This weekend’s edition of UPFRONT is all about #BlackExcellence. It features exclusive interviews with media mogul and trailblazing entertainment icon Ms. Cathy Hughes, actor and dancer Ryan Jamaal Swain and Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios—Mark E. Swinton. 

UPFRONT was invited to Washington D.C. this week to attend Urban One’s “Press Supporting Press” event at the headquarters of TV One. The invitation only event featured the one and only Ms. Cathy Hughes as she talked about the upcoming Urban One Honors. The television event, airing on MLK Holiday (January 20, 2020) will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Radio One and celebrate a number of TV, film and music stars, who have made immeasurable contributions to the world of entertainment.

“I am unapologetically in the Black people business,” said Ms. Hughes during the Press Supporting Press event.

This year’s honorees include legendary music executive Sylvia Rhone, Oscar-winning actor, singer and all-around entertainer Jamie Foxx plus hip hop icon and musical genius Missy Elliott. 

Rising actor, dancer and POSE star Ryan Jamaal Swain will be receiving the very first #RepresentPrideAward for his LGBTQ advocacy. His co-star and Emmy-winning actor Billy Porter will be in attendance to present him with the award.

“There are so many shoulders that I am standing on that have made space for me to be here and to accept this award and I am just so happy that Ms. Hughes got Billy Porter to be here,” said Swain during our conversation. 

Other Urban One Honors performers and presenters include Ne-Yo, Wale, Brandy, Egypt Sherrod, Eric Benet, Jac Ross (whose amazing voice is featured in today’s show) and a special appearance from the “Black Godfather” and living legend Mr. Clarence Avant. 

Closing out UPFRONT is the last part of my one-on-one conversation with Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios—Mark E. Swinton. During this segment, Mark opens up about how he secured his position with Mr. Perry, his day-to-day duties as VP, their new BET shows The Oval and Sisters and what it was like to be part of Mr. Perry’s historic studio opening. He also opens up about lessons learned throughout his career and how to remain “steadfast” during difficult times. 

UPFRONT airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Atlanta’s Jazz station, WCLK 91.9 and is hosted by yours truly—Ray Cornelius.

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