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Long-awaited ‘Coming to America’ sequel reportedly headed to Amazon for December release

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The long awaited “Coming to America” sequel may be coming to a streaming platform near you.

Paramount Pictures is reportedly selling “Coming 2 America” — the follow-up to Eddie Murphy’s 1988 smash — to Amazon Studios for a whopping $125 million.

According to Variety, if the deal goes through, the movie will bypass theaters and instead launch on Amazon Prime on Dec. 18.

The sale of this project follows other notable films sold by legendary Hollywood studio to streaming platforms, including Aaron Sorkin’s “Trial of the Chicago 7” and the action comedy “Lovebirds,” both of which went to Netflix.

Paramount also recently sold the Michael B. Jordan film, “Without Remorse,” to Amazon.

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in "Coming to America"
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in “Coming to America” (Corkery/News)

“Coming 2 America” brings back original cast members Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Garcelle Beauvais, Shari Headley and Paul Bates to reprise their roles.

The beloved 1988 film starred Murphy as Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. In an effort to find a wife his family didn’t choose for him, Akeem, along with his trusted assistant Semmi, played by Hall, decides to travel to Queens, N.Y., to find his future queen. The John Landis-helmed movie grossed $288 million.

Jermaine Fowler, KiKi Lane, Rick Ross, Leslie Jones, Wesley Snipes and Tracy Morgan were reportedly set to join the sequel, directed by Craig Brewer, who wrote and directed 2005′s “Hustle & Flow,”

The plot reportedly finds Akeem learning about a long-lost son and must return to America to meet the “unlikely heir to the throne of Zamunda.”[More Snyde] Billy Porter to join Ryan Seacrest, Lucy Hale in Times Square for ABC’s New Year’s Eve countdown »

“Coming 2 America” was due to be released theatrically in December but in light of ongoing movie theater closures and countless blockbusters changing release dates amid the COVID-19 crisis streaming is the way to go.

Amazon recently picked up Regina King’s directorial debut “One Night in Miami” with plans to launch later this year.


Sheryl Lee Ralph & Vanessa Bell Calloway Spread Awareness about Breast Cancer

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Written by: Alex Jackson

BET Her is an American basic cable television network owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. The network is a spin-off of BET with a focus on general entertainment targeting African American women. They have produced film shorts known as The Couch, which bring awareness to mental health and now breast cancer.

The lifetime risk of breast cancer for women in the United States is about 13 percent. However, this risk varies by race and ethnic group, with Black women being the second-highest race to have breast cancer. Awareness, therefore, is very important.

Producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media in partnership with BET Her launched the first rollout of four female-centric original short films spotlighting women’s mental health issues, each directed by prominent African American women primarily known for being in front of the camera. Veteran Hollywood stars Kim Fields (Living Single), Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha) and Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America ) each helmed 20-minute dramatic shorts focusing on topics vital to today’s Black families. The response was overwhelming following BET’s first issue-oriented dramatic evening. They’re coming to you timed to the next block of original programming set to air mid-October 2020.

The first two films which will air under the “Her Stories” franchise, a platform to empower the next generation of Black women filmmakers, focused on post-partum depression. The forthcoming two films delve into breast cancer awareness in a block titled “The Waiting Room,” and includes short films Like, Comment, Subscribe and A Long Look in the Mirror. The special presentation is slated to premiere Saturday, October 17, 2020, at 9:00 p.m. Central on BET Her.

Like, Comment, Subscribe is directed by Sheryl Lee Ralph, written by Shateka “SJ” Johnson, and will star newcomer Jasmine Luv (Chicago Med) with a cameo appearance by Victoria Rowell. It follows a wedding vlogger and bride-to-be as she chronicles her journey after being diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Through her journey, we will see the ups, the downs, and the love shared with her fiancé.

Sheryl Lee Ralph has been at the forefront of women’s health issues for 25 years and is outspoken on love and care for oneself for a long fulfilling life. Shortly before signing on to this project, Ralph had a family member pass away from cancer. So after taking the gig and reading the script, it totally hit home for her. Once seeing the script, Ralph knew the job was meant for her. I love how they picked an actual social media star to play the main role, and it seemed very authentic for newcomer Jasmine.

Vanessa Bell Calloway will direct A Long Look in the Mirror starring Golden Brooks (Girlfriends). The theatrical interpretation is especially meaningful to Calloway who is, herself, a breast cancer survivor.

The film Calloway directed is very relatable. It shows a broken mother-daughter relationship in which cancer causes even more strain. The mom battles her demons while still trying to mend her relationship with her daughter.

“BET Her is dedicated to telling stories that support and celebrate Black women in front of and behind the camera as well as bringing awareness to important issues directly affecting the Black community,” said Lorisa Bates, VP, Content Strategy, Co-Productions and Multiplatform in a recent press release.

Black Girl Nerds got to speak briefly with these two legendary actor/directors and the producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media, which is bringing all this Black girl magic to our screen. They expressed the importance of getting checked for breast cancer on the regular, especially in Black and Brown communities and especially with the recent and shocking passing of actor Chadwick Boseman, who recently passed from colon cancer. He was known for his roles in Black Panther21 BridgesGet On Up42, and more, all while secretly battling his illness for the past four years.

Calloway also open up to us about making the decision to let one of her breasts go when she had cancer. She talks about how her family helped her make that life-changing decision for herself.

Both women discussed how taking the role as a director now instead of acting is very nice. At this moment, neither have a favorite between acting and directing, but Ralph did mention if she could do it all, she would, from the casting, directing, producing, and acting.

The 20-minute dramatic shorts will cover a range of vital topics to today’s Black families ranging from breast cancer to mental health. The next two directors on the series will be actors Kim Fields and Victoria Rowell. The films will be live under the BET Her “Her Stories” franchise, a platform to empower the next generation of Black women filmmakers.


Everything We Know About Coming 2 America

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Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and more are returning for the comedy sequel Coming 2 America, and here’s everything we know about it so far.

Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and more are returning for the comedy sequel Coming 2 America, and here’s everything we know about it so far. While he’s still a huge name and a certified comedy legend, Murphy absolutely ruled the 1980s, and much of the 1990s, as one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Not everything Murphy touched turned to gold, but his charm and likeability ensured that even the few bombs on his resume never derailed him.

One of Murphy’s biggest 1980s hits was Coming to America, which released near the tail end of the decade in June 1988, and starred the actor/comedian as Prince Akeem Joffer, the rightful heir to the throne in the fictional African nation of Zamunda. Unhappy with the prospect of an arranged marriage, Akeem and his friend/employee Semmi (Hall) head to New York City, specifically Queens, to search for a bride that could appreciate him for what he offers as a person, not the riches and power provided by his heritage.

To the surprise of no one, hilarity ensued, with Coming to America arguably being Murphy’s funniest movie to date. Naturally, even though 30-plus years have passed, many can’t wait to see Akeem, Lisa, Semmi, and the rest of the cast back for more fun. Here’s what we know about Coming 2 America.

Coming 2 America Is Happening

The project that would become Coming 2 America was officially announced as being in the works in early 2017, with Eddie Murphy signing on to reprise his role in 2019. From there, the casting dominoes started to fall into place, and filming commenced in August 2019. Filming officially wrapped in November 2019, so thankfully was fully completed prior to Coronavirus.

Coming 2 America Release Date

Coming 2 America was dated for release on December 18, 2020 quite a long time ago, and that’s where it currently remains. However, with so many big late 2020 movies already rushing over to 2021 release dates in light of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen if Coming 2 America will still come out as scheduled. Of course, Paramount could decide to keep that date but skip theaters, releasing on VOD instead.

Coming 2 America Cast

There’s good news to report for Coming to America fans, as just about every possible character and actor they might want to see back is returning. In addition to Murphy as Akeem and Hall as Semmi, Shari Headley is back as Akeem’s wife Lisa, John Amos is back as her father Cleo McDowell, James Earl Jones is back as King Jaffe Joffer, and even Louie Anderson and Garcelle Beauvais are reprising small roles from the original. Vanessa Bell Calloway will also return as Imani Izzi, Akeem’s arranged bride, which leads into the new cast addition of Wesley Snipes as her older brother, a ruler of a neighboring country. Other new cast adds include Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross, and Kiki Layne as Akeem and Lisa’s daughter.

Coming 2 America Story Details

While no footage or imagery has been released for Coming 2 America as of yet, the official plot synopsis is a bit surprising. Akeem is soon to be the king of Zamunda, but is told by his dying father that Akeem has a son he never knew back in Queens, named Lavelle (Fowler). Jones plays Lavelle’s mom, while Morgan plays his uncle. It’s unclear when Akeem would’ve fathered a son back in 1988, as he was specifically there looking for a wife, not one night stands. One assumes Lisa won’t be happy when she finds out, as Akeem and Semmi head back to Queens to retrieve Lavelle.


BET Her presents The Waiting Room

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Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha), Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America) and CEO and Executive Producer Tressa “Azarel” Smallwood join FOX 5’s Marissa Mitchell to talk about “The Waiting Room.”


I’m A Survivor!: These Black Stars Have Fought Breast Cancer

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Vanessa Bell Calloway, Ananda Lewis, Matthew Knowles and more share their own stories.

Written by BET Staff

It is without an ounce of doubt that National Breast Cancer Awareness Month serves as an important reminder to be an advocate for your health.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Sadly, one of the superwomen we recently lost to her battle with breast cancer was the legendary actress Diahann Carroll, who passed away at the age of 84 on Oct. 4, 2019.

Just recently, former host of BET’s “Teen Summit” Ananda Lewis, 47, revealed that she is battling stage 3 breast cancer in an Instagram post. 

“This is tough for me to share, but if just ONE woman decides to get her mammogram after watching this, what I’m going through will be worth it,” she captioned the six-minute clip, encouraging followers be tested.

Although rare, the disease also affects men.  

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, while about 245,000 women in the United States learn they have breast cancer each year, an average of 2,200 men find out they’ve diagnosed with the same disease.

Last year, we learned that Beyoncéand Solange‘s father, Mathew Knowles is amongst the rare group of men battling the disease.

After doing some research, we were shocked to learn that although Black women and White women get breast cancer at about the same rate, death rates are 40% higher among Black women, according to the CDC.

See a list of Black celebrities who have battled breast cancer:


Former TV host, Ananda Lewis recently opened up about battling the illness for two years now, hoping her story will be a cautionary one for all women.

“For a really long time, I have refused mammograms, and that was a mistake,” the 47-year-old Los Angeles native confessed. “I watched my mom get mammograms for almost 30 years almost, and at the end of that, she had breast cancer, and I said, ‘Huh. Radiation exposure for years equals breast cancer. Yeah, I’m going to pass. Thanks anyway.’”

Lewis stands by her beliefs that too much radiation can cause cancer but said she wants women to understand that mammograms are still one of the most powerful tools they can have in early detection.

Let’s continue to keep Ananda in our prayer’s as she continues to fight this horrible disease.


(Photo: Bauzen/GC Images)

It came as a big shock when Mathew Knowles revealed during an interview with Good Morning America that he’d been diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer. 

The 67-year-old father of Beyoncé and Solange declared he knew something was wrong after continuously finding tiny blood specs on his T-shirts. Doctors later revealed he had a BRCA2 gene mutation, which increases certain cancer risks. 

“Thank God he [discovered] it very early on, and he is going to be fine,” Tina Lawson said to Entertainment Tonightabout her ex-husband. “I’m [calling] it.”

Since the diagnosis earlier this year, Mathew has had one breast removed and plans on having the other removed next year.


(Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Hoda Kotb often uses her platform on the Today show to bring about breast cancer awareness and to uplift other breast cancer survivors with a message of hope and empowerment. 

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 after her gynecologist discovered lumps in her breast during a routine exam, the famed journalist— who was 43 at the time — chose to undergo a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

“When it was over, I learned a couple of things. You realize your life is to be valued and not wasted,” Hoda shared in a 2009 Survivors Say.“I also walked away with four wonderful words: ‘You can’t scare me.’ […] No matter what happens in life, if you survive breast cancer, you get that.”


(Photo: Allen Berezovsky/FilmMagic)

Good Morning America anchor, Robin Roberts was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 46.

“I found my lump in a self-exam!” she told Prevention. “Because I was familiar with my body and the lumps, I knew this one felt different. It was in a different place on my breast, and it was hard. If I hadn’t been doing self-exams, I wouldn’t have known that.”

Although Roberts made a full recovery after receiving lumpectomy and chemotherapy, the anchor has since been diagnosed with a rare condition: myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which has been speculated to be a result of the radiation from her cancer treatment. 

Despite the speculation, the journalist has urged women not to disregard radiation as a treatment.


(Photo: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)

Back in 2011, the comedian Wanda Sykes underwent breast-reduction surgery that revealed she had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), best known as stage 0 breast cancer. 

“I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it’s scary,” she announced on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It wasn’t until after the reduction that in the lab work, the pathology, that they found that I had DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] in my left breast […] I was very, very lucky.”

Due to her family’s history with breast cancer, Wanda deemed it best to undergo a double mastectomy. 


(Photo: Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

At the age of 52, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway best known as Princess Imani Izzi in Coming to Americawas diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), also known as stage 0 breast cancer. 

Opening up about her experience with breast cancer with Ebonyin a personal essay, Vanessa revealed surviving breast cancer changed her perspective on life.

“I didn’t want to miss life. I decided cancer was not going to ruin me […] Anytime you go through anything so emotional, you learn a lot. I’m very grateful and blessed. I love my birthdays even more,” she wrote in her Breast Cancer Survival Story.

After undergoing a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, and breast reconstruction, she’s been living her best life as a 10-year breast cancer survivor. 

“I forget I even had cancer sometimes, because I’m so entrenched in the goodness of life. It’s a gift,” she added.


(Photo: Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)

Richard Roundtree discovered he was among the small percentage of men diagnosed with a male form of breast cancer back in 1993, after finding a lump while filming a movie in Costa Rica.

Remaining silent about his diagnosis for five years, the original Shaft decided to go public with his survivor status at a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for a mobile breast cancer diagnostic unit. 

“I just got up and told everybody that I was a breast cancer survivor,” he shared according to “The room was totally silent. I think it dawned on people that men can be affected by this, too.”

He continues to serve as an awareness advocate for male breast cancer.


(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage)

After being diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer at the age of 33, and given only 3 months to live, Bershan Shaw defied the odds and is now a 12-year cancer survivor. 

“I thought my life was over. I thought I was never going to make it in my career. I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I saw no tunnel nor light,” the Love in the City starshared on her Instagram.

She continued, “I’m here today alive. 12 years after my first diagnosis and ten years after my second diagnosis. I stayed faithful. I prayed. I stayed positive in my beliefs. I did affirmations. I told myself everyday that I was a Warrior.” 


(Photo: David Corio/Redferns)

In 1996, Calypso Rose battled and beat breast cancer. The legendary musician/songwriter renown as the “Mother Of Calypso,” has since continued to bless the world with her talents.

Earlier this year, the Trinidadian trailblazer made herstory as the oldest artist to perform at Coachella ’19, at the age of 78! Not to mention, she was the first calypso performer to play a full set at the festival. Talk about inspiration!

To learn more about Black women’s breast health during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, be sure to visit:


Coming To America 2: Every Character Returning For Eddie Murphy’s Sequel

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Plenty of Coming to America cast members are returning for Coming 2 America. Here’s a complete cast and character reprisal guide for the sequel.

Many of the original cast members from Coming to America cast members are returning for the upcoming sequel, Coming 2 America. Directed by Craig Brewer, the second franchise installment was announced in January 2019 with Eddie Murphy reprising his role as Prince Akeem Joffer. Coming 2 America is currently scheduled for a December 2020 release.

The original Coming to America premiered in 1988. John Landis directed the romantic comedy, in which Prince Akeem leaves his native Zamunda for Queens, New York. Hoping to find the ideal partner, Murphy’s character pretends to be poor and eventually courts Lisa McDowell, the daughter of a wealthy restaurant chain owner. Prince Akeem’s best friend Semmi also makes the trip for emotional support. Coming to America was a major hit at the box office, and solidified Murphy’s status as a legitimate A-list movie star.

Murphy has re-invigorated his career in recent years with a return to Saturday Night Live and a starring role Netflix’s critically-acclaimed Rudy Ray Moore biopic Dolemite Is My Name. With both Beverly Hills Cop 4 and Coming 2 America on the way, Murphy appears to be returning to his comedic roots, and tapping into the humor that made him such a big star throughout the ’80s. Here’s every returning actor who will appear in Coming 2 America.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem Joffer, the future King of Zamunda, who travels to America after learning that he has a son named LaVelle. In Coming to America, Akeem grows tired of his royal lifestyle and lack of quality time alone. He travels to Queens, New York to find his Queen to be, and in his new incognito role discovers that Americans can be rather judgmental and dismissive of working class people. Coming to America is somewhat of an outlier in Murphy’s ’80s filmography, as he dials down the comedy in the main role and focuses more on the inherent drama. Murphy also plays three other comedic characters: the singer Randy Watson, a barber shop patron named Saul, and a barber shop owner named Clarence.

In pop culture, Murphy is best known for starring in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, and for playing numerous characters in The Nutty Professor. Murphy earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 2006 musical Dreamgirls.

Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall reprises his role as Semmi, who once again travels to America with his best friend, Prince Akeem Joffer. In Coming to America, Semmi is indeed loyal to the Prince of Zamunda but also attempts to boost his own ego while living in Queens. For example, Hall’s character tells Patrice McDowell (Allison Dean) that he’s actually an African Prince, and that Akeem is his servant. Naturally, this boast comes back to haunt Semmi, if only briefly. Hall hosted The Arsenio Hall Show from 1989 to 1994. In Coming to America, he also plays the characters Reverend Brown, Morris the Barber, and Extremely Ugly Girl.

James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones returns as King Jaffe Joffer, who is now sick and anticipating his son’s reign as King of Zamunda. In Coming to America, King Jaffe attempts to arrange a marriage for Prince Akeem, and eventually tracks him down in Queens. In pop culture, Jones is best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise. He also voiced Mufasa in both the original animated version of The Lion King and the 2019 remake.

Shari Headley

Shari Headley reprises her role as Lisa McDowell, who is now Prince Akeem’s wife. In Coming to America, Lisa befriends Akeem and insists that she doesn’t mind seeing his “poor” apartment. Lisa eventually learns that Akeem is indeed a wealthy prince and surprises him during a Zamunda wedding ceremony. Headley has sustained a busy career over the years, playing Officer Mimi Reed Frye in All My Children and D.A. Jennifer Sallison in The Haves and the Have Nots. She recently played Harmony in Showtime’s On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

Vanessa Bell Calloway

Vanessa Bell Calloway returns as Imani Izzi, who was originally supposed to marry Prince Akeem. In Coming to America, Wesley Snipes joins the main cast as Imani’s brother, General Izzi. Calloway played Jackie in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It. In recent years, she appeared as Carol Fisher in Shameless and Sarah in Unbelievable.

Paul Bates

Paul Bates is back as Oha, a royal servant who performs “She’s Your Queen to Be” in Coming to America. Bates is best known for portraying Marty in True Romance and Manny in 8 Mile. More recently he has appeared in guest roles in The ConnersModern Family and Young Sheldon.

John Amos

John Amos returns as Cleo McDowell, Lisa’s father. In Coming to America, Cleo initially warms up to Lisa’s wealthy boyfriend, Darryl Jenks (Eriq La Salle) – until he discovers that Akeem is an African prince. Amos also portrayed James Evans Sr. in the ’70s sitcom Good Times and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for his performance as Toby in Roots. Amos recently played Deacon Eller in Ballers.

Louie Anderson

Louie Anderson reprises his role as Maurice, Akeem’s McDowell’s co-worker. In Coming to America, Maurice lays out his long-term plan for rising up the ranks. An accomplished stand-up comedian, Anderson is best known for his acclaimed performance as Christine Baskets in Baskets, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2016. Anderson currently plays Bob in Search Party.

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais will reprise her role as Rose, one of Prince Akeem’s rose bearers from the original film, in Coming 2 America. In pop culture, Beauvais is best known for portraying Doris Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming. She also recently played Veronica Garland in The CW’S anthology series Tell Me a Story.

Coming 2 America was written by Coming to America screenwriters David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein, along with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.


Vanessa Bell Calloway, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Sam Jackson Join WACO Theater Center’s Virtual Celebration on Sept. 19

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Beyoncé & Jay-Z

*Los Angeles, CA – WACO (Where Art Can Occur) Theater Center, Los Angeles’s premiere non-profit gallery and cultural center, announced it will host a Virtual Celebration to raise funds for its programs and families impacted by COVID-19.

The event, which is a free and open public benefit program, will stream on WACO’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Saturday, September 19th, at 5:00 pm (PDT). A virtual art auction preview can be viewed by texting WACO2020 to 243-725. Virtual art gallery will be available until Sunday, September 27.

WACO Theater Center proudly welcomes back global beauty and personal care brand SheaMoisture as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2020 Virtual Celebration. The brand has been a consistent supporter of WACO programs since 2016, working closely with the Center to passionately foster art and education initiatives for underserved youth.

The Virtual Celebration will celebrate various forms of art that uplift the community, empower entrepreneurship, and sow back into local programs.

Richard Lawson, Tina Knowles Lawson,
Tina Knowles Lawson & Richard Lawson

The online event will be hosted by WACO Co-Artistic Directors Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles Lawson, champions of art and culture who founded the non-profit gallery and performance complex.

“WACO was created to stand at the intersection of Black culture and art. For the past three years, we have worked to create a safe space for students to be nourished, grow, and learn,” said Tina Knowles Lawson. “This year, our gathering will feel and look different, but the mission unequivocally remains the same,” said Co-Artistic Director Richard Lawson. “We are looking forward to continuing the tradition of celebrating art and Black culture to create meaningful change for our children.”

The Virtual Celebration will benefit the performing arts, visual art, education and mentorship programs within WACO Theater Center, focusing on providing support to selected families affected by COVID-19. The evening will be filled with surprises, including highlights from the Wearable Art Gala and a special celebrity version of “Ms. Tina’s Corny Jokes.” The highly anticipated art auction will be in a virtual format, with proceeds going to the featured artists and WACO families affected by the pandemic and Covid-19 virus. A preview and registration for the auction can be completed by texting WACO2020 to 243-725.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Jay-Z, Solange Knowles, Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Rowland, Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Angela Bassett, Lynn Whitfield, Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Megan Thee Stallion, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Lena Waithe, Cynthia Erivo, and Lil Rel Howery are confirmed to participate with music provided by DJ Millie.

Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Solange Knowles, Bianca Lawson, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams will serve as Honorary Chairpersons for the Virtual Celebration.


WACO’s Virtual Celebration will include an online virtual silent auction. The preview began August 25th, and features fine art works by artists such as Robert Pruitt, ‘The Pretty Artist’ Tiffanie Anderson, Chaz Guest, Ron Bass, Samuel Levi Jones, Harry Adams,Tyler Clark, Quiana Parks, Toni Scott, Gherdai Hassell, Charis Kelley, A. Nichel, Erica Puckett and designer Lorraine Schwartz among others.

The auction will raise money for WACO Theater Center programs which consist of enrichment and leadership initiatives that empower inner-city students ages 12-14, exposing children to all aspects of art and life that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience. Money raised will also help families affected by COVID-19.

WACO has received a variety of art pieces from luminaries Kehinde Wiley, Lauren Halsey, Barnette, Bethany Collins, Genevieve Gagnaird, Eduardo Sarbia, and Radcliffe Bailey. The virtual art gallery will be available for viewing until Sunday, September 27th.

Business and entertainment industry leaders serving on WACO’s 2020 Virtual Celebration Host Committee include Kawanna Brown, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Cheryl Creuzot, Babe Evans, Melba Farquhar, Lela Rochon Fuqua, Mai Lassiter, Holly Robinson-Peete, Robi Reed, Eula Smith and Jo-An Turman. WACO’s Board of Directors include Glynn Turman, Ralph and Melba Farquhar, Angeliki G. Jack, John Wiseman, and Steve Pamon.

The Celebration will be part of WACO’s virtual Theatrical Season 2020-21, which will include a myriad of productions including spoken word, stage readings, and celebrating award-winning playwrights.

Since its inception, WACO has presented the Wearable Art Gala as its annual fundraising event. The Gala will return to the Barker Hangar next year on Saturday, June 5, 2021.


The Lawson’s state-of-the-art cultural center in Los Angeles, which houses Richard Lawson Studios, recently presented the 50th-anniversary production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, No Place to be Somebody, by Charles Gordone. Lawson served as Director and Knowles Lawson as Hair and Makeup Designer. The pair is committed to providing a creative center where art can occur and empower actors, artists, and youth within a diversified pool of LA communities to celebrate their own talent and artistry. For programs, classes, and upcoming productions and events, visit and follow @WacoTheater on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


For more information, visit WACO Theater Center is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

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Here’s How Vanessa Bell Calloway Enjoyed an Anniversary Dinner with Her Husband of 32 Years

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Vanessa Bell took to Instagram where she shared a clip of herself with her husband at a dinner in celebration of their 32nd wedding anniversary and the duo looked happy together.

Vanessa Bell and her husband Anthony Calloway recently celebrated 32 years of marriage and the duo made their day more special by spending time together. Taking to Instagram, Bell shared a video of herself with Calloway during an anniversary dinner in Malibu.

In the video, Bell was seen asking her husband to list one thing he loves about her and something he doesn’t love about her.

Vanessa Bell Calloway and her husband Anthony Calloway at the Washington, DC premiere of “Harriet” on October 22, 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

In response, Calloway noted that he loved Bell because he knows she would always have his back. He, however, added that his wife’s competitive spirit was one thing he did not like so much.

Bell then went on to note that she loves Calloway for his smartness and for always making the best decisions for their family. 

The adorable clip concluded with the couple thanking their family and friends before sharing a lovely kiss. While adding a caption, Bell noted that they were grateful for life, love, family, and genuine happiness.

Calloway and Bell tied the knot on September 3, 1988. The two have enjoyed a blissful relationship ever since but not without some difficult times.

Bell once noted that she believed it was important for couples to have individual identities.

When Bell was only 52, she was diagnosed with breast cancer for which she had a mastectomy and a breast reconstruction surgery. With the support of her friends and family, she recovered and has learned to be more grateful for life and its numerous blessings. 

In 2018, Bell and Calloway celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and as a show of love, they renewed their vows in an intimate ceremony with family and friends.

While speaking about the secret to their long-lasting union, Bell once noted that she believed it was important for couples to have individual identities. She also added that understanding that love changes and being willing to change along with it is an essential key to a blissful marriage.

Born on March 20, 1957, Bell is an actress best known for her role in the 1988 movie “Coming to America.” She has also appeared in films such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Daylight.”

With a successful career and a lifelong marriage to the love of her life, Bell simply couldn’t have asked for a better life.


Vanessa Bell Calloway Shares Photo with Cedric the Entertainer and His Wife on Her Anniversary

Posted by on 6:29 pm in Vanessa's Blog | 0 comments

Vanessa Bell recently shared a photo of herself with Cedric the Entertainer and his wife in honor of her 32nd wedding anniversary with her husband, Anthony Calloway.

Vanessa Bell’s marriage to her husband, Anthony Calloway, recently turned 32, and she celebrated it with an old photo.

In a post shared on Instagram, Bell and Calloway posed for a group photograph with Cedric the Entertainer and his wife, Lorna Kyles.

In the picture, Bell was clad in a colorful dress and a pair of heels while her husband donned a pink shirt and white pants.

On the other hand, Kyles rocked a nude-colored bodycon dress as she stood next to Cedric who was dressed in an all-white outfit paired with a brown hat.

While adding a caption, Bell revealed that she and her husband share the same anniversary date (September 3) with Cedric and his wife. She added:

“Hope you have a wonderful & sexy anniversary 😘and many more!”

Shortly after sharing the post, the two couples were met with sweet congratulatory messages from fans who flooded the comments section.

Bell and Calloway tied the knot in 1988 and ever since then, the couple has enjoyed a blissful marriage with their love waxing stronger by the day.

Bell enjoys spending time with her daughter and the trio were once seen dancing together in 2017.

Read the full article here.

Vanessa Bell Calloway from ‘Coming to America’ Flaunts Her Perfect Skin and Classy Braided Hair

Posted by on 6:15 am in Vanessa's Blog | 0 comments

“Coming to America” actress Vanessa Bell Calloway has managed to maintain her youthfulness over the years. She recently showed off her flawless skin and chic braided hairdo in a new snap.

Vanessa Bell Calloway appears to be living her best life offline and online. Her Instagram posts show that she is doing exceptionally well and she does not seem to be aging one bit.

A few hours ago, she flaunted her look in a close-up image. She donned round gold earrings with a black top. Calloway did not apply makeup but her skin looked beautiful and perfect. The camera was focused on her hairstyle as well.

Vanessa Bell Calloway attends the 2016 Essence Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon on February 25, 2016.| Photo: Getty Images

Her adorably patterned cornrows were neatly done, and the onscreen star acknowledged that it gave her a cute look. After sharing details of the hairstyle in her caption, she extended a heart of gratitude to her hairstylist. She said:

“#lawdhavemercy look at my new grey after 3 weeks…@amber4hair is a hell of a braider!!!”

Her fans admired the look and they commented on her gray hair. One person confessed that her looks have not changed. “You still look AMAZING,” the person wrote, before adding fire and heart emojis.

Calloway has shown that she is confident in her looks by sharing an image of her gray hair. Similarly, she does not find it tasking to share her personal experiences.

In 2016, she shared the details of her breast cancer diagnosis. She explained that after her doctor examined her breasts and informed her that the margins were not good and that she may have to let go of one of them, she was frightened.

Though it was not an easy decision, her husband and daughters showed her support and love which helped her. She said:

“Anytime you go through anything so emotional, you learn a lot. I’m very grateful and blessed… Don’t take life for granted.”

Since then, she has been cancer-free and has continued to show her gratitude towards her kids and husband. Calloway has also continued to feature in different movie productions.

In 2019, it was reported that she would appear in “Coming 2 America,” part two of “Coming to America.” The production will feature the stars that acted in the first movie. This includes Wesley Snipes, Jermaine Fowler, Kiki Layne, and James Earl Jones.

As an actress, she has proven to be passionate about her career. She began acting in 1987 and has continued to render her best in what she does. This has earned her about eight NAACP Image Award nominations.