August 31, 2017 

By Brittany K. Jackson 

Contributing Writer 


Long time actress Tasha Smith has made her directorial debut with the highly-anticipated film ‘When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story’, exploring how life in the fast lane is bound to take turns for the worst.  


The film follows the tempestuous story of Falicia Blakely, a teenage mother who becomes entranced in a lifestyle of exotic dancing, violence and crime after meeting a charming pimp named Dino. Starring Lance Gross as Dino and Niatia ‘Lil Mama’ Kirkland as Blakely, viewers can expect to experience a predatory meets prey tale of lies, sex, drugs, murder and deceit. The cast also features appearances from reality-TV personality Tami Roman, who plays Stacey, Blakely’s mother, along with cameos from boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Big Freedia, and Lil Zane, amongst others. 


Given the details of Blakely’s murderous tirade as we know it, most would consider her actions unforgiveable. Although Blakely’s upbringing was heavily stressed during her trial in hopes gaining a lesser sentence, the murder of three men within a two-day period sealed her fate in DeKalb County jail for life, without the possibility of parole.


For Tasha Smith, it was critical to tap deeper into Blakely’s individual thought process, exploring why she felt her loyalty to Dino was more important than human life. Smith also said making this film taught her more about herself. “I’ve got to trust God, I’ve got to trust my instincts, my creative ability to communicate and that was one of the biggest things I’ve learned,” she said.


Kirkland said that for her, it was important to be a voice for women who’ve endured multiple forms of abuse and manipulation. “For me it was a sacrifice, it was a sacrifice for women all over the world,” she said.


Gross, who’s known to star in roles that are a bit more light-hearted, says that he had to pull from his experiences growing up in Oakland, California to prepare for the role. “Everybody knows me as the nice guy, so even casting directors, they’ll look past me for stuff like this, but luckily Tasha believed in me, you know she gave me a chance,” Gross said.  “People forget that we’re actors, we transform,” he added.


The one question Gross said he would ask his character was if Dino truly ever loved Falicia Blakely. Well, we know one thing is for sure, true love wouldn’t allow one to intentionally place their partner in dangerous and compromising situations.


Overall, Smith says that the key takeaway of the film is to “love yourself and love your purpose, and love your future more than you love the streets.” When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story is set to premiere on TV ONE August 28, 2017. For exclusive interview, visit 

Category: Arts & Culture