1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely, a teen mom from Atlanta who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino. His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she’s forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives.
TV One’s latest original film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, will premiere tonight, Monday, August 28 at 9 pm EST. The film marks the feature-length directorial debut for Tasha Smith and stars Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman, with special appearances from Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather. The project is the network’s first original movie inspired by an episode of TV One’s original true crime series, “For My Man.”
“I totally did not see myself playing an exotic dancer, but it was so much more to the story,” says Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland of taking on the role. “I pulled from the truth of women all around the world who have been victims and not known that they were victims of society. This is what’s so amazing about acting – allowing myself to be as vulnerable as I would be in that moment, just to actually live through the character and become Falicia. I want to do her justice, and so I tapped into truth to tell her story.”
In playing Dino, a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who uses Falicia’s desire to be loved for his gain, Gross says he had to “dive all the way in.” “This is a role nobody’s ever seen me in – they’re used to me being the nice guy,” says the actor, who is known for his roles in Tyler Perry’s House of Pain and Temptation. “I want the audience to know that you really have to be conscious of the decisions that you make, because there’s consequences that come along with it.”
Additionally, TV One partnered with Saving Our Daughters, an organization whose mission is to empower teenage girls from multicultural backgrounds through theater, music, film and television, to help overcome many obstacles such as bullying (cyber, gossip, face-to-face), dating abuse, domestic violence and other esteem slayers. Young ladies attended the When Love Kills premieres held in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles to walk the red carpet with the cast and have a dialogue about real love and self-esteem. If you need help starting the conversation, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.thehotline.org.”