BET Networks Sets July 9th Premiere Date For “the Next Big Thing” Music Competition Series With Judges Dame Dash, Zaytoven, Tina Davis And Host Charlamagne Tha God CELEBRITY GUEST MENTORS INCLUDE TAMAR BRAXTON, KEYSHIA COLE, JOE BUDDEN, REMY MA, JEREMIH, LIL KIM, TANK AND THE LATE NIPSEY HUSSLE BET Networks’ newest reality music competition series THE NEXT BIG THING, makes its highly-anticipated premiere on July 9 at 10PM / 9PM CT. Judges, also known as “The League”, Dame Dash, Zaytoven and Tina Davis will place 21 up-and-coming R&B and hip-hop artists through a grueling artist development boot camp designed to create bonafide superstars. BET The Next Big Thing Music Competition Series Premieres July 9th “We have reinvented the stale singing competition show for our audience,” explains Dame Dash. Handpicked hip-hop and R&B artists from across the country will compete weekly in survival-of-the-fittest challenges leading to a showdown where A&R executives, Serge Durand, Capitol Records; Erika Coulter, Epic Records; Tuo Clark, Def Jam Records and CEO Ghazi, EMPIRE Records will have the chance to offer a record deal on the spot. “This has never been done before and absolutely, not on this scale,” adds Executive Producer/Creator and “The League” member Tina Davis. “The finale will change someone’s life. ” Nipsey Hussle, Lil Kim, Tamar Braxton and Joe Budden are among the celebrity artists who appear on the show as guest mentors throughout the series’ ten episodes. Holly Carter, CEO and founder of Relevé Entertainment (“Chad Loves Michelle”, “Victoria Gotti Biopic”, franchise of Preachers Of, Merge Summit) along with showrunner and Executive Producer, Emmy and multi-Grammy winner, Rikki Hughes of Magic Lemonade (Dave Chapelle Equanimity and Hood Adjacent) with Michaline Babich and Sergio Alfaro, co-CEOs of InventTV (“Million Dollar Listing”, “LA Link”) serve as Executive Producers for THE NEXT BIG THING. THE NEXT BIG THING premieres on BET Networks on July 9 at 10PM / 9PM CT. MEET THE JUDGES: Tina Davis (Judge): The founder of Phase Too Inc. management company and current Head of A&R at EMPIRE Records, Tina Davis has been successful in several areas of the entertainment industry specializing in multiple genres of music. Her company managed and developed superstar singer Chris Brown for 11 years. Prior to that, Davis was a Senior A&R executive at Def Jam where she developed chart-topping artists and responsible for Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.” She was also influential in the development of such hit soundtracks as The Nutty Professor II, Rush Hour, The Best Man and How To Be A Player. Dame Dash (Judge) Damon "Dame" Anthony Dash, is an American entrepreneur, record executive, film producer, director and actor. Dash is best known as co-founder of Roc-A-Fella & Rocawear along with Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. Founder of Dame Dash Studios, a streaming platform for millennial trendsetters. | Roc A Fella Family Tree Zaytoven (Judge) Xavier Lamar Dotson, professionally known as Zaytoven, is a Grammy Award Winning record producer, DJ, and keyboardist from Atlanta, Georgia. He has released collaborative projects with artists including Usher, Future, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Lecrae, Young Scooter, Young Dolph, and Shy Glizzy. MEET THE CONTESTANTS: Michael “Swayvo” Archer (Atlanta, GA) Son of Angie Stone and D’Angelo, Swayvo Twain is looking to break the singer expectations from his R&B star parents to rise as a rapper-singer. His Southern rap sound fits right in with current music trends. Despite his reserved personality, he is known to break out of his shell on stage to show his versatility. Demetrius Mack-Gray “Young Juve” (New Orleans, LA) Growing up Young Juve thought his jump shot would take him to the NBA. As he grew older he realized his hoop dreams would only take him so far. His other talent, gifted from his famous father and rapper Juvenile, was more in his lane. Raised in New Orleans, Young Juve is looking to establish his individuality in the music industry. Jesediah (New York, NY) Jesediah is a Black trans male rapper based in New York who is looking to fuse R&B, pop, folk, dancehall, and hip-hop. The 21-year-old aims to become a voice and advocate for fellow Black trans youth as well as increase visibility for the community within hip hop. His talents range from instrumentation to songwriting and producing songs. Mario Lozano “Rio Loz” (Los Angeles, CA) Rio Loz, is a Colombian who moved to the U.S. at the age of three. He grew up listening to salsa in Miami and playing the trumpet. When he heard hip-hop for the first time, that moment gave birth to his music career. He has an unorthodox, bilingual style that infusing Spanish into his singing and rapping. Tobias Garvey “Pimp Tobi” (Berkley, CA) Pimp Tobi, is a rapper-singer native to Berkeley, CA. Growing up, he was always around music with his father being a reggae musician and his sister being a rapper. Through the fusion of these musical influences and his life’s experiences, Pimp Tobi has developed his own unique style and sound. Timothy Kerr “RF Timbo” (Philadelphia, PA) RF Timbo has sacrificed everything for his rap dreams, yet stays encouraged that he will make a name for himself and his hometown of Philadelphia. His unique sound of Afro-pop and reggae keeps him current to today’s music trends. His motivation to stay dedicated to music is his young son. Nicolette Ard “Pretty Yellow” (Covington, LA) Pretty Yellow is a rapper from a small town outside of New Orleans, called Covington, LA. Her life wasn’t one of privilege with her having to step up at a young age to care for her family. That hustler spirit thrives in her music that she describes as raw, dominant and sexy. Tia P Parchman (Inglewood, CA) Tia P is larger than her petite frame as R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, drummer and producer with a funky, witty sound. Blessed with two musician parents, she lives every day with great passion through her music. Her dream is to tap into diverse audiences and create music that resonates with all audiences. Niyala Hedge “Lovee” (Virginia Beach, VA) Living in Cleveland, OH for Lovee has not been easy, but the struggle drives her to make a better life for her and her daughter as a hip-hop artist. She hustles as a personal chef while catering to her first passion, music. Lovee is determined to take over and succeed as a versatile artist. Brandon Sims “B Sims” (Atlanta, GA) Reminiscent of an old school, R&B crooner with urban and pop melodies, B Sims is ready for the spotlight. His music career started in an all-male R&B group that dismantled, yet he overcame the disappointment and is now forging a new path as a solo artist. B Sims is passionate, empathetic, and wants others to grow closer through his music. Bernarr “Durand” Ferebee Jr. (Cleveland, OH) With a piano and vocal teacher mother and an audio engineer father, Durand is no stranger to music and all that it entails. Full of energy and personality, Durand is a born entertainer and has been heavily compared to Prince. His musical experiences include singing background for Erykah Badu. DeAngelo Doles “Billy Mercury” (Norfolk, VA) Billy Mercury is a 30-year-old singer-songwriter and rapper who blends hip-hop with R&B for a sound that often gets compared to Marvin Gaye and Childish Gambino. Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Billy‘s childhood was bright with his two-parent household becoming a safe haven for his peers. His life shifted when his parents divorced at 17 and he found spirituality. This journey of faith and family coupled with becoming a new father, has elevated his sound to touch the heart and soul. Orlando Dotson “Ashton London” (Memphis, TN) Ashton is a R&B singer with a falsetto that is compared to Prince and Michael Jackson. The 21-year old has family-oriented goals for his career with dreams to sustain his single mother, a grandfather with glaucoma and Parkinson’s Disease, and a grandmother who is still working at Walmart. Ashton has showcased his talents as an opening act for Keith Sweat, Monica, and Ginuwine, which has garnered attention for his smooth R&B. Terrel Upshaw “TJ” (Detroit, MI) TJ is a R&B soulful singer-songwriter that wants to usher in a New Motown sound. He attended high school with rapper Big Sean, who advised him to pursue music. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, TJ left Detroit to pursue aspirations of football, however, soon realized music is his real passion. Donavann Langston Rimpsey “Vann” (Atlanta, GA/Nashville, TN) As a R&B singer/songwriter, Vann seeks to change the game for Nashville with an urban sound that incorporates country and rock. He furthered his education at Middle Tennessee State University and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business. His proudest musical moment was receiving an ASCAP award in honor of Quincy Jones. He has opened for major R&B performers such as: Justine Skye, K. Michelle and Teyana Taylor. Avalon Young (San Diego, CA) Avalon is a singer-songwriter with rap, hip-hop, and R&B influences. Singing since birth and playing guitar since seven, the 23-year-old has been pursuing music as a professional career since 18. Avalon appeared on Season 15 of American Idol where she finished in the top eight. Brionne Wright (Denver, CO) Brionne is a neo-soul singer with Gospel influences that has been compared to India Arie. Her church background has led her to pursue music with raw, honest lyrics. Brionne has sung background for popular artists such as: Tye Tribbett, Blu Cantrell and Lalah Hathaway. Kaila Sanders (Charlotte, NC) Kaila is an 18-year-old, R&B and gospel singer who left Charlotte to chase her dreams of becoming a star. Despite her young age, she is guided by her faith and is determined to give it her all. Maya Milan Russell (Washington D.C./Baltimore, MD) Maya Milan is a pop-soul singer who believes that the time is now to make something of her music career. Hailing from Baltimore, Maya’s family and emotional struggles have pushed her to give it all. She jump started her career as a background singer for Keith Sweat. Macy Holden “Macyy Reign” (Baton Rouge, LA) Originally from New Orleans by way of Baton Rouge, Macyy Reign embodies R&B, neo-soul, and rap. Macyy has been singing since two and writing songs since ten with her church as her training ground. Her dream is to become one of the top music artists of all time. Joshua Goods “Tate Kobang” (Baltimore, MD) Tate Kobang is hungry to triumph as a rap/R&B artist after growing up on the mean streets of Baltimore. Losing both of his parents then becoming homeless has strengthened Tate to be an authentic and truth-to-lyrics artist. The motivation of his seven young children as well as having multi-platinum rapper Nelly as his mentor pushes him to succeed. ABOUT BET NETWORKS: BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for black entertainment, music, culture and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET's growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe. ABOUT Relevé Entertainment, LLC.: Relevé Entertainment is a multi-faceted entertainment company specializing in talent partnerships, brand development and television/film production. The company consistently delivers high-quality, “break-through” family and faith and redemptive programming that engages national audiences. Production credit includes, upcoming music competition series, The Next Big Thing (BET). Company recently produced My Father's Daughter: The Victoria Gotti biopic (Lifetime), docu-series Chad Loves Michelle (OWN) and upcoming television biopic The Clarks Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel with producing partners Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot and Mary J. Blige (Lifetime.) The company is currently developing Music to My Ears: inspired by a true story, for FOX family. Additional Production credits include, the Oxygen franchise “Preachers of L.A, Detroit and Atlanta” as well as “Fix My Choir” (Oxygen), “The Sheards” (BET Networks) and The Sheffields (FYI/A&E Networks.) Our core areas of operation include Television & Film, Client Partnerships, as well as our Community Engagement Initiatives, such as The Merge Summit. ABOUT InventTV: InventTV is a full-service production company that specializes in producing scripted and unscripted television series, specials and live events. Headed by Sergio Alfaro and Michaline Babich, the team has a wealth of experience in television production and has earned many awards and has longstanding relationships with brands like Bravo, TLC, CMT, Spike, Fox Television, ABC, NBC and CBS. Co-owned by Los Angeles Media Fund (Simon Horsman and Jeffrey Soros), the company focuses on creating compelling content and delivering groundbreaking, diverse stories to a multicultural world.