Director says ‘When Love Kills’ examines ‘humanity’ of murderous stripper

Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland and Lance Gross star as Falicia and Dino in “When Kills.”Annie Wermiel

Actress Tasha Smith (“Empire,” “Leaping the Broom”) is donning her ’s cap for “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story.”

The TV One film recounts how, in 2002, 19-year-old Falicia Blakely — caught in an online of medicine, intercourse and violence — killed three males in two days together with confederate Ameshia Ervin. (Her identify is modified to Pumpkin within the film; she’s performed by Tiffany Black.]

Blakely, 33, is now serving life with out parole in a Georgia jail — however Smith says “When Love Kills” isn’t simply one other true-crime story.

“There are ladies in our business who’re in politics, and within the company world, who’re susceptible,” she says. “They might not essentially commit crimes towards others, however they could commit crimes towards themselves, as a result of they’ve allowed themselves to get caught up in very abusive relationships out of their should be liked. And that makes them prey for predators.”

“When Love Kills” tells how Blakely (hip hop star Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland) was a teen mother with an unstable upbringing who, on the age of 16, grew to become a dancer at a strip membership — the place she fell underneath the spell of an area pimp named Dino (Lance Gross) and finally turned to a lifetime of crime.

‘Sure, she dedicated a criminal offense … However that is additionally a few girl who was actually susceptible — and actually in love.’

“Let’s take a look at the humanity of this particular person,” says Smith. “Sure, she dedicated a criminal offense based mostly on her love for Dino. However that is additionally a few girl who was actually susceptible — and actually in love.”

On Aug. 15, 2002, Blakely and Ervin robbed and killed two males — Claudell Christmas and Raymond Goodwin — and, the following day, killed Lemetrius Twitty, 29, after selecting him up in a membership. They confessed to all three murders. Ervin is serving a life sentence with the potential for parole.

Smith says she was drawn to creating the film to be able to study how a lady may commit crimes, not solely towards different folks, however towards herself.

“Artwork is necessary as a result of typically you need to see the state of a tradition or an expertise,” she says. “By filmmaking we get to ship a message … Some folks could watch [the movie] and say, ‘Wow I by no means need to be a Falicia. Let me watch out to handle myself and be as wholesome as I can in order that I can acknowledge the sort of love I’m allowed to have.”

Tasha SmithRobert Kamau/GC Pictures

She says, “Lil Mama” Kirkland was not her first option to star as Blakely.

“Lil Mama requested me, ‘Would you’ve gotten forged me?’ and I informed her, ‘By no means.’ However she made me a believer,” she says. “I’m grateful as a result of she kills it. If I used to be in energy to make the choice [to hire Kirkland] … I’d have fought it. However … she was good for the function.”

Smith does say, nonetheless, that she employed the clean-cut Gross (“Sleepy Hole”) to play Dino. “Lance was my choose. I despatched him the script on the final minute,” she says. “I informed him to do one factor once you come to set: ‘Simply do whatever-the- hell I say once you come to work.’”

“When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” 9 p.m. Aug. 28 on TV One

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