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

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

Rudolph set the “gold” medal standard for sprinters

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin. WHAS11, ABC Louisville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Her name will live forever”

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

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

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

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

Sherlene Shanklin

By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And still today….

Williams says “His legacy lives on.”

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

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

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

The VIPP Report: 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.