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Michael Strahan, NFL Hall of Famer and Media Personality, Tops What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2014

Actress Susan Sarandon, MLB's Wendy Lewis, Fox Sports' Pam Oliver,
USTA's D.A. Abrams, National Book Award winner, Jacqueline Woodson,
and RLJ Enterprises' Traci Otey Blunt are Among the Top 10

BROOKLYN, NY; December 31, 2014 - What's The 411TV, a Brooklyn-based media company, today released its list of 25 Most Interesting People of 2014, and NFL Hall of Famer and media personality, Michael Strahan tops the list.

What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2014 was developed from interviews conducted by What's The 411TV reporters between January 1, 2014 through December 12, 2014. The list consists of celebrated personalities to artists seeking to break through to ordinary people doing extraordinary things to New Yorkers rallying for the return of the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Many people on the list are local to the New York City metro area, while others are national or global figures.

"Once again, What's The 411TV reporters have selected so many amazing and interesting people for What's The 411TV's list of 25 Most Interesting People of 2014," said Ruth J. Morrison, CEO and Founder, What's The 411 Networks. "This is our way to say thank you to those on the list, to congratulate them and to celebrate their accomplishments. Similar to last year, it was not an easy task for our reporters and producers to narrow down the list to 25 and since we couldn't, we also have a list of three honorable mentions."

Below is a list of What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2014 falling into the categories of sports; film; literature; music; television; fashion and style; and business and entrepreneurship.

1. Michael Strahan – Pro Football Hall of Famer (NFL) and media personality; on his way to becoming "King of All Media" – Interviewed by: Andrew Rosario

2. Wendy Lewis - MLB Senior Vice President, Diversity & Strategic Alliances; for being able to play with the boys - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

3. Traci Otey Blunt – Corporate Executive Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, RLJ Enterprises – leveraged political communications to transition to corporate communications, marketing, public relations and investor relations, as well as the promotion of the Urban Movie Channel. Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam using a Samsung S4

4. Kyle Donovan – Inventor; Founder, NV Magazine; entrepreneur motivating others to make a difference - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

5. D.A. Abrams - Chief Diversity Officer USTA; helping to make diversity a reality within tennis - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

6. Pam Oliver – NFL and NBA sportscaster; for treading where few women have gone in sports and for taking the high road during a public demotion – Interviewed by: Andrew Rosario

7. Jacqueline Woodson – National Book Award-winning author; gracious after a fellow author muddied her introduction as the winner of the National Book Award for Young Adult Literature for her book, BROWN GIRL DREAMING – Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

8. Bring Back Our Girls Movement (NY) – rallying cry to rescue over 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram; lesson learned: sustaining a movement is hard work, particularly when it seems that no one else cares– Interviewed by: Kizzy Cox

9. Susan Sarandon – Academy Award and BAFTA award-winning actress; committed to human rights causes; worked with Amnesty International – Interviewed by: Bianca Peart

10. Melanie Few-Harrison - Founder of Super Bowl Gospel Celebration; creator of the first and only gospel event sanctioned by the NFL for Super Bowl Weekend– Interviewed by: Cristina Twitty

11. Remembering Ruby Dee - Memorial Service; friends and family celebrate the life of award-winning actress, Ruby Dee– Interviews by: Kizzy Cox and Rita Obi

12. Frank Savage - former investment banker and author of THE SAVAGE WAY: Successfully Navigating the Waves of Business and Life; a highly accomplished Global Wall Street Financier with a distinguished career in international banking, corporate finance, and global investment management - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

13. Melba Moore – singer and actress; her faith keeps her going - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

14. Jamal Joseph - artist, poet, director, producer, educator, and founder of Impact Repertory Theatre; developing leaders– Interviewed by: Christopher Graham

15. Lionel Hollins - Head Coach, Brooklyn Nets; a real standup guy, deeply connected to family and community - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

16. Brian Smith - NY Yankees SVP Corporate/Community Relations; merges baseball and community development - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

17. Daisy Llewellyn – Stylist, reality television star of Bravo's Blood, Sweat & Heels; and author of Never Pay Retail Again: Shop Smart, Spend Less, & Look Your Best Ever; She is the Queen of Effortless Chic - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

18. Richard Sherman – cornerback for Seattle Seahawks (NFL); Did we say, FEARLESS! – Interviewed by: Andrew Rosario

19. Teddy Bridgewater - NFL Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings; made it to the big stage; still grounded and fulfills promise to family - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

20. Mark Jaffe - President/CEO Greater NY Chamber of Commerce; a business leader who supports raising the minimum wage - Interviewed by Glenn Gilliam

21. Khary Lazarre White - Founder and Executive Director, Brotherhood Sister Sol; creating the next generation of leaders - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

22. Claudia Rankine – poet and National Book Award Finalist for Poetry for Citizen: An American Lyric ; her images show the violence of American racism's "micro" assaults – Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

23. Michelle Miller - CBS Correspondent; proud advocate of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam using a Samsung S4

24. Ericka Pittman - VP Brand Strategy, Blue Flame Agency; a leader in business and personal branding - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

25. Christopher Chaney, Publisher of NV Magazine; creator of NV Magazine's Movers and Shakers Awards - Interviewed by Glenn Gilliam

Honorable Mentions

Yamina Collins – first time novelist, author of sci-fi romance novel, THE LAST KING; bringing episodic novels back into vogue - Interviewed by Luvon Roberson

Skoolie Escobar – Alabama rapper and entrepreneur trying to bring consciousness back to hip hop through the use of thought provoking visuals in his music video that accompanies his new single, Check Out My Watch – Interviewed by: Rita Obi

Tren'Ness Woods Black - President and Chief Strategist of Tren'ness Woods-Black, LLC; one of the keepers of the flame of Sylvia Woods' legacy. Sylvia Woods was the founder of Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem - Interviewed by: Glenn Gilliam

Previous personalities on What's The 411TV's list of Most Interesting People include: the late Maya Angelou; Motown Founder, Berry Gordy; Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov; Willis Reed; Jeremy Lin; Mike Tyson and more.

About What's The 411TV

Based in Brooklyn, New York, What's The 411TV is a division of What's The 411 Networks, a media/news, marketing, and events company. What's The 411TV connects sophisticated multi-cultural audiences with its content through its distribution platforms of television, online, mobile, and social media.

What's The 411TV produces two weekly television shows, What's The 411, an award-winning entertainment and lifestyle television show and What's The 411Sports, a sports news and commentary television show.

What's The 411TV's celebrity portfolio consists of interviews with Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Hudson, and many, many more.

About Ruth J. Morrison

Ruth J. Morrison is the CEO and Founder of What’s The 411 Networks, an integrated media, marketing, and events company, which produces the award-winning weekly news and information television show, What’s The 411 and What’s The 411Sports. The company covers the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, New York Giants, US OPEN, and other sports events. A video streaming pioneer, she developed and launched from conception the City of New York's multi-channel cable television network and served as a Communications Director and Legislative Advisor to a New York Member of the U.S. Congress. She is the first African-American independent television producer to have a weekly television show on WNYC-TV and for three years, she worked in Brasil as an entertainment and television licensing consultant for an American company. Ms. Morrison earned a master's degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and she was a Communications Fellow at the Annenberg Washington Program of Northwestern University. She taught courses in telecommunications at Fordham University and she completed her coursework towards a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University.

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BET Founder, Robert L. Johnson, Launches UMC - the Urban Movie Channel

Robert L. Johnson's RLJ Entertainment Inc. today announced the launch of UMC -Urban Movie Channel, a digital channel that will feature "urban-themed" movies.

UMC can be found at: www.urbanmoviechannel.com.

Johnson is, by the way, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET - at the time of its launch, the first cable television network aimed at African Americans), which he sold to Viacom many years ago for a tidy sum, making him one of a tiny handful of black billionaires in the USA.

Johnson, now the Chairman of RLJ Entertainment, said on UMC's launch, "As founder of BET, I have gained a deep understanding and knowledge about the African American and urban consumer and the entertainment content that appeals to them. UMC was designed so that the African American and urban creative community could directly reach consumers in a way that removes many of the restrictions associated with the legacy content development and distribution models. As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an underserved, yet highly engaged audience. I am convinced that urban consumers will gravitate to the economic and entertainment value proposition of UMC and that the creative community will embrace UMC as the best way to reach their loyal fans and benefit financially from showcasing their outstanding work product."

UMC will launch with a free trial period for subscribers through February 4, 2015, and with a suggested retail price of $4.99/month or $49.99/year thereafter, but with a special limited time introductory pricing of $2.99/month or $29.99/year to start.

Programs previously released by RLJE under the One Village brand will be incorporated into UMC's library, which will also include titles from RLJE's existing Image independent feature film line.

Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJE stated, "As one of the largest independent distributors of entertainment content with nascent propriety streaming channels like Acorn TV, we are uniquely positioned to fulfill the vision of our chairman and deliver to the urban audience an unprecedented library of high quality video content. We are confident in RLJE's ability to acquire, distribute, and monetize existing and original content that will appeal to the urban community across the growing number of distribution platforms."

Among the titles launching are live stand-up performances featuring Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, and Charlie Murphy; documentaries "Dark Girls" and "I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac;" the feature films "All Things Fall Apart" starring 50 Cent, Mario Van Peebles, and Ray Liotta; and "The Suspect" starring Mekhi Phifer. Bestsellers include the stage play production of "What My Husband Doesn't Know" by David E. Talbert.

Traci Otey Blunt joins RLJE as Corporate Executive Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs and will oversee the company's marketing, public relations and investor relations, as well as the promotion of the UMC channel.

"I am confident that with Traci joining the RLJE management team, her expertise will be beneficial to the company as a whole and help our strategic launch of UMC," said Penella. "She will promote the channel and grow its subscriber base by building new and cultivating existing relationships which will ultimately have a strong impact on RLJE's digital platforms," he concluded.

Among RLJ Entertainment's holdings are Acorn, Image, One Village, Acacia, Athena, and Madacy brands. The company owns, produces, and exploits intellectual property rights in various formats, including DVD, Blu-ray, digital, cable and satellite broadcast, VOD, streaming video, downloading, and sublicensing.

The Network Journal Celebrates its 25 Influential Black Women of 2014

The Network Journal (TNJ), an award-winning business publication, has done it again. Somehow it has identified the most influential black women executives and narrowed the field to a top 25 

As a quarterly magazine, TNJ speaks to a predominantly African American audience of almost 100,000 subscribers per issue and over their 20+ year history have chronicled the growth of black-owned businesses large and small and the continued advancement of African-American professionals throughout corporate America.

The 16th Annual installment took place during a luncheon at the famed Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, NYC and as always, the lineup of honorees and VIP invitees did not disappoint. To get the broadest feeling of why this tradition is so important What's The 411 spoke to the celebrity host for the event, one of the rising corporate executive awardees, and a long-time corporate sponsor of the publication and the luncheon.

The Mistress of Ceremonies was Michelle Miller, CBS News Correspondent, and wife of National Urban League President, Marc Morial. We caught up with Ms. Miller, a graduate of Howard University, just before she took the podium and asked her why it is so important to honor these leaders?

"Women are the backbone of this nation, certainly here in NYC we run everything from Fortune 500 insurance companies like Lori Dickerson Fouche (CEO Prudential Group Insurance), to leaders in marketing and communications in the non-profit world, like Rhonda Spears-Bell (SVP National Urban League), so you have such a range of women who are on the up and up, who continue to lead these extraordinary lives and what's so interesting about them, I know them from being mommies, so it's really wonderful to see the life balance that is going on here and being honored."

Honoree Traci Otey Blunt is the SVP Corporate Communications & Public Affairs for RLJ Companies, namesake of Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET Networks.

Mrs. Blunt, a Tennessee State alumna, expressed her gratitude in this statement, "I am absolutely excited and it is an honor to be recognized among 24 additional influential women, we range from I do corporate communications, to the small business owners, to financial services, to those in the military, so it is a true honor."

One of the many corporate sponsors is a longtime supporter, MACY's and its Project Manager & Community Relations Liaison for the Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Ty Stone-Adams, who received her degree from Southern University, explained why partnering with TNJ is so vital.

"Of course I am a woman of color and a lot of times women of color who are in very high-powered positions, don't get the recognition and the accolades they deserve, they work very very hard, in fact, they work harder than the average person, so it's very important and that's why we're very very proud to be a sponsor again for this wonderful event."

For a complete list of The Network Journal's 25 Influential Black Women of 2014, visit www.tnj.com.

HBCU Proud: Traci Otey Blunt

What's The 411TV host, Glenn Gilliam caught up with Traci Otey Blunt at The Network Journal's 25 Influential Black Women in Business luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel. Ms. Blunt is the SVP, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs for RLJ Companies, which is owned by Robert L. "Bob" Johnson, founder of BET Networks.

Not to miss the opportunity to get a few words with Ms. Blunt, Glenn swung into action with his Samsung S4 smartphone. The background noise is a "little" noisy, but nonetheless we're able to hear Ms. Blunt talk about some of Mr. Johnson's initiatives and her pride of being an HBCU alum.

Ms. Blunt is a graduate of Tennessee State University. She credit Tennessee State University for instilling a "sense of self".

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