shakesha williams

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.   

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.

My Story Wins “Best Screenplay Short” at 3rd Annual WideScreen Film & Music Video Film Festival

Internationally acclaimed short film, My Story, was screened and won the award for “Best Screenplay Short” at the 3rd Annual WideScreen Film & Music Video Film Festival held in Miami, FL from February 17-19, 2017. This year’s edition of the Festival hosted participants and nominees from over 18 countries and a seasoned and diverse team of professionals in the film and music video industry selected the winning films and projects.

Written and produced by Shakesha Williams and Mike Krau, and directed by Linette Lucas, My Story tells the story of “Wilbur,” whose role in the Civil Rights Movement leaves much to be desired. His encounter with a young journalist, with whom he shares the impact a special relationship had on his changing views, is at the center of this 20-minute short film. The film stars John O’Hern, Louis Martinez, and Luke Lowrey and was produced by Harlem Fusion Studios.

“My team and I are so thrilled and honored to be recognized for our work,” said co-writer Shakesha Williams. “This film truly demonstrates the power of forgiveness and will hopefully resonate with many who seek to unite those around us despite our differences.

Upcoming projects under the production of Harlem Fusion Studios include Curvy Girls Rock: Web Series, which tells the story of five plus-size women based in New York City and their exploration on love, life, and careers. The series is currently in pre-production and will begin filming in late spring, 2017, and like My Story, aims to promote themes of acceptance and diversity.

For more information on My Story and Curvy Girls Rock: Web Series, please visit www.harlemfusionstudios.com or contact Alejandra Paz at apaz@harlemfusionstudios.com

Harlem Fusion Studios announces the Indiegogo Campaign for “Curvy Girls Rock.”

Cast of Curvy Girls Rock Clockwise from top left: Nathan M. Ramsey (Shane), Ellisha Marie (Zuri), SJ Hannah (Conroy), Andrea Ilene Shapiro (Reagan), Dante Sharpe (Max), Namiah Terry (Jazzy), Zoe Goslin (Adrienne), Nick Bombicino (Bruce), and Rasheeda Wallace (Ivy). 

Cast of Curvy Girls Rock Clockwise from top left: Nathan M. Ramsey (Shane), Ellisha Marie (Zuri), SJ Hannah (Conroy), Andrea Ilene Shapiro (Reagan), Dante Sharpe (Max), Namiah Terry (Jazzy), Zoe Goslin (Adrienne), Nick Bombicino (Bruce), and Rasheeda Wallace (Ivy). 

Produced by the American Film, Television and New Media Company Harlem Fusion Studios; the groundbreaking web series “Curvy Girls Rock” has just released its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

“Curvy Girls Rock” is a scripted web series that follows five women from different walks of life. Each woman explores careers, sex, relationships and love. Most importantly, this web series features plus size women as the main characters. “Curvy Girls Rock” will show that women of ALL sizes can be seen as beautiful, fashionable and worth viewing on the screen from week to week.

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign is to raise the funds and awareness needed to get “Curvy Girls Rock” off the ground. The series would like to promote positive body images by featuring fashions and beauty from new and existing designers. The creator of “Curvy Girls Rock” and Founder of Harlem Fusion Studios, Shakesha Williams, describes “Curvy Girls Rock” as the curvy version of “Sex in the City;” which is spot on. The campaign will allow “Curvy Girls Rock” to work with different brands and have plus size fashion represented in mainstream media.

The five main characters (Jazzy, Adrienne, Reagan, Zuri, Ivy) embody the title of this series in every way. It will be easy for audiences of all ages to relate to these characters. The Indiegogo campaign is only the first step in allowing the characters in this series to positively represent the majority of real life women. “Curvy Girls Rock” will make it evident that curvy women are sexy, desirable, proud, ambitious and intriguing.

The target goal of the campaign is to raise $100K in 60 days. Raising this amount will allow “Curvy Girls Rock” to reach its full potential as a series. In exchange for your contributions, “Curvy Girls Rock” has some amazing perks. They include red carpet premiere tickets, exclusive t-shirts and an opportunity to have a speaking role in the series.

“Curvy Girls Rock” plans to make innovative changes in television and film for the better; the indiegogo campaign is only the start. Harlem Fusion Studios encourages you to contribute to the Indiegogo campaign, and spread the word about the web series “Curvy Girls Rock.”

You can access the campaign here.

Contact

Alejandra Paz apaz@harlemfusionstudios.com

Website: http://www.harlemfusionstudios.com/cgrseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/curvygirlsrockseries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cgrseries/