FILM REVIEW: THE BEST OF ENEMIES

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

So, went to an advanced screening of The Best of Enemies. After the screening, there was a conversation with one of the stars of the film, Taraji P. Henson and the writer/director/producer Robin Bissell.

The true story of the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader. During the racially charged summer of 1971, Atwater and Ellis come together to co-chair a community summit on the desegregation of schools in Durham, N.C. The ensuing debate and battle soon lead to surprising revelations that change both of their lives forever.

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Let me start off and say that Taraji did a good job on this film and in this role. But, to be honest this was yet another “White Savior” film and it is clear that it was written by a White man. The movie was longer than it should have and spent too much time telling a one-sided story. The character arc was never developed for Ann Atwater, unless you read the back story on your own for her you did not know she was an activist. She was painted as a poor Black woman who just spoke up for her community. The only thing that you knew about her family is that she had a daughter that we didn’t see her interact with a lot. No back story or anything. But what you did get a lot of was C.P. Ellis and his back story. They spent a lot of time building his character, his family, and how he ticked. We knew that he had kids and a wife, the classic American family, while they painted Ann as a Black woman with a broken family because we didn’t know where her daughter’s father was. His wife, played by Anne Heche was instrumental in showing the human side of this KKK President and what led him to join. Showing that he had a bad, sad life and he was just looking to belong to something. Way to humanize a white supremacist and diminish what Ann was trying to do in the community back then. Thanks, but we don’t need a savior.

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Why do White writers always tell these stories from one point of view, it would be helpful to have a Black person during the writing process to have it balanced. The problem with Hollywood is they think these types of movies support the Black community when it does the exact opposite. But let me step off my soapbox and hope that in the future these stories are told from both perspectives and not just the one. But shout out to them for at least bring awareness to the story that people did not know that much about.

The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell and premieres in theaters on April 5.

THE BOBBY BROWN STORY PREMIERE

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

It was a star-studded affair at the Paramount Studios Theatre on Wednesday night as we celebrated Bobby Brown during the private screening of The Bobby Brown Story that will air on BET on September 4th and 5th.

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The Bobby Brown Story comes from Abdul Williams, the same writer from The New Edition Story. Having seen the first episode this will definitely be another classic that we will watch for years to come. Bobby Brown who was very hands-on with the project wanted to show us a side of him that we did not know before. While watching you can feel the authenticity bleeding from the screen as each actor brings everything they have to each character.

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Woody McClain who played Bobby Brown in The New Edition Story and now The Bobby Brown Story dug deep for his inner Bobby. Gabrielle Dennis plays Whitney like no other. She truly embodies the character. At the premiere, I asked her where she pulled from and she said that she prayed each day before going on set and felt that Whitney was with her every step of the way.

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Learned so much that I didn’t know from this film about Bobby.  He truly told the story his way. Brilliant casting by Robi Reed to get all of this dynamic talent and brilliant directing by Kiel Adrian Scott to pull out the best from these actors.

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Make sure you tune in on September 4th and 5th at 9 pm on BET to see this dynamic story. Check out our exclusive interviews with some of the cast below.

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WHY BRONZELENS?

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

BronzeLens Film Festival has got to be my favorite Film Festivals. I look forward to it each and every year. BronzeLens is one of those things where it’s big, but it’s small. It’s not so big that you feel out of place and you can’t talk to people. It is a very approachable environment. From the moment, you step in you are treated like a VIP whether you are or not.

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BronzeLens gives the opportunity to be exposed to films: short, feature, student, and even web series that you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. Being in the presence of these amazing filmmakers, cast and crews are priceless. I still support these people to this day. The networking is an added bonus to the price of admission.

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From the workshops, Masterclasses, special screenings, awards show, Women’s Superstar Luncheon and Brunch with the Brothers there is something for everyone. In the past at the Women’s Superstar Luncheon, Ava Duvernay and Queen Latifah were both honored. Brunch with the Brothers always brings an interesting perspective. Hearing from the guys on their experiences in the industry gives us ladies a one up.

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One of my favorite memories from the Festival was about 2 years ago. Issa Rae was in attendance to screen her new HBO show, now in its third season. I can remember the HBO executive tapped me on my shoulder and asked if I wanted to interview Issa Rae. My eyes got super big and I was screaming on the inside but kept it together, and while I had no questions prepared I confidently said yes and was escorted to an area to interview her. That was my first big interview and it was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. After posting my interview, Issa Rae reposted it, yes, she reposted it. Greatest moment. My world was filled with joy.

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You never know what will happen at BronzeLens, so you don’t want to miss a minute of the action. First class treatment all the way down to the volunteers. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. Even if you are an inspiring filmmaker, actor, actress, writer, or just starting out, this Festival is for you.

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The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School”

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP


The cast of A Different World: Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Cree Summer and Darryl Bell as well as actor Laz Alonso gathered at The Home Depot Store Support Center on Monday, April 30, in Atlanta to help announce nine HBCU’s who have won $360,000 for on-campus renovations as part of The Home Depot’s Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant.

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The Program Mission
The Home Depot strives to give back to our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities what they have so generously given to the communities they are a part of. A strong foundation. Renewed purpose. Distinctive character, with support from The Home Depot, the grants awarded from the Retool Your School program gives schools an opportunity to make upgrades to their campuses.

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Program History
In its 9th year, they have 81% HBCU participation, 490 Grants have been awarded, 4,418 volunteer hours logged, 1.8 million in Grants and 17.2 Million votes.

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It was like old times when the cast took the stage with moderator Gil Robertson. Lots of laughs filled the stage as they answered how they didn’t really know how much of an impact this show had on young people wanting to attend HBCU’s. Cree Summer and Darryl Bell did not know about HBCU’s until they started filming the show. For me watching A Different World was what I thought college would be like and made me want to go to college even more. I didn’t attend an HBCU, however, I wish I had, because it definitely had an impact on my life.

BREAKING IN ATLANTA PREMIERE

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Last night, Producer Will Packer and BREAKING IN star Gabrielle Union held a special advanced private screening at the Regal Theatre at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

Attendees included local celebrities, friends and family, and influencers including new Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, GA governor candidate Stacey Abrams, The Dream, Sister Circle Live’s Syleena Johnson and Kiana Dancie among others.

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ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 22: Producer Will Packer speaks onstage at “Breaking In” Atlanta Private Screening at Regal Atlantic Station on April 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Studios)

Before the screening began, Atlanta radio personality Frank Ski (V103) greeted the crowd and introduced BREAKING IN producer, Will Packer. Packer introduced Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who expressed excitement about the film. They were then joined by BREAKING IN star Gabrielle Union who addressed the 407-seat auditorium with gratitude.

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ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 22: Actress Gabrielle Union attends “Breaking In” Atlanta Private Screening at Regal Atlantic Station on April 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Studios)

In BREAKING IN, Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her children from being held hostage within a house designed with impenetrable security. Nothing can match a determined mother on a mission.

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Producers Will Packer and Gabrielle Union reunite for this thriller directed by James McTeigue and written by Ryan Engle. Along with Union and Packer, Will Packer Productions’ James Lopez and Practical Pictures’ Craig Perry and Shelia Hanahan Taylor join in on producing this new thriller.

BREAKING IN co-stars Billy Burke (Twlight), Richard Cabral (End of Watch), Ajiona Alexus (Empire), Levi Meaden (Pacific Rim), Jason George (Grey’s Anatomy), Seth Carr (Black Panther) and Christa Miller (Cougar Town).

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BREAKING IN hits theatres just in time for Mother’s Day on May 11. Tickets are available now. Get yours today and learn why “Payback is a Mother.”

 

UNSOLVED HISTORY: LIFE OF A KING

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity and extreme honor to attend the private screening of the Unsolved History: Life of A King at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Visitor Center Theater on Sunday, March 25.

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I learned so much during the screening. I had no idea that Dr. King had a younger brother that was marching and fighting alongside him. So, this was all brand-new information for me while watching.

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UNSOLVED HISTORY: Life of A King, is the untold story of Alfred Daniel (A.D.) King, the younger brother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This documentary explores the unanswered questions of A.D. King’s accidental drowning fifteen months after his brother Dr. King was assassinated​. You will hear exclusive interviews with King family members, including A.D. King’s oldest daughter and his wife as well as the people from the Civil Rights Movement that will speak first-hand about A.D. King.

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“Life of A King reveals the untold, undistorted truth at a time when people need to know authentic historical information.” ~Josetta Shrospshire, Co-Executive Producer and CEO of Positive Promotions Ltd.

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It was definitely emotional watching the documentary as his kids and wife talk about the man that ended up coming to the same demise as his brother. His son was the one that found him dead in the pool at their home in Atlanta. He remembers the police telling him that there was no water in his father’s lungs, which means he was dead before he entered the water. That in itself is traumatizing but eventually calling it an “accidental drowning” had to be devastating.

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Presented by Sunwise Media and Postive Promotions, the one-hour documentary narrated by Emmy-winning news reporter, Ed Gordon will air on WATL-TV, Channel 36 on Thursday, April 5 at 11pm and again on Saturday, April 7 at 5 pm.

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For additional air dates in your area visit sunwisemedia.com/unsolvedhistory.
Follow the movement: Facebook/Instagram: @unsolvedhistory

DR. JEWEL TANKARD’S MILLIONAIRESS CONFERENCE

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

On January 20, 2018 Dr. Jewel Tankard hosted her Millionairess Conference at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. This conference was all about learning the New Rules of Money and dominating them. You don’t have to do everything all at once but if you do one thing here and then another there you will make it.

Dr. Jewel Tankard, an entrepreneur, evangelist, and reality star brought in a creative blend of Bosses, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, including Dr. Heavenly Kimes, star of Bravo’s Married to Medicine, and Keri Hilson, singer. Songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur for panels, networking and conversation. This was truly an experience of a lifetime, full of unforgettable knowledge. There was nothing like talking business with other like-minded people.

Make sure that you check out the Millionairess Conference when it comes to a city near you.

Follow Dr. Jewel Tankard on social media:
@jeweltankard
http://www.jeweltankard.com

BOBBI KRISTINA FILM

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to participate in a media teleconference for a new controversial film premiering on TV One, Sunday, October, 8. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive about this Bobbi Kristina film mainly for the family. Whether or not this movie was made to tell a cautionary tale of love, or to tell what people think is Bobbi Kristina’s story, I think the family has gone through enough. Cissy Houston lost her only daughter, and her granddaughter and Bobby Brown lost his daughter. It was just time to let it rest, and let the family rest, and then a movie surfaces. One of the executives said that this story could’ve been any girl and it could’ve been told at any time. But, the question arises, if this could have been any girl, then why wasn’t it just told about a fictional girl that was looking for love?

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CAST:

Bobbi Kristina: Joy Rovaris (Stuck in the Middle)
Nick Gordon: Nadji Jeter (Grown Ups)
Whitney Houston: Demetria McKinney (House of Payne)
Pat Houston: Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill)
Bobby Brown: Hassan Johnson (The Wire)

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ABOUT BOBBI KRISTINA:

Bobbi Kristina is a biopic inspired by the life of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who grew up in the shadow of her famous parents’ spotlight.

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“In it’s simplest form, Bobbi Kristina is a film about a beautiful mother-daughter intertwined with both of their desires to be loved; one just happened to be a superstar and another an innocent bystander to her parent’s fame. Krissy, like most young adults, shares one side with her closest friends. This movie is told from that perspective.”
~Tracey Baker-Simmons, Executive Producer

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“The tabloids painted a picture of two superstars who live a tumultuous life, but we often forget that in the process a little girl had to grow up in the limelight that she did not choose.”
~D’Angela Proctor, SVP, Original Programming & Production

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This film has not come easy, and it was almost stopped from being shown on TV One. Bobby Brown petitioned for a federal judge to hear his lawsuit against TV One and Tracey Baker-Simmons and Wanda Shelley for defamation of character. Bobbi Kristina’s estate also joined the case.

Bobby Brown lost the case as of October 6 but, will reappear on Nov. 13. Judge Analisa Torres said, “Brown’s concerns that the Bobbi Kristina film defames him is speculative because he has neither seen the film or read the script.”

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Brown’s claim against Tracey Baker-Simmons and Wanda Shelley suggest they unfairly took advantage of their previous work with Brown to make the movie. They were the creators of the docu-series Being Bobby Brown and The Houstons: On their Own and worked closely with the family.

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Joy Rovaris:
This is her first lead role. As a woman, she says you love hard and seeing love and life through Krissy’s eyes was intense. She wants to world to know the real Krissy and thinks that Krissy wanted a love like her parents but didn’t know how to go about it. She did her research for Krissy by watching the entire series of Being Bobby Brown.

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Vivica A. Fox:
Says that this was important to portray. She knew the family personally, especially Pat Houston. So, she wanted to do it justice and make sure that she got all her mannerisms correct with a Vivica twist of course. Pat Houston took over the parental role for Krissy and she wanted to make Pat Houston as believable as possible. This film came out of love.

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Demetria McKinney:
Always wanted to play Whitney. When she was a child, she would always tell people that is who she wanted to play. Her career and music were inspired by Whitney. She felt like this was an opportunity to honor her.

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Hassan Johnson:
Playing Bobby Brown, the original bad boy was interesting to process everything and step away from everything he knew and just play the character. Love is the message of this movie, the unconditional love that the family had for Krissy.

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Nadji Jeter:
He had the opportunity to spend time with her friends but didn’t know the impact of their relationship. Krissy’s friends would visit the set and shed light on who Nick is, and the relationship that he had with Krissy. It’s a story of love.

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Rhonda Baraka (Writer):
She was drawn to the mother/daughter bond they had. Felt that she had to show that Krissy that was able to speak up for herself, which is what she said in countless interviews before her untimely death. It was important to tell the story from Krissy’s perspective, and stay true to her. She looked for information that wasn’t readily known.

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I have seen a portion of the film, and it is going to be an interesting film. This film picks up right before Whitney’s death and shows how Krissy returns back to the Atlanta area to deal with the grief.

TUNE INTO TV ONE AT 7 PM TO VIEW THIS CONTROVERSIAL FILM AND CAST YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT.

Le Vie Magnifique de CHARLIE (The Charlie Movie)

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

At the BronzeLens Film Festival last month, I had the opportunity to see a phenomenal film, Le Vie Magnifique de Charlie (The Charlie Movie).

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ABOUT THE CHARLIE MOVIE:
The Charlie Movie is a movie about living a carefree life, with a bit of Black girl magic thrown in. After her sister Brandy’s untimely death, Charlie’s approach to grieving gives the people in her life pause. Follow Charlie and her best friends Kayla, and Keturah as they go on a hilarious, wild, and exhilarating ride that will surely be the craziest day of Charlie’s life.

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This movie shot entirely in Atlanta over seven jam-packed weekends with a very little budget gives a gritty New York feel combined with present day Atlanta flair. But, you could not tell by watching this movie that the budget was low. This amazingly talented cast and crew brought this story to the screen like no other. You could feel the camaraderie from Charlie and her friends ​like they have been friends forever in real life. The look of this film was heavily influenced by French cinema and early films of Spike Lee, Madonna, and Prince.

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CAST:
Kortnee Price (Charlie)
Nikki Lashae (Keturah)
Lailaa Brookings (Kayla)
Ashley S. Evans (Brandy)

Writers: Bobby Huntley and Nikki Wade for Divadom Entertainment
Director: Bobby Huntley
Executive Producer: Chet A. Brewster for Davenstar 1 Entertainment

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In her first role, Kortnee Price gives an outstanding, award-winning performance as Charlie. She was able to embody her 16-year-old geeky self into this role. Bobby allowed them to bring their own personality or version to their characters. It showed.

This film features an original song “The Best of Me”, written by Jypsy Nichols, Jeff Paige, Bobby Huntley, and Nikki Wade. This song brings the whole film full circle at the end.

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This film is a must see. If you are in the Atlanta area, The Charlie Movie will be shown at the Peachtree Village Film Festival on September 24 at 3 pm.

Follow them on social media for updates:
Facebook: The Charlie Movie
Instagram: @thecharliemovie

TV ONE’S “WHEN LOVE KILLS: The Falicia Blakely Story

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to dial into a teleconference with the cast of “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, premiering August 28 at 9 pm. This film will join True Crime Mondays on TV ONE.

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ABOUT WHEN LOVE KILLS: THE FALICIA BLAKELY:

Inspired by an episode of TV One’s hit original series, For My Man, an original film was created based on the tragic story of Falicia Blakely. Falicia Blakely, a teen mom from Atlanta who finds herself rolling in the fast lane. When she finds herself becoming a dancer at a local strip club, she attracts the attention of local pimp and bad boy, Dino. His smooth talking and empty promises of a life together with Falicia turns her into an accessory in his crimes. She is forced to prove her love for him at the expense of others.

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This film is the feature film directorial debut for Tasha Smith and stars Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman. It guest stars Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather.

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LIL MAMA (Falicia Blakely)
“I was trying to play the best friend but was asked to come in and play Falicia. This was definitely a risk. This film shows how desperate young women are and how they will do things for love. They’re in need of a voice and someone to reach out and help them. I hope to minister to them through acting and I know I was chosen to do this role for a reason. Out of everything that I auditioned for during that season, this was the only role that I got.”

“I spoke to my dad about taking on this role, and he was very supportive and told me how important it was to play this role. This film is important now. It will help young women who don’t have a mother or father. Falicia had a mom, but she wasn’t really there. She wasn’t there to raise, uplift, or show her the way.”

“I pulled from the truth of women all around the world who have been victims and not known that they were victims of society. This is what’s so amazing about acting – allowing myself to be as vulnerable as I would be in that moment, just to actually live through the character and become Falicia. I want to do her justice, and so I tapped into truth to tell her story.”

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LANCE GROSS (Dino)
“In playing Dino, a modern-day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who uses Falicia’s desire to be loved for his gain. This is a role nobody’s ever seen me in – they’re used to me being the nice guy. I want the audience to know that you really have to be conscious of the decisions that you make because there are consequences that come along with it.”

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TAMI ROMAN (Stacey, Falicia’s alcoholic mother)
Tami had to reflect back into her own relationship with her mother as a teenager to tap into how to play this character.

“At the age of 13 [my mother] sent me to live with my grandmother. By 15 she came to get me, and at that point, we became best friends because she had finally gotten herself together. And I think that is where I tried to become my mom [in this role].”

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TASHA SMITH (Director)
“My goal was to challenge each actor to dig deep and to relate to their character while creating a suspenseful, high-stakes drama on screen. I feel like it’s my calling to inspire other actors to pursue their purpose in the heart, and that’s why to have the opportunity to direct and to work with actors on that level – I love it. I’m in heaven,”

She brought a heart and humanity to this character. Tasha was once a stripper in Camden, NJ and could relate to Falicia Blakely.

“People don’t understand the struggles of people and what they go through. We need to have empathy for the Falicia Blakely’s of the world.”

Tami Roman, Lance Gross, Lil Mama, Tasha Smith

This was a riveting movie that will speak to women and show them that they don’t have to live that life and there is more on the other side. You will feel for the Falicia Blakely’s of the world and understand how love is a powerful drug after watching this movie.

Make sure you tune into When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story on August 28 at 9 pm on TV ONE.