Posts tagged with "Emmy"

Billy Porter announced Madame Tussauds wax figurine via 360 MAGAZINE.

BILLY PORTER × MADAME TUSSAUDS

Billy Porter is a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright – and today – his latest accomplishment comes in the form of a wax figure from the world’s greatest wax museum, Madame Tussauds. Billy announced the exciting news to his fans on Instagram. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Billy is best known for his electric portrayal of Pray Tell in FX’s breakthrough series, “Pose;” representation of the Fairy Godmother in Amazon’s remake of Cinderella; and his fabulous style. A veteran of the theater, Billy, has also starred in Broadway including Kinky Boots, which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Besides his accomplishments in acting, Billy is also known as an inspirational icon. Through his powerful statements on the red carpet and openness within interviews and his memoir, he is admired for his vulnerability and supportive nature to all communities. Therefore, on behalf of World Kindness Day on November 13, Billy announced there’s more of him to spread kindness with his new wax figure.

Billy sat down with a team of artists who will create his wax figure. The multi-talented star’s figure will wear a recreation of one of his most memorable looks from the 2020 Grammy awards, styled by Sam Ratelle. A Scott Studenberg-designed turquoise jacket and jumpsuit, and a wide-brimmed hat with a motorized screen of crystalline fringe. The figure will take about six months and 20 studio artists to create in London before fans can meet his figure at Madame Tussauds New York Times Square.

“I am humbly honored to be receiving my very own wax figure at Madame Tussauds. It’s been a pleasure to work with the artists to make this dream come true and I can’t wait to see my twin in New York!” said Billy Porter.

After making history becoming the first openly gay, black man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, Billy has fought to provide visibility and inspiration to all young queer people of all colors. Madame Tussauds provides direct access to A-list celebrities, showcasing their impact on society. Fans will be able to meet Billy Porter’s wax twin at Madame Tussauds New York in Times Square. Guests are encouraged to visit https://www.madametussauds.com/new-york/

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ABOUT MADAME TUSSAUDS NEW YORK

Voted as one of New York’s most unique attractions, Madame Tussauds invites you to pose “in a moment in time” with our famous fun figures of internationally renowned musicians, A-list stars, sports legends, world leaders and more. New for 2022, step onto the red carpet with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bad Bunny. Plus, Madame Tussauds New York’s Glow Gala is packed with 19 celebrities including new and never-before-seen wax figures of Ariana Grande and P. Diddy. With more than 85,000 square feet of interactive entertainment, including the expanded MARVEL Hall of Heroes, and the new Oval Office Experience, the world-famous attraction is bigger and better than ever! For more information, visit the website at madametussauds.com/new-york/ and on Facebook

ABOUT MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS

Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates more than 140 attractions, 23 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries across 4 continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its millions of guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its employees.

 See www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information and follow on Twitter @MerlinEntsNew

Rita Ora Finish Line via Heather Davis for Disney for use by 360 Magazine

Rita Ora – Finish Line

“Finish Line,” performed by global superstar Rita Ora and written by award-winning songwriter Diane Warren, was released across all music streaming platforms and is the soundtrack for ESPN‘s upcoming four-part Title IX docuseries, 37 Words. A true passion project across the company, ABC Owned Television Stations’ race and culture team played a pivotal role in securing the song and was part of a majority-women-led team responsible for the creative vision of the “Finish Line” music video. An exclusive clip of the music video premiered Sunday, May 15, during ABC’s American Idol. Emmy Award-winning producer and host Ryan Seacrest interviewed both Ora and Warren live.

“Finish Line” is a women empowerment anthem that will support “37 Words,” a four-part ESPN docuseries from documentary filmmakers Dawn Porter and Nicole Newnham, as part of The Walt Disney Company‘s Fifty/50 initiative led by ESPN. The Fifty/50 initiative commemorates the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution receiving federal funding and gave women the equal opportunity to play. 

“I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Fifty/50 initiative because it celebrates the 50-year anniversary passing of Title IX,” said multi-award-winning songwriter Diane Warren. “This powerful initiative inspired me to write ‘Finish Line’ as an uplifting anthem that reminds us to never give up the fight. It may be 50 years since the law was passed, but we are still pushing for the fundamental human right of equality. Rita Ora understood the message of never giving up within this song. She sang it so movingly with the conviction it needed.”  

“I love working with Diane. She is such a brilliant songwriter and collaborating with her is always a joy,” said global superstar Rita Ora. “When she brought this song to me, I was so moved by the lyrics and the passion they evoked and knew instantly that I had to be involved with the project. The fight for women’s equality is a global issue. Every day, women around the world are fighting to be seen, heard and respected. We must continue to work to empower one another as we strive to make equality a reality for women in every part of the world.”

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX across The Walt Disney Company, it is a true gift to have two such prolific, powerhouse artists as Rita Ora and Diane Warren contribute their talent and passion to a song that celebrates and encourages girls and women around the country,” said Debra O’Connell, president of Networks for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. “‘Finish Line’ is a fantastic and empowering anthem, brought to life by an extraordinary and inspiring group of women. I’m incredibly proud of this collaboration and thrilled to showcase it on our Networks as part of the Fifty/50 initiative.”

College Television Awards

The Television Academy Foundation today announced presenters for the 41st College Television Awards honoring achievement in student-produced programs nationwide. The ceremony will be streamed globally HERE on Saturday, March 26, at 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT.

The virtual awards show will feature stars from today’s top television shows presenting awards to winning teams in seven categories. Celebrity presenters confirmed to date include Dove Cameron (Schmigadoon!), Rick Glassman ( As We See It), Harvey Guillén ( What We Do in the Shadows), Sam Heughan ( Outlander), Jordan L. Jones (Bel-Air), Rose McIver (Ghosts), Sue Ann Pien (As We See It), Danielle Pinnock (Ghosts), Logan Shroyer (This Is Us) and Hannah Zeile (This Is Us). Albert Lawrence, correspondent for CBS’ The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Television Academy Foundation alumnus, will host.

The College Television Awards will also include the presentation of the $10,000 Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship to Taylor University students Chad Veal and Brendan Wallace for their production titled 20 Over profiling Indiana track athlete, Noah Malone, who suffers from Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy and competes in the Paralympic Games. In addition, the Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award will be presented during the show.

The virtual awards show is free to watch and advance registration is recommended. Donations to support Television Academy Foundation programs are also encouraged. To register and provide support go HERE.

The 41 st College Television Awards is supported by philanthropists and corporate partners including Kia America, PEOPLE ®, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, Johnny Carson Foundation, United Airlines ®, WarnerMedia and Roku.

About the Television Academy Foundation

Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards and Summit, Student Internship and Fellowship Programs and the Faculty Conference, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. For more information on the Foundation, please go HERE.

Dove Cameron-Photo courtesy Dennis Leupold
Sam Heughan announced presenter of The Television Academy Foundation College Awards f/ in 360 MAGAZINE.
Sam Heughan-Photo Courtesy Charlie Gray
Jordan L. Jones-Photo courtesy Peacock
halle berry illustration by Mel Quagrainie for use by 360 magazine

HALLE BERRY – THE PEOPLE’S ICON

Academy Award-Winning Actress, Director, and Producer Halle Berry to Receive The People’s Icon Award at The 2021 People’s Choice Awards

Cardi B to Present Berry with the Award at the Ceremony Live on NBC and E! on Tuesday, December 7 at 9PM ET/PT

Today, NBC and E! announced that Academy Award-winning actress, director, and producer Halle Berry will receive “The People’s Icon” award at the 2021 “People’s Choice Awards.” Grammy Award-winning artist Cardi B will present the award to Berry at the ceremony. The PCA Award-winner and seven-time nominee will be honored for her contributions in TV and film, including her directorial debut in the highly anticipated film “Bruised,” which will be in select theatres on November 17 and arrives on Netflix on November 24. Cardi B and Berry teamed up to executive produce the film’s soundtrack, which features six original songs by award-winning and multi-platinum female artists, including a song by Cardi B. The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” will air simultaneously on both NBC and E! on Tuesday, December 7 at 9pm ET/PT from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA.

“Throughout her career, Halle Berry has broken down barriers, directed and starred in diverse roles that have paved the way for others in the industry,” said Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, Specials & E! News, NBCUniversal Entertainment Television and Streaming. “In addition to her filmography accolades and trendsetting ethos, Berry is known for her philanthropic work with women, children and underserved communities. She is an icon of our time and for all these reasons and more, we are honored to present her with ‘The People’s Icon’ award.” 

As an actor, producer, director, activist, philanthropist, and fashion icon, Berry has made history on multiple accounts. Highlights include her performance in “Monster’s Ball,” which earned her the Academy Award for “Best Actress,” making her the first Black woman to receive that honor, as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe for “Best Actress” for her role in “Frankie and Alice.” Berry also earned an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and NAACP Image Award for her extraordinary performance in HBO’s telefilm, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” which she also produced. 

Most recently, Berry filmed Netflix’s “The Mothership,” which she stars in and executive produced, and will be seen in Roland Emmerich-helmed sci-fi epic “Moonfall” for Lionsgate, which is due in theaters February 2022. In 2020, Berry made her highly anticipated directorial debut in new film “Bruised,” in which she also stars.

Outside of her filmography success, Berry is an active supporter of the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles, which supports victims of domestic violence and aims to change the pattern of abuse in the lives of women and children. Further, Berry joined forces with Novo Nordisk and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to launch the Diabetes Aware Campaign and has supported a vast number of charities and organizations such as Afghanistan Relief Organization, Black Lives Matter, Clothes Off Our Back, Love Our Children USA, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, Revlon Run/Walk, and United Nations World Food Programme. 

Berry also founded rē•spin, a platform created to provide broader access to health and wellness content and products through inclusivity and conversation. Rooted in discovery and learning, the heart of rē•spin is its global community connected around the core belief of a holistic mind, body, and soul approach to wellness.   

The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” will air simultaneously on both NBC and E! for the first time on Tuesday, December 7 at 9:00pm ET/PT from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA.  “Live from E!: The 2021 People’s Choice Awards” will kick off the night with a red carpet special at 7:00pm ET/PT on E!. The “People’s Choice Awards” and “Live from E!: The 2021 People’s Choice Awards” are both produced by Den of Thieves with Executive Producers Jesse Ignjatovic, Evan Prager and Barb Bialkowski.

 

See the full list of all 40 categories and nominees online.

Alex Bogdan illustration for 360 MAGAZINE of Jazmine Sullivan.

ESSENCE × Jazmine Sullivan

ESSENCE’s July/August 2021 issue features GRAMMY nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan and EMMY award-winning actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on its two covers dedicated to the “ESSENCE Festival of Culture” and “Summer Screen Kings” respectively.

In the piece, Jazmine’s Tale, the singer and ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola headliner (which will stream across two weekends June 25-27 and July 2-4 on ESSENCE’s website and on ESSENCE Studios) slays in bold colors and white-hot looks from Stella McCartney, Fendi, Cong Tri, Aliette, Alix NYC and more. She opens up to Insecure co-creator/writer/producer Issa Rae about the importance of holding space for Black women, therapy and the freedom of sharing her own journey. She talks to Rae about:

  • ON HAVING A MASTER PLAN…OR NOT: “I wish I could say I had a master plan, but I really didn’t. I was just doing what felt natural, and luckily I had gotten with a record company and with people who allowed me to do that. But for me, I just wanted to express myself in the most natural way, and that means me writing my stories. So many of the songs at that time came from a lot of the childish stuff I was going through. For example, busting windows out of an ex’s car and literally going straight from doing it to not being able to sleep. I was restless, because I was still in the moment. And so I just started writing about it. I let my girlfriends hear it, and they were like, ‘Girl, do your thing—whatever this leads to.’ And it led to my world opening up in such a different way…”
  • ON TELLING BLACK WOMEN’S STORIES: “Before now, I had really just been concerned about expressing myself and getting my story out there—and people have connected to that. But for this project, it was important for me to share the stories of the women I love and hold dear to my heart. I feel like they are just as banging and dynamic as me. And I want to give space and opportunity to women, period…”
  • ON MAKING SPACE FOR OTHER BLACK WOMEN: “I feel like we get caught up in thinking there’s ‘only one’ of us. There can only be one R&B superstar; there can only be one rap girl at a time. That’s not true. God was not stingy when He was giving out gifts. And you’re not the only person. There are many other women, especially Black women, who can do what you do. And let’s all create spaces for each other to get out there and do that…”
  • ON FINDING THE RIGHT THERAPIST: “The first five minutes I was holding back tears, because I was like, ‘Wow, this is the first time I’m actually speaking about my feelings. And it’s not in a song. It doesn’t require notes. I don’t need to impress anybody with what it is that I’m actually doing. This is the first time.’ So I was holding back tears even doing that. But after that first five minutes, I was surprised by how much I was enjoying speaking to somebody, and somebody listening to me, and I didn’t have to perform to do it. But finding the right therapist is a process—because I went to therapy one time, years ago, and I hated the experience, and I feel like it stopped me from going for a long time. And then I found this new lady, and it’s a totally different experience. So you have to find the right person for you, that you actually want to open up to. But once you do that, a weight lifts off of you—just from speaking, just from telling your story. And that’s what Heaux Tales was. It’s like, ‘Tell it, girl. Tell it. Set yourself free.’”

In the piece, Summer Screen Kings, it’s obvious that leading man Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is here to stay. Given the space he has carved out for himself in Hollywood, the meaning of his name (which, roughly translated from Arabic, means “Graced by God”) seems particularly prescient. At 35 and a towering 6 feet 3 inches tall, Yahya’s imprint in Hollywood continues expanding. Weeks away from the release of his first leading role in Candyman (in theaters August 27), Yahya will also star in The Matrix 4, the newest installment in the Matrix franchise, as well as his third action flick, Ambulance, next year. As he heats up the issue in designers including Fendi, Hermes, Gucci and more, he talks to ESSENCE Senior Entertainment Editor Brande Victorian about what really drew him to acting, his definition of sexy and whether a rom-com is next on his list of achievements:

  • ON WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE SEXY: “I don’t think sexy tries. Ease is sexy. It’s nice to have a little bit of mystery, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s not for me to say whether I’m attractive or not. It’s for me to have self-confidence. Confidence is sexy…”
  • ON HOW HIS CURIOSITY DREW HIM TO ACTING: “I wasn’t itching to be a star or anything like that. I wasn’t thinking about movies or television. I just started following my curiosity…I got here by staying curious, by staying humble, and also knowing that there’s so much more that I want to do…I think I’ve done a lot on other people’s terms. I’ve been able to step into projects that were already written before my name was attached, and I’m so thankful that I was able to step in and support those projects. But now I’m at a place where I’m looking to come into rooms with my own ideas, and develop those ideas and tell my own stories. I think that’s the next chapter…”
  • ON WHETHER A ROM-COM IS IN HIS FUTURE: “We need more romance…We have adventure. We have action. We’ve got a lot of stories about trauma, because trauma is very present in our world right now. But we also need love. We need more straight-up, old-school romance. I don’t mind putting my hand up and stepping into that place to say, ‘I’ll be your man, girl.’ I don’t mind that at all…”
  • ACTRESS/DIRECTOR REGINA KING ON YAHYA’S DEDICATION TO THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE: “That man talks about his sisters and his mother with so much love and so much appreciation…I think that was one of the reasons why we connected so well. It doesn’t always work that way with actors, that you feel safe enough to be so forthcoming with your personal life, but we did that literally day one. His love for the women in his life, he leads with that…”

ESSENCE’s “Summer Screen Kings” package also features hot actors Don Cheadle (Space Jam: A New Legacy), Omar Sy (Lupin), Aaron Pierre (OLD) and Mekai Curtis (Raising Kanan). For more on this issue, which hits newsstands on June 29, visit ESSENCE For more information on the virtual ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola, visit ESSENCE’s Festival website

All Photos: Brad Ogbonna

Town & Country 8th Philanthropy Summit – Marlo Thomas × Phil Donahue

The 8th annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit continued today with a wonderful conversation between Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, moderated by Editor in Chief Stellene Volandes. This is the first time that Phil has interviewed Marlo since they first met on the Donahue show decades ago.

Please see below for highlights from the panel as well as a link to view the interview in its entirety:

Marlo on visiting St. Jude following her father’s death:

“After my father died, it was just a terrible shock to us. It was stunning because he hadn’t been sick, so it was very sudden. He was adored by us. We all loved him, and he was our funny, loving perfect daddy so it was very, very hard. We all decided that you know, we’d go to St. Jude and let them know that we were here if they needed us and so I went to St. Jude, a couple of months later. I drove up and there was a sixteen feet statue of St. Jude right at the entrance, and I started to cry because I’ve been there so many times with my dad. I pulled myself together because I didn’t want to cry in front of the parents, they have enough heartache of their own. I went inside and, in the lobby, there was this party going on. All of these little kids running around with party hats, balloons, confetti, ice cream, and cake. I said to the nurse, ‘Well whose birthday, is it?’ She said, ‘Oh it’s not a birthday party, it’s an off-chemo party.’ Well, I’ll tell you, I just gasped, to see these children celebrating one of their turns for the better. All of these moms and dads and grandparents standing around with tears in their eyes because they felt that if this child made it, maybe their beloved child would too. It was really a stunning moment for me. And then, just as I was standing there, this mom came over with a little girl about four years old, all dressed in pink. She had little pink ribbons jauntily tied around her little bald head and the mother said to her, ‘do you know who’s this lady’s daddy is?’ and the little girl shyly answered, ‘yes’ the mother said ‘who?’ She [little girl] proudly said, ‘St. Jude.’ I just fell in love with her. I fell in love with all of those kids in the off-chemo party. I fell in love with this place. And I realized for the first time, just what all of this hope and love and promise and the future of a second chance for children meant to my father. It really helped me to see myself as a part of it.”

Marlo on what she learned from her father: 

“Well, what I learned from dad, really is that he had a lot of sayings, and one of them was there’s two kinds of people in the world: those who stop on an accident to see if they can help or those who just drive by. He was literally the kind that would stop and help. I remember one time, we were driving by down Sunset Blvd. we saw these boys beating up on another little boy. And my father stopped the car and jumped out. He pulled the boys apart and gave them a big talking to. I was sitting in the car, terrified, I was eight years old. He got back in the car. He brought the little boy that’ve been bullied with him. We were going to drop him off at home and as my dad started the car, he said, ‘I hate a bully.’ And I think to him, cancer in children was a bully. A bully that he wanted to defeat. The thing about my dad too is that he really was a citizen of the world, that we all are citizens of the world…He saw himself as part of the neighborhood as a part of a community wherever he was, he was a part of that community. I think that was a great lesson for my sister, my brother, and I.”

Phil Donahue on his first visit to St. Jude and how that impacted him: 

“My first visit to St. Jude, I picked up a little bald-headed kid. I said, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up, big guy?’ This still makes me cry. The kid said, ‘I just don’t want to be sick anymore.’ Well, my god, I grabbed this kid. You know, for a very brief moment, I kind of felt how parents feel when they take a child to St. Jude. How scary it must be and how I didn’t want that child to see my eyes get moist. So, it’s a real learning experience at St. Jude. It changed me forever. I do wish everybody could visit the hospital. It’s a life-changing experience and when you see the parents arrive with a child. You see the real fear on their faces, terror sometimes. Then you see them leaving and they’re better. It’s like a godsent – the change they feel, and that their children feel.”

Marlo on being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and her version of the American Dream: 

“One of the things that happened in my life that was really big a great deal, because of my work with St. Jude, is that I received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama. My husband and I went, and my brother came, and the head of St. Jude came. The interesting thing about it, is when you are growing up, especially as an actress, you dream of getting an Emmy or an Oscar or a Tony, but I don’t think anybody grows up dreaming about the Medal of Freedom. It just comes as a shock when you’re told you will be receiving this at the White House. And I remember I was stunned. Remember we discussed that I wasn’t going to cry? So, I’m not going to cry, but I did because at the moment President Obama was clasping the medal around my neck, I thought of my grandparents. My grandparents were immigrants who came to this country from Lebanon to find a better way of life, to raise their family and their children. And I saw them in my mind’s eye, I could see my grandparents with all their belongings and cloth bags. And here, their granddaughter just two generations later were in the White House receiving the Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States. I mean, that is the American Dream. I’m so proud of the fact that my grandparents made a life in this country.”

Marlo on how celebrity involvement has helped the foundation: 

“That’s a very interesting thing because just as in our generation, we brought in Jennifer Aniston and Robin Williams and all of those wonderful people. My dad did that, that’s how he built the hospital. He used to say this hospital was built with laughter George Burns and the Bob Hope and all of the funny guys—Jerry Lewis and Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, all of the men and women that were on the night club circuit with my dad helped build St. Jude. In fact, Frank Sinatra did so many benefits that we actually have a whole wing that’s called the Frank Sinatra wing. Their generosity really built the hospital.”

Watch the full summit here.

The T&C Summit continues tomorrow with Stacy-Marie Ishmael speaking to Taraji P. Henson and Jamie Raskin, and Stellene Volandes in conversation with Andreas Dracopoulos. If you are interested in attending register directly here.

Image of Darren Criss from Christina Santamaria and BMG for use by 360 Magazine

Darren Criss x I Can’t Dance

Today, singer and songwriter Darren Criss releases his newest single, “I Can’t Dance,” via BMG.

This is the second in a series of new songs which Darren described as “character-driven singles.” He announced the track on Instagram earlier this week, writing, “Half masc, half fem, half bad bitch, half brazen baller. This song is an ode to both those we love to hate and those we hate to love. What can I say, I live for dualities.”

“I Can’t Dance” arrives on the heels of “f*kn around,” which Billboard described as “a slick alt-pop single built around a wiggly bass line.”  MTV News praised, “With synthy distortions and a banging guitar loop, the song echoes the sharper edges of contemporaries like Shawn Mendes and Justin Timberlake’s with a theatrical flair fans have come to expect from Criss.” Darren made his late-night television performance debut with the single on The Late Late Show with James Corden alongside Este Haim of HAIM on bass, The Pocket Queen on drums, frequent collaborator and San Fermin frontwoman Charlene Kaye on guitar, and the track’s co-writer CJ Baran on keys.

Music has always played an integral role in Darren’s artistry. As a solo artist, his 2017 EP Homework debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart. Criss has toured to sold-out audiences around the world including headlining the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival with multi-GRAMMY Award nominee and renowned DJ Steve Aoki. In 2019, he also headlined the Balmain Music Festival for the Balmain men’s spring 2020 show. He has been featured on the cover of numerous magazines including such music publications as Billboard and American Songwriter.

As a songwriter, Darren has penned songs for the comedy musical Royalties, for which he was also the creator and executive producer. He received his first Emmy nomination for songwriting in 2015 for Best Original Music and Lyrics for the song “This Time,” which appeared on Glee’s series finale. In addition to collaborations with fellow artists including Rufus Wainwright, Sabrina Carpenter, Bonnie McKee, Jordan Fisher, and many others, he has also written for Apple’s animated series “Central Park.”

LISTEN HERE 

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Idris Elba × HarperCollins

Iconic and multi-award-winning actor, musician, filmmaker, and activist Idris Elba has signed a global multi-book deal with HarperCollins to publish a range of children’s books launching in 2022.

In a major UK/US co-publication deal, world rights were acquired by Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher, HCCB UK, and Suzanne Murphy, President, and Publisher, HCCB US, from Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! Entertainment Ltd.

Publishing will include picture books and fiction featuring a character and world imagined and developed by Idris and his writing partner Robyn Charteris, who has written numerous live-action drama, pre-school and animation programs for BBC, Channel 4, the Jim Henson Company, and Endemol as well as educational theatre for schools. Idris Elba said, “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to bring stories inspired by my daughter to life with my incredible partner Robyn Charteris, and the powerhouse team at HarperCollins.”

Executive Publisher HCCB UK, Ann-Janine Murtagh said, “Idris Elba is one of the most iconic and multi-talented creatives of his generation and I am delighted that he is joining the HarperCollins Children’s Books list. From the outset, Idris had a very clear vision of the characters and stories he has imagined and is passionate about creating books that will appeal to all children. Robyn Charteris has a fantastic track record in writing for children, working with some of the biggest producers of children’s entertainment, and I am hugely excited to also welcome her to the world of children’s books. I feel privileged that Idris has entrusted us to bring his stories to life and I cannot wait to share them with children across the globe.”

President and Publisher HCCB US, Suzanne Murphy said, “Idris Elba is a creative force, who has many wonderful stories to tell. We are honored to be working with him and with Robyn Charteris to bring Idris’s rich and imaginative storytelling to the world of children’s books, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the HarperCollins family.”

IDRIS ELBA

Golden Globe and SAG winning Idris Elba captivates audiences as an actor, producer, and director, and continually secures his position as the one to watch in Hollywood. He is the first actor to receive dual SAG awards in one evening.

Idris’s career skyrocketed on the small screen in some of the UK’s top-rated shows. Soon after, he landed the role of Stringer Bell in HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire (NAACP Image Award nomination). In 2010, Idris landed the title role on the BBC mini-series Luther, which earned him a Golden Globe, SAG Award, and four Emmy nominations. In 2005, he began his film career; his credits include American Gangster (Golden Globe nomination), Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom (Golden Globe nomination), Beasts of No Nation (SAG Award, Golden Globe nomination), and the Oscar-nominated film Molly’s Game.  He can be seen this April in the Netflix film Concrete Cowboy, which he also produced, and this summer will be starring in The Suicide Squad 2.  Other upcoming films include The Harder They Fall and Three Thousand Years of Longing.

Behind the camera, Idris made his feature-film directorial debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with Yardie. In 2013, he founded his production company, Green Door Pictures, to champion diversity of thought. With Green Door, Idris released the documentary Mandela, My Dad and Me, produced the TV mini-series Guerrilla for Showtime, and created, produced, and appears in the Sky comedy series In the Long Run. He also created, produced, and starred in the Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie.

ROBYN CHARTERIS

Robyn began her career writing educational theatre for schools and charitable organizations internationally before graduating to television. For television she has written on numerous live-action drama, pre-school, and animation programs for the BBC, Channel 4, the Jim Henson Company, Channel 5, Initial Kids (Endemol), Carlton TV, Gullane, Hit Entertainment, Granada, SABC, Urban Brew, Disney, and M-Net.

Her credits include a BAFTA-winning children’s drama series for CBBC, creating and writing one of the first original 52-episode pre-school series for the launch of the digital channel CBeebies, creative consultancy for Mattel Toys and Lego, and a master’s degree in Playwriting.

ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS
HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 17 countries, and was named Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2018. With over two hundred years of history and more than 120 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in 16 languages, and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow, Honley, and Manchester and can be found online.

HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS, UK 

HarperCollins Children’s Books, unprecedented three times winner of Children’s Publisher of the Year (2014, 2015, 2016), is one of the leading publishers of children’s books, recognized for nurturing new talent as well as boasting a reputable list of established bestselling authors. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many children’s classics, including The Chronicles of Narnia, Mary Poppins, the Paddington stories, The Cat in the Hat, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and to some of the biggest names in children’s literature past and present, including Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Lauren Child, David Baddiel, Oliver Jeffers, and Michael Morpurgo.

HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS, US: 

HarperCollins Children’s Books is one of the leading publishers of children’s and teen books. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many timeless treasures and bestsellers such as Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Things Are and The Hate U Give; series including the Chronicles of Narnia, Ramona, Warriors, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Pete the Cat, Fancy Nancy, Divergent and Red Queen; and graphic and illustrated novels such as Nimona, Invisible Emmie and New Kid. Consistently at the forefront of digital innovation, HarperCollins Children’s Books delights readers through engaging storytelling across a variety of formats and platforms, including the largest young adult (YA) book community, Epic Reads. HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, which is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, has operations in 17 countries, and is a subsidiary of News Corp.

You can visit HarperCollins Children’s Books at HarperCollins Children, Epic Reads, and at HarperCollinsPublishers.

Dance Your Dance – Laurieann Gibson

Thomas Nelson/W Publishing (a division of HarperCollins) today announced the pre-order for Emmy-nominated choreographer, creative director and entrepreneur Laurieann Gibson’s debut book Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream, set for release on February 16, 2021. The pre-order bundle includes access to exclusive video content from Laurieann and a first look at chapter one of the book. Additionally, the first 500 to pre-order will receive a limited-edition promotional item. Pre-order Dance Your Dance here.

Dance Your Dance highlights Gibson’s evolution from a young dancer training in New York City to a well-respected and in-demand creative visionary with an eye for cultivating music artists from the ground up. The book unveils the ultimate blueprint to achieving your dreams—a blueprint she’s implemented countless times to develop some of the world’s greatest superstars including Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Diddy and The Jonas Brothers, among others. Packed with personal anecdotes from her 20+ year career in entertainment and messages of empowerment, Dance Your Dance speaks to the dreamer in you: the artist, the singer, the writer, the entrepreneur, the mogul, the mover, the shaker, the thinker.

Reflecting on the power of the book’s message, Laurieann shares, “Dance Your Dance is an explosion of inspiration, passion and empowerment—an entertaining and transformative unstoppable ride to your greatness. I can’t wait for people to start reading it. I believe it can be life-changing.”

ABOUT LAURIEANN GIBSON

Laurieann Gibson is one of the most important pop culture influencers in entertainment today. Having served as creative director and choreographer for numerous international superstars, Gibson’s expertise in developing artists’ performance skills earned her an Emmy nomination for directing Lady Gaga’s HBO concert special Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden. Laurieann also directed and choreographed Nicki Minaj’s sold out “Pink Print World Tour” and Diddy’s “Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour.” More than a choreographer, Gibson is a business force whose presence is felt across TV/commercials, film, gaming, and now publishing. She can currently be seen as a judge on FOX’s hit show So You Think You Can Dance and will serve as creative director/choreographer on MTV’s highly anticipated return of Making the Band. On top of film appearances and commercial work (previously choreographing for the likes of Pepsi and Google), she is producing a number of television projects that are currently in development. Laurieann lives in Los Angeles, California, with her doggie “son,” Samson. Connect with her here.

 ABOUT THOMAS NELSON

Thomas Nelson is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. As part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks, curriculum and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas Nelson is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information, visit here.

Smithsonian Channel – ULTIMATE VIKING

By Cassandra Yany

Smithsonian Channel has authorized an innovative new series that combines adventure with rich history to unveil the never before seen secrets of Viking society. The series, whose working title is ULTIMATE VIKING, will be hosted by Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and award-winning journalist Gry Molvær Hivju.

“We are very excited to host this living history adventure series set in our beautiful country Norway,” said Gry Molvær Hivju and Kristofer Hivju, the co-founders of Tindefilm. “We are proud to show the fjords, ocean and wild mountains that our ancestors saw. For us, this series is all about a genuine extreme experience based on Viking society, set deep in the heart of the land of the Vikings. It’s going to be exciting, ambitious and based on historical evidence.”

The series is also set to include a one-hour documentary slated to premiere in 2021 on Smithsonian Channel. Filming for the show has begun and production will take place in Norway and the UK, with a custom Viking settlement being constructed on the Norwegian coast. The adventure series will feature a diverse cast of contemporary, highly skilled men and women who will be challenged to see if they have what it takes to live as true Vikings. 

Each episode is rooted in authentic Viking knowledge, exploring every aspect of the lifestyle to discover what it was truly like to live as a Viking over 1000 years ago. The show will follow ordinary people participating in remarkable expeditions under harsh Nordic conditions. The clans will compete against each other in a series of often extreme Viking survival expeditions, challenges and tasks based on historical facts, literature and archaeological evidence. 

“We are always looking for innovative ways to re-invent the entertainment experience for our curious global audience,” said David Royle, EVP and Chief Programming Officer of Smithsonian Channel. “Vikings have long captured the public imagination and this brand-new format pushes boundaries to create a new way for our audience to be enthralled, sometimes appalled and often surprised by the challenges of Viking life.”

The series’ cast lives side by side in a Viking settlement, with every detail true to the era, including the buildings, clothes, tools and food. Participants will need to master tools like axes and swords, learn to forage and fish in Norway’s snow-capped mountains, and master the art of sailing a Viking ship while mentored by the world’s leading Viking historians. 

ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t) is produced by Wildflame Productions Ltd., Zig Zag Productions Ltd. and Tindefilm for Smithsonian Channel. The Series is directed by Showrunner Stephen Shearman, with original music composed by Silvia Strand.

ULTIMATE KING (w/t) aims to re-imagine living history for television audiences across the world,” said Llinos Griffin-Williams, the Executive Producer of Wildflame Productions. “Our new adventure history format pushes living history to another level. It is an extremely ambitious series and one we are thrilled to be making for the Smithsonian Channel.”

View a sneak peak of the series here

About Smithsonian Channel

Smithsonian Channel™, a ViacomCBS Inc. network, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy® and Peabody awards for its programming, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are hit series including Aerial America, America in Color, America’s Hidden Stories, Apollo’s Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier, Walk Against Fear: James Meredith and Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Channel is available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland. 

About Wildflame Productions

Wildflame Productions creates extraordinary content for audiences throughout the world from its base in Cardiff.  This UK nations and regions factual powerhouse works closely with the best creative talent and a wide range of production partners to produce content for the UK and the international markets. CEO Paul Islwyn Thomas has built a strong reputation for producing factual and specialist factual programming for a wide range of broadcasters, including the full range of national BBC channels, Channel 5, S4C, Discovery and many more. Wildflame prides itself on its excellence in storytelling, bringing great ideas and ambitious concepts and formats to audiences globally. In June 2020, the company returned to being wholly independent, after exiting the Flame Media Group. 

About Tindefilm

Located on Norway’s wild and beautiful west coast, led by CEO Hilde Nerlund and DOP Tor Siverstøl. Tindefilm creates high quality, filmic content for the global market.  Their first production, Lysleite, a creative documentary about the dwindling light in the polar regions won a Gullruten (Norwegian TV awards) and their second documentary, Bit – Ballerina Bulldog was nominated for best documentary at BIFF as well asGullruten for best original score.

About Zig Zag Productions

Zig Zag Productions is one of the UK’s foremost independent television production companies. With offices in London, New York and Northern Ireland, Zig Zag has produced over 700 hours of non scripted programming and has grown to become an internationally recognised, respected and award-winning television producer both in the UK, USA and internationally. Zig Zag has produced programming for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Five, TLC, MTV, Fox, National Geographic, Discovery, OWN, Logo and Syfy. The company has also won numerous awards including the Rose D’or for Best Format.