TheVIPPReport: Louisville’s own dancer/model/actress Jhana Waddell making a name for herself in the entertainment industry

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Courtesy Jhana Waddell

A rising star in the entertainment realm is backing up some of the biggest entertainers in 2022. Louisville native Jhana Waddell is showing up in music videos and live shows like Beyonce’s Academy Awards performance at the open of the show to performing with Mary J. Blige at the halftime of the Super Bowl 56.

I’ve been staying in touch with Jhana since I’ve learned of her great success. I spoke to her just days after the Super Bowl in February and she was still on a high after the performance and how it was a surprise to everyone but her parents. Jhana says “It was no secret.  I told them. (laughing) They were beyond supportive and they love Mary J. Blige. They know as me being a professional dancer this is a big deal.  So, everybody was getting calls the weeks leading up till asking are you ready, are ready, are you ready. Yes guys I’m so ready. I’m so excited It was all super exciting.” 

Jhana grew up in the Park Duvalle and Shawnee neighborhoods attending YPAS,(Youth Performing Arts School), Spelman, a HBCU and then finishing at the University of Louisville.  The professional dancer whose trained in ballet, modern, dance and tap currently lives in L.A. took me through how she was chosen to perform with the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. 

Jhana says “We have auditions out here. I have an agent. The agent relays that there’s an audition. You’ve been selected here’s the time, here’s the location. So you come with your best hair and makeup. Come with your best self ready to perform. So you learn the step. You perform in front of the choreographer. If they like you they let your agent know. Hey we want to use them. This will be the days of rehearsal and day of the show.”

Courtesy Jhana Waddell

During big productions normally the artist or host normally has a fill-in to stand in for them so they don’t have to be there all day. I asked did Mary J ever practice with her? She says “Yeah, not very surprising. It was fun you know. It showed that her as an artist she too wanted to make sure it looks good and felt right. So, we practiced with her and stand ins.  She was there a lot.  So, I’m off her left shoulder which when you look at the video I’m on the right. I’m the second on the right. Um but yeah. it was so fun.”

I asked her to explain the feeling when she knew it was showtime.  Jhana tells me “It’s so indescribable the breathe of everybody when you walk into the stadium and it’s just full and packed with people. It’s a pandemic so I haven’t seen that many people in so long.  I felt like tears of joy and my smile immediately came out. I’m so happy this is just a big experience.  Here we go. We’re about to do it.”

She’s no stranger for big moments. She’s performed at many of the biggest music award shows with Selena Gomez to Bruno Mars and touring with Lil Baby and Future.  She has some exciting news she hopes to share with us soon.

She gave some advice if you want to be in the same field.  She said to trust yourself, follow your heart, be consistent, know your craft and research where you want to move were just a few of the positive words of encouragement she gave.   

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

To see the television version to this story just click the link: https://www.whas11.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/the411/the-411-louisville-native-opens-up-about-super-bowl-performance/417-bccc1974-a671-44bc-978f-a2e71ddfa889

TheVIPPReport: Meet the leader behind the MOLO Village

Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson is building back her community one block at a time

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Kentuckiana has so many fascinating women leaders working for the betterment of the community.  Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson had a vision that takes up a whole block. I spoke to the visionary in today’s Moments that Matter. 

Ferguson spent a lot of time just across the street in Beecher Terrace at her aunt’s when her mother was at work. Not knowing as a little girl that someday she would be able to turn the parking lot into a block of desperately needed resources.  But before she had the vision Dr. Ferguson also fondly known as Pastor  J travelled to Africa on a mission trip where her vision became clear.   

Ferguson says “I visited a young woman who had, who was taking the anti-viral drug. She had HIV. She had a young son and the mission that I went there for working with people infected or effected by HIV and AIDS because reckoning race and reconciliation. So when we went to this young woman’s house. I came into her house  and she grab me and starting weeping  and started saying MOLO momma MOLO and learned that meant ‘welcome home’.” 

While in Africa. Ferguson spoke to a minister with a large congregation. He shared his success and how to be resourceful. The minister said to Ferguson, “I used what I got! I use what I got! I had the mindset prior to that, that we had this historical building next door but we were not using the entire building.” She went on to say “So when I came back. We changed our attitudes  to use what we got . God would not bless us more until we start using what God had provided for us already.” 

She had a shift in her mindset. Her faithful team started serving about a thousand people a week.  Plus, providing a long list of resources and services.  “We had the clothes ministry,  we had recovery ministry, we had Dare to Care ministry, Senior ministry, We had Youth ministry. We had everything in that building. We no longer worried about the condition of the building.  It wasn’t that it was falling down  it just needed some repair.” 

Early, 2006, Dr. Ferguson was welcomed to church but not with some opposition but later being named pastor of the congregation.  She says “And at that point there were 15 German-American senior adults at the church of that 15, one left cause he did not want to worship with a person that look like me. 

Even though she could not speak German but she had an appreciation of their culture because her father. Ferguson says “My father actually was the first student at Louisville Municipal College which was the Black portion of the University of Louisville to major in German.” 

They went into planning, and creating partnerships of how to utilize the city block they owned. They started the process to resurrect the community.  “We decided to take the east parking lot of the church and develop the Village of West Jefferson. Being in a community one without for such a long period of time.  This facility here is the first new construction on Jefferson Street of West Jefferson Street in over 30 years.” 

Dr. Ferguson tells me she’s far from being done. She has a lot more work to do. Her next big undertaking will be in the renovation of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. 

The MOLO Village is located at 1219 W. Jefferson Street in West Louisville. 

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

To see the television of the story, just click the link provided: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/molo-village-jamesetta-ferguson-west-jefferson-russell-outreach-ministry-africa/417-0abc671e-f2b2-47cd-8007-af312c638a74

TheVIPPReport: Surekha Kulkarni talks to me about why she moved her family from India to Louisville

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

Special Report–Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television ABC Louisville

Surekha Kulkarni and her husband moved their family from India in 1986 to Louisville to make sure her young son had every opportunity to be the best he could be. She tells me why she made the sacrifice. “We did not move here for money or fame or fortune we came here because of a school.” Her young son was in kindergarten and she had learned he was dyslexic needed additional educational instruction which the de Paul School in Louisville, Kentucky provided.

We felt it was not a choice really, so we moved a family of four. With no job, no way of knowing but the school was there. And it was actually a totally different experience for me. She says “After moving here, I have experienced so much! I’ve done so much.”

Kulkarni says a recession was going on and all the degrees and experience her husband had still did not help him get a job at first. She says “When he couldn’t get a job. We decided to buy a grocery store so that way we could get food.” They owned and operated the store for years at Oak and Swan Streets called the 828 with no previous experience. She goes on to say that the community embraced and supported them. “They just accepted me but They could not pronounce our names so they changed it I became Sue and Suhas  became Sam. So Sue and Sam of the store.”

When not working in the store Kulkarni volunteered at the school. Kulkarni says “So my son started school from day one and we appreciate and let so grateful, I started working in library as a volunteer just a way to give back. That might be what started, my beginnings of volunteering career.”

Within three years, the family was on track which gave her the confidence to say you can do whatever you want. She went to India for a stay and decided to take a jewelry class in her free time. “So, I took this class and I enjoyed it so much that I haven’t stopped” Kulkarni says.

Then The Beaded Treasures Project was created. She volunteered with the Kentucky Refuge Ministries. Where she says, “I found that I really enjoyed it and loved teaching and connecting. It was amazing to see the transformation. Because in the beginning, these women came from various countries, like Iraq, and the Congo. All faced terrible ravages. They were traumatized.”

Beaded Treasures not only generated wealth but generated self-esteem, a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency. Kulkarni says “I saw that not only were they making jewelry, and selling it at the events, five of them started working full time, three of them started working on their education. Some had finished high school and some had a couple of years of college. One of them now has gone back to Nepal. To start a school because growing there was no school in her village.”

In 2019, Beaded Treasures became a part of Volunteers of America. “This was way more that I expected. Quite amazing like. I had somehow became a part of their transformation. Transformation from diffident to confident, and dependent to independent.

I wanted to know what she wanted to remember her by. She says “That I tried! I want people to know that if you just step out of your comfort zone there’s no stopping you. I’m the perfect example of that. We are the ones that hold ourselves back. And we can make a difference. Each one of us can make a difference. Look at me!”

Kulkarni has a new project “Empowering Beads”. It will be a pop-up shop this summer on the weekends in Norton Commons.

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of my story, click the link provided:

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/surekha-kulkarni-beaded-treasures-project-community-women-empowerment-inspiration/417-3e873a14-d190-4191-84cf-66a5868e79ef

TheVIPPReport: Robin Givens, actress/director will start filming her lasted movie in Louisville later this week and extras are needed

The Nana Project starring Mercedes Ruehl will start filming Wednesday

Photo by Stephan Mu00fcller on Pexels.com

Special Report: Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 News, ABC Louisville

The buzz is still in the air from all of the celebrity sightings during Kentucky Derby weekend and other films being shot around the state featuring major Hollywood stars.

Actress Robin Givens is set to return to the area to shoot another film, according to her team.

Her new movie, “The Nana Project” will be shot around the Louisville area.

The storyline is set in a retirement home with a “feisty chess master” played by Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl.

Her character Helen “Nana” Lewis has two estranged grandsons Andrew and Cody who will be played by Nolan Gould and Will Peltz.

The family will head out on a road trip to support Nana’s rise to the state championships.

They are expected to begin filming on May 18 and will be here through June 4.

We hear the filming was scheduled for another city, but I have learned Louisville is a good spot.

It could be from the great response that was given to the “The Cookout” that was also filmed in Louisville and directed by Givens.

Submission instructions can be found by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Alexis-Leggett-Casting-118037106989200

You need to be fully vaccinated for this project. You need to provide proof of vaccination and take a mandatory COVID-19 test upon arrival on your shoot date.

If you get a role in this film, please let me know.

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Original report: https://www.whas11.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/the411/the-nana-project-robin-givens-louisville-mercedes-ruehl-alexis-leggett-casting/417-2d6ff00d-20c4-457c-a342-9cb8bec8d966

TheVIPPReport: Jamey Aebersold shares his love for jazz

Jamey Aebersold

Tucked away on a New Albany street named after his family. Jazz master Jamey Aebersold has been playing music for most of his life. I caught up with him in his studio which is covered with some 15 thousand vinyl albums, thousands of photos which he calls the Smithsonian Jazz Institute of the Midwest. He talks to me about how he was introduced to jazz.  He says “Jazz is the coming thing. When I was young, I got my driver’s license at 16. I got me a 35 dollar car.  I drove to Louisville, in westend where jazz was playing. Every club had jazz. Rock-n-roll had not been invented yet.  Country western wasn’t popular so jazz was basically everywhere. I would go to those places and listen to them.  I would wonder what was going on in their minds.

He never liked to stick to the traditional format. Aebersold says “My dad like Dixieland music. I bought some records. Yeah, I liked it but then when I heard Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, I kinda went that way.” As he hand gestured.   

He goes on to say “It was years later, I would realize that was the foundation that I needed those scales and cords and the fingering of it, so forth…because that would allow me to play what I heard in my head.  (as he hummed a tune) then add a cord to it. That’s how I got started.” 

Jamey told me that he was not a good student and the teacher actually returned his money because he just didn’t have the patience to play the standard scales and cords. In his mind, he was just copying what he saw in the music book.  He wanted to play what was in his head which we know today as improvisation.  When he got older he did receive his formal training and we talked about it.  He said, “I went to Indiana University and they didn’t have saxophone but they put me on the woodwind degree. So, I had to take lessons in oboe the flute, the basson, clarinet, and I don’t think I took saxophone lessons from anyone but the second year a guy was getting his graduate degree and they let him give me lessons. I played the first jazz recital at Indiana University which was a big deal back then 1960/61.” He talked about the audience giving his a standing ovation for that performance.   

Aebersold was very humble, knowledgeable, and full wisdom that we could of literally stayed with him all day and still would not of been able to cover everything he’s accomplished.  He  Performing in the all over the world and receiving so many accolades along the way.  From receiving the National Endowment for the Arts which is the highest honor given to jazz musicians in the U.S. to receiving the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award by Mitch Daniels. He had a table full of awards, even a letter from the White House from President Barack Obama.   

I wanted to know if he thought jazz was a lost art. He responded quickly by saying “No, no, no. I tell you why. When people play jazz they use their imagination. They are very creative and its coming from here to the fingers and that’s not going to stop.”

He says anyone can improvise. He says, “Too many don’t even try because they feel like they are not good enough”. 

I wanted to know what would be his legacy.  He says there’s to much to do now to worry about the future.  There’s still so much to do now.  He gave some good advice that he hopes more people would apply to their life and that was to be nice to people. 

To learn more about Jamey Aebersold and his Jazz Play-A-Longs, go to jazzbooks.com.  you may even see him a classroom if you attend Bellarmine, I-U, or U of L.     

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of the story. Click the link provided: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/jamey-aebersold-new-albany-jazz-muscian-beallarmine-uofl-indiana-university-teacher-music/417-c14b168b-979e-430c-b9e6-198f5d81fe57

TheVIPPReport: A look at retired Capt. Carol Hickman’s career

When she signed up to be a Jefferson County Police officer, Carol Hickman said she wanted to make a difference. Hickman is a retired captain and was the first woman and African American officer to lead a district for the county. She said she started out as a clerk typist. 

“The police department didn’t have any women, and in 1972 I went to school and became an officer,” she explained. Hickman climbed the ranks from sergeant to lieutenant to captain. Because of her rising within the ranks, she said someone told her no one would listen to her because she’s a woman.

“I thanked him, and ironically, the chief, he retired then came back as interim chief. When he came back, he was the person I made major,” she said.

She said within Jefferson County Police, the chief appoints majors within the department. Whenever a new chief is selected, they have the option to change who has the major rank. It is not a demotion she said, only a change in title.

Hickman talked about the difficulties working in a predominantly male profession.

She said, “I can’t say so much of being a woman of color as being a woman. We would go out on cases and people would ask us to go to the back door but when the white officers came they would go through the front door. I didn’t particularly like it but it was a job I had to do and I did it.”

Then one day, Hickman said she had enough and walked through the front door.

She recalled reminding the person they had called them for help. The homeowner allegedly wasn’t happy and called Hickman’s district to complain.

All these years, Hickman said she never forgot the incident and so many others.

Hickman’s first case was the Valley Drive-Ins.

“I was working in missing persons. We got the reports of the soldier and young lady that was missing from the ticket booth at the Valley Drive-In,” she said.

She explained the department were getting leads, but it was pushing them to a second possible case.

“The person who abducted the first people also had abducted this young lady,” Hickman said. “Well, I got the young lady back.”

Another case that stood out to Hickman was Danny Tetrick’s. As of right now, he’s still serving a life sentence at the Kentucky State Penitentiary.

She said in her free time she coached little league baseball for both boys and girls. She also volunteered for Black Achievers for many years and served as a liaison for community and police relations.

She has one son and her late husband, Charles Hickman, was with the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Click the link to see the story: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/louisville-kentucky-police-captain-first-african-american-officer/417-9e8d013b-c980-4916-9283-d9808bcac8c4

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

TheVIPPReport: Vincent James Sr, Dare to Care’s new president

Vincent James Sr. works “faithfully” in the community. Once the Chief of Community Building for Metro Louisville, and pastor of Elim Baptist Church, to now… President and CEO of the fourth largest non-profit in Louisville.

James says “I went to Stephen Foster Elementary School, Gutermuth Elementary School because bussing had started at that time and graduated from elementary school went to Southern Middle/High at the time the middle school and high school were actually in the same facility.”

James graduated from Atherton High and got a finance degree from UofL with hopes of becoming a Wall Street investment banker, but he told his church, his purpose in life shifted.  
He said “We are going to be involved and engaged in the community and pretty much we were doing things in isolation as many churches do.”

Then violence renewed his purpose.  He will never forget. “It was a life changing moment.  May 17, 2012 there was a triple homicide outside my church. I was there.  I actually arrived when the first responders arrived.  I saw two young men who had shot at each other and had killed each other and that was devastating to me. And then a couple of hours later a couple of ladies with 60 police officers, detectives and news reporters shot another young lady shot her that was traumatic for the community, myself. I said whatever I need to do I’m going to do it.”

Then Mayor Fischer put James in the forefront.  James says “I know I made a change. When I look at not as much as I want too but when I look at the response of the community. How our community was hurting.  Things in terms of the administration was in. what was happening across the country one of the things I intentionally did as a pastor and chief of community building was how do we begin to build healing in our community.”

 James believes he laid the ground work for the office, and now he plans to nourish the community after being named President and CEO of Dare to Care. “I’m excited! I can’t tell you enough how excited I am about Dare to Care Food Bank.  It’s an incredible organization. Dare to Care’s mission is to led the community feed the hungry and ending the cycle of need.”

 James has found his mission in life.   “I’m walking in my purpose.  I get excited every morning when I wake up and I get to live out my dream in terms of helping people.”

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the story, click the link https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/vincent-james-sr-dare-to-care-elim-baptist-church-chief-community-building/417-53813831-6c28-4de9-8933-38f1551bb636