For Immediate Release

April 28, 2014

Contact Information

Chelsye J. Burrows
770.692.4559
cburrows@UPtv.com

David Gardner
770.692.9939
dgardner@UPtv.com

Darren Dickerson
213.712.8260
darrentpr@gmail.com

(BPRW) ASPiRE DEBUTS SEASON TWO OF ITS POPULAR ORIGINAL WEEKLY TALK SERIES “exhale” ANGELA BURT-MURRAY, ERIN JACKSON, ISSA RAE, RENE SYLER AND MALINDA WILLIAMS RETURN TO CO-HOST AND DISCUSS CURRENT, THOUGHT-PROVOKING TOPICS

- Season Two Guests Include Tracee Ellis Ross, Niecy Nash, Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker, MC Lyte, Judge Greg Mathis, Wendell Pierce, Laila Ali, Dr. Rachael Ross, Ricky Williams and Jenifer Lewis Exclusively on ASPiRE – Wednesday, May 7th at 8:00 p.m. EDT -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – ATLANTA – April 28, 2014 – ASPiRE announces the premiere of season two of its popular weekly talk series, “exhale” (@exhaleTV). Hosted by five dynamic, successful African-American women – journalist and media maven Angela Burt-Murray; actress and comedian Erin Jackson; director, writer and actress Issa Rae; blogger, author and TV anchor Rene Syler; and actress Malinda Williams – “exhale” brings viewers honest, funny and candid discussion on a wide range of topics affecting African-American women. Season two of the eight-episode series will premiere on Wednesday, May 7 at 8:00 p.m. EDT only on ASPiRE.

With a unique mix of bold comedy, sincerity and insight, Burt-Murray, Jackson, Rae, Syler and Williams continue to provide a fresh perspective on topics that are relevant and evergreen in the lives of African-American women. Shot on location in Los Angeles, the five hosts from different generations, fields and backgrounds get real about family, relationships, career, money, faith and other topics of interest to modern women. An intriguing range of special guests, from celebrities and authors to religious leaders and other experts, will join in the conversation and fun. ASPiRE and the hosts further connect, engage and continue dynamic, nimble dialogue with the audience through social media. For more information, please go to www.aspire.tv/exhale, Twitter on @ExhaleTV, and Facebook at facebook.com/ExhaleTV.

“The women are definitely back!,” said ASPiRE General Manager Paul Butler. “We had such a great response to the first season of exhale and we’re thrilled to bring back another season. We invite everyone to join the conversation on social media and contribute to some really fun, refreshing and important conversations.”

ASPiRE currently produces four original series, including “exhale,” “ABFF Independent,” “The Root 100” and “Laff Mobb’s We Got Next.”

Hosted by Angela Burt-Murray, Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Rene Syler and Malinda Williams. Produced by Black Robin Media. Executive produced by Lynne Robinson. Supervising Producer is Allison Simmons. Director is Victoria Mahoney. Editor is Derek Allen. Director of Photography is Jonathan Barenboim.

The first four weekly episodes include:

What is Love? – Season Premiere – Airs Wednesday, May 7, 8 p.m. EDT
The ladies of “exhale” get to the heart of one of their favorite subjects…love! The Co-Hosts and special guests explore the question, “What is love?” Together they open up about love and relationships, black love, love and sex, and last, but not least…the pitfalls of love.
GUESTS:
Niecy Nash, Actress, Author and Comedian (@NiecyNash)
Dr. Rachael Ross, Physician, Sexologist and Co-Host of “The Doctors” (@drrachael)
Will Packer, Film Producer (@BlackMatchmaker)
Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey, Author, Physician and Speaker (@DoctorSharonAO)

Justice or Just Us?– Airs Wednesday, May 14, 8 p.m. EDT
When it comes to the criminal justice system…do blacks ever really get a fair shake? In the age of Trayvon Martin, the ladies of “exhale” tackle the difficult dilemma of how to protect ourselves and our children from racial profiling, gun violence and disparities in the judicial system. They sit down with four special guests to answer the question, “Is it really justice… or just us?”
GUESTS:
Judge Greg Mathis, Author, Lecturer and Host of the “Judge Mathis Show” (@JudgeGregMathis)
Wendell Pierce, Actor, Businessman and Philanthropist (@WendellPierce)
Lorrain Taylor, Founder and CEO of 1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence (@1000mothers)
Jessica Price, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Attorney (www.aclusocal.org)
Eboni K. Williams, Attorney, Legal Analyst and Radio Personality (@Eboni_K)

Family – Airs Wednesday, May 21, 8 p.m. EDT
It’s a real family affair this week for the ladies of “exhale.” With their special guests, the Co-Hosts talk about everything that impacts family dynamics – disciplining our children, caring for aging parents, marriage, divorce and paternity rights.
GUESTS:
Lauren Lake, Attorney, Author and Host of “Paternity Court” (@LaurenLakeEnt)
Laila Ali, World Boxing Champion, Entrepreneur and Host of “Mommy-In-Chief” (@TheRealLailaAli)
Dr. Stephanie Keyes, Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist
Bryan F. Gaines, Co-Chair and Project Specialist for the University of Southern California Advocates for African American Elders Project (@Advocates4AAE)

Exploring Mental Health – Airs Wednesday, May 28, 8 p.m. EDT
The ladies of “exhale” are exploring one of the most difficult, but important topics in the black community, today – mental health. Joining in the conversation are four special guests who share their personal stories about battling mental illness, getting healthy, and the importance of bringing attention to this subject that has been hidden for far too long.
GUESTS:
Jenifer Lewis, Actress and Singer (@JeniferLewis)
Ricky Williams, former NFL Running Back and Heisman Trophy Winner
Dionne Monsanto, CEO and Founder of The Siwe Project (@TheSiweProject)
Dr. Karen Lincoln, Sociologist, Social Worker and Mental Health Expert (@KarenDLincoln)

Guests Tracee Ellis Ross, Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker, MC Lyte and more will appear in the second half of the season.

Follow our hosts at:
• Angela Burt-Murray on Twitter @AngelaCocoaFab, and on her websites cocoafab.com and cocoafab-tv.
• Erin Jackson on Twitter @EJthecomic, and on her website erinjackson.net.
• Issa Rae on Twitter @IssaRae, and on her website awkwardblackgirl.com.
• Rene Syler on Twitter @goodenufmother, and on her website goodenoughmother.com.
• Malinda Williams on Twitter @MalinsWorld, and on her website malindawilliams.com.

About ASPiRE
ASPiRE is a television network targeted to African-Americans and celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of our past, our now and our next. ASPiRE offers a diverse programming mix of movies, series and specials featuring music, comedy, drama, faith/inspiration, theater/performing arts, lifestyle and news/information. The network was launched June 27, 2012 by Magic Johnson Enterprises, which acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. ASPiRE is available in more than 19 million homes in 21 of the top 25 African-American markets including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. through Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. For more information, visit www.aspire.tv, facebook.com/aspireTV and on Twitter @tvaspire.

About Black Robin Media
Black Robin Media is a full-service television and video production company that brings to life some of the industry’s most innovative projects. From TV programs, series, short films and digital content to promos, PSAs, and commercials, Black Robin Media’s award-winning creative team uses the art of storytelling, imagery and sound, along with the latest media technology to connect with audiences around the world.

About Magic Johnson Enterprises
Magic Johnson Enterprises acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. For more information, visit http://magicjohnson.com/enterprises.

ABOUT THE HOSTS

ANGELA BURT-MURRAY
Angela Burt-Murray (@AngelaCocoaFab) is the co-founder and editorial director of Cocoa Media Group, a new digital media company which operates www.CocoaFab.com. Prior to launching CMG, Angela was the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine and oversaw the editorial direction as steward of Essence’s print and online editorial content from 2005-2010. She also expanded the Essence brand into books, live events and created co-branded news and entertainment specials for CNN and TV ONE. Angela has also served as executive editor of Teen People and Honey magazines. She is the co-author of the novel, The Vow, which has been optioned by Sony Pictures, and author of the new novel Games Divas Play. She has appeared on CNN, The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC and The Today Show. A graduate of Hampton University, Angela resides in Atlanta with her husband and their two children.

ERIN JACKSON
Armed with a megawatt smile and a pocket full of dreams, comedian Erin Jackson (@EJthecomic, erinjackson.net/) is poised to conquer the world of stand-up. Since first making a name for herself at colleges and east coast comedy clubs, Erin’s conversational style and relatable humor have helped to propel her onto the national stage. In 2013, Erin traveled with Dave Chappelle as the opening act for his summer tour. Erin has performed stand-up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” OWN’s “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” TV Guide Network’s “Standup in Stilettos” and was a semifinalist on season 6 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” She has appeared on VH-1 and TV Guide Network as a panelist on pop-culture countdown shows such as “40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the 90′s” and “Best Movie Kisses,” and her writing has been featured in The Washington Post and on NYTimes.com. A proud alumna of Howard University, Erin is also obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

ISSA RAE
With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s (@IssaRae) content has garnered over 20 million views and over 160,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for her hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” (awkwardblackgirl.com/), Issa Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds and numerous others. She developed a TV series with Shonda Rhimes for ABC and is currently developing a half-hour comedy for HBO with Larry Wilmore. Rae is also slated to release a book of essays with Simon & Schuster in 2015.

RENE SYLER
Rene Syler (@goodenufmother) knew she wanted a career in television. While that realization didn’t come until after finishing her degree in psychology, she forged ahead and landed local reporter/anchor jobs in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas. In 2002, she went national as one of the anchors of “The Early Show” on CBS. In her four years there, she interviewed former First Lady Laura Bush, Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, and delved into the lives of celebrities, including Russell Crowe, J. Lo, Denzel Washington, Beyoncé and Will Smith. Alas, she was not particularly adept at the cooking segments, which will come as no surprise to those who know her. In 2007, Rene’s first book Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. From that, goodenoughmother.com was born. Rene continues to be a sought-after commentator for “CNN Headline News,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “The Today Show” and others. In 2009, she anchored BET’s Inauguration coverage, and garnered an NAACP image Award for Outstanding News/Information coverage. Rene is the daughter of two breast cancer survivors. Their diagnoses and her own pre-cancerous condition led to her preventive mastectomy in 2007, a controversial surgery that was profiled on “Oprah.” She is an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and was awarded the prestigious Gracie Allen award for her television series on breast cancer. Rene lives in Westchester, NY with her husband, Buff Parham, children Casey and Cole and their yellow Lab Olivia.

MALINDA WILLIAMS
Armed with a license in cosmetology and a few small acting roles, Malinda Williams (@MalinsWorld, malindawilliams.com/main/) left her home state of New Jersey and ambitiously set her sights on Hollywood. Originally intent on opening her own hair salon, Malinda’s beauty industry career quickly gave way to her undeniable acting talent. Twice nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series,” the determined young beauty made a name for herself, grabbing lead roles in films such as The Wood, High School High, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls and First Sunday. Her most recent projects include Percentage with Ving Rhames and Macy Gray; Russ Parr’s The Undershepherd; UP’s “A Cross to Bear,” and Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York, with Chris Rock, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Best known for her role as “Bird” on the hit television series “Soul Food,” this busy mom always finds time to mentor young women and work with non-profit organizations such as Black Girls Rock!, Take Wings and Chrysalis Foundations. Having been branded one of the “entertainment industry’s most well respected actresses,” Malinda has recently been hitting the speaking circuit, addressing a range of topics including, women’s interests and issues, living with asthma, and success & education, among others. An extremely passionate motivational speaker, Malinda’s words on leadership, self-esteem and self-motivation leave no doubts as to why success continually finds its way to her door.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER

LYNNE ROBINSON
Lynne Robinson, owner and executive producer of Black Robin Media, is a producer, director and writer who has made her mark in entertainment, sports and news production. She began her television career at ABC News, before transitioning into the sports arena at NBA Entertainment.

The recipient of two NAACP Image Awards and several other honors, her work has aired on networks such as ASPiRE, National Geographic Channel, Discovery, PBS, BET and TV One.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

VICTORIA MAHONEY
Born and raised in New York, Victoria Mahoney (@VictoriaMahoney) began as a film and television actress, training in Shelley Winters’ exclusive classes at the Actors Studio. Eventually, she transitioned from acting in film & TV to writing, producing and directing. Victoria directed the pilot episode of “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet” as well as 12 episodes for the 2013 season. Victoria developed her debut feature film Yelling to the Sky through the Directors and Screenwriters Sundance Institute Labs. The film had its world premiere in “Main Competition” at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear. With a North American Premiere at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival, the movie has since gone around the world screening in competition.

Victoria was named an Auerbach Fellow, Annenberg Fellow, Cinereach Fellow, Maryland Fellow and IFP Fellow and Tribeca Film Fellow as well as one of “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, one of ShadowAndAct/IndieWire’s “Filmmakers to Watch,” and one of “3 Filmmakers to Watch” in Elle Magazine’s, Women In Hollywood issue.

Photo credit: (l to r) “exhale” Co-Hosts Angela Burt-Murray, Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Rene Syler and Malinda Williams. Courtesy of ASPiRE