Celebrity Pick
This week's celebrity pick is Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: jurnee smollett bell celebrity pick word life production new quality entertainment

Jurnee Diana Smollett-Bell (born October 1, 1986) is an American actress. She began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms, with her most significant regular role being on On Our Own (1994–95). She received critical acclaim and Critic's Choice Award for playing title role in the 1997 independent drama film Eve's Bayou.

In adult age, Smollett-Bell has starred in films The Great Debaters (2007) and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also had starring roles on number of television series, include NBC sports drama Friday Night Lights (2009-2011), and HBO vampire drama True Blood (2013-2014). In 2016, Smollett-Bell began playing a leading role as Rosalee, the house slave, in the WGN America period drama, Underground. Smollett-Bell has won three NAACP Image Awards.

Smollett-Bell was born Jurnee Diana Smollett in New York City, the daughter of Janet and Joel Smollett. Her father was Jewish (his family immigrated from Russia and Poland), and her mother is African American. She is the fourth of six performing siblings, one sister, Jazz, and four brothers: Jussie, JoJo, Jake, and Jocqui.

Smollett-Bell began her acting career appearing in a recurring roles on the ABC family sitcoms include Full House and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper playing Denise Frazer. From 1994 to 1995, she co-starred with her siblings in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own. In 1996, she appeared in the Francis Ford Coppola film Jack, making her big screen debut.

Smollett-Bell received critical acclaim for her performance as 10-year-old Eve in the 1997 independent film Eve's Bayou opposite Lynn Whitfield, Samuel L. Jackson and Debbi Morgan. In casting the role, writer-director Kasi Lemmons envisioned "a light-skinned black child who could convey the nuances of a Creole child in the 60s.” She received the Critic's Choice Award and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. The following year, she joined the cast of CBS sitcom Cosby, for which she won two NAACP Image Awards. In 1999, Smollett-Bell starred in the racially charged Disney channel film Selma, Lord, Selma. In 2000, she co-starred with Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly in the film Beautiful Joe. In 2001, she played the daughter of Angela Bassett in the television film Ruby's Bucket of Blood. In 2005, she co-starred with Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson in the roller skating film Roll Bounce. In 2006, she appeared in the drama film Gridiron Gang.

In 2007, Smollett-Bell portrayed Samantha Booke (loosely based on Henrietta Bell Wells), the sole female debater at Wiley College in the historical film The Great Debaters. The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein and starred Denzel Washington, who also directed the feature. For her performance, Smollett-Bel received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The following year, she returned to television, appearing in two episodes of ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. From 2009 to 2011, she was regular cast member in the DirecTV drama series Friday Night Lights playing Jess Merriweather. From 2010 to 2011, she also co-starred with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell on the short-lived CBS legal drama The Defenders. From 2013 to 2014, she was regular on HBO series True Blood.

In 2013, Smollett-Bell played the leading role in the drama film Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor directed by Tyler Perry. The film received negative reviews from critics, but was box-office hit grossing $53,125,354. It is the highest-grossing Tyler Perry film which the writer-director did not star in and the highest-grossing Tyler Perry drama. She later played Juanita Leonard, the wife of boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, in the 2016 biographical sport film Hands of Stone co-starring with Usher and Robert De Niro.

In 2015, Smollett-Bell was cast as lead character in the WGN America period drama series Underground. Smollett-Bell plays Rosalee, a shy house slave, working on a plantation in 1857.

Smollett-Bell has been active in HIV/AIDS causes since she was 11. She spoke at the Ryan White Youth Conference. Her first encounter with the disease came at age seven when a crew member of On Our Own died of AIDS. Smollett-Bell is on the Board of Directors of Artists for a New South Africa, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS in Africa. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Defense Fund.

On October 24, 2010, she married musician Josiah Bell.

Source: Wikipedia

This month's celebrity pick is the awesome actress Tracee Ellis Ross
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: tracee ellis ross celebrity pick word life production new quality entertainment

The daughter of Diana Ross, Tracee Ellis Ross was born in Los Angeles in October 1972. After college, Ross worked in the magazine industry, which led her to modeling and subsequently acting. She got her first big acting break with a role on the TV series Girlfriends, which ran from 2000 until 2008. After appearing on several other shows and in movies, in 2014 Ross landed another starring role in the series Black-ish. The show has been a success and weekly showcase for the actress's talents.

Early Years

Tracee Ellis Ross was born on October 29, 1972, in Los Angeles, California, to legendary Motown singer Diana Ross and music manager Robert Ellis Silberstein. She attended Brown University (where she was friends with singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik) and earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts in 1994.

After graduation, Ross began working in the fashion industry as an editor for magazines such as Mirabella and New York, and the exposure to the industry helped her segue into modeling. Ross was featured in many magazines, landing on the cover of Essence and Jet, among others, and posing for such luminaries as Herb Ritts and Francesco Scavullo.

Early Acting Roles and ‘Girlfriends’

Ross soon made a transition into acting, and the late 1990s saw her land roles in a string of movies, including Far Harbor (1996, her debut), Sue (1997) and A Fare to Remember (1999). She also took on hosting duties of the Lifetime talk show The Dish for a year (1997) and appeared in a few more movies at the turn of the century, including Hanging Up and In the Weeds, both in 2000.

That would also be the year Ross caught her big break and got a real taste of success, snagging the part of Joan Clayton on the TV series Girlfriends. The sitcom was a success, and the weekly exposure helped Ross get more movie parts. But TV would become her focus, and Girlfriends kept her busy for nearly the entire decade across more than 170 episodes.

Besides being a ratings hit and launch pad for Ross’s career, Girlfriends brought a slew of critical attention to the actress's doorstep in the form of seven NAACP Image Award nominations and two wins (2007 and 2009, both for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series) and a BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2005). In the midst of Girlfriends’s long run, Ross managed to squeeze in some film work as well, including Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls (2007), with Idris Elba and Gabrielle Union, and Labor Pains, featuring Lindsay Lohan (2011).

Hit Show 'Black-ish'

After Girlfriends came to an end in 2008, Ross worked on other series, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, appearing in a handful of episodes, and BET’s Reed Between the Lines, on which she starred opposite Malcolm Jamal Warner in 2011.

In 2014, Ross began a new gig as one of the stars of the ABC prime time comedy Black-ish, which became a hit and gave her yet another high-profile role. In the show she plays successful physician Dr. Rainbow Johnson opposite Anthony Anderson, who plays her husband "Dre." The two are parents of four children in an upper-class African-American family. Laurence Fishburne also stars in the series as Ross's father-in-law.

Additional Projects

Multidimensional, Ross has kept busy in other venues when not working on her series. She appeared in the 2011 short film anthology Five on Lifetime, a project which focused on breast cancer awareness, and in New York and Los Angeles stage productions of Love, Loss, and What I Wore; co-hosted Black Girls Rock, a BET awards show, in 2013; and was featured in two Kanye West videos: The New Workout Plan (2004) and Touch the Sky (2006).

Ross has also entered the motivational speaker realm, teaching a workshop called “Tapping Into Your Creative Well,” and is active with Aviva Family and Children Services in Los Angeles and the national program Big Brother Big Sister. For her efforts, Ross has been honored by the Los Angeles Urban League as Volunteer of the Year.

Source: Biography.com

Check out this month's celebrity pick - Viola Davis
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: viola davis celebrity pick word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Viola Davis has earned raves for such films as Doubt and The Help, and for such Broadway plays as King Hedley II and Fences.

Born in South Carolina, Viola Davis grew up in Rhode Island, where she began acting—first in high school, and then at Rhode Island College. After attending the Juilliard School of Performing Arts, Davis soon made her Broadway debut in 1996. She won her first Tony Award in 2001, and was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for Doubt. In 2011, Davis starred in the hit dramatic film The Help. She has also appeared in Ender's Game (2013) and Get on Up (2014). In 2014, Davis returned to television in the mystery series How to Get Away with Murder.

Growing up poor in Rhode Island, Viola Davis found an oasis from her family's financial woes in watching movies. Her father worked at racetracks, often as a horse groomer. She discovered a love of acting early in high school. At Rhode Island College, Davis earned her degree in theater in 1988. From there, she soon continued her studies at the famed Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York City.

Before long, Davis began to establish a name for herself in the New York theater world. She made her Broadway debut in August Wilson's tragic comedy Seven Guitars in 1996. In the play, Davis starred as Vera, a woman who takes back the boyfriend who wronged her. She again worked with Wilson on his 2001 drama King Hedley II, for which she won her first Tony Award.

On the small screen, Davis tried her hand at series television with the medical drama City of Angeles, in 2000. She also made several guest appearances on other shows as well; one of her most notable performances was as a serial killer on Law & Order. It is one of her favorite roles, despite some negative reactions in the African-American community. "I've had backlash playing a serial killer ... Anthony Hopkins didn't, but I did. I have to follow my heart at the end of the day," she later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

After a few feature film parts, Davis caught the attention of critics with her small role in 2002's Antwone Fisher. She made the most out of her one scene in the film, in which she barely speaks. Her turn as the mother of a troubled navy sailor (Derek Luke) brought her critical praise and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

In 2008, Davis' career reached new heights with her nuanced performance in Doubt. She, once again, made a tremendous impression with a small supporting role, and showed she could hold her own against some of Hollywood's greatest talents. In the film, Davis played the mother of a boy who may have been sexually assaulted by a priest (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) at his Catholic school. She delivered an especially strong performance, as her character clashes with the school's principal (Meryl Streep) over her son and the alleged crime. For her work, Davis received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Returning to the stage, Davis gave another show-stopping performance in Fences in 2010. She co-starred with Denzel Washington in this revival of the August Wilson play, playing the wife in a long-married couple whose relationship is falling apart. The pair had great chemistry together, creating a believable and compelling portrait of a struggling marriage undone by infidelity. Both Davis and Washington won Tony Awards for their work on the production.

In 2011, Davis co-starred with Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard in the film adaptation of the best-selling book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This 1960s drama shows the racial divide between white housewives and their African-American servants in a Southern town.

In the film, Davis plays Ailbileen, a maid who is interviewed by a young white writer named Skeeter -for a book about the lives of "the help." The experiences of her character are familiar to Davis. "The women in this story were like my mother, my grandmother," she explained to Variety. "Women born and raised in the Deep South, working in tobacco and cotton fields, taking care of their kids and other people's kids, cleaning homes."

Davis worked with the director and screenwriter Tate Taylor to refine her character, making sure that her responses and actions were believable. Because racial tensions were so high during the time that the film is set in, she believed her character would have been afraid of saying too much to anyone. Davis played Aibileen with great restraint and won extensive praise for her work on the film.

As an African-American actress, Davis continues to look for more meaningful roles and perhaps start up some projects of her own. "It is a time when Black women now have no choice but to take matters in their own hands and create images for ourselves ... It's up to us to look for the material, it's up to us to produce it ourselves, it's up to us to choose the stories."

Over the next few years, Davis took on some interesting parts. She appeared in the 2013 science fiction movie Ender's Game and played singer James Brown's mother in the 2014 biopic Get on Up. Davis then tackled an important television role. She stars in How to Get Away with Murder as Professor Annalise Keating. The mystery drama series is the brainchild of Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal fame. 

Source: Biography.com

Film and Television Actress Kerry Washington
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: film tv actress kerry washington scandal series word life production new quality entertainment

Born in New York City on January 31, 1977, actress Kerry Washington started performing during her school years. She earned a degree in performance studies from George Washington University. After making her film debut in 2000's Our Song, Washington starred in such films as Save the Last Dance and Bad Company. She earned wide acclaim for her work in Ray (2004) and The Last King of Scotland. In 2012, she began her run on the TV drama Scandal.

The daughter of a real estate broker and an education professor, actress Kerry Washington was born in New York City on January 31, 1977, and grew up in the South Bronx. She started out with ballet lessons as a young child, but her first career ambition involved a certain large mammal. "I wanted to work with Shamu at Sea World," Washington told Giant. "I thought that was the best job in the world, to care for and feed dancing whales."

Washington attended the Spence School in Manhattan, a prestigious private school. In addition to appearing in school productions, she was a member of a theater group that tackled social issues. Washington soon won a theater scholarship to George Washington University, where she earned a degree in performance studies.

While she made her film debut in Our Song in 2000, Washington had one of her first career breakthroughs the following year. She won over audiences with her role in Save the Last Dance (2001), starring Julia Stiles. Soon after the release of this popular teen drama, Washington moved on to comedy. She appeared in the humorous action film Bad Company (2004), starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins.

Washington's career really took flight in 2004; she took on several major movie roles that year, including Della Rae Robinson, the wife of blind singer and musician Ray Charles, in the biopic Ray. Washington received strong reviews for her performance, and her co-star, Jamie Foxx, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Charles. That same year, she starred opposite Anthony Mackie in Spike Lee's dramatic comedy She Hate Me.

The versatile actress tried her hand at the comic book action genre with 2005's Fantastic Four, starring Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis. The following year, Washington once again showed off her skills as a dramatic actress in The Last King of Scotland. She won raves for her nuanced turn as the wife of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin—played by Forrest Whitaker—in the film. Around this time, Washington also had a recurring role on the hit television series Boston Legal.

In 2007, Washington reteamed with Chris Rock for I Think I Love My Wife. She played a vixen who gets involved with a married man (Rock) in the film. The part gave Washington the opportunity to branch out from the many devoted wife roles she had tackled in the past. She went on to explore interracial relationships with Lakeview Terrace (2008), in which she plays an African-American woman married to a white man (Patrick Wilson). The couple is harassed by an African-American cop (Samuel L. Jackson) in this thriller.

With For Colored Girls (2010), Washington worked with an impressive ensemble of actresses, including Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson and Thandie Newton. The film, directed and written by Tyler Perry, was an adaptation of a play by Ntozake Shange. In 2012, Washington moved to the small screen to star on the dramatic political series Scandal. She plays a "fixer," a person who cleans up scandals and other messes for her clients, on the show.

That same year, Washington reunited with Ray co-star Jamie Foxx for Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained (2012). She plays Broomhilda von Shaft, a slave married to Foxx's character, Django. In the film, the pair is separated, and Django teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to find her.

Source: Biography.com

 

This Month's celebrity pick is the awesome Comedian and Actor, Mike Epps
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: mike epps comedian actor celebrity pick word life production new qulaity entertainment feature blog

Mike Epps has generated an extraordinary amount of buzz among his peers within the entertainment industry for being one of the funniest comic actors toe emerge in the Hollywood scene as of late. 2008 proved to be an impressive year for Epps. In February, Epps appeared in the Universal Studios ensemble comedy “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,” opposite Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones and Joy Bryant. In April 2008, he appeared in the indie film “The Grand,” directed by Zak Penn and starring Woody Harrelson and Cheryl Hines. He can also be seen in the following 2008 releases: MGM’s “Soul Men” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes; Sony Pictures’ “Hancock” starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron and “Open Season 2” in which he lends his voice. Upcoming, Epps re-teams with Ice Cube to star in “Janky Promoters,” a comedy about two shady concert promoters (Cube and Epps) who get into hot water when their chance to book a superstar rapper goes awry. “Janky” is due in theateres March 2009. Epps will also star oppositve Mos Def in the dark comedy, “Next Day Air,” which is set to release in May 2009. In 2007, Epps reprised his role as ‘LJ’ in Sony’s futuristic action franchise, “Resident Evil: Extinction,” which placed number one at thte box office for two consecutive weeks in September ‘07. Epps also had as small but dramatic role alongside Don Cheadle in “Talk to Me” for Focus Features in August 2007.

When Epps isn’t filming, he is touring the country and performing his comedy act, The Mike Epps on the Edge Tour to sold-out theaters and arenas across the country. Last year Mike’s one hour comedy special, “Inappropriate Behavior” aired on HBO and was one of the network’s top-rated one-hour specials of the year, followed by its subsequent DVD release that same month. Later that fall, Mike transitioned from his HBO comedy special to hosting duties as the new host of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, which aired on September 10, 2006. Since 2000, Epss’ comedic film roles have exploded. In March 2002 Epps was seen starting opposite Ice Cube in New Line Cinema’s “All About the Benjamins.” Epps also reprised his role as Day-Day in “Friday After Next,” the third installment of the “Friday” series. In 2003, Epps appeared in the Paramount comedy, “The Fighting Temptations” alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyonce Knowles, and in 2004 he played the comedic relief as a loud mouthed garbage manin Fox Searchlight’s “Roll Bounce,” a film set in the late 1970s about the rollerskating lifestyle which also starred Bow Wow, Chi McBride, and Nick Cannon. Mike then went on to play a pivotal role in the Focus Features romantic comedy, “Something New,” starring Sanaa Lathan as a black career woman who unexpectedly finds love with a white working-class man, played by Simon Baker. Earlier that same year, Epps starred in two classic remakes — first Epps was seen in Columbia Pictures’ well received, “Guess Who”, starring Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac which was released in March of ‘05. He then starred in Paramount Picture’s remake of “The Honeymooners,” in which he played comedic legend Ed Norton, alongside Cedric the Entertainer as Ralph Kramden. A native of Indiana who has steadily climbed his way up the stand-up comedy ranks for the last seven years, Epps’ comedic talent was recognized by a national audience in 1995 when he appeared on the Def Comedy Jam tour and appeared on HGO’s Def Comedy Jam broadcasts. Epps moved to Los Angeles after his successful performance at the 1999 Laffapalooza festival in Atlanta. During his performance at LA’s Comedy Store, Epps caught the attention of Ice Cube. This led to him being cast int he co-starring role of Day-Day in his feature film debut, 2000’s hit comedy “Next Friday.” Epps has also appeared in “Bait” with Jamie Foxx, “How High” with Method Man and Redman and was the voice of Sonny in “Dr. Dolittle 2.”

Source: Official Website

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