Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, MJ Rodriguez start the party at the BET Soul Train Music Awards 2019

All Photos and Article by Jovanna Reyes

Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold open the BET Soul Train Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

Tisha Campbell and Tisha Arnold welcomed viewers to the House of Cellulite and Menopause with MJ Rodriguez of “Pose” for the opening of the BET Soul Train Music Awards 2019. The dance number was set to a medley of Janet Jackson’s house/dance songs with the hosts singing live in leather body-con suits and with exaggerated comedic genius expressions. They are more than ready for their own variety show…Tyler Perry ya’ listening?

Keyshia Cole and Tank present the Best R&B/Soul Female Artist at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

This year’s Soul Cypher, Keyshia Cole, presented H.E.R., along with Tank, the award for BestR&B/Soul Female Artist. The always lovely and conservatively dressed, compared to her counterparts, gave an inspirational speech in comparison to admitted social anxiety disorder sufferer, Summer Walker. Ms. Walker, obviously elated, gave a quick thank you after presented with the Best New Artist award by the crew of Tyler Perry’s “The Oval”.

SIR and his brother, D Smoke, performed at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

K. Michelle soulfully performed her single “Rain” with an all white platformed background which was striking with her vibrant hair. The new Radeo record label owner, Issa Rae, introduced her new artist, TeaMarr. The Haitian rapper/singer crooned her single, “Kinda Love”, on the My Black is Beautiful stage with the Adam Blackstone Allstar Band while sipping from her teacup. Her obvious signature move repeated on the blue carpet.

K. Michelle performs “Rain” at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

After K. Michelle and TeaMarr, Tichina Arnold introduced Doctur Dot, Tiana Major9 and Johnny Venus of Earthgang, where the spoken word was introduced before “Collide” was performed. The stage was drenched in color, flowers and silver rims to represent the theme from the new movie “Queen and Slim”.

BET’s Soul Train Awards 2019 host, Tichina Arnold, at the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

“American Soul” actor, Sinqua Walls presented the king of non traditional gospel, Kirk Franklin, with the Best Gospel/Inspirational Award. Mr. Franklin inspired those beginning their careers to be patient and allow things to ‘marinate’ because not everyone has a microwaveable career that is easily attained.

Boyz II Men and Stokely performed a medley of the ballads from their greatest hits for the Legend Award Tribute to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Wanya, Shawn and Nathan belted out falsettos for “Tender Love” and “On Bended Knee” while Stokely flamed the fire with “Breaking My Heart” and “Pretty Brown Eyes”.

Stokely performed for the Legend Award Tribute-Ballads at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

Ari Lennox appeared in good spirits when introducing her friend, Pink Sweat$, who performed his hit “Honesty” on the My Black is Beautiful stage. Wale was joined by Jermih for “on Chill” and Kelly Price, looking super sexy in all black leather, for “Sue Me”.

Ari Lennox introduces her friend, Pink Sweat$, at the My Life is Beautiful stage for the BET Soul Train Music Awards 2019.
Queen Naija performs her hit “Good morning text” at the BET Soul Train Music Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

Queen Naija sang her hit “Good Morning Text” on the Orleans Arena stage before Kirk Franklin presented Yolanda Adams with the BET Soul Train Music Lady of Soul Award. Ms. Adams thanked everyone with a special mention for her daughter and performed seven of her top hits. She was so in the moment, Ms. Adams continued singing as she walked offstage. Luke James(who was giving Prince vibes on the blue carpet and onstage), Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid performed “All your love” and “Go girl” in their matching red outfits.

Luke James, Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid perform at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards in Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

The theme of the evening were the living legends, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ music compilations. From the first scene with a Janet Jackson medley, to Boyz II Men and Stokely ballads, the next set was mind blowing. Sounds of Blackness reunited with Jamecia Bennett and Ann Nesby and their pipes are still fresh. Mary Davis and Abdul Ra’Oof of the S.O.S. Band hit all the right notes and Alexander O’Neal joined Cherrelle, who outsung Alexander and looked fabulous doing it. The final Legend tribute act deserves their own award, Morris Day and Jerome Benton made the audience get on their feet and groove with the Time. They were also joined by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface.

Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold dressed like the Legend Award, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis at the BET’s Soul Train Music Awards, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.

Adam Blackstone and the BBE Allstar Band finished off the night with Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold thanking Connie Orlando, BET V.P. Original Programming. The performers joined the hosts onstage for a Soul Train line with Cherrelle and Ann Nesby hitting high notes on the way out.

The BET Soul Train Awards 2019 Finale, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
Mary Davis(S.O.S. Band), Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Ann Nesby at the finale of The BET’s Soul Train Music Awards, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.
Babyface, Abdul Ra’Oof(S.O.S. Band) with Tichina Arnold at The BET Soul Train Awards 2019, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

All photos and article written by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com @jovannareyesphotography

BET Hip Hop Awards Green Carpet Fashion 2019!

Lil Kim and Junior Mafia at the BET Hip Hop Awards, the Cobb Energy Center, ATL
Photo by Jovanna Reyes

The BET Hip Hop Awards 2019 was held on October 5, 2019 at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a stream of old and new, emerging and hitmakers on Sprite’s green carpet this past weekend. Lil Kim, Rick Ross, Teyana Taylor, T-Pain and more made appearances on the Sprite’s green carpet this past weekend. Junior Mafia and the Queen Bee performed a medley of her hits, after she received the ICON award. Rick Ross, a long time collaborator with Lil Kim, presented her with the award. She thanked her crew, family, including her daughter Reign, with the biggest props going to Biggie Smalls(discovered and produced her successful albums).

Rick Ross gave presence on the green carpet casually dressed but dripping in ice. He later performed with T-Pain and Lil Jon with a vision of Miami on the LED backdrop.

Rick Ross performing on the BET Hip Hop Awards, Atlanta, GA
Photo by Jerome Dorn/InDaHouse Media

Atlanta had every rapper from the last few decades grace the carpet and the stage. Lil Kim, Rick Ross, T-Pain, Lil Jon, Junior Mafia, Money Man, Gunna, and all the Babys, Lil Baby and DaBaby. The Babys also performed together and on DaBaby performed with Meg The Stallion, who opened the award show with a thong bodysuit, showing her best assets. Her set was a retro designed in red, white and blue, transported from the old World War II musicals.

The female rappers represented in rhinestones, sheer gowns and cutouts with designer labels galore. One of the outstanding memorable artists was Rapsody. The hood feminist wore a vintage style jogging outfit adorned with a swavorski headdress of rollers. It was original and perfect for the multifaceted fashion carpet.

Teyana Taylor and her husband, cypher, Iman Shumpert supported each other on the carpet. Teyana was a presenter while her husband showed his skills as a cypher on a pre recorded battle with other upcoming and talented rappers.

Lil Duval hosted this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta. He performed his hit single “City Boys” and was joined by KaMillion and an entire slew of folks. He had an entire city on that stage.

Article by Jovanna Reyes @jovannareyesphotography @curvysta

Afros, Community and Acceptance at CurlFest 2019

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

CURLFEST 2019, RANDALL’S ISLAND, NYC

“The only natural beauty festival in the world that was created by five Black women for Black women.” ~Simone Mair, co-founder of the Curly Girl Collective and CurlFest

Glistening, pride, power, natural, love. The only words needed to describe the scene at Randall’s Island in NY this past weekend. The throngs of natural hair beauties, at least 100,000, covered the green grass of Icahn Stadium for the sixth annual CurlFest 2019. The music throbbed non stop, as you heard inspirational words at the Empowerment Stage.

Hair, skincare and drink sponsors offered free braiding, entertainment and products to all the attendees. The early birds left with Creme of Nature gift bags filled to the brim and didn’t mind waiting on the long lines for product.

Mack Wilds, Yandy Smith-Harris, Tiffany M. Battle, Jacque Reid were just a few of the celebrities and influencers to grace the CurlFest Empowerment Stage.

The encore to Saturday’s festivities was the RollerFest, sponsored by Target at the LeFrak Skating Rink at Prospect Park. The venue decorated with every primary color in existence and a ball pit, showcased a throw back skate party with Top DJs on stage and in the rink.

There were smiles and laughter at every turn. A successful event indeed! Visit http://www.curlfest.com for information on their next event in Atlanta this fall.

#curlfest2019 #curlfest #curvygirlcollective

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com

Congresswoman Maxine Waters receives WNDC Democratic Woman of the Year Award 2019 in D.C.

Article and Photos by Jovanna Reyes


“Aunt” Maxine Waters entered the Woman’s National Democratic Club to a standing ovation amongst her House of Representatives colleagues, members of the club and attendees who wanted to hear the powerhouse speak live.

The WNDC chose Congresswoman Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, the first African American and female to hold the position, to receive the Democratic Woman of the Year. One of the many comments by the speakers giving her their love and admiration is her commitment to women’s issues. She chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 1997 to 1999.

Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Jamila Jayapal, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur praised Congresswoman Waters for her leadership and using her voice for those in need, especially the poor and youth. Representative John Lewis presented her with the award.

Several of her colleagues including Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi sent their love and admiration with letters read by local students to Congresswoman Waters.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath, pictured above, presented students from Parkland with the Trailblazer Award. The award recognized their actions after their high school shooting to end gun violence. They assisted in the passing of the first gun restrictions in Florida in thirty years and organized the largest youth march since the sixties, “March for Our Lives”. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee ended the gala with praise for the students bravery and move for action.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
President of the WNDC, Nucchi Currier

Comcast welcomes two more Multicultural channels to their roster, ‘Afro’ and ‘Cleo TV’ with a celebration at the Newseum in D.C.

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

On Thursday, March 14, Comcast celebrated the new media additions to their cable systems, Afrotainment’s ‘Afro’ channel and TV One’s ‘Cleo TV’. The event held in Washington D.C.’s Newseum was hosted by Comcast, represented by Keisha Boyd, Executive Director of Multicultural Products and featured Urban One founder Cathy Hughes, Urban One President and CEO, Alfred Liggins III, Michelle Rice(General Manager of Cleo TV), Yves Bollanger(CEO/founder of Afrotainment channels) and talents from both channels.

Comcast’s David Cohen, Afro Channel CEO and founder Yves Bollanger, Urban One founder Cathy Hughes, General Manager of Cleo TV Michelle Rice, Keisha Boyd, Comcast Executive Director Multicultural Products and guest.
Urban One President and CEO, Alfred Liggins III
Rahsan Rahsan Lindsay, TV One EVP, Ad Sales & Marketing

Comcast made a commitment to include ten multicultural channels as part of their 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal. Those channels include Revolt, El Rey, with Afro and Cleo TV rounding out their fulfillment. Michelle Rice was the lead to bringing Cleo TV to fruition. Her goal was to create a channel that fully engages Black women 24/7. “Cleo will offer content that defies negative and cultural stereotypes.” Yves Bollanger shared the goal of his ‘Afro’ channel. “We are excited to showcase all shades of the Black culture…:”

Here are some of the offerings available on the ‘Afro’ and ‘Cleo TV’:

‘Cleo TV’ http://www.mycleotv.com:

Sister Circle, a live mulitplatform talk show featuring Rashan Ali, Trina Braxton, Syleena Johnson

Tough Love, NYC millenials navigating love in the city.

Lens of Culture with Tai Beauchamp

Just Eats with Chef JJ with host JJ Johnson

New Soul Kitchen with Jernard Wells

Cleo Speaks with April Reign

‘Afro’ http://www.afros.tv:

The Lowdown, a late night show with James Yon

POINT OF VIEW-A talk show for women hosted by Erika Washington, Kaya Chihombori, Sandy Laborde, Candice Cruz and Sisaundra.

KAYA CHIHOMBORI @KAYA_DAILYH

SANDY LABORDE @SANDYLABORDE

HSISAUNDRA @SISAUNDRA

CANDICE CRUZ @CANDICE.TALKS

Style Check-featuring Katrina Lee and CL Freeman

KATRINA LEE @STYLESBYKATRINA

CL FREEMAN @CLTHEBRAND

 Information below provided by PR for Cleo TV and Afrotainment.

For more information on CLEO TV, visit CLEO TV’s YouTube Channel and check out exclusive, behind-the-scenes content on www.mycleo.tv. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on CLEO TV’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook (@mycleotv) using the hashtag #CLEOTV.

About Afrotainment
Afrotainment, a Florida-based company edits, operates and distributes eight networks from its state-of-the-art film and television studios in Orlando and Queens, New York. Afrotainment channels are available in the US and Canada via cable, satellite, fiber-optic and OTT platforms. Visit www.afrotainment.us for more information.

Vydurya Lokesh, Celebrity MUA, Body Positive Influencer and Muse

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I met the amazing and wondrous Vydurya Lokesh at the Priscilla Ono Masterclass in NYC  this past summer.  I was the oldest woman there and realized quickly I was way out of my league in the course.  The silver lining, outside of learning that makeup application is an art, is meeting Vy.  Her aura is gentle, kind and she glows.  I mean her skin glows!  She reminded me of Lupita Nyongo, who also has luminescent skin and happens to be the direct descendant of Eve.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Vydurya has DNA from a Goddess of Light.  It’s who she is and I hope I captured it in this collection of photos.

One of the evenings after class, I invited her to have dinner and we ended up at Eataly near the World Trade Center, after visiting MAC, of course.  At dinner, she went on to tell me about her childhood and the tribulations she experienced at such an early age.  I realized that her past made her clueless on her beauty.  She was just happy to be alive and be a positive influence to everyone she meets.  The entire dinner, I kept thinking what a classic beauty she is and how I would love the opportunity to photograph her.  She was shocked and moved when I finally asked her.

Her last night in the states she spent with me in Maryland and we shot until late evening.  I am happy to share these with you and hope you can see the light that reflects from Vydurya that I noticed from the moment we met.

As she likes to say, “I am destiny’s child. “, not the singing group, but a child of faith that walks in light.

Please make sure to follow her on Instagram @VyduryaLokesh and Facebook @Artistry by Vydurya Lokesh.

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Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes:

Follow Instagram@jovannareyesphotography and @curvysta

Travel: Where to stay & eat in Miami Beach, Florida 2018

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I finally had the opportunity to take a well deserved mini- vacation after attending @ABFF(American Black Film Festival 2018). I lounged around the pool, wandered the streets of Miami South Beach and drank enough flavored mojitos to last a lifetime. I decided to stay in the city of Miami at the JW Marriott Miami Beach, mainly for the rewards and I was not disappointed.  The rooms were clean, maintained and well stocked.  Every need was met!

The JW Marriott was only 15 minutes away from South Beach due to it being the slower tourist season, although travel time may vary during peak season. The JW Marriott is located in the financial district with several banks surrounding it. The daytime hustle and bustle was minimal. My assumption is they were all on vacation. There were mornings were I was the only one walking on the main streets.

The evening views took my breath away.  The reflection of the night sky off the buildings, street lights, ominous cloud formations and deep blue evening sky was cinematic.

FOOD:

The best tasting, fresh sushi was located one block from the hotel. I was looking for a cafe to work in for a couple of hours and found a sign for Panther Coffee. I walked in and realized it was a three in one eatery.  The salmon was so fresh and the ingredients were just right. I slowed down to really savor the dish. As I was leaving to meet friends for dinner, a band was playing on the veranda, so not only is it a destination for great food, you may also enjoy live music and chill for a minute with friends.

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On the busy South Beach Miami strip you will find, not only the legendary Versace estate and restaurant, there are also a variety of eateries for you to enjoy to fulfill any culinary craving and price point.  For breakfast I was constantly enjoying the french toast and coffee at The Front Porch Cafe. I recommend sitting outside to people watch, just don’t feed the birds!

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Photo by Elvis Vasquez on Pexels.com

Walk This Way with Jeannie Ferguson

Plus model extraordinaire, Jeannie Ferguson, hosted her respected, Walk This Way workshop in DC this weekend.  The always effervescent and lovingly spirited model, is known for her amazing and one of a kind walk.  She’s opened the runways of fashion productions nationally.  The show cannot start without Ms. Ferguson taking the first step on the catwalk.  Her experience as a fit model, print model, her unforgettable walk and her  personality are what keep her workshops booked, up and down the Eastern corridor.  This weekend her workshop focused on runway walks and how to become a consistently booked model.  Her honest feedback will help those that are ready to take the next step to professional modeling.   If you are in the North Carolina area, catch Ms. Ferguson at The Power Plus Weekend March 23-25th and at the Stories of Empowerment Brunch in NYC on March 31st.  Follow Jeannie Ferguson on Instagram @plusmodjeannief and shop her designs at @shop_bgu

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