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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sherlene Shanklin, an multi-Emmy nominated, two-time 2018 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Winner for Sports Writing & For Best Use of Social Media and multiple AP Awards currently works for WHAS11 Television. She created a segment The411 and is a regular contributor to whas11.com.  You can hear her on Thursdays at 11:30 am on WLOU/104.7FM as well as WHAS11 Noon Show at 12:50 pm, Fridays at 4:25 pm and Saturday mornings on Good Morning Kentuckiana at 6:25 am and 9:25 am.  You can also read her stories on this site The VIPP Report.  Sherlene’s podcast Giving You The Vibe, (GUTV) will begin in the first quarter of 2019.  
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The VIPP Report: B2K Reunites and announces tour dates and Louisville is on the schedule

They announced just before the holidays the would reunite and go on tour along with some of their friends.  Well now, I have the date for Louisville for Omarion, Boog, Fizz and Raz-B also known as B2K. 

The multi-platinum R & B group will kick-off their tour in March 2019 and they will make a stop in Louisville as Kentucky Derby activities will be in full swing. 

Save the date of Sunday, April 29th at the KFC Yum! Center.  The group is calling it “The Millennium Tour”.  The will visit some 25 cities in the U.S. Louisville is a part of their limited engagement tour. 

Their special guests for the concert will be Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, and Bobby V. 

Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 AM on Monday, January 14, 2019 at the KFC Yum! Center box office, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets start at $42.50. 

The show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm.  Doors open at 6:30 pm.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at thevippreport@vippcommunications.com. Follow us on Twitter @thevippreport and @vippcomm.  

Is your city on this list? See tour schedule below:
   

Here’s a link to Sherlene Shanklin’s story on WHAS11.com. You can follow her on Twitter @sherlenemediapr, Instagram @sherlenemediapro and Facebook @SherleneShanklin.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/entertainment-news/b2k-announces-tour-date-in-louisville/417-5b1478a0-c470-4b7d-aa34-3d63d21c3090

The VIPP Report: Will he win the “Hart” of Oscar fans?

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By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Louisville, ABC Affiliate

And the hosting duties of the 2019 Academy Awards goes to none other than comedian/actor Kevin Hart.  The Academy did not get to make the announcement but the man with 64.9 million good friends also known as his Instagram followers received the “exclusive” announcement.

Hart announced Tuesday evening by posting an Oscar with the message saying “The day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time….To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable.”

KevinHart tour media photoThis is not the first time the academy asked Hart to be the host but Hart feels like this is the right time for him to take on this task and mark it off his bucket list.

He thanked his fans for their support and of course his close friends and family but what was so powerful was acknowledging his late mother by saying “I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.”

The 91st Academy Awards will present some 20 plus awards for their artistic and technical merit in the film industry.  You can see the show live on Sunday, February 24, 2019 on ABC.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at the411@vippcommunications.com.  Follow Sherlene Shanklin on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr and Instagram @Sherlenemediapro.

Follow The VIPP Report on Twitter @thevippreport and @vippcomm.

Travis Scott’s Astroworld Tour is announced

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

The411 with Sherlene Shanklin:  It’s been a busy day when it comes to concert announcements.  Hip hop star Travis Scott announces his “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here” Tour.  The show is slated as a show unlike anything done before and unlikely to be topped with the artist’s explosive and wild performances.  The tour will kick off in Baltimore, Maryland on November 8th.  Several days later he will make a stop in Louisville, KY at the KFC Yum! Center on Monday, November 19th.

The tour is the same name of his third album, ASTROWORLD.  Scott;s album earned the second highest debut of the year on the Billboard Top 200.

Tickets go on sale Friday, August 24th at 10 am for the Louisville show.

Also, did you know that he was giving away $100,000 to fans? Travis uses his platform to give back to fans and he actually handed out $100,000 on his Cash App. He calls it transferring his blessing to others.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at The411@whas11.com.  You can follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr, IG: @sherlenemediapro and FB @SherleneShanklin for the latest in community and entertainment news.

Here’s Travis Scott’s AstroWorld Tour schedule:

Thursday, November 8, 2018 – Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena

Friday, November 9, 2018 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena

Sunday, November 11, 2018 – Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena

Monday, November 12, 2018 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena

Thursday, November 15, 2018 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

Monday, November 19, 2018 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena

Saturday, November 24, 2018 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

Sunday, November 25, 2018 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden

Thursday, November 29, 2018 – Washington, DC @ Capital One Arena

Friday, November 30, 2018 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center

Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center

Sunday, December 2, 2018 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena

Thursday, December 6, 2018 – Chicago, IL @ United Center

Saturday, December 8, 2018 – Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center

Sunday, December 9, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI @ Fiserv Forum

Monday, December 10, 2018 – Omaha, NE @ CenturyLink Center Omaha

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center

Saturday, December 15, 2018 – Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum

 

The VIPP Report: Busy year for three artists that performed in Louisville during Derby weekend

 

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Lil Wayne performing in Louisville, KY at Derby Soundstage 2018 Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

CHECKING IN TO SEE WHAT THEY ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON SINCE PERFORMING AT DERBY SOUNDSTAGE 2018

Video:  Derby Soundstage 2018 in Louisville, KY  

Special post by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television, an ABC affiliate, Louisville

It’s time to check in and see how the artists are doing that performed at this year’s Derby Soundstage 2018 in Louisville, KY. On Thursday, May 3rd at Broadbent Arena hosted by Liv Suite.  The had a dynamic trio of 2 Chainz, K. Michelle and Lil Wayne.  Three unique chart topping sounds all under one roof.  Let’s see what they have been up too since their Kentucky Derby show.

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Derby Soundstage 2018 with 2 Chainz in Louisville Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

It’s definitely been a busy summer for rap artist 2 Chainz.  Just days after the concert in Louisville, he attended the Met Gala and while on the Red Carpet he took to his knee to let the world know that he would marry his wife Kesha all over again by proposing. They have been married since 2013 and have three children.  His new smash hit Bigger Than You features Drake and Quavo.  2 Chainz will be in London on July 14th and his next U.S. concert will be on July 22nd in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Michelle was in great spirits when she was in Louisville.  She thanked the fans for their support while she was out recovering from two blood transfusions and several surgeries due to the removal of silicone injections.  As she continues to recover, the R& B artist’s album Kimberly: The People I Used To Know continues to do well and her fans are excited to

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Derby Soundstage 2018 with K. Michelle in Louisville, KY Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

see her on Love and Hip Hop.  She’s teasing on her Instagram page that we need to watch on July 23rd.  I’m sure she’s getting a cast member all worked up and upset.  We’ll have to wait and see.

And Lil Wayne closed the Louisville show and fans loved the live elements in his show by the drummer. This artist’s drive is in “Trukfit” mode.  He’s working on a Fall release date for has a new album, Tha Carter V and he even signed two players to his Young Money Sports Management.  One of his artist’s Drake released an album last week that has a song regarding the Louisville basketball scandal plus Drake used a couple of songs on

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Lil Wayne in Louisville for Derby Soundstage 2018 Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

his album from Louisville native, the late Stephen “Static Major” Garrett. Wayne will perform in his hometown of New Orleans on Saturday, August 25th.

If you have a story idea, send to me at The411@whas11.com.  You can follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr and Instagram @Sherlenemediapro for the latest in community and entertainment news.

Website:  https://thevippreport.wordpress.com  Twitter: @TheVIPPReport/@VIPPComm

 

 

 

 

 

The VIPP Report: Rev. Jesse Jackson is expected to attend Rev. C. Mackey Daniels funeral in Louisville

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Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin

(Louisville, KY) Later today, Rev. Dr. C. Mackey Daniels will be laid to rest after being sick for the last few months according to a family spokesman. He peacefully passed away on Mother’s Day, May 13th.

The pastor for more than 40 years of the West Chestnut Street Baptist Church leaves behind a daughter, four sons and three grandchildren. Rev. Daniels was the first black arbitrator to the courts of Jefferson County Kentucky Bar Association among many positions held throughout his life as a community and civil rights leader.

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I understand his good friend and fellow civil right activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Coalition will travel to Louisville to be apart of the service. I do know that Rev. Jackson was arrested Monday, (May 21, 2018) just two days before Daniels funeral on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

Jackson said on his social media page after the arrest, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”- #DrMLKingJr.

So, I hope he’s able to get to Louisville in time for the funeral service.

Rev. Daniels’ funeral is at 11:00 am at the church followed by the burial at Cave Hill Cemetery. Rev. Dr. C. Mackey Daniels was 81.

Just days after his passing, 17th and Chestnut where the church is located was renamed Rev. C Mackey Daniels Way.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at thevippreport at VIPPCommunications.com. You can follow me on social, Twitter: @sherlenemediapr, @thevippreport & @vippcomm.

*Rev. Jackson was arrested in Washington, D.C. for protesting the #poorpeoplescampaign.   Jackson along with Rabbi @JonahPesner, @RevDrBarber,  & @liztheo refused to be removed in the US Capitol building.  Jackson said, together we will awaken our nation’s consciousness to the plight of the poor in our country! #PoorPeoplesCampaign 

https://t.co/uQXaKSBsBH. 

 

 

The VIPP Report: Comedian Eddie Griffin announces date of Louisville show

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The actor/comedian will be in Louisville at the Brown Theatre on Saturday, July 21st.  In February, Showtime premiered his fifth stand-up special, Eddie Griffin: Undeniable and now fans can see him live on stage.

In 1990, Griffin took a dare to get up in front of an audience in a comedy club and do three minutes of stand up. Needless to say some 45 minutes later the choreographer for the Kansas City Chiefs half-time shows hung up his dance shoes and headed to Los Angeles with a one-way ticket to pursue his gift to make people laugh. Some 28 years later, Griffin continues to make people laugh on television and venues across the country.

Tickets for Eddie Griffin’s Louisville show at the Brown Theatre start at $45.  They go on sale at 10:00 am on Friday, May 18th.

If you have a story idea, send it to thevippreport@vippcommunications.com.  Follow us on Twitter @thevippreport @vippcomm.