*Magic Johnson’s ASPiRE Network launched “Exhale” talk show May 7, 2014 with five notable African-American female hosts that include Angela Burt-Murray, comedian Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Rene Syler (CBS’ “The Early Show”), and actress Malinda Williams.
Guests on the talk show includes actress Niecy Nash (“The Soul Man”); reality television’s Judge Greg Mathis; legendary boxer Laila Ali, and actress Jenifer Lewis (Baggage Claim, Think Like A Man).
During an interview with EURwebs.com’s Lee Bailey, Murray described her role on the show, how it was conceived and she also made a case for why viewers should tune in.
“The concept of the show came from the folk at the ASPIRE network,” she explained. “They were looking for a show to anchor the launch of the new network and there was an opportunity to create something unique in this space.”
“The first time we [the cast] sat together in Los Angeles to meet each other, within 15 minutes it felt like we had been friends forever,” added Murray. “We had very intimate and personal conversation with each other. It’s refreshing to have these cross sections of experiences. It’s nice to have those conversation and perspectives and good to share your opinion but also learn from someone else.”
In today’s market, major television networks are bursting at the seams with female-oriented talkers featuring prominent hosts from various realms of entertainment. The most prolific show in this genre, ABC’s The View, made its debut in 1997 during the Clinton administration.
It’s difficult to envision a rookie show capable of providing a perspective not already experimented with. However, Murray’s convinced that her outfit of cast-mates will bring a fresh take to the small screen.
“Its more than a talk show, it’s a therapy session,” she quipped. “The discussions will feature five African American women with different backgrounds and life experiences talking about the issues that are most pressing to black women and by extension the black community.”
Murray continued, “The format for our show is talking about these topics with a level of depth and honesty not often seen in other shows of this kind. We bring in expert and guests to charter a deeper exploration various topics. I think the show is really exciting and fun; it gives African American women the opportunity to have honest, bold and important conversation.”
Exhale is now in its second season on the ASPIRE network and will provide viewers with an in-depth look into some of the most pertinent issues affecting the black community. Among the topics of discussion, Murray says her favorite episode delves into the stigmatization of mental illness, particularly among African Americans.
“We focus on a single topic during each episode,” she explained. “It allows us to conduct thorough analysis of the issues that our audience is interested in. With this approach, we can cover several aspects of a particular topic. Whether it s mental health or relationships or feminism, were able to have a really robust conversation from many different angles.
Murray continued, “In the African American community there’s resistance around exploring the topic of mental illness. People feel like you can pray it away or you can cover your pain in other ways whether it’s through food or drugs. People are against having honest conversation about real therapeutic methods that you can consider whether it be a therapist or a hospital or medication. Hopefully the discussion on our show will ease some of the stigma so that people know they’re not alone and they know they can get help.”
The second season of Exhale is composed of eight thought-provoking episodes. The show is taped in Los Angeles and Murray hopes it will be picked up by the network for a third season.
“If you’re curious about the human experience; if you’re curious about someone’s personal story and if you’re open to sharing your own journey around any particular topic or your own experience with a family or friend, then we’ve created an environment that make the hosts and the guests share very intimate details about their lives,” she explained. “I’m very excited.”