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Creator Shakesha Williams talks about the inspiration for Curvy Girls Rock

Written by Urey Onuoha

There’s something about the friendships on an ensemble TV series like Girlfriends and Sex and the City that is highly appealing and can even be aspirational. But when even your favorites don’t have characters that you can relate to, what do you do? If you’re Shakesha Williams, you create your own.

The new web series, aptly titled Curvy Girls Rock, follows five plus-size women as they explore careers, sex, love, and relationships. The goal of the series, says Williams, is to show that women of all sizes are sexy, desirable, and strong. “I love ensemble TV series…I just always feel that being plus-size is the butt of the joke,” she says. “Women of every size have sex and are beautiful and desirable. We have life partners, lovers, and face the same things that all women do. I want to see those stories played out on screen.”

In addition to casting actors that are actually plus-size, Williams is answering other calls for diversity in entertainment by writing ethnically diverse characters (and casting them appropriately), and heading up a production that is led primarily by women. Williams, who in 2017 won Best Screenplay Short at the Widescreen Film and Music Video Festival for her short film My Story, sheds light on the show, the importance of body positivity, and how she’s overcome challenges she’s faced as a filmmaker.

Q: Tell us a bit about Curvy Girls Rock.

A: Curvy Girls Rock follows the lives of five plus-size women as they explore their careers, sex, love, and relationships. The women — Jazzy, Adrienne, Zuri, Reagan, and Ivy — are all from different walks of life but are connected in some way. The series is amazing. We have a great cast and season one is filled with characters that everyone can relate to. We want to show that women of all sizes are sexy, desirable, and strong. Not that they can be, but that they are.

Q: Why this show? Why is it important?

A: The success of Curvy Girls Rock will show Hollywood that it’s time to cast size diversity in leading roles more often. It will also make it clear to the industry that plus-size women are the majority, not the minority, and are sexy, desirable, proud, ambitious, and intriguing.

Q. Who is your favorite character and why?

A: I don't know if I have a favorite character. As the writer, I feel connected to each character in many ways. I'm a fashionista like Jazzy, a business owner like Adrienne and Zuri, a mother like Reagan, and a passionate artist like Ivy. That's why I love each of them. They are beautifully flawed like all women. I think each character is relatable in a way. The character diversity is why I absolutely love the series!

Q. Besides My Story and CGR, you have a number of other credits to your name. How did you get into filmmaking?

A: I knew when I was a child I would become a filmmaker. I started writing scripts after I was cast in Annie in fourth grade. I loved everything about the stage and the screen. In 2010, I attended AIU Atlanta and was a Digital Film and Post Production major. I began making shorts in 2012. I love how a good film or television show makes you feel. I love that good content can make you think. It can drive a full day of conversation at work or it can impact a life. I knew I wanted to be part of that. I knew I wanted to move people. That's how I feel about filmmaking!

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman, and a woman of color, in the industry and how are you overcoming them?

A: My road has been unique. I've never been one to wait for an opportunity. When I realized I was ready to begin making films, I started Harlem Fusion Studios. With HFS, I have the ability to create the content/movies/shows that I want to see. As a writer, my worldview is shaped by my culture, upbringing, and experiences. It's not easy being an executive producer, but I'm getting an invaluable education in filmmaking. I can say that with everything there are challenges and roadblocks. But I don't tend to let too many things get in my way. I'm pretty much a fireball. I'm not always confident but I will never stop trying or give up in the face of adversity. 

Q: How can people find more information about the Curvy Girls Rock series?

A: There’s a number of ways. First, through the Curvy Girls Rock website (http://www.cgrseries.com). We’re also all over social media. We have a pretty active Facebook page (Curvy Girls Rock: The Series) and also share behind-the-scenes content on Twitter (@cgrseries) and Instagram (@curvygirlsrockseries). 

Male Model Who Loves Plus-Size Women Stars In New Curvy Girls Rock Web Series

Photo Courtesy @DJ4JAY Instagram

Photo Courtesy @DJ4JAY Instagram

Fit model, Jay Kennedy, aka DJ4Jay, whose YouTube channel Every Wednesday chronicles his love of plus-size women, has joined the cast of Curvy Girls Rock web series, which is set to begin filming in late April 2017. A D.J., model, bodybuilder, and tattoo enthusiast, Jay is using his platform to promote body positivity as well as shine a light on sizeism.

Kennedy’s YouTube channel, Every Wednesday, features an array of videos where he discusses a variety of topics including, fit men dating plus-size women, body appreciation, and the difficulties plus-size women face when shopping for clothes. "How can you appreciate some parts of a woman being bigger [butt, boobs] and shun other parts [stomach, arms] for being big," he says in one video. Additionally, in an interview with The Revelist, Kennedy says  “It kind of sucks the way society has set us all up for failure, meaning guys I talk to, and men in general, feel like it’s wrong to be attracted to bigger women. I think a lot of that is just due to the media." Jay is not alone in his beliefs. His YouTube channel has over one million views and his Instagram page boasts over 80K followers.

Kennedy will star as Lawrence in Season One of Curvy Girls Rock. The character is the sexy love interest of plus-size fashion blogger Jazzy, played by actress and plus-size model Naimah Terry. Filming will be completed in New York City and continuous updates of Kennedy’s participation, as well as of the show, can be seen and followed through the Curvy Girls Rocks social media platforms (Facebook: @cgrseries ; Instagram: @curvygirlsrockseries ; Twitter: @cgrseries) For more information, please visit: www.harlemfusionstudios.com/cgrseries.

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About Curvy Girls Rock

Created by and primarily led by women, Curvy Girls Rock is a fun and sexy scripted ensemble series featuring a diverse and well-rounded cast that will bring a fresh perspective and rich storylines to the media landscape. Through its characters’ backgrounds in the arts, media, and business, the series also aspires to represent on screen the 67% of American plus-size women who have been long misrepresented and ignored by the media. Its unique approach to telling stories about plus-size women and issues surrounding body positivity and image will also be a catalyst to continue conversations surrounding these topics and beauty diversity.

 

Curvy Girls Rock: Web Series Launches Second Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign

Creator of internationally acclaimed, My Story, writer Shakesha Williams has launched a second crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support the production and filming of Curvy Girls Rock, a web series following the lives of five plus-size women living in New York City and their exploration on career, relationships, and love. Currently slated to begin filming Season 1 on April 29, 2017, the campaign seeks to raise $45,000 for the development and filming costs of the series.

Created and primarily led by women, Curvy Girls Rock is a fun and sexy ensemble series featuring a diverse and well-rounded cast that will bring a fresh perspective and rich storylines to the media landscape. Through its characters’ backgrounds in the arts, media, and business, the series also aspires to represent on screen the 67% of American plus-size women who have been long misrepresented and ignored by the media. Its unique approach to telling stories about plus-size women and issues surrounding body positivity and image will also be a catalyst to continue conversations surrounding these topics and beauty diversity.

We are truly excited about filming the first season on April 29,” said Curvy Girls Rock writer, Shakesha Williams. “We are counting on the support of our fans and followers to continuously bring these amazing stories to life and to show that women of all sizes are sexy, desirable, smart, and powerful.”

Those interested in supporting Curvy Girls Rock, should visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/curvy-girls-rock-series-part-2-film-television#/backers to learn more and to discover how to help spread the word via social media. In exchange for a contribution, a series of “perks” or benefits can also be found, including tickets to the premiere, the opportunity to participate in an upcoming episode of the show, direct access to the cast and producers of the show, and the chance to be an extra or become a character on the show with a speaking role.

If you would like more information about Curvy Girls Rock or an interview with creator, Shakesha Williams, please contact Alejandra Paz at apaz@harlemfusionstudios.com                                                                                                                                 

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Press Contacts:

Harlem Fusion Studios Website: http://www.harlemfusionstudios.com/cgrseries

Curvy Girls Rock Instagram: @curvygirlsrockseries

Curvy Girls Rock Twitter: @cgrseries

Curvy Girls Rock Facebook: @cgrseries