To the Stars and Back: Tobias Truvillion & Michele Morgan-Truvillion

To the Stars and Back: Tobias Truvillion & Michele Morgan-Truvillion

Husband and wife team Tobias Truvillion and Michele Morgan-Truvillion are accomplished veterans in the film and television industry. This power couple resides in Newark and is very involved in the city’s arts community.

A former rapper signed to Def Jam Records, Michele recently did voiceover work for a new animated series produced by comedian Kevin Hart. Michele started out in the Spike Lee film New Jersey Drive and later became the voice of character Juicy in Eddie Murphy’s animated series The PJs.

Currently, Michele is serving as the senior community relations specialist in Mayor Ras Baraka’s office at Newark City Hall and was instrumental in the coordination of the filming of the Joker movie, which began in October 2018.

Husband Tobias is an actor, photographer, filmmaker, and arts educator. He has starred as Derek Major on the hit Fox network series Empire, Kenny Armstrong on NBC’s Chicago PD, and Bennet Thompson in the BET series In Contempt.

Never losing sight of the community, Tobias worked with the late Rodney Gilbert who founded Newark’s Yendor Arts Organization, to bridge the gap between inner-city youth and the arts. He is an active Yendor board member.

To the Stars and Back: Darnell “J.D.” Williams

To the Stars and Back: Darnell “J.D.” Williams

Newark native Darnell “J.D.” Williams is an actor best known for his roles as Kenny Wangler in the HBO series Oz, Brodie Broadus in the HBO series The Wire, and Froggy in the Paramount Pictures film Pootie Tang. With over 20 years of experience, Williams has worked on various television shows, movies, and commercials. At press time, he was starring on the Bounce TV soap opera Saints & Sinners playing Jabari Morris.

Williams attended Newark Arts High School and, in 2015, returned to Newark to offer free acting coaching workshops to the youth, working in conjunction with Mayor Ras Baraka, the City of Newark Municipal Council, and the Newark Youth One-Stop Career Center.

To the Stars and Back: Michael B. Jordan

To the Stars and Back: Michael B. Jordan

In early 2018 Michael B. Jordan hosted a private screening of his box office smash hit Black Panther at his alma mater, Newark Arts High School.

The 31 year-old actor was raised in Newark. He is noted for his role as the villain Erik Killmonger in the successful Marvel film Black Panther and for his role as Adonis Creed in the Rocky sequels Creed 1 and Creed 2.

Jordan attended Newark Arts High School where he studied drama. Early in his career he worked as a child model, then officially started his acting career in 1999, appearing on television shows such as The Cosby Show and The Sopranos. His first primary role in film was in the 2001 movie Hardball, where he played Jamal.

To the Stars and Back: Griselle Ponce

To the Stars and Back: Griselle Ponce

Griselle Ponce is a professional dancer, dance Instructor, choreographer and actress. This Newark native and resident started her career winning the title of Ms. Teen Puerto Rico 1995. The following year, she booked a gig on Telemundo network’s Sabado47 as a dancer and co-host.

Over the years, Ponce has worked in TV and film as a dancer, including working with Spike Lee and Rosie Perez. Recently, she showcased her talent in the movie Shine where she was brought on as a choreographer. The film was screened at Newark’s CityPlex 12 last October.

Ponce has traveled the world since the age of 20, bringing dance with her to every continent. But she’s excited about the growing film industry in her hometown of Newark. At press time, she was working on a pilot project with Netflix based on her life as a mother, dancer, instructor, and choreographer that will be filmed in Newark.

To the Stars and Back: Queen Latifah

To the Stars and Back: Queen Latifah

Dana Elaine Owens, aka Queen Latifah visited -Newark in 2015 to celebrate Mayor Ras Baraka’s birthday who she grew up with in Newark.

Owens is a Newark-born musician, actress and entrepreneur. Owens released her first studio album in 1989 titled All Hail to the Queen, which sold more than one million copies. In the 1990s she continued to make music while also making a transition into television, starring as Kadijah James on Fox network sitcom Living Single. Owens has appeared in over 60 films and television series’, hosted her own talk show, and founded Flavor Unit Entertainment.

Recently, she starred in the box office smash Girls Trip and is currently portraying Carlotta Brown on the Fox Network drama series Star.

To the Stars and Back: Whitney Houston

To the Stars and Back: Whitney Houston

Because of Whitney Houston’s generous donations to UMDNJ’s University Hospital (now the Rutgers University Medical School) in Newark, the school named its Pediatric Special Care Unit after her. And the singer’s elementary school in East Orange, New Jersey, was renamed the Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. She is most famous for Billboard hits like “Saving All My Love for You,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” and “I Will Always LoveYou.” Her most famous movie roles include Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard and Savannah Jackson in Waiting to Exhale.

During Houston’s early life, she was immersed in music. Her background in gospel helped lead her down the path to stardom. She sang in the choir of the New Hope Baptist Church, which was led by her mother, Cissy Houston, a renowned soul and gospel singer herself.

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