Lonette Thomas’ New Online Urban Talk Show Heats Up St. Louis’ Entertainment Scene

Lonette Thomas, Host of Authenticity welcomes guests to her live event this past weekend.  Photo Credit:  Phillip Ellington

Lonette Thomas, Host of Authenticity welcomes guests to her live event this past weekend. Photo Credit: Phillip Ellington

An idea that was merely a dream for Lonette Thomas, a Media Studies student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, manifested into a beautiful vision as herself and the other panelists Quita, Willie Gee, Key, Storey and Shon hosted more than 50 people over the weekend at Artist Art for the first live show of their online urban talk show, Authenticity. During the show, the panelists touched on a variety of topics such as sex and relationships, which received hilarious commentary and interactions from audience members. DJ Durrty Burrd served as the master of the mix spinning many of today’s well-known hits during intermissions and throughout the evening. Willie Gee not only shared his perspective on the panel, but he also blessed the mic by performing some of his songs at the event. Another performer of the evening was Jay The Foreign Prince, who performed music off his latest project, W.A.G.E. Guests also had the opportunity to purchase goodies from local vendors, such as: Syrus Klothing Co., Gudda Creations, Louibles, and Pretty Savage. I attended the show and I think it came together well. Recently, I caught up with Lonette to speak with her about how she thinks the show did, the purpose of Authenticity and what’s next. Read more below to find out what’s cooking up for the future of the show!

1. You and the other panelists just hosted your first ever live show for Authenticity. I attended the event and from what I saw it was a major success! For people who were unable to make it to the event, what did they miss out on?

Anyone that missed out on the event, truly missed out on an experience! They missed being in a room of black excellence, great vibes and just an overall dope experience.

Things got interesting with the Cast of Authenticity during their first live show.  Photo Credit:  Phillip Ellington

Things got interesting with the Cast of Authenticity during their first live show. Photo Credit: Phillip Ellington

2. How do you feel about how the event turned out? Was it how you envisioned it to be?

I think we had a very nice turn out. We are making a few changes so that the next event can be even better!

3. Walk us through the process of how you executed the planning and preparation for the event, such as: finding performers, videographers, vendors, location, etc.

To find performers for the show we hosted auditions for people to come out in hopes of being selected to be featured at the event. We had a chance to work with the owner of the Artist Art on a previous occasion, so it made sense to work with her again. We simply put the message out on our social media handles that we were looking for vendors and from there our inbox was hit with an influx of dope submissions. The photographer of the event was Phillip Ellington of Phillip Ellington Media. Phil has been following and supporting Authenticity for awhile and his work is very professional, which is why he was the perfect choice for a collaboration.

@Louibles , a company featuring homemade baked good filled with marijuana was one of the vendors at Authenticity’s live taping.  Photo Credit:  Danielle Brown

@Louibles, a company featuring homemade baked good filled with marijuana was one of the vendors at Authenticity’s live taping. Photo Credit: Danielle Brown

4. What inspired you to launch Authenticity? Why did you choose to name the show that?

Shows like The Real, BET’s 106 & Park, All That, are a few shows that really inspired me to start Authenticity. At first, I was going to name the show “Keepin it Real” or “Authentic” but I knew that this was something unique and that I couldn’t be basic with the name. The name kind of came to me.

5. I know that the show is an online platform where yourself and the other panelists discuss a variety of topics ranging from relationships, sex to news in arts and entertainment. For people who may still be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe it and what are some examples of things that you discuss on the show?

Authenticity is an urban online talk show platform that discusses a variety of topics. Our show goes beyond just discussing controversial topics, we aim to bring awareness to serious topics and situations. We also aim to entertain and interact with our audience. We’ve discussed topics ranging from rape within the black family to how to properly ask a woman on a date.

Founder and Creator of Authenticity, Lonette striked a pose with fellow co-hosts Key and Storey during their live event over the past weekend.  Photo Credit:  Danielle Brown

Founder and Creator of Authenticity, Lonette striked a pose with fellow co-hosts Key and Storey during their live event over the past weekend. Photo Credit: Danielle Brown

6. Why do you think it’s important for St. Louis to have a platform like Authenticity?

Authenticity is extremely important to the St. Louis market because we’re creating a platform for young black millennials. This is for the culture. We are a new edition to the media market here in St. Louis. We want young black artists, dancers, singers, entrepreneurs, and other creatives to have a platform to come on to promote themselves and be themselves without being forced to filter or censor themselves

7. How did you go about putting the show together?

A lot of planning went into putting together Authenticity. A lot of planning and writing. I started off putting a plan together on paper and then, I started executing it.

Authenticity’s very own, Willie Gee performed one of his hit songs in front of a packed house at their first live show.  Photo Credit:  Phillip Ellington

Authenticity’s very own, Willie Gee performed one of his hit songs in front of a packed house at their first live show. Photo Credit: Phillip Ellington

8. How would you describe yourself and the personalities of the other panelists? What’s the dynamic like with all five of you?

Everyone on my panel, has a strong personality in a different way. You have me, I mainly act as the host and mediator of the discussions. Willie is the goofball of the bunch. Quita adds sass and class to the show. Storey brings the laid-back personality and Key brings the attitude and sophistication. The dynamic is great. We truly are all supportive of one another and we all really care about each other.

9. I remember when you first put out the casting call for the show. What was that experience like?

It was exciting but terrifying at the same time. I say this because this is something very new to St. Louis and I was very skeptical about if people we’re going to understand my vision in it. I didn’t think people would believe in it as much as I do. But the turnout, was great!

Syrus Klothing Co. , an urban clothing specializing in streetwear was one of the vendors on sight at Authenticity’s live show.  Photo Credit:  Phillip Ellington

Syrus Klothing Co., an urban clothing specializing in streetwear was one of the vendors on sight at Authenticity’s live show. Photo Credit: Phillip Ellington

10. I remember at one point you were looking for an additional co-host? Are you still looking for another co-host? If so, how can people contact you about it?

Currently, we’re not looking for any new cast members. But we’re still open to all inquiries regarding the show. Feel free to contact us by emailing authenticity1818@gmail.com.

11. Authenticity launched December of last year and it’s been doing well very since its debut. Whats next for the show? Any upcoming events?

We currently have a lot in the works. But the next big event will be our one-year anniversary show.

The Cast of Authenticity, From Left to Right: Storey, Quita, Willie, Shon, Key and Lonette pose for a photo op with some of their guests from the live show.  Photo Credit:  Danielle Brown

The Cast of Authenticity, From Left to Right: Storey, Quita, Willie, Shon, Key and Lonette pose for a photo op with some of their guests from the live show. Photo Credit: Danielle Brown

12. What other goals do you have for the show?

One of the main goals for Authenticity is to one day have a studio that we can call our own. Other than that, the focus is to collectively give young millennials a platform to come together and express themselves without judgment or being forced to filter themselves or their thoughts.

13. Where do you see yourself and Authenticity being a year from now?

Honestly, I take things one day at a time. In one year I hope to experience tremendous growth individually as the producer or Authenticity, and the entire team of Authenticity as a whole.

I shared some smiles with the panelist Shon and Founder of Authenticity, Lonette during their first live segment.

I shared some smiles with the panelist Shon and Founder of Authenticity, Lonette during their first live segment.

14. What advice would you provide to other young black women in your age group interested in launching a platform like Authenticity?

I would suggest putting action to your plan. We all have ideas, dreams and goals, but they will never come to life if you don’t act upon it. Be willing to put in the work. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

To keep up with Authenticity check out it on Instagram at @___authenticity (three underscores). We look forward to seeing more from Lonette and the rest of the cast.