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Quality Entertainment: Rockmond Dunbar & Vanessa Williams Star in GMC Family-Friendly, Faith-based Movie, ‘Raising Izzie’

By JT Morton, EEW Entertainment News Staff

These days, it can be tough to find quality, family-friendly, faith-based shows on television. But the GMC network is seeking to change all that by releasing original movies, which tell compelling stories, and cast exceptional actors like the new film “Raising Izzie” starring Rockmond Dunbar (“Private Practice,” “The Game”) and Vanessa Williams (“Soul Food,” “NYPD Blue”).

Williams and Dunbar play Greg and Tonya, a husband and wife dealing with the frustration of fertility issues. Though this African American couple’s love for one another radiates, their attempts to build a family have been unsuccessful. Tonya desperately longs to share the love and nurturing she puts into her job as a teacher with children of her own. But the couple’s prolonged period of childlessness causes the two to wonder if it’s God’s will that they remain without children of their own.

On the set: Rockmond Dunbar and Vanessa Williams play husband and wife Greg and Tonya in GMC’s original movie, “Raising Izzie.” (Photo Credit: GMC)Greg and Tonya have no idea that two young girls, Gertie and Izzie, will change their lives forever.

The sisters, abandoned by their father and tragically orphaned by their recently deceased mother, are doing the best they can to stay in school and keep anyone from detecting the truth: they are living alone, so they can stay together. With assistance from their mother before her passing, the girls are financially prepared to sustain themselves for some time. Gertie, 14, takes seriously her charge to raise her younger sister Izzie, 10, alone.

But when Tonya discovers their sad and hopeless plight, she and Greg will make a move that will help them discover God’s plan for their family.

Vanessa Williams who plays Tonya and actress Victoria Staley who plays 14-year-old Gertie, find hope and solace in each other. Staley has starred in television series' such as "Surface," "House of Payne," "Walking Madison" and "My Parents, My Sister and Me.” (Photo Credit: GMC)Raising Izzie is a refreshing twist on a familiar tale of down-on-their-luck kids needing a stable family to take them in. Usually, African American children are depicted as the poor, cast down, needy characters ultimately rescued by caring, white heroic figures.

This time around, GMC breaks the mold by highlighting a strong, loving, healthy black family in position to provide love, shelter, and stability to downtrodden white children.

“I think it’s an interesting story because it’s about people coming together when they need each other,” says Williams in a behind- the-scenes interview.

It’s nice to see diverse programming with a message of faith and hope.

Raising Izzie starring Rockmond Dunbar, Vanessa Williams, Kyla Kenedy and Victoria Staley airs Saturday July 21 on GMC.

Click here for more information.

Will you be checking it out?

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Reader Comments (6)

Nice. Both great actors!

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

This is not Vanessa Williams of "Soul Food"! She played a part on the Cosby Show one time as Theo girlfriend from the Islands (Barbados).

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereva

Eva, this is the same Vanessa Williams from Soul Food. Early in her career, yes, she also played Theo's girlfriend on The Cosby Show.

She and Rockmond Dunbar were husband and wife on Soul Food. They have great chemistry, so I know this movie will be great!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

Soul Food the movie-had different actors than Soul Food the TV show...you both are right!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee

OK! Now I get it, I forgot Soul Food had a series and there was the Movie, which was different. Now Soul Food the movie was the one I liked. I hadn't watched the series...sorry!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereva

Rockmond Dunbar, you are a passionate, excellent actor. Talk about inspiring; I felt all of the emotions you and Vanessa were experiencing. This movie was tailored for you! I am 100% sure that you were picked as the actor before the script was written! KUDOS to you!!! A JOB WELL DONE!


October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Hoskin

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