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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). 

Harlem Fusion Studios Announces Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series Episode Two 12.23.18 Release

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New York, NY: Harlem Fusion Studios announced today that it has ordered eight episodes of season one of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. Episode two debuts on December 23rd at 6PM EST.  The series is the first new media project for the independent production company. The series debuted in November of 2018.

The first season of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series was released through Vimeo On Demand. The pilot episode of the series is currently streaming online at vimeo.com/ondemand/cgrseries  Harlem Fusion Studios will release each episode now through 2019.

“Curvy Girls Rock has meant so much to the mainstream community of plus size women who are underrepresented in both film and television”, said Shakesha Williams, Founder of Harlem Fusion Studios and Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. “After two years of production, we know thousands of our fans will be eager to find out what the ladies of the series have in store.” Following the premiere, Harlem Fusion Studios has signed up for two seasons of the groundbreaking series.

Randall Holloway, Executive Producer at Harlem Fusion Studios stated: “We are proud of the fresh, hilarious, smart storytelling on Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. The writing, along with the actors, surprise us every week. They make us laugh (a lot), and think.  We are excited about the future of Curvy Girls Rock and Harlem Fusion Studios and look forward to sharing our amazing comedy with the show’s many loyal fans for seasons to come.”

Curvy Girls Rock Digital is a single-camera comedy series created by award-winning writer, Shakesha Williams, that follows plus size women navigating the tricky waters of both their personal and professional lives. The series stars Ellisha Marie, Naimah Terry, Tamala Baldwin, Zoe Goslin, and Jessica Barrish. Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series is executive produced by Williams, Randall Holloway, Tiffany Taylor, and Susan Moses.

About Harlem Fusion Studios
Harlem Fusion Studios is a film, television, and new media company that entertains, engages, and inspires through the visual medium. The company seeks to captivate and connect viewers with the stories they love by creating amazing experiences that celebrate the best of entertainment.   

Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series Episode 2 Debuts on Sunday 12.23

Catch episode 2 of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series on Sunday, December 23 at 6PM EST. The series stars Ellisha Marie, Naimah Terry, Tamala Baldwin, Jessica Barrish, and Zoe Goslin. Don’t miss a moment of Curvy Girls Rock!!!

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Curvy Girls Rock Red Carpet Premiere Sponsored by Lane Bryant

Harlem Fusion Studios hosted the red carpet premiere of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. The event took place at The Slope Lounge in Brooklyn, New York. The red carpet was hosted by Sharon Quinn, OG Runway Diva and the Q & A was hosted by Madeline Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Plus Model Magazine. The standing room only crowd represented the creme-de-la-creme of the plus size and body positive community.

This amazing night was presented by Lane Bryant and all of the leading ladies were dressed by the clothing company. Check out the pictures from this amazing night!

EBONY Magazine Article Featuring Shakesha Williams, Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series

Ebony magazine features the creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series, Shakesha Williams, and talks about the inspiration for the series and the road to becoming a filmmaker. Read the article here.

Plus Model Magazine Interview With Shakesha Williams, Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series

Check out the latest on Plus Model Magazine with Founder of Harlem Fusion Studios and Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series, Shakesha Williams.

Genuine Artistic Talent Partners With Harlem Fusion Studios To Sponsor New Series Curvy Girls Rock

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Harlem Fusion Studios LLC (www.harlemfusionstudios.com)announced today that professional wig designer, Noor Mizana, of Genuine Artistic Talent LLC (www.beautybygat.com), has signed on to sponsor the hair design for one of the lead characters in their first fully scripted groundbreaking series, "Curvy Girls Rock." The debut season of Curvy Girls Rock tells the story of five women juggling the demands of their careers, relationships and everything in between.

Genuine Artistic Talent will be creating all the hairstyles for Tamala Baldwin (www.tamalabaldwin.com), who plays the vivacious and free-spirited IVY in the scripted series. "It is such a privilege to bring this character to life. Part of creating a character that feels like a living, breathing human being, includes everything from movement, emotional triggers and style," says Tamala Baldwin.  "We are so lucky to have Genuine Artistic Talent on the team and Noor Mizana as the lead wig designer for this multi-faceted character," she continued.

The new premier partnership with Genuine Artistic Talent builds on Harlem Fusion Studio's continued commitment to collaborating with brands that support body positive programming, with current and past partnerships including Lane Bryant, the Avenue, Simply Cecily and more. "We are thrilled to partner with Noor Mizana and the entire team at Genuine Artistic Talent, as they strongly believe in the value of great storytelling and independent art," said Shakesha Williams, Founder of Harlem Fusion Studios and Creator of Curvy Girls Rock.  "We look forward to cultivating a long-lasting partnership with them as we strive to produce stories that capture the human spirit of unheard voices in the mainstream media."

"We believe that hair design and storytelling go hand in hand and we're excited to bring Genuine Artistic Talent to a global audience through this strategic partnership." said Noor Mizana, of Genuine Artistic Talent LLC. "This collaboration with Harlem Fusion Studios is a true testament to the power of social networking.  Meeting Tamala has been a true blessing and developing this character with her has been sheer fun," she continued.

All episodes of Curvy Girls Rock were written and directed by Shakesha Williams of Harlem Fusion Studios.  Award-winning actor, Randall Holloway served as a producer for the series.

About Harlem Fusion Studios
out of New York and Atlanta, Harlem Fusion Studios, is an American film, television and new media production company founded in 2012, by award-winning screenwriter, Shakesha Williams.  Shakesha Williams has been in the entertainment business since 2003 where she was an intern for Universal Music Group in the urban publicity division of Motown Records. In 2006, she started Harlem Fusion Enterprises, an entertainment company.  Harlem Fusion was the founder of concert series featuring indie artists in New York City and Atlanta. She was also VP of Publicity for record label Ru1 Records. In 2009, she began her career as a writer, producer and director. She has produced a series of short films and worked in various roles on commercials, web series and feature films. Most recently, Ms. Williams wrote, and executive produced "My Story", a short film that has received critical acclaim.

About Genuine Artistic Talent
Genuine Artistic Talent LLC was founded in 2006 by Nyrisha Jenkins with the intention of breaking into the fashion and beauty industry with unparalleled talent, timeless ingenuity and craftsmanship. Nyrisha attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and upon completion started her custom wig company to meet the needs of her clients. Nyrisha adopted the name, Noor Mizana, which is an alter ego she created to further fuel her creative side. Noor is currently preparing for a new series, Black Panties, and will be featured in music videos releases with upcoming artists.  Visit Genuine Artistic Talent online at www.beautybyGAT.com to view their wig collections, industry work, and more.