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Harry Belafonte and Social Relevant Photographer Stephen Somerstein Top What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2015

The Top 10 include Serena Williams, who leads all athletes; Mathew Knowles; Valentino Carlotti and Gilda Squire; James Patterson; Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers; Lionel Hollins; Stephen Curry; Ta-Nehisi Coates; and Dr. Yvonne Thompson

BROOKLYN, NY; December 31, 2015 - What's The 411TV, a Brooklyn-based media company, today released its list of 25 Most Interesting People of 2015, and singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte; and social relevant photographer Stephen Somerstein, who documented the 1965 Selma to Montgomery, Alabama Civil Rights March are tied for first place on the list. In their own way, each has made an incredible impact on the civil rights movement.

What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2015 is an eclectic list of people interviewed by What's The 411TV reporters primarily as exclusives, but this year, we included a couple of group press conferences attended by our reporters. The list consists of people who have spurred a movement; those who have made an impact in their respective fields globally; iconic figures; athletes including Serena Williams (she leads all athletes); coaches (Doc Rivers and Lionel Hollins, who makes the list for a second time); entrepreneurs; and those making it happen behind the scenes. Domestic Violence dominated headlines in 2015, and two people, Katrina Walker and Melissa Holmes, survivors of domestic abuse, are on the list for telling their compelling stories and helping others. Ms. Walker, a mother of four children, left her abusive husband, found a job and then created 24-hour daycare centers in two states.

"We are grateful for another incredible year of capturing many great stories," said Ruth J. Morrison, CEO and Executive Producer, What's The 411TV. "I especially enjoy listening to the backstories of how people and things evolve such as Tonya Rapley moving from being debt-ridden to becoming "The Millennial Money Coach;" how Goldman Sachs Partner and head of the Institutional Clients Group's Securities Division, Valentino Carlotti and Gilda Squire of Squire Media and Management, partnered to bring Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theater's first African-American principal dancer into the American consciousness; and international entrepreneur Dr. Yvonne Thompson, CBE brought to life the challenges faced by executive women in her book, 7 Traits of Highly Successful Women on Boards."

Below is a list of What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2015; which can be found online with links to each interview.

1. Harry Belafonte and Steven Somerstein: Even at 88 years-old, Mr. Belafonte is still fighting for human rights and social inclusiveness. Steven Somerstein: through his photography, Mr. Somerstein brought the plight of civil rights into America's consciousness by documenting the 1965 Selma To Montgomery Civil Rights Marchin a way few other could have done - Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

2. The 21-time tennis grand slam winner, Serena Williams: because the legendary professional tennis player took tennis lovers and aficionados on an incredible ride, and we're still rooting for her

3. Beyonce's father Mathew Knowles: The creator and manager of Destiny's Child, Beyonce, and Solange; describesThe DNA of Achievers in his book of the same name- Interviewed by: Courtney Rashon

4. Valentino Carlotti and Gilda Squire: The team behind-the-scenes making things happen for Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater's first African-American principal dancer –Interviewed by Glenn Gilliam

5. Award-winning author James Patterson: For his initiative to help independent bookstores and because he's a great storyteller - Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

6. Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers: Because he's a sage and he helped to keep the NBA intact- captured by Keisha Wilson

7. Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins: This is the second time he is on this list and we have learned a lot more about Lionel Hollins in the past year. He's a straight-shooter, instructive, and he manages the New York media

8. Golden State Warriors Guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry: He understands his limitations and has developed strategies to overcome them; a lesson for us all

9. Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates: for speaking and writing about the elephant in the room- Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

10. Dr. Yvonne Thompson, CBE: for shining a light on the challenges of executive women in the boardroom- Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

11. Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director, Center for Black Literature and English Department Chair; Medgar Evers College, CUNY: for being a curator of African-American culture through literature and art - Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

12. Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory: for keeping us entertained while diversifying his portfolio, and for providing insight into the "new" music industry - Interviewed by: Courtney Rashon

13. Metta World Peace: a fierce competitor and when he's in your presence, there's never a dull moment

14. New York Liberty forward Swintayla Marie "Swin" Cash: She parlayed her prolific scoring and rebounding skills into a studio analyst gig for select New York Knicks games

15. Sherrie Young, National Book Foundation Director of Marketing and Special Projects: standing at the crossroads of literacy and literature and keeping up the good fight- Interviewed by: Luvon Roberson

16. Katrina Walker: an abused wife and mother of four children who turned her adversity into entrepreneurship and philanthropy; she is the owner of 24-hour daycare facilities in two states - The What's The 411TV Team of: Courtney Rashon, Kizzy Cox, and Onika McLean16.

17. Kelly L. Jackson: an entertainment entrepreneur who uses her national radio platform on Sirius/XM Radio to blend entertainment and wellness - Interviewed by: Courtney Rashon

18. Financial Educator, Tonya Rapley: for teaching millennials (and others) how to manage their personal finances; that's why she is The Millennial Money Coach - Interviewed by: Kizzy Cox

19. Performance Artist, Olutayo Bosede (professionally known as Olutayo): for working hard at his craft and thoroughly entertaining us with his voice and dance moves as the Lead Crow on the NBC production of The Wiz Live! - Interviewed by: The What's The 411TV Team of: Essence Semaj, Onika McLean, and Courtney Rashon

20. Andrea Lewis: an actress that is not twiddling her thumbs waiting for the callback, she is creating great webisodes and distributing them through digital media – Interviewed by Glenn Gilliam

21. Stephen Witt, a journalist turned entrepreneur that created a much-needed digital media company, Kings County Politics, focused on the politics of what else, Kings County aka Brooklyn – Interviewed by: The What's The 411TV Team of: Kizzy Cox, Onika McLean, and Courtney Rashon

22. Award-winning self-published author Selma Jackson: she brought to life a people's struggle for human rights through the eyes of a child in her children's book, Granny's Helper – Interviewed by Luvon Roberson

23. Nikkia McClain, CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations, a celebrity marketing, and public relations company: she does whatever it takes for the benefit of her clients, including washing dishes

24. Melissa Holmes: an abused wife and mother who is using digital media and other platforms to help other women abused by their husbands and partners – Interviewed by: Kizzy Cox

25. Chrissy Monroe: an entrepreneur who turned her appearance on reality television into an opportunity for scripted television and other ventures, including the ambassador for Pretty Girl Gang Cosmetics – Interviewed by: Courtney Rashon

Honorable Mentions:

Mychal Thompson, former NBA player and father of NBA All-Star Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors: because he still has no problem giving his son fatherly advice. 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: a rookie NBA player with the Brooklyn Nets who is currently sidelined with a broken ankle; is a selfless millennial who, along with his brother, bought his mother a house as soon as he signed his NBA contract.

Past Honorees:

Previous personalities on What's The 411TV's list of 25 Most Interesting People include: the late Maya Angelou; NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan; breast cancer survivor and founder of Beating Cancer in Heels CEO, Marlena Ortiz; Motown Founder, Berry Gordy; Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov; New York Knicks great and Basketball Hall of Famer Willis Reed; Basketball Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson; Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins; NBA player Jeremy Lin; NFL player Richard Sherman; former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson; former WNBC-TV news anchor Sue Simmons; and more.


Nothing happens in a vacuum, therefore I offer special thanks to Angelo Ellerbee, Gary Sussman, Aaron Harris, Eli Pearlstein, Jeanmarie Daily, D.A. Abrams, Vincent Novicki, Clarence V. Reynolds, Nikkia McClain, Brenda Greene, Patricia Green, Gilda Squire, Sherri Young, Simone Smalls, Pauline Barfield, and of course the What's The 411TV team: Gregory Alcala; Kizzy Cox; Donna Leslie; Onika McLean; Courtney Rashon; Luvon Roberson; Essence Semaj; and Keisha Wilson.

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. The company covers the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, New York Giants, US OPEN, and other sports events.

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; What's The 411Sports, and the soon-to-be, What's The 411Business.

A video streaming pioneer, Ms. Morrison 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.


Nikkia McClain Pays Homage to Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Glam Night Out

Glam Night Out, as its predecessor, Shopping Night Out, has become a Breast Cancer Awareness Month signature event for Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations

In this video, Nikkia McClain, CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations, tells us why she created Glam Night Out as a Breast Cancer Awareness event.

Glam Night Out benefits the nonprofit organization, Beating Cancer in Heels.

Nigerian Actor Jim Iyke Supports NYC Breast Cancer Awareness Effort

Jim Iyke, a Nigerian actor, and producer, in the U.S. for an awards ceremony in Houston, stopped in Tene Nicole Marketing and P.R.'s fundraiser, Shopping Night Out

Jim Iyke, who is also a fashion entrepreneur with a couple of stores in Africa and plans for a store in London and the U.S., is no stranger to philanthropy. He is known to raise money and support orphanages throughout Africa, so it was not a hard sell for him to attend Shopping Night Out, a shopping event that raises money for breast cancer awareness conceived by Nikkia McClain, Founder and CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations.

Shopping Night Out benefits Beating Cancer in Heels, a non-profit organization created by Marlena Ortiz, a 28-year-old breast cancer survivor.

Toni Marie Ricci and Michael Bell Going to the Next Level

VIDEO: Toni Marie Ricci and Michael Bell Collaborate on Groundbreaking Book and Art Phenomenon: SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE 

Accompanied by artist Michael Bell, Toni Marie Ricci spoke to What's The 411TV correspondent Barbara Bullard about the genesis of I MARRIED A MOBSTER and her forthcoming book, SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE.

The conversation took place at Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations' Shopping Night Out to benefit Beating Cancer in Heels.

The television show, I MARRIED A MOBSTER, gave Toni Marie Ricci an opportunity to tell her story about being married for 17 years to someone who lived the mob life in an unfiltered manner. Toni Marie Ricci believes that her upcoming book, SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE, will show women that they can move out of bad situations and go forward with their lives.

Michael Bell hopes that the entire process of creating the art to accompany SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE was a cathartic process that helped Toni Marie Ricci to release some of the things that she has experienced emotionally.

He sees his seven-portrait series of Toni Marie Ricci's life as groundbreaking, as it has never been done before. The first painting will encapsulate everything and the next six will unfold like chapters in a book.

Michael Bell said, "When you're creating a narrative portrait of someone's life, it's a way of letting that person know that their story matters, it should be immortalized, it should carry on, longer than it might even make headlines in the news."

"These paintings will say what the words in the book will often fail to describe accurately. They will do what words can't say. It's pretty amazing," he added.

SCARS OF A REAL MOB WIFE is expected to be released, along with the art installation, in early 2013.

Shopping Night Out was conceived by Nikkia McClain, Founder and CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations. Shopping Night Out benefits Beating Cancer in Heels, a non-profit organization created by Marlena Ortiz, a 28-year-old breast cancer survivor.

Shopping Night Out: An Event to Benefit Beating Cancer in Heels

VIDEO: Nikkia McClain creates fun shopping extravaganza that brings out celebrities and shoppers to raise money to support Beating Cancer in Heels

Nikkia McClain, the smart, savvy, and gregarious founder of Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations, spoke to What's The 411's Barbara Bullard about Shopping Night Out, Marlena Ortiz, Beating Cancer in Heels, and her vision for the company.

A wonderful philanthropic event, Shopping Night Out brought out shoppers, models, actors, producers, and reality TV stars alike to benefit the organization, Beating Cancer in Heels.

Two years ago, Nikkia McClain, Founder, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations, conceived Shopping Night Out to raise money for the nonprofit, Beating Cancer in Heels, which was created by 28-year-old breast cancer survivor, Marlena Ortiz.

Beating Cancer in Heels is an organization dedicated to the fight against cancer while encouraging women to embrace their inner and outer beauty, while never forgetting to embrace their femininity.
The evening included a full night of a signature "PINK" cocktail sponsored bar by Fragoli, passed hors d'oeuvres provided by The Watt Company, entertainment, a beauty bar, and gifting items to complement shopping with prominent retailers. In addition, LASIO®, Inc., the evening's prime sponsor, had an on-site hair studio providing amenities and expert advice on its HYPERSILK and Rio de Keratin Product Lines for celebrity guests.

Guests featured in this story's accompanying video include: Beating Cancer in Heels Founder Marlena Ortiz; Nadine Ramos, CEO and Founder, Lasio, Inc.; Neda Hakakian, VP Merchandising & Professional Services, P.Luca4Barami; Celebrity Makeup artist, Priscilla DiStasio; Nigerian actor and producer Jim Iyke; Celebrity Hairstylist Janel Smith for Cocoa Mane; Reality TV star Ramona Rizzo; and David, Manager of Je T'Aime Shoes.

Shoppers had the opportunity to buy clothing from retailers such as My Girlfriend's Closet, shoes from Je T'Aime Shoes, cosmetics from GlamChicks and jewelry from Angels & Divas, and Smooch, all for a worthy cause.

All guests received a gift bag filled with all types of goodies from various sponsors including Lasio.

Neda Hakakian Supports Beating Cancer in Heels

VIDEO: Neda Hakakian donates fur vest to Shopping Night Out, the fundraising event to support Beating Cancer in Heels

Neda Hakakian, P.Luca4Barami, Vice President of Merchandising and Professional Services, attended Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relation's 2nd annual fundraiser, Shopping Night Out to support the non-profit organization, Beating Cancer in Heels.

Super excited about donating a fur vest for Shopping Night Out's silent auction, Neda was just as excited about being at the event to help raise money for a great cause with great people.

Neda also shared the news that Barami just launched a new collection, P. Luca.

"Barami is my father and he has been in business for over 20 years dressing fabulous ladies and I hope to dress the next generation of fabulous ladies," Neda told What's The 411's Barbara Bullard.

"We're a New York City-based brand and we do fun affordable fashion for fun trend-setting women, she added"

Shopping Night Out, a breast cancer awareness event,was conceived by Nikkia McClain, Founder and CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations.

Shopping Night Out benefits Beating Cancer in Heels, a non-profit organization created by Marlena Ortiz, a 28-year-old breast cancer survivor.

Nadine Ramos, CEO and Founder, Lasio Inc. Helping to Beat Cancer in Heels

VIDEO: Nadine Ramos, CEO and Founder, Lasio Inc., and a sponsor of Shopping Night Out, is on a mission to help rid the world of cancer through her philanthropic efforts.

What's The 411's Barbara Bullard learned that Nadine Ramos lost her father five months ago to lung cancer. Consequently, Ms. Ramos wanted to help support Tene Nicole Marketing and P.R.'s Shopping Night Out fundraiser for Beating Cancer in Heels.

An employer, Ms. Ramos overcame her under-privileged upbringing through her love for beauty and fashion. She created Lasio, Inc., 10 years ago, which competes in the highly competitive hair care industry. Today, Lasio manufactures and distributes its products worldwide.

The company specializes in keratin-based products such as keratin-based treatments, as well as, an extensive line of aftercare products: shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and wave activators to name a few.

Lasio styled the models and VIPs at Shopping Night Out and provided all guests with a gift bag filled with all types of goodies.

You can find Lasio online and at its flagship salon in Manhattan.

Shopping Night Out was conceived by Nikkia McClain, Founder and CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations.

Shopping Night Out benefits Beating Cancer in Heels, a non-profit organization created by Marlena Ortiz, a 28-year-old breast cancer survivor.

Marlena Ortiz Beating Cancer in Heels

VIDEO: Marlena Ortiz, founder of Beating Cancer in Heels, is a very courageous woman and is determined to make every woman with cancer feel beautiful

Marlena Ortiz, founder of Beating Cancer in Heels, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25-years-old after cancer went undiagnosed in her body for three years. The diagnosis left Marlena bewildered as to how she could have breast cancer when no one in her family had cancer. Ms. Ortiz learned quickly that the treatment to rid the body of cancer can be very grueling and to feel beautiful during treatment is hard to do.

However, Marlena would be undeterred. She is beautiful inside and out and she would not let cancer take away her feeling of self-esteem. So Marlena put on her high heels and wore her high heels to treatment in order to make herself feel beautiful.

The gift Marlena gave herself, she now gives to other women through the creation of her non-profit organization, Beating Cancer in Heels.

And, it is the gift that keeps on giving. For the second consecutive year, Tene Nicole has made Beating Cancer in Heels, the beneficiary of its breast cancer awareness fundraising effort, Shopping Night Out.

Lasio, Inc., a beauty company specializing in hair care headed by Nadine Ramos, agreed and became the primary sponsor of Shopping Night Out.

Shopping Night Out was conceived by Nikkia McClain, Founder and CEO, Tene Nicole Marketing and Public Relations.

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