austin partnered with the National Fibromyalgia Association and held her first awareness event in Atlanta, GA.  

Here is the Fibromyalgia champion's story in her own words:

No other doctor had touched me in those places before.

"Does this hurt?" the doctor asked, poking a probing fingertip into the bend of my arms, legs and hips.

"Ouch!," I squealed, ready to jump to the ceiling.

"Yes, that hurts!" The pain was fiery and there was no denying something was wrong.

With a knowing gaze the Rheumatologist turned to me and said, "You have Fibromyalgia."

That was the day I as formally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 10 years ago. In retrospect, I knew I was in for some challenges, but I had no idea how drastically my life was about to change. 

I suffered in silence for many years for two reasons. First, the changes I was experiencing made no sense to me and I did not want to appear "strange." I had no reference point for the extreme bouts of tiredness, becoming forgetful and foggy-brained, having chills, getting lightheaded or why my legs felt like logs. It was actually hard to describe all these erratic symptoms and I didn't think doctors would "get it." (Unfortunately, I was right. Not every doctor know what to look for and after a few frustrating hospital visits I reverted to back to taking my health into my on hands.) Second, I did not want to trouble anyone with my issues and cause loved ones to worry about me. 

The previous year I had met Fatima Lowe. Lowe was a God-send! I was hosting my first "Extreme Makeover for the Woman' Soul" event and she joined us to share her wellness journey. She taught us the importance of being a part of one's own natural healing process through consciously connecting the mind, body and spirit. She has Fibromyalgia and was the first to tell me to listen to my body and document the warning signs. Lowe inspired me to do more research on Fibromyalgia. Having heeded her advice, by the time the doctor delivered the news I was mentally prepared to accept it and deal with it. Knowing has truly been half the battle.

While Fibromyalgia occurs mores frequently in women in their 30s, this syndrome does not discriminate. Millions of women, men and children from various ethnicities have the disease, but often African American women are the last to know.

Living with FibromyaIgia has affected every aspect of my life from my career to my personal life. Adjusting to the loss of freedom and autonomy and learning to live with limitations has almost been as challenging as coping with the pain itself.  

I have addressed the chronic pain and inflammation associated with Fibromyalgia by adopting a regimen of lifestyle changes that include managing pain through natural means, diet, moderate exercise, prayer, stress management and "spiritual detox."  This has been a long, vicious fight that I can not imagine enduring without a firm spiritual foundation. For as long as I can, I will advocate for awareness and compassion toward those suffering from this dreadful illness.

In celebration of my survival I created the "10 for 10 Fibro Free " social media campaign. Here are ways you can help spread awareness:

  • Share this post with at least 10 people via e-mail or social media.
  • If you have a Web site or blog publish my story and urge readers to use the #fibrofree hash tag
  • Invite me to speak at your church, company or event
  • Donate at least 10 dollars toward Fibromyalgia treatment at http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/donations.html
Learn more about Fibromyalgia at http://www.fmaware.org/ Show you care, become Fibroaware. 
Stay up to date with events associate with this campaign by joining Austin on the Sisterhood Confidential/Extreme Makeover for the Woman's Soul Facebook page.

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buzzz worthy. . .

A Fresh Take on History's Biggest Event form the Point 

of View of the Skeptics

Picking up where the "Passion of the Christ" left off Columbia pictures presents the biblical drama RISEN
in theateres everywhere today (Feb. 19)

Through the eyes of a high-ranking Roman military officer, RISEN  imaginatively retells what happened after Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Following the crucifixion, Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) assigns Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) to find Jesus’ missing body and disprove any resurrection. 
 through the eyes of the unbelieving Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking Roman military officer. Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) are assigned by Pontius Pilate to ensure that Jesus’ radical followers can’t steal his body and claim a resurrection. Within days, however, the body is missing, putting Clavius on a mission to find it, to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and to prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

See why the story of Christ's resurrection is still socially and historically relevant thousands of years later. 

RISEN is an epic biblical story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the weeks following   
RISEN stars Joseph Fiennes (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), Tom Felton (HARRY POTTER), Peter Firth (PEARL HARBOR) and Cliff Curtis (LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD). Kevin Reynolds (ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES) directs with Steven Mirkovich editing (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST). 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016


buzzz worthy. . .

Fashion insiders Lloyd Boston, Bevy Smith and Robert Verdi will join Wendy to break down the red carpet fashions of major awards shows

NEW YORK, NY – BET Networks launches a new one-hour red carpet fashion specials series, WENDY’S STYLE SQUAD, that will break down the red carpet fashions of major awards shows. Join fashionista and host of “The Wendy Williams Show” Wendy Williams as she brings her “Say It Like You Mean It’ approach to all things fashion, from the gowns and jewels to the red carpet attitude! Wendy will be joined by a panel of fashion insiders - Bevy SmithLloyd Boston, and Robert Verdi for WENDY’S STYLE SQUADpremiering Tuesday, February 16, at 9 PM ET/PT and will highlight the fashions from this year’s Grammy Awards®.
Following the premiere, BET will air five additional episodes surrounding some of the biggest fashion and pop culture events, including the BET Awards®, Primetime Emmy Awards®, MTV Video Music Awards® and Billboard Music Awards®.

With plenty of attitude, games, laughs and must-see moments, Wendy and her co-hosts together will provide a fresh and exciting 360-take on the worlds of fashion and celebrity. Topics and segments include the “Dos and Don’ts” of celebrity fashion, hot / upcoming trends, and, of course, opinionated coverage of the best and worst fashions of the big awards show nights.
Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams)
Mother, wife, media mogul, entrepreneur, performer and best-selling author, Wendy Williams is best known for her long-running talk show "The Wendy Williams Show." Named one of the "35 Most Powerful People in Media" by The Hollywood Reporter in both 2012 and 2013, Williams' nationally-syndicated weekday program was hailed a "breakthrough in daytime" by The New York Times when it launched in 2009. The Emmy-nominated show—now in its seventh season—airs in 54 countries, on BET at midnight, and has been renewed through 2020. Prior to achieving success in daytime television, Williams built a devoted audience of fans throughout an enormously successful 23-year career in radio. "The Wendy Williams Experience" was Williams' top-rated, daily radio show. Syndicated nationally, it aired on WBLS in New York and was listened to by an audience of more than 12 million people. One of the most popular personalities in radio, Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November of 2009 - one of only a handful of women with that honor.
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Grammys Results: Lamar, Swift win top honors and glitches ruin Adele's song, plus full winners list

buzzz worthy. . .

There is good news and bad news about the 2016 Grammys.  

First the good news.  Kendrick Lamar won 5 of 11 Grammy nominations and put on a powerful racially conscious performance that his peers and fans could not stop talking about for the next 24 hours.  (He got a shout out from the White House.)   That the Grammys would okay the blackest segment ever televised was dope on their part.  Like a true boss with sass and class, Taylor Swift shaded Kanye West in her acceptance speech for Album of the Year without uttering his name.  She made sure she let the world know she is the only woman to get the award twice in history.  Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix gave listeners an ear massage with their version of "That's the Way of the World" in tribute to the recently departed Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind and Fire.  Overall the performances were top rate (insert Lionel Richie tribute, Alabama Shakes and Gaga's Bowie tribute here.) 

However, the bad news is technical glitches botched what would have otherwise been a stellar showing from Adele.  The British singer's sound dropped out and caused her to go slightly off key on "All I Ask."  In the live setting with just her and piano accompaniment, she as vocally vulnerable and it showed.  Bomber!  Aside from that it was also super disappointing that R&B legend Natalie Cole id not get a tribute segment.  She was the last to appear in the in memoriam slide show and her image appeared for all of 30 seconds it seemed. Her legacy deserved more.  The Gaga tribute to David Bowie could have been shorter to accommodate a moment for Cole.  

Here are the winners from the 58th Annual Grammy Awards:
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, "These Walls"
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"
Best Rap Song: Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"
Best Alternative Music Album: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Best Rock Album: Muse, Drones
Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"
Best Rock Song: Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight"
Best R&B Album: D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Best Urban Contemporary Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Best R&B Performance: The Weeknd, "Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)"
Best R&B Song: D'Angelo and The Vanguard, "Really Love"
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Lalah Hathaway, "Little Ghetto Boy"
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skrillex and Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
Best Dance Recording: Skrillex and Diplo With Justin Bieber, "Where Are Ü Now"
Best Music Video: Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Little Big Town, "Girl Crush"
Best Country Song: Little Big Town, "Girl Crush"
Best Music Film: Amy Winehouse, Amy
Best Rap/Song Collaboration: Common & John Legend, "Glory"
Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, 1989
Best Country Solo PerformanceChris Stapleton, "Traveller"
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Tobymac, This Is Not a Test
Best Roots Gospel Album: The Fairfield Four, Still Rockin' My Soul
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: Pitbull, Dale
Best Latin Pop Album: Ricky Martin, A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition)
Best Comedy Album: Louis C.K., Live at Madison Square Garden
Best Spoken Word Album: Jimmy Carter, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety
Score Soundtrack for Visual MediaBirdman
Best Gospel AlbumIsrael & Newbreed, Covered: Alive Is Asia [Live] (Deluxe)
Best Gospel Performance/Song: Kirk Franklin, "Wanna Be Happy?"

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: Francesca Battistelli, "Holy Spirit"
Best Contemporary Classical Composition: Stephen Paulus, Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano, Joyce & Tony - Live From Wigmore Hall
Best Classical Instrumental Solo: Augustin Hadelich, "Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L'Arbre Des Songes"
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Eighth Blackbird, "Filament"
Best Choral Performance: Charles Bruffy, "Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil"
Best Opera Recording: Saito Kinen Orchestra; SKF Matsumoto Chorus & SKF Matsumoto Children's Chorus, "Ravel: L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges; Shéhérazade"
Producer of the Year, Classical: Judith Sherman
Best New Age Album: Paul Avgerinos, Grace
Best Surround Sound Album: Roger Waters, Amused to Death
Best Orchestral Performance: Boston Symphony Orchestra, "Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10"
Best Classical Compendium: Giancarlo Guerrero, Paulus: Three Places of Enlightenment; Veil of Tears & Grand Concerto

Best Regional Roots Music Album: Jon Cleary, Go Go Juice
Best Folk Album: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Best Blues Album: Buddy Guy, Born to Play Guitar
Best Bluegrass Album: The Steeldrivers, The Muscle Shoals Recordings
Best Americana Album: Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
Best American Roots Song: Jason Isbell, "24 Frames"
Best American Roots Performance: Mavis Staples, "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean"
Best Tropical Latin Album: Rubén Blades With Roberto Delgado & Orchestra, Son De Panamá
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): Los Tigres Del Norte,Realidades - Deluxe Edition
Best Children's Album: Tim Kubart, Home
Best World Album: Angélique Kidjo, Sings
Best Reggae Album: Morgan Heritage, Strictly Roots
Best Latin Jazz Album: Eliane Elias, Made in Brazil
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Maria Schneider, The Thompson Fields
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: John Scofield, Past Present
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Cécile McLorin Salvant, For One to Love
Best Surround Sound Album: James Guthrie and Joel Plante, Amused To Death
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk (Dave Audé Remix)"
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Best Historical Album: Various artists; The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: Various Artists, The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)
Best Album Notes: Joni Mitchell, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced
Best Recording Package: Sarah Dodds, Shauna Dodds & Dick Reeves; Asleep at the Wheel, Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals: Maria Schneider, "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)"
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella: Avi Kaplin, Kirstin Taylor, Kevin K.O. Olusola; "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy"
Best Instrumental Composition: Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, "The Afro Latin Jazz Suite"
MusiCares Person of the Year: Lionel Richie
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Renown Gospel Singers Set To Deliver Over 6,000 Cases of Water to Flint. Michigan

buzzz worthy. . .

 After two plus years of silence the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is no longer an issue relegated to a certain geographical location in the United States.  The issue has been given a global platform that will no longer allow  state officials to turn their heads and ignore such an inhumane travesty.

Penske Corporation, Wayne Metro, and Wal-Mart partners with renown gospel singers/multiple Grammy award-winners Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Bishop Marvin L. Winans for Flint water donation.  McClurkin and Winans will not only join forces with churches in Flint to donate over 6000 cases of water to the community, but will be on hand to distribute water to senior citizens physically unable to make it to the water distribution centers.

On Thursday, February 11 several trucks made water deliveries to area churches including Bountiful Love Missions Church, Greater Holy Temple COGIC  and El Shaddai Ministries. Anyone desiring to participate, water donations will be accepted at each location this week and in the future monetary donations will be accepted by Perfecting Fellowship International to fulfill an ongoing need of fresh water.

"As a show of support for the residents of the city of Flint (due to no fault of their own) we the churches of Perfecting Fellowship International join with the efforts of Penske Corporation, Wayne Metro, Walmart and Rutherford Winans Academy to bring relief to all affected by this water crisis.  We pledge to continue our support with this effort”, Bishop Marvin L Winans.

The members of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York where the overseer is Pastor Donnie McClurkin, raised $5,000 to purchase over 2000 cases of bottled water to donate to the residents of Flint.  The PFC donation will be a part of the shipment scheduled for delivery on Thursday that’s spear-headed by Pastor Marvin L. Winans.
The Perfecting Faith Church motto “Where People Means Ministries” is not just a catchy tag for social media, but is a fundamental part of the church’s foundation to reach hurting people and those in need.  The people of Flint are indeed in need of fresh water to live and function on a daily basis.

“This is not a one-time donation. We will put forth out best efforts to continue to aid and assist Flint residents as long as there is a water issue”, says Pastor Donnie McClurkin.
Contributors for the Flint Water Delivery includes the following: Bishop Marvin L. Winans & Perfecting Fellowship International pastors (Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Pastor D’Andre Armstead, Pastor Wilma McDougal, Pastor Larry Trice, Jr., Pastor Cordell Jenkins, Pastor Reginald Hye, Pastor Eric Tolbert and Pastor Hurley Coleman), Rutherford Winans Academy, Loretta Boges, and church parishioners.  Also, Penske Corporation, Wayne Metro and Wal-Mart is on board as sponsors.

When the church comes together so much more can be accomplished than when it is divided.  The water donation set for delivery this week is a group effort to show the heart and compassion of God in action.

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buzzz worthy. . .

VATICAN CITY, ROME – Joseph Fiennes, star of Sony Pictures’ new film release RISEN, met Pope Francis in Vatican City yesterday. Fiennes is in town with actress Mario Botto and the producers to promote RISEN, which opens in theaters nationwide in the U.S. on February 19th.  The film will be screened at the Vatican today.

RISEN is the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection and the weeks that followed, as seen through the eyes of an unbelieving Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking Roman Military Tribune. Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) are instructed by Pontius Pilate to ensure Jesus’ radical followers don’t steal his body and claim resurrection. When the body goes missing within days, Clavius sets out on a mission to locate the missing body in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

AFFIRM Films (a Sony Pictures Entertainment company) originally acquired worldwide rights from LD Entertainment on RISEN and will release the film in association with Columbia Pictures and LD Entertainment.  Starring Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Peter Firth (“Spooks”) and Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard), and Maria Botto, and directed by Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the action drama will be released in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 19, 2016.

RISEN’s screenplay is by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello from a story by Paul Aiello. It is produced by Mickey Liddell (The Grey), Patrick Aiello (As Above, So Below), and Pete Shilaimon (In Secret), and executive produced by Robert Huberman and Scott Holroyd. 

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buzzz worthy. . .

Anthony Brown Leads with Ten Nominations; Charles Jenkins and Erica Campbell Score Eight; Tasha Cobbs Earns Six; Richard Smallwood, Israel & New Breed, Tina Campbell, Dorinda Clark Cole and Jonathan McReynolds CHICAGO, IL

ATLANTA, GA (February 17, 2016) - TV and radio personality Rickey Smiley (Dish Nation,Rickey Smiley For Real) and actress and TV personality Sherri Shepherd (Ride Along 2The View) will return as co-hosts of the 31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. Hailed as the "biggest night in gospel music," this year's Stellar Awards will be held at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The telecast will premiere on TV One during the week of March 6, as well as in broadcast syndication on 150 stations in over 125 markets around the country from March 12 - April 10.

The 2016 Stellar Awards nominees in 28 categories include gospel heavyweight Anthony Brown, a contender for both Male Vocalist of the Year and Producer of the Year, topping the list with ten nominations. The prolific songwriter and his bandmates Group therAPy are also nominated for Artist of the YearSong of the YearGroup/Duo of the YearCD of the Year, Choir of the YearContemporary Group/Duo of the YearContemporary CD of the Year, and Recorded Music Packaging of the Year. Also returning to the show with a slate of nominations this year, chart- topping act Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago receives eight nods, the second highest number overall. Jenkins is nominated for Producer of the Year and Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year, and his critically acclaimed group is competing for Song of the YearCD of the Year, Choir of the YearTraditional CD of the YearMusic Video of the Year and Traditional Choir of the Year.

With eight and six nominations respectively, Erica Campbell and Tasha Cobbs demonstrate the powerful impact of women in gospel music, recognized for Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, CD of the YearContemporary Female Vocalist of the Year andContemporary CD of the Year. Campbell also receives a nod for Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year while Cobb garners one for Praise and Worship CD of the Year.

Richard Smallwood, nominated for Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year, and his group Visionare in contention for Traditional Choir of the YearSpecial Event CD of the Year and Praise and Worship CD of the Year. Other artists earning multiple nominations include Israel & New BreedJonathan McReynoldsTina CampbellThe Rance Allen Group, newcomer Casey Jand living legend Dorinda Clark Cole.

"I am pleased that God has blessed us with celebrating 31 years as the most respected awards brand in gospel music and in the faith-based community," says Don Jackson, founder and executive producer of the Stellar Awards. "We will honor those who have contributed to the growth and success of gospel music as a genre, as well as demonstrate why this art form remains critical to the legacy of American music."

In addition to celebrating the year's best album releases, awards will be presented for the best gospel radio stations for urban audiences nationwide. Terrestrial and online radio programs that broadcast gospel music will be highlighted, along with the top Gospel Announcer of the Year. Nominees for Announcer of the Year are Carmina Barnett from KHVN/DallasTracy Bethea Bodie from WHAL/MemphisLee Michaels from WCAO/Baltimore, and Billy St. Jamesfrom KPZK/Little Rock.

The Stellar Awards Founder Don Jackson will bestow special honors upon superstar Yolanda Adams and Faith-based comedian Jonathan Slocumb, while O'landa Draper will receive theJames Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ambassador Bobby Jones Legends Award will be presented to Joe Ligon.

A signature of the Stellar Awards are the rousing, spirit-filled performances and this year is no exception -- confirmed performers include Kirk FranklinAnthony Brown & Group therAPy,Charles Jenkins & Fellowship ChicagoTasha CobbsTravis Greene and Best New Artistnominee Casey J. Additional performers and presenters will also be announced.

The Stellar Awards show taping is open to the public, with ticket prices ranging from $50 - $200 at www.orleansarena.com. Hotel and Ticket packages are also available through the Orleans Arena.

The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Pre-Show is scheduled for Friday, February 19 to showcase non-televised awards winners. Also, the Stellar Gospel Radio Awards & Showcase will be held on Saturday, February 20, honoring top radio stations and announcers serving urban gospel music audiences. Tickets for each event are $35.

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