The Lifetime Movie Network will air its latest inspirational film, “Giving Hope” The Ni’Cola Mitchell Story,” on Sunday, April 16, 2023. The reality-based film tells the story of Jamaican-born Ni’Cola Mitchell, a writer, publisher, and speaker, who experiences – and survives – terrible sexual abuse and a diagnosis of cancer. Mitchell has used her traumatic life events to help others through her organization, Girls Who Brunch, which she founded to provide events that make young women feel valued and empowered.
Playing Mitchell in the film is actor Tatyana Ali. At a press conference on Zoom, Ali said that the script of “Giving Hope” made her cry. She added that she was honored to work with “incredibly talented, good Black women” on the film who helped her to craft the story and her role in it. She described one of the film’s themes as transforming trauma into power and another is loving oneself by loving others. Ali believes that sharing a personal story of inspiration is a very personal experience that is different for everyone but very necessary. While testimony about trauma may “open things,” it is worth it to become the person you are “on the other side” as you realize that you’re not alone and that other people have experiences similar to those you suffered.
Tatyana Ali has a degree in political science from Harvard University and began her acting career at the age of six as a child star playing opposite Will Smith on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” That role led her to a career in music during which she recorded top-charting singles and attained a recurring role on “The Young and the Restless” soap opera. However, the actor found it to be daunting to play a real, living person who was actually on the set.
Mitchell said it was amazing to watch Ali portray her, especially noting that until she watched Ali she had not noticed how slow she speaks. Watching the actor depict a scene in which she is writing her story at work made her cry as she remembered hoping that she “was going to become something.” Mitchell added that she had “grown up” beside Ali through her role on the “Fresh Prince” and that it was amazing to have the actor portray her in the film.
Ni’Cola Mitchell is an award-winning writer, youth leader, entrepreneur, and executive producer for the Lifetime Movie Network. She was a victim of domestic violence, an experience that has allowed her to understand how at-risk young people have a difficult time making the transition to adulthood because of their lack of resources and opportunities. Her personal experiences inspired her to create Girls Who Brunch, a nonprofit organization that works with girls between the ages of 9-17 years in low-income communities, sponsoring girls in foster care, and helping sex-trade victims and teen mothers through mentorship and panel facilitations. The organization offers a mix of fun performances, raffles, and music with workshops that center on education, STEM, health, awareness of sex trafficking, and empowerment issues. It also trains girls in business development and financial literacy. Since its founding in 2020, Girls Who Brunch has aided more than 6,000 girls around the country toward becoming future leaders.
Photos – Ni’Cola Mitchell