Aspire & ABFF Studios Launch Series Hosted by AJ Calloweay

Aspire (@tvASPiRE), the network that reflects, shares and celebrates the experiences of black culture and urban lifestyle, announced today that it will launch a new series of specials, Idols, Icons + Influencers, in partnership with ABFF Studios, the television and production arm of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). This dynamic new interview series will bring viewers inside the lives of leading African American figures in film, television, sports, arts, music and social action, through one-on-one intimate and candid conversations. Nationally acclaimed TV personality and tastemaker A.J. Calloway (Extra) will host the series, as well as moderate questions posed from a small "town hall" audience. Each taping will be followed by a meet and greet hospitality event where the audience can engage with the featured guest and each other. The guests will inspire a new generation of creatives through personal stories of successes and setbacks on their journey and insights from the lessons learned along the way. The series will kick off with acclaimed director, writer and producer Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip, Best Man Holiday, and Barbershop: The Next Cut) as he opens up about the challenges, evolution, hard choices and victories he has had as a director in Hollywood. The special will premiere Saturday, December 16 at 8 p.m. ET. Additional episodes will be announced at a later date.

"We're thrilled to partner with ABFF to provide a more interpersonal platform for the next generation of creatives to interact with those whose stories have inspired us all," said Melissa Ingram, Vice President and Channel Manager, Aspire.

"Idols, Icons + Influencers is one of the first series to come out of ABFF Studios and we are happy to join forces with Aspire again, to bring this entertaining and inspiring celebrity profile show to national audiences," said Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures Founder and CEO.
Idols, Icons + Influencers is produced for Aspire by Black Robin Media. Lynne Robinson and Jeff Friday serve as executive producers. The series is produced in partnership with ABFF Studios.

About ABFF The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry, and strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. For more than two decades, the ABFF has been the standard-bearer of excellence in independent Black cinema, having premiered the works and supported the careers of many of today's most successful artists, including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Will Packer (Girls Trip), Issa Rae (Insecure), Omari Hardwick (Power) and Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro). Today, it is the preeminent pipeline for Black talent, in front of and behind the camera, significantly expanding the range of talent in the entertainment industry at large. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures LLC, a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events, television and digital content, targeted to upscale African American audiences. The company is a joint venture between Film Life Inc. and Black Enterprise, two prominent media and event companies, each with legacies of showcasing the best of African American culture and achievement.

About Aspire Aspire is the television entertainment network from Earvin "Magic" Johnson that reflects the people and modern day experiences of black and urban culture in a way that is inspiring, authentic and entertaining. Aspire offers original scripted and reality series, specials and independent films as well as beloved dramas, contemporary comedies and provocative documentaries that allow you to connect and ... see yourself here. The network was launched on 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 24 of the top 25 African-American markets including New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.aspire.tv, facebook.com/aspireTV, @tvASPiRE on Twitter and @ASPiRETV on Instagram.

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.

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