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Each week, Angela Burt-Murray, Erin Jackson, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams and Rene Syler of the provocative new talk series Exhale, bring you an hour of honesty and entertainment…where nothing is held back! They’ll open up about family, relationships, money, faith and everything that African American women are talking about.

This dynamic group of African American women, from different generations and backgrounds, will engage in candid discussions on a wide range of topics, sharing their personal thoughts and experiences. Exhale will give a fresh perspective to topics that are always current in the lives of women. Everyone will be inspired by the show’s powerful messages of understanding, motivation and personal evolution.

Exhale invites viewers to feel like they are part of an intimate discussion in the living room with their girlfriends. And in every episode, special guests and subject matter experts will drop by to join in the conversation and fun.

Meet Our Hosts
  • Angela Burt-Murray

    Angela Burt-Murray

  • Erin Jackson

    Erin Jackson

  • Malinda Williams

    Malinda Williams

  • Rene Syler

    Rene Syler

  • Issa Rae

    Issa Rae

Journalist, Author, Motivational Speaker

Angela Burt-Murray is the co-founder and editorial director of Cocoa Media Group, a new digital media company that launched CocoaFab.com and CocoaFab.TV to feature entertainment, style and original web series for young women of color.

Prior to launching CMG, she was the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine, where she oversaw the editorial direction for ESSENCE magazine—the premier lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty magazine for African-American women—as well as Essence.com—the leading daily online destination to serve that audience. As steward of ESSENCE’s editorial content from 2005- 2010, Burt-Murray increased circulation by 20 percent and defined the cultural discussion for the Black community and empowered the brand's audience–which encompassed 8.3 million readers of the monthly magazine and over 1.5 million monthly unique users of the website.

Under her leadership, ESSENCE was recognized for its compelling editorial content, her popular monthly essays, exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and investigative reports on child slavery in Ghana, child sex trafficking and the rise of militant hate groups. She also created the magazines first ever news section, signed high-profile contributors like Charlayne Hunter-Gault as the magazines first Africa correspondent and hired the magazine's first White House correspondent.

Burt-Murray also successfully expanded the ESSENCE brand into books, television and live events. ESSENCE recently published The Black Women’s Guide to Healthy Living, and three commemorative editions of The Obamas: Portrait of America's New First Family andThe Obamas in The White House: Reflections on Family, Faith & Leadership. She also expanded the brand into television with three co-branded news specials for CNN entitled Black in America: Reclaiming the Dream (2008, 2009) and The State of Black Men in the Age of Obama (2009); executive produced and hosted two TV ONE specials Essence Presents: Will You Marry Me (2007, 2008); and executive produced four TV ONE specials: Essence Music Festival: One Night Only (2009, 2010) and Faith Through the Storm (2010), a documentary about life in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina (2010); and a TV ONE All-Star Gospel Tribute to Bishop TD Jakes (2009).

Additionally, as one of the chief architects of the annual 3-day Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Burt-Murray was responsible for programming the daily empowerment seminars. Her complete reinvention of this ad-supported series, development of key initiatives like on-site HIV testing, standing-room only gospel celebrations, the groundbreaking African-American Education Summit and the inclusion of world-class speakers like Dr. Bill Cosby, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tyler Perry and Jada Pinkett Smith, resulted in over 100,000 attendees each day.

Prior to joining ESSENCE, Burt-Murray served as executive editor of TEEN PEOPLE. Previously, Burt-Murray was executive editor at Honey magazine from 2001 to 2003, beauty and health director at TEEN PEOPLE in 2001, and the fashion and beauty features editor for ESSENCE from 1998 to 2001. Burt-Murray’s work has appeared in Working Mother, Heart & Soul and Parenting magazines. She is also the co-author of the critically acclaimed humor book, The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life (Dutton), and the novel, The Vow (HarperCollins/Amistad) which is being turned into a movie by Lifetime Networks. She is also a weekly contributor to The Steve Harvey Morning Show where she hosts the popular Hot Topics segment.

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Angela Burt-Murray
Journalist, Author, Motivational Speaker

Angela Burt-Murray is the co-founder and editorial director of Cocoa Media Group, a new digital media company that launched CocoaFab.com and CocoaFab.TV to feature entertainment, style and original web series for young women of color.

Prior to launching CMG, she was the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine, where she oversaw the editorial direction for ESSENCE magazine—the premier lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty magazine for African-American women—as well as Essence.com—the leading daily online destination to serve that audience. As steward of ESSENCE’s editorial content from 2005- 2010, Burt-Murray increased circulation by 20 percent and defined the cultural discussion for the Black community and empowered the brand's audience–which encompassed 8.3 million readers of the monthly magazine and over 1.5 million monthly unique users of the website.

Under her leadership, ESSENCE was recognized for its compelling editorial content, her popular monthly essays, exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and investigative reports on child slavery in Ghana, child sex trafficking and the rise of militant hate groups. She also created the magazines first ever news section, signed high-profile contributors like Charlayne Hunter-Gault as the magazines first Africa correspondent and hired the magazine's first White House correspondent.

Burt-Murray also successfully expanded the ESSENCE brand into books, television and live events. ESSENCE recently published The Black Women’s Guide to Healthy Living, and three commemorative editions of The Obamas: Portrait of America's New First Family andThe Obamas in The White House: Reflections on Family, Faith & Leadership. She also expanded the brand into television with three co-branded news specials for CNN entitled Black in America: Reclaiming the Dream (2008, 2009) and The State of Black Men in the Age of Obama (2009); executive produced and hosted two TV ONE specials Essence Presents: Will You Marry Me (2007, 2008); and executive produced four TV ONE specials: Essence Music Festival: One Night Only (2009, 2010) and Faith Through the Storm (2010), a documentary about life in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina (2010); and a TV ONE All-Star Gospel Tribute to Bishop TD Jakes (2009).

Additionally, as one of the chief architects of the annual 3-day Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Burt-Murray was responsible for programming the daily empowerment seminars. Her complete reinvention of this ad-supported series, development of key initiatives like on-site HIV testing, standing-room only gospel celebrations, the groundbreaking African-American Education Summit and the inclusion of world-class speakers like Dr. Bill Cosby, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tyler Perry and Jada Pinkett Smith, resulted in over 100,000 attendees each day.

Prior to joining ESSENCE, Burt-Murray served as executive editor of TEEN PEOPLE. Previously, Burt-Murray was executive editor at Honey magazine from 2001 to 2003, beauty and health director at TEEN PEOPLE in 2001, and the fashion and beauty features editor for ESSENCE from 1998 to 2001. Burt-Murray’s work has appeared in Working Mother, Heart & Soul and Parenting magazines. She is also the co-author of the critically acclaimed humor book, The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life (Dutton), and the novel, The Vow (HarperCollins/Amistad) which is being turned into a movie by Lifetime Networks. She is also a weekly contributor to The Steve Harvey Morning Show where she hosts the popular Hot Topics segment.

Featured as one of the “40 Under 40” by Crain’s New York Business, she appears regularly on CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News and The Today Show, to name a few. Burt-Murray is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the American Society of Magazine Editors. She has served on the boards of Safe Horizons, the nation’s leading domestic violence assistance organization, The Overseas Press Club, the South Orange Performing Arts Center and the American Society of Magazine Editors. She currently serves on the board of The Pingry School. A graduate of Hampton University, she resides in New Jersey with her husband and their two children.

Erin Jackson

"Washington has been the home of a number of very good comics and a few great ones (Wanda Sykes, Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black, Martin Lawrence). Erin Jackson could be next in line." – The Washington Post

Armed with a megawatt smile and a pocket full of dreams, Erin Jackson is poised to conquer the world of stand-up. In fact, she’d probably be well on her way to superstardom by now if her friends and family hadn’t spent so many years hating on her dreams and stealing her joy.

Since first making a name for herself at colleges and east coast comedy clubs, Erin's warm, conversational style and relatable humor have helped to propel her onto the national stage. She has performed on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and Comedy Central’s "Live at Gotham," and was a semifinalist on season 6 of NBC’s "Last Comic Standing." Erin has also appeared on VH-1 and worked with both HBO and BET on live comedy and awards specials. She's been a panelist on pop-culture countdown shows such as "40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the 90's" and "Best Movie Kisses" and was featured most recently on TV Guide Network's "StandUp in Stilettos." Erin is currently touring the country as part of the "Pumps & Punchlines" theatre tour.

Malinda Williams

Armed with a license in cosmetology and a few small acting roles, Malinda Williams left her home state of New Jersey and ambitiously set her sights on Hollywood. Originally intent on servicing the entertainment industry by opening her own hair salon, Malinda quickly found her beauty industry career giving way to her undeniable acting talent.

Twice nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "outstanding actress in a drama series", the determined young beauty made a name for herself, grabbing lead roles in films such as The Wood , High School High, Tyler Perry's Daddy’s Little Girls and First Sunday. Having just completed one of four film projects in 2011 which include Percentage with Ving Rhames and Macy Gray, Russ Parr’s The Undershephard and GMC’s A Cross to Bear, Malinda will appear next, alongside Chris Rock, in Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York, which will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. If you ask this talented actress some of her career goals, she will tell you, I just want to portray African-American women accurately, because that is all I represent; not necessarily positively or negatively, just correctly.

Malinda has also graced the silver screen in the Outkast film, Idlewild (Universal). Idlewild is Malinda's first starring role in a major musical production. In this period piece, also starring Big Boi and Andre 3000, Malinda portrays Zora, the wife of Rooster (Big Boi).

Malinda starred as a series regular on the television drama Windfall(NBC), where she portrayed Kimberly George, a 22 year-old single mother whose luck found her winning the $386 Million dollar lottery and left her life in the trailer park behind.

Malinda's other notable leading role film credits include: The Wood (MTV /Paramount), High School High (Tri-Star), and An Invited Guest which won the “Best of Show” at the Acapulco Black Film Festival and the “Audience Award” at the Urban World Festival in New York. She also starred in Dancing in September (HBO), Sunset Park (Columbia/Tri- Star) and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (New Line). Malinda's guest starring television credits include: CBS's The District, Law and Order: SVU and NYPD Blue (ABC).

Best known for her role as "Bird" on the hit television series SoulFood, This busy mom always finds time to mentor young women and work with non- profit organizations such as Black Girls Rock!, Take Wings and Chrysalis Foundations. An extremely passionate motivational speaker, Malinda’s words on leadership, self-esteem and self-motivation leave no doubts as to why success continually finds it’s way to her door.

Rene Syler

René Syler knew she wanted a career in television. Unfortunately she did not come to that realization until after she had spent thousands of dollars on a degree in psychology. She forged ahead and after reporter/anchor jobs in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas, landed a plum assignment as one of the anchors of The Early Show on CBS.

It was there René capitalized on her natural curiosity. She interviewed former First Lady Laura Bush, both in studio and at The White House. She spoke with politicians such as Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, and countless authors, Jeffrey Deaver and Walter Mosely among her many favorites. In her four years at The Early Show, she delved into the lives of Russell Crowe, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Selleck, Antonio Banderas, Denzel Washington, Beyonce and Will Smith to name a few. She danced with American Idol winner Fantasia, even giving her the blue shoes off her own feet after Fantasia complimented her on them! Alas she was not particularly adept at the cooking segments, which will come as no surprise to those who know her.

In March 2007, René's first book Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting, was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. From that, her website, www.goodenoughmother.com was born.

Rene is a sought after commentator for CNN Headline News, The Joy Behar Show, the Today Show and The Doctors and in 2012, she was named host of Sweet Retreats, which highlights vacation homes for rent airing on The Live Well Network.

René is the daughter of two breast cancer survivors. Her parents' diagnoses and her own pre-cancerous condition led to her preventive mastectomy in 2007, a controversial surgery that was profiled on Oprah. That experience also ignited her passion as she now travels the country as an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, spreading the word about early detection and treatment of the disease. René was also awarded the prestigious Gracie Allen award for her television series on breast cancer.

René lives in Westchester, New York with her husband, Buff Parham, children Casey and Cole and their yellow lab, Olivia.

Issa Rae

Issa Rae, the multitalented CEO and Owner of Issa Rae Productions, is a pioneer in the fight against the narrow, mainstream portrayal of people of color in the media. With a dedicated and passionate team, and supportive fan base, Issa Rae Productions lends a voice to a demographic that largely goes unheard. The wide-spread success of Issa Rae’s webseries, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, has unanimously placed Issa Rae at the forefront of the digital web revolution.

Issa Rae, as Director, Writer, Editor, and Actress, is a rising force that has finally put in to action the change many have been waiting to see. A Los Angeles native, Issa received her B.A. from Stanford University, producing and directing four theatrical productions, including two stage adaptations of Spike Lee films throughout her time in college. Because film is her true passion, Issa took time off from Stanford to attend the New York Film Academy where she honed her filmmaking skills. Upon graduating from Stanford, Issa continued to follow her passion. Through various music videos, shorts, and a range of successful webseries, Issa Rae Productions pulls from the everyday struggles of the twenty-something year old, and incorporates a sense of humor that makes each original plot and character, relatable and appealing.

Issa's vision for Issa Rae productions originated with Dorm Diaries, a short-lived chronicle of life as a college student. Rae's second venture, the award-winning Fly Guys presents The F-word, follows the lives of a group of starving artists trying to make it big in the music industry. The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl, was inspired in January 2009 while Issa was working in New York City. Having a difficult time in an unfamiliar place, Issa Rae decided that it would be entertaining to depict uncomfortable scenarios one may experience when dealing with others. Neglecting the idea for 2 years, Issa Rae's interest was renewed after reading an article by Leslie Pitterson on The Grio, addressing the lack of black female nerd characters on screen. Issa knew instantly that the time was now. She called on friends to shoot the first episode, and it instantaneously became a viral hit.

With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae has garnered over 14 million views and over 100,000 faithful subscribers on YouTube - with no plans of slowing down. Issa Rae Productions continues to be a growing, digital media phenomenon, catching the attention of major media outlets such as The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Associated Press, BET, The Washington Post, Sundance Channel, NBC, Vibe Magazine, Rolling Stone, Fast Company, Forbes, The Huffington Post, CNN, , and naturally, widely across the digital blogsphere.

As the winner of the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for ABG, Issa Rae has built up a following of eager and loyal fans. In July 2011 Issa Rae and her production team launched a successful Kickstarter.com campaign, which resulted in nearly doubling their goal of $30,000 in just 30 days. After only one season, in early 2012, Issa Rae and Awkward Black Girl caught the attention of renowned artist and tastemaker, Pharrell Williams. Pharrell, who immediately saw eye-to-eye with Issa’s distinctive vision, invited the highly anticipated ABG Season 2 to air on his new Google Channel, "i am OTHER" in Summer 2012.

The past year has been nothing short of a whirlwind for Issa Rae. In late 2012 Issa teamed up with producer Shonda Rhimes and the Shondaland production team to bring her show, I Hate LA Dudes, to the small screen. Staying close to her "web-roots" she is co-producing a new webseries, "The Choir", for Alright TV with Tracey Edmonds and In January 2013 was included in Forbes' "30 Under 30" List.