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Exclusive: Malinda Williams talks new movie

In the sequel to last year’s popular UP Original Movie Marry Me for Christmas, it’s a year after Marci Jewel (Malinda Williams) and Blair Kirkland (Karon Riley) declared their love for each other and decided to tie the knot.  But as the big day approaches, Marci is so consumed with work that she’s had no…

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In the sequel to last year’s popular UP Original Movie Marry Me for Christmas, it’s a year after Marci Jewel (Malinda Williams) and Blair Kirkland (Karon Riley) declared their love for each other and decided to tie the knot.  But as the big day approaches, Marci is so consumed with work that she’s had no time to plan her wedding.  To make matters worse, she may have to team up with former assistant/fake fiancé Adam to win a project she’s been vying for – a little tidbit Marci has held back from Blair.  But Blair, as it turns out, has a secret of his own.  Thanks to years of doing pro bono work for financially-strapped clients, he quickly is running out of cash and might have to accept an offer to work for his longtime nemesis, Marci’s manipulative cousin Preston (Carl Payne).  Meanwhile, Marci’s mother Stephanie Chandler Jewel (Victoria Rowell) is making some rather bold moves of her own with her sexy salsa teacher, Antonio Simpson (Marques Houston), who is more than a little smitten with her — and about 20 years her junior.  Will there be a wedding for Christmas?  Better yet – whose wedding will it be?   Naturally, the festivities wouldn’t be complete without family, including Marci’s Uncle Donald (GregAlan Williams), Aunt Myra (DeEtta West), Aunt Elizabeth (Chrystale Wilson), Charlene (Dawn Halfkenny) and Antonio’s uncle Lawrence Simpson (Kristoff St. John)

Marry Us for Christmas airs  (12/7) @ 7:00 PM (ET) on UP TV.

Read our interview below with Malinda Williams.

 

Sylvia:   With you being such a multi-talented woman/entertainer, we would also like to congratulate you on such a multifaceted and diverse career that you’ve developed. Can you give us just a little background who Malinda Williams is?

Malinda:  You know, first of all, thank you for saying that, and it’s very interesting because I think when you, you know, in the earlier days   of my career, I guess, I didn’t necessarily set out to be multifaceted or have all these other things going on, they just kind of happened along the way. You kind of just want to live the fullness of life and you want to maximize the opportunities that come your way and that’s kind of what I’ve done, and everything that you see out there, whether it’s a film or a TV show, or some digital content piece, they’re all extensions of who I am, they’re all extensions of things that I truly enjoy doing. They are parts of who I am and what my passions, so all of those things and all of those different characters, they sort of speak to different pieces of me if you will, and different expressions throughout my life. I always try to incorporate those things into my work so it doesn’t feel like work. It just feels like I’m living my life and then presenting work that’s based on who I authentically am.

Sylvia: So, has acting always been your first choice for a career path for you to take, and if not, what was that career path that was going to be your number one thing?

Malinda: You know, it wasn’t my first choice though it was something that I had been doing since I was child, but I didn’t think of it in terms of a career, it was always something that was sort of extra-curricular like you put your child in ballet or dance class or in gymnastics or in a sports program, and that’s kind of what my parents did when I was young, they put me in modelling and acting. And so, that’s kind of how it felt to me right up until I turned around 15 or 16 when it was time to get an actual job. And I was like, “Well, but I already make money doing this other thing so why do I need to go out and get a job? That is my job.”  But, again, that was just sort of another way to earn money, and initially it was a great thing because I had saved up enough, my parents and I had saved up enough money that I could buy my own car, and so I was like, “Okay, this isn’t a bad way to make a living,” but my passion at the time was cosmetology and I actually wound up, when I graduated high school I went to cosmetology school, and my dream career at that time was to become a hair stylist and to eventually either own a chain of salons or run somebody’s beauty shop or something, that’s kind of what I had originally intended. And then when I came out to LA acting just kind of took off and sort of took off and took over.

Sylvia: Like I said, we’ve seen you on so many different levels, things from music videos, as well as TV series, things   like “Soul Food,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” even your portrayal in Ruff Endz’s “Someone To Love You.” We have seen you so many different things, so now we’re going to get the pleasure of witnessing you in the Up TV’s “Marry Us For Christmas,” the sequel to “Marry Me For Christmas.” So, our question is how did you hear about the part and what was your preparation process for this?

Malinda: Originally we did a film called “Marry Me For Christmas,” this was last Christmas season, last holiday season, and I had done a couple projects with the gentlemen from Swirl Film who produced this film, and they produce a lot of films for Up TV and some other outlets and also some straight-to-DVD projects as well, and so I’ve just developed a relationship with them and last year they approached me to produce “Marry Me For Christmas” as well as star in it, and of course I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity.  I read the script, they told me that Victoria Rowell would play my mother and I had never worked with her before, so I was just excited to venture into a territory that I hadn’t previously ventured into and producing for TV as well as getting to do something that was light hearted and fun, you know, it was my first holiday project that I had worked on. And who doesn’t love a good holiday movie? Holiday movies seem to transcend time, you can replay them every year and make people feel good. I was like, “Yeah, I want to be a part of that.” Let me just go ahead and take that and add it to the things that I have accomplished I guess, if you will.  Like, if I had never done it before, so I wanted to try it.

READ MALINDA ENTIRE INTERVIEW IN OUR JANUARY ISSUE OF PRESTIGE. RELEASED DATE DEC 25, 2014 

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CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Released After Arrest Live On Air During Minneapolis Protest Broadcast; Governor Apologizes

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4TH UPDATE, 12 PM PT: CNN says that it accepts Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s apology after reporter Omar Jimenez and a network crew were arrested early Wednesday while covering the George Floyd protests. Watch the video of the arrest above.

A CNN spokesperson said, “We accept Governor Walz’s apology and appreciate the sincerity of his words about the arrest of our crew this morning.  As journalists, the First Amendment gives us not only the right but also the responsibility to shine light in darkness and hold those in power to account.  With that in mind, we will move forward and continue our work in Minneapolis and everywhere else stories need to be told.”

Jimenez and two members of the crew, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were arrested as they were doing a CNN live shot. They were released, but CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker spoke with Walz to express his concern over what happened.

The Minnesota State Patrol issued a statement that said, “In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”

But CNN responded with a statement that said “This is not accurate — our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew.”

3RD UPDATE, 9:37 AM PT: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said that he takes “fully responsibility” for the arrest of Omar Jimenez and a CNN crew as they covered protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd.

“I take full responsibility there is absolutely no reason something like this should happen calls were made immediately,” Walz said at a press conference. “This is a very public apology to that team.”

He added, “In a situation like this, even if you’re clearing an area, we have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story. The issue here is trust. The community that’s down there, that’s terrorized by this, if they see a reporter being arrested, their assumption is that something’s going to happen that they don’t want to be seen. And so that is that is unacceptable. We will continue to strive to make sure that accessibility is maintained, that not only that, the protection and security and safety of the journalists covering this is a top priority.”

He said that he spoke with CNN president Jeff Zucker soon after the arrests, and Zucker wanted to know what happened.

“I appreciate his understanding in a situation, that he was rightfully incredibly angry, and that falls squarely on me that apology has been issued, and I think going forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Walz said.

Katie Townsend, legal director for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, said that CNN may have a claim in this situation, as other journalists have sued government agencies and officials in the past for arrests during protest situations. In an email, she said that the First Amendment prohibits government officials, including police officers from interfering with news gathering or retaliating against journalists for protected speech.

“These claims can be difficult to establish, and there have been cases recently … that suggest that the bar for proving that an arrest violated and individual’s First Amendment rights is high.

“That said, having watched the video here, it doesn’t appear that the police had probable cause for an arrest; the CNN crew responded professionally, identified themselves as journalists, and repeatedly asked where they should stand; they were arrested anyway.”

According to the Reporters Committee, there were nine arrests of journalists in the U.S. in 2019, five of which took place at protests. That was compared to 11 in 2018 and 38 in 2017.

SAG-AFTRA, which represents broadcast journalists, issued this statement Friday afternoon: “As journalists it is our job to cover protests, demonstrations, marches and rallies — some peaceful, some not. We do this without interfering with protesters or law enforcement. The arrest of Omar Jimenez, who was clearly identified as a credentialed member of the news media, is unacceptable.”

One of Jimenez’s colleagues also covering the protests, Josh Campbell, said that he received the “opposite treatment” from police. He identified himself and his news outlet and was allowed to remain in a designated area, he told CNN’s John Berman.

“Let me just say something — it is a statement of fact. You Josh Campbell are white. Omar Jimenez is not. I do not know if that played into this,” Berman said.

“There was a lot different here than what Omar experienced,” Berman said.

2ND UPDATE, 4:44 AM: CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew have now been released from policy custody after their arrest live on air this morning mid-broadcast from the Minneapolis protests. As per below, state Governor Tim Walz intervened directly in the incident after calling CNN president Jeff Zucker to apologize.

After being released, Jimenez immediately took to the air again to recount the story and update on his situation.

“Everyone was pretty cordial after that [my arrest] happened,” said Jimenez, who added that a police officer told him he was “just following orders”.

“They weren’t violent with me, we were having conversation about how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city. A lot of these people are on edge,” the reporter continued. “The one thing that gave me a little bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV. When you talk within the community about, let’s say what happened with George Floyd, there’s discussion that, what’s happening isn’t new, it’s being filmed. That speaks to the power of having something that happens on camera. You can have people speak up for you without you saying anything.

“You guys [CNN anchors] saw what was happening, I was living what was happening, and the country was seeing what was happening unfold in real time right before their eyes – you don’t have to doubt my story, it’s not filtered in any sort of way, that gave me a little bit of comfort,” said Jimenez.

Twitter has been flooded with condemnation for the incident and praise directed at Jimenez for his professionalism.

UPDATED, 4:28 AM: CNN is now reporting that Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has spoken directly to CNN president Jeff Zucker to take full responsibility for the incident, and is working to have Jimenez and his crew released immediately. “It was totally unacceptable and inadvertent what happened… they clearly had the right to be there, we want the media to cover this [the protests], it is never acceptable for this to happen,” Walz told Zucker, according to CNN’s John Berman.

PREVIOUSLY 3:30 AM: CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew have been arrested during a live broadcast from the Minneapolis protests.

Footage quickly emerged online, and many of Jimenez’s colleagues took to Twitter in outcry.

The incident took place shortly after 6AM EST (3AM PST) during the live filming of CNN’s weekday morning show New Day.

In the footage, Jimenez, sporting a virus protective mask, is being quizzed by his anchors Alisyn Camerota and John Berman in front of a group of riot police as they move to arrest a nearby person. State patrol then approach the presenter and his crew, and Jimenez can be heard telling the officers that the four-strong unit can move “where they would like” to get out of their way in a cooperative and non-confrontational manner. The officers surround the crew as Jimenez continues to report live on air, before he is told that he is under arrest and placed in handcuffs, displaying them to the camera as he is walked away. After a moment, the crew are also placed into handcuffs.

“That is an American television reporter being led away by police officers. He clearly identified himself as a reporter and was respectfully explaining to the police that the CNN team was there and moving away as they would request, and then for some reason he was taken into police custody live on television,” said anchor John Berman off screen.

“I have never seen anything like this,” Berman adds on several occasions. The camera continued to roll after the arrests, sitting on the floor at the feet of the officers.

Fellow CNN Josh Campell, who is white, was also in the area but was not arrested. “I identified myself… they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area’… What happened to Omar (Jimenez) was clearly a lot different… I was treated much differently than he (Jimenez) was,” he told the network.

CNN has confirmed the incident and called for the immediate release of its employees. “A CNN reporter and his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves – a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the three CNN employees immediately,” a statement from the network read.

Fierce protests have been raging in Minneapolis since an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died in police custody on Monday. Overnight, protesters broke into a police precinct in the city and set it on fire as the violence escalated. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated the state National Guard in a bid to restore order. Four officers involved in the incident have been fired but have not yet faced charges, with prosecutors stating they are still gathering evidence.

President Donald Trump tweeted earlier on Friday that the military would “assume control” in the city if the disturbances continue, adding “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. His remarks have provoked a huge blowback and were subsequently flagged by Twitter for violating its rules around “glorifying violence”.

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New video appears to show three police officers kneeling on George Floyd

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New video posted on social media appears to show three Minneapolis Police Department officers kneeling on George Floyd during his arrest.

Previous video from eyewitness Darnella Frazier showed Floyd, 46, being knelt on by one officer–Derek Chauvin.

The new video shows the other side of the Minneapolis police vehicle where the arrest occurred. The video appears to show Chauvin and two other officers kneeling on Floyd.

Chauvin was taken into custody on Friday afternoon, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. He faces charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Four officers were involved in the incident and all have since been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.

Floyd was arrested after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said. Outrage grew after the first video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old, who was unarmed and handcuffed, died after the arrest.

Minneapolis police said in a statement earlier this week that officers had been responding to an alleged forgery on Monday evening and that during the arrest, Floyd “physically resisted” them.

However, surveillance footage from the nearby Dragon Wok restaurant does not appear to support the claim that Floyd resisted arrest during the initial encounter. However, there are several minutes where Floyd’s and the officers interactions cannot be seen from the camera’s vantage point.

This new video appears to have been taken before the Frazier video, but after that surveillance video.

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Veterans Affairs Gives 1,300 Vets Unproven COVID-19 Drug Touted By Trump

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The federal Department of Veterans Affairs has been giving 1,300 veterans hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus since late March — even though the drug has not been proven to be effective against the illness and may even trigger fatal heart problems.

In a study of 100,000 patients with COVID-19 published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet, patients who received hydroxychloroquine had a “significantly higher risk of death” compared to those who were not given the drug. “We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine” on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19, the researchers concluded.

An April study of veterans who were given the drug — relentlessly hawked by President Donald Trump — produced similar findings.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a letter Friday to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that despite mounting concerns about the drug, the VA will continue to use hydroxychloroquine for veterans.

Revelations of the use of the controversial antimalarial drug have sparked concerns about the effects it may have on veterans, many of whom are older and have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to a fatal side effect of the drug: heart arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.

“Veterans’ groups remain deeply concerned that the VA has made large purchases of this drug and appears to have administered it to veterans despite the well-known, and in some cases, fatal risks,” Schumer wrote Wilkie earlier this month.

After Wilkie’s letter on Friday, Schumer responded in a statement later that day, saying, “This drug may be useless or even harmful for COVID-19 patients, but the VA continues to administer it to hundreds of vets. Why are we just learning this?”

“We need to know what the basis was for using this drug against the consensus of science, which called into question its effectiveness in treating COVID-19,” he continued. “We also need to know who is authorizing these new trials, what facilities are participating and what families are being told.”

Trump has been aggressively pitching hydroxychloroquine since March, even though the drug had not yet undergone clinical trials examining its effectiveness against COVID-19.

“What do we have to lose?” he asked during a briefing.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have both warned against using the drug to treat COVID-19.

Last Monday, the president attacked a study of veterans treated with the drug that showed no benefits against the coronavirus. He called the findings a “Trump enemy statement,” insisting they were politically motivated. He then claimed that he had been taking the drug for weeks, though he stopped on Friday.

The Trump administration ordered 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine before it underwent trials for COVID-19 treatment. The VA also bulk-ordered some 6.3 million doses, according to Wilkie’s letter.

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