BRINGING IN THE HOLIDAYS WITH JAZZ AND SHOPPING AT THE VILLAGE

(Louisville, KY) MOLO Village is hosting Holiday Jazz & Shopping at the Village on Friday, December 9th at The Village@West Jefferson located at 1219 West Jefferson Street in Suite 204.

We invite you to this free event which will run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson, President & CEO of MOLO Village says “As the Russell community continues to thrive
so does the need for shopping options. We invite you to come out and enjoy some great music while shopping
for your holiday needs with local vendors. We take pride in showcasing local entrepreneurs and we support
them any chance we get. We also invite you to checkout our brick n’ mortar businesses at The Village. When
you visit.”

Please post and/or announce our holiday event. If you would like to setup an interview, contact VIPP
communications by calling 502-341-7306 or by email at info@vippcommunications.com. If you would like to
be a vendor contact MOLO Village at 502-513-6682.

WHO: MOLO Village

WHAT: Hosting Holiday Jazz & Shopping at the Village

WHEN: Friday, December 9, 2022

WHERE: The Village @ West Jefferson, 1219 West Jefferson Street, Suite 204

TIME: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 collaborate to honor Kentucky’s Black Civil War soldiers

(Louisville, KY) Reckoning Inc. is partnering with the Roots 101 African American Museum for a photographic exhibit entitled We Fought for Our Freedom: Kentucky’s African American Civil War Soldiers. It will open with a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 10 and will remain at the Roots 101 museum through the end of 2022.

The photos in the exhibit are all of soldiers who served in the Union Army’s 108th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, which
was mustered in Louisville in June 1864. The regiment consisted predominantly of formerly enslaved men from Kentucky
and served with distinction guarding Confederate prisoners of war at the Rock Island military prison in Illinois.

For Black men in Kentucky, enlisting in the Union Army was a difficult and often dangerous proposition. Kentucky was
the last state in the Union to allow Black men to join the Army, whether enslaved or free. And even after it became legal
in the summer of 1864, it was still a deeply unpopular policy among many white Kentuckians, with some using deadly
force to keep enslaved men from enlisting. It was also treacherous for enslaved men to travel through the state to
enlistment sites, as they could be caught by “slave catchers” who were paid bounties to return enslaved people to their
enslavers.

And yet, nearly 24,000 Black men from Kentucky braved these challenges and joined the Union Army, with over 44% of
eligible Black men enlisting, the highest percentage of any state. This represented roughly 13% of the 186,000 U.S.
Colored Troops who served in the Civil War, and one-quarter of all the soldiers who served in the Union Army from
Kentucky.

For More Information
To explore the research Reckoning, Inc. has done into the lives of the Kentucky’s Black Civil War soldiers, including
archival documents and detailed family trees, please visit their project website at KYUSCT.org.

Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to
create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational
curricula, online content, and other means.

The Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project is made possible by grants from the Gheens Foundation, J. Graham Brown
Foundation, Humana Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, Brown-Forman, LG&E and KU Foundation, David
A. Jones, Jr. and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Hardscuffle, Inc., Sociable Weaver Foundation, Snowy Owl Foundation, Kentucky
Humanities, Kentucky Arts Council, Brooke Brown Barzun and Matthew Barzun, American Historical Association, and the
Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation.

We’ve attached our media kit for your review.  Also, attached are photos from the exhibit.  Plus, a google drive link is provided for additional photos. 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1NMn-cX7BOFOeR1RFhpJf8lJ578EfDNqw?usp=share_link

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Contact: VIPP Communications
info at vippcommunications dot com

VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see how we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

News conference announcement: Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 will hold a news conference to announce a new exhibit just before Veterans Day

Media Advisory

(Louisville, KY) Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 African American Museum will hold a news conference to announce a photographic exhibit entitled We Fought for Our Freedom: Kentucky’s African American Civil War Soldiers.

WHAT: We will officially open the photographic exhibit, which will remain at the museum through December 31, 2022. We will also explain that the soldiers featured in the exhibit were all enslaved men from Kentucky who joined the Union Army’s 108th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, which was founded in Louisville. The regiment was assigned to a military prison in Rock Island, IL, guarding Confederate prisoners.

WHEN: Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Roots 101 African American Museum, located at 124 N. 1st Street, Louisville, KY 40202

WHO:

  • Dan Gediman, Executive Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Denyce Peyton, Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Lamont Collins, Founder/CEO, Roots 101 African American Museum
  • Descendants of Harrison Mudd, a member of the 123trd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, also founded in Louisville.

VISUALS: We will have a power point during the program, and you will have an opportunity to tour the exhibit

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit our website reckoninginc.org

Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational curricula, online content, and other means.

The Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project is made possible by grants from the Gheens Foundation, J. Graham Brown Foundation, Humana Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, Brown-Forman, LG&E and KU Foundation, David A. Jones, Jr. and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Hardscuffle, Inc., Sociable Weaver Foundation, Snowy Owl Foundation, Kentucky Humanities, Kentucky Arts Council, Brooke Brown Barzun and Matthew Barzun, American Historical Association, and the Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation.

West Louisville Performing Arts Academy celebrate 33 years of helping youth through arts

WLPAA will be in concert and honor community leaders

(Louisville, KY) The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy (WLPAA) will host its 33rd Hope Awards Dinner Concert at6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 12th at the Galt House Hotel, 140 North Fourth Street in the Grand Ballroom.

This year’s McDaniel Bluitt Hope Award recipient and keynote speaker will be Dr. Teresa Reed, Dean for the School of Music at the University of Louisville.

Additional awards will be presented during the program to recognizes community leaders who support WLPAA.

McDaniel Bluitt, Executive Director says “We are really excited to be in-person this year. It is so important to keep our youth motivated. This awards dinner gives them a chance to highlight their talent in front of a room full of people who are there to support them. We were one of very few organizations that were able to keep our youth engaged during the pandemic with the generous support of sponsors as we continued to meet and help our youth during such a challenging time. We cannot wait to dress up and have them share what they have been working on for the last two years. We hope you come out and support us” 

Tickets are $100.00 for adults and $50.00 for students. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and/or by contacting WLPAA by email at wlbc_wlgc@yahoo.com.

We would like to thank our supporters over the 33 years and this year’s donors; LG&E, PNC Bank, Gheen’s Foundation, Direct Relief, and the Fund for the Arts.

To arrange an interview with McDaniel Bluitt, founder of the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy, contact: info@vippcommunications.com or http://www.westlouisvilleperformjngarts.org.

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History

West Louisville Boys Choir began in November 1990. The choir is directed by McDaniel Bluitt, a retired vocal music teacher with twenty-nine (29) years of experience. He received his B. M. ED. from the University of Louisville School of Music and a Masters in Counseling from Western Kentucky University. The Boys Choir has performed throughout the commonwealth, for mayors, governors’ other national dignitaries. The Boys Choir’s first European Tour established international prominence in Paris, France and London, England. They received a superior rating during their first international music competition in the Bahamas. They were also awarded first place in the Music Festival at Sea.

The West Louisville Girls Choir made its debut in November 2002. The choir is directed by Mrs. Mamie Bluitt who received her B.M.ED. from the University of Louisville School of Music. The Girls Choir is also a performing choir. Some of its more notable performances are Governor Patton’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Frankfort, Kentucky, ECHO, Women for Women Conference and at Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Their first Southwestern Tour to Texas was held in 2010.

News Conference Announcement: Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 will announce a new exhibit remembering some of Kentucky’s Black soldiers prior to Veterans Day

(Louisville, KY) Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 African American Museum will hold a news conference to announce a photographic exhibit entitled We Fought for Our Freedom: Kentucky’s African American Civil War Soldiers.

WHAT: We will officially open the photographic exhibit, which will remain at the museum through December 31, 2022. We will also explain that the soldiers featured in the exhibit were all enslaved men from Kentucky who joined the Union Army’s 108th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, which was founded in Louisville. The regiment was assigned to a military prison in Rock Island, IL, guarding Confederate prisoners.

WHEN: Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Roots 101 African American Museum, located at 124 N. 1st Street, Louisville, KY 40202

WHO:

  • Dan Gediman, Executive Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Denyce Peyton, Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Lamont Collins, Executive Director, Roots 101 African American Museum
  • Descendants of Charles Mudd, a member of the 108th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment (he is one of five brothers who all served in the Union Army)

VISUALS: We will have a power point during the program, and you will have an opportunity to tour the exhibit

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit our website reckoninginc.org

Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational curricula, online content, and other means.

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Kentucky native is racking up awards at film festivals across the country

Ericka Nicole Malone

ERICKA NICOLE MALONE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES HULU DEAL

Official Release

(Los Angeles, California) Louisville, native, former Western Kentucky University, (WKU) student, Ericka Nicole Malone of Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment, LLC, is available for interviews. The Youth Performing Arts School, (YPAS), graduate of Manual High, a JCPS school is a successful writer, director, and executive producer. He latest award-winning project is “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story” starring Ledisi, Columbus Short, Janet Hubert, Keith David, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Keith Robinson.

Malone says “I am so excited about this latest project; we took this film to various film festivals receiving so much attention. I am so excited to announce that this project you can now see the film on Hulu. This is a major deal for film and my production company. I am so proud of my Kentucky roots and every opportunity I get I acknowledge my home state.”

ERICKA NICOLE MALONE ENTERTAINMENT is a production company focused on the development, production/co-production and distribution of film, television, and animated projects nationwide. 

To setup an interview via phone and/or zoom, contact Sherlene Shanklin at VIPP Communications at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502.341-7306.

To read learn more on the Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment go to www.erickanicolemalone.com.

To see the official trailer https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=remember+me+the+mahalia+jackson+story&docid=608026812518581063&mid=FE5AFC0CF9B3F0B12F5EFE5AFC0CF9B3F0B12F5E&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

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VIPP Communications is a full-service, public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele ranges from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see how we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

Miss Black Kentucky USA announce winners in Teen, Miss, and Ms. divisions tonight in Louisville

Immediate Release

October 9, 2022

Photo courtesy: Terrence Humphrey

Winners from left to right: Miss Ariel Thompson, Ms. Dominique Joy Thompson and Teen Nia Franklin

OFFICIAL RELEASE

(Louisville, KY) Tonight, at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium in Louisville, KY. For the first time in more than ten years, a woman was crowned Miss Black Kentucky USA.  Miss Ariel Thompson was crowned in front of some 250 friends, families and newfound fans. 

Each division crowned a representative who will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the next calendar year and will head to the national pageant. 

 Here’s this year’s winners:

 Teen division winner is Miss Nia Franklin of Louisville, KY

 Miss division winner Miss Ariel Thompson of Louisville, KY

 Ms. division winner is Ms. Dominique Joy Thompson of Louisville, KY (Hometown Chicago, Il)

 Just minutes after her win, Thompson says “It is amazing! To finally win something. I always get second and/or third but to win it feels surreal.” 

Dr. Ashley Anderson says “It was truly a night to remember. To hear the audience cheering for the young ladies brought tears to my eyes. These ladies have worked hard and will represent this pageant in a grand way, and I’m so honored to have played a part in their journey.” 

This evening, thousands of dollars of scholarship money was awarded along with Miss Congeniality, Volunteer Award and People’s Choice Awards.

The birth of the Miss Black Kentucky USA franchise is one that will have an impact on young women of Kentucky for generations to come. Beyond the scholarships that will be awarded in Miss, Ms., and Teen divisions, the life skills programming will be sure to elevate the minds and lives of all participants. It will

groom leaders, shed light on issues of concern in the community, and meaningfully fund the educational pursuits of Black women in Kentucky. It is my intent that this program becomes the largest scholarship funding source for young women of color across Kentucky.

Stay tuned for details of the pageant Miss Ariel Thompson will attend plus how you can be a part of Miss Black Kentucky USA 2023. 

To have setup an interview with any of our winner, please contact VIPP Communications at mail@vippcommunications.com.

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TheVIPPReport: Miss Black Kentucky USA announces this year’s participants

WINNER WILL BE CROWNED IN LOUISVILLE IN OCTOBER

(Louisville, KY) Miss Black Kentucky USA and United Crown Productions announce this year’s participants.  Each young woman of color will get the opportunity to experience a pageant format, showcase their talent and earn scholarships to assist them with their educational endeavors. 

Here is a list of this year’s contestants in the Teen, Miss and Ms. categories:

Nia Franklin (Teen)- Louisville 

Bria Byrd (Teen) Elizabethtown 

Alyesse Coonrod (Miss) Lexington

Jada Outten (Miss) – Louisville

Jade Spaulding (Miss) – Louisville

Lanisha Porter (Miss) – Louisville

Sherae Brackens (Miss)- Louisville

Bianca Blakely (Miss) – Louisville

Arielle Thompson (Miss) – Louisville

Taylor Dudley (Ms)- Maysville 

Andrea Johnson (Ms) – Louisville

Mandy Lemond (Ms) – Lexington

Dominique Joy Thompson (Ms)- Louisville

Mashayla Hays (Ms) – Louisville

Shekinah Armstrong (Ms)- Louisville

The pageant will be held October 9th in Louisville, Kentucky at Memorial Auditorium.

Dr. Ashley Anderson, Executive Director of Miss Black Kentucky USA says, “We have a fantastic group of women.  I had the opportunity to meet with them in August, and this is going to be a great pageant but judges will have the tough duty of selecting the young woman to represent the state of Kentucky.  This group has set the bar high for our inaugural return.  I hope you will come out and support these women as they compete for the title but also scholarships to help further their dreams and aspirations.”

The birth of the Miss Black Kentucky USA franchise is one that will have an impact on young women of Kentucky for generations to come.  Beyond the scholarships that will be awarded in Miss, Ms., and Teen divisions, the life skills programming will be sure to elevate the minds and lives of all participants. It will groom leaders, shed light on issues of concern in the community, and meaningfully fund the educational pursuits of black women in Kentucky.  It is my intent that this program becomes the largest scholarship funding source for young women of color across Kentucky.

If you would like to be a sponsor and/or place an advertisement in the program, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

To set up an interview with Dr. Anderson contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

Stay tuned for additional information and announcements as it becomes available for the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA.    

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TheVIPPReport: Miss Black Kentucky USA adds a new category for women between the ages 28 to 35

Entry deadline is extended to give potential participants a chance to sign up

United Crowns Productions announces the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA.  Giving young women of color an opportunity to experience a pageant format, showcase their talent and scholarship to assist them with their educational endeavors.  The pageant will be held October 7th-9th in Louisville, Kentucky in Memorial Auditorium.

Due to the overwhelming response we needed to extend the entry deadline to August 20th to help give perspective participants an opportunity to sign up.  Plus, we have added a new division.  It will cater to women between the ages of 28 to 35 years of age. 

Black women from all over the state of Kentucky will be in Louisville not only to compete for the crown but to learn about their heritage, meet and hear influential community leaders, network amongst fellow contestants and to win prize money that will help them further their education. United Crown Productions mission is to encourage all women to embrace their beauty and empower them with confidence and leadership skills.     

Dr. Ashley Anderson, Executive Director of Miss Black Kentucky USA is excited to announce its return, her past involvement while encouraging the community to embrace these young ladies as they pursue their dreams. “When I competed in the Miss Black USA scholarship pageant in 2010, I dreamed of one day starting a preliminary program in Kentucky.  The birth of the Miss Black Kentucky USA franchise is one that will have an impact on young women of Kentucky for generations to come.  Beyond the scholarships that will be awarded in both Miss and Teen divisions, the life skills programming will be sure to elevate the minds and lives of all participants. It will groom leaders, shed light on issues of concerns in the community, and meaningfully fund the educational pursuits of black women in Kentucky.  It is my intent that this program becomes the largest scholarship funding source for young women of color across Kentucky.  Additionally, creating a space for women of color to unapologetically celebrate their culture, beauty and identity is necessary and extremely important to me.” 

If you would like to be a contestant, Please go to www.unitedcrownproductions.com to check eligibility.

To be a sponsor and/or if you would like to setup an interview with Dr. Anderson contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com

Stay tuned for additional information and announcements as it becomes available for the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA.    

TheVIPPReport: A memorial book release to be held for late journalist and Louisville native Bruce Johnson

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC, Louisville

He had a career spanning 40 plus year in the broadcast industry.

Louisville native Bruce Johnson had quite the resume – 22 Emmy Awards and a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award, one of the highest a journalist can achieve just a few of his many accolades.

Johnson was born in 1950 and attended Shawnee High School, later studying at Kentucky State University and Northern Kentucky University where he earned a degree in political science. He would go on to earn a master’s in public affairs from the University of Cincinnati.

One of his first summer jobs was at WLOU Radio. Johnson spent much of his journalism career at WUSA (formerly WTOP-TV) in Washington D.C.

Johnson would work 44 years as a reporter, working his way up the ladder to become an evening news anchor. He covered stories all over the world.

Johnson was also a writer and released three books. His current book, “Surviving Deep Waters: A Legendary Reporter’s Story of Overcoming Poverty, Race, Violence and his Mother’s Deepest Secret” was released back in February.

He was supposed to go on a tour to support the book’s release but died on April 3 at the age of 71.

To remember the life of Johnson, a memorial book release and reception will be held on Aug. 11 at the Muhammad Ali Center at 5:30 p.m.

Organizer and former classmate Janis Carter Miller said, “I was proud of my friend and classmate’s accomplishments. He was my classmate at Shawnee and KSU. He was elegant and eloquent! His character and his carriage were distinguished and sophisticated! Bruce’s tone of voice and articulation was eloquent. Facilitating a 45-year career in journalism. I was honored that he has entrusted the coordination of his book signing now since his untimely passing, to me and my goal is to pay special tribute to his accomplishments.”

Miller said Johnson was raised on Grand Avenue down the street from Muhammad Ali in the Chickasaw neighborhood.

I remember when Johnson returned to Louisville to cover Ali’s funeral in 2016. He helped WHAS11’s News team with coverage that week, bringing a personal angle to the coverage.

https://38907008b3ea5753962fdb5334a33db6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html The memorial book release and reception is an opportunity for family and friends he grew up with, former classmates, members of his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi and fellow journalists of the Louisville Black Association of Journalists a chance to gather and share memories.

The husband, father, grandfather, and journalist always recognized that he was from Louisville.  Raised by a single mother, he experienced hardships as a youth but overcoming many obstacles to become one of the most respected anchors in his field.

The event is open to the public.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/memorial-book-release-bruce-johnson-journalist-wusa-louisville-muhammad-ali-center/417-d9933264-14a6-42f2-b36a-f5ca8aeea428

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

TheVIPPReport: Revive Counseling & Wellness Grand Opening

(Louisville, KY) Minority businesswoman Gail Bibb is launching her private practice Mental health facility. Revive Counseling and Wellness invites you to the Grand Opening & Open House on Saturday, August 13, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. We are located at 308 Evergreen Road, Suite 140.  Conveniently located just off Shelbyville Road.  

When you walk into the office, you will feel a sense of calmness in this safe place where you can receive mental health therapy, life coaching, nutrition & wellness coaching, and fitness coaching plus much more.  We serve individual adults, couples, teens, & families where specific therapy disciplines warrant. We invite you on a tour so you can witness the office atmosphere and speak to the owner Gail Bibb & her staff. 

Revive’s owner Gail Bibb says “We are working to erase the stigma of therapy & mental health services in general. We will use a holistic method and I invite you to come and see what we have to offer.  Mental health controls your total health so we go on a journey to heal the whole person. You can’t fix one piece and think everything is okay.  My goal is to give you the tools to be a better you.”

If you would like to setup an interview prior to August 13th, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.   

We hope you will be able to cover our event.  If you are unable to attend but would like photos for publication and/or air.  We will be happy to provide upon request.    

To learn more about Revive Counseling and Wellness visit www.revivecounselingwellness.com.

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TheVIPPReport: Louisville Native George T. French, Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University, to speak at the Louisville UNCF Luncheon honoring Alice and Wade Houston and give a full scholarship to a high school senior in Louisville

George T. French, Jr., graduate of Trinity High School and the University of Louisville and now the President of Clark Atlanta University is coming to Louisville to help Mayor Fischer honoring Wade and Alice Houston for all their years of dedicated service to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund).

To help celebrate the event and especially the Houstons, President French will provide a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University for the Fall 2023.

For upcoming high school seniors, please submit a one pager (no more than 500 words) on why you want to attend Clark Atlanta University and why community service is so important to your educational experience.

The HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Clark Atlanta University initiatives include:

·Innovative research to help cure prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s

·Create new solutions in cybersecurity

·Accelerate new avenues of entrepreneurship

·Opportunities in finding new ways to eradicate social and racial injustices 

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans and was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with over 4000 students, representing 9 countries, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. Clark Atlanta University is also the largest of the 37-member United Negro College Fund (UNCF) institutions.

Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African American tradition while focusing on the future through global innovation, transformative educational experiences and high-value engagement.

CAU Programs Include:

•The only Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development of its kind

•A Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development

•An Institute for Civic Engagement, Social Justice & Leadership Institute

•The W.E.B. Du Bois Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy

•A Center for Workforce Development

•A program in Cyber Physical Systems

•39 undergraduate programs, 28 graduate programs, 9 doctoral programs

“I am proud of my Louisville legacy – being born and raised with my sisters, graduating from Trinity High School and then from the crown jewel of the city – the University of Louisville. Now, as the President of the largest College Fund school – Clark Atlanta University, I want to provide an opportunity for a 2023 high school graduate – a future innovator, entrepreneur, C-Suite Executive through a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University.”

For upcoming high school seniors, please submit a one pager (no more than 500 words) on why you want to attend Clark Atlanta University and why community service is so important to your educational experience.

For interviews with President French: sshanklin@vippcommunications.com

Please send your 500-word essay to: Rohena@nichemktg.com

TheVIPPReport: Louisville native Marzz shoots for the stars

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Inside the Mercury Ballroom on a June summer night, Louisville’s newest sensation Marzz waits in anticipation to give fans a show.

As music fills the streets of South Fourth Street, crowds begin lining up with tickets in hand, ready to see the return of the up and coming R&B singer at the Ballroom.

“I feel it’s the atmosphere is what makes it so different,” they said.

Marzz, who is signed to Keep Cool/RCA Records, is back at the venue for a second time where others like fellow Louisvillians Bryson Tiller and Jack Harlow have also graced the stage.

“I just wanted to connect and vibe with yall, this is my home,” they said.

This night, it’s different. It’s the first time since releasing their full-length album “Love Letters” to fans – Martians as they call them, across the country.

“Baby, that’s my heartbeat. Got me looking – going crazy,” they said.

The journey to Marzz started in Louisville for Laria McCormick, a Fairdale High School graduate. The humble beginnings put the singer on the path to reaching for the stars.

They started singing in church from an early age where their mother and grandmother were both heavily involved in church leadership.

“Since I was a kid, I grew up in church. Singing in the children’s choir, I feel like that had a lot influence too. Literally being a pk, my aunties and them always had me singing solo in the choir, I used to hate it cuz it’s like literally all eyes on me,” Marzz said.

Marzz said their sound and gender identity, which is non-binary, moved them away from the church and toward the R&B billboard charts.

Marzz prefers the pronouns “they, their and them” – not “she.”

“I feel like in the church there was a lot of judgmental people. You know what I’m saying, it’s kind of weird to transition from that, but it felt good to transition into a place where I felt welcome – where I knew that ain’t nobody going to judge me,” they said.

Drawing from personal experiences of hardship and heartache, Marzz poured out feelings on pages of notebooks – each with different colors – that would eventually become the inspiration for their debut release.

“I feel like really didn’t start getting into song writing in my music until I was like 11. You know what I’m saying, that’s when my mom and dad was going through a divorce. I kind of just went to notebooks. You know, just expressing myself, I wasn’t a real verbal kid growing up. I have different color notebooks that I write in,” they said.

It wasn’t until an Instagram post, standing out from the typical scrolling, that garnered the attention of super producer Timbaland. The stars began aligning for the young artist.

“Usually, I get like 300 views but then the day that I posted it this Jhené Aiko freestyle I believe. I had went in my phone, I woke up, and I see my phone kept going off – what’s going on with my phone and I look on my Instagram — I seen Timbaland repost it and I was like hold up – I was like hold up I started screaming, I was crying. I was like is this really him?” they said.

The social media post, plus their connection with Timbaland and several recordings in tow, landed them in front of RCA Records.

The songs of love and heartache would be released as a six-track EP that would take on a deeper meaning.

“Just me exploring, you know, figuring out self, loving myself, and understanding who I am as a person, you know what I’m saying.”

The standout single, “Countless Times,” dives right into their world.

The Mercury Ballroom would seem as far away as the moon, where Marzz was headed. 

They captured national attention performing during the Soul Train Awards on the BET Amplified stage, receiving kudos from the likes of JaRule.

From that moment, Marzz skyrocketed into the stratosphere. They have been named a “Future Five Artist” by SiriusXM and Billboard magazine’s “R&B Rookie Artist” in April.

“It was a super humbling moment for me. I was like dang, ‘this is so incredible’, you know what I’m saying? I was like, speechless, I was like they really mess with me. I appreciate all the love cuz what else can I say other than thank you for hearing me,” they said.

The young artist’s career is coming at a time when the tide is changing in the music industry. Social media is playing a huge role in how hits are determined.

Their meaningful melodic vibe is separating them from the rest, pushing the realm of R&B music beyond its limits.

“I think I’m outside the box, like I don’t think that I make just R&B music. I make everything, like, it don’t matter what it is. I don’t even know if it’s got a name to it. The genre or the type of – whatever the beat or wherever the beat is taking me, that’s where I go,” they said.

Music and the way hits are made might be changing, but it’s not about topping the charts for the young artist.

“I ain’t gon’ lie I don’t think I would be this far—you know what I mean? I still have so much more to go but I’m super grateful to be where I am at,” they said.

It’s the emotions of break-up and finding new love that gives Marzz and their Martians a world of their own .Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.comor follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

To see the story click the link: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/marzz-louisville-music-r-b-music/417-64505fd4-3d92-4a20-a750-66a6ec7f50bf

The VIPP Report: The AKAs build beds for children in the community as they celebrate 100 years of service in Louisville

By Sherlene Shanklin

The Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® celebrates their 100th year chapter anniversary by participating in the Build-A-Bed project. 

The Hortense B. Perry Foundation in Collaboration with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Eta Omega Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.®, Alpha Lambda Chapter, Jefferson County Public School, (JCPS) Office of Community Support Services, and Foresters Financial teamed up to ensure that JCPS children would have a better night’s sleep. 

On June 11th the organizations teamed up to participate in the Build-A-Bed project, an initiative designed to enhance the lives of school age children in the Louisville community.  The project is designed to provide beds for children who do not have beds in their homes or do not have beds at all. The goal was to build 25 beds.  From cutting and sanding wood beds to furnishing pillows, linens, and blankets.  Plus, books, and snacks as an added treat along with sone stuffed animals. The build took place at the Maude Brown Porter Center for Excellence located on South Crums Lane, in Louisville.

Lynetta Crawford, President of the Eta Omega Chapter says “It is very concerning that 1.5 to 2 million kids in America sleep on the floor each night,”  She goes on to say, “This is a very impactful service project that will fulfill a basic need for children in the Louisville community. We can truly make a difference in a child’s life by giving them a place to lay their heads.” The goal is to promote healthy bedtime rituals, improve the quality of sleep, and create happier days, brighter dreams, and more opportunities for a lifetime of success.

Ben Langley of the JCPS Office of Community Support Services gave an alarming local statistic. “More than 10,000 children are homeless during each school year in Jefferson County,” Langley adds “When family circumstances improve enough to enable the family to secure a place to call home, most of them start from scratch. For most children, this means either sleeping on a couch or, more often, on the floor. Having a bed to sleep in can give a stronger sense of stability and can help children get the rest they need in order to attend school and achieve academic success.”

The Hortense B. Perry Foundation mission is to provide resources and services within the community with focus on education, health, leadership development, economic empowerment, and the visual and performing arts. Our top priorities are: Education, Health, and Economic Empowerment.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Eta Omega Chapter was established in 1922 and is the first graduate chapter of the international organization to be chartered in the Louisville area. The chapter’s commitment to education and the advancement of individuals is pivotal to the foundational belief of service to all mankind.

They will have various events and activities throughout the year to celebrate their centennial celebration. 

***Reporter’s note*** I have been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated for 26 years.

TheVIPPReport: Bsmith Entertainment and the Breonna Taylor Foundation event announcement

TAKING PLACE THE WEEK THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HER 29TH BIRTHDAY

(Louisville, KY) Bsmith Entertainment along with the Breonna Taylor Foundation presents a Caribbean Luau Party on Sunday, June 12th at Lynn Family Stadium. The event is remembrance and celebration of life for Breonna Taylor who died on March 13, 2020, after being fatally shot in her apartment by officers of the Louisville Police Dept. The event will be held from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

The Caribbean Luau Party…the greatest show on earth celebrating the birthday of Taylor will feature local artists, sounds by DY Znyce and DJ Lil Jerry hosted by B96.5 Bella Rae. There will be additional acts and surprise guests announced closer to the event.

Organizer Brandon Smith of Bsmith Entertainment says “We wanted to collaborate with the Breonna Taylor Foundation to keep her name alive by celebrating her birthday in a positive light. So many people in the city and throughout the nation still honor Breonna everyday whether it is profile pictures on social media or uplifting her name in positive ways. B Smith Entertainment wanted to use what we do best by helping to create a memorable experience for our audience to commemorate this beautiful soul that has sparked a movement and call for change in America and around the world. “

A representative from the Breonna Taylor Foundation says “There is no denying we will forever mourn the loss of Breonna. The fight for justice on Breonna’s behalf will never cease. However, The Breonna Taylor Foundation and Breonna’s loved ones are also committed to reattaching joy to Breonna’s name by energizing her legacy of love and light. With this assignment in mind, we are preparing to celebrate Breonna’s birthday the Breewayy.” The representative goes on to say, “The Breonna Taylor Foundation is supporting event producer, B. Smith’s Luau themed party. B. Smith is a trusted event producer in the community, and we reached out to him to collaborate. The majority of his audience are Breonna’s peers which is why this event is of such importance. This is the perfect space for Breonna’s friends, loved ones, and rising activist to responsibly celebrate her life.”

You can purchase tickets which start at $40 at Remix (Jefferson Mall), Exclusive Wear, Better Days West and online at Eventbrite at Luaudayparty502.eventbrite.com The link is provided: http://Luaudayparty502.eventbrite.com.

The event is being sponsored by B96.5 and supported by the Breonna Taylor Foundation. If you would like to be sponsor. Contact Brandon Smith at blsmith502@gmail.com.

To setup interviews, contact Smith and/or VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com. We will send an alert if Tamika Palmer would like to speak ahead of the event. To learn more at Bsmith Entertainment you can visit their site at Bsmithentertainment.com.

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VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see how we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

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: 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

It’s the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA

As we celebrate March as Women’s History Month, we recognize legendary women as well as the unsung women leaders who work tirelessly without any recognition.  United Crowns Productions announces the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA.  Giving young women of color an opportunity to experience a pageant format, showcase their talent and scholarship to assist them with their educational endeavors.  The pageant will be held October 7th-9th in Louisville, Kentucky in Memorial Auditorium. 

Black women from all over the state  of Kentucky will be in Louisville not only to compete for the crown but to learn about their heritage, meet and hear influential community leaders, network amongst fellow contestants and to win prize money that will help them further their education. The mission of United Crown Productions is to encourage all women to embrace their beauty and empower them with confidence and leadership skills.     

Dr. Ashley Anderson, Executive Director of Miss Black Kentucky USA is excited to announce its return, her past involvement while encouraging the community to embrace these young ladies as they pursue their dreams. “When I competed in the Miss Black USA scholarship pageant in 2010, I dreamed of one day starting a preliminary program in Kentucky.  The birth of the Miss Black Kentucky USA franchise is one that will have an impact on young women of Kentucky for generations to come.  Beyond the scholarships that will be awarded in both Miss and Teen divisions, the life skills programming will be sure to elevate the minds and lives of all participants. It will groom leaders, shed light on issues of concern in the community, and meaningfully fund the educational pursuits of black women in Kentucky.  It is my intent that this program becomes the largest scholarship funding source for young women of color across Kentucky.  Additionally, creating a space for women of color to unapologetically celebrate their culture, beauty and identity is necessary and extremely important to me.” 

If you would like to be a contestant, Please go to www.unitedcrownproductions.com for more information.

To be a sponsor and/or if you would like to set up an interview with Dr. Anderson contact VIPP Communications at info@communications.com

Stay tuned for additional information and announcements as it becomes available for the return of Miss Black Kentucky USA.    

VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see how we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.

The VIPP Report: The Walnut Street Revue announces new date for their concert

UPDATE: Due to rise of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky the concert will be rescheduled to Saturday, February 26th

WALNUT STREET REVUE RETURNS TO IN-PERSON CONCERT AS WE KICKOFF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Recognizing the contributions that Louisville natives made to music

(Louisville, KY) As we celebrate the Legacy of Black Louisville, Legacies Unlimited, Inc. presents The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Groove Again” at 7:30pm on Saturday, January 29,2022 (moved to Saturday, February 26th) at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, (KCAAH) located at 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. 

It’s a special evening consisting of exhibits and the historic musical contributions of African Americans from Louisville to the entertainment industry.  The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Groove Again” will pay tribute to the achievements not only to the city but to the nation and the world. 

As we take a stroll down Walnut Street known today as Muhammad Ali Blvd., we take you back to the 1930’s, 40’s & 50’s.  We are excited to have Rob Lee, Michael Johnson, Yvette Nicole, Paulette Johnson, Erica Denise amongst other talented artists who will set the scene of yesteryear along the strip that generated stars and helped keep dreams alive for aspiring entertainers. 

Special guests for the evening will be Frankie Raymore & the Groove Masters featuring Tony Fish and Daria Raymore.

Tickets are now available for The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Grove Again” at Better Days Records in Lyles Mall and 921 Barrett Ave., or you can purchase tickets online at Red Pin Tix | The Walnut Street Revue 2022

Masks and proof of vaccination required for entry.

This event was made possible with the support of The Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, Hardscuffle Inc., WLKY-TV, and George & Mary Lee Fischer. 

To setup an interview with Ken Clay of Legacies Unlimited, please contact VIPP Communications at 502-341-7306 or by email at info@vippcommunications.com

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The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace will be collecting donations for those affected in the Western Kentucky tornado this Saturday

MELANnaire Marketplace Holiday Shopping Extravaganza offers unique and one-of-a-kind gift ideas

The MELANnaires will be collecting donations for those affected in the Western Kentucky tornado

(Louisville, KY) There’s only a few days left before the holidays.  Do you still need a gift for your ‘Secret Santa’?  The MELANnaire Marketplace’s Galleria REMIX Holiday Shopping Extravaganza continues this Saturday, December 18th at Fourth Street Live indoors located at 416 W. Liberty Street, in downtown Louisville from 12pm to 6pm.

This gives you a chance to support Black-owned and local businesses. You can stop in and find everything from handmade crafts, jewelry, to anything you can find in a large retail mall, but your dollars stay in the community. 

There will also be live entertainment, pictures with Santa and food vendors. If you would like to be a vendor, contact us at blackbusinessesmatter502@gmail.com.

All the MELANnaires decided that they wanted to help those affected by the tornado in Western Kentucky.  So, they will be accepting donations for residents in Bowling Green, KY.  The marketplace will serve as a donation drop off site.  They are accepting gift cards from restaurants, Walmart cards and vouchers for area hotels and gas cards just to name a few of the items storm victims currently need while they work through this tragedy.  

Nachand Trabue, founder of the MELANnaire Marketplace says “We’ve had a very successful year.  Introducing you to businesses previously overlooked.  There’s also been an increase of new businesses and the MELANnaire Marketplace gave them an opportunity to see what worked for them.  We are excited about the new year and what’s instore, but we can’t forget those in need at this time in Western Kentucky.  Many people in the Louisville area have personal ties to Bowling Green because they, including myself attended Western Kentucky University. We knew we needed to help. Please stop by and give what you can.  We know they would appreciate anything you can give.”

If you are looking to do a profile on MELANnaire Marketplace founder Nachand Trabue and/or any of the vendors, we invite you to come out and hear the stories.

To learn more about MELANnaire Marketplace visit our website at http://www.melannaire.com.  

Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace.

Instagram:  @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: Walnut Street Revue returns to in-person concert in January 2022

WALNUT STREET REVUE RETURNS TO IN-PERSON CONCERT AS WE KICKOFF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Recognizing the contributions that Louisville natives made to music

(Louisville, KY) As we celebrate the Legacy of Black Louisville, Legacies Unlimited, Inc. presents The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Groove Again” at 7:30pm on Saturday, January 29,2022 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, (KCAAH) located at 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. 

It’s a special evening consisting of exhibits and the historic musical contributions of African Americans from Louisville to the entertainment industry.  The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Groove Again” will pay tribute to the achievements not only to the city but to the nation and the world. 

As we take a stroll down Walnut Street known today as Muhammad Ali Blvd., we take you back to the 1930’s, 40’s & 50’s.  We are excited to have Rob Lee, Michael Johnson, Yvette Nicole, Paulette Johnson, Erica Denise amongst other talented artists who will set the scene of yesteryear along the strip that generated stars and helped keep dreams alive for aspiring entertainers. 

Special guests for the evening will be the soulful Tony Fish & the Groove Masters joined by Daria Raymore, one of Louisville’s premiere vocalists.

Tickets are now available for The Walnut Street Revue “Let’s Grove Again” at Better Days Records in Lyles Mall and 921 Barrett Ave., or you can purchase tickets online at Red Pin Tix | The Walnut Street Revue 2022

Masks and proof of vaccination required for entry.

This event was made possible with the support of The Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, Hardscuffle Inc., WLKY-TV, and George & Mary Lee Fischer. 

To setup an interview with Ken Clay of Legacies Unlimited, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com

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The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace heads to the Russell neighborhood showcasing Black-owned businesses in a pop-up mall


Founder, Nachand Trabue will be honored in an awards ceremony

(Louisville, KY) The MELANnaire Marketplace and Old Walnut Street presents the Black Walnut Marketplace with a pop-up mall as part of West Louisville’s 5th Annual Economic Mobility Summit. It will be held on Friday, October 22nd at the Louisville Central Community Center, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The pop-up mall opens at 12:00pm and closes at 9:00pm.


The summit will also recognize six Louisville entrepreneurs with the inaugural Sam Watkins Jr. ‘Light the Way’ Awards Ceremony where MELANnaire Marketplace founder Nachand Trabue will be honored for entrepreneurial excellence. The program is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm.


Trabue says “This is a true honor to be recognized by my peers. I have tried to find ways not only be a successful entrepreneur but to assist other Black-owned businesses find a way to promote and sell their products and services. Entrepreneurship as we’ve learned is a labor of love. So, many have had to close their doors over the past two years while some decided to make a career change and open a business. I try each and every week to give businesses a place where we can work together as a community to generate wealth. I’m truly humbled to be recognized along with the other recipients.”


If you would like to be a vendor and/or be a sponsor, please contact MELANnaire Marketplace at http://www.melannaire.com.
Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.


“Where Black Businesses Matter”
Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace.
Instagram: @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace celebrates one-year anniversary Labor Day Weekend

Immediate Release:

August 29, 2021

(Louisville, KY) During one of the toughest times in the City of Louisville a group of business owners found a way to support themselves. From the pandemic to the social unrest that spilled into the streets due to the Breonna Taylor case and other cases across the nation. One community leader and entrepreneur Nachand Trabue, owner of Manhattan on Broadway rallied area businesses to work together to generate wealth in the Black community. 

Now, the MELANnaire Marketplace invites you to come out and celebrate it’s one-year anniversary on Saturday, September 4th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Manhattan on Broadway located at 716 E. Broadway.

The MELANnaire Marketplace showcases products and services of Black-owned businesses.  Many of the entrepreneurs do not have the capital for storefronts or office space so this marketplace is critical for their growth, and it puts them in front of consumers, both local and tourist looking for shopping opportunities in downtown Louisville. 

According to local census, only 2.4% of businesses are Black owned while they make up 22.4% of the population.  That’s why are requesting your support as consumer and/or sponsor.   

When you visit the marketplace you will see all type of vendors from homemade pet treats, artwork, clothing, accessories to soul food and healthy food options and produce. 

There will be a live DJ and band playing throughout the event.

The founder and creator of the MELANnaire Marketplace Nachand Trabue says “This was birthed out of love for community and to see other Black-owned businesses reach their ultimate potential.  We are literally sitting in a food desert, and no one is coming to the aide of the residents in the Smoketown and downtown residents.  We had an urgent need, so I contacted businesses and we all agreed that we needed to help ourselves instead of waiting on someone to help us.  

Over this past year, we have had people from all over the city and surrounding communities come out and support us.  This is truly a community effort.  I just feel so blessed to be able to spearhead the initiative. I had no idea that when we started that the MELANnaire Marketplace would become so important in the community. That’s a testament for the need and the quality service our businesses bring to the table.” 

We would like to thank all the Black-owned businesses, sponsors, and community leaders who have participated and supported us over the past year.  We look forward to the next year. 

We currently have more than 30 local businesses participating on Saturday, September 4th:

We invite you to stop by and see what the entrepreneurs have to offer.

If you would like to be a vendor and/or be a sponsor, please contact MELANnaire Marketplace at www.melannaire.com.   Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.  If you have any questions, please contact VIPP Communications at 502-341-7306.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace.

Instagram:  @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: Stop by MELANnaire Marketplace this weekend

(Louisville, KY) We invite you to Louisville’s only weekly portal of Black-owned businesses.  The MELANnaire Marketplace will take place on Saturday, August 28th at Manhattan on Broadway located at 716 E. Broadway.  The marketplace runs from 12 pm to 5 pm. Shoppers have an opportunity to walk around shop and hear the stories of the start-ups.  Come out and support area entrepreneurs. You find produce to one of kind pieces from artists and designers. 

The founder and creator of the MELANnaire Marketplace Nachand Trabue says “I can’t believe it’s been a year already. All I tried to do is fill a void in our community and now this is now a staple.  I strongly believe in helping others and this is just one platform showing that we can work together as we provide for our families.  If you have not had an opportunity to shop with us.  I encourage you to stop by and see what the entrepreneurs have to offer.”

If you are looking to do a profile on Trabue and/or any of the vendors, we invite you to come out and hear the stories. 

WHO:                     MELANnaire Marketplace 

WHAT:                   Shopping with Black-owned businesses            

WHEN:                   Saturday, August 28th from 12:00pm-5:00pm

WHERE:                 Manhattan on Broadway, 716 E. Broadway

WHY:                      Creating a marketplace in downtown Louisville for residents & tourists to easily get too.

 If you would like to be a vendor and/or be a sponsor, please contact MELANnaire Marketplace at www.melannaire.com.   Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.  If you have any questions, please contact VIPP Communications at 502-341-7306.

Labor Day Weekend, (September 4th) we will be at Manhattan on Broadway from 12pm-5pm to celebrate our one-year anniversary.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace.

Instagram:  @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace Schedule of Events

MELANnaire Marketplace

The MELANnaire Marketplace takes place every Saturday in Louisville, KY.  Alternating between Manhattan on Broadway located at 716 East Broadway from 12pm to 5pm in the Smoketown neighborhood and Fourth Street Live from 12pm to 6pm in the downtown business district.  We will also move the marketplace where there’s a need. 

Here’s our latest schedule:

Saturday, August 28th – Manhattan on Broadway

Saturday, September 4th – Manhattan on Broadway (One year anniversary)

Saturday, September 11th– We will be at Finzer & Preston Streets (outdoors) In partnership with the Smoketown Festival and Black Wealth Week

Saturday, September 18th– Fourth Street Live

 If you would like to be a vendor and/or be a sponsor, please contact MELANnaire Marketplace at www.melannaire.com.   

Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.  If you have any questions, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com and/or by calling 502-341-7306.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace.

Instagram:  @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: Remembering photojournalist Bud Dorsey

By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

In today’s ‘Your Story’. Remembering famed photographer Bud Dorsey.  Who died last week at the age of 80. I spoke to Yvonne Coleman Bach, Associate Publisher and Editor who worked with him and called him a good friend. 

He could tell a story without even saying a word.  Charles ‘Bud’ Dorsey got his start with the Louisville Defender Newspaper.  I spoke to Bach about the paper that’s been in existence for over 80 years and Dorsey’s impact. 

Bach says “Bud was wonderful. I started working with Bud in the mid-1980’s.  What we try and do is bring that positive back and to let people know there’s a lot of positive things happening in the community.” 

Dorsey somedays didn’t wait for an assignment.  He went where the news was happening.  Coleman-Bach says “Working with Bud was unreal because he made my job easier. He never let me down.  He was looking and watching for things to happened and he was always there.”

Coleman-Bach says Bud had that dedication and a strong love for what he was doing even when he had to go home and care for his small children alone.  She adds “One of the things people don’t know about Bud. He has four kids and his wife died at a very young at a very early age.  Left him with four kids the youngest one under a year old.” 

Even with all of that going on he captured the essence and soul of the community.  Coleman-Bach says “He was out there for the civil rights marches, he was out there for the little league ball games he was out there for everything that was going on in the community and it showed that positive side.”   Helped create special bonds with Central High classmates like Muhammad Ali.  “The few times I was with Bud where Muhammad Ali is concerned. Every time he saw Bud, even when he couldn’t speak, when he saw Bud he would give some type of sign like oh there’s Bud.” 

I asked Coleman-Bach about some of his best moments. Coleman-Bach says “I think the coverage he did on Ali and I have to go back and say too a second one is Louis Coleman.  Bud did some fabulous coverage with Louis Coleman. He went to different cities with him. Consistently following him and following the work he was doing.  Which is very important in the community.”

It wasn’t hard for Coleman-Bach to describe Dorsey as a father and photographer.  She says “Even when talking about his as a photographer or a dad he was absolutely amazing. /Coleman 4:16-24 Bud was able to capture the community, the West Louisville community like no one could and I don’t think anyone else will.” 

In his own words, he wanted to make sure his work lived on.  Dorsey says “I want to try and leave a legacy for my grandkids and great grandkids. It’s a great place to be and a great place to live.” 

I wanted to share with you a photo Dorsey took of me some 20 years ago.  I’ve kept it all these years.  I was speaking at the Louisville Black Expo to a group of students interested in television production. 

There will be a community memorial service on Saturday where Bach will speak.  The service is from noon to two at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage at 17th and Ali. 

►Contact The 411’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

To see the story, click the following link https://www.whas11.com/mobile/article/features/bud-dorsey-louisville-photographer-defender-remember/417-4f8b6b1f-0174-4f5f-a135-3741d919880d

The VIPP Report: Introducing you to the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy

By Sherlene Shanklin

In today’s Your Story. Their name has changed but their music remains the same bringing all genres of music to West Louisville. I talk to the founder about their success. You recognize them as the West Louisville Boys Choir. 

In 1990, McDaniel Bluitt started The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy originally named the Moore Temple Boys Choir.  In 2002, the choir expanded by adding girls to the program. 

McDaniel says “We started the program because kids needed a way they can be engaged positively and doing the kinds of things that can make them productive members of the community.” 

Two current students, Sylvia Lontz and Alexandria Bluitt were introduced to the program differently but both believe it’s an amazing opportunity and everyone feels like family. 

Sylvia Lontz is heading to Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) this fall.  She says “I personally found out about this choir from my former choir director at Central High School.  He introduced it to me.  I though it would be an amazing opportunity for me and my younger sister.” 

Alexandria Bluitt is currently in high school but understands the importance of legacy.  She says “I’ve been in this choir ever since I was 4 or 5 years old.  Considering my grandparents started the choir.  This choir gave me a sense of family, not because they started it but because of the connections I made with people in this choir.”

The program is a melting pot of talents discovered within each child.  A. Bluitt goes on to say “It gives me a sense of structure.  For me personally anyway and I believe everyone needs a foundation to build on top of.”

M. Bluitt says “It’s a part of our slogan its more than just music…its more than just singing because children bring with us whatever they have with them at the time.  Some have training prior to coming to me while others haven’t.” 

They’ve had a chance to travel and perform all over the world from Bahamas to Las Vegas, and all over the state of Kentucky.  With that exposure caused some of his former students to think out of the box.   Key’mon Murrah & Kay’mon Murrah both participated in the program.  As adults they are both classically trained. 

Key’mon is moving to New York.  He says “I’m going to Juilliard in the fall for a graduate diploma. And then I have me Opera debut this winter.”

Kay’mon remains in the area to help others interested in the arts.  He says “I’m working with Kentucky Opera at various events but right now im working as a board member for the public arts commission in Lexington, KY. So that’s been really fulfilling. “

Mr. Bluitt says “Music evolves its never to stay the same.” And so does its leadership. His son Joshua will take the helm and carry on the tradition.  Bluitt says he will still be around consulting and help counsel but feels it’s the right time to pass the baton so his son can take the program even further. 

McDaniel says “One of the things its accomplishing its helping to dispel the myth in the minds of so many people.  Not just Black people, White people m Jewish people not just men but men and women.  They get a chance to see the program that’s holistic.  They get a chance to see the program as positive and believe it or not got their children in it. That’s ongoing and I’m proud of that.” 

Kay’mon says “You have to be open for new things and be willing to absorb it all. I really believe once you start that process you will be able to fly anywhere.”

The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy has a 100% graduation rate and they now enjoy new home for their program.  You can now find their studio in the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage at 17th and West Ali.  To support go to www.wlpaa.org

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

To see the story, click the link below.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/west-louisville-boys-choir-community-impact/417-4eb6cf86-d4de-447d-8908-f17c26b0b202

The VIPP Report: Helping businesses obtain construction opportunities the right way with Vincel Anthony and the 7PM Group

By Sherlene Shanklin

Love for community and wanting to see others reach their ultimate potential as an entrepreneur is the goal for Vincel Anthony and the 7PM Group.  In today’s Your Story, I spoke to Anthony about holding businesses accountable when it comes to minority construction opportunities. 

Vincel Anthony and his mentor Carl Brazley started the 7 PM Group symbolizing the number for perfection in biblical terms and P-M stands for project management. 

Anthony says “We’re the glue, the liaison between the owner of the big project and the general contractor who in many cases has been challenged with executing whatever the owner wants to have done.”

He attended Male High School and Western KY University as a student-athlete playing football for the Hilltoppers. Graduating with a Bachelors in Business Administration later receiving his Master’s Degree in information technology, (I-T).  He talks about where his focus currently is when it comes to projects. “We wanted to work specifically in our community”.
 
Many contracts allot a percentage for minority businesses. In construction its 15%. Anthony breaks it down so we can understand how its determined.  “Well, Its off of every dollar, 15 cents needs to ideally be spent with a minority business owner.  10 cents of that dollar needs to be spent with a woman owned business owner and that’s is the goal.”


He also adds, “All of this construction you see going on over this community like a lot of urban communities -decent sized cities…Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville there’s cranes everywhere and the challenge is, are minority businesses actually participating.” 
 
Anthony says the community needs to lift as they climb. As you succeed, reach back down and pull someone else up. 
“To be intentional when it comes to caring about other people and to really feel in your heart that its really possible for us all to win.”

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

To see the story, click the link below.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/louisville-vincel-anthony-7pm-diversify-construction-projects-bible-perfection/417-ed7dcee1-399e-4cc9-be32-97d84e1f2b2e

The VIPP Report: A look back to how Ronnie Baker qualified for the Tokyo Olympics

By Sherlene Shanklin

Olympian Ronnie Baker

The Tokyo Olympics is in the books and Louisville native Ronnie Baker did us proud. He did not bring home any hardware but friends, family and supporters couldn’t be more happy on how he represented U.S.A.

Let’s take a look back at my story on Baker just days before he went to the Olympics.

It’s the race 27 year old Ronnie Baker has dreamed of and trained for all his life. Now, he’s just a few days away from making that dream come true. He tells me he’s  a product of West Louisville, JCPS and most of his family lives in Louisville.   

Baker says “I went to Ballard and Highland Middle.  I lived in the west end and grew up in Village West.  My whole family is there actually.  My mom, my brother moved back, my sister is there. Pretty much even my extended family is there.”

Baker started with cross country and then later became a sprinter.  It all happened after a coach watched him compete. 
He says “They saw me run and they were like hey you should go out for the track team.  That’s when I started running track.  That conversation I had on field day. I always had the speed. I just did not know where to put it.”

Now, he will head to Tokyo but it will be much different than he dreamed.  Missing the opening ceremonies due to the flight schedule and no fans.  I asked what he needed to run to win gold.

Baker says “I don’t know what it is going to take because Tokyo is going to be different you know Tokyo is not going to have spectators so the atmosphere, kinda the crowd, the energy that’s not going to be there.  Crossing multiple time zones and jet lag could be a factor. “

Winning the 100 meters in Monaco, the last big meet before the games. I asked does this put him in excellent position to win gold?  
The Olympian says “Absolutely, That race was It was a good momentum booster, motivational. Like… It gives me momentum going into the Olympics. I think it was great for me being there and to experience with all the guys potentially be running against in events as well.”

He goes on to say “This is when you do a lot of light work and focusing on the small, I mean the tiny-ist things that are the difference between gold and silver.” 

Ronnie Baker will run in the 100 meters on July 31st and then he will be a member of the four by 100 relay team. Baker’s wife and mom will watch with other families in Orlando at Disney World while his family in Louisville will be apart of a couple of watch parties cheering him onto gold. 

I’ve been in contact with Baker this week and he sounded confident and relaxed leading up to the biggest race of his career thus far. 

Here’s a fun fact. Former Olympian and Kentucky native Tyson Gay and Baker are cousins. So, running literally “runs” in the family.  For “Your Story.” 

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

To see the story, click the link below.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/louisville-native-ronnie-baker-going-for-gold-in-tokyo-olympics/417-b2712e88-29c0-4770-9270-852159c6b09f

The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace at Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville this weekend

HEAD TO FOURTH STREET LIVE! THIS WEEKEND FOR MELANNAIRE MARKETPLACE

            Where the community comes out to Shop, Socialize & Support

(Louisville, KY) The MELANnaire Marketplace welcomes you to come out to Fourth Street Live! on Saturday, July 17th from 12pm to 6pm. This week’s theme: Summer Breeze Festival featuring live jazz with the Baconaters and entertainment provided by DJ Cam, FaithWorks Studio and Redline Performing Arts.. We have a large array of Black-owned businesses from handmade jewelry, fresh baked goods, fresh produce to clothing and unique crafts.  This is a FREE event that we invite the whole community to come out and support. 

If you are looking for a great story, we invite you to come out and hear the stories of how these entrepreneurs got their start.  We will help coordinate your request and/or you can walk to see who catches your eye. 

WHO:                    Melannaire Marketplace Summer Breeze Festival  

WHAT:                  Pop Up Mall

WHEN:                  12:00pm-6:00pm

WHERE:                Fourth Street Live!

If you would like to be a vendor and/or be a sponsor, please contact MELANnaire Marketplace at www.melannaire.com

Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.  If you have any questions, please contact VIPP Communications at 502-341-7306.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

Follow us on social media and take photos using the following hashtags so we can share your experience #MELANnairesLou, #BLACKbusinessesMatterLOU & #MELANnaireMarketplace. 

Instagram:  @melannairemarketplace

The VIPP Report: Remembering Wilma Rudolph one of U.S.A’s greatest track and field stars

*PHOTOS: When you open the story you can see the slideshow of photos courtesy Rudolph family

Rudolph set the “gold” medal standard for sprinters

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin. WHAS11, ABC Louisville

With the Summer Olympics just weeks away, there was an athlete that changed track and field in the 60s.  Did you know that Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph has family in Louisville?  I sit down with her nephews who just know her as Aunt Wilma.

She was an Olympic champion, civil rights activist, coach, educator and mom of four. Born Wilma Glodean Rudolph, a premature baby having pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio. At five she wore a leg brace and could barely walk but was later named the fastest woman in the world.  She was the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympic games back in 1960.  Some of Rudolph’s family lives right here in Louisville. 

Larry Rudolph, Wilma Rudolph’s nephew tells me how they are related. “I am Wilma Rudolph’s nephew.  Wilma and my dad were brothers and sisters.”  Larry and Sammy Rudolph tell me there were 22 children in the family.  Wilma was number 20 and their dad was the first son.  Rudolph was called the Black Pearl, the Chattanooga Choo Choo but if you called her by her childhood nickname you really knew the track and basketball star.

Larry says “Skeeter was her nickname,. They called her Skeeter because she was so small. (Laughter) She was called Skeeter all through college and most people don’t call her Wilma. The ones who really know her called her Skeeter.”

Even as a child she was resilient and turned obstacles into opportunities.  Rudolph says “She had polio and had to wear braces the whole nine. More or less they thought she couldn’t walk again but she proved them all wrong.  And when she finally got to walk and then run she would always race against the boys, would beat the boys. After a while, boys would never want to race her because they  let a girl beat them  and she was that fast.”

Sammy did not know his aunt was an international star until he was in fourth grade. Here’s how he found out.            

“I called my dad. I’m doing a story on a Wilma Rudolph, he said do you know who that is? No sir, that’s your auntie, that’s my sister.  I went back to school telling everybody that Wilma Rudolph was my aunt. I was so proud to have a famous aunt in a book that you read in school. It was just amazing.” 

Larry says his dad actually kept Wilma’s three gold medals from the 1960 Olympics in his Louisville home for years.  “They were in his basement at one time. I remember going to his house and they were hung up in the basement.  They were there for years but to us it was common knowledge and paid no attention it was medals to this day I couldn’t tell you what happen to them.”

Sammy tells me that a young Cassius Clay and Wilma were an item after the Olympics.  He talks about the time when they showed up at his school in Louisville. 

“Well that’s funny. I used to play basketball for Thomas Jefferson High School my junior year and a big limo pulls up outside Wilma Rudolph and Muhammad Ali at the time was Cassius Clay they came to my school to watch me play ball. I was telling everybody that’s my aunt. You don’t know that woman.  I said Aunt Wilma and she came over and gave me a hug  and I got to shake Muhammad Ali’s hand.”

This week, Wilma would have been 81 years old.  She died in 1994 of cancer.  The state of Tennessee recognizes it as Wilma Rudolph Day.  I asked how significant is her legacy?

Larry  says “For a poor Black woman, little Black girl to come up , reach the status she did equivalent it means a lot to the whole town because she put that town on the map Clarksville, TN was known because of Wilma Rudolph.” 

Sammy added by saying “Not only did she win three medals in one games. You realize she was the fastest woman in the world in the 60s.  Its amazing. The fastest woman in the world. So she was the GOAT. She was the goat of track and field.  Its hard to believe coming from what she went through as a kid. To be the fastest woman in the world. It’s just an amazing story.”

“Her name will live forever”

To see the story, click the following link https://www.whas11.com/video/news/local/wilma-rudolphs-louisville-family-reflects-on-her-legacy/417-9257361c-c952-461b-a6cb-2639d21bc52f

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

The VIPP Report: Remembering Muhammad Ali, the GOAT five years later

I’ve covered Muhammad Ali for many years since I’m from his hometown of Louisville, KY. Even receiving an EMMY nomination. When i received that call five years ago preparing me for what was about to happen I will never forget. Then one day later, the champ passes away. Only a handful of people outside the family received that call. I will forever be grateful that the Ali family trusted me as a journalist, a person who really cared and someone that grew up in the same Black neighborhood he grew up in.

Sherlene Shanklin

By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Five years ago today, boxing legend and Louisville native Muhammad Ali passed. In today’s Your Story, we remember his legacy. I talk to Marilyn Williams.  Ali’s caregiver and sister-in-law who shared some fond and funny moments about the champ. 

Williams says “When he would have visitors over to the house he would play possium.  He would sit with his eyes closed. He knew if they were leaving he would wake up so they could take pictures and autographs and they were excited. Muhammad knew…everybody knows he was Muhammad Ali is. He’s known around the world and he wanted to know who you are and I thought that was really neat about him.”

Williams got to witness so many things up close that some people had no idea.  She remembers one doctor who liked to make house calls to see Muhammad because they both shared a common interest. She says  “He would come every other Sunday. Muhammad and I were always watching westerns.  And Muhammad always thought he was a Black cowboy.  With Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Kris Krostophenson. Those were actually his friends.”

Williams also tells me that legendary musician Sam Cooke and Ali were best friends. I found tons of footage and photos of the two talking about things they were working on even a singing project. 

When Marilyn was a teen Muhammad gave her some advice.  That she still cherishes. “I got a problem. He said what’s your problem.  So, I told him. He said that’s not a problem.  And I said its not? To me it is..but he would tell me he said a problem is when you can’t solve it.  When you can solve it, it’s not a problem.”

Another fond memory. Marilyn and Muhammad would take rides all over Louisville.  She reflects on the reaction when people would recognize him. “We would get in the car we would go in the Westend to Shively the Eastend and we were all over riding and every now and then somebody would notice him and say Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali. He would wave and give them that bite like he was going to fight.  He would blow them kisses.”

As the family continued to learn about his Parkinson’s diagnosis.  They took it one day at a time. Williams says  “The only thing I could tell Lonnie at that time was Lonnie were gonna push him as far as we can and eventually he’s going to come back. But if we get him so far he will live long and that exactly what happened”

Williams did get a chance to say goodbye to Ali and she shares a little of what she said to him. She tells me “The last word I said to Muhammad was that he was going to go to heaven. I whispered in his ear and I was going to meet him and they would do this again.”

And still today….

Williams says “His legacy lives on.”

If you have a story about Muhammad Ali you would like to share send it to sshanklin@whas11.com

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

To see my story click the link-> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/5-years-after-muhammad-ali-death/417-7d8da576-5081-46bd-be9e-d50f737ac8c8

The VIPP Report: Kentucky woman wins ‘Best Short Film’ at Dreamer’s Film Festival

ERICKA NICOLE MALONE ENTERTAINMENT’S ‘DREAMS FROM THE EDGE’ TAKES HOME BEST SHORT FILM AT THE DREAMER’S SHORT FILM FESTIVAL IN LONDON

(Los Angeles, California) A Louisville, Kentucky native takes home the United Kingdom’s Dreamer’s Film Festival’s Best Short Film. Ericka Nicole Malone’s international short film ‘Dreams from the Edge’ starring Mary Curry, Alexia Faith Roberts and Bernadette Stanis is awarded the top honor during the festival.

Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment, LLC is working to bring positive images from Black actors to the big screen by making it her business to make films with historic, educational value with a social consciousness in mind. ‘Dreams from the Edge’ is a short film that tells the story of a young girl by the name of Davina, (Alexia Faith Roberts) who tries to embrace her uniqueness. Davina sets to make it in Hollywood and follow her dreams, facing many obstacles attempting to derail her, including emotional challenges from her mother, Rose (Bernadette Stanis). It speaks to difficulties we often face in work/life balance.

Writer, Director and Executive Producer of the short film, Ericka Nicole Malone says ‘Dreams from the Edge’, is more than a young Black woman following her dream but it speaks about the inclusiveness of people who may be different but they are the very people who make our society so unique. I wanted that to be reflect in this film. By receiving such a prestigious honor my message is relatable, understandable and universal because everyone has a dream to be successful.”

To learn more about Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment and the current projects she’s working on like ‘Remember Me The Mahalia Jackson Story starring Ledisi, Columbus Short, Janet Hubert, Keith David, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Keith Robinson go to www.erickanicolemalone.com.

To setup an interview, contact Sherlene Shanklin at VIPP Communications at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

ERICKA NICOLE MALONE ENTERTAINMENT is a production company focused on the development, production/co-production and distribution of film, television, and animated projects nationwide. 

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VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see how we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

The VIPP Report: DCorey Johnson’s rendition of the National Anthem is opening doors for the young star

The story and video that went viral of a nine-year old Louisville sensation with a special gift

By Sherlene M. Shanklin

Louisville, Kentucky

For the last few weeks, my story of DCorey (DC) Johnson has been truly an unbelievable journey.  I was tagged on Facebook by several friends and family members because I do a segment for WHAS11 Television, ABC Affiliate in Louisville called The411.  I highlight people and organizations who you normally don’t see on a newscast until I started doing it.  I currently, have a new segment called “Your Story”. I thought he could talk to me about all of the attention he has received.

I watched the video of DCorey multiple times around 11:00 pm one night.  Instead of going to bed I reached out to the Jefferson County Public Schools, (JCPS) public information office to see if I could get permission to go into Bates Elementary School to speak to the student and his parents. 

The first story on DCorey Johnson before the world met this young superstar with a big voice. Sherlene Shanklin’s story #SherlenesStory

I had to move quick because I knew this child had a gift and I wanted to be the first to speak to him.  I got the interview setup and was assigned a photojournalist to assist me with the story. 

Everyone that knows me, know that I’m not a morning person. So, I had a hard time going to sleep.  So, as I laid there watching the clock afraid that I would oversleep for the interview.  I starting thinking about different scenarios.  What if the third grader is actually shy and I can’t get him to talk.  So, I considered a few alternatives just in case. 

Well, I hate that I worried about it because there was no need to worry about this rising star what so ever.  DCorey was full of personality and at one point I just let the nine year old go.  He laughed, talked and one thing we all know children speak is the truth.  He had no problem explaining to me who did and did not help him on his musical journey. 

DCorey Johnson Photo by Sherlene Shanklin

DCorey gave me so much material to work with. I actually had enough for multiple stories.  I was wrapping up the interview, I promised to follow the third  grader on his journey. 

As I drove home from the interview, I envisioned how the story would look and sound.  Because of COVID-19 restrictions my photographer and I work from our homes but we had already discussed a game plan. 

Once I handed off the approved script, I voiced the package. I sent it Phillip for editing.  I felt great about the wording, my pacing and the interview itself. I knew Phillip would make it come to life.

Just a few hours later, we were ready for air.  When the story aired on WHAS11, ABC Louisville my phone starting ringing from text messages, social media messages and people wanting to congratulate me on the story.  I knew if I was getting that type of response I could only imagine what the Johnson family was getting. 

I have a company that host events and someone texted me asking, “Don’t you remember in your KY Derby event that DCorey played young Michael Jackson in the tribute?”  I remembered the amazing talent and I remember that a child received a standing ovation but I had not put two and two together. 

As soon as I got a link to my story, I started to circulate.  Within a couple of hours ABC contacted me and wanted to know who was this gifted child?  Because I worked for an ABC affiliate tv stations all over the country were running my story. I have gotten calls Tennessee to Washington. The network used my video and script and made stories that aired on almost every show from World News Tonight to GMA3.  I have received some of the craziest calls from professional sports venues to large scale prominent productions wanting me to help get in touch with the child’s parents. 

I’m in contact with his mother and we touch base every few days so I can give her the messages and she shares with me what is happening behind the scenes.  I hang up somedays saying “I’m witnessing the makings of a future star.”  I cant wait to share more on DCorey. 

I’ve provided a link of my story for you to review.  Kentucky student singing National Anthem on PA system goes viral | whas11.com

You will be amazed if you watch other stations around the world use my wording and approach to the story.  As a journalist and storyteller to see your work hit numerous media outlets and they keep its original form for three weeks is a testament to myself and Phillip’s work.  Its hard to change when it was done so beautifully the first time. 

Checkout some of my other stories.  I think you will like my style and approach to storytelling.  Articles by Sherlene M Shanklin | WHAS-TV (Louisville, KY) Journalist | Muck Rack

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

Birdie Maxwell named a Muhammad Ali Scholar and first student-athlete in the prestigious program

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Birdie Maxwell Photo Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

They call her ‘birdie’ because her mother called her an early bird. Now, the Louisville Cardinal will take a month overseas exploring social justice issues as part of a prestigious program. The University of Louisville rower Kyelia ‘Birdie’ Maxwell talks about being named a Muhammad Ali Scholar. 

Birdie says she was absolutely amazed I was even selected as a student athlete but as a student in the university to be part of such an important program and such an important part of UofL’s history, of Louisville’s history, the home of Muhammad Ali I felt honored that they would allow me to be apart of the program with a bunch of other amazing students. 

The UofL rower is the first student-athlete to be named a Muhammad Ali Scholar since its inception six years ago.  Birdie says “I honestly didn’t think it was that big until everyone was texting me, emailing me saying congratulations its such an honor.”

The Biology and fine arts major grew up in Clarksville, TN. Both of her parents served in the military giving her an opportunity to see the world.  She says “my mom was in the air force for five years and then my dad was in the army for 32 years. I’ve lived in Germany, Korea, I went on vacation well I guess you wont call a vacation it was more of a senior trip to Spain, London, France, stayed in Austria and I stayed in Peru as well.”

Birdie had several options to attend college but knew UofL was the right fit.  “When I came on this campus-I just fell in love with the campus automatically and plus I was introduced to rowing” says Maxwell.  

I asked her with social unrest in the city and around the world. Birdie says she wants to be a part of change.  She goes on to say that she even participating in the campus protest lead by the men’s basketball team. 
“I think with all the injustice that’s happening in Louisville and especially in Minneapolis with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor it really feels close to home with Breonna Taylor being that I want to go into medicine. Im a Black woman and I live in Louisville. I think I have some type of personal connection where I thought it could have been me!

If Birdie had the opportunity… she’d like to help change laws. She remains positive while keeping her eye on the prize just like Muhammad Ali both with the mentality of wanting to shake up and change the world . 

She says “I would like to become a doctor and be that face of change for young black students, brown students, people in poverty, underprivileged children to look up to me and say I can do that.”

Birdie recently had hip surgery but we hope to see here on the water soon. As for her role as a Muhammad Ali Scholar she will take about a month oversees to explore justice issues in a different cultural, political, social, and economic context. Here’s the 2021  Ali Scholars: Lorenzo Rowan, Shradda Patel, Taylor Griffith, Edison Pleasants, Maegan Heller, Ashley Aguilera-Rico, Pamambuna Touray, Kaylee Boyd and Kyelia Maxwell. 

Sherlene & Birdie Maxwell

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

To see story click the link -> https://www.whas11.com/article/features/kyelia-birdie-maxwell-muhammad-ali-scholar/417-4f3f9af8-b936-456d-a30b-1d1186660917

Kentucky Representative Pamela Stevenson gives a passionate testimony

Kentucky Rep. Pamela Stevenson

By Sherlene Shanklin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentuckians who may not have known freshman state Rep. Pamela Stevenson likely do following a heartfelt, impromptu speech given as the legislative session came to a close.

The retired Air Force Colonel and associate minister at Oak Grove Baptist Church represents District 43.

As lawmakers worked against the clock to finish bills, veto overrides and other business, Stevenson chose to speak after listening to Rep. Fugate (R-84) during a debate over the partial ban on no-knock search warrants.

“Banning no-knock warrants? That’s not the answer,” Fugate said. “Our society will never get better until we’re allowed to lift up the name of Christ in the public sector again.”

According to Stevenson, Fugate then said, “Life was good in America until 1962 when they took prayer out of the schools. God calls us to love everyone.”

She had decided she was not going to say anything because everything had been said then she heard another representative speak. She said the lawmaker is a friend and pastor but she couldn’t let the moment be lost.

“I start sitting in my seat and I get irritated because in 1962 life for African American and brown people sucked,” Stevenson said. “You could be lynched, raped, you couldn’t walk down the street, you had no freedom.”

She chose respond to the lawmaker who she considers a friend.

“You want to tell me about putting God back in schools? Well, put Christ back in Christians,” Stevenson said. “Don’t you dare ever propose to know what it’s like to be less than, what it’s like to be in a country that disowns you, what it’s like to be lynched, what it’s like to be raped, what it’s like to be a nothing.”

While trying to put her mask back on after the speech, Stevenson said she noticed a crowd beginning to grow around her.

“Other representatives started coming up to me either wanting to hug, saying they didn’t want to break the rules or ‘I want to say thank you,'” Stevenson said. “And my friend who made the statement came to me we had a great, beautiful conversation.”

Life before politics

Stevenson was born and raised in Louisville — her parents still live in her childhood home in West Louisville. She attended Shawnee and graduated from Brown High School before joining the US Air Force.

During her 27 years of service, Stevenson said she lived in 11 different countries and several parts of the United States.

“Then I switched over and became a JAG [Judge Advocate General],” Stevenson said. “So I spent most of my time in the legal world, training people, prosecuting. I was chief criminal defense attorney, negotiating contracts, running my own office and deploying to Croatia, Bosnia and Africa.”

Because she’s traveled the world, Stevenson said she understands the common thread that unites everyone.

“Whether I was In Europe, Africa, the Middle East or California, what I discovered was we all basically want the same thing,” Stevenson said. “They want their children to grow up and be better than them, they want to leave their children something and they want their life to matter.”

Now, she’s using her knowledge to represent a district stretching from Brownsboro Road to the Portland neighborhood and a portion of West Louisville.

“You can’t tell me how things are for me when you don’t know,” Stevenson said. “All people, all lives have different experiences than yours and don’t be presumptive to know you understand. Listen and ask, and then based on what they say — not what you think —  come up with a solution.”

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

To see television of my story click the link provided -> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/politics/pamela-stevenson-louisville-rep-air-force-colonel/417-e130961a-eb46-4afc-8074-25cf1583b4a5

What do you know about Kentucky native Whitney Young Jr.?

Lincoln Institute remembers civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr.’s historical impact on Kentucky, nation

He’s advised presidents and even held the top post at the National Urban League. Young also had a role in the famous March on Washington more than 50 years ago.

Photo Courtesy: The Lincoln Institute

The Lincoln Institute remembers civil rights leader Kentucky native Whitney M. Young Jr.’s and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement

By Sherlene Shanklin

SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. — Whitney M. Young Jr. had the respect of many, especially around the state of Kentucky.

He was an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Young was born on the campus of the Lincoln Institute – a boarding high school for Blacks created by trustees of Berea College after integrated education was outlawed in Kentucky in 1904 due to the Day Law.

“I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular. But I would like to think that at a crucial moment, I was an effective voice of the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.”.

He served as president for the National Urban League and played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement.

“He was part of the Big 6 and how President Nixon even asked him to be part of his cabinet and he felt like he could do more for us as a race if he used his platform versus being in the cabinet,” Vivian Warren Overall, a retired community member and Lincoln Foundation board of trustee member said.

Young also helped organized the March on Washington for jobs and freedom with his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His parents also played an important role in history.

“Whitney Young Sr. was the first African American president of Lincoln Institute certainly having his own prominence as well as Whitney Jr.’s mom was the first African American postmaster in Kentucky and second in the nation,” Paula Campbell, development director said.

The permanent exhibit in Young’s childhood home is like taking a journey to the past. Campbell said there’s so much history – not just Kentucky history but US history that’s steeped on the land.

Young died on March 11, 1971 at the age of 49.

“He was overseas in Lagos, Nigeria for a conference and had gone swimming and the story is that he drowned,” Campbell said. “Some suspect that was not the case, including his sister. He was a champion swimmer she does not believe he accidentally drowned.”

Campbell explained there are many people who believe that Young may have been one of the leaders during the movement that may have been assassinated. She said it’s something they will never know because it’s been a big mystery.

“President Nixon sent his personal jet over to bring his body back and at that time – one of the Tuskegee Airmen flew that jet now that was special,” Overall said.

Young’s funeral was held in Kentucky with thousands in attendance which included Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King. The eulogy was given by President Nixon.

“The funeral procession part of it came back here to the campus and circled the campus. That was his last ride,” Overall said.

What would Young think about the fight for social justice happening now?  

“I think this correlation between the 1960’s and now – because all of the things he did to fight for equal rights,” Campbell said.

To see the story click the following link-> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/black-history/whitney-m-young-jr-black-history-month-draft/417-edb48591-ade6-4b58-8a16-26bad7b8b721

►Contact The VIPP Report’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

The VIPP Report: A Louisville church bouncing back after unrest in the city due to Breonna Taylor and pandemic

Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church uses their faith to motivate its members and the community they serve

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Louisville

In Today’s ‘Your Story’ organizations and churches are starting to help get the COVID-19 vaccines to those in need. Even though, Little Flock Baptist Church has faced some setbacks due to their unwavering faith they press on.

In the Smoketown community sits the church on South Hancock. It’s pastor Rev. Bernard Crayton tells me of their beginnings which dates back to 1867. 

Rev. Bernard Crayton “By newly freed slaves.  The church was originally on Ormsby back in that time. They actually put the building on trees and rolled it here to the site on Hancock Street. It’s been a fixture in this community every since. It has a rich, rich, history.”  

Growing up in Cleveland Ohio.  Being a part of a family of ministers.   Rev. Crayton in April 1999 moved to Louisville in hopes of becoming a pastor of his own church. 

Crayton says “I never been to Louisville, I’ve been through Louisville but applied for the church Little Flock Baptist Church and when I got here, I knew this was the place I was supposed to be. It’s been a great blessing for the past 22 years.”

With COVID-19, he tells me how he’s been keeping up with his members to see how they are doing? Crayton: “People call in on the prayer line.  I have anywhere from 60 something people that will call in.  It’s not only my members but people from all over. I mean all over the United States.”     

Dealing with the pandemic and protests in the city last summer.  The pastor takes a call in the middle of the night that tried to break his spirit.  He tells me what was said, “Well, that was just unbelievable. One our members passed by the church and said the church doors had been shot out and I was going, WHAT!. That was right during the time when tensions were high in the city. I just couldn’t believe, I don’t know  why but I just couldn’t believe it happened to our church. When I saw where the front door windows had been shot out and bullet holes in the foyer. It really took me back.  I had a lot of people not only the black community but the white community in this city. That came and wanted to do whatever they could.”   

Turning to his faith, the pastor took a call from a company that wanted to fix their doors free of charge. Whichh renewed his faith.  Crayton said, “Even in spite of that there are still a lot of good people in this world.” 

So even though the doors of the church remain closed for services.  Little Flock wanted to find a way to help. So, they will open their doors  Saturday to help its members and the community.  Crayton says, “Saturday we are having our own pop up clinic. We have partnered with Norton Healthcare. We have been talking reservations but walk ins will be available.  Anyone who wants to come.”

Rev Crayton is trying to reassure people of color to get vaccinated.   He says “It comes from those who are just not trusting the govt. Historical things that have happened. It comes from misinformation. It comes from lies. It comes from conspiracy. And we’re trying to break all that down to make sure that people of color understand how important it is especially African Americans understand how important it is to get your shot.”

People of faith have been asking for a sign and the pastor believes this is it. “If you’ve been praying to God about a healing praying this will go away. God has given us the answer.  Its right there in front of us.  And what you need to do is just trust him. Call in and get your shot. That’s how I see it.  That’s how I really see it.”  

The church is working on renewed faith that you should never give up regardless of your situation. 

Crayton says “What I have tried to preach every single Sunday is HOPE.”

Ending Covid-19 ONE SHOT at a time vaccine clinic“ will be on Saturday, March 20th from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church located at 1030 S. Hancock Street.  Walk ups are welcomed but if you would like to schedule an appointment call Delane at 502-381-2354 or Charlotte at 502-494-8411. 

►Contact Your Story with Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

To see the story click the link ->

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/outreach/vaccine-clinic-at-little-flock-missionary-baptist-church-louisville-your-story/417-ffbdf381-6cd5-4266-96ab-9dbb57b0c81a

The VIPP Report: The Muhammad Ali Center announces Laura Douglas as their first Black woman interim president

Laura Douglas

By Sherlene Shanklin, Special Report with WHAS11, ABC Louisville

After nearly a decade in Louisville, Donald Lassere will leave the Muhammad Ali Center and move back to his hometown of Chicago. In his seat as president and CEO, Laura Douglas.
In ‘Your Story’ I sit down with the respected corporate leader.  

To many in the community she is called the stabilizer.  Because she helps corporations and non-profits maintain their business practices while stabilizing their leadership. 

First, Laura Douglas did it at TARC; now she’s moving to the Muhammad Ali Center; serving as its first Black woman president.  Making history in her hometown. 

Douglas discusses her family and her close connection to the city. “Well, I grew up here in the Russell neighborhood.  I had eight brothers and sisters.  We started out at James Bond Elementary School which is now Byck. I went to Western Junior High School and to Shawnee High School. 

After graduation, Douglas continued her education to become an attorney.  She explained her career path. “I started out my career as a lawyer, I’m a graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and I’ve been a general counsel at several organizations and my most recent position was at LGE and I retired from there.  Throughout my career I have always been a volunteer and I’ve always served on a number of boards in the community.  And one of the places I invested a great deal of my board serve was here at the Muhammad Ali Center.”

As the immediate past board chair, she is now ready to get the doors of the Ali center reopened.  Douglas says “Here at the Muhammad Ali Center the good news is, it’s an outstanding organization with a very impeccable national a reputation.  My role is here is to keep the ship steady in the water as the board looks for a permanent CEO. I’m happy to do that”.

Douglas came out of retirement to take on this role, but i wanted to know if she planned to go back into retirement, as she shaped the next generation’s CEO’s at home. Douglas with a smile says “Yes, yes I will.  I was a granny and my grandchildren kinda run my life for me.”

Douglas is excited about keeping the Ali Center moving until the national search is completed which could take up to six months.  Douglas’ family is happy about her and understand the importance of the position but see what her family thinks her most important title is to them.  She says “My family is proud but one thing they remind me every day, I’m just granny as far as they are concerned and I’m mom.”

June will mark the fifth anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s passing.  The Ali Festival will honor him with his six core principles:  Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality. I asked Douglas did she expect the opportunities she’s seeing today?
She says “As a small child I know my mother and father encouraged all of us to expand our horizon and to dream big. I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity and to be able to continue to work in a community that I really love

Laura Douglas and Sherlene Shanklin

The Muhammad Ali Center will reopen to the public on Thursday, April 1st. 

This year’s Ali Festival will be June 4th to the 13th.

The Truth Be Told Temporary Exhibit has been extended to 2022. 

The Muhammad Ali Center is located at 144 N. 6th Street, Louisville, KY 40202. 

Contact The 411’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

To see the story click the link: https://www.whas11.com/video/news/community/louisville-native-laura-douglas-named-muhammad-ali-centers-interim-president/417-738e504a-52d4-47fb-8bdd-f03f6ffcf312

The VIPP Report: Muhammad Ali’s caregiver opens up to Sherlene Shanklin for the first time since the GOAT’s passing

Special Report from Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, Louisville

Orginially aired on January 14, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Sunday, Muhammad Ali would have been 79. 

On June 3rd, 2016 Ali passed away and thousands lined the streets of Louisville to thank the champ who was not only a boxing champion but an activist and philanthropist respected by many across the world.

For the first time, in an exclusive interview, WHAS11 talked to the person who was his childhood friend, caregiver and sister-in-law. You saw her in many photos over the years. 

Now, Whas11’s Sherlene Shanklin tells you her story of the Champ you didn’t know.

Marilyn Williams says “Muhammad’s mother Odessa Clay and my mother Marguerite Williams were best friends.”

Their families were very close. As a child, she looked up to him as a big brother having no idea that years later she would call him her brother-in-law.

‘Lonnie Ali is my big sister,” Williams said.

Prior to working with family, she was a successful entrepreneur owning her own salon and then worked at the Ford Plant right here in Louisville.

So, when Lonnie was looking for someone to help with their business affairs and later assist Ali and with his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Marilyn was the perfect choice to be his caregiver while some even thought she was their bodyguard.

“I was his security because if you got close to Muhammad you were in trouble if you weren’t supposed to be there,” said Williams.

She talked to me about being a caregiver for Ali. “I knew I had to do the best I could do. I had to be the best. I had to be on it. I knew this man. I knew him ever since I was a child so I had to be on it.”

People always asked, could he speak after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s? Williams said, “Muhammad could smile, stars eyes would just sparkle and he talked a lot with his eyes, he talked with his voice, his hands. He definitely got his message across.”

Anytime ‘the Champ’ could get home he did and Marilyn shared this fond memory.

“Muhammad loved Louisville. You say Louisville if I was working and I said I was going on vacation. Where are you going? I said I’m going to Louisville. I wanna go.”

I also asked Williams could she tell me something about Ali people didn’t know. She sighs before answering–“Muhammad and Lonnie will say this too. He had a kind and loving heart. He saw nothing wrong with no one. He would be with kings and queens, presidents and then turn around and be with the poorest person on this earth or the sickest person on this earth. It didn’t matter to him. He loved all.”

To see everything happening in Louisville sometimes even along the street that bears his name and across the country how does that make you feel?

“Well I can’t actually speak for Muhammad because he can speak for himself but a few things he taught me and that was respect for all mankind. One thing I asked him, I was always asking him questions when I was younger growing up and he told me that there’s good and bad in every race and every religion. There’s good and bad,” Williams said.

The final question of the interview I had to ask what she misses the most about the GOAT?

With tears in her eyes, she responded by saying “His eyes, his kindness, his spirit, his spirit was so beautiful. To be around him he gave you energy. Even if there was a gray day outside he made the sunshine.”

I had to use the video one more time of Louisville’s own, the man who had no problem telling you “I’m still the greatest!!!”

Link to the WHAS11 story https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/muhammad-ali-caregiver-marilyn-williams-talks-greatest-of-all-time-goat-champ/417-b3ecdbeb-97b1-4062-9e01-ecf439074c89

Since the story aired on WHAS11, an ABC/Tegna affiliate here’s some of the other stations that picked up my story:

King5.com, 11Alive.com, WTHR.com, 12newsnow.com, ksdk.com, WUSA9.com, kentuckydailynews.com, firstcoastnews.com, kcentv.com, wkyc.com, wfmynews2.com, WLTX.com and MSN.com.

The VIPP Report: Remembering Muhammad Ali on what would have been his 79th birthday

For the FIRST time, his life-long caregiver sits down with me for more than a hour telling me things so many people have no idea about the ‘Greatest of All Time’. This is just a small portion of my interview that I wanted to share.

 

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Louisville

Muhammad Ali and Sherlene Shanklin at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Sunday, Muhammad Ali would have been 79. 

On June 3rd, 2016 Ali passed away and thousands lined the streets of Louisville to thank the champ who was not only a boxing champion but an activist and philanthropist respected by many across the world.

For the first time, in an exclusive interview, WHAS11 talked to the person who was his childhood friend, caregiver and sister-in-law. You saw her in many photos over the years. 

Now, Whas11’s Sherlene Shanklin tells you her story of the Champ you didn’t know.

Marilyn Williams says “Muhammad’s mother Odessa Clay and my mother Marguerite Williams were best friends.”

Their families were very close. As a child, she looked up to him as a big brother having no idea that years later she would call him her brother-in-law.

‘Lonnie Ali is my big sister,” Williams said.

Prior to working with family, she was a successful entrepreneur owning her own salon and then worked at the Ford Plant right here in Louisville.

So, when Lonnie was looking for someone to help with their business affairs and later assist Ali and with his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Marilyn was the perfect choice to be his caregiver while some even thought she was their bodyguard.

“I was his security because if you got close to Muhammad you were in trouble if you weren’t supposed to be there,” said Williams.

She talked to me about being a caregiver for Ali. “I knew I had to do the best I could do. I had to be the best. I had to be on it. I knew this man. I knew him ever since I was a child so I had to be on it.”

People always asked, could he speak after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s? Williams said, “Muhammad could smile, stars eyes would just sparkle and he talked a lot with his eyes, he talked with his voice, his hands. He definitely got his message across.”

Anytime ‘the Champ’ could get home he did and Marilyn shared this fond memory.

“Muhammad loved Louisville. You say Louisville if I was working and I said I was going on vacation. Where are you going? I said I’m going to Louisville. I wanna go.”

Williams showing me a piece of art that Ali created.

I also asked Williams could she tell me something about Ali people didn’t know. She sighs before answering–“Muhammad and Lonnie will say this too. He had a kind and loving heart. He saw nothing wrong with no one. He would be with kings and queens, presidents and then turn around and be with the poorest person on this earth or the sickest person on this earth. It didn’t matter to him. He loved all.”

To see everything happening in Louisville sometimes even along the street that bears his name and across the country how does that make you feel?

“Well I can’t actually speak for Muhammad because he can speak for himself but a few things he taught me and that was respect for all mankind. One thing I asked him, I was always asking him questions when I was younger growing up and he told me that there’s good and bad in every race and every religion. There’s good and bad,” Williams said.

The final question of the interview I had to ask what she misses the most about the GOAT?

With tears in her eyes, she responded by saying “His eyes, his kindness, his spirit, his spirit was so beautiful. To be around him he gave you energy. Even if there was a gray day outside he made the sunshine.”

I had to use the video one more time of Louisville’s own, the man who had no problem telling you “I’m still the greatest!!!”

Here’s the link to the story. -> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/muhammad-alis-caregiver-marilyn-williams-talks-greatest-of-all-time-goat-champ/417-b3ecdbeb-97b1-4062-9e01-ecf439074c89

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

Sherlene Shanklin is an EMMY Award winning journalist. Two-time Society of Professional Journalists, (SPJ) winner for sports writing and best use of social media. Multiple award winner for the Associated Press. Career spans nearly 30 years with an emphasis but not limited to news in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

VIPP Communications End of 2020 Message

As the year ends, we have experienced things that we never thought would happen in our lifetime from the pandemic to the struggle for social justice. Have you ever heard the phrase, “This was the worst year and best year of my life?”  This holds true for us. 

Many of you have put a pause on business opportunities while some were able to create new ventures.  

VIPP Communications is open and still working to cater to your specialized needs while assisting the community we love and want to see get back on track. 

In 2021, we will be launching new projects and adding even more services.  We do more than public relations and event management.  You will see our name on various initiatives from diversity & inclusion, research, developing and maintaining brands to becoming a celebrity book editor.  Please look at our site for additional services.

We will also begin to add additional team members once the pandemic is officially over and travel restrictions are lifted.  We believe in mentoring those who are willing to learn in a professional setting. 

We just wanted to thank you for the business, and we look forward to working with you in 2021. 

Take a look at our website http://www.vippcommunications.com. Follow us on social: FB/IG @vippcommunications & Twitter @vippcomm

The VIPP Report: ‘Staying Strong’ in 2020 and hoping for ‘Peace & Prosperity’ in 2021

Sherlene Shanklin

Sherlene Shanklin

December 31, 2020

What can you say about 2020?  I call it the year of the ‘thick’ skin.  We have endured a lot.  Every generation faces the unthinkable and you wondered how did they make it?  Now, we have a story to tell. Especially those of color who’ve privately faced obstacles of discrimination for many years.  From being overlooked, told they were not good enough, why can’t you just work one job, you do too much, and why do you work in your community so much with no pay helping people you don’t even know. 

If I ask that question, the majority of you will say ‘What I went to school for I was never given the chance to see where it could take me.’ Some will also point out that they never reached their ultimate potential and that’s why they had to utilize their skills in other ways. 

Some employers hire people of color and then leave it there with no further action.  Regardless, how hard you try you can never get ahead.  Then you realize that you’ve wasted valuable years being faithful to someone who could care less about your progression.  So, instead of letting your skillset go, you find alternatives to keep them sharp. 

When protests broke out across the country especially in my city of Louisville so many individuals thought to themselves, ‘So I’m not the only one?’ Feeling like you’re facing situations alone and that became a defining moment that you’re not. 

When people begin to speak out it gave those suffering in silence some hope. Even if you didn’t see them marching in the streets. There’s a lot of people in their workplace trying to change the culture even putting their careers on the line. In offices, boardrooms, and in closed door meetings people are speaking up & finally being asked their opinion. The invitation to the table will bring a long term foundation instead of a quick fix. There’s so many working behind the scenes and do not want the credit. Find your place and let’s all help make a difference.

As we head into the new year, how do we juggle our emotions? Pinned up anger while you’re still working at a high level.  Its been a year of sickness, death, and heartache.  While many want people to forget we have to remember how we got here so that we don’t let history repeat itself again. 

Facebook: @SherleneShanklin/IG: @sherlenemediapro/Twitter: @Sherlenemediapr

The VIPP Report: One of the world’s top African American sculptors is honored by his hometown

Ed Hamilton named Louisvillian of the Year

(Louisville, KY) You’ve seen his works from The Amistad, Muhammad Ali’s steel boxing gloves both in Louisville, The African American Civil War Memorial, ‘Spirit of Freedom’ in Washington to the Unfinished March of the late Dr. Martin Luther King in Newport News.  Now, the American Advertising Federation of Louisville announces that Ed Hamilton will receive the “Louisvillian of the Year” award. 

Hamilton is receiving the award for his outstanding achievement and generous personal contributions in the areas of civic, educational and business.  The sculptor only needed to possess only one of the three, but this talented humanitarian is a true community ambassador who works tirelessly who in turn is an inspiration to so many within Louisville and communities around the U.S. The national acclaimed sculptor gives his time and talents.

Ed Hamilton says “As a citizen of Louisville, KY, I’m proud and honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the 2020 Louisvillian of the Year award.  I know I owe my success to many who saw my talent during the early years of my artistic journey.

It is in the spirit of family, parents that adopted me and are now deceased, Edward Norton and Amy Jane Camp Hamilton.   They raised me to have respect for all people, the value of hard work and development of moral values.  This enabled me to extend myself into the Louisville community. 

To the love of my life and soul mate of 54 years of marriage, Bernadette, I seriously believe if not for her love and support, I would not be the man, the father, or the artist that I am today.  How lucky I am to be alive today.

I extend blessings to all past recipients and indeed I’m in good company.”

Other works Hamilton has designed is the 16th President of the United States and Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln with the Lincoln Memorial which is located along the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. He’s known for but not limited to is The Booker T. Washington Memorial in Hampton, VA, Joe Louis Memorial in Detroit, MI, and the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, CT just to name a few of the many works you can visit around the U.S. 

To learn more about Ed Hamilton and his works contact, Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications for appearance and speaking engagement availability at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

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VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see if we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

The VIPP Report: Two former NBA stars know all too well that their hometown of Louisville need to have a game plan

Louisville natives Allan Houston and Derek Anderson

By Sherlene M. Shanklin

(Louisville, KY) I’ve been working behind the scenes for many months in regards to the Breonna Taylor case. There’s many journalists like myself who have researched, combed through paperwork and filed ORRs to uncover much of what you are hearing about today publicly.

I have reached out to so many people to help explain, give insight and to voice their concerns.

I posted a photo that simply said: “The World Is Watching Louisville” #breonnataylor #sherlenesstory. Then I went right back to work preparing for the Jefferson County Grand Jury and the Kentucky Attorney General’s decision and announcement.

I noticed a day later, that my phone’s alert system was putting in the work so I opened it to notice that Derek Anderson had shared my message. Since the AG’s decision many are just trying to wrap their minds around what happened.

On March 13th, Breonna Taylor lost her life. On, September 23rd, 195 days since her death and 119 days of protesting in the City of Louisville and sounding counties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. There’s still so many more questions than answers.

Derek Anderson and Allan Houston voiced their concern and what needed to be done to try and heal the community they call ‘home’. Here’s what the two Louisville natives and former NBA stars shared on my social media post.

Anderson says “It’s some really good people in Louisville and I’m proud to love my city and the people that care about it. And like every city it’s some mislead & negative people who would rather COMPLAIN rather than CHANGE!!! It starts with Government, City Leaders and Officials, Parents & the People!!!!”

Anderson attended Doss High and then later played for the University of Kentucky winning a NCAA championship. He had a great career in the NBA and before retiring he won a championship with the Miami Heat.

Houston says “Praying for My Hometown. There is extreme pain and frustration. We need justice. We need righteousness. We need to uphold the standard of God’s law. We need reconciliation. We must not stop pursuing these!! #breonnataylor

Houston attended Ballard High, played for the Tennessee Volunteers and also had a great basketball career with the New York Knicks. 

How does Louisville move forward?  Give me your thoughts. 

Sherlene M. Shanklin

►Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherleneshanklin@gmail.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.