St. Louis Erupts Over Not Guilty Verdict of White Ex Cop

Lance Gross and Niatia Lil Mama Kirkland Star in When Love Kills

When Love Kills_the Falicia Blakely Story TV One Movie posterLance Gross and Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland star in the TV One drama, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story. The made for TV movie premiere’s tonight, August 28 at 9/8p.m. CT.

When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, is the cautionary tale of a teenage mother who was pulled into a life of a stripping, theft, prostitution and murder by an older, abusive pimp who she thought loved her. It is based on the real life-story of Atlanta area teen mom, Falicia Blakely, the product of a single-parent home who was looking for love in all the wrong places. Blakely is now infected with Aids and serving a life sentence in prison as.

In her first leading role is Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland as Falicia Blakely. Lance Gross (House of Payne) plays her pimp and boyfriend, Dino. Tami Roman (Basketball Wives) portrays Baker’s love-starved mother.

The film also stars Tiffany Black, Floyd Mayweather, Big Freedia and Lil Zane.

Tasha Smith (Why Did I Get Married, Empire) makes her feature-film directorial debut in this made for TV movie. Blakely’s story first aired as an episode of TV One’s popular true-crime series, For My Man. When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story is the first feature length film to bow from For My Man.

When Love Kills director, Tasha Smith and cast members Lance Gross and Niatia Lil Mama Kirkland at the Los Angeles premiere screening. Photo courtesy of TV One.

When Love Kills movie director Tasha Smith, and cast members Lance Gross and Niatia Lil Mama Kirkland at the Los Angeles premiere screening. Photo courtesy of TV One.

Smith closely identifies with Falicia Blakely’s life. She said, “I connected with it coming from the urban environment, I had been a stripper…coming from Camden, New Jersey and just growing up in an environment of strip clubs and pimps and people and stuff… I just felt like I would be able to bring a heart and humanity to this character.

Like a lot of times, people just don’t understand what people’s struggles are…what their emotional upbringing is, what can maybe cause them to end up in the situations that they may end up in. I just felt like we needed to have empathy for the Falicia Blakely’s of the world. So I had a real passion and compassion for her, for her experience, for her, for the family for the victims and their families.”

Kirkland (Falicia Blakely) feels she landed the lead by divine intervention. “It was a risk for me and when I thought about how desperate young women are all over the country…all over the world, for that matter, in need of a voice of someone who could help them and to minister to them through acting, I knew I was chosen for it for a reason,” said Kirkland.

Gross’s role as a vicious, preying pimp was completely different from who is as a person and stretched him as an actor. He said, “This is the type of role that an actor dreams of ‘cause its so far left of who I am…I had a long talk with God…and went completely method with this.”

When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story airs tonight on TV One at 9 ET/8 CT.m Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tag #WhenLoveKills. 

Director, Tasha Smith talks about her lead actors in TV One’s movie, When Love Kills:The Falicia Blakely Story. Click and Listen.

Listen to Niatia Lil Mama Kirkland talk about her character in When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story and the choices we make in life. Click and check out her conversation.

Williams Brothers New Single, Smokie Norful, Miami Mass’s Good News and more

artwork for Te Williams Brothers single What God DoesAfter a six year hiatus, gospel icons The Williams Brothers are enjoying chart success with their latest single, the slow-medium tempo “What God Does” from their forthcoming album Timeless on their own Blackberry Records.

“What God Does” recently ranked #26 on the Mediabase Gospel Chart. The song is a reminder that God is still there, doing what only He can do, no matter what is going on and we can still count on God.

The Miami Mass Choir recently released a new culturally diverse music video, “Good News,” a fusion of Cuban sounds with Gospel and English and Christian Latin music and Spanish. Directed by Chinedu Ernesto and filmed throughout Miami, the video features vocalists Tony Lebron and Paula Coleman.

Founder and director of Miami Mass Choir, Marc Cooper said, “With the Latin appeal of the song, and along with South Florida being a melting pot of many nationalities including the Cuban-American community, we wanted to feature the Little Havana area in this music video.”

The Song, “Good News” is from the Billboard Chart topping album THE MIAMI MASS CHOIR LIVE: At The Adrienne Arsht Center.

Smoke Norful, gospel recording artist and pastor of Chicago’s Victory Cathedral Worship Center will release his first book, Take The Lid Off: Trust God, Release the Pressure, and Find The Life He Wants For You (Thomas Nelson Publishing) on September 5.

Photo of book Take The Lid Off by Smokie NOrfulTake The Lid Off guides readers in understanding that, when you focus on four recommended steps, the pressure of life goes down, you gain peace and perception, and things work out much better in the end…the people they were created to be.

Norful ties in Take the Lid Off with an accompanying music project. He partnered with his label home, Motown Gospel to release his upcoming twelve track digital album, Nothing Is Impossible. It will be available on digital outlets only September 9, 2017. The album features some of Norful’s best loved inspirational songs of hope and encouragement, including “Still Say Thank You,” “No One Else,” and “Run ’Til I Finish.”

Motown Gospel’s new artist, Gene Moore has multiple reasons to be excited. Moore’s new album, THE FUTURE, recently came in at number four on the Billboard Top Gospel Chart. To add to that, he was made co-host of the KTSU-FM 90.9 “GO Radio Show” airing Sundays in Houston. Moore’s radio co-host is gospel recording artist Alexis Spight. The show debuts on September 17.

Bounce TV has renewed three of its popular original series, In The Cut, Saints & Sinners and Family Time. The African American audience targeted network has also added new shows for the 2017-2018 season.

Photo of the cast of In The Cut on Bounce TV.One of those new shows is Grown Folks, a half-hour situation comedy about two blue-collar couples who share a duplex while navigating life, marriage and friendship. It premieres on Bounce TV Tuesday, October 3 at 9:30p.m. ET

Grown Folks stars Gary “G-Thang” Johnson (Disaster Movie, Moneyball),Tracey Cherelle Jones (Don’t Be a Menace to South Central, The Players Club, Baby Boy)Jay Phillips (Semi-Pro, Baby Mama, Prom Night) and Caryn Ward Ross (The Game, You Take the Kids). 

Bounce TVs Brown Sugar, the new subscription-video-on-demand service featuring some of the best loved African-American movies, is now available on the Roku® platform. After purchasing a subscription, Roku customers can watch Brown Sugar‘s large library of iconic black movies, including Cotton Comes to Harlem, In the Heat of the Night, Blacula, Cleopatra Jones, Don’t Be a Menace to South Central, Cooley High, Which Way Is Up?, Hammer, Car WashThe Original Gangstas and more on their Roku device.

With their subscription, Roku customers will also have access to and on other Brown Sugar-enabled devices.

Brown Sugar also showcases original TV programming and features complete seasons of the hit Bounce television network series Saints & Sinners, Mann & Wife, Family TimeIn The Cut and Ed GordonFans can also go to Brown Sugar to watch all the exciting action of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV.

Mary Mary Returns For Final Season on WE tv

photo of Mary Mary WE tv logoMary Mary returns for its final season September 28 at 9 pm ET/PT on WE tv. The platinum selling real-life sister duo, Erica and Tina Campbell, will take fans through their daily lives as sisters, recording artists, businesswomen, mothers, wives and women of faith in the sixth and final season of their popular docu-series.

The hour long program by the Los Angeles born and raised “Mary Mary” is one of WE tv’s most popular shows. Last season 12.7 million viewers tuned in to make Mary Mary the number one cable program in its time slot among African-American Women ages 25-54.

Season five left fans in limbo as to whether or not the duo would stay together. In season six, the sisters will head out

photo of Erica and Tina Campbell of We tv's reality tv show Mary Mary.

Erica and Tina Campbell of WE tv’s Mary Mary. Photo courtesy of WE tv

on a global tour despite terrorist threats that abound in areas where they maybe headed. When they arrive in the Holy Land, deep seated emotions surface that test their bond as sisters. And they will bump heads over each other’s growing solo careers causing problems with where Mary Mary the singing group is headed.

Tina Campbell said, “I’m so grateful to have shared the last several years of my life, personally and professionally, with all of the supporters of the viewers of our reality show. We’ve written and recorded songs together, we’ve released albums together, we’ve been pregnant together, we’ve had babies on the show, we’ve had the worst of times in our families and have had the best of times with our family. You’ve watch our children grow up. Heck you’ve watched Erica and I and the rest of our family grow up over these years. We’ve established an identity together and

photo of Erica and Tina Campbell.

Erica and Tina Campbell of Mary Mary on WE tv.

separately and you all have been with us for the entire ride. I can’t possibly find the words to truly express my gratitude for this experience so I’ll just say thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone who made it happen and to everyone who watched it happen. It’s been great.”

“We have been so proud to share our music and our lives with WE tv viewers and fans for the past five seasons…We are grateful to our fans for going with us on this journey, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, we can’t wait to return this fall to complete this part of our story,” shared Erica Campbell.

The NAACP Image Award nominated Mary Mary is produced for WE tv by Entertainment One (eOne) and executive produced by eOne’s Tara Long, John Morayniss, Mark Herwick and WE tv’s Lauren Gellert, Kate Farrell and Lauren Lazin, and Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell, Laura Halperin, and Mitchell Solarek.

Don’t miss all the sister to sister drama, survival, success and faith when Mary Mary kicks off this fall on WeTV.

Watch Tina Campbell’s latest video:

2017 Dove Awards Nominees Kirk Franklin, Anthony Brown and Tasha Cobbs

Logo for 48th Annual Dove AwardsThe Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced the nominees for the 2017 Dove Awards yesterday in Nashville on the campus of Lipscomb University. Two artists representing both the Gospel and Christian music worlds, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Ben Calhoun of Citizen Way handed out the nominations in 44 categories for the 48th Annual Dove Awards.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard. Photo courtesy Motown Gospel.

The awards show and television taping will take place October 17 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena. The show airs October 22  on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

Leading the way with six nominations is songwriter/producer Wayne Haun, followed by Lauren Daigle, Zach Williams, David Garcia and Bernie Herms with five each.

Kirk Franklin, gospel recording artist.

Kirk Franklin, Gospel Recording Artist.

Gospel artist/producer and Fo Yo Soul record label head, Kirk Franklin received four nominations along with Christian music’s NEEDTOBREATHE, Chris Tomlin and Crowder.

Other Gospel artists, songwriters and producers who nabbed nominations in various categories include Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Anthony Brown, CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Travis Greene, Fred Hammond, Tye Tribbett, Tamela Mann, Jekalyn Carr, Tim Bowman, Jr., Todd Delaney, Vashawn Mitchell, Hezekiah Walker, J.J. Hairston and William Murphy, Jr.

Additionally, Christian Rap/Hip Hop artists Trip Lee, Steven Malcolm, and Social Misfits were nominated for Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year. For a full list of the nominees visit

Featured Artist Video

Nominated for a Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel/Urban Recorded Song Of The Year

“Trust In You” by Anthony Brown & group TherAPy


All New Episode of In The Cut Premieres On Bounce TV

Photo of the cast of In The Cut on Bounce TV.The laughs continue on Bounce TV’s all-new episode of In The Cut, tonight, August 8 at 9p.m. ET/8p.m. CT

Tonight’s episode focuses on the hilarious competition that ensues after an argument between Smitty (John Marshall Jones) and Mabel (Laura Hayes). They go up against one another by trading places on the job to prove who’s the best at their jobs.

Meanwhile, Kenny (Ken Lawson) and Stella (G.G. Townson) come to a decision-making crossroads in their relationship. Charles Allen (Rise) and Lorenzo Eduardo (The Depths) will guest star.

Created by Bentley Kyle Evans, the hit comedy In The Cut centers on barbershop owner Jay “The Dream”

Photo of cast members Ken Lawson, Dorien Wilson, John Marshall Jones and Laura Hayes in a scene from Bounce TV's In The Cut. Photo courtesy of Bounce TV.

Ken Lawson, Dorien Wilson, John Marshall Jones and Laura Hayes in a scene from Bounce TV’s In The Cut. Photo courtesy of Bounce TV.

Weaver (Dorien Wilson) and Kenny (Ken Lawson), Jay’s long lost son, as they work alongside each other at the shop and grow their new father-son relationship. In The Cut also stars, Kellita Smith as Cheryl, Jay’s love interest, which he tries to balance while running a business and going through the process of getting to know the son he never knew he had.

If you want to escape your own drama-drama and laugh, laugh, laugh at someone else’s problems, tune in to the all-new episode of In The Cut premiering tonight, August 8th at 9pm ET/8p.m. CT on Bounce TV.

To join the conversation on social media use the hashtag #InTheCut.


Inspired Gospel News Lance Gross and Lil Mama, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and More

Publicity photo of TV One movie stars Niatia (Lil Mama) Kirkland and Lance Gross. Photo courtesy of TV One.

When Love Kills _TV One movie stars Niatia (Lil Mama) Kirkland and Lance Gross. Photo courtesy of TV One.

Lance Gross (House of Payne) and Niatia (Lil Mama) Kirkland (Crazy,Sexy,Cool: The TLC Story) star in the TV One original movie, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story. Directed by Tasha Smith (Why Did I Get Married), the made for TV picture was inspired by the heart-wrenching true story of an Atlanta area teen mom, turned stripper (Falicia Baker played by Kirkland) who came under the influence of a pimp and predator 11 years her senior (Dino portrayed by Gross), who led her into a life of crime. The ill fated affair between an older abuser and a young girl looking for love in all the wrong places led to the adolescent serving three life sentences in prison for three separate murders. If you love the TV One true crime series For My Man, you will want to add When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story to your “got to watch” TV list. The movie premieres Monday, August 28 at 9 p.m. ET on TV One.

Saints and Sinners Cast Photo Season 2Bounce TV has renewed three of its most popular TV shows for the upcoming season: In The Cut, Family Time and Saints & Sinners. Additionally, the African American audience targeted network has added the situation comedy, Grown Folks to the 2017-2018 line-up. It stars Gary “G-Thang” Johnson (Disaster Movie, Moneyball),Tracey Cherelle Jones (Don’t Be a Menace to South Central, Baby Boy)Jay Phillips (Semi-Pro, Prom Night) and Caryn Ward Ross (The Game, You Take the Kids). Grown Folks premieres October 3 at 9:30 p.m. (ET).

More TV and Faith Based Movie News

A Question of Faith movie posterLos Angeles based Silver Lining Entertainment’s faith based film, A Question of Faith is being released theatrically by Nashville Pure Flix Entertainment September 29. The film stars stars Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, T.C. Stallings, C. Thomas Howell, Jaci Velasquez, Gregory Alan Williams and Renee O’Connor.

Another Pure Flix film, Same Kind of Different As Me will arrive in theaters in October 20. This family entertainment picture features a star-studded cast: Academy Award winners Renee Zellwegger and Jon Voight, and Academy Award nominees Djimon Hounson and Greg Kinnear. The film is based on a true story from the best selling book by the same title..

Rickey Smiley, television and radio personality and Grammy Award-winner and actress LeToya Luckett, will co-host Central City Productions’ (producers of The Stellar AwardsBlack Music Honors, Friday, August 18 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (T-Pac). The two hour television taping will pay tribute to musical artists across genres who have contributed greatly to the fabric of music in this country. This year’s honorees are The Jacksons, Donnie McClurkin, Slick Rick, Guy, Oleta Adams and Jody Watley.  Black Music Honors will air in broadcast syndication, September 2-30 and on Bounce TV October 10, at 7 p.m. (ET).

Photo of Donnie McClurkin

Donnie McClurkin
Photo courtesy of FYE

“I am pleased and thrilled to honor some of today’s most influential and iconic music artists”, said Don Jackson, founder of Central City Productions and executive producer of Black Music Honors.

Black Music Honors will include special performances by Avery Sunshine, Dave Hollister, Jonathan Butler, Karen Clark Sheard, Kid N Play, Latrice Crawford, Leela James, Marvin Winans, SWV, Da Brat, Sevyn Streeter and more.

Proceeds from the ticket sales of Black Music Honors will go to the National Museum of African American Music. The museum is scheduled to open in Nashville in 2019.  For information on attending Black Music Honors click here: Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Gospel Music News

Photo of Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Tasha Cobbs Leonard. Photo courtesy Motown Gospel.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard is one busy lady. She just released her new project Heart.Passion.Pursuit (Motown Gospel) last week, and on Tuesday, August 8 she announced the 2017 nominees for the 48th GMA Dove Awards in Nashville along with Ben Calhoun of Citizen’s Way.

Ohio-based Urban Contemporary Gospel trio Half Mile Home is preparing to release their new radio single “This Far” to gospel radio. They enjoyed success with their last single, the Billboard Top 15 radio single “Thinking Of Me,” from their latest project Don’t Judge Me, which reached No. 11 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart.

The new single “This Far,” will be available at digital outlets Friday, September 29th.Artwork for single This Far Home by Half Mile Home

There is a new website to download gospel music by indie artists. It features all styles of Gospel music, from choirs to praise and worship, to instrumentals. Artists and fans, if you want more information e-mail or visit

Two-time Stellar Award winner Ted Winn is prepping for the release of his latest music project,Stand In Awe (Shanachie Entertainment). It is slated for release in September.


1 Comment

Inspired Gospel News Anthony Brown, Tasha Cobbs, Tina and Teddy Campbell and More

A Long Way from Sunday albumComing. Artist AnthonyBrown and Group TherapyA Long Way from Sunday (Tyscot) by Anthony Brown & Group TherApy was released recently. It contains chart topping single “Trust In You.” To celebrate, a special launch party is being held August 1 at Sony Square in New York City at 5p.m. ET.

Motown Gospel just released Heart.Passion.Pursuit, the new album by Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

RCA Inspiration dropped Le’Andria Johnson’s much anticipated album Bigger Than Me this month. Hit making mainstream music producers Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly (Whitney Houston, Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears) were recruited by Phil Thornton, RCA Inspiration’s Sr. VP to executive produce on Le’Andria’s project.

Le'Andria Johnson album cover, Bigger Than MeRCA Inspiration is also gearing up for Travis Greene’s Crossover: Live from Music City album. It will debut in the market August 18. In the meantime, his single “You Waited” sits in the top ten hits on the Billboard Gospel Chart. 

Kirk Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul imprint with RCA Inspiration has new music coming from The Walls and Tasha Page Lockhart.

album cover from The Walls singing group.

The Walls (Fo Yo Soul/RCA Inspiration). Photo courtesy RCA Inspiration.

Plus, RCA Inspiration is set to release the sound track to season two of OWN’s popular church centered television show Greenleaf, featuring music by Le’Andria Johnson, Jekalyn Carr and newcomer Corrine Hawthorne in September.

Tina Campbell’s latest single “Too Hard Not Too” premiered on radio and digital outlets July 28. It leads the way to her forthcoming album It’s Still Personal which streets in September. Music from the project will be featured on Tina’s TV show with sister Erica Campbell Mary Mary which returns for season six on WeTV in September. Before that, Tina will join her sister Erica at the 1st Anniversary of the Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell syndicated radio show concert, August 7 in Wingate Park in Brooklyn, NY.

Tina and husband Teddy Campbell also host the popular web series Ten Minutes with Teddy and Tina. The series has reached over 200,000 views on YouTube to date.

TV and Film News

TV One will carry Tegna’s new hour-long talk show Sister Circle. It launches in September 11th in 12 markets and nationally via TV One. The show has four female hosts, Quad Webb-Lunceford (Married To Medicine), Syleena Johnson (R&B Divas Atlanta), comedian Kiana Dancie and sports reporter Rashan Ali. The team will discuss hot topics of the day, as well as lifestyle and relationship issues. Sister Circle isn’t leaving out the brothers. Resident music spinner, DJ Q will interject a male point of view.

TV One’s Newsone Now, hosted by veteran news guy Roland Martin, will re-launch this fall as the two-hour Black America Today.

Affirm/Provident Films’ (War Room, Woodlawn) All Saints opens nationwide in theaters on August 25. Based on a true story about a church that was saved by a farm and an immigrant congregation, the film stars John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Cara Buono, Barry Corbin, Gregory Alan Williams (Greenleaf, Hidden Figures) and Nelson Lee.

Meagan Goode, actress and producer, recently wrapped on an untitled film that stars Omari Hardwick. RCA Inspiration’s Phil Thornton and his partners at Ten 2 One Entertainment-Los Angeles are involved in this project.

Wesley Snipes’ Talon Of God

Talon of God by Wesley Snipes and Ray Norman novel coverWesley Snipes debuts his first novel, the spiritual thriller, Talon of God at stores and online now.

The award-winning actor and producer who has 88 combined acting and producer credits, is known to many as the sci-fi film superhero, sword wielding vampire slayer Blade, as opposed to contemporary supernatural thriller novelist. Snipes and his author, Ray Norman, do not disappoint his action films fans with the spiritual themed, fast paced Talon of God. It keeps the reader on edge from start to finish as you comb through the pages to find out what comes next.

Talon of God, published by Harper Voyager, an imprint of publishing giant Harper Collins, has something you do not have in your average novel, a kick butt and taking names female protagonist. The book tells the story of Lauren Jefferson, a Chicago doctor and a woman of faith, whose father is a baptist minister. As a sinister drug sweeps through the windy city fueled by evil-doers and threatens to take control of humanity, Lauren is recruited by strong man of God and legendary demon slayer, Talon Hunter. He trains her to be a spirit warrior. And together they fight off Satan’s army and the forces of evil who want to enslave humanity and create Hell on right earth, Armageddon.

Snipes said, “Ray Norman and I worked hard to write a book that would be compelling to the wide audience of people who don’t just love action and adventure, but also are seekers of answers to the ultimate questions about the Divine Creator’s presence, purpose and power.”

Although Talon of God just hit digital and brick and mortar bookshelves this week, Snipes has hopes, or “faith” that it will show up in other forms in the near future, maybe in feature-length film form. “My creativity has largely played out in film and television – but I’ve always had a desire to write a book.  Collaborating, crafting, creating this novel, Talon of God, was a new and exciting experience for me…and I can’t wait to see if this story finds life in other forms,” said Snipes.

Snipes is currently on the road doing appearances on television and promoting Talon of God at retail stores. His visits include Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake in Denver, CO on July 27 at 7p.m. and Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach, CA on July 29 at 2p.m. He appeared at the Barnes& Noble in Tribeca-New York City and made a stop on the CBS Morning Show earlier this week.

As the novel sinks into the marketplace, it will certainly create a stir in both amongst the religious and agnostics. Besides that, Talon of God is a unique, thriller of a book. It is definitely worth the read.

RCA Inspiration’s Phil Thornton One Year In

Phil Thornton, Sr VP RCA Inspiration.

Phil Thornton, Sr Vice President of RCA Inspiration.

Phil Thornton is one year in as the Sr VP of RCA Inspiration. Thornton is an entertainment executive constantly on the move. With reality TV shows, inspirational music that fuses gospel and urban sounds, and the recent addition of being involved with the Living Legends Foundation, you might say he’s got a Superman “S” on his chest for all the things he is doing in the entertainment world.  Although he has a gazillion things going on,  he still takes the time to share his knowledge with people and artists trying to find their place in the music business.

“Sometimes, I think Superman is definitely my middle name…when I’m trying to just keep the peace and keep it all moving,” said the multi-faceted Nashville based executive.

Prior to coming to RCA Inspiration in 2016, Thornton spent four years at eOne music where his last position was VP/General Manager of Urban Inspirational Music at eOne Music in Nashville. Then he received an offer from RCA Inspiration, which was based in New York at the time, to head up their gospel and inspirational music division which would be moving to Nashville.

Philt Thornton speaking on a gospel panel at the 2016 Urban Network Digital Conference in San Diego, CA.

Phil Thornton speaking on gospel panel at the Urban Network Digital Conference in San Diego 2016.

Thornton was already thriving in Nashville. He was having great success at eOne Music releasing music across genres, such as hits by Shirley Caesar, Lalah Hathaway (urban division), Jonathan McReynolds and Ricky Dillard. Plus he secured a distribution deal between Warryn Campbell’s My Block Records (label home of Mary Mary and Campbell’s wife Erica Campbell’s music) and was involved with the WeTV Mary Mary show. Everything was running smoothly. So why would the hit-maker leave something so successful go to another label? For Thornton, it was the right offer at the right time.

He was doing well at eOne pulling together artists from different genres of music to craft hits that inspire souls as he did with “It’s Alright, It’s Ok” by Shirley Caesar, featuring Anthony Hamilton . He said, “ It’s all in a person’s heart. And they’re a believer regardless if they work in a different space…if it’s a country writer, I welcome it. If it’s a great song and its coming from a pure place, and it’s gonna inspire someone, I’m all ears.” Thornton brought his gift to mix artists and genres with him to RCA Inspiration and his hit making skills to boot.

RCA Inspiration is a perfect place for the creativity of Thornton to expand. Thornton said, “Provident houses our (RCA Inspiration) CCM division, Provident Label Group, Reunion Records – which has everyone from Casting Crowns to Tenth Avenue North, to Zach Williams. Also, Provident houses our Provident Film Group, which produced War Room. Our publishing division, which you know publishes a lot of great Christian and gospel writers.

Le'Andria Johnson album cover Bigger Than MeThornton has been involved in entertainment since he did an internship in radio at age 12. He has put his magic stamp on some of the most anticipated music releases of the year, such as Marvin Sapp’s album You Shall Live (slated for release in September 2017) and Le’Andria Johnson’s latest album, Bigger Than Me.

In addition to working with the best producers and music execs in gospel, such as Stanley Brown, Thornton has recruited top mainstream music talent to write and produce gospel projects.

He said, “Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly, who have worked heavily on the mainstream side, they’ve done records for everybody from Whitney Houston to Brittany Spears to Miley Cyrus, they’re believers, both guys…they moved here to Nashville, recently and I retained them to basically…join me on this journey of executive producing Le’Andria’s new offering.”

In addition to Le’Andria and Marvin Sapp’s projects, Thornton is prepping for Travis Greene’s new music August 18. The album was recorded live in Nashville. Thornton adds, “And then Greenleaf, we partnered with Lionsgate and Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN, to release the season two soundtrack for the Greenleaf soundtrack. Le’Andria is on the soundtrack. Jekalyn Carr is on the soundtrack.

Corrine Hawthorne, one of the new artists that I signed. She’s on the soundtrack and that’s coming out in September as well.”

The Walls (Fo Yo Soul/RCA Inspiration). Photo courtesy RCA Inspiration.

RCA Inspiration is also gearing up for hot new releases by The Walls, and Tasha Page Lockhart on Fo Yo Soul, RCA Inspiration’s partnership with Kirk Franklin. In efforts to branch out, Thornton noted that RCA Inspiration will launch a new hip hop imprint this year.

While Thornton is doing his thing in music entertainment, he still operates in television and management through his Los Angeles based company Ten 2 One Entertainment. His business partners Paul Coy Allen, and Marcus Spence handle its day-to-day operations.

Thornton said of his TV and film projects with Ten 2 One Entertainment, “I still produce. We just wrapped on the latest season of The Manns, which used to be called It’s a Mann’s World on BET. It was on BET, the last season. It just aired in its third season….And we just wrapped on a film that starred Omari Hardwick and Meagan Goode, wrapped that in April…I mean a lot of great things are happening.

After one year as the Sr VP of RCA Inspiration, what’s next for Phil Thornton, the super entertainment executive with hands in music, TV and film projects?

In the words of Kirk Franklin’s hit, Phil Thornton just wants to be happy. He beamed, “Continued success and overall happiness, that’s a big thing to me. To continue to run a great entertainment empire, and having a family to share as well…this definitely a step towards that path and on the journey but I’ve got a lot more in me.”


%d bloggers like this: