[Los Angeles, CA, June 23] Friday, June 24, Culture Creators gathered black culture’s most impactful and inspiring voices under one roof for the third annual Innovators & Leaders Awards Brunch. This year, the event took over The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills and received the support of sponsors such as Remy Martin, The Mane Choice, Morgan Stanley, and Beats by Dre.
300+ guests witnessed the honorees receive their respective awards and share stories, memories, and gratitude. Bringing the house to its feet in a roar of applause, Sylvia Rhone garnered the Culture Creators Icon Award.
Other recipients included Jemele Hill, who received the Defiance Award, Kenya Barris, Jana Fleishman, Tunji Balogun, Shawn Gee, and more. Celebrity guests included Will.i.am, DJ Khaled, Tank, Andre Harrell, Miles Brown, Essence Atkins, Luke James, Waka Flocka, and more. Once again, Culture Creators magnified the resonance of Black Culture’s Innovators & Leaders and kicked off BET weekend in uplifting fashion.
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Images Courtesy of Getty Images
LIST OF HONOREES
Honorees: Sylvia Rhone | President, Epic Records // Jemele Hill | Chief Correspondent & Sr. Columnist, The Undefeated ESPN // Lauren Wesley Wilson | President ColorComm, Inc. // Fatima Robinson | Choreographer & Director // Brea Stinson | Owner & Fashion Designer, STINSON HAUS // Jason Bolden | Co-Founder, JSN Studio/ / Charles D. King | Founder & CEO, MACRO // Kenya Barris | Writer & Producer, Creator of “Black-ish” // Rashaun Williams | General Partner, MVP All-Star Fund // Shawn Gee | President, Live Nation Urban // Tunji Balogun | Co-Founder, Keep Cool/EVP, A&R RCA Records // Jana Fleishman | EVP Media & Strategic Development, Roc Nation // Kristi Henderson | Co-Founder, WEEN // Carlos Fleming | Partner & Head of Sports Talent Marketing, WME // Rodney Williams | CEO & Co-Founder, LISNR
ABOUT CULTURE CREATORS
Culture Creators (CC) is an organization made up of the key figures from music, technology, film, television, fashion, and much more. Culture Creators always aims to celebrate the accomplishments of minorities in various industries and how African American culture continues to thrive and impact popular culture. As part of its programming for the 2016 GRAMMY weekend, Culture Creators hosted a soiree that attracted the likes of Diplo, Chris Rock, Skrillex, Lorde, Fatima Robinson, Cory Gamble, SZA, KeKe Palmer, and many more important Hollywood trendsetters and pioneers. Culture Creators also partnered with Howard University to provide executive leadership and recruitment to aid in the diversity and inclusion recruitment of students for mass merchant retailers, advertising agencies and athletic apparel companies.
TV One Unveils Public Service Announcement to Accompany Debut of Original Film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story on Monday, August 28
Network leverages film to create open dialogue about domestic violence through partnerships with youth organization Saving Our Daughters and the National Domestic Violence Hotline
When TV One’s new original film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story premieres on Monday, August 28, the cast, director and producers want the audience to be educated and informed while they are entertained. Based on a popular episode of the network’s true crime series, For My Man, the film depicts the true life tragedy of a teen mom in Atlanta who found herself the victim of psychological manipulation and physical abuse at the hands of a man who claimed to love her. Instead, he encouraged her participation in a life of stripping, prostitution, robbery and ultimately, murder – all in the name of love.
“When I was 14, I dropped out of school – a lot of people don’t know that. By the age of 16, I was bartending in a strip club, by the age of 20 I was stripping…so I understand how Falicia got there,” says film director Tasha Smith, who signed up for the project as her feature-length directorial debut. “By the grace of God, I ended up here, but she ended up in jail for the rest of her life.”
Yet, before Falicia was convicted of murder, she was a young girl looking for love and validation in all the wrong places. In an effort to reinforce the film’s underlying message that real love doesn’t hurt, TV One, in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, will air a public service announcement during the film presentation.
“This film is a cautionary tale about everything love shouldn’t be in our communities,” says Lori Hall, TV One SVP of Marketing. “Tasha Smith directs a powerful story that reveals exactly how a teenager can fall victim to a relationship that quickly moves from loving to abusive and unhealthy. We want this film to be a wake-up call for young people and families and we hope it will start a lot of dialogue in homes around the country.”
The PSA reveals that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Chief Communications Officer Cameka Crawford joined panel discussions at TV One film screenings in Atlanta, New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles to provide the audience with resources to get help if they know someone who may be in an abusive relationship.
“Your instinct may be to ‘save’ them from the relationship, but it’s not that simple. Abuse is about power and control, so one of the most important ways you can help someone in an abusive relationship is to think about how you might empower them to make their own decisions,” says Crawford. “You can also offer support by listening without judgment and reassuring them that the abuse is not their fault. If you need help starting the conversation, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or visit www.thehotline.org.”
Additionally, TV One partnered with Saving Our Daughters, an organization whose mission is to empower teenage girls from multicultural backgrounds through theater, music, film and television, to help overcome many obstacles such as bullying (cyber, gossip, face-to-face), dating abuse, domestic violence and other esteem slayers. Young ladies attended the When Love Kills premieres held in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles to walk the red carpet with the cast and have a dialogue about real love and self-esteem.
“We are extremely blessed and excited about our new and ground breaking partnership with TV One. We look forward to the positive impact on working together to encourage and change the girls’ lives we serve,” says Curtis Benjamin, Saving Our Daughters Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer. “TV One’s original movie cast, directors and producers of ‘When Love Kills’ have truly developed a tool for our girls to help create empowering conversations about date abuse, domestic violence and healthy mother and daughter relationships.”
Lance Gross, who plays Falicia’s abusive and manipulative boyfriend Dino, conducted research and prayed before taking on the role. Gross believes both women and men will see what not to do in relationships and child rearing by viewing this film.
“I want people to learn something from this film because I’m a father,” he emphasized. “Just reading this script and participating in this project makes me want to go home and love my daughter even harder, because who knows who the next Falicia Blakely will be.”
Still rocked by the experience of undertaking the role, Gross decided to email the real Falicia Blakely in prison and was surprised to receive a response. She thanked Gross and those involved in the film for their willingness to raise awareness against domestic violence.
When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story premieres Monday, August 28 at 9 p.m. ET on TV One.
Watch the When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakley Story PSAHERE
Watch the When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakley Story TRAILER HERE
ABOUT THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Operating around the clock, confidential and free of cost, The Hotline provides victims and survivors with life-saving tools and immediate support. Callers to the hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 200 languages. Visitors to TheHotline.org can chat live with advocates and they can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the organization.
The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, a division of the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.
ABOUT SAVING OUR DAUGHTERS
Saving Our Daughters (SOD), a 501c-3 organization, creates the tools to get teen girls discussing key issues and fired up to take the power away from bullying (cyber, gossip, face-to-face), date abuse, hate crimes, school violence, violence against women, and other esteem slayers. SOD has had the honor of collaborating with key talent in film, television, and music with its celebrity-inspired book series as well as decades of experiential learning programs. With a powerful network of community partners, SOD delivers a revolutionary level of awareness and action to determinedly instigate fiercely confident living.
ABOUT TV ONE
Launched in January 2004, TV One (www.tvone.tv) serves more than 60 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult Black viewers. The network is the exclusive home of NewsOne Now, the only live daily news program targeting Black viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is solely owned by Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK, www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets Black and urban listeners.
TV ONE’S ORIGINAL FILM, WHEN LOVE KILLS: THE FALICIA BLAKELY STORY, SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE MONDAY AUG. 28 AT 9 P.M. ET
Directed by Tasha Smith, the project stars Niatia ‘Lil’ Mama’ Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman in a true crime thriller ripped from the headlines WASHINGTON D.C. – TV One’s latest original film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, will premiere Monday, August 28 at 9 pm EST. The film marks the feature-length directorial debut for Tasha Smith (For Better Or Worse, Empire) and stars Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman, with special appearances from Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather.
The project is the network’s first original movie inspired by an episode of TV One’s original true crime series, For My Man. When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely, a teen mom from Atlanta who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino. His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she’s forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. “I totally did not see myself playing an exotic dancer, but it was so much more to the story,” says Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland of taking on the role. “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.” In playing Dino, a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who uses Falicia’s desire to be loved for his gain, Gross says he had to “dive all the way in.” “This is a role nobody’s ever seen me in – they’re used to me being the nice guy,” says the actor, who is known for his roles in Tyler Perry’s House of Pain and Temptation. ”I want the audience to know that you really have to be conscious of the decisions that you make, because there’s consequences that come along with it.” Tami Roman portrays Stacey, Falicia’s alcoholic mother who has jumped in and out of her daughter’s life, exposing her to too much too soon.
Roman said she had to reflect back deeply into her own relationship with her mother as a teenager in order to understand how to play the 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,” she recalls. “And I think that is where I tried to become my mom [in this role].” Each actor transforms into their characters under the directorial leadership of Tasha Smith, whose goal was to challenge each actor to dig deep to relate to their character, while creating a suspenseful, high-stakes drama on screen. In addition to directing and producing, Smith is a multifaceted actress whose work brings style and intensity to the subjects she plays on the big and small screens. “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,” says Smith on stepping behind the camera for the first time. When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story is written by industry veteran Cas Sigers-Beedles, who previously wrote and executive produced the TV One movies Welcome to the Family and Girlfriends Getaway 1 & 2.
The film is produced for TV One by Eric Tomosunas, Keith Neal and James Seppelfrick of Swirl Films. For TV One, Tia A. Smith is Sr. Director of Original Programming & Production and Executive in Charge of Production; Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting; Robyn Greene-Arrington is VP of Original Programming, and D’Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming and Production. For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv .
TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tag #REPRESENT.