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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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.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a stop by Roots 101 this weekend to have cookies and coco with some of their biggest fans

(Louisville, KY) Roots 101 African American Museum invites you to “Cookies & Coco with The Clauses”. Starting Friday, November 4th through Sunday, November 6th.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will take your holiday five-by-seven (5×7) printed photo for $25.00. Parents get in free if the child they are accompanying is taking photos. To make sure each family is satisfied with their photo. Each session is scheduled up to 45 minutes if it is needed.

There will even be a special appearance by the Grinch and Black Panther. There will also be three drawing for gifts.

To schedule your session call 812-207-3433.

 WHO: Roots 101 African American Museum

WHAT: Hosting along with Santa George Smithers “Cookies & Coco with The Clauses”

WHEN: November 4th-6th (Friday through Sunday)

WHERE: Roots 101, 124 N. 1st Street, Louisville

TIME:  Friday and Saturday 1:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

For additional information on “Cookies & Coco with The Clauses” or to reserve a date for your holiday events, call Lamont Collins at Roots 101 at 502-384-1949. To learn more about Roots 101 African American Museum visit our website www.roots-=101.org.  

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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: STARS Youth Enrichment Program travels to Louisville, KY empowering future leaders both on and off the basketball court

(Dayton, OH) The S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program, (STARS YEP) will be at Louisville’s Doss High School, 7601 St. Andrews Church Road on August 19th and 20th for a life skills and basketball camp along with a coaches clinic.

 On Friday, August 19th, NBA scout and evaluator Don Sellers will lead The Sellers Interactive Coaches Clinic. The respected professional will instruct coaching staffs how to celebrate their togetherness of the sport. In addition to learning from each other so they can work as a cohesive team. Sellers travels across the country demonstrating that all positions are vital for the success of a program. Working with organizations like the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzles, Portland Trailblazers to the San Antonio Spurs. The Louisville workshop is open to any basketball coach at any level interested in growing their basketball knowledge and networking with their peers. Registration begins at 5:00 pm and the clinic begins at 5:30pm to 9:00 pm (EST).

Then on Saturday, August 20th, it is the S.T.A.R.S. YEP Life Skills & Basketball Camp for youth between the ages of 8 to 15 years of age. This free camp will give campers a vast array of experience when it comes to basketball knowledge and skill set that translate into discipline, work ethic and respect for themselves and others off the court. The camp is structured after Coach Mike Jarvis’ ‘Skills for Life’ book which focuses on modules that give players life skills that can sustain after the sport.   Jarvis along with former NBA star Dale Ellis will be in Louisville and will be facilitators of the basketball sessions.  WesBanco will facilitate the youth literacy programming as part of the life skills curriculum.    

We must limit our skill’s camp to the first one hundred applicants and pre-registration ends on July 30th. Check-in will be from 6:30 am to 7:30 am. Then the camp opens at 9:00 am which will include breakfast, lunch, and snacks. To conclude their day, there will be a keynote speaker and an awards ceremony at 5:00 pm.

Due to the generous support of our program partner, WesBanco the camp and coaches clinic will be free. We would like to thank them for collaborating with us to help make the camp a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Jody Gump, WesBanco’s AVP & BCM Business Development says “WesBanco is proud to partner with the S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program. The values the program is instilling on the youth aligns with our pledge to serve the local communities.” 

To obtain an application go to https://starsyep.org/camp-application/. To setup an interview, contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502-341-7306. Please add our announcement to your events calendar. We will be adding additional coaches and special guests in the coming weeks so stay tuned for those announcements.

S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program (Skills, Talent, Action, Results, and Success) is a unique program that supports and mentors’ youth ages 8-15. And a certified 501 ©(3) non-profit organization.

Follow us on social: Twitter: @starsyep; LinkedIn: starsyep-org & Facebook: SHININGSTARSYEP

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

TheVIPPReport: Have you ever wanted to make the call? Now you can become an officiate

(Louisville, KY) The Kentuckiana Football Officials Association, (KFOA) are looking for men and women who are interested in participating as officials for high school football.   If you are interested in officiating, you have until July 7th to submit your name for this season.   Training is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, July 13th.  

If you are unable to attend one of the meetings but interested in learning more about KFOA and how to officiate, call 502-419-8814 for your next steps to help area student athletes.

KFOA is one of the premier high school football officiating associations in the nation.  Currently, members of KFOA officiate every level of high school (Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman) in Metro Louisville.  Members will also have opportunities to officiate youth leagues.  

We are proud to acknowledge that we have officials that have gone on to be officials on the collegiate and professional football leagues.

The Kentuckiana Football Officials Association holds regular membership meetings each Wednesday evening in July through the first week of October.

To learn more about KFOA and how you can join, visit our site at kfoa.info.  To setup interviews contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502-341-7306.

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The VIPP Report: Have you ever wanted to make the call? Now you can. Become an officiate.

 

(Louisville, KY) The Kentuckiana Football Officials Association, (KFOA) are looking for men and women who are interested in participating as officials for high school football.   KFOA will conduct two orientation meetings to explain what it takes to officiate a game.  The first meeting will be held on Thursday, June 16th and Monday, June 20th. 

Both meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Waggener High School, 330 S. Hubbards Lane.  Then training is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, July 13th.   

If you are unable to attend one of the meetings but interested in learning more about KFOA and how to officiate, call 502-419-8814 for your next steps to help area student athletes. 

KFOA is one of the premier high school football officiating associations in the nation.  Currently, members of KFOA officiate every level of high school (Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman) in Metro Louisville.  Members will also have opportunities to officiate youth leagues.   

We are proud to acknowledge that we have officials that have gone on to be officials on the collegiate and professional football leagues. 

The Kentuckiana Football Officials Association holds regular membership meetings each Wednesday evening in July through the first week of October. 

To learn more about KFOA and how you can join, visit our site at kfoa.info.  To setup interviews contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502-341-7306.

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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: Bryson Tiller aka Pen Griffey teams up to hit a homerun with clothing line with Ken Griffey Jr.

Louisville’s own R &B/Trapsoul artist Bryson Tiller and baseball legend Ken Griffey, Jr. have teamed up to release the S24 X Trapsoul Apparel and Accessories Collection.  The collection was released at midnight on March 24th.   The collaboration is a combination of classic swingman style gear with a R&B/Trapsoul edge. It’s bringing culture, sport and style.  It’s designed to reach the next generation of fans with a fusion of Tiller and Griffey’s style. 

The collection will include jerseys, hoodies, t-shirts, pants, ball caps and backpacks.  This is a limited edition S24 X TRAPSOUL Capsule Collection.  To commemorate Griffey’s all-star legacy with the Seattle Mariners you will see the colors teal, ocean blue, black and white in the collection.  The unisex collection ranges in sizes XS (extra small) to 3XL (triple extra-large) and it will cost you from $35 to $195. 

The photos given to me for this story we actually taken in Louisville for the launch of the collection photographed by Antonio Pantoja.  They were taken here in homage to Tiller and his hometown. 

Excitement is building around the launch.  Dorian Washington, SVP of Artist Relations for S24 says “I’ve been involved in a lot of great projects throughout my 30 year career in the music industry, but this is without a doubt the most exciting,”.

The original swingman brand was founded in 1995 reaching accolades as one of the highest grossing sports brands worldwide.  Now, with the collaboration with Tiller its expected to reach that status once again by knocking out the previous records out of the park. 

S24 X TRAPSOUL launches exclusively online at www.werunthegame.com.

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

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Courtesy Jhana Waddell

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

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

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

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

Courtesy Jhana Waddell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nana Project starring Mercedes Ruehl will start filming Wednesday

Photo by Stephan Mu00fcller on Pexels.com

Special Report: Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 News, ABC Louisville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TheVIPPReport: Jamey Aebersold shares his love for jazz

Jamey Aebersold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TheVIPPReport: Julia Youngblood, honoring women in our community

Julia Youngblood

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Affiliate

Many may not know the name Julia Youngblood but countless youth and artists know her as the woman who gave them a chance to expand their horizons. I sit down with her to talk about the importance of giving back. 

Youngblood is one of the quiet forces in our community making sure the arts is available for anyone whose interested.  She worked at the Kentucky Arts Reach program. Dedicating her life to make the community better. 

Youngblood says “For the 16 years I took care of it.  I really worked on opening up the space more and more for communities especially communities of color or folks that might of felt like they really could walk in that door.  I produced 100s of events open mics and many performances on many big stages, all the stages throughout the building.”

Introducing some 50 thousand people to the Kentucky Center for the Arts space that normally would not of had that opportunity. She says “One of my biggest joys was creating culturally related performance pieces that came from the community.  It wasn’t me creating those pieces. It was reaching out to the community and saying what do you want to express today. To me that’s extremely powerful.”  

Youngblood currently owns Youngblood Harmonizing Arts. She took me to a time in her life when she decided to focus on helping others. She took me back to when she was 20 years old.  “A really pivotal part of my life. I lost the ability to walk at the time they thought I had multiple sclerosis . Over time being helped by many other people I was able to get well.”  She goes on to say “Once I really got to where I was able to function and walk again I thought that I just want my life to be of service.” 

Her unique way of looking at life and understanding that expression is a part of the process when healing a community. She says “A lot of time people feel the need to feel seen and that’s a healing.” 

Youngblood admits she’s not outspoken but her now 90 year old mother gave her some advice when she was younger. “Walk into any space and sit down.  So that is what I hope for all of us in life that we call all walk in and feel like it okay to be where we are.”

She tells me that her mom and 25 year old daughter Johnny Storm inspire her.  She goes onto say she appreciates how her daughter views life. Youngblood, a self-taught artist has an art exhibit with almost 40 pieces ranging from paintings to print on textiles.

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

To see the television version of the story, click the link https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/julia-youngblood-harmonizing-arts-lodgic-kentucky-performing-arts-artsreach/417-2988a064-00aa-42cb-b148-694888bc87e8

TheVIPPReport: J. Brown Foundation announces 3rd annual golf scramble kicking off Kentucky Derby week

(Louisville, KY) Retired NFL and University of Louisville football star Jamon Brown and the J. Brown Foundation announce their 3rd Annual J. Brown Foundation Golf Scramble presented by Kroger and the Kentucky Derby Festival.  The scramble will be held on Monday, May 2nd at the University of Louisville Golf Club, 401 Champions Way in Simpsonville. 

The scramble’s registration begins at 12:00 pm and golfers will tee-off at 1:00pm.  Proceeds will benefit the Jamon Brown Foundation Empowerment Center.  Giving youth and the community a beacon of hope. 

Brown says “This empowerment center is near and dear to my heart.  I want to leave a legacy in the community that help raise me and supported me throughout my career.  This is my hometown and I want to make positive contributions for the betterment of the whole community, and it begins with the community I grew up in.  I can’t thank everyone enough for your support.”

The mission of the J. Brown Foundation is to impact the lives of those struggling with Poverty, Violence, and Youth Homelessness, and to improve upon the Education and Healthy Living issues that are typically prevalent in at risk areas, while influencing others to do the same.

The J. Brown Foundation thanks the Kentucky Derby Festival of Events, Kroger, Delta Dental, Bluegrass Motorsport and Dan-O’s Seasoning.  As well as the University of Louisville Alumni Association, Socialable Weaver Foundation and lastly its hole sponsors.  

To Register your team of four, please contact Danny Mosby Danny.mosby@gmail.com

To setup an interview with Jamon Brown and/or any members of J. Brown Foundation contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com. If you plan to cover the scramble, we will have an on-site coordinator to assist you with interviews. 

The J. Brown Foundation Golf Scramble is an official Kentucky Derby Festival event. 

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: Inaugural Jeweled Essentials Soiree announce Jon B as their musical guest

(Louisville, KY) As we head into the new year, Jeweled Essentials, an essential oil business team based in Louisville will host their inaugural Pre-Valentine’s Day event.  It’s the Jeweled Essential Soiree on Saturday, January 22nd at the University of Louisville Activities Center located at 2100 South Floyd Street from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

This year’s musical guest will be Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and producer Jon B. Known for hits like ‘They Don’t Know’, ‘Someone to Love’, and ‘Are U Still Down’.

It’s a night of celebration and support.  The past two years have been difficult for many especially when it comes to health.  So, the soiree will benefit the Bespoke Global Health Initiatives.  They are dedicated to changing the world by empowering young women with health literacy, wellness, and self-confidence. As they plan to reopen the Barefoot College clinic in Sierra Leone on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day.

Tickets start at $95 which includes dinner and they can be purchased on Eventbrite at Pre Valentines Day Jeweled Essentials Soiree Tickets, Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite African formal attire is recommended. 

Soiree organizer Dr. Ashley Anderson explains the importance of helping reopen the clinic. “Jeweled Essentials has a passion for sustainable community impact as well as global and women’s health initiatives.  What BGHI is doing in Sierra Leone is something we had to support.  We want to raise $100,000 to support the renovations and reopening of this critical access clinic as well as sustain it for 2 years.  This project has the potential to improve the quality of life and overall wellness of women at Barefoot College in Makeni.”

We are following CDC guidelines so at this time masks will be required except while eating and drinking. While it is not required, we highly suggest a COVID19 test within 48 hours of the event. If guidelines are updated, we will follow suit. 

To setup an interview to contact VIPP Communications at info at vippcommunications dot com.

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: MELANnaire Marketplace Holiday Shopping Extravaganza continues this weekend for the ultimate shopping experience

(Louisville, KY) The MELANnaire Marketplace’s Galleria REMIX Holiday Shopping Extravaganza continues this Saturday, December 11th at Fourth Street Live indoors located at 416 W. Liberty Street, in downtown Louisville from 12pm to 6pm.

Shoppers get a chance to support Black-owned businesses who have everything from daily essentials to that unique and one-of-a-kind gift items that will be a great gift for the holidays.   

Here’s schedule for the Galleria Remix Holiday Shopping Extravaganza:

  • December 11th
  • December 18th

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.

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 www.melannaire.com.  

Please announce and/or post on your community calendars.

“Where Black Businesses Matter”

The VIPP Report: MELANnaire Marketplace Holiday Shopping Extravaganza add days to the ultimate shopping experience

(Louisville, KY) After a successful ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Small Business Saturday’, the MELANnaire Marketplace extends their Galleria REMIX Holiday Shopping Extravaganza to give shoppers more opportunities to support small businesses.  From December 3rd through the 5th, MELANnaire Marketplace will be at Fourth Street Live indoors located at 416 W. Liberty Street, in downtown Louisville from 12pm to 6pm.

The Galleria Remix Holiday Shopping Extravaganza opened its doors on Black Friday and every weekend up until Christmas Eve for all your shopping needs. 

Here’s our schedule at Fourth Street Live (indoors):

•             December 3-5

•             December 10-12

•             December 17-24

There will be Black-owned businesses selling everything from fresh baked goods, artwork, bath & body to handcrafted jewelry plus much more.  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.

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: Support Small Business Saturday by stopping by the MELANnaire Marketplace at Fourth Street Live

(Louisville, KY) The MELANnaire Marketplace is curating the Galleria REMIX Holiday Shopping Extravaganza on Saturday, November 27th from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Fourth Street Live indoors located at 416 W. Liberty Street, in downtown Louisville.  Did you realize that it’s been nearly 40 years since you’ve shopped in the Louisville Galleria?  The community considered it as one of the best places where people could gather to shop, eat, work, play and so much more.  On Small Business Saturday you will get to experience that same feeling with the MELANnaire Marketplace, while supporting local businesses fulfill their entrepreneurial drams of being a business owner. 

The Louisville Galleria, (now known as Fourth Street Live) at one time was the place that many in the Black community visited on a regular basis.  The Galleria Remix Holiday Shopping Extravaganza will open its doors on Black Friday. (November 26th) and Small Business Saturday (November 27th) and EVERY weekend up until Christmas Eve for all your shopping needs. 

There will also be live entertainment, pictures with Santa, family photos, food vendors plus crafts for kids and so much more.  

As you begin to shop for your holiday gifts, we invite you to stop by and support Black-owned businesses who have a large array of products and services from bath & body, clothing, handcrafted jewelry, artwork, and fresh baked goods just to name a few of the products available.   

MELANnaire Marketplace founder Nachand Trabue says “Finally, a place we can depend on to shop during the holidays.  Avoid large traffic jams and support local businesses.  That’s a win-win for the community and your dollars go right back into the community.  Come shop with local Black-owned businesses.  If you would like to be a vendor, we would love to have you just contact us at blackbusinessesmatter502@gmail.com.”

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. 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 takes you down memory lane with a Galleria Remix on Black Friday

(Louisville, KY) Did you know that downtown Louisville once had a mall visited by thousands on the property where Fourth Street Live resides today?  Families gathered, downtown employees would shop and eat lunch there and guests into Louisville picked up souvenirs and last-minute items they forgot at home.  The MELANnaire Marketplace wants to recreate that feeling of support in community and its businesses by hosting the Galleria Remix Shopping Extravaganza on Friday, November 26th (Black Friday) and Saturday, November 27th from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Fourth Street Live indoors located at 416 W. Liberty Street, in the heart of downtown Louisville. 

As you begin to shop for your holiday gifts, we invite you to stop by and support Black-owned businesses who have a large array of products and services from bath & body, clothing, handcrafted jewelry, artwork, and fresh baked goods plus much more. 

The founder of the MELANnaire Marketplace, Nachand Trabue says “We have been planning and working out the logistics for this for months.  We are excited to have customers ‘Buy Black on Black Friday’.  We celebrate the partnerships we are developing with other minority businesses to start the process of having something to pass down to our next generation.  If you ever shopped at the Galleria, you would understand our concept.  Being a one-stop shop for the community.  We have even extended our hours to accommodate everyone who wants to shop with us.

 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. 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 us at blackbusinessesmatter502@gmail.com.

“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

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

MELANnaire Marketplace where local is the new Black

(Louisville, KY) The MELANnaire Marketplace will take place this Saturday, (November 6th) from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Manhattan on Broadway located at 716 E. Broadway. As you begin to shop for holiday gifts, why not shop local? Shoppers have an opportunity to walk around purchase items from books by local authors, clothing, candles, natural health products to hand crafted jewelry. We are excited to announce that we have brokered a deal to have gently used items for sale. Come out and support local entrepreneurs because “Local is the new Black”.

Nachand Trabue, founder of the MELANnaire Marketplace says “we are gearing up for the holidays and vendors are adding daily. Our Black businesses matter, and I get so excited each week to see new faces come out to support us. We also working with a company to be able to offer likely used home goods to clothing. Truly really put us in a category that gives us a chance to offer products and goods to anyone. I invite you to come out and see the marketplace and hear the stories of our local entrepreneurs and what they 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, November 6th 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 http://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: Lady Veterans Connect Announce Inaugural Gala

(Winchester, KY) Lady Veterans Connect will host their inaugural Lady Veterans Gala on Monday, November 8th in Lexington at the Hilton Downtown, 369 West Vine Street from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. 

The evening is all about embracing the ‘sheroes’ of the armed forces.  The event will have a red-carpet entrance so guests can see the veterans as they arrive followed by the welcome address at 6:00pm.  Dinner will be served at 7:00pm.  Gala guests will be able to enjoy entertainment, raffles, and a silent auction. 

Female veterans will get to enjoy the gala free with prior registration.  You can purchase a table for ten for $600 and individual tickets are $75.00.

Phyllis Abbott, Executive Director says “Kentucky is currently the home to over 24,000 women veterans.  We honor our lady veterans every year but couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to participate from family, friends, and supporters.  By moving it to the Hilton Downtown it’s gives us a chance to increase awareness and our reach about the contributions these ladies have done for the military.  We want them to come out and enjoy the evening as we kickoff activities and events for Veterans Day (November 11th).  I hope you join us and support our initiatives.”

To be a sponsor, purchase tickets and/or if you need transitional housing go to www.lv-connect.org or call 859-806-4297. 

About

Lady Veterans Connect is an organization created to provide high quality, comprehensive services to assist female veterans in transitional support and preventing 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.

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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: Preparing Young Ladies To Be Successful Both On And Off The Basketball Court

STARS Youth Enrichment Program will spend the day in Troy, Ohio empowering future leaders

(Troy, OH) With the increased interest in females wanting to participate in sports the STARS Youth Enrichment
Program, (STARS YEP) and the Lincoln Community Center team up to host an all-girls camp. It’s the 2021 Girls Life
Skills and Empowerment Camp. It will be held on Saturday, August 28th from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm at the Lincoln
Community Center located at 110 Ash Street in Troy.

This year’s camp has a vast array of experience when it comes to basketball knowledge and skill set. Former NCAA
coach and Co-author of Skills for Life Mike Jarvis will discuss his personal life experiences and perspectives that camp
attendees need to hear! In addition to Coach Jarvis, the following sports icons will be onsite throughout the day: NBA
star Dale Ellis, former NCAA Women’s assistant coach, Nikita Lowry Dawkins, and NBA scout Don Sellers. Sellers will
make a debut as alter ego: “Professor Basketball”, a motivational, fun-spirited coach who encourages participants to
strive for excellence, will emcee the event.

The camp will also begin to lay the foundation on how the camp participants can begin to prepare themselves with
useful life skills lessons. There will also be plenty of fun, food, music and much more! This camp is free. Registration
begins at 6:30 am with opening ceremonies beginning at 9:00 am.

Jarvis is excited to be a part of the program and encourages others to participate in the camp. “I have the unique
opportunity to teach these young ladies the proper techniques of basketball and teach them the necessary life skills to
be successful. I hope to help inspire them to be the best version of themselves. As a former player and coach, I have
been in their shoes. I can share what worked and did not work that helped to mold me into the person that I am today”.

We would like to thank our program partners Magnified Giving, Never the Less Inc., and the Lincoln Community
Center for working with us to help make the camp a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

If you would like to be a sponsor for this camp and/or another S.T.A.R.S. youth programming activity, please visit our
website at http://www.starsyep.org or email info@starsyep.org. To setup interviews please contact Sherlene Shanklin, VIPP
Communications at 502-341-7306 or by email at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program (Skills, Talent, Action, Results, and Success) is a unique program that supports
and mentors youth ages 8-15. And a certified 501 ©(3) non-profit organization.

Follow us on social: Twitter: @starsyep; LinkedIn: starsyep-org & Facebook: SHININGSTARSYEP

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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: Your next Miss Kentucky and Miss America Outstanding Teen is…….

YOUR NEXT MISS KENTUCKY AND MISS AMERICA’S OUTSTANDING TEEN REPRESENTING THE COMMONWEALTH  IN THE MISS AMERICA COMPETITION WILL BE…….

June 20, 2021

(Louisville, KY)  After four days going through preliminaries we now know who will be representatives in the Miss America competition representing Kentucky..  The winner was crowned d in front of a large audience  held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.  This year’s winner is Haley Wheeler, (Miss Louisville Metro). 

This year’s Miss Kentucky Outstanding Teen is Chloe Yates., (Miss Nulu). 

These programs empower young women across Kentucky through pageantry to develop the leadership skills and confidence 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.

Awarding over $70,000 in cash scholarships and over $2 million in in-kind scholarships, 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 contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

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

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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: Its the return of Kentucky’s Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competition

Who will represent the state of Kentucky?

(Louisville, KY) We are excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for the Miss Kentucky and Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen competitions being held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, (KICC) in the heart of downtown Louisville.

The state preliminaries will run from June 16th -19th with the finals and the crowning at 6:30 pm on Saturday, June 19th where we find out who will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Organization.

These programs empower young women across Kentucky through pageantry to develop the leadership skills and confidence 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 pageant and President of the Miss Kentucky board says “We are so excited about being back on stage giving amazing opportunities to so many talented Kentuckians. We like the rest of Kentucky businesses and organizations have been on a hiatus but we are stronger and even more passionate about helping these young ladies reach their goals. I encourage you to come out and support the program that help develop our future leaders.”

As soon as our two representatives are crowned they will immediately begin to prepare for the national stage.  Kentucky is always a major contender and this year will be no exception.

Awarding over $70,000 in cash scholarships and over $2 million in inkind scholarships, 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!

Tickets start at $30.00 for events June 16th-19th.  The June 19th crowning event starts at $50.00.  You can purchase them on Eventbrite under Miss Kentucky Scholarship Organization. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/miss-kentucky-scholarship-organization-17407366534

The Miss America Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of postponing the Miss America 2021 Competition (which was to take place in December 2020) and has advised the 51 qualifying competitions across the country to do so as well.

Following the recommendation of the MAO and in an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our candidates and volunteers, the Miss Kentucky Board of Directors has cancelled the Miss Kentucky Competition (taking place in June 2020). All current titleholders will be eligible to vie for the title of Miss Kentucky 2021 during the summer of 2021 (June 16th-19th @KICC)

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

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

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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.

The VIPP Report: Actor Hill Harper’s Financial Tour Makes A Stop In Louisville

Special from Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

The Good Doctor’s Hill Harper aka Dr. Marcus Andrews is known for giving medical advice but when he’s not on the set he’s giving guidance on how to create generational wealth. 

Hill, a Brown University and Harvard graduate founded the Black Wall Street Digital Wallet which promoted financial independence and economic influence. 

Hill also cofounded The Digital Financial Revolution Tour and it will make a stop in Louisville of Sunday, May 23rd from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Club Cedar, 416 South 26th Street. 

The financial tour will be virtual but participants will gather at Club Cedar. 

To learn more about the tour and the Black Wall Street Digital Wallet go to www.theblackwallstreet.com

You can watch the Good Doctor’s on Mondays at 10:00 p.m. on WHAS11. 

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

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