NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINATIONS

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

The NAACP Award nominations are in and HBO and Netflix lead with 22 and 20 Nominations in the Television categories. Marvel leads with 13 nominations in Film categories. RCA leads with 11 nominations in the music categories. The nominees were announced on February 13, 2019 at a press conference. Winners will be announced live during a Two-Hour live special on TV One on Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Los Angles, California.

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“With TV One as our partner for the 50th Anniversary of the NAACP Image Awards, we are delighted to have a platform to showcase artists and individuals of color and celebrate their talents and contributions.” – NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

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In its 50th year, The NAACP Image Awards is the foremost multicultural awards show celebrating the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

Maxine Waters Leads Discussion On Housing Finance Reform

In addition to the standard awards categories, our favorite auntie Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be honored with the NAACP Chairman of the Year Award which is given to individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their platforms to create agents of change.

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TRACEE ELLIS ROSS ON ICONS, IDOLS + INFLUENCERS

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Tracee Ellis Ross opens up to Chris Spencer about her challenges with self-esteem during a very candid interview tonight on Aspire at 730 pm.

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One would think that why would she have problems with self-esteem because she is a Diana Ross’ daughter but when you think about it, it would make her more prone to self-esteem problems with a superstar mother. Tracee breaks down her constant challenges with self-esteem and self-worth.

“Insecurity and self-doubt is a part of daily life and I’m a human being that has a vulnerable soul, and I do risky things in my career so that crops up all the time,” says Ross. “I think loving yourself is a daily activity that requires compassion and kindness, and it’s something I’ve learned how to do.”

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Tracee finds help in seeking counsel from those that are closest to her. It is so important to have a tribe, those that you can turn to when you are at your lowest with no judgment. Without a tribe, you will not make it in this life, especially not in the entertainment industry. I have found this out first hand.

“Those are moments when I lean into other people – into my friends, those that can love me when I can’t love myself,” says Ross. “When I’m experiencing shame I share that with other people and they can hold space and sort of mirror back the larger truth of the experience than just what you’re seeing and feeling.”

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A lot of times when you are sitting in silence by yourself, in those times thoughts will definitely creep into your mind and make you think you aren’t enough or such.

“When you are left with the self that you are, sometimes there are things that make you feel like you’re less than or not enough,” Ross declares. “And when left in the privacy of our own minds and between the ears, it can be a dangerous neighborhood in there.”

Make sure that you tune into this very intimate real conversation with this phenomenal inspiring woman.

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To find out where you can watch Aspire TV in your area, visit http://www.aspire.tv/cdm.

LOVE IS ______

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

This new romantic drama comes from the award-winning producers Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane) and Salim Akil (Black Lighting).

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Set primarily in the 90’s, it draws from the Akil’s real-life​ relationship journey. The series explores the highs, lows, and the magic of falling and staying in love.

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The cast includes Michele Weaver (Illicit) as Nuri and Will Catlett (Black Lighting) as Nasir.

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This series will definitely be another hit show from the Mara and Salim.

TUESDAYS AT 10 PM. ONLY ON OWN!

THE PHENOMENON OF SCANDAL

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

When Scandal first premiered six years ago it was unlike any other show that was on TV at the time. It was a show that we would have a love/hate relationship with and we loved every minute of it. Scandal told stories boldly and unapologetically. That moment when we rooted for Olivia and Fitz and some later rooted for Olivia and Jake and we realized that she had a type; dating married men. Yes, Jake was married if you remember in Season Five we learned that he was married. Finally, that moment when we rooted for the White Hat and wanted to be a “Gladiator in A Suit” and get justice by any means necessary.

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The premiere of Scandal brought about a first, which we are experiencing a lot of these days. This drama helped bring in a new era of diversity on the small screen. Kerry Washington became the first African- American to be lead in a TV drama, something that hadn’t happen since 1974. She was also the first African-American woman in 18 years to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This opened up the door for so many other African-American female leads, including Being Mary Jane with Gabrielle Union and another ShondaLand show How To Get Away with Murder with Viola Davis.

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As I am re-watching Scandal from the beginning I am loving how Shonda Rhimes has given opportunities for actors to act on not only one of her shows, but several. Kelly McCreary appeared in Season Three as a friend of Columbus Short before he was killed in the series. Kelly later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the fierce bad-ass Dr. Maggie Pierce, half-sister of Meredith Grey. Jerrika Hinton appeared in Season One as a coroner and later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the seemingly heartless intern Stephanie Edwards. Bellamy Young appeared in a cross-over event with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice as a patient and we all know she ended up on Scandal as Mellie Grant: First Lady, Governor, and President. Scott Foley appeared as Teddy’s patient and later husband on Grey’s Anatomy and later moved on to be the none other than Command of B6313 on Scandal.

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Scandal has tackled so many issues that have impacted lots of lives. From military rape to Black Lives Matter this show has tackled it all. One of my favorite episodes is “Vermont is For Lovers”, Episode 308. Not only was it a great episode, it made TV history as well. It was the first primetime show with an African-American showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, first-time TV director at the time Ava Duvernay and lead Kerry Washington. The famous episode where Fitz and Olivia were on the outs and he flies her to Vermont to show her the house that he had built of her. Such a classic and touching episode for me because you really felt the love that he had for Olivia.

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“Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually, going through with it? Actually, standing up to say: This, is it? Not so much so. We are leaving everything on the table with this finale. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, Gladiators running full speed over a cliff.” – Shonda Rhimes

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Shonda never saw this show as a long lifespan. She always saw it as a season-seven show. Tonight, on ABC at 10 pm, Scandal will say its final goodbye and hang up the white hat for good; and the entire country will be watching and tweeting with the cast for the very last time. I will definitely miss the ride and rollercoaster that Shonda Rhimes gave us with this show.

Farewell Scandal and thank you to the cast and crew for such a great ride!

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UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC SHAKUR AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

From the director of the People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story comes Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & The Notorious B.I.G. Now this is not your ordinary docu-series that we all have seen before, it is so much more. During a private screening, I had the chance to see the first episode in the 10-part series and it gets straight to the point quick. The first episode gives you everything that all the other documentaries gave you in an hour. It leaves you on the edge of your seat and wondering what can be next.

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Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. is a scripted true crime serial that chronicles the two major police investigations by LAPD Detective Greg Kading into the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

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Emmy Winner Anthony Hemingway directed the pilot episode and will executive produce the series, along with Mark Taylor. Kyle Long (Suits) wrote the pilot episode and will also executive produce. Detective Greg Kading will also serve as co-executive producer.

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CAST:

Tupac: Marcc Rose
Biggie Smalls: Wavyy Jonez
Detective Greg Kading: Josh Duhamel
Detective Russell Poole: Jimmi Simpson
Officer Daryn Dupress: Bokeem Woodbine
Detective Fred Miller: Jamie McShane
Sean “Puffy” Combs: Luke James
Voletta Wallace: Aisha Hinds
Suge Knight’s Estranged Wife, Sharitha Golden: Letoya Luckett

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Bokeem Woodbine on Unsolved:
Woodbine appeared in what was Tupac’s last video “I Ain’t Mad At Cha”. He calls working on Unsolved “Kismet”, and definitely no coincidences.

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UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC & THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G PREMIERES ON FEBRUARY 27TH at 10 PM! 

SPOTLIGHT TUESDAY – ROCHE’ CHITOWN

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Roche’ about two years ago on a television set. My first impression of her was a sweet spirit. We clicked immediately. I loved her fire, her tenacity, and her drive. She inspired me and continues to inspire me to this day to push towards my dreams. Her drive is not only for herself but also for her son. Being in this uncertain industry is already a hard, but doing it with a special needs son is phenomenal.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13

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Roche’ got started in this industry at a very early age when she began modeling and rapping. She got serious about this industry when she moved to LA in 1999 to pursue acting.

“It’s always nice to be nice”
“I’m not HEARTless, just using my heartLESS.”

What excites her about the industry is being able to express her creativity through words, music, action, and allowing others to participate in her journey. Roche’ focuses on writing and filmmaking. She has recently cast and film her own film.

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Roche’ has taken several classes and participated in workshops, but mainly she has gotten her training from being on set as a Stand-In, Photo Double, and being a part of the core team of Uniformed Police Officers. It’s on the job training ​or a paid intern. Every project she is on she receives wisdom from directors, actors, and crew. You know when you are meant to be someplace when you soak up all the information like a sponge.

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Coming up for Roche’ is another script that she wrote because her father said so. When your parents say write, you write. She also is flirting with the writing a sequel to her current film, #PinkPanties. The film left mouths open and lingering questions that need to be answered.

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You can follow her for more information and her projects.

Instagram videos: http://www.rochechitown.com/videos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roche_chitown/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hashtagpinkpanties/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HashTagPinkPant

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roche_chitown/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rochechitown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roche.bolling

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.”

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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.

WOMAN WHO ROCKS-KESHIA KNIGHT PULLIAM

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Everyone knows Keshia Knight Pulliam as the adorable youngest child of the Huxtable clan on The Cosby Show. Even if never seen the show you knew who Rudy Huxtable was. Keshia is one of the few child stars that didn’t succumb to the typical wild child syndrome.

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She went on to graduate with Honors from Spelman College in 2001 with a B.A. in Sociology with a minor concentration in Film. While at Spelman her entreprenual spirit blossomed as well as her love for political activism and philanthropy.

Keshia’s work with under deserved communities is something that I can relate to. I have such a passion to help in communities that do not have the resources or the ability to move higher due to circumstances.

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When Keshia discovered the absence of positive imagery of young people, and knowing first-hand the significance positive women can have on their lives, Keshia started Kamp Kizzy in 2001. A non-profit foundation designed to empower. Kamp Kizzy is a free mentorship camp for youth ages 11-16 in Atlanta. This camp attracts kids from all around the country, and is impacting girls in unimaginable ways. With the development of this foundation, Keshia made a commitment to remain an active participant in the lives of young people.

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The goal of Kamp Kizzy is to provide a series of workshops, lectures, and community projects, which assists in the growth, empowerment and evolvement of young people in Atlanta and surrounding communities. Keshia is a role model for the kids, and her public presence on and off the TV/movie screen has given her the platform to influence all those that come in contact with her.

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Keshia devolved into another love that she has recently, cooking. While in her kitchen she developed a line of seasonings, Keshia’s Kitchen Collection Seasonings. She developed each spice blend with the goal of creating a collection of easy to use products that she would use to feed her own family. Each seasoning contains everything necessary to make a scrupulous dish. Meat, Poultry, and All Purpose seasonings contain all natural ingredients, in addition to being gluten free and Kosher.

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Recently she threw her public support behind her TV father, Bill Cosby when she attended his trial. Keshia is one of the few people that has shown support.

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“I came to support because this is where you hear the facts. This is where the truth happens. Ultimately, it’s easy to support someone and to be in their corner when things are great. When things are good. But…true family, friendship, integrity is how people show up and support when things aren’t looking so great, when they aren’t shining.”

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Keshia also currently hosts her own podcast show every week, Kandidly Keshia. An intimate real discussion and look into her life, love and happiness. She has had Bill Cosby, and Deon Richmond on her show. You are able to learn more about Keshia the person, the sister, the daughter, the mother, the actress, the role model, and activist. Make sure you tune in and download each episode. @Kandidly Keshia

Follow Keshia on social media for more:
Instagram: @keshiaknightpulliam
Facebook: @TheRealKeshiaKnightPulliam
Twitter: @peachespulliam
http://www.keshiaknightpulliam.me

Follow Kamp Kizzy and visit the website to donate:
Instagram: @kampkizzy
Facebook: @KampKizzy
Twitter: @kampkizzy
http://www.kampkizzy.com

You can learn more about her seasoning line and purchase her seasonings on her website:
http://www.keshiaskitchen.com

INTERVIEW W/ LIL’ DEE DEE

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to speak with the amazingly talented Lil’ Dee Dee last week. This 13-year old pint-sized actor, dancer, choreographer, and model is super humble and is taking the world by storm with his gifts.

Lil’ Dee Dee was destined to be a performer. He has been surrounded by his father, an R&B singer and his three siblings, all of which are in some form of show business. So being a performer is in his DNA.

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Lil’ Dee Dee has appeared in numerous TV shows including Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You is Wrong” and Containment on Netflix. He can also be seen as the MC/Co-Host on LIP-SYNC BATTLE SHORTIES on Nickelodeon, as well as on the Amazing World of Gumball on the Cartoon Network as the voice of Darwin the Fish. He has also traveled the world dancing with Chris Brown, and with his mentor Usher Raymond. He is a part of his own dance crew and loves teaching people how to dance. You can catch him coming up in Honey 4.

Tell me about your character in Honey 4?
It’s pretty much like me. He’s a dancer, a real character with my personality. It’s just so me.

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At such a young age, you are impacting kids all over. What’s it like speaking at schools and working with Usher’s New Look Foundation?
I met with the Foundation a couple of weeks ago and wanted to speak to the kids and let them know to just stay humble and to keep going what drives you. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.

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With the teen suicide rate up, is there anything you can say to encourage kids to stay in the game?
Whenever I go into schools I try to talk to the younger kids first as opposed to the older kids because the older kids already know what they want to do and have their mind made up. The younger kids are still like “what am I going to do”, “I want to be this, I want to be that.” I just try to tell them, that whatever you want to do in life go after it, and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. Also, be humble and listen to your teachers, you may think they’re being mean to you, but later in life, you may need it. I try to spend as much time as possible spending time with them. So, on my off days, I go to a nearby school and speak to the kids. It’s all about encouraging them.

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What is it like working with Usher and big talents?
It’s definitely a really good feeling because growing up listening to Usher and all these different artists and then to actually be in the same room is really mind blowing. It’s really humbling. They always tell me to stay humble, and keep my head up and keep going after it. It’s so crazy because I get it. So, inspiring, just to see what they have to go through.

What Keeps You Humble?
Being around Chris Brown and others and seeing what they have to go through. Also, seeing kids keep going and they don’t have a support system it just makes me want to go harder and reach my goal. So, it’s everything.

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“The slightest motivation can only take you so far.”

I cannot wait to see everything that Lil’ Dee Dee has coming up and everything that will come in the future. This kid inspires me to go for greater.

Follow him on all social media for updates @IAmLilDeeDee and his website http://www.iamlildeedee.com.

WOMAN WHO ROCKS: LUVVIE AJAYI

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I first discovered Luvvie Ajayi on Twitter with her witty commentary and her live tweeting during Scandal. Luvvie says the stuff I’m thinking but don’t say out loud. I am inspired by her because like her I operate a blog without getting paid but, I do it for the love of writing.

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“Just the love of writing; that’s what made me start. When I started I had no intention of making money. Honestly, I just wrote because I just love writing and it wasn’t something that I intended to become a career but I think that also kind of helped. Without the expectation, I wasn’t disappointed about not making money because I still had a full-time job. So ultimately I think me not being strategic actually helped because with the lowered expectations, or with zero expectations, I didn’t have anything to compare to while I was writing.”

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Luvvie is a fourteen-year blogging veteran of Awesomely Luvvie, a highly respected humor blog that covers everything from pop culture to technology, travel, race and random adventures. Her latest blog inspired her debut book, I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, released in September 2016 and instantly hit the New York Times Best Selling List. I’M JUDGING YOU is a collection of essays that critiques our fame-obsessed, social media-centric lives, all while encouraging us to do better. Earlier this year ShondaLand along with ABC Signature Studios have acquired the rights to the book to develop a cable comedy series. Luvvie first gained the attention of Shonda Rhimes with her online Scandal recaps. There is no date yet on when we will see this on screen but I am in eager anticipation of this comedy.

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In an effort to leave the world better than she found it, she partnered with Karyn Brianne Lee in 2009 to create The Red Pump Project. The Red Pump Project is a nonprofit that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Luvvie serves as the Executive Director and leads the national executive team and network of ambassadors in four states. They seek to empower, educate and motivate action by driving the conversation online and in the community around HIV prevention and issues related to sexual and reproductive health. They use the Red Pump as a symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS. The Red Pump Project believes that if HIV affects one, it affects us all. (www.redpumpproject.org)

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“Awareness is Always in Style!”

Luvvie was a former contributing editor and columnist for The Grio, she wrote Scandal recaps for Vulture and has written for EBONY, Clutch Magazine, and Uptown Magazine.

 

She is also the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Awesomely Techie, a resource site for writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and everyday people who want to use technology to make their work and personal lives more efficient.

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Luvvie Ajayi is definitely a WOMAN WHO ROCKS to me. I am inspired, and thankful that I have been exposed to her greatness. This is just the beginning for her and I can’t wait to hear more from her.

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You can get the hilarious I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual at any bookstore and online retailer.

Check out her blog and a resource site.
http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com
http://www.awesomelytechie.com

Also for more information about her and how you can book her, visit her at
http://www.luvvieajayi.org

And lastly, follow her on social media for her unfiltered commentary and updates:
Instagram/Twitter: @luvvie
Facebook: Luvvie Ajayi