We had the good fortune of connecting with Ray Cornelius and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ray, why did you pursue a creative career?
My father is an artist and singer and my mother has always loved fashion and decor, so creativity literally runs through my veins. I’ve always gravitated towards music, television, dance, fashion and theater but wasn’t sure where I really belonged. I realized as a teen that “entertainment reporting” was a gateway to it all and I pursued that after high school. However, like most of us, I chose a comfortable 9-5 after college rather than pursuing my real passion. It wasn’t until I turned 37 years old that I began going after my first love and invested in myself and my dreams. I created my arts and entertainment website and that opened doors for my current radio show and television/film opportunities. Now more than ever am I confident in who I am and what I bring to the table.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my arts and entertainment brand to tell the stories I wanted to see and to showcase a broader perspective of the African American experience. My goal has always been to showcase the “biggest and brightest” Black stars in TV, film, music, fashion, theater and the visual arts.” While other brands have focused on the gossip or negativity, I chose to focus on the positive. In doing so, it has opened doors for me that I never imagined and I established great working relationships with talent, publicists, networks and film studios. And also, currently got an opportunity to co-producing and co-directing a documentary on fashion designer and icon Patrick Kelly. I’m a firm believer that you get what you give, so always give and do your best. Success in the entertainment industry is based on acquiring and maintaining positive relationships, working hard and being a person of integrity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My friends know that I’m always down for a some good food, a great live performance plus wine and conversation after the show. It’s a tradition to attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Atlanta’s Fox Theater in February. So that outing would include a pre-performance dinner, great seats to the show, a champagne toast with Ailey executives and invited celebrities at intermission followed by a fabulous second half of dancing. We’d cap off the night with a few post performance pics with some of the dancers and cocktails and conversation.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I was blessed to have some amazing teachers and mentors who saw way more in me than I saw in myself. I credit them more my success along with my faith in God.
Instagram: RayCornelius and UPFRONTtheSHOW
Facebook: Ray Cornelius
Other: “UPFRONT Inside the Entertainment’ Industry” every Saturday Morning at 9am on Jazz 91.9 WCLK Atlanta’s Jazz Station and online at WCLK.com.
Photo Credit for the first and third photo goes to Ray Cornelius and second image goes to UmeekImages.