The VIPP Report: Misty Copeland named first black female dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theatre


Special report contributed by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Louisville

Misty Copeland is having a great week in the eyes of the arts community.  Copeland made her New York debut in the lead role of “Swan Lake”, which is one of the most important roles in a ballerina’s repertoire.  Today, she woke up to some even bigger news.  She had received a promotion.  The Missouri-born dancer was named the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre.  Copeland is the first black woman to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.

A principal dancer explained to me is the highest rank within a professional dance company.  They are likely the star of the company.

Over the last several years, the 32 year old has become a strong voice for diversity in dance.  She even penned a best-selling memoir, , “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.”

Throughout the day, she has received congratulatory messages from entertainers and other artists in the industry from Taye Diggs, Star Jones to the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Copeland joined the company in 2001 and was appointed in a soloist spot in August 2007.

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The VIPP Report: The Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour makes a stop in Louisville with pitching star Mo’ne Davis

Courtesy: Muhammad Ali Center

Courtesy: Muhammad Ali Center

Special report contributed by Sherlene Shaklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Louisville

Today, the Muhammad Ali Center received some very special guests.  The Anderson Monarchs arrived in Louisville and wanted to take a tour of the facility.  The Monarchs also feature youth pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis.  In the photo you see her standing next to the Ali Center’s President Donald Lassere.  The young Monarchs will be getting a first-hand look at the places where the major civil rights events of the 20th century took place as part of their Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour.  They will meet people who were involved in the Movement, as well as African American ballplayers who played during this era. They’ll also play games against local youth teams in every city and get a chance to make new friends from all around the country.

This summer, as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the Negro Leagues, and the Civil Rights Movement, their  13 year-old Anderson Monarchs is embarking on a 23-day, 21-city journey – barnstorming their way across America – down through the Deep South, up through the Mid-West, and back east to New York City and, ultimately, back home to Philadelphia – over 4000 miles in all. They are doing this on an authentic Flxible Clipper touring bus.

I just spoke to the coach, and he tells me that the team will play tonight against another local youth team in Skyview Park in Louisville at 7:00 p.m.

The purpose of the tour is to have the youth meet surviving players from the Negro Leagues, visit historic sites – such as Jackie Robinson’s grave site in Brooklyn, Wrigley Field, the Field of Dreams in Iowa, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum, the three remaining stadiums in the country which Negro League teams called home, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

For additional information on the Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour visit their website at:

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The VIPP Report: President Barack Obama gives the euglogy in Charleston, SC. Watch what happens at the end of the program

What a busy day for President Barack Obama.  He arrived in Charleston, SC to give the eulogy.  President Obama caught everyone off guard.  See what happened.  I’ve attached the White House link below.

An ABC analyst says President Obama gave one of the best speeches ever given by a U.S. President.

The VIPP Report: Microsoft Hosts Innovation Panel Discussion featuring American physician and NASA astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison


Microsoft is taking discussions about creating innovators where few have dared to tread – beyond the skies. In a panel discussion including the first African American woman astronaut to travel into space – Dr. Mae Jemison, the Microsoft panel entitled “Discovering the Sky Is NOT the Limit” examines ways to help create more innovators among women and minorities.

Date of Event:  June 23, 2015

Time of Event:  10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Location:  Austin Convention Center/ Room 19AB

Fernando Hernandez, Supplier Diversity Director for Microsoft, will lead the conversation with Dr. Jemison, Janice Greene, PhD, Economic Development Strategy and Business Intelligence Supplier Management for The Boeing Company and Vonshe Jenkins, Director of Supplier Diversity for Bank of America and Nina G. Vaca, the Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources.  The panel will share their thoughts about innovation, the challenges and suggestions for increasing women and minority participation in innovation.

“I want to make sure we use all our talent, not just 25 percent,” says Dr. Jemison. “Don’t let anybody rob you of your imagination, your creativity, your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”

Hundreds of women attending the Women’s Business Enterprise National Conference (WBENC) will have the opportunity to understand and hear why big industry and leading companies value new ideas more than ever. Today’s global and competitive marketplace are driving businesses to develop, collaborate and innovate in order to meet customer demands, strengthen their market position and enhance their bottom line. Existing entrepreneurs, new startup companies and big industry must all continually innovate in order to deliver on a scalable and sustainable business geared for job creation and economic growth.

Microsoft is also announcing The Microsoft Global Top 10 Innovators Competition (August 2015) searching for the next great ideas for consumers and big industry that will positively impact our world.

Bold vision, creative experiments and committed partners will build a better world.

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The VIPP Report: Nine dead from a shooting inside a Charleston, South Carolina church

Emanuel AME shooting killing nine people

Emanuel AME shooting killing nine people

The nation holds their breathe as the residents of Charleston, SC try to understand what happened late Wednesday evening.  Around 9 p.m. a gunman walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and opened fire on the members as they were holding their weekly prayer meeting. Some churches also call it bible study.  Eight were pronounced dead and the scene.  One person was transported to the hospital but they did not survive.  During a news conference authorities would only confirm the deaths but not the injured.
Prominent civil rights leaders are beginning to send their condolences to the pastor of the church whose also a state senator.
The FBI has joined in the investigation as authorities continue to search for the suspect.  The mayor of Charleston called the shooting a hate-crime.
Ministers from the AME church and other leaders will gather at Morris Brown at 12:00 p.m. for a vigil.
There’s still a lot of unanswered questions in this case but the main goal of the city it to apprehend the suspect.
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The VIPP Report: New exhibit opens at the Muhammad Ali Center


The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville opens a new exhibit. XOXO: An Exhibit About Love and Forgiveness.  It provides children an opportunity to explore their feelings through facial expressions, words, movement, art making and other hands-on activities.

For more information go to

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The VIPP Report: Johnny Gill has fond memories of Louisville because of one of his team members


Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Johnny Gill returns to Kentucky for a concert.  Gill is no stranger to the city of Louisville.  Fans have had several opportunities to see  him at various events.  Gill says “I Love coming to Louisville…It’s starting to feel like home to me because my publicist (Kita Williams) is from there so I was just in town for the Kentucky Derby and had a great time so I’m looking forward to coming back again to do what I love to do at the Urban Expo Music Fest… so all of my fans in the ‘Ville better get ready for a show!” 

The Urban Expo Music Fest will be held on Saturday, June 13th at the KFC Yum! Center.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets start at $49.00. 

The festival will feature Gill, Ron Isley and The Isley Brothers, Kelly Price and Tom Browne.  Tameka :Tiny” Harris will be the host. 

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The VIPP Report: Urban Expo Music Fest Returns To The KFC Yum! Center



The 2nd Annual Urban Expo Music Fest returns to Louisville and they are bringing R&B/Soul royalty as part of Black Music Month.  On Saturday, June 13th at the KFC Yum! Center at 7:00 p.m., fans will get to see Ron Isley and The Isley Brothers, Johnny Gill, Kelly Price and Tom Browne.

Ron “Mr. Biggs” Isley and The Isley Brothers are Midwest natives hailing from Lincoln Heights, Ohio.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and this year’s Trumpet Award recipients will headline this year’s festival performing new songs and of course some of their classics like “I Want To Be With You”, “Don’t Say Goodnight” “Between the Sheets” and “Down Low”.

Johnny Gill is a singer, songwriter and actor.  The 4-time Grammy nominated artist and the sixth member of New Edition says “  “I Love coming to Louisville…It’s starting to feel like home to me because my publicist (Kita Williams) is from there so I was just in town for the Kentucky Derby and had a great time so I’m looking forward to coming back again to do what I love to do at the Urban Expo Music Fest… so all of my fans in the ‘Ville better get ready for a show!”

Kelly Price is a seven-time Grammy nominated artist with hits like “Tired”, “As We Lay”, and “Not My Daddy”.  When music lovers hear her sing they describe her voice as powerful yet sensual.

Tom Browne will also perform during the Urban Expo Music Fest.  The jazz trumpeter will entertain fans with his smooth sounds but what his fans hope he plays is his hit song “Funkin for Jamaica”:.

If the entertainment is not enough, this year’s host will be artist, entrepreneur and reality show star, Tameka “Tiny” Harris. 

Tickets for the 2nd Annual Urban Expo Music Fest are still available.  You can purchase tickets at the KFC Yum! Center Box Office for $49 special or Groupon for Black Music Month celebration discounts that start at $49.

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The VIPP Report: Urban Expo Music Fest at the KFC Yum! Center

We are just a week away from the Urban Expo Music Festival in Louisville.  It’s hard to believe they are only in their second year with their lineup.  On Saturday, June 13th, R & B/Soul fans will pack the KFC Yum! Center with Ron Isley and the Isley Brothers, Johnny Gill, Kelly Price and Tom Browne.    The evening will be hosted by artist, entrepreneur and reality show star Tameka “Tiny” Harris.
Tickets start at $69.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the show begins at 7:00 p.m.  You can purchase tickets at and/or KFC Yum! Center Box Office.
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The VIPP Report: Former Cleveland Cavalier Derek Anderson Announces Stamina Basketball Camp


 Former NBA and NCAA champion Derek Anderson is proud to announce the return of his Stamina Camp for the third year. “Stamina Camp 15” will be held in Louisville, KY on June 22th-26th at Louisville Collegiate School, 2427 Glenmary Ave. The five-day camp will go from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day where Anderson and his team of coaches will take your child through a series of life skills that can be used both on and off the court.

Anderson says “I like teaching basketball players but I love to help people to be better! At Stamina Camp we all get better at BOTH! I want to teach them how to hold your follow thru, become a great shooter to doing your chores and becoming a responsible person in life. I hope it becomes second nature to them. Sports and Life go hand in hand if you want to WIN in both!”

The Kentucky Wildcat legend is opening the camp to youth from ages 7 to 17. Derek and some of his former teammates will stop by to participate in the camp. He’s also working on a few surprises for the youth. Just to give you an idea, last year, Derek played H.O.R.S.E. and held free throw contests and if the camp’s participant won, Derek would give the winner a pair of signed Jordan Brand shoes.

The camp is only $175, which includes a t-shirt, free lunch, drinks and a career poster.

To register your child, for Derek Anderson’s Stamina Camp 15 go to

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