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Love that girl Tatyana Ali

Gail Choice | 1/5/2011, 5 p.m.

If you've been watching TV One then you know that "Love That Girl!" starring Tatyana Ali is back for its second season Monday, January 10, at 9 p.m. with back-to-back episodes.

Ali is seen pitching the show with actor/comedian Martin Lawrence, who also serves as an executive producer of the series, and is scheduled to make several appearances.

In TV One's first original scripted series, Ali stars as Tyana Jones, a young divorcee, who returns home to Southern California for a second chance in life and career, working in her father's real estate business. As the cast of characters evolve within the series, you'll learn this is no easy task for her to accomplish. Distinguished actor Phil Morris plays Tanya's father, and he is joined by other offbeat characters who make this series a sheer delight.

Love that girl ... no, I really mean I love that girl, Tatyana Ali. She is the embodiment of intelligence, femininity, personality, talent, determination and stamina. Every time I see her at public appearances; she is poised, humble, and beautiful. And underneath all that is the heart of a lion and an eagle.

Why the praise, and open adoration? Because in this day and age, our young girls and women need positive examples of how to handle life; from the business aspect to education, work, and play, and Ali is a prime example.

Tatyana Ali is a Broadway-trained actress, singer, activist and graduate of Harvard University. Currently she is the national spokesperson for the Millennium Momentum Foundation and the current host of the United Negro College Fund Empower Me Tour.

You can catch her in reruns as Ashley Banks, in the hit NBC comedy series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." She plays the youngest child in the Banks' household. And we watched her grow up and go toe-to-toe with Will Smith, star of the series.

My concern at that time was would she have a career in film and television after her successful stint on a hit network series. When I learned she had directed her sights on getting a quality education, I was very happy for her.

Truth be told, as beautiful and talented as Ali is, roles for her and women like her (Black) are few and far in between. And the unspoken color line, when it comes to Black actresses is more pronounced, when it comes to getting the juicier roles, even in films helmed by Black directors, and producers.

Like the fighter she is, Ali and her sister, Anastasia created the production company, HazraH Entertainment. Coupled with Bent Outta Shape Productions Inc., headed by Bentley Kyle Evans, "Love That Girl" is a sure-fire hit.

"My sister, Anastasia, and I were very interested by what Bentley and Martin were doing with this series from a business standpoint, and the creative story that the show tells only made it that much more attractive," said Ali. "Of all the characters I've played, Tyana is my favorite so far."

Bentley Kyle Evans has put together a stellar team, including Lawrence, to produce the series. Evans originally brought four special episodes of the African American-produced sitcom to TV One (it was produced outside the traditional studio system in 2009), and TV One aired it in January 2010 and re-assembled the team for the new series.

"I am delighted to be back in business with TV One for a full season of "Love That Girl!" said Evans. "Not only do they get the business behind programming to the more sophisticated urban market; they have the ideal audience for a series like ours. What we wanted to do was create a series that was unique and distinctive, intelligently written, and well-crafted--I think we are accomplishing all four objectives with "Love That Girl!"

Let's show our support for TV One and "Love That Girl!" Catch the premiere Monday. Make sure you check your local and cable listings.

Gail can be reached at hollywoodbychoice_gail@yahoo.com.