Have you seen TV One’s Original Movie When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story? I know I am usually tardy to the party, but I had to catch this one.
First, it was Tasha Smith’s director feature debut. I’ve been a fan of hers since Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? Second, I wanted to see Lil Mama win. I had seen some random interview a while back where she talked about taking acting seriously. I could hear the hunger in her voice, and so I wanted to support her. Finally, It was the true story of Falicia Blakely. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, and this is one of those times. Lance Cross and Floyd Mayweather were bonuses. During the movie, we discover that after growing up in a dysfunctional single parent home Falicia falls in love with a manipulative pimp Dino. Dino’s good looks and the promise of paradise coupled with his violent nature and his inauspicious career leads Falicia and her accomplice Pumpkin down a dark path.
I am excited to see how Tasha’s directing career blooms from here. Lil Mama held her own and gave Falicia Blakely a voice. I am not the kind of person that ruins movies for other people, and so this doesn’t article doesn’t have any movie spoilers. Feel free to read this and then go and watch the film.
The actors were great, but the plot had a hold on me. By the end of the movie, I had 1,000 questions for the real Falicia, Pumpkin, and Dino, and I wasn’t going to sleep until I found away to get those answers. There were just these little details that tugged at the journalistic sleuth in me. I wanted to know more about them not just as criminals, but as people. I wanted to know where they were now, and how they felt about each other and the movie. So I reached out to Fallicia Blakely, Ameshia Ervin, and Michael Berry, and they were all kind of enough to answer all of my questions.
Falicia’s point of view informed the story, and so I reached out to her first. She was incredibly kind and open. I promised to send her your responses to this article so be sure to leave one. She seems interested in what the world thinks about her story.
Behind When Love Kills: Falica Blakley
AA: Your story is so personal, and you have been through a lot, what made you decide to share it with the world?
FB: I’m not the one who decided to share it with the world. Mrs. Casondra Beedles is. She had been following my story since 2004, and once she saw the For my Man segment, she proposed a script to TVOne and they accepted it, and the rest was history. Everything was done on public records and such. Therefore, I thought it would be extraordinary for a book to be written at the same time to give my entire story and A Treacherous Hustle was formed by Serenti Hall. So it’s like God decided it was time.
AA: How has the book and the movie changed your life?
FB: I really can’t say that my life has changed except for the fact God is allowing me to speak with more people all over the United States about the dangers and possibilities of being liberated from Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking. Where I once just had the chance to tell those I came in contact with, TVOne has made a platform for me, to hopefully save our daughters, maybe even our sons too!
AA: Has Michael Berry ever apologized for his actions?
FB: There a Kindle book out that is titled “Falicia Blakely’s letters from a pimp.” Enclosing some letters, he wrote me back in 2006. It’s the closest I ever got to an apology for his actions. A coward can’t admit when they’re wrong. It takes a Man or a Woman to stand before another individual and face reality and acknowledge how they treated another individual.
AA: How was it seeing your life being played out on screen? What did you hope women would walk away with?
FB: Seeing the movie was emotional… It’s so sad how naive I was, how my mind was manipulated. I hope that women, young ladies, and teenage girls can see how we give way too much of ourselves to men, to people in general. We accommodate to the point we lose sight of ourselves and then we’re left to figure how to move forward with our lives once that individual is out of the picture.
I hope they can look at me and see the importance of being careful who you love; not everybody deserves it. Some people are in love with the idea of being in love. If you’re the only one giving and making an effort in the relationship, it’s probably not worth having. [It] isn’t apart of your destiny anyways! Where God is taking you that deadbeat can’t go…
AA: How does the book differ from the movie?
FB: A Treacherous Hustle is so much more graphic! It even covers my childhood, as well as the day I got sentenced. What I felt and how I responded to it all. It lays out ALL the foolishness Mr. Berry did to me. Situations the movie didn’t capture, things he did that was too much for TV! It’s sad, but it was the life I chose for myself.
AA: What’s next for you? Will you write another book or share more of your personal stories? What are some of your dreams and aspirations now?
FB: There is another book already in the making. I am working with Ms. Serenti Hall. She is the young lady I sold my rights to, to tell my life story, “A Treacherous Hustle“. She will produce a book about my life after I was sentenced.
Right now we’re calling it Life after LIFE, but that is subject to change. I also hope to write some novels myself. I hope to possibly start a foundation for run away girls, girls who are most likely subjected to human trafficking. As a means to give back to our community. I hope to see the day hope to see the day when my victims family can forgive me and Mr. Berry is held accountable for his role in these murders and if nothing else I can one day be eligible for parole.
Falicia Blakely is serving three life sentences with no chance of parole. She just turned 34 years old the other day. Falicia Blakely and Armeshia Ervin are serving their sentences in the same Georgia State Prison.
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