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

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

 

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Louisville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Williams showing me a piece of art that Ali created.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The VIPP Report: Ambitions airs tonight and all eyes will be on Louisville native Kendrick Cross

Kendrick Cross

“The411” Entertainment Report by  Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Affiliate in Louisville, KY

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with actor Kendrick Cross not once but twice in the past year talking about his career but tonight all eyes will be on the Louisville native as the Will Packer drama series Ambitions debuts tonight on the OWN Network.

Kendrick made a special visit to Louisville a few weeks ago to surprise his mother for Mother’s Day.  He sat down with me and told me a little about the show.  I’ve also been in contact with the actor this evening and you can tell he’s excited about fans getting an opportunity to see the show.  He told me to make sure I was watching. I hope you tune in to watch as well and tell me what you think.

Here’s a link about Cross’ character and just a few hints of what you can expect when you watch the series co-starring Robin Givens, Essence Atkins and Brian White.

Also, did you know that Givens has a connection to Kentucky as well?  Her parents are from the Lexington area and her uncle is the former University of Kentucky basketball legend Jack “Goose” Givens.

Link below:

Sherlene’s Interview Clip of Actor Kendrick Cross

If you have a story idea, send it to the411@whas11.com or TheVIPPReport at vippcommunications.com.  Follow me on my social platforms FB: @SherleneShanklin Twitter: @Sherlenemediapr IG: @sherlenemediapro.

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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.  She also has a  podcast entitled the same as her report, The411, Giving You The Vibe, (GUTV).

 

The VIPP Report: Countdown to Derby 145 in Louisville, KY

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

Down the Stretch: It’s the countdown to Derby 145 held on the first Saturday in May.  There will be plenty of events to attend but the question everyone seems to ask me “What celebrity will travel to Louisville to be apart of the celebration?”  So, I create a list along with their confirmed event.  If you’re having a Kentucky Derby event and you have a special guest attending, please send it to me so I can announce.

Here’s some of the celebrities heading to the Bluegrass State.

Usher Raymond-  Trifecta Gala (performing)

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds– Urban League Gala (performing)

Tank– Darrell Griffith Foundation “Experience”

After 7- Annual Derby Gala 100 Black Men of Louisville

Joe Torry– Annual Derby Gala 100 Black Men of Louisville

Angel McCoughtry– Skills Camp for youth

Asia Durr-Skills Camp for Youth

Steve Harvey-Trifecta Gala

NeNe Leakes– Trifecta Gala

Cynthia Bailey– Trifecta Gala

Warren Moon-Unbridled Eve

Jamon Brown-Unbridled Eve

Darnell “Superchef” Ferguson– Unbridled Eve

Bryson Tiller-Trifecta Gala

Johnny Gill-Barnstable Brown Gala

Randall Cobb-Barnstable Brown Gala

Percy “Master P” Miller-Barnstable Brown Gala

Romeo Miller-Barnstable Brown Gala

Trey Songz-Barnstable Brown Gala

Boyz II Men-Barnstable Brown Gala

David Alan Grier-Barnstable Brown Gala

Von Miller– Barnstable Brown Gala

DeVante Adams-Barnstable Brown Gala

Opening night of Churchill Downs is Saturday, April 27th.  Thurby is held on Thursday, May 2nd. Kentucky Oaks is on Friday, May 3rd and the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 4th all held in Louisville, Ky under the “Twin Spires”.

If you have a story idea, and/or would like to announce your guest(s) for your Kentucky Derby event send it to me at The411@whas11.com.  Follow me on social for real-time updates Twitter: @sherlenemediapr, Instagram: @sherlenemediapro and FB: SherleneShanklin.

 

 

 

The VIPP Report: Rap pioneer re-releases his 1988 album and will perform on Strahan & Sara with a Louisville native backing him up

 

By Sherlene Shanklin, The411 on WHAS11/ABC Louisville

Make sure you DVR Strahan and Sara on Wednesday, March 20th. Hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick will be on the show.  You know that I’m always looking for a connection to the Bluegrass state and of course you know I found one! When you see Slick Rick performing I want to draw your attention to the man on the turntables.  That’s Louisville native and Dwight “DJ Kaos” Chatman.  He’s been Rick’s DJ for many years.  Kaos has been all over the world with this legend of hip hop.

I have been in contact with ABC and they confirm the performance on the show.  I asked,  “is the artist releasing new music?”  He’s actually celebrating the re-release of his debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick some 30 years later.  The album was originally released on November 1, 1988.  Still known today as one of the best rap albums by Source Magazine.  In 2008, VH1 ranked the single “Children’s Story” a part of their 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

The album consisted of 12 songs, 49 minutes in length.  You may remember some of the songs on this album.  “Children’s Story”, “Teenage Love” and “Hey Young World”.   The album was produced by some of the biggest names in hip hop.  Jason Mizell better known as Jam Master Jay, Hank Shocklee, Ricky Walters and Rick Rubin.

So, tune in to see Slick Rick and DJ Kaos on Wednesday at 1:00 pm (EST) right here on WHAS11/ABC.  I’ve attached the promotional photo ABC and Slick Rick is using to promote the appearance.

If you have a story idea. send it to me at the411@whas11.com.  You can follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr, IG: @sherlenemediapro and Facebook: SherleneShanklin.

 

The VIPP Report: Former UofL and Current Los Angeles Rams Star Jamon Brown Gives Back for the Holidays

502stepup

(Louisville, KY) NFL star Jamon Brown and his foundation (J. Brown Foundation) are teaming up with WHAS11 TV and the Homeless Coalition For The “#502StepUp” for the Holidays Fundraiser.

The goal of the telethon is to raise funds during the Holiday Season while bringing awareness to Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. It’s a trying time, especially during the winter months, for those that do not have a permanent place to call home.

The J. Brown Foundation is asking the City of Louisville to “Step Up” and be a part of the solution, and assist those who just need a little help during the holidays.  Currently, there is a spike in youth and young adult homelessness between the ages of 16-24 in Louisville, and Jamon is rolling up his sleeves to help shed light on this issue.

In Jefferson County alone, there’s over 800 new cases per year of youth that are considered homeless for various reasons. The statistics are staggering and agencies like the Homeless Coalition are overwhelmed with requests this time of year.

“The J. Brown Foundation is committed to assisting our community partners by investing time, energy and resources, while using our platform to bring awareness to issues such as Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. Even the smallest donations go a long way, and we need the city’s support to raise funds during the Holidays to propel the Homeless Coalition to their goal of eliminating Youth Homelessness by 2020,” says Jamon Brown.

On Wednesday, November 15th we are asking you to open your heart and donate during our telethon on WHAS11TV from 4 pm to 6:30 pm.

Even a small donation will go a long way.  Plus, you will never know who will be on the other line taking your pledge.

It’s the “502StepUp for the Holidays”.  Please call in from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, November 15th to donate by calling 502-571-2345 or 1-866-885-1848.

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About the Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless, located at 1300 S. 4th Street, Suite 250, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to prevent and eliminate homelessness in Louisville. The Coalition has a three-pronged approach to this mission: advocacy, education, and coordination of their 30+ member agencies who provide a variety of services to the homeless throughout the city. For more information, visit http://www.louhomeless.org, call (502) 636-9550, or find The Coalition for the Homeless on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LouHomeless or on Twitter @louhomeless

About JBrown Foundation

Our mission 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. To donate go to JBrownFoundation.com.  Follow us on Facebook JBrown Foundation, Twitter @NFLRAM_JBROWN and Instagram @NFLRAM_jBrown. “Setting our Foundation one block at a time.”

About WHAS11 TV

WHAS11 is the ABC affiliate serving the Louisville, Kentucky television market.  Owned by TEGNA Inc., WHAS11 has been broadcasting in Kentucky and Southern Indiana since 1950.  WHAS11 is recognized for a rich history of journalistic excellence, award winning local programing, and a commitment to improve the communities it serves. For media inquiries, contact: Rob Thomas, Marketing Director WHAS11 502.582.7700

 

The VIPP Report: Is Louisville back in the NBA conversation? Will they be on this map soon?

Special Report from Sherlene Shanklin with WHAS11 in Louisville (ABC Affiliate)

The411 with Sherlene Shanklin:  There’s a buzz once again that Louisville maybe in the running for a NBA team.  I’ve been following this story since the inception of the possibility.  Several years ago, it sounded far-fetched but today the tone sounds a little more positive.  I spoke to several people and they say it’s possible but all of the planets have to be aligned for it to happen.  The first concern is…where will they play?  Can the KFC Yum! Center accommodate both the Louisville Cardinals men and women’s basketball teams, special events and the NBA?

Can we afford the ticket prices on a regular basis to sustain the league.  The average ticket is $97.00 and could go into several hundred for premium seats.  There’s a total of 82 games, which will likely be somewhere around 41 home games in a NBA season plus the playoffs.

Louisville would get help from area cities that do not have a professional team, such as Cincinnati and Nashville.

So, is it possible?   I know that Junior Bridgeman and Grant Hill were working on a possible deal.  Is it Louisville? I guess we will have to see.

Give me your thoughts.  If you have a story idea, send it to The411@whas11.com.  You can follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr and Instagram @Sherlenemediapro for real-time news and conversation on the following topic.

The411 with Sherlene Shanklin: Is Louisville back in the NBA conversation? Would you support it? Read my story and give me your thoughts! Could we be added to this map?
http://www.whas11.com/…/the411-is-louisville-back…/386457724

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The VIPP Report: Prince had a giving heart for a historic Louisville library

Prince Check

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television/ABC

I saw several people on my social media pages talking about Prince Rogers Nelson donating money to a Louisville library.  I have spoken with the spokesman with the Louisville Public Library and they confirm that Prince’s charity “Love 4 One Another Charities” donated $12,000 to the Louisville Free Public Library.  It was earmarked for the Western Branch Library.   In 1905, the Western Colored Library opened at 1125 West Chestnut Street, the first free public library in the nation for African-Americans staffed entirely by African-Americans. On October 28, 1908, the newly constructed Carnegie Library opened at its current location. The branch was led by pioneering African-American librarian, Reverend Thomas F. Blue.

I have obtained the check that Prince sent to the charity.

If you have a story idea send it to The411@whas11.com.  You can follow me on Twitter at @Sherlenemediapr and Instagram @Sherlenemediapro for real-time news.

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(Exclusive Coverage) Prince performs onstage during the “HitnRun” tour opener at The Louisville Palace on March 14, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.