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.

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

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: 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.

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: The Lady Veterans Connect salutes female members of the military

A Virtual Event: Honoring Our She’roes

(Winchester, Kentucky) As the country begins to hit reboot, Lady Veterans Connect is looking for unsung heroes of the military. All Female Veterans from all era’s of military service are called to be honored this Veterans Day.

Join us on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11th, for Lady Veterans Connect first-ever free virtual event, “Honoring our She’ roes”; a Q&A panel session, with giveaways, that takes place from 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M., moderated by Judge Lindsey Thurston. Registration is required for the Facebook Live event.

Visit www.lv-connect.org/sheroes.html to register and upload photos and details for yourself, or a loved one. Deadline to submit is November 8th. All photo submissions are planned to become a permanent fixture on the Wall of Honor at Lady Veterans Connect Winchester, Kentucky location.

Female veterans currently are, and will continue, to be an important part of the veteran community. Women represent about 10 percent of the total veteran population, with approximately 2 million female veterans in the United States and U. S. Territories.

To setup an interview please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

Lady Veterans Connect is an organization created to provide high quality, comprehensive services to assist female veterans in transitional support and prevent homelessness. Founded in 2012 under the name Sheppards Hands by Phyllis Abbott, LVC was officially renamed in 2016 and opened the first transitional healing home, the Thurman-Abbott House, for female veterans in Kentucky. Since then, LVC has connected over 500 lady veterans in Kentucky with needed resources, as during COVID-19 we have not been able to have women in the home, but we are now allowed to do so.   

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VIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management, writing services, marketing, branding 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. 

The VIPP Report: Former President Barack Obama releases a statement on the passing of Rep. John Lewis

Sherlene Shanklin and President Barack Obama

By Sherlene Shanklin

Early this morning, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama released a statement on the passing of Rep. John Lewis.  He died on Friday, July 17th from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

Here’s an excerpt from the 44th President of the United States: “Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.”

Obama also says “John Lewis — one of the original Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years — not only assumed that responsibility, he made it his life’s work.  He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise.  And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

To read the full statement Barack and Michelle Obama statement

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

 

The VIPP Report: Louisville protest move from the business district to the neighborhoods

UPDATED 7/15/2020 4:30pm: From Louisville Metro Police Dept.: Suzanne Craft the individual that was served a summons regarding vandalism with racial hate messages was arrested today by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s for failure to appear in court on those charges.

This evening, members of Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ) along with other community leaders and protesters will converge on the Lake Forest neighborhood located in Eastern Jefferson County, a subdivision in Louisville.

They are going to this particular community after several driveways were spray painted with racist slurs.  The protesters are concerned that there was not enough action taken on the incident to protest the families involved and to express support for those involved.

This incident(s) took place on and/or around June 29th, following unrest after the death of George Floyd and the ongoing case right here in Louisville of Breonna Taylor.

On March 13th just before 1:00 am on Springfield Drive, Breonna Taylor was shot multiple times after LMPD executed a no-knock search warrant.  The 26 year old died from her injuries.

Protests started in Louisville, Kentucky on May 29th and they continue to this day like the Lake Forest protest as well 6th and Jefferson in downtown Louisville.

The investigation is currently in its fourth month and is in the hands of the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI).

Follow me for up to date information on the Breonna Taylor case.

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

 

The VIPP Report: Yandy Smith along with other protesters being released from Louisville Metro Corrections

 
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By Sherlene Shanklin

(Louisville, KY)  Protesters continue to walkout of jail after being arrested Tuesday afternoon.

Love and Hip Hop star and activist Yandy Smith along will some 80 plus others were arrested for demonstrating in front of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home.

107737209_1969195096543782_6603321511495882528_nI received these photos from Nicole Hayden. The Louisville activist has been participating in protests for weeks asking for justice in the Breonna Taylor case.

Hayden is with Smith and Porsha Williams as they wait for other protesters to be released.

Let me take you back to why the protesters came to the city.  On March 13th just before 1:00 am on Springfield Drive, Breonna Taylor was shot multiple times after LMPD executed a no-knock search warrant.  The 26 year old died from her injuries. 

Protests started in Louisville on May 29th and they continue to this day. 

The investigation is currently in its fourth month and is in the hands of the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the FBI. 

Follow me for up to date information on the Breonna Taylor case. 

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

 

The VIPP Report: Porsha Williams walking out of Louisville Metro Corrections after being arrested in a Breonna Taylor protest

By Sherlene Shanklin

After a long night, reality star and activist Porsha Williams exits Louisville Metro Corrections around 3:30 am.

She along nearly 90 others were arrested Tuesday afternoon for demonstrating in front of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home.

I just received this photo of Williams as she walks out of jail. There was a crowd of people on the exterior of the jail waiting for Williams and other protesters.

The Bravo star is in Louisville seeking justice for Breonna Taylor.

                                                Credit Nikia Williams

 

Credit: Louisville Metro Corrections

The VIPP Report: Two reality show stars arrested in Louisville during a Breonna Taylor demonstration

Special Report By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Affiliate Louisville

Photo credit: Louisville Metro Corrections

(Louisville, KY) Its been four months since the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.  On Tuesday, some 90 demonstrators were arrested on the lawn of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home in Louisville. 

Among those arrested were two reality show stars.  Porsha Williams from Bravo’s Housewives of Atlanta and Yandy Smith from VH1’s Love and Hip Hop New York. 

Both Williams of Georgia and Smith of New York are charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and intimidating a participant in a legal process.  They are currently in Louisville Metro Corrections and their arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

Let me take you back to why the protesters came to the city.  On March 13th just before 1:00 am on Springfield Drive, Breonna Taylor was shot multiple times after LMPD executed a no-knock search warrant.  The 26 year old died from her injuries. 

Protests started in Louisville on May 29th and they continue to this day. 

The investigation is currently in its fourth month and is in the hands of the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the FBI. 

Follow me for up to date information on the Breonna Taylor case. 

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

Sherlene Shanklin is an Emmy nominated journalist and two-time SPJ winner for sports writing and best use of social media. She created The VIPP Report to give her community a voice on platforms and open the dialogue on issues, topics and in depth news. thevippreport@vippcommunications.com-@thevippreport

                                                  Sherlene Shanklin

 

The VIPP Report: Hip-hop Artist R. Prophet speaks out on police brutality in his new book

HIP-HOP ARTIST R. PROPHET IS FINALLY READY TO SHARE HIS ENCOUNTER WITH POLICE THAT LEFT HIM CHARGED, HOSPITALIZED AND UNKNOWN FATE

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It’s a story of survival when he felt like he was in a fight for his life

(Atlanta, GA)  We’re hearing their stories of racism and police brutality leaving many horrified that they never noticed before now. Today, you hear the names George Floyd and Breonna Taylor plus countless others.  Many lost their life and we will never be able to hear their stories but there’s some survivors.  Let me take you back to April 2013 where, two-time Grammy nominated hip-hop/rap artist Ryan “R. Prophet” encountered law enforcement on a Kentucky road.  He shares his story and the things he’s been dealing with since that night.

In Prophet’s new book, “Grams to Grammy”, it takes you back to that early morning safety checkpoint where things escalated leaving Ryan in the hospital, arrested, charged with third-degree assault, resisting arrest, and menacing among other the charges for the former member of Nappy Roots.  He also gets candid about what happens when these traumatic incidents take place.  Prophet can explain first-hand the affects it causes.  From expressing anger, to depression followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Currently, the book is charted as #1 new best seller on Amazon as part of the #sfirmcelebrityseries.  It’s filled with issues that many in the African American community face but often times rarely discussed from mental illness to living in impoverished neighborhoods where people feel like there’s a target on their back.

Prophet shared his experience with several media outlets shortly after the incident but has rarely spoken publicly until now.

Prophet, an advocate against police brutality feels like he needs to take a stance and talk about his experience of being tased some 15 times at the hands of Kentucky State Police. His case did not go through the judicial process, but it was reported but not confirmed by involved parties that he was awarded a one million-dollar judgment.

To setup an interview with R. Prophet and/or any other media inquiries please contact Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

Be sure to stay connected with R. Prophet on all social media platforms. Facebook.com/rprophetofficial and Instagram.com/rprophetofficial

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About R. Prophet:

Prophet is an American Rapper, Actor and TV personality. Known by most as the former lead of Grammy Nominated Group, Nappy Roots, R. Prophet has been changing the music scene since the early 2000s. Currently R. Prophet is developing hip hop educational tools for children. He has also been acting and recording his solo album with hopes to raise awareness of police brutality. One of R. Prophet’s biggest honors, in addition to being nominated for two Grammys, is the appointment to the Board & Advisory Council of the Muhammad Ali Center where he serves as the youngest member alongside Diddy, Denzel Washington and more. Stay tuned for more to come with Rap Artist and Actor R. Prophet.

!cid_A431B594D7B4419F8E91FA0D5F1A9765@SherlenePCVIPP 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: Now Let’s Get Fit Foundation heads to West Louisville and Portland to celebrate health and wellness

Get Fit

Now Let’s Get Fit Foundation teams with Rajon Rondo Foundation, Kroger and Norton’s for Health and Wellness Day and Back to School Giveaways

 Louisville (August 1, 2019) It’s the “Countdown to Classes” as many families shift gears to prepare their school-age children for the upcoming school year.  The Now Let’s Get Fit Foundation has teamed with Kroger, and the Rajon Rondo Foundation for the Back to School giveaways Health and Wellness Day.

There will be two days will of fun, fitness inspired activities and free school supplies.  We invite the Portland community to participate in the kick off scheduled for Saturday August 10th with Norton’s Unity Jam at Molly Leonard Portland Community Center located at 640 North 27th Street, Louisville. The Unity Jam is from 10-3p will consist of over 22 vendors and will giveaway over 1,000 free back packs and school supplies.

Then we head to West Louisville on Sunday August 11thWe will be at Kroger at 2710 W. Broadway, Louisville from 3-6p. The event will giveaway over 200 backpacks and school supplies and include Zumba, boot camp, health screenings, dental consultation, kids bounce house, coloring stations and much more.

The Let’s Get Fit Foundation has a mission to combat obesity and instill Health and Wellness through Fitness and Nutrition. Each event is family friendly, Free to the public and includes fitness classes, nutrition stations, health screenings (for obesity related illness), kid zone activities and giveaways. along with other current and former local athletes in attendance and participating.

“Our mission is to not only give back to but to leave a lasting impact by providing resources and community outreach. Being able to help families with back to school supplies while also providing them with a free day of health and wellness that they can apply to their lives moving forward is the least we can do. Just a few weeks ago we mourned the sudden loss of a friend and a mentor in the program Jared Lorenzen.  We want to honor him by continuing with the mission by motivating youth to have a balanced lifestyle.” -Anthony Holt, President of Now Lets Get Fit Foundation.

Sponsors for the event are Kroger, Optup, Powerade Zero, Core Power, Rajon Rondo Foundation, The Little Clinic, and Kare Mobile. The tour will extend to other locations in Louisville, Lexington and surrounding areas the remainder of 2019.

To learn more follow us at https://www.facebook.com/NowLetsGetFit/ or visit our website at www.nowletsgetfit.org.  To be a sponsor and/or volunteer contact Anthony Holt @aholt@nowletsgetfit.com or call 323.365.3371.

If you would like to setup an interview, contact Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

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vippnewlogo

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.  http://vippcommunications.com

 

 

The VIPP Report: Your next Miss Kentucky and Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen for 2020 will be….

Miss Kentucky 2020

Two young ladies crowned in Louisville will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the next year

Miss MAOTeen 2020

(Louisville, KY) On Saturday, June 8th at the Brown Theatre in Louisville Miss Kentucky and Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen announced who would represent Kentucky in the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competitions.

Miss Kentucky 2019

Lexington native Alex Francke was crowned Miss Kentucky Saturday night in Louisville.  She will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky at the Miss America competition. The official dates will be announced by the Miss America officials in the coming days.

Landry Feldmeier was crowned Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen. She will present Kentucky at the 2019 MAOTeen Competition in Orlando, Florida on July 23, 24, 25 & 27th at the Linda Chapin Theatre in the Orange County Convention Center.

 

MissKentuckyTeenPageantThe Miss Kentucky and Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen programs empower young women across Kentucky through pageantry.  The participants develop leadership skills and confidence as they work to achieve their biggest goals in life.  The Miss Kentucky Scholarship Organization continues to develop role models for communities not only in Kentucky, but the world.

Dr. Ashley D. Anderson, Executive Director for the competition and President of the Miss Kentucky board says “We had an outstanding week from the “Kickoff to the Crown” where the community met the participants during an event at Fourth Street Live, to the crowning of the two ladies who will represent Kentucky for the next year.  Our judges had a very difficult task, but they chose two great young women that Kentucky will be proud of.  We have no doubt that on the national stage these two will make us proud.”

The Miss Kentucky Scholarship Organization is a celebration of the talent, scholastic achievement and commitment to service of Kentucky’s finest young women. This Organization is so much more than a crown…it is changing Kentucky, one young woman at a time!

To set up an interview, please call Sherlene Shanklin, at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

For additional information on the pageant please visit www.misskentucky.org.

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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.  http://vippcommunications.com

VIPP Special Report: How 10-year-old Seven Bridges death is now bringing awareness to so many who don’t understand the consequences that bullying brings

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The heartbreak a community is feeling because a child dies a tragic death because he was suffering in silence

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Affiliate in Louisville, KY (Original story posted: January 22, 2019/Updated: January 23, 2019)

Shanklin, an assignment editor with more than 25 years in the broadcast field for the station took the mother’s call in September 2018 while heading into work.  In a rare and raw account which is hardly done she reflects on when she took both calls about Seven Bridges.   

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The story of Seven Bridges is making headlines not only in Louisville but nationwide after the 10-year-old committed suicide on Saturday for alleged bullying. I have to use alleged because this will likely be determined in the court of law.

I spoke to the mother Tami Charles Saturday evening after returning from out of town. I had received numerous texts wanting to know what happened to Charles’ son. I had no idea because I was traveling and could not be distracted due to extremely heavy rain.

When I got back to Louisville, I reached out to her because I knew the backstory. I didn’t expect for her to answer my text message for weeks but later that evening she responded. We texted a couple of times and then my phone rang it was Charles. She told me what happened all we could do was cry together over the phone. I got off wondering, “What else could I have done?” “What can I do now?” “Why didn’t someone say something?”

50739415_1000508566810691_3647677009657593856_nTo hear the hurt but strength of a mother on the same day she lost her child made my heart drop into my stomach. What do you say? It’s not about getting the story. I didn’t move into this community. I grew up in this community. I know the names, the faces, the unsung heroes, and the sacrifices many do day in and day out and never get a day of media coverage. I chose to stay to help and support those who needed a voice but all I could do was listen to this mother.  What could I say to comfort a grieving mother who knew something was going on but couldn’t stop it?

I walked and cried and cried and walked, all night until my family had to ask if there was anything they could do. They know I keep my work close to the vest and private and I never include them to keep my journalistic integrity. Frankly, if I told them some things, they could not erase the image from their minds. Some stories develop while others do not, but I still assist and work for an answer with as many as I can even on my off days.

My main job is to get the story out of people. Whether they are yelling at me because of their situation, their frustration and/or confusion on how to express what they are thinking and/or feeling. My task is to translate their thoughts and get to the core of the situation.

A mentor taught me a long time ago that you need to listen to the details they are in there just listen. Then, ask follow up questions to make sure I’m understanding them correctly. If I can’t understand the story, I can’t get our team to understand the importance.

With this burden on my heart and mind, I did reach out to the reporter that helped with the story in September 2018. We talked about it. We agreed not to talk to Charles about doing an interview. There was no rush since we were the only ones who did the initial story on Seven. When she along with her husband were ready they would let us know.

Then when Charles mentioned that insurance would not pay for her son’s funeral we decided that we needed to do something. That’s when we asked them to do the interview.

Reporter Heather Fountaine and I also said we wanted her to talk to anyone who could help her get the needed funds to bury her only child. Actually, her miracle child because Charles thought she was not able to have children, but she was blessed to have Seven.

Because Seven’s death was a suicide we did not think she would get a lot of coverage. Fountaine and I had to move faster than any of us wanted too, but thinking we spoke to the family during the trying time we needed to see it through and worked all weekend on our days off.

Let me take you back to September 2018 when the mother was trying to help her child when no one else thought it was anything until the untimely death of Seven on Saturday, January 19, 2019.

Charles reached out to me in September and explained to me what her child was going through and as a mother she needed to find a way to help her son. They loved the school but felt like the process might have been broken when it came to the notification process.

What the mother didn’t know that I was having a bad day, running late for work and was literally stuck in traffic at 2:30 p.m. in the middle of the day. But when I saw Charles’ name on my caller ID I knew I needed to answer. She said she was having a problem and wanted to get the word out. I explained to her that I was in traffic and as soon as I got to work I would begin looking into it. As soon as we hung up, I went to work. I called my newsroom and asked them to pull the video, so we could review it as soon as I walked in and asked others to listen as well, so we could make a decision. (Our evening meetings are at 3:00 pm, so if i wanted them to try and get all of the elements before the end of business we didn’t have much time or I would have to hold the story for consideration the next day.)

In Charles’ video, which has 38,000 views and more than 1,100 shares. She expressed sincere concern for her child’s well-being. Charles alleged her son was choked and verbally abused racially and no action was taken nor was she told of the incident even though her child was elementary school age. She used the words bullied. She also said several times that they loved the school, but it needed to change its procedure of alerting parents when situations like this occur. I went into the meeting and explained the situation and that the mother wanted to address the procedure and the time frame in which a parent is notified so that the child does not continue to go through a situation alone but with a support team.

The Kentucky Dept of Education defines “bullying” as any unwanted verbal, physical, or social behavior among students that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is repeated or has the potential to be repeated: 1. That occurs on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event; or 2. That disrupts the education process.

This incident met the criteria. We sat down with Charles and her 10-year-old son Seven Bridges. The reporter was very sensitive to the situation but asked the hard questions and the mother and child answered freely.

When the team came back to the station, they were so surprised of the maturity of the fifth grader and his level of forgiveness.

In our September 2018 interview Bridges said, “I know that I can get it out of my mind, and tomorrow is like a better day, so I can still make friends with him.”

Charles also in that interview said she would like to see the school’s administration held accountable and more racial sensitivity training within the school system.

The school system said in September 2018 that the incident was under official investigation.

Presently, the district is opening a full investigation. The parents of Seven Bridges say they will file a lawsuit.

Now, the grieving parents have to find a way to bury their child. Again, they have insurance but when a person commits suicide it is not covered under the policy.  So, they have started a Go Fund Me page entitled: Rest in Paradise Seven Bridges if you would like to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/rest-in-paradise-seven-bridges.

The community is rallying around the family be using the words “Seven Strong” – this is to bring awareness of bullying of any kind so that no other family has to go through this traumatic situation because unfortunately Seven was suffering in silence.

There’s a phrase that’s commonly used: “If I can just save one person, then I did my job.”

I will never use that phrase again because the one person I thought I helped I could not save but I hope my efforts and Seven’s memory will not go in vain.

If you know someone who may not be able to talk to you. Have them talk to someone. Give them this number 800-273-8255. Let’s not let anyone suffer in silence.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at The411@whas11.com.

Sherlene Shanklin, an multi-Emmy nominated, two-time 2018 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Winner for Sports Writing & For Best Use of Social Media and multiple AP Awards currently works for WHAS11 Television. She created a segment The411 and is a regular contributor to whas11.com.  You can hear her on Thursdays at 11:30 am on WLOU/104.7FM as well as WHAS11 Noon Show at 12:50 pm, Fridays at 4:25 pm and Saturday mornings on Good Morning Kentuckiana at 6:25 am and 9:25 am.  You can also read her stories on this site The VIPP Report.  Sherlene’s podcast Giving You The Vibe, (GUTV) will begin in the first quarter of 2019.  

The VIPP Report: Kroger Shooting Suspect Charged with Federal Hate Crimes and Firearm Offenses

Official news release from the United States Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Gregory A. Bush, 51, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on hate crime and firearm charges arising out of the racially motivated murder of two African-American patrons at a Kroger grocery store, and the attempted murder of a third, on Oct. 24 in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. The indictment was announced by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, and FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge James Robert Brown, Jr.

Today’s indictment charges Bush with hate crimes for shooting and killing two victims because of their race and color; and for shooting at a third man because of his race and color. The indictment also charges Bush for using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to those crimes of violence. The indictment alleges that Bush committed the offenses after substantial planning and premeditation, that he killed more than one person in a single criminal episode, and that he knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene.

The maximum penalty for the charges in the indictment is life imprisonment or the death penalty.  The Justice Department will determine at a later date whether, in this particular case, it will seek the death penalty.

“The crimes alleged in this indictment are horrific,” Acting Attorney General Whitaker said. “We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race. And so I want to thank the FBI, Trial Attorney Christopher Perras, and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Gregory for all of their hard work that has made this indictment possible. Today we take one step closer to justice for the victims and their families and one step closer to helping this community try to heal.”

“There is no place for hate-fueled violence in our community or Commonwealth,” stated U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Federal, state, and local law enforcement stand united to ensure that Kentuckians can shop, worship, or attend school without the specter of fear.”

“The tragic events of October 24, 2018, are a grim reminder of why the FBI prioritizes investigations of civil rights violations among the top of its criminal programs,” said FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge James Robert Brown, Jr. “Today’s indictment should be a reminder to those who are motivated by hate and are intent on committing violence; your hateful ideology will not have the last word. The FBI, and the Department of Justice, will be there, and you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure justice for the victims, their families and the Louisville community throughout the investigation and prosecution of this alleged, hate-filled and violent crime,” stated Stuart Lowrey, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Louisville Division. “Today, and every day, ATF’s ongoing priority is to reduce violent crime and secure the safety of our communities.”

An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case has been investigated by the FBI Louisville Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Louisville Field Division, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Perras of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Gregory of the Western District of Kentucky.

 

If you have a story idea, send it to The VIPP Report, thevippreport at vippcommunications dot com.  Follow us on Twitter @thevippreport for real-time news.  

Victims in the Oct 24, 2018 shooting at Kroger in Jeffersontown, KY. Pictured below: Vickie Jones (on the left with her nephew) and in the second picture Maurice Stallard.