Great news for the cast and crew of When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, as the film now ranks as TV One’s #1 original premiere of all time.
The highly publicized flick brought in an impressive 1.6 million unique viewers during its August 28th debut, and is expected to bring in steady numbers with each re-air.
Social media engagement was also through the roof, with #WhenLoveKills trending on Twitter throughout its showing. Starting at #6, the hashtag made it to the top spot by night’s end.
When Love Kills tells the story of Falicia Blakely, a troubled teen mother played by Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland who begins stripping at 16-years-old.
She goes on to fall in love with pimp Dino, played menacingly by Lance Gross, who introduces her to a life of crime from which she’ll never return.
The film – which is based on a true story – marks the feature-length directorial debut for actress Tasha Smith, best known for her roles in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and Empire.
During her sit-down with The Breakfast Club, the Camden, NJ native revealed her own past as an exotic dancer was a factor when she took on the project.
In fact, dispelling common myths surrounding the profession was a very deliberate goal for filmmakers.
“There are some women that can probably handle that lifestyle and not get caught up, like, you look at Amber Rose, you look at Blac Chyna, they did pretty well for themselves, right?
“But every woman, I feel, can’t go in that world and really mentally handle it.”
@breakfastclubam interview. And yes people I use to be a stripper. Thank God it was in the early 90’s because I would have NEVER made it today. Because I wasn’t that good, that’s why I only stripped in white clubs. I couldn’t do the tricks the black girls were doing. I had a big booty and a lot of breast, and that’s it. I sucked “really”. I could not spin on a pole or nothing. My theme song was Push It by Salt and Pepper and my stripper name was Brandy. #WhenLoveKills August 28th on @tvonetv
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The 46-year-old star continued, “Hey, I used to be a stripper, so I understand…but I got out of the club. I know my path could’ve been different, like, my path ended up here.
“Falicia Blakely is serving life in jail. I feel like the story is important for these young girls.”
The critically-acclaimed film will re-air tonight, August 31 at 10PM EST on TV One.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.