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Nzinga Christine Blake
1981 (age 36–37)
Blake was a host on Current TV and starred on the TV series Fridays on Cartoon Network, Culture Click on Litton's Weekend Adventure, as well as in national television commercials for Sprite and Kinkos. Blake now hosts "Culture Click" on the television network called "Bounce" TV, which is usually only found on non-cable television. Her father, Cecil Blake, is the former Minister of Information in Sierra Leone.
Life and career
Born in Maryland, Nzinga Blake has been a jet setter from birth with a love for the arts, fashion and humanitarian efforts. As the daughter of a Sierra Leonean former UN official, cabinet minister, and world scholar, she spent a majority of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan and Nairobi, Kenya. While in Japan Nzinga, her older sister and Mother, a clinical dietitian, were swept into the fashion scene as models, which is where Nzinga began her love for fashion. She also starred in several Japanese and English musical theater performances from grade school overseas and throughout high school, igniting her love and devotion to the arts.
Nzinga’s love for humanitarian efforts began as a little child as she traveled back to her parent’s native country of Sierra Leone in West Africa. She was taught to always share with those who were less fortunate. This tradition continued when she attended the International School of Kenya, where Nzinga and classmates would often volunteer within the community. Her fondest memory was spending time at the AIDS orphanage and packing a lunch for a little child she was responsible for while taking them on Safari. She participates annually in the Los Angeles AIDS Walk. After the recent earthquake that shattered Haiti, Nzinga organized a fundraising event in Los Angeles that contributed to the general fund of the International Medical Corps.
Nzinga graduated cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) school of Film, Television and Digital Media. After graduating from UCLA, Nzinga became the first live human to be seen on Cartoon Network, where she hosted the popular show Fridays. During this time she also landed recurring role, as Vivian, on the Showtime series Barbershop and the ABC primetime drama What About Brian. She would go on to become a host, writer and producer on Al Gore’s Emmy Award-winning network, Current TV. In 2009, she began hosting for BET and is the LA Entertainment correspondent for a talk show on Australia's Network 10, titled The Project (previously known as The 7PM Project).
Blake was named after Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, a 17th-century Queen and folk heroine of the Mbundu people of southwestern Africa. She is a 1999 graduate of Munster High School in Indiana, and a 2003 graduate of UCLA as a film & television major.
As mentioned in one of the ads for Fridays, she speaks fluent Japanese, although she claims to speak "some" Japanese. Later on in said ad, she mentions the block title, start date, and network in Japanese.
She was a host on Current TV from 2006 to 2008.
Blake hosted Culture Click, an educational and informative TV show using virtual reality to cover current events, societal issues and pop culture. The program aired on Litton's Weekend Adventure, a weekend programming block airing primarily on ABC stations. which made its debut on September 3, 2011. Culture Click was canceled in January 2012. The show won a 2012 Telly Award for Outstanding Cultural Television Program. In addition to producing, writing, acting, and TV hosting, Nzinga also consults for the new entertainment company, Freely in Los Angeles, California. Her responsibilities include developing Films and TV shows for the faith based media market, in addition to creating and spearheading the social action arm of the company.
Nzinga has been active in directing and producing PSAs. She recently wrote, directed and produced a PSA entitled “End Ebola Now,” which is a campaign she founded. The PSA was distributed virally and now airs on a new satellite television channel, FIGHT EBOLA TV, in West Africa. The End Ebola Now team also launched a viral campaign entitled #ShakeEbolaOff in efforts to raise awareness and funds for Emergency USA, the only fully functioning hospital in Sierra Leone. The campaign received a great amount of press and has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, The Telegraph, RYOT, Vanichi, Voice of America and many more domestic and international news outlets. Additionally, Nzinga was the co-director and producer for the United Nations ILO World AIDS Day PSA, featuring four time Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis. She continues to work on ways to promote youth empowerment in Africa and other developing nations through entertainment, fashion and the arts with her various projects.
- "SIERRA LEONEAN GIRL BREAKS NEW GROUND FOR AFRICA IN U.S." sierravisions.org. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
- Rolek, Barbara (2 January 2004). "Animated girl". Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Interview with Nzinga Blake at ITV Fest
- Culture Click TV Show holds launch party. September 5, 2011