Overcoming obstacles is LaVonda P. Rouse’s forte. She’s the Creator and Executive producer of The Blend Talk, a one-hour weekly inspirational web-based television talk show with a twist of entertainment, created to encourage women to be intentional about being whole while empowering and healing from the inside and out. But her road to success wasn’t short of obstacles, heartache, and disappointments.
I caught up with LaVonda to discuss her journey, The Blend Talk, and her passion for helping women overcome obstacles and educating them through multi-mediums.
Q. When did you know the entertainment industry was where you wanted to work?
A. As a child, I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I stayed focused and worked to fulfill my dream and it opened eventually the door of opportunity when I landed an internship with an award-winning producer, which led to my first production assistant position with the80s sitcom Mr. Belvedere.
Q. Did you have any obstacles along your journey?
A. One of the first real obstacles I faced as it relates to my industry experience occurred after giving my life to the Lord. My pastor told me that “Hollywood and God do not mix.”
Q. That must have been a surprise. How did that make you feel?
A. I was heartbroken. I took my pastor’s comment to heart. What I thought was a setback turned into something bigger than I imagined. It was when I attended Oral Roberts University that opened a new world for me.
Q. Did attending Oral Roberts University shape you to become a creator and executive producer?
A. The university along with my previous industry jobs laid the foundation. I collaborated on entertainment and inspirational content and started an on-campus Dramatic Arts ministry, through which I embraced the apostolic call of inspiring, nurturing, and raising people to lead and live purposefully. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Drama, Television, and Film.
LaVonda was at the height of her careerâ€”climbing the ranks within the entertainment industry, serving in several capacities for various entertainment companies such as Hervey & Co, Witt- Thomas Films, and a boutique theatrical agency.
Her life changed. She suffered the unexpected loss of her sister and faced a health challenge â€” hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease- an immune system disorder that creates the overproduction of thyroid hormones.
Q. How did it feel to see the rewards of your hard work dissipate?
A. It was heartbreaking, an eye-opener, and a game-changer. It put things in perspective, and I thank God for healing me of Graves’ Disease. The experiences prompted me to redirect my focus towards helping women overcome their obstacles, blaze trails wherever they are in the world, and become the best version of who God has called them to be.
It also ignited my creativity which inspired me to launch Collaborative Effort Entertainmentâ€”a multimedia entertainment company that creates educative and faith-based, transformational content for film, television, and the web.
Q. The Blend Talk is under Collaborative Entertainment. What prompted you to create the show?
A. I was tired of watching and listening to the same old approach to talk shows where everyone is yelling and talking over each other. I decided that If I was going to take the time to watch and listen to a show; I was going to be fulfilled with meaningful contentâ€”in spirit, mind, and body. Yes, in that order.
Q. What makes The Blend Talk different from other talk shows?
A. The Blend Talk is not your ordinary talk show. It’s a ministry that brings Black women to the forefront, riding the wave of #blackgirlmagic as shown through VP Kamala Harris, Naomi Osaka, and Issa Rae. As a result, the show is well-positioned to address a wide range of issues germane to Black women’s growth. It is a show where I have sought women who are experts in their field and know their craft inside out. They are professionals who are the best at what they do and are not on this show to take part in idle banter. They look at issues that dig deep into the real you and are unapologetically embracing the fact that we’re all spiritual beings. They look at issues that affect your whole person.
Q. The show is in its second season. What obstacles did you face?
A. The biggest obstacle was Covid-19. The Blend Talk is a show that is taped in the studio in Los Angeles. Because of the pandemic, our co-hosts could not travel. Because of the stay-at-home order, we could no longer gather in one place. It took me a moment to figure out the logistics of the show, but we’re back remotely with a few new things in place.
Q. Besides the show going remote, what else can the viewers expect to see?
A. We have two new hosts. Dr. Lisa Lewis, ND, MBA, Lac and Karen McGibbon, Ph.D., LPC, NCC who join our original co-host Jewel Diamond Taylor, aka The Self-esteem Doctor.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. My life’s mission will continue to create platforms where black women can go to embrace their history, live purposefully, align their lives holistically with the destinies that God has entrusted them with, and take their spirits, minds, and bodies from good to great.
Q. The Blend Talk is your way of giving back to women. How else do you give back?
A. In the past I have served as a volunteer with Thresholds, a nonprofit organization that teaches a six-step decision-making course to interested inmates in Delaware County, PA. I also have taken part in missionary outreach trips to Ghana, Indonesia, Singapore, and Jamaica.
To date, under LaVonda’s entrepreneurial leadership, the company’s best work includes The Blend Talk, The Lady Doctors pilot, and pre-development of the film project Heart & Soul (an inspirational love story loosely based on the Biblical narrative of Hosea).
The Blend Talk airs every Wednesday at 4 PM PST/7 PM ET at Affirmed TV and Facebook.
After the show, the hosts go live on Facebook to continue the discussion and answer questions.
Tune in for meaningful content for the spirit, mind, and body.
For more information visit, www.theblendtalk.com.