All posts by billie1225

lee daniels

HRTS Gathers Lee Daniels & Other Top Creators for its Annual Hitmakers Luncheon


*Los Angeles, CA, – The Hollywood Radio and Television Society, the entertainment industry’s premier information and networking forum, will host The Hitmakers as part of its Newsmaker Luncheon series on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at The Beverly Hilton (in Beverly Hills, CA).

Panelists include Lee Daniels, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of FOX’s “Empire;” Jill Soloway, Creator and Executive Producer of Amazon Studios’ “Transparent;” Michelle King, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of CBS Television Studios’ “The Good Wife;” and Sarah Treem, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Showtime’s “The Affair.” The announcement was made today by HRTS President and Executive Vice President, Universal Television, Bela Bajaria and HRTS Executive Director, Dave Ferrara.

Lee Daniels is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker and the co-creator and executive producer of FOX’s record-breaking hit series “Empire, the family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire that features original music. Daniels is known for directing and producing critically acclaimed films, such as “Precious” and “Lee Daniels The Butler.”

“Precious” was nominated for six Academy Awards, including nominations for Daniels in the category of “Achievement in Directing” and “Best Motion Picture of the Year,” and earned wins in the categories of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.”

“The Butler,” the true story of an African American butler who served at the White House during seven presidential administrations, opened in 2013 and grossed over $175 million worldwide. Daniels’ other directing credits include “Shadowboxer” and “The Paperboy,” and he has also produced films such as “Monster’s Ball” and “The Woodsman.

Jill Soloway is the creator and executive producer of Amazon Studios’ Golden Globe®-winning hit “Transparent,” a dark, deep, silly family series about boundaries, love and secrets. Soloway is also a three-time Emmy nominee for her work writing and producing the critically acclaimed HBO series, “Six Feet Under. Soloway received the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for her first feature, “Afternoon Delight.” Soloway has also written and produced for many popular TV series including “United States of Tara,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “How to Make It in America.”

Sarah Treem is the co-creator and showrunner of the Golden Globe-winning Showtime drama “The Affair.” The series recently received three Golden Globe nominations for its freshman season, including wins for “Best Television Drama” and “Best Actress in a Television Drama.” Previously, Treem wrote and co-executive produced for the first season of David Fincher’s “House of Cards” for Netflix. She also wrote on all three seasons of the acclaimed HBO series “In Treatment.” Additionally, Treem wrote and produced HBO’s “How to Make It in America.”

Michelle King and her husband Robert King are the creative, writing, and producing team behind the critically adored drama, “The Good Wife,” starring Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Julianna Margulies. “The Good Wife” has been honored by AFI, the WGA, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, as well as the Television Critics Association.

The Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated writing team, Robert and Michelle King, have been creative collaborators for over a decade and married for more than two decades. Prior to her work in Television, King worked in development at various studios and production companies.

“We are very excited to have such an esteemed group of panelists who have created and are currently producing innovative and thought-provoking programming during this ‘Golden Age’ of television,” said Bela Bajaria, HRTS President and Executive Vice President, Universal Television.

The HRTS Hitmakers Luncheon is co-chaired by Adam Berkowitz, Christina Davis, Marc Korman, Robin Schwartz, and Sarah Timberman.The private VIP reception opens at 11:30 a.m., and the lunch and panel begin at 12:10 p.m.  Tickets:  HRTS Individual Member: $125/member; Table of 10: $1,250. Non-member: $360.00 (includes one year HRTS membership). For reservations or information on non-member tickets, please call (818) 789-1182 or visit

HRTS’ partners Digital Rapids and Limelight Networks will present a live stream of the panel. The 2014-2015 HRTS Newsmaker Luncheon Series is sponsored in part by The Lippin Group.




Megan Levy
[email protected]


female soldier

Ford Helps Ease Transition of Women Veterans Back to Civilian Life

ford freedom sisters reboot

*Los Angeles –Ford Motor Company is collaborating with the National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. on a three-week workshop designed specifically to address the issues women veterans face as a growing number of them are returning to civilian life and a possibly uncertain future.

The Freedom’s Sisters REBOOT Workshop runs from March 9-27 on the campus of National University here. Up to 25 women veterans will be able to attend free classes five days a week that focus on employment and career, personal well-being, achieving goals.  Also included is a personal makeover session to re-establish their personal style after a career in military uniform.

A report from the Disabled American Veterans in September 2014 said that the country’s nearly 300,000 female veterans face greater challenges than their male counterparts when they re-enter civilian life because they experience the rigors of deployment and reintegration differently.

freedoms sisters

As a group compared to men, women veterans are less likely to be married, and are more likely to be single parents and unemployed. In addition to higher rates of homelessness, they also often face gaps in medical care for women’s health issues as they enter a veterans system geared toward treating males. These issues are expected to grow as the number of women veterans increases. Women are expected to comprise 11 percent of the veteran population by 2020, up from 9 percent now.

“These brave women have served and sacrificed to defend our freedom, and yet there are few programs that address their unique needs as they return to the home front and to their families,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “It’s another opportunity to say thank you, while also helping them make a successful transition.”

As Women’s History Month gets underway in March, Ford is providing support for the workshop in conjunction with the National Veterans Transition Services, a San Diego-based nonprofit dedicated to assisting veterans in adjusting to civilian life. The group has been running REBOOT workshops for all veterans since 2010.

“We designed this program to meet the unique needs of women, and the training builds upon the participants’ military training, skills and experience,” said Maurice Wilson, co-founder, REBOOT Workshop and retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. “The workshop addresses the professional, social and personal aspects of life, along with connections to community resources that could also be of help.”

Freedom’s Sisters REBOOT Workshop takes its name from Ford’s earlier support of the Freedom Sister’s traveling exhibition, which celebrated the life of women civil rights pioneers, as well as present-day women who are making a difference in their communities. Several current members of the Freedom Sisters from the Los Angeles area will serve as mentors for the women’s’ REBOOT workshop in Los Angeles.

freedom sistersWomen veterans and the wives of combat veterans can learn more by visiting

Ford’s support of military veterans dates back more than 90 years, when Henry Ford organized a cross-country caravan of 50 Model T Fords to take disabled veterans to the 1922 national convention of the Disabled American Veterans in San Francisco. Since 1974, Ford and Ford Fund have provided more than $8 million to veterans’ organizations. Today, Ford employs more than 7,000 veterans plus hundreds of active military personnel, reservists and guardsmen.

  •        Ford collaborating with National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. to address challenges women face as they leave the military
  •      New program builds on Ford’s long support of veterans at a time when increasing number of women are transitioning out of military and back to civilian life
  •       Freedom’s Sisters REBOOT Workshop is a free, three-week course for up to 25 women veterans in the Los Angeles area
  •       The Graduation Celebration will be held on Friday, March 27, 2015 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel





Edna Sims
[email protected]

soulfood festival

Bobby Brown, Salt & Pepa, El DeBarge to Perform at SoulFood Fest in LA


*Los Angeles, CA — The Soul Food Festival is an inviting event that highlights the aroma of traditional soul food cooking in the air while bringing together families and friends in an out door social setting for a day of reunion, information and Award Winning entertainment.

Performing live, on April 11 in LA’s Exposition Park, will be Grammy Award Winner Bobby Brown, Grammy Award Winners Salt & Pepa, Grammy Award Winner Stephanie Mills & 3 Time Grammy Nominee El Debarge.

Although the food and (the artists) is the attraction it is by no means the mission. The purpose of the Soul Food Festival is to become an information platform from which the general public can come and retrieve life changing Information as it relates to Health & Wellness, Technology, Family Intervention, Financial Literacy, Professional Career Building & Workforce development.

The festival provides complimentary vending space to those professionals who have an interest in providing complimentary service in any of these mention categories. The Festival also provides complimentary tickets to various community resource agencies with a particular focus on battered women.

The combination of music, food and information is sure to evoke a spirit of love, unity and memories that will resonate within the souls of all those whoattend. No matter the ethnicity, The Soul Food Festival is guaranteed to compel a harmonious voice of “community” throughout L.A County.

From Bid Whist to Barbeque, The Soul food Festival is a time for the soul to reminisce on the memories of the past and the promises of the future.

Adding to the soulfood aroma will be Celebrity Chefs Auntie Fee, Robert Roberts and Amadeus will provide various food demonstrations that are sure to wow all that are in attendance.

WHAT:  SoulFood Festival Los Angeles

WHERE: Exposition Park

700 Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037

WHEN: Sat. April 11, 2015

General gates open 4pm  Showtime at 6pm


Early Bird Gen Adm Lawn $35 Gen Adm Lawn $47

Preferred Seating behind VIP $67


VENDORS:  Vendor Spaces are available:


*all vendors must be approved, please send requests to: [email protected] SPONSORSHIPS/PRODUCT

soulfood festival




KimiRhochelle of KRPR Media
[email protected]


Ona Brown’s ‘Own Your Dream’ Tour Takes Winning Message on the Road


Ona Brown takes “Own Your Dream Tour” Across Country

*Atlanta, GA — Acclaimed motivational speaker and author, Ona Brown, is taking her wildly successful message of resilience, strength and forgiveness across the country with her new “Own Your Dream Tour,” March 27 through April 11, 2015. The tour begins in Oakland, California and travels all the way to Atlanta, Georgia, with stops in ten additional cities along the way.

For over 20 years, Ona has dedicated her life to facilitating exceptional results in the lives of others. Her consulting, coaching and training firm, World Impact Now (W.I.N.) continues to ignite transformation and healthy change for thousands of people through speaking engagements, personal development workshops and personal coaching.

Ona has shared her inspiring and motivating messages with people in hundreds of cities in the U.S. as well as countless locations abroad including London, England; Sydney, Australia; Johannesburg, South Africa and Stockholm, Sweden. Her radio show, “Own Your Dreams” on WAEC/LOVE860 AM Radio in Atlanta has attracted thousands of listeners and she enjoys a huge following.

“So many people are stuck, stagnant and submissive to stressful and miserable living! However, we really can reclaim our lives, get back in the driver’s seat and begin to own our dreams! The best time to begin that journey of discovery & ownership will always be…now.” says Ms. Brown.

Daughter of Les Brown, an international motivational speaker who was named one of the top five speakers in the world, Ona has made a name for herself with her unique, feminine yet mind shifting message. Known as ‘The Dream Queen’ and ‘The Message Midwife’, she is a powerhouse in her own right, inspiring and energizing her audiences to actualize their heart’s desires.

She’s given birth to CDs, books, and other bodies of work that have helped transform people’s lives, including “How to Fall In Love With Your Life,” “Discovering the Greatest You Ever,” “Answer the Call, and When the Seasons Change.”

“I love to share the following words from Nelson Mandela, who encourages us to unleash our own life of leadership and greatness,” says Ona. “‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.'”

The Own Your Dreams Tour is seeking donations to help Ona reach and empower as many people as possible. Contributions can be made at For more information about Ona Brown’s Own Your Dream Tour, contact [email protected] or call (305) 999-5556.





Ona Brown
[email protected]

Nick Cannon

Top Celebs Including Nick Cannon, Robert De Niro & Soledad O’Brien Join BFF Film Festival


*Bentonville, AR / Los Angeles, CA – Geena Davis and ARC Entertainment’s Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) today revealed the first series of special events that will bring Nick Cannon, Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern, Joey Lauren Adams, Soledad O’Brien and Rosie O’Donnell to the inaugural edition of the festival, taking place May 5-9 in Bentonville, Arkansas.

BFF is a one-of-a-kind event designed to champion women and diversity in film, and is the first and only film competition in the world to offer guaranteed theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winning films.

BFF is hosted by ARC Entertainment, Walmart, Coca-Cola and AMC Theatres, and chaired by Academy Award® winner Geena Davis, whose research institute, “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media” has sponsored the largest amount of research ever done on gender depictions in entertainment media, covering a 20+ year span. Davis has pioneered the use of rigorous research combined with direct advocacy and education to leading entertainment industry creators and decision makers, causing a sea change in the quality and quantity of female characters on screen.

In a special event series titled “Geena and Friends,” Geena Davis and her friends will re-imagine some of the greatest dialogue in the history of cinema. Davis’s “A League of Their Own”co-star Rosie O’Donnell will be among the special guests engaging in this lively and fun series. O’Donnell will also take part in BFF’s “In Control of Her Own Destiny” panel discussion featuring female celebrities who manage their own successful film production companies.

Multiple Academy Award® winning screen icon Robert De Niro will headline an intimate discussion series to compliment a BFF screening of “Rembering the Artist” the acclaimed documentary about De Niro’s father, Robert De Niro Sr., directed by Perri Pletz, who will also be in attendance and participate in the discussion series.

BFF has instituted a new feature film screenplay competition dubbed the “Dernsie” –  named and supported by Bruce Dern, who will be in attendance to present the winner with $1,500, a custom award and a potential18-month option of the script with Kickstart Productions.

Meanwhile, Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy, Dazed and Confused, The Breakup) will headline a special “Arkansas in the Biz” panel, focusing on Arkansas natives who work in entertainment and media. The panel will be moderated by Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane.

To cap everything off, producer/director/writer/actor/performer Nick Cannon (host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”) and award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, and producer Soledad O’Brien will co-host the festival’s closing night awards show, presented by Kraft Foods Group. O’Brien will also present her new documentary The War Comes Home at BFF.

“While it hasn’t been long since we launched the festival, the reception we’ve received has been overwhelming,” said Geena Davis. “I’m inspired by the level of commitment pledged by a wide variety of major sponsors and by so many of my colleagues in the industry.

A Welcome From the Bentonville Film Festival (Watch)

Their participation is a real testament to the cause and it means a great deal to everyone involved in elevating the presence of women and minorities in the film industry. Having Nick, Robert, Bruce, Joey Lauren, Soledad and Rosie at BFF means everyone in attendance is going to have an unforgettable experience.”

75 films will be screened at BFF, ranging from studio premieres to independent features and documentaries. Additional BFF announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

Following the debut of BFF, the Bentonville Film Foundation as part of the Bentonville Film Festival initiative will launch a year-round event calendar to promote women and minority filmmakers, artists, directors, and producers at colleges and universities around the country in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is the official non-profit partner of the festival.

BFF Advisory Board members include a number of notable actors and filmmakers such as Angela Bassett, Nick Cannon, Viola Davis, Bruce Dern, Emilio Estevez, Samuel L. Jackson, Randy Jackson, Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Paula Patton, Natalie Portman, Shonda Rhimes, M. Night Shyamalan, and Shailene Woodley.

Walmart is the proud founding sponsor of the Bentonville Film Festival and its investment ensures it is unlike any other nationwide. As the largest seller of DVD and Blu-Ray movies, Walmart is always looking for new and compelling content to offer the 140 million customers who shop their stores U.S. each week. That’s why, for the first time, the winners of three categories – Jury Selection, Audience Award and Best Family Film – are guaranteed distribution in Walmart stores and online through its instant video demand service VUDU.

Walmart chose to support the Bentonville Film Festival in large part due to its focus on women and minority filmmakers. Empowering women and supporting diversity are two key company initiatives which Walmart has long supported, because the retailer believes it is the right thing to do and important in being a successful business. The festival is also a great opportunity for the retailer to showcase Northwest Arkansas, one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

For more information on the festival please visit

 Follow BFF:



Erica Rand

bettina washington

Octogenarian Reflects on Passionate, Love Affair With ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ Actor Ivan Dixon

ivan dixon

1960’s and 70s ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ Actor, Ivan Dixon

*Los Angeles – He called it  “a big love,” and she called it “a 50/50 love.” Whatever kind of love it was, it’s the kind of red-hot love affair that happens to a person once in a lifetime, according to 84-year-old Bettina “Betty” E. Washington. The passion and love for one man was so strong for Washington, that she decided to pen her memoirs in the new book, “The Cliff Dancer: My Love Affair With Ivan Dixon”  (Fat Bet Publishing; on sale April 7, 2015; ISBN-13: 978-0692407943; $9.99 paperback/$5.99 e-book; United States).

Co-written with her daughter and filmmaker Fatima Washington, the 230-page tome is self published and available on on April 7, 2015, coincidentally a day after the late actor Ivan Dixon’s birthday.

betty washington, bettina washington

84-year-old Bettina “Betty” E. Washington; author of “The Cliff Dancer: My Love Affair With Ivan Dixon”

Instead of taking secrets to her grave, the octogenarian decided to bear her soul and come clean to her youngest daughter about the man that changed her life – that is, Dixon, a celebrated actor and director of television and film.

He is well known for his role in the CBS sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” portraying POW radio technician Staff Sergeant “Kinch” Kinchloe.

He also directed a plethora of popular tv shows, including “The Waltons,”  “Starsky and Hutch,” “Bionic Woman,” “Magnum P.I.” and “The A-Team” – just to name a few. On the big screen, he appeared in “Porgy and Bess,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Nothing But a Man” and “A Patch of Blue,” and he also directed the controversial cult classic, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.”

But, it was in 1963 that Washington fell in love with Dixon as she watched him in the film version of “Raisin in the Sun,” and his portrayal of Joseph Asagai. When the movie credits ended, she proclaimed her love for the actor that played the character of the African student, not knowing his real name. Washington says, Dixon’s smile in his first scene of the movie with actress Diana Sands, “gave her all kinds of crazy feelings.”

In a case of real life is stranger than fiction, a chance meeting with Dixon at a function in Los Angeles would begin a long and passionate extramarital affair despite the fact that both were married with children. On their first date in Malibu, Dixon looked at Washington and simply asked, “So, what are we going to do about this big love?”

To this day, his words still ring in her ears like it was yesterday. To understand her instant attraction and adulterous affair with Dixon, she said their personal lives mirrored the chemistry and storyline of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1965 film, “The Sandpiper.” In fact, the two declared their song as “The Shadow of Your of Smile” from the movie, which also won the Academy Award ® for Best Original Song. They were soulmates; and Washington loved him so much, she didn’t mind sharing Dixon with his wife!

Stuck in a loveless marriage, Washington was the wife of a dentist and part of LA’s Black high society, back in the 1960s. She was trapped in an “empty shell marriage,” filled with Bridge games, parties and dances. She stayed because her husband, Dr. George Washington, was financially stable and a good provider, despite being a lousy, philandering husband. But eventually, she did leave – her husband as well as her lover, and reclaimed her life as an independent woman at the dawn of feminism.

“The Cliff Dancer” is an enthralling tale that recounts the life and choices of a Black woman in the 1960s, with all the trappings of high society. Luxury and social status came at a high price for Washington; but through her faith, she was able to forge her own path toward self-discovery and independence.

“With feisty and revealing prose, Ms. Washington tells an extraordinary story full of surprising turns that include devastating betrayal, extraordinary love, tragic loss and an ultimate triumphant of spirit. This well-crafted autobiography is essential reading for anyone who has ever attempted to pursue an authentic life, no matter the cost.” –Lisa B. Thompson, author of “Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class” and the Off-Broadway play “Single Black Female.”

In her own words:

Watch it here: Washington chats about her new book and her love affair with Ivan Dixon

Other Juicy Bits About “The Cliff Dancer:”

  • On how she got the nickname “Betty Bang Bang:” Sick of her husband’s womanizing, Washington bought a gun at Sears. During a domestic altercation, she shot the woman who was sleeping with her husband while      she was giving birth to her third child. Legally separated from her husband, Washington refused to hide from humiliation, instead she appeared in public, and the dentist wives dubbed her “Betty Bang Bang” for her audacity to show her face in public.
  • On how finally got her divorce from her husband after 15 years of marriage: Staying true to her nickname, “Betty Bang Bang,” Washington threatened her husband with a .22 caliber gun, and held a gun to him as they rode down Crenshaw Boulevard in her shiny, two-door Coupe de Ville Cadillac to her attorney’s office to sign the divorce papers!

About  the author “Betty” E. Washington

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Washington is a retired educator of 28 years with Oakland Public Schools. She married George Washington — a WWII veteran and a star basketball player for Morgan State College — at the age of 19. She supported her husband through dental school at Howard University, and began her studies there as well, pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  After her husband’s internship at the Jersey City Medical Center, the Washingtons moved West for better opportunities. Washington eventually finished her studies and graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Married for 18 years, the couple has three children. Today, Washington is the mother of four, and resides in Northern California.

About co-author and filmmaker Fatima Washington

A native of Oakland, Calif., Fatima Washington received a master’s degree from USC’s film school and currently working on her new, debut feature-length indie, “She’s Got a Plan,” set to hit the film festival circuit this year. “She’s Got a Plan” is a dramatic comedy about Isis Angelo, an aspiring Hollywood writer-director who is beginning to realize that her dreams just may never come true.

In the tradition of Robert Townsend’s “Hollywood Shuffle,” “She’s Got a Plan” is a fresh and innovative film, satirizing the Hollywood experience. The ensemble cast includes Washington, Faizon Love, Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks, Ja’Net Dubois, Chris Williams, Charles Malik Whitfield, Kelitta Smith and Johnny 3Nutz.

Washington began her career in show business, working behind the scenes on the groundbreaking sketch comedy show, “In Living Color,” created by Keenen Ivory and Damon Wayons. She also served as a music video director for Universal Music Group, Motown and Relativity Records.



Wyllisa Bennett
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