*In celebrating 18 years in 2017 the “Uplifting Minds II” entertainment conference announces a fourth category of “Acting” for its famous national talent competition showcase. The “Acting” category joins “Vocal,” “Songwriting” and “Dance” as the areas where talent can take four minutes on stage to showcase their skills. Top scores of performances from an industry panel earn the winners the “ULMII Best Artist Award” and a list of prizes that are valued at over $10,000. Gina Carey Films and Imagination Lunchbox, LLC join the many sponsors of this free one day community event offering additional prizes that include a “guest appearance on Gina Carey’s ‘Monday Night Live at Cambria’” and “original song placement on the soundtrack of the next Imagination Lunchbox production.”
Held annually in Baltimore and Los Angeles, “Uplifting Minds II” for many years was held also in Houston and Atlanta. It provides artists with a platform to share their talents in a competitive environment that provokes the best performances that inspire the audience as well as other artists. Through the 18 years of ULMII many success stories were birthed there.
The “Acting” category was inspired by the founder of Imagination Lunchbox, LLC Anthony Michael Hobbs a protégé’ that is a multi-award winning actor and filmmaker at only 11 years old. He is most notable for his role as young Frederick Douglas in the PBS documentary series “The Abolitionist.” The series received an Emmy Award nomination in 2014 and Anthony Michael represented the network at the Emmys in Los Angeles. Hobbs went on to produce, direct and star in his own films (One National, Naga Pixie) releasing later this year his third short film (Agent Hollywood). His first two films have been screened at over 11 international film festivals and he has won at five of them. Gina Carey is an award winning Soul singer with 12 albums to her credit through her own label GICO Music and has garnered three #1 singles. Carey branched out to film production and through her company Gina Carey Films she has released three feature films and several music videos. One music video aired on the BET Network titled “True Love.” She has written, produced and directed three Christian stage plays and authored a book titled “The Unexpected.” With the assistance of Imagination Lunchbox, LLC and Gina Carey Films ULMII is off to a great start at opening doors for actors to walk through.
ULMII started in 1999 in Baltimore by syndicated entertainment columnist Eunice Moseley (www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com), at the time she was Promotions Director for The Baltimore Times. She developed the event to provide Baltimore youth with something positive to spend their time on and a place to distribute the newspaper. The event consisted of a free business seminar hosted my Matthew Knowles, then manager of Destiny’s Child, and a free talent showcase where Jazz and Woody of the Platinum selling R&B group Dru Hill came by to provide advice to the talent. The ULMII event grew from one seminar host to a panel of industry professionals and its talent showcase grew into a national talent competition showcase with a panel of industry judges that included Knowles, Dru Hill members, MCLyte, Brenda Russell and many more. Entertainment industry notables that stopped by in support included six-time Grammy Award winner SisQo of Dru Hill and Tony Award winning Debbie Allen. By 2002 ULMII was held annually also in Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles with the list of donated prizes for the vocal, songwriting and dance winners growing steadily. In 2017 ULMII adds an acting category so the future for the entertainment conference looks promising.
Success stories include Billboard winner SisQo using an original song he heard when he made that cameo at the Baltimore event in 2002. He placed the selection on the third Dru Hill album, “Dru World Order,” titled “I Should Be (Your Boyfriend).” It was written by The Featherstones, a group of brothers that were regular competitors of the event. In 2006 Ro Shon Fegan competed at ULMII in Los Angeles and his father, his management, said to the event founder years later that what he learned at the seminar helped them reach the next level. That next level included securing a talent agent that obtained Ro an acting role on Disney’s “Shake It Up” and “Camp Rock” with the Jonas Brothers. Those roles led to Ro Shon starring in the 14th season of “Dancing with The Stars” (ABC). There are many more stories where the connections made at ULMII resulted in major success that includes roles on Broadway, major television series and movies.
“Uplifting Minds II” starts 2017 off at Security Square Mall in Baltimore Saturday April 22, 2017 and ends in October, 2017 in Hollywood, California. You can log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for updated information on prizes, panelists and seminars and hosts. You can also call 562-424-3836 – ask for the ULMII event coordinator.
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