For Immediate Release
ATLANTA – October 28, 2013 – UP, America’s favorite channel for uplifting entertainment, presents the UP
Original Movie The Dempsey Sisters , which follows a family’s dramatic pursuit of a musical dream, and
stars Cymphonique Miller, Denyce Lawton, Teairra Mari, MC Lyte, Valarie Pettiford, Antwon Tanner, Lynn
Whitfield, Clifton Powell, Taj En’Phiniti and Dom Santana. Produced by Eric Tomosunas’ Swirl Films, Roger
Melvin (Sugar Mommas, Love Will Keep Us Together) directs from a screenplay by Siddeeqah Powell
(NAACP Image Award-nominated Somebody’s Child, Love Will Find A Way). The Dempsey Sisters will
premiere exclusively on UP on Saturday, November 2 at 7 p.m. EDT, with encores at 9 and 11 p.m. EDT.
Petite, take-charge, 27-year-old Deena Dempsey (Denyce Lawton) has been working unenthusiastically as
a personal assistant for sophisticated, multi-millionaire socialite Olivia Norman (Lynn Whitfield).
Recognizing that Deena’s heart just isn’t in the job, Olivia decides it’s time to push the little birdie out of the
nest and lets her go. Understandably upset, Deena turns for comfort to her middle sister Sheena (Teairra
Mari), an endlessly practical, 25-year old massage therapist, and younger sister Tina (Cymphonique Miller),
a free-spirited 22-year old trying to find her way in life. With time on her hands, Deena reevaluates her life
and eventually decides to revisit a cherished childhood dream. The Dempsey Sisters performed together
as a singing group when they were kids, but disbanded when a record deal never materialized. When their
big brother, Thad (Antwon Tanner), a charming, fit 29-year old, brings home his new wife, Ava (TAJ
En’Phiniti), who has some surprising talents, and announces plans to focus on music management fulltime, the stars seem to align for the sisters – or do they. While their parents Theo (Clifton Powell) and
Elizabeth (Valarie Pettiford) want to see their children succeed, not everyone is on board with the reunion
plan. It’s going to take practice, commitment, money for studio time and savvy marketing to start. But if
Theo can talk his way through music label assistant Andre (Dom Santana) to the major exec Taylor Powell
(MC Lyte), then maybe the Dempsey family really can all live their dreams.
“The Dempsey Sisters is a special story about three sisters who decide to put the family band back together
when several of the siblings fall on hard times,” said Barbara Fisher, svp, original programming, UP.
“Through their love of music, the Dempseys come together and find the uplifting inspiration to face life's
UP presents a Swirl Films production. The Dempsey Sisters stars Cymphonique Miller, Denyce Lawton,
Teairra Mari, MC Lyte, Valarie Pettiford, Antwon Tanner, Lynn Whitfield, Clifton Powell, TAJ En’Phiniti and
Dominic Santana. Directed by Roger Melvin. Executive produced by Denyce Lawton. Co-produced by
Drue Powell. Produced by Eric Tomosunas, David Eubanks, Keith Neal. Director of Photography is George
Su. Editor is Charles Stewart Jr. Screenplay by Siddeeqah Powell.
For more information, please go to
Follow our cast at:
Cymphonique Miller on Twitter @Cymphonique
Denyce Lawton on Twitter @DenyceLawton
Teairra Mari on Twitter @Teairra_Mari
MC Lyte on Twitter @mclyte
Valarie Pettiford on Twitter @MissP160
Antwon Tanner on Twitter @antwon_tanner
Lynn Whitfield on Twitter @MsLynnWhitfield
Dominic Santana on Twitter @DominicSantana
About UP
UP ( is America’s favorite network for uplifting family entertainment. The network presents
original and acquired movies, series, stage plays and music specials along with gMovies, the first faithfriendly streaming movie service. The UP brand is reflected in “Uplift Someone,” the network’s successful
pro-social initiative. UP can be seen in more than 65 million homes on various cable systems around the
country, as well as DISH Network on channel 188, DIRECTV on channel 338 and Verizon FIOS on channel
224. Follow UP on Facebook at, Twitter on @UPtv and Instagram at
About Swirl Films
Swirl Films (, America’s “number one urban film production company,” focuses on
independent features and multi-camera productions. Recent films include 2012 ABFF Best Narrative
Feature, Best Actress and Best Director winner The Under Shepherd, 35 & Ticking and Percentage, with
Flavor Unit Production (Queen Latifah & Shakim Compere). Swirl Films is a major content provider for UP.
Most recently, Swirl Films produced The Perfect Summer, starring Eric Roberts, Sydney Penny and Jason
Castro in his TV acting debut. In addition, hit programming includes She’s Still Not Our Sister, Sugar
Mommas and the Wedding Vow Series. Additional original productions include: Love For Sale, Something
Like A Business, TV One’s Roast and Toast of John Witherspoon and Just Another Day.
Chelsye J. Burrows
David Gardner
[email protected]
[email protected]
Cymphonique Miller, is an actress, singer, dancer and writer. The daughter of Percy Robert Miller (Master
P) and the sister of Romeo Miller, this Los Angeles native is one of Hollywood's biggest teen phenomena
and the star of the hit TV show “How To Rock.” Cymphonique has made a name for herself and built a
diverse R&B, Pop and Hip Hop fan base through the Internet before taking her acting and music career
mainstream. At a remarkably young age, she created her own brand and identity in the entertainment
She was a finalist in Radio Disney's “Next Big Thing” but came in second place to Jasmine. Her songs
"Butterflies", "Lil Miss Swaggar" and "Daddy I'm A Rockstar" received airplay on Radio Disney. Miller
previously guest-starred on “Big Time Rush,” “True Jackson VP,” “The Troop” and “Just Jordan.” Miller has
performed on several national school tours and in theme parks across the United States. She has toured
with Raven-Symoné, Ashley Tisdale, Demi Lovato, JoJo, Wonder Girls, College Boyys and Elizabeth
In 2011, Miller was nominated for "Best Female Hip-Hop Artist" at the BET Awards. On July 7, 2012, Miller
performed the half time show at the Los Angeles Sparks' Girl Scouts night at The Staples Center. She has
also appeared in numerous national commercials, PSA’s, and on “MADtv.” In 2013, she released her
mixtape titled Passion on No Limit Forever,” and will be starring in an as-yet-untitled action film.
Cymphonique's special skills are competitive kick boxing, swimming, drawing, writing, playing the piano
and guitar. She is inspired by her passion to help others, created a book series to empower young girls
called “Fabulous Girls,” and founded Fabulous Girls Charity to help bring awareness to kids with cancer. In
addition to her being one of the youngest teens to receive a key to the City of Memphis for her philanthropic
efforts, she is also the founder and President of Fabulous Girls Clothing as well as the spokesperson for
BYOU, an organization specializing in girl empowerment and anti-bullying. She founded a performing arts
school with Let The Kids Grow Foundation.
Multiethnic (African American / Korean) actress Denyce Lawton, is best known for her four seasons as a
series regular on the #1 cable comedy series and six-time NAACP Best Comedy Series Winner, Tyler
Perry's "House of Payne." Denyce has recently completed nine films, including the leading role in Swirl
Films & New Image movie “Frat Brothers,” starring Stomp The Yard and “Soul Food” star Darrin Dewitt
Henson and rapper/actor Romeo Miller, which she also co-produced.
In less than one year, Denyce completed leading roles in the dramedy movie entitled Jump, where she held
her own among the cast of comedians also starring Esau McGraw & Brian Hooks; UP’s Original Movie
Between Sisters opposite Vanessa Bell Calloway; Winnerz opposite Glenn Plummer and BET “Let’s
StayTogether” actor Christian Keyes; Act Like You Love Me opposite Lynn Whitfield & Glynn Turman,
Switchin’ The Script; ABFF and HBFF crowd-pleaser The Coalition; UP Original movie The Love You Save
opposite Robin Givens; and Lionsgate’s thriller The Helpers in theaters Fall 2013. You can also find Denyce
starring opposite “Numb3rs” stars Alimi Ballard and Rob Marrow in an Inception-inspired short film
Interception; opposite Reagan Gomez-Preston & Wesley Jonathan in an original family web series Almost
Home ; and opposite Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus in Malice N Wonderland.
Outside of “House Of Payne” and her abundance of other television and film work, if Denyce’s face seems
familiar, it may also be the heavy rotation on cable of her two other films Redline (an action auto thriller) &
horror thriller DEAD TONE. With a few other films straight to DVD and television, and projects presently in
the works (including an HIV/AIDS Documentary Denyce is producing and directing), this South Korean born
actress is already releasing breakthrough performances in her very selective decisions and is on her way
to portray some of today's most memorable and remarkable roles.
Denyce began her entertainment goals and career as a background dancer in theater, NYC famous
Broadway and then later for recording artists such as N’ Sync, Mya, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Ja Rule, Puff
Daddy & many others. Wanting to set her goals higher, Denyce ventured into the music industry as a
backdoor into the film industry. Denyce served as assistant Vice President of Urban Promotions at Warner
Brother Records then later became A & R at Priority Records in New York City, NY. A fast and dedicated
worker, Denyce gained unmatched experience and knowledge that would prove to be critical in the
development of creative properties working as personal assistant to Record Executive & mogul Irv Gotti at
Murder Inc Records then later finally transitioning into the film industry working as an Assistant Junior
Publicist at 20th Century Fox Films. Soon after, Denyce utilized her deep-rooted creativity, WB ties and Fox
affiliations to share her unique talent and on-screen charisma, hosting a multitude of shows and events.
With limited experience and opportunities, Denyce participated in several Theatrical Plays as well as the
famous Shakespeare In The Park Company while she began modeling for Kemi Oil, FUBU, ADIDAS,
Enyce, Karl Kani and Baby Phat. While pursuing her acting and modeling career, she conquered a solid
presence in notable Hip Hop/R&B/Pop music videos; "The Way” by Clay Aiken, “Peaches & Cream" by
112, "One Mic" by Nas, & "Anything" by Jaheim, (to name just a few), solely to accumulate enough camera
experience and money to fund her acting pursuits & move to Los Angeles CA & has been gracing the
screens in ever since.
Amongst her accomplishments, Denyce has also become the new, fresh and first African American-Asian
face of the AZN Comcast Campaign as well as a Summer Campaign for Coors Light. You may also
recognize Denyce from the "Bacardi & Cola" commercial series as well as Jeep Cherokee, Pepsi, Nike,
Turbotax and Coors Light commercials over the years. She has also been featured in and graced the covers
of several magazines including MAMI Magazine, Black Men, The Source, Todays Black Woman, BQE
Magazine, Smooth, Edge Magazine, XXL, J’Adore, Smooth Girl, NY Daily News, Mass Appeal, XXL
Presents Eye Candy Magazine and People Magazine.
Teairra Mari is an American singer-songwriter, actress, model and dancer. Born and raised in the motor
city of Detroit, Teairra has been singing and entertaining since the age of 12. In October 2003, at the tender
age of 16, she released her first album through Def Jam Records entitled, “Get Away.” The album was a
notable success, leading to an introduction with producer Daryl Simmons. Teairra’s sophomore album,
“Roc-A-Fella Presents Teairra Mari” was released in 2005 and received critical acclaim for the song “Make
Her Feel Good.” The album reached the #5 position on the Billboard 200 albums chart and #2 on the
Billboard R&B charts. It was at this point that her true road to stardom began.
Like most artists, Teairra is a jack of all trades and a master of many. Not only is she vocally talented, but
she has proven that her acting career is aiming for greatness. In 2010, she starred in the film Lottery Ticket
as the unattainable love interest of rapper/co-star Bow Wow. In 2012, she filmed the movie Mac & Devin
Go To High School, starring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. Teairra stars as a sexy school teacher in the
Switching from the big screen to the TV screen, Teairra appeared in the second season of VH1’s “Love &
Hip Hop,” which scorded a record debut of 4.5 million viewers during its timeslot. In the 10-episode series,
the show followed several women in a world where opportunity, fame, excitement and money is always in
sight…but sometimes just out of reach.
Lyricist, inspirational speaker, DJ, pioneer, icon, veteran and entrepreneur describe one of the most
prolific and well-respected female Hip Hop artists of all time: MC Lyte. She has consistently found ways
to reinvent herself musically, while expanding her resume and gaining new fans. Reared in Brooklyn,
New York, MC Lyte always has her finger on Hip Hop’s pulse. Many are familiar with her stellar music
making skills, but over the course of her extensive career, MC Lyte has ventured out to other avenues
that have allowed her to show the world just how talented she truly is.
A pioneer in the industry, she opened the door for future female Hip Hop artists by daring to do what had
never been done while doing something she loved. MC Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New
York’s historic Carnegie Hall, the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single, the FIRST female solo
rapper ever nominated for a Grammy and in 2006, MC Lyte became the FIRST solo female rapper to be
honored/inducted on “VH-1’s Hip Hop Honors.”
MC Lyte has graced network television as well as the big screen and she has been the voice behind the
VH1 Hip Hop Honors and national campaigns for Wherehouse Music, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike.
A role model to women and respected by men everywhere, MC Lyte never compromises who she is and
consistently displays that a woman can turn heads fully clothed! Whenever possible, MC Lyte enjoys
traveling across the nation to use her expertise and story of success to motivate others to take ownership
of the world around them while striving to be the best they can possibly be.
Author of
“UNSTOPPABLE: Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential,” MC Lyte provides keynote
addresses at educational institutions, community centers and corporations around the globe and is also
very active in many social projects, including anti-violence campaigns, HIV / AIDS prevention, and Rock
the Vote.
MC Lyte resides in Los Angeles; reigns as the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc. and Hip Hop Sisters Foundation;
is a trustee and the immediate past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy
(Grammy organization); is co-host of the nationally syndicated “Cafe Mocha” radio show; and is a proud
honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Valarie Pettiford’s career glitters like the lights on Broadway. An award-winning triple-threat, Valarie has
worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment, but has never let her brushes with fame go to her
head. Although some would argue that she is a celebrity in her own right, Valarie is still a humble girl from
On screen, Valarie has appeared in films like The Wiz, The Cotton Club, Glitter, Stomp the Yard, Why Did
I Get Married Too, the short film musical Not Your Time, the award-winning short film Response, and the
forthcoming Jumping the Broom from Sony Pictures. Her role in the lauded independent film, Why Am I
Doing This, earned her a glowing mention in the LA Times. Her role as Big Dee Dee Thorne on the hit
sitcom “Half and Half” earned her three NAACP Image Award nominations. Valarie plays the recurring role
of Sandra Lucas on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” Other notable television appearances include guest
starring roles on “Criminal Minds,” “CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “The District,” “The West Wing,” “Frasier,” “One Life
to Live,” “Bones,” “The Cape” and “The Finder.” She is currently a recurring guest star on the hit HBO
series, “Treme.” Valarie will next be seen in a recurring role on CBS's new series, "Golden Boy," as Chi
McBride's wife.
Valarie ’ s theatre credits read like a very prestigious shopping list, with numerous accolades for the
execution of her craft. Valarie won NAACP Theatre and Garland Awards for Best Actress in “The Wild Party.
” She was honored with NAACP, Robby and Reader’s Choice Awards her role in “Show Boat.” Both
performances were nominated for Ovation Awards. Valarie was a member of the original casts of “
Sophisticated Ladies,” understudying Judith Jamison, and “Fosse,” for which she was recognized by the
Drama League and nominated for Outer Critics Circle, Dora Mavor Moore and Tony Awards.
Valarie performed alongside Chita Rivera in the West End debut of “Chicago,” and subsequently performed
‘All That Jazz’ as a tribute to Rivera at the Kennedy Center Honors. However, her self-proclaimed career
highlight was the fulfillment of a life-long dream; she recorded her first album, “ Hear My Soul. ” An
accomplished stage performer, Valarie has performed her widely-successful one-woman shows to sold-out
audiences coast-to-coast. She has performed with Lucy and Desi Arnaz in New York and Miami in the
musical tribute to their father, called “Babalu.” Valarie enjoyed stellar reviews in both cities. Proving that her
voice and presence are both Broadway bold, she is a regular guest soloist with the Pasadena Symphony
for their annual Pops program.
In the traditional sense of the word, Valarie Pettiford is a diva, a master of her craft who has the ability to
command attention. Whether she would agree, or try to harness that power, is anyone’s guess. Valarie's
new album of original lullabies, “Velvet Sky,” is available on iTunes, Amazon, and other online retailers.
For athlete/musician-turned-actor Antwon Tanner life is all about goals. From his early days on the south
side of Chicago to a flourishing screen career that has included roles in such hits as The Wood, Never Die
Alone and Coach Carter, Tanner cites every successful career step taken as a direct result of well-defined
goals and unwavering faith in God. Tanner is good-humored and has a handsome screen presence; his
likable persona plays as well on the small screen as the silver screen.
He has also become a familiar face to television viewers thanks to prominent supporting roles in such shows
as “Boston Public” and “One Tree Hill.” He also appeared in TV series such as “NYPD Blue,” “Sister,
Sister,” “Moesha,” “The Parkers” and “CSI.”
With Tanner's substantial role opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the acclaimed 2005 sports drama Coach
Carter, it appeared as if his career was finally about to break big. Though the streets of Chicago offered
little in the way of creative inspiration during Tanner's formative years, the athletically inclined youth made
quite a name for himself in the two-guard position during his time at both Corliss and King high schools.
After graduating from high school, Tanner eschewed sports in favor of developing his musical talents
following a chance meeting with an agent who represented a close friend. It didn't take the aspiring talent
long to parlay his musical abilities into an acting career.
A role opposite former “Cheers” star Rhea Pearlman in the 1996 basketball drama Sunset Park served as
an ideal introduction to the screen for the former baller, with numerous supporting roles in both film and
television serving to increase his public profile. In 199, Tanner received the chance of a lifetime when he
received the opportunity to appear on screen opposite personal role model Samuel L. Jackson in the
downbeat drama One Eight Seven. A successful run during the millennial changeover found the
increasingly in-demand star coming into his own as an actor, and following an appearance in the Takeshi
Kitano gangster drama and a turn as a wisecracking thug in Never Die Alone, Tanner could once again be
seen opposite Jackson -- basketball in hand -- in 2005's Coach Carter. In 2005, Tanner also strapped on
his spurs for a role opposite David Carradine in the revisionist Western Brothas in Arms. In 2007, he starred
alongside Brian Hooks, Denyce Lawton, and Cherie Johnson in the horror film 7eventy 5ive.
Lynn Whitfield, one of the most respected members of the African American acting community, is an Emmy
Award-winning actress who is well known for the authenticity she brings to her portrayal of women from all
walks of life. She vaulted to international fame in the 1991 HBO biopic "The Josephine Baker Story,"
portraying the legendary Civil Rights fighter. Her performance earned an Emmy Award as "Outstanding
Lead Actress in a Special or Miniseries."
After taking some time off for her greatest role, mother to daughter Grace with Josephine Baker director
and former husband, the late Brian Gibson, Whitfield starred opposite Bill Cosby in "The Cosby Mysteries"
(NBC, 1994). Lynn has won five NAACP Image Awards and four nominations for her work in film and
television, including "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story" (2004) co-starring Jamie Foxx.
She attracted a new generation of fans in two of the Disney Channel's highest-rated movies, "The Cheetah
Girls" (2003) and "The Cheetah Girls 2" (2006). Other select feature film roles include the Chris Rock
vehicle, Head of State (2003); Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion (2006); Mama I Want To Sing (2008),
a remake of the off-Broadway musical; Kings of the Evening (2008); The Rebound (2010); and Things Fall
Apart (2011), produced by and co-starring rapper-actor 50 Cent. Recently, Lynn starred in the UP Original
Movie Somebody’s Child and in the UP Premiere Movie King's Faith.
A 30-year acting veteran, Clifton Powell has been a highly visible actor on both the small and the silver
screens. Equally at home in the world of television as he is in motion pictures, in comedic or dramatic roles,
Powell has appeared in such feature films as Shake, 35 and Ticking, Street Kings 2, Trapped Haitian Nights,
Meet the Parents-Play, Just Another Day, Five K One, Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story, Friday
After Next, Bones, The Brothers, Lockdown, Next Friday, Rush Hour, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Caught
Up, Deep Rising, Dead Presidents, Menace II Society, 3 Ninjas, Deep Cover, House Party , and Alphabet
City, among others. He also appeared in the BMW short The Hire: Ticker. Powell won honors for Best
Performance by an Actor at the American Black Film Festival for his performance in Civil Brand.
Among Powell's noteworthy TV guest appearances are such shows are “Unsupervised,” “Awake,” “The
Mentalist,” “Army Wives,” “Cold Case,” “Numb3rs,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Third Watch,” “One on
One,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Martin,” “New York Undercover,” “Pacific Blue,”
“The Parkers, “The Sinbad Show,” “Touched by an Angel, “Tour of Duty” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He
also made multiple appearances on “In the House,” “NYPD Blue,” “Moesha,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Roc”
and “South Central.” Powell also starred in the UP Original Movie Somebody’s Child, along with the UP
Original Plays She’s Not Our Sister and She’s Still Not Our Sister.
TAJ En’Phiniti’s life and musical journey is filled with many layers of struggles, heartaches, and resiliency.
From the beginning, at the tender age of three, TAJ knew she could sing but she didn’t understand that her
gift of music would lead her on a path of unforgettable memories and experiences that would shape her
TAJ was born in Dallas, TX, the fifth of 10 children by Mr. and Mrs. Ricky Williams Sr. TAJ’s up-bringing
resembled so many others who grew up in the South, attending church seven days a week. Her only
worldly exposure was in school and the occasional stories she heard from her older siblings and friends.
No outside influences were allowed. All the girls in the family had to wear long dresses to the floor and no
one was privy to listening to secular music or non-religious television. Since the only music they could
listen to was Christian and Gospel, the siblings started their first group called the “Williams Kids.”
Soon after the group was formed, the climate and structure of the household changed. The family as they
knew it would change and change forever. Ricky Williams Sr. was incarcerated and sentenced to life in
prison, no parole. Young TAJ didn’t understand why her father, whom she was very close with, was now
absent from her life. He always encouraged and inspired her to sing. Now with her father’s departure TAJ’s
joy for singing transformed into anger, anxiety and emptiness. As a result of the difficulties and challenges
at home, TAJ was separated from her family and placed into foster care.
TAJ eventually returned home to her family after three and a half years (one year in foster care and two
years living with her god-sister in Ohio). To create some sort of normalcy in their lives, the siblings formed
another gospel group. This reincarnation called “All for Christ” (A.F.C.) rose to the national stage. TAJ
excelled as one of the lead singers and the group eventually was featured on the “Dr. Bobby Jones Show.”
Unfortunately the success of the group was short lived as group infighting and internal family issues
continued to linger.
After the dismantling of AFC, the family spontaneously moved to Atlanta for a fresh start to a tumultuous
past. Months in the Peach State seem to be doing the family good until one day when TAJ returned home
from one of her three part-time jobs, everyone was gone. (The family was living in a hotel at this point).
The family had suddenly moved to Virginia. TAJ was left to fend for herself, alone and destitute.
Now more determined and focused than ever; TAJ began recording as a solo artist. Her hard work and
fortitude lead her to cross paths with some of the industries major players. TAJ has been blessed to record,
work and perform with both national and international artists, producers and songwriters; like Rodney
Jerkins, Rico Love, Kandi Burruss, Adonis Shropshire, Musiq Soulchild, Sean Garrett and many more. TAJ
did not want to limit herself to just singing; she took a leap of faith into the world of acting, realizing at that
point, she was not just a singer she was an entertainer. TAJ was now acting in notable stage plays with
some amazing actors such as Clifton Powell, Allan Payne, Malik Yoba, Jackie Harry, Keisha Knight Pulliam,
Ralph Tresvant, LisaRae, A.J. Johnson and many others. Her love for acting was born.
TAJ knows that the road to success won’t be easy because the path that she has taken thus far has been
filled with bumps and bruises. Each bump made her wiser. Each bruise continues to make her stronger.
TAJ is posed to carve her own imprint and impact into the world of music and entertainment from “En’Phiniti
to beyond”! Someone once said that "only a fool confuses fate with destiny. Fate is what happens to us.
Destiny is what we make in spite of our fate." Truer words could have not been spoken for singer, songwriter
and actress TAJ En’Phiniti. Here she stands on the brink of greatness but the road to get to this point has
been long and winding.
Over the course of 15 years, Eric Tomosunas has created a name for himself as a film producer and
businessman within the urban entertainment industry. Under his production company Swirl Films, he
spearheads the supervision and execution of production elements, and managing all distribution
agreements with Image Entertainment, First Look Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Melee Entertainment,
E1 formerly KOCH and Code Black. Recent original productions include: the NAACP Image Award
nominated original movie Somebody’s Child, starring Michael Jai White (Outstanding Actor in a Television
Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special), Byron Minns, Nadine Ellis, Clifton Powell and Lynn Whitfield; and
the stage play, “Sugar Mommas,” (Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special) starring
Terri J. Vaughn, Vanessa Williams, Rachel True, Lamman Rucker and Tommy Ford, both of which were
produced for GMC TV (now UP). Other original productions include Love For Sale, a romantic comedy
starring Jackie Long, Jason Weaver, Mya and Melyssa Ford; and 35 & Ticking, a feel good romantic comedy
starring Kevin Hart, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith Robinson, Tamela Jones and Darius McCrary. He has also
produced several home video and theatrical titles including The Under Shepherd, a 2012 ABFF Official
Selection and winner of ABFF Grand Jury Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Director (Russ Parr)
and Best Actor (Malinda Williams). With over 35 original productions in the past five years, and award
nominated movies and plays, Tomosunas’ earlier work included ADR for Screen Gems Studio on projects
such as the WB's TV Series “Dawson’s Creek” and films Swordfish, A Walk to Remember and Little
Roger Melvin is a versatile filmmaker with extensive television and feature film credits to his name. He has
played key behind-the-scenes roles as well as directed and produced features and television films. Roger’s
directing credits for television include a number of original stage plays for UP, including the NAACP Image
Award-nominated “Sugar Mommas,” “She’s Still Not Our Sister,” “The Love You Save,” “If You Really Love
Me,” and most recently, “Love Will Keep Us Together.” He has also directed episodes of “For Richer or
Poorer” and “The Life Genie.”
In addition, Roger directed the documentary feature Agree to Disagree;
He’s Mine Not Yours, a feature which he also produced; and the upcoming Not 4 Sale, starring Isaiah
Washington & Terri J. Vaughn and based on the life of Sidney Poitier.
New Yorker by birth, Siddeeqah “Sid” Powell migrated to Atlanta at the age of seven, going on to secure a
College Track Scholarship to Georgia Tech. In 1997, Sid graduated from Tech receiving her BS in
Management and headed down the unbeaten path 2 years later sparking her writing career. After enjoying
great success as a fiction novelist as the co-author of The Key Party, She’s Just a Friend and The Makeup
of a Woman, Sid took on the beast of live stage production. In 2009, “Pass It Down,” a stage play that she
wrote and produced, premiered at The Historical Strand Theatre in Marietta, Ga. to a full house.
In 2011, she settled into her sweet spot as a Screenplay Writer with the NAACP Image Award-nominated
UP Original Movie, Somebody’s Child, starring Lynn Whitfield, Michael Jai White, and Clifton Powell. As
the owner of SIDPo Productions, a company created to house her works; this dynamic woman maintains a
well-rounded arsenal of scripts for feature and short films as well as made-for-TV movies. She’s a selftaught scribe on a mission and strives to help others find success in the industry under her organization
WCEF (Women Changing Everything In Film). Sid Powell’s tenacity, dedication, and faith in creating
stories that entertain and educate the masses assert her unshakeable belief; she will one day be
recognized as the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Writer.